Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of October 19, 2020

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of October 19, 2020

On the Rocks
Rated R for some language and sexual references
Available on Apple TV

It looks like all of the big streaming platforms this week have a high-profile title coming, which should have played on big screens but were forced to opt for the small. The first of these is writer/director Sofia Coppola once again teaming up with Bill Murray. The story follows Rashida Jones, a young married working mom whose husband, played by Marlon Wayans, is starting to show signs of cheating. When her womanizing father (Murray) learns of this, he moves in to help his daughter uncover the truth. While not nearly as strong as their previous team up, Lost in Translation, the film turns out to be a refreshingly surprising script that is only seemingly predictable. What I liked most was that while the story is fairly simple, the script is rather complex because of it. It meanders through its morals, and lack of them, while all the time telling a grander tale. And of course you can’t beat the cast. Murray here is allowed to be his classic self, and there is nothing subdued about him, but he manages to shape that into a rather unique character, even for him. Jones on the other hand warms into the role as she shows us just how unfocused and uncomfortable she is with her current situation, and possibly even how dissatisfied she is as she contemplates where her life has ended up. And while I don’t want to give away too much information here, I will say that I was grateful for the ending I got, especially considering my fear of disappointment during the course of the movie. B+

The Witches
Rated PG for language, thematic elements and scary images/moments
Available on HBO Max

From the mind of Roald Dahl comes this reimagining of his book where a group of witches (led by Anne Hathaway) descends upon a hotel in Alabama to move forward their plot to destroy all children around the world, or at least turn them all into mice. But when a young boy and his grandmother (Octavia Spencer) are thrust into their plan, they attempt to put an end to their evil intentions. Years after the first film adaptation came out in 1990, Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron had plans to turn this book into a stop-motion animated version of the story. But when that was going nowhere, Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump) jumped in and del Toro joined in as producer. The film has a truly eerie sense to it for a PG film, with some rather creepy moments throughout. But even as creative as it is and with far more advanced special effects, it still doesn’t seem to have the energy and inventiveness of the 1990’s Jim Henson version. Also, the human characters for some reason don’t gel well with their animated counterparts, which at times puts out an awkward feel for such a big-budget movie with actors who are usually extremely convincing in these types of roles. That being said, it’s not bad, and kids will probably enjoy themselves while camped in front of the TV, but it certainly isn’t the brilliant hit I was expecting. B-

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Rated R for graphic nudity, strong crude and sexual content, language
Available on Amazon Prime

The last film heading straight to the small screen (which would have probably been huge in theaters) is the sequel to Borat, most likely to try to take advantage of the election, or maybe to try to have some influence on it. 14 years after the events of the first film, Borat has been promised a tortuous death from the Kazakstan government unless he delivers a prized gift to vice president Michael Pence. But his plans change when he sneaks his daughter into the U.S. and, while getting to know her, begins to explore the craziness that is 2020 America. While much of the film seems too fake to be real, the fact is that much of it is absolutely real and this could very well spell trouble for one very big influential political personality who has been bragging for a while on how he avoided the trap (which he very much didn’t). While it was no where near as funny as the original, there are some big laughs that will leave you breathless as you sit and ponder on how he could have gotten away with what he did. Even with its ginormous sense of humor, it unfortunately still paints a sad portrait of our country and the sickness of racism and sexism that still exists. Luckily for most of his victims this time around, he shows them to be real humans who, while maybe flawed, are still capable of showing love and friendship to strangers and even gasp deranged foreigners. B+