Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of February 8, 2021

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of February 8, 2021

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and a rude gesture
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
In theaters and streaming on VOD February 26

This beautiful family immigrant story took Sundance by storm in 2020 and could be the film to beat come Oscar season. Starring Walking Dead icon Steven Yeun, the film follows a Korean family who moves to Arkansas in order to start a farm and hopefully a prosperous new life. Of course drama and struggle follow at all turns, but to save the day is the wonderful Yuh-Jung Youn as the spry granny whose surprising words and constant unexpected actions bring on an often hilarious touch to the most serious of moments. It’s a wonderful little film that shows the greatness that comes from our immigrants rather than the narratives that have been pushed on America over the last five years by people that resent them. But it does so in a way that is neither preachy nor political. It shows an America that so many of us want to believe is the true heart of our country. It is so easy to fall in love with this story and will be nearly impossible to shake it once you’ve experienced it. A+

Judas and the Black Messiah
Rated R for violence and pervasive language
Roten Tomatoes Score: 98%
In theaters and streaming on HBO Max

In this perfect companion piece to The Trial of the Chicago 7, the FBI lures in an informant (LaKeith Stanfield) to infiltrate the Chicago chapter of the Black Panthers in the late 60’s in order to take down their leader, Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), who J. Edgar Hoover considered one of the biggest threats to the United States. Told as a modern-day Judas and Jesus parable, the film is a stunning example of government overreach and shows how bad things can be when corrupted power unchecked is allowed to run rampant within law enforcement. With a tight script and a phenomenal cast, the film helps us better understand how the past deeply effects the present and how we are still struggling to outrun the gravity of our history. More than that, it is a terrific drama where fact seems too outrageous to not be fiction. A

Let Him Go
Rated R for violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%
Available on disc and VOD

One of the biggest theatrical hits from 2020 (obviously hit is a relative term) is this family drama/thriller starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane about a retired couple who go looking for their grandson after their son dies and his wife remarries. When they see that abuse might be occurring in their family, the two of them attempt to intervene, only to find themselves in a war with a family that doesn’t want them poking around. Funny enough, the film you get is exactly what you see in the trailer, with few surprises. But its intent is well enough and the fact that you get Costner and Lane, basically playing the same characters they did in Man of Steel, minus the little alien boy, proves to be a convincing enough revenge thriller from two actors that we love to see on screen. There is an extreme lack of character and story development, and perhaps this would have been better as a miniseries rather than a two-hour narrative, but fortunately it is satisfying enough to prove effective in its own way. In the end you get the film that is advertised and the film that many want to see. B-

Rated PG-13 for thematic content, brief strong language, and partial nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%
In theaters

Robin Wright’s directorial debut stars herself as a woman trying to escape from the world after a horrible tragedy occurs in her life. So she moves to the Rockies into an isolated cabin with no phone and no car under the full assumption that she will figure it out. But when she fails to figure it out, a kind stranger (Damian Bichir) comes into her life to help her not only survive the harshness of nature but possibly learn to get over her extreme depression. We’ve seen this sort of story play out but this one is different enough and in spite of its immense sadness, manages to be both beautiful and engaging. I think many of us have dreamed of moving off to the mountains to live life as a hermit and this film will both feed that desire and scare you away from it. I wish the film had more character development for both Wright and Bichir, as the super short runtime makes the film feel like the CliffsNotes for a larger, more interesting story. But the immense weight of the material does seem that much lighter at 89 minutes than it would have at two hours or more. B-