Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of January 25, 2021

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of January 25, 2021

The Little Things
Rated R for violent/disturbing images, language and full nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 52% at time of writing
Available in theaters and on HBO Max

From writer/director John Lee Hancock (Blindside) comes this period crime drama about a small town cop (Denzel Washington) who comes to Los Angeles for a routine visit, only to be asked to help with a serial killer investigation by the city’s hottest homicide detective (Rami Malek). Once they have jumped into the investigation, they find a suspect (Jared Leto) who they are certain is guilty but who has covered his tracks perfectly and seems to enjoy being hunted. For the first hour, this film pulls you in nicely and really engages. It starts out dark and gritty and seemingly full of surprises. But as soon as it hooks you, it lets you go with a manhunt that feels insincere at best and manipulative at worst. By the end, it is more than apparent that the promise of a great crime drama was just a ruse and that in spite of the stellar cast strutting their stuff, the film is just pretending to be smarter than it actually is. And rather than a scary, insomnia-inducing thriller, we get a forgettable drama with very little substance. C-

Rated R for brief violence, some sexual content/nudity and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 58% at time of writing
Available on Apple TV+

In his new family drama not meant for families, Justin Timberlake is a former LSU quarterback turned criminal who comes home to live with grandma after a long haul in prison. Upon his return he befriends a lonely and neglected boy whose drug addicted mother tends to disappear for lengthy periods, leaving him and his grandmother as temporary guardians. As he spends more time with the boy, he begins to connect in a way that changes his life. But as the situation becomes more tense, his past reappears to haunt his present. I’ve always rather liked JT as an actor and while he doesn’t make many appearances on screen, he usually has great presence. This might be a small film, but it packs a punch, even if it is pretty manipulative. I’ll admit that the graphic sex scenes are way out of place and the film might have been better as a PG-13, but its doubtful they were looking for a younger audience anyway. As a foster parent who has seen this scenario first hand, I found it rather easy to be empathetic to his character and his motives, and equally frustrated at the helplessness one feels when faced with such a dilemma. B+

The White Tiger
Rated R for language, violence and sexual material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Available on Netflix

This new Netflix indie follows the life a poor young Indian man from a low caste who somehow finds his way into high Indian society. You see his life toward the middle of his journey before they take you to his lowly beginning, constantly wondering how he is able to elevate. It’s a well-written and well-acted picture with a relatively unknown cast that really pulls it off. It’s definitely westernized so as not to be mistaken for a Bollywood flick, for those who might be turned off by that. It’s more along the lines of Slumdog Millionaire, although not nearly as strong. But still, it makes for a great epic with terrific energy and verve, and many nice (and not so nice) surprises along the way. A-