Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of February 15, 2021

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of February 15, 2021

Rated R for some full nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
In theaters and streaming on Hulu

This quirky and quiet little film stars Frances McDormand as a lost soul who has largely given up on the American dream, opting to trade it in for a van which she can travel around the country in, taking odd jobs when available and attempting to make friends when possible. Largely poetic in narrative, the film attempts, on a broader scale, to show the aftermath of the Great Recession and its deep effects on a largely growing part of the American population. Currently the odds-on favorite to win the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director (Chloe Zhao), the film has really struck a chord with audiences thus far and for good reason. Its very subject is getting more and more relevant as so many in America keep getting forgotten as they wander aimlessly in a life that some may consider free, but might really be a life that is locked out. It’s a challenging film starring one of our greatest actresses in a role perfectly built for her unique persona and talent. But as strong as the content is, I still can’t count it as one of the best of the year. It’s a film that I’m glad I saw and one that will stick with me though, and for that I can fully recommend it. I am also open to the idea that it might grow on me. It reminds me of 2007’s Into the Wild, which I couldn’t really get into at the time, but now stands as one of my favorites. A-

The Mauritanian
Rated R for violence including a sexual assault, and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%
In theaters

From director Kevin McDonald (The Last King of Scotland) comes this true story of a Mauritanian man (Tahar Rahim) who was held without charge for over a decade in Guantanamo when he was thought to have helped carry out the 9-11 attacks. When an American lawyer and her assistant (Jodie Foster and Shailene Woodley) attempt to defend his rights as a prisoner, they unveil truths that would go on to send shockwaves through the Guantanamo prisoner program, showing the world that America isn’t always the good guy. While the film is a tad dry and at times unfocused, the performance from Rahim is terrific and makes the film worth the watch. It definitely has a bit of Hollywood slant, but it makes a good case that is hard to argue with as it tries to tear down what the U.S. military was doing there for so long. B-