Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of July 19, 2021

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of July 19, 2021

Rated R for language and some violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
In Theaters

In this quiet little drama, Nicolas Cage plays a reclusive truffle hunter in Oregon who lives a life of solitude with just his truffle pig to keep him company. The only human contact he has or abides is with his truffle dealer, Alex Wolff, and even that is limited. But when someone breaks into his house to steal his pig one night, he forces his dealer to help him uncover the trail that might lead to getting his only friend back. There was a time when Cage was red hot, and then his career suffered as his filmography took a drastic turn for the worse. Aside from a few indie gems, the last fifteen years or so has been a rough go, critically, with very little evidence of the shining star he was. In Pig, he plays a once-brilliant chef who turned away from society, and you could say the same is true with his career, making this film seem not just personal, but darn-near autobiographical. And on that note, it is a gentle masterpiece. Rather than the revenge-fueled caper the trailer suggests, the film is merely about a desperate man who wants the one thing back that gives him peace in the world. And the detective work to make this happen is absolutely fascinating and quite riveting. Equal credit here goes to relative newcomer Michael Sarnoski whose writing and directing tell a tight little story with fantastic ambience and terrific pacing. While it might not win over the biggest box office of the year, it is sure to take Cage off the list of forgotten actors and give old fans, and new, a memorable journey to absorb. A

Roadrunner: A Film about Anthony Bourdain
Rated R for language throughout
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
In Theaters

In his latest documentary, Oscar-winner Morgan Neville (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, 20 Feet From Stardom) takes on the rise and fall of rock-star chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain, showing how he made it famous and how his world came tragically to an end with his suicide in 2018. Although we’ve had some very high-profile deaths over the last several years, none has hit me as hard as Bourdain’s, as I followed him and his adventures closely for many years. He was highly influential to my own personal food tastes and when I traveled around the world, going to the places he went, I loved following in his tracks, making sure to book the same restaurants and visit the same sites. Making sense of his demise though is the hardest part about his life and legacy, and this documentary does a great job of not only helping explain why people came to love him but also what brought him to his ultimate act of helplessness. More than that it doesn’t worship him but rather shows us his imperfections and the animosity left behind by his friends for committing such a selfish and horrible act. And while it really makes a strong case for blaming his recent girlfriend, Asia Argento, for ultimately causing the pain that brought him down, the one bit of controversy is that the documentary doesn’t exactly give Argento a chance to defend herself from what will look like to the audience as just a hard truth. A-

Space Jam: A New Legacy
Rated PG for some language and some cartoon violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 32%
In Theaters and on HBO Max

25 years after basketball legend Michael Jordan starred in the first Space Jam, current superstar LeBron James joins forces with Bugs Bunny and the Loony Tunes to play a basketball game within a computer simulation in order to get his son back from an evil presence that lies within the Warner Bros servers. While the special effects are decent enough, the film is a jumbled mess with a contrived and ridiculous plot. On top of that the game itself doesn’t make a lick of sense and every minute spent on it drags the film down. I like LeBron and Bugs a lot, but this is a mediocre kids film that does more to embarrass than to inspire. C-

Wrath of Man
Rated R for strong violence throughout, pervasive language, and some sexual references
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 66%
On Disc and Streaming

With the exception of his amazing live-action version of Aladdin, writer/director Guy Ritchie is best known for his edgy, highly-stylized crime dramas, and his latest is true to form. Here, Jason Statham is a new employee at a an armored car company who proves to be a fearless warrior when anyone attempts to rob them. But of course he has a hidden motive and we learn it as the film evolves into a revenge thriller. It may not be as good as his recent “The Gentlemen” or his first films “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” or “Snatch,” but it is a decent all-out action film with unique storytelling and definitely worth checking out if you are a Ritchie or Statham fan. B-

Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Rated R for grisly bloody violence/brief drug use, pervasive language, some sexual references and torture
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 37%
On Disc and Streaming

Chris Rock is a cop who is put in charge of a serial murder case when a killer copycats the famous Jigsaw murders from the original franchise, but this time with just cops. Normally I skip these kinds of films as I hate torture porn and this most definitely fits that category. But with a cast including Rock, Samuel L. Jackson and Max Minghella, I assumed the pedigree would overcome the content, but alas it did not and the film is just a messy, gruesome mediocre horror pic, and while the plot is interesting, the poor acting and the violence you have to suffer through to get through it are not worth the journey. C-