Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of December 13, 2021

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of December 13, 2021

Don’t Look Up
Rated R for Language Throughout, Graphic Nudity, Drug Content, and Some Sexual Content
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%
In Theaters Now and on Streaming on Netflix December 24

Writer/Director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, The Big Short) assembles the cast of the year (Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, Timothée Chalamet and many, many other big names) in this dramedy about two astronomers who discover that a comet is going to end life on Earth in 6 months – and no one really cares that much. Meant to be a sarcastic view on how our world has reacted to the climate crisis, the movie only thinly disguises its true mission of trying to get people to think about how we got to where we are and what is the ultimate price our children will pay if don’t pull our heads out. But I digress, if you just take the film at surface level, you might not understand all of the jokes, but you will laugh. This film is downright hilarious and provides for the best comedy we’ve seen this year. To elevate the hilarity, the film has a frenetic and crazy energy, helping you suspend belief enough to imagine there is a real comet coming to kill us, making much of the laughter of the nervous type. It is staggering to believe that McKay has gone from his mindless (but still funny) work on Anchorman to high brow pieces like this and Succession, and honestly, it thrills me that we have such a talented and twisted artist who can make us laugh while also making us think. And with this newest creation, we get what I can only describe as the most entertaining film of the year, full of heart, pain, humor, wit and frustration. It’s a madcap yet meaningful experience handled with chaos and love. Its biggest problem is that due to its perceived political agenda (climate change is in fact not political but has been perverted to that level) the film will probably be adored by 60% of the country and loathed by the other 40. Unfortunately, that is inevitable. But I do believe that it has an honest intent of moving the needle in that regard and convincing the holdouts to at least think about the subject for a couple of hours. A

Nightmare Alley
Rated R for Some Sexual Content, Nudity, Language, Strong/Bloody Violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%
In Theaters

Since I saw my first Guillermo del Toro film years ago at South by Southwest, I’ve always known that he is one of the best at bringing out the darkest parts of your imagination, causing chills and scares like no other in the industry. In this remake of the 1947 film of the same title, Bradley Cooper stars in the Tyrone Power role of a grifter who happens upon a traveling circus, landing a job that helps him develop better skills to help him make a good living ripping off a wealthier clientele once he leaves the circus behind. Setting his sights on a dangerous tycoon (Richard Jenkins), he uses his relationship with a sophisticated therapist (Cate Blanchett) and all the tools at his disposal to try to make a truly big score. There’s a lot to like about this film including a rich and beautiful dark palate with all sorts of interesting characters sewn throughout. The production is classic del Toro with a macabre vibe and a sinister overtone. But what the film lacks is what he is most famous for – the chills and scares. The story is sort of intriguing, but it’s not very frightening and the hair didn’t stand up on my arms one time. By the end it’s just sort of a bland piece of filmmaking, like a nice-looking wagyu steak covered in the wrong seasoning. And most unfortunately, at two-and-a-half hours, it’s a bit of an unexpected bore. C+