Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of October 18, 2021

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of October 18, 2021

Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images, sequences of strong violence and suggestive material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
In Theaters and Streaming on HBO Max

It was 1965 when American author Frank Herbert published the epic science fiction novel Dune and since that released it has plagued Hollywood as filmmakers struggled to bring it to the big screen. The first, and last, attempt was in 1984 when David Lynch released his awful vision of the story to a sorely disappointed audience. But when Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 director Dennis Villeneuve announced his intention to tackle the famed work, cries of joy were heard from sci-fi fans everywhere. The story takes place largely on the desert planet of Arrakis, also known as Dune, where the most valuable substance in the universe, known as spice, has been assigned by the emperor to the Atreides family to protect and mine. The Duke of Atriedes (Oscar Isaac) and his special son (Timothée Chalamet) find themselves in over their heads when the forces of the desert and powers from other worlds work against them. I don’t want to give away too much, as I hate spoilers, but I must start with a revelation that I wish I had: Dune will be a two-part motion picture and this movie covers only the first half of the book. I found the lack of this knowledge an unnecessary distraction and wish I had it going in. That being said, I enjoyed everything about this project aside from that tidbit. Dune proves to be a grand, ambitious project, this time done right. The cast is big and quite perfect, filled with A-listers who take the project very seriously, all performing from an excellent screenplay that cleverly hides the massive amount of exposition needed to simplify this massively complex story. But ultimately it’s the production that impresses the most. This is a creation that needs two things to come to life: advanced special effects and the vision to wield them. Villeneuve and his production team do a masterful job of bringing this world to life. The most relevant comparison would be to Peter Jackson with his Lord of the Rings films. As for its release, my recommendation would be to watch it on HBO Max the second time you see it. The first view should be on a big screen, preferably IMAX. Anything less than that could leave you underwhelmed. A

Halloween Kills
Rated R for language, grisly images, some drug use and strong bloody violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 39%
In Theaters and Streaming on Peacock

In 2018’s Halloween, we leave the iconic baddie Michael Myers as he appears to be trapped in a burning house. But of course, since there’s this sequel, we know that his demise doesn’t happen and he goes on another rampage of terror, this time with a monumentally higher death count including all kinds of horrible and gruesome murders. To change things up a bit, a mob of mad neighbors, including Anthony Michael Hall as recurring character Tommy Doyle, seek out Myers in an act of vengeance. I wasn’t as enamored with the 2018 take on the franchise (it scored an impressive 79% on Rotten Tomatoes), but I didn’t hate it either. But I did expect an elevated sort of horror flick with this one and was surprised when it turned out to be a huge ball of torture porn. It is simply just one gross-out scene after another that ultimately provides nothing but nonsense to the franchise. Apparently this will be the middle film of a trilogy that will see its next chapter, Halloween Ends, as soon as next year. But what could have been an interesting and scary thriller turns out to be a long joke with no punch line. Not once does it really shock or scare its audience but instead it just desensitizes to the extreme. Perhaps once we’ve seen the final chapter we will better understand why we had to put up with this chapter, but for now I’m just a disappointed fan wondering why the filmmakers don’t seem to take their audience seriously. D

The Green Knight
Rated R for some sexuality, graphic nudity and violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Available on Disc and Streaming

This fantasy epic stars Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) as Sir Gawain, King Arthur’s nephew, who, in order to prove himself to his king, goes on a quest to confront an other-worldly Green Knight after it challenges the court. Facing ghosts, giants, thieves and more, he finds himself on a journey of inner turmoil as he attempts to discover himself in all of the madness. This film never really found an audience in theaters and for good reason, it is interesting on the eyes, but incredibly hard to follow and too deep for most viewers. It tries to sell itself as a lush fantasy, but while it may look like Game of Thrones, it’s narrative is confusing and its characters aren’t approachable. We never really get a chance to like our hero and thus are disengaged from his plight. He’s not unlikable, but rather he’s just a dude on a weird journey. And the supporting characters don’t do much to help here. For example, Alicia Vikander (Oscar winner for The Danish Girl) gives one of the most blasé performances of her career as two different characters which are neither particularly interesting or compelling. The movie has the movement of a dream. It is not a happy dream nor a nightmare, but rather just a strange flow of thoughts with nice production values. C