Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of October 17, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of October 17, 2022

Rated R for some language and brief nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
In Theaters

From writer/director Todd Field (Little Children, In the Bedroom) comes this unconventional drama starring Cate Blanchett as a famous female conductor who must deal with mounting obstacles as she prepares for a much-anticipated recording of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. To be honest, the plot doesn’t sound very compelling. If you think it looks and sounds like a pretentious arthouse movie, you would be mostly right. Blanchett’s character begins at the height of her career as a powerful conductor with a major German orchestra and right off the bat she is fairly unlikable and the film seems almost distant in its approach and ostentatious demeanor. When people think of obnoxious arthouse cinema – the first two acts of this film could pose as the poster child. But then the third act hits and you start to understand that the story knows what it is and aires needed to be put on for you to fully appreciate the unraveling. Not to give away major spoilers, but the third act is brilliant and all that bombastic pretentiousness beautifully gives way to a desperation you don’t see coming, unless you read reviews like mine. I’ve heard Blanchett’s name being mentioned as the front runner for Best Actress this year and for the first two hours I was convinced that her odds were grossly exaggerated. By the time the credits rolled I was entirely in agreement. Her performance is multidimensional and quite perfect. As is the writing and direction from Fields, who you think is about to bore you for three hours only to find out that you have wildly underestimated your tour guide. My only negative critique revolves around its score, or rather lack of one. For a movie about music to not really have any, or to only have a limited amount, was a strange choice. I know this was done on purpose, but it is noticeably absent and distracting. But even with that major piece missing, the film is both potent and memorable, and extremely relevant to what it means to wield power and influence in the modern world. A-

Halloween Ends
Rated R for gore, bloody horror violence, language throughout and some sexual references
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 39%
In theaters and streaming on Peacock

I believe that Halloween is ending as much as I believe that Elton John will stop touring, but for now we must put aside our bias and go along with David Gordon Green’s trilogy under the premise that this will be the last Halloween film and the end of Michael Myers. I think most of us would agree that it is about time and this film gives hope that not only will we get some clarity about who Myers really is but also see him go down in a manor he deserves. The first film in this trilogy started out well enough only to be almost ruined by the second film, Halloween Kills, which was purely laughable. So while I wanted to see how they would pull this off, I wasn’t really looking forward to a masterpiece. With expectations firmly in place, the film didn’t impress, but it didn’t let me down either. If it weren’t for the cash grab that three films provides vs. two, I think that this storyline would have been better served up as two much more palatable projects, but since this whole thing is basically a cash grab anyway, I guess we are lucky to not have to wait for a fourth and fifth bad storyline. The best that can be said is that I didn’t hate it. It’s a serviceable slasher film with a high enough production budget and a more than decent cast. The story at least had my interest peaked more than it had my eyes rolling, so for that alone it doesn’t suck as bad as I thought it would. And the hope that we will finally get some closure on this incredibly long-running franchise is comforting. C+

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Criterion Collection
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%
Available on Disc and Streaming on The Criterion Channel

In 1944 Frank Capra directed this dark comedy which stars Cary Grant as an author who returns home on Halloween to announce his new marriage to his aunts. But upon the celebratory announcement, he discovers the home is full of dead bodies, setting up a screwball turn of events. To bring more horror to the night, his serial killer brother shows up with sinister plans. This hilarious madcap comedy looks better than ever with Criterion’s new 4K digital transfer, typical of their impressive restoration work. I forget that some of these old films have a real edge and this story is truly as dark as it is funny, and surprisingly not as dated as you would think. A

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: 40th Anniversary Edition
Rated PG
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%
Available on Disc and Digital

It’s hard to believe that 40 years have flown by since Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi masterpiece hit theaters. Telling the story of a young boy who befriends a lost alien, E.T. holds a major place in the hearts of film lovers everywhere. And with arguably the greatest film score ever written, it is likely that the music by John Williams is floating in your head even as you read this. This new edition includes over 4 hours of extras including a new retrospective of the film and its legacy, as well as a new conversation with Spielberg discussing the making. A+