Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of January 9, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of January 9, 2023

A Man Called Otto
Rated PG-13 for suicide attempts, mature thematic material, language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%
In Theaters

This remake of the Swedish hit “A Man Called Ove” stars Tom Hanks as Otto, a lonely and no-nonsense grump who is forced to be social again by his nosy and irritating neighbors. While his original intentions are to leave this world behind (for reasons I won’t get into here), he keeps finding cause to stick around from the most unexpected of sources. With direction by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, Finding Neverland) and script from David Magee (Life of Pi), the film has an excellent pedigree of filmmakers, who both help Hanks with a compelling project full of laughter and heartbreak. And a quite timely one at that given the social isolation of the last few years. It’s not exactly a family film with this subject matter, but it is warm and fuzzy and all those things that can help you get through a comedy about a suicidal man. Very similar to the Swedish version, the film has its moments of cheesiness that sometimes get in the way of trying to like it, but ultimately the film’s soul wins you over. I especially liked the way that Hanks portrays Otto to be almost on the spectrum, rather than just a sourpuss with a sad backstory. It helps us like him even more and empathize in a way the original doesn’t really convey. B+

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen: The Criterion Collection
Rated PG
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Available on Disc

This crazy adventure from writer/director and Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam was met in 1989 with empty theaters yet stellar reviews, and to this day is still considered a cult classic. The strange and unusual fantasy stars John Neville as the German aristocrat Baron Munchausen who goes on a fantastic voyage with a young Sarah Polley (yes the Sarah Polley who just wrote and directed the potential Oscar nominee Women Talking), leaving its audience in doubt of what is real and what is completely contrived. Filled with surprising and surreal images and stories, and also including some crazy cameos from the likes of Robin Williams, Uma Thurman and even Sting, the film is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and, lucky for us, classic Gilliam. I remember it as being one of the first films I ever went to see by myself in a theater (because none of my friends were even remotely interested), leaving me in an empty theater that ended up filling my head with joy and wonder. This new 4K restoration only gave me a reminder of that wonderful experience, in vivid and beautiful detail. A