Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of March 4, 2024

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of March 4, 2024

Kung Fu Panda 4
Rated PG for mild violence, martial arts action, scary images and some mild rude humor
Rotten Tomatoes Score: None at the time of writing
In Theaters

Jack Black is back as Po, the panda who knows Kung Fu, although the rest of his team are very noticeably absent this time around. When Master Shifu tells Po that he must now think of a successor, he is not ready to give up his Dragon Warrior title and the glory that comes with it. But as he is searching for that individual, a new baddie named Chameleon (Viola Davis) is working on a plan to steal the skills of all of Po’s past enemies to become the most vicious fighter the planet has ever seen. Together with a thief named Zhen (Awkwafina), Po sets out to take on Chameleon and her criminal plans. If I had to say what was good about the movie, it would be the short 94-minute runtime. And also, it is very benign for young children with a PG rating, which is rare, even in animated films nowadays. But man this is a bad experience overall. The writing is lazy and predictable and almost feels like it was written by AI rather than a real human. For adults it is a tedious watch that seems Scorsese long for such a short period. And because of the bad writing, the acting and energy were off kilter also. This should have been a straight to Netflix film, but I’m guessing the ability to take advantage of a relatively weak box office was more important than putting quality up on screen. D

Accidental Texan
Rated PG-13 for brief violence and strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: None at the time of writing
In Theaters

This Texas-made comedy stars Rudy Pankow (Uncharted) as a young hotshot actor whose car breaks down in rural Texas after a disastrous shoot in Lousiana leaves him driving back to California with his tail between his legs. Without a friend or family member who can help him, he develops a relationship with some of the locals (namely Thomas Haden Church, Carrie-Anne Moss and Bruce Dean) who need his help as much he needs theirs. Winner of the prestigious Texas Independent Film Award from the Houston Film Critics Society (under the name Chocolate Lizards at the time), the movie is a very good example of good local independent filmmaking, and the fact it is getting such a strong theatrical run only goes to show the quality of the work. While it can be a bit dry at times, there are also some good laughs and I especially enjoyed Church, who is always terrific in roles like these. If you’ve seen Dune two to three times (like many of us) this is a nice diversion from the traditional fare out there and it is much better than its biggest weekend competitor: Kung Fu Panda 4. B

Rated R for language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%
Streaming on Netflix

Every few years, Adam Sandler jumps into a dramatic role, and usually the result is dynamite. This time out he plays a Russian Cosmonaut on a long-haul solo journey to the edge of the solar system. But as he senses things aren’t right with his wife back on Earth (Carey Mulligan), he relies on a giant space spider to help him navigate his personal journey. I was greatly looking forward to this one upon learning they were making it, but you quickly come to the understanding that this is just a weird, almost whacky drama that might make way more sense if you are inebriated while watching than if you are not. Its lunacy is so distracting that it remains difficult to concentrate on the deep script. So this one will remain in the “not for everyone” column and I’m included in that group this time out. C