Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of August 21, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of August 21, 2023

Blue Beetle
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action, language, some suggestive references and violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%
In Theaters

When Xolo Mariduena (Cobra Kai) comes home from college to visit his family after graduation, he finds them in a rut financially and decides to take on a thankless job to help them out. But when that job leads to the discovery of an alien artifact that takes over his body, he becomes a superhero who must stop the evil weapons manufacturer (Susan Sarandon) who will do anything to get the artifact back. This latest addition to the DC universe is going pretty deep into the bench to find a superhero most of us have never heard of in a universe that doesn’t quite fit in with its other heroes. Thankfully, its creative team does a fine job of serving up a very decent origin story, along with an enjoyable adventure in a world which most of its audience will probably want to sink more of its’ teeth into. Set in an imaginary city that we can only assume is supposed to resemble a futuristic Miami, rather than the El Paso-centered town of the comics, the mostly-Latino edge of the film is not only timely, but quite fun as well. The family are all more vibrant and full of life than most supporting characters we get in these types of films, and I especially loved his uncle and nana, played by George Lopez and Adriana Barraza, who bring much more than just comedy relief to the picture. While there are some moments that drag a bit, once you get into the third act, the film turns into an all-out party that you are glad you attended. With the DC universe very much in flux right now, who knows where this franchise will go, but hopefully the box office will give them a chance to see where they can take it. B

You Hurt My Feelings
Rated R for language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Available on Disc and Streaming

This new comedy from Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said, Can you Every Forgive Me?) stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a struggling writer/professor who thought she was in a blissful marriage until she accidentally overhears her husband (Outlander’s Tobias Menzies) telling his friend how much he dislikes her newest book she is trying to get published. Creating important but awkward conversations on the difference between honesty and encouragement, the couple must try to come to terms on what is more important in a relationship, brutal truth or making the other person feel better. What I love most about Holofcener’s movies is that while they look like (and get categorized as) romantic comedies, they are really neither romantic nor true comedy. They are just darn good adult stories focusing on real-world dilemmas we tend to get stuck in or should at least think about. In this case, the narrative is a poignant discussion point that will surely get its audience thinking, but in a way that at least lets you work it out in your head before the possibly awkward discussions that could come afterward. So while the characters are in deep turmoil, their journey is both organic and enjoyable as they get through it. That kind of authenticity is hard to find in films and certainly doesn’t fit the typical Hollywood mold. The movie certainly won’t put you in a state of euphoria or joy, but it will stick with you and possibly even help you down the line. B+

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of August 14, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of August 14, 2023

The Last Voyage of the Demeter
Rated R for bloody violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 51%
In Theaters

The newest addition to Universal’s monster movie family is this very simple story taken from the section of the book Dracula by Bram Stoker where Dracula is transported by boat from Romania to England. At first all seems easy and the crew is convinced that they will all get a generous bonus for an early and efficient arrival. But then things go horribly wrong as first the livestock are killed in grisly ways, followed by one crew member after another. Overall, the film ain’t great, but it’s not terrible either. Its biggest fault is its lack of creativity and surprise. It’s a cookie cutter story with lots of gore but a general lack of horror and suspense. The Dracula creature is well-crafted, but unfortunately not terrifying. That being said, it turns out to be a clever enough side story that feels like a good flashback sequence in a show where we know what happens next. It could have been Alien meets Master and Commander, but it doesn’t quite get there. What it does have going for it is a decent enough cast, including Corey Hawkins (In the Heights, The Tragedy of McBeth) and Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) in roles that actually add a slight bit of unexpected nuance to the film. It also has excellent production values including cinematography by Roman Osin (Pride & Prejudice) and music by the prolific composer Bear McCreary (The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power). I do feel director André Øverdal has made much scarier fare, such as The Autopsy of Jane Doe and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but at least he keeps the story well-paced and interesting to watch. By the end you get what you expect, but at least it’s watchable. B-

Drops of God
Rate TV MA
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Steaming on Apple TV+

If you are into great food and wine dramas such as The Bear and The Big Night, you must sink your teeth into this terrific new show on Apple TV+ which follows a young woman living in France who discovers that her estranged father, on his death bed, has left her the world’s most valuable wine collection, as well as his estate in Tokyo. The catch is that she can only claim it if she beats his favorite wine student, a young Japanese sommelier in a three-stage wine contest. To make the situation more complicated, she has the wine skills – but she can’t drink without having severe health issues. And if she loses, the student wins everything. Not only is the show full of beautiful aesthetics that will make you incredibly thirsty and travel-hungry, but it contains some wonderful and unpredictable turns that are marvelously delivered. By the end you get a fantastic tale, deliciously told. While the narrative might be guilty of laying out its cards a bit too early, it certainly keeps delivering the goods until the very end. A

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of July 24, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of July 24, 2023

Oppenheimer
Rated R for Nudity, Language and Some Sexuality
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
In Theaters

A critical portion of the highest grossing weekend in years at the box office is this intense and epic biopic about the father of the atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer. Directed by Christopher Nolan (Interstellar) and starring long-time collaborator Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders), the film ambitiously takes on his story, from his beginning as a physics professor, to his running the Manhattan Project, to the government’s shameful mistreatment of him during the Cold War. Nolan here masterfully tells his story, moving back and forth in time almost cavalierly, but always with a plan to help you understand the story of the past, present and future, even while each is simultaneously occurring. It’s a story so few of us actually know, about a subject that is incredibly hard to understand, and told in a stunningly beautiful and unique manner that is impossible to take your eyes off of. With gorgeous cinematography by another long-time collaborator, Hoyte Van Hoytema and a breathtaking score by Oscar-winner Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther), the film literally explodes off the screen, especially when viewing it in an IMAX theater, which definitely should be the preferred format if you can get to one. And then there is the huge A-list cast, with countless scene-stealing performances from Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Alden Ehrenreich, Jason Clarke, Florence Pugh and Kenneth Branagh, just to name a few. In a year that has given us several great films, this one shines above the rest and is the strongest contender for the Oscar so far in 2023 (I know – a bit too early to discuss awards). I almost feel like a fanboy talking about it, but it really is that good, and I was thrilled to see theater-goers recognize it by filling up so many seats. A+

Barbie
Rated PG-13 for Suggestive References and Brief Language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
In Theaters

The bigger part of our big weekend box-office this past week was this unconventional take on Barbie Dolls as the stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) and her suitor Ken (Ryan Gosling) must leave Barbieland for the real world in order for her to learn what is wrong with her as she starts to get depressed, begins thinking about death, and suddenly is forced to walk flat-footed. Written and directed by the multi-talented and Oscar-nominated Greta Gerwig, the film chooses to be the most ironic of pictures as it takes a subject which many would consider to be anti-feminist and forms it into a sort of feminist manifesto. Sure its a little rough towards men, and portrays the message that men need women but women, most of the time, only need themselves, but I doubt most will be offended as the harshness is done in a loving and humorous manner that we men are not supposed to understand in the first place. We don’t have to agree with the message to understand its roots and motive. Truly a deep thinker, the film really presents itself to be surprisingly intellectual in ways you really don’t see coming. Watching the trailer, I was both shocked and curious, as it was the very antithesis of what we all thought a “Barbie” movie would be. Then to have even more surprises in the theater was a true joy. Could I have predicted that this would be the mega-hit it is turning into? No. But at the same time, I feel this success is well-earned and I am very impressed with what has come from what I considered to be a silly little brand. B+

Haunted Mansion
Rated PG-13 for scary action and some thematic elements
Rotten Tomatoes Score: None at time of writing
In Theaters

It’s been 20 years since Eddie Murphy scared audiences and critics away with Disney’s first attempt at bringing it’s iconic ride to life. So now Disney is giving it another go with Dear White People director Justin Simien at the helm, along with a very respectable cast. The story follows Rosario Dawson and her son as they move into a haunted house, only to drag LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson and Danny DeVito along for the ride. While stuck in the house, they come across an evil ghost (played by Jared Leto) who needs to kill one more victim in order to make something happen. Actually, the plot was so insanely dumb, that I forgot to pay attention to it. The actors looked just as befuddled as they tried to make sense of it. By the end of the chaotic mess, it just melts into a forgettable puddle of Disney stew as its one goal of giving relevance to the ride flushes down the toilet. There might have been some decent plot elements that could have turned the film into something better, such as the loss of loved ones which was sloppily explored, but the stupid ghosts and monsters became more important, taking any chance away from developing a better story. D

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of July 10, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of July 10, 2023

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action, some language and suggestive material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
In Theaters

This seventh outing for Tom Cruise and gang finds Cruise’s Ethan Hunt on a new deadly mission to track down a set of keys capable of shutting down a weapon that could ultimately destroy mankind. Sounds like the plot of all the other films also, I know. But while the stories of all the films sound roughly the same, one after another, they keep pumping out big fresh action films, and this one is a really fun firecracker. Returning after his MI debut film with Fallout, is action-adventure director extraordinaire Christopher McQuarrie who just does a bang up job with both the writing and directing. Keeping you on your toes when you feel like you know most of the tricks is a hard task, and he is so good at it. What he is also good at is adding a big dose of humor, making the film that much more enjoyable. While I still don’t care much for the person Tom Cruise, there is no doubt that the movie star Tom Cruise has one heck of a screen presence and he truly puts his all into the picture. I can at least admire that. He’s always been known to do his own stunt work and the stunts keep getting bigger and bigger, culminating in a sequence like here that looks truly death-defying. But when studios make such a big deal about stuff like that, I always worry that the stunt is there to serve itself and not the story. But here the flying motorcycle scene works perfectly, and its context is not in the least misappropriated. Very clearly laying out that this is a part one, the film doesn’t leave you hanging too terribly bad. You know there is business left to finish, but you don’t feel cheated. Instead you leave the theater worn out from having a great summer movie take you for one hell of a ride. A

Sound of Freedom
Rated PG-13 for thematic content, sexual references, violence, sex trafficking, language, smoking throughout and some drug references
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%
In Theaters

This crowdfunded indie project from Angel Studios (The Chosen) is based on the true story of Tim Ballard (played here by Jim Caviezel), a cop who quit his job to rescue children from a sex trafficking ring in Columbia. While it plays out as a narrative, the film has one goal – generate attention to a major international problem that is not often focused on. In that, it does an admirable job. While it plays like a Christian film, it does so in a gritty fashion, giving the film more authenticity than many others in the genre. Caviezel, who is best know for portraying Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, turns in a decent enough performance to convincingly drive such a disturbing story. His character is a little one-note, but anything else might have distracted from the movie’s solemn goal. For some reason, Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino is literally thrown into a phone-in part as his wife, who merely encourages him to risk his life and family finances for a worthy, although dangerous charitable cause. It’s nice to have a big actress in a part, but she is unnecessary here and probably not nearly worth the money they had to shell out for her to be on the poster. Well-respected character actor Bill Camp, though, is fantastic as the Columbian contact driven to help him free as many kids as possible. He gives the film a fresh boost, just when the film needs a stiff wind in its sail. While the film isn’t great, it is truly memorable and does a really good job of getting its point across. I knew relatively little about child sex trafficking before this, and it truly served as an eye-opener. In that regard, I highly recommend. B+

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of June 26, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of June 26, 2023

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Rated PG-13 for language, action, sequences of violence and smoking
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%
In Theaters

Starting out at the end of WWII, a much younger Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford with the help of CGI) accidentally finds himself fighting to possess a legendary dial, created by Archimedes, which could potentially change history. After a dangerously fun intro, Jones finds himself in the 1960’s a soon-to-be retired and grumpy old man in New York City in a rapidly changing world that has left him behind. When a former Nazi turned NASA scientist (Mads Mikkelsen) shows up to try to steal the dial, Jones teams up with his goddaughter (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) to once again fight the Nazis and protect the world from sinister forces. I have to admit that I was not one of the few people who hated the last Indy. It wasn’t my favorite, but I couldn’t pile on it like everyone else, including my entire my family. But I was hoping for more with this film, and I think I got it. In my opinion, the point of Indy 4 was to create a new Indiana Jones in Shia LaBeouf and that experiment failed miserably. With a different actor, and a better script, we might have had a very different franchise right now. With that storyline leaving such a bad taste in fans’ mouths, it makes sense to bring Jones back for a decent final adventure. Missing here is Spielberg at the helm, although James Mangold (Logan) is an excellent replacement. Not missing is John Williams, who delivers another excellent score, worthy of repeat listenings. The movie kicks off in grand style with a younger Indy and action very befitting for the franchise. But as the 80-year-old Ford starts to play Indy as a senior citizen, the story takes on new dimension and complexity. The script here is good enough to make the film work and adding Waller-Bridge as a goddaughter and not a love interest, gives the story its much needed feminine presence without being creepy. And Mikkelsen makes a great Nazi villain, and his henchmen are solid baddies as well. The story does get long and begins to drag, especially toward the end of the second act. Fortunately the third act, when it eventually comes along, closes the loop nicely and provides for a finale that most will find redemptive and cathartic. In the end, you aren’t getting the best Indy film, but you are getting one that most fans will at the very least appreciate. B-

Asteroid City
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material, smoking and brief graphic nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%
In Theaters

Wes Anderson’s latest creation is this bizarre little comedy about a group of radio actors telling the story of vacationers in a small desert town who are visited by an alien. At least that’s what I think it’s about. Starring pretty much half of Hollywood, the film is a showcase for huge talent in a weird tale that is just as quirky as the rest of Anderson’s movies. With Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston, and many, many other A-listers on board, the movie is brilliantly acted as the players try to let you into their world that might be hard to understand, but at least it’s interesting enough to try. I think the film would have been much stronger and much more enjoyable without the black and white radio subplot. But that being said, it put a smile on my face for two hours as its oddity is also its delight. B

The Bear: Season 2
Rated TV MA
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Streaming on HULU

Dropping this past week on HULU is the entire season 2 of The Bear, one of the hottest new shows streaming. Season 1 followed a young chef from a top NYC restaurant who inherits a restaurant in Chicago after his brother’s suicide. With dreams of saving the hole in the wall eatery and turning it into a top dining destination, things looked hopeful for the future. Now in season 2, the group of chefs sets out to renovate both their location and their skills, as each goes through their own journey in the hopes of coming out on top. The drama this season is excellent, showcasing the extraordinary acting skills of both the old cast and the new additions, including major cameos from Bob Odenkirk, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sarah Paulson, John Mulaney, Olivia Colman and Will Poulter. It’s hard to believe that they could improve upon the former season (which also held a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score) but they pulled it off here in grand fashion with an amazing dining experience, sans actual food. I loved every minute and can’t wait to see what they do next. A+

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of June 5, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of June 5, 2023

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Rated PG for some language, animated action violence and thematic elements
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
In Theaters

This sequel to the hit Oscar-winning animated pic Into the Spider-Verse continues the adventures of Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy as they continue to interact with other universes containing alternate spider-heroes with their own stories and own worlds. In this case, Gwen joins a band of narrative-correcting web-slingers that can move between parallel universes to accomplish their mission, but when Miles sneaks into the world he wasn’t permitted to enter, there is a great fear that he could destroy the canon from which all the heroes must abide by in their story-lines. When the first film of this particular franchise came out, I was incredibly skeptical since we already had the original Spider-man, the Amazing Spider-man and the new MCU Spider-man. I was worried that the field was getting too crowded and it would be hard to accept another new hero into the fold. Also, MCU was starting to wear the whole multi-verse thing out. But the film very quickly earned its keep with a fun-filled adventure told with great screenwriting and animation unlike anything we have ever seen before. Thankfully, this new chapter goes even deeper, with rich story-telling that is only heightened by its spectacular visuals. To make the experience even more intense, the film is packed with a multitude of creative new types of Spider-men (and Spider-animals) that add to the fun and enrich the journey. In a film that is basically about breaking the rules, the filmmakers seem to be also breaking those rules with screenwriting and visuals that bust through the norms, giving us more of what we are craving from this franchise. By the end, we end up thrilled and out of breath and a little bit frustrated that we have to wait until March of next year to finish the adventure with Beyond the Spider-verse. A

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 22, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 22, 2023

The Little Mermaid
Rated PG for some scary images, action and peril
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%
In Theaters

Disney’s latest live-action remake of their classics goes under the sea, bringing the famous musical The Little Mermaid to vibrant life. Loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson novel, the story follows a young mermaid princess named Ariel (Halle Bailey) who dreams of living among the humans, in spite of having a father and king (Javier Bardem) who considers the land-walkers to be sworn enemies. But when the evil tentacled Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) makes a bargain with her, she is given the ability to possibly have her heart’s desire, although if she doesn’t get the prince to kiss her in a very short amount of time, she will forever belong to the villain. With most of the iconic songs from the 1989 Oscar-winning film in tact, and a story that was largely left alone, the movie is sure to be a crowd-pleaser amongst the many fans. But setting the film apart is it’s use of diversity, including an African-American Ariel and a multicultural cast of supporting characters. Also, in the original film, the prince is a two-dimensional character with little story and less to offer aside from his pedigree. But here they’ve made the prince a stronger character with a back-story and even a couple of songs to sing, all written by Lin Manuel Miranda, who added his talents to the project. Directed by Oscar-winner Rob Marshall (Chicago), the film is skillfully made with big set pieces and a lovely color pallete, and more importantly – a fast pace. While the human cast and the voice actors are all solid, it is McCarthy who steals the show as Ursula, a part that just might see her getting some nominations come end of the year. For the most part, Disney has done an admirable job with its live-action remakes and this one is no different. I didn’t much of an emotional hit with it, but aesthetically and artistically, the film pulls out all the stops and provides for a riveting and nostalgia-driven experience for the multitudes of major fans. A-

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 15, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 15, 2023

A still from Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, by Davis Guggenheim an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Still
Rated R for language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%
Streaming on Apple TV+

Since he came on the scene in the 80’s with Family Ties, Michael J. Fox has remained a lovable household name, producing hit after hit, until he came out to the world with his heartbreaking diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. This challenging yet life-affirming documentary from Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim (Summer of Soul), follows Fox’s journey from being a child actor to a megastar, to just struggling to possess some sort of quality of life from his progressive illness. To show someone’s life in a mere 95 minutes is a daunting challenge, yet Guggenheim does a masterful job of helping us understand what makes the man tick and what will keep him ticking. Beautifully presented with short snippets from his TV and movie career that seem to perfectly narrate his life, the film manages to be entertaining, informational and inspirational, even if a bit sad. But Fox here isn’t trying to put on a pity party. Quite the opposite. He is constantly showing how truly tough he is, with a sense of humor that cuts through the reality. A-

Sanctuary: Season 1
Not rated, but should be TV-MA for language and violenc
e
Streaming on Netflix

We get a lot of sports movies and shows to watch, but never has the world of sumo wrestling entered our living rooms, until now. I should know – years ago I wrote a Sumo comedy that almost got made, but ultimately was deemed too obscure for the majority of the world. So I was elated when Netflix released this entertaining series about a young wrestler who decides to do Sumo to pursue its fames and riches that only a few wrestlers are able to achieve. Over 8 episodes we see our young anti-hero (who is basically a huge dirtbag for most of the series) squeak his way through the world of Sumo in Japan until he is hit with massive adversity, only to find a way to Rocky through it. I have to admit that there are a lot of problems, such as a silly amount of over-acting and simplistic script choices. Plus, this probably should have been a couple of hours shorter, not needing 8 one-hour episodes to tell the story. Also, they completely leave out the well-documented presence of the Yakuza in the sport, which could have elevated the drama substantially. But overall, the series is entertaining and enlightening, helping an audience which is mostly or even completely unfamiliar with the sport come to a basic understanding and even appreciation for one of Japan’s most important cultural traditions. B-

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 8, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 8, 2023

Blackberry
Rated R for language throughout
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
In Theaters

For a large percentage of the 40+ population, the Blackberry (or “crackberry” as many of us called it), was a major stepping stone into our cell phone addiction. It was the first phone that allowed us to truly communicate with other devices and even access the internet, even if limited by today’s standards. In this new film by Matt Johnson, the filmmakers explore the rise and fall of the phone that got us to the iPhone. The story follows RIM creator and CEO Mike Lazaridis (How to Train Your Dragon’s Jay Baruchel) and cutthroat co-CEO Jim Balsillie (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Glenn Howerton) as they go from literally creating the hottest invention on the planet to complete implosion within just a matter of a few years. For those of us who lived in this time period, the film fills in the gaps of what happened to our trusted little best friend. But for many, it just serves as a great story about how to, and how not to, create an innovate product and keep it relevant. It is a frequently funny, but always interesting tale filled with some really great performances and a biting screenplay. Very reminiscent of the recent Air Jordan film, “Air,” the tale is filled with nostalgia but is also much more complex than you think it will be. And while the script is difficult to fact check, the ups and downs are completely believable and filled with schadenfreude. Ultimately, what you get is a terrifically entertaining film with nuanced performances from a talented cast, all with a ring of truth that will connect with many audience members who lived though that time as they tried to keep up with the hottest new personal technologies. A-

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of April 17, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of April 17., 2023

Peter Pan & Wendy
Rated PG for peril, violence and thematic elements
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%
Streaming on Disney+

Aside from being a Texas resident, writer/director David Lowery has built up quite a resume in Hollywood with well-respected titles such as The Green Knight and A Ghost Story. He’s even worked for Disney before in the underrated Pete’s Dragon remake. What I’m sure was originally slated for theaters, Disney has marked direct for streaming, probably due to an unknown cast, but certainly not due to quality. This retelling of the Peter Pan story isn’t exactly a remake of the animated classic, but it has many of the elements. Wendy (Ever Anderson) and her brothers are whisked away by a young Peter Pan (Alexander Molony) on a trip to Neverland where they confront great action and peril, mostly at the hands of Captain Hook (Jude Law) who will do anything to see Peter and his friends dead. It has a bit of a slow start, but it quickly gets going upon entering Neverland, with loads of action and some very unexpected plot twists. And quite honestly, those twists are what make this a special (or at least more special than it should have been) movie. This very much had the potential of becoming a dull retread, especially given how many Peter Pan movies we’ve had throughout the years. But instead, new life is breathed into the story as new depths are achieved. By the end, we get an enjoyable family adventure that might just bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye if your’e not careful. B+

Ghosted
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexual content, sequences of strong violence/action
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 30%
Streaming on Apple TV+

In this action-filled romantic comedy, Chris Evans (Captain America) finds himself falling in love with a beautiful young stranger (Ana de Armas) only to find that she won’t respond to his dozens of texts after their hot and heavy first date. But when he shows up in London to surprise her, he discovers that she is really a CIA operative and he is now tied up in a dangerous adventure, whether he wants to be there or not. There are some moments where the film hits you with some comedic bright spots, especially the numerous impressive cameos from some really huge names, but unfortunately those laughs are quickly washed away from the bad writing, and subsequently the bad acting spewing from it. With so many great actors and Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher at the helm, it is quite shocking that the film manages to misfire so much. And while the script is serviceable, it manages to sputter by on fumes, when it should have been completely gassed up and ready to go. By the end, it turns out to be a film you really wanted to like, but one you know you should have ignored after the first date. C-