Past the Popcorn film roundup—Quaid Sails, Sayles Fails

Movie ticketsEach week, Past the Popcorn offers a thorough look at the latest round of films opening on big screens.

As empty a snack as it might be, the latest Dennis Quaid vehicle, Vantage Point, showcases the actor at his best. Here a plays a Secret Service agent who stumbles onto a conspiracy during an attempt on the President’s life. The films “final sequence is awfully satisfying,” says Greg Wright, “even if there isn’t any quotable dialogue in the film and Vantage Point ends up being about nothing at all. It’s like getting to the bottom of your popcorn bag and realizing you’ve just had nothing but popcorn.” And sometimes, he concedes, that’s just fine.

By contrast, Wright was not so impressed with John Sayles’ latest film, Honeydripper. Though he notes that “a poor John Sayles film is still a good bit more entertaining than average work by other filmmakers,” he still finds “credulity is stretched as far as Sonny’s fifty-foot patchcord. When guns and knives are eventually drawn, they’re dramatic complications that are impossible to take seriously.” And that’s too bad, Wright says, in a film that at least takes faith seriously.

In other releases, Mike Brunk is favorably impressed by the teen dramedy Charlie Bartlett, which he finds reminiscent of TV’s Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. Jennie Spohr finds Alice’s House to be a moving (if depressing and decidely R-rated) look at family life in Brazil; Kathy Bledsoe is thrilled that a film like Be Kind Rewind can manage to simply be a good-hearted film about the power of community; and Greg Wright finds a few things to like (but not too many!) about the latest horror-gore entry, The Signal.

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