Is “Blade Runner 2049” a replicant? “The Mountain Between Us” too steep? “Victoria and Abdul” regal? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Can a new sci-fi opus live up to the classic original? Shawn and Russ make their cases for "Blade Runner 2049" as well as a new disaster/romance and an English period drama.

1) BLADE RUNNER 2049 (R)

Warner Brothers

RUSS

Is the highly anticipated sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic “Blade Runner” merely a replicant? Nope. Happily, “Blade Runner 2049” is a compelling film noir follow-up that stands on its own. Ryan Gosling is solid as a replicant hunter who has to unravel the mystery of his own life and confront a former Blade Runner, played by Harrison Ford.

SHAWN

Blade Runner 2049 is cinematic genius. It's a sci-fi masterpiece! Daring, bold and courageous. A true crowning cinematic achievement that succeeds at every level. But it's the type of movie that will mostly appeal to film geeks. It's super long, layered and overly complex. Having seen the original isn't required but will help. A lot!

RUSS

It’s a stylish, smart and visually arresting philosophical thriller.

SHAWN

The movie is full of spoilers. Even the plot is a spoiler. You will have to let this one sink in. It's expansive.

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

 

2) THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US (PG-13)

20th Century Fox

RUSS

Throw a disaster movie and a romantic soap opera into a blender and you get “The Mountain Between Us,” a story about two strangers who are forced to work together to survive after their plane crashes on a snowy mountaintop.

SHAWN

“The Mountain Between Us” may the most predictable movie in cinematic history. What yaw think gonna happen between Idris Elba and Kate Winslet while they are stuck way up high on a snowy mountain after surviving a plane crash?

RUSS

Idris Elba and Kate Winslet have the charisma and acting chops to elevate what would otherwise be a drab romantic drama.

SHAWN

The bonus is the double eye candy the movie delivers. Idris Elba and Kate Winslet are hot and the cinematography is gorgeous. But the story could have been written by a second grader. And the ending is flat as soda when you forget to tighten the cap.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags

 

3) VICTORIA & ABDUL (PG-13)

Focus Features

RUSS

All you really need to say about “Victoria & Abdul” is that Oscar-winner Judy Dench is in it. She plays Queen Victoria, who befriends an Indian footman, played by Bollywood star Ali Fazal. Against the wishes of her staff, he becomes her teacher and confidant.

SHAWN

"Victoria & Abdul" is terrifically entertaining even if it is massively flawed. Sort of a "Hidden Figures" wannabe that shift tones several times before deciding what it wants to be.

RUSS

This low-key drama may not be accurate history, but it’s entertaining speculation.

SHAWN

Loved Judy Dench and Eddie Izzard. It's all pleasant enough.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

 

4) 13 MINUTES (R)

Sony Pictures Classics

RUSS

Just when you thought there weren’t any more stories to tell about WWII, we get “13 Minutes.” It’s the story of German citizen Georg Elser, a carpenter who, completely on his own, created a time bomb that just missed killing Hitler by 13 minutes. It may not be as compelling as it should have been, but it’s a solidly made, interesting thriller.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

 

ALSO OPENING THIS WEEK:

“Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards” is a documentary about the legendary fashion designer. Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson star in “Viceroy’s House,” a historical drama about the India’s transition from British rule to independence in 1947. “Literally, Right Before Aaron” is a romantic comedy starring Justin Long and Cobie Smulders.

 

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