Happy Father’s Day to all the baby daddys out there, but a big shout out goes to the best dad in the whole world: me. And Little Baby Rotten Week showed her appreciation when she gave the best gift ever this morning: “sleeping in” until 6:30 AM. No card necessary when that kind of miracle happens. But let’s not get all mushy. There are some movies to talk about. This week we’ve got Honest Abe stalking vamps, Pixar getting brave and the world ending.
Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
I graduated from a second tier, fairly podunk, four-year college with a minor in US History (majored in Jedi) so it’s fair to say you are talking to an expert here. And in all the time I spent doodling or sleeping one off in class I don’t really recall Abraham Lincoln taking out vampires, vigilante style. That’s not to say it didn’t happen, I just don’t personally remember learning about it. But hey, that’s why we have movies and Wikipedia; so we get the true historical framework in a way stuffy professors just can’t impart.
The title Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter pretty much says it all, and if you think it seems ridiculous, well then congrats, you’re probably a sane person. Based on the Seth Grahame-Smith novel of the same name, this flick follows a young Honest Abe as he avenges the death of his mother at the hands of a vampire. The rest appears a fantastical journey through the mid 1800’s geo-political landscape assuming one of our greatest leaders was a little more Van Helsing and all of his personal tragedies (including a little incident at Ford’s Theater) actually are because of the eternal bloodsuckers.
Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted-71%) directs, and some early opinions have this flick enjoyable in a “I can’t believe I actually didn’t hate that” kind of way. That means the Rotten Tomatoes score won’t trend towards the basement, but don’t expect any real critical acclaim here. We’ll keep it below midway point just to be safe. The Rotten Watch for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is
Just watching the trailer for Brave I got the sense this film was a tad bit Hunger Games (the archery), a little Braveheart (the Scottish kilts and accents), and a lot of Pixar’s child-like comedic hijinks interwoven into a much bigger, adult story. That after all, is what this film company has made its bones on: films the whole family can actually enjoy.
There was once a time when the just the name Pixar meant a movie was a lock-stock guarantee to absolutely crush the critical acclaim world. The Tomatometer scores for the first eleven Pixar films are: 100%, 100%, 92%, 95%, 98%, 97%, 74%, 96%, 96%, 98%, 99%. Those scores are so dominant that Cars at 74% seems like kind of a black mark. Most film companies would publicly murder an assistant producer if they knew three quarters of critics would write good reviews for their movie. For Pixar? Looks like a black sheep.
Then Cars 2 (38%) happened and all of a sudden the shine might be off the apple a bit. Brave follows suit and unfortunately, might be a sign Pixar is no longer King Midas of the animated world. Early reviews have the film positive, but not by much. Part of it may stem from the incredibly high bar already set by the studio, but critics aren’t universally head over heels with this film, it’s story or its female protagonist. This isn’t to say Pixar is headed toward the end of its glorious run, but hey, even the best story-tellers run out of material at some time. The Rotten Watch for Brave is
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Allow me to get serious for just this one second. There’s is something hopelessly charming about the idea of finding love against the backdrop of the end of mankind. It seems liberatingly romantic and kind of perfect. Ok that’s enough waxing serious. Doesn’t Keira Knightly look a little weird in this flick, like her face is off kilter? Ahh that feels better.
I wrote a fair amount about Carell’s roles back in this column. Honestly, everything I said in that piece holds true for this film. His characters tend to follow a fairly linear, predictable and endearing path toward “truth” or “love” or both, and Carell nails this just about every time. It’s where his bread is buttered. Though he can be overtly comedic, Carell’s true gift is the tortured, self-reflective soul lost in the world. I find this version Michael Scott hilarious.
First-time director Lorene Scafaria also penned this film about Carell and Knightley on a quest to find the former’s long, lost love before a meteor wipes out mankind. It’s a new take on an old, end-of-days story and frankly appears rather refreshing. I don’t know if humans are spared or not, and I suspect it doesn’t matter. For Carrell characters, it's usually just about the journey. The Rotten Watch for Seeking A Friend for the End of the World is
Recapping last week:
Let’s start with the winner first. That’s My Boy (Predicted: 17% Actual: 23%) was another Sandler critical flop. This one was an easy call. I got some heat in the comments section last week about my Sandler hate, but honestly it just doesn’t seem like he cares about being funny anymore. And to repeat something in response to a Sandler fan, “It's almost like he's playing a guy who is doing a bad Sandler impersonation.” Quite a shame.
Meanwhile, Rock of Ages (Predicted: 73% Actual: 42%) was a huge miss and one I probably should have seen coming. I mean it has Tom Cruise as a hair metal rocker. Did I need any other clue about its critical chances? Probably not.
Next time around Channing strips, Chris Pine hits the road, teddy bears come to life and Madea is back. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
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