Happy Mother’s Day! This one goes out to my baby momma, Mrs. Rotten Week. She’s definitely in the top 45 of moms I know. Ehh, on second thought, let’s just be safe and call it top 50. Love you baby!

This week we’ve got battleships, dictators and pregnant ladies. What a lineup!

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.

Here comes a movie in the “Hollywood is officially out of ideas” category. I can’t have been the only person out there who thought a studio putting out a flick based on a board game, that basically just involved plotted points on a coordinate grid, was a total joke. Like complete prank time. Battleship wasn’t even a cool game. It was a time killer with barely a modicum of strategy. But anytime you can spin a premise based on fourth grade math into a big budget film you have to do it right? If you’re Peter Berg you do, I guess.

** **Quick sidenote: if Hollywood does insist on making kid’s games into movies, I’ve got some ideas for them in this old piece. Enjoy.

Thankfully Berg (Hancock-40%, The Kingdom-51%) appears to have left out dialogue like “E5 is a hit,” instead opting for the battleships to fight an unknown alien presence out in the ocean somewhere. Judging from the trailer, that’s just about all that happens. Oh and Taylor Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgard are good looking. In fact, Berg presents a Navy fleet more like a modeling agency than a nautical military threat. In addition to Kitsch and Skarsgard we’ve got Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker and even Liam Neeson if you like ‘em a little older. Where do I sign up for that tour of duty?

There’s no bigger Friday Night Lights fan than this guy, so I want Berg’s career trajectory to continue with artistic, thoughtful pieces like that movie and show. Unfortunately, except for Tim Riggins getting involved, Battleship is a long way from Dillon, Texas. With a bunch of reviews already in (enough that this one won’t count on the Rotten Resume) critics are split down the middle with even the positive reviews almost apologizing for liking it. The score won’t stray too far from the middle, but I see it dipping a little more. The Rotten Watch for Battleship is 43%.

The Dictator
Urban British faux-hoodlum who rocks gold chains and FUBU while interviewing dudes like Gore Vidal and Newt Gingrich? Check. Naive, hairy and incredibly anti-semitic Kazahkstani journalist on a quest to understand these great United States by offending everyone in it? Check. Flamboyantly homosexual fashion guru with a penchant for using humans as chairs and making out with guys in front of bloodthirsty, homophobic dudes from Arkansas? You betcha. And now a Gaddafi-like tyrant on the loose in New York City? Why not?

Say what you want about Sacha Baron Cohen, but dude is committed. Like crazy, over-the-top, possibly teetering on the edge of insanity committed. And I love it. Whether is was Ali G, Borat, Bruno or now Admiral General Aladeen there isn’t another entertainer out there who’s put himself more in harm’s way than Cohen (except the guys from Jackass.) But unlike those MTV bad boys, Cohen’s risks aren’t entirely physical (which he seems to do an amazing amount of) but also in the court of public opinion. I get the sense Cohen would just as soon have everyone hate his guts if it got his work some publicity. He’s all about the buzz. And I love it.

His latest, The Dictator takes him out of the mockumentary style and into more of a studio film. This probably reduces his risk of bodily harm quite a bit, but Cohen still maintains his edge appearing in character at every public event, including the Oscars. Larry Charles, who also directed Bruno (67%) and Borat (91%) is at the helm again and critics are trending more than positive. Again, a bunch of reviews are already in so we won’t count this on the resume either, but critics like what they see. The Tomatometer score’s at 75%. I see it dipping a bit over the next week, but not by too much. I doubt Cohen cares one way or the other. The Rotten Watch for The Dictator is 69%.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Want to know what to expect when you’ve got a child on the way? Save your hard-earned money and don’t buy the book. Take it from a guy who knows. I’ll outline the nine months chronologically in clear, concise terms everyone can understand. Here we go: excitement, nagging fear, violent moodswings, kegels, Haagen-Dazs, waddling, swollen ankles, constant urination, kicking, heavy breathing, a thing called a birth ball, NASCAR driving to the hospital, moaning, screaming, blood, crying, baby, joy, never sleeping again. See? I just saved everyone a couple of bucks on Amazon. You’re welcome.

Because this seems to be movies-based-on-anything-we-can-find week at the theaters, this flick’s premise draws directly from a book about birth. Not a memoir or work of fiction mind you, but an actual guide for pregnant women. I get the sense we’re not too far away from an entire movie franchise based on those Idiot’s Guide to...” books. Wish I was kidding about this.

Rather than run through which actors and actresses are in this flick, I’ll just list who isn’t: Rosario Dawson and Jim Carrey. Everyone else in Hollywood has a part. Kirk Jones (Everybody’s Fine-46%, Nanny McPhee-76%) directs the ensemble cast in one big cliche about pregnancy and parenthood. (sort of like my from-experience list at the top). I can’t imagine critics loving this movie even if there are a few laughs here and there. These big, star-studded pieces rarely resonate critically and I don’t expect this movie to be any different. The Rotten Watch for What to Expect When You’re Expecting is 35%.

Recapping last week: Only one movie last week but the Rotten Watch nailed it. Dark Shadows (Predicted: 45% Actual: 41%) continues Tim Burton on his steady, downward critical trend. Sean and Kristy debate Burton’s career in this piece. It’s a great read that delves nicely into Burton’s career and what his “legacy” might be. Worth it. Eric’s review helped my prediction, making this week a nice resume builder.

Next time around we get radiation poisoning and revisit with Agents K and J. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!

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