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Bust out the balloons, hang the streamers, make sure the beer’s on ice and put the women and children to bed. Basically, get ready for a party because This Rotten Week is celebrating its hundredth column. That’s 100, people! One hundred columns and what do I have to show for it? A lot actually. I’m famous, studio execs email me arguing my predictions, adoring fans chime in every week, readers hang on my every word. Life is good. Happy One Hundredth Anniversary to me. But the revelry will have to wait. There’s another week of movies to comment on. This time around we’ve got whales, Harry Potters and superpowers.
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.
Not to go all Webster’s dictionary on you here, but it’s worth mentioning the definition for the word “miracle” is: “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” or “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.” That being said, can there be such thing as a “big miracle”? Wouldn’t this imply something unimaginable, something so far beyond the scope of human understanding that to comprehend or envision such an event is tantamount to the impossible? A big miracle is divinity in action, God on Earth kind of stuff. Or in this case, it means chopping up some ice so a few whales can swim to the ocean while John Krasinski and Drew Barrymore fall in love. Sounds about right.
I’m not sure what it is with Hollywood and large scale aquatic freedom/ rehabilitation efforts but if you’ve got a story about some marine life that’s down on its luck in some fashion, studio execs want to put it on the big screen. The Free Willy franchise and Dolphin Tale are perfect examples. The flip side of course are movies in which those same kinds of animals just kill everything in sight. There’s no middle ground with marine flicks; we’re either saving the whales or getting eaten by them.
Ken Kwapis (He’s Just Not That Into You-42%, License to Wed-7%) directs this seemingly sappy tale, based on actual events, of some whales trapped in the Alaskan ice. Operation Breakthrough, as it came to be known, involved the efforts of locals and the government to chop through ice in order to get the whales back out to sea. In this case, its a vehicle for Barrymore to overdo the emotion and Krasinski to play the love interest. The whole thing appears a schmaltzy, trying-to-make-you-feel-good mess. I’ve been wrong about these kind of movies before, but this one looks like a total ham job. The Rotten Watch for Big Miracle is 34%. .
Oh, how many nights have I lain awake conjuring the perfect superpower? Sometimes I’m flying in the heavens, whipping through the clouds and glancing down on the twinkling lights of civilization. In other moments I’m running at super speed through the prairies, feeling the wind in my hair, becoming a human blur and reveling in the pure gift of velocity. And then there are the times I have the gift of invisibility so I can check out my hot next door neighbor in the shower.
See what happens with superpowers? When placed in the wrong hands it’s a recipe for disaster. Just ask the kids from Chronicle. Or don’t even bother asking them. Just check out the “found footage” and see for yourself as a couple of “normal” kids handle a sudden influx of superhuman powers. Hint: it doesn’t all go as awesomely as planned.
First time feature director Josh Trank helms this flick and by some early accounts, it’s a winner. The superpower trio of Michael B. Jordan, Dane DeHaan and Alex Russell kill it (maybe literally) as some kids who come upon some special powers and struggle with how to handle their new found abilities. I smell a critical darling (hmmm, the gift of super smell. That might work.) The Rotten Watch for Chronicle is 83%. .
The Woman in Black
Probably the only way to de-Harry Potter-ize Daniel Radcliffe’s career (if he even wants to do so, and even if he does, it probably won’t be easy) is for him to take roles completely different than our lightning-scarred, wand-waving buddy. To play characters, not only un-hero like, but also in star dark, generally horrific films that could never be confused with the anything close to Hogwarts. Enter The Woman in Black, a movie whose trailer had the single most disturbing device I’ve seen in any movie trailer ever: beat up, old dolls playing musical instruments. Good god will that ever stick with me. I can’t even look at my kid’s stuffed animals right now.
Radcliffe’s turn to the horror genre comes with him playing a lawyer sent to a creepy village, with equally creepy kids barred indoors to save them from a creepy ghost who preys on the children in town. Early reviews have it as a scary, twisting story intent on making audiences s#$% their pants in fear. So count me out.
The Woman in Black, based on Susan Hill’s novel, and directed by James Watkins (Eden Lake-83%) could mean a distinctive turn for Radcliffe as he ventures into the world of post-Potter cinema. (Next he plays Allen Ginsberg. That’s about as opposite of Harry Potter as one can get) Unfortunately the same probably can’t be said for Rupert Grint. That dude will always be Ron Weasley. The Rotten Watch for The Woman in Black is 74%. .
Recapping last week:
Not a phenomenal week last time around, including one, fairly terrible prediction. Good news first: The Grey (Predicted: 74% Actual: 79%) performed right as expected and this prediction looks pretty good. Meanwhile, One for the Money (Predicted: 17% Actual: 4%) was terrible as expected, but considering how much I bagged on this flick in my write up, my guess should have been lower. Hopefully this spells the end for Katherine Heigl’s leading lady career.
Finally, Man on a Ledge (Predicted: 59% Actual: 24%) was a huge miss that I kind of saw coming when I watched a few more trailers floating around this week. By Tuesday I knew this prediction was going to be way off the mark. That’s two weeks in a row with big time misses. Am I slipping?
Next time around The Rock heads off on another journey, Denzel Washington plays it safe and Channing Tatum makes a promise. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
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