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We’ve got a full slate of flicks this week, with a little something for everyone. Action adventure and intrigue? Check. Lowbrow political humor? Checkity check. Mindless and mind-boggling stunts? Why not. Old person rom-com? Well you probably weren’t scrounging for that, but we’ve got it anyway.
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.
The Bourne Legacy
When a movie goes about combining my two favorite people in the whole world, Jason Bourne and Jeremy Renner (wife and daughter included) into one flick, well sign me the hell up.
Continuing the Bourne franchise by moving a bit sideways, rather than forging on ahead with some other dude taking up the Jason Bourne persona is something more studios should consider (I’m looking at you, Christopher Nolan presents The Dark Knight: Nightwing, or something like that). By running a story parallel to Bourne’s dismemberment of the entire secret, military, super soldier infrastructure, we’re given a chance to see how Renner basically does all the same cool shit without suffering any new dude adjustment growing pains. It’s refreshing in a “this is basically the thing we all love so give us more” kind of way. I’m on board.
Tony Gilroy (Duplicity-64%, Michael Clayton-90%) directs but let’s face it, the highlights on his resume are penning everything Bourne related movie with The Bourne Identity (83%), The Bourne Supremacy (81%) and The Bourne Ultimatum (94%). Basically this guy knows his way around Treadstone. Hell, he’s practically propping up the franchise on his own (sorry Matty D). They’ve all been quality flicks and I don’t see that changing at all here, though it won’t quite reach pre-Renner heights. The Rotten Watch for The Bourne Legacy is
It’s a presidential election year. I know because the universe has timed it with the other over-discussed, under-realized, hype machine that also happens to take place around the same time: The Summer Olympics. No two events garner more rabid, thoughtlessly blind devotion than these two, so it's best to just crank them out within five months of each other and then forget both for another four years.
Political campaigns are easy marks for comedy writers because they are a basic summation of every unintentionally hilarious problem we have with our current society. Meaning: generally the jokes just write themselves. Unfortunately, those jokes are typically pretty easy (politicians are self-obsessed egomaniacs with IQs that can’t quite keep up) and The Campaign may suffer from those cheap laugh trappings.
Look, I love Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis. Dudes are pretty high up on the comedic pantheon. But this movie looks lazy, predictable, and just really not that funny. (BTW, it’s not lost on me that I’m the same guy who thought The Watch would be hilarious, so maybe my comedic trailer meter is severely out of whack). The jokes appear canned and obvious. Ferrell is doing a combination of Ricky Bobby and Ron Burgundy but in politico garb. I can see it not working.
Additionally, director Jay Roach (Dinner for Schmucks-43%, Meet the Fockers-38%) has shown a mild propensity for helming flicks that fall short of expectations. And comedies like this rarely, if ever, blow critics away. Even with Roach's made-for-TV political movie success, this latest tale of politics gone awry will keep critics close to the middle. The Rotten Watch for The Campaign is
Nitro Circus The Movie 3D
A popular rumor had it back in the day that Charles Duell, a bro from the US patent office, said something along the lines of, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” It turns out he never said this, just a convenient rumor, but the idea behind his fake quote is something that pops to mind when thinking about the stunt culture genre of flicks and television shows.
It would have been easy to say or believe that the Jackass crew (and their offshoots) performed every crazy, inconceivable, why-even-consider-this, stunt imaginable. Or at least I can believe this because my brain is hard wired to be risk adverse so I don’t think in terms of “more dangerous” or “more hilariously dangerous”. But Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus crew is wired a bit (a lot) differently. Why else would they still be making flicks about dudes just getting the crap kicked out of them and flying off of stuff in the name of “stunt”?
Surely there’s a hard ceiling for death defying stunts. And eventually we’ll reach the top and one of these crews actually, you know, dies while filming. Maybe you’re like me and you just think, with every stunt movie recorded, there are no more feats left to perform. Whatever it is director Gregg Godfrey, who’s helmed just about all of Nitro Circus’s time on film, is getting you closer to death (but no quite there yet) by pumping this bad boy out in 3D. Sure it looks entertaining, if not needlessly dangerous. And critics were close to, and slightly above the middle with the Jackass movies so we’ll use that as our barometer. This will be the last one right? The Rotten Watch for Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D is
Mrs. Rotten Week and I have been married for four years. I’m able to remember this because she conveniently reminded me that during our honeymoon the Olympics were on television (romantic). That’s just the kind of every-four-year benchmark my brain needs to remember timelines. Before this device I wasn’t sure if it had been three or ten. I’m good now, we’ll be married forever. Dates are the only thing I ever get wrong.
Meryl Streep and Tommie Lee Jones are having relationship troubles though. Hell, they’re getting older and marriages can become things of convenience rather than passion--which is fine by me because I don’t know how many folks really want to see Streep and Jones getting it on, on screen. In fact, I’m most definitely not in this film’s demographic. If marriage doctor Steve Carrell can’t get them back in the sack, that’s just fine and dandy. Keep it on! Keep it on!
Director David Frankel has had success with Streep before in The Devil Wears Prada (76%). His other two directorial works were a relative hit and a relative miss with Marley & Me (64%) and The Big Year (39%), respectively. His latest though is knocking it out of the critical park. With eleven reviews up on Rotten Tomatoes it’s sitting at a perfect 100%. Maybe people do want to see some geriatric love. It will dip a bit with some more reviews but I think it maintains elite critical standing. The Rotten Watch for Hope Springs is
Recapping last week:
Would you believe me if I said I accidentally switched up my scores from last week? You wouldn’t? That’s fine, I’m lying anyway. But if I had reversed them it would have looked pretty solid:
Total Recall (Predicted: 51% Actual: 31%)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (Predicted: 36% Actual: 50%)
They were both misses, continuing a rough summer for the Rotten Watch as I’ve struggled to maintain consistency week to week. Maybe my brain is just on summer vacation.
Next time around we’ve got action all-stars, stop motion zombies, singing sensations and a kid with odd origins. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
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