So much happening in the world of cinema this week that I almost can’t contain myself. I mean, we've got Liam Neeson taking a break from killing people and turning his attention to killing wolves, Sam Worthington standing on ledges and Katherine Heigl making more sh#$%y flicks. It’s the 99th edition of This Rotten Week and there’s just too much to make fun of.
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.
It’s hard to know what one one would do if stranded in the arctic wilderness with a bunch of other dudes being stalked by a group of ravenous, man-eating wolves. Well, that’s not completely true I know what I would do. I’d quietly befriend the wolves, compliment them, eventually enter their inner circle, do whatever they asked and basically sell out the rest of the survivors in order to save myself. But that’s just me. I’m no Liam Neeson (at least according to my wife who reminds me of that like every freaking day).
So what would Liam do?** He’d lead his band of merry men to safety while traversing a snowy tundra, zip-lining across crevasses, making handy weapons out of things like airplane booze bottles and outrunning/ outwitting said wolves. All in a day’s work for Mr. Neeson.
** WWLD is a mantra we could all live by when presented with those daily problems like having your daughter kidnapped by a group of sex-slave traders (Liam kills them all) or have your identity stolen by terrorists (Liam outwits assassins and saves the world). Next time you’re in a pickle, just think WWLD. Everyone else will end up dead and you’ll be fine.
Joe Carnahan (The A-Team-46%, Smokin’ Aces-28%) directs this snowy tale of survival and a few early reviews have the flick coming in as a good watch. I’d be surprised if it stayed in the eighties when all is said and done, but it’s most definitely on the right side of the Tomatometer. The Rotten Watch for The Grey is 74%. .
Man on a Ledge
Nothing like a good-old literal title to get the cinematic juices flowing. The movie’s about a dude standing up on a ledge about to jump off? Hell, that’s easy, just call it Man on a Ledge. Other movies could have been named with the same titular ease. Some recent examples would be:
Contraband - renamed: Dude from Boston and his Biceps
Mission: Impossible - renamed: Tom Cruise Running
We Bought a Zoo - renamed: Guy Bought a Zoo
But contrary to the title’s misleading feint at deathly boredom on the big screen, more happens than a guy standing on a ledge just kind of looking down at everyone. Sam Worthington’s dangling over the great beyond is merely a ruse to distract the powers that be from an innocence-proving, high stakes diamond heist. And honestly, it looks fairly entertaining. Which takes me back to the title. This might be the worst name for a movie ever. It sounds like a foreigner, who just moved to America, whipped out four of the only hundred English words in his vocabulary to come up with the name.
Partially responsible? Director Asger Leth, whose only other work behind the big lens is in documentary form with Ghosts of Cité Soleil (79%). There’s reason to think though his first foray into scripted action will turn out critically positive. The cast is fairly strong with Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Anthony Mackie and Ed Burns. Casts do not a great movie make, but I’m going with my ever-expanding gut on this one. The Rotten Watch for Man on a Ledge is 59%. .
One for the Money
Having spent more than a few hours dissecting and analyzing the various components which make up a “good movie” and thinking about what it takes to make a film that “people will like” I can, without hesitation or pause, definitively say this flick is going to suck. Like really suck. But don’t just take my genius-level word for it. Let’s consider some of the key ingredients.
First off we have the premise. Tough Jersey girl* (umm, Katherine Heigl) is fired from her job selling lingerie in Newark (no possibility of this job existing for this person whatsoever) and takes a gig as a bail bonds woman (zero percent chance) going after her old high school sweetheart (it keeps getting crappier and crappier doesn’t it?).
*Quick sidenote: I live in New Jersey. And not to get geographically sensitive here, but the New Jersey portrayed in this flick is the exact kind of lazy and stereotypical writing that becomes the hallmark of bad flicks, right down to the half-baked accents and faux-guido trashy get ups.
Then we have the aforementioned Heigl, who with each new film solidifies a growing truth in the cinematic world. That being: she can’t really act. Or at the minimum, can’t carry a movie on her own. Her last forays as leading lady include Killers (11%), Life as We Know It (28%), and The Ugly Truth (13%). This new flick won’t do anything to boost that average.
Finally, director Julie Anne Robinson’s only contribution to the big screen comes in the form of The Last Song (20%). So there you have it, all the ingredients for a movie critics will despise. (Oh yeah, there is also an old naked guy who makes some penis jokes.) The Rotten Watch for One for the Money is 17%.
Recapping last week
Though I walked away with two almost spot-on predictions from last week with Haywire (Predicted: 87% Actual: 82%) and Underworld: Awakenings (Predicted: 27% Actual: 23%) those won’t be the ones I remember. No, I expect greatness at this point. Those two will just build the resume. The one that really stings is Red Tails (Predicted: 62% Actual: 33%) mainly because my initial reaction (as outlined in my writeup) leaned toward a subpar flick. Then, for some reason, I watched the trailer again was fooled by the glitz, ignored the cheesy dialogue and heavy-handed approach, and changed my mind. The result? A prediction well off the mark. Two out of three ain’t bad, but it should have been a clean sweep.
Next time around we free the whales, get superpowers, and watch Harry Potter get all horror-like. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!