This Rotten Week: Predicting Safe House, The Vow And Journey 2 Reviews

By Doug Norrie 2012-02-05 10:10:58discussion comments
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This Rotten Week: Predicting Safe House, The Vow And Journey 2 Reviews image
I feel like there is something happening later on today. Ever have that feeling? Something you just can’t put your finger on. Almost like the biggest day of the year for this Giants fan, kind of feels like that. Oh well, I’m sure it will come to me. In the meantime, lets talk about Denzel cracking skulls, Rachel McAdams bumping her noggin and The Rock island hopping.

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.

Safe House
Before even discussing this movie I think its fair to point out that any trailer using “No Church in the Wild” from Watch the Throne as its theme music instantly increases the Visceral Reaction Meter score by a factor of ten. I think I could watch anything with that playing in the background. Like a documentary about grass growing or a dramatic reading of Joyce’s Ulysses. So, I’m not positive I can have an independent reaction to anything happening on screen starting from the time Jay chimes in with “Tears on the mausoleum floor...” Once that happens, they’ve convinced me I’m watching the greatest trailer ever made.

At its heart, I don’t expect Safe House to be too terribly different from the plethora of other CIA agent gone rogue, back-for-a-little-revenge-flicks populating screens since pretty much the beginning of time. And those who’d chime in and say, “But it’s Denzel! We’re talking Unstoppable (86%) and American Gangster (79%) to cherry pick a few titles, and hell throw in Man on Fire (39%) as less critically acclaimed but eminently re-watchable.” To that I’d tend to agree, but say my boy Alonzo Harris is somewhat negated by Ryan Reynold’s body of work when we look at titles like The Change-Up (25%) and Green Lantern (27%) to cherry pick a few from his canon.

With Daniel Espinosa directing his first wide release U.S. film, its hard to get a gauge on what exactly he brings to the production. I think it ends up on the right side of positive but that might be Jigga and Ye’s influence as much as anything else. The Rotten Watch for Safe House is 57%.
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The Vow
Man, wouldn’t a little case of amnesia be sweet? I wouldn’t mind forgetting a fair bit of my life. That time I got pants-ed during gym class in front of uber-hot Jodie Simmons? Gone. When I walked in on my parents that one time, umm, wrestling? Bye bye. And what about those seven years I spent with whats her name? Well, I kind of don’t really remember much of that anyway, but you get the point. So when Rachel McAdams gets pancaked by a dump truck only to wake up with no recollection of Channing Tatum as the love of her life (or really anything else for that matter), I tend to think, well, hell fresh starts aren’t the worst thing in the world.

In a movie that really can only be described as the novel Nicholas Sparks probably wishes he’d written, Tatum and McAdams play the couple thing to the backdrop of sappy music and contrived “moments” meant to “stir our emotions.” And while I don’t think either of these two are the dregs of the acting pool by any means, the trailer looks awfully stiff and manufactured right down to the Sparks references desperately thrown in from 21 Jump Street (which I am excited to see Tatum in mind you) and cheesy dialogue.

There may be a hidden gem somewhere in here, with director Michael Sucsy pulling off a truly emotional piece of love found, then lost, then found again. But I can’t imagine critics going totally gaga over it. The sap factor just might be too high. The Rotten Watch for The Vow is 44%.
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Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
I’m an honest guy. To a total fault really, so I have to admit my thinking on this movie, and explain why I won’t count it on my critical prediction resume. If asked to think independently about this flick’s chances at critical success (or for even critical mediocrity) I would have likely laughed at the mere thought. What factors would I have considered? Well, first we can start with director Brad Peyton and reference his illustrious and artistically sound work with Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (13%). That alone would probably have been enough to tank it. But for the sake of case-making, I would have also expounded on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s movie-starring resume which includes The Tooth Fairy (13%), Faster (42%) and The Race to Witch Mountain (43%). Still not satisfied with that evidence, I would have also touched on the trailer which includes things like kids riding giant bumble bees, the lost city of Atlantis, swimming elephants and dialogue from the prehistoric age. All in all, a terrible film.

But here’s the thing: a bunch of reviews are in already (about 30 total). And while critics sort of expected something crappy, they didn’t hate it as much as they thought, and threw out some positive reviews because it outperformed basement-dwelling expectations. This is the theme for many of the reviews, a kind of “It’s bad, but aw shucks, not as bad as I thought.” which has the score sitting at 62% right now. That’s right in line with its predecessor, Journey to the Center of the Earth (61%).

Like I said, I won’t take credit for this flick one way or the other (mostly because I would have been way, way off without the review head start), so let’s just call it a wash and I’ll guess the score dips a bit over the week. The Rotten Watch for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is 58%.
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Recapping last week:

A winner, a just miss and a big loser pretty much sums up last week’s predictions. Chronicle (Predicted: 83% Actual: 85%) was almost right on the money and a few more late reviews might get it there. The found footage genre gets a big bump from this flick.

Meanwhile, The Woman in Black (Predicted: 74% Actual: 62%) was close and I’m hoping, similar to Chronicle a few more positive reviews trickle in from the margins to get me within ten percent. Make it happen Harry Potter!

Finally, Big Miracle (Predicted: 34% Actual: 71%) has me legitimately shocked. I thought there was almost no chance critics would enjoy what appeared an overly sappy, hammy-acted, “true” story. At least Katey’s review tried to help me out a bit. But she was in the minority.

Next week, Nic Cage’s dome goes up in flames (again), Japanese animation comes to the states and Tom Hardy and Chris Pine mean war. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
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