Can you feel it? That icy chill down your spine? That little nervous tick acting up a little more than usual? That need to overextend yourself for reasons on unknown? You guessed it, the holiday season is upon us, and with it a run of big budget flicks looking to gouge our pockets even more. This week is all about traveling. We get Depp and Jolie exploring Venice and those whiny Pevensies heading back to Narnia. Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but just predicting their Tomatometer score. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
I'm not a big traveler. Staying close to home is just easier, more relaxing and familiar. Because every time I travel overseas, I mean every single time, I happen to run into some uber-hot chick who not only wants to get with me, but is also somehow tied up in a shady, underworld scheme involving money, guns, gangsters and intrigue. It's just exhausting, so I just choose to stick to my couch.
In The Tourist, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmark (Imagine taking standardized tests with that name. The bubble-filling would have been a torture session.) tells a story I'm all too familiar with. Johnny Depp is a guy heading to Italy only to get tied up with Angelina Jolie as she attempts to undermine a criminal ex-lover with Depp as a decoy. I feel you Johnny. I really do.
This flick has the kind of stylish backdrop, witty dialogue, topsy-turvy story and headline stars that critics just love. Even though Donnersmark has a short resume (read: one film and some award-winning short films), his second full-fledged feature looks to be the goods. The Rotten Watch for The Tourist is 77%.
I really want to be into the Narnia movies. Having read all the books as a kid (they're still on a book shelf in the box set), CS Lewis's epic story resonates as a personal literary landmark for the Dougster (I am willing to bet that is the first time in the history of the written word that "literary landmark" and "Dougster" appeared in the same sentence). But the movies just don't do it for me at all and after seeing the first one, I've since had zero interest in watching the world of Narnia unfold. That said, critics seem pleased enough with the product (even if the box office numbers are trending the wrong way).
Voyage of the Dawn Treader marks the first time in the series Andrew Adamson isn't behind the lens directing. He's producing and has tagged Michael Apted (Amazing Grace - 70%, Enough - 22%) as a replacement. Early reviews indicate the film is well above average (even if the trailer was equal parts long, visually stunning and cheesy. Watch it below, you'll see what I mean).
Even though Disney isn't distributing anymore, the Narnia franchise chugs right along. The Rotten Watch for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is 62%.
I'm interested to see what kind of movie The Fighter ends up being because this flick is basically the tale of two trailers. The first trailer I saw seemed to tell the gritty story of a down and out boxer being held down even more by his family and expectations. Then I saw one that made the movie seem a feel good story about a guy who overcomes all obstacles. I'm much more enamored with the former.
It's difficult to imagine Christian Bale undergoing yet another body-destroying transformation for the boxing equivalent of Invicible, so there's hope The Fighter has some teeth to it. Director David O. Russell is a legit filmmaker with I Heart Huckabees (61%) and Three Kings (94%) under his belt and Wahlberg's attachment to the story of Mickey Ward makes me think there's some authenticity rather than fairy tale endings. (Although he did star in Invicible so what do I know?)
Early reviews seem to indicate that Bale's performance alone makes the movie worth seeing. The Rotten Watch for The Fighter is 74%.
I have seen many a trailer in my day, but I can without a doubt tell you the one for The Tempest is the most ridiculous one in the books. I mean, what the f$%^ is going on with this thing? Let me take you through a little rundown of events. Helen Mirren points at things with something like a wand. Then "Sorcery" flashes on screen. Then someone is kind of on fire. Then "Passion" flashes by. Then a girl is carrying a thing of wood. Then she kisses a guy with Mirren watching I think. Then out of nowhere Russell Brand shows up. Then we see "Stupidity". That was only the first half. After that it got really weird.
Fine, it's based on Shakespeare and it's artistic and obviously I'm the kind of dolt who doesn't understand this kind of thing. Whatever. It's just stupidly weird. Fortunately, this is right in director Julie Taymor's wheelhouse. She's got Across the Universe (53%), Frida (76%), and Titus (68%). So at least some people out there get her.
From the early reviews though, her newest oddity just isn't lighting the critical world on fire. In fact, they seem to hate it as much as I hated the trailer. The Rotten Watch for The Tempest is 34%.
Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
A slow, but typically awesome week for the Rotten Watch. The Warrior's Way (Predicted: 47% Actual: 46%) at first had me confused from every angle. I never thought it would blow critics away, but seemed to have high suck-potential looming. In the end, the Rotten Watch predicted the good would equal the bad, and that is the story of me missing this score by one measly little percentage point.
Meanwhile, Black Swan (Predicted: 83% Actual: 86%) was close, but so many reviews were in on this one already that missing by three percent is annoying. I should have kept it at the score generated by early reviews and lied to everyone later about how great I am at this.
Next week we get a love triangle involving the Washington Nationals, picnic basket thefts on the rise and a video game geek revival. It's going to be a Rotten Week!