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Its a jam-packed week for decent looking movies which is fantastic considering we've had a run of less than stellar big screen fare over the last month or so. Let's not waste any more time thinking about the past though. Why would we when there's eye candy like Bradley Cooper, Matthew McConaughey and umm, Simon Pegg to stare at?
Remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what this Rotten Week has to offer!
Imagine if there were a product out there that could access untapped recesses of the brain, give someone supreme confidence to accomplish things well beyond the scope of their everyday life, increase intelligence by a factor of 100, and basically make the user a better person all around. Oh wait, that product already exists. It's called alcohol and I know it makes me limitless.
In Limitless, Bradley Cooper finds just such a drug, and it doesn't come out of a bottle of Jager. For all his fame, this is Cooper's first real shot at carrying a movie. Up until now, he's been a good-looking and snarky piece in various ensembles (The A-Team - 47%, The Hangover - 79%), but never been asked to fully carry a flick. He'll get his chance here, and while I don't think his career is *ahem* limitless, he certainly does have some leading man characteristics in looks and demeanor.
Director Neil Burgess has a couple of hits and a miss on his resume with The Illusionist (74%), Interview With the Assassin (67%) and The Lucky Ones (36%) respectively. In Limitless, he gets a chance to tell a quasi-scientific thriller with, by the looks of the trailer and a couple of early reviews, some decent visuals. And though it doesn't seem like it'll be a total critical darling, I think critics walk out decently pleased. Heck, who doesn't want to take a drug that makes them perfect? The Rotten Watch for Limitless is 57%.
The Lincoln Lawyer
Back in 1996, I walked into a theater, sat down with my popcorn, watched a movie about a racially charged court case, and promptly fell in love with the dashing, Southern-drawled, charismatic lawyer for the defense. His name was Matthew McConaughy and I am a heterosexual male.
In A Time to Kill (68%) McConaughey was perfect as Jake Brigance, a small time lawyer defending Samuel L. Jackson's character in the adaptation of John Grisham's bestseller. The ex-Dazed and Confused scene-stealer had made the perfect leap from stoner jokester to respectable movie star. Fifteen years, a running list of bad movies and a real life return to the stoner slacker persona have McConaughey as the butt the joke rather than the comedian. But the Lincoln Lawyer could be his return to that early run of positive flicks before he started playing himself in movies like Fool's Gold (10%) and The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (27%).
Brad Furman (The Take - 85%) adapts the Michael Connelly novel about Mickey Haller (McConaughey) defending a young, rich punk (Ryan Phillippe) against rape and attempted murder charges. ** ** Quick sidetone - Don't you feel like McConaughey and Phillippe could have played the exact same roles a decade ago? It doesn't look like either of these guys has a changed or aged a bit. Hollywood must pump something into the air.
The early reviews on The Lincoln Lawyer are positive, but with some reservation. Critics seem to agree the movie is good, but it borders on the overly formulaic. Right now, it sits at 100%, which will surely dip significantly lower as more critics hone in on the flick's imperfections. (McConaughey not being one of them, that guy is gorgeous). The Rotten Watch for The Lincoln Lawyer is 72%.
It isn't easy making a spoof movie. Typically, the references, jokes and fun-poking are so over-the-top as to be rendered stale and humorless. Just see the creators of Vampires Suck (4%) and Disaster Movie (2%) for evidence. the spoof genre is generally a cash grab and nothing more.
That's what makes Simon Pegg's work so refreshing. He's making spoofs that are actual funny movies. He's sent up the action film genre in Hot Fuzz (91%) and ripped on the zombie takeover theme in Shaun of the Dead (91%). In Paul, Pegg and old friend Nick Frost take a crack at alien movies in the story of two UFO-obsessed friends on an alien sightseeing tour who pick up an atypical extraterrestrial along the way. Greg Mottola (Superbad - 87%, Adventureland - 89%) is on to direct and his previous work speaks for itself.
Paul is what we call a Rotten Watch resume builder. This week is its U.S. release, but the British critical crowd has already put their reviews out there. So we have a bit of a head start. I think the Americans like what they see. The Rotten Watch for Paul is 68%.
Recapping last week...
While not a perfect week for the Rotten Watch, each of the movies performed generally where I thought they'd be. That is to say, on the left side of the old number line. Battle: Los Angeles (Predicted:45% Actual: 32%) trended away from the middle, and though at one point in the week this prediction was within ten percent, more critics like Josh came out knocking this big budget disappointment and driving the score lower and lower.
Meanwhile Red Riding Hood (Predicted:38% Actual: 11%) is bordering on the atrocious. Just a complete mess. It's difficult to predict if movies will trend this low, as they need to be epic flops. Also, if you want a fun way to kill a few minutes, check out the review summary for this flick here. Critics just had a journalistic field day trashing this movie.
Finally, Mars Needs Moms (Predicted: 29% Actual: 42%) was slightly better than expected and I didn't read any reports of kids puking their guts out because the animation looked off-putting. So I guess that's a good thing.
Next week the ladies give us all a sucker punch and kids get wimpier. It's going to be a Rotten Week!
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