After a month that included highly-anticipated flicks like Inception and Predators, the summer movie hype machine takes a little step backward this week with a couple of films about troublemaking ladies.
Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
Sometimes it is necessary, in the Rotten Week process ** to separate movies on a writer or director's filmography into categories based on genre. Such is the problem with Salt. While looking at the resumes of the movie's writers Brian Helgeland and Kurt Wimmer I thought, “Man, Salt is going to be pretty good.” But then I looked at how some of those movies scored and had to change my tune a bit.
**which is basically me sitting around in my boxers looking at Rotten Tomatoes and Youtube for a couple of hours every week while Josh Tyler peppers me with not so subtle instant messages like “How's your weekend?” (code for: is the freaking column done yet?)
Between director Phillip Noyce and writers Brian Helgeland and Kurt Wimmer (well not really Wimmer, he kind of blows) there are a number of good films with great critical success on their individual resumes (The Quiet American and Mystic River among them) . So, for the most part, they all have ability in some regards. But when these guys are called upon to put together a big budget action suspense thriller, the wheels start to come off.
Noyce has given us The Bone Collector (29%) and The Saint (27%). Helgeland penned Green Zone (55%) and The Taking of Pelham 123 (52%). And Kurt Wimmer wrote Law Abiding Citizen (25%) and Street Kings (36%). I think we can agree that when it comes to this genre this team leaves a great deal to be desired.
So where does that leave Salt? Besides the fact that it looks a lot like the Bourne movies if we renamed the main character Janice, Salt has all the hallmarks of an action movie that never really puts it all together. Angelina Jolie will put in a strong performance, but it won't be enough to overcome the track record of the film's creative team. The Rotten Watch for Salt is 52%.
Ramona and Beezus
Imagine you walk into an ice cream shop with your child. It's a special treat. A chance for them to look at all the wonderful flavors and try something completely different. The possibilities seem limitless. And then out of nowhere, your dumb kid orders a cup of vanilla, no toppings. You say to yourself, “What the hell?! They could have just gotten that at home and it wouldn't have cost $3.95 plus the gas to get over here.”
Now imagine the movie theater is the ice cream shop. Guess what movie is the vanilla ice cream that you already have in the freezer? You guessed it. It's Ramona and Beezus. I get that it's a kid movie meant to bring the Selena Gomez-ites to the theaters in droves to see about as plain a production there could possibly be. But you really need to feel for the parents here. They go to the box office to buy tickets and see movies like Inception, or even great kid's flicks like Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me but have to sigh deeply, take out their wallets, grab $30 or so out (the kid brought an annoying friend of course) and say, “Three for Ramona and Beezus please.” What a gut punch, especially considering some variation of this film plays 24/7 on channels like Nickelodeon and Disney.
Director Elizabeth Allen has been down the family-comedy highway before with Aquamarine (53%) and there's decent reason to assume Ramona and Beezus will land in the same, middle of the road area.
The Rotten Watch for Ramona and Beezus is 55%.
Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
Recapping last week:
As predicted, Inception (Predicted 92%, Actual 84%) was a big time critical success. But also as predicted, some critics walked out not having any idea what they watched. The negative reviews for the movie reflect as much with some reading like some writers left the theater just scratching their heads. Just remember, you are smarter than everyone you know and will love the movie if you see it.
Meanwhile, The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Predicted 18%, Actual 40%) made steady progress as the week went on and eventually made my prediction quite a bit off the mark. I made an error in thinking the flick would be epically bad. I should have gone more in line with director John Turtletaub's other work. He hasn't been great, but he doesn't have anything nearly as low as predicted. Sorry John.
Next week, Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd make dinner plans, Zac Efron plays catch with his dead brother, and it'll rain cats and dogs. It's going to be a Rotten Week!