This Rotten Week: Predicting Reviews For The Mechanic And The Rite

By Doug Norrie 2011-01-23 14:07:41discussion comments
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This Rotten Week: Predicting Reviews For The Mechanic And The Rite image
Welcome back Rotten Week junkies.  We had to take last week off because a baby was added to This Rotten Family and fatherly duties called.  One of those duties included quietly whispering to our new little girl all the secrets behind predicting Tomatometer scores.  Got to pass along the goods to the next generation.  It's how we, as a society, evolve. 

Unfortunately, taking off meant I missed a chance to completely rip into Ashton Kutcher and marvel at Colin Farrell's career turn around.  I'm sure there will be other opportunities for that in the future.  Alas, on to this week where Jason Statham does what he does best, and Anthony Hopkins exorcises some demons.  And remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting their final Tomatometer score.  Let's take a look at what this Rotten Week has to offer.

The Mechanic

I love a person who knows what he is and has no qualms about fitting a certain stereotype.  That, in my opinion, is a person who is completely free.  So congrats Jason Statham, you are a man among boys.  You understand that your gift to the big screen is running around blowing crap up, sneaking in some snarky British accented remarks, shooting some dudes, running around some more and generally wreaking havoc on screen for an hour and a half. 

Though Statham doesn't necessarily fit the beefed up, roided-out action star mold, he's perfect for his this medium because he is insanely believable as a guy with a chip on his shoulder meting out some f#$%ing punishment. Movies like The Bank Job (79%) and Crank 1 and 2 (61% and 62% respectively) prove that when given the proper director and script, Statham's movies actually earn critical acclaim.

Unfortunately, The Mechanic director Simon West is not that kind of guy.  In fact, he really blows, so this new movie probably will too.  West has given us such gems as Lara Craft- Tomb Raider (19%), When a Stranger Calls (9%) and even the unintentionally campy and ridiculous Con Air (56%).**

** Just a note here.  I could watch Con Air a million times and laugh at new places with each viewing.  The whole production is a work of cascading ridiculousness.  At some point I would love to do a running diary of the movie and pick it apart scene-by-scene.  There has to be about 5,000 words there, easy.

In the end, Statham teams up with a director who won't get critics in love with what's happening on screen, although it'll probably be a fun watch for the rest of us.   The Rotten Watch for The Mechanic is 39%.

The Mechanic reviews
The Rite

I had it in mind to write a long rant about how many movies deal with exorcisms and how it's a totally played-out plot device used ad nauseum by filmmakers.  But after a little research it turns out there haven't been nearly as many devil-may-carefully-be-removed flicks as originally assumed. Sure, there are plenty of demon movies, but getting a priest in there to cast out the little bugger?  Not so much.  In the last five years a couple of the genre entries we have gotten include The Last Exorcism (71%) and Requiem (88%).

The Rite gives us a chance to keep the demon eviction going with creepy Vatican priest Anthony Hopkins and his creepier, but non-believing, sidekick Colin O'Donoghue as they bandy about Europe getting stoned, partying, picking up chicks and performing an exorcism on innocent girls. (Not really, but wouldn't that make for  a great film?  I'd call it Cancun Exorcism: Demons on Spring Break!)

Director Mikael Hafstrom loves dabbling in the macabre and his other works have been two-thirds hit (1408 - 78%, Evil - 67%) and one-third miss (Derailed - 20%).  You can see his strengths lie in the supernatural, making The Rite a seemingly decent pick for critical acclaim, if only it didn't look like a movie we've seen ten thousand times before.  Guy has faith issues.  Guy gets sent somewhere to explore those issues. Guy sees something he never thought possible.  Guy's faith is restored.  In fact The Last Exorcisim did it within the last year.

Movies like The Rite are a tough call on the Tomatometer because the story needs to be extremely strong in order to counterbalance the overwhelming sense of darkness, foreboding and familiarity.  I think Hafstrom cuts critics right down the middle.  The Rotten Watch for The Rite is 54%.

The Rite reviews

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Recapping a few weeks ago:

It was another rough one as I put too much faith in people with strong past performances.  The Green Hornet (Predicted: 64%, Actual: 46%) was a fairly big shock for me.  If anything, I thought I'd missed low on Seth Rogen's foray into the superhero world.  It came out of the box strong, but the more critics got around to seeing it, the more the score dipped. 

Meanwhile, The Dilemma (Predicted: 51%, Actual: 22%) was a decent-sized miss considering I wrote about Kevin James and Vince Vaughn's funniest days being behind them and noted that Ron Howard hadn't directed a comedy since the 90's.  I hope he doesn't screw up The Dark Tower.  He won't, right?   He can't, right?

Finally The Heart Specialist (Predicted: 19%, Actual: Who Cares%) was a mistake to even bother putting one second of thought into.  Three critics, total, reviewed this movie.  'Nuf said.

Next week, we go 3-D underwater and get a new college roommate who may want to kill us.  It's going to be a Rotten Week!
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