Subscribe To This Rotten Week: Predicting Addicted, Dracula Untold, The Judge Reviews And More Updates
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I do This Rotten Week every Sunday, and most times can’t wait to sink my teeth into what’s about to hit screens. But man, this week took some effort. It wasn’t that the films look all bad (some do), but rather just boring. Four flicks hit the screen, but it looks like there is very little to get too excited for. We’ve got bad days, addictions, bloodsuckers and judges.
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.
Rotten Watch Prediction
See what I mean in the trailer for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day below:
I fully expected to hate the trailer for this movie, and I won’t say that I completely loved it. It isn’t the horrible, no good, very bad trainwreck that I thought it was going to be going in (like what I did there?) I’m sure critics as a whole will have a play on words field day with the title, plying and prodding it to fit whatever spin they’d like to put on their review. For that, I’m sure they’re grateful. But those ones who’ve laid eyes on it early have liked what they’ve seen: a family comedy with enough depth to carry it further than a series of gags and pratfalls.
It’s not totally unexpected. Director Miguel Arteta has the ability to make the mundane fairly sublime. He did it with Cedar Rapids (85%), Ed Helms’ unlikely loser insurance hero journey. So to have him do something somewhat similar here with a much bigger budget and more family-friendly material isn’t totally crazy.
Steve Carrell’s presence will surely help, and I suspect the movie caters enough to the adult crowd, that they can enjoy it as a family affair. Had there not been some early reviews in on this movie, I doubt I’d be guessing the score would end up being this high. But hey, sometime we get a head start and that’s not so horrible. Or bad.
Rotten Watch Prediction
See a woman in a similar situation in the trailer for Addicted:
It would appear this whole movie is… well, what exactly? Woman loves her husband, but then wants to bang the hot young artist. And she feels bad. Her husband’s like, "What?!" And she’s like, "Sorry!" And everyone just kind of feels sad. There’s a faux layer of intrigue because it doesn’t appear as though anything really happens in this movie except that the lead had an ill-advised affair. That’s it. Seems like half a movie. What exactly she’s addicted to, I’m not totally certain. Sex? Artists? Pottery Barn furnishings?
Director Bille Woodruff has given us such American classics as Honey 2 (10%) and Beauty Shop (37%) and there’s no real reason to suspect this film will fall anywhere higher than the critical bar he seems to have already set for himself. The film looks bad. But hey, consider the source material. It is based on a novel by Zane, who’s penned some books I’m sure were required reading in your English Lit 101 class. Novels like Gettin Buck Wild: Sex Chronicles II, Purple Panties, Missionary No More and my personal favorite Flava Series: Honey Flava, Caramel Flava, Chocolate Flava. The list goes on, but I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about this author’s greatest work. It’s common knowledge.
I would have thought this movie was a joke trailer until I saw it getting a wide release. It’ll get ruined by critics almost for sure.
Rotten Watch Prediction
Anyone else confused by the title of this flick? What does it mean to have his story untold? Doesn’t that mean no one is telling the story? Or that Dracula’s account was never told to anyone? And if it’s to suggest the other definition of "untold" wherein something is limitless, I suppose that might make a little sense, but not much. It’s all I could focus on while I watched the trailer. Because it sure looks like someone is telling a story. I’m just trying to figure out what the hell it means.
This is apparently how the bloodsucker really got his start in the trailer for Dracula Untold,
And if critics were as confused with the title as I was, well it didn’t stop them from pretty much bagging on the flick. Through about thirty published reviews, the score sits around 30% with critics feeling bored seeing a flick lacking any real story or buy-in from the viewer.
It doesn’t look like director Gary Shore is exactly lighting the world on fire with his directorial debut. The idea behind retelling a story of a popular evil character, giving him a new backstory can definitely work. Or it can just be a shoe-horned attempt at creativity, a lazy excuse for story-writing in the sense that all you must do it take a popular character and reimagine the circumstances by which they developed into the iconic idea we know them as now.
In this account of Dracula, he’s a dude with a wife and family who oversees a small kingdom of sorts. When the local bad comes to take all the kids and make them soldiers, Vladdy Daddy isn’t a fan and makes a blood deal with a fucked up looking Tywin Lannister to protect everyone. Tit for tat and all, Vlad gets all the power and becomes an eternal bloodsucker. Case closed. They probably could have left it untold.
Rotten Watch Prediction
The trailer for this movie does everything it possibly can to get you emotionally invested in what’s happening. Big name actors. Cool songs. Some interesting lighting schemes here and there. A story about family and atoning with those you never thought you’d see again. And yet I left the two and half minutes feeling like I’d seen the whole thing. That all the emotion we’d ever get was there in those two minutes. And that behind some of the bells and whistles, this flick was paper thin. Here, see what I mean in the trailer for The Judge,
Robert Downey Jr. is a no-nonsense, emotionless attorney who gets criminals off the hook. Of course he’s estranged from his small-town, judge father and must make the trip back to that hated, horrid, quaint, rural hamlet in the wake of his mother’s death. Timing would have it that his dad is about to go on trial from bulldozing some dude in his car and is now trying to beat a murder rap. The pieces fall into place for RDJ to, against pop’s will, defend his father and reconcile their rocky past. It all seems so easy.
Director David Dobkin has a bunch of films on his resume. Things like Fred Claus (21%) The Change-Up (25%) and his biggest hit Wedding Crashers (75%). And though that last flick was quality, most of his resume reads pretty thin. It looks like he’s gathered together some stars here and hoped for the best.
There’s no doubt Robert Downey Jr. is a great actor, and his effortless swagger he’s brought for Iron Man/ Tony Stark looks like it’d translate fluidly to a high-priced, morally bankrupt defensive attorney. I doubt some of the film’s issues have much to do with him. From early reviews, many of them major qualms stem from the film’s plot and writing being just boring, procedural and chocked full of cliches. It’s easy to think a strong cast can make up for any holes in the creative process, and possibly that’s what’s happened here. The big names took a flat-out bad movie and made it merely average. The Tomatometer score sits at 52% and I suspect it’ll stay in this middle ground. It’d be tough to completely hate a flick with this much acting talent, but hey, if the trailer can’t whet your whistle the whole movie doesn’t stand much of a chance.
Which one of my predictions do you think will be closest?
It wasn’t too hard to get a "read" on Gone Girl (Predicted: 86% Actual: 87%) considering the early hype and the director. I can’t take credit for nailing the prediction as there was a head start with so many reviews in at time of post. Considering the way Gillian Flynn constructed her novel, I was at first a bit pessimistic about it carrying over to the big screen. I was wrong on that account, and Gone Girl is a critical darling through and through. Sean O’Connell gave it four and a half stars, right in line with most of the rest of the critic community.
Meanwhile, Annabelle (Predicted: 24% Actual: 31%) was right on the mark. It finished well below its predecessor The Conjuring. Thank goodness. CB’s Eric Eisenberg gave it three stars in his review, and he admits the plot issues are a bit hammy, but gave it points for scaring the shit of out of folks in a few spots. If that’s central goal of a horror film, then I suppose it got there. But by and large, this film fell well short with critics.
And finally, Left Behind (Predicted: 15% Actual: 2%). Bwahahahaha. Amazing. The only thing I’m mad about here is that I didn’t stick to my gut and call this a 0%. I hedged way too much even though everything about the production looked absolutely, unforgivably awful. From Nic Cage’s hair to the subject matter. Just a terrible showing and I’m mad I didn’t call this closer. Still, 2% jeez. But hey, congrats to Diana Saenger of the Review Express who was the only critic out of her 46 peers who didn’t think this was a steaming pile of horseshit. Everyone loves a contrarian.
Next time around you get the best of me with a little fury while reading the book of life. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!