We’re over our illnesses around the Rotten House and kicking things back into gear. It feels good to be pulled back from the brink of existence. Just in time for a hodgepodge of movies. This week we’ve got prison escapes, leakers and a night out at the prom.

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.

Back in the day I went to Junior Prom with my ex-girlfriend. Worth noting here that at the time she was my ex (she still is now of course). This added for an interesting layer of awkward tension and vile, acidic emotional gravitas that cast a shadow over the whole proceedings. It wasn’t a fantastic time to say the least as she stewed at having to spend the evening with someone she clearly hated. So what I’m saying is that if she had had some kind of supernatural, telekinetic power I have no doubt I’d have spent Sarah MacLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” as a sizzling, charred corpse on the dance floor of the Huntingdon Valley Country Club. This is called having a connection to a movie.

Now granted, I didn’t dump pig’s blood all over her anything (I was a perfect gentleman despite the circumstances) but man prom sure brings back memories huh? Bringing us to Carrie, Stephen King’s titular, outcast who just happens to be able to move things with her teenage mind. This was King’s first published novel and introduced a writer who, um, thinks outside the box. If nothing else, he was way ahead of his time in terms of the anti-bullying campaigns sweeping the nation now (Look kids, this is why you don’t pick on people!). This flick, starring Chloe Moretz, appears a chapter and verse remake of the the original Carrie adaptation (92%). But because critics loved the first one, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll fall head over heals for Kimberly Peirce’s (Stop-Loss-65%) remake. Though the film basically appears just an updated version, there’s reason to suspect it won’t be a critical darling. Besides just rehashing a popular (though dated) film, some of the mechanics of the film look a little clunky. Moretz, though it may be purposeful, seems stiff in the role and the sepia tone of the film might be a little off-putting. That being said, I think it ends up somewhere around the middle of the pack which isn’t the worst outcome for a remake of a horror classic. And we all get to relive prom! The Rotten Watch for Carrie is 46%
The Fifth Estate
And now for a movie about the world’s biggest tattletale. Snitches get stitches Julian, just remember that. It helps, from a realism standpoint, that Julian Assange is just so freaking distinct and creepy looking that casting someone as his likeness, in this case Benedict Cumberbatch, makes the whole thing seem kind of surreal. When I first saw the trailer I had to do a double take on whether that was actually Assange. (Not as close as, say, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, but close.)

Unfortunately, Cumberbatch-as-Assange appears to be one of the few highlights in this film. The story of the WikiLeaks writer/editor is one of the true historical touchpoints in the internet community’s rising influence over government and corporate institutions. The site blew up a lot of bigwigs’ spots, pumping out hundreds of thousands of pages of whistleblowing info on everything from corrupt banking to military cover-ups. But the flick appears to fall short in the eyes of critics as well as Assange who hated on it in an open letter to Cumberbatch that reads as equal parts virtuous and blow-hardy. (He’s such a blond huh?). Though we aren’t here to discuss the source’s opinions. It’s the critics we care about.

Director Bill Condon’s previous work is all over the map with his early work highly praised (Dreamgirls-78%, Kinsey-90% and Chicago-87%) and his two most recent films Twilight Breaking Dawn Saga Parts 1 and 2 (24% and 48% respectively) being what you’d pretty much expect from that franchise. His latest follows more of the latter’s tone. Full of itself. Visual without much bite (that’s a vampire reference in case you missed it). Interesting without being particularly dramatic. Even the positive reviews have an air of “Cumberbatch is decent, the rest is a snoozer.” Hey that’s what you get for being a tattletale. The Rotten Watch for The Fifth Estate is 40%
Escape Plan
So the prison escape movie is nothing new. They’ve been making this flick for years, with the jails getting more and more high tech (while our own prison systems seem to sink further into the mire). So the conceit of a guy getting falsely locked up and having to bust out of the clink isn’t necessarily paving any new cinematic roads. But my question about this film is, if you want someone out of your life so badly, why not just kill them? I’m not a proponent of murder mind you, just wondering why any person/ agency would go through the trouble of sticking someone in a supermax prison (especially a master escape artist) in order to be rid of them. Why not just use your plentiful resources to just make the guy disappear permanently? Sticking a roided-up Harry Houdini in a prison to “get him out of the way” just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. But hey, at least it gets Arnie and Sly on the screen together.

One thing I like about these two dudes’ late career moves has been how they’ve embraced their cartoon-like facades and just said the hell with doing anything resembling real acting roles. Instead, they seem to have become caricatures of themselves (getting more muscled, playing up their accents, etc) and begun taking part in movies that almost poke fun at their early careers. (Think: The Last Stand-60%, Bullet to the Head-46%, and Expendables 2-65%) I’d say its a meta approach to career reinvigoration but that might be giving everyone too much credit.

Mikael Hafstrom (The Rite-21%, 1408-78%, Derailed-20%) directs this story of Ray Breslin (Stallone), a prison escape master as he teams with Emil Rottmayer (Arnie, what a name!) as they punch, kick, shoot, and one-line their way out of the most maximum-y prison on Earth. Honestly, it looks like a fun flick once all pretense of “story” is stripped away so we can just see these two titans of action doing what they’ve all done best. Kill people. The Rotten Watch for Escape Plan is 52%

Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
Recapping last week:

So close to being an awesome week but a single percentage point separated a winner from a loser. First off, I can’t take any real credit for Captain Phillips (Predicted: 87% Actual: 95%) because a bunch of reviews were already in for this flick. Eric wasn’t as head-over-heels in love with it like other critics, handing it just three stars. His main issue wasn’t with Hanks (thought he was great) but with a story that lacks some key elements of cinematic drama. Namely, Phillips taking a backseat to external forces who come to his rescue, stalls the flick in the third act. That being said, critics by and large loved this film and it will almost definitely be in the Oscar discussion a few months from now.

Meanwhile, a movie that won’t be mentioned during awards season Machete Kills (Predicted: 19% Actual: 30%) is so freaking close I can’t stand it. Can some critic out there come and give it a negative review to get me within ten percent? Mack tried his best in his review. He thought the flick started strong, but devolved quickly into a total mess, best absorbed in random ten minute stretches rather than one extended viewing. Now I just need to have someone else swoop in and pan it.

Next time around we get counseled and meet one bad grandfather. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
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