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Labor Day must be getting close, because each week the slate of movies gets less and less exciting. This one is particularly bland. We’ve got Owen Wilson trying to get away from trouble in No Escape and Zac Efron becoming a DJ in We Are Your Friends.

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.

No Escape
Rotten Watch Prediction
Owen Wilson’s had a little experience escaping from things. He’s already spent an entire movie running through the Serbian countryside in an effort to get away from rebel forces intent on blowing him away. And now he’s back at it, just this time stuck in a city during a political uprising in which the antagonists again want to blow him (and his family) away. Dude’s career is coming full circle.

See how he avoids getting blasted in the trailer for No Escape:
In a flick that assuredly doesn’t do any favors for any Southeast Asian tourism, No Escape has Owen Wilson and his family move to some catchall Asian country (I suppose you can take your pick on which one it is) and instead of just enjoying the scenery and living a life of full cultural immersion, sees all the tourists and foreigners getting popped in a cinematically vague "political uprising". I don’t know if this is supposed to mirror current events in any way, but it sure doesn’t paint a rosy landscape for anyone looking to do a little traveling abroad.

The film looks like your standard "escape" genre fare (right down to the name, which hopefully isn’t literal or else the flick’s over before it starts). Wilson and his family appear to maneuver from one plan to the next, each one foiled by the "big bad" right before salvation. I think we can figure out how it ends (or else it’ll be crazy depressing), which makes me less inclined to ever really want to see it. Honestly, and this probably isn’t fair but whatever, all I could think about during the trailer was "I think I’ll go back and watch Argo."

Director John Erick Dowdle’s resume is in action/ thriller genre and some of his movies which probably should have been bad Quarantine (58%) and Devil (52%) weren’t total messes. That’s at least kind of a good sign for this one. He does have a bomb on his record with As Above, So Below (26%), so he doesn’t always trend toward the middle. I think this latest finishes somewhere in between.
We Are Your Friends
Rotten Watch Prediction
At least five times during this trailer I laughed out loud. It’s not a comedy. I also turned it off before the end of the two and half minutes because A: I wasn’t exactly sure what the problem was and B: couldn’t have cared less what happens to any of the characters. This is a pretty bad sign. And while I admit to most likely not be in the target demo for a love story about the LA electronica scene, good movies (regardless of the background or setting) can overcome a genre gap. I suspect this one misses the mark by a quite a bit.

See if you can make through the trailer for We Are Your Friends
Let me start by saying I’m a moderate fan of Zac Efron. I use the term "moderate" to mean that while I never saw (or wanted to see) any of High School Musical run, his more recent career choices (most notably Neighbors) point to a dude who wants to have range and be taken more seriously as an actor. I’d be shocked if this movie helped that cause.

The trailer is a rambling mess of talking, no real "problem", more LA bros complaining about their stations in life, random dance music, a nonsensical love affair, some more talking, B-roll of LA, Zac Efron "finding" the music, dialogue the middle of an inspirational Hallmark card, some fighting, dancing and more music. If there’s a story in here, I’m not seeing it. And buying Efron as a struggling DJ who just needs to find some inspiration so he can buck the system and launch a career feels like a major league stretch.

This feels like a pet project gone horribly wrong. I hope I’m incorrect, I never want movies to be bad. Life’s great when solid flicks hit the screen. This just doesn’t feel like the one.
Which of my predictions do you think will be closest?

last rotten week While I was generally on the ball tonally with last week’s predictions, only one scored within ten percent (my self-imposed cut off point). For starters, American Ultra (Predicted: 58% Actual: 42%) was a moderate disappointment. Sean gave it two stars out of five in his review, saying the flick stopped short of going full blown crazy, which ultimately held it back. It was a silly premise with a lot of room for gags and whatnot, but appears to have failed to fully commit to the tone. While critics, by and large, didn’t completely pan it, it still fell short of expectations. Though I suppose it can still live a long and healthy life as a stoner go-to flick.

Meanwhile, Hitman: Agent 47 (Predicted: 13% Actual: 7%) was my on-the-money hit - a bottom of the barrel critical mess. This was pretty easy to see coming considering the history of the video game-turn-movie genre. I should have made mention last week (and was brought to task in the comments) that the success line for these types of films really isn’t the critical score, but how they do at the box office. The Resident Evil films have generally bombed in the critics’ eyes, but made a bajillion bucks in sales.

And finally, I totally blew it on Sinister 2 (Predicted: 33% Actual: 12%). It was pretty clear that this thing would be horrendous, and yet I kept the score a little higher simply because the first in the series wasn’t a mess. That influenced where I went with my score and ended up having the idea that it would stink rather than be epically awful. Gregory Wakeman gave it one and a half stars in his review which is basically like saying, "I didn’t walk out of the theater, so that’s good."

Next time time around things start getting really slow with A Walk in the Woods and The Transporter Refueled. It’s gonna be a Rotten Week!