A bunch of flicks on the slate this week. Coming off a couple of strong predictions we’re looking to keep up the momentum with beanstalks, birthday shots, exorcisms, and submarines.

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.

Jack the Giant Slayer
And we’re back with another fairy tale. Yup. After covering the Grimm-led resurgence of tired stories only a few weeks ago I don’t have the energy to wax disappointed all over again in the recent rise in fairy tale adaptations. And admittedly, this film doesn’t appear the scourge of the screen like a Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (an aggressively bad-15%), but it’s still a movie about magic beans, stalks growing to a sky filled with giants, fe-fi-fo-fums, one-off English one-liners and a dude named Jack who’s got more than few tales to tell. (I’m sure we’ll get to see them all in CGI at some point).

Bbefore anyone jumps ugly at my “lack of imagination” or cynicism related to these films, it’s important to note I’m not necessarily disappointed in this movie in particular. It’s just that adapting kid’s stories into more “adult” versions with violence, sex, and “big effects” just comes off so lazy. Because disassociating the original kiddie fairy tale with the big screen adult adaptation is almost impossible. It’s like some movie exec at some point said, in the most cliche and douchey way possible, “You know what we need? Fairy tales, on steroids! Boom!” And that’s what we’re getting, more often than not, to diminishing returns.

Maybe this flick’ll be the exception, with Bryan Singer (Valkyrie-62%, Superman Returns-76%) in charge it at least stands a fighting chance. But the track record on these movies hasn’t been great. (See my last article on fairy tales.) Look past the big effects, the bells and whistles, the cheesy looking giants, the snarky one-liners and you’ve got a film about people climbing a beanstalk. I think this disappoints. The Rotten Watch for Jack the Giant Slayer is 47%
The Last Exorcism Part II
Well it appears this movie is brought to you by a bunch of liars. See here’s the thing about contradiction, and I don’t take this thing lightly: how can one have both a “last” and a “part two”? It kind of takes the weight off one of them no? How can we believe you guys now? It’s like having a movie called The Very End of the World: Part II. Something just rings so false. They should have called this Hopefully the Last Exorcism or We’ll See, This’ll Probably be the Last Exorcism But No Promises.

Beyond just the flip-slopping title, I fully prepared to rip this thing, and I might still but for different reasons. I’d created a false memory in which the previous installment received an epic thrashing from critics. But then I was reminded The Last Exorcism (73%) wasn’t bad. Talk about a miss memory, I even predicted it at 68% in my original write-up. I must have been influenced by the endless run of terrible haunting/exorcism/horror movies between then and now. No other way to explain it. *

Sidenote: Up until this point in the writing I hadn’t actually watched the trailer yet. just wanted to bring you some of my initial thoughts. It’s like you’re in my head. Lucky. The sequel moves away from the “found footage” style and focuses on an adult Nell as she tries eighty-six that pesky Abalam. Demons can be such a drag though hiding in a New Orleans-ish, occult favoring town (judging by the trailer) doesn’t necessarily seem the way to go. I’d go to North Dakota. Literally nothing happens there and most demons seem to prefer a more temperate climate (anecdotal evidence only). Stylistically tough, the flick looks fairly sleek and I got a jump or two in there. Directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly (Small Town Murder Songs-79%, This Beautiful City-14%) this movie surely won’t finish as high as its predecessor but most likely avoids bottom-feeding horror status. Which is all fine, just don’t lie to us anymore. If it’s not the last one, just say so. The Rotten Watch for The Last Exorcism Part II is 39%
21 and Over
Being a few years removed from my twenty-first I have more enlightened view on the world and all of its nuance and wouldn’t be caught dead slugging down a Cement Mixer or Prairie Fire (anymore at least, I have before of course). With that in mind the trailer for this movie rubbed me completely the wrong way.

Brought to you and directed by the writers of The Hangover, this flick seems to employ much of the same escalating hijinks that define the “epic” night out. But unlike Phil, Alan and Stu’s adventure that chose to imply the drunken and drug-fueled means to rather hilarious ends (everything was just the aftermath of bad choices) or other single night movies that simply use unbridled youth to fan the fire of “awesome”, 21 and Over appears to choose to use the build up (namely drinking life-threatening amounts of booze) as the crux of its story, overtly celebrating the damn-the-man aspect of getting [email protected]#$faced. And at the risk of sounding curmudgeonly (I enjoy libations as much, if not more, than the next guy believe me) this flick almost seems irresponsible, bordering on damaging. Under the guise of, “You’re of age, it’s totally legal now,” (but really just a result of his friends peer pressuring him through the “Drink! Drink! Drink” reasoning) watching Jeff Chang puke and pass out his way through the hallowed doors of rather arbitrary, government-regulated adulthood raised my shackles a bit. I know that’s not the point of the flick. I know it’s supposed to celebrate the freedom of uncertainty and just in general be a vehicle to get the 15-23 male crowd out to the theaters. But come on.

Jon Lucas and Scott Moore penned The Hangover but they did away with much of the good will built up on that flick by writing The Change-Up (26%). Their latest, I believe, ends up lower than even that latter piece of garbage. It is hard to imagine many critics choosing to laud, in anyway, this stomach-pumping story arc. And I might be reading a little too much into it, or just might be turning into “the man” instead of the fun-loving young adult I imagine myself to be. The answer exists somewhere in between. Either way, I’m going basement level on this movie and will officially sew the “Boring Adult” patch on to my sleeve. The Rotten Watch for 21 and Over is 15%
I’m a little confused so maybe someone can help me out here. The summary for this movie explains Phantom is about a Soviet submarine and its crew at the brink of starting, what I’m assuming to be, a nuclear war. That’s all well and good. My confusion is the “Russian” part. At no point during this trailer, or maybe once, barely, did I hear anything close to resembling a Russian accent. In fact, no effort at all was made make anything sound Ruski at all. Thinking I’d been misinformed I then read the names of the characters in the film which inlude: Demi, Bruni, Markov, Pavlov, Tyrtov, and Bavenod. Not exactly the kind of names that’d appear on an American submarine roster. But there’s Ed Harris and David Duchnovy just sounding all red, white and blue while rocking everything Russian but a Ushanka. Which is all to tell me one thing: they didn’t even try with this flick.

Or maybe they did try and just felt no one would want to listen to Boris and Natasha drone on and on about the end of the world, so the Hollywood powers just think, “[email protected]#$ it, just make them sound however. We’ve got Harris and Duchovny on the hook. Get this thing to print pronto.” I searched and searched and for an explanation on this, trying to find an interview explaining the discrepancy. But much like the submarine hiding in the bottom of the sea, info on this movie is scarce to the point of non-existent. Another terrible sign.

Directed by Todd Robinson (Lonely Hearts-48% Quick note: just look at the film’s cast, it’s star-studded and completely forgettable), Phantom seems to be one of those movies that comes out and then is immediately forgotten. Kind of like Robinson’s other work. The Rotten Watch for Phantom is 27%

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

Very nice comeback for the Rotten Watch. Very nice indeed. Coming off a week that saw me go an unprecedented two-for-two and get the critical prediction machine back on track.

The Rock took a slight turn for the dramatic in Snitch (Predicted: 52% Actual: 54%) and outpaced much of his other work. While not a critical darling by any means, this movie does represent a slight shift for the guy. Maybe he can act just a little. Who knew?

Meanwhile, Dark Skies (Predicted: 31% Actual: 38%) ended up right in range. Honestly, I regretted this prediction a little after post, thinking I’d gone way, way too high. Luckily more than a few critics saw merit in what appeared, on the surface, to be very stupid.

Next time around dead men go down and we head back to Oz. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
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