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Little Rotten Week is celebrating a birthday today, two years old, so I’ve got some party prep to accomplish. But that can wait while we take a look at this week’s slate of movies. There’s Arnie taking a stand, cities breaking and little girls haunted by ghosts (What else is new, am I right?).

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.

The Last Stand
I challenge you to find someone with a crazier career arc than Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m not breaking any new ground in pointing this out, but it does bear mentioning when talking about this latest film. He starts as a body-builder. Then turns “actor” in roles that basically just require him to flex, and then later to flex while saying a few words here and there. He then dove-tails those roles into comedic flicks, one as a freaking kindergarten teacher, all while maintaining a thick “Schwarzen-accent”. Then he takes a break and becomes Governor of the most populated state in the Union (He’s still got the accent mind you). And finally he goes back to starring in action films, shooting big guns and pumping out one-liners. (Oh and also during this time he married, cheated on and divorced a member of the Kennedy clan.) That is like twelve or thirteen different crazy lives all wrapped into one hulking mass of muscles.

Now Arnie is back in what he does best, though to be honest I don’t know much about politics so I’m assuming he was a terrible governor. Again, basing it mostly on the accent. He’s starring in a film that appears light on things like dialogue and plot and heavy on shooting guns, some laughs here and there, more guns and shooting, armored sports cars, explosions, Johnny Knoxville and Arnold looking a bit older but no worse for movie wear. South Korean action director Kim Ji-woon has put Arnold back in that Pre-Governator wheelhouse and honestly the movie looks fun. Schwarzenegger can’t be accused of taking the whole “acting” thing too seriously and that’s a good thing. Even his worst movies at least had a feel of Arnie saying “I know the joke’s on me, it’s fine.” This movie looks like that remains the case. He’s a sheriff who needs to stop a drug dealer from blowing through a small town on the way to the Mexican border. Arnold gets to pick up a Gatling-styled cannon, say some funny lines and keep that crazy career arc going. I think critics warm to it. The Rotten Watch for The Last Stand is 64%
Broken City
As I see it, this movie employs two archetypes reoccurring in movies over the course of cinematic history. One, is a character we also see in our own world. The other is something a bit more dramatic and manufactured, rarer in our reality. Let me describe them and you tell me which is which. First there is the well-coifed, power-hungry, narcissistic, sociopathic, douchebaggy, egomaniac politician with a blood thirsty craving for more control and influence. The other is the good-looking, streetwise rogue cop looking to “clear his name”. Which do you think we see more in America? Let me give you a hint: most of the cops I see are rocking speed traps at the corner of Central and South.

The politician as evil powerbroker isn’t a new theme. Frankly I’d like to see more of it to expose the system for what it is: uh disastrously broken. But at the risk of already getting too “political” I’ll cut it off by jut saying, “Go get em Marky Mark.” Russell Crowe is annoying enough as it is. Russell Crowe as a politician? That [email protected]#$er needs to go down. Hard.

Broken City follows Billy Taggert* (Wahlberg) as a cop-turned-PI working for Mayor Crowe on a sting to catch the latter’s cheating wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), only to get embroiled in whatever controversy keeps this movie moving for one hundred minutes.

*It can’t be a coincidence that this character combines the names of the two greatest detectives in movie history, Beverly Hills Cop’s Detective Billy Roseweood and Sergeant John Taggart. This happened on purpose right?

Directed by Allen Hughes (The Book of Eli-48%, From Hell-57%), this flick doesn’t look too different than the hundred other evil-politician/ rogue cop productions we’ve seen over the years. The cast is strong but the story looks like we’ve been-there-done-that. I think critics fall somewhere near the middle. The Rotten Watch for Broken City is 48%
The other day my daughter, Little Rotten Week, told Mrs. RW that there was an invisible man, wearing a coat, eating a bagel, sitting in the tiny chair in her room. Mrs. RW looked and didn’t see anything, but my daughter insisted. There was a dude sitting “right there, right there!”. This freaked my wife out something fierce, but I calmly explained there was nothing to worry about because one of two options existed, both benign. Option A: the kid’s got a wild imagination. Option B: there is a carb-ingesting ghost living in our house, but we’ve been here five years and he’s given us no beef. So, it’s all good. But at least I can sympathize with the characters from this movie. Ghosts can get a little freaky.

Granted my daughter wasn’t found abandoned in a cabin in the woods like these two little urchins. Their five years in the wilderness should have been proof enough that they weren’t ready for domestication. (Off to the orphanage with ya, bring your evil there.) But no, Lucas and Annabel (Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) are the bleeding heart types and the two girls come to live with them, demons in tow. What ensues is Evil Kid 101 with all the requisite creepy whispering and a lot of kid nightgown wearing. (Ever notice possessed/ evil/ troubled little girls in movies wear nightgowns? It’s the only place you see it happen.)

First time feature director Andres Muschietti directs with Guillermo del Toro on as executive producer. The latter is a good omen for the critical score as three of the last four movies he EP’d were Splice (74%), Rise of the Guardians (74%) and The Orphanage (86%). He only missed on While She Was Out (31%). I think this latest ends up with the first group, a strong horror showing with just enough intrigue to keep critics on the positive side. The Rotten Watch for Mama is 67%

Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?

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Recapping last week:

Well to say I’m disappointed is a mild understatement. I spent much of the week thinking I’d completely nailed Gangster Squad (Predicted: 51% Actual: 34%). It hovered around fifty percent until about Thursday, and then it was all over red rover. The score kept dipping, and dipping and dipping with critics like Katey giving it two stars in her review. She hated it and so did a bunch of other critics. I’m glad my suspicion that it wouldn’t be excellent was validated, but would have loved to be closer on this one. Needless to say, this flick is a disaster for Ruben Fleischer. A big budget flick like this scoring around sixty-five percent negative reviews could mean Zombieland was the exception, not the rule, for his young career.

Meanwhile, completely nailed A Haunted House (Predicted: 8% Actual: 10%). This is no great feat and honestly, if anything, I thought I’d gone a bit high especially after watching it ring in with a resounding zero percent early in the week. Thankfully two critics saw fit to call it “good” bumping the score up close to an exact match.

Next time around we go witch hunting, put together an ensemble and get Statham’d. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!