I think there’s something going on later today. Like a game or something. I’ll look into that later. For now, we’ve got a full slate of movies hitting theaters this week. We’ve got art hunters, LEGOs and vampires.
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 Monuments Men
If we entered a World War III situation with some psychopath bent on world domination, my list of keeping-them-safe priorities would be as such:
1. Little and Mrs. Rotten Week
2. That baseball I caught at Fenway Park
3. My favorite pair of jeans that are worn in just perfectly
Pretty far down the list? Artwork. But that’s what makes me a selfish dude, disconnected with the cultural and historical significance of "connecting with our past." Maintaining and cherishing the works of art that are integral to understanding our past isn’t exactly my cup of tea. But hey, that’s why we need better people than me, guys like The Monuments Men who said, "To hell with my own personal safety, we need to get back that oil painting!"
Based on the book Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel, this movie follows the team of curators and historians who entered the European theater during World War II in an effort to preserve and save the works of art stolen by Nazis as the plundered the continent.
On paper, The Monuments Men looks like a winner. The cast includes George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray and John Goodman, to name a few. Plus Clooney directs, and he’s shown an ability to handle the area behind the lens with Good Night and Good Luck (93%), The Ides of March (85%) and to a lesser extent Leatherheads (52%). But early reviews aren’t great. Sitting at 36% through eleven reviews, this film looks headed for the critical dumpster. Many critics feel the story never really comes together and a great historical achievement deserved much better on the big screen. If the early reviews are this bad, the latter ones will probably follow suit. What a shame. The Rotten Watch for The Monuments Men is
The Lego Movie
As Little Rotten Week and I sat down in the theater to see Frozen (and right before I fell asleep during Frozen), we got a taste of the trailers for the five-year-old-and-below demographic. Most of it made me want to cry for the future of our children and their impending and inevitable stupidity. But one movie stood out. One movie had the elements of child-centered appeal with adult sensibilities. One movie looked like someone tried to create a movie parents, forced to take their kids to the theaters, could enjoy.
On it’s surface, creating The LEGO Movie appears very much the kind of situation in which movie execs sit down in their lair and come up with "ideas" by chucking out the names of famous toy brands and figures. One says, "LEGOs", everyone nods, and six months later some piece of [email protected]#$ comes along that is created solely to get kids buying already overpriced LEGO sets.
But it looks like something better happened here. A minor miracle. This flick might be a cross-pollination of shameless toy-hawking and something people with brains might want to see. Sure it looks silly and stupid, but not necessarily in a bad way. Even the brief trailer highlights moments of wit that will play to a wider audience.
Chris Miller and Phil Lord have some experience taking odd brands and creating watchable, funny and entertaining movies out of concepts that aren’t, on the surface, ripe with comedic potential. 21 Jump Street (85%) and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatball (87%) both scored high with critics because they were silly, with touches of both overt and dry humor. It looks like they’ve done it again, this time with Legos. I’m pumped.The Rotten Watch for The Lego Movie is
Well I guess someone didn’t get the memo that vampires are so "2009-10." That the vampire wave is well over, the market having been sufficiently saturated with:
Every follow up movie to Twilight
One million references to vampires over the last half decade
I have vampire fatigue. You should, too. The cultural influx of the bloodsuckers over the short term has been relentless, finally ebbing a bit of late with the last stragglers coming in from the margins to "suck" the last bits of profit from these eternal folks (Like that? I’m sure this flick is chocked full of hack writing like I just gave you). Enter Vampire Academy, a flick that almost assuredly covers no new ground, dredging up the short list of cliches associated with vampires, overplaying the fangs, chucking out bad jokes (and endless puns I’m sure), all while praying like crazy that vampires can hang around our collective consciousness just a teeny bit longer. It looks like a mess. I mean the tagline is "They suck at school." A middle-schooler could have come up with that gem.
Honestly, from the trailer I couldn’t tell you what this movie is even about besides there being a school for vampires. What happens at this school? Unclear. Who/what is the antagonist? Unclear. Plot? Unclear. What do we know? Vampires!!!
Based on the teen novel series of the same name by Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy looks atrocious. Mark Waters directs and his career tells the story or hits and misses. He’s helmed Mean Girls (83%), Freaky Friday (88%) and Spiderwick Chronicles (80%) but offset those wins with Mr. Popper’s Penguins (52%) and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (26%). His latest appears to fall in the latter category. I’d be shocked if critics enjoyed this film. But at least vampires hang around a bit longer. The Rotten Watch for Vampire Academy is
Which movie will you go see this weekend?
Recapping last week:
It’s been a rough start to the year for the Rotten Watch. Last week kept the bad times rolling. First off, Labor Day (Predicted: 57% Actual: 32%) plummeted over the course of the week. Critics had significant issues with the film, making it the first ding in Jason Reitman’s otherwise stellar resume. CinemaBlend’s Sean O’Connell outlines a movie that teems with emotion and yet falls short in the plot department. This seems to be the problem many critics had with the film, the disconnect between Brolin and Winslett’s relationship and the story as a whole. I’m sure Reitman would be happy with a do over here.
Meanwhile, once again I trash a flick and then don’t go nearly low enough with the score. I keep doing this. I thought That Awkward Moment (Predicted: 42% Actual: 22%) looked awful and said as much in my writeup. When a comedy has no significant funny moment in the two and half minute trailer, warning bells sound. That was the case here and yet I placed the score near the middle for reasons unknown. The players in this one should never be in anything this bad. They are all too talented. The only thing that made my smile thinking about this piece of crap was Eric Eisenberg’s thrashing of it in his review. Now I just wish I had placed my score in line with my opinion.
Next time around we recap last night, find endless love, tell a winter’s tale and hire robocop. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!