And the summer is almost over. How can I tell? For one thing just take a look at the movies coming out. One can time the seasons by the cinematic strength of the box office. One look at this week’s slate of films and I know we are zeroing in on Labor Day. It’s a dude from November and people above and below.

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.

November Man
Rotten Watch Prediction
We can learn a great deal from movies that will help inform us on living a brighter, safer and more enlightened life. From rom-coms to thrillers, documentaries to sci-fi I feel like much of my life is informed by what I’ve gathered through film. Example? Sure. Decades from now when I’m retired from This Rotten Week, living a peaceful existence in some out of the way little hamlet and the CB editors call me in for "one last job" I’ll know something is fishy. They’ll say they want just one little article that only my special skills and expertise can write. But behind it all will be an international conspiracy that threatens us all. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the political spy thriller it’s that when someone from your past comes calling for you to come out of retirement, well a lot of bad shit is on it’s way.

Pierce Brosnan falls for it here in the trailer for November Man:



Brosnan’s tale here appears much of what we’ve seen in countless political spy- action films. Some highly-trained government agent is living the good, quiet life until he’s called back into action (most likely reluctantly) and embarks on a twisted tale of cover ups, moles, turncoats, explosions, firefights and ultimately...redemption. I feel like I know all of the beats already and I only watched the two minute trailer. That’s enough. Seen this flick a hundred times.

Director Roger Donladson’s been kicking around Hollywood forever having done some quality flicks along the way like The World’s Fastest Indian (82%) and The Bank Job (79%). He’s also put out somes stinkers (more of these) like The Recruit (47%), Dante’s Peak (27%) and now The November Man. Through six reviews posted on Rotten Tomatoes the score sits at a whopping 17%. (When I started writing this last night it was at 0%). Opinions range from "boring" to "formulaic" to "it sucks". Shocking.

When a movie hits the screens this time of year we can make some basic assumptions about its quality without even having a head start on reviews. With this one I’m doubly blessed and the prediction will be easy. I can’t imagine the positive reviews come flooding in now. You’ve seen the flick before. This is nothing new. But can we learn something? Sure. Don’t come out of retirement.
As Above/ So Below
Rotten Watch Prediction
Speaking of learning things from movies here’s another one. If you are about to go somewhere (vacation, party, archeological dig, etc) and a buddy suggests you record the whole thing you decline without hesitation. Another thing we’ve parsed out from film is that when amateur filmmakers in flicks turn the cameras to "document" an event rest assured so major league terribleness is about to go down. Monsters, alien attacks, ghouls, ghosts, ancient demons, they all come out of hiding when the crappy camera starts rolling. I’m not sure if it’s causation or correlation thing, but just play it safe by keeping the camera off.

Here’s another group of rubes that wants to record its findings in the trailer for As Above/ So Below,



It’s says a lot about this trailer that I spent much of the time being driven nuts trying to remember where I’d seen the actor Ben Feldman before until it struck me that he plays Ginsberg on Mad Men. Seeing him out of the vintage garb and not rambling on about copy threw me for a loop. So yeah, that was my big takeaway.

It’s not that the movie looks awful, I guess it’s fine-ish. It’s just that, much like The November Man I can’t imagine we’re going to glimpse anything new. Students/ scientists (whatever they are, who cares) enters the Paris underground to find some mystery. Lo and behold, the catacombs below aren’t filled with rich archaeological discoveries, but rather once-dormant demons hellbent on killing everyone. One thing I love about demons in these movies is they’re never motivated to do the job quickly. They’d much rather mindf#% everyone first and then pick off the characters one by one. Demons prefer a slow burn.

Director John Erick Dowdle has put out some other middling horror films like Devil (52%) and Quarantine (58%). Neither were bad films per se (I enjoyed the latter) but this latest looks to score well below his previous work. It’s all been done before and a few early reviews say as much. Coming out in theaters this time of year is typically a death knell. This one finishes real low. But hey, at least we know not to take our cameras with us on that next trip.
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Which movie will get a higher Tomato score?
RESULTS


last rotten week Not a perfect week for the Rotten Watch. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Predicted: 59% Actual: 43%) just outside my range. I thought it’d score at least above the halfway mark considering the players and the originals’ success. It didn’t and was really embarrassed at the box office. The latter is the real story as no one went and saw the film. I figured the score would fall right around the middle, and was right on that account. I just picked the wrong side of the 50% mark. Kristy Puchko gave it one and a half stars and that was after walking into the theater excited (having enjoyed the first one). She hated it calling it "sloppy" and intimating that there was an overall lack of effort. What a disappointment.

Meanwhile I nailed If I Stay (Predicted: 39% Actual: 41%). Too corny to score in the upper echelon, too safe to bottom out - this film fell right in that gray area of *meh. Sean O’Connell gave it two stars saying it started strong, but faded early. Like I said last week, no wonder teenagers have so much angst. All of their stories are depressing.

And finally, When the Game Stands Tall (Predicted: 37% Actual: 18%) will not be entering my "High School Movie Hall of Fame". I never thought it would anyway, but it’s nice to have confirmation. Sports movies are tricky. You need to get a lot right from the plot, to the sports scenes, to the team buy-in. This one appears to have misfired on just about everything.

Next time around go identical. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
 

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