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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 This Rotten Week has to offer.
We've seen plenty of big genre adventures in 2016, but in Arrival we get a very different kind of first contact story. In it, mysterious pods descend from the heavens and it's up to Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner to translate their language before things get scary. You don't usually see the linguist as the protagonist in an alien flick, but at least it's a new direction.
Director Denis Villeneuve has an amazing critical resume with most of his flicks sitting 80% or well above. The recent highlights are the intense nail biter Sicario (94%) and the super tense psychological thriller Prisoners (81%). The filmmaker definitely knows how to maintain crazy tension in tight-knit flicks. This one is grander in scope than some of his previous work, but may end up as one of his best. Arrival is sitting at a cool 55 reviews already, and has not gotten a negative one yet.
Halloween is over, which is the American corporate and Hollywood cue to ramp up the Christmas mentions up 1,000 percent. We're now staring down two month long onslaught of holiday mentions and the box office kicks it off now with Almost Christmas. This appears your typical holiday fare. We get a mismatched family who doesn't get along forced to be around each for the season and hilarity (presumably) ensues. I personally didn't even crack a smile during the trailer, but I'm pretty tired of these kinds of holiday movies.
If director David Talbert's resume is any predictor, this movie is not going to perform well with critics. His other two ventures in the director chair are Baggage Claim (14%) and First Sunday (13%) - neither of which had receptions that get us head-over-heels excited for Almost Christmas. I don't think this latest entry for the filmmaker will be as low on the totem pole as his past work, but it's not looking like it will be breaking any new ground.
Typically, I find the whole haunted house/possessed child genre to be a snoozefest. There are only so many ways to take that kind of movie and so many of them have been done before. That being said, Shut In looks possibly a cut above the rest. The trailer has its own flavor of dread, and when it starts tossing in elements like insomnia and a barren winter landscape, I developed a moderate sense of the willies. All that being said, there's some evidence this one misses with critics.
First off, this is only director Farren Blackburn's second movie after the underwhelming Hammer of the Gods (30%). Shut In has also been subject to three separate push backs on the release date front. That's typically a bad sign for a movie, as studios usually want you to see good films while the bad ones just keep getting re-edited, pushed back and ultimately buried.
On paper, last week was fantastic for the Rotten Watch. I say on paper because what the final scores don't tell (which I will because I'm honest) is that there were so many reviews already in for all three movies that it would have been tough to miss by much.
Doctor Strange (Predicted: 90% Actual: 90%) ended up being right on the nose, and a great new addition to the comic book movie canon. With the source material and mystical aspect to the character, this easily could have gone way off the rails, but co-writer/director Scott Derrickson put together one of the better reviewed comic book movies we've seen. It seems like critics really took to the "out-there" style of the world and again, that easily could have been mishandled.
Meanwhile, Hacksaw Ridge (Predicted: 91% Actual: 87%) really didn't move off it's score from earlier in the week. World War II movies have been arriving in theaters rather consistently in recent years, but Mel Gibson appears to have put together a well-crafted this story about a conscientious objector forced into battle on the Pacific offensive. We might be hearing about it come awards season.
And finally, Trolls (Predicted: 75% Actual: 73%) makes for another solid addition to the Dreamworks Animation resume. Like I mentioned last week, they aren't in the same class as Pixar, but they put out their fair share of solid animated flicks. Trolls fits in with their more solid offerings, and critics enjoyed it for both the story and the warmth of the characters.