This week there's a little something for everyone, with Hollywood's offerings providing material for movie-goers with different dispositions. We have a return to the world of magic, a little boxing and some coming of age teens. We've got Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Bleed for This, and The Edge of Seventeen and It's gonna be a Rotten Week!
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.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them follows the tale of young Newton Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he comes to America from the Ministry of Magic in England during the early 20th century. The actual book Rowling wrote is supposed to be a textbook for students at Hogwarts, but has been adapted by the author into an actual narrative for the big screen. It's a little convoluted (at first glance) how the book relates to the whole wizard-ing world we know, but who cares? This is the Harry Potter world, after all, and I'm all in.
Critics are showing early love for the David Yates adaptation, as its suggested the filmmaker definitely understands the world. Yates directed four of movies in the original Harry Potter series with Order of the Phoenix (78%), Half-Blood Prince (84%) and the two Deathly Hallows (78% and 96% respectively). Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is at 100% through 24 reviews with critics obviously loving it. Looks we have a new addition to the Harry Potter world that's worthy of fans pretending to be the characters around the house for hours and hours on end.
Hollywood loves the boxing movie in such a disproportionate way to how much modern America actually loves boxing. In fact, most people don't care about the actual sport of boxing at all. It's declining as the bloodsport marketshare is continually taken over by MMA. And yet, the boxing movie prevails. We are treated to stories almost a couple of times a year to the underdog dude with the sixteen ounces on. Bleed For This tells the remarkable story of Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" Paz who's a solid fighter until he's nearly paralyzed in a car accident. The movie follows Paz on the comeback trail as he goes against all said thinking in training to box again even though his spinal cord could easily be severed at any minute.
Miles Teller plays Paz and we've seen evidence of Teller fully embracing (to almost alarming degrees) a role. Dude basically became a professional drummer for Whiplash and here is looks very much the boxer. Director Ben Younger's major releases are few and far between with Boiler Room (67%) and Prime (50%), but this latest is screening well with critics. They like the tone and are especially impressed with Teller's performance. I think this sticks in the upper levels of the Tomatometer and we can continue expecting boxing movies for many more years to come.
Coming of age dramas can be absolutely amazing, examining how the young mind is often at odds with itself and the world. The awkwardness of the teen years coupled with the realization that life is at this weird graph of both peaking and bottoming out at the same time. Unfortunately many of these movies often revolve around young male leads whereas the female-led films aren't so much coming of age as explorations of the ridiculously difficult social piece of being friends with other girls. But The Edge of Seventeen looks like something different. It follows Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) as she struggles with a popular brother and her best friend dating the guy. This, along with just the awkwardness of the high school years, has the feel of a flick that will enter the pantheon of great coming of age films. It looks excellent.
Early reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with critics gushing over the material and the acting of Hailee Steinfeld. We've seen recent great additions to the genre with Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, Dope and Boyhood, and The Edge of Seventeen looks to join the group in a genre that will be here forever.
It was a strong-ish week for the Rotten Watch last time around. I was probably a little too pie-in-the-sky for Arrival (Predicted: 100% Actual: 93%) considering a movie finishing with a perfect score during a wide release amount of reviews is nearly impossible. But hey, I'm a dreamer. Some less than positive reviews came in over the course of the week, and the score dropped just a tad, but that only took it from perfect to merely really excellent. Arrival appears a different kind of invasion flick, more about the relationship than the aliens just going full takeover, enslavement style, and reviewers love it.
Meanwhile, _Almost Christmas _(Predicted: 31% Actual: 44%) was a near miss with my score coming in just a little low. These kind of pseudo-holiday movies just feel like the worst. Most of them are completely ham-fisted and corny with barely enough jokes to sustain and ridiculously cliche characters. I was correct on the tenor of the reviews, but enough critics actually thought it watchable to push it out of my "win" range.
And finally, _Shut In _(Predicted: 14% Actual: 0%) pulls off the epic goose egg. Granted only sixteen critics actually took the time to watch this pile of crap, so the sample size is small. But I can't imagine, after reading these reviews, their peers would have said anything differently. It ain't scoring a 0 considering someone, somewhere can usually find something redeeming. But not this one.