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It may only be the back end of March, but we are getting a weekend full of notable titles - two of which bring some classic TV shows to the big screen. Audiences will see Michael Pena and Dax Shepard as Ponch and John in CHIPs; a group of newcomers suiting up as the Power Rangers, and a fantastic cast discovering an extraterrestrial in Life. 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.
We have some history with serious-at-the-time but incredibly dated cop shows getting made into full length comedies. There's 21 Jump Street (85%) and Starsky & Hutch (64%) for example. These flicks poked fun at the originals while also turning out their own laughs. It's what director/star Dax Sheppard and company seem to be going for with CHIPs, based on the late 70's/ early 80's television series starring Erik Estrada. I think they miss the mark with the updated story about two motorcycle cops tasked with solving highway crimes.
The trailer looks like canned comedy hijinks through and through. When you watch two plus minutes of a trailer (presumably many of the "best" parts) and don't crack a smile (which I didn't), then there could be a serious uphill climb to any critical respectability. Sure, it might have its moments but I think they'll be few and far between. This is Dax Shepard's second writing/directing/starring venture after Hit & Run (50%). That one fell in the middle while I think CHIPS comes in well under that score because the laughs won't be enough.
The Power Rangers was a rather goofy show when it debuted in the 1990s, but here we are with a moderate reboot for the new generation. Like the original series, it follows a group five kids who obtain superhero powers to fight off evil monsters (those these probably won't have the same bad voice over). This updated version makes some upgrades in terms of effects and set pieces, but not enough to overcome the super-kitsch feel of a movie derived from legitimately bad source material. Hardcore Power Rangers fans might love it, but I suspect everyone else jumps ship quick - including the majority of professional critics.
Dean Israelite directs after his first go around with Project Almanac (35%), a found footage time travel film that didn't go over too well with critics. While the movie doesn't have any reviews posted at the time of this article's publication, I don't think that Power Rangers will find success either - and I suspect it finishes lower because the expectations for a brand are higher.
In what looks to be an almost 1-to-1 rip off of Alien, Life stars a really good looking space crew (in close contention with the group from Interstellar for "hottest astronauts") who find themselves trapped on the International Space Station with an ever-growing and evolving no good creature that's singularly focused on killing every single one of them. And I can forgive the obvious overlaps with its predecessor, because this thing looks damn good.
Director Daniel Espinosa (Child 44 - 26%, Safe House - 53%) takes us back to the "in space, no one can hear you scream" vibe, and I suspect it plays well with critics considering the cast (Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson) and featured scares. Though Espinosa's directing forays haven't gone terribly well critically, this movie was co-written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool - 84%, Zombieland - 90%), and I suspect the script holds up over the course of the movie. I think the critics end up rating this pretty well.
I went one for two in the predictions department last week. I ended up low on _Beauty and the Beast _(Predicted: 59% Actual: 71%), which critics saw as a fair and engaging live action adaptation of the iconic Disney story. While not completely over-the-moon about the film as a whole, reviews gave the sense that critics liked most (if not all) aspects of the film. Overall, the score stuck right where it was last week and didn't dip as I suspected. It ended up just out of the 10% range making it a loss for the Rotten Watch.
Meanwhile, The Belko Experiment (Predicted: 51% Actual: 47%) stuck right in the middle as a horror movie/send up of office culture. Basically the reviews fell in one of two camps. "I loved the idea and thought it really played the horror and office culture piece off each other well." Or, "It sucked and felt gratuitious." There wasn't a lot of in between, and that's what I was counting on with the prediction.