We might be coming up on the end of July, but that's not stopping Hollywood from continuing to throw out some big titles. And this week the industry truly has something for everybody. War, sci-fi, comedy... it's all here. Get ready for Dunkirk, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Girls Trip. 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.
Rotten Watch Prediction
After the impressive number of World War II movies we've seen in the last 80 years or so, you'd think that the industry might have exhausted the material - but that's not true at all. Hollywood still has plenty of stories to tell, and now we have one of our generation's best directors tackling an relatively untold story, cinematically speaking. From a studio perspective, Dunkirk hasn't gotten much play in these parts, partially because this was a part of the war before America entered the fray. But now we get the story of what it took to get close to a half million troops evacuated from France before the Nazis could solidify their hold on the European Theatre.
When Christopher Nolan gets behind the lens then it's time to start paying attention. The last three films he wrote, produced and directed include Interstellar (71%), The Dark Knight Rises (87%), and Inception (86%). That's a rather acceptable resume, and now he's taking his flicks in a different direction with a delve into history. It looks awesome and painful, much in the way Saving Private Ryan was both a spectacle and emotional all at once. I'm a little concerned about the lack of early reviews, but it's hard to imagine Nolan going astray here.
Rotten Watch Prediction
There's been a great amount of excitement growing around Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and how Luc Besson was able to option and deliver on the quite popular Valerian and Laureline comics. It doesn't look to have been an easy task. The flick is a visual onslaught with a hell of a lot of species and characters all over the place. There are a thousand planets in one city, after all. But the move to bring all of this on to the big screen might be a situation of biting off more than a director can chew. While it does look "watchable," it also has a decidedly silly and cheesy feeling that might not help it in the long run.
Luc Besson is probably best known sci-fi wise for The Fifth Element (72%), which actually doesn't seem too dissimilar from this movie - but his more recent English language films include Lucy (67%) and The Family (29%). Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets' early reviews are mostly positive without being over the moon, and I suspect the score drops some over the course of the week.
Rotten Watch Prediction
Who doesn't like a good girls getaway weekend? I know I do. Heavy drinking, peeing all over a bunch of strangers, more drinking, dude comments about men, some drinks, provocative dress, drinking, you get the idea. I'm made for a girl's weekend, and that's just what we have here with Girls Trip, which sports an all-star cast including Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and more.
Malcolm D. Lee has an interesting resume. On the one hand, he's helmed movies like Barbershop: The Next Cut (90%) and The Best Man Holiday (69%), which were well-received as solid comedies that lived alongside a message/critique of modern culture. But then there's Scary Movie 5 (4%) and Soul Men (45%), which didn't do much of anything for anybody. This one looks to fall in the former category, with critics loving it so far. It's sitting above 90% now, which makes sense considering the trailer was hilarious. Tons of great jokes, no holds barred comedy, and an engaging tone.
It was a solid week all round for the Rotten Watch, with both scores registering as wins. My estimate for War for the Planet of the Apes (Predicted: 94% Actual: 95%) was nearly dead-on, though admittedly I had a head start on the score. It turns out director Matt Reeves turned in a superb culmination of the re-booted Planet of the Apes franchise, and the film solidifies it as one of the best sci-fi series going. It was the best-reviewed of the new titles (including Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), and makes a satisfying and brilliant trilogy complete
On the other hand, Wish Upon (Predicted: 17% Actual: 20%) sucked. This wasn't hard to see coming. The premise was completely bogus (a music box grants demonic wishes), and from there it just looked like a complete and utter mess. As predicted, that was the case, and critics called this thing out for what it is: a piece of horror junk.