It's a real interesting week of movies this time around with flicks all over the spectrum in terms of tone. We've got Jackie Chan looking for revenge; a little bit of screams mixed with laughs; Thurgood Marshall on his way to the Supreme Court; and the birth of Wonder Woman. It's all here this week. Get ready for The Foreigner, Happy Death Day, Marshall and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.
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.
In The Foreigner, Jackie Chan stars as a father with a particular set of skills who goes looking for revenge after his daughter is killed in a terrorist explosion. Basically, the legendary action star is now channeling his inner Liam Neeson. Chan obviously has a lot of experience in this realm of kicking and punching his way to action movie victory, but in this one he brings a para-military background and a crazy deadpan affect that appears to bring some ass-kicking ennui to the proceedings.
Director Martin Campbell has an interesting resume. He's got Casino Royale (95%), Golden Eye (78%) and The Mask of Zorro (83%) featured, which were all successes among critics; but then there's Green Lantern (27%) and Vertical Limit (48%), which were entirely forgettable. A few early reviews suggest this will finish on the right side of positive, with critics appreciating Chan's dramatic turn and the action sequences. It won't be a world-beater, but this does help Chan age gracefully into early senior citizen action style.
When Phil Connors woke up and lived February 2nd over and over and over again in Harold Ramis' Groundhog's Day, he spawned a lifetime of copycats in all different genres. And now the Live, Die, Repeat culture gets a horror treatment in Happy Death Day - featuring a college student reliving her birthday again and again, only for each one to end with her being straight up murdered. It's a somewhat interesting twist on an old theme. And while I don't think it goes ballistic with critics, it looks interesting enough.
Director Christopher Landon has some forgettable horror credits to his name, like Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (45%) and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (39%). I predict Happy Death Day likely falls in the same area. It's a cute concept, but horror films either need to be unbelievably scary or completely groundbreaking (and usually both) to really score with critics. This doesn't look like it fits either. It could be a campy good time, which would help, but critics are a fickle bunch these days. I think it just finishes low and we forget about it soon after.
Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American Supreme Court justice, and this movie, starring Chadwick Boseman, details his rise through the legal system defending the injustices of segregation in America. As for the film, however, I'm sure there's a treatment out there that could properly encapsulate a hero of the legal system, but I'm not sure this is the one. The movie feels highly stylized and slick, which makes sense on some levels when going for mass appeal. But it also feels fake and forced. I'm prepared to be wrong, but that's just how the trailer felt.
Director Reginald Hudlin has mostly been working in television over the last decade, directing episodes of shows like Psych, Are We There Yet? and Bones, and he doesn't have a lot to draw from when it comes to work on the big screen. Those titles he does have, however, such as The Ladies Man (11%) and Serving Sara (4%) didn't finish all that high. Again, this movie could end up surprising, but I suspect the overall attitude rings a little bit false for critics.
Fresh off a summer where we got a bad-ass, big screen adaptation of Wonder Woman that crushed on all levels (critical, box office,etc), we now get the actual origin story of the comic book character. In Professor Marston and the Women we learn the story of Professor William Marston (Luke Evans) and how his relationship with his wife (Rebecca Hall) and their lover (Bella Heathcote) serve to inspire the creation of a female superhero in an age when strong female comic book characters were non-existent.
This isn't an action movie. It's a story about how a character is formed and the opposition Marston saw from both his inner circle and those critics who didn't appreciate the under (and over) tones of the work. It's a biopic, and I suspect it finishes well with critics. Director Angela Robinson only has Herbie: Fully Loaded (41%) on her resume, which was basically a whoops. I think this one finishes much higher thanks to the tone and the source material.
It wasn't a great week last time around. Only one of the three predictions fell within range, and one was a pretty epic miss. The win was Blade Runner 2049 (Predicted: 95% Actual: 89%), which crushed with critics while underperforming at the box office. Sure, we are a long time between the original and now, but a film opening with Ryan Gosling and great reviews feels like it should get asses in the seats. It will be interesting to see how it continues to perform in the weeks ahead and what it may do to studio's commitments to big projects on this level.
The Mountain Between Us (Predicted: 65% Actual: 46%) was a miss and underwhelmed with critics. They saw it as a generally hacky love movie set in the wilderness with two characters you kind of wished would just kick the bucket before they got over the mountain. I'm a big Idris Elba fan, but this one didn't hit. Movies like this need super high stakes and the thought that the characters might not make it. Critics didn't seem to think it brought that kind of gravity.
And finally, I 'm taking a big "L" on My Little Pony (Predicted: 15% Actual: 58%). This one had some readers up in arms about my misunderstanding of the culture relevance of the brand. There are a lot (a lot) of adults out there who like this series. And they let me know about it. I didn't think there was any chance this thing would finish above 50 percent, but I was dead wrong. My bad all you My Little Pony-iers.