We're starting to get into the holiday movie season (which feels nuts considering Halloween was like 30 seconds ago) but so goes the whims of Hollywood. It kicks off with two dad's competing over Christmas and a classic novel coming to the big screen. We've got Daddy's Home 2 and Murder on the Orient Express.
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 what This Rotten Week has to offer.
I don't have any desire to see this movie, though I have to hand it to the casting folks here. Seeing John Lithgow and Will Ferrell mouth kiss as dad and son seemed completely believable. And it's likely the only highlight of a movie that looks, from the trailer, like a canned-laugh mess. Though it was a critical flop, the first Daddy's Home hit it big at the box office, pulling in around $250 million, so it was a near certainty that we'd see a sequel. Now we get the father / stepfather duo of Ferrell and Wahlberg combining forces to give the family a great Christmas while dealing with their respective fathers (Lithgow and cool dad Mel Gibson) and all the "hijinks" in between.
Sean Anders directed the first Daddy's Home _(31%) to little fanfare, but whenever you can attach a Christmas holiday theme to a sequel with some big names attached then I guess you have to do it. Anders' other directing work include _Horrible Bosses 2 _(33%) and _That's My Boy (22%), so we can't really expect too much from this one. It looks like a money grab that will likely get there again at the box office, but a brainless comedy nonetheless.
As if the slow pace and inflated prices didn't keep you off the local Amtrak, the threat of getting killed while traveling along the rickety rails is probably enough to put nervous patrons over the edge. Here we get the cinematic treatment of Agatha Christie's classic novel about a group of folk taking a seemingly leisurely trip out of Istanbul, only to have one of their party get iced. Now it's a classic whodunit with an all-star cast including (but not limited to) Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz and honestly, a whole lot more.
Unfortunately, the cast seems to be the main highlight for a movie critics are lukewarm on, with the Tomatometer sitting at 65% through 26 reviews. Expect this score to drop over the course of the week. Director Kenneth Branagh has the cast but critics feel like the subpar storytelling does the movie in. Branagh's other directorial works include Thor (77%), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit _(57%) and _Cinderella (83%). That's an eclectic resume. I think his latest falls toward the lower end of his other stuff and splits critics down the middle.
We only had one movie on the schedule last time around and got a critical win with Thor: Ragnarok _(Predicted: 95% Actual: 93%). This one had a bunch of reviews in already, so I can't take all that much credit for nearly nailing the prediction on the head. Critics clearly loved it as a standalone MCU film that loosely fits into the rest of the universe. Where _Ragnarok wins is keeping a comic book movie fun, tongue-in-cheek and brimming with action. Movies like this work so well when no one takes anything too seriously and the characters we know and love are able to take up the screen and run wild. Despite the crazy-high score, you won't see Ragnarok listed among the top comic book movies ever but it's what comic book movies should often strive to be.