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In the past few weeks every new release has been overshadowed by Black Panther, but we've got four flicks hitting theaters this week with a little something for everyone. A timeless classic gets it's big screen treatment, a pharma exec is kidnapped in Mexico, a family makes a bad travel mistake, and thieves plot a robbery in the middle of a Category 5. Let's get ready for A Wrinkle in Time, Gringo, The Strangers: Prey at Night and The Hurricane Heist.
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.
Growing up can be tough. Sometimes you're asked to get through 12 years of school with moderate-to-good grades while navigating the social landscape and all its pitfalls. Other times you're asked to go on an inter-dimensional quest to stop otherworldly evil, save the universe, and bring your dad home in the process. Being a kid can really suck sometimes - but it can make for some cool looking blockbuster entertainment, as seen in Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle In Time.
The much-anticipated, big screen adaptation of the famous Madeleine L'Engle novel, A Wrinkle in Time follows Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin as they set off to find Meg's father who's been lost in time and space. Director Ava DuVernay is best known for Selma (98%), but also helmed the acclaimed documentary 13th (96%). This is a step away from those other works in terms of budget, and the visuals look fantastic. The source story, a little confusing at times, is the only thing I can see holding this one back.
The premise of Nash Edgerton's Gringo is so weird that it just might work. A down-on-his-luck low-level pharma executive is sent to Mexico with the recipe for marijuana in pill form, and is subsequently kidnapped and held for ransom. A whacky ex-military operative is sent to bring him home, only to have a bunch of hijinks ensue. It looks a little meatier than your standard comedy kidnap fare, but still, I had a hard time wrapping my around what the hell was actually happening in the trailer. Though all of the chaos seems like it might come together. While it's a shame some trailers are labeling Mexico "the most dangerous place on Earth," the rest of the film does look like a solid mix of comedy and drama - a dark look at our drug war and big pharma all wrapped up in one man's epic bad luck.
This is director Nash Edgerton's first widely released film, and most of his work has been coordinating stunts, acting, and helming shorts. In Gringo he teams up with his brother Joel Edgerton, and I suspect, does well with the critics.
Here's a little travel tip from someone who's had his fair share of cross-country and intercontinental adventures: when you pull into the mobile home park to visit friends and you find it abandoned? Put the car into reverse and get away as quickly as possible. Nothing good will come by trying to stay through the night and make the best of it in the morning. Most likely you won't see the morning... as the protagonists of Strangers: Prey At Night will discover.
Strangers: Prey At Night is the sequel to 2008's The Strangers (47%), whose masked terrorizers stuck with me for quite a while. For some reason, the masks in just the trailer were scary enough for me. I didn't need to see the rest of it. This one is helmed by Johannes Roberts - 47 Meters Down (47%) - and I can't imagine it outperforms its predecessor. It appears your standard horror film without breaking any new ground.
On it's surface, the idea behind The Hurricane Heist - about a heist in the middle of a hurricane - seems like a pretty cool idea... even if they likely came up with the title before actually figuring out the rest of it. That being said, it also looks very much like a film that should have gone straight to video (no shame there), and avoided the theaters all together. This thing looks like a bomb, and one that critics are going to destroy.
Director Rob Cohen has a pretty amazing track record on the old Tomatometer - and by amazing I mean it's amazing he keeps getting hired. He's failed to clear the 20% hurdle in his last four films (The Boy Next Door - 10%, Alex Cross - 12%, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - 12%, Stealth - 13%) and you have to go all the way back to The Fast and the Furious (53%) in 2001 to find anything even close to positive. The Hurricane Heist is fully expected to follow the pattern, if not ultimately do worse than those movies.
We had one hit and one miss with the predictions from last time around. Red Sparrow (Predicted: 57% Actual: 51%) landed right in range, with critics coming almost straight down the middle on their feelings about the film. It looked like an uninspiring film: dark and brooding without being overly interesting. The reviews weren't polarized, but rather each critic seemed to find something like really liked leveled out by something they really hated.
Meanwhile, Death Wish (Predicted: 31% Actual: 15%) missed ,though I like to think I was right about the sentiment. I just didn't have the guts to go low enough. I suspected the tone of the movie would fall flat even in the best of times, which certainly isn't the case these days. The rampant gun violence, even if it was a commentary on the current state of violence in America, was a big miss with many critics who referenced the current discourse as a reason for hating the flick. Overall, it was a critical bomb.