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
Ever wondered about the lifestyles of the ultra-rich and famous in Southeast Asia? If so, then this movie should help answer at least some of those questions. Wrapped in the rom-com genre, Crazy Rich Asians tells the fish-out-of-water story of a young woman who visits her fiancee's family in Singapore only to realize they are richer than some small nations.
The movie is sitting at 100% on the Tomatometer through 25 reviews which saves me the modest embarrassment of being light years off with my prediction. The trailer didn't appear to offer much in the way of real laughs, relying more on the bling visuals than any actual story. That, coupled with director Jon Chu's previous work (Now You See Me 2 - 34%, Jem and the Holograms - 19%, G.I. Joe Retaliation - 29%) would have had me scraping the lower third percentile with any kind of prediction. But critics are loving it, praising both the story and the acting. Crazy Rich Asians looks like a critical winner, even if the score does drop some over the course of the week.
Rotten Watch Prediction
I like how, at this point in his career, Mark Wahlberg just plays himself and lets the setting and story around him do the changing. It's not a complaint, but rather I find it refreshing. When you go to a Mark Wahlberg movie, you basically know what you are going to get from him. And Mile 22 doesn't appear to buck that trend in any way. In it, Wahlberg leads a crack, covert CIA group in a race against time to move a witness 22 miles while a whole host of neer-do-wells brings the heavy guns trying to stop them. It looks quite entertaining.
Director Peter Berg and Wahlberg have a thing going here with the former's last three movies (including Patriots Day - 80% and Deepwater Horizon - 83%) also starring the latter. I don't think this latest finishes nearly as high as those two considering they were drawing heavy emotion and drama from real-life events. We probably have to go back to Berg films like Hancock (41%) and Battleship (34%) for a better comp here. I think Mile 22 finishes closer to that range, an exciting and action-packed film without a ton of substance.
Rotten Watch Prediction
Imagine how unlucky you need to be (on a macro level) to be born during the last gasp of the final Ice Age, but then also (on a micro level) to spend your possible final moments being hurled off a cliff by an angry buffalo. So goes Alpha, the story of one young man who has to survive the bitter, pre-modern wilderness with just himself and a trusty wolf by his side.
It's a little tough to tell from the trailers if there's any actual talking in this film. The titular Alpha has some voice over stuff in the trailer, but the actual on-screen work looks mostly silent. Conceptually and within its cinematography, the flick looks cool though I wonder if it can deliver for the duration on the story. Director Albert Hughes' most recent work is The Book of Eli (47%) but before that, it had been more than a decade since his last films. I think Alpha comes in better than average, but I don't think it's an absolute critical darling.
It wasn't a strong week for the Rotten Watch with all three movies falling out of range, and only one all that close.
My biggest miss was Dog Days (Predicted: 39% Actual: 60%) where I really screwed the pooch (so to speak). By and large, critics like the sentimental and dog-loving aspects of the film which helped it to overcome some plot issues. It wasn't fantastic by any means, but critics thought there were enough laughs to go along with the heartstring-tugging to keep it above average. If anything, I thought my prediction was too high, because I equated this film to other ensemble work like Valentine's Day (18%) or New Year's Eve (9%). That was an unfair assumption and Ken Marino's film outperformed my expectations.
Meanwhile, I should have gone much lower with Slender Man (Predicted: 37% Actual: 15%). Here I got caught a bit off guard with the look and feel of the movie. The trailer gave me a sense of strong visuals and a general creepiness that would keep it out of the critical basement. That was an incorrect assumption and the critics really panned this thing. It didn't get all the way down to single digits, but man it made a push to get there.
And finally, The Meg (Predicted: 38% Actual: 49%) was a near miss and would need two more negative reviews to bring it with the ten percent range. On a high level, I got the tone of the reviews correct in that the movie was equal part silly and entertaining, playing on the public's infatuation with all things shark. But I thought it looked a bit too silly to finish this close to the middle.