Late August? Who cares. The movie train never stops rolling, and we've got two new titles heading our way in wide release this Friday. This week we've got puppets gone wild and A.I. dogs on the loose. Get ready for The Happytime Murders and A.X.L.

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
68%

The Happytime Murders is either going to be the funniest movie in a long while, or going to be an epic bomb. And I see very little room for possibilities in between. Such is the way for an off-brand flick like this, turning the Muppets brand on its head with a borderline NC-17 flick about a world where puppets and humans interact. They've taken the idea to what looks like a pretty extreme degree, and I actually think it will work.

This might end up being the quintessential look at how puppets actually interact with humans, and I think I'm going to love it. It's such a weird logical conclusion for the director Brian Henson, Jim Henson's second son, who gets to take puppeteering in a new, awesome direction. And while it's brought to you by a son of Jim Henson, this is definitely not for kids. I think that's even better for the returns and I want to believe, very hard, that The Happytime Murders is going to be hilarious. The red band trailer speaks for itself about the movie's goals.

Rotten Watch Prediction
27%

If movies like A.X.L. or shows like Stranger Things have taught us anything (and there have been a ton of them), it's that randomly wandering on to secret military bases and interacting with the projects/test subjects within is a super easy venture. It's kind of natural in some ways. Just crawl under the fence or ride your (motor)bike on to the property, and you'll be knee-deep in a government conspiracy - probably even making a best friend in the process.

Such is the case with A.X.L., in which a teenager stumbles across a super-A.I. canine who becomes the human's best friend. But then they, of course, inevitably run afoul of the creators who want to do (something) with the crazy cool-but-weird government experiment. The flick looks schlocky and canned, made exactly for a pre-teen audience who will also likely think the whole thing is corny. I appreciate the effort, but this movie will stink.

Oof, last time around was another very bad week for the Rotten Watch - and it would have been a hell of a lot worse if I hadn't seen some of the early reviews on Crazy Rich Asians (Predicted: 93% Actual: 92%). My prediction for this flick would have been almost assuredly way, way lower had a bunch of reviews not already been in on the positive side of things. This saved me from possibly my worst week ever since starting this column many years ago. I thought the movie looked corny at best, terrible at worst. I guess I was way wrong on that point.

Then there were the other movies on the slate. Alpha (Predicted: 52% Actual: 84%) finished as one of the better critically-reviewed movies of the summer. Critics kind of swooned, praising it for the overall tone and story while being forgiving of its historical timeline lapses. Regardless, my prediction was way off the mark and I thought a movie like this coming out this late in the summer wouldn't score much above the halfway mark. I couldn't' have been more wrong.

Finally, Mile 22 (Predicted: 41% Actual: 20%) just sucked. I gave my prediction a Mark Wahlberg/Peter Berg bump on a movie I thought looked shaky at best, but I factored in the star/director team as reason to get it close to the acceptable level. The movie just didn't hit the mark, however, with critics complaining about, well, everything. They hated it from top the bottom.

Next time around we've got Kin and Ya Veremos. It's gonna be a Rotten Week!

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