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We've got a full slate of movies this time around with four flicks hitting the big screen in wide release. It's folks heading back for GEDs, Yetis searching for humans, amusement parks of death, and a modern-day retelling of a classic. Get ready for Smallfoot, Night School, Little Women and Hell Fest.
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.
Kevin Hart regularly seems to be starring as a normal guy who gets thrown into seriously bizarre circumstances. In Central Intelligence he unwittingly teams up with Dwayne Johnson to join the CIA and save the world. In Ride Along, he gets to, sort of, become a cop with the brother-in-law from hell. In Get Hard he preps Will Ferrell for prison life. You get the point. The guy makes his bones on being funny in over-the-top comedies. This one is no different, with Hart entering the most ridiculous version of night school in order to get a GED. That's merely the flimsy premise. The rest of the movie just looks like an excuse to make jokes that would fit really any scenario - and it doesn't look great.
Director Malcolm D. Lee has some comedic critical success with Girls Trip (90%), Barbershop: The Next Cut (90%) and The Best Man Holiday (70%). But he's also helmed Scary Movie 5 (4%) Soul Men (45%) and Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins (23%). I have to think this latest falls closer to the latter set of flicks. It doesn't look all the funny and any chance of a redemptive theme looks like a wash.
Folks have been searching for Bigfoot since, well, it seems like forever. But what if Bigfoots were looking for us well? Such is the case in this movie in which a whole squad of Yetis think they've finally found the elusive Smallfoot (human) when one accidentally parachutes into their domain. It's a story of beast searching for human and has all the qualities of your "fish-out-of-water" stories with the lead character, Migo (Channing Tatum), trying to figure out the human world.
Warner Animation Group has some solid flicks under their belt with the LEGO movies (LEGO Movie - 96%, LEGO Batman - 90%, Ninjago - 55%) plus Storks _(64%). And critics seem to be taking to _Smallfoot just fine. It's currently at 71% with 14 reviews posted, and critics (mostly) agreeing the story and messaging about embracing differences wins the day. I suspect we see the score drop a little over the course of the week seeing as how some reviewers found it overly sappy. But this looks like another win for the studio.
Movie history is long on gore-fests centered around some classic location that offers a chance for a killer to have a field day of blood and guts. In Hell Fest, the place in question is an amusement park where one is left to wonder whether or not the killing is all part of the show or is actually going down for realsies. It should make for such an interesting setting for serial killing because they seem so close to just killing people in real life (either on the rides or in their wallets) that this doesn't feel like all that big a stretch.
That being said, Hell Fest looks pretty damn dumb, and the trailer seems like it outlines (or just straight up shows you) 75% of the major characters' deaths. I'm not exactly sure what else is left after that. Director Gregory Plotkin has one horror bomb on his resume - Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (14%) - and I suspect he adds a second with this one.
It feels more than a little tricky to offer a modern-day reenactment of a classic novel. Sure, the themes will be there and the general gestalt of ideas/themes/characters are there in the present-day version. But is this really Little Women, or is it simply an excuse to co-opt the title, keep some loose association with the original work, and trade mostly on the name? If I sound skeptical, it's because I am. This film simply doesn't look/feel/act like the book on which it's based (which was written two centuries ago).
In this retelling of Little Women, we get the sisters living in New York City and dealing with a whole range of problems centered mostly on them trying to find themselves. The movie, in an of itself, doesn't look bad. I suppose it has a charming feel. But that it's trading on the name of a popular book just could rub critics the wrong way, and I suspect it will.
I went three-for-three with the Rotten Watch last week, as all three movies fell easily within range of the predictions and was a nice comeback after some rough weeks over the summer. The House With A Clock In Its Walls (Predicted: 63% Actual: 67%) ended up generally positive. A majority of critics appreciated the whimsical and silly nature of the narrative, considering the oddities to be generally pleasing. Not all saw it that way, of course, which kept the score somewhat grounded (though mostly positive).
Meanwhile, I thought _Life Itself _(Predicted: 19% Actual: 13%) looked just dreadful in the way it approached relationships and wanted to shove the schmaltz down your throat. The critics agreed and slammed this movie. It ends up as one of the worst-reviewed wide releases you'll see in 2018. Almost all critics agreed that the movie was working overtime to make the viewer cry and the returns were completely diminishing.
And finally, Fahrenheit 11/9 (Predicted: 85% Actual: 80%) was a hit with critics on par with other Michael Moore joints. Most saw it as a solid look into the inanity of political discourse we're experiencing in America right now, and they seemed to appreciate that it wasn't completely one-sided in it's bent.