Leave a Comment
So far, April 2019 has been a month of great variety. We had a mix of colorful action, dark horror, and historical drama in the first week, and this time around we have an unlikely superhero, body switching, stop-motion animation, and a YA love affair. Get ready for Hellboy, Little, Missing Link and After.
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.
When in doubt with a comic book franchise, you reboot the thing. Fourteen years after our hornless, crimson protagonist emerged from the fiery cauldrons of the underworld, we get... well, the same thing happening in this new movie. Hellboy is back to fight evil and navigate a world that doesn't take too kindly to demons patrolling the streets.
The original movies in the franchise, Hellboy (81%) and II (86%) starred Ron Perlman and had Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro as the director. Neither are back for the reboot, which now has David Harbour as Big Red and Neil Marshall (Doomsday - 51%, The Descent - 85%) at the helm. It looks quite a lot like the original movies, right down to the costume. Hell (pun intended), it’s kind of tough to even tell Harbour and Perlman apart here. The new Hellboy looks every bit as fun as the original, but I'm not sure critics will take to it as warmly just because it looks so much like a carbon copy. More than anything else I think that keeps the Tomatometer score a little lower than the originals.
The body switch/body change comedy seems to have been around practically forever. We get multiple looks at this theme each year, and it’s coming back around again this time with Little. A hard-charging and rude corporate executive (Regina Hall) is transformed into a 12-year-old girl (Marsai Martin) overnight. She must then navigate a world in which she’s just a kid, with all of society treating her as such. These movies tend to fall flat in my opinion because the theme is over tread and the jokes remain sophomoric and easy. But I will say, Little does look like it has some laughs in it.
Issa Rae, the star of HBO’s Insecure,gets her first shot at starring in a movie with Little, and the trailer suggests that she's part of a winner. Sure, the jokes aren’t groundbreaking, but the timing looks on, and the leads are all tremendously talented. Director Tina Gordon hasn’t had much critical success in the recent past, helming Peeples (37%) and penning What Men Want (46%), but I think this latest finishes better than both of them.
Missing Link comes from Laika, a stop-motion animation studio that’s brought us huge critical hits like Coraline (90%), ParaNorman (88%) The Boxtrolls (76%), and Kubo And The Two Strings (97%). That’s a heck of a run of success, and Missing Linki looks right in line with their other work. It’s sitting at 85% with 27 reviews posted on the Tomatometer, with critics praising both the visuals and the story.
Laika's latest is mostly a monster-out-of-the-forest buddy comedy about an explorer (Hugh Jackman) who finds a Yeti named Susan (Zach Galifianakis) and tries to acclimate it to the human world while also finding it's ancestors. It looks every bit of the heart-warming and hilarious story for which the animation studio is known. Considering Laika's track record and the early buzz, I think it's safe to say they have another hit on their hands with Missing Link.
As far as I can tell from the trailer, After is mostly about how many different places the protagonist, Tessa (Josephine Langford) and the love interest/bad boy/mystery dude, Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin), can find to cuddle and make out. According to my count, there’s the lake, his car, a bathtub, the patio at a party, and an aquarium. That’s just from the 90 second sneak peek into the movie. Who even knows how many other places they find during the film's full runtime.
Based on the book of the same name that was published in installments online, After follows Tessa as she navigates a love affair with a dude who everyone tells her is trouble. You know how these things work out right? Typically near the bottom of the Tomatometer is how. I can’t imagine critics buying into this at all. It appears geared solely for the unapologetic young adult crowd, and no one else, and that's not a group that includes a ton of professional writers.
I went two for three with my predictions last week, with only Pet Sematary (Predicted: 75% Actual: 61%) missing the mark. While reviews were initially very positive, they progressively got more negative over the course of the week causing the score to drop out of range. It still did remain fresh, however, as most felt it was scary enough, but that the plot misses some crucial elements from the Stephen King classic.
That was a miss, but my guesstimate for Shazam! (Predicted: 92% Actual: 91%) was not. Instead, I was nearly right on the money, and it's another huge win for the DC Extended Universe. This franchise has struggled a bit in the tone department (something Marvel has basically nailed), but its newest films suggest that the folks behind the scenes are starting to figure things out. Critics loved Zachary Levy’s titular character, and the film seemed to hit all the right notes. A kid becoming a superhero basically overnight has to be something that’s fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. They got it right with Shazam!
Finally, Best Of Enemies (Predicted: 54% Actual: 51%) was another solid prediction. This one was rather easy to seeing falling right in the middle. It didn’t look like it had enough teeth to really wow critics, but was such an interesting story that I couldn’t imagine folks truly hated it.