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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.
Video games turned into movies typically don’t tend to work out on a critical level. The source material usually proves to be too flimsy, and the projects wind up feeling like cash grabs. Such was the case with The Angry Birds Movie (44%), which did fantastic business at the box office ($350+ million), but underwhelmed professionals. I’m not surprised at all with the decision to make a sequel, but the early, 81 percent Tomatometer score for The Angry Birds Movie 2 is a bit of a head scratcher. This is set to crush the first in the series as far as critical reaction goes, and that doesn’t happen very often.
The story is a bit different this time around with the Birds and Pigs first trying to live in relative harmony, and then forced to team up together against a common enemy. Some critics believe that first time director Thurop Van Orman improved on the visuals, and they seem to be enjoying the characters and plot as well.
If you think Good Boys looks like “Superbad but in Middle School,” you aren’t wrong. Brought to you by Seth Rogen’s production label, this film replaces the search for alcohol and all the debauchery that follows with the main characters instead trying to figure out how to kiss girls before their first make out party. The silliness that follows looks much the same, and it looks glorious. Drugs, sex, and everything else in between that these kids have no hope of understanding drive a film that clearly wants to make viewers a little uncomfortable because of how young and “innocent” the leads appear.
Jacob Tremblay starred in Room and Wonder, but now makes a bit of a different genre move as a kid working his way through the landmines attached with coming of age. Good Boys sitting at 80% through 25 reviews. Critics love the story and the only critique is the writers insistence on keeping their foot on the raunchy gas. I suspect it dips some over the course of the week because of that criticism, but not by much.
It’s been a good summer for British guys of South Asian decent getting their music on. Yesterday starred Himesh Patel as a dude who appropriated the the entire Beatles’ catalogue for himself due to magical circumstances. In Blinded By the Light, Javed is an aspiring writer growing up in the late 80’s who discovers Bruce Springsteen’s music. His love of The Boss inspires him as a writer while coming between him and his strict family.
The new movie is based Sarfraz Manzoor’s book Greetings from Bury Park and has been adapted and directed by Gurinder Chadha. Her previous work, Bend it Like Beckham (83%), played with some similar themes, and is now beloved. This latest is outperforming that one, sitting at 93% on the Tomatometer through 68 reviews. Critics love the story, performances, themes and music. I don’t suspect the score moves all that much more from here on out.
In the first 47 Meters Down (53%), two women are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean with the Great Whites literally circling looking for a meal. The sequel, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, takes it one step further by... removing the cage! And while the predecessor in the series barely scraped by with critics, this one looks even sillier and will probably do much worse.
Director Johannes Roberts helmed the first one along with The Strangers: Prey At Night (39%) and The Other Side of the Door (37%) - all of which are firmly on the rotten side of the ledger. I can’t imagine another shark bite at the proverbial apple will improve things at all.
While the story of a mother one day simply up and disappearing off the face of the Earth would seem like something along the lines of a thriller/horror flick, this one takes a more comedic look at the situation. Based on the novel of the same name by Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette follows the story of Bee Branch as she and her father set out to find out where her mother has disappeared to.
I’d typically trend negative with a movie like this because it looks to be so hamfisted. But Richard Linklater is directing, and he is about as good as it gets. He’s put together some all-timers with Boyhood (97%), The Before Sunrise trilogy (100%, 95%, 97% respectively), School of Rock (90%), and of course Dazed and Confused (91%). His track record is more than enough to inspire high hopes with his latest film, even if it does appear a little off.
It was merely a so-so week last time, with two hits, a near miss, and a couple of big blunders. Let’s start with The Art Of Racing In The Rain (Predicted: 48% Actual: 48%), which was a rare perfect prediction. Our culture might be feeling a little dog-loving fatigue, as there have been many of these coming out in 2019, and none of them have been great. They’ll rarely completely fail on the Tomatometer, but critics basically know what they're getting at this point.
Brian Banks (Predicted: 58% Actual: 54%) was my other win. The story of a wrongly-convicted high school athlete who was able to get his life back split critics down the middle. Critics mostly agreed that Aldis Hodge as the titular title character was the highlight of the film, with the script really holding the production back.
Meanwhile, my guess for Dora And The Lost City Of Gold (Predicted: 59% Actual: 81%) was way off. I’m happy that it was an enjoyable film, and they clearly chose a winning direction with the popular cartoon character. The trailer looked a little too silly, which I thought would drive the score down, but critics appreciated the overall tone.
The Kitchen (Predicted: 35% Actual: 20%) didn’t miss by much, and I’m encouraged that I had at least the attitude of the reactions correct. Needless to say, people weren't too thrilled about seeing Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss, and Tiffany Haddish start their own crime family.
And finally, Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark (Predicted: 30% Actual: 80%) was a huge, huge miss. One of my worst guesses ever. Critics appreciated the structure and storytelling and just how scary it manages to be while still working for a younger audience. I was way wrong about it.