Coming off a disaster of a prediction week last time around, I’m looking for a little comeback. We’ve got plenty of opportunities for redemption with artificial Depp-telligence, haunted houses, bears and Heaven.

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 what This Rotten Week has to offer.

Transcendence movie poster
Rotten Watch Prediction
If humans had a chance to upload the sum total knowledge of all existence into a consciousness - an actual mind placed into a computer in order to usher in the singularity - is there any brain in the world we would want less than Johnny Depp’s? I feel like if this happened the effect would be the new Artificial Intelligence figuring out a way to send lots of scarves and eye makeup over a variety of networks. This would be the true end of the human race.

See what happens when Depp goes online in the Transcendence trailer:



Transcendence is the story of a scientist (Depp) seeing his life’s work in establishing a conscious computer system ironically come to fruition when he gets shot and has his brain uploaded to said system. What ensues looks like a lot of stuff flying around and floating. I’m not exactly sure how that happens from a computer system, but at least it looks moderately interesting.

Wally Pfister is helming the film as his directorial debut. Up until now his major credits have been as director of photography on every Christopher Nolan film since Memnto. Inception won him an Oscar for Best Cinematography, so you know he’s got some chops. Visually, this flick does look strong but I’m worried about the story. There might just be so much going on that I can imagine it getting lost in itself. When the trailer is a bit difficult to follow I always get a little concerned. It has too much industry power to stink, but I think we would know already if it were going to be a critical darling.
A Haunted House 2 movie poster
Rotten Watch Prediction
Oh man. I was going to ask how the hell something like this got made as a sequel until I saw that the first one was made for $2.5 million and earned $60 million at the box office. So that answered that question. Otherwise there would be no fundamental reason why something this horrendous looking would come around for number two.

Want to see what I mean? Check out the A Haunted House 2 trailer:



I can’t imagine there are many differences between this and the first A Haunted House (10%). Directed by Michael Tiddes, this sequel does all the things you would expect a horror spoof flick to do. It plays up many overused horror tricks, especially the found footage/documentary-style scary movies that have been being made ad nauseum over the last decade or so. Granted, it looks ridiculous and stupid, but I suspect the people involved care very little about that assessment. This is a cash grab plain and simple.

Spoof movies need not become stale, useless timewasters (most of them are) and the genre can have its merits when done correctly. This doesn't appear to be one of those times of course. A Haunted House 2 will appeal to the lowest common denominators and a lot of those people buy movie tickets.
Bears movie poster
Rotten Watch Prediction
Do you really want me to say something flip about a movie that is all about bears and uses Phillip Phillips in the trailer? It doesn’t get any safer than that unless you get some non-controversial actor with no media controversy to narrate. Someone like John C. Reilly... Oh wait? Really? Man there’s nothing to dig at. Crap.

See the movie that has my snark on hold in the trailer for Bears:



Bears is from the Disneynature studio that also brought along African Cats (71%), Oceans (81%) and Earth (87%). That’s a nice little critical run. Part of it is obvious: the visuals are superb with wide views of sweeping landscapes. This goes a long way in winning critically, but the Disneynature movies also add in an element of story to the natural world. This part isn’t easy either, but the Disneynature folks seem to get it.

What do you want me to say? It’s about cute looking bears roaming around the woods doing bear stuff with cool music in the background. That’s about as safe as it gets.
Heaven is for Real movie poster
Rotten Watch Prediction
I don’t know if heaven is real. And frankly I don’t plan on finding out. My idea is to just kind of live forever. I have a couple of ideas of how I’m going to do this. The first thing is eating organic. I’ve read this is good. Starting that tomorrow. The second is radical organ transplants later in life. I’ll be reupping everything that’s breaking down. And finally, prayer. Lots of prayer. Thinking those three things will keep me ticking for just about ever.

Though I don’t plan on going there, see the kid who says Heaven is for Real in this trailer:



Based on the best selling novel, Heaven is for Real tells the story of a kid, Colton, who claims he stepped into Heaven after suffering a traumatic accident. We could probably sit here and go back and forth about the merits of this claim. I’m not going to because last time I said something about religion and Christianity in this column, the comment feed went berserk. No thanks. Whatever, the kid went to Heaven. You can have it.

The bigger question here is whether or not this flick will score well with critics. That’s worth unpacking. Directed by Randall Wallace (Secretariat-64%, We Were Soldiers-63%), Heaven is for Real will most likely fall on the top half of the Tomatometer for a few reasons: it looks awfully vanilla, meaning critics won’t be overwhelmed, but will probably not want to completely trash it (nor should they if it’s just fine). I just can’t imagine a critic, even if they thought the movie was "meh," going out and crushing it in a review. Plus, the cast is strong, which can probably carry it through any snags in the plot line.

Not my cup of tea (the movie, not Heaven, that seems fine) but count on it falling in that mediocre range right above fifty percent.
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RESULTS


last rotten week Just a terrible week for the Rotten Watch. 0-3 on predictions with nothing particularly close. Rough, rough, rough.

I was way off with Draft Day (Predicted: 38% Actual: 63%) and am actually kind of shocked it was reviewed this well. I expected that Gabe Toro's review would be closer to the general consensus among critics. Interestingly, Gabe’s issues with the movie are what I thought would be major flaws, namely that this is an incredibly boring premise. Alas, other critics didn’t see it the same way and it finished well outside of my prediction.

Meanwhile, Oculus (Predicted: 92% Actual: 71%) took a nose dive over the course of the week. This thing was out of the box as aces, critics just fawning over the flick. That helped inform my prediction. But then the rest of the reviews came in. And it dropped about 20% on the Tomatometer. That’s a precipitous fall after so much positivity out of the box. Sean O’Connell gave it three stars in his review. He outlines why the score dropped, saying it "may get under your skin, but it rarely makes you jump out of your seat." This is a problem for a horror movie and helps explain the final score.

And finally Rio 2 (Predicted: 68% Actual: 51%) finished lower than I expected. I based my prediction on the first one as well as other flicks from the same studio. But so it goes. It missed. Yikes, what a disaster. One of my worst weeks ever.

Next time around we’ve brick mansions, other women and quiet ones. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!

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