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As we get deeper into the fall season, the selection of movies coming to theaters becomes much more diverse. One need look no further than this week’s new crop of wide releases for evidence of that. Get ready for Burnt, Our Brand is Crisis and Scout’s Guide to the Apocalypse.
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
You can take a look at the trailer for Our Brand is Crisis below:
Based on the 2005 documentary of the same name, Our Brand is Crisis follows ‘Calamity’ Jane Bodine (Sandra Bullock) as she takes over a Bolivian political campaign while the country is at a breaking point. She’s a fictionalized character sent in to revive the campaign of Castillo, a former president played by Joaquim de Almeida (who’s best known for playing a drug lord in 24 and then playing a drug lord in Fast Five).
What ensues in Our Brand is Crisis appears equal parts one-liners and an "awakening" on the part of Bullock’s character. I’m not sure it all comes together though. The trailer feels very much over the top (not in a good way) and the early reviews back up this idea. Critics don’t outright hate it, but many seem to agree that it doesn’t totally hit the mark. While they enjoy Bullock’s performance (she’s almost always strong), the rest of the story isn’t quite there.
Director David Gordon Green’s resume is all over the map. Recently he’s been in critical good graces with Joe and a personal favorite Prince Avalanche - movies about odd friendships and tough choices. Those flicks are stripped down and entertaining while also making you think some. Our Brand Is Crisis, however, looks flashy and potentially shallow - all the things his more recent work isn’t.
Rotten Watch Prediction
See the kitchen carnage in the trailer for Burnt below:
Plates, chairs, tables. It’s all getting ruined in the trailer for Burnt, the story of a fallen-from-grace chef (Bradley Cooper) who’s on the culinary comeback trail. The guy is trying to start a new restaurant and get back to the limelight, though by all accounts he appears equal parts emotional and unhinged.
Burnt is described as a romantic comedy, though for the life of me I didn’t see many examples of romance in the trailer. Instead, it appears a melodramatic slog through a redemption tale about a character who might not be all that likeable. I suppose there are some stakes one can put into a story about a chef and a restaurant, but creating a ton of drama in this vein is probably pretty tough. As a backdrop? Sure, the food industry has taken on that kind of celebrity at this point. But as the main crux of a movie, I just am not seeing it in this case.
Critics appear to agree with me on this one, as they’ve been lukewarm with the reviews so far. Many seem to agree the flick falls flat and though Cooper’s performance isn’t necessarily at fault, the flick as a whole just misses the mark. Director John Wells has some critical success August: Osage County (84%) and The Company Men (67%), but his latest will finish well below those.
Rotten Watch Prediction
See some high schoolers take on the undead in the trailer for Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse below:
Equal parts zombie film and sophomoric high school romp, Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse looks like the worst parts of both. While funny flicks have been made out of the undead theme (Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead come to mind) this one looks stupid - and not in a good way.
I’m clearly not in the film’s target demographic, but good, funny movies are able to cross over a bunch of age groups and moviegoers into the land of solid laughs. I doubt this is one of those movies. They take a bunch of cliches, which aren’t necessarily the worst thing, and work tired jokes around what could have been a pretty funny theme.
Director Christopher Landon’s background is in writing actual scary films (or attempts at such) with Disturbia and a bunch of the Paranormal Activity franchise. While none of his credits are that encouraging, this looks like one of the first times he’s gone for laughs. I don’t think they’ll be there.
Which of my predictions do you think will be closest?
Though I want to believe I had the general tone of all four movies correct last week, the scores didn’t come completely to fruition. Only one of my predictions came within 10%, which isn’t that great.
Jem and the Holograms (Predicted: 24% Actual: 20%) was my only win of the week. Though my four year old thought it looked cool, it appears she was one of the few. Critics thought it was generally terrible. It bombed in both the reviews and at the box office. Though Jon Chu kept it real in his reaction to the film bombing, it’s still a trainwreck and CB’s Eric Eisenberg gave it one and a half stars in his review.
Meanwhile, Rock the Kasbah (Predicted: 44% Actual: 8%) was a disaster. I put the prediction at 44% though my intuition said it would be lower. Not necessarily this low of course, but if I were to bet I’d have taken the under (on my own prediction). Now that being said, who would see a Bill Murray flick going in at under ten percent? That’s getting into the gross range. But it appears the movie is just about tone deaf in its message and critics crushed it.
I almost feel like I just put in the wrong score for The Last Witch Hunter (Predicted: 38% Actual: 14%). When I went back to check my predictions I thought, "38%? What was I thinking?" This Vin Diesel-led fantasy tale about an immortal witch hunter looked ridiculous in premise and performed like everyone was going through a bad acting class. Nick Romano gave it one and a half stars in his review. He really wanted to like the flick, and yet just couldn’t. Because it stunk.
And finally, a franchise goes out with a whimper with Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (Predicted: 25% Actual: 13%). Across the board this was one of the lowest average scores you’ll ever see. Having four movies average about 14% is just brutal. Wasn’t a fantastic week to head out to theaters. But things are starting to look up folks. Next time time around we’ve just got another big one with Spectre, The Outskirts and The Peanuts Movie. It’s gonna be a Rotten Week!