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After an unexpected week off because of third world internet services, I’m back and better than ever for a big week of movies. Get ready for Race, Risen and The Witch, all arriving in theaters this Friday.
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 get a preview of the film below with its official trailer
It may turn out to be that the best thing about this movie is the title: an obvious double meaning between the actual physical races Owens took part in while at the Olympics in Berlin as well as the overarching issues of racism in America and around the world. Race tells an important story, a cultural touch point in how a man could stand up and run in the face of overwhelming obstacles. But unfortunately, solid foundations and important stories do not good movies make. And I have a feeling this flick falls a bit short with critics.
From the trailer, Jason Sudekis appears just a bit out of place as Coach Larry Snyder. I love Sudekis, and have laughed at just about everything he’s been in. But this just doesn’t look the part for him. Even the brief scenes in the trailer appeared forced and tightly wound. I wasn’t totally buying it. Not to say this is a mortal lock, but a feeling I have for sure. Also, movies like Race can tend to overdo the drama and have an unfortunate heightened sense of awareness about the story that’s being told. What I’m saying is that sometimes there’s a thin line between drama and melodrama, and sports biopics toe that line almost as much as any other kind of movie.
Director Stephen Hopkins’ last Rotten Tomato score came for his work on The Reaping, and considering that film got an 8%, Race will surely rate better than his previous work. The case looks strong, story inspiring and coming at a time when racial tensions in our country haven’t subsided to the point that viewers can’t identify with the central conceit. I think critics react favorably, but not over the moon.
Rotten Watch Prediction
That being said, you can watch Joseph Fiennes track down Jesus post-crucifixion in the trailer for Risen below:
Just in time for Easter, Risen is a sweeping "epic" flick comes out telling the Biblical story of Jesus’ resurrection and the landscape surrounding the circumstances in the book, told from the point of view of Clavius (Fiennes) as he tracks down evidence about exactly what happened. I suppose there’s a certain type of viewer who’ll get excited for this movie, but I am for sure not one of them. I suppose it looks fine enough, though I suspect ultimately falls into "forgettable" territory. It takes a special kind of movie to take this time period and really make it comes to life (no pun intended) on screen. I’m not sure they did it here. Even the trailer for the film feels like a slog.
Risen looks like it could be too big of a flick to be truly bad, but probably not meaty (or suspenseful) enough to be truly good. This one feels destined for just south of the middle. Certain people will really like and the rest won’t even consider sitting down for the story.
Rotten Watch Prediction
See what true scary looks like in the trailer for The Witch:
The Witch follows a Puritan family living by themselves in the 1600’s as they farm, make a homestead, explore new land and deal with the 100% pure evil whatever living in and around the woods near them. They suspect their daughter to be a witch, but the trailer gives the impression that just about everyone in the family turns just a little bit crazy. (I mean more crazy than already being a Puritan family living alone in the 1600s would suggest.)
Honestly, the trailer for The Witch creeped me the fuck out for reasons I can’t totally put my finger on. It doesn’t look all that different than say, The Forestm which came out recently to horrible reviews and was instantly forgotten. I really think it is the time period piece that sets it apart, giving it just another layer of morbid tension some other modern-setting horror flicks can’t pull off.
Critics seem to agree that The Witch is great. . The film screened to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015, and already is sitting close to 90% through about 40 reviews. That’s rarified air for a horror film. It marks a strong debut for director Robert Eggers, who also wrote the script. I suspect the score sticks in this range for the long haul as people get legit scared based on setting, story, characters and that horrendous fashion.
Which of my predictions do you think will be closest?
Let’s recap two weeks ago, where I had a nice little run. First off, Hail, Caesar! (Predicted: 80% Actual: 81%) stayed right in range of the prediction even if it did awful at the box office. The critics score also stood in strong juxtaposition to the fans’ score at 46%. You usually won’t see this kind of different going this direction. If anything, the fans will often trend more positive than the critics. But not this time. Moviegoers (the ones who saw it) really disliked what they saw.
Meanwhile, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Predicted: 45% Actual: 45%) was a direct hit! Right on the money for this "reimagining" of the Jane Austen classic. The subgroup of historical retellings with a horror/fantasy bent is something no one saw coming. But now there have been a couple as it finds a niche audience. A movie with this premise easily could have ended all the way in the basement. But the slickness of it with just enough action and story kept it merely *meh* rather than an outright disaster.
And finally, The Choice (Predicted: 23% Actual: 7%) was a flick I had to go back and remind myself of because I’d already forgotten the plot or what it was even about. I looked at the title and honestly couldn’t remember anything about. Then I went back, just saw the words "Nicholas Sparks" and remembered that it was awful. Even worse than expected and the lowest score for this author’s books-turned-movies.
Next time around it’s a big one with Eddie the Eagle, Gods of Egypt and Triple 9. It’s gonna be a Rotten Week!
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