Leave a Comment
We’ve got four movies coming out this week with themes that are all over the map. A cartoon character solves crimes, two ladies work a con game, some senior citizens go rah-rah, and there’s a famous author’s biopic. Get ready for Pokemon Detective Pikachu, The Hustle, Poms, and Tolkien.
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.
A live-action Pokemon movie based around the video game/cartoon of the same name really seems like it should be a massive failure - something meant for only the superfans of the franchise or perhaps mindless youths. But they might have actually pulled something off with Detective Pikachu. It’s a buddy cop film, pairing a rather unsuspecting kid sleuth with an adorable Pikachu as they work to solve a mystery.
Director and screenwriter Rob Letterman seems to be taking Pikachu into a more funny direction with this film, and it seemingly makes for a movie that looks like it actually works. Letterman has a couple of wins with Goosebumps (77%) and Monsters vs. Aliens (73%), but also a bit miss in Gulliver’s Travels (20%). Critics are mostly positive about his latest, with the Tomatometer sitting at 70% with 37 reviews posted. Maybe it ticks down a little, but this already seems like a critical surprise.
If there's a lesson I learned from the trailer for The Hustle, it's that if you want to take power from someone, you should just run a couple of cons on them and bilk them out of all their cash. Apparently that's how you beat the bad dudes - by hitting them where it hurts the most.
It’s hard to know where critics are going to land on this movie. On the one hand, we have two great actresses in Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson carrying the comedic load and that could be enough to get the job done. On the other hand, this is a movie about two (probably) unsympathetic con-artists whose freedom comes from scamming rich dudes out of their fortunes. Ultimately comedies like this really don't seem to fall in the critics' favor, and I suspect that this remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels ends up on the rotten side.
Movies like Poms are generally made to appeal to a specific demographic: namely older women who don't typically get to see themselves properly represented on the big screen all that often. That being said, it's not exactly a demographic that dominates the world of film criticism, so I don't suspect that a ton of them will be going gaga over this one
Poms centers on a group of women at a retirement community who form a cheerleading squad, and watching the trailer I was initially concerned that the whole thing would feel too hokey. And then it took a turn for the sentimental and empowering, and I think it might have actually sold me. I'm not sure an overwhelming majority of critics will feel the same way, but a song by Pink playing in the background and a story of strength in spite of age has me more bullish on the film than I might have otherwise been.
At this point, most know the story of Blibo and Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gangee, Gandalf, and the rest of the folks in Middle-earth. Those dudes have had their stories told to the tune of billions of book and movie dollars. Tolkien, however, works to tell the story of the storyteller. The movie centers on J.R.R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult), and informs audiences about his fellowship of friends, how he found the love of his life, and the war that haunted him to the point that he was inspired to write both The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
As compelling as this story seems, critics are really mixed on the output so far. Tolkien is sitting at 53% currently, with more than 30 reviews posted. The opinions about the title are definitely wide-ranging, from “loved it” to “hated it.” This really appears to be polarizing among the critical crowd. Some loved the artistic look at Tolkien’s early life, while others don't appreciate the tone and lead performance. It really is all over the map, making me think the score winds up in the middle when it’s all said and done.
I went four for four last week, which was definitely an awesome showing for This Rotten Week. Long Shot (Predicted: 85% Actual: 83%) was almost dead on, and with a couple of more positive reviews we might find this one right on the nose. Though this movie finished very high on the Tomatometer, many of the reviews were mildly apologetic and focused a bit more on the performances than on the actual script. That being said, this is still a huge win for a comedy to finish this high.
Meanwhile Uglydolls (Predicted: 42% Actual: 35%) finished a little lower than predicted, but still within range. Animated flicks can crush it with critics when the story is tight and there are enough laughs for the adults. This movie apparently had neither. It was fairly clear from the trailer that they were working on a thin, commercial premise that focused mostly on the songs.
El Chicano (Predicted: 48% Actual: 40%) almost fell out of range, but this vigilante movie about a cop taking on a mythic persona and laying waste to the Latin gang world was just good enough to be considered a Rotten Week win. This seems like one of those films destined to be a fun watch on basic cable in about two years. There are worse fates for poorly-reviewed action movies.
Finally, The Intruder (Predicted: 35% Actual: 27%) was predictably bad. The story of a deranged dude who doesn’t want to let go of his house even though the closing papers are fully signed just didn’t have the legs with critics. This was easy to see from a mile away.