Man (or kaiju), there is quite a bit to look forward to with this week’s run of movies. It’s got big ol’ monsters, a suburban teen horror and a biopic about one of the greatest living entertainers. Get ready for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Ma and Rocketman.
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.
Watching the Godzilla: King of the Monsters trailer, which shows off some of the large-scale fighting sequences between the ancient monsters who’ve come to life on Earth, it’s tough to imagine there’s any planet left for survivors to live on when the credits start to roll. It sure looks like every little speck of everything is wiped out except for, of course, the key human characters who help drive the plot line. Millie Bobby Brown and Vera Farmiga’s characters mostly look fine, but everything else gets annihilated.
This is the third movie in this particular Monster-verse franchise, following Godzilla (75%) and Kong: Skull Island (75%). King of the Monsters will unleash a whole host of “new” creatures on the world, like Mothra and Ghidorah, with Godzilla called back out to fight them off. These movies mix somewhat tongue-in-cheek stylings with somewhat grounded reimaginings, and this one doesn’t look any different. The trailer looks enjoyably ridiculous, and that might not be the worst thing when it comes to the critics if they feel like they’re in on the perceived joke.
In Ma, a group of high schoolers seem to stumble upon a Shangri-La-Like drinking environment when they start partying in the basement of some old woman who once bought them liquor. That sounds like a pitch for a teen comedy, but the darkness comes when the woman (the titular Ma) ends up being a total psycho apparently hellbent on taking revenge on the kids of those who mistreated her back in her own high school days. If the binge-drinking doesn’t kill those teens, something will.
I like how director Tate Taylor thought to himself, you know who would be perfect as a psychotic, manipulative, borderline serial killer of teenagers? Octavia Spencer! He worked with her before, of course, having directed her in both The Help (80%) and Get on Up (76%), while also helming Girl on the Train (45%). Her latest character looks downright freaky, though I’m a bit torn on how critics will receive a story about kids getting worked over this way by a batshit crazy lady. Random thrillers aren’t usually kind to Hollywood’s elite, as seen by Dennis Quaid’s The Intruder (30%).
The musical biopic is all the rage right now. We are fresh off the Queen-ly waves made by the Freddie Mercury-inspired Bohemian Rhapsody, which earned Rami Malek a Best Actor Oscar a few months ago. Now we get a look into the early years of Taron Egerton’s Elton John as he goes from a struggling and shy kid to the flamboyant, eccentric, and world-renowned musical phenom that we know him as today.
Unlike the aforementioned Bohemian Rhapsody (61%), which left critics feeling somewhat meh with its retelling of Mercury’s life, Rocketman has come out of the gate quite strong. It’s sitting at 88% through 80 reviews, with critics praising the style, tone and performances from the leads. Taron Egerton plays Elton after starring in the Kingsman (74%, 52%) movies and voicing Johnny in Sing. He also worked with director Dexter Fletcher on Eddie the Eagle, and this latest looks like a complete hit that doesn’t seem to suffer some of the more negative critiques facing more sanitized biopics of late.
Recapping last week:
We went two for three with the predictions last week, and it’s been a relatively impressive run in the short-term. Aladdin (Predicted: 57% Actual: 58%) was a near direct hit, missing by only a percentage point while keeping Will Smith’s *Rotten” streak alive. He hasn’t had a positively reviewed movie earning a “Fresh” Tomatometer score in seven years now, though this one at least came close.
As the score would indicate, critics were rather mixed on the final result for the live-action remake of the Disney classic. Smith had some rather large shoes to fill, considering what Robin Williams did with just the voice role in the original. It landed for some critics but not others ,and the range of complaints and compliments varied.
I had a head start with Booksmart (Predicted: 99% Actual: 97%), since a number of reviews were in already up at the time of post. The drama was sitting at 100% through the first 50 or so reviews, and dropped only a few percentage points over the course of the next week. This will now go down as one of the best-rated wide releases of the year and it likely enters the discussion for the short list of all-time great high school, one-nighter movies.
Finally, Brightburn (Predicted: 37% Actual: 59%) was a mighty miss. Though technically rotten on the Tomatometer, this comic-adjacent scored higher than I thought, with more than half the critics finding something to like about the twist on the superhero genre. Considering the film basically just went Bizarro Superman, but not so Bizarro to wow everyone, this score can probably be considered a win.
Next time around, we’ve got Dark Phoenix, Late Night and The Secret Life of Pets 2. It’s gonna be a Rotten Week!