Thursday, May 20, 2010

Futures Market 2010, Part 2

Every year The Middle Room attempts to look towards tomorrow, to predict, with what we hope is near-perfect accuracy, the quality of films yet to come.  And, with few exceptions, we typically embarrass ourselves.

Last time, we considered the opening films of summer, but now we must gaze further into the haze of the future and June.

Half of July will be thrown in for good measure.

The A-Team (June 11)
Estimated Tomatometer: 40%

The quality of this film will likely be directly proportionate to the number of times they play the original theme song during the course of the movie.  The trailer offers an uneven impression: we're thrilled to see this level of absurdity, but not impressed with some of the CG effects, particularly connected to the falling tank.  Even so, this movie has certainly caught our interest.

The Karate Kid (June 11)
Estimated Tomatometer: 55%

While we don't have plans to see this, the fact that two remakes from the eighties are opening the same weekend is worth noting.  We don't have anything against the trailer to this movie, actually.  A remake of the Karate Kid certainly seems unnecessary, but it certainly appears to have been made in the spirit of the original, even if the martial art in question has changed.

Jonah Hex (June 25)
Estimated Tomatometer: 45%

Divided into its components - into the cellular units the film is constructed of - it is difficult to explain why we are not more excited about this movie.  However, the previews offer us little hope that Jonah Hex will deliver an experience equal to its source material.  The cause for this discrepancy is fairly straightforward: the filmmakers seem to have approached the character and concept as being comical, when there are few characters who should be treated as seriously as Jonah Hex.

That said, the most venomous insult thrown at Jonah Hex appears to be that it may be no better than Wild Wild West, and despite its many flaws, we kind of enjoyed that film.  Regardless of our impression, we doubt critics will be forgiving.

Toy Story 3 (June 25)
Estimated Tomatometer: 99.8%

Neither installment from the Toy Story franchise rates highly on our list of favorites from Pixar.  That said, the films are still produced by a company whose worst films exceed the best produced by their rivals (yes, even Cars).  On top of that, Toy Story 2 was an improvement on the first.  These characters are beloved by the filmmakers, and there is every indication that the third may improve on its predecessors.

While we often disagree with critics on many issues, we generally find ourselves in agreement when it comes to Pixar.  Our estimate may be slightly optimistic, but we doubt we'll be off by more than a percentage point or two.

Twilight Saga: Eclipse (June 30)
Estimated Tomatometer: 25%

Before we go on, allow us to assure our readers that we will not see Eclipse.  Even if it were to garner critical approval and strong word of mouth recommendations, we are less than eager to sit in a theater surrounded by that many teenagers.

That said, this is movie about vampires and werewolves (or at least things resembling vampires and werewolves), and and as such is, technically, a film related to geek interests.  For this reason, we include it on our list, despite the fact the trailer managed to lower the bar on vampire/werewolf fighting with what may be the dullest looking battle sequence imaginable.

Van Helsing seems better all the time....

The Last Airbender (July 2)
Estimated Tomatometer: 50%

It is no coincidence that our estimate falls in the dead center of the scale: the simple fact is, we do not know what to make of this film.

Our thoughts on M. Night Shyamalan are in the public record.  While we'd like to believe he's capable of once again crafting a worthwhile production, it's been a long time since such faith was rewarded.

However, the trailers have some promise.  Certainly, it's easy to be underwhelmed by some casting choices, but the effects and stylistic choices cannot help but inspire some optimism.  And yet, we recall being intrigued by the trailer for The Village.

Our estimate is a shot in the dark; an admission of uncertainty which guarantees we won't miss our mark by more than 50%.  We expect our decision to see this will be determined more by word of mouth than by reviews, but we will pay attention.

Predators (July 7)
Estimated Tomatometer: 88%

Are we being optimistic?  Perhaps.  There is, generally speaking, a law of diminishing returns for the quality of sequels to R-rated movie franchises.  But every indication we've seen tells us this will be an exception.  More than that, we have a feeling, an instinctual sensation in our gut, that this will bury the Alien Vs. Predator films and surpass at least Predator 2 (a solid picture) in quality.

Time will tell.

Despicable Me (July 9)
Estimated Tomatometer: 45%

With all due respect to the honorable Steve Carell, the trailers for this have been passable at best.  While we haven't seen anything offensively bad in connection to this, nothing has struck us as unusually good, either.

If our estimate proves low by forty points or more, we may see this.  Barring that, we've little interest in another CG movie without the talent of Pixar behind it.

When next we gather to discuss this subject, we shall leave no reel unturned.  Yes, the third installment shall be the last, and our gaze shall be cast all the way to the end of summer.

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