New Releases include a cheap Chinese knock-off of a animated film, what could be a disappointing chase thriller, and a film that got a rare 100% Fresh from Rotten Tomatoes. We’ll be starting with that one.
1. Get Out (Universal, 2,781 Theaters, 103 Minutes, Rated R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 100% Fresh [95 reviews]: It is so hard to get two people to agree on anything, let alone 95. Add to that the fact that the 95 are film critics, it’s even more extraordinary. So the fact that that many critics gave positive reviews to this film so it could earn a 100% fresh rating means the film is something special.
The film is Jordan Peele’s directorial debut. The story, which Peele also wrote, involves a black photographer who goes to meet the parents of his white girlfriend in a secluded estate. Once there, he finds that there’s something off about the limited amount of black people in town. Soon, he finds himself in way over his head as the mystery turns into something nefarious.
I have a soft spot for horror films that offer more than just scares, so the satiric take Peele uses had my interest piqued before the reviews came out. The good reviews only want to make me see it more.
2. Rock Dog (Lionsgate/Summit, 2,077 Theaters, 80 Minutes, Rated PG for action and language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 50% Fresh [18 reviews]: For the second week in a row, we have a Chinese-financed film with Western actors in it being released in the U.S., only this time is it is in the realm of computer generated animation, a genre that has no lack of quality offerings. That makes this film look like a cheap Chinese knockoff like you’d find in the stores of Chinatown.
The film revolves around Bodi, a Tibetan Mastiff voiced by Luke Wilson, who does not want to join in the family shepherding business but instead want to follow his dreams to become a rock star.
Unlike The Great Wall, this film was a flop in its native China, thanks in part to a feud between two major Chinese movie chains. So it needs a good showing here to make a profit. Good luck with that with The LEGO Batman Movie still in theaters.
3. Collide (Open Road Films, 2,045 Theaters, 99 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence, frenetic action, some sexuality, language, and drug material, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: N/A [Only 3 positive reviews listed]: If you’ve read Rich’s review of this film yesterday, you might have given up on any hope that this film would be good. I’m not usually one to argue with Rich here, but I’m going to respectfully offer a counterpoint to that review while admitting I have yet to see this film.
Rich’s perceptions of this film were shaded by his read of an early script of the project. The film went through many changes since that script, and they were big, earth-shaking changes. If you don’t want to click that link, Rich’s opinion can be summed up that the changes turned what could have been a fast-paced and inventive film into a plodding and generic action film.
But what if Rich never read that script? Would he have been able to better judge the film on its own merits? Granted, not being released wide to reviewers doesn’t build confidence, but it has a cast that includes two Oscar winners and an Oscar nominee. And that trailer is pretty good in my opinion. Those last two don’t guarantee a great film, but it could be better than Rich thinks it is.
Next week, we get Logan and two other films foolish enough to take it on.