I was on the fence with watching The Bye Bye Man in theaters, but now I think I'll wait for it at home. It's never a good sign, when a studio changes the release date (two release date changes before they settled on the January 13th date) for a movie. You know something is wrong, when they're basically backing away from competition, and after all that, they dumped The Bye Bye Man in January, the annual graveyard for lousy and mediocre horror films. The teasing for a sequel doesn't surprise me, but I'll be shocked if it happens after all the bad reviews.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (in 3D!)-8/10
Darth Vader is the main reason why I went from a 7/10 to an 8/10.
It's better than The Force Awakens, and Rogue One is one of the rare examples for a film series taking a chance on something different, or what we're used to seeing, and the changes with a more brooding tone actually working out. Jyn was kind of a flat character for me, but the hilarious banter between K-2S0 and Cassian was great, and Rogue One really works as a more emotional film. Of course, a lot of that comes from knowing what's going to happen, and how the team is basically going on a suicide mission.
A Monster Calls-9/10
I can understand the complaints about A Monster Calls trying too hard to do too much, and AMC being a messy film storyline wise, but it's definitely one of the more unique and unconventional coming-of-age films I've seen.
There's a good balance between the coming-of-age side of the movie, the dark fairy tales, and a drama about a boy, who's losing his mother, and everything blends together for one hell of a movie. It's a moving and heartfelt story about a boy, and his whole world falling apart around him. He needs to let go, and there's nothing he can do about it, but The Monster comes along at the right time to be the support system and the voice of encouragement he needs.
I'm also glad they didn't try and turn The Monster into some whimsical oaf. The Monster has a sense of humor, and the presence of a larger than life figure, but he also has his moments as a big brother for Conor.
Solid performances from Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, and Sigourney Weaver, and I know I need to catch up, but so far A Monster Calls is one of my top picks for the best films in 2017 (limited releases in 2016, but A Monster Calls didn't receive a wider release until 2017).
January 20-22 & The Upcoming Weekend
Split debuted at #1 in the week-to-week charts with $40,010,975 ($45,931,560 for the current worldwide total), and that's off of a reported production of $10,000,000. Meanwhile, xXx:The Return of Xander Cage debuted in the #2 spot with $20,130,142 ($70,630,142 for the current worldwide total), and that's off of a reported production budget of $85,000,000.
I haven't seen it yet, but I'm glad Split is doing well at the box office, and the movie is receiving a fair share of positive reviews. The Visit was a good horror/thriller, and hopefully this is the start of a comeback for M. Night Shyamalan. The guy is a talented director, but his habit of building up to this big twist ending, and the big twist not delivering a satisfying payoff was getting annoying and tiresome. That, or suspending disbelief and buying into it was damn near impossible, because the big twist was so preposterous (i.e. The Village) and over the top more often than not. Also, Shyamlan directed After Earth, a dull and boring post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, featuring one of the worst cases of nepotism you'll ever see.
The Return Of Xander Cage is on its way to being one of the early flops in 2017, and I can't say I'm all that surprised. Honestly, it looks like another failed attempt to launch an action franchise, and the trailers and the commercials made The Return Of Xander Cage look like another random and generic action flick. You also have to believe a long hiatus killed any anticipation for another xXx film. The first film was released in 2002, and after that, you had the awful sequel with Ice Cube. That, and it's more proof Vin Diesel is not a strong draw on his own.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the big release for Friday, but I can't say I'm too excited about it. The Resident Evil series is basically a guilty pleasure trip for watching gory action sci-fi/horror flicks and stylized, over the top action sequences and fights, because I honestly can't think of one film in the series that's truly good or great.
Gold will receive a wider release this week. After watching the trailers, it was easy to see Gold as an Oscar contender, but there's almost no buzz for it, and Gold continues to receive more negative reviews (a 42% on Rotten Tomatoes).