Box Office Battlefield: The Boy Next Door, Mortdecai, and Strange Magic

Box Office Battlefield The Boy Next Door, Mortdecai, and Strange Magic

The weekend warriors of January 23, 2015 includes The Boy Next Door, Mortdecai, and Strange Magic. Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars, Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others and determine who will be victorious.

Last weekend, American Sniper destroyed box office records left and right. With three new, vastly different combatants looking to take the top spot, Bradley Cooper will need to keep a sharp eye on the prize. A beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine? This is the Box Office Battlefield:

The Boy Next Door Title Movie Logo

The Boy Next Door (Rob Cohen) Rated R [91 min] – A newly divorced woman falls for a younger man who has recently moved in across the street from her, but their torrid affair soon takes a dangerous turn. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Kristin Chenoweth, and John Corbett

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 13% • Audience – 57%

What they’re saying:

“The cheese is thick and it smothers everything in “The Boy Next Door,” but it’s never quite gooey or spicy enough.” – Christy Lemire (RogerEbert.com)

“Breathless, uninspired January junk that feels like the iffiest bits of a Lifetime movie and late-night cable schlock slapped together. (And not erotically.)” – Robert Abele (LA Times)

What I’m saying:

You can’t deny the timeliness of The Boy Next Door based on all of 2014’s teacher-student related sex incidents. But it’s hard to take the movie seriously from its tone and the ridiculous dialogue the film dishes out. For playing it really straight and yet using the like “I love your mom’s cookies” I just can’t get behind the ludicrousness of it all. It’s like a terrible satire that is portraying itself as a thriller for some reason. I guess Rob Cohen really needed that paycheck? WAIT FOR IT ON NETFLIX TO HAVE A GOOD LAUGH!

Mortdecai Title Movie Logo

Mortdecai (David Koepp) Rated R [106 min] – Juggling angry Russians, the British Mi5, and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai races to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain a code that leads to lost Nazi gold. Starring Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, and Olivia Munn

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 13% • Audience – 44%

What they’re saying:

“Reminds me of the viral videos parodying Wes Anderson’s style made by people who clearly don’t get the filmmaker at all.” – Christopher Campbell (Film School Rejects)

“What looked funny in small, trailer-sized doses turns into an interminable death march when applied to an almost two-hour run time.” – Mike Reyes (CinemaBlend.com)

What I’m saying:

Sounding like a broken Internet record, Johnny Depp has become practically a self-parody of himself. Since Pirates of the Caribbean – aside from a few standout roles in Sweeney Todd, Rango, and 21 Jump Street –Depp has continued on this downward spiral of inane characters that make me shutter to think about his recent filmography. And maybe that’s the route he truly wants to take his career. More power to him. But if he wants to do these types of characters he needs to find scripts with better substance than this. SKIP IT!

Strange Magic Title Movie Logo

Strange Magic (Gary Rydstrom) Rated PG [99 min] – Goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Kelley, Kristin Chenoweth, and Maya Rudolph

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 9% • Audience – 61%

What they’re saying:

“Said to be inspired by ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ the film plays more like “Avatar” scored to a karaoke competition.” – Ben Kenigsberg (New York Times)

“Makes The Phantom Menace look like The Empire Strikes Back.” – Matt Singer (ScreenCrush)

What I’m saying:

From gorgeous animation from the likes of 2014’s Big Hero 6, The LEGO Movie, and How to Train Your Dragon 2, Strange Magic looks like it pushes back animation by at least 10 years. We just got a movie similar to this Ferngully wannabe in Epic, do we need another fairy movie? It’s hard enough to sit through the trailer, I can’t imagine how one could endure the whole run time. SKIP IT!

Black Sea 2015 Title Movie Logo

Black Sea (Kevin Macdonald) [Limited] Rated R [115 min] – In order to make good with his former employers, a submarine captain takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumored to be loaded with gold. Starring Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, and David Threlfall

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 81% • Audience – 62%

What they’re saying:

“Director Kevin Macdonald uses the Das Boot-like claustrophobia for maximum tension, then deadens the thrills with flashbacks. Ah, jeez.” – Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)

“Black Sea loosely rejiggers history to allow for a fantastic-sounding story-and treasure-to be pursued in a tightly wound twist on the common heist film.” – Kate Erbland (The Dissolve)

What I’m saying:

From what I’ve seen from its trailer, Black Sea looks OK. Everything is laid out with little left to the imagination. For me it looks too straight forward and the premise just doesn’t hook me. With any heist film, you need some sort of crazy angle, and Black Sea has one, but I’m just not feeling it. RENT IT!

Cake 2014 Title Movie Logo

Cake (Daniel Barnz) [Limited] Rated R 102 min   –   DramaMetascore: 50/100 (18 reviews)Claire becomes fascinated by the suicide of a woman in her chronic pain support group while grappling with her own, very raw personal tragedy. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, and Sam Worthington

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 47% • Audience – 50%

What they’re saying:

“A thoughtful and frequently moving drama that insightfully illuminates what it’s like to live with illness and agony.” – Inkoo Kang (The Wrap)

“The movie veers into something that feels sadly predictable by the end, once we’ve learned everything we need to know about Claire’s tragic past.” – Anders Wright (U-T San Diego)

What I’m saying:

Despite all the buzz surrounding Jennifer Aniston going rogue by not wearing makeup for this film I cannot say I have heard anything good about Cake. It looks like a sappy drama haunted by the ghost of Anna Kendrick. The subject matter is not uplifting at all, but I would prefer my depression porn to come from either Darren Aronofsky (A Requiem for a Dream; Black Swan) or Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave; Shame). WAIT FOR IT ON NETFLIX!

Mommy 2014 Title Movie Logo

Mommy (Xavier Dolan) [Limited] Rated R [139 min] – A widowed single mother, raising her violent son alone, finds new hope when a mysterious neighbor inserts herself into their household. Starring Anne Dorval, Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Suzanne Clément, and Patrick Huard

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 89% • Audience – 91%

What they’re saying:

“It’s an uproariously emotional movie, to all appearances painfully personal and featuring performances which are almost operatic in scale.” – Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)

“A film of suffocating power and surprising warmth.” – Mary Corliss (TIME Magazine)

What I’m saying:

Gaining a lot of steam on the awards circuit, Mommy looks like a really great foreign, character drama. It’s got that family underdog story that keeps you invested in the characters to see them through to the end. SEE IT!

Although there are three new releases this weekend, Strange Magic doesn’t seem like the big spectacle kids movie that would interest many youngsters based on its aged animation; Mortdecai looks to way to bizarre to really stand out and Johnny Depp proved in Transcendence that he doesn’t have the star power that we all thought he had; and The Boy Next Door is, well, The Boy Next Door. With so much buzz and praise surrounding American Sniper, the Oscar nominee has the odds in its favor. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be:

Winner: American Sniper


Movie synopses courtesy of IMDb.com and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoes

Find me on the Twitter @TyRawrrnosaurus

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