Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. The weekend warriors of April 24, 2015 includes The Age of Adaline and Little Boy, as well as two limited releases. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others and determine who will be victorious. Should you see ’em, skip ’em, or rent ’em? Find out after the break.
Last weekend, Furious 7 joined American Sniper and Fifty Shades of Grey in the 2015 three weekend club, raising its total domestic gross to $294 million. Since then, Furious 7 has crossed over $300 million and has become the fastest film to cross the $1 billion mark worldwide beating the previous title holder, Marvel’s The Avengers, by two days – from 19 to 17 days.
Can an original romance eternal youth beat out the macho men and women and their fast cars or will a precocious kid mind trick you into gaining your money? If you fall I will catch you – I’ll be waiting. This is the Box Office Battlefield:
The Age of Adaline (Lee Toland Krieger) Rated PG-13 [110 min] – A young woman, born at the turn of 20th century, is rendered ageless after an accident. After years of a solitary life, she meets a man who might be worth losing her immortality for. Starring Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Kathy Baker, Ellen Burstyn, and Amanda Crew
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 53% • Audience – 74%
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think The Age of Adaline is an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel in its unique proposition and young romance. But with more existentialism and less emphasis on a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance, surprisingly, this film is an original story that works fairly well in the context of its fantasy. Once you get past the unbearable over-narration of the magic involved, Adaline’s plight of eternal youth makes for a sad yet captivating watch.
Told over a span of 107 years, Krieger weaves the events of Adaline’s life well-enough not to drag the film down. The concept of living forever is something audiences are not unfamiliar with – films such as Only Lovers Left Alive, Twilight, The Fountain, and so on deal with this phenomenon in some way or another. In Adaline’s case, her internal struggle in dealing with her “misfortune” is amplified through a resonating performance by Blake Lively. However, Adaline’s ying to her yang is not complemented by her romantic interest but rather the character played by Harrison Ford, who is the true stand out of this film. Ford gives a strong show of his talent here, something we haven’t seen from him in quite some time. Believability rests solely on these two and they deliver more than adequately to present a poignant and telling story.
And although all the elements fit into place, unfortunately the key romance of the film feels inorganic and forced. I can see how these two attractive people can be infatuated with each other, and how Adaline can definitely draw the interest of any suitor, but I did not accept that she had as heartfelt feelings for Ellis (Huisman) as he did for her. But from my viewing, I saw their love as just a narrative device to help tell the real story of Adaline coming to terms with her extraordinary circumstance.
It’s a recognizable tale told well, that is confident in its mythology to create a somewhat refreshing perspective on love and life. MATINEE IT!
Little Boy (Alejandro Monteverde) Rated PG-13 [100 min] – An eight-year-old boy is willing to do whatever it takes to end World War II so he can bring his father home. The story reveals the indescribable love a father has for his little boy and the love a son has for his father. Starring Jakob Salvati, Emily Watson, David Henrie, and Michael Rapaport
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics –14% • Audience – 83%
“Despite boasting several important moral lessons, the period piece is more artificial than a polyester teddy bear stuffed with Splenda and Cheez Whiz – and about as appealing.” – Inkoo Kang (The Wrap)
“The lessons are so pat that every moment in which Pepper makes a good moral choice feels like an act of self-congratulation.” – Keith Phipps (The Dissolve)
From the trailer alone, I can hardly stand the acting from young Salvati, so I could only imagine that a minute’s worth of this film would have me clawing up the walls. The tone feels absolutely all over the place and to include faith-based messaging only makes it messier. SKIP IT!
The Water Diviner (Russell Crowe) Rated R [111 min] – An Australian man travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons. Starring Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney, and Isabel Lucas
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 60% • Audience – 66%
“Crowe needs, badly, a director to push back against his default mode: The script for The Water Diviner posits that Joshua Connor is the most interesting man in the frame at all times, but Crowe’s performance doesn’t earn that.” – Daniel D’Addario (TIME Magazine)
“Assuming you buy that a noble man of the earth can use his divining skills to locate loved ones in the muddy remains of war, there’s plenty else that stretches credibility in Crowe’s film.” – Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune)
As Crowe’s directorial feature film debut, The Water Diviner looks rather uninteresting. After last week’s Child 44 and now this, Hollywood seems to be fascinated with the loss of children. The trailer does little to capture my attention in any way. I see nothing within the narrative that could possibly be enthralling enough to entertain let alone present a fascinating story that would make it memorable after seeing it. WAIT FOR IT ON NETFLIX!
Adult Beginners (Ross Katz) Rated R [90 min] – A young, narcissistic entrepreneur crashes and burns on the eve of his company’s big launch. With his entire life in total disarray, he leaves Manhattan to move in with his estranged pregnant sister, brother-in-law and 3-year-old nephew in the suburbs – only to become their nanny. Starring Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Joel McHale, and Jane Krakowski
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics –44% • Audience – 68%
“An exhausting, predictable bit of tear-jerker fluff with a handful of decent scenes. It’s the type of film people who don’t take film seriously think is really edgy.” – Jordan Hoffman (The Guardian)
“Neither dramatic enough to qualify as drama nor amusing enough to completely succeed as comedy, it’s the kind of movie that coasts on pleasantness, content to elicit a few smiles before disappearing from memory banks.” – A.A. Dowd (AV Club)
As quirky as Adult Beginners may seem, and with such a fun cast, the film doesn’t seem to be getting much love from critics. I think the plot synopsis stating Kroll as “young” is a bit funny too. From what I gather, the movie is sort of funny, but isn’t strong enough in character to really care about anything that is going on within it. WAIT FOR IT ON NETFLIX!
The Age of Adaline is a decent movie. It has youthfully beautiful stars, Harrison Ford, and a unique premise. However, because it is a straight romance film it is limiting its audience base to a very small niche. Little Boy is only opening in a little under 1,100 theaters this weekend, compared to Adaline’s 3,000. Presumably, Furious 7’s theater count may drop this weekend due to it’s time in theaters, but last weekend it had 3,900 or so. I can’t see it dropping below 3,000 for one wide and one semi-wide release.
Furious 7 also earned about $30 million last weekend and has been dropping at a rate of about 50-percent every week. Adaline will have an OK debut thanks to those romantics out there, but Furious 7’s broad reach has it prime to succeed again. But barely. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be:
Winner: Furious 7
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Movie synopses courtesy of IMDb.com and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoe