Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. The weekend warriors of September 11, 2015 includes The Visit and The Perfect Guy, 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 below!
Last weekend, not a single soul cared about the most recently released, being The Transporter Refueled and A Walk in the Woods. Instead, audiences decided it was best to throw their money at a faith based film no one has even talked about other than in box office reports, War Room. Straight Outta Compton almost ran away with a four weekend spree at the top spot, and everyone must have wanted to cleanse their palettes after all the gangster rap? Can M. Night Shamalamadingdong make his way back into the hearts of horror fans or will a hilariously awful looking film about a sociopath get its way? I see old people! This is the Box Office Battlefield:
The Visit (M. Night Shyamalan) Rated PG-13 [94 min] – A single mother finds that things in her family’s life go very wrong after her two young children visit their grandparents. Starring Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, and Peter McRobbie
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 64% • Audience – 64%
I really wanted to hate The Visit after being burned (see After Earth; The Last Airbender) by such a promising director with an eye for good suspense and storytelling (see Signs; The Sixth Sense), but I can’t. The Visit is definitely a step in the right direction for M. Night Shyamalan, though I wouldn’t be quick to say this a return to form. There are still awkward shifts in tone that aren’t quite as cringe worthy as the ones in The Happening and the characters are not the most likable people you care to root for. What works really well in The Visit is M. Night’s ability to create suspense through eerie visuals and uncomfortable tension. As with most of his works, The Visit is a slow burn only this time the twist pays off in spades. There are gaps in the plot that could have been filled and the movie feels a little long despite its short run-time. However, I can confidently say that I am now more open to see what M. Night can do if he can create another intimate story like this that is this just as entertaining. MATINEE IT!
The Perfect Guy (David M. Rosenthal) Rated PG-13 [100 min] – After breaking up with her boyfriend, a professional woman gets involved with a man who seems almost too good to be true. Starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, Morris Chestnut, and L. Scott Caldwell
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 25% • Audience – 78%
“Nobody goes to these Fatal Attraction retreads anymore for serious drama. But this one is a movie torn – too grim and self-important to go truly nuts, but too silly and slipshod to work on a more somber level.” – Bilge Ebiri (New York Magazine)
“The Perfect Guy – which was, it must be pointed out, deliberately not screened for critics prior to release – is a perfect example of how lame, lazy material strands good actors, resulting in a movie that looks great and feels less so.” – James Rocchi (The Wrap)
Not that I wanted to, but I couldn’t even see The Perfect Guy last night to review because it wasn’t playing in theaters last night nor was it screened for critics, which never speaks well to the quality of a film if thus is the case. The Perfect Guy does look a lot better and more put together than Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, but I can’t get over the intial concept to begin with. The trailer is a knee slapper, and the intensity from Michael Ealy is just hilarious because of how serious every thing is taken. It’s as if The Perfect Guy is the embodiment of the uncanny valley of movies. It wants to be taken seriously as a real movie but it’s oozing with superficiality. This movie looks bonkers in every way possible. WATCH IT ON NETFLIX!
Sleeping with Other People (Leslye Headland) [Limited] Rated R [95 min] – A good-natured womanizer and a serial cheater form a platonic relationship that helps reform them in ways, while a mutual attraction sets in. Starring Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Jordan Carlos, and Margarita Levieva
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 53% • Audience – 70%
“Although there are a handful of missteps, Sleeping With Other People is ultimately a satisfying charmer with a big payoff.” – Kate Erbland (The Playlist)
“Ms. Headland has a concept for a latter-day screwball comedy … but she doesn’t have the jokes or the emotionally textured characters that can fill in that conceit.” – Manohla Dargis (New York Times)
I like Alison Brie, but I can’t help but think she has a bad agent. She’s a wonderful television actress (see Mad Men; Community) and human being, however her roles on the big screen (Save the Date; Get Hard The 5-Year Engagement) have been pretty lackluster. Sleeping with Other People is definitely her biggest starring role in her career and I’m happy to see that she’s gaining more recognition, but the premise and trailer of the film seem so cliche. Nothing about it feels original or fresh. And I hate to be bias, but I have never liked anything Jason Sudeikis has done. Ever. RENT IT!
Goodnight Mommy (Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz) [Limited] Rated R [99 min] – Twin boys move to a new home with their mother after she has face changing cosmetic surgery, but under her bandages is someone the children don’t recognize. Starring Susanne Wuest, Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz, and Hans Escher
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 80% • Audience – 70%
“Beginning with a gentle lullaby and ending with a tightly packed wallop, Goodnight Mommy is one viscerally chilling, seriously unsettling horror film.” – Michael Rechtshaffen (Los Angeles Times)
“Holds your attention hostage even as the urge to look away from the terror grows within you.” – Rob Hunter (Film School Rejects)
I’ve tried to avoid a lot of the hype Goodnight Mommy has garnered since its festival circuit run. I was convinced of its value after taking only a peek at the trailer. The film looks so creepy. I love it. The reviews are hot and championing it. So I can’t wait to see it when it reaches theaters near me. SEE IT!
Let’s be honest here, The Perfect Stranger looks like the biggest joke of a movie that somehow escaped from the lost archives of Lifetime and made its way onto the silver screen by sheer luck. The Visit is rated PG-13 and I can’t help but think that moviegoers will be really curious after the fairly positive buzz being an M. Night Shyamalan movie and all. Everything else in theaters is so stale and folks have got to be thirsty for something new too. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be:
Winner: The Visit
What will you be watching this weekend? What did you think of the current releases? Tell us in the comment section below.
Movie synopses courtesy of IMDb.com and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoes