Boom, Bust, or Meh: February 2018

Welcome to the lead up to the Oscars, GUG fans! And welcome to the BBoM of February, where we focus on five films of the month and the predictions we have for them! As with every BBoM article, each film receives one of the following scores:

Boom: A film that’s certainly worth your time and attention, if not an award or two of some sort.

Bust: A film where the only award it’ll win is a Razzie.

Meh: That film that no one is talking about because it’s not overly horrible or exceptional in any way.

With that introduction, let’s crank open the month of February vault!

The Results

Before we get to our film predictions, let us take a look at the outcome of our January predictions!

1. Molly’s Game – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 81%

Audience Score: 86%

Box Office

Production Budget: $30 million

Worldwide: $25 million

Juliana: Molly’s Game is only just starting to be released overseas, which will no doubt help its box office result. Regardless, it is liked by critics and regular audiences alike, and even has an Oscar nomination. It’s a BOOM!

2. The Post – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 88%

Audience Score: 74%

Box Office

Production Budget: $50 million

Worldwide: $83 million

Juliana: It performed abysmally overseas, but it still managed to make a tidy profit. With two Oscar nods, including Best Picture, it pleased audiences and impressed critics enough to warrant declaring this a BOOM!

Our review!

3. The Commuter – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 58%

Audience Score: 48%

Box Office

Production Budget: $30 million

Worldwide: $59 million

Juliana: This action thriller proved entertaining, though it certainly had its flaws. Take it or leave it. Meh.

4. Paddington 2 – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 100%

Audience Score: 90%

Box Office

Production Budget: $50 million

Worldwide: $185 million

Juliana: Thank goodness more people went to see this one! Look at that 100% critic score! While we’ve only just begun 2018, some critics are shocked to confess that this may well be the best film of the year. Who would have thought it would be a family film? BOOM! Go see it!

Our review!

5. Maze Runner: The Death Cure – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 45%

Audience Score: 77%

Box Office

Production Budget: $62 million

Domestic: $108 million

Juliana: Doing better overseas than domestically, critics haven’t warmed to this trilogy whilst audiences don’t seem to mind it. A strong finish to a rather average franchise. Meh.

Our review!

Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My current prediction record is (30-16), Sarah Bennett’s is (21-19), and Tyler Hummel’s is (2-3).

Black Panther

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: February 16, 2018

Synopsis: T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. (IMDB)

Director: Ryan Coogler

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis

The Predictions 

Juliana Purnell (30-16): BOOM! – What Wonder Woman achieved for female representation in film, is what Black Panther will be for African Americans. It may not be critically acclaimed, but this will be a landmark film. Now that Marvel has firmly established its universe, it has the freedom to deeply explore themes and characters. It has been a while since they’ve had a flop; the closest they’ve come in recent years is better described as mediocre as opposed to terrible. I personally haven’t seen much advertising for this film, but there’s a lot of buzz and groundswell of support.

Sarah Bennett (21-19): Meh – I don’t think the plot will be strong enough for this stand-alone Marvel flick. I am looking forward to the way it works into Avengers Infinity War.

Tyler Hummel (2-3): BOOM! – Ryan Coogler has set himself up as one of the most exciting young directors around with Creed. It’s possible we’re all overstating things and that he might not be able to replicate his success but much of what we’re seeing suggest we’re due a very solid Marvel superhero movie.

The 15:17 to Paris

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: February 9, 2018

Synopsis: Three Americans discover a terrorist plot aboard a train while in France. (IMDB)

Director: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer, Thomas Lennon, Tony Hale

The Predictions 

Juliana Purnell (30-16): Meh – Clint Eastwood’s movies either nail it or they start strong and fizzle out. Here we’ve got a true story about a foiled terrorist attack where the sequence of events, in real time, would’ve only lasted a few minutes. So a lot of the narrative will rely on flashbacks, establishing the protagonists and their friendship with each other.

This may be fortuitous since Eastwood has made the risky decision to cast the real-life heroes as themselves and shifting the focus of the movie to the past (and therefore, child actors) means the entire story won’t need to rely on their performances. If he pulls it all off, then this film may resonate with audiences as strongly as Only the Brave. If he doesn’t, then it’ll be all build up and fizzle, with an on-the-nose message about friendship, complete with a gimmicky casting experiment. Unfortunately, I’m expecting the latter.

Sarah Bennett (21-19): Boom! – Clint Eastwood and a military story are always a winning combo. Fiscally, this will be one of February’s top earners, partially due to such a slim field.

Tyler Hummel (2-3): Meh – Clint Eastwood is at a weird stage in his career. His post-Gran Torino work is some of his more popular and yet critically-despised work. Fans love him and critics hate what he’s done largely. 15:17 to Paris seems to be the third in his American heroes series of films and while the gimmick of booking the actual heroes of the event is quite the selling point I can easily see this one receiving a low critical response.

Peter Rabbit

Rating: PG

Release Date: February 9, 2018

Synopsis: Feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer’s vegetable garden. (IMDB)

Director: Will Gluck

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, James Corden (voice), Margot Robbie (voice), Daisy Ridley (voice), Rose Byrne

The Predictions 

Juliana Purnell (30-16): Bust – Who asked for a grossly modernized rendition of the quaint, beloved tale of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit? No one. With animals breaking into houses and having frat parties, it’s insulting to adult audiences who look upon the source material with fondness, while its presentation and themes are too vulgar for the littlies. Even if Domhnall Gleeson manages to pull off his romantic side plot with Rose Byrne, there’s not enough incentive for parents to buy tickets for this mind-numbing experience to share with their kids. The critics have already sharpened their knives, ready for a flopsy.

Sarah Bennett (21-19): Bust – My prediction? “You’re trying too hard.” Really, casting the same actor who is a villain in Star Wars to play the villain in Peter Rabbit isn’t the best choice. It’ll be too scary/violent for little ones and too juvenile for anyone older.

Tyler Hummel (2-3): Bust – Whatever serious inquiries I can make about this are overpowered by the fact that my celebrity-crush Daisy Ridley is in this movie. That being said, a cold critical look at the trailer doesn’t look promising…

Early Man

Rating: PG

Release Date: February 16, 2018

Synopsis: Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of Dug, along with sidekick Hognob as they unite his tribe against the mighty enemy Lord Nooth and his Bronze Age City to save their home. (IMDB)

Director: Nick Park

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Eddie Redmayne

The Predictions 

Juliana Purnell (30-16): Meh – Wallace & Gromit have been a respectable franchise, and I believe Early Man will do reasonably well at the box office due to the audience’s trust in Aardman Animations’ past productions. Yet the trailer seems to reveal an amusing, yet generic plot. I don’t get the sense that Early Man will feel fresh– there’ll be some great jokes for all ages, but the story will just be the regular children’s movie fare. It’ll be above average, but nothing really to rave about. Meh.

Sarah Bennett (21-19): Bust – Sorry, but this isn’t Wallace and Gromit. Yes, there are some top-billed names, and I do hope it does well at the box office, I’m not sure the storyline will be strong enough to pull it through (but I hope I’m wrong!).

Tyler Hummel (2-3): Meh – The animation group behind Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run is back with a new feature film. Considering the people I know who have seen their more recent films like Shaun The Sheep and who have enjoyed them I’m assuming this is a solid maybe.

Annihilation

Rating: Not yet classified. R is predicted.

Release Date: February 23, 2018

Synopsis: A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply. (IMDB)

Director: Alex Garland

Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson

The Predictions 

Juliana Purnell (30-16): BOOM! – In the past, director Alex Garland has had a hand in creating two of the most influential films of their respective genres: 28 Days Later and Ex Machina. His directorial debut was the latter, and while those that did manage to catch it on the silver screen adored it, he has warned that his next film, Annihilation will be the complete opposite. A loosely sprawling, open-minded, multi-character arched adventure, Garland has also stated that its narrative structure won’t be as straightforward as the trailer suggests.

This could mean that the film might go in the way of mother! which divided critics and scared off audiences due to its weirdness. Or, more likely, Garland has produced another intellectually stimulating, genre-defining piece of cinematic art. Given that Natalie Portman has a penchant for picking solid films (when she’s not partaking in the massive Hollywood blockbuster-making machine), I trust that while Annihilation won’t appeal to masses, this will be an amazing experience for movie buffs and film critics alike.

Sarah Bennett (21-19): Meh – I think this will be a cult favorite, but the masses won’t appreciate the director’s penchant for obtuse storytelling or camera shots.

Tyler Hummel (2-3): BOOM! – Alex Garland is the most underrated modern science fiction director. He scripted 28 Days Later and Dredd before making his directorial debut on the critically acclaimed Ex Machina. We have every reason to believe he’s come to the table with another great film.

Thanks for reading this month’s edition! Let us know your predictions in the comment section. Join us next month for another edition of “Boom, Bust, or Meh!”

Are you looking forward to any of these films? What are your predictions? What film are you looking forward to most in February?

Juliana Purnell

After obtaining a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts, Juliana Purnell has enjoyed a successful acting career, working within theme parks, businesses, and on film sets. She has also taken on crew roles, both in film and theatrical productions. When Juliana isn't working, she enjoys watching movies of all genres at the cinema, writing, and playing with Samson, her pomeranian.

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