Boom, Bust, or Meh: January 2016

Hello everybody! My name is Trey Soto and welcome to the first “Boom, Bust, or Meh” edition of 2016, where we take a look at 5 upcoming films of the month and give our predictions on how they will perform! Each prediction receives one of the following scores:
Boom: A fantastic film worth watching more than once in the same week.
Bust: A box office bomb that will take some time recovering from.
Meh: A mediocre release that you will probably forget in T-minus 2 minutes after leaving the theater.
With that short introduction, sit back, relax, enjoy your popcorn, and read the predictions!


The Results

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

1. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Trip – Bust

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 17%
Audience Score: 57%
Box Office
Production Budget: $90 millions
Worldwide: $95 million
Trey: Lesson learned: Sequels do not make everything better.

2. In the Heart of the Sea – Bust 

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 43%
Audience Score: 58%
Box Office
Production Budget: $100 million
Worldwide: $83 million
Trey: I called it when I first saw the trailer. Talk about boring and uninteresting.

3. Joy – Meh…

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 60%
Audience Score: 59%
Box Office
Production Budget: $60 million
Worldwide: $57 million
Trey: I guess a returning cast under a former director does not always pay off.
Our Review!

4. The Hateful Eight – Meh…

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 75%
Audience Score: 79%
Box Office
Production Budget: $44 million
Domestic: $37 million
Trey: Not the best Tarantino has offered, but still can be enjoyable.
Our Review!

5. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 93%
Audience Score: 90%
Box Office
Production Budget: $200 million
Worldwide: $1 billion
Trey: Nothing like seeing your childhood back on the big screen with a new story and memorable characters.
Our Review!
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My current record is (10-9). Nestor is at (9-14). Chris is at (19-14).



The Forest

Rating: PG-13
Release Date: January 8, 2016
Synopsis: Against the backdrop of Japan’s Aokigahara forest, where people go to end their lives, an American woman braves the mysterious, uncharted terrain to search for her missing sister (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Jason Zada
Starring: Sara Cornwell, Nick Antosca, Ben Ketai

The Prediction

Chris Hecox (19-14) – Bust 
The Forest looks to be a quick rip for extra cash, capitalizing off Natalie Dormer’s fanbase from the Game of Thrones crowd. A suicide forest where her sister disappeared, her staying faithful by sticking it out through the night, being pulled underground, blah blah. It’s not too interesting, and I think we’ve seen this kind of thing before. Interesting to note is Dormer acting alone, when typically we have an ensemble of characters who seem to die off one by one, but maybe she’s just tortured by her demons from the past or something. Who knows. Let’s move on.
Trey Soto (10-9) – Bust 
If this was more of a thriller or an intense drama, I probably would have been more open to the idea of The Forest. Instead, we get a instant cash grab that will try and pull off a twist ending that becomes predictable–basically, what any modern horror film tries to do these days. To add to this, the cast is small and, by my guess, Sara will be the only interesting character out of everyone, which is not saying much.



13 Hours: The Soldiers of Benghazi 

Rating: R

Release Date: January 15, 2016
Synopsis: Based on the book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi (Rotten Tomatoes), 13 Hours focuses on the 2012 Benghazi attack at the U.S. Embassy and the American soldiers that stayed behind to protect the U.S. Ambassador from Islamic militants.
Director: Michael Bay
Starring: John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, James Badge Dale, David Costabile


 The Prediction

Chris Hecox (19-14) – Bust 
Most typically bash on Michael Bay for explosions and shallow characters, but the trailer says it all. I’m interested until Bay’s name pops up, and then my mind immediately thinks about every boring and abused character he has directed and written. Perhaps this one might stand out, but as what looks to be more of an action flick than a drama, my expectations are low. Anticipate some flowery, forced scenes where the soldiers talk about their families back home, and something-something-Hillary-Clinton-got-men-killed, something-something. Did I mention January releases are almost always bad? Specifically action movies?
Trey Soto (10-9) – Meh…
Most of us can recall the last time Director Michael Bay took on an American true story, which was Pearl Harbor (2001). Most of us can also remember how terrible that movie was, from the false advertisement to the unbearable fictional love triangle. While the trailers for 13 Hours seems to be avoiding those same problems, it is hard to believe that Michael Bay will give us an accurate telling of the events without overdoing the action and explosions. January is not the best month for action films, so Michael Bay will fit right in.



Kung Fu Panda 3

Rating: PG
Release Date: January 29, 2016
Synopsis: When Po’s long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters. But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible-learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas (Rotten Tomatoes)!
Director: Alessandro Carolni, Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Starring: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan

The Prediction

Chris Hecox (19-14) – BOOM!
Unashamed Jack Black fan, I also love the inclusion of Bryan Cranston. I adore the original Kung Fu Panda, but I’ve yet to see the second addition to the series. The trailer (as always) reveals many of the jokes and a lot about the big bad, but it still looks fun and entertaining enough for kids and their parents. I would almost always recommend a film from this series, but I’d like to take a closer look at this one when it releases.
Trey Soto (10-9) – BOOM!
If there is one film I am honestly looking forward to this month, it is Kung Fu Panda 3! When the second sequel was released in 2011, I was greatly hesitant, knowing that animation sequels were a huge hit or miss. But it was hit in my book! Because of that, I am really looking forward to installment three. Is it similar to the previous installments? Sure, but hey, it’s a kids movie and one that makes audiences of all ages laugh. Also, Bryan Cranston is voicing Po’s father. How can I miss out on Bryan Cranston?



The Finest Hours

Rating: PG-13
Release: January 29, 2016
Synopsis: Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias’ book detailing a daring 1952 Coast Guard rescue off the New England seaboard comes to the screen in this Disney film production (Rotten Tomatoes).
After receiving emergency reports of an oil tanker tearing in half during a storm out in the ocean, The Coast Guard makes a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after the surviving crew during a cold and merciless blizzard.
Director: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Chris Pine, Eric Bana, Ben Foster, Josh Stewart

The Prediction

Chris Hecox (19-14) – Meh… 
This is just weird marketing. The trailer makes no effort to establish characters. It’s jumbled and messy. I like Casey Affleck and Chris Pine, but everything about this movie feels scattered. I think audiences won’t know what’s going on. I guess a ship is capsizing, but will anyone really care? It seems like it wants to be both an action and a drama, and confused movies leave audiences concerned they spent money on it in the first place.
Trey Soto (10-9) – Meh…
My problem with Disney creating films based on true events is that, most of the time, they are unconvincing and they can only go so far in the rich detail for the sake of keeping it family-friendly. The Finest Hour does not look any different from Disney’s nonfiction-based films. Shallow characters, not enough depth, and predictable just by trailer standards. Sure, it’s a true story, but even then don’t give it away in the trailer.



Jane Got a Gun 

Rating: R
Release: January 29, 2016
Synopsis: With help from her ex-fiancé, Jane must defend her family from a vengeful gang of outlaws who plan to hang her husband (IMDb).
Director: Gavin O’ Connor
Starring: Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Noah Emmerich, Ewan McGregor

The Prediction

Chris Hecox (19-14) – Bust
So, if The Finest Hour looked confusing, then this is worse. Unfortunately, Jane Got a Gun has been plagued by casting, writing, and production issues since its early development. This absolutely rides the strangest line between action and drama, but also a “gritty western”? I’m really not sure what’s going on here. Studios dump the weird ones into the first few months of the new year, and that explains this at least. Good luck if you make your way to the theater for this one. I like Portman and McGregor and Edgerton, but talent can be easily wasted. All of that said, Director Gavin O’Connor also put together Warrior, which is one of my favorite sports dramas, so if you hate this, at least give him a shot with that one.
Trey Soto (10-9) – Bust
Wow, talk about trying too hard. With the exception of Joel Edgerton, I cannot take the cast seriously in their accents and character. Ewan McGregor plays countless great protagonist roles, so to see him as an antagonist in the trailer is just very unconvincing. As for Natalie Portman, she does not fit the Western role from what I am seeing. It looks really forced and really uninteresting. If you want an enjoyable western that is full of gunslinging in a showdown, I recommend The Pale Rider (1985) or 3:10 to Yuma (2007).


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


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

Trey Soto

Trey Soto holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Biola University, emphasis in Interpersonal/Rhetorical Theory. He has been a Film Critic/Analysis for over a year at Geeks Under Grace and other websites such as Temple of Geek. In his spare time, he enjoys comic book literature, screenwriting, production assistant freelancing, photography, cosplay, and hosting his own film podcast T.V. Trey on Podbean and iTunes.

1 Comment

  1. Maurice Pogue on January 18, 2016 at 12:04 am

    The Forest: Stopped paying attention at “Japan’s backdrop: and “American Woman.” Hollywood, c’mon, son!

    I’ll consider taking my kids to see Kung Fu Panda 3. I have enjoyed those movies.

Leave a Reply