Boom, Bust, or Meh – April 2023

Welcome to Boom, Bust, or Meh, ladies and gentlemen! This is where we focus on five films released during the month and have some fun predicting their success! As with every BBoM article, each film receives one of the following scores from each participating GUG film critic:

Boom: A film you’ll remember for the rest of the year.

Bust: A film you’ll regret watching.

Meh: A film that entertains during the moment, but has no lasting impact.

At the end of each month, each of the films will be arbitrarily judged and the critic’s ongoing tally will be updated (the score is written beside their name: correct predictions – incorrect predictions).

Let’s see what April has to offer after we look at last month’s results!

The Results

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

1. Creed III – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 89%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 96%

IMDB Score: 7.1

Box Office

Production Budget: $75 million

Worldwide: $260 million

While Stallone’s iconic character, Rocky, was absent from this outing, Creed III demonstrated it could survive on its own, with a fantastic directing debut from Michael B. Jordan.

Our review!

2. Scream VI – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 77%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 91%

IMDB Score: 7.1

Box Office

Production Budget: $33-35 million

Worldwide: $147 million

While this franchise is beginning to show its age, there were still enough surprises to keep things fresh and entertaining.

Our review!

3. Shazam! Fury of the Gods – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 51%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 87%

IMDB Score: 6.5

Box Office

Production Budget: $100 million

Worldwide: $120 million

Suffering the same issues as many other sequels, where it simply wasn’t as good as the first, the film still contained enough heart and good vibes to win audiences.

Our review!

4. 65 – Bust

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 35%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 65%

IMDB Score: 5.7

Box Office

Production Budget: $45 million

Worldwide: $54 million

Can we just stop and appreciate for one second that the audience score is 65? That little coincidence is more fascinating than the film itself, with this movie’s plot somehow reducing what could have been a cool dinosaur flick to a paint-by-the-numbers survival thriller.

Our review!

5. John Wick: Chapter 4 – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 95%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 94%

IMDB Score: 8.3

Box Office

Budget: $100 million

Worldwide: $245 million

John Wick: Chapter 4 reigns in the silliness of the past movies, creating an epic conclusion to a franchise filled with jaw-dropping action sequences.

Our review!

6. Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 50%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 82%

IMDB Score: 6.3

Box Office

Budget: $50 million

Worldwide: $37 million

It took a while to see the outcome of this film, covering it all the way back in our March 2022 edition. Seems it wasn’t really worth the wait, as while the general public found it entertaining enough, film critics felt there were better action movies in the market.

Our review!

New Releases

Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My record is (125-106), and Tyler Hummel’s is (93-87).

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Rating: PG

Release Date: April 5, 2023

Synopsis: The story of The Super Mario Bros. on their journey through the Mushroom Kingdom. (IMDB)

Directors: Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic

Starring: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (125-106): BOOM! – There appears to be a lot of interest in this movie, and I’ve mostly seen it coming from adults, not children. The original film adaptation to one of gaming’s largest franchises is frequently cited as one of the worst game-to-film adaptations in cinematic history. Yet judging from the hype, there still seems to be a lot of fondness and hope involved, with many expecting this movie to be a fun outing, despite some concerns over the casting of Chris Pratt in the lead role. It feels like there’s a lot of goodwill out there, and all the film will need to do is just tell a decent story and keep things fun. Not sure if that will be enough for critics, but I’m hoping they will be pleasantly surprised and rate it high enough for it to be considered a BOOM!

On a Wing and a Prayer

Rating: PG

Release Date: April 7, 2023

Synopsis: After their pilot dies unexpectedly mid-flight, Doug White’s (Dennis Quaid) has to safely land a plane and save his entire family from insurmountable danger. (IMDB)

Director: Sean McNamara

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Heather Graham, Jesse Metcalfe

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (125-106): Bust – In my young adult years, I was an absolute sucker for the television docu-drama series, Air Crash Investigations. On a Wing and a Prayer features that same vibe, and I’m down for that. Add in a sprinkle of Christian theology, and I’m certainly interested, even though from the trailer I can tell this is a lower budgeted drama that will have many imperfections, where it may not progress much further than being a guilty pleasure to watch. I feel like I’m part of their intended demographic, however for those that aren’t, I cannot see people gravitating towards this film or rating it highly. For that reason, I think it will score poorly, and therefore get the “bust” judgement this time next month.

Warning: This trailer is of a horror film containing disturbing imagery of demonic possession.

The Pope’s Exorcist

Rating: R

Release Date: April 7, 2023

Synopsis: Inspired by the actual files of Father Gabriele Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican, The Pope’s Exorcist follows Amorth as he investigates a young boy’s terrifying possession and ends up uncovering a centuries-old conspiracy the Vatican has desperately tried to keep hidden. (IMDB)

Director: Julius Avery

Starring: Russell Crowe, Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essoe

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (125-106): Meh – When it comes to horror films, whilst some are just utterly depraved with their premise, the majority are simply creatives trying to explore darker territory and themes. However, I worry The Pope’s Exorcist might be too dark. There’s a point where you wonder what negative, dark space the screenwriters crafted the script within, and whether there are other forces at play as well, particularly given the subject matter. Sometimes horror films involving demonic possession are actually really affirming for the Christian faith, but they can act as a double-edged sword, as it invites the audience to think about the forces of evil, which can in turn invite trouble. God must be the victor, otherwise the piece becomes Satanic by default. Will the demon be portrayed as being too powerful in The Pope’s Exorcist? I must admit that I will have to prayerfully consider whether I want to watch this one.

In terms of its filmmaking, it’s a promising sign that Russell Crowe signed up to the lead role. The screenwriting team’s credentials are fairly solid as well, and it’s nice to see it’s based on a true story, meaning the plot will be somewhat more grounded compared to purely fictious pieces. It’s the director that gives me pause, as Julius Avery’s most prominent film to date is Samaritan, which was a little on the bland side. If the film’s direction on a subject matter such as this is not on point, then it won’t be a success. So I’m predicting a Meh.

Renfield

Rating: R

Release Date: April 14, 2023

Synopsis: Renfield, Dracula’s henchman and inmate at the lunatic asylum for decades, longs for a life away from the Count, his various demands, and all of the bloodshed that comes with them. (IMDB)

Director: Chris McKay

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Awkwafina

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (125-106): BOOM! – I just love the whole tone this film appears to be aiming for. I feel like I’ve been wanting a story in this vein for some time. Melodrama is such a fun theatrical genre, particularly when it comes to the stock villain and henchman dynamic, and the two Nicks are perfectly cast for such a light-hearted exploration. I think both critics and audiences alike are going to enjoy the film purely just because Nic Cage is playing a delightfully campy version of Dracula. Add in some well-choreographed fight sequences with a playful amount of gore, and this could be as enjoyable as Bullet Train, but with a more coherent plot.

Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World

Rating: Not yet rated

Release Date: April 28, 2023

Synopsis: The life and boxing career of George Foreman. (IMDB)

Director: George Tillman Jr.

Starring: Erica Tazel, Forest Whitaker, Sonja Sohn

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (125-106): Meh – There are a lot of biographical films releasing this month: Air, Sweetwater, and Chevalier, to name the ones releasing nationwide. Big George Foreman (I’m not typing out the rest of the title) might instantly get compared to other famous movies such as the Rocky franchise, but boxing is just such a cinematic sport. It will need to work hard to stand out in the sports subgenre and even the other biographical stories in April, but its Christian content will no doubt draw in its target demographic, and draw criticism from others. It looks like a solid film, but might be too plain for it to stand the test of time.

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 April?

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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