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!
It has been a while since we have played this style of the game. Before the COVID pandemic, we would judge a film’s success partly by their box office figures and reception. Of course, with the temporary closure of theaters around the world, that metric could no longer be used. So we played a variation of this game where we included online releases: Buy, Rent, or Wait. Now that theatrical releases have seemingly returned and stabilized (fingers crossed), we can return to our original programming!
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).
With that introduction, let’s see what January 2022 has to offer!
Release Date: January 7, 2022
Synopsis: When a top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands, a wild card CIA agent joins forces with three international agents on a lethal mission to retrieve it, while staying a step ahead of a mysterious woman who’s tracking their every move.(IMDB).
Director: Simon Kinberg
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger
Juliana Purnell (89-68): Meh – There’s nothing in the trailer that looks fresh or original. We’ve seen this spy movie before. Even with a female cast, we’ve seen this spy movie before. This genre as of late hasn’t exactly been devoid of female representation—in fact, it’s probably equal, which is great, but it means it’s no longer the selling point that Hollywood thinks it is. The 355 looks competent (I’m sure there’s some decent action scenes and the stakes look adequate) but just really generic, so I don’t have any hopes this film will be memorable or particularly stand out from the other films in the genre that have littered the silver screen before it.
Tyler Hummel (73-53): Meh – January is the dumpster of movie months. If it were confident enough to run against blockbusters in June or Oscar flicks in December, it would. When a film is released in January, it means the studio wants an inoffensive time when the film will release to meager success and when there’s nothing else to compete against it. Thus a film like The 355, which doesn’t look terrible but also doesn’t look particularly interesting or engaging. It’s a mid-tier action movie in the style that Hollywood is great at spinning out on a yearly basis; secret agents defending the world from something evil, but with the added twist of several female stars in the chair this time. Like I said, if the studio had faith in this film it wouldn’t be releasing in January but I can’t imagine it’ll be overwhelmingly terrible.
Release Date: January 14, 2022
Synopsis: Twenty-five years after the original series of murders in Woodsboro, a new killer emerges, and Sidney Prescott must return to uncover the truth. (IMDB).
Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette
Juliana Purnell (89-68): BOOM! – If any movie is going to be successful this month, then it’s Scream. The fifth film of a popular horror franchise, the series so far has been fairly decent, with the first of course being iconic within the slasher subgenre. While it’s famous for its knife-wielding, Ghostface mask-wearing killer, it’s also renown for being meta, with the films usually providing satirical commentary on the genre as a whole. Part of their appeal is their tendency to try and reinvent or challenge the genre, though it’s a tall order and the franchise has become more generic the longer it has continued. If this movie manages to find something to say this time around, then it should be a hit—horror films tend to perform well at the box office. It’s more like to be just another bland slasher film, but I want to be hopeful.
Tyler Hummel (73-53): Bust – This film I’m more openly willing to predict a failure. Scream is the fifth film in its franchise and the first one done without director Wes Craven at the helm, following his tragic passing.
The King’s Daughter
Release Date: January 21, 2022
Synopsis: King Louis XIV’s quest for immortality leads him to capture and steal a mermaid’s life force, a move that is further complicated by his illegitimate daughter’s discovery of the creature. (IMDB).
Director: Sean McNamara
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, William Hurt, Benjamin Walker, Kaya Scodelario
Juliana Purnell (89-68): Meh – The King’s Daughter feels like it belongs more in the 90s as a made-for-television movie (which is a style I have no idea how to describe to the next generation that have been raised amongst a plethora of streaming services). It’s a low budget semi-epic movie with fantasy elements that makes up for its CGI misgivings with a decent amount of heart. Judging from the trailer, the plot for this film seems to deviate everywhere, then again it at least seems more original than most theatrical releases. I’m not expecting great things here, but for the right person this could be their guilty pleasure flick.
Tyler Hummel (73-53): Meh – Good cast and good looking production design do not make a good film. The King’s Daughter is a film that looks like it was lifted wholesale from some random YA book and adapted for the screen, and its low-fi premise and “intimate” stakes reflect that. This doesn’t look like it’ll amount to much outside of it’s attempt at a small fairy story.
Release Date: January 21, 2022
Synopsis: Sold into prostitution as a child, Angel knows nothing but betrayal. Can her heart ever be mended? Based upon the novel by Francine Rivers. (IMDB).
Director: D.J. Caruso
Starring: Abigail Cowen, Tom Lewis, Famke Janssen
Juliana Purnell (89-68): Bust – Redeeming Love is a Christian book adaptation that seeks to “modernize” the tale between Hosea and Gomer. Instead of telling the story within Biblical times, which is now very foreign and unrelatable to Western audiences, Redeeming Love sets it within the context of the American West, which I believe could work well. This reimagining of the Bible and recontextualizing lessons in a way to make them more accessible is something I really support. I want to see more Christian creators take this route. I want more of this type of content. I will most likely watch this film if it releases in my country. The reason why I’m labelling this as a bust is because I know it’s going to be slammed by mainstream audiences, no doubt because the plot will come across as misogynistic given that judging a woman for her promiscuity is a big no-no in society these days. You never know—maybe the movie might dodge that issue, but I really cannot hazard a guess as to how.
Tyler Hummel (73-53): Bust – Yet another book adaptation getting dropped in January. The premise sounds like a bog standard, if somewhat darker than usual, romance story set in the old west. A young man falls in love with a prostitute and decides to try and sweep her off her feet and marry her. It sounds like the premise of a romance novel and a cheap one at that. Unless this springs something surprising I really don’t think it’ll amount to much.
Release Date: January 28, 2022
Synopsis: Biochemist Michael Morbius tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease, but he inadvertently infects himself with a form of vampirism instead. (IMDB).
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Jared Leto, Michael Keaton, Adria Arjona
Juliana Purnell (89-68): Meh – There was a time, however briefly, when Jared Leto was a household name in cinema. He’s got the talent, and he’s tried to stretch himself within indie film roles, but unlike Robert Patterson, he hasn’t always picked the best projects. There are many mediocre movies in his filmography. That said, Sony has been doing well lately, with a lot of their most recent productions being well received. Have they hit their stride? Morbius feels like a wildcard in that if it gets the tone right, it could very well become a cult classic amongst the overused superhero genre… or it could just as easily tank at the box office. I’m predicting somewhere in-between; decently entertaining but ultimately unmemorable.
Tyler Hummel (73-53): Bust – If a Marvel movie is dropping in January, we KNOW we have a stinker on our hands. Morbius is the next in Sony’s lineup of attempts to do Spider-Man villain spin-off films alongside its two very financially successful Venom movies. Everything about it sounds terrible from its lead performance from Jared Leto to its cheap vampire origin story. The strange tease that Michael Keaton’s Vulture from Spider-Man Homecoming as a presence in the film doesn’t make it any more appealing. The film looks cheap, and unless millions of people are just going to pack the theater because of its tenuous connection to Spider-Man, I really foresee this film as a complete bust both financially and critically.
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!”