Boom, Bust, or Meh – January 2024

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 January 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 December predictions!

1. The Shift – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 39%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 87%

IMDB Score: 6.5

Box Office

Production Budget: $6.4 million

Worldwide: $12 million

Critics lamented that there was too much happening in this sci-fi adaptation of the book of Job, but audiences liked the concept.

Our review!

2. Godzilla Minus One – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 98%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 98%

IMDB Score: 8.4

Box Office

Production Budget: $15 million

Worldwide: $85 million

Finally a monster movie with substance, Godzilla Minus One is one of the best in its genre.

Our review!

3. The Boy and the Heron – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 97%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 89%

IMDB Score: 7.6

Box Office

Production Budget: $100 million

Worldwide: $134 million

Visually stunning and thought-provoking, this film ponders over one’s legacy, particularly that of Miyazaki himself.

4. Wonka – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 82%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 91%

IMDB Score: 7.3

Box Office

Production Budget: $125 million

Worldwide: $391 million

Capturing the imagination, Wonka succeeds in being a wondrous musical the whole family can enjoy.

5. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 35%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 81%

IMDB Score: 6.0

Box Office

Budget: $205 million

Worldwide: $261 million

While it’s not terrible and may eventually be classed as underrated, many found the plot to be too convoluted for such a simple story, with the film’s behind-the-scenes drama unfortunately still taking up much of the spotlight.

New Releases

Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My record is (150-126).

Warning: This is a trailer of a horror film.

Night Swim

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: January 5, 2024

Synopsis: A woman swimming in her pool at night is terrorized by an evil spirit. (IMDB)

Director: Bryce McGuire

Starring: Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Amélie Hoeferle

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (150-126): Bust – The trailer attaches horror master James Wan to this production, though he is only the producer, meaning that his creative input could be minimal. Instead, it’s newcomer Bryce McGuire that has the credit of director and co-writer. After helming many shorts, Night Swim appears to be McGuire’s first feature film. While specializing in shorter narratives can hone one’s skills, it is a bit of a red flag; considering the simplicity of Night Swim’s premise, does it have enough ideas to justify one hour and thirty-eight minutes’ worth of runtime? Does McGuire have the skill yet to weave a longer story? For a film that’s mostly going to be contained to one location, it needs to keep building conflict in order to not drag, and I’m not convinced McGuire can pull this off, hence the January release date.

Warning: Some sexual references feature in this trailer.

Mean Girls

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: January 12, 2024

Synopsis: Cady Heron is a hit with the Plastics, an A-list girl clique at her new school when she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George. (IMDB)

Directors: Samantha Jayne, Arturo Perez Jr.

Starring: Angourie Rice, Jon Hamm, Reneé Rapp

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (150-126): Meh – In every generation there comes along a classic teen movie that encapsulates and reflects its time period. The original Mean Girls was one such film. The announcement of this remake is disappointing on two levels: there’s a lack of desire to create something new, and that they’re planning on reimagining a classic, something which no one asked for and is normally a doomed task. The only cause for hope is Tiny Fey’s involvement, as she is a talented screenwriter. The trailer alleviates some concern, as it demonstrates the strength of the original film’s plot, and that even if it’s retold, the remake could still survive on its strong foundations alone. Still, this version will always be naturally compared to the first, and it’s difficult to see this one outshining its predecessor.

Warning: Some light gore, gun violence and swear words feature in this trailer.

The Beekeeper

Rating: R

Release Date: January 12, 2024

Synopsis: In The Beekeeper, one man’s brutal campaign for vengeance takes on national stakes after he is revealed to be a former operative of a powerful and clandestine organization known as “Beekeepers”. (IMDB)

Director: David Ayer

Starring: Jason Statham, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Bobby Naderi

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (150-126): Bust – The Beekeeper just feels like any other Statham-led spy action thriller about some hidden Government entity that goes wild. I just don’t see how it will stand out from others in this genre. The trailer displays some interesting action set pieces, but I’m not keeping my hopes up, especially considering its January release date, given this seems to be the month a lot of studios will dump their projects if they’re unsure of their success.

The Book of Clarence

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: January 12, 2024

Synopsis: Struggling to find a better life, Clarence is captivated by the power of the rising Messiah and soon risks everything to carve a path to a divine existence. (IMDB)

Director: Jeymes Samuel

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy, Alfre Woodard

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (150-126): Meh – The Book of Clarence doesn’t have a strong demographic to target. The first trailer was quick to turn the Christian faith into a joke, mocking Jesus’ claims, with the production taking on a Life of Brian vibe. It positioned itself as the perfect film for those with similar beliefs, or those that actively enjoy tearing down religion. The second trailer is similar, except now it hints at a turbulent third act, where our protagonist might be humbled. So now it’s targeting those with a more balanced approach—those that are comfortable critiquing the more toxic aspects of religion, separating them from the core belief of Jesus’ existence and teachings. Except both groups tend to be more “all or nothing” types; those that are there to mock won’t accept a sudden turn of heart, whilst those that love Jesus will still have a hard time tolerating any disrepute of his character. It’s a story that will require maturity and nuance in order to appreciate it, but unfortunately I don’t have that much faith in modern audiences. It’ll disappoint people for different reasons.

I.S.S.

Rating: R

Release Date: January 19, 2024

Synopsis: Tensions flare in the near future aboard the International Space Station as a conflict breaks out on Earth. Reeling, the US and Russian astronauts receive orders from the ground; take control of the station by any means necessary (IMDB)

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Starring: Ariana DeBose, Chris Messina, John Gallagher Jr.

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (150-126): BOOM! – This looks like a tight, psychological thriller, broaching on topics that are relevant to today’s political climate. It’s good timing for a film like this to be released as it plays on people’s real-world concerns. The third act will make or break the success of this movie. If it comes up with a great ending, then there’s no reason why this won’t become a hidden gem. If the ending runs out of steam, then it will unravel all of the tension built within its runtime. I think the latter is most likely, however, I’m wondering if people might be able to look past it and still rate the film favourably should that occur.  

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 January?

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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