Weekend Movies: Pans for “Jurassic,” “Catcher,” raves for “Damsel” and “King”

jur1In sports, they call it a “make good” call. You blow your evaluation of one play, and bend over backwards to find a way to benefit the player/team your previous mistake hurt.

It happens in film reviewing, too. When the world embraced Jim Carrey’s “Ace Ventura,” a passably funny/goofy comedy that in any event announced a major new screen star, “Siskel & Ebert” crucified it.

Carrey’s next two films, blockbusters as well, got genuflecting notices from the two Chicagoans on TV. “Mask” might have deserved that, but “Ace 2?” Pure “make good” call.

Same thing is happening with “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” Generous, indulgent reviews greeted “Jurassic World,” which was crap. It sat with a tomatometer rating in the ’80s for much of its run. Mostly late-filing “me too” critics panned it. Except for me. I was an outlier pre-opening day, a “cut and paste clone of the original.”

The latest sequel is even worse, but other critics, maybe even the ones who called “Jurassic World” “the best sequel in the series,” are back-pedaling. A 51 on Metacritic, 50 on RT at the moment. And falling. Yeah, I am aggregated on all the “most brutal reviews” compilations for that one. So?

This won’t hurt the junk food juggernaut that it is. The overseas receipts (China loves this garbage) are over $450 million already, and it earned $15 million plus Thursday night in North America. It could clear $130 by midnight Sunday. Because it’s this weekend’s “popcorn” event.

Nothing is opening wide opposite “Fallen Kingdom,” but there are alternatives entering limited release. The watchable, conservative and truncated “The Catcher is a Spy” is earning mixed notices (mine is here), “Damsel” is a dark and grimly funny delight, all agree including me, and “Boundaries” is a  just-cute-enough to get by grandpa stoner road trip comedy.

“The King” is further evidence that this is a Banner Year for Documentaries. We’ve have “RBG” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and a pretty good “Always at the Carlyle” so far. Now, an impressionistic portrait of Elvis from Eugene Jarecki. Well-worth digging into. 

“Incredibles 2” should hang onto enough audience to at least give the appearance of a box office race to the weekend. Will it clear $90. Probably.

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