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Movie Review: ‘Wish Upon’ Grants Horror Both Despicable and Laughable

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Wish Upon Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

How does Wish Upon stack up against Final Destination? Read our movie review to find out:

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ish Upon is that special kind of bad movie that left me laughing at its misfires by the time the credits began to roll with its goofy theme song and spooky imagery. As I sat in the theater getting out all the cackles I had been politely holding in throughout this entire farce, an audience member approached me with a perplexed expression as though I had a laugh at Schindler’s List. He sat down next to me and demanded I explain myself.

Among the many ridiculous misfires, I cited how the plot of cursed wishes with deadly consequences was such a weak and unoriginal story concept. “Yeah, but I still liked the concept,” he defended. He didn’t seem to have a defense for the despicable characters, ridiculous deaths and dated ideas of teen slang.

Wish Upon Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Don’t open the box!

But let’s talk about this concept that was apparently so fascinating for at least one viewer. There’s a box of Chinese origins that holds the power of a demon, granting seven wishes to whoever possesses it. Each wish comes with the blood price of the murder of a friend, neighbor, family member or someone you just met (whichever is convenient for the plot). If you lose the box or give it to someone else, all your wishes are undone. When all seven wishes have been granted, a demon comes to take your soul to hell.

The latest owner of the box is Claire (Joey King), an unfortunate teenager who could just so happen to use some fulfillment of wishes. Her dad (Ryan Phillippe) digs through dumpsters during the day, her house is in disrepair, and she can’t afford new clothes and is mocked by the popular girls of school. And with a rough childhood of discovering her mother hanging herself, Claire’s life is such a bummer. Do kids still say bummer? How about dude and awesome sauce? The teenagers of this picture sure use both of those phrases a lot. The dialogue feels as though a 50-year-old writer who tried to pick up the lingo by reading a bunch of teen magazines and watching the “hippest” of YouTube videos conceived the script. If awesome sauce wasn’t already dated slang, it’s certainly hit its expiration date here.

Wish Upon Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

The horror!

Part of what makes a film about a curse so engaging is caring about the character affected by it. This is what made Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell so good because we want to see the unlucky girl climb out of her pit of misfortune. While that film had a heroine with bad luck, Wish Upon features characters that are just plain bad.

Claire’s first wish is that the prim and proper popular chick at school that wrongs her would “just rot.” Sure enough, the good-looking social princess wakes up the next morning with her flesh rotting away. How do Claire and her friends respond to such news? With a middle finger to the popular kids and triumphant giggles for their school bully being sent to the hospital with a deadly disease that will lead to amputation. And this is the exact moment where Claire’s character loses all credibility.

Wish Upon Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

She might need to see a doctor.

After that point, I didn’t care about Claire’s desires. I didn’t care that she wished to be rich, leading to a lame montage of her friends shopping and taking selfies. I didn’t care that she finally attracted the attention of the cute boy she had always wanted to date. So many of these selfish wishes continue to mount, even when Claire finally learns all the rules about the box and what it will do to her. Yeah, that Chinese demon may claim your soul, but I guess that’s worth it to not have soda thrown at you in the school hallways anymore. Every single character becomes more likable than her when they tell Claire she has lost her mind to sacrifice the lives of others for her perfect life. The horrible fate that awaits her is too good for her.

Related: Movie Review: ‘The Little Hours’ Has Nuns, Witches, Lords & Laughs

How the demon takes lives is a method that seems to be the dollar store version of Final Destination demises. Characters will die in horrible and sometimes comical accidents, but were they really accidents? When your kitchen sink garbage disposal is acting up, is your first instinct really to stick your bare fingers into the drain? When you’re changing a tire with your car jacked, do you really want to crawl all the way under the car just to grab one bolt while the car is raised? There are a few deaths that appear as bad luck, but a good chunk of them seem to occur from the characters making stupid decisions. And wouldn’t that be a better twist that the demon had nothing to do with these deaths?

Read more for the rest of the Wish Upon movie review:

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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Review: “Captain Marvel” is a Solidly Sensational Sci-Fi Adventure

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Captain Marvel joins the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a much different way. She slides into the MCU via a twisty sci-fi adventure of the 1990s, before the Avengers were formed. And though the film does serve as a strong bridge picture that answers a few more questions about the Marvel universe, the film quickly becomes its own thing and gives its hero a real identity as the powerful addition to the superhero ensemble.

Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, a woman not sure if she’s a human pilot of Earth or a soldier of the Kree empire’s Starforce. There’s little time to explore these conflicting visions she’s having when there’s special energy powers to control and a war being waged against the shape-shifting Skrull alien creatures. A detour to 1990s Earth gives her a bit of time to find out more while also hunting down some more Skrulls, leading to some interesting scenarios when combatting aliens that could look like old ladies.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

Carol’s landing on Earth leads to treading down familiar Marvel timeline territory as well as evoking plenty of dated 1990s bits. What started drawing me into the picture was how the film holds itself back from the obvious. The 1990s setting is used for some gags of video stores and Windows 95, sure, but never goes the extra mile of becoming an aggravating reference fest, keeping a certain vibe the way Guardians of the Galaxy embraced the 1970s and 1980s. And just like that film, there’s a nostalgic soundtrack to boot, with choice tracks for just the right cue.

Samuel L. Jackson pops up in the film as a younger Nick Fury with his two eyes still intact. He teams up with Carol in her intergalactic spy adventure and thankfully never goes to the booming lengths he was known for that decade. And the filmmakers could have easily made this younger Fury go full Die Hard 3 or Pulp Fiction but he never does, always keeping that cool persona he has been known for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..L to R: Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

But the one aspect that is never shunned and built up grandly is the aspect of female empowerment. Danvers is established as a woman who doesn’t have a clear identity or mindful nature of galactic politics and has to build herself up when she realizes she may be a very powerful pawn in a big game of intergalactic chess. Her memories are that of always being told to back off from non-traditional activities for girls and, sure enough, she rises up to become the smirking and energy-shooting hero when the final piece of her character puzzle is pieced together. It’s just unfortunate that the film spends so much time doing the building amid a twisty sci-fi spy story that Brie never gets a moment to shine as brightly as she could, despite a very enthusiastic third-act closer.

If we’re being blunt, no, Captain Marvel doesn’t quite have the same gravity to be a cultural milestone of a comic book movie. Where others have pointed to Black Panther as not the first the most insightful and cultural of black-led superhero movies, I doubt many will look towards Captain Marvel as the grandest of female-led comic book movies, making its motives known with the power and subtlety of a supernova. But, in terms of what the film is aiming towards, it doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that’s perhaps the point. I just wish that Captain Marvel’s astounding powers to destroy starships and aliens had a much bigger punch for a picture that wants to obliterate the glass ceiling and merely cuts a narrow hole within the MCU. It’s a nice hole, mind you, and still weaves a capable and compelling sci-fi adventure with a surprisingly more engaging finale than most Marvel solos.

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