(Photo by 20th Century Fox/ courtesy Everett Collection)

All Matt Damon Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Before his breakout with Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon was already something of an actor to watch, showing versatility as a gaunt military medic in Courage Under Fire and as a determined law school grad in The Rainmaker. But looking to take creative control of his own career, he and partner-in-crime Ben Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting, earning the two a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, and an acting nom for Damon. After that, it was off to the races, working with the likes of Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan), Kevin Smith (Dogma, though he already had a previous cameo in Chasing Amy), Anthony Minghella (The Talented Mr. Ripley), and Martin Scorsese (The Departed).

Damon worked with Gus Van Sant a few more times (Finding Forrester, Gerry) before finding a truly kindred creative partner in Steven Soderbergh. Together, along with another regular cast of collaborators, he’s starred in three Ocean’s movies, Contagion, The Informant!, and Behind the Candelabra, with small cameos in Soderbergh’s Che Guevara biopics. Around the same time as Ocean’s Eleven, Damon came into the Bourne series, whose first trilogy (Identity, Supremacy, and Ultimatum) would rewrite the book on action cinema in the 21st century, with its intimate shaky-cam presentation and intricate plotting and character work.

The 2010s were a big decade for science-fiction and Damon got in on the action, with work representing some of his best movies, and certainly among the most well-known: The Adjustment Bureau, Elysium, The Zero Theorem, Interstellar, and The Martian.

After a rough 2017 where he starred in only Rotten movies (The Great Wall, Suburbicon, Downsizing), and remaining off-screen for 2018, he made a late 2019 appearance with Ford v Ferrari, the high-octane true story co-starring Christian Bale, and directed by James Mangold. Next, he’ll be in The Last Duel, directed by Ridley Scott. Now, we’re ranking all of Matt Damon’s movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#50

Suburbicon (2017)
28%

#50
Adjusted Score: 46491%
Critics Consensus: A disappointing misfire for director George Clooney, Suburbicon attempts to juggle social satire, racial commentary, and murder mystery -- and ends up making a mess of all three.
Synopsis: Suburbicon is a peaceful, idyllic, suburban community with affordable homes and manicured lawns -- the perfect place to raise a... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#49
#49
Adjusted Score: 40936%
Critics Consensus: Its intentions are noble and its cast is impressive, but neither can compensate for The Monuments Men's stiffly nostalgic tone and curiously slack narrative.
Synopsis: During World War II, the Nazis steal countless pieces of art and hide them away. Some over-the-hill art scholars, historians,... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 34468%
Critics Consensus: This adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel comes off as rather flat and uninvolving. Scenes feel rushed and done in shorthand, and the romance between Damon and Cruz has no sparks.
Synopsis: The year is 1949. A young Texan named John Grady finds himself without a home after his mother sells the... [More]
Directed By: Billy Bob Thornton

#47

The Great Wall (2016)
35%

#47
Adjusted Score: 52782%
Critics Consensus: For a Yimou Zhang film featuring Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe battling ancient monsters, The Great Wall is neither as exciting nor as entertainingly bonkers as one might hope.
Synopsis: When a mercenary warrior (Matt Damon) is imprisoned within the Great Wall, he discovers the mystery behind one of the... [More]
Directed By: Zhang Yimou

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 44176%
Critics Consensus: The Brothers Grimm is full of beautiful imagery, but the story is labored and less than enchanting.
Synopsis: The Brothers Grimm, Wilhelm (Matt Damon) and Jacob (Heath Ledger), are dysfunctional schemers who go from town to town putting... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#45

The Majestic (2001)
42%

#45
Adjusted Score: 46415%
Critics Consensus: Ponderous and overlong, The Majestic drowns in forced sentimentality and resembles a mish-mash of other, better films.
Synopsis: Rising Hollywood screenwriter Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) is blacklisted in the early 1950s Red Scare. Following a drunken car accident,... [More]
Directed By: Frank Darabont

#44
Adjusted Score: 47763%
Critics Consensus: Despite the talent involved in The Legend of Bagger Vance, performances are hindered by an inadequate screenplay full of flat characters and bad dialogue. Also, not much happens, and some critics are offended by how the film glosses over issues of racism.
Synopsis: During the Great Depression, Georgia socialite Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron) announces a publicity-garnering high-stakes match at her struggling family golf... [More]
Directed By: Robert Redford

#43

Happy Feet Two (2011)
45%

#43
Adjusted Score: 49213%
Critics Consensus: The animation is as eye-popping as ever, but Happy Feet Two's narrative is too noisily incoherent to recapture the Oscar-winning charm of its predecessor.
Synopsis: Mumble (Elijah Wood) the penguin, now called the Master of Tap, has an unusual problem: Erik, his son, is reluctant... [More]
Directed By: George Miller

#42

Hereafter (2010)
47%

#42
Adjusted Score: 55031%
Critics Consensus: Despite a thought-provoking premise and Clint Eastwood's typical flair as director, Hereafter fails to generate much compelling drama, straddling the line between poignant sentimentality and hokey tedium.
Synopsis: Three people set out on a spiritual journey after death touches their lives in different ways. George (Matt Damon) is... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#41

Downsizing (2017)
47%

#41
Adjusted Score: 68633%
Critics Consensus: Downsizing assembles a talented cast in pursuit of some truly interesting ideas -- which may be enough for some audiences to forgive the final product's frustrating shortcomings.
Synopsis: Mild-mannered therapist Paul Safranek and his wife, Audrey, decide to undergo a process in which scientists shrink people down to... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Payne

#40
Adjusted Score: 48036%
Critics Consensus: Geronimo: An American Legend fails to stir the soul, though its sweeping visuals and historical ambitions mark an intelligent change of pace for director Walter Hill.
Synopsis: Following the expansion of the United States into the Southwest, the Apache Indians are forced onto a reservation to live... [More]
Directed By: Walter Hill

#39

The Zero Theorem (2013)
48%

#39
Adjusted Score: 53157%
Critics Consensus: Fans of director Terry Gilliam's trademark visual aesthetic will find everything they've bargained for, but for the unconverted, The Zero Theorem may prove too muddled to enjoy.
Synopsis: Hired to crack a theorem, reclusive computer genius Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz) begins to make headway until his controlled world... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#38

Titan A.E. (2000)
50%

#38
Adjusted Score: 53566%
Critics Consensus: Great visuals, but the story feels like a cut-and-paste job of other sci-fi movies.
Synopsis: A science-fiction film that combines traditional animation with computer generated images, "Titan A.E." takes place in the distant future, after... [More]
Directed By: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman

#37

Promised Land (2012)
53%

#37
Adjusted Score: 57896%
Critics Consensus: The earnest and well-intentioned Promised Land sports a likable cast, but it also suffers from oversimplified characterizations and a frustrating final act.
Synopsis: Corporate sales partners Steve Butler (Matt Damon) and Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) arrive in a small town to secure drilling... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#36

Green Zone (2010)
53%

#36
Adjusted Score: 60076%
Critics Consensus: Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass return to the propulsive action and visceral editing of the Bourne films -- but a cliched script and stock characters keep those methods from being as effective this time around.
Synopsis: Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) and his team of inspectors are on a mission in 2003 to find... [More]
Directed By: Paul Greengrass

#35

Ocean's Twelve (2004)
54%

#35
Adjusted Score: 60689%
Critics Consensus: While some have found the latest star-studded heist flick to be a fun, glossy star vehicle, others declare it's lazy, self-satisfied and illogical.
Synopsis: After successfully robbing five casinos in one night, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his crew of thieves have big problems.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#34

Jason Bourne (2016)
54%

#34
Adjusted Score: 73681%
Critics Consensus: Jason Bourne delivers fans of the franchise more of what they've come to expect -- which is this sequel's biggest selling point as well as its greatest flaw.
Synopsis: It's been 10 years since Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) walked away from the agency that trained him to become a... [More]
Directed By: Paul Greengrass

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 62193%
Critics Consensus: Though ambitious and confidently directed by Robert De Niro, The Good Shepherd is ultimately a tedious drama that holds few surprises and succumbs to self-seriousness.
Synopsis: Discreet, idealistic and intensely loyal, Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) finds that service in the OSS and later as a founding... [More]
Directed By: Robert De Niro

#32

School Ties (1992)
60%

#32
Adjusted Score: 62879%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When David Greene (Brendan Fraser) receives a football scholarship to a prestigious prep school in the 1950s, he feels pressure... [More]
Directed By: Robert Mandel

#31

Gerry (2002)
61%

#31
Adjusted Score: 63927%
Critics Consensus: The type of uncompromising film that divides filmgoers over whether it is profound or pretentious.
Synopsis: Friends Gerry (Casey Affleck) and Gerry (Matt Damon) hike into Death Valley, but they stray so far from the trail... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#30

Stuck on You (2003)
61%

#30
Adjusted Score: 65204%
Critics Consensus: An unusually sweet and charming comedy by the Farrelly brothers. Fans may miss the distinct lack of bodily fluids though.
Synopsis: In Martha's Vineyard, Mass., conjoined twins Walt (Greg Kinnear) and Bob Tenor (Matt Damon) make the best of their handicap... [More]

#29

Rounders (1998)
65%

#29
Adjusted Score: 69239%
Critics Consensus: Richly atmospheric and colorful performances contributed to the movie's entertainment value.
Synopsis: Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) loses his money in a poker game against Russian gangster Teddy "KGB" (John Malkovich). Under pressure... [More]
Directed By: John Dahl

#28

We Bought a Zoo (2011)
65%

#28
Adjusted Score: 70410%
Critics Consensus: We Bought a Zoo is a transparently cloying effort by director Cameron Crowe, but Matt Damon makes for a sympathetic central character.
Synopsis: Following his wife's untimely death, Los Angeles journalist Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) decides to make a fresh start by quitting... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#27

Elysium (2013)
65%

#27
Adjusted Score: 74731%
Critics Consensus: After the heady sci-fi thrills of District 9, Elysium is a bit of a comedown for director Neill Blomkamp, but on its own terms, it delivers just often enough to satisfy.
Synopsis: In the year 2154, humanity is sharply divided between two classes of people: The ultrarich live aboard a luxurious space... [More]
Directed By: Neill Blomkamp

#26

Dogma (1999)
67%

#26
Adjusted Score: 72586%
Critics Consensus: Provocative and audacious, Dogma is an uneven but thoughtful religious satire that's both respectful and irreverent.
Synopsis: Two fallen angels who were ejected from paradise find themselves banned in Wisconsin. They are now headed for New Jersey... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

#25
Adjusted Score: 72815%
Critics Consensus: A visually stunning film that may be too predictable and politically correct for adults, but should serve children well.
Synopsis: Follows the adventures of a wild and rambunctious mustang stallion as he journeys through the untamed American frontier. Encountering man... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook

#24

Ocean's Thirteen (2007)
69%

#24
Adjusted Score: 77666%
Critics Consensus: Ocean's Thirteen reverts to the formula of the first installment, and the result is another slick and entertaining heist film.
Synopsis: Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his gang hatch an ambitious plot for revenge after ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Al... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 81231%
Critics Consensus: First-time writer/director George Nolfi struggles to maintain a consistent tone, but The Adjustment Bureau rises on the strong, believable chemistry of its stars.
Synopsis: Just as he is on the brink of winning a Senate seat, politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets a ballerina... [More]
Directed By: George Nolfi

#22

Interstellar (2014)
72%

#22
Adjusted Score: 88293%
Critics Consensus: Interstellar represents more of the thrilling, thought-provoking, and visually resplendent filmmaking moviegoers have come to expect from writer-director Christopher Nolan, even if its intellectual reach somewhat exceeds its grasp.
Synopsis: In Earth's future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#21

Syriana (2005)
73%

#21
Adjusted Score: 79849%
Critics Consensus: Ambitious, complicated, intellectual, and demanding of its audience, Syriana is both a gripping geopolitical thriller and wake-up call to the complacent.
Synopsis: The Middle Eastern oil industry is the backdrop of this tense drama, which weaves together numerous story lines. Bennett Holiday... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Gaghan

#20

Margaret (2011)
74%

#20
Adjusted Score: 77351%
Critics Consensus: A surfeit of ideas contributes to Margaret's excessive run time, but Anna Paquin does a admirable job of guiding viewers through emotional hell.
Synopsis: New York high-school student Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin) inadvertently causes an accident in which a bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) runs... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Lonergan

#19

Stillwater (2021)
74%

#19
Adjusted Score: 83114%
Critics Consensus: Stillwater isn't perfect, but its thoughtful approach to intelligent themes -- and strong performances from its leads -- give this timely drama a steadily building power.
Synopsis: Unemployed roughneck Bill Baker (Academy Award® winner Matt Damon) travels from Oklahoma to Marseille to visit his estranged daughter Allison... [More]
Directed By: Tom McCarthy

#18

Invictus (2009)
76%

#18
Adjusted Score: 85442%
Critics Consensus: Delivered with typically stately precision by director Clint Eastwood, Invictus may not be rousing enough for some viewers, but Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman inhabit their real-life characters with admirable conviction.
Synopsis: Following the fall of apartheid, newly elected President Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) faces a South Africa that is racially and... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#17

The Informant! (2009)
79%

#17
Adjusted Score: 88588%
Critics Consensus: A charismatic turn by star Matt Damon and a consistently ironic tone boost this quietly funny satire about a corporate whistle-blower.
Synopsis: Though a rising star in the ranks of Archer Daniels Midland, Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) suddenly exposes a price-fixing conspiracy... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#16
Adjusted Score: 84813%
Critics Consensus: Invigorated by its talented cast and Francis Ford Coppola's strong direction, The Rainmaker is a satisfying legal drama -- and arguably the best of Hollywood's many John Grisham adaptations.
Synopsis: Struggling new attorney Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) resorts to working for a shady lawyer (Mickey Rourke), where he meets paralegal... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 88141%
Critics Consensus: A well-made sequel that delivers the thrills.
Synopsis: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is living in India when he is framed by Russian agent Kirill (Karl Urban) for the... [More]
Directed By: Paul Greengrass

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 88839%
Critics Consensus: With Matt Damon's unsettling performance offering a darkly twisted counterpoint to Anthony Minghella's glossy direction, The Talented Mr. Ripley is a suspense thriller that lingers.
Synopsis: To be young and carefree amid the blue waters and idyllic landscape of sun-drenched Italy in the late 1950s; that's... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Minghella

#13

Ocean's Eleven (2001)
83%

#13
Adjusted Score: 90210%
Critics Consensus: As fast-paced, witty, and entertaining as it is star-studded and coolly stylish, Ocean's Eleven offers a well-seasoned serving of popcorn entertainment.
Synopsis: Dapper Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is a man of action. Less than 24 hours into his parole from a New... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 89292%
Critics Consensus: Expertly blending genre formula with bursts of unexpected wit, The Bourne Identity is an action thriller that delivers -- and then some.
Synopsis: The story of a man (Matt Damon), salvaged, near death, from the ocean by an Italian fishing boat. When he... [More]
Directed By: Doug Liman

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 87938%
Critics Consensus: An emotional and intriguing tale of a military officer who must review the merits of a fallen officer while confronting his own war demons. Effectively depicts the terrors of war as well as its heartbreaking aftermath.
Synopsis: During the 1991 Gulf War, Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) accidentally caused a friendly fire incident, a mistake that... [More]
Directed By: Edward Zwick

#10

Contagion (2011)
85%

#10
Adjusted Score: 94933%
Critics Consensus: Tense, tightly plotted, and bolstered by a stellar cast, Contagion is an exceptionally smart -- and scary -- disaster movie.
Synopsis: When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minnesota from a Hong Kong business trip, she attributes the malaise she feels... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#9

The Departed (2006)
90%

#9
Adjusted Score: 102528%
Critics Consensus: Featuring outstanding work from an excellent cast, The Departed is a thoroughly engrossing gangster drama with the gritty authenticity and soupy morality we come to expect from Martin Scorsese.
Synopsis: South Boston cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes under cover to infiltrate the organization of gangland chief Frank Costello (Jack... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#8

Ponyo (2008)
91%

#8
Adjusted Score: 96826%
Critics Consensus: While not Miyazaki's best film, Ponyo is a visually stunning fairy tale that's a sweetly poetic treat for children of all ages.
Synopsis: During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#7

The Martian (2015)
91%

#7
Adjusted Score: 107209%
Critics Consensus: Smart, thrilling, and surprisingly funny, The Martian offers a faithful adaptation of the bestselling book that brings out the best in leading man Matt Damon and director Ridley Scott.
Synopsis: When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 102879%
Critics Consensus: The Bourne Ultimatum is an intelligent, finely tuned non-stop thrill ride. Another strong performance from Matt Damon and sharp camerawork from Paul Greengrass make this the finest installment of the Bourne trilogy.
Synopsis: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) continues his international quest to uncover his true identity. From Russia to Europe to northern Africa... [More]
Directed By: Paul Greengrass

#5

Ford v Ferrari (2019)
92%

#5
Adjusted Score: 114308%
Critics Consensus: Ford v Ferrari delivers all the polished auto action audiences will expect -- and balances it with enough gripping human drama to satisfy non-racing enthusiasts.
Synopsis: American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 101378%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by another winning performance from Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg's unflinchingly realistic war film virtually redefines the genre.
Synopsis: Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 97836%
Critics Consensus: Affectionate without sacrificing honesty, Behind the Candelabra couples award-worthy performances from Michael Douglas and Matt Damon with some typically sharp direction from Steven Soderbergh.
Synopsis: World-famous pianist Liberace (Michael Douglas) takes much-younger Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) as a lover, but the relationship deteriorates when Liberace... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#2

True Grit (2010)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 105689%
Critics Consensus: Girded by strong performances from Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, and lifted by some of the Coens' most finely tuned, unaffected work, True Grit is a worthy companion to the Charles Portis book.
Synopsis: After an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) murders her father, feisty 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hires... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 101368%
Critics Consensus: It follows a predictable narrative arc, but Good Will Hunting adds enough quirks to the journey -- and is loaded with enough powerful performances -- that it remains an entertaining, emotionally rich drama.
Synopsis: Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant


Filmmaker Doug Liman, who wowed audiences with high-octane action films The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Edge of Tomorrow, is equally admired for the storytelling behind his spectacle and in his more moderately paced fare like Swingers, Go, and American Made.

His latest offering, YouTube Premium series Impulse, marries both in a drama that explores personal discovery, trauma, and family bonds. And teleportation.

Maddie Hasson (Twisted) stars as delinquent teen Henrietta Cole in the sci-fi series. When Henry is assaulted by her classmate Clay Boone (Tanner Stine), her deepest instincts kick in, and she flees by inadvertently bending space and time in a violent blink, landing in her bedroom.


IMPULSE Doug Liman on set (Erin-Keating/YouTube Premium)

(Photo by Erin Keating)

Discovering your superpowers is never an easy journey — ask Peter Parker or Clark Kent. But Henry’s path is even darker and more visceral than some of those fumbling-adolescent tales.

Based on the novel by Stephen Gould, Impulse comes after Liman’s 2008 feature film Jumper, based on the first book in the series and starring Hayden Christensen and Jamie Bell. The film disappointed, which Liman admits, but 10-episode Impulse is different in some fundamental ways.

The series, which debuted on Wednesday, also stars Sarah Desjardins as Henry’s stepsister-to-be Jenna Hope, Enuka Okuma as Deputy Anne Hulce, Craig Arnold as Clay’s brother Lucas Boone, Missi Pyle as Henry’s mom Cleo Cole, and Daniel Maslany as Henry’s biggest fan Townes Linderman.

Rotten Tomatoes spoke to Liman about the new series, his remarkable leading lady, and how he finds inspiration in real-world action sequences YouTube users post.


Maddie Hasson stars in Impulse (Erin Keating/YouTube Premium)

(Photo by Erin Keating)

Debbie Day for Rotten Tomatoes: I’m so glad to talk to you about Impulse. It was not quite what I was expecting.

Doug Liman: Good. That’s the best. I’d much prefer to hear that than the other.

RT: I was most surprised by Maddie’s performance. She’s incredible. Could you tell me about casting her?

Liman: We were holding auditions for the protagonist, the heroine, Henry. Maddie came in and just lit up the room. We all turned to each other and said, “She’s a huge star.” I said, “Too bad she’s not right for the part.” My producing partner said, “But she’s so amazing.” I said, “Yeah, she’s amazing, but she’s the opposite of what we’re looking for.” I said, “If I cast her, I really would insist on rewriting the whole show to make the protagonist somebody who doesn’t want to be there, who is rebellious, who is — I’d want to change how the superpower is portrayed in the show.” Because the original idea is somebody who desperately wants to belong and be part of the town, and her superpower keeps sending her away. I said, “If we cast her, I’d want to turn it on its head and rewrite the whole script and make it about somebody who doesn’t want to be there and gets the power that keeps sending her back home. She wants to be anywhere but home.” As I’m saying it out loud, we’re looking at each other. We’re going, “You know, actually, that would be a better show.” We cast her and then reconceived the whole show around her and what she brought.


IMPULSE-Maddie-Hasson,-Daniel-Maslany-credit-Erin-Keating

(Photo by Erin Keating)

RT: It’s not too often that you hear about an actor having such an impact on an entire story.

Liman: I’ve always believed in some level of workshopping the part to fit the actor. It’s a two-way street. Sometimes my favorite performances, you realize those couldn’t have been just written in vacuum. They had to have been conceived in conjunction with the actor performing it. Certainly, that’s been my experience. Jason Bourne is a very different character because of the workshopping that Matt [Damon] and I did than was originally on the page.

Never have I done such a wholesale reconceiving of the DNA of a show around one actor. Literally. It changed how I portrayed the superpower, because then suddenly it was going to be a curse. Instead of sending her out into the world, it was going to keep sending her home. It was just way more interesting. That’s what a great collaboration between a filmmaker and a star can do.

You arrive at something really unexpected. That’s why when you said, “It wasn’t what I expected” — I don’t care if you hated it or loved it. I actually do care, because I really care about my audience, but I care most that it was not expected. What I’m aiming for as a filmmaker is unexpected and entertaining, because a lot of times, it’s unexpected. You’re like, “Yeah, it was unexpected, but the expected is better.” Clichés are clichés for a reason because they work. Any time you deviate from the cliché, yeah, you give the audience unexpected, but sometimes you have to work extra hard to deliver unexpected and great.


RT: Can you tell me about the dotted line between Jumper and Impulse, how the show came about, and what its ties are to the film?

Liman: It’s no secret that, of all my films, Jumper‘s the one that I harbor some creative regrets, feel like I could have done better. That’s something that’s hung over me. It dawned on me that rather than live with that regret, why not actually just go and try to do better? I went to secure the rights to a sequel novel. All these years later, with everything I’ve learned, I set out to create a superhero world that is unexpected, smart, grounded, exciting. Even despite all that, I still didn’t figure it out until I cast Maddie Hasson. Despite having all these big illusions about, “Yeah, I can do better,” the reality was until I cast Maddie, what I was going to make probably wasn’t going to be substantially better. It was that collaboration that was the missing ingredient for me. If you look back at my movies, it’s just that I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with exactly the right person.

Swingers: Only Vince Vaughn can make the character of Trent appealing. In anyone else’s hands, he just would have been an asshole. Only Matt Damon could really make you root for Jason Bourne despite his really dark past. That to me is the connection.

The other thing is that because it has been done independently, there were certain restrictions on me because it’s not done by the same people who did Jumper. It made people a little nervous that I’m the same filmmaker and that maybe I would inadvertently copy something I did in Jumper and infringe upon Fox’s copyright on the movie. It actually put me in exactly the situation I wanted to be in, which was people around me saying, “Push yourself and do something different and unexpected.”

Just look at how we portray teleportation between the movie and the series, because that was one of the things where I was told, “You can’t make it look like it looks in the movie.” My response to that was to come up with something that is so much more interesting, which is that it’s destructive to the people around you. As a result of that, the first time she teleports, she gravely wounds Clay Boone, the star of the high school basketball team. Suddenly, you have that story line running through the series that she can hurt people with this power. It makes sense that any time you’re learning to do anything, you’re kind of sloppy. Why wouldn’t the first time you teleport, why wouldn’t it be sloppy?


IMPULSE-Missi-Pyle and Maddie-Hasson (Erin Keating)

(Photo by Erin Keating)

RT: When I got to the very last episode of the season, I honestly had the response, “Is that it?” because I wanted to see more immediately.

Liman: So do I, especially in the hands of writer Lauren LeFranc, because I directed the pilot. As I said, when we cast Maddie, we had a looming start date to start shooting. I wanted to reconceive the show and brought in Gary Spinelli, who wrote American Made, who’d never worked in television before, to be in the trenches with me, because we’re reconceiving basically as we’re prepping to shoot. Lauren LeFranc came in to write the series. What was amazing about her is that scripts would come in, and I’d get to the end of the script and be like, “Oh my god. I can’t wait for the next script. I can’t wait to see what happens.” In that case, I had to wait a few weeks because they had to write it.


RT: How did YouTube come to be the show’s home?

Liman: I casually mentioned it to [YouTube Global Head of Original Programming] Susanne Daniels that I’d recently gotten the rights to the book and wanted to develop it as a TV series. Susanne said, “We’re starting a new channel here. We’ll buy it.” I wasn’t even pitching it. It was just like, “Uh,” because normally when I sell a TV show, it’s a whole process with a writer, and pitch out a whole season. This was one of these crazy situations where she said, “You, this world, we’re in.” I called my producing partner, and I was like, “I think I just sold a TV show without — I didn’t mean to.”

Then I thought, “OK, do we want to sell it to YouTube?” I hadn’t gone anywhere else yet. When I talk about myself in interviews, I often talk about myself as being the independent filmmaker in the studio system. There’s no question I’m in the studio system. I live in New York, but I make Hollywood movies. I make commercial TV shows, but I bring an independent ethos to it, kind of a rebellious independent film ethos. Sometimes, I even bring independent film techniques to filming, and run and steal shots. My characters are more anti-heroic than your traditional Hollywood fare. My worlds tend to be a little more grounded — even when they’re high-concept, whether the world’s more grounded or the characters are more grounded, certainly they’re flawed.

A lot of these traits that you see in independent films, and my whole attitude, my rebellious attitude as a filmmaker that makes me a little hard for studios to control, is that I’m happy making independent films. I don’t operate from a place of fear that if I piss off the studios, I won’t work again, because I’d be happy to go back to making independent films. I don’t need them. That makes me very hard to control. I come from this independent-film attitude.

When I thought about Impulse, I thought, “At YouTube? It makes perfect sense that I go make something at YouTube, because YouTube is nothing but independent filmmakers.” In fact, all of the qualities that YouTube stands for are qualities that I myself as a filmmaker have stood for. I’ve even started referencing YouTube when it comes to my movies; for instance, with action sequences, my new benchmark isn’t what are competing movies doing, but what’s on YouTube because people are doing stunts for real and filming them. I’m like, that’s who we’re competing against. We’re not competing against some CG, computer-generated, clearly fake piece of action in a Marvel film. My style of filmmaking, I’m competing against someone who did some outrageous daredevil stunt on YouTube and filmed it and put it up on YouTube. I want to do something with my films and my action sequences that is equally engaging.

Impulse is now available on YouTube Premium.

Remember the 2000s? That philistinic decade where you couldn’t pay money to watch Michael Keaton on the big screen? Well, that was then, this is now, and Keaton’s back with American Assassin, his third theatrical movie of 2017, after The Founder and Spider-Man: Homecoming. In this one, he plays CIA mentor to Dylan O’Brien, teaching him the byzantine way of international espionage and super-secret murdering, which inspires this week’s gallery of 24 Certified Fresh assassin movies from times past. Before the year 2000, even!

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Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Fans of Andre Holland on American Horror Story: Roanoake and The Knick can now see him on the big screen in Moonlight, which has earned rave reviews across the board. His Five Favorite Films, listed here, reflect the diversity and quality that he demonstrates as an actor. Movies from several decades and genres populate his list, and he shows his passion for the art as he discusses them. See the list here:

The Bourne Identity (2002) 83%

The one that, if I’m sitting on the couch and it comes on, I can’t turn away — The Bourne movies. I will watch them a million times, and any time they’re on, which is often [laughs], I gotta watch them. I just loved that character. I thought it was so fascinating and, honestly, that’s the kind of part that I would love to play one day. So, I love watching it and watching the way Matt Damon played it. It’s just so exciting, to me. I don’t know why, but I can’t get enough of it. I think there is a little bit of…  just the escapism of it all – running through the streets of Germany or all the different cities that he went to and trying to figure out who you are is really cool. It’s just a cool conceit.

Nothing But a Man (1964) 96%

The movie that I always watch before doing just about any project — and certainly before doing this one — is called Nothing But A Man. It’s a classic film. Ivan Dixon played the lead character and it’s just about this black man trying to make his way through the world. But it’s a beautiful, beautiful film, and it breaks my heart every time I watch it. It’s just one of the most extraordinary movies I’ve ever seen. I was introduced to it by a friend of mine; I was doing a play — probably eight or nine years ago — and my friend, Aunjanue Ellis, who is an actress, put me on to it and I had not seen it before. Now I watch it all the time.  It’s great – I think it was in the 1960s. Ivan Dixon and Abbey Lincoln -– it just was super. An incredible film.

Paris Blues (1961) 67%

And then kind of parallel to [Nothing but a Man] — number three would probably be my most favorite romance, Paris Blues. Sidney Poitier, Diahann Carroll, Paul Newman, and Joanne Woodward. I love it. The dialogue in that film is some of the best I’ve ever seen. And Sidney Poitier, I think, gives one of his best performances. And it’s so, so sexy, that movie.

RT: Yeah, that’s right, it’s been so long since I’ve seen it. And Paul Newman – I remember several of the films he was in that way, actually, as well. I was like, “Man, I feel too young to watch this.”

[Laughing] Yeah. He’s got these scenes where he’s in the bedroom with his shirt off, and you can just see it. I mean, he was such a heartthrob, you know. You can just see the filmmaker thinking, “We have to get a shot of Paul Newman with his shirt off [laughing].” And they got a few of them.

RT: We’re not made of stone. The filmmaker was right.

True, true.

Up (2009) 98%

For some reason, there’s another movie that I really love, that always breaks my heart and makes me cry, every time I watch it, and that’s the animated movie Up.

RT: Oh, my God, yes. We could have a whole therapy session about that movie.

Yes, absolutely. Just the opening sequence is, like… I can’t even get through that without breaking down. It’s so beautiful.

RT: That movie made me really happy for 3D glasses because it covered my tears.

Yeah. That’s hilarious. I know what you mean with those 3D glasses. One of the first times I saw it, I was on a date and, I mean, you talk about trying to hide some tears? I was trying to maintain my cool, but I could not do it. It was such a beautiful movie.

RT: Do you think that made the date go better, because it made you so emotionally vulnerable?

I think it did, actually, because, as I recall, she was crying a lot, too, and I think it definitely put us both into a good, nice, open, vulnerable place. And it’s funny — where I live in New York, there’s a coffee shop around the corner from me that I go to all the time, basically, and in going to it, there’s a guy who I would always see there, and we would always talk and chat. Someone said, “Oh, yeah, you know he’s a writer and he used to be an actor,” and blah, blah, blah. I didn’t know his work, I’m ashamed to say, but, at the end of Up when the name Tom McCarthy flashed across, I thought, “Wait a minute! That’s the dude from the coffee shop.”  I guess I was living under a rock that I didn’t know who he was. But anyway, I just was even more of a fan of his. He’s such a talented man.

Oliver! (1968) 83%

Number five — this is a tough one. I think the one I would like to say, though, is one — when I was a kid, this is the one that I watched all the time. I had it on VHS tape and probably wore the tape out – I know just about every line from the movie. I don’t know why I loved it so much, but the movie Oliver. The musical version. The Lionel Bart one. Ron Moody was  the guy that played Fagin. Growing up, we never went to the movies. I grew up in a pretty rural town in Alabama, and we just never went, and so our big excitement for the weekend would be to go to the video store and… We also didn’t have a VCR, but you could, back in the day, rent a VCR. So, we would rent a VCR, and for some reason, we owned the movie. We owned two movies; we owned Oliver and we owned The Wiz. Whenever we would rent the VCR, we would watch the movies that we rented, but then, because we had the VCR, we’d always end up playing Oliver and The Wiz again. I think that’s probably why I fell in love with it. And then, ironically, it wound up being the first play that I ever did in community theatre. Although I’m [also] obsessed with The Wiz. It terrified me, as a kid. That was gonna be the other one I was gonna say. It was either Oliver or The Wiz, but The Wiz is just amazing.


Moonlight is now open in limited release.

Since earning his career breakout with Good Will Hunting in 1997, Matt Damon has won an Academy Award, worked for some of the finest directors (and alongside some of the most talented actors) in Hollywood, and proved his mettle as a dramatic actor, gifted screen comic, and steely action hero. In honor of his latest starring role, in Jason Bourne this weekend, we decided to rifle through the Damon filmography and take a closer look at the ten most critically successful entries. Which of your favorites made the cut? Which ones have the critics blasphemously overlooked? There’s only one way to find out!


 The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) 83%

As conceived by author Patricia Highsmith, Tom Ripley is a deeply unsavory character — a psychopath who uses his natural charm and malfunctioning moral compass as the gateway into a lavish lifestyle built on lies, theft, and murder. Not the kind of role you’d expect to go to a wholesome-looking fellow like Matt Damon, in other words — but that’s part of what made Damon’s performance in Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley so profoundly disquieting. Capable of communicating bottomless need, desperate rage, and cold calculation in a single scene, Damon proved his range was far greater than many may have suspected. “We all knew Damon was a fine actor after Good Will Hunting,” wrote Jeffrey Westhoff of the Northwest Herald, “but The Talented Mr. Ripley takes him much further much faster than anyone could have expected.”

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Contagion (2011) 85%

Chilly and sleek, Contagion found director Steven Soderbergh working with frequent screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (The Informant!, Side Effects) to give audiences a scary-as-hell glimpse of just how quickly a global pandemic could spread in the modern world — and employing an impressive group of famous faces to portray it, including Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Elliott Gould, and Bryan Cranston, among others. While Contagion’s pulpy premise and gaudy cast might have suggested something along the lines of a ‘70s disaster flick, the end result was far more serious — and far more disturbing. “Soderbergh keeps a cool head throughout, refraining from the tear-jerking storylines and cheesy emoting you typically get in disaster movies,” wrote Jason Best for Movie Talk. “You might not be groping for tissues, but you’ll definitely be reaching for the anti-viral gel by the close.”

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Courage Under Fire (1996) 85%

Think you’re committed to your job? Try being Matt Damon in preparation for Courage Under Fire. For his role as Specialist Ilario, Damon dropped 40 pounds, adopting a grueling training regimen that had him running miles a day and subsisting on a diet consisting of little more than cigarettes and coffee. It was not, as you might imagine, a decision popular with Damon’s doctors — or, more importantly, his body, which required no small amount of medical repair after shooting ended. But all’s well that ends well, and Edward Zwick’s Rashomon-style Gulf War drama helped Damon break the dry spell he’d been suffering since nabbing a role in 1993’s Geronimo: An American Legend. Oh, and the critics liked it too — like Steve Rhodes, who called it “An extremely moving picture that left me with my heart racing and my arms clutching myself and staring at the screen.”

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The Departed (2006) 90%

Violent, bleak, and unbearably tense, The Departed earned director Martin Scorsese his long-overdue Best Director Oscar — but before that, it delighted critics and filmgoers by using Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs as the launchpad for an unflinching look at the personal toll exacted by the mortal struggle between law enforcement and organized crime. As dirty cop Colin Sullivan, Damon gives one of his subtlest and most heartbreaking performances, portraying a man who knows he’s living one step away from prison — or worse — and who you can’t help but feel for even as he works to ferret out the identity of Mafia mole and honest cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio). Though some critics compared The Departed unfavorably to Infernal Affairs, most agreed with the Academy voters who named it the year’s Best Picture; in the words of Beyond Hollywood’s Brian Holcomb, “Scorsese has made an incredible cover version of the original, imbued with every ounce of his artistic personality transforming it into something both familiar and new.”

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Saving Private Ryan (1998) 93%

Steven Spielberg’s long-standing fascination with World War II found its most realistic and hard-hitting expression with Saving Private Ryan. Arriving alongside Tom Brokaw’s well-received book The Greatest Generation, the film followed the fictional (but inspired by real events) tale of a platoon gutting its way through France in order to find a soldier whose three brothers have just been killed in combat (Private Ryan, played in a small but pivotal role by Matt Damon). Anchored by another strong performance from Tom Hanks, studded with talented actors, and fueled by Spielberg’s lean direction and Robert Rodat’s stirring script, Ryan won five Academy Awards against 11 nominations, made more than $500 million worldwide, and earned glowing praise from critics like the Los Angeles Times’s Kenneth Turan, who wrote, “A powerful and impressive milestone in the realistic depiction of combat, Saving Private Ryan is as much an experience we live through as a film we watch on screen.

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The Martian (2015) 91%

With a name like The Martian, a person could be forgiven for assuming this Ridley Scott sci-fi thriller took filmgoers to the Red Planet for cool-looking alien creatures and awesome space battles. Instead, we got Matt Damon and a bunch of potatoes — as well as one of the most engaging outer-space dramas in Hollywood history. Damon plays Mark Watney, a member of a Mars expedition who’s presumed dead and abandoned when a freak storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet; faced with all-but-certain death, he relies on science and old-fashioned ingenuity to stay alive long enough for NASA to realize he didn’t perish in the storm — and for his fellow astronauts to mount their own daring rescue attempt. In adapting Andy Weir’s bestselling novel, Scott and screenwriter Drew Goddard deftly blend a futuristic premise with immediately relatable human stakes, while The Martian‘s star made the most of a rare opportunity to shoulder a blockbuster hit virtually unassisted. “Damon is terrific,” wrote Richard Roeper for the Chicago Sun-Times. “The movie lives and breathes on his performance, and he comes through in every scene.”

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The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) 92%

It seems laughable now, but before The Bourne Identity reached theaters, there were a lot of people who didn’t think Matt Damon had what it took to be a convincing action hero. Those doubts were quickly erased with director Doug Liman’s sleek, powerful adaptation of the Robert Ludlum novel — a huge box office hit that was powered with equal parts explosive set pieces and a solid central performance by its star. As it turned out, Damon had not only the dramatic chops to realistically portray the fear and confusion of an amnesiac who slowly begins to realize he’s a lethal assassin, but the physical presence to make audiences believe he could kill a man with a pen — and launch a franchise that has had filmgoers lining up to follow a global trail of high-speed car chases, conspiracy cover-ups, and hand-held cameras shakily capturing some truly impressive hand-to-hand combat. The franchise hit its peak with its third installment, The Bourne Ultimatum, which brought some closure to the Bourne saga before its director, Paul Greengrass, eventually reunited with Damon to bring us this week’s Jason Bourne. “Who needs an identity,” quipped Peter Keough of the Boston Phoenix, “when you’re having this much fun?”

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Behind the Candelabra (2013) 94%

A longtime passion project for director Steven Soderbergh, Behind the Candelabra languished in development limbo for years while the Oscar-winning filmmaker struggled to find funding for a drama depicting the last years of the flamboyant pianist Liberace, as told through his estranged ex-lover Scott Thorston. Even with Michael Douglas attached as Liberace and Damon on board to play Thorston, Candelabra remained stuck until HBO stepped in to cover the budget — and ended up reaping record ratings for a TV movie on the way to achieving major awards recognition, including an Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy nomination for Damon. (Douglas, meanwhile, won Outstanding Lead Actor, while Candelabra itself walked away with Outstanding Miniseries or Movie.) “Douglas is more than acceptable, but Damon has made an unforgettable character,” wrote David Thomson for the New Republic. “Scott Thorson is unknown and he comes out of the dark as the story that needs to be told.”

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True Grit (2010) 95%

If you’re going to remake a movie as well-known (and critically beloved) as John Wayne’s True Grit, you’ll need a few things to make it work, including tons of chutzpah and a whole bunch of talent on the set. Fortunately for filmgoers, the 2010 version of the movie not only satisfied all of the above requirements — with the Coen brothers behind the cameras and an outstanding cast that included Damon, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, and (making her unforgettable debut) Hailee Steinfeld — but it brought something new to the table in the bargain, focusing on the story as told in Charles Portis’ novel rather than trying to out-Duke the Duke. The result was as charmingly idiosyncratic as you’d expect from the Coens, with Bridges and Damon affecting entertainingly outrageous frontier accents in their characters’ pursuit of the scumbag (Brolin) who murdered the father of a feisty young girl (Steinfeld), and picked up an impressive 10 Oscar nominations. While it didn’t win any, it did earn plenty of accolades from critics like Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir, who wrote, “Some people are expressing amazement that Joel and Ethan Coen would set out to make a classic western in the first place, and then that they’d accomplish it. All I can say is that those folks haven’t been paying attention.”

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Good Will Hunting (1997) 98%

Before you even opened this list, you probably knew we’d end up here. And for good reason: Good Will Hunting is not only the massive left-field success that launched Damon and his pal/co-writer Ben Affleck into the Hollywood stratosphere, it’s a smart, tenderly written tale of the ways love and friendship can help build a bridge between the memories that haunt us and the futures we dream of. With empathetic direction from Gus Van Sant, beautiful music from Danny Elfman and Elliott Smith, and an Oscar-winning supporting performance from Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting was the kind of film that played equally well to the arthouse and cineplex crowds — and the kind of story that makes you feel good about loving movies. As Margaret McGurk of the Cincinnati Enquirer put it, “Good Will Hunting is another auspicious sign that the best of Young Hollywood is not only bringing back respect for the craft of acting, but for the cogent telling of tales as well.”

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Hart and Johnson: The world’s two unlikeliest megastars join forces this week for Central Intelligence, playing former high school classmates who reunite and get embroiled in international action courtesy of the CIA. Since its inception in 1947, Hollywood has committed plenty of celluloid around the agency’s foundation of espionage and top-secret missions, inspiring this week’s gallery: the best and worst CIA agents in movie history.

Those of you with streaming subscriptions will find plenty of options newly available to you this week, as both Netflix and Amazon Prime added a ton of new movies and TV shows — many of them classics and popular favorites — to their lineups. There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re looking for heady sci-fi (2001: A Space Odyssey), explosive action (The Bourne Identity and Supremacy), classic horror (White Zombie), Oscar-winning drama (Million Dollar Baby), raunchy comedy (American Pie), or pretty much anything else you can think of. Check below for a select list of this week’s releases.


New on Netflix:

 

Reign: Season 2 (2014) 100%

Season three of this CW drama premieres on Friday, October 9, so if you missed any episodes from last season, now’s the time to catch up with the teenaged Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) and the intrigue that surrounds her marriage to Prince Francis (Toby Regbo).

Available now on: Netflix


The Wild Bunch (1969) 90%

William Holden and Ernest Borgnine headline this classic Sam Peckinpah western about a band of outlaws on the run from the Mexican government and an old rival after they successfully stage a train robbery.

Available now on: Netflix


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 92%

Stanley Kubrick’s thought-provoking space opus is a beautifully shot meditation on morality, mortality, and mankind’s search for truth. It’ll probably blow your mind.

Available now on: Netflix


Risky Business (1983) 92%

Risky Business is Ground Zero for Tom Cruise’s superstardom, but it also benefits from Paul Brickman’s intensely stylish direction, Tangerine Dream’s classic score, and Rebecca De Mornay’s adolescent fantasy of a performance.

Available now on: Netflix


I Believe in Unicorns (2014) 84%

I Believe in Unicorns is a drama about a teenage girl with an active imagination who gets in over her head when she falls in love with an older boy.

Available now on: Netflix


Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) 95%

Ed Harris, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, and Al Pacino star in this endlessly compelling, bile-drenched free-for-all about the office from hell, brilliantly scripted by David Mamet.

Available now on: Netflix


Boogie Nights (1997) 93%

Paul Thomas Anderson’s ensemble opus about life in the porn industry made a movie star out of Mark Wahlberg and benefited immeasurably from great performances by Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, Luis Guzman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and William H. Macy.

Available now on: Netflix


The Duke of Burgundy (2014) 94%

This Certified Fresh drama tells the tale of an erotic relationship between two entomologists in a lavish country estate.

Available now on: Netflix


Million Dollar Baby (2004) 90%

Clint Eastwood’s sports drama took home four Oscars — including Best Picture and Best Director — for its honest portrayal of a down-on-his-luck trainer (Eastwood) who reluctantly agrees to work with an aspiring female boxer (Hilary Swank, who won Best Actress) when her tenacity wins him over.

Available now on: Netflix


A Clockwork Orange (1971) 87%

Stanley Kubrick’s pitch-black satire, set in a brightly-colored but antiseptic futuristic England, features eye popping production design and a terrifically maniacal lead performance from Malcolm McDowell.

Available now on: Netflix


Hotel Rwanda (2004) 91%

Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo earned Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress nominations for their portrayals of hotelier Paul Rusesabagina and his wife Tatiana, who together helped save the lives of over a thousand refugees during the Rwandan conflicts of the mid 1990s.

Available now on: Netflix


The Graduate (1967) 87%

Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft star in Mike Nichols’ iconic, influential comedy, which features cinema’s most famous May-December romance and and bunch of classic Simon & Garfunkel tunes.

Available now on: Netflix


Batman Begins (2005) 84%

The first entry in Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Batman trilogy explores Bruce Wayne’s (Christian Bale) origins and finds the caped crusader fighting back against organized crime in Gotaham City.

Available now on: Netflix


Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005) 84%

Tim Burton always had a thing for stop motion animation, and Corpse Bride is his first directorial effort in that genre. Longtime collaborators Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter lend their voices to a young man named Victor and the undead woman he unwittingly marries while practicing his wedding vows in the woods.

Available now on: Netflix


Runoff (2014) 79%

Warehouse 13‘s Joanne Kelly stars in a drama about a woman who engages in an illegal scheme as part of a last ditch effort to save her family’s farm.

Available now on: Netflix


The Bourne Identity (2002) 83%

Matt Damon established himself as a credible action hero in Doug Liman’s adaptation of the eponymous Robert Ludlum novel, about a super-efficient sleeper agent with amnesia who slowly regains his memory and begins to uncover the dark truth behind his training.

Available now on: Netflix


The Bourne Supremacy (2004) 82%

Paul Greengrass took over behind the camera for the second installment of the Matt Damon superspy franchise, which initially finds Bourne off the CIA grid before he’s compelled to come out of hiding and face the agency head-on in an attempt to find closure.

Available now on: Netflix


American Pie (1999) 61%

Probably the most notable example of the recent resurgence of R-rated sex comedies, this coming-of-age story follows a group of high school buddies who make a pact to lose their virginity before their senior year ends.

Available now on: Netflix


The Vampire Diaries: Season 6 (2015) 81%

Nina Dobrev (in her final season), Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder lead an ensemble cast in the CW’s wildly popular supernatural drama, centering on a fictional Virginia town where a teenage girl falls in love with a vampire and sets into motion a series of dramatic events.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Back to the Future (1985) 96%

Great Scott! This year marks the 30th anniversary of director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale’s beloved time travel franchise starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, and Amazon Prime has all three films available to stream. I hope we don’t need to tell you the plot here.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Back to the Future Part II (1989) 66%

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. BTTF II is notable for the absence of Crispin Glover (contract disputes) and original “Jennifer” Claudia Wells (family issues), but it’s a wacky romp back and forth between multiple timelines in 1985, 2015 (say whaaat?), and of course, 1955.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Back to the Future Part III (1990) 80%

Nobody calls me chicken! Why does BTTF III work, even as a third installment in a potentially complicated time travel franchise? Because it minimizes the time travel element and has a lot of fun just being a solid sendup of westerns. Marathon all three movies and have a blast. Or just be a butthead.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) 92%

Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, and Mark Ruffalo star in Michel Gondry’s mind-bending, deeply yearning sci-fi dramedy.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


White Zombie (1932) 86%

Taking a breather from Count Dracula, Bela Lugosi stars as Murder Legendre, a malevolent vooodoo master, with an entourage of undead minions in this low-budget chiller from 1932.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) 87%

A goofy road comedy in which Pee-Wee searches desperately for his prized bicycle, the Certified Fresh Pee-wee’s Big Adventure marked the feature debut of fellow oddball Tim Burton.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014) 77%

The fourth season of FX’s horror anthology series focuses on a troupe of traveling carnival performers in the 1950s who arrive in Jupiter, Florida, and face an unknown entity who begins terrorizing the community. Also, there’s a pretty scary clown in it.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Gremlins (1984) 85%

Don’t feed these suckers after midnight, and don’t get them wet! Joe Dante’s beloved horror-comedy stars Zach Galligan as an unsuspecting office drone who adopts a strange creature in Chinatown, names him Gizmo, and promptly discovers that his new pet — as cute as he is — is plagued by some horrific allergic reactions.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Baby Boom (1987) 68%

Nancy Meyers wrote the script for this comedy, which stars Diane Keaton as a high-powered executive who finds herself caring for the infant child of some distant relatives.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on Netflix and Amazon Prime

 

Laura (1944) 100%

Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, and Vincent Price star in Otto Preminger classic film noir mystery, the story of a talented advertising executive and the intrigue left in the wake of her murder.

Available now on: Netflix, Amazon Prime


Available for Purchase

 

Pixels (2015) 18%

Back in the 1980s, Sam (Adam Sandler) and his buds were masters of the arcade. But when a race of aliens mistake Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and the like for a threat — and reverse-engineer said icons for destructive purposes — its up to our slacker heroes to save the day.

Available now on: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu


Paper Towns (2015) 58%

Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne star in this adaptation of the John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) novel, about a teen who embarks on an adventure through his town when his quirky neighbor disappears and leaves him a trail of clues to follow.

Available now on: Amazon, Google Play, Vudu

Since earning his career breakout with Good Will Hunting in 1997, Matt Damon has won an Academy Award, worked for some of the finest directors (and alongside some of the most talented actors) in Hollywood, and proved his mettle as a dramatic actor, gifted screen comic, and steely action hero. In honor of his latest starring role, in Ridley Scott’s The Martian this weekend, we decided to rifle through the Damon filmography and take a closer look at the ten most definitive entries. Which of your favorites made the cut? Which ones have the critics blasphemously overlooked? There’s only one way to find out!


Courage Under Fire (1996) 85%

01CourageUnderFire

Think you’re committed to your job? Try being Matt Damon in preparation for Courage Under Fire. For his role as Specialist Ilario, Damon dropped 40 pounds, adopting a grueling training regimen that had him running miles a day and subsisting on a diet consisting of little more than cigarettes and coffee. It was not, as you might imagine, a decision popular with Damon’s doctors — or, more importantly, his body, which required no small amount of medical repair after shooting ended. But all’s well that ends well, and Edward Zwick’s Rashomon-style Gulf War drama helped Damon break the dry spell he’d been suffering since nabbing a role in 1993’s Geronimo: An American Legend. Oh, and the critics liked it too — critics like Steve Rhodes, who called it “An extremely moving picture that left me with my heart racing and my arms clutching myself and staring at the screen.”

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Good Will Hunting (1997) 98%

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Before you even opened this list, you probably knew we’d end up here. And for good reason: Good Will Hunting is not only the massive left-field success that launched Damon and his pal/co-writer Ben Affleck into the Hollywood stratosphere, it’s a smart, tenderly written tale of the ways love and friendship can help build a bridge between the memories that haunt us and the futures we dream of. With empathetic direction from Gus Van Sant, beautiful music from Danny Elfman and Elliott Smith, and an Oscar-winning supporting performance from Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting was the kind of film that played equally well to the arthouse and cineplex crowds — and the kind of story that makes you feel good about loving movies. As Margaret McGurk of the Cincinnati Enquirer put it, “Good Will Hunting is another auspicious sign that the best of Young Hollywood is not only bringing back respect for the craft of acting, but for the cogent telling of tales as well.”

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Rounders (1998) 65%

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Between Good Will Hunting and The Rainmaker, Damon had a pretty good 1997, and seemed poised to continue his winning streak with 1998’s Rounders, a gambling drama about a law student whose efforts to give up high-stakes backroom poker in order to appease his girlfriend (Gretchen Mol) are complicated by the arrival of a ne’er-do-well buddy (Edward Norton) who needs his help to making enough scores to pay off a massive debt owned by a local mobster (John Malkovich). In spite of a nifty premise and a cast loaded with young Hollywood up-and-comers, Rounders went bust at the box office, although it’s since gone on to acquire something of a cult status on the home market (and rumors of a sequel even made the rounds a few years ago). “You’re going to hear a lot about the good job Edward Norton and Gretchen Mol do in Rounders,” predicted Edvins Beitkis of the San Francisco Examiner. “But the movie lives and dies with Matt Damon.”

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The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) 83%

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As conceived by author Patricia Highsmith, Tom Ripley is a deeply unsavory character — a psychopath who uses his natural charm and malfunctioning moral compass as the gateway into a lavish lifestyle built on lies, theft, and murder. Not the kind of role you’d expect to go to a wholesome-looking fellow like Matt Damon, in other words — but that’s part of what made Damon’s performance in Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley so profoundly disquieting. Capable of communicating bottomless need, desperate rage, and cold calculation in a single scene, Damon proved his range was far greater than many may had suspected. “We all knew Damon was a fine actor after Good Will Hunting,” wrote Jeffrey Westhoff of the Northwest Herald, “but The Talented Mr. Ripley takes him much further much faster than anyone could have expected.”

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The Ocean’s Franchise

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The occasional odd cameo aside, it’s generally safe to say Matt Damon is usually the biggest star in any movie he makes — but the Ocean’s trilogy is a cheerful exception to that rule, boasting an overstuffed cast full of film stars that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Elliott Gould, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Al Pacino, Carl Reiner, and Bernie Mac… just to name more than a few. As Linus Caldwell, the master pickpocket in the team of thieves assembled by the impossibly suave Danny Ocean (Clooney), Damon got the chance to lend comic relief, perform some nifty cinematic thievery, and just generally make it all look easy while sharing the load with the cast of a lifetime. In the end, after three films of watching Ocean and his gang make off with millions in ill-gotten loot, it was the audience who made out best of all; as Rene Rodriguez wrote of 2007’s Ocean’s Thirteen for the Miami Herald, “When a movie keeps you this entertained without insulting your intelligence, it’s hard to complain.”

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The Bourne Franchise

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It seems laughable now, but before The Bourne Identity reached theaters, there were a lot of people who didn’t think Matt Damon had what it took to be a convincing action hero. Those doubts were quickly erased with director Doug Liman’s sleek, powerful adaptation of the Robert Ludlum novel — a huge box office hit that was powered with equal parts explosive set pieces and a solid central performance by its star. As it turned out, Damon had not only the dramatic chops to realistically portray the fear and confusion of an amnesiac who slowly begins to realize he’s a lethal assassin, but the physical presence to make audiences believe he could kill a man with a pen — and launch a franchise that has had filmgoers lining up to follow a global trail of high-speed car chases, conspiracy cover-ups, and hand-held cameras shakily capturing some truly impressive hand-to-hand combat. “Who needs an identity,” quipped Peter Keough of the Boston Phoenix, “when you’re having this much fun?”

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Stuck on You (2003) 61%

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Damon’s had a number of opportunities to show off his comedic chops over the years, but he’s rarely gone for all-out comedy — which is why, despite its 60 percent Tomatometer, we decided to include 2003’s Stuck on You here. Co-starring Damon and Greg Kinnear as conjoined twins who reach a crossroads when the more outgoing twin (Kinnear) decides to pursue his Hollywood dream, this Farrelly brothers production lacks the gleeful ribaldry that defined their earlier efforts, but in its absence, viewers are able to focus on the genuine sweetness beating at the heart of their films’ best moments — and that, coupled with Damon and Kinnear’s easy chemistry, is just enough to make it one of the more appealing efforts in a filmography that’s largely fallen prey to the law of diminishing returns. As Claudia Puig wrote for USA Today, “Not only is Stuck on You a hoot, but it also walks a line — as the best Farrelly brothers movies do — between silly farce and sweet sentimentality that artfully avoids the cloying or maudlin.”

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The Departed (2006) 90%

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Violent, bleak, and unbearably tense, The Departed earned director Martin Scorsese his long-overdue Best Director Oscar — but before that, it delighted critics and filmgoers by using Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs as the launchpad for an unflinching look at the personal toll exacted by the mortal struggle between law enforcement and organized crime. As dirty cop Colin Sullivan, Damon gives one of his subtlest and most heartbreaking performances, portraying a man who knows he’s living one step away from prison — or worse — and who you can’t help but feel for, even as he works to ferret out the identity of Mafia mole and honest cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio). Though some critics compared The Departed unfavorably to Infernal Affairs, most agreed with the Academy voters who named it the year’s Best Picture; in the words of Beyond Hollywood’s Brian Holcomb, “Scorsese has made an incredible cover version of the original, imbued with every ounce of his artistic personality transforming it into something both familiar and new.”

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The Informant! (2009) 79%

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Life as an action hero seems like fun, but every actor wants the chance to demonstrate diversity, so after a few years of beating people up as Jason Bourne, Damon grew a mustache and a paunch for Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant!. The strange-but-true story of Mark Whitacre, who blew the whistle on price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland and worked as a secret FBI informant while embezzling millions from the company (and experiencing an acute mental breakdown along the way), Informant! allowed Damon to indulge his inner delusional schlub without losing sight of Whitacre’s essential humanity; instead of the cruel display it could have been, the movie’s a sensitive — yet still absurdly funny — satire of modern capitalism. “As Soderbergh lovingly peels away veil after veil of deception, the film develops into an unexpected human comedy,” observed Roger Ebert. “Not that any of the characters are laughing.”

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Behind the Candelabra (2013) 94%

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A longtime passion project for director Steven Soderbergh, Behind the Candelabra languished in development limbo for years while the Oscar-winning filmmaker struggled to find funding for a drama depicting the last years of the flamboyant pianist Liberace, as told through his estranged ex-lover Scott Thorston. Even with Michael Douglas attached as Liberace and Damon on board to play Thorston, Candelabra remained stuck until HBO stepped in to cover the budget — and ended up reaping record ratings for a TV movie on the way to achieving major awards recognition, including an Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy nomination for Damon. (Douglas, meanwhile, won Outstanding Lead Actor, while Candelabra itself walked away with Outstanding Miniseries or Movie.) “Douglas is more than acceptable, but Damon has made an unforgettable character,” wrote David Thomson for the New Republic. “Scott Thorson is unknown and he comes out of the dark as the story that needs to be told.”

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This week’s Ketchup brings you ten stories from the last seven days in the realm of film development news.  Included in the mix this time around are headlines involving such movies as Bourne 5, Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Gambit, Ghostbusters, Mission: Impossible 6, and the video game adaptation Five Nights at Freddy’s.


This Week’s Top Story

TOM CRUISE ACCEPTS MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 6

For quite a while, one of the commonly said things about Tom Cruise, Movie Star, is that he will do whatever it takes to promote his latest movie.  Tom Cruise isn’t one of those movie stars who’s shy about talking to the press.  And so, with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation opening this week, Tom Cruise was indeed once again out there, answering questions, and what it led to was something of a deluge of new information about Tom Cruise’s future movies.  The biggest reveal (though not necessarily the most surprising) happened on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, on which Tom Cruise revealed that there will indeed be a movie we’ll call for now, Mission: Impossible 6.  Tom Cruise said the details are currently being worked out, and that he expects to be filming his 6th movie as Ethan Hunt in the summer of 2016 (possibly suggesting a release date in the summer of 2017).  Also this week, Tom Cruise revealed to MTV that he has come up with an idea for a sequel to last year’s Edge of Tomorrow (although he didn’t reveal exactly what that is).  Whatever the sequel might entail, Tom Cruise said that he has already talked to director Doug Liman and costar Emily Blunt about it (Blunt’s reply was reportedly, “Give me another year, please.”).  Finally, more details were revealed this week about Bob: The Musical, in which Tom Cruise will play “a regular guy who, after a blow to the head, suddenly can hear the inner songs of everyone’s heart as his reality is instantly turned into a musical, much to his dismay.”  Bob: The Musical will be directed by Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) from a script by Michael Chabon (John Carter) with music by Bret McKenzie (HBO’s Flight of the Conchords).  Walt Disney Pictures has not yet announced a release date for Bob: The Musical.


Fresh Developments This Week

1. TOMMY LEE JONES JOINS MATT DAMON IN FIFTH BOURNE

As with many similar franchises (like this week’s Mission: Impossible), each new movie in the Jason Bourne franchise sees both new faces along with returning cast playing their characters from previous movies.  Even 2012’s The Bourne Legacy, which was ostensibly something of a post-Matt-Damon reboot, had several cast members from previous movies (namely, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney, and Corey Johnson).  For their fifth movie, Universal has recruited Matt Damon to return as Jason Bourne, along with director Paul Greengrass, who directed The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum.  We already have heard that Julia Stiles will be returning from previous films, and that Ex Machina star Alicia Vikander was the first announced new cast member. This week, we learned of the second new cast member, and that honor will go to Tommy Lee Jones.  The former Men in Black star is expected to play “a superior officer at the CIA,” echoing the roles played by many of the previous older costars in the Bourne franchise.  Universal Pictures has scheduled the 5th movie (possibly called The Bourne Betrayal) for July 29, 2016.


2. RACHEL MCADAMS IN TALKS FOR FEMALE LEAD IN MARVEL’S DOCTOR STRANGE

Back in April, in the weeks leading up to the release of Aloha, Forbes ran a story asking, “Why Rachel McAdams Never Became a Movie Star“.  One possible answer is that Hollywood just doesn’t make romantic comedies like they used to, and they sort of stopped at exactly the moment when Rachel McAdams might have become a major “rom com” movie star.  So, how exactly do actors and actresses today become bigger stars?  One very common way is by taking roles in major super hero movies, which leads us to this week’s news.  Rachel McAdams confirmed this week that she has been talking to Marvel Studios about signing on for the female lead in next year’s Doctor Strange (11/4/16).  Emphasizing that this is not yet a firm confirmation, McAdams said, “It’s still super-early days, and I don’t know where that’s gonna go, if it’s gonna go anywhere at all.”  So, if Rachel McAdams does indeed join Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Doctor Strange, who might she be playing?  Although there are other possibilities, the female supporting character that seems most likely for Doctor Strange is probably Clea, the niece of Dormammu, one of Strange’s main enemies, and frequent romantic interest.  Clea is also one of Doctor Strange’s longest-running romantic interests.  And Rachel McAdams in a platinum wig would even sort of resemble the way that Clea is frequently depicted in the comics.  Marvel Studios has scheduled Doctor Strange for November 4, 2016.


3. VAMPIRE CLASSIC NOSFERATU TO GET ANOTHER REMAKE

It has now been 37 years since German director Werner Herzog remade F.W. Murnau’s classic 1922 silent film Nosferatu, under the title Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht.  That Nosferatu has been adapted so rarely (he was also depicted in 2000’s Shadow of the Vampire) is surprising that the character he was based upon, Count Dracula, holds the record as the Most Portrayed Literary Character.  (Sherlock Holmes is the most portrayed literary human character.)  Director Robert Eggers, who made his debut with the upcoming indie horror film The Witch, has signed a deal to write and direct a remake of F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu.  That, unfortunately, is about all that we know about Eggers’ plans to remake Nosferatu.  Among the details not known are whether it will be silent (or a “talkie”), black and white (or in color), live action (or animation), or if Robert Eggers will inadvertently cast a real life vampire who sets about devouring most of the crew.


4. RECENTLY PAROLED SPY JONATHAN POLLARD TO GET HIS OWN BIOPIC

For all of the examples where movie projects spend years (and sometimes, decades) in development, there are sometimes cases where Hollywood’s speed is quite remarkable.  Consider convicted spy Jonathan Pollard who was arrested in 1985 on charges of sharing vital U.S. government secrets with Israel.  On Tuesday morning, the news broke that Jonathan Pollard had been granted parole and will be released in November, 2015.  By 11 minutes after Noon that same day, the news broke that producer Gail Berman is now developing  a feature film based on Jonathan Pollard’s life and years in prison.  Gail Berman is best known for executive producing the popular TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.  The Jonathan Pollard feature film will be based upon the play The Law of Return, by Martin Blank, “which covers Pollard’s rocky employment by the U.S. Navy, and his motivations for turning spy.”


5. DANIEL RADCLIFFE TO INFILTRATE HOMELAND TERRORISTS IN IMPERIUM

With the Harry Potter franchise increasingly in his rear view mirror, Daniel Radcliffe is continuing to build a new body of work as a prolific actor.  This includes this November’s Victor Frankenstein (in which he plays Igor to James McAvoy’s title character), the indie “corpse comedy” Swiss Army Man, and the Rockstar Games biopic Game Changer.  The latest movie to be added to Daniel Radcliffe’s IMDb profile is an inspired-by-real-events crime thriller called Imperium.  Daniel Radcliffe will play a young FBI agent who is assigned undercover to infiltrate a group of white supremacists planning on constructing a “dirty bomb.”  Imperium will be the feature film debut of short film director Daniel Ragnussis, who also cowrote the script with Michael German, the FBI undercover agent whose experiences form the basis for the movie.


6. MORGAN FREEMAN MIGHT BE RE-ELECTED IN DOWN TO A SUNLESS SEA

In addition to the times he has played God, Morgan Freeman has also played the President of the United States in Deep Impact, and the Acting President in Olympus Has Fallen.  This week, there was speculation that Morgan Freeman might again get the chance to be the POTUS again, based on one reference in this story.  But first, the facts we know for sure.  Morgan Freeman has signed with Focus Features to star in an action movie called Down to a Sunless Sea.  Plot details aren’t yet known, except that Down to a Sunless Sea is said to be “similar in tone to Air Force One.”  And that right there is why some people are speculating that Morgan Freeman might play the President in the movie, since the lead character in Air Force One was the President of the United States (as played by Harrison Ford).  Down to a Sunless Sea was written by writer/director David Gleeson (The Front Line, Cowboys & Angels), who has also directed his previous films, but it’s not yet known if he will also be directing Down to a Sunless Sea.


Rotten IdeaS of the Week

3. THIS WEEK IN GHOSTBUSTERS: HINTS AND DENIAL ABOUT THE PRATT/TATUM MOVIE

As of nine days ago, we are now less than a year away from the July 22, 2016 release of the new Ghostbusters (the movie with Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, directed by Paul Feig). Back in March (a few months after Feig’s movie was confirmed), there began to be talk online of a second Ghostbusters movie which would be more action-centric, and possibly feature real life friends Chris Pratt and Channing Tatum.  This week, while promoting Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, screenwriter Drew Pearce (who also cowrote Iron Man 3) was quoted as saying that he had “finished by work” on the Pratt/Tatum Ghostbusters.  This led to the online film world sort of blowing up in response to an impending Ghostbusters with two  of the hottest male action stars currently working.  Subsequently, Drew Pearce took to Twitter to clarify, “Also, I’ve only written a bible (because I have to go off and direct my own stuff). No script yet. So news cycle: CHILL YOUR BOOTS.”  That was then followed by this statement by director/producer Ivan Reitman  (the man behind the first two Ghostbusters movies): “As the producer of the new Ghostbusters film, I feel the need to clarify. There is only one new Ghostbusters movie and that is the Paul Feig directed version coming next July, presently filming and going fantastically.  The rest is just noise.”  We’re calling this a “Rotten Idea” in case it really does mean we will never get a Pratt/Tatum Ghostbusters, and similarly, keep reading.


2. OUTSPOKEN GAMBIT ENTHUSIAST CHANNING TATUM MAY FOLD

This was a week of ups and downs for 20th Century Fox’s plans for a solo Gambit movie, based on Marvel’s popular mutant character.  First, there was the news that the studio was planning on a budget of over $154 million for Gambit, with filming to be starting in Louisiana in October under the direction of Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes).  As promising as that news was for the fans who have been dreaming about a big budget Gambit movie since the early 1990s, it was soon overshadowed by the much more widely reported next news item.  And that story (although not yet confirmed) is that Channing Tatum might be dropping out of starring in Gambit.  This story was particularly baffling for many fans since Channing Tatum has been talking up his excitement about starring as Gambit since promoting White House Down two years ago (at a time when no one thought there was ever going to be a Gambit solo movie).  It’s not yet known if Channing Tatum really will drop out of Gambit, or why he would do so.  Some of the speculated reasons include conflicts with 23 Jump Street, the rumored Ghostbusters spinoff, and Channing Tatum’s plans to make his directorial debut.  For the time being, 20th Century Fox still has Gambit scheduled for release on October 7, 2016.


1. VIDEO GAME MOVIES STILL BEING GREENLIT: FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S

Pixels opened last week to disappointing box office (compared to its budget), continuing a trend for video game adaptation movies that dates back decades.  Even so, Hollywood still keeps putting video game adaptations into development, with the hope apparently being each time that the given project will be the one that upsets critical and box office patterns.  Such movies that are currently on their way include The Angry Birds Movie (5/20/16), Warcraft (6/10/16),  Assassin’s Creed (12/21/16), and the Minecraft movie.  Warner Bros is also moving forward with plans for a feature film adaptation of the popular survival horror video game franchise Five Nights at Freddy’s.  The games are set in a children’s theme restaurant called Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, where at night, the title animatronic animal comes alive to wreak unholy terror on anyone unlucky enough to be there. The first game came out in 2014, and there’s already been four games in the franchise.  The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie will be directed by Gil Kenan, who made his debut in 2006 with the “Fresh” animated movie Monster House, which was followed by two “Rotten” scores for City of Ember (53%) and this year’s Poltergeist remake (33%).

This week’s Ketchup covers over ten movie development news stories, including comic book adaptations (Deadpool and Suicide Squad), monster movies (Skull Island, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), and remakes (Ben-Hur, I Know What You Did Last Summer).


This Week’s Top Story

MATT DAMON TO BE BOURNE AGAIN IN 2016

This year, Jeremy Renner has been filming two big new sequels in the form of first Avengers: Age of Ultron, and then Mission: Impossible 5, along with Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames. One sequel, however, that Renner won’t be filming any time is the The Bourne Legacy 2, which had been scheduled for July 16, 2016. Oh, there’s still going to be a Bourne sequel scheduled for that date (just not that one). Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass are now in negotiations with Universal Pictures to return for a fourth movie about Jason Bourne, following their collaboration on the two sequels The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). The goal is indeed to get the film ready in time for that 7/16/16 release date. The Bourne Legacy sequel with Jeremy Renner (and director Justin Lin) remains in development… for some later date. In the meantime, Matt Damon is preparing to film the drama Manchester-by-the-Sea and the astronaut-stranded-on-Mars adventure drama The Martian for director Ridley Scott. This week, we learned that the female lead, which Jessica Chastain had previously been associated with, will instead be going to Kate Mara. Mara will be starring in next year’s The Fantastic Four (and this is actually the first of three stories this week with connections to that reboot).

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 DID THE INTERNET SAVE DEADPOOL?

Life on the ‘net moves pretty quickly nowadays, so it might seem difficult to imagine that just a few months ago, the idea of Ryan Reynolds starring in a Deadpool movie was not only a) unlikely, but b) probably not a great idea, anyway. After all, Reynolds did appear as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and well, it was sort of awful. And then, back in July, 100 glorious [NSFW] seconds of Deadpool test footage appeared online. Yesterday morning, quotes from Ryan Reynolds also appeared online, where he referred to the internet’s reaction as “awe-inspiring, actually,” making him think, “Oh, so we weren’t crazy for our reasons for loving this character, for loving this role.” Now, we have no way of knowing if these two things were planned, or just serendipity, but a few hours later came the following news: 20th Century Fox has officially scheduled Deadpool for February 12, 2016. Right around now would be a good place to explain that Deadpool is a Marvel Comics assassin character (AKA the “Merc with a Mouth”) created in 1991 who is known for his penchant for cracking wise, hanging out with obscure Marvel D-listers, and occasionally “breaking the fourth wall.” Deadpool has also been making a lot of video game appearances lately. Deadpool will mark the feature film directorial debut of Tim Miller, who will be working from a script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the team behind Zombieland and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. That release date also means Deadpool will be the next film in 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, coming before both X-Men: Apocalypse (5/27/16) and the third solo Wolverine movie (3/3/17). Meanwhile, in other Marvel release date news, the reboot of The Fantastic Four (mention #2, kids!) was bumped back two months from next June to August 7, 2015. The reboot is taking the slot previously being held for Michael Fassbender’s Assassin’s Creed adaptation, which is currently off the schedule. And finally, the Internet lit into one of those typical frenzies this week with the news that Marvel has “officially” scheduled Doctor Strange for July 8, 2016. The quotation marks are there, however, because the news didn’t actually come from Marvel (which is not to say that it’s necessarily “wrong” — just not confirmed).

#2 THIS WEEK IN TOM HIDDLESTON: SKULL ISLAND, AND ANOTHER HANK WILLIAMS MOVIE?

We don’t know when we’ll next see Tom Hiddleston as Loki in a Marvel Studios movie, but the actor is landing lots of other work. This week, we learned that the English actor has landed the lead role in Skull Island, which will delve deeper into the history of the land that will eventually give the world King Kong. Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures will release Skull Island on November 4, 2016, and the film will be directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (last year’s The Kings of Summer). Before that movie starts filming, Tom Hiddleston will be starring in the Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light, along with Elizabeth Olsen (who plays Scarlet Witch next year in Avengers: Age of Ultron). The strange thing is that this week, Chris Hemsworth (AKA Thor to Hiddleston’s Loki) signed to star in a completely different movie that’s also (fictionally) about Hank Williams. I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive is based upon a novel by country rock musician Steve Earle. Hemsworth will play a San Antonio doctor and morphine addict who finds himself haunted in 1963 by the ghost of Hank Williams, ten years after the singer’s death (which he may have been involved in facilitating). Now, all they need to do is recruit Jeremy Renner to play the ghost.

#3 BOARDWALK EMPIRE STAR JACK HUSTON TO STAR IN THE BEN-HUR REMAKE

HBO’s Boardwalk Empire is now in its final season, and one of the actors who looks to be most benefiting from the show’s success is Jack Huston, who played the disfigured assassin Richard Harrow, and starts filming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on September 24. This week, the English actor landed what might be his biggest role to date, as Jack Huston will be reprising the Charlton Heston lead role in the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur. Based upon the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (and most famously previously adapted as the 1959 film which won 11 Academy Awards), the movie will tell the story of a wealthy Jerusalem merchant whose relationship with a Roman garrison commander named Messala leads to Ben-Hur becoming a slave and, eventually, a chariot racer (with Morgan Freeman playing the chariot trainer). This week, the role of Messala was also cast, with the job going to Toby Kebbell, who will play the new Doctor Doom in next year’s reboot of The Fantastic Four (mention #3!). MGM and Paramount Pictures will distribute Ben-Hur on February 26, 2016. The new version will be directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Night Watch) from a script by Keith Clarke (cowriter of The Way Back) and John Ridley (12 Years a Slave; cowriter of Undercover Brother).

#4 ANGELINA JOLIE TO TACKLE IVORY POACHING WITH EPIC AFRICA

The world is still waiting for the release of Angelina Jolie’s second film as director, the World War II true story Unbroken. In the meantime, Jolie is currently directing herself and Brad Pitt in the drama By the Sea, and this week set up another film which might be directorial effort #4. Angelina Jolie has picked up the rights to the screenplay Africa by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), based upon the true story of paleo-archaelogist Richard Leakey‘s “battle with ivory poachers that threaten the existence of the African elephant population and the very soul of Africa.” Here’s what Jolie herself had to say about the project: “I’ve felt a deep connection to Africa and its culture for much of my life, and responded immediately to Eric’s beautiful script about a man drawn into a violent conflict that leads him to discover his own profound connection to that same place and people.”

#5 COMEDIAN SETH ROGEN TO STAR IN UNTITLED SETH ROGEN COMEDY

Our apologies for the redundant title, but when a news story comes out with pretty much zero premise details, or a title, the options of what to do with it sometimes run out very quickly. This is one of those times. Seth Rogen will star in an untitled comedy along with Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio on NBC’s Parks and Recreation), who also pitched the story idea and will write the script. The currently untitled comedy will be directed by Anchorman franchise director Adam McKay, who previously worked with Schwartz on The Other Guys, and with Seth Rogen (in small supporting roles) on Step Brothers and the first Anchorman movie. Here’s some of what Rogen had to say about this project: “Every two thousand years the planets of our galaxy align in a perfect line that funnels the cosmic energies of the universe to flow into one perfect comedic collaboration. The time is now. This is that project. Nothing will ever be the same.” Jokes!

Rotten Ideas of the Week

#4 DOCTOR WHO STAR MATT SMITH JOINS PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES

Last week, we learned that former Doctor Who star Matt Smith was signed to costar in three upcoming Terminator movies, in that (other) wibbly wobbly timey wimey franchise. The English actor is staying busy, as Smith is also now signed to costar in the long-in-development adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which mashes Jane Austen’s novel with, well, zombies. Matt Smith will play the parson Mr. Collins, joining the already cast Lily James (as Liz Bennett), Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Douglas Booth, and the aforementioned Jack Huston. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will be directed by Burr Steers, whose three films as director are experiencing a steadily dramatic decline (76% for Igby Goes Down, 55% for 17 Again, and 27% for Charlie St. Cloud), so this is one of the week’s Rotten Ideas.

#3 MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY NOT RETURNING FOR MAGIC MIKE XXL

This week, we learned of two new actresses joining the cast of Magic Mike XXL, but they were sort of overshadowed by word of who won’t be returning for the sequel. Namely, we’re talking about Matthew McConaughey (although Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello will return to reprise their stripper roles). The two actresses who will be joining in on the fun are Jada Pinkett Smith (as the owner of a strip club), and Andie MacDowell, who starred in sex, lies, and videotape, the first movie directed by Steven Soderbergh (who directed the first Magic Mike). The sequel will be directed by Greg Jacobs (Louder Than a Bomb). This story is a “Rotten Idea” because of Matthew McConaughey’s (and Steven Soderbergh’s) absence.

#2 DC COMICS’ SUICIDE SQUAD GETTING CLOSER

It’s probably fitting that this story came out in the same week that we found out that Deadpool is finally getting his own movie. Deadpool in the comics is a member of X-Force and the Weapon X program, and his name, Wade Wilson, was unapologetically inspired by Slade Wilson, AKA Deathstroke: The Terminator, who is sometimes depicted as being a member of DC’s Task Force X. Task Force X is more famously known as Suicide Squad, which is about a group of super villains who are recruited to work for the government as a way to make up for their past misdeeds (or die trying). (Marvel has a similar team called the Thunderbolts, of which Deadpool is currently a member. Okay, enough with the Deadpool mentions.) Warner Bros and DC Comics have been trying to get a Suicide Squad movie going for several years now, and this week, the project made a significant move forward. Director David Ayer, whose next film will be the WWII tank action movie Fury, is reportedly “circling” the project. The reason this is one of the week’s “Rotten Idea” stories is that when one looks at David Ayer’s Tomatometer page, what you see are a lot of green Rotten splotches (of Ayer’s four films as director, only End of Watch was rated Fresh). The latest Suicide Squad script draft was written by Justin Marks, whose only RT entry is Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.

#1 I KNOW WHAT 1990S MOVIE YOU’RE REMAKING NEXT SUMMER

As much as writers (like this one) might bemoan the waves of remakes, reboots, and retreads, it’s something Hollywood has been doing since (20 years) before someone at MGM got the idea for a color musical version of The Wizard of Oz. Something that you notice, however, when you write about these projects week after week is that the average dates for the original movies (somewhat logically) gradually creep forward with the passing of time. Every movie from the 1980s is already optioned? Great, move on to the 1990s. And there really were few movies with casts as definitely “nineties” as 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer. Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr, Ryan Phillippe, Johnny Galecki, and Anne Heche all appeared in the slasher movie (the success of which also inspired a sequel). Producer Neal Moritz has hired Oculus writer/director Mike Flanagan to start work on the remake, which, like the first film, will be adapted from the 1973 novel by Lois Duncan. This is one of the week’s Rotten Ideas not because of Flanagan’s credits, but because, sometimes, an idea is just “rotten” on its own merits (i.e. enough with the horror movie remakes). Hardly anyone ever remakes pirate movies. How about trying that for a while?

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.

This Week’s Ketchup saw many casting announcements, including new roles for Elizabeth Banks, Tom Cruise, James Franco, Jeremy Renner, Winona Ryder, Jason Statham and Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis. Also included in the news cycle are stories about The Bourne Legacy, Fast Six, The Hunger Games and Prom 2.

This Week’s Top Story

JEREMY RENNER IS THE NEW NOT-JASON-BOURNE IN THE BOURNE LEGACY

In the last year following the Oscar success of The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner has joined two major franchises with roles in both Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and The Avengers (as Hawkeye). Now, Universal Pictures has added to Renner’s franchise collection by offering the actor the lead role in The Bourne Legacy. This fourth film follows the three starring Matt Damon as a spin off about a new secret operative (Renner) “from a covert government program that is even more dangerous than the Treadstone brainwashing program that hatched Bourne.” The Bourne Legacy will be directed by Tony Gilroy (Duplicity, Michael Clayton), who also wrote the screenplay, as well as writing or cowriting the three previous Bourne movies. Filming of The Bourne Legacy is scheduled to start in September, 2011. As for the archer superhero Hawkeye, Kevin Feige of Marvel also confirmed this week what has long been suspected, which is that there are plans to spin off Hawkeye into his own movie after The Avengers. Hawkeye joins several other planned Marvel movies which include Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Black Widow, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Doctor Strange.

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 DENZEL WASHINGTON TAKES FLIGHT AS A LESS HEROIC CAPTAIN SULLY TYPE

One of the stories in last week’s Ketchup was the news that Robert Zemeckis is producing an low budget R-rated comedy called How to Survive a Garden Gnome Invasion, but he isn’t expected to personally direct that film. This week we found out what might be Zemeckis’ next film as director, as he is in talks with Paramount Pictures to direct Flight, which has Denzel Washington loosely attached as the star. Written by John Gatins (the upcoming Real Steel; cowriter of Coach Carter), Flight is the story of a commercial airliner pilot named Whip Whitaker who is hailed as a hero after saving his plane from a possible crash. The twist, however, is that Whip was himself under the influence of drugs and alcohol and (likely) the cause of the tragedy that the media calls him a hero for preventing. John Gatins also last week signed with DreamWorks to start work on a Real Steel sequel. Flight can be seen as a dark, fictional take on the true (and truly heroic) story of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, whose own memoir Highest Duty is also in development to be adapted into a movie. If the deal goes through, Flight will be Zemeckis’ first live action film since 2000’s Cast Away (the story of which also started with an airplane mishap). Robert Zemeckis is coming off producing the recent flop Mars Needs Moms, a decade of directing and producing motion-capture CGI movies (like Beowulf and The Polar Express), and Disney cancelling his planned mo-cap remake of Yellow Submarine.

#2 JASON STATHAM TO BE ONE OF DIRETOR TAYLOR HACKFORD’S MOST UNLIKELY STARS?

Action star Jason Statham is in talks to star as the “honorable thief” Parker in a film based upon the popular character from a series of novels by Donald E. Westlake. Parker will be directed by Taylor Hackford (Ray, An Officer and a Gentleman), for whom this will be a rare recent foray into genre work (Hackford’s 1980s-1990s films included White Nights, Against All Odds and The Devil’s Advocate). Seven of Westlake’s novels have also been previously adapted as such movies as Point Blank and Payback (both based on the Parker novel The Hunter) and What’s the Worst That Could Happen? There’s no word yet as to which specific Parker novels by Westlake are being adapted, but it appears likely that the answer is that elements of several novels are being incorporated. That job of adapting Westlake’s books was handled by screenwriter John J. McLaughlin, cowriter of Black Swan and the 2005 Tommy Lee Jones movie Man of the House.

#3 J.J. ABRAMS’S NEXT SECRET PROJECT SOUNDS LIKE A SUCKER PUNCH

J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company, in addition to producing twist-filled shows like Alias, LOST and Fringe, are developing a reputation for “secret” movies, starting with Matt Reeves’ Cloverfield, and continuing this year with J.J.’s own Super 8. Some details about the latest secret project at Bad Robot were revealed this week, as we learned about something called Zanbato. Sharing a name with a very large Japanese sword (thanks, Wikipedia!), Zanbato reportedly involves both Japanese history and robotics, and is described as being about “swashbuckling robots with swords.” That byline, as noted in this story’s title, sounds a bit like a segment from the recent flop Sucker Punch. Zanbato is being written by the team of Monica Breen and Alison Schapker, who have worked as writers and producers on various Bad Robot TV shows (including the three mentioned above), and are also show runners on ABC’s Brothers and Sisters. In other news related to Bad Robot (by way of Cloverfield), that film’s director Matt Reeves, who recently remade the Swedish vampire thriller Let the Right One In as Let Me In, has signed on for another vampire movie. This time, Reeves will direct the adaptation of the novel The Passage written by Justin Cronin (under the pen name Jordan Ainsley). The Passage starts off with cancer patients getting healthy after being bitten by South American bats, which leads to experiments that ultimately lead to an outbreak of nearly indestructible telepathic vampires. Of course. Last week, Matt Reeves also came on board a project at Universal which was formerly known as a remake of They Live (but isn’t anymore).

#4 TOM CRUISE GETS INTO POLITICS, CRAZY STUPID LOVE STYLE

Screenwriter Dan Fogelman (Bolt, Fred Claus) has become in recent years something of a hot property, able to work in both animation and live action, and selling each new script for millions of dollars (which is much better than many screenwriters do). These recent sales include this summer’s Crazy, Stupid Love (starring Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling) and the upcoming Seth Rogen/Barbra Streisand comedy My Mother’s Curse. Fogelman’s latest (untitled) story idea was pitched to five studios this week, with Tom Cruise attached to star (which surely helped), and ended up being picked up by Warner Bros for a deal worth $2-3 million depending upon whether it actually gets made. The story revolves around a man blessed with a lucky life who becomes a politician, which leads to his first lifelong major mistake, an affair which leaves both his political career and private life in tatters (yes, it is a comedy, regardless of how tragic that sounds). This untitled project joins Tom Cruise’s other upcoming projects which include the recently wrapped Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, a supporting role in the musical Rock of Ages and the science fiction movie Oblivion from TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski.

#5 LAY THE FAVORITE TELLS A PROFESSIONAL GAMBLER’S TRUE STORY

Rebecca Hall (The Town, The Prestige) and Bruce Willis are signed, and Joshua Jackson (Fringe) is in talks, to star in Lay the Favorite, based on the true story of professional gambler Beth Raymer. Catherine Zeta-Jones was recently reported to be in talks to play the wife of Willis’ mentor role, but it appears she may have dropped out so that she could take a role in the musical Rock of Ages instead.. Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons) will direct from a script by D.V. DeVincentis, cowriter of Grosse Pointe Blank and High Fidelity, which was also directed by Frears. That also means this is the first time one of DeVincentis’ scripts is being produced without John Cusack in the lead role.

#6 THE HUNGER GAMES GETS FIVE CASTING ANNOUNCEMENTS IN THE SAME WEEK

The Lionsgate publicity department went into overdrive this week, with a total of five different casting announcement stories (covering 7 roles) in as many days, all for the same movie. The movie in question is The Hunger Games, the adaptation by director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) of the popular young adult novel by Suzanne Collins about teenagers in the future forced to fight to the death. Story #1 was the casting of newcomers Dayo Okenikyi as Thresh and Rue. They were followed by another pair of young actors as Jack Quaid and Leven Rambin will play the District 1 Tributes Marvel and Glimmer. Another young actress to land a role is Willow Shields, who will play Primrose Everdeen, the little sister of Katniss, who will be played by Jennifer Lawrence. This week’s news wasn’t all younglings, however, as Elizabeth Banks is likely to play Effie Trinket, the District 12 escort and Paula Malcolmson (Trixie from Deadwood) will play Mrs. Everdeen.

Rotten Ideas of the Week

#3 WINONA RYDER AND JAMES FRANCO TO SHARE THE STARE

Winona Ryder recently costarred in Black Swan, a dark psychological drama set in the world of ballet. Now, the actress is signed to star in The Stare, which has a plot synopsis that sounds a lot like Black Swan, except set in the world of stage theatre instead. Ryder will play a playwright whose mind starts to “warp as she struggles to launch her next production. She’s plagued by dreams and visions of being watched, but can’t decide if she’s at the center of a manipulative plot or simply losing her grip on reality.” James Franco will also costar as one of the actors in her latest production. The Stare will be the highest profile film to date for independent director Jay Anania (Shadows and Lies, which also starred James Franco), who is also coincidentally the younger brother of the late Elizabeth Edwards. Filming of The Stare is scheduled to start on May 6, 2011 in New York City. The Stare is one of the week’s (borderline) Rotten Ideas based solely on the resemblance its synopsis bears to Black Swan.

#2 DISNEY GREENLIGHTS LIKELY PROM SEQUEL

The Walt Disney Pictures teen movie Prom may not open in theaters until next Friday (4/29/11), but the studio is wasting no time. The studio has hired that film’s screenwriter Katie Wech to write another teen movie which could be a sequel to Prom, depending upon how well the movie actually performs next weekend. Not much is actually known about this potential sequel yet, but there is speculation that it could continue the story of the sophomore characters featured in Prom (along with members of the senior class). Since reviews aren’t in yet for Prom, this story about a potential sequel ends up in the Rotten Idea category until we find out that Prom is some sort of modern day John Hughes classic (which is unlikely… hence, the Rotten Idea).

#1 THE FAST, FAST, FAST, FAST, FAST AND THE FURIOUS

Prom isn’t the only movie opening on April 29, 2011 that is already getting a sequel. This week, Universal Pictures signed a new two year deal with producer/screenwriter Chris Morgan which includes Morgan working on the script for Fast Six, the obligatory next film after Fast Five. Chris Morgan also wrote the third (TF&TF: Tokyo Drift) and fourth (Fast & Furious) movies in the franchise, as well as cowriting Universal’s Wanted and their upcoming Keanu Reeves movie 47 Ronin. This news of Fast Six is the week’s most Rotten Idea based mostly on the regularly low RT Tomatometer scores, including the two released films written by Chris Morgan (35% and 27%, respectively). The reason that Universal keeps chugging along with the franchise also made the news today, however, as early box office from Australia is showing Fast Five to be trouncing Marvel’s Thor down under.

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook or a RT forum message.

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