(Photo by Ron Batzdorff/©Overture Films/Courtesy Everett Collectionn)
Primal Fear was notable for being a pretty crafty legal thriller and for introducing Edward Norton to the public sphere. Here was a 27-year-old no one’s ever heard of, going toe to toe with Richard Gere, still in the long afterglow of Pretty Woman, and coming out on top with Golden Globe and Oscar acting noms. That he was also in two Certified Fresh films (Everyone Says I Love You, The People Vs. Larry Flynt) the same year as Fear just about seals the deal for the most auspicious debut for an American actor.
The violent, intelligent, and complex performances in Best Actor-nominated American History X and Fight Club, made Norton, for better or worse, an icon of modern masculinity. Naturally, he followed it up with a rom-com: Keeping the Faith, also Norton’s directorial debut, and indicative of a filmmaker willing to power against expectation, behind and in front of the camera.
Norton then got to work with some heavyweights: Marlon Brando in his final film The Score, Robin Williams in Death to Smoochy, and Anthony Hopkins in Red Dragon. He infamously sneered through his contractually obligated role in The Italian Job, which only amplified the villain role.
Just a month after the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off with Iron Man, Norton starred in The Incredible Hulk as Bruce Banner. He opted not to appear any further due to the multi-movie commitment required of the MCU, the role then going to Mark Ruffalo.
Norton struck a working partnership with Wes Anderson, who has been the source of most of his Certified Fresh movies in the past decade: Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Isle of Dogs. His other Certified movies? Sausage Party, voicing Sammy Bagel Jr., and Birdman, where he satirizes his persnickety reputation, leading to this third acting Oscar nomination.
And Norton kept the faith on pulling double duty as actor and director – and writing the screenplay, too – with Motherless Brooklyn, released in 2019. And now, we’re looking back on all Edward Norton movies and ranking them by Tomatometer!
(Photo by Warner Bros./Fox/Rogue/courtesy Everett Collection)
If you want to watch something funny, mind-blowing or mind-bending to pair with the altered state you find yourself in, look no further than our 20 best movies to watch while high. Consider comedies that commit to their insane internal zaniness, like Step Brothers, Airplane!, and Monty Python. There are movies that dazzle with their visuals (The Fall, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Spirited Away), with others also kicking the audio component into overdrive (Pink Floyd – The Wall, Tron Legacy).
Let science-fiction become the theater of the mind, as Inception, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Matrix knock your perspectives around. And some movies — like Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, and Shaun of the Dead — will lock you to your couch based on pure elan and style. After that, we sorted the movies by Tomatometer, from lowest to highest.
Get ready for some unforgettable experiences with the 20 best movies to watch while high! (And don’t forget to check out the 25 essential stoner movies.)
(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Armie Hammer is not one to be pigeonholed, and a quick glance at his impressive run over the past couple of years proves it. The Golden Globe-nominated star, who caught his breakout role playing both Winklevoss twins in David Fincher’s The Social Network, has appeared in a variety of projects ranging from action comedies and animated films to dark thrillers and historical dramas. Last year alone, he graced the screen in high-profile projects like Boots Riley’s fantasy-tinged satire Sorry to Bother You, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex, and Luca Guadagnino’s Oscar-winning romantic drama Call Me By Your Name, for which he earned some of the highest accolades of his career.
Hammer’s next film is Hotel Mumbai, a fictional chronicle of the coordinated terrorist attacks perpetrated in Mumbai, India in 2008. He portrays the American husband of a wealthy socialite who gets trapped in the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel with his family and attempts to guide his wife and infant son to safety. Ahead of Hotel Mumbai‘s release, Hammer spoke to RT about his experience making the film and how he processed the real-life tragedy it portrays, but first, he gave us his Five Favorite Films.
Cool Hand Luke, to me, and I’m not a film historian, but what it feels like to me is it’s in this intersectional point between the glamorization of film and that golden era of Hollywood where everything was meant to look perfect, like all the old Cary Grant movies like His Girl Friday and Arsenic and Old Lace, where everything is supposed to look so nice and everybody’s always impeccably dressed and charming and all that. Cool Hand Luke comes after that, where it’s a more cinema verite realism kind of thing. But also, there are still elements of the older films that you don’t get anymore, like using imagery in a really cool way.
Like, there’s one scene where, to inspire a feeling of tension and stress, there’s just a really slow push in on a whirling fan that just keeps whirling and whirling, and I feel like they don’t do that much anymore. Now they have to really pander to the audience, and make sure that they serve up to you exactly what’s going on, instead of using that kind of stuff. Also, Paul Newman is the f—ing best, and he’s so good in that movie, and it’s just cool, man. It’s just a guy who just won’t get beat by the system, and I really like that. There’s so many layers to that movie. It’s one of the few movies that I make sure I keep downloaded on my iPhone or my iPad, just so that I always have it available.
Fight Club came into my life when I was an angsty teenager who wanted to burn down the entire world, much like the movie, and I was just like, “Yeah, you f—ing get ’em.” It just so perfectly captured every bit of teenage or young adult angst that I felt. It also is so funny. Like, I watch that movie and I just howl with laughter, it’s just so sardonic and funny, and also weirdly romantic. It’s a wonderful love story, too. I mean, obviously it’s a love story between two very dysfunctional people, but who’s not dysfunctional in their own ways?
I think the writing is brilliant, I think that the cinematography is incredible, I think that David Fincher absolutely knocked that one out of the park. It’s a movie that I can watch over and over, and every time I catch a new line, or I catch a new shot, and I’m like, “Oh, wow. I never noticed that’s how they did that before, and that’s such a brilliant way to do that.” Yeah, I just think that it perfectly captures every single feeling of frustration and rage that anyone might be feeling at any moment.
You ended up working with David Fincher on The Social Network. How was that for you?
It was incredible. I got to see behind the curtain at the wizard who makes these amazing films, and the effort that goes into making his films. He is a tireless, tireless filmmaker who will not stop until everything is perfect, which is why he is held to such high regard as a filmmaker. He’s one of the best living directors, I think, and when you see his process, you understand why.
Dude, where do I start? I am a Kubrick fanatic. I think that there may never be another director like Stanley Kubrick. Just the meticulous care that he takes in not only the preparation, but the execution of what he’s doing. The fact that there are Christmas lights hidden in every single shot in Eyes Wide Shut, it’s supposed to be this dreamlike sequence. Just the fact that Tom Cruise’s character wants to have sex so badly, and the only time in the film where it’s actually offered to him and he turns it down, that person later turns out to be HIV positive. There’s just so many little things in that film that are so genius, that can only… none of those things can happen by accident. Those are the manifestations of genius, the manifestations of years and years and years of preparation and work, and you can feel that in every single set up, in every single shot, in every single scene, in every single line of dialogue. You can feel that, and you feel how much Kubrick put into that movie.
Not only that movie, but every movie. I mean, even Barry Lyndon, all of them, all of his movies are incredible, but Eyes Wide Shut to me is this beautiful meditation on what it is to be sort of like a frustrated man. I just think that movie is absolutely incredible. Then you get into, well, what about the conspiracies about it? What about the fact that it’s about this or that? What about the fact that he’s alluding to this or that secret thing, that everyone knows is happening but no one will admit? All that stuff, there’s just so many layers to that film, that every time I watch it, I feel like I just enjoy it for a different reason. And it’s not regarded as Kubrick’s best work, but I absolutely love it, I think it’s a great film.
And look, I just watched 2001 again maybe a month ago, and just sat there marveling again. It’s just like, “Who the hell was this guy? Who gave him the goddamn right to be so good?” But I don’t know, I think that I like the fact that Eyes Wide Shut is like the redheaded stepchild of the Stanley Kubrick films, but it’s amazing. There’s something about the tone of Eyes Wide Shut that, as you’re watching it, it sucks you in, and you really feel like you’re there. Like all of his films. I mean, The Shining wouldn’t be as scary as it is if it didn’t feel like you were actually there in the hotel, but Eyes Wide Shut, there’s just something… It’s a dream. It feels like a dream. It feels like you are watching a dream, and I just think it’s excellent.
That’s my plane movie. Like, I’ve got it stored on my phone, and if I absolutely just need to just be on a plane, I’ll just put on Apocalypse Now. The mania and craziness that Colonel Kurtz is supposed to represent, and what the jungle in Cambodia is supposed to represent — knowing, by watching documentaries and reading about it, that that mania was not only present, it was prominent on set as they filmed this. Just all of that together. The movie itself is incredible, but the knowing of the making of the film, and what happened when they were making that film, knowing all of that just makes it a much more comprehensive experience.
When Colonel Kurtz talks about the horror, and you know what horror he’s talking about, you just feel like you are let in. You’re gifted an audience into true craziness. Every single character in that movie is bats–t insane, and it’s just a matter of how forward it is. So I mean, even Robert Duvall saying, “There’s nothing like the smell of napalm in the morning,” and then taking a pause from it and going, “You know, one day this war is going to be over.” You can just feel how sad he is about that, and how crazy that is.
And then you move on to the othercharacters, and then when they get to that farthest checkpoint where the bridge keeps getting knocked down, and he’s like, “Who’s in charge?” And the guy’s like, “S–t man, aren’t you?” No one knows what’s going on here. What does he say to the guy, Roach, the guy with the grenade launcher? “Do you know who’s in charge here, son?” And he just looks at him and he goes, “Yeah,” and then turns around and walks away. That’s when you know. You know who’s in charge? Craziness. The only thing that is in charge here is chaos. You can feel it, and I love it.
And Lance, who’s tripping on acid, who’s standing on top of the bunker screaming, looking out, where Charlie is screaming back at him like, “F–k you, GI,” and he’s like, “Lance, get the f–k down!” But that’s the thing: Lance is all of us. That’s what I feel about that movie. He first gets up and he’s just like the good old surfer dude who’s just there and serving his thing, doing what he has to, and in the presence of all of that craziness, he is so affected by it. He’s like the frog slowly boiled in water. To the end, where you get there and he’s ready, he’s primed for the gospel of Kurtz, and he’s just there, and that would be all of us. That’s the experience that so many people had in that war.
Big Night, the Stanley Tucci movie. Yeah, it feels like a play. It feels like you are watching this beautiful bare bones version of filmmaking. Especially after all of the big event or spectacle films, it just feels so simple and so beautiful, and it’s a heartbreakingly beautiful story about learning what’s important. Also, I love to cook, and cooking is such a big, pivotal part of that movie, and Tony Shalhoub is amazing in it, as is Stanley Tucci. It’s just a great cast, a great film, superbly written, superbly directed, and just nice and simple and bare bones, and I love that about it.
Ryan Fujitani for Rotten Tomatoes: Hotel Mumbai is an intense film. Knowing what the story was behind it, and knowing what you were able to portray in the film, what was the atmosphere like on set? I can’t imagine there was a lot of laughter and joking around when the cameras were turned off.
Armie Hammer: Yeah, you’re not wrong. It was very different. Call My By Your Name was the film I shot right before this, where we were riding bicycles and drinking wine through the Italian countryside, and then I came to this, where we are in smoke-filled hotel hallways being chased by gunmen screaming at us in Urdu, and had no idea what was going on. It was really intense. The filming experience was brutal. It was a lot of time manifesting just fear and anxiety and adrenaline and all that stuff, and that wasn’t the only reason why it was a more serious and somber filming experience, but also because we’re telling the real story of people who went through these terrible traumatic events.
We wanted to be respectful of that. We wanted to acknowledge that, yeah, we had the ability and safety net of calling “cut” if things ever got out of hand for us. The people in the hotel didn’t. So that was something that was always on our mind. So the days were very heavy — they were brutal — and we compensated at night. By the minute we wrapped, we were like, “F–k. Alright guys, let’s go to dinner. We need wine, we need something. Let’s just chill.” And everybody would just hang out with each other at night, and try to just joke, and try to find some levity, and just enjoy being with each other, knowing that the next day was going to be equally intense and equally brutal, and that we were going to have to do it over, and over, and over.
RT: As harrowing an experience shooting the film must have been, would you say that you discovered anything new about yourself in the process, or was there something you discovered about the story you were portraying that surprised you?
Hammer: I wish I could say, “You know what I discovered about myself? That if I was in this situation I would try to X, Y, and Z. And I would try to be the hero in some way, or I would try to do whatever I could to save myself or save some lives.” But ultimately, the thing that I walked away from it realizing was, these situations happen all the time, unfortunately, and we just had something like this happen down in Christchurch.
This s–t happens way too often. And the fact of the matter is, it f–king sucks. There’s no positive thing about this. I didn’t walk away from the movie saying, “Oh, well now I know this about myself.” I walked away from it going, “That f–king sucks. What do we do to make sure that does not happen again? What can we do as a voting populace? What can we do as humanity? What can we do as people to ensure that this s–t stops happening?”
There’s no positive silver lining to things like this. There’s no big lesson to learn. All you walk away from it going is, “That s–t sucks, and I don’t want that to happen anymore.”
Hotel Mumbai opens in select theaters on Friday, March 22.
In 2019, Rotten Tomatoes turns 21, and to mark the occasion we’re celebrating with a series of features that look back at the brightest moments on screen of the past two decades – and one year – and the things that have us excited for the future.
They’re the lines you’ve worn on T-shirts and Photoshopped into memes. They’re the lines you’re maybe a little sick of, but can’t stop loving. Before they were famous, though – before they were parodied on SNL and printed onto ironic mugs – they were words on a page and then words in a movie you were hearing for the first time, and they stuck. Maybe they were hilarious (poor Gretchen, “fetch” never happened), or maybe they were chilling (“I see dead people”). Maybe they were delivered just right (“Why… so… serious?”). Here, we’re looking back at the 21 most memorable lines from the movies since August 1998, the year that Rotten Tomatoes came into this world. If we missed a favorite of yours, let us know in the comments.
Neither M. Night Shyamalan nor Haley Joel Osment knew that the intensely whispered “I see dead people” would become the center of Disney’s marketing push for The Sixth Sense – and the subject of parodies for decades. Talking recently to Rotten Tomatoes, Osment said he was just thankful Twitter hadn’t been invented at the time the film came out, when he was 11.
When you pair America’s sweetheart with Britain’s reigning rom-com king, you have to bring your A-game, and writer Richard Curtis did just that for Notting Hill. With this heartbreaking line, he manages to somehow get us rooting for one of the world’s richest and most glamorous movie stars, and screaming with frustration at the regular “fairly level-headed bloke” whose love she’s asking for.
Paul and Chris Weitz’s surprisingly sweet teen sex comedy gave us one of the late ’90s most indelible movie images (the pie!), and chased that up with one of the decade’s most memorable movie lines. And one that’s got a sex-positive ring: “What?” asks Alyson Hannigan’s Michelle flatly after revealing where she sometimes puts her flute. “You don’t think I know how to get myself off?”
From Chuck Pahalniuk’s pen to Brad Pitt’s mouth and into the minds of college students all over the country…
It was only appropriate that this cult spoof of Star Trek and its legion of Trekkie fans would have its own live-long-and-prosper–style catchphrase. It is delivered with Shatnerian levels of cheese and determination by Tim Allen, playing Jason Nesmith, who’s playing Commander Quincy Peter Taggart.
We could run through an entire stack of Post-Its writing down our favorite lines from Mike Judge’s cult favorite, but this chipper, grating, morning greeting wins out – an encapsulation of the deep, smiley rage suppression that gives Office Space its kick.
When Ed (Albert Finney) asks Julia Roberts’ Erin Brockovich, “What makes you think you can just walk in there and find what we need?”, she fires off this line and a look that says, Seriously, you need to ask? The resourceful real-life Erin Brockovich has said she did use the line with the real-life Ed – probably more than once.
Some consider it blasphemy that Peter Jackson added this line as a climax to Gandalf’s defiant verbal smackdown of the fiery Balrog; in the original Tolkien book, Gandalf only says “you cannot pass” (which he also says, though less iconically, as he starts his speech in the film). Jackson’s addition became one of the best “f—k yeah!” moments in the original movie trilogy and went on to spawn thousands of memes.
Denzel Washington won an Oscar for playing corrupt narcotics cop Alonzo in Atonine Fuqua’s Training Day, and it might have been his delivery this line – puffed-up and chest-pounding as he realizes power is slipping away – that got any hesitant Academy voters across the line.
It’s unfair to say that Edna Mode (voiced by Incredibles writer-director Brad Bird) steals Pixar’s superhero smash – there are too many awesome elements and characters for one to dominate – but she comes very, very close. She’s full of one-liners and shady zingers, but it’s her golden rule (“No capes!”), and the various anecdotes that led to it (R.I.P. Thunderhead), that people remember most fondly.
Mean Girls (2004)
Mean Girls’ Regina George (Rachel McAdams) is the queen bee of her group, and this was perhaps her sharpest stinger. Irony is, while “fetch” didn’t happen, this line caught on in a big way.
On paper, there’s nothing particularly special about this line – it’s kinda just a statement of fact (it is Sparta, after all – not Athens or Thermopylae, and definitely not madness, nor blasphemy). But coming out of Peak Gerard Butler’s mouth as a kind of gravelly scream for the ages, and accompanied by that iconic slow-mo kick, it’s gone down in film history. Watching this moment, we are all Sparta (even those of us without six packs).
This greeting of the Wakandan people, and the accompanying gesture, infiltrated popular culture following the release of mega-hit Black Panther in February 2018. (The film’s stars were asked to do the gesture so frequently on red carpets and during interviews, memes began to circulate showing a bored-looking Chadwick Boseman – who plays the titular hero – giving a perfunctory version of the cross-armed symbol.) Interestingly, the most memorable use of the phrase might come in Infinity War, and not Black Panther, when T’Challa shouts the phrase as he leads his Wakandans into battle against Thanos’s forces.
When Jake Gyllenhaal said these words to Heath Ledger while shooting Brokeback Mountain, he probably had no idea what a life they would go on to have: first as a wrenching moment between their characters, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar; then as a source of parody and a meme (mostly among those too immature to cope with the film); finally, and most recently, as a shorthand for the film itself, and what it meant to the LGBTQ community to see a gay couple portrayed authentically and without judgment in a major release.
There are plenty of action-packed, effects-enhanced, and completely thrilling moments throughout the Hunger Games franchise, but few are as simultaneously inspiring and terrifying as the quiet scene in which Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) steps forward to take her young sister’s place in the Games. The line is lifted directly from the same scene in first book of Susanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy.
You may not recall the insane hype around Snakes on a Plane in the lead up to its release – an irony-fueled internet buzz-wave that stemmed, essentially, from the absurdity of its premise-capturing title. You may not even remember much of the film itself. But there is no way you forgot this line, spoken by profanity wizard Samuel L. Jackson in one of those legendary B-movie inspiration speeches he’s so masterful at delivering. (Fun fact: The line has aired on FX as the more-safe-for-work “monkey-flying snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane.”)
It was in 2009, while in his mid 50s, that Liam Neeson discovered a very particular set of skills – gravelly line-readings, a death-stare for the ages, and a capacity for rapid-fire action – that would launch a whole new chapter of his career: Liam Neeson, Action Star! And while the past decade has been littered with Neeson action programmers (right up to 2019’s Cold Pursuit), none have matched Taken for its intensity, impact, and the power of that oft-quoted bedroom scene.
Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s second Batman film might well have given us the best comic-book movie villain ever. The character’s most famous line – “Why so serious?” – became iconic even before the film’s release, centering one of the most effective marketing campaigns of recent decades.
Speaking of Oscar winners… This rather surprising analogy for oil drainage, spoken by Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview, was inspired by real-life words to congress from then Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall, spoken during a 1920s Congressional investigation. Or so Paul Thomas Anderson has said – the original quote has not been found.
The best stupid movie of the past 21 years? Maybe. (Step Brothers would give it a definite run for its money.) But Zoolander is probably the most quotable, thanks to brilliant bites of silliness like this.
The Furious franchise has evolved greatly over the years, shifting gears (sorry!) from smallish-scale Point Break-alike to globe-trotting stunt spectacular, each entry one-upping the other in terms of scale and ludicrousness. What keeps the whole thing grounded, and provides the through-line from 2001 right through to this year’s Hobbs and Shaw? Family, of course, but also the dedication to awesome cheese perfectly encapsulated by this line/mantra/religion. Us too, Dom, us too.
Photos courtesy of Buena Vista, Universal, Twentieth Century Fox, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Walt Disney, Paramount, Marvel Studios, Focus Films, Lionsgate, Paramount Vantage.
Everyone wants to feel like they belong, like they’re accepted, and sometimes, the best way to achieve that is to join a club. For example, if you were, say, an older woman interested in Twilight-inspired erotic fan fiction, you might seek out the cast of this week’s Book Club, in which four lifelong friends bond over tea, cucumber sandwiches, and the novel Fifty Shades of Grey. Or, you know, maybe that’s not your thing, and if it isn’t, then we’ve got 24 other clubs from the movies that might interest you. From bad boys to mean girls, musical ensembles to secret societies, check out the full gallery below.
This weekend, the movie everyone’s talking about is Suicide Squad — and while a number of cast members have earned critical applause for their efforts, it’s Jared Leto‘s turn as the Joker that we’ve all been waiting to see. In honor of that moment’s eagerly anticipated arrival, we’re dedicating this week’s feature to a fond look back at some of the brightest critical highlights from the Oscar-winning star’s career, and the results add up to one admirably eclectic journey. It’s time for Total Recall!
Leto was still Jordan Catalano from My So-Called Life in a lot of filmgoers’ eyes when he scored the leading role in Prefontaine — but those who passed on director Steve James‘ biopic about the titular Olympic runner missed the opportunity to see the results of Leto’s Method dedication for the first time on the big screen. As he would with subsequent roles, Leto dove in completely, adopting Prefontaine’s voice and running style; the end result, coupled with an already-eerie physical similarity, went a long way toward proving he was more than just a pretty face. Alas, the rest of the movie didn’t quite live up to Leto’s efforts, and many critics dismissed Prefontaine as a TV-worthy hagiography — but it did have its fans, including Roger Ebert, who wrote, “Here is a sports movie in the tradition of the best sportswriting, where athletes are portrayed warts and all. You do not have to be nice to win races, but you have to be good.”
Fresh off My So-Called Life, Leto got his big-screen break with a supporting part in director Jocelyn Moorhouse‘s adaptation of the Whitney Otto novel How to Make an American Quilt. Starring Winona Ryder (with whom Leto would later share screen time in Girl, Interrupted), the movie offers an episodic look at the stories of a group of women who seek to soothe the nerves of a bride-to-be by sharing some hard-won wisdom from their own pasts. Leto’s role, as the hunky kid who engages in an interracial affair with his family’s servant, takes up a relatively brief portion of the movie — but it got him started at the movies, and played a part in a modest critical and commercial hit that, as the New York Times’ Caryn James wrote, “takes the makings of a limp ‘women’s weeper’ and as if by magic, spins them into gold.”
How many chances does a guy get in life to play one half of a pair of arms-dealing brothers opposite Nicolas Cage? Leto got his opportunity with Lord of War, writer-director Andrew Niccol‘s 2005 war crime drama about a couple of crazy kids with a dream to make a bunch of money by selling lethal weapons to anyone with enough money to make the sale. The end result of years of research on Niccol’s part, it seethes with righteous anger without tipping over into didacticism — and offers Cage and Leto plenty of material to sink their dramatic teeth into, including an arc for Leto’s character that includes drug addiction in addition to morally reprehensible gun-running. “Niccol is no stranger to hot-button issues,” wrote Time Out’s Dave Calhoun, “but he outdoes his previous efforts by injecting this satire of war profiteering in the Halliburton age with a wicked arsenic wit.”
Leto’s fondness for projects lying off the beaten path was further reflected in Mr. Nobody, writer-director Jaco Van Dormael‘s sci-fi drama about a 118-year-old man whose memories send him back to three critical junctures in his long life — and send the viewer wandering along alternate timelines that might have resulted from different decisions along the way. The movie bowed in Venice in 2009 and didn’t make it to the States for another four years, the kind of delay that often suggests more than a few fundamental flaws in a film — yet while it wasn’t exactly rapturously received by critics, reviews outlined a picture whose charms outweighed its circular, meandering narrative. “Never mind that several characters seem to gain or lose British accents throughout the course of the film,” wrote the Washington Post’s Michael O’Sullivan. “The lack of continuity only enhances the sense of deliciously dizzying disequilibrium.”
It took nine years, but Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial 1991 novel got the big-screen treatment with this adaptation, which cast Christian Bale as the loathsome, status-obsessed serial killer Patrick Bateman, Reese Witherspoon as his equally shallow girlfriend, and Leto as a smarmy co-worker whose superior business card sets off the movie’s killing spree. Though many of the cultural touchstones described in the book had faded by the time American Psycho reached the screen, its central observations — and the consumer culture that produced them — remained as timely as ever. Its torrent of generally unappealing behavior and horrific violence make Psycho an unpleasant film, but one that, in the words of Time’s Richard Corliss, “needs to be seen and appreciated, like a serpent in a glass cage.”
A claustrophobic thriller with the heart of a B movie, Panic Room found director David Fincher wielding a stellar cast (including Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker, and a young Kristen Stewart) and dropping them in the middle of a tightly wound, tension-filled storyline. Panic sets in almost immediately, with single parent Meg Altman (Foster) and her daughter Sarah (Stewart) spending their first night in the huge Manhattan brownstone Meg has just purchased; what Meg and Sarah don’t know is that their new home contains some very valuable hidden treasure — as well as a trio of very bad men (including the skin-crawling Dwight Yoakam and a mysteriously cornrowed Leto) who will stop at nothing to steal it. Ultimately, Panic Room is mostly just a nail-biter — albeit one assembled with uncommon flair. “This is just a big, dumb, commercial suspenser,” admitted Empire’s Caroline Westbrook, “but it’s one of the best for ages, reminding us that it is still possible to make a high-quality piece of popcorn entertainment.”
Marking director Terrence Malick’s return from a 20-year absence and featuring the work of a stellar ensemble cast that included Leto, Woody Harrelson, Adrien Brody, George Clooney, John Cusack, and Sean Penn, The Thin Red Line was the film buff event of 1998. Even with a 170-minute running time, there wasn’t enough Line to go around — in fact, during all the whittling between its five-hour first cut and the theatrical version, Malick excised entire performances by Martin Sheen, Gary Oldman, Billy Bob Thornton, Viggo Mortensen and others, meaning that even if Leto’s performance as Second Lieutenant Floyd Whyte isn’t his biggest role, it’s really saying something that it ended up in the movie at all. And for most critics, there was no arguing with the end result; as Norman Green wrote for Film.com, “It wrestles with complexity, speaks to us in poetry, weaves multiple narrative strands into a tapestry, opens the festering wounds of war and gazes inside without blinking.”
Like the Hubert Selby, Jr. novel from which it’s adapted, Darren Aronofsky‘s Requiem for a Dream is certainly not for everyone. An unflinching look at the misery of addiction, Requiem follows the hellish descents of a widow named Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn), her son Harry (Jared Leto), his girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly), and Harry’s friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans). After 102 minutes, all four characters have been pretty well run through the wringer; Burstyn winds up institutionalized, Leto loses an arm, Wayans has to go cold turkey in a jail cell — and Connelly crosses paths with Big Tim, played with thoroughly skeevy elan by Keith David. Good taste prevents us from getting into the exact nature of their relationship; suffice it to say that Connelly’s character arc demonstrates that some people will do just about anything to get their fix, and David’s performance reminds us that other people will stoop at nothing to take advantage of an addict. “Never have we been taken this close to the edge, and never have the characters teetering over it elicited so much sympathy,” wrote Eugene Novikov of Film Blather. ” Requiem is difficult to watch, but it richly rewards those who stay with it.”
Yes, we are going to talk about Fight Club. Initially rejected by critics and ignored by audiences, director David Fincher’s third feature steadily built a cult following on DVD; these days, it’s widely regarded as one of the best films of the ‘90s, which not only helped reaffirm Fincher as a director of stylishly thoughtful fare, but established the Hollywood bona fides of author Chuck Palahniuk, from whose novel the movie was adapted. The plot follows the eager descent of a nameless protagonist (Edward Norton) into the anti-establishment crusade of Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who organizes the titular underground brawling network whose participants include the ill-fated Angel Face (Leto). On a deeper level, the story functions as a bloody, black-humored indictment of consumer culture, but more importantly, in the words of ReelView’s James Berardinelli, “Fight Club is a memorable and superior motion picture — a rare movie that does not abandon insight in its quest to jolt the viewer.”
Nothing screams “for your consideration” like an actor physically transforming himself for a role, to the point that it’s become something of a signal for filmgoers cynical enough to be suspicious of a star’s motivations when taking a part. But as often as not, that commitment pays off; just ask Jared Leto, whose rather frightening pre-shooting regimen included dropping more than 40 pounds to portray Rayon, the transgender HIV-positive woman whose story lends a poignant anchor to Jean-Marc Vallée‘s fact-based Dallas Buyers Club. Academy voters ultimately honored the movie with six nominations — three of which it won, including Best Actor for Matthew McConaughey and Best Supporting Actor for Leto. “Dallas Buyers Club represents the best of what independent film on a limited budget can achieve,” wrote Rex Reed for the New York Observer. “Powerful, enlightening and not to be missed.”
Today he’s one of the most bankable movie stars in Hollywood, and one of the few actors audiences will pay to see no matter what sort of role he’s playing — whether it’s action, drama, or comedy the script calls for, having Brad Pitt‘s name above the title is about as close as anyone can come to a guarantee for a hit film. Not so long ago, however, Pitt was just another good-looking dude with enough gumption to work his way into a steady stream of TV shows and bit parts in movies. He’s come a long way, for sure, and to celebrate his latest starring role — in David Ayer’s Fury, opening this weekend — we decided the time was right for a brand new Brad Pitt edition of Total Recall.
On the surface, it looks like just another buddy cop movie — in fact, with its “retiring detective partnered with unorthodox rookie” setup, it could have been a Lethal Weapon ripoff. Of course, as we all now know, David Fincher’s Seven brought its own dark twist to the genre, plunging the viewer into a bottomless pit of sorrow, rage, and moral decay — and ultimately refusing to help them climb out at the end. With Fincher’s amped-up direction, Darius Khondji’s gripping cinematography, and mesmerizing performances from Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey, Pitt could conceivably just shown up to take a paycheck without damaging Seven too much, but instead, he helped take it to another level, using his youthful good looks — and his character’s mounting horror and confusion — as a painful visual analogy for the brutal loss of innocence and compassion suffered by everyone in the film. Though some critics took issue with Seven‘s constant gloom and grisly violence, most scribes echoed the sentiments of Netflix’s James Rocchi, who called it “a harrowingly bleak vision that haunted me in the theatres and made my flesh slick with fear even on this recent re-viewing.”
He started the 1990s on a hot streak, but by the end of the decade, Pitt was suffering through a bit of a slump, appearing in a string of critical dogs (Seven Years in Tibet, The Devil’s Own, Meet Joe Black) whose box office tallies reflected their disappointing reviews. But just when the naysayers were ready to write him off as an expensive hair model who couldn’t break a movie, Pitt rebounded with Fight Club, a reunion with Seven director David Fincher that paired Pitt with Edward Norton in an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s hit novel. Though some critics found the film’s overpowering violence and homoerotic overtones repugnant (New York Magazine’s Peter Rainer, for one, dismissed it as “the squall of a whiny and essentially white-male generation that feels ruined by the privileges of women and a booming economy”), most writers responded to Fight Club‘s social criticism and thought-provoking themes. In the words of ReelViews’ James Berardinelli, it’s “a memorable and superior motion picture — a rare movie that does not abandon insight in its quest to jolt the viewer.”
Critics have a reputation for turning up their noses at escapist fare, but when it’s done right, most scribes have no problem saying so — as they did in 2001, with the Certified Fresh Ocean’s Eleven. A loose remake of the 1960 Rat Pack feature of the same name, Eleven blended the original with the nod-and-a-wink light touch of The Sting, giving its high-wattage cast free rein to essentially goof off for 116 minutes — and audiences, who hadn’t been treated to a real all-star caper since 1984’s woeful Cannonball Run II, turned out in droves. Pitt’s turn as the food-obsessed Rusty Ryan gave him an opportunity to flash the pearly whites and old-fashioned Hollywood cool that he’d played down in recent projects such as Seven Years in Tibet or Fight Club, and helped charm critics like Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers, who wrote, “forget Oscar, Ocean’s Eleven is the coolest damned thing around.”
An adaptation of Norman Maclean’s semi-autobiographical book of the same name, A River Runs Through It arrived on screens with a pretty stellar pedigree — director Robert Redford had won an Academy Award for his first effort, 1980’s Ordinary People, cinematographer Philippe Rousselot (who would win his own Oscar for River) was highly regarded for his work in French cinema, and musician Mark Isham brought his Grammy-winning talents to the Oscar-nominated score. The result, as you might imagine, was a visually sumptuous film — one whose stunning vistas bowled critics over even as they yawned through its languid pace and shrugged at its simple presentation of a Montana family’s multi-generational dynamic (as TV Guide wrote, “it’s hard to get excited by fisherman casting their lines into the water”). Still, in spite of its lack of flash, River afforded Pitt an early opportunity to work with some tremendously talented individuals, and proved he was more than just the cowboy-hatted hunk he portrayed in Thelma & Louise. Caryn James of the New York Times was suitably impressed, writing, “here are two things I never thought I’d say: I like a movie about fly fishing, and Robert Redford has directed one of the most ambitious, accomplished films of the year.”
By the time Thelma & Louise was released in 1991, Brad Pitt had been around for a few years, notching roles on the big screen (blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearances in No Way Out and Less Than Zero, as well as topline billing in the low-budget horror flick Cutting Class) and surfacing repeatedly on television (most notably via recurring gigs on Dallas, Growing Pains, and Fox’s quickly canceled Glory Days). However, it was his turn as J.D., the impeccably coiffed, frequently shirtless con man who fleeces Thelma and Louise, that put Pitt over the edge, turning him from a somewhat familiar face into a bona fide sex symbol. It was a performance so well-regarded — albeit mainly by Pitt’s solidly female target demographic — that not even Johnny Suede and Cool World could keep him from imminent superstardom. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Pitt’s breakout role came as part of a movie that inspired waves of praise from critics like Matt Brunson of Creative Loafing, who wrote, “this beautifully realized picture remains a trenchant, almost mystical slice of Americana.”
Nothing gets a cineaste’s anticipation humming like news of a new Terrence Malick film — and since Malick is nothing if not deliberate, we had plenty of time to hum over Tree of Life. Originally announced in the wake of Malick’s 2005 effort The New World, it tumbled down the release schedule throughout 2009 and 2010 before finally bowing in May 2011 — all 139 inscrutable minutes of it. The product of Malick’s progressively harder-to-contain ambition, Life took viewers from the dawn of life to the 21st century, leaving plenty of room for solid acting from Pitt and Jessica Chastain — as well as hosannas from critics like Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir, who deemed it “a noble crazy, a miraculous William Butler Yeats kind of crazy, alive with passion for art and the world, for all that is lost and not lost and still to come.”
Though his film roles to that point had, for the most part, required him to do little more than look good, Pitt’s turn in the Terry Gilliam-directed 12 Monkeys — coming on the heels of his eye-opening appearance in Seven earlier in the year — proved that he not only had good taste in scripts, but the talent to back it up. As the institutionalized activist Jeffrey Goines, Pitt tapped into a nervous energy he’d never been asked to draw on, holding his own against Bruce Willis and helping the twisty dystopian sci-fi thriller become one of 1995’s biggest surprise hits. Though it would be some time before Pitt starred in another movie that earned this kind of critical affection, after 12 Monkeys, the critics knew he wasn’t just another pretty face. As Desson Thomson of the Washington Post wrote, “Willis and Pitts’s performances, Gilliam’s atmospherics and an exhilarating momentum easily outweigh [its] trifling flaws.”
Generally speaking, an actor doesn’t get many chances to play a character named Aldo — and an actor also doesn’t have many opportunities to work with Quentin Tarantino. So when Tarantino came to Pitt with the role of the cheerfully violent Nazi-hunting Lieutenant Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds, he clearly knew better than to say no. The result was a tense, colorful, funny, and terribly bloody World War II revenge fantasy that set loose a terrific ensemble cast (including Christoph Waltz and Michael Fassbender) in a spellbinding parallel dimension. Argued the Miami Herald’s Rene Rodriguez: “Inglourious Basterds transcends the war genre to become its own kind of unique picture: A bloody blast of pure movie bliss.”
Take Christian Slater, an Arquette, and the guy who directed Beverly Hills Cop II, and nine times out of 10, you probably aren’t going to get a film that tops any sort of critically themed list, let alone one that inspires a writer like Peter Canavese to crown it “a hall of fame guy’s movie” — but the exception proves the rule, and 1993’s True Romance is that exception. Slater and Patricia Arquette are the stars of this cult classic action flick, which boasts a Tarantino script and noteworthy supporting turns from (among others) Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, and Bronson Pinchot; it’s Brad Pitt’s few minutes as the epically stoned Floyd, however, that steal the show, sprinkling a few much-needed belly laughs between the bursts of gunfire. Such was Floyd’s influence that he served as the inspiration for 2008’s Pineapple Express. And for good reason: Not only was he industrious enough to figure out an exciting new use for an empty honey container, he was cool enough to threaten a room full of shotgun-wielding Mafia henchmen with death. (We never said he was smart.)
As a (freakishly entertaining) by-the-numbers account of how the Oakland A’s used newly adapted metrics to turn conventional baseball wisdom on its head, Michael Lewis’ Moneyball seemed like one of the least cinematic bestsellers to have its film rights optioned by a major studio — and after directors David Frankel and Steven Soderbergh departed the project, it looked like it might be destined for the scrap heap. But with Bennett Miller behind the cameras and Pitt lending his rumpled charisma to the role of A’s GM Billy Beane — not to mention an Aaron Sorkin screenplay — it ended up being not only a six-time Academy Awards nominee, but a $110 million box office hit. “Baseball fans know this story,” admitted USA Today’s Claudia Puig, “but Miller puts it all in fascinating context. This is a thinking person’s baseball movie, a more complex version of the inspirational sports story.”
In case you were wondering, here are Pitt’s top 10 movies according RT users’ scores:
1. Fight Club — 96%
2. Se7en — 95%
3. Snatch — 94%
4. True Romance — 93%
5. Twelve Monkeys — 88%
6. Inglourious Basterds — 87%
7. Legends of the Fall — 87%
8. Interview with the Vampire — 86%
9. Moneyball — 86%
10. A River Runs Through It — 84%
So, how’s this for an action-packed collection of classic films?
To mark the 10th anniversary of Fight Club, Fox are releasing a Special Edition of David Fincher’s beloved adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel, packed with new extras and insights. Also marking an anniversary — its 15th — is Mel Gibson’s Oscar-winnning epic, Braveheart, which arrives in a new, Special Edition package.
With thanks to 20th Century Fox we’re giving away five copies of both on Blu-ray, but that’s not all — we’re also including the entire collection of the Rocky franchise, released as the “Undisputed Collection”. That’s a seriously cool addition to your collection right there.
To win one of these five prize packs, get creative and tell us, in 25 words or less, who’d win in a fight between Tyler Durden, William Wallace and Rocky Balboa. The best answers will win. Send your answers, along with your mailing address, to: Fox Action Classics Giveaway.
Entries close Monday, November 30. Winners will be notified by mail. Please note that the contest is open to Australian residents only.
Fight Club, Braveheart and the Rocky Undisputed Collection are released on DVD and Blu-ray this week.
©2009 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved. ©2009 Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC. All Rights Reserved
Ren Klyce may not be a household name to most, but for those who are keen on sound design, he’s the kind of chap that you might mention alongside Ben Burtt, the legendary creator of the Star Wars soundscapes. Working with David Fincher (almost exclusively) since 1995’s Se7en, he has created some of the most memorably unnerving soundscapes ever put to film. One of which was, of course, 1999’s iconic Fight Club. With the film’s 10-year anniversary a special edition is being released on Blu-ray and DVD, with extras devoted entirely to the sometimes shockingly graphic sounds that underpinned what is still, for many, a confronting film. For others, of course, it’s a modern day masterpiece. We spoke with Ren on the Fox Studios Lot in Los Angeles and he gave us the low down on what inspires him in movies, and just what went into the creation of those bone-shattering fight sequences. If you’re a vegetarian, or of a squeamish disposition, a warning — some of the upcoming descriptions may be disturbing!
RT: First up — from someone who really knows — what are the best sound-designed movies of all time?
Some of my favourite films are from the ’70s. Films like The Conversation are right up there at the top of the list. It’s about a sound man. It’s a Francis Ford Coppola film. The sound was by Walter Murch, who’s an incredible talent, and a huge inspiration to all of us in the sound world. As well, of course, there’s the other films he did with Coppola — The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. THX-1138 was another great film for sound. The Black Stallion, another great film for sound. Those are at the top of the list.
There’s a story about the rating of Fight Club that the sound mix was altered or, at least, not quite as ‘rich’ when presented to the ratings board, so that the visceral fight scenes didn’t quite have the same impact they later did — just because of the sound design. Is this actually true?
Well, David Fincher did do the movie the way he wanted to in the end, but I think a lot of people were afraid of the film, for numerous reasons. I think it really touches on a nerve, and I think that’s why we’re talking about it 10 years later, because it really touches a nerve in society. But the short answer is ‘yes’. We were particularly worried about the Angel Face’s (Jared Leto) fight in particular being a little too violent. Ultimately it was David’s decision to make it a little less visceral, which, believe it or not, is what we have now. One of the things I would do, which he hated, was whenever there was something visual, like blood, I would put in the sound of the blood. And he would say to me. “You know what — that’s too much”. It was always what he wanted, but there was one screening, certainly, where we turned it down a little bit.
When you create a sound like those punches, you’re not actually taking the sounds of people getting punched. Did you create these yourselves, or did you use a ‘punch’ library?
We recorded all original sounds for the film, and we did actually start by recording punching each other. Some of those things are in there because there’s a good sound that the chest cavity makes when you punch it [hits himself in the chest] — it’s a thwack like a drum. Then we added chickens, and John and Helda from Foley came up with the great idea of stuffing chickens with things that would make great sounds. Either they would just crunch the chickens by themselves, and the bones would go ‘crunch’, or they would put things like walnuts inside and be crunching them, or covering them with a wet piece of chamois and then whacking them with a stick, and playing with where the microphone would be and so forth.
We took that and then we layered on top of that. We went to Skywalker Sound and they had this fantastic basement — where, in addition to kicking bottles and cans and spitting and doing the rest of the sounds that we made in the basement, we went to the butcher shop and got some big slabs of meat and punched them. I still have the tape of Andre, who was punching the meat saying “I just have to stop, I’m done”.
We built a whole library of that, and I took all the elements and layered them and stacked them and so forth and that’s how we created the sounds in the film.
Was there a particular sound in a particular film that really struck you to the point where you thought, ‘Damn, I wish I had done that’?
I started listening very early to sound in film, even before I realised that’s what I wanted to do. I was always very excited about it. I remember it was in American Graffiti and they sneak off in the middle of the night and they start talking about a murderer that’s lurking around and in the mix, which is predominantly just dialogue and early ’50s music; all of a sudden you hear an owl and then a heartbeat — and I remember thinking ‘Oh, someone’s adding a heartbeat’.
Now, everyone’s adding heartbeats to movies, it’s one of those things that when it becomes popular, it’s almost a cliche. At the time though, it was very inspiring.
So, is it now about adding those sounds to a film that people don’t notice, until it’s too late?
Yeah. I think sound is a craft that’s not supposed to be noticed, which is what’s so unusual about this Fight Club Blu-ray — that we have an entire section devoted to sound. It’s not supposed to draw attention to itself, it’s supposed to support David Fincher’s directing, Chuck Palahniuk’s writing, the acting and so forth. It’s a supporting character. But because the film has struck such a nerve, I think people want to know more about what went into it, find out the secrets. People seem interested.
The 10th Anniversary edition of Fight Club is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.
Duncan Jones has done the seemingly impossible — tell a smart, engaging and entertaining sci-fi story on a modest budget. In Britain. As his debut feature film. No wonder everyone’s talking about Moon and its tale of an astronaut (Sam Rockwell) manning a lunar base mining Helium-3. Scoring an impressive 90% on the Tomatometer – qualifying it for a Certified Fresh award we’ve still yet to send him, much to his chagrin — critics have been going wild for its sheer ambition, not to mention Rockwell’s outstanding lead performance and Jones’ assured direction. “I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s something that Sam and I, obviously, wanted to make,” he tells RT as we sit down to tap him for his Five Favourite Films. “It’s the kind of science fiction film that doesn’t get made much anymore, and something that we miss.”
His choices clearly link to his work on Moon, and will, we discover, inform his next project, the similarly-sparsely-titled Mute. For Jones, the project, which was circulating before Moon came to be, was simply too ambitious for a first film. Which is odd when you consider the ambition of Moon. “It’ll be like what Chris Nolan did, I hope. He did Memento and then he did the next one, Insomnia with Al Pacino, which was a step forward. I want to take a similar kind of step if I can.” Read on to find out more…
“For me, Blade Runner is the best science-fiction film ever made. Although I did just speak to StarWars.com the other day, and Star Wars was the best science-fiction film ever made. Blade Runner, for me, was the most fully realised world. Sometimes you see films, not just science fiction films, where you get the sense that if the camera were to pan just to the left or the right all of a sudden you’d be seeing light stands and crew standing around. But with Blade Runner, the beauty of it is that it felt like a real, breathing city. Science-fiction cities in general, I think, are so hard to get right, because it’s so easy to just play some cheesy music or do something that takes you right out of it, but Blade Runner got it right, and I love that about the film.
It’s a great film as well, the performances are all amazing, Rutger Hauer is incredible in it. He’s never been as cool and sexy in anything since. Harrison Ford is grim and just a great protagonist. It’s just a brilliant sexy film. The sense that there is a real world beyond the frame of the camera is something that I want to do with my next film Mute, that’s going to be very much my love letter to Blade Runner. It’s a future Berlin thriller, and it’s exactly that element of Blade Runner that I want to capture in my film.”
“By Terry Gilliam, who is an amazing filmmaker anyway, and there are so many to choose from; Brazil, Fisher King… There are lots of his films that I love, but Twelve Monkeys, in particular, I thought was fantastic. I think it’s the best thing Bruce Willis has ever done, and also the best thing Brad Pitt has ever done as well. It’s just really intense, exciting and weird, and everything that I love about Terry Gilliam, so that’s up there.”
“I think it’s one of the great comedies. It’s incredibly dark, and on a character side, Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould, their characters are just so believable, and I think it’s the first bromance film, I just love it. I love the relationship between those two guys, so M*A*S*H is up there too.”
“I’m going for a bit film school-y one, because I love Akira Kurosawa films, but I don’t want to go for Seven Samurai, so i’ll go for Yojimbo or Sanjuro, those ones that all the spaghetti westerns were based on. I know it’s not fair, but that clump of Japanese samurai films were just beautiful films. Toshiro Mifune was such an elegant hero and there’s something really empathetic about him. There’s this lovely thing with his face where you really can just tell everything that he’s thinking. He doesn’t have to do much at all; you can just sense what’s going on with him. So I love those films, anything with Mifune in actually, but that period in particular, he was the best hero ever.”
“It’s not the best film ever, but it is beautifully done. It’s visceral and it’s beautifully made. I like David Fincher, I love his films anyway, but that film is, to me, the best of Fincher and what he really does well. It’s stylised but it’s smart. Even though it’s stylised, you feel that there’s a real character to it, it’s something very individual, and features another great Brad Pitt role. That and Twelve Monkeys are his best bits ever. Seven is fantastic as well, although I should stop clumping films together.”
Moon is out now.
Three new releases roll into multiplexes across North America – one the size of an elephant, the others like specks of dust. Fox aims to deliver the largest opening weekend of the year so far with its animated family event film Horton Hears A Who which could very well triple the gross of its nearest competitor. Summit counters with its action title Never Back Down while Universal also targets young men with its horror flick Doomsday. Overall, the marketplace looks to bounce back and even stands a chance of beating year-ago figures for the first time in a month.
Almighty pals Jim Carrey and Steve Carell play nice this time in the first-ever animated feature version of a Dr. Seuss tale in Horton Hears A Who which goes into
saturation release on Friday. The G-rated pic tells of a playful elephant that discovers an entire city living on a tiny speck on a flower, but can’t convince others of its
existence. Fox has a mighty big hit on its hands for a number of reasons. The property is from an author that all generations are familiar with so parents and kids
alike can relate. The marketplace has very few viable options for children at the moment. Plus starpower from the two leads makes this a comedy juggernaut that
will allow the film to go beyond its core family audience and tap into business from teens and young adults too.
With one of the sharpest marketing departments around, Fox has the means to mine riches from this surefire spring blockbuster. Who else could propel lame
kidpics like Night at the Museum and Alvin and the Chipmunks to $200M+ megahit status over consecutive holiday seasons? The studio has used March as a
launching pad for its animated offerings from Blue Sky Studios allowing the films to steer clear of summer and holiday hits from Pixar and DreamWorks. In 2002,
Ice Age surprised everyone with its $46.3M debut. Three years later its Robots opened to $36M while the 2006 sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown bowed to a
mammoth $68M. Forgotten are the days of Titan A.E. Horton Hears A Who is destined to join its March brothers on the hit list.
The key to grosses skyrocketing lies in the interest of teens. Will they look at this as a Carrey-Carell dream team laugh-a-thon and line up? Chances are many will,
especially with no other major comedies doing substantial business. Appeal is broad with males and females of all ages opening their wallets. Sure it’s not as funny
as you’d hope given the two big C’s involved, but moviegoers will eat it up nonetheless. Plus with Good Friday and Easter helping the second weekend, long-term
prospects seem rosy too. Debuting ultrawide in over 3,900 theaters, Horton Hears A Who could collect about $50M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.
Disney’s College Road Trip will take a direct hit from Horton this weekend as the family crowd will have a much bigger film to rally behind. A 40% drop would
put the Martin Lawrence–Raven-Symone comedy at $8M for a ten-day cume of $25M.
Audiences have been receptive to the presidential assassination storyline of Vantage Point which could drop another 40% to $4.5M this weekend for a cume of
$58M for Sony. Lionsgate’s The Bank Job probably saw the bulk of Jason Statham fans rush out on opening weekend so a 45% fall would give the heist thriller
$3M and $11M in ten days.
LAST YEAR: New releases were no match for the top two films in North America which remained on top of the charts. The mammoth Spartan smash 300 tumbled 54% in its second weekend but still posted a hefty $32.9M sophomore tally. The Disney comedy Wild Hogs showed good legs dipping 31% and ranked second with $19.1M in its third lap. Faring best among the freshmen, Sandra Bullock‘s supernatural thriller Premonition opened in third with $17.6M for Sony on its way to a solid $47.9M. Rounding out the top five were fellow newcomers Dead Silence with a moderate $7.8M and Chris Rock‘s I Think I Love My Wife with a disappointing $5.7M. Final grosses reached $16.8M for the Universal pic and $12.6M for the Fox Searchlight laugher.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
According to Variety, the director and star of Seven, Fight Club, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are teaming up again — sort of. Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment is producing The Killer, a graphic novel adaptation to be directed by Fincher and released by Paramount. From the article:
Allesandro Camon will write the script, about a top assassin suddenly plagued by his conscience and a highly competent cop hot on his tail.
The graphic novel was written by Matz, whose real name is Alexis Nolent. The author works for Ubisoft, one of France’s biggest videogame companies. Luc Jacamon illustrated the novel, which was originally published in France in 1988 by Casterman and debuted in the U.S. as a 10-issue series published by Archaia Studio Press.
For a taste of the Matz Killer books, click on the second link below to watch a Flash series based on the story!
The cast for Kevin MacDonald‘s State of Play remake just keeps getting better.
As we discussed here two weeks ago, the director is tackling an Americanized take on Paul Abbott‘s BBC miniseries, and taking no chances with his cast. First it was announced that Brad Pitt and Edward Norton would be taking on the lead roles; now, from Variety, comes word of the production’s latest additions.
According to a report published at the site yesterday, Pitt and Norton will be joined by Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, and Robin Wright Penn — not to mention Jason Bateman, whose involvement was also recently announced. From the article:
McAdams will play a reporter in the middle of a career-making story, as her newspaper investigates the death of the mistress of a fast-rising congressman. Mirren will play the newspaper’s steely editor, a role undertaken by Bill Nighy in the original mini. Wright Penn will play the congressman’s estranged wife. She becomes romantically involved with the pol’s former campaign manager (Pitt), who leads the newspaper’s investigative team. Norton plays the congressman and Bateman plays the other lead reporter.
The miniseries will be tough (if not impossible) to top, but they’re certainly off to a good start.