(Photo by Lucasfilm/ courtesy Everett Collection)

All Ewan McGregor Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

A lot of careers were launched with the release of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, star Ewan McGregor’s among them. Big career moves were clearly in play for him, but mega stardom would have to wait as McGregor used his post-Trainspotting boost to continue doing diverse and challenging work in the UK. Films like Little Voice, Velvet Goldmine, and The Pillow Book came out in this period.

But soon American blockbuster entertainment came knocking and, well, McGregor actually didn’t have to go anywhere to answer the call since Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace shot in England and Europe abroad. George Lucas cast McGregor as young Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his consistency in the role made him a steady highlight in a very inconsistent trilogy of prequel films.

Phantom Menace put a spotlight on his first post-Star Wars project, which unfortunately was the bewildering Ashley Judd mystery Eye of the Beholder, representing the lowest point of his career. McGregor bounced back quickly with Moulin Rouge! and Black Hawk Down, which are spectacles in very different ways.

By 2005, the Star Wars prequels were all released, freeing McGregor up to go on a long run of critical disappointments, like The Island, Angels & Demons, and Amelia. The 2010 political thriller The Ghost Writer represented something of a comeback for McGregor (and its director Roman Polanski), and he’s since added Beginners, Haywire, The Impossible, and T2 Trainspotting to his portfolio of Certified Fresh hits.

With his most recent movies Doctor Sleep and Birds of Prey out there in the universe, we’re looking back with all of Ewan McGregor’s movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#56
#56
Adjusted Score: 12525%
Critics Consensus: Improbable and muddled.
Synopsis: British spy Steve Wilson (Ewan McGregor), known as "The Eye" to his employers, is trailing Paul Hugo (Steven McCarthy) for... [More]
Directed By: Stephan Elliott

#55

Deception (2008)
11%

#55
Adjusted Score: 14484%
Critics Consensus: Deception is a middling, predictable potboiler with mediocre dialogue and ludicrous plot twists.
Synopsis: As a corporate auditor who works in a number of different offices, Jonathan McQuarry (Ewan McGregor) wanders without an anchor... [More]
Directed By: Marcel Langenegger

#54

Mortdecai (2015)
12%

#54
Adjusted Score: 15016%
Critics Consensus: Aggressively strange and willfully unfunny, the misguided Mortdecai sounds a frightfully low note in Johnny Depp's post-Pirates filmography.
Synopsis: Charismatic British aristocrat and part-time shady art dealer Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) suffers from a constant lack of funds to... [More]
Directed By: David Koepp

#53

Incendiary (2008)
20%

#53
Adjusted Score: 20327%
Critics Consensus: A solid performance from Michelle Williams isn't enough to save this well meaning, but disappointing, cliché ridden drama.
Synopsis: A suicide bomber kills the husband and infant son of an adulterous woman, destroying her life.... [More]
Directed By: Sharon Maguire

#52

Amelia (2009)
20%

#52
Adjusted Score: 25555%
Critics Consensus: Amelia takes the compelling raw materials of its subject's life and does little with them, conventionally ticking off Earhart's accomplishments without exploring the soul of the woman.
Synopsis: From the time she first sits in the pilot's seat, aviatrix Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank) feels destined to achieve great... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 29210%
Critics Consensus: American Pastoral finds debuting director Ewan McGregor's reach exceeding its grasp with a well-intentioned Philip Roth adaptation that retains the form, but little of the function, of its source material.
Synopsis: Seymour Swede Levov (Ewan McGregor) is a once legendary high school athlete who is now a successful businessman married to... [More]
Directed By: Ewan McGregor

#50

Stay (2005)
27%

#50
Adjusted Score: 31402%
Critics Consensus: A muddled brain-teaser, Stay has a solid cast and innovative visuals but little beneath the surface.
Synopsis: Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor), a psychiatrist, has a new patient, Henry Letham (Ryan Gosling), who claims to be suicidal. In... [More]
Directed By: Marc Forster

#49

Nightwatch (1998)
27%

#49
Adjusted Score: 26924%
Critics Consensus: Nightwatch loses much of what made its inspiration entertaining - and proves that when remaking a foreign film, hiring the original director is no guarantee of success.
Synopsis: Law student Martin Bells (Ewan McGregor) needs to make some money, and so he takes a side job as a... [More]
Directed By: Ole Bornedal

#48

Rogue Trader (1999)
30%

#48
Adjusted Score: 30256%
Critics Consensus: Rogue Trader tells its headline-grabbing true story too late to really have much of an impact - and too clumsily to take advantage of Ewan McGregor's game performance.
Synopsis: This drama, based on a true story, follows Nick Leeson (Ewan McGregor), a young British man working at Barings, a... [More]
Directed By: James Dearden

#47

Zoe (2018)
32%

#47
Adjusted Score: 32606%
Critics Consensus: Zoe has some interesting ideas but never manages to get a satisfying grip on them, settling for slow-moving sci-fi that ultimately fails to engage.
Synopsis: Two colleagues at a research lab work to improve and perfect romantic relationships.... [More]
Directed By: Drake Doremus

#46

Valiant (2005)
32%

#46
Adjusted Score: 35946%
Critics Consensus: Valiant has a good collection of voice talents, but the story is strictly by-the-numbers.
Synopsis: As the Allies prepare for the D-Day Invasion, a pigeon named Valiant (Ewan McGregor) wants to contribute to the war... [More]
Directed By: Gary Chapman

#45
Adjusted Score: 36559%
Critics Consensus: Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker is strictly children's fare, as it lacks originality, excitement, and believabiltity.
Synopsis: Alex Rider (Alex Pettyfer) is a British teenager, whom MI6 recruits into its ranks, for his skills as a linguist,... [More]
Directed By: Geoffrey Sax

#44

Angels & Demons (2009)
37%

#44
Adjusted Score: 47879%
Critics Consensus: Angels and Demons is a fast-paced thrill ride, and an improvement on the last Dan Brown adaptation, but the storyline too often wavers between implausible and ridiculous, and does not translate effectively to the big screen.
Synopsis: When Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon discovers the resurgence of an ancient brotherhood known as the Illuminati, he flies to Rome... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 41766%
Critics Consensus: A Life Less Ordinary has an intriguing cast and stylish work from director Danny Boyle, but they're not enough to overcome the story's fatally misjudged tonal mishmash.
Synopsis: A couple of angels, O'Reilly (Holly Hunter) and Jackson (Delroy Lindo), are sent to Earth to make sure that their... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 15482%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On the lush green lawns of London's Hampstead Heath Park, a variety of couples commune and sort through their assorted... [More]
Directed By: Ed Blum

#41

The Island (2005)
40%

#41
Adjusted Score: 47028%
Critics Consensus: A clone of THX 1183, Coma, and Logan's Run, The Island is another loud and bombastic Michael Bay movie where explosions and chases matter more than characters, dialogue, or plot.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#40

Jane Got a Gun (2016)
43%

#40
Adjusted Score: 46452%
Critics Consensus: Jane Got a Gun flounders between campy Western and hard-hitting revisionist take on the genre, leaving Natalie Portman's committed performance stranded in the dust.
Synopsis: Panic strikes Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) when her outlaw husband John returns to their farm with bullet wounds. Expecting the... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 41783%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An alternative ending to World War II has Nazis seizing control of London, and has English citizens banding together to... [More]

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 49291%
Critics Consensus: Colin Farrell and Tom Wilkinson act up a storm in Cassandra's Dream, but Woody Allen's heavy-handed symbolism and foreshadowing drains the plot of all tension.
Synopsis: Life is good for the Blaine brothers, at least for the moment. Ian (Ewan McGregor), a restaurateur, is in love... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#37
Adjusted Score: 60910%
Critics Consensus: Though The Men Who Stare at Goats is a mostly entertaining, farcical glimpse of men at war, some may find its satire and dark humor less than edgy.
Synopsis: Struggling reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) gets the scoop of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), who... [More]
Directed By: Grant Heslov

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 60308%
Critics Consensus: It's enthusiastically acted and reasonably fun, but Jack the Giant Slayer is also overwhelmed by digital effects and a bland, impersonal story.
Synopsis: When young farmhand Jack (Nicholas Hoult) unwittingly opens a portal between his realm and a race of giants, it rekindles... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#35
Adjusted Score: 62997%
Critics Consensus: Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy -- albeit visually dazzling -- start.
Synopsis: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ; Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#34

Perfect Sense (2011)
58%

#34
Adjusted Score: 59013%
Critics Consensus: Perfect Sense has interesting ideas and charismatic stars, all of which add up to a viewing experience that's frustratingly less than the sum of its intriguing parts.
Synopsis: A chef (Ewan McGregor) and a scientist (Eva Green) fall in love amid a plague that robs people of their... [More]
Directed By: David Mackenzie

#33

Velvet Goldmine (1998)
59%

#33
Adjusted Score: 59975%
Critics Consensus: Velvet Goldmine takes a visual and narrative approach befitting its larger-than-life subject, although it's still disappointingly less than the sum of its parts.
Synopsis: Glam rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Myers) plays a character on stage named Maxwell Demon who predicts his death... [More]
Directed By: Todd Haynes

#32

Down With Love (2003)
60%

#32
Adjusted Score: 66206%
Critics Consensus: Looks great, but Zellweger and McGregor have no chemistry together, and the self-satisfied, knowing tone grates.
Synopsis: It's 1962, and feminist Barbara Novak (Renée Zellweger) pens a best-selling book that details the drawbacks of love. She encourages... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

#31

Son of a Gun (2015)
62%

#31
Adjusted Score: 63406%
Critics Consensus: Gritty, stylish, and smart, Son of a Gun serves up plenty of genre thrills while offering a refreshing change of pace for Ewan McGregor.
Synopsis: JR, a teenage criminal, is locked up for a minor crime and forced to adapt to the harsh realities of... [More]
Directed By: Julius Avery

#30

Nora (2000)
64%

#30
Adjusted Score: 31088%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: It is love at first sight when raffish young writer James Joyce (Ewan McGregor) meets the simple barmaid Nora Barnacle... [More]
Directed By: Pat Murphy

#29

Robots (2005)
64%

#29
Adjusted Score: 70241%
Critics Consensus: Robots delights on a visual level, but the story feels like it came off an assembly line.
Synopsis: In a world of sentient robots, striving young inventor Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) wants to work for the avuncular Bigweld... [More]

#28
Adjusted Score: 74007%
Critics Consensus: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones benefits from an increased emphasis on thrilling action, although they're once again undercut by ponderous plot points and underdeveloped characters.
Synopsis: Set ten years after the events of "The Phantom Menace," the Republic continues to be mired in strife and chaos.... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 74740%
Critics Consensus: The sheer amount of acting going on in August: Osage County threatens to overwhelm, but when the actors involved are as talented as Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, it's difficult to complain.
Synopsis: The death and funeral of their father brings three sisters to the home of their mother, Violet (Meryl Streep), an... [More]
Directed By: John Wells

#26

The Pillow Book (1996)
67%

#26
Adjusted Score: 69096%
Critics Consensus: The Pillow Book is undeniably sensual and visually ravishing, but the film's narrative lacks the hypnotic pull of its imagery.
Synopsis: A Japanese model (Vivian Wu) who likes lovers to adorn her body with calligraphy falls for an erotic Englishman (Ewan... [More]
Directed By: Peter Greenaway

#25

Miss Potter (2006)
68%

#25
Adjusted Score: 72645%
Critics Consensus: A charming biopic that maintains its sweetness even in sadder moments.
Synopsis: Beatrix Potter (Renée Zellweger) overcomes many obstacles in her quest to become a writer, including a domineering mother and the... [More]
Directed By: Chris Noonan

#24
Adjusted Score: 72110%
Critics Consensus: Quirky and a little reserved, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is nonetheless a charming little romantic drama sold by some strong central performances.
Synopsis: Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) is a fisheries scientist who one day receives an unusual request: A businesswoman named Harriet... [More]
Directed By: Lasse Hallström

#23

Shallow Grave (1995)
70%

#23
Adjusted Score: 73019%
Critics Consensus: This black-humored thriller features characters who are more obnoxious than clever. During the second half, the movie descends into gratuitous violence.
Synopsis: When accountant David (Christopher Eccleston), doctor Juliet (Kerry Fox) and journalist Alex (Ewan McGregor) are searching for a fourth roommate... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 78062%
Critics Consensus: This fact-based romantic comedy has its flaws, but they're mostly overcome by its consistently sweet, funny tone and one of the best performances of Jim Carrey's career.
Synopsis: Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) becomes a cop, gets married and starts a family, but after a terrible car accident, he... [More]
Directed By: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 98995%
Critics Consensus: With an enchanting cast, beautifully crafted songs, and a painterly eye for detail, Beauty and the Beast offers a faithful yet fresh retelling that honors its beloved source material.
Synopsis: Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 79512%
Critics Consensus: Our Kind of Traitor relies on solid writing and acting rather than action to deliver its spy-movie thrills -- and thankfully has the pedigree to pull it off on both fronts.
Synopsis: A money launderer (Stellan Skarsgard) for Russian gangsters asks a couple vacationing in Marrakech, Morocco, to deliver incriminating evidence to... [More]
Directed By: Susanna White

#19

Miles Ahead (2016)
74%

#19
Adjusted Score: 85223%
Critics Consensus: Miles Ahead is worth watching for Don Cheadle's strong work on both sides of the camera, even if this unconventional biopic doesn't quite capture its subject's timeless appeal.
Synopsis: In the 1970s, down-and-out jazz trumpeter Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) tries to recover his new session tape from music producers.... [More]
Directed By: Don Cheadle

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 88668%
Critics Consensus: Christopher Robin may not equal A.A. Milne's stories -- or their animated Disney adaptations -- but it should prove sweet enough for audiences seeking a little childhood magic.
Synopsis: Christopher Robin -- now a family man living in London -- receives a surprise visit from his old childhood pal,... [More]
Directed By: Marc Forster

#17

Big Fish (2003)
76%

#17
Adjusted Score: 82678%
Critics Consensus: A charming father-and-son tale filled with typical Tim Burton flourishes, Big Fish is an impressive catch.
Synopsis: When Edward Bloom (Albert Finney) becomes ill, his son, William (Billy Crudup), travels to be with him. William has a... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 79735%
Critics Consensus: Emma Thompson's second labor of love with the Nanny McPhee character actually improves on the first, delivering charming family fare with an excellent cast.
Synopsis: Enigmatic Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives on the doorstep of a harried mother, Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is trying... [More]
Directed By: Susanna White

#15

Black Hawk Down (2001)
76%

#15
Adjusted Score: 83896%
Critics Consensus: Though it's light on character development and cultural empathy, Black Hawk Down is a visceral, pulse-pounding portrait of war, elevated by Ridley Scott's superb technical skill.
Synopsis: The film takes place in 1993 when the U.S. sent special forces into Somalia to destabilize the government and bring... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#14

Moulin Rouge (2001)
76%

#14
Adjusted Score: 84075%
Critics Consensus: A love-it-or-hate-it experience, Moulin Rouge is all style, all giddy, over-the-top spectacle. But it's also daring in its vision and wildly original.
Synopsis: A celebration of love and creative inspiration takes place in the infamous, gaudy and glamorous Parisian nightclub, at the cusp... [More]
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 79824%
Critics Consensus: Last Days in the Desert offers enough stately grandeur and spiritual exploration to offset an occasionally ambiguous narrative.
Synopsis: As he wanders in the desert, Jesus Christ (Ewan McGregor) tangles with Satan (also McGregor) for the souls of a... [More]
Directed By: Rodrigo Garcia

#12

Doctor Sleep (2019)
78%

#12
Adjusted Score: 98773%
Critics Consensus: Doctor Sleep forsakes the elemental terror of its predecessor for a more contemplative sequel that balances poignant themes against spine-tingling chills.
Synopsis: Struggling with alcoholism, Dan Torrance remains traumatized by the sinister events that occurred at the Overlook Hotel when he was... [More]
Directed By: Mike Flanagan

#11

Brassed Off (1996)
79%

#11
Adjusted Score: 81589%
Critics Consensus: Brassed Off combines inspiring drama with populist socioeconomics to create a film whose familiar outlines are filled in with genuine and surprisingly palpable emotion.
Synopsis: In a village in Northern England, Danny (Pete Postlethwaite), the conductor of a colliery brass band, has difficulty maintaining the... [More]
Directed By: Mark Herman

#10

Little Voice (1998)
79%

#10
Adjusted Score: 81104%
Critics Consensus: Little Voice brings its award-winning source material to the screen in style, elevated by a commanding lead performance from Jane Horrocks.
Synopsis: A London talent agent (Michael Caine) learns his girlfriend's (Brenda Blethyn) repressed daughter (Jane Horrocks) is brilliant at mimicking singers.... [More]
Directed By: Mark Herman

#9

Haywire (2011)
80%

#9
Adjusted Score: 87809%
Critics Consensus: MMA star and first-time actress Gina Carano displays ample action-movie chops in Haywire, a fast-paced thriller with a top-notch cast and outstanding direction from Steven Soderbergh.
Synopsis: Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a highly trained operative for a government security contractor. Her missions take her to the... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#8
Adjusted Score: 92986%
Critics Consensus: With Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas brings his second Star Wars trilogy to a suitably thrilling and often poignant -- if still a bit uneven -- conclusion.
Synopsis: It has been three years since the Clone Wars began. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jedi Knight Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#7
Adjusted Score: 108916%
Critics Consensus: With a fresh perspective, some new friends, and loads of fast-paced action, Birds of Prey captures the colorfully anarchic spirit of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn.
Synopsis: It's open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her... [More]
Directed By: Cathy Yan

#6

The Impossible (2012)
81%

#6
Adjusted Score: 89044%
Critics Consensus: The screenplay isn't quite as powerful as the direction or the acting, but with such an astonishing real-life story at its center, The Impossible is never less than compelling.
Synopsis: In December 2004, close-knit family Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons begin their winter vacation in... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona

#5

T2 Trainspotting (2017)
81%

#5
Adjusted Score: 99839%
Critics Consensus: T2 Trainspotting adds an intoxicating, emotionally resonant postscript to its classic predecessor, even without fully recapturing the original's fresh, subversive thrill.
Synopsis: First there was an opportunity, then there was a betrayal. Twenty years later, Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to the... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#4

Emma (1996)
85%

#4
Adjusted Score: 86735%
Critics Consensus: Emma marks an auspicious debut for writer-director Douglas McGrath, making the most of its Jane Austen source material -- and a charming performance from Gwyneth Paltrow.
Synopsis: In this adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, pretty socialite Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) entertains herself by playing matchmaker for... [More]
Directed By: Douglas McGrath

#3

The Ghost Writer (2010)
84%

#3
Adjusted Score: 93728%
Critics Consensus: While it may lack the revelatory punch of Polanski's finest films, Ghost Writer benefits from stylish direction, a tense screenplay, and a strong central performance from Ewan McGregor.
Synopsis: When a successful ghostwriter, the Ghost (Ewan McGregor), agrees to finish the memoirs of Adam Long (Pierce Brosnan), England's former... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#2

Beginners (2010)
85%

#2
Adjusted Score: 91186%
Critics Consensus: Wearing its twee heart on its sleeve, Beginners explores the depths of modern, multi-generational romance with wit and depth.
Synopsis: After his mother dies, Oliver (Ewan McGregor) is stunned when his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer), recently diagnosed with terminal cancer,... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mills

#1

Trainspotting (1996)
91%

#1
Adjusted Score: 95679%
Critics Consensus: A brutal, often times funny, other times terrifying portrayal of drug addiction in Edinburgh. Not for the faint of heart, but well worth viewing as a realistic and entertaining reminder of the horrors of drug use.
Synopsis: Heroin addict Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) stumbles through bad ideas and sobriety attempts with his unreliable friends -- Sick Boy... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

Neil Davidson/IFC Films courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Neil Davidson/IFC Films courtesy Everett Collection)

All Ewan McGregor Movies Ranked

From independent dramas to a certain trilogy of big-budget sci-fi prequels, Ewan McGregor has led an admirably varied life on the big screen — as well as off, where he’s an accomplished stage actor as well as a bestselling author. Since he made his big breakthrough in Trainspotting, there’s really no telling where you’ll see him next, whether it’s leading parts in huge hits like Moulin Rouge! and the Star Wars franchise or supporting turns in less widely seen fare — just one of many reasons why it’s never a bad time to look back at the best and worst Ewan McGregor movies. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up his major roles (sorry, Being Human and Nanny McPhee Returns fans), ordering the whole lot by Tomatometer.

#54
#54
Adjusted Score: 12525%
Critics Consensus: Improbable and muddled.
Synopsis: British spy Steve Wilson (Ewan McGregor), known as "The Eye" to his employers, is trailing Paul Hugo (Steven McCarthy) for... [More]
Directed By: Stephan Elliott

#53

Mortdecai (2015)
12%

#53
Adjusted Score: 15016%
Critics Consensus: Aggressively strange and willfully unfunny, the misguided Mortdecai sounds a frightfully low note in Johnny Depp's post-Pirates filmography.
Synopsis: Charismatic British aristocrat and part-time shady art dealer Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) suffers from a constant lack of funds to... [More]
Directed By: David Koepp

#52

Deception (2008)
11%

#52
Adjusted Score: 14484%
Critics Consensus: Deception is a middling, predictable potboiler with mediocre dialogue and ludicrous plot twists.
Synopsis: As a corporate auditor who works in a number of different offices, Jonathan McQuarry (Ewan McGregor) wanders without an anchor... [More]
Directed By: Marcel Langenegger

#51

Zoe (2018)
32%

#51
Adjusted Score: 32606%
Critics Consensus: Zoe has some interesting ideas but never manages to get a satisfying grip on them, settling for slow-moving sci-fi that ultimately fails to engage.
Synopsis: Two colleagues at a research lab work to improve and perfect romantic relationships.... [More]
Directed By: Drake Doremus

#50

Amelia (2009)
20%

#50
Adjusted Score: 25555%
Critics Consensus: Amelia takes the compelling raw materials of its subject's life and does little with them, conventionally ticking off Earhart's accomplishments without exploring the soul of the woman.
Synopsis: From the time she first sits in the pilot's seat, aviatrix Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank) feels destined to achieve great... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#49

Incendiary (2008)
20%

#49
Adjusted Score: 20327%
Critics Consensus: A solid performance from Michelle Williams isn't enough to save this well meaning, but disappointing, cliché ridden drama.
Synopsis: A suicide bomber kills the husband and infant son of an adulterous woman, destroying her life.... [More]
Directed By: Sharon Maguire

#48

Nightwatch (1998)
27%

#48
Adjusted Score: 26924%
Critics Consensus: Nightwatch loses much of what made its inspiration entertaining - and proves that when remaking a foreign film, hiring the original director is no guarantee of success.
Synopsis: Law student Martin Bells (Ewan McGregor) needs to make some money, and so he takes a side job as a... [More]
Directed By: Ole Bornedal

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 29210%
Critics Consensus: American Pastoral finds debuting director Ewan McGregor's reach exceeding its grasp with a well-intentioned Philip Roth adaptation that retains the form, but little of the function, of its source material.
Synopsis: Seymour Swede Levov (Ewan McGregor) is a once legendary high school athlete who is now a successful businessman married to... [More]
Directed By: Ewan McGregor

#46

Stay (2005)
27%

#46
Adjusted Score: 31402%
Critics Consensus: A muddled brain-teaser, Stay has a solid cast and innovative visuals but little beneath the surface.
Synopsis: Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor), a psychiatrist, has a new patient, Henry Letham (Ryan Gosling), who claims to be suicidal. In... [More]
Directed By: Marc Forster

#45

Rogue Trader (1999)
30%

#45
Adjusted Score: 30256%
Critics Consensus: Rogue Trader tells its headline-grabbing true story too late to really have much of an impact - and too clumsily to take advantage of Ewan McGregor's game performance.
Synopsis: This drama, based on a true story, follows Nick Leeson (Ewan McGregor), a young British man working at Barings, a... [More]
Directed By: James Dearden

#44

Valiant (2005)
32%

#44
Adjusted Score: 35946%
Critics Consensus: Valiant has a good collection of voice talents, but the story is strictly by-the-numbers.
Synopsis: As the Allies prepare for the D-Day Invasion, a pigeon named Valiant (Ewan McGregor) wants to contribute to the war... [More]
Directed By: Gary Chapman

#43
Adjusted Score: 36559%
Critics Consensus: Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker is strictly children's fare, as it lacks originality, excitement, and believabiltity.
Synopsis: Alex Rider (Alex Pettyfer) is a British teenager, whom MI6 recruits into its ranks, for his skills as a linguist,... [More]
Directed By: Geoffrey Sax

#42

Angels & Demons (2009)
37%

#42
Adjusted Score: 47879%
Critics Consensus: Angels and Demons is a fast-paced thrill ride, and an improvement on the last Dan Brown adaptation, but the storyline too often wavers between implausible and ridiculous, and does not translate effectively to the big screen.
Synopsis: When Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon discovers the resurgence of an ancient brotherhood known as the Illuminati, he flies to Rome... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 41766%
Critics Consensus: A Life Less Ordinary has an intriguing cast and stylish work from director Danny Boyle, but they're not enough to overcome the story's fatally misjudged tonal mishmash.
Synopsis: A couple of angels, O'Reilly (Holly Hunter) and Jackson (Delroy Lindo), are sent to Earth to make sure that their... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 15482%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On the lush green lawns of London's Hampstead Heath Park, a variety of couples commune and sort through their assorted... [More]
Directed By: Ed Blum

#39

The Island (2005)
40%

#39
Adjusted Score: 47028%
Critics Consensus: A clone of THX 1183, Coma, and Logan's Run, The Island is another loud and bombastic Michael Bay movie where explosions and chases matter more than characters, dialogue, or plot.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#38

Jane Got a Gun (2016)
43%

#38
Adjusted Score: 46452%
Critics Consensus: Jane Got a Gun flounders between campy Western and hard-hitting revisionist take on the genre, leaving Natalie Portman's committed performance stranded in the dust.
Synopsis: Panic strikes Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) when her outlaw husband John returns to their farm with bullet wounds. Expecting the... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 41783%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An alternative ending to World War II has Nazis seizing control of London, and has English citizens banding together to... [More]

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 49291%
Critics Consensus: Colin Farrell and Tom Wilkinson act up a storm in Cassandra's Dream, but Woody Allen's heavy-handed symbolism and foreshadowing drains the plot of all tension.
Synopsis: Life is good for the Blaine brothers, at least for the moment. Ian (Ewan McGregor), a restaurateur, is in love... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#35
Adjusted Score: 60910%
Critics Consensus: Though The Men Who Stare at Goats is a mostly entertaining, farcical glimpse of men at war, some may find its satire and dark humor less than edgy.
Synopsis: Struggling reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) gets the scoop of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), who... [More]
Directed By: Grant Heslov

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 60308%
Critics Consensus: It's enthusiastically acted and reasonably fun, but Jack the Giant Slayer is also overwhelmed by digital effects and a bland, impersonal story.
Synopsis: When young farmhand Jack (Nicholas Hoult) unwittingly opens a portal between his realm and a race of giants, it rekindles... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#33

Perfect Sense (2011)
58%

#33
Adjusted Score: 59013%
Critics Consensus: Perfect Sense has interesting ideas and charismatic stars, all of which add up to a viewing experience that's frustratingly less than the sum of its intriguing parts.
Synopsis: A chef (Ewan McGregor) and a scientist (Eva Green) fall in love amid a plague that robs people of their... [More]
Directed By: David Mackenzie

#32

Nora (2000)
64%

#32
Adjusted Score: 31088%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: It is love at first sight when raffish young writer James Joyce (Ewan McGregor) meets the simple barmaid Nora Barnacle... [More]
Directed By: Pat Murphy

#31

Velvet Goldmine (1998)
59%

#31
Adjusted Score: 59975%
Critics Consensus: Velvet Goldmine takes a visual and narrative approach befitting its larger-than-life subject, although it's still disappointingly less than the sum of its parts.
Synopsis: Glam rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Myers) plays a character on stage named Maxwell Demon who predicts his death... [More]
Directed By: Todd Haynes

#30
Adjusted Score: 62997%
Critics Consensus: Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy -- albeit visually dazzling -- start.
Synopsis: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ; Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#29

Down With Love (2003)
60%

#29
Adjusted Score: 66206%
Critics Consensus: Looks great, but Zellweger and McGregor have no chemistry together, and the self-satisfied, knowing tone grates.
Synopsis: It's 1962, and feminist Barbara Novak (Renée Zellweger) pens a best-selling book that details the drawbacks of love. She encourages... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

#28

Young Adam (2003)
62%

#28
Adjusted Score: 65871%
Critics Consensus: A grim mood piece with good performances from the leads.
Synopsis: An amoral drifter (Ewan McGregor) has an affair with a woman (Tilda Swinton) stuck in a passionless marriage in 1950s... [More]
Directed By: David Mackenzie

#27

Son of a Gun (2015)
62%

#27
Adjusted Score: 63406%
Critics Consensus: Gritty, stylish, and smart, Son of a Gun serves up plenty of genre thrills while offering a refreshing change of pace for Ewan McGregor.
Synopsis: JR, a teenage criminal, is locked up for a minor crime and forced to adapt to the harsh realities of... [More]
Directed By: Julius Avery

#26

Robots (2005)
64%

#26
Adjusted Score: 70241%
Critics Consensus: Robots delights on a visual level, but the story feels like it came off an assembly line.
Synopsis: In a world of sentient robots, striving young inventor Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) wants to work for the avuncular Bigweld... [More]

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 74740%
Critics Consensus: The sheer amount of acting going on in August: Osage County threatens to overwhelm, but when the actors involved are as talented as Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, it's difficult to complain.
Synopsis: The death and funeral of their father brings three sisters to the home of their mother, Violet (Meryl Streep), an... [More]
Directed By: John Wells

#24

The Pillow Book (1996)
67%

#24
Adjusted Score: 69096%
Critics Consensus: The Pillow Book is undeniably sensual and visually ravishing, but the film's narrative lacks the hypnotic pull of its imagery.
Synopsis: A Japanese model (Vivian Wu) who likes lovers to adorn her body with calligraphy falls for an erotic Englishman (Ewan... [More]
Directed By: Peter Greenaway

#23

Miss Potter (2006)
68%

#23
Adjusted Score: 72645%
Critics Consensus: A charming biopic that maintains its sweetness even in sadder moments.
Synopsis: Beatrix Potter (Renée Zellweger) overcomes many obstacles in her quest to become a writer, including a domineering mother and the... [More]
Directed By: Chris Noonan

#22
Adjusted Score: 74007%
Critics Consensus: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones benefits from an increased emphasis on thrilling action, although they're once again undercut by ponderous plot points and underdeveloped characters.
Synopsis: Set ten years after the events of "The Phantom Menace," the Republic continues to be mired in strife and chaos.... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#21
Adjusted Score: 72110%
Critics Consensus: Quirky and a little reserved, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is nonetheless a charming little romantic drama sold by some strong central performances.
Synopsis: Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) is a fisheries scientist who one day receives an unusual request: A businesswoman named Harriet... [More]
Directed By: Lasse Hallström

#20

Shallow Grave (1995)
70%

#20
Adjusted Score: 73019%
Critics Consensus: This black-humored thriller features characters who are more obnoxious than clever. During the second half, the movie descends into gratuitous violence.
Synopsis: When accountant David (Christopher Eccleston), doctor Juliet (Kerry Fox) and journalist Alex (Ewan McGregor) are searching for a fourth roommate... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 88668%
Critics Consensus: Christopher Robin may not equal A.A. Milne's stories -- or their animated Disney adaptations -- but it should prove sweet enough for audiences seeking a little childhood magic.
Synopsis: Christopher Robin -- now a family man living in London -- receives a surprise visit from his old childhood pal,... [More]
Directed By: Marc Forster

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 98995%
Critics Consensus: With an enchanting cast, beautifully crafted songs, and a painterly eye for detail, Beauty and the Beast offers a faithful yet fresh retelling that honors its beloved source material.
Synopsis: Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 79512%
Critics Consensus: Our Kind of Traitor relies on solid writing and acting rather than action to deliver its spy-movie thrills -- and thankfully has the pedigree to pull it off on both fronts.
Synopsis: A money launderer (Stellan Skarsgard) for Russian gangsters asks a couple vacationing in Marrakech, Morocco, to deliver incriminating evidence to... [More]
Directed By: Susanna White

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 78062%
Critics Consensus: This fact-based romantic comedy has its flaws, but they're mostly overcome by its consistently sweet, funny tone and one of the best performances of Jim Carrey's career.
Synopsis: Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) becomes a cop, gets married and starts a family, but after a terrible car accident, he... [More]
Directed By: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

#15

Miles Ahead (2016)
74%

#15
Adjusted Score: 85223%
Critics Consensus: Miles Ahead is worth watching for Don Cheadle's strong work on both sides of the camera, even if this unconventional biopic doesn't quite capture its subject's timeless appeal.
Synopsis: In the 1970s, down-and-out jazz trumpeter Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) tries to recover his new session tape from music producers.... [More]
Directed By: Don Cheadle

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 79824%
Critics Consensus: Last Days in the Desert offers enough stately grandeur and spiritual exploration to offset an occasionally ambiguous narrative.
Synopsis: As he wanders in the desert, Jesus Christ (Ewan McGregor) tangles with Satan (also McGregor) for the souls of a... [More]
Directed By: Rodrigo Garcia

#13

Black Hawk Down (2001)
76%

#13
Adjusted Score: 83896%
Critics Consensus: Though it's light on character development and cultural empathy, Black Hawk Down is a visceral, pulse-pounding portrait of war, elevated by Ridley Scott's superb technical skill.
Synopsis: The film takes place in 1993 when the U.S. sent special forces into Somalia to destabilize the government and bring... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#12

Moulin Rouge (2001)
76%

#12
Adjusted Score: 84075%
Critics Consensus: A love-it-or-hate-it experience, Moulin Rouge is all style, all giddy, over-the-top spectacle. But it's also daring in its vision and wildly original.
Synopsis: A celebration of love and creative inspiration takes place in the infamous, gaudy and glamorous Parisian nightclub, at the cusp... [More]
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann

#11

Big Fish (2003)
76%

#11
Adjusted Score: 82678%
Critics Consensus: A charming father-and-son tale filled with typical Tim Burton flourishes, Big Fish is an impressive catch.
Synopsis: When Edward Bloom (Albert Finney) becomes ill, his son, William (Billy Crudup), travels to be with him. William has a... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#10

Brassed Off (1996)
79%

#10
Adjusted Score: 81589%
Critics Consensus: Brassed Off combines inspiring drama with populist socioeconomics to create a film whose familiar outlines are filled in with genuine and surprisingly palpable emotion.
Synopsis: In a village in Northern England, Danny (Pete Postlethwaite), the conductor of a colliery brass band, has difficulty maintaining the... [More]
Directed By: Mark Herman

#9

Little Voice (1998)
79%

#9
Adjusted Score: 81104%
Critics Consensus: Little Voice brings its award-winning source material to the screen in style, elevated by a commanding lead performance from Jane Horrocks.
Synopsis: A London talent agent (Michael Caine) learns his girlfriend's (Brenda Blethyn) repressed daughter (Jane Horrocks) is brilliant at mimicking singers.... [More]
Directed By: Mark Herman

#8

T2 Trainspotting (2017)
81%

#8
Adjusted Score: 99839%
Critics Consensus: T2 Trainspotting adds an intoxicating, emotionally resonant postscript to its classic predecessor, even without fully recapturing the original's fresh, subversive thrill.
Synopsis: First there was an opportunity, then there was a betrayal. Twenty years later, Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to the... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#7
Adjusted Score: 92986%
Critics Consensus: With Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas brings his second Star Wars trilogy to a suitably thrilling and often poignant -- if still a bit uneven -- conclusion.
Synopsis: It has been three years since the Clone Wars began. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jedi Knight Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#6

Haywire (2011)
80%

#6
Adjusted Score: 87809%
Critics Consensus: MMA star and first-time actress Gina Carano displays ample action-movie chops in Haywire, a fast-paced thriller with a top-notch cast and outstanding direction from Steven Soderbergh.
Synopsis: Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a highly trained operative for a government security contractor. Her missions take her to the... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#5

The Impossible (2012)
81%

#5
Adjusted Score: 89044%
Critics Consensus: The screenplay isn't quite as powerful as the direction or the acting, but with such an astonishing real-life story at its center, The Impossible is never less than compelling.
Synopsis: In December 2004, close-knit family Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons begin their winter vacation in... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona

#4

The Ghost Writer (2010)
84%

#4
Adjusted Score: 93728%
Critics Consensus: While it may lack the revelatory punch of Polanski's finest films, Ghost Writer benefits from stylish direction, a tense screenplay, and a strong central performance from Ewan McGregor.
Synopsis: When a successful ghostwriter, the Ghost (Ewan McGregor), agrees to finish the memoirs of Adam Long (Pierce Brosnan), England's former... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#3

Emma (1996)
85%

#3
Adjusted Score: 86735%
Critics Consensus: Emma marks an auspicious debut for writer-director Douglas McGrath, making the most of its Jane Austen source material -- and a charming performance from Gwyneth Paltrow.
Synopsis: In this adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, pretty socialite Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) entertains herself by playing matchmaker for... [More]
Directed By: Douglas McGrath

#2

Beginners (2010)
85%

#2
Adjusted Score: 91186%
Critics Consensus: Wearing its twee heart on its sleeve, Beginners explores the depths of modern, multi-generational romance with wit and depth.
Synopsis: After his mother dies, Oliver (Ewan McGregor) is stunned when his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer), recently diagnosed with terminal cancer,... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mills

#1

Trainspotting (1996)
91%

#1
Adjusted Score: 95679%
Critics Consensus: A brutal, often times funny, other times terrifying portrayal of drug addiction in Edinburgh. Not for the faint of heart, but well worth viewing as a realistic and entertaining reminder of the horrors of drug use.
Synopsis: Heroin addict Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) stumbles through bad ideas and sobriety attempts with his unreliable friends -- Sick Boy... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

The rejuvenated Doctor Who returns for its ninth series of episodes on BBC One this weekend, extending a beloved British television tradition that stretches back to the show’s November 1963 debut and has grown to encompass hundreds of installments, a variety of spinoffs, and a dozen (official) Doctors, all of whom did distinguished work outside the series. In that spirit, we’re honoring the actors who’ve inhabited the role by dedicating this list to some of the more interesting moments in their big-screen résumés — all, alas, with the unfortunate exception of the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, who’s focused his efforts outside the film industry. That still leaves us with an eclectic selection of movies,  some of which you may have forgotten — or simply never knew — featured one of the Doctors, so without further ado…it’s time for Total Recall!


William Hartnell Young Scarface (1947) 95%

01BrightonRock

Years before he became the original Doctor, William Hartnell scored a key role in Brighton Rock, director John Boulting’s widely acclaimed adaptation of the 1938  Graham Greene novel about a gang of British hoodlums whose enforcer (Richard Attenborough) murders a reporter in retribution for a story that got his leader killed — then grows increasingly violent and paranoid as he’s hemmed in on all sides by people who could prove his undoing. Hartnell appears as Dallow, the character who serves as Attenborough’s second in command and confidante, but whose loyalty may be trumped by the same nihilistic cynicism that pervades the film — an artfully bleak British noir lauded by the BBC’s Jamie Russell as “one of the darkest films ever to be made on these shores.”

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Patrick Troughton – The Gorgon (1964) 64%

02TheGorgon

A vintage monster thriller from the Hammer vaults, 1965’s The Gorgon repeats the studio’s classic formula with a bit of a twist — instead of a creature of more recent vintage, a la Dracula or the Mummy, this outing is inspired by the titular beast from Greek mythology, whose mere gaze was said to be enough to turn men to stone. The story unfolds in a small German village in the early 20th century, after a rash of mysterious murders — each one leaving behind a victim whose body has been dispatched Gorgon-style — leads an investigator (Troughton) to the medic-slash-coroner of the local sanitarium (Peter Cushing). Toss in appearances from Hammer vets Christopher Lee and Barbara Shelley, and you’ve got all the ingredients for above-average pulp from a studio whose name is synonymous with the stuff. Calling The Gorgon “Enjoyable nonsense,” F5’s Jake Euker wrote, “the passing decades have rendered it more nonsensical, and thus more enjoyable.”

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Jon Pertwee – The House That Dripped Blood (1971) 92%

03HouseThatDrippedBlood

The House That Dripped Blood promised viewers “TERROR waits for you in every room” — and if that promise proved somewhat unfulfilled in this typically uneven anthology effort, it was still true often enough to recommend the end result. Pertwee, whose Doctor Who tenure started the year before his appearance in House, appeared in one of the movie’s better-loved entries, an amusingly morbid piece about a buffoonish actor who buys a vampire’s cloak without realizing it has dark powers — or that he should keep it far, far away from his shapely co-star (Ingrid Pitt). “The first thing that should be noted about The House That Dripped Blood is that no blood is dripped,” mused Ken Hanke for the Asheville Mountain Xpress. “Knowing this will perhaps save disappointment along the way.”

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Tom Baker – Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) 67%

04NicholasAlexandra

Prior to becoming the longest-tenured and arguably most widely recognized Doctor — playing the role for seven consecutive seasons between 1974 to 1981 — Baker landed his first major film role in 1971’s Nicholas and Alexandra, in which director Franklin J. Schaffner dramatized the fall of the final house of Russian Romanovs. While Baker played neither Nicholas nor Alexandra (those honors went to Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman), he scored an even more satisfying part, playing the infamous mystic Grigori Rasputin. Although the end result certainly wasn’t to everyone’s liking — Roger Ebert argued that it “considers the Russian Revolution from, in some ways, the least interesting perspective” — many critics felt it struck a pleasing balance between character-based drama and epic historical sweep. “[Producer] Sam Spiegel,”  wrote Variety, “comes up with a rarity: the intimate epic, in telling the fascinating story of the downfall of the Romanovs.”

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Peter Davison – Black Beauty (1994) 80%

05BlackBeauty

Recognizing they had some big shoes to fill when Tom Baker left Doctor Who, the show’s producers opted to go in a different direction, but still wanted an actor who’d be familiar to British viewers. They found him in Peter Davison, who’d earned acclaim — and worked with Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner — on a BBC production of All Creatures Great and Small, and who put his own distinctive stamp on the venerable show during his 1981-’84 tenure. Davison has focused largely on television and stage work throughout his career, but he’s picked up a few film roles along the way, including an appearance as Squire Gordon in director Caroline Thompson’s 1994 adaptation of the oft-filmed Black Beauty — a family-friendly drama whose familiarity didn’t breed contempt for critics like Chris Hicks of the Deseret News. “Four (or more) movie versions precede this latest cinematic incarnation of Black Beauty,” admitted Hicks, “but none have managed to capture the spirit of the book as well.”

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Sylvester McCoy – The Hobbit Trilogy

06HobbitRadagast

McCoy bears the distinction of being the final Doctor during the show’s original 26-season run at the BBC, assuming the role from Colin Baker in 1987 and staying with the series until late 1989, when the network broadcast “Survival,” the last episode to air until Doctor Who was revived in 2005. Since making his mark on series history, McCoy has mainly concentrated on stage and television roles, but he’s ventured onto the big screen from time to time — perhaps most notably as the wizard Radagast the Brown in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, which culminated with The Battle of the Five Armies in 2014. “The pleasure is intense, and mixed with awe,” wrote Joe Morgenstern for the Wall Street Journal. “There is majesty here, and not just because we’re in the presence of magnificently regal madness.”

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Paul McGann – Withnail and I (1987) 94%

07WithnailAndI

After the original series ended in 1989, Doctor Who fell into a long limbo — but even during its hibernation between official incarnations, there were still a few occasions for fans to enjoy the Doctor’s adventures. Paul McGann became the eighth Doctor when he assumed the role for a 1996 TV movie that was supposed to serve as an official relaunch, but instead mainly led to him starring in a lengthy series of audio dramas — and, much later, a 50th anniversary mini-episode titled “The Night of the Doctor.” But before all that, McGann was a member of the group of young UK actors dubbed “the Brit Pack,” and the proud owner of a series of film credits that included one of the main roles in the British black comedy classic Withnail and I. “The best British comedy ever made? Possibly,” mused Film4’s Ali Catterall. “A masterpiece? Unquestionably.”

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Christopher Eccleston – Shallow Grave (1995) 70%

08ShallowGrave

Every Doctor is special, but Christopher Eccleston will always hold a hallowed place in Doctor Who history, because — as the Ninth Doctor — he’s the actor who bears the distinction of bringing the character back to active duty when the series was brought back to life by the BBC in 2005. Already a wizened veteran of stage and screen before he stepped into his first TARDIS, Eccleston boasts a laundry list of distinguished credits — but since we have to choose just one, we’re going with 1995’s Shallow Grave, an early Danny Boyle film that mined the depths of British dark comedy with a cast that included a young Ewan McGregor. Calling it “one of the most solid debuts anyone could ask for,” Examiner’s Chris Sawin wrote, “Shallow Grave is a story that goes from bad to worse to nasty during its duration. The performances are solid as you can never get a clear read on anyone’s motives right until it’s about to be revealed.”

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David Tennant – Fright Night (2011) 72%

09FrightNight

After a string of short-term Doctors, David Tennant restored stability to the series when he assumed the role from Christopher Eccleston in 2005, taking over as the Tenth Doctor and keeping the reins for five years — including an animated spinoff — while maintaining his busy film and television schedule. He picked up right where he’d left off after leaving the show in 2010 — including a part in Craig Gillespie’s 2011 remake of the cult horror-comedy classic Fright Night, in which he played a supposed vampire expert who initially rebuffs the panicked efforts of a suburban teen (Anton Yelchin) to expose his allegedly bloodsucking neighbor (Colin Farrell). “Fright Night,” argued Colin Covert for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “is the best thing to happen to horror movies since red food coloring and Karo syrup.”

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Matt Smith – Terminator Genisys (2015) 27%

 

As the youngest Doctor, it’s understandable that Matt Smith has a relatively brief filmography; aside from his 2010-’14 stint starring in Doctor Who, a fair number of his credits have come in stage productions. But this is not to say that Doctor fans wishing to see Smith on the big screen are without options; in fact, earlier this year, he landed himself at the center of another decades-old sci-fi franchise when he scored the role of Skynet in Terminator: Genisys (next year, we can expect to see him in Patient Zero and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). While most critics felt the Terminator films were already long past their prime, this sequel did have its defenders; as Tim Martain argued for the Mercury, “There is a fine line between clever homage and lazy lip service. This film trips over that line, spills its drink, and pukes in the cab on the way home. But I had fun.”

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Peter Capaldi – In the Loop (2009) 94%

11InTheLoop

Prior to taking over as the 12th official incarnation of the character in 2013, our current Doctor compiled a rather impressive list of screen credits, including roles in Local Hero, The Lair of the White Worm, and Dangerous Liaisons. But Capaldi is probably best known for playing spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in writer-director Armando Iannucci’s hit BBC series In the Thick of It, a character that helped him earn a BAFTA — and one that he reprised on the big screen for the show’s critically acclaimed spinoff film, In the Loop. Inspired by the run-up to the Iraq War, Loop ruthlessly skewers self-serving bureaucrats of all persuasions, adding up to one of the most relentless — and hilarious — political satires in recent memory. “[It’s] that rare film utterly without heroes,” observed the Boston Globe’s Ty Burr. “Instead, it amasses a group of boobs, users, and charlatans on both sides of the Atlantic and asks us to recognize our duly elected and appointed officials. You’ll laugh until you bleed, or vice versa.”

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John Hurt – The Hit (1984) 87%

12TheHit

John Hurt may not be an “official” Doctor, but this Oscar-nominated thespian’s appearance as the “War Doctor” in the 50th anniversary feature The Day of the Doctor counts in our book — and gives us an excuse to heap additional praise on a marvelous filmography. Mr. Hurt has made so many great movies that it’s hard to pick just one — between 1978-’80, he fired off Midnight Express, Alien, and The Elephant Man in quick succession, with voicework in Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings movie in between — but for the purposes of this list, we’re settling on the hidden gem The Hit, in which he stars as a hitman tasked with retrieving a former associate (Terence Stamp) who rolled over on the gang. Praising both leading men in addition to director Stephen Frears, the Los Angeles Times’ Sheila Benson wrote, “The Hit is something special: thoughtful, perfectly performed and carrying the clear stamp of an extremely interesting director.”

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A trip to the cinema is a sure-fire way to beat the January blues, but which film should you be shelling out to see? Vying for your pennies this weekend we have Daniel Craig in non-Bond mode for the WWII epic Defiance. Already a big festival hit, Danny Boyle‘s Slumdog Millionaire finally hits the UK cinemas, as do two US comedies in the Apatow-vein, Role Models and Sex Drive. So what did the British critics have to say?

Defiance tells the incredible true story of the Bielski brothers, a trio of Jewish resistance fighters in Belarus, who saved thousands of lives through their actions in WWII. Directed by Edward Zwick and starring Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell and Liev Schreiber, Defiance is an all-action epic with an amazing true story at it’s heart, but it has split the critics. Currently standing at 52% on the Tomatometer, most critics were wowed by the previously rarely heard story, but felt the production was let down by clichéd narrative, drab cinematography and an all-round muddled approach to the central story. Xan Brooks of The Guardian summed up the general consensus:

Defiance makes a noise but leaves no echo. It feels progressively more bogus and less significant the further it recedes from view, and myths are meant to wax in the memory, not wane.”

Danny Boyle has been a stalwart of British cinema since breaking onto the scene first with Shallow Grave, then the critically acclaimed Trainspotting. Always defying convention, Boyle has tried his hand at many genres, and has now turned his eye to Bollywood, with his Mumbai-set Slumdog Millionaire. With no Rotten ratings compiled from the UK reviews, Slumdog proudly stands at a very healthy, and Certified Fresh, 94% on the Tomatometer. There was universal praise for its uplifting tone, inspirational fairytale story, and stunning use of location and setting. Rob Daniel, Sky Movies, said about the film:

“Hard hearts may balk at the unashamed sentiment, black and white morality, and question-flashback contrivances, but let them eat pie and mash: this is a tangy banquet of smile-on-the-face feel good.”

Role Models and Sex Drive hit the UK cinemas this week both boasting impressive current US-comedy pedigree. Role Models stars Paul Rudd, Seann William-Scott and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (AKA McLovin of Superbad fame) in a comedy about two thirty-something slackers on community service, whilst Sex Drive features Clark Duke, James Marsden and Seth Green in a teen coming-of-age road movie. Role Models is currently faring better on the Tomatometer at a Certified Fresh 76%, whilst Sex Drive is lagging behind at 42% overall, but both films tallied a similar number of fresh ratings with the UK critics, so if a laugh-out-loud comedy is what you are looking for this weekend, you are spoilt for choice. Nigel Andrews of The Financial Times said of the two films:

“Neither film wins a prize for visual style. Each deserves one for clever gags and zanily zig-zagging dialogue.”

Quote Of The Week

“This unfunny studio comedy is so downright demeaning I ended up hating not only it but my entire gender — and most specifically myself for secretly quite wanting to watch it.”

Bride Wars

Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro.


Danny Boyle - Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com
Though his first film, Shallow Grave, brought Danny Boyle to the attention of the film savvy, it was his 1996 adaptation of Irvine Welsh‘s Trainspotting that made his name as an internationally renowned directing talent. From a budget of $3.5m the film grossed $72m worldwide, and won critical praise the world over, currently sitting at 88% on the Tomatometer.

Many trailers and posters for his subsequent work tout it as being “from the director of Trainspotting,” but Boyle’s drive to deliver fresh and eclectic cinema will be a surprise for anyone expecting a redux of that film. His follow-ups have run the full gamut; from bleak sci-fi to zombie horror, through spiritual romantic comedy and traveller thriller. If there’s one thing Boyle’s not, it’s predictable.

Indeed, his most recent previous outing was 2007’s Sunshine, about a crew of astronauts in the not-too-distant future who are on a mission to reignite our dying sun. But it’s a far cry from his new film, Slumdog Millionaire, a fantastical romance set on the streets and in the television studios of India. The story of a young boy’s tragic upbringing in the slums and his appearance on India’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, it’s already attracting awards by the bucketload.

As you’d expect from his body of work, his five favourite films are diverse and disparate. “I’ve got an odd list,” he told RT. “Things like your ‘top films’ or your ‘top end playlist songs’ — these are the things that keep me awake at night. I watch all of these films through the director’s eyes, and I’ve watched them multiple times — well, except for The Bicycle Thief — to try and bow down and learn.”

 

Apocalypse Now (1979, 98% Tomatometer)



The Bicycle Thief
Always, and always number one for me in every list is Apocalypse Now. There are lots of reasons. It’s imperfect; which every film should be. I love action movies. I believe in motion, in the motion picture industry. And Apocalypse Now is the ultimate action movie.

Firstly, it’s the only period film you’ll ever watch where nobody ever says it still ‘stands up after 30 years.’ Every other film — like Alien, and I’m a huge fan of Alien, I even did some promotion for it when they re-released it — the main thing you say are phrases like “Even after 25 years it still stands up.” You never have to use that (phrase) for Apocalypse Now. Everyone always just says: “Wow.”

The second reason it’s the ultimate action movie is every time it stops moving it’s weird and unnatural and disturbing. Everytime it stops moving: they stop to collect mushrooms, they get attacked by a tiger; they stop and watch the playboy bunnies arriving; the boat stops and they end up shooting these people over a puppy in a little boat. And it stops, of course, with the ultimate stop: When he (Martin Sheen) meets Marlon Brando, Colonel Kurtz at the end. You can tell by how unnatural the stops are, how natural an action movie it is.


The Bicycle Thief (1948, 95% Tomatometer)



The Bicycle Thief
To my everlasting shame — the film is so good I hate to admit to it — I never watched it until last Saturday because I was in Italy promoting Slumdog and they loved Slumdog and I felt abject because I hadn’t seen The Bicycle Thief. Nobody asked about it but I ran out and got it the Saturday following. It’s the most beautiful film.

Do not be put off by the fact it’s black and white or in Italian. It is the most beautiful film about a father and a son than I’ve ever seen.


Wallace and Gromit – The Wrong Trousers (1993, 100% Tomatometer)



The Wrong Trousers
I’m a huge, HUGE fan of animation — and that sequence at the end, when he’s on the little mini train, is even better action than Apocalypse Now. Nick Park is one of the most underrated action directors in the world. If he weren’t only interested in doing Claymation they’d have him doing every action movie. That is the best action sequence I’ve ever seen in a film. Talk about breathless action! And with the multi, multi, multi-millions of dollars spent on explosions — nothing is as great as that action sequence on the train at the end of that film.

Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987, 100% Tomatometer)



Au Revoir Les Enfants
Louis Malle is one of the great, underrated French directors. That’s the best film I’ve ever seen about children. It’s a very, very adult film so of course you have to take the kids very seriously. What is it they say? ‘Kids are father to the man,’ or something like that. What you are is what you were, really. It’s one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen; one of the saddest, most moving, genuine films ever.

As a director I’ve done kids films — Slumdog has kids, and, I made a film called Millions — and it’s not easy to get kids to be good. You work hard at it. What is really difficult is to get every kid to be in the same film at the same time and I watch that film and every kid — and there’s a lot of kids in it, it takes place at a school — they’re all in the same film at the same time.


Eureka (1983, N/A Tomatometer)



Eureka
I can guarantee you this film isn’t on anyone else’s list. It stars Gene Hackman and it’s made by my favorite British film director, even more than Nick Park. He’s a guy named Nick Roeg, and he’s most famous, probably, for Don’t Look Now. Eureka is the film that probably ended his American career. I think it was a disaster when it was released.

The first half of this movie is as good as you’ll ever get in a movie. It’s about a guy who discovers, literally, liquid gold. He becomes the richest man in the world and the man who has everything and the man who has nothing. The second half of the film is a trial and takes place in a courtroom and that part doesn’t work as well, which is what probably led to it being a flop, but the first half is as good as it gets.

And I love Nick Roeg. He’s idiosyncratic, highly individual and yet for a ten year period he was working in the studio system with big stars like Gene Hackman. Hackman’s never been better. People say “Hackman” and think of The Conversation but he’s never better than he is in Eureka. If you can imagine a man who has everything and he (Hackman) just plays it as a guy who has nothing.


Slumdog Millionaire opens today in the UK and is out now in the US and Australia. And come back, because RT will have more from Danny Boyle later.

Helen Mirren‘s astoundingly successful biopic "The Queen" is getting some serious competition from Pedro Almodovar‘s latest, as "Volver" has emerged a frontrunner for the box-office returns (and Awards Season affections) of the artsy crowd.

"The Queen," directed by Stephen Frears, was picked up in October 2005 by Miramax, who then cited the pick-up as the desire to build "an eclectic, wide-ranging slate of specialty projects." With a good-sized (at least for a studio indie) budget estimated at $15 M, it seems Miramax’s acquisition of the quiet Brit royalty drama was a stroke of genius; since debuting in a scant three-theater limited release at the end of September, the film has built unrelenting momentum into a domestic gross of $10.1 M.

Of course, box-office recognition for "The Queen" has mirrored the response of critics, making it both a successful money-maker and a deserving prestige pic. That wave of laurels can be traced back to September, when it debuted to great acclaim at the Venice Film Festival and went on to win three of that festival’s awards (for Best Screenplay, Best Actress, and the FIPRESCI Prize; Frears lost the Golden Lion to Zhang Ke Jia‘s "Still Life").

"The Queen" is currently Certified Fresh and sitting pretty at 98 percent on the Tomatometer, only three out of 120 critics having disliked it (including Stella Papamichael of the BBC, who wrote of it "The tabloid appeal is obvious, but Morgan’s script is tomorrow’s chip paper."). Most critics, however, agree with the Toronto Star‘s Peter Howell that the picture is "led by Mirren in a title role that demands Oscar glory."

But on the whole the critics are raving; it’s no surprise, then, that Helen Mirren has been pegged for months as a shoe-in for Best Actress. She knows it, too; her steely, powdery visage on the film’s poster screams confidence — "It’s mine, all you other actresses get out of my way!" — a statuette finally in her hands, after two previous unrealized nominations (for "The Madness of King George" in 1995, and "Gosford Park" in 2002). Plus, Mirren’s on a royal roll, having just won an Emmy for playing another Elizabeth, Elizabeth I, in the acclaimed 2005 HBO miniseries.

But last weekend a contender emerged to threaten Helen Mirren’s near-lock on the Best Actress award. And her name is Penelope.

Penelope Cruz, carrying an equally strong ensemble piece, is simply luminous in "Volver," a quasi-magical tragicomedy by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar released by Sony Pictures Classics last week. Like "The Queen," "Volver" has reaped praise from critics the world over. And although it only just opened in limited release in the U.S., it’s also poised to make big bucks — and make it’s leading lady a strong candidate for Oscar.

A foreign film after all, "Volver" premiered in Almodovar’s native Spain last March and proceeded to rake in the dough on its tour across Europe, Latin America, and other markets. It also hit up the festival circuit — Almodovar is a certified auteur, and proved so by nabbing a Best Screenplay award at this year’s Cannes, (although he lost the Palme d’or to Ken Loach‘s IRA drama "The Wind That Shakes the Barley"). His film also won the festival’s Best Actress prize — a shared honor awarded to the six female leads of "Volver."

"Volver" is no slouch when it comes to the Tomatometer, either; it’s currently at 93 percent, with 60 reviews. And what of the numbers?

Since debuting this spring overseas, the Almodovar film has grossed $61.5 M worldwide; last weekend it posted "Queen"-like numbers, averaging $40,400 per screen in only five theaters (when "The Queen" debuted in three theaters this fall, it took in a similar $40,671 per site). On November 22 "Volver" will hit 20 more theaters, with more and more playdates as its platform release continues — and, you can be sure, as it keeps filling seats.

All of this is has set Oscar-watchers abuzz, as Cruz — certainly known to American audiences, albeit for eye-candy roles and the spectacle of a Spanish beauty circulating in Hollywood — seems a compelling Best Actress alternative to Mirren. As the beleaguered yet beautiful young mother Raimunda, Cruz’s performance is revelatory; IGN Movies critic Todd Gilchrist muses "she is strong, weak, tender, tough, sexy, and maternal, often all at once." Slant Magazine writer Ed Gonzalez writes "‘Mildred Pierce’ won Joan Crawford an Oscar, and Almodóvar’s quaint riff on the Michael Curtiz classic may do the same for Penélope Cruz."

The LA Times’ Gold Derby columnist Tom O’Neill calls Mirren "the Best Actress frontrunner" but also that "Penelope Cruz has The Babe Factor in a race crowded with older gals." And while these two are certainly reigning over awards contention right now, a handful of other names have been thrown into the ring, including four-time nominee Kate Winslet for "Little Children," multiple-time nominee and twice-winner Meryl Streep for "The Devil Wears Prada," and three-time nominee Annette Bening (for the critical dud "Running With Scissors."

But there’s plenty of time left in the year for more nominees, and a trio of forthcoming flicks have more potential Best Actress-worthy thesps: Dame Judi Dench, for "Notes on a Scandal" (December 25), her co-star Cate Blanchett for Steven Soderbergh‘s "The Good German" (December 15), and — surprise, surprise — Chinese actress Gong Li for "Curse of the Golden Flower," the forthcoming period epic from Zhang Yimou (December 22).

Li’s entrance into the speculative arena is the most recent, and the most interesting; with turns in her first two American movies within the last year ("Memoirs of a Geisha," "Miami Vice") Li has certainly bumped up her exposure stateside. Plus, anyone remotely familiar with Chinese cinema knows she has the skills to be in contention (see "Raise the Red Lantern," "Ju Dou," or any other films she made with director Yimou). But "Curse of the Golden Flower," to be released by Sony Pictures Classics, will have the barriers of language and culture to overcome, and while the same can be said of Almodovar, Cruz, and "Volver," it will certainly be a bigger hurdle for Yimou, Li, and "Flower."

Thanks to ComingSoon.net for sharing a press release from Fox Searchlight regarding Danny Boyle‘s "Sunshine" — and the fact that it began shooting yesterday.

Plot: "Fifty years from now, the sun is dying, and mankind is dying with it. Our last hope: a spaceship and a crew of eight men and women. They carry a device which will breathe new life into the star. But deep into their voyage, out of radio contact with Earth, their mission is starting to unravel. There is an accident, a fatal mistake, and a distress beacon from a spaceship that disappeared seven years earlier. Soon the crew is fighting not only for their lives, but their sanity."

Cast: Rose Byrne ("Troy"), Cliff Curtis ("Whale Rider"), Chris Evans ("Fantastic Four"), Troy Garity ("After the Sunset"), Cillian Murphy ("28 Days Later"), Hiroyuki Sanada ("The Last Samurai"), Benedict Wong ("Dirty Pretty Things"), and Michelle Yeoh ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon").

Director: Danny Boyle, of "28 Days Later," "Millions," "Trainspotting," "The Beach," "Shallow Grave," and "A Life Less Ordinary." Screenplay by frequent Boyle collaborator Alex Garland, he of the $1 million "Halo" screenplay.

Also, it’s interesting to note that the project is now known as "Untitled Sunshine Project" and not the much prettier "Sunshine." Perhaps a title-change is in order for one reason or another.

For a lot more info check out the full press release at ComingSoon.net.

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