In Bruges

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The 60 Best Black Comedies, Ranked By Tomatometer

Let’s say you’re the type to laugh while handling the darkest subject matters: Murder, doomsday, blackmail, and maybe even a lil’ tasty cannibalism. If so, twisted friend, you sure have arrived at the right spot to get your gallows guffaws: The 60 Best Dark Comedies, Ranked by Tomatometer!

All this dark material ranges in variation of glib macabre glee, different styles that we’ll touch upon in our selection of the best-reviewed funny black comedies. Most common are movies about murder and the subsequent covering-up, especially when the corpses have a habit of popping up at the most inconvenient times. Think Best Picture-winning Parasite, Fargo, Burn After Reading, and Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry.

Another style of the black comedy movie: Mining jokes out of political fallout when millions of lives are at stake, as seen in Dr. Strangelove, In the Loop, and The Producers. Or how about movies that get you on the serial killer’s side, like being on the ride for The Voices or Monsieur Verdoux. They twist you around enough to make you feel amusingly guilty hoping they’ll get away with it all.

The emergence of the black comedy movie seemed to come around in the 1940s, when filmmaking had evolved enough to artistically interpret real-world horrors (e.g. World War II) with mordant humor, as seen in To Be or Not to Be and Arsenic and Old Lace. Of course, how would they have known their groundbreaking path through the dark side would eventually come to the taboo of cannibalism, as seen in appetizing films like Delicatessen and Eating Raoul? And lest you assume we’re not in touch with our more subtle side when it comes to comedy of the damned, we’ve included philosophical destroyers Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?, Carnage, and the brilliant Withnail and I.

Major players in the realm of dark comedies include status quo-defecating John Waters (Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos), Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Todd Solondz (Happiness, Welcome to the Dollhouse), and the devilish Danny DeVito (The War of the Roses, Ruthless People). Our final stipulation for their movies and everything else on the list is that each had to be rated Fresh, and have at least 20 reviews, to ensure enough critics have shared in the gleeful discomfort.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad (feel free to keep adding more) world out there these days: Grab life by the ruffled lapel and throw it into the wood chipper with The 60 Best Black Comedies, Ranked!

#60

Adam's Apples (2005)
70%

#60
Adjusted Score: 70571%
Critics Consensus: Good and evil collide with interesting results in Adam's Apples, a dark Biblical allegory that's alternatively funny and shocking.
Synopsis: Following a stint in jail, Adam (Ulrich Thomsen), a former neo-Nazi, is temporarily assigned to live in a religious enclave.... [More]
Directed By: Anders Thomas Jensen

#59

Carnage (2011)
70%

#59
Adjusted Score: 77315%
Critics Consensus: It isn't as compelling on the screen as it was on the stage, but Carnage makes up for its flaws with Polanski's smooth direction and assured performances from Winslet and Foster.
Synopsis: When some roughhousing between two 11-year-old boys named Zachary and Ethan erupts into real violence, Ethan loses two teeth. Zachary's... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#58

The Ref (1994)
72%

#58
Adjusted Score: 75276%
Critics Consensus: Undeniably uneven and too dark for some, The Ref nonetheless boasts strong turns from Denis Leary, Judy Davis, and Kevin Spacey, as well as a sharply funny script.
Synopsis: Bickering spouses (Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey) annoy the cat burglar (Denis Leary) who takes them hostage in their Connecticut home.... [More]
Directed By: Ted Demme

#57

The Voices (2014)
74%

#57
Adjusted Score: 77393%
Critics Consensus: The Voices gives Ryan Reynolds an opportunity to deliver a highlight-reel performance -- and offers an off-kilter treat for fans of black comedies.
Synopsis: A mentally unhinged factory worker (Ryan Reynolds) must decide whether to listen to his talking cat and become a killer,... [More]
Directed By: Marjane Satrapi

#56

Better Off Dead (1985)
76%

#56
Adjusted Score: 77438%
Critics Consensus: Better Off Dead is an anarchic mix of black humor and surreal comedy, anchored by John Cusack's winsome, charming performance.
Synopsis: Lane Meyer (John Cusack) is a teen with a peculiar family and a bizarre fixation with his girlfriend, Beth (Amanda... [More]
Directed By: Savage Steve Holland

#55

Used Cars (1980)
77%

#55
Adjusted Score: 78210%
Critics Consensus: Robert Zemeckis' pitch-black satire of American culture doesn't always hit the mark, but it's got enough manic comic energy to warrant a spin.
Synopsis: Rudy Russo (Kurt Russell) is an unscrupulous car salesman who aspires to become a politician. In the meantime, however, Rudy... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#54

Freeway (1996)
77%

#54
Adjusted Score: 78079%
Critics Consensus: A modern update on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Freeway is an audacious black comedy with a star-making performance from the young Reese Witherspoon.
Synopsis: Following the arrest of her mother, Ramona (Amanda Plummer), young Vanessa Lutz (Reese Witherspoon) decides to go in search of... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Bright

#53

Bad Santa (2003)
78%

#53
Adjusted Score: 85678%
Critics Consensus: A gloriously rude and gleefully offensive black comedy, Bad Santa isn't for everyone, but grinches will find it uproariously funny.
Synopsis: In this dark comedy, the crotchety Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) and his partner (Tony Cox) reunite once a... [More]
Directed By: Terry Zwigoff

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 88209%
Critics Consensus: With Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers have crafted another clever comedy/thriller with an outlandish plot and memorable characters.
Synopsis: When a disc containing memoirs of a former CIA analyst (John Malkovich) falls into the hands of Linda Litzke (Frances... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#51

Catch-22 (1970)
79%

#51
Adjusted Score: 81496%
Critics Consensus: Catch-22 takes entertainingly chaotic aim at the insanity of armed conflict, supported by a terrific cast and smart, funny work from Buck Henry and Mike Nichols.
Synopsis: This scathing war satire follows Capt. John Yossarian (Alan Arkin), a pilot stationed in the Mediterranean who flies bombing missions... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#50

Killer Joe (2011)
80%

#50
Adjusted Score: 86092%
Critics Consensus: Violent, darkly comic, and full of strong performances, Killer Joe proves William Friedkin hasn't lost his touch, even if the plot may be too lurid for some.
Synopsis: A cop (Matthew McConaughey) who moonlights as a hit man agrees to kill the hated mother of a desperate drug... [More]
Directed By: William Friedkin

#49

Pink Flamingos (1972)
81%

#49
Adjusted Score: 85347%
Critics Consensus: Uproarious and appalling, Pink Flamingos is transgressive camp that proves as entertaining as it does shocking.
Synopsis: A bizarre fat woman (Divine) and her misfit family compete with a Baltimore couple (David Lochary, Mink Stole) to be... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 84383%
Critics Consensus: A high-concept high school reunion movie with an adroitly cast John Cusack and armed with a script of incisive wit.
Synopsis: After assassin Martin Blank (John Cusack) has trouble focusing on his work, resulting in a failed assignment, he returns to... [More]
Directed By: George Armitage

#47

Happiness (1998)
82%

#47
Adjusted Score: 83169%
Critics Consensus: Happiness is far from a cheerful viewing experience, but its grimly humorous script and fearless performances produce a perversely moving search for humanity within everyday depravity.
Synopsis: This dark ensemble-comedy is centered on the three Jordan sisters. Joy (Jane Adams) moves through lackluster jobs with no sense... [More]
Directed By: Todd Solondz

#46

T2 Trainspotting (2017)
81%

#46
Adjusted Score: 99788%
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

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 91298%
Critics Consensus: Seven Psychopaths delivers sly cinematic commentary while serving up a heaping helping of sharp dialogue and gleeful violence.
Synopsis: Boozy writer Marty (Colin Farrell) is a man in search of a screenplay. He has a catchy title but no... [More]
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 85121%
Critics Consensus: The Brand New Testament takes a surreal, subversive, and funny look at Biblical themes through a modern -- and refreshingly original -- lens.
Synopsis: God is discovered living in Brussels with his daughter.... [More]
Directed By: Jaco Van Dormael

#43

Men & Chicken (2015)
84%

#43
Adjusted Score: 86857%
Critics Consensus: Men & Chicken's bizarre setup only skims the surface of a challenging, well-acted comedy with a warm heart to match its grotesque visuals and dark themes.
Synopsis: Two outcast brothers get to know their biological family and discover the horrible truth about themselves and their relatives.... [More]
Directed By: Anders Thomas Jensen

#42

Four Lions (2009)
83%

#42
Adjusted Score: 86988%
Critics Consensus: Its premise suggests brazenly tasteless humor, but Four Lions is actually a smart, pitch-black comedy that carries the unmistakable ring of truth.
Synopsis: A group of young Muslim men living in Sheffield decide to wage jihad, and they hatch an inept plan to... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Morris

#41

Harold and Maude (1971)
85%

#41
Adjusted Score: 89691%
Critics Consensus: Hal Ashby's comedy is too dark and twisted for some, and occasionally oversteps its bounds, but there's no denying the film's warm humor and big heart.
Synopsis: Cult classic pairs Cort as a dead-pan disillusioned 20-year-old obsessed with suicide and a loveable Gordon as a fun-loving 80-year-old... [More]
Directed By: Hal Ashby

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 92897%
Critics Consensus: The Art of Self-Defense grapples compellingly with modern American masculinity -- and serves as an outstanding calling card for writer-director Riley Stearns.
Synopsis: After getting attacked on the street, Casey enlists in a local dojo that's led by a charismatic and mysterious sensei.... [More]
Directed By: Riley Stearns

#39

In Bruges (2008)
84%

#39
Adjusted Score: 91012%
Critics Consensus: Featuring witty dialogue and deft performances, In Bruges is an effective mix of dark comedy and crime thriller elements.
Synopsis: After a particularly difficult job, hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) head to Belgium to hide out... [More]
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 87883%
Critics Consensus: The War of the Roses is a black comedy made even funnier by hanging onto its caustic convictions -- and further distinguished by Danny DeVito's stylish direction.
Synopsis: After 17 years of marriage, Barbara (Kathleen Turner) and Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas) want out. The trouble is, neither one... [More]
Directed By: Danny DeVito

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 92176%
Critics Consensus: Tongue-in-cheek satire blends well with entertaining action and spot-on performances in this dark, eclectic neo-noir homage.
Synopsis: Two-bit crook Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) stumbles into an audition for a mystery film while on the run from... [More]
Directed By: Shane Black

#36

Game Night (2018)
85%

#36
Adjusted Score: 99575%
Critics Consensus: With a talented cast turned loose on a loaded premise -- and a sharp script loaded with dark comedy and unexpected twists -- Game Night might be more fun than the real thing.
Synopsis: Max and Annie's weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party... [More]

#35

Eating Raoul (1982)
86%

#35
Adjusted Score: 86133%
Critics Consensus: Eating Raoul serves up its spectacularly lurid tale with a healthy heaping of pitch-black humor and anarchic vigor.
Synopsis: The absurd Blands (Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov) lure swingers home to be conked by a skillet, robbed and removed by... [More]
Directed By: Paul Bartel

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 89320%
Critics Consensus: In Order of Disappearance's black comedy doesn't always hit its targets, but on the whole, it still adds up to a sly, entertaining revenge thriller.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Hans Petter Moland

#33

Ingrid Goes West (2017)
86%

#33
Adjusted Score: 99466%
Critics Consensus: Led by strong performances from Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen, Ingrid Goes West delivers smart, topical humor underlined by timely social observations.
Synopsis: Following the death of her mother and a series of self-inflicted setbacks, young Ingrid Thorburn escapes a humdrum existence by... [More]
Directed By: Matt Spicer

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 85400%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Writer and notorious marriage detractor Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) falls for girl-next-door Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane), and they tie the... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

#31

Female Trouble (1975)
88%

#31
Adjusted Score: 89817%
Critics Consensus: Director John Waters' affection for camp brings texture to societal transgression in Female Trouble, a brazenly subversive dive into celebrity and mayhem.
Synopsis: An obese woman (Divine) gives birth to an obnoxious child and embarks upon a bizarre and violent life of crime.... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#30

Cheap Thrills (2013)
88%

#30
Adjusted Score: 91698%
Critics Consensus: Gleefully nasty and darkly hilarious, Cheap Thrills lives down to its title in the best possible way.
Synopsis: A series of escalating bets pits recently reunited friends against each other.... [More]
Directed By: E.L. Katz

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 92407%
Critics Consensus: World's Greatest Dad is a risky, deadpan, dark comedy that effectively explores the nature of posthumous cults of celebrity.
Synopsis: When the son of high school English teacher Lance Clayton (Robin Williams) accidentally kills himself, Clayton writes a fake suicide... [More]
Directed By: Bobcat Goldthwait

#28

The Lobster (2015)
87%

#28
Adjusted Score: 102624%
Critics Consensus: As strange as it is thrillingly ambitious, The Lobster is definitely an acquired taste -- but for viewers with the fortitude to crack through Yorgos Lanthimos' offbeat sensibilities, it should prove a savory cinematic treat.
Synopsis: In a dystopian society, single people must find a mate within 45 days or be transformed into an animal of... [More]
Directed By: Yorgos Lanthimos

#27

After Hours (1985)
89%

#27
Adjusted Score: 93557%
Critics Consensus: Bursting with frantic energy and tinged with black humor, After Hours is a masterful -- and often overlooked -- detour in Martin Scorsese's filmography.
Synopsis: In a Manhattan cafe, word processor Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) meets and talks literature with Marcy (Rosanna Arquette). Later that... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#26

Delicatessen (1991)
89%

#26
Adjusted Score: 92930%
Critics Consensus: Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet deftly combines horror, sci-fi, and humor in Delicatessen, a morbid comedy set in a visually ravishing futuristic dystopia.
Synopsis: Clapet (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) is a butcher who owns a run-down apartment building in post-apocalyptic France. The building is in constant... [More]

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 92961%
Critics Consensus: An outstanding sophomore feature, Welcome to the Dollhouse sees writer-director Todd Solondz mining suburban teen angst for black, biting comedy.
Synopsis: Middle-school student Dawn Weiner (Heather Matarazzo) faces degradation at school -- where she is teased constantly -- and at home.... [More]
Directed By: Todd Solondz

#24

The Producers (1968)
90%

#24
Adjusted Score: 98628%
Critics Consensus: A hilarious satire of the business side of Hollywood, The Producers is one of Mel Brooks' finest, as well as funniest films, featuring standout performances by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.
Synopsis: Down and out producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel), who was once the toast of Broadway, trades sexual favors with old... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#23

A Serious Man (2009)
89%

#23
Adjusted Score: 97606%
Critics Consensus: Blending dark humor with profoundly personal themes, the Coen brothers deliver what might be their most mature -- if not their best -- film to date.
Synopsis: Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a physics professor at a 1960s university, but his life is coming apart at the... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#22
Adjusted Score: 121116%
Critics Consensus: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri deftly balances black comedy against searing drama -- and draws unforgettable performances from its veteran cast along the way.
Synopsis: After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three... [More]
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 88598%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a local man's corpse appears on a nearby hillside, no one is quite sure what happened to him. Many... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#20

Polyester (1981)
93%

#20
Adjusted Score: 93581%
Critics Consensus: As proudly tacky as its titular fabric, Polyester finds writer-director John Waters moving ever so slightly into the mainstream without losing any of his subversive charm.
Synopsis: A frustrated housewife, Francine Fishpaw (Divine), tries to maintain her sanity while taking care of her dysfunctional household. Elmer (David... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 90214%
Critics Consensus: The Firemen's Ball is an uproarious comedy of incompetence, mining laughs and sharp satire from an allegory that is amusing and distressing in equal measure.
Synopsis: In Milos Forman's satire on Communism set in a small Czechoslovakian town in the 1960s, the local firemen decide to... [More]
Directed By: Milos Forman

#18

Trainspotting (1996)
91%

#18
Adjusted Score: 95299%
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

#17
Adjusted Score: 105954%
Critics Consensus: A thrilling leap forward for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman is an ambitious technical showcase powered by a layered story and outstanding performances from Michael Keaton and Edward Norton.
Synopsis: Former cinema superhero Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is mounting an ambitious Broadway production that he hopes will breathe new life... [More]

#16

Heathers (1989)
93%

#16
Adjusted Score: 96433%
Critics Consensus: Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.
Synopsis: Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lehmann

#15

Fargo (1996)
94%

#15
Adjusted Score: 100374%
Critics Consensus: Violent, quirky, and darkly funny, Fargo delivers an original crime story and a wonderful performance by McDormand.
Synopsis: "Fargo" is a reality-based crime drama set in Minnesota in 1987. Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) is a car salesman... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#14

Withnail and I (1987)
94%

#14
Adjusted Score: 94615%
Critics Consensus: Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann prove irresistibly hilarious as two misanthropic slackers in Withnail and I, a biting examination of artists living on the fringes of prosperity and good taste.
Synopsis: Two out-of-work actors -- the anxious, luckless Marwood (Paul McGann) and his acerbic, alcoholic friend, Withnail (Richard E. Grant) --... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Robinson

#13

Ruthless People (1986)
93%

#13
Adjusted Score: 96663%
Critics Consensus: It's sometimes crude and tasteless, but Ruthless People wrings acid-soaked laughs out of its dark premise and gleefully misanthropic characters.
Synopsis: Sam Stone (Danny DeVito) hates his wife, Barbara (Bette Midler), so much that he wants her dead. He's ecstatic when... [More]

#12

In the Loop (2009)
94%

#12
Adjusted Score: 99598%
Critics Consensus: In the Loop is an uncommonly funny political satire that blends Dr. Strangelove with Spinal Tap for the Iraq war era.
Synopsis: During an interview, British Cabinet Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) delivers an off-the-cuff remark that war in the Middle East... [More]
Directed By: Armando Iannucci

#11
Adjusted Score: 100088%
Critics Consensus: Led by a volcanic performance from Elizabeth Taylor, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a scathing adaptation of the Edward Albee play that serves as a brilliant calling card for debuting director Mike Nichols.
Synopsis: History professor George (Richard Burton) and his boozy wife, Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), return late one Saturday night from a cocktail... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 108998%
Critics Consensus: The Death of Stalin finds director/co-writer Arnando Iannucci in riotous form, bringing his scabrous political humor to bear on a chapter in history with painfully timely parallels.
Synopsis: When tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin dies in 1953, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to become... [More]
Directed By: Armando Iannucci

#9

Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
97%

#9
Adjusted Score: 102023%
Critics Consensus: Charles Chaplin adds an undercurrent of malice to his comedic persona in Monsieur Verdoux, an unsettling satire that subverts the tramp's image to perversely amusing effect.
Synopsis: Monsieur Verdoux (Charles Chaplin) is a dapper Parisian family man who loses his job as a bank clerk. In order... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 100310%
Critics Consensus: A complex and timely satire with as much darkness as slapstick, Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not To Be delicately balances humor and ethics.
Synopsis: Acting couple Joseph (Jack Benny) and Maria Tura (Carole Lombard) are managing a theatrical troupe when the Nazis invade Poland.... [More]
Directed By: Ernst Lubitsch

#7

Brazil (1985)
98%

#7
Adjusted Score: 100777%
Critics Consensus: Brazil, Terry Gilliam's visionary Orwellian fantasy, is an audacious dark comedy, filled with strange, imaginative visuals.
Synopsis: Low-level bureaucrat Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) escapes the monotony of his day-to-day life through a recurring daydream of himself as... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#6
Adjusted Score: 106035%
Critics Consensus: Stanley Kubrick's brilliant Cold War satire remains as funny and razor-sharp today as it was in 1964.
Synopsis: A film about what could happen if the wrong person pushed the wrong button -- and it played the situation... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#5

Parasite (2019)
98%

#5
Adjusted Score: 127464%
Critics Consensus: An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft.
Synopsis: Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#4

Multiple Maniacs (1970)
100%

#4
Adjusted Score: 101532%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Cavalcade of Perversion, a traveling freak-show, is a front for a band of psychotic kidnappers and murderers.... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#3

The Ladykillers (1955)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 102466%
Critics Consensus: The Ladykillers is a macabre slow-burn with quirky performances of even quirkier characters.
Synopsis: Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) likes to report suspicious behavior to the police. Unaware of her reputation, the dapper thief Professor... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Mackendrick

#2

A New Leaf (1971)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103262%
Critics Consensus: Elaine May is a comedic dynamo both behind and in front of the camera in this viciously funny screwball farce, with able support provided by Walter Matthau.
Synopsis: A spoiled and self-absorbed man who has squandered his inheritance, Henry Graham (Walter Matthau) is desperate to find a way... [More]
Directed By: Elaine May

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 104434%
Critics Consensus: Performed with chameleonic brio by Alec Guinness, Kind Hearts and Coronets is a triumphant farce.
Synopsis: When his mother eloped with an Italian opera singer, Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price) was cut off from her aristocratic family.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Hamer

This week on streaming video, we’ve got a ton of great selections, ranging from acclaimed television shows and classics from decades past to Certified Fresh foreign films and more recent hits. Read on for the best choices to stream this week.


New on Netflix:

 

Last Tango in Halifax: Season 3 (2014) 100%

In this touching British comedy-drama, Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid play school-day sweethearts who fall in love 60 years later, after the spouses of each have passed.

Available now on: Netflix


Güeros (2014) 93%

Mexican director Alonso Ruizpalacios made quite an impression with his debut film, which centers on three disaffected youths who attempt to track down a folk rock singer on his deathbed in their town so they can pay their respects to him.

Available now on: Netflix


Rain Man (1988) 89%

Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman star in this Best Picture-winning road comedy about a greedy hotshot and his autistic brother.

Available now on: Netflix


Saturday Night Fever (1977) 82%

It’s got a killer soundtrack, a star-making performance from John Travolta… and a narrative that’s far grittier and sadder than decades of parodies would suggest.

Available now on: Netflix


Starlet (2012) 87%

This Certified Fresh a dramedy tells the story of an unlikely friendship between an aspiring actress and a widowed octogenarian.

Available now on: Netflix


Major League (1989) 83%

Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, and Wesley Snipes star in this baseball comedy, a perennial favorite about a team of loveable losers who suddenly find a way to win.

Available now on: Netflix


Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce: Season 1 (2014) 81%

In this Certified Fresh comedy series, a famous self-help author (Lisa Edelstein) faces single life with the help of her divorced friends.

Available now on: Netflix


Addams Family Values (1993) 77%

A big step up from its predecessor, Addams Family Values is also noteworthy for containing one of the most hysterical Thanksgiving pageants in movie history.

Available now on: Netflix


The Professional (1994) 74%

Luc Besson hit his groove with this cult favorite, starring Jean Reno as a withdrawn hitman saddled with an orphaned 12-year-old (Natalie Portman) after her family is slaughtered by a corrupt cop (Gary Oldman).

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Gods and Monsters (1998) 96%

Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser star in this Certified Fresh drama about Hollywood director James Whale in the twilight years of his life as he befriends the handsome young gardener who tends his home.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Snow White (2012) 95%

This well-regarded Spanish tribute to the silent film era retells the fairy tale Snow White in black and white, focusing on a little girl in 1920s Andalucia who runs away with a troupe of traveling dwarfs.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Delicatessen (1991) 89%

Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro’s fantastical dark comedy centers on an apartment complex whose landlord is also a butcher who serves fresh — and rather unusual — meat; when a new tenant moves in and discovers the secret, he finds himself in imminent danger.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Descent (2005) 86%

This Scottish horror film tells the tale of six female spelunkers whose weekend cave-diving adventure turns deadly.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Batman Returns (1992) 80%

For his cold, dark sequel to Batman, Tim Burton gave audiences not one, but two empathetic, pitiable villains: The Penguin (Danny DeVito) and the Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer).

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Buffalo 66 (1998) 77%

Vincent Gallo’s moody, bizarre drama follows an obsessed Buffalo Bills fan who coerces a young woman (played by Christina Ricci) to join him as he examines the ruins of his life.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Crash (2004) 74%

Paul Haggis’ Best Picture-winning drama examines the dangers of bigotry and xenophobia in the lives of interconnected Angelenos, whose ranks include Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard, Brendan Fraser, and many more.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Batman (1989) 71%

One of the most hyped movies in Hollywood history, Batman found director Tim Burton jettisoning the plots (if not the dark tone) of Bob Kane’s original comics, and utilizing set designs reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and freakish, brooding characters similar to… well, a Tim Burton movie.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on Fandor

 

M (1931) 100%

In Fritz Lang’s influential thriller, Peter Lorre plays a child killer whose crimes have set the city on edge.

Available now on: Fandor


Eyes Without a Face (1959) 98%

Georges Franju’s classic psychological thriller is a master class in creepy atmosphere, centering on a young disfigured girl and her surgeon father’s efforts to find an appropriate replacement face for her.

Available now on: Fandor


Monsieur Verdoux (1947) 97%

One of Charlie Chaplin’s most controversial comedies, Monsiuer Verdoux stars the silent era icon as a family man who, in order to support his loved ones, takes to murdering wealthy women for their insurance money.

Available now on: Fandor


Watchers of the Sky (2014) 86%

This Certified Fresh documentary follows activists pushing for justice in the wake of mass atrocities.

Available now on: Fandor


Available for Purchase

 

Toy Story That Time Forgot (2014) 91%

In this 22-minute holiday-themed episode starring the Toy Story gang, Woody, Buzz, and friends are stranded in an unfamiliar home and face off against action figures they’ve never met before.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes


Mistress America (2015) 81%

Greta Gerwig stars in Noah Baumbach‘s comedy about a college freshman whose soon-to-be stepsister leads her on a series of adventures.

Available now on: iTunes, Vudu

 

This week on home video, we’ve got an Oscar winner and another Oscar nominee, a comedy flop, a couple of dark comedies, and a bit of the old ultraviolence. Plus, there are a few notable reissues from the Criterion Collection and on Blu-ray. See below for the full list!



Lincoln

89%

Leave it to Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis to make a commercially viable film out of a relatively talky historical drama about Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to get the Thirteenth Amendment passed by congress. Oh sure, it was critically lauded and all that, but its $261 million box office total is arguably more impressive, considering the subject matter. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the cast was rounded out by Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, and Hal Holbrook, with a little Joseph Gordon-Levitt tossed in the mix, all of whom helped to bring the script to vibrant life. Aside from the numerous other honors it took home this awards season, at this year’s Oscars Lincoln nabbed twelve nominations including almost all of the “important” categories, though it only took home two of them: Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis (kind of a shoo-in) and Best Production Design. Certified Fresh at 89%, it’s probably one of the most surprisingly entertaining history lessons you’ll ever get, and DDL’s performance alone is probably worth the watch.



Killing Them Softly

74%

As the story goes, Brad Pitt wanted to work with Australian director Andrew Dominik ever since he saw Dominik’s 2000 debut, Chopper, and he got his wish after he specifically sought out Dominik and the two collaborated on the moody western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, a critical success. They paired up again last year for Killing Them Softly, a darkly funny adaptation of the George V. Higgins novel Cogan’s Trade, and results were similarly impressive. After a couple of petty crooks (Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn) hold up an illegal poker game full of bad-guy types, the local crime bosses bring in a seasoned hitman (Pitt) to sniff them out and snuff them out. Set against the backdrop of the 2008 financial crisis, Killing Them Softly has a little more on its mind than beatings and bullets, though, and critics found it a powerfully effective allegory for unchecked capitalism. It’s bleak, visceral, and sometimes bloody, but Certified Fresh at 76%, it might hit the spot if you enjoyed Pitt and Dominik’s previous work together.



Parental Guidance

18%

Parental Guidance opened last Christmas against Oscar contenders Django Unchained and Les Misérables, presumably to serve as family-friendly counterprogramming. Critics, unfortunately, were largely disappointed in the film, and now we wait for Billy Crystal to redeem himself in Monsters University. Here, he and Bette Midler star as Artie and Diane, an older couple who agree to babysit their grandkids when their daughter and her husband must leave for a business trip; hilarity in the form of generational humor presumably ensues, as Artie and Diane find their old school parenting techniques differ vastly from those of their daughter. Parental Guidance is sweet enough, as comedies of this nature typically are, but it’s so safe, fluffy, and predictable that it’s uninteresting and bland. At 19% on the Tomatometer, it might make you chuckle and say “aww” a few times, but you’ll probably also forget about it as soon as the credits roll.



The Collection

38%

2009’s The Collector began as a Saw prequel before its makers ditched that idea and decided to go with a separate story, so that gives you some idea what the franchise is like. “Franchise?” you may ask. Why, yes, because now we have a sequel in the form of The Collection, in which “The Collector” kidnaps a young woman named Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) and spirits her away to an abandoned hotel rigged with booby traps. Desperate to save his daughter, Elena’s father hires a previous survivor to help guide a rescue team through the perilous maze of the hotel; people die, gruesomely. Now, there weren’t many critics who endorsed The Collection, but a lot of them did concede that if you’re a fan of the gory “torture porn” genre, this might be your bag. For the rest of us who are squeamish, probably best to keep away.



A Royal Affair

90%

A Royal Affair was Denmark’s entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at this year’s Oscars, which saw no shortage of period dramas, and though it ultimately lost to Amour, it earned some impressive reviews of its own. Set in the 18th century court of Danish king Christian VII (played by Mikkel Følsgaard), the film recounts the story of Johann Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), the king’s personal physician, who helps restore the mentally ill king’s health but harbors a secret affair with the queen, Caroline Matilda (Alicia Vikander). If you’re looking for sumptuous costumes, lavish sets, and proper sexual intrigue of the aristocratic sort, critics say that, Certified Fresh at 89% on the Tomatometer, A Royal Affair will have what you want.



The Comedy

47%

Anyone who’s seen an episode of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! has sensed a sort of dark subtext underlying the absurdist anti-humor, and it seems this energy was harnessed for The Comedy, which stars Tim and Eric‘s Tim Heidecker. Swanson (Heidecker) is an aging, apathetic layabout Brooklynite who spends his time in pointless activities with his hipster friends. He’s about to inherit his father’s estate, but he doesn’t particularly care, and he instead begins to push the boundaries of acceptable behavior until they bend to his will or break across his face. It seems pretty clear that The Comedy‘s title is meant to be ironic, though there is some deadpan humor to be found. At 44% on the Tomatometer, the film entertained some critics but disappointed, disgusted, or bored just a few more.

Also available this week:

  • Two choices from the Criterion Collection: Charlie Chaplin’s Monsieur Verdoux (97%) and Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped (100%), both arriving on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Presumably in anticipation of the upcoming 3D IMAX rerelease of Jurassic Park (90%), that film and its two sequels — The Lost World (52%) and Jurassic Park III (50%) — are all being reissued on Blu-ray this week.
  • A 20th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition of The Sandlot (61%), though it’s unclear what bonus features this new version will contain.
  • Since we featured Westworld here a couple of weeks ago, we thought it only fair to mention the new Blu-ray for its lesser 1976 sequel, Futureworld (33%) on Blu-ray.

Ah, MySpace. Electronic land of underage networking, life-affirming friend counts, and…major motion picture casting announcements?

In the newest use of MySpace for movie marketing purposes, rocker-turned-director Rob Zombie has been doling out pieces of casting information for his upcoming horror sequel "Halloween" on the film’s MySpace page. The latest bit, in case you’re not one of the page’s 39,789 friends, names 17-year-old Scout Taylor-Compton as the new Laurie Strode (AKA the Jamie Lee Curtis role from the original John Carpenter flick).

Who is Scout Taylor-Compton? You may remember her from such roles as Dean’s precocious little sister on "Gilmore Girls," a high-school outcast in "Sleepover," a big sister on the Disney series "That’s So Raven"…and that headline-grabbing few weeks in 2005 when she ran away from home, only to be found safe at a friend’s house.

Taylor-Compton also appears in the recent Sundance child-abuse film, "An American Crime" (as one of Catherine Keener‘s misled children), which sets the stage darkly enough for her to play the muse of Mike Myers’ obsessive rampage in Zombie’s sure-to-revolt "Halloween" update.

In Zombie’s "Halloween" prequel/remake (which will be the ninth in the series), the masked Myers is mistakenly released from a mental hospital after 17 years and comes looking for Laurie, killing what’s sure to be many, many people along the way. Shooting was to begin yesterday, according to reports.


From Zombie’s "Halloween" MySpace page

Zombie, meanwhile, has been leaving tantalizing posts just about every day regarding the rest of his cast (which includes wife Sheri Moon Zombie, Brad Dourif, Danny Trejo, Malcolm McDowell, William Forsythe, Ken Foree, Adrienne Barbeau, Clint Howard, Udo Kier), many of whom are playing characters that also appear in the original. Mike Myers, whose character development will ostensibly be the focus of the film (rather than the lives and deaths of supporting players, Zombie has said) will be played by — drumroll please — Tyler Mane (former pro WCW wrestler Big Sky best known as Sabretooth in "X-Men").

Mark your calendars for "Halloween"’s release on August 31, 2007.

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