(Photo by Sony/courtesy Everett Collection)
Before he would get to utter the words “Bond, James Bond” to the delight of millions, Daniel Craig built up a durable if not spectacular resume, showing up in a range of films from the first Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider to A Kid In King Arthur’s Court. As the sniveling son of mob boss Paul Newman in Road to Perdition, Craig was able to make an impact with a broad audience in a film that already had plenty for us to look at, including Conrad L. Hall’s rain-drenched cinematography and a rare anti-hero turn from Tom Hanks.
By 2005, Craig was on the cusp of a major breakthrough with a co-starring role in Steven Spielberg’s Munich, and crime flick Layer Cake, essentially a stylish and gritty feature-length audition tape to play Agent 007. The following year, he and GoldenEye director Martin Campbell launched Casino Royale, a rousing and hard-nosed crowdpleaser revealing a James Bond for a new cynical generation. He’s since reprised the role three more times with Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre, and when he returns in 2020 with No Time to Die, Craig will have the longest consecutively tenured Bond in film history.
Of course, when you’re James Bond, every non-Bond role you take becomes something of an automatic sensation. Some roles, like Logan Lucky or David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo really demonstrate Craig’s range. Other films, like Dream House or The Invasion, are spectacular bombs. And the rest, along the lines of Cowboys & Aliens and The Golden Compass, are right in the mushy middle.
We know on which end of the spectrum Craig’s latest film, the Rian Johnson whodunit Knives Out, lands. (Hint: It’s his best-reviewed movie ever.) With No Time To Die‘s
April 2020 November 2020 April 2021 October 2021 release now behind us, take a look back as we rank all Daniel Craig movies by Tomatometer!
Between The Killing Joke, Hell & Back, and Anomalisa destroying Charlie Kaufman’s career, R-rated animation is making a real comeback! Continuing the hot streak unabated is this week’s Sausage Party, which looks to be the purest distillation of co-creator/star Seth Rogen’s comedy MO: a literal walking talking dick joke. And we keep the party going with this week’s gallery: the
24 28 best and worst R-rated animated movies by Tomatometer.
Young men returned to theaters in droves and powered the crude new stunts sequel Jackass: Number Two to the number one spot with the biggest opening weekend of any film in the past seven weeks. The martial arts actioner Fearless debuted impressively in second place playing to young men as well, but the new older-skewing period dramas Flyboys and All the King’s Men were mostly ignored.
Holdovers enjoyed small declines as the overall marketplace bounced back after two dismal weeks, even though ticket sales failed to reach last year’s levels for the third consecutive weekend.
Paramount scored a major victory with the chart-topping performance of Jackass: Number Two which grossed an estimated $28.1M in its first weekend in theaters. Crashing into 3,059 locations, the R-rated comedy averaged a stellar $9,188 per theater. Its predecessor, Jackass: The Movie, was a surprise number one hit in October 2002 with a $22.8M bow from 2,509 theaters and a similar $9,073 average. It went on to gross a fantastic $64.3M from a slim $5M budget. Number Two was produced for just under $12M and looks to become another highly profitable title for the studio proving that the franchise is still alive and well. The films are based on the popular MTV prank series.
With six historical films in the top ten, young movie fans were not in the mood to learn about yesterday and instead chose the immature and outrageous antics of present day jokester Johnny Knoxville and pals. Studio research showed that young men were the core audience, as expected. Those under the age of 25 made up a hefty 70% of the crowd and males accounted for 65%. Jackass also delivered the second biggest opening of the year for an R film trailing the $29M bow of March’s Inside Man. Critics were surprisingly upbeat with their reviews of Number Two.
Jet Li‘s Fearless flew into the number two spot over the weekend opening to an estimated $10.6M from 1,808 theaters with a solid $5,843 average. The PG-13 film about China’s most famous fighter from a century ago was marketed as the action star’s final martial arts picture ever and helped to get his loyal fan base out into the theaters. The Focus release marks Li’s seventh consecutive film to debut with an opening weekend average of more than $5,000. Critics were quite pleased with the Mandarin-language picture. Fearless opened in Hong Kong and most of Asia early this year and has kicked its way into other major markets like Australia, New Zealand, and France in recent weeks.
Dropping from first to third was The Rock‘s football drama Gridiron Gang which grossed an estimated $9.7M in its second play. The Sony sports flick held up exceptionally well considering the weekend’s formidable competition for male dollars and slipped only 33%. The Rock’s movies usually fall by at least 45% in their sophomore frames. After ten days, the $30M feel-good film has grossed $27.2M and should rush past the $50M mark domestically. Even though Gridiron began with the weakest opening ever for the actor, it looks to become his highest grossing film since 2002’s The Scorpion King ($90.5M) thanks to strong legs and positive word-of-mouth.
MGM’s Flyboys took off in fourth place with an estimated $6M from 2,033 theaters. The PG-13 pic about American fighter pilots during World War I averaged a mild $2,957 per theater. Starring James Franco, the adventure film skewed older as a very high 73% of the audience was over the age of 30. Men made up 59% of the crowd and reviews were not too favorable. Flyboys is the third consecutive period drama in as many weeks that has failed to excite today’s moviegoing public following disappointing results from competing Los Angeles-based murder mysteries The Black Dahlia and Hollywoodland.
A pair of not-so-strong sophomores followed. The animated baseball flick Everyone’s Hero grossed an estimated $4.8M, down just 22%, and raised its ten-day tally to $11.6M. Fox could finish with around $25M. Universal’s crime thriller The Black Dahlia crumbled 56% to an estimated $4.4M dropping from second place to sixth. The $60M Brian De Palma entry has taken in just $17.3M and might end up with a disappointing $25M as well.
Sony saw low voter turnout for its political thriller All the King’s Men which was defeated in a landslide this weekend opening to a poor $3.8M, according to estimates. Averaging a weak $2,510 from 1,514 locations, the PG-13 film stars Sean Penn as an outspoken politician who runs for governor of Louisiana. Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins and James Gandolfini co-star. The studio had high hopes for this remake of a Best Picture Oscar winner, but instead met with awful reviews across the board from critics which helped to fuel negative buzz. Only older adults had interest as studio research showed that a whopping 75% of the audience was 35 or older and 53% were women. All the King’s Men is just the latest in a series of historical films that Hollywood has been rolling out this fall that have had moviegoers yawning.
The supernatural chiller The Covenant dropped only 31% to an estimated $3.3M with a sum of $20.3M for Sony. For the fourth consecutive weekend, the long-lasting hits The Illusionist and Little Miss Sunshine ranked back-to-back on the charts. Yari Film Group’s Vienna-set mystery eased a scant 10% to an estimated $3.3M pushing its total to $27.5M. Fox Searchlight’s comedy smash slipped just 13% to an estimated $2.9M lifting the cume to $50.3M.
In limited release action, Warner Independent saw stellar results from its surreal drama The Science of Sleep which bowed to an estimated $347,000 from only 14 theaters for a sparkling $24,786 average. Directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), the R-rated film scored good reviews and will expand to over 200 theaters on Friday in most major markets. Miramax saw a so-so start for its animated noir Renaissance which debuted to an estimated $10,000 from a pair of solo engagements in New York and Los Angeles for a mild $5,200 average.
Four more pictures were pushed out of the top ten this weekend. Two-time chart-topper Invincible grossed an estimated $2.6M in its fifth session. Off 36%, the Mark Wahlberg football pic has collected a solid $54.8M to date and might end up with around $60M for Buena Vista. The Zach Braff comedy The Last Kiss grossed an estimated $2.5M, down 45%, putting its ten-day total at a puny $8.5M. A final take of roughly $15M seems likely.
The murder mystery Hollywoodland fell 46% in its third frame to an estimated $1.5M for Focus. With only $12.9M in the bank, look for a weak $16M conclusion to its case. Lionsgate’s action thriller Crank tumbled 56% to an estimated $1.2M for a $26.6M cume. The Jason Statham pic should reach about $29M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $76.8M which was down 9% from last year when Flightplan debuted at number one with $24.6M; but up a healthy 38% from 2004 when The Forgotten opened in the top spot with $21M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Rotten Tomatoes: How did you come to the project/interact with Marc Miance (credited with the original concept for “Renaissance”)?
Christian Volckman: Well, Marc was really on the technical side, he had to create a tool at Attitude Studio, it’s a big studio where there are a lot of things going on. You cannot do a film like that if you don’t have the tools to make it; that’s the really big problem with animation and motion capture and 3D and all that stuff, it just needs a lot of people to work on it — very skilled people, very talented technicians, programmers, artists, animators, a bunch of editors… and so in the beginning it was really working on trying to find a way to express, to find the right story, the right world in which you can get the most out of the black and white and the motion capture.
I’m very much into filmmaking but not too much into technicity, I don’t like it too much — I like to use it, but I’m not completely obsessed by it, like Marc can be. So it was a good team because on one side I was doing my drawings and trying to create Paris 2054, working on the look of it all, the design, and on the other side we were working together to find the right solutions. It’s difficult to resume the relationship into words, because we worked together for five years, four years. But there was not just me and Marc, there were also the scriptwriters that came along, and then the producer was very close to us in the beginning. And with those kinds of films everything is done in the storyboards pretty much, so we had to put down the storyboard of the entire film before we even started going into the CGI — crazy kind of area.
RT: So was it pretty collaborative, from the start?
CV: Yes, everybody has a specificity, you know. And some people, like the scriptwriters only wrote, of course, I directed the film so I’m completely into visuals, actors, trying to put that all together, and Marc was completely involved in trying to make that happen technically. It’s good to be not alone on those projects, because they last for so many years, four years, you know? If you were alone you probably would die, because things are crazy and out of proportion.
RT: Was it much different from your previous work, “Maaz?”
CV: Yes, what we did on “Maaz” was we shot on blue screen — the actors — and then I painted all the backgrounds and I also painted image by image certain scenes, so that it would be like a painting, or an animation painting feeling to it. But of course the shooting team was pretty big but it was normal. What was difficult was the second part of it, which was the CGI part… we worked throughout a year, and the film only lasted eight minutes. So it was the same kind of obsessions about taking real actors, or reality, and putting them into a world which is completely fantasized. So it’s the same approach as you know, of course “Polar Express,” “Final Fantasy,” or even the approach of “Waking Life” and “A Scanner Darkly.” It’s the kind of thing where you can see that there are actors behind but they’re kind of integrated into this magical world.
On “Renaissance” there were more than 400 people working on the film, so it’s a complete other kind of relation to your own work, and the relation to other people.
RT: Was it hard to get funding to back “Renaissance”, since there has not been anything like it before?
CV: Yes, it was the most difficult part of it, it was terrible because you’re always trying to convince people that what you want to do is good, but it’s so bizarre because at the same time you’re going around saying okay, I want to do a motion capture film, black and white, futuristic, very dark, for grownups, and it’s going to cost $14 million Euros, please help us. And people are just looking at you like, where do you come from, what do you want, it’s interesting but we’re not going to put any money into it… so it was very hard, for three years we were going up and down, at some point we had the money and at some point we didn’t, it was really changing all the time so it was a little bit frustrating.
But at one point there was a great producer called Jacob Hertz, he’s a Canadian producer who creates links between Europe and America. We had to do with Marc a little three minute trailer that showed what it could look like onscreen, that took us six months to do, and those images are not in the film. They were just like a pre-trailer, putting people in a screening theater and saying, that’s what it looks like, here’s the script. So that’s what Jacob did, he took the project and the script to Disney, and they said okay we’re going to put $3 million into it, and that completely opened up a lot of doors in France. And after three years we suddenly felt this was going to be made, because we had a lot of doubts throughout the production.
RT: I didn’t know Disney was involved…
CV: Oh, yes, that’s why Miramax is distributing it, because Disney pre-bought the film on the script. That’s what really saved us. It made a difference because suddenly you have a name, and when you say “Disney wants to make the film” people look at you like, what? Come on, Disney doesn’t want to put money into a black and white, grownup animation film, but they did!
RT: Is $18 million the budget that you wanted?
CV: Oh no, we would have needed more.
RT: What would you have done differently?
CV: Just maybe be able to be more comfortable, not rushing it like crazy because you’re working against time. And of course, redo some scenes that I didn’t like, or… did you see the film?
RT: I did!
CV: What did you think of it?
RT: I thought it was one of the most visually striking films I’ve ever seen.
CV: Well, that’s nice, but for me, working on it for such a long time, there are some scenes that I would have wanted to bring a little further, to go a little bit deeper into some characters and create even better images. And at some point I had to make some decisions, like okay we’re going to have to stop because if we go on on this particular scene we’re not going to be able to do the next one.
Sometimes it was very frustrating because of that money problem, you have to keep up the schedule. At one point you have to stop, you cannot work your image to the level you want — sometimes, some scenes, I’m not saying that about everything. And that’s the problem with the lack of money, on that artistic level you have to rush so many things through.
RT: So you’re not completely happy with the end product?
CV: Well, yeah, you can always do better, no?
RT: Can you talk about the comparisons that have been made between “Renaissance” and “Sin City,” since they’re both animated, black and white, and for adults?
CV: Well, “Sin City” was not at all animated, it was really actors on blue screen. So, for me it has nothing to do with this film. You know, the problem is… it drives me crazy, you know why? It’s not because you make a film in color that you compare it with other films that are in color.
It’s just been so long since people have gotten a black and white film out there, that suddenly there’s “Sin City” — okay, it’s black and white, it’s happening in a city, it’s an urban kind of thing — and then of course we come out afterwards and people say, oh it looks like “Sin City” but it’s just because it’s in black and white!
Because you don’t compare films that are in color because they’re in color…I think it’s just because it’s so rare to see black and white films. In the past year, “Sin City” came out, and this year, “Renaissance”, and people say okay it looks like it but the subject, the story, the fantasy world, the way things happen, the obsessions are completely — for me it’s completely two different films.
RT: Do you have any upcoming films on your plate?
CV: No, I want to go on, but I’m really thinking about what is the next project, what it’s going to be like, and how much time do I want to spend on it.
RT: Are you dedicated to this kind of technique, to this kind of film?
CV: I’ve found it’s really great, I love going into computers and playing around but after a while it gets on my nerves. You have to find a project that you’re so passionate about that you can resist for six years, or three years or four years. That’s what makes the difference, and I’m just thinking about all this, and also meeting people is very interesting, and coming to America is very interesting too. To kind of see what’s out there and what people are doing, and comparing it to the European market. Things are getting a bit more precise but I cannot tell you exactly what I’m gonna do next.
RT: Would you rule out live action?
CV: I would love to do that.
RT’s own Jen Yamato sat down with "Renaissance" director Christian Volckman, who discussed laying the groundwork for his innovative project, including the painstaking task of convincing studios to fund it. He also talked about how comparisons between his film and "Sin City" drove him crazy.
RT: Was it hard to get funding to back "Renaissance", since there has not been anything like it before?
CV: Yes, it was the most difficult part of it. It was terrible because you’re always trying to convince people that what you want to do is good, but it’s so bizarre because at the same time you’re going around saying ok, I want to do a motion capture film, black and white, futuristic, very dark, for grownups, and it’s going to cost $14 million Euros, please help us. And people are just looking at you like, where do you come from, what do you want, it’s interesting but we’re not going to put any money into it… so it was very hard, for three years we were going up and down, at some point we had the money and at some point we didn’t, it was really changing all the time so it was a little bit frustrating.
RT: Can you talk about the comparisons that have been made between "Renaissance" and "Sin City," since they’re both animated, black and white, and for adults?
CV: Well, "Sin City" was not at all animated, it was really actors on blue screen. So, for me it has nothing to do with this film. You know, the problem is… it drives me crazy, you know why? It’s not because you make a film in color that you compare it with other films that are in color. It’s just been so long since people have gotten a black and white film out there, that suddenly there’s "Sin City" — ok, it’s black and white, it’s happening in a city, it’s an urban kind of thing — and then of course we come out afterwards and people say, oh, it looks like "Sin City," but it’s just because it’s in black and white!
"Renaissance" is a futuristic French animated noir thriller now opening in limited release.
Four new films open wide, but they may not be enough to stop the North American box office from suffering its third consecutive down weekend.
Leading the way is the Paramount sequel "Jackass: Number Two" which will enjoy the widest release by far. The rest of the films will take moviegoers back in time just as so many other recent releases have done. Focus Features unleashes Jet Li‘s martial arts epic "Fearless," MGM takes off with the World War I adventure "Flyboys," and Sony remakes the political thriller "All the King’s Men."
Four years ago, Paramount shocked the industry with the number one bow for its crude stunts flick "Jackass: The Movie" which managed to keep "The Ring" out of the top spot on the weekend right before Halloween. Its $22.8M debut and eventual $64.3M domestic take and DVD success helped to bring about a sequel, "Jackass: Number Two" which hopes to conquer the charts once again. The R-rated pic regroups the team from the hit MTV reality series including Johnny Knoxville and finds them taking part in another series of outlandish don’t-try-this-at-home antics. Males in their late teens and early twenties are the target audience here although slightly older guys who were devoted followers a half-decade ago might also be up for some nostalgia.
The first "Jackass" bowed to a muscular $9,073 average from 2,509 playdates which at today’s ticket prices would be over $10,000. "Number Two" is not likely to match that amount though. A wider launch will dilute the average a bit and the franchise has aged and is no longer at the peak of its popularity. But since Knoxville has found more mainstream success recently with films like "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "The Ringer," the studio is hoping that some new fans will give "Two" a try. Competition for males will be fierce with last weekend’s top film "Gridiron Gang" still playing to sports-loving boys and men while Jet Li’s new film "Fearless" will
steal away dudes who dig martial arts fighting, bones cracking, and necks breaking. Male dollars will be stretched to the limit this weekend and an already sluggish marketplace will mean that there will only be so much overall traffic. Busting into over 3,000 theaters, "Jackass: Number Two" will rank number one and may open with around $23M.
Mr. Knoxville and co. are back to cheat death and reason.
Also gunning for young men with R-rated fare is Focus Features with the historical martial arts actioner "Fearless" starring Jet Li. Already a hit at cinemas in Asia, Australia, and parts of Europe, the period pic tells the true story of a legendary fighter who inspired his nation in China at the start of the twentieth century. With a bigger star in the lead, "Fearless" is sure to perform better than Tony Jaa‘s Thai actioner "The Protector" which bowed to just $5M two weeks earlier. Li has a consistently loyal fan following that is likely to turn out especially since the marketing campaign is pushing the claim that this is his final martial arts film ever. This tactic gives the pic a level of urgency, although it should not mean much to those outside of his fan base. Crossover potential to mainstream action fans is not very likely, though the actor’s pull with urban males should not be underestimated.
Still, Li has posted some impressive numbers in his career. Each of his six films from this decade has launched with an opening weekend average of at least $5,500 with five having averaged more than $6,000. His last effort "Unleashed" bowed last summer to $10.9M and a solid $5,570 average while 2004’s Chinese blockbuster "Hero" conquered the North American charts for two straight weeks bowing to an impressive $18M and $8,865 average. Foreign language films pretty much never do that in the U.S. market. "Fearless" will not duplicate the success of "Hero" which used the "Quentin Tarantino Presents" tag to attract extra biz. Plus with "Jackass" taking away many young men this weekend, only the true followers will make it out. But reviews have been very positive (the best for any new
release) and advance buzz from overseas has been encouraging too. Kicking its way into roughly 1,806 theaters, "Fearless" might debut to about $9M.
World War I bi-planes are the draw in "Flyboys," a new historical action adventure being released by MGM. The PG-13 film stars James Franco as a courageous American pilot in France who devotes his life to fighting for the Allies. With a high pricetag and no proven stars that can sell in America, this is yet another risky period film packed into the slow month of September. The "inspired by a true story" description used by half of the films in the current top ten is once again in play here. With sex and bad language kept to a minimum, "Flyboys" hopes to appeal to a broad family audience so adults can bring their kids. However, the starpower and subject matter are both lacking making this a tough sell at the box office especially since the marketplace is already filled with mediocre product. Zooming into 2,033 theaters, "Flyboys" might climb to around $7M over the weekend.
After taking a beating at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sony’s remake "All the King’s Men" enters the marketplace on Friday with more subdued expectations. The PG-13 reworking of the classic 1949 political thriller stars Sean Penn as a charismatic politician from the South who gains power and flirts with corruption in the process. The all-star cast also includes Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, Mark Ruffalo, and James Gandolfini. Distributors often utilize the Toronto fest to generate buzz for their Oscar contenders right before their fall commercial openings, but in this case, it seemed to have backfired with so many reviewers panning the pic. "Men" should play exclusively to a mature adult audience as teens will yawn at the premise. The marketplace has been flooded with period dramas in recent weeks with "The Black Dahlia," "Hollywoodland," and "The Illusionist" all going after the same audience. Competition will be a major factor.
Sony is not giving its usual saturation release to "King’s Men," but instead campaigning in just 1,514 theaters this weekend hoping some positive buzz will spread. The lack of screens will keep the gross in check and the bad reviews should sting even more. Last weekend, "Dahlia" found out the hard way how far a serious film for adults can go when the critics give a thumbs down. The film’s starpower is about its only major asset right now, but will it be enough to make moviegoers risk their dollars? With negative press, an abundance of direct competition, and only a moderate amount of theaters, "All the King’s Men" could find itself with only $7M this weekend and a rocky road ahead.
In limited release, The Weinstein Co. unleashes its horror flick "Feast" in 140 theaters with special midnight shows across the country on Friday and Saturday. The latest winner from the Project Greenlight series is directed by John Gulager and finds a group of people trapped inside a bar fighting off flesh-eating creatures. Filmmaker Michel Gondry ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") returns to the surreal with "The Science of Sleep," a new fantasy drama starring Gael García Bernal ("The Motorcycle Diaries") as a man whose dreams collide with reality. Warner Independent is opening the film on Friday in eight major U.S. markets and will expand it across the country next weekend. Miramax platforms its futuristic sci-fi toon "Renaissance" in New York and Los Angeles. Set in Paris in the year
2054, the R-rated tale is the latest film to bring the look of a graphic novel to the big screen.
Last weekend’s top film "Gridiron Gang" is sure to lose its first place ranking. The Rock‘s films never have very good legs on the second weekend as evidenced by the sophomore declines of his recent films – 48% for 2003’s "The Rundown," 46% for 2004’s "Walking Tall," and a horrendous 73% for last fall’s "Doom." While "Gang" was not a favorite with critics, it has been getting favorable responses from moviegoers so its drop this weekend may not be too bad. Competition for young males will be a factor with the dueling R pics "Jackass" and "Fearless," but younger boys may still be up for an uplifting football tale. "Gridiron Gang" might see a decline of 45% to around $8M giving Sony a reasonable ten-day cume of $25M.
Universal’s murder mystery "The Black Dahlia" was not too powerful in its opening last weekend and both critics and moviegoers are giving negative feedback. A 50% fall would leave the Brian De Palma flick with $5M for the frame and a weak $18M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: One A-list Hollywood blonde replaced another at the top of the charts. Jodie Foster‘s kidnapping thriller "Flightplan" flew to number one opening with a strong $24.6M. The Buena Vista release went on to gross $89.7M making it the top-grossing film in the September-October corridor for 2005. In second place, Warner Bros. expanded its animated film "Corpse Bride" nationally taking in $19.1M. The Tim Burton–Johnny Depp collaboration found its way to $53.4M. Reese Witherspoon fell from first to third with her comedy "Just Like Heaven" which collected $9.6M. Opening in fourth place with moderate results was the skating drama "Roll Bounce" which bowed to $7.6M on its way to $17.4M from less than 1,700 theaters. Close behind in fifth was the hit thriller "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" with $7.5M in its third round.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies, we’ve got antisocial behavior ("Jackass: Number Two," with Johnny Knoxville and the gang), hell-raising politicos ("All The King’s Men," starring Sean Penn), fearless warriors ("Fearless," starring Jet Li), and flying aces ("Flyboys," starring James Franco). What do the critics have to say?
For some, the perilous, grotesque antics of the "Jackass" posse offer inarguable proof of America’s cultural decline, if not a bellwether of the Apocalypse. For others (Critical Consensus included)… well, what can I say? Wasabi snooters? Off-road tattoo? Gets me every time. Now, Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O and the rest are back with "Jackass: Number Two," a film that promises to be as puerile as its title. But guess what? It’s getting pretty good reviews! The critics say this latest collection of stoopid stunts and bad behavior maintains a certain warped integrity in addition to its sophomoric laughs. At 64 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Jackass" may be worth a ride, provided you can stomach this stuff. And it’s better-reviewed than its predecessor (49 percent).
"All The King’s Men" has everything that makes for a compelling movie. It’s got a great cast (Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Anthony Hopkins, among others). It’s based on a great novel (by Robert Penn Warren). It’s got great cinematography. Unfortunately, critics say, the superlatives end there. Loosely based on the life of populist Louisiana Governor Huey "The Kingfish" Long, "All The King’s Men" tells the story of a small town rabble-rouser’s ascent in politics and descent into shady morality. Critics say the film is too bombastic to work, with too many vague characters and an over-the-top performance from Penn. The film received a muted reception in Toronto; it currently stands at 15 percent on the Tomatometer. And it’s well below the 1949 Oscar-winning original film (94 percent).
Jet Li has come to personify a specific film subgenre: the historical martial arts epic. "Hero" and the "Once Upon a Time in China" movies were marked by sweeping visuals and Li’s remarkable athleticism. But the star says he’s no longer making that type of picture; if that’s the case, critics say "Fearless" makes for one heck of a swan song. The film tells the tale of a great martial arts master who looks inward after succumbing to his own ego and the murder of his family. The scribes say "Fearless" is quite a show, with remarkable action sequences and an interesting philosophical undercurrent. "Fearless" is currently at 70 percent on the Tomatometer. And it’s Li’s third consecutive fresh American release, following "Unleashed" (68 percent) and "Hero" (94 percent).
"Flyboys" tells an old-fashioned tale of courage and heroism with the latest in CG technology; unfortunately, critics say, the technology ends up overshadowing everything else. The film tells the story of a group of Americans who volunteered to fly in WWI alongside the French. According to the critics, "Paths of Glory" this ain’t; they note that the CG effects are excellent, and the dogfights are exciting, but the story and the characters are far less involving. At 37 percent on the Tomatometer, "Flyboys" doesn’t soar.
"And another thing… None of you better be making any wisecracks about ‘The Pink Panther!’"
Also in theaters this week in limited release: "American Hardcore," a documentary about the life and death of the louder-faster punk rock style, is at 100 percent; "The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros," a coming of age tale set in Manila, is at 100 percent; "Jesus Camp," a documentary about evangelical Christian campers, is at 93 percent; "Old Joy," a meditative tale of eroding friendship starring indie darling Will Oldham, is at 88 percent; "Solo Con Tu Pareja," the debut of "Y Tu Mama Tambien" helmer Alfonso Cuaron, is at 80 percent; "The Science of Sleep," Michel Gondry‘s latest head trip starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg, is at 69 percent; the "Project Greenlight"- approved horror flick "Feast" is at 57 percent; and "Renaissance," a visually remarkable French noir, is at 50 percent.
There’s a new ultra-cool, adult-oriented animated flick on the horizon…check out pics and the UK trailer for "Renaissance," a fantastic-looking, black-and-white, French sci-fi thriller set in the year 2054.
"Renaissance" is set in a near-future Paris, and begins with the kidnapping of a beautiful scientist. Intrigue unfolds involving a gang, a multi-national corporation, and a maverick cop assigned to the case. Take a look at the sleek, visually striking U.K. trailer for more!
First-time feature director Christian Volckman is at the helm of "Renaissance," which was released in France earlier this year and will sweep through the U.K. this month, with an all-star lineup of U.K. voice actors dubbed in. Heading the cast will be James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, along with venerable thesps like Jonathan Pryce, Ian Holm, Romola Garai, and Catherine McCormack.
"Renaissance" is set to hit theaters stateside September 22, courtesy of Miramax Films. Click here to browse the photo gallery.