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

All Matt Damon Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

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

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

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

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

#50

Suburbicon (2017)
28%

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

#49
#49
Adjusted Score: 40977%
Critics Consensus: Its intentions are noble and its cast is impressive, but neither can compensate for The Monuments Men's stiffly nostalgic tone and curiously slack narrative.
Synopsis: During World War II, the Nazis steal countless pieces of art and hide them away. Some over-the-hill art scholars, historians,... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 34475%
Critics Consensus: This adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel comes off as rather flat and uninvolving. Scenes feel rushed and done in shorthand, and the romance between Damon and Cruz has no sparks.
Synopsis: The year is 1949. A young Texan named John Grady finds himself without a home after his mother sells the... [More]
Directed By: Billy Bob Thornton

#47

The Great Wall (2016)
35%

#47
Adjusted Score: 52763%
Critics Consensus: For a Yimou Zhang film featuring Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe battling ancient monsters, The Great Wall is neither as exciting nor as entertainingly bonkers as one might hope.
Synopsis: When a mercenary warrior (Matt Damon) is imprisoned within the Great Wall, he discovers the mystery behind one of the... [More]
Directed By: Zhang Yimou

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 44179%
Critics Consensus: The Brothers Grimm is full of beautiful imagery, but the story is labored and less than enchanting.
Synopsis: The Brothers Grimm, Wilhelm (Matt Damon) and Jacob (Heath Ledger), are dysfunctional schemers who go from town to town putting... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#45

The Majestic (2001)
42%

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

#44
Adjusted Score: 47760%
Critics Consensus: Despite the talent involved in The Legend of Bagger Vance, performances are hindered by an inadequate screenplay full of flat characters and bad dialogue. Also, not much happens, and some critics are offended by how the film glosses over issues of racism.
Synopsis: During the Great Depression, Georgia socialite Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron) announces a publicity-garnering high-stakes match at her struggling family golf... [More]
Directed By: Robert Redford

#43

Happy Feet Two (2011)
45%

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

#42

Hereafter (2010)
47%

#42
Adjusted Score: 55018%
Critics Consensus: Despite a thought-provoking premise and Clint Eastwood's typical flair as director, Hereafter fails to generate much compelling drama, straddling the line between poignant sentimentality and hokey tedium.
Synopsis: Three people set out on a spiritual journey after death touches their lives in different ways. George (Matt Damon) is... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#41

Downsizing (2017)
47%

#41
Adjusted Score: 68635%
Critics Consensus: Downsizing assembles a talented cast in pursuit of some truly interesting ideas -- which may be enough for some audiences to forgive the final product's frustrating shortcomings.
Synopsis: Mild-mannered therapist Paul Safranek and his wife, Audrey, decide to undergo a process in which scientists shrink people down to... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Payne

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

#39

The Zero Theorem (2013)
48%

#39
Adjusted Score: 53153%
Critics Consensus: Fans of director Terry Gilliam's trademark visual aesthetic will find everything they've bargained for, but for the unconverted, The Zero Theorem may prove too muddled to enjoy.
Synopsis: Hired to crack a theorem, reclusive computer genius Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz) begins to make headway until his controlled world... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#38

Titan A.E. (2000)
50%

#38
Adjusted Score: 53564%
Critics Consensus: Great visuals, but the story feels like a cut-and-paste job of other sci-fi movies.
Synopsis: A science-fiction film that combines traditional animation with computer generated images, "Titan A.E." takes place in the distant future, after... [More]
Directed By: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman

#37

Promised Land (2012)
53%

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

#36

Green Zone (2010)
53%

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

#35

Ocean's Twelve (2004)
54%

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

#34

Jason Bourne (2016)
54%

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

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

#32

School Ties (1992)
60%

#32
Adjusted Score: 62876%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When David Greene (Brendan Fraser) receives a football scholarship to a prestigious prep school in the 1950s, he feels pressure... [More]
Directed By: Robert Mandel

#31

Gerry (2002)
61%

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

#30

Stuck on You (2003)
61%

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

#29

Rounders (1998)
65%

#29
Adjusted Score: 69238%
Critics Consensus: Richly atmospheric and colorful performances contributed to the movie's entertainment value.
Synopsis: Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) loses his money in a poker game against Russian gangster Teddy "KGB" (John Malkovich). Under pressure... [More]
Directed By: John Dahl

#28

We Bought a Zoo (2011)
65%

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

#27

Elysium (2013)
65%

#27
Adjusted Score: 74724%
Critics Consensus: After the heady sci-fi thrills of District 9, Elysium is a bit of a comedown for director Neill Blomkamp, but on its own terms, it delivers just often enough to satisfy.
Synopsis: In the year 2154, humanity is sharply divided between two classes of people: The ultrarich live aboard a luxurious space... [More]
Directed By: Neill Blomkamp

#26

Dogma (1999)
67%

#26
Adjusted Score: 72581%
Critics Consensus: Provocative and audacious, Dogma is an uneven but thoughtful religious satire that's both respectful and irreverent.
Synopsis: Two fallen angels who were ejected from paradise find themselves banned in Wisconsin. They are now headed for New Jersey... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

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

#24

Ocean's Thirteen (2007)
69%

#24
Adjusted Score: 77687%
Critics Consensus: Ocean's Thirteen reverts to the formula of the first installment, and the result is another slick and entertaining heist film.
Synopsis: Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his gang hatch an ambitious plot for revenge after ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Al... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 81244%
Critics Consensus: First-time writer/director George Nolfi struggles to maintain a consistent tone, but The Adjustment Bureau rises on the strong, believable chemistry of its stars.
Synopsis: Just as he is on the brink of winning a Senate seat, politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets a ballerina... [More]
Directed By: George Nolfi

#22

Interstellar (2014)
72%

#22
Adjusted Score: 88285%
Critics Consensus: Interstellar represents more of the thrilling, thought-provoking, and visually resplendent filmmaking moviegoers have come to expect from writer-director Christopher Nolan, even if its intellectual reach somewhat exceeds its grasp.
Synopsis: In Earth's future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#21

Syriana (2005)
73%

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

#20

Margaret (2011)
74%

#20
Adjusted Score: 77346%
Critics Consensus: A surfeit of ideas contributes to Margaret's excessive run time, but Anna Paquin does a admirable job of guiding viewers through emotional hell.
Synopsis: New York high-school student Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin) inadvertently causes an accident in which a bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) runs... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Lonergan

#19

Stillwater (2021)
74%

#19
Adjusted Score: 83095%
Critics Consensus: Stillwater isn't perfect, but its thoughtful approach to intelligent themes -- and strong performances from its leads -- give this timely drama a steadily building power.
Synopsis: Unemployed roughneck Bill Baker (Academy Award® winner Matt Damon) travels from Oklahoma to Marseille to visit his estranged daughter Allison... [More]
Directed By: Tom McCarthy

#18

Invictus (2009)
76%

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

#17

The Informant! (2009)
79%

#17
Adjusted Score: 88604%
Critics Consensus: A charismatic turn by star Matt Damon and a consistently ironic tone boost this quietly funny satire about a corporate whistle-blower.
Synopsis: Though a rising star in the ranks of Archer Daniels Midland, Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) suddenly exposes a price-fixing conspiracy... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#16
Adjusted Score: 84798%
Critics Consensus: Invigorated by its talented cast and Francis Ford Coppola's strong direction, The Rainmaker is a satisfying legal drama -- and arguably the best of Hollywood's many John Grisham adaptations.
Synopsis: Struggling new attorney Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) resorts to working for a shady lawyer (Mickey Rourke), where he meets paralegal... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 88144%
Critics Consensus: A well-made sequel that delivers the thrills.
Synopsis: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is living in India when he is framed by Russian agent Kirill (Karl Urban) for the... [More]
Directed By: Paul Greengrass

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 88838%
Critics Consensus: With Matt Damon's unsettling performance offering a darkly twisted counterpoint to Anthony Minghella's glossy direction, The Talented Mr. Ripley is a suspense thriller that lingers.
Synopsis: To be young and carefree amid the blue waters and idyllic landscape of sun-drenched Italy in the late 1950s; that's... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Minghella

#13

Ocean's Eleven (2001)
83%

#13
Adjusted Score: 90209%
Critics Consensus: As fast-paced, witty, and entertaining as it is star-studded and coolly stylish, Ocean's Eleven offers a well-seasoned serving of popcorn entertainment.
Synopsis: Dapper Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is a man of action. Less than 24 hours into his parole from a New... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 89317%
Critics Consensus: Expertly blending genre formula with bursts of unexpected wit, The Bourne Identity is an action thriller that delivers -- and then some.
Synopsis: The story of a man (Matt Damon), salvaged, near death, from the ocean by an Italian fishing boat. When he... [More]
Directed By: Doug Liman

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

#10

Contagion (2011)
85%

#10
Adjusted Score: 94934%
Critics Consensus: Tense, tightly plotted, and bolstered by a stellar cast, Contagion is an exceptionally smart -- and scary -- disaster movie.
Synopsis: When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minnesota from a Hong Kong business trip, she attributes the malaise she feels... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#9

The Departed (2006)
90%

#9
Adjusted Score: 102530%
Critics Consensus: Featuring outstanding work from an excellent cast, The Departed is a thoroughly engrossing gangster drama with the gritty authenticity and soupy morality we come to expect from Martin Scorsese.
Synopsis: South Boston cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes under cover to infiltrate the organization of gangland chief Frank Costello (Jack... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#8

Ponyo (2008)
91%

#8
Adjusted Score: 96828%
Critics Consensus: While not Miyazaki's best film, Ponyo is a visually stunning fairy tale that's a sweetly poetic treat for children of all ages.
Synopsis: During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#7

The Martian (2015)
91%

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

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 102911%
Critics Consensus: The Bourne Ultimatum is an intelligent, finely tuned non-stop thrill ride. Another strong performance from Matt Damon and sharp camerawork from Paul Greengrass make this the finest installment of the Bourne trilogy.
Synopsis: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) continues his international quest to uncover his true identity. From Russia to Europe to northern Africa... [More]
Directed By: Paul Greengrass

#5

Ford v Ferrari (2019)
92%

#5
Adjusted Score: 114298%
Critics Consensus: Ford v Ferrari delivers all the polished auto action audiences will expect -- and balances it with enough gripping human drama to satisfy non-racing enthusiasts.
Synopsis: American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

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

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 97833%
Critics Consensus: Affectionate without sacrificing honesty, Behind the Candelabra couples award-worthy performances from Michael Douglas and Matt Damon with some typically sharp direction from Steven Soderbergh.
Synopsis: World-famous pianist Liberace (Michael Douglas) takes much-younger Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) as a lover, but the relationship deteriorates when Liberace... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#2

True Grit (2010)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 105673%
Critics Consensus: Girded by strong performances from Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, and lifted by some of the Coens' most finely tuned, unaffected work, True Grit is a worthy companion to the Charles Portis book.
Synopsis: After an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) murders her father, feisty 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hires... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

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

Thor: Ragnarok only needed to get a 67% on the Tomatometer to improve upon The Dark World‘s score. Looks like all this franchise needed was some new zeal and New Zealand director Taika Waititi because Ragnarok is currently scoring way higher than that, which inspires this week’s gallery of 24 most improved movie sequels by Tomatometer!

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

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


 The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) 83%

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

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Contagion (2011) 85%

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

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Courage Under Fire (1996) 85%

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

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The Departed (2006) 90%

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

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Saving Private Ryan (1998) 93%

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

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The Martian (2015) 91%

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

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The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) 92%

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

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Behind the Candelabra (2013) 94%

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

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True Grit (2010) 95%

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

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Good Will Hunting (1997) 98%

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

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

Let’s forget about that whole Egyptian gods thing — Gerry Butler’s got another action movie for you this week. He reprises his role as a head Secret Service agent in London Has Fallen, sequel to Olympus Has Fallen which got a 48% rating from critics back in 2013. The Fallen movies inspire this week’s 24 Frames: best and worst action sequels by Tomatometer!

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


Courage Under Fire (1996) 85%

01CourageUnderFire

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

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Good Will Hunting (1997) 98%

02GoodWillHunting

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

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Rounders (1998) 65%

03Rounders

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

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The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) 83%

04TalentedMrRipley

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

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The Ocean’s Franchise

05Oceans

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

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The Bourne Franchise

06Bourne

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

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Stuck on You (2003) 61%

07StuckOnYou

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

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The Departed (2006) 90%

08TheDeparted

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

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The Informant! (2009) 79%

09TheInformant

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

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Behind the Candelabra (2013) 94%

10BehindCandelabra2

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

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


This Week’s Top Story

TOM CRUISE ACCEPTS MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 6

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


Fresh Developments This Week

1. TOMMY LEE JONES JOINS MATT DAMON IN FIFTH BOURNE

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


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

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


3. VAMPIRE CLASSIC NOSFERATU TO GET ANOTHER REMAKE

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


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

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


5. DANIEL RADCLIFFE TO INFILTRATE HOMELAND TERRORISTS IN IMPERIUM

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


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

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


Rotten IdeaS of the Week

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

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


2. OUTSPOKEN GAMBIT ENTHUSIAST CHANNING TATUM MAY FOLD

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


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

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

75 Best Summer Blockbusters of All Time

In defense of the blockbuster, Rotten Tomatoes offers you Best Summer Movies, a countdown of the highest-rated wide releases to hit theaters during the hot season since the release of Jaws in 1975. We’re using a weighted formula that takes the Tomatometer, the number of reviews, and the year of release into account. In order to qualify, each movie needs at least 20 reviews, and to have been released wide in the months between May and August. Enough talk: grab an extra large soda and a bucket of popcorn and dive into RT’s Best Summer Movies!

 

 

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


This Week’s Top Story

MATT DAMON TO BE BOURNE AGAIN IN 2016

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

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 DID THE INTERNET SAVE DEADPOOL?

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

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

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

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

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

#4 ANGELINA JOLIE TO TACKLE IVORY POACHING WITH EPIC AFRICA

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

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

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

Rotten Ideas of the Week

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

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

#3 MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY NOT RETURNING FOR MAGIC MIKE XXL

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

#2 DC COMICS’ SUICIDE SQUAD GETTING CLOSER

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

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

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

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

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