(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)
After a number of character parts and bit roles in a swath of urban dramas at the start of his career, Jackson made his breakthrough statement as the fiery voice of reason in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing: DJ Mister Señor Love Daddy. Pulling off a character with a name like that should only lead to more success, and sure enough, then came the slapstick comedy (Loaded Weapon 1), a disarming role in Jurassic Park, and the ultimate ’90s character: hitman Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction.
From there, Jackson has only cemented his rep as Hollywood’s versatile king of volatile cool, partnering with John McClane (Die Hard With a Vengeance), feelin’ the Force in the Star Wars prequels, starring as the sexy spawn of Shaft, and making his mark in original meme movie Snakes on a Plane.
And as, of course, the linchpin of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Nick Fury, whose movie appearances (brief or significant) are all included here in the greater interest of the general public, i.e. you’re going to complain if we didn’t. With that said, hold on to your butts for Samuel L. Jackson movies ranked by Tomatometer!
Pugilists have been popular camera subjects since the start — boxing, at the time, being arguably the most interesting thing you do to another person in public. In the odd century-plus that’s passed since, boxing cinema has evolved past mere punching for spectacle. It’s about personal toil. Training. Strength. Sacrifice. Undying commitment to the physical vision. And then it’s about hitting somebody for money. Or respect, sure.
Tonight’s title bout: The best-reviewed boxing movies ever! In one corner, we have heavyweight classics like Rocky and Raging Bull. In the other, hungry newcomers like Creed and Million Dollar Baby. And in another corner (we have a lot of corners): hard-hitting documentaries, repped by When We Were Kings and Unforgivable Blackness. And, yes, we’re going international in this corner: see Knuckle all the way from Ireland, and China Heavyweight, all the way from, er, China. To be a contender, the movie needed to put up a Fresh rating after 20 reviews, before we ranked them with our weighted formula calculating a film’s Tomatometer score, its number of reviews, and year of release.
Think you got what it takes to take on the champs? Hit ’em where it counts! Hit ’em right in the 33 Best Boxing Movies of All Time!
Booze and babes were still in high demand as
the teen sex comedy
Superbad ruled the North American box office for the second straight
weekend despite the arrival of a handful of new releases. Most of the debuting
films were met with disappointing sales since ticket buyers spent their time and
money catching up on popular holdover titles which commanded the top three
The supercool kids of
Superbad remained the leaders of the pack with an estimated weekend
gross of $18M, falling 46% from last weekend. After ten days, the Sony smash has
taken in an impressive $68.6M and could be on its way to $120M or more. That
would give the raunchy hit a domestic gross nearly seven times its production
cost of $18M. Superbad is the first summer film to spend back-to-back
weekends at number one since
the Caribbean: At World’s End which bowed over Memorial Day weekend in
May. Sony has now claimed the number one film nine times in 2007, more than any
New Line’s action-comedy sequel
Rush Hour 3 fell 43%
to an estimated $12.3M in its third mission. The
Tucker threequel has collected $109M in 17 days and is on track to finish
MGM landed in sixth place with a disappointing opening for the comedy
The Nanny Diaries
which grossed an estimated $7.8M. Playing in 2,629 theaters, the PG-13 pic based
on the popular novel averaged just $2,971 per site.
The year’s top-grossing non-rat toon
The Simpsons Movie
dropped 36% to an estimated $4.4M in its fifth frame boosting the cume to
$173.4M for Fox. Paramount’s fantasy adventure
Stardust grossed an
estimated $4M, off only 30%, for a total of $26.5M.
Moviegoers kept going back for more musical fun as New Line’s
Hairspray dipped a
mere 23% in its sixth session to an estimated $3.5M and raised its overall cume
to $107.5M. Rounding out the top ten was the sci-fi flop
The Invasion which
tumbled 47% in its second weekend to an estimated $3.1M. The Warner Bros.
release has taken in just $11.5M in ten days and should end with a miserable
Three national releases dumped into the late-August abyss debuted outside of the
top ten with weak results. Yari Film Group’s well-reviewed boxing drama
the Champ starring
Josh Hartnett opened with an estimated $1.8M from 1,605 theaters for a poor
$1,152 average. Universal’s Latino crime drama
bowed to an estimated $1.4M from 512 sites for a mild $2,805 average. The most
miserable results came from the
film September Dawn
which grossed an estimated $600,000 from 850 playdates for an embarrassing $706
per-theater average for Slowhand Releasing.
In limited release, the
got off to a moderate start collecting an estimated $24,000 from only four
venues for an average of $6,000 on its opening weekend for The Weinstein Co.
Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix grossed an estimated $2.5M,
down 34%, lifting the domestic haul to $283.3M. Despite the midweek launch in
July, the fifth wizard pic should end up with a final take nearly identical to
the $290M taken in by the last installment
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which had a Friday opening in
November which has been the most common type of launch for the franchise.
Buena Vista’s family film
Underdog fell 42% to
an estimated $2.2M and put its sum at $36.6M. A $42-44M final seems likely.
latest comedy blockbuster
Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry grossed an estimated $2.1M, down 42%,
and gave Universal a total of $114.3M to date. The comedian has now generated
$100M blockbusters over six consecutive years trailing only Tom Cruise whose
streak is currently at seven straight years. Look for Chuck to end its
run with roughly $120M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $85.5M which was up 12% from last year
when Invincible opened in first place with $17M; and up 10% from 2005 when
40-Year-Old Virgin remained in the top spot with $16.3M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya,
Action stars Jet Li and Jason Statham face off this weekend in the new crime thriller War which leads a flood of new releases pouring into North American multiplexes trying to catch the final dollars of the summer movie season. The R-rated Lionsgate release finds the two playing an assassin and a federal agent, respectively, and will aim for young male audiences. Both actors have solid followings and the combination allows War to offer a two-for-one deal that will make the ticket price well worth it for many fans.
Li’s last films Fearless and Unleashed each bowed to just under $11M with averages of a little less than $6,000. Statham’s Crank opened over Labor Day weekend last year with $10.5M and an average of $4,158 over three days while during the same holiday frame in 2005 his action sequel Transporter 2 debuted to $16.5M with a $5,008 average over three days. Lionsgate has had a strong marketing push on War and should connect with male action fans. Last weekend’s top three films Superbad, Rush Hour 3, and The Bourne Ultimatum will all provide some direct competition, but a solid bow is likely. Opening in 2,271 theaters, War could premiere with about $14M this weekend.
Rush Hour 3 will race past the $100M mark this weekend and could slide by 50% to around $10.5M. That would give New Line $107M after 17 days. Fellow threequel The Bourne Ultimatum should have a better hold and drop by 40% to roughly $12M putting the Universal smash at $185M overall with its eye on the double-century mark by Labor Day.
LAST YEAR: Buena Vista topped the charts with its football saga Invincible which bowed at number one with $17M on its way to a solid $57.8M. Will Ferrell‘s comedy Talladega Nights placed second with $8.1M while Little Miss Sunshine expanded and jumped up to third place with $7.4M. Warner Bros. opened its comedy Beerfest in fourth with $7M leading to a $19.2M final. World Trade Center rounded out the top five with $6.5M in its third frame. Two smaller films debuting far below were Universal’s Idlewild with $5.7M and New Line’s How to Eat Fried Worms with $4M. Final tallies reached $12.6M and $13M, respectively.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the multiplex, you’ll have your
choice between babysitters (The
Nanny Diaries, starring
Bean’s Holiday, starring
the Champ, starring
L. Jackson), Mormons (September
and rogues (War,
starring Jet Li
Statham). What are the critics saying?
The Nanny Diaries features a stellar cast that includes Scarlett
Johansson, Laura Linney, and
Paul Giamatti, and it’s directed by
and Shari Springer Berman, the team behind the wonderfully unconventional
Splendor. So why, critics ask, is Diaries so mediocre? Perhaps it’s
because the tone shifts between dark satire and lighter comedy. Johansson stars
as a woman who takes a job tending to the child of an affluent-but-cold New York
City couple. Pundits say the biggest problem with the film is not the
performers, who do what they can with the material. It’s that their characters
are one-dimensional, and the satire lacks the edge to really make it work. At 24
percent on the Tomatometer, this Diary isn’t held dear.
Film critic turned film maker Rod Lurie will write and direct Nothing But the Truth for the Yari Film Group. Semi-based on actual events, it’ll be about a newspaper report who “outs” a CIA agent and refuses to divulge her sources.
According to Variety, the lovely Ms. Beckinsale will be joined in the political drama by Matt Dillon, Vera Farmiga, Edie Falco, and Alan Alda. The story is fictional but loosely based on recent stories in which secret agents get “outed” in the press — which is a very bad thing.
Mr. Lurie’s previous films include The Last Castle and The Contender. His next film, Resurrecting the Champ (which stars Josh Hartnett and Samuel L. Jackson), hits theaters next month.
We know some of you hate reading those cumbersome long reviews, so here’s a gaggle of Sundance screening write-ups in three sentences or less. See if you can look forward to "Resurrecting the Champ," "Angel-A," "King of California," "Smiley Face," and more!
Comic actress Anna Faris nails the mannerisms of being high in the first half of this stoner comedy (super-slow thinking, paranoia, the munchies), but her character’s subsequent meandering adventure will totally harsh your mellow. THC enthusiasts will be mesmerized by the film’s opening credits, which recall that animated Junior Senior music video (you know which one I’m talking about). Otherwise, look for performances by John Cho, Adam Brody and John Krasinski, and an all-too-brief, but unforgettable bit by Danny Masterson (as Faris’ borderline-psycho sci-fi geek roommate).
Michael Douglas is a wacky dad! Evan Rachel Wood is an overly-mature teen! Unfortunately, the best part of watching this film is hearing Wilco’s "California Stars" play over the end credits, marking the end to a familiar story with one-too-many cute-clever tricks up its sleeve. I’ve got one nagging question: do they really sell scuba gear at Costco?
(Extra points to Douglas for growing/sporting the world’s most obvious Don Quixote beard for the year’s most obvious Don Quixote-esque character.)
A surprisingly good based-in-truth journalism story about a hungry sportswriter who happens upon a long-forgotten boxer, "Champ" benefits from an unusually vulnerable performance by Sam Jackson (with a high raspy voice and jittery, downcast eyes). Josh Hartnett puts in a pretty good desperation-tinged turn himself, and the script pulls both together nicely on a theme of love and baggage between fathers and sons.
As awe-inspiring as it is to watch man-made rockets launch into space, seeing said Discovery Channel-esque footage played over and over again (at least, footage that looks the same — who can tell their Apollo 7s from their Apollo 17s?) becomes terribly repetitive over the course of 100 minutes, despite the occasionally witty remarks of former astronauts (especially Apollo 11 orbiter Michael Collins) who have been there, done that, walked on the moon.
Justin Theroux‘s rom-com directorial debut is pretty conventional stuff — boy (Billy Crudup) meets girl (Mandy "Candy" Moore), boy begrudgingly falls in love with girl, boy’s personal dysfunctions alienate girl, boy must win back girl in the quirkiest way possible — but adds just enough intrigue to the mix (including Tom Wilkinson as Crudup’s beyond-the-grave mentor and a handful of colorfully painted characterizations) to make this love story not-so-routine. Moore’s dyed-dark hair and kohl-rimmed eyes (and at times, Crudup’s overly flamboyant mental illness schtick) are often "we’re putting on a show"-level distracting, but who can resist a love story set in Montauk, Long Island?
Luc Besson fans and lovers of old black and white romances may be able to forgive "Angel-A" its shortcomings; the tale of a diminutive down-on-his-luck hustler who saves (or is it the other way around?) an astronomically leggy blonde from jumping off a bridge is fun, touching, and beautifully shot on the streets of Paris, but cuts too quick to a convenient denouement to be fully believable. That aside, the 5’10" former Victoria’s Secret model (and aspiring filmmaker) Rie Rassmussen is phenomenal as the titular beauty in only her second feature-length gig, and her chemistry with French actor Jamel Debbouzze ("Amelie") is delightful to watch.
Talk about a road movie. This winding soul search of a film stars Lou Taylor Pucci as a nineteen-year-old who, alone after the death of his mother, steals a car and sets off across the Midwest in search of a long-lost half-brother; along the way, we can predict he’ll meet a bevy of oddball characters, each whom will help him along his quest in their own quirky way. Uneven pacing and too many brief cameos make some stretches of this film as long as a dusty highway and just as empty, though rolling, atmospheric music by indie folkster M. Ward carries you along, at least for a bit.
For our full coverage of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival (news, reviews, interviews, and photos) click here!