New Line/courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

All Angelina Jolie Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

After drawing some mainstream attention for her role in the preposterous, very ’90s guilty pleasure Hackers, critical acclaim came for Angelina Jolie with 1998’s Gia. That biopic of the tragic ’70s supermodel was an HBO movie, limiting its reach, but Jolie would only have to wait one more year to cross the megastardom threshold. 1999 not only saw her first box office smash (The Bone Collector, co-starring Denzel Washington), but also her first (and only) Oscar win, as Supporting Actress in Girl, Interrupted.

After that, it was pedal to the metal for Jolie’s career. Literally, her next role was the grand-theft-auto blockbuster Gone in 60 Seconds. She would quickly go on to star as Lara Croft in two Tomb Raider movies, attempt to revive the swords-and-sandals epic with Alexander, and release the action crowd-pleaser Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Jolie had her best run with the critics at the end of the 2000s with Wanted, Kung Fu Panda, Beowulf, and A Mighty Heart all released next to each other, all Certified Fresh. In A Mighty Heart, Jolie stars as Mariane Pearl, wife of American journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in Pakistan in 2002. The film appeared to mark a new humanitarian drive to part of her work; the specter of war hangs heavy over three movies Jolie has directed since: In the Land of Blood and Honey, Unbroken, and First They Killed My Father.

Jolie was nominated for an Oscar thanks to Changeling, and Salt was a credible action effort, but The Tourist with Johnny Depp in 2010 was a high-profile misfire. Ditto By the Sea, which she directed with then-husband Brad Pitt. But no worries! She’s been accepted with welcoming arms into the Disney family after kickstarting the Disney live-action remake trend through 2014’s Maleficent, as well as its sequel Mistress of Evil. She joins the MCU later this year with Chloé Zhao’s The Eternals, but before that releases, we’re celebrating her birthday by looking back on all Angelina Jolie movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#35

Original Sin (2001)
12%

#35
Adjusted Score: 15082%
Critics Consensus: Laughably melodramatic, Original Sin features bad acting, bad dialogue, and bad plotting.
Synopsis: Luis (Antonio Banderas) and Julia (Angelina Jolie) are bound together first by matrimony, and then, by fierce love and desire.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cristofer

#34

Playing God (1997)
16%

#34
Adjusted Score: 16393%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A decertified surgeon (David Duchovny) accepts a job as personal doctor for a Los Angeles mobster (Timothy Hutton) sought by... [More]
Directed By: Andy Wilson

#33

Beyond Borders (2003)
14%

#33
Adjusted Score: 16045%
Critics Consensus: Beyond Borders is good-intentioned, but the use of human suffering as a backdrop for a romance comes across as sanctimonious and exploitative.
Synopsis: An American socialite (Angelina Jolie) living in London joins a renegade doctor's (Clive Owen) humanitarian efforts in war-torn nations.... [More]
Directed By: Martin Campbell

#32

Alexander (2004)
16%

#32
Adjusted Score: 22557%
Critics Consensus: Even at nearly three hours long, this ponderous, talky, and emotionally distant biopic fails to illuminate Alexander's life.
Synopsis: The story is an epic that is as daring and ambitious as its subject, a relentless conqueror who by the... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#31

The Tourist (2010)
20%

#31
Adjusted Score: 26344%
Critics Consensus: The scenery and the stars are undeniably beautiful, but they can't make up for The Tourist's slow, muddled plot, or the lack of chemistry between Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.
Synopsis: During an impromptu trip to Europe to mend a broken heart, math teacher Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp) finds himself in... [More]

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 26312%
Critics Consensus: Angelina Jolie is perfect for the role of Lara Croft, but even she can't save the movie from a senseless plot and action sequences with no emotional impact.
Synopsis: This live action feature is inspired by the most successful interactive video-game character in history -- Lara Croft. Beautiful and... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#29

Taking Lives (2004)
22%

#29
Adjusted Score: 27573%
Critics Consensus: A stylish, but predictable thriller where the only thrills are offered by the sensuous Angelina Jolie.
Synopsis: An insidious serial killer is impersonating his victims' identities as he travels across Canada. A recent spate of murders in... [More]
Directed By: D.J. Caruso

#28
Adjusted Score: 28911%
Critics Consensus: Though the sequel is an improvement over the first movie, it's still lacking in thrills.
Synopsis: Fearless explorer Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) tries to locate Pandora's box before criminals Jonathan Reiss (Ciarán Hinds) and Chen Lo... [More]
Directed By: Jan de Bont

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 30115%
Critics Consensus: Even though Oscar-bearers Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, and Robert Duval came aboard for this project, the quality of Gone in 60 Seconds is disappointingly low. The plot line is nonsensical, and even the promised car-chase scenes are boring.
Synopsis: Randall "Memphis" Raines long ago abandoned his life of crime, but after an ominous visit from an old friend, he... [More]
Directed By: Dominic Sena

#26

Foxfire (1996)
27%

#26
Adjusted Score: 21262%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Five high school girls turn the tables on a teacher who makes sexual advances, but the principal punishes them instead.... [More]

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 30622%
Critics Consensus: Though Jolie is appealing, Life or Something Like It is too contrived and predictable to convincingly convey its message of stopping to smell the roses.
Synopsis: Lanie Kerrigan (Angelina Jolie), a feature reporter at a Seattle television station, leads the ultimate superficial life, even though she... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 32422%
Critics Consensus: A talented cast is wasted on a bland attempt at a suspenseful, serial killer flick.
Synopsis: Policewoman Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) is in hot pursuit of a serial murderer whose calling card is a small shard... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#23

Come Away (2020)
29%

#23
Adjusted Score: 32122%
Critics Consensus: Largely lacking the fairytale magic it seeks to conjure, Come Away is an initially intriguing fantasy that never really takes flight.
Synopsis: Eight-year-old Alice and her mischievous brother Peter journey to London to sell a treasured heirloom. Returning home, Alice seeks temporary... [More]
Directed By: Brenda Chapman

#22

Hackers (1995)
32%

#22
Adjusted Score: 33417%
Critics Consensus: Hackers has a certain stylish appeal, but its slick visuals and appealing young cast can't compensate for a clichéd and disappointingly uninspired story.
Synopsis: A teenage hacker finds himself framed for the theft of millions of dollars from a major corporation. Master hacker Dade... [More]
Directed By: Iain Softley

#21

By the Sea (2015)
34%

#21
Adjusted Score: 40083%
Critics Consensus: By the Sea may intrigue celebrity voyeurs or fans of a certain type of arthouse cinema, but for most viewers, its beauty won't be enough to offset its narrative inertia.
Synopsis: A troubled American couple (Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie Pitt) befriend young newlyweds and local villagers while staying at French seaside... [More]
Directed By: Angelina Jolie Pitt

#20

Shark Tale (2004)
36%

#20
Adjusted Score: 41565%
Critics Consensus: Derivative and full of pop culture in-jokes.
Synopsis: Underachiever Oscar (Will Smith) is a pint-sized fish with grand aspirations. When mob-connected great white shark Frankie (Michael Imperioli) is... [More]

#19
Adjusted Score: 53814%
Critics Consensus: While it's far from cursed, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil too rarely supports its impressive cast and visuals with enough magical storytelling to justify its existence.
Synopsis: Maleficent travels to a grand old castle to celebrate young Aurora's upcoming wedding to Prince Phillip. While there, she meets... [More]
Directed By: Joachim Rønning

#18

Pushing Tin (1999)
48%

#18
Adjusted Score: 49446%
Critics Consensus: Solid performances by the leads, but the generic ending needs help.
Synopsis: Two air traffic controllers (John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton) who thrive on living dangerously compete to outdo each other on... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 57917%
Critics Consensus: Angelina Jolie gives an intense performance, but overall Girl, Interrupted suffers from thin, predictable plotting that fails to capture the power of its source material.
Synopsis: Set in the changing world of the late 1960s, "Girl, Interrupted" is the searing true story of Susanna Kaysen (Winona... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#16

Maleficent (2014)
54%

#16
Adjusted Score: 64964%
Critics Consensus: Angelina Jolie's magnetic performance outshines Maleficent's dazzling special effects; unfortunately, the movie around them fails to justify all that impressive effort.
Synopsis: As a beautiful young woman of pure heart, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) has an idyllic life in a forest kingdom. When... [More]
Directed By: Robert Stromberg

#15
#15
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

#14

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
60%

#14
Adjusted Score: 67609%
Critics Consensus: Although this action-romance suffers from weak writing and one too many explosions, the chemistry generated by onscreen couple Pitt and Jolie is palpable enough to make this a thoroughly enjoyable summer action flick.
Synopsis: John (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie), a couple in a stagnating marriage, live a deceptively mundane existence. However,... [More]
Directed By: Doug Liman

#13

Playing by Heart (1998)
60%

#13
Adjusted Score: 62427%
Critics Consensus: It's overly talky, but Playing By Heart benefits from witty insights into modern relationships and strong performances from an esteemed cast.
Synopsis: In this tale of how love binds 11 random people from Los Angeles, a married couple (Sean Connery, Gena Rowlands)... [More]
Directed By: Willard Carroll

#12

Salt (2010)
61%

#12
Adjusted Score: 70523%
Critics Consensus: Angelina Jolie gives it her all in the title role, and her seasoned performance is almost enough to save Salt from its predictable and ludicrous plot.
Synopsis: When Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) became a CIA officer, she swore an oath to duty, honor and country. But, when... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 72759%
Critics Consensus: A squarely traditional '90s-style action thriller, Those Who Wish Me Dead is elevated by Taylor Sheridan's propulsive direction.
Synopsis: A smoke jumper and a traumatized boy fight for their lives as two relentless assassins pursue them through a raging... [More]
Directed By: Taylor Sheridan

#10

Changeling (2008)
62%

#10
Adjusted Score: 69416%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully shot and well-acted, Changeling is a compelling story that unfortunately gives in to convention too often.
Synopsis: In 1928 Los Angeles, single mother Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) arrives home to find her son, Walter, gone. Five months... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#9
Adjusted Score: 77764%
Critics Consensus: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is slim on plot and characterization, but the visuals more than make up for it.
Synopsis: When gigantic robots attack New York City, "Sky Captain" (Jude Law) uses his private air force to fight them off.... [More]
Directed By: Kerry Conran

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 77680%
Critics Consensus: An uncertain approach to the story's darker themes undermines its emotional stakes, but The One and Only Ivan offers heartwarming entertainment for younger viewers.
Synopsis: A gorilla tries to piece together its past and escape captivity with help from an elephant.... [More]
Directed By: Thea Sharrock

#7

Beowulf (2007)
71%

#7
Adjusted Score: 79426%
Critics Consensus: Featuring groundbreaking animation, stunning visuals, and a talented cast, Beowulf has in spades what more faithful book adaptations forget to bring: pure cinematic entertainment.
Synopsis: In the age of heroes, a mighty warrior named Beowulf (Ray Winstone) arrives at the court of King Hrothgar (Anthony... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#6

Wanted (2008)
71%

#6
Adjusted Score: 79348%
Critics Consensus: Wanted is stylish, energetic popcorn fare with witty performances from Angelina Jolie (playing an expert assassin), James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman that help to distract from its absurdly over-the-top plot.
Synopsis: Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is an office worker whose life is going nowhere. After his estranged father is murdered, he... [More]
Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov

#5

A Mighty Heart (2007)
79%

#5
Adjusted Score: 87331%
Critics Consensus: Angelina Jolie conveys the full emotional range of a woman in a desperate situation in A Mighty Heart, an urgent yet tactful film about a difficult subject.
Synopsis: Mariane Pearl (Angelina Jolie), the wife of journalist Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman) of The Wall Street Journal, heads to Pakistan... [More]
Directed By: Michael Winterbottom

#4

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
81%

#4
Adjusted Score: 86841%
Critics Consensus: The storyline arc may seem a tad familiar to fans of the original, but Kung Fu Panda 2 offers enough action, comedy, and visual sparkle to compensate.
Synopsis: Now known as the Dragon Warrior, Po (Jack Black) protects the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

#3

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
87%

#3
Adjusted Score: 96905%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda 3 boasts the requisite visual splendor, but like its rotund protagonist, this sequel's narrative is also surprisingly nimble, adding up to animated fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Living large and loving life, Po (Jack Black) realizes that he has a lot to learn if he's going to... [More]

#2

Kung Fu Panda (2008)
87%

#2
Adjusted Score: 94519%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda has a familiar message, but the pleasing mix of humor, swift martial arts action, and colorful animation makes for winning Summer entertainment.
Synopsis: Po the panda (Jack Black) works in his family's noodle shop and dreams of becoming a kung-fu master. His dream... [More]

#1

Gia (1998)
93%

#1
Adjusted Score: 57071%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Gia Carangi (Angelina Jolie) travels to New York City with dreams of becoming a fashion model. Within minutes of arriving,... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cristofer

There isn’t a whole lot of new stuff to check out on Netflix this week, but Amazon Prime added a ton of great films ranging from classic horror comedies to cult favorite action flicks and from quiet family dramas to Certified Fresh children’s films . Check out the full list below.


New on Netflix

 

Raw (2016) 92%

This unusual horror/dark comedy/coming-of-age film centers on a lifelong vegetarian who discovers a taste for raw meat during her first year of veterinary school.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Sense and Sensibility (1995) 97%

Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet star in Ang Lee’s adaptation of the Jane Austen novel about the efforts of a widow and her daughters to deal with the sudden poverty brought about by the death of her husband.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Americans: Season 5 (2017) 94%

This slow-burning espionage series stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as married undercover KGB spies infiltrating the US at the height of the Cold War.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Ordinary People (1980) 89%

Robert Redford’s Best Picture-winning domestic drama stars Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, and Timothy Hutton in the moving story of a family coming apart at the seams.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Little Women (1994) 93%

Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon star in this adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott novel about four sisters growing up in New England just after the Civil War.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


An American Werewolf in London (1981) 88%

David Naughton and Griffin Dunne star in this classic horror comedy from John Landis, about an American college student who becomes a werewolf after a brutal attack on the English moors.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Saturday Night Fever (1977) 82%

– Director’s Cut

It’s got a killer soundtrack, a star-making performance from John Travolta, and a narrative that’s far grittier and sadder than decades of parodies would suggest. The director’s cut is now available to stream.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Megan Leavey (2017) 86%

Kate Mara stars in this inspirational true story about the bond between a Marine corporal and the K9 patrol dog she served two tours of duty with in Iraq.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Predestination (2014) 84%

Ethan Hawke and Sara Snook star in this mindbending sci-fi mystery about a time-traveling agent whose chance meeting with a stranger during the 1970s leads to revelations in his decade-spanning investigation.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


A River Runs Through It (1992) 80%

Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer star in Robert Redford’s quiet drama about the lives of two young brothers growing up in rural Montana.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


A Mighty Heart (2007) 79%

Angelina Jolie stars in Michael Winterbottom’s fact-based drama about the hardships endured by Mariane Pearl, the wife of journalist Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered by Al-Qaeda in 2002.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Charlotte's Web (2006) 78%

Julia Roberts and Steve Buscemi lend their voices to this live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s novel about a farm pig who, with the help of a friendly spider, convinces his owners he’s too unique to be slaughtered.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Philadelphia (1993) 81%

Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington star in Jonathan Demme’s timely drama about an attorney with AIDS who takes his own firm to court for wrongful termination after he suspects one of his colleagues discovered his condition and prompted his firing.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Surf's Up (2007) 79%

Shia LaBeouf and Jeff Bridges provide their voices for this animated mockumentary exploring the penguin surf scene in Antarctica.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


American Horror Story: Roanoke (2016) 74%

The sixth season of FX’s popular horror anthology series utilizes a mock true crime documentary format to tell the tale of a married couple who move into a rural North Carolina farmhouse and experience supernatural terror.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Romper Stomper (1992) 79%

A young Russell Crowe stars in this Australian drama about a gang of racist skinheads who clash with the growing Asian immigrant population.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Big Fish (2003) 76%

Tim Burton’s adaptation of Daniel Wallace’s novel tells the story of a father whose propensity for tall tales has driven a wedge between himself and his son.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Machinist (2004) 77%

Christian Bale stars in this psychological thriller about a factory worker with an acute case of insomnia who begins to suspect he might be losing his mind.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Italian Job (2003) 73%

Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg lead an ensemble cast in this remake of the 1969 caper about a team of thieves who are betrayed by one of their own and plan a revenge heist.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Professional (1994) 74%

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

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Coming to America (1988) 72%

Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall star in this comedy about an African prince who travels to the US and masquerades as a common immigrant in hopes of finding love.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on FandangoNOW

 

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) 94%

Andy Serkis returns as ape leader Caesar in the third installment of the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise, which finds the apes squaring off against a ruthless colonel bent on eradicating all threats to humans.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017) 80%

In a follow-up to his Oscar-winning 2006 documentary, Al Gore examines the progress made in the fight against global warming since the first film.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Wish Upon (2017) 19%

Joey King and Ryan Phillippe star in this horror film about a sad teen who’s gifted a special music box that gives her the ability to turn her deepest desires into reality.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


The Emoji Movie (2017) 6%

T.J. Miller and James Corden provide the voices for this animated film about an emoji unsure of his identity who embarks on a quest to be like everyone else.

Available now on: FandangoNOW

Just when you think awards season can’t get any awards-ier, here come two more sets of nominations!

First up, we have Film Independent’s Spirit Awards, which have earned the distinction of being granted a strike waiver from the Writers Guild of America. Rainn Wilson — otherwise known as Dwight Schrute on NBC’s The Office — will host and help write the ceremony, which airs on IFC February 23. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, this “raises the possibility that the informal Spirit ceremony, which takes place in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica, could upstage the 80th annual Academy Awards.” A partial list of the Spirit nominees follows, with Tomatometers in parentheses:

Best Feature:
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (95 percent)
I’m Not There (81 percent)
Juno (94 percent)
A Mighty Heart (77 percent)
Paranoid Park (62 percent)

Best Director:
Todd Haynes, I’m Not There (81 percent)
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages (89 percent)
Jason Reitman, Juno
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Gus Van Sant, Paranoid Park

Best Screenplay:
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages
Fred Parnes & Andrew Wagner, Starting Out in the Evening (82 percent)
Adrienne Shelly, Waitress (89 percent)
Mike White, Year of the Dog (70 percent)

Best Female Lead:
Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart
Sienna Miller, Interview (57 percent)
Ellen Page, Juno
Parker Posey, Broken English (63 percent)
Wei Tang, Lust, Caution (64 percent)

Best Supporting Female:
Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
Anna Kendrick, Rocket Science (85 percent)
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Margot at the Wedding (56 percent)
Tamara Podemski, Four Sheets to the Wind (100 percent)
Marisa Tomei, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (88 percent)

Best Male Lead:
Pedro Castaneda, August Evening
Don Cheadle, Talk to Me (81 percent)
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages
Tony Leung, Lust, Caution
Frank Langella, Starting Out in the Evening

Best Supporting Male:
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Talk to Me
Marcus Carl Franklin, I’m Not There
Kene Holliday, Great World of Sound (86 percent)
Irrfan Khan, The Namesake (85 percent)
Steve Zahn, Rescue Dawn (91 percent)

Best Cinematography:
Mott Hupfel, The Savages
Janusz Kaminski, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Milton Kam, Vanaja (81 percent)
Mihai Malaimare, Jr., Youth Without Youth (33 percent)
Rodrigo Prieto, Lust, Caution

Best Documentary:
Crazy Love (78 percent)
Lake of Fire (94 percent)
Manufactured Landscapes (83 percent)
The Monastery
The Prisoner Or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair (86 percent)

Best Foreign Film:
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (93 percent)
The Band’s Visit (100 percent)
Lady Chatterly (74 percent)
Once (98 percent)
Persepolis (97 percent)

Meanwhile, the nominees for the 14th annual SAG Awards — also granted a WGA waiver for its ceremony, set to take place January 27 at the Shrine Expo in Los Angeles — have been announced. Film nominees follow below, with Tomatometers in parentheses:

Male Actor in a Leading Role:
George Clooney, Michael Clayton (90 percent)
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood (93 percent)
Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl (78 percent)
Emile Hirsch, Into The Wild (82 percent)
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises (88 percent)

Female Actor in a Leading Role:
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age (34 percent)
Julie Christie, Away From Her (94 percent)
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose (74 percent)
Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart
Ellen Page, Juno

Male Actor in a Supporting Role:
Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (75 percent)
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men (95 percent)
Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild
Tommy Lee Jones, No Country for Old Men
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

Female Actor in a Supprting Role:
Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
Ruby Dee, American Gangster (79 percent)
Catherine Keener, Into the Wild
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone (93 percent)
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture:
3:10 to Yuma (87 percent): Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Dallas Roberts, Vinessa Shaw, Ben Foster, Alan Tudyk, Logan Lerman

American Gangster: Armand Assante, Josh Brolin, Russell Crowe, Ruby Dee, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Cuba Gooding Jr., Carla Gugino, John Hawkes, Ted Levine, Joe Morton, Lymari Nadal, John Ortiz, RZA, Yul Vasquez, Denzel Washington

Hairspray (92 percent): Nikki Blonsky, Amanda Bynes, Paul Dooley, Zac Efron, Allison Janney, Elijah Kelley, James Marsden, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, Brittany Snow, Jerry Stiller, John Travolta, Christopher Walken

Into the Wild: Brian Dierker, Marcia Gay Harden, Emile Hirsch, Hal Holbrook, William Hurt, Catherine Keener, Jena Malone, Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn

No Country for Old Men: Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Garrett Dillahunt, Tess Harper, Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Kelly MacDonald

Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture:
300 (60 percent)
The Bourne Ultimatum (93 percent)
I Am Legend (63 percent)
The Kingdom (52 percent)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (45 percent)

All the happy waiver vibes at the Spirits and SAGs stands in marked contrast to the budding panic surrounding the Golden Globes, where confusion over whether the ceremony will be attended by any stars — or whether it’ll even go on — is wreaking havoc on party planners’ year-end schedules.

As Variety reports, the growing consensus is that the ceremony won’t happen, but — in the words of an unnamed studio executive — “Nobody wants to be the first person to drop out.” From the article:

“Everyone is calling around trying to find out what everyone is doing,” one planner said.

“It’s all going to come down to: Can the Globes come up with a feasible plan that the talent is comfortable with and don’t have to cross a picket line?” another planner said. “And I don’t know what that is.”

Source: Spirit Awards
Source: Hollywood Reporter (Spirits waiver story)
Source: Hollywood Reporter (SAG Awards)
Source: Variety (Globes story)

The London Critics Circle has announced the nominees for its year-end awards, with Anton Corbijn‘s Control and Joe Wright‘s Atonement leading the pack at eight nominations apiece.

A full list of the nominees follows below, with Tomatometers in parentheses. Let the nitpicking begin!

FILM OF THE YEAR
No Country for Old Men (95 percent)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (75 percent)
There Will Be Blood (94 percent)
Zodiac (89 percent)
The Bourne Ultimatum (93 percent)

ATTENBOROUGH AWARD FOR BRITISH FILM OF THE YEAR
Once (98 percent)
Control (89 percent)
Atonement (85 percent)
Eastern Promises (88 percent)
This Is England (93 percent)

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

Florian Henckel von DonnersmarckThe Lives of Others (93 percent)
Paul Thomas AndersonThere Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan CoenNo Country for Old Men
David FincherZodiac
Cristian Mungui4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (96 percent)

BRITISH DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Anton Corbijn — Control
Paul GreengrassThe Bourne Ultimatum
Shane MeadowsThis Is England
Joe Wright — Atonement
Danny BoyleSunshine (75 percent)

ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Ulrich MuheThe Lives of Others
Casey AffleckThe Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
George ClooneyMichael Clayton (90 percent)
Tommy Lee JonesIn the Valley of Elah (69 percent)
Daniel Day-LewisThere Will Be Blood

ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Laura LinneyThe Savages (89 percent)
Marion CotillardLa Vie en rose (74 percent)
Maggie GyllenhaalSherrybaby (72 percent)
Angelina JolieA Mighty Heart (77 percent)
Anamaria Marinca4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days

BRITISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Sam RileyControl
James McAvoyAtonement
Christian Bale3:10 to Yuma (87 percent)
Jim BroadbentAnd When Did You Last See Your Father (81 percent)
Jonny Lee MillerThe Flying Scotsman (51 percent)

BRITISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Samantha MortonControl
Julie ChristieAway From Her (95 percent)
Keira KnightleyAtonement
Helena Bonham CarterSweeney Todd (92 percent)
Sienna MillerInterview (57 percent)

BRITISH ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Tom WilkinsonMichael Clayton
Toby JonesThe Painted Veil (75 percent)
Alfred MolinaThe Hoax (86 percent)
Tobey Kebell — Control
Albert FinneyBefore the Devil Knows You’re Dead (87 percent)

BRITISH ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Saoirse RonanAtonement
Imelda StauntonHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (77 percent)
Tilda SwintonMichael Clayton
Kelly MacdonaldNo Country for Old Men
Vanessa RedgraveAtonement

SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck — The Lives of Others
Joel and Ethan Coen — No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson — There Will Be Blood
Ronald HarwoodThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly (94 percent)
Christopher HamptonAtonement

BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH — ACTING
Saoirse Ronan — Atonement
Sam Riley — Control
Thomas TurgooseThis Is England
Benedict CumberbatchAmazing Grace (71 percent)
Dakota Blue RichardsThe Golden Compass

BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH — FILMMAKING
John Carney, writer and director — Once
Sarah Gavron, director — Brick Lane (68 percent)
Anton Corbijn, director — Control
Matt Greenhalgh, writer — Control
Stevan Riley, writer, director, producer — Blue Blood

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days
The Lives of Others
Letters From Iwo Jima (91 percent)
Tell No One (93 percent)

Source: Variety

The nominations for the 65th annual Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning. Did your favorite films, stars, and songs make the cut?

The nominees were read at the Beverly Hilton by a surreal panel consisting of Dane Cook, Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Reynolds, and Quentin Tarantino. The film nominations follow below, with Tomatometers in parentheses:

Picture, Drama:

American Gangster (79 percent)
Atonement (85 percent)
Eastern Promises (88 percent)
The Great Debaters
Michael Clayton (90 percent)
No Country for Old Men (95 percent)
There Will Be Blood (100 percent)

Actress, Drama:
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age (34 percent)
Julie Christie, Away From Her (95 percent)
Jodie Foster, The Brave One (45 percent)
Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart (77 percent)
Keira Knightley, Atonement

Actor, Drama:
George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
James McAvoy, Atonement
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Denzel Washington, American Gangster

Picture, Musical or Comedy:
Across the Universe (52 percent)
Charlie Wilson’s War (92 percent)
Hairspray (92 percent)
Juno (92 percent)
Sweeney Todd (92 percent)

Actress, Musical or Comedy:

Amy Adams, Enchanted (94 percent)
Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray
Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd
Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose (74 percent)
Ellen Page, Juno

Actor, Musical or Comedy:

Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl (78 percent)
Tom Hanks, Charlie Wilson’s War
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages (89 percent)
John C. Reilly, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Supporting Actress:
Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There (80 percent)
Julia Roberts, Charlie Wilson’s War
Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone (93 percent)
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Supporting Actor:
Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (75 percent)
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson’s War
John Travolta, Hairspray
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

Director:
Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (94 percent)
Ridley Scott, American Gangster
Joe Wright, Atonement

Screenplay:
Diablo Cody, Juno
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men
Christopher Hampton, Atonement
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Aaron Sorkin, Charlie Wilson’s War

Foreign Language:
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Romania (96 percent)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, France and U.S.
The Kite Runner, U.S. (65 percent)
Lust, Caution, Taiwan (64 percent)
Persepolis, France (100 percent)

Animated Film:
Bee Movie (52 percent)
Ratatouille (97 percent)
The Simpsons Movie (88 percent)

Original Score:
Michael Brook, Kaki King, Eddie Vedder, Into the Wild (82 percent)
Clint Eastwood, Grace Is Gone (70 percent)
Alberto Iglesias, The Kite Runner
Dario Marianelli, Atonement
Howard Shore, Eastern Promises

Original Song: Despedida from Love in the Time of Cholera (28 percent)
Grace Is Gone from Grace Is Gone
Guaranteed from Into the Wild
That’s How You Know from Enchanted

Walk Hard from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Source: Associated Press
Source: Golden Globes

The nominations for this year’s Spirit Awards are in — and Todd Haynes might want to clear some room on his mantle.

Variety reports that Haynes’ I’m Not There leads the pack with four nominations — earning nods for best film and director, as well as supporting nods for Cate Blanchett and Marcus Carl Franklin — and the festival’s inaugural Robert Altman Award. Also receiving four nominations apiece are Juno, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and The Savages, while A Mighty Heart, Rocket Science, and Lust, Caution each earned three.

I’m Not There, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, Juno, and A Mighty Heart will compete for best feature with Gus Van Sant‘s Paranoid Park, while Haynes, Van Sant, Tamara Jenkins, Jason Reitman, and Julian Schnabel are the nominees for best director.

The lead actresses honored by the nominating committee are Angelina Jolie, Tang Wei, Parker Posey, Sienna Miller, and Ellen Page; the actor’s list consists of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Pedro Castaneda, Don Cheadle, Frank Langella, and Tony Leung.

For the complete list of nominees, click on the link below!

Source: Variety

The folks at Paramount Vantage are wearing their Oscar contender hopes on their sleeves, posting the scripts for four of their strongest 2007 films online for public consumption.

If you want to read screenplays for A Mighty Heart, Into the Wild, Margot at the Wedding, and The Kite Runner, you can download the pdf files here, direct from the studio. A fifth film, Paul Thomas Anderson‘s highly anticipated opus There Will Be Blood, is also offered up “for consideration,” although the studio has apparently since taken down the film’s script after web-savvy readers like Movie City News‘ Ray Pride figured out how to access it.


Patience, friends. There Will Be Blood is coming soon!

Of course, the site is ostensibly for voting members of Hollywood’s professional guilds, so don’t think it’ll be a breeze to RSVP for any of the special screenings listed. But even us non-Guild folks should enjoy thumbing through the assorted goodies posted for our viewing/listening pleasure. Hear snippets of the Kite Runner score, listen to all of Eddie Vedder’s Into the Wild songs, and read Noah Baumbach‘s Margot at the Wedding script. (We were delighted to notice on the Mighty Heart page that Paramount Vantage is pushing Archie Panjabi for Best Supporting Actress.)

The one “Huh?” hesitation we have with these campaigns is with that for Margot at the Wedding. Didn’t this film completely bomb with the festival crowd? At 29 percent on the Tomatometer, it’s got abysmally low reviews for an awards contender — then again, so did last year’s Running With Scissors (28 percent), for which Annette Bening nabbed an Golden Globe nomination. Baumbach raised expectations with his Oscar-nominated script for The Squid and the Whale two years ago, but by most indications few critics could get past Margot‘s wholly unlikeable characters long enough to even think about any other awards-worthy elements.

Meanwhile, neither The Kite Runner nor There Will Be Blood have even opened yet (both will start limited Oscar runs this December) so even small tidbits are enticing for those eagerly anticipating these films. We’re staying tuned for updates, especially when Paramount Vantage posts Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood’s score to There Will Be Blood!

Click here to head over to the Paramount Vantage “For Your Consideration” site.

It’s a blockbuster week for DVD watchers, as two highly anticipated titles — a little robot action here (Transformers), a little zombie plague there (Planet Terror) — come a’calling. Thankfully for you more reserved types, we’ve also got some more serious (and critically endorsed) fare, whether it’s based-on-real-life sorrow (A Mighty Heart), trickery (The Hoax), or unexplainable attraction (Crazy Love) you’re after.



Transformers


Tomatometer: 57%

Michael Bay‘s high-octane saga of alien robot races warring on Earth blasted audiences away last summer and in IMAX, and the DVD release follows suit this week with a wealth of buying options. If you want two specially-made exclusive figurines with your Transformers, go to Best Buy. For a tin collectible case and an animated prequel film, hit up Wal-Mart. But if you ask us, the sweetest release comes courtesy of Target, which will exclusively offer a DVD case that transforms into OPTIMUS PRIME!! Pure marketing genius, we say. Oh yes, there are also behind-the-scenes featurettes and a commentary by Michael Bay. But the Target DVD case IS A TRANSFORMER!

 


Planet Terror


Tomatometer: N/A

Robert Rodriguez‘s half of the mis-marketed Grindhouse double feature comes this week to finish what Quentin Tarantino‘s Death Proof started back in September: namely, teasing fans with a longer version of the original flick and a few extra features while conspicuously omitting those fan-favorite fake trailers. For those, we’ll have to wait for the deluxe DVD. But, lest we encourage you to wait for that holy grail of Grindhouse fun, let us remind you that some Planet Terror is better than no Planet Terror, and watching the extended, gorier version of what some might argue was the better half of the double bill might just make your day. Features on the 2-disc release include commentary by Rodriguez, an Audience Reaction track, 10-Minute Film School with the director, and more.

 


A Mighty Heart


Tomatometer: 77%

This Certified Fresh dramatization of the real-life disappearance and murder of Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl is told through the eyes of Pearl’s widow, Marianne, whose memoirs serve the basis for the film. Director Michael Winterbottom‘s handheld camera captures deeply emotional performances by his cast, led by Angelina Jolie; the disc’s three special features (a making-of piece, a public service announcement by Christiane Amanpour, and a documentary about the Committee to Protect Journalists) remind us of the real-life circumstances of Pearl’s case and the dangers posed to embedded journalists reporting in highly volatile areas of the world.

 



The Hoax


Tomatometer: 86%

Richard Gere stars as Clifford Irving, a writer in the 1970s who had all of America convinced he’d written an authorized autobiography of infamous recluse Howard Hughes — until the book, for which he’d collected hundreds of thousands of dollars — was declared a fake. Critics lauded the film’s performances and direction, earning The Hoax a Certified Fresh distinction. The bonus menu is populated by the expected commentary tracks, but look especially for an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace, in which he recounts being duped himself by Irving’s charade.


Supplementary Selections for Your Cinematic Senses

Crazy Love
Tomatometer: 78%

A young Bronx beauty in 1959 tries to break off her affair with a married man, but he becomes dangerously obsessed and plots a horrible attack on her; when he is released from jail years later, she not only forgives her attacker, but marries him. The craziest part about Crazy Love? It’s not fiction. The real-life rocky relationship between Burt Pugach and Linda Riss was well-documented tabloid fodder in the 1960s, and now co-directors Dan Klores and Fisher Stevens have crafted a complex documentary about love, obsession, and forgiveness that is almost as hard to believe as it is to watch. As they say, that’s amore!

Lights in the Dusk
Tomatometer: 69%

Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismaki, a veritable master of deadpan humor, completes his “Loser trilogy” (which began with Drifting Clouds and the The Man Without a Past) with this slow but rewarding bleak comedy about a lonely watchman being set up by a blonde.




The Trials of Darryl Hunt

Tomatometer: 100%

Wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of a white woman, Darryl Hunt, an African-American man, spent nearly two decades in prison before being exonerated; his case and court battles are chronicled in this convincing documentary.




Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: The Complete Series

Tomatometer: N/A

Creator Aaron Sorkin crafted this seriocomic backstage serial, set behind the scenes of a fictional primetime sketch comedy show called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip; unfortunately, fans of the show were as fervent as they were few, and dwindling ratings led the way to cancellation after just one season. If you were among Studio 60‘s champions, make this 6-disc complete series collection a must.

Knowing is Half the Battle




The Reaping

Tomatometer: 7%

Critics found little to redeem the overwrought clichés of this Biblical plague pic, which couldn’t even be saved by a starring performance by Oscar-winner Hilary Swank.


The Invisible
Tomatometer: 20%

This teen ghost story about a dying kid solving his own murder while invisible to everyone around him proved too ludicrous, and yet too dull, for most critics to bear. Will you want to see it on DVD? (Get it? “See”? He’s invisible!)

Until next week, happy renting!


Ah, Edinburgh, a city known for contrast, vibrancy, comedy, castles and, for a couple of weeks in August, a little congestion. You see, the Edinburgh International Film Festival competes with the infamous Fringe comedy festival, as well as half a dozen other festivals, and no-doubt a couple of weddings and a stag do. Hotel rooms are as scarce as A-listers from the film and comedy world are abundant and restaurants are practicing their, “I’m sorry sir, you should have booked in February,” routine.

Edinburgh Castle

The festival has, in the past, played home to the world premiere of Serenity and the European first-show for Clerks II. Its programme is open to the public, and provides a wide variety of home-grown, European, American and international cinema. This festival sees two of the freshest movies of the year from the US play to UK audiences for the first time – Knocked Up and Ratatouille and they’re joined by the indie likes of Hallam Foe and French warbler Les Chansons d’Amour.

In short, there’s something for everyone of every age, gender and nationality, and it’s probably one of the most relaxed and, in turn, exciting festivals on the calendar. It’s also a good place to start or join in that ever-exciting early awards buzz, and with that in mind we thought it’d be a good idea to let you know what we and the critics think of the films on display so you can add them to your wish-list.

So without further ado we present, in no particular order, our fifteen favourites of the festival. We’ve gathered quotes from the Tomatometer and our critic friends too to spotlight the cream of the cinematic crop as chosen by our international pool of critics and ourselves respectively.

THE BEST OF BRITISH
Five films that represent the best the UK has to offer at the Edinburgh Film Festival – whether produced in the UK, directed by British talent or starring British actors.

Hallam Foe – dir. David Mackenzie

Hallam Foe

You may remember director David Mackenzie‘s previous films, Young Adam and Asylum, with respective Tomatometers favouring fresh and rotten. In the eyes of the critics we’ve spoken to, and this dashing RT-UK editor, Hallam Foe looks set to do away with any doubts and land firmly as one of the year’s freshest.

Being the tale of a rather strange teenager, the titular Hallam, who escapes a devilish stepmother for the lofty heights of Edinburgh and falls in love with a woman who’s the spitting image of his mother, the oedipal tale is at turns hilarious and heart-rending. As is Mackenzie’s wont, it’s about real people with unique lives and as a coming-of-age drama there is none finer. Its depiction of this festival’s host city, Edinburgh, isn’t troubled by big-screen sheen – this is the real Edinburgh, and it’s beautiful.

Bell and Myles are outstanding, and Claire Forlani reaches a level of wicked sadism that only Claire Forlani could accomplish and still have you falling madly in love with her. It’s quirky, but not so quirky that it becomes ridiculous, and it’s probably one of the finest films you’ll see this year.

“Affirms the raw talents of both David Mackenzie and Jamie Bell (who’s come a long way since Billy Elliot).”
Rich Cline, SHADOWS ON THE WALL

“An intriguing rites-of-passage story with a delirious, skewed perspective and an almost palpable sexual pulse.”
Damon Wise, EMPIRE MAGAZINE

Stardust – dir. Matthew Vaughn

Stardust

We first experienced a sprinkle of Stardust courtesy of director Matthew Vaughn‘s invitation to the edit suite and while we loved what we saw we were curious to see if the film could maintain the pitch of the footage for its entire runtime. Having taken two trips to see the unfinished version, we’d say we’re fairly enthusiastic about the results.

Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman (to settle the argument before it starts, it began life as an illustrated novel before being published without the illustrations), Stardust follows young Tristan Thorn (newcomer Charlie Cox) as he journeys across “the wall” into a magical land in quest of a falling star to retrieve for the beautiful Victoria (Sienna Miller) in exchange for her hand in marriage. When he discovers the star is actually a young woman (Claire Danes), they begin a quest back home and, along the way, are pursued by a handsome prince (Mark Strong), a wicked witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) and a devilish pirate (Robert De Niro), all of whom have their own designs on the star.

And if that cast list isn’t enough to woo you, pray silence as we barrage you with Peter O’Toole, Ian McKellen, Mark Williams, Ricky Gervais, David Walliams and Rupert Everett.

And we have a Princess Bride fan in the office who’s convinced he’s found a movie to rival his classic. You can start queuing now.

“With its heart worn proudly on its sleeve, it’s one of the best date movies of the year, a compatibility litmus test for starry-eyed romantics.”
Kevin Crust, LOS ANGELES TIMES

“The antic spirit of The Princess Bride looms large over Stardust, creatively adapted from Neil Gaiman’s much more sober 1998 graphic novel. That’s probably a good call.”
Joshua Rothkopf, TIME OUT NEW YORK

WAZ – dir. Tom Shankland

Waz

On paper WAZ (the A is actually a Delta symbol so it’s pronounced Was or W-Delta-Z depending on the mood you’re in) looks like every other torture porn movie cluttering cinemas at the moment. But to lump it in with Saw and Hostel would be to do it a disservice, because this debut feature from director Tom Shankland is much more inventive.

Detective Eddie Argo and his new partner, Helen Westcott, begin investigating a series of grisly murders with one thing in common; a mathematical equation has been carved into each of the victims. When they learn that the equation – the WAZ of the title is a part of it – is designed to test altruism, and that the victims are being offed in pairs, forced to kill each other to “save” themselves, the case turns even nastier, and as Westcott gets to know her new precinct she’s seeing things that don’t add up in the police department’s handling of previous cases.

Set in New York but filmed, predominantly, in Belfast, with a cast that includes a Swede, an Australian and a Brit, the accents are a touch on the unpredictable side, but stirring performances from Stellan Skarsgard, Melissa George, Ashley Walters and Selma Blair make you forget those troubles, and the film creates a visually arresting universe and ramping tension that keep you glued to the screen.

“Director Tom Shankland launches himself into the industry with a fierce sense of style and energy to spare.”
Rich Cline, SHADOWS ON THE WALL

WAZ distastefully delivers.”
Derek Elley, VARIETY

Sugarhouse – dir. Gary Love

Sugarhouse

Lest you think we have a thing for Ashley Walters, it’s worth pointing out that Sugarhouse and WAZ mark genuinely impressive turns by the young actor following his stunning breakthrough in Bullet Boy. We’d make some sort of So Solid Career pun but that’d be annoying.

Sugarhouse, another debut film this time from director Gary Love, is a smarter kind of Brit gangster flick. Walters is crackhead D who is looking to sell a gun to Steven Mackintosh’s city worker. D’s motives are money, his client’s are revenge. But there’s a third in the form of Andy Serkis as this year’s most terrifying baddie, Hoodwink. The gun’s his and he’s damn sure not going to let D sell it on.

Based on a play, Sugarhouse is decidedly intimate, most of the action collected around D’s crack den, and its sense of realism – lacking in the works of Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn – is refreshing. It’s not about effing and blinding, it’s about the seedier side of life.

“Despite thin caricatures and dodgy dialogue, this still stands out on the street.”
Kat Brown, EMPIRE MAGAZINE

“Andy Serkis delivers a performance that makes his turn as King Kong look like Johnny Vegas’s knitted monkey sidekick.”
Stella Papamichael, BBC

Control – dir. Anton Corbijn

Control

Starring Sam Riley, Samantha Morton, Craig Parkinson and Alexandra Maria Lara

Anton Corbijn‘s Control captivated audiences upon its Cannes debut earlier this year, and with good reason; the biopic of Joy Division’s late lead singer, Ian Curtis, delivers a somber but beautiful glimpse into the life of the tortured musician that should enrich fans of the Manchester band and move the uninitiated in comparable measure.

Shot in gorgeously stark black and white monochrome, Control follows Curtis (Sam Riley), a sensitive working-class daydreamer in 1970s England, as he falls into the role of lead singer for a local band. That band, of course, soon becomes post-punk legend Joy Division; the lads sign a record deal, go on tour, and get big. But life gets in the way of fame for Curtis, and the demands of his budding fame – a young wife (Samantha Morton) and child, and a new girlfriend (Alexandra Maria Lara) on the side – paired with recurring epileptic seizures that render him helpless sometimes mid-concert, become too much for him to juggle.

With its pulsating score (all songs performed, and well, by the actors themselves) and a transcendent central performance by Curtis doppelganger Riley, Control paints a sensitive portrait of a tragic artist whose legacy lived on for decades after his untimely death at the age of 23.

“Corbijn has done his research during 30 years as a photographer, striking a realistic balance between farce and tragedy.”
Stephen Dalton, THE TIMES

“Somber, sad and compelling.”
Russell Edwards, VARIETY

THE BEST OF THE US
We cross the Atlantic (figuratively) to take a look at the five top films playing in Edinburgh from the US of A.

In the Shadow of the Moon – dir. David Sington

In the Shadow of the Moon

Featuring Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Michael Collins and Jim Lovell

Theory: There’s nothing more exciting than listening to the former astronauts for the Apollo missions tell their tales of visiting the lunar surface. Except perhaps being one of them. Yes, David Sington‘s In the Shadow of the Moon is a little heavy on the America-the-Great, but it’s also one of the best documentaries of the year; a fascinating portrait of men so brave that most regular Joes couldn’t possible comprehend their journey.

And, to its credit, it allows them to get on with it – there’s no narrator – we’re just shown fascinating footage from the moon’s surface, from the launch pad, from the shuttle, and in between these men tell us their story.

For the real space-junkies, there’s doubtless little in here to learn, but for the rest of us the film is full of fascinating factoids and, like the best movies set in space – fictional or not – it’ll leave you feeling smaller than the smallest needle in the biggest haystack.

“The excitement, majesty and extraordinary human accomplishment of the American lunar program of the ’60s and early ’70s is rousingly captured in In the Shadow of the Moon.”
Todd McCarthy, VARIETY

“This exquisite documentary about the Apollo program takes the magic of moon flight and miraculously makes it downright down-to-Earth.”
Frank Lovece, FILM JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL

Ratatouille – dir. Brad Bird

Ratatouille

Starring Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano and Peter O’Toole

Films about rats, it seems, don’t tend to go down well with the squeamish movie-going public. That’s just about the only way to explain the poorer-than-expected box office returns for the gem that is Ratatouille. Of course, we’re not talking bomb here – it’s currently sitting at around $300m so they won’t be remortgaging – but it’s a surprise considering it’s one of Pixar’s finest movies in a crop of fine movies.

The project, about a gastronomic rat named Remy who finds himself the sous-sous-chef at a posh restaurant, has a troubled history; original director Jan Pinkava was replaced by Brad Bird with barely a year of the seven-year development time left on the clock. Pinkava left Pixar and has “no comment” on the whole affair, but given last year’s troubled Cars the tabloid tales have knocked a little of the sheen from Pixar.

Fortunately the film – credit to Bird and Pinkava – is astonishing and more than settles any doubts about the affair affecting the movie. As is traditional with Pixar, the actors are chosen because they’re right for their characters and the film’s visuals shame every other CG movie released this year. Bring on Wall-E.

“Displaying the usual meticulousness associated with the Pixar brand, Ratatouille is a nearly flawless piece of popular art.”
A.O. Scott, NEW YORK TIMES

“A film as rich as a sauce béarnaise, as refreshing as a raspberry sorbet, and a lot less predictable than the damn food metaphors and adjectives all us critics will churn out to describe it. OK, one more and then I’ll be done: it’s yummy.”
David Ansen, NEWSWEEK

Death Proof – dir. Quentin Tarantino

Death Proof

Caught up in this year’s Grindhouse scandal – Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez made two back-to-back flicks to be put out as one and then no-one in America went to see them – Death Proof is the Weinstein Company’s first attempt at recouping some of the expense internationally. It’s Tarantino’s half, which means lots of talking, lots of references to classic pop-culture, and plenty of hot women with well-manicured feet.

The film follows Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) as he crosses country to do damage to a bevy of beauties in his “death proof” car – he can crash it at any speed and live to tell the tale. So we first meet Jungle Julia (Sydney Poitier) and her posse (Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd and, notsomuch, Rose McGowan) before the film shifts state and introduces us to stuntgirls Tracie Thoms and Zoe Bell (who was Uma’s stunt-double on Kill Bill and their friends Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rosario Dawson.

But it’s not so much about the story or the characters as it is about the Tarantino dialogue, the homages to seventies B-movies and the fake film grain added to make it look like the print has been kicked around a bit. One segment is even in black-and-white suggesting it’s not even a complete print and the missing reel has been substituted with one from a black-and-white version of the film.

Death Proof, the standalone, replaces a title card pointing to a missing reel in the Grindhouse version with the full version, a seedy lap dance from Ferlito. And it’s steamy-hot but, of course, all the good frames have been ripped out – presumably stolen by projectionists as the print gathered dust. It’s all a very heart-warming reference to classic B cinema.

As a standalone, Death Proof is far more satisfying than it is as part of Grindhouse, though a scene with Michael Parks, while far too good to cut out, doesn’t working without the audience having seen Planet Terror. The irony is that, because Planet Terror builds to a crescendo ending and is followed by a film that takes a while to get going, Death Proof should have been the first part of Grindhouse and Planet Terror should have been the first to be released independently. Still, forgive the Weinstein mistakes and be sure you see Death Proof, even if you’re one of the lucky ones to have already seen Grindhouse.

“All the nutrition of a narcotic compound.”
James Rocchi, CINEMATICAL

“A beautiful piece of Americana. Stupid, and brilliant.”
– Alistair McKay, SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY

Knocked Up – dir. Judd Apatow

Knocked Up

There’s a reason this comedy – usually a tough genre with the critics – is currently sitting in the nineties on the Tomatometer; it’s genuinely that good. From The 40-Year-Old Virgin helmer Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen stars as a man whose one-night-stand turns into a twenty-year commitment when his beau, Katherine Heigl, turns up pregnant. Oops.

Perhaps the buzziest film of the year – an R-rated trailer first circulated virally ages ago – it’s a laugh-a-minute romp through hysterically inappropriate gags with Rogen chewing the scenery at every opportunity, and fantastic supporting performances from Paul Rudd and Alan Tudyk.

Keep an eye out for Jonah Hill – you’re about to hear his name a lot when Superbad hits cinemas – and be sure to bring the girlfriend. Knocked Up‘s real success is that it appeals to every demographic, with just the right mix of cheap laughs and heartfelt drama that both sexes will fall in love with it, and it’s loveable “hero”.

“A refreshingly frank, funny odd-couple comedy with engaging leads and too many belly laughs to count.”
Tom Charity, CNN.COM

“Apatow’s gleefully raunchy movies are, in an odd and charming way, extremely family-friendly.”
Joe Leydon, VARIETY

Paranoid Park – dir. Gus van Sant

Paranoid Park

Starring Gabe Nevins, Taylor Momsen, Daniel Liu and Dillon Hines

Gus van Sant is fascinated with adolescence, and his fascination has thrown out some deeply meditative films in the last few years. From his Cannes triumph Elephant, through Last Days and now Paranoid Park, van Sant’s stoic trilogy is a labour of love that seems to shun convention at every turn.

While Last Days, ostensibly a biopic of the final hours of Kurt Cobain, and Elephant, about high-school serial killers, have courted controversy, Paranoid Park plays things decidedly safer, adapting Blake Nelson’s novel about a skater boy who accidentally kills a security guard while venturing out-of-bounds on Portland’s rail network.

And because it’s safer it’s also probably his most accessible of the three – Elephant and Last Days did little until their powerful endings while Paranoid Park first introduces us to Alex (played by newcomer Gave Nevins) before exploring how the accident affects his life.

The film looks beautiful and is rather unconventionally shot in the square 4:3 aspect ratio, while 8mm cutaways punctuate the film gracefully. It’s a testament to van Sant’s ability that he can say so much by doing so little; you could collect the film’s dialogue on a postage stamp.

“Van Sant has composed an emotional mosaic that brings you inside Alex.”
Kirk Honeycutt, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Bears some similarities with Elephant. A similarly photogenic teen milieu is shot with fluid, graceful camerawork; a non-linear structure slots together like a puzzle to reveal the panicked mindset of a boy under agreat deal of stress.”
Wendy Ide, THE TIMES

THE BEST OF THE REST
Of course, Edinburgh is about more than British and American movies – here we take a look at some top titles from the rest of the world, as well as a few British and American flicks that we couldn’t quite squeeze into the first two categories.

Day Watch – dir. Timur Bekmambetov

Day Watch

Starring Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Aleksei Chadov and Dima Martynov

Timur Bekmambetov‘s follow-up to his masterful Night Watch – a film which came out of left field from Russia and gave Hollywood a run for its money – is possibly even less accessible than its predecessor. Day Watch cuts straight into the universe, grabbing its audience by the lapels and forcing us to remind ourselves of the story so far.

It’s also decidedly more heartfelt than Night Watch; Khabensky’s Anton wrestling with a son who’s deserted him for the Day Watch and his responsibilities to his unit. The line Anton walks is blurrier than anything to come out of the big American studios, and it’s refreshing to see a little ambiguity.

Jeannette Catsoulis says it best in the New York Times. Day Watch “dazzles and confuses with equal determination.”

“Spectaculars don’t come much more bombastic than this goth-Russian supernatural epic.”
Colin Covert, MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

“The filmmakers destroy Moscow with the same glee that Godzilla has in stomping Tokyo. Even though Day Watch is probably a good 20 minutes too long, it’s easy to forgive its excesses because Bekmambetov just seems to be having so much fun.”
Beth Accomando, KPBS.ORG

A Mighty Heart – dir. Michael Winterbottom

A Mighty Heart

When A Mighty Heart was first announced the reaction seemed to be shock – Angelina Jolie as a black woman? But it’s the story here that has the power, and her fine performance ensures nothing else matters.

Still, it’s an odd project to see Michael Winterbottom direct. Considering he’s recently crafted films as varied as Road to Guantanamo, A Cock and Bull Story and, erm, 9 Songs we should be long past the point of surprise when it comes to the projects he works on, and yet who could have foreseen him direct Angelina Jolie in a film produced by Brad Pitt?

Nevertheless, it wowed critics in Cannes and sent doubters – both from camps Jolie-isn’t-black and Winterbottom-doesn’t-do-Jolie – running. It’s a Winterbottom film through-and-through and the smart turns of the supporting cast – including Dan Futterman and Irfan Khan – make an impressive film even more impressive.

“The director’s rapid-fire and choppy editing gives you a genuine feel for the many different sides of Karachi, and the urgency of the investigation.”
James Christopher, THE TIMES

“What is best about A Mighty Heart is that it doesn’t reduce the Daniel Pearl story to a plot, but elevates it to a tragedy.”
Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

Weirdsville – dir. Allan Moyle

Weirdsville

Allan Moyle‘s Weirdsville imagines a scenario that defines the term, “bad day.” When Royce and Dexter find the latter’s dead girlfriend following an overdose, it’s a simple trip to a seedy basement to bury the evidence. Only a group of satan-worshipping ne’er-do-wells happen to be doing their own ill deeds at the same time. And when the girlfriend can’t stay dead it seems like nothing is going to go their way.

What follows is nothing short of riotous as the pair of hapless losers beg, steal and borrow their way to morning. Moyle, whose last big hit was 1995’s Empire Records serves up a devilishly intriguing black comedy that keeps you on tenterhooks ’til the end. Weirdsville may well be another cult classic in the making.

Wes Bentley and Scott Speedman are brilliant as Royce and Dexter, while support from some cultists, a dead girlfriend, a bunch of drug dealers and a midget security guard keep them on their toes throughout.

“A cleverly constructed, capably crafted and often uproarious shaggy-dog black comedy.”
Joe Leydon, VARIETY

“So much gonzo enthusiasm that it’s impossible not to enjoy watching these crazed characters bounce off of each other.”
Rich Cline, SHADOWS ON THE WALL

Two Days in Paris – dir. Julie Delpy

Two Days in Paris

It’s rather fitting that actress Julie Delpy’s feature film debut would be Two Days in Paris. You can imagine the financiers meetings as she explained that it was about a couple, a French girl and an American boy, and their brief stay in the City of Love. The dollar signs in their eyes are as clear as day.

And it’s with a brilliantly witty sense of irony that we behold the end result. If Before Sunset is one of the most romantic movies ever set in the French capital, its female lead has gone on to deliver one of the most unromantic. The culture clash is the source of much comedy between Delpy and the brilliantly on-form Adam Goldberg, but if Sunset is about how communication can reignite a relationship, Days is about how misreading it can be disastrous.

It’s not very often a journalist will imply that watching a film is like witnessing a car crash powerless to do anything and mean that as a compliment, but in this case it’s definitely fitting. Two Days in Paris marks Delpy as a director to watch and its sharp wit will leave it resonating with anyone who’s ever found even the slightest fault in their partner.

“Julie Delpy’s and Adam Goldberg’s performances are so assured and spontaneous that they don’t even seem to be acting.”
Stephen Holden, NEW YORK TIMES

“[Delpy has] created two original, quirky characters so obsessed with their differences that Paris is almost a distraction. I don’t think I heard a single accordion in the whole film.”
Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

Rocket Science – dir. Jeffrey Blitz

Rocket Science

Jeffrey Blitz first examined kids under the stress of hormones and intellectual competition in documentary form with Spellbound. With Rocket Science he this time spins a fictional yarn, but it nevertheless still manages to capture the real emotional minefield that is adolescence.

Hal Heffner’s stutter is incurable by any therapist-recommended treatment, but when he meets Ginny Ryerson and she introduces him to the world of high school debating, he finds a project to immerse himself in; one that, he’s sure, will rid him of his impediment. But when Ginny starts playing truant from their meetings and the stress of his parents’ divorce begins to take its toll he wanders whether getting even is preferable to getting mad. Enlisting the help of former debating champion Ben Wekselbaum, he becomes determined to beat his former tutor at her own game.

Reece Thompson’s nuanced performance as Hal betrays a talent beyond his age and Anna Kendrick’s Ginny is as beguiling as she is infuriating. It’s these two key performances that cement the emotional core of a film that succeeds through subtlety without ever having to hold back from its comedy. It’s certainly not the first quirky American indie to release, and its quirk threatens to alienate audiences who believe they’re tired of that sort of thing. Rocket Science matches its quirk with real emotional truth and that’s enough to separate it from the herd.

“It may gross as little as Welcome to the Dollhouse or as much as Clueless, but whichever it does, it’s in the same league.”
Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

“A fiercely personal and yet engaging–and often outright hysterical–look into a young man on the brink of adulthood.”
Rich Cline, SHADOWS ON THE WALL

Check the website for more details about the festival and use the links below to find out more about the movies, directors and stars referenced within!

Steve Carell took over the number one spot this weekend with his new comedy "Evan Almighty," but it failed to generate the flood of business needed to recoup its mammoth production cost.

The John Cusack thriller "1408" debuted to strong results while "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" fell sharply in its second mission. Weekend sales were too close to call for the two which were separated by only $25,000 according to estimates. Overall, the North American box office posted solid, but not spectacular results for this time of year.

Audiences lined up two by two for "Evan Almighty" which captured the top spot this weekend with an estimated $32.1M. The PG-rated sequel bowed to less than half of the $68M Friday-to-Sunday debut of its 2003 predecessor "Bruce Almighty" while costing more than twice as much. Playing in 3,604 locations, "Evan" averaged a solid $8,910 per ark. Morgan Freeman returned to play God and director Tom Shadyac was also back behind the camera, but Jim Carrey did not take part again. Universal spent a reported $175M producing its big summer comedy offering which was aimed at family audiences with its storyline involving animals and its PG rating. Reviews were mostly negative.

Thanks to a heavy special effects budget and a production that went behind schedule but still needed to be completed in time for its set release date, "Evan Almighty" turned into one of the priciest comedies in history reaching a budget common usually only seen for high-profile action sequels. The film will need good legs, a strong international run, and hefty video sales in order to break even. According to studio research, 52% of the audience was over the age of 25, 45% consisted of families, and moviegoers polled by CinemaScore gave the pic an encouraging A- grade. However, the film scored a weaker B average grade from over 2,000 votes on Yahoo Movies.

It was still a milestone weekend for struggling Universal Pictures which has released a number of turkeys over the past year. The studio scored its first number one opener since last August’s "Miami Vice" and its first $100M grosser since last June’s "The Break-Up" with Knocked Up.

Opening surprisingly well in second place was the psychological thriller "1408" with an estimated $20.2M for MGM and The Weinstein Co. The John Cusack hit averaged a frighteningly strong $7,534 from 2,678 theaters. Rated PG-13, 1408 tells of a writer who checks into a haunted hotel room that dozens of others have died in. Samuel L. Jackson co-stars in the film which is based on a Stephen King short story. With so many horror films, even from proven franchises, failing at the box office in recent months, "1408" energized audiences and delivered a solid opening. It was the second biggest debut of the year for a fright flick behind the $22.2M bow of "Disturbia," another PG-13 psychological thriller set mostly indoors.

In a virtual tie for second place was last weekend’s winner "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" which tumbled 65% in its sophomore frame to an estimated $20.2M as well. Fox’s super hero sequel suffered a big blow, but it wasn’t a total surprise considering the 59% second-weekend drop of the first "Fantastic" pic and the fact that sequels often erode quicker. "Silver Surfer" has captured $97.6M in ten days and seems on a course to finish with $135-140M which would be slightly behind the $154.7M of its predecessor.

"Ocean’s Thirteen" ranked fourth with an estimated $11.4M in its third caper, off just 43%, giving Warner Bros. a healthy $91M to date. The George ClooneyBrad Pitt heist pic is running 5% behind the pace of 2001’s "Ocean’s Eleven" at the same point in its run but 5% ahead of 2004’s "Ocean’s Twelve." "Thirteen" looks headed for the $125M mark in North America. Overseas, the new chapter grossed an estimated $21.3M from 49 markets to raise the international tally to a cool $100M and the global gross to $191M.

For the second straight weekend, Universal’s sleeper hit "Knocked Up" dipped by less than 30% and remained in double digit millions. The Judd Apatow-directed smash grossed an estimated $10.6M, off only 24%, and pushed its cume to $109M joining the century club on Friday in its 22nd day of release. "Knocked Up" continues to show the same great legs that made fellow R-rated summer comedies like "Wedding Crashers" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" such big hits two summers ago. A final tally of $140-150M might result.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" followed in sixth with an estimated $7.2M, down 42%, boosting the cume to $287M. The Johnny Depp high seas adventure rose to number 29 on the all-time domestic blockbusters list after 2005’s "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" which grossed $290M. A final North American tally of around $305M seems likely for the expensive Buena Vista sequel. Overseas, "At World’s End" collected an estimated $20.4M pushing the international tally to $584.6M and the worldwide haul to a jaw-dropping $871.6M. Captain Jack will swing past "Spider-Man 3"’s roughly $880M global haul by the end of the week on its way to possibly $950M. The two juggernauts have combined for a towering $1.75 billion in worldwide box office so far.

Sony’s animated comedy "Surf’s Up" held up well despite the arrival of Evan and grossed an estimated $6.7M dipping only 28%. The penguin pic has captured $47.3M to date. Rival toon "Shrek the Third" followed with an estimated $5.8M, off 36%, for a $307.9M total. That put the latest ogre tale at number 22 on the all-time domestic list passing "Independence Day" which grossed $306.2M in 1996 when ticket prices were much lower.. Look for Donkey and his pals to finish with roughly $330M from North America. Warner Bros. placed ninth with "Nancy Drew" which fell 34% to an estimated $4.5M giving the sleuth pic $16.2M in ten days.

Opening in tenth place was Angelina Jolie’s "A Mighty Heart" with an estimated $4M from 1,355 theaters for a mild $2,956 average. The Paramount Vantage release earned strong reviews and has sparked Oscar buzz for Jolie’s performance as Mariane Pearl, widow of the slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The R-rated film skewed to an audience of mature women with studio research showing that over 60% of the crowd was female and more than 60% was over 30.

Lionsgate saw sensational results for the new Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" which platformed in only one Manhattan theater but still grossed an estimated $70,000 over the weekend. The distributor will open the PG-13 look at the U.S. health care system on Friday across the country. "Sicko"’s average was especially notable since it only occupied one screen at its theater. Often, when specialty films platform to such astonishing averages, they play in two or three screens within the same theater.

Three very different films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. MGM’s Kevin Costner thriller "Mr. Brooks" fell 47% to an estimated $1.5M for a cume to date of $26.6M. A $30M final seems likely. "Hostel Part II" grossed an estimated $1M, down 67%, for a $17M total. The torture sequel should end with about $18M which would be a 62% fall from the $47.4M of the first "Hostel" flick.

Also dropping down was the year’s biggest blockbuster "Spider-Man 3." After seven weeks in the top ten, the webslinger tale declined by 48% to an estimated $1.3M and boosted its incredible cume to $332.5M. Sony now finds itself at number 15 on the all-time domestic chart behind "Finding Nemo" which gobbled up $339.7M four years ago. "Spider-Man 3" should finish in the friendly neighborhood of $337M making it the lowest-grossing installment of the series in North America. However, its international tally of more than $545M already makes it the biggest "Spidey" overseas and the combined global gross of about $880M makes it the biggest Peter Parker pic ever worldwide. The first two "Spider-Man" films grossed $822M and $784M respectively and while the third chapter lost audience members domestically, it more than made up for it with gains internationally.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $122.6M which was down 2% from last year when "Click" opened at number one with $40M; but up 8% from 2005 when "Batman Begins" remained in the top spot with $27.6M in its second weekend.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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