(Photo by Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)
All Jim Carrey Movies Ranked by Tomatometer
Earth Girls Are Easy sounds like one of those debased projects that occur either at the beginning of a career, out of naivete, or at the end of one, out of desperation. But we doubt Jim Carrey looks back on the 1988 comedy with embarassment, and probably not his co-stars Jeff Goldblum, Damon Wayans, and Geena Davis either. It’s silly, it’s Fresh, and it helped Carrey land In Living Color. And that show helped make the man who would talk out of his ass on the big screen, to the delight of millions. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective made over $100 million, and that was the lowest-grossing of Carrey’s comedies that year, behind Dumb & Dumber and The Mask.
After that breakout in 1994, Carrey was locked and loaded to be the manic centerpiece of 1995’s summer blockbuster event: Playing the Riddler in Batman Forever. The comic book caper was the highest-grossing movie of the year… the same couldn’t be said about 1996’s The Cable Guy, Carrey’s first box office bomb. Fret not: He sprung back in 1997 with Liar Liar, and The Truman Show in 1998.
Part of Carrey’s early enduring quality was a subtle sensitivity hiding beneath the flailing limbs and facial contortions, and the sudden pathos that could erupt from his oddball characters. Carrey began displaying this knack for drama more nakedly in serious projects like Man on the Moon, where he transformed into his comedy idol Andy Kaufman, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the most memorably melancholic romance of recent decades. Of course, Carrey continued to crowd-please with slapstick like Fun With Dick and Jane, Bruce Almighty, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Yes Man.
After a quiet decade pursuing personal hobbies and middling movie work, Carrey spin-dashed into the 2020s with Sonic the Hedgehog, playing iconic villain Dr. Robotnik (see where it landed on the video game movies list). Today, though, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Cable Guy, which rebounded from its lowly box office performance to become a cult classic. See where it ranks in his filmography as we rank Jim Carrey movies by Tomatometer!
Critics Consensus: Jim Carrey's twitchy antics and gross-out humor are on full, bombastic display in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which is great news for fans of his particular brand of comedy but likely unsatisfying for anyone else.
Synopsis: When the dolphin mascot of Miami's NFL team is abducted, Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey), a zany private investigator who specializes... [More]
Critics Consensus: Fittingly fleet and frequently fun, Sonic the Hedgehog is a video game-inspired adventure the whole family can enjoy -- and a fine excuse for Jim Carrey to tap into the manic energy that launched his career.
Synopsis: The world needed a hero -- it got a hedgehog. Powered with incredible speed, Sonic embraces his new home on... [More]
Critics Consensus: Although it softens the nasty edges of its source material, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a gothic visual treat, and it features a hilariously manic turn from Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf.
Synopsis: After the three young Baudelaire siblings are left orphaned by a fire in their mansion, they are carted off to... [More]
Critics Consensus: Propelled by Charlie Kaufman's smart, imaginative script and Michel Gondry's equally daring directorial touch, Eternal Sunshine is a twisty yet heartfelt look at relationships and heartache.
Synopsis: After a painful breakup, Clementine (Kate Winslet) undergoes a procedure to erase memories of her former boyfriend Joel (Jim Carrey)... [More]
Critics Consensus: A funny, tender, and thought-provoking film, The Truman Show is all the more noteworthy for its remarkably prescient vision of runaway celebrity culture and a nation with an insatiable thirst for the private details of ordinary lives.
Synopsis: He doesn't know it, but everything in Truman Burbank's (Jim Carrey) life is part of a massive TV set. Executive... [More]
90 Best Computer-Animated Movies Ranked by Tomatometer
Ever since the 1995 release of Toy Story, when feature animation bounded from paper reams and into the domain of the digital, it’s been to infinity and beyond in creative storytelling. We’ve traveled the sky by house and balloon (Up), crossed dimensions with Spider-Man (Into the Spider-Verse), swam the deepest oceans (Finding Nemo) while learning the value of family along with super glue (The Lego Movie).
In these feats of imagination, Cars rule the world, superheroes and villains can turn their lives around (The Incredibles, Despicable Me), and a squirrel chasing an acorn becomes a Sisyphean myth. It’s where we can believe in fairy tales again (Frozen, Brave)…while having a good laugh at their expense (Shrek). We’ve also witnessed processed meats do some things in Sausage Party we’d rather not speak of again.
A whole industry of is supported by this medium, including the previously mentioned Pixar, Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age), Illumination (The Secret Life of Pets), and Sony Pictures Animation (Hotel Transylvania). And let’s not forget DreamWorks Animation (How to Train Your Dragon), whose latest film Trolls World Tour, which broke streaming records when it went straight to on-demand, skipping theatrical.
Wherever the story takes us from , we’ve ranked the most critically approved films of the genre in our list of the best-reviewed computer-animated movies. Each entry had to reach at least 20 reviews before we put them up for consideration, where we then ranked them by Tomatometer. So, enjoy our guide to the 90 best computer-animated movies ever made.
Critics Consensus: It's nowhere near as inventive as its off-the-wall premise might suggest, but Turbo boasts just enough colorful visual thrills and sharp voice acting to recommend as undemanding family-friendly fare.
Synopsis: Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a speed-obsessed snail with an unusual dream: to become the world's greatest racer. This odd snail... [More]
Critics Consensus: It regurgitates plot points from earlier animated efforts, and isn't quite as funny as it should be, but a top-shelf voice cast and strong visuals help make Megamind a pleasant, if unspectacular, diversion.
Synopsis: Though he is the most-brilliant supervillain the world has known, Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the least-successful. Thwarted time and again... [More]
Critics Consensus:The Good Dinosaur delivers thrillingly beautiful animation in service of a worthy story that, even if it doesn't quite live up to the lofty standards set by Pixar, still adds up to charming, family-friendly entertainment.
Synopsis: Luckily for young Arlo, his parents (Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand) and his two siblings, the mighty dinosaurs were not wiped... [More]
Critics Consensus:Surf's Up is a laid back, visually stunning animated movie that brings a fresh twist to some familiar conventions. Its witty mockumentary format is fun and inventive, and the CGI is breathtakingly realistic.
Synopsis: Surfing means everything to teenage penguin Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf). Followed by a documentary film crew, he leaves his home... [More]
Critics Consensus: With a tidy plot, clean animation, and humor that fits its source material snugly, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is entertainment that won't drive a wedge between family members.
Synopsis: George Beard and Harold Hutchins are two overly imaginative pranksters who spend hours in a treehouse creating comic books. When... [More]
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]
Critics Consensus:The Peanuts Movie offers a colorful gateway into the world of its classic characters and a sweetly nostalgic -- if relatively unambitious -- treat for the adults who grew up with them.
Synopsis: Life always seems complicated for good ol' Charlie Brown (Noah Schnapp), the boy who always tries his best against seemingly... [More]
Critics Consensus: While simultaneously embracing and subverting fairy tales, the irreverent Shrek also manages to tweak Disney's nose, provide a moral message to children, and offer viewers a funny, fast-paced ride.
Synopsis: Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek (Mike Myers) whose precious solitude... [More]
Critics Consensus: It may suffer in comparison to Pixar's classics, but Onward makes effective use of the studio's formula -- and stands on its own merits as a funny, heartwarming, dazzlingly animated adventure.
Synopsis: Teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley embark on a magical quest to spend one more day with their late father.... [More]
Critics Consensus: Another gorgeously animated, skillfully voiced entry in the Disney canon, Raya and the Last Dragon continues the studio's increased representation while reaffirming that its classic formula is just as reliable as ever.
Synopsis: Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known... [More]
Critics Consensus: With a title character as three-dimensional as its lush animation and a story that adds fresh depth to Disney's time-tested formula, Moana is truly a family-friendly adventure for the ages.
Synopsis: An adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty... [More]
Critics Consensus: The brilliantly well-rounded Zootopia offers a thoughtful, inclusive message that's as rich and timely as its sumptuously state-of-the-art animation -- all while remaining fast and funny enough to keep younger viewers entertained.
Synopsis: From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live... [More]
Critics Consensus: The rare sequel that arguably improves on its predecessor, Toy Story 2 uses inventive storytelling, gorgeous animation, and a talented cast to deliver another rich moviegoing experience for all ages.
Synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks) is stolen from his home by toy dealer Al McWhiggin (Wayne Knight), leaving Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen)... [More]
(Photo by Columbia Pictures/ courtesy Everett Collection)
All Seth Rogen Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer
One-season wonder Freaks and Geeks had a startling amount of its young alums go on to have successful Hollywood careers, Seth Rogen chief among them. He followed mentor Judd Apatow into the movie game with The 40 Year-Old Virgin, starring in a memorable supporting role. Rogen was then upgraded to lead status for Apatow’s follow-up Knocked Up, and the movie’s critical and box office success showed Virgin was no fluke, heralding a significant sea change in mainstream American comedy. Rogen has remained the face of this bong- and bro-tastic style of comedy, also featuring big rips of heartfelt emotion – like Animal House by way of James L. Brooks – in repeated movie hits like Superbad, Pineapple Express, This Is the End, Neighbors, and The Disaster Artist.
He’s been amassing an impressive résumé as producer (not just on his own starring films, but also the likes of Blockers and Good Boys) and director, helming This Is the End, The Interview, and episodes of Future Man and Preacher. His latest comedy was An American Pickle. And now we’re looking at all of Seth Rogen’s movies, ranked by Tomatometer!
Critics Consensus: Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand have enough chemistry to drive a solidly assembled comedy; unfortunately, The Guilt Trip has a lemon of a script and is perilously low on comedic fuel.
Synopsis: Before embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime road trip, Andy Brewster pays a visit to his overbearing mother, Joyce. That proves to... [More]
Critics Consensus: While it can take pride in its visual achievements,The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved--though for some fans that may just be enough.
Synopsis: Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny on the plains of Africa. But... [More]
Critics Consensus: Brisk, funny, and sweetly raunchy, For a Good Time, Call... adds to the recent string of R-rated female comedies while serving as an overdue coming out party for the charming Ari Graynor.
Synopsis: Reserved Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) and bubbly Katie (Ari Graynor) are polar opposites and past enemies. However, when both gals... [More]
Critics Consensus:The Night Before provokes enough belly laughs to qualify as a worthwhile addition to the list of Christmas comedies worth revisiting, even if it isn't quite as consistent as the classics.
Synopsis: For the last 10 years, lifelong buddies Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have gathered on... [More]
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]
Critics Consensus: Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience.
Synopsis: High-school seniors Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) have high hopes for a graduation party: The co-dependent teens plan... [More]
Thumbnail image: Columbia Pictures, Universal / courtesy Everett Collection
Fox’s got a new Ice Ageand it’s set on collision course for theaters this Friday. Animation at the studio has weaved a winding line through Saturday morning cartoons, adult fare, and studio closures before lifting Fox as one of Hollywood’s major animated players decades later, alongside Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks. In this week’s gallery, we look at 24 films and TV shows highlighting the history of Fox Animation.
Steven Spielberg’s first family movie since 1991’s Hook is in theaters this week: The BFG, adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl children’s book. The cross-pollination of two talented storytelling titans inspires this week’s gallery: 24 Certified Fresh children’s book movie adaptations!
He earned his first real success by tapping into America’s unquenchable thirst for broad slapstick comedy, but Jim Carrey always had bigger ambitions than anyone could have guessed by watching Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and he’s proven it repeatedly by choosing projects beyond the scope of Farrelly-friendly laffers. His reach has occasionally exceeded his grasp, but few careers can boast a range extending from Dumb and Dumber to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And with his appearance as the Colonel in Kick-Ass 2 bowing this weekend, we decided there was no time like the present to take a look at the best-reviewed films of Jim Carrey’s career!
For most of the 1980s and 1990s, Andy Kaufman was a little-remembered comic, mostly known for his portrayal of dimwitted immigrant mechanic Latka Gravas on the ABC sitcom Taxi — but the late 1990s witnessed a resurgence in interest surrounding Kaufman’s often pioneering work, thanks to a pair of biographies, a handful of DVD reissues, and the R.E.M.-referencing Man on the Moon. Carrey continued his 1990s run of prestige pictures with Moon, subsuming himself so completely into the role of the inscrutable Kaufman that most critics were willing to forgive the movie’s fuzzy, weightless middle, its fudging of certain facts, and a few fumble-fingered attempts at going meta. Although many scribes were quick to point out the movie’s flaws — and Kaufman’s all-too-apparent flaws as a protagonist — praise for Moon‘s star was all but universal, typified by Jeffrey M. Anderson of Combustible Celluloid, who applauded, “Carrey gets inside Kaufman’s skin.”
Sea Bass! Part of Carrey’s 1994 trilogy of broad-as-a-barn, occasionally revolting comedies, Dumb and Dumber paired the rising star with Jeff Daniels as a couple of well-meaning dimwits who stumble into a cross-country adventure involving Lauren Holly and a briefcase full of cash. While not quite the across-the-board smash that There’s Something About Mary turned out to be a few years later, Dumb and Dumber still managed to include enough charm between the goofy jokes to reach 64 percent on the Tomatometer. It didn’t win any points for smarts, obviously, but that was beside the point — as recognized by writers such as Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman, who noted that “Carrey…does literal-minded doofdom with peerless enthusiasm.”
You might be surprised to find this late-night cable mainstay on a list that includes cult favorites like The Cable Guy and box-office champs like Bruce Almighty, but the Tomatometer does not lie, and critics cheered loudly enough to send this 1989 cult classic all the way up to 65 percent. Although quite a few scribes sniffed at at Earth Girls are Easy‘s low ambitions and thick layer of cheese, a greater number were able to grin and bear Julien Temple’s brightly colored send-up of hokey sci-fi and 1980s life in the San Fernando Valley. As a furry red alien named Wiploc, Carrey received one of his first major chunks of screen time here, and although his efforts were rewarded with minimal box-office success, he did get to trade lines with Geena Davis and Julie Brown — and help earn some delightfully backhanded praise from the likes of Luke Y. Thompson of the New Times, who declared the film to be “stupid but wonderful.”
Between Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in 2004 and the end of the decade, Jim Carrey had a pretty rough go of it, vacillating between rehashed broad comedies like Yes Man and ill-advised dramatic fare like The Number 23 — and the best live-action project he booked during that span, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s I Love You Phillip Morris, ended up gathering dust in the studio vaults for years. Given that it dramatizes the real-life, stranger-than-fiction love affair between a cop-turned-con man (Carrey) and his charismatic prison cellmate (Ewan McGregor), it’s unsurprising (but still disappointing) that Morris would have a hard time finding a spot on the release schedule — and the minimal box office returns generated by its limited theatrical run seemed to reinforce Hollywood’s belief that audiences weren’t ready for a darkly comic dramedy about a homosexual love affair. Morris resonated with most critics, however — particularly Carrey’s work, lauded by Stephen Holden of the New York Times when he wrote, “With his manic glare, ferociously eager smile, hyperkinetic body language and talent for instant self-transformation, Mr. Carrey has rarely been more charismatic on the screen.”
It was a bit of a non-starter at the box office, failing to recoup its $140 million budget with its domestic receipts, but few roles in the history of children’s fiction have ever been better-suited to an actor than the villainous master of disguise known as Count Olaf and his on-screen counterpart, Jim Carrey. Although A Series of Unfortunate Events drew the ire of some fans of the books for softening their frequently nasty edges, it remains a visual feast, as well as a tour de force for Carrey, who was able to take advantage of his manic energy in a way not seen since his mid 1990s heyday. A sequel remains in development limbo, but don’t let Hollywood’s cold feet keep you from giving Unfortunate a rental — as the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Forrest Hartman put it, “not many children’s movies center on recently orphaned children delivered to the home of a homicidal thespian. Then again, not many children’s movies are as good as this one.”
One of the only films to ever net its star nominations from both the Golden Globes and the Golden Raspberries, 1994’s The Mask presented filmgoers with something of an early 1990s trifecta: State of the art special effects, some marvelously over-the-top mugging from Jim Carrey, and a heaping helping of va-va-va-voom from instant star Cameron Diaz, who turned Carrey’s nebbishy bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss into a leering Tex Avery wolf (and had roughly the same effect on male viewers). It’s loud and far from subtle, but The Mask is also a lot of fun, not least because Carrey’s impossibly limber performance ultimately proves to be as much of a special effect as anything else on the screen. Variety’s Leonard Klady spoke for many of his peers when he summed it up as “adroitly directed, viscerally and visually dynamic and just plain fun.”
Carrey’s first brush with a Seuss-inspired adaptation didn’t go so well, which may have scared a few viewers away from the CG-animated Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! — but it was their loss, as attested by the mostly quite positive reviews that greeted the second film adaptation of this timeless tale of a good-hearted elephant who teaches his detractors that “a person’s a person, no matter how small.” As Horton’s voice, Carrey did a better job of adding marquee value than bringing hidden layers of meaning to his character, and critics were quick to point out that Horton suffers most of the same difficulties that are bound to trouble a 90-minute film based on an illustrated short story, but for most, the movie’s charms proved impossible to resist — such as Brian Webster of the Apollo Guide, who happily reported that “taking on Seuss has proven a challenge for Hollywood, but a nice balance has been struck here between authenticity and new ideas. This one’s a winner.”
Given that Carrey and Liar Liar director Tom Shadyac had previously collaborated on Ace Ventura, a person could have been forgiven for assuming that their reunion would rely on the same scatalogical humor and over-the-top physical comedy that the world’s most famous pet detective rode to box-office riches…and they would have been right, to an extent, although Liar Liar features a much softer-edged version of Carrey’s manic persona. It isn’t his sharpest comedy, but at this point, even critics who had grown accustomed to hating Carrey’s work found themselves surprisingly susceptible to his charms — most notably Roger Ebert, who wrote “I am gradually developing a suspicion, or perhaps it is a fear, that Jim Carrey is growing on me.” Filmgoers had no such fear, driving this family-friendly tale of a pathological fibber rendered unable to lie for a day to global grosses in excess of $300 million.
While he spent the early 1990s mugging it up for fans of perfectly obvious comedy, few people could have guessed that Jim Carrey would wind up sharing top billing with one of the premier actresses of her generation in a mindbending, critically beloved drama about the nature of love and memory — but that’s exactly what he did in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, going toe to toe with Kate Winslet in one of the most unusual and eye-catching films of the early aughts. Armed with a script co-written by Charlie Kaufman, director Michel Gondry riddles the film with stunning visual effects that, depending on what you want out of the movie, either deepen its metaphorical layers of meaning or are simply really cool to look at. It’s admittedly too strange and/or chilly to appeal to everyone, but at its heart, the movie lives up to Mariko McDonald of Film Threat’s assessment of it as “fresh, heartfelt and ultimately heartbreaking in its honest portrayal of a modern relationship.”
Is it science fiction? A comedy? A drama? A psychiatric syndrome? Actually, 1998’s The Truman Show is all of the above — which has a lot to do with why it’s not only the best-reviewed film of Jim Carrey’s career, but a high-water mark for 1990s cinema in general. Carrey stars as Truman Burbank, the unwitting star of a wildly popular reality series engineered by a producer named Christof (played by Ed Harris), in which Truman’s life — complete with fake wife, fake friends, and a whole fake town — is lapped up by eager audiences. It didn’t net Carrey the Academy Award that many were anticipating, but The Truman Show has endured over the last 10 years, and predicted the overwhelming popularity of reality television in the years to come. In the words of Hollywood Report Card’s Ross Anthony, “this is clearly one of the decade’s cleverest, most original pictures.”
Welcome to The Dark Knight DVD week at Rotten Tomatoes! Warner Bros.’ dark, masterful sequel arrives on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday as one of the most anticipated home video releases of the year. (Stay tuned for RT’s test drive of the Dark Knight BD-Live function, in which fans can record, upload and share their own commentary tracks set to scenes from the film.) Also see what else is new to DVD: The Wire The Complete Series, Deadwood The Complete Series, Horton Hears a Who, Man on Wire, and more!
So last summer you might have heard of this little character-driven movie, in which a wealthy businessman-turned-crime fighter takes on a diabolical foe named the Joker whilst questioning the negative effects of his lifestyle choice on his fellow citizens. Doesn’t ring a bell? Well, that’s just fine, since this week The Dark Knight hits DVD and Blu-ray in a major way, giving you plenty of opportunity to watch and re-watch Christian Bale match wits with the late, great Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan’s artful comic book movie sequel.
The Dark Knight (Certified Fresh at 94% on the Tomatometer and one of the year’s best-reviewed films) comes to DVD and Blu-ray with a host of special features designed to make you drool like a Pavlovian pup. Here you’ll find galleries of concept art and stills, the Gotham Uncovered documentary, and six episodes of “Gotham Cable’s Premier News Program;” featurettes on the Batpod, the Bat-suit and Hans Zimmer’s score; and all six sequences shot in IMAX, presented as they were originally intended.
Of course, these features will look all the better in Blu-ray, which contains a total of three hours of bonus materials. The Dark Knight is also the very first Warner Bros. title to enjoy the BD-Live function, which you can use to create your own video commentary from select scenes from the film and share them with your friends. Below, watch our very own Editor in Chief, Matt Atchity, as he delivers a gripping commentary of his own using The Dark Knight‘s BD-Live function! (And yes, that’s yours truly riding shotgun.)
Next: Saddle up with the complete set of Deadwood
2. Deadwood – The Complete Series
Like many of the denizens of its namesake town, HBO’s series Deadwood lived a vibrant, but short, life during its three-season run on television. With the possibility of tele-film sequels now as dead as Wild Bill Hickok, you and your favorite Deadwood fan can take solace in the fact that the entire series is now available in one 19-disc package. And for the low, low price of $179.99!
Reach back into the far recesses of your memory, beyond the Kung Fu Pandas and Wall-E‘s of this year, all the way back to March — when a little animated flick called Horton Hears a Who debuted in theaters. The Certified Fresh retelling of Dr. Seuss’ original tale delighted critics, who appreciated the whimsical, faithful adaptation of one of the Dr.’s best-loved stories.
Pick up the 2-Disc Special Edition for a bonus-packed menu that includes two commentaries (one with the directors and producers, the other with stars Jim Carrey and Steve Carell), tons of deleted scenes and animated screen tests, featurettes, and perhaps most enticing of all, a sneak peek short film featuring the characters Sid and Scrat from the upcoming Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
Next: Drift away with LOST: Season Four
4. LOST – The Complete Fourth Season
The hit ABC show LOST bounced back from its mid-life slump with a Season Four that hooked viewers in again — a good thing, since the Castaways only have a few more seasons to go before the series meets its definitive conclusion, as previously announced. In Season Four, catch up with new rivals Jack and Locke, mourn the loss of the beloved (or to many, reviled) Charlie, meet a host of brand new characters from the freighter ship Kahana, and stay riveted as the show that defined “twist” for modern television explores the concept of the flash-forward. Special features include featurettes on LOST‘s location filming, composer Michael Giacchino’s score, deleted scenes and more.
Director James Marsh pieces together a portrait of one of the world’s bravest (or is it dumbest?) man in this critically acclaimed documentary, which also happens to be one of the best reviewed films of the year. In Man on Wire, meet Philippe Petit, a charismatic, iconoclast high wire walker who in the 1970s recruited a band of loyal collaborators to stage the dangerous stunt of walking (sans safety net) between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The spectacle led to a few arrests, granted Petit instant fame, and caused the dissolution of many of his closest relationships, though by his own account the daredevil has absolutely no regrets. Watch this fascinating documentary on DVD, which also features an audio commentary and deleted scenes. Man on Wire made the Oscar documentary shortlist for this year’s nominations.
Know any die-hard fans of HBO’s gritty series The Wire? We guarantee they’ll squeal with delight at unwrapping The Wire: The Complete Series this holiday season. The 23-disc set is essentially a collection of all previous season box sets in one place; included are all five seasons of the celebrated show, as well as special features like cast and crew audio commentaries, three prequel features, and a gag reel. The only hitch? It’ll set you back a cool $299.99, so start saving up.
Next: The I Am Legend Blu-ray double dip
7. I Am Legend – Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray — 69%
If you bought your copy of I Am Legend the first time it debuted on Blu-ray, you’ll most likely want to bypass this double dip. But if you don’t yet own the Will Smith post-apocalypse thriller in High Definition, this is a great set to consider. While most of the special features were released previously, this set contains some new materials, like a new audio commentary with director Frances Lawrence and screenwriter Akiva Goldsmith. A 40+ page glossy production booklet makes this set a collectible, one supposes.
Asian cinema fans, take heed: John Woo’s highly anticipated historical epic Red Cliff is headed to Blu-ray…and it’s region-free. Despite breaking records in release in Asia, where the first of two feature-length parts has already debuted, Red Cliff has no set U.S. release date; picking up an import Blu-ray disc might be your best bet at watching Woo’s celebrated return to Hong Kong. The epic tale, based on the ancient Battle of Red Cliffs in the year AD 208, stars Takeshi Kaneshiro (Mongol), Tony Leung (Lust, Caution) and was reportedly the most expensive movie in Asian cinema history.
Special features include cast interviews and press conferences, photos and a trailer.
Until next week, happy renting!
Two big doses of comedy from a pair of Hollywood’s funniest men will hit the multiplexes across North America on Friday in a fierce battle for the number one spot. For family audiences there is the animated extravaganza Kung Fu Panda starring Jack Black while Adam Sandler counters with his latest laughfest aimed at young men, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan. The new choices will offer some variety to a marketplace dominated by the female-skewing event pic Sex and the City and the old-school adventure tale Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. With so many worthy choices, and four movies likely to top $20M, it looks to be a sizzling session at the box office as the top five films alone have the strength to beat the entire Top 20 from a year ago.
Jack Black leaps into theaters anchoring Kung Fu Panda playing a Chinese panda bear who trains to become a martial arts expert in order to save his village. The PG-rated toon features voices from a wide array of actors including Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, Ian McShane, and Jackie Chan. The marketplace is certainly ready for a major family film right now. Since March’s Horton Hears a Who, there really hasn’t been anything major to excite this lucrative audience segment. Last month saw two high profile PG-rated pics, but the dark and violent The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian has attracted half of the crowd of its predecessor while Speed Racer was an all-out disaster. With summer vacations getting closer and closer, children of all ages are pumped for something fun and exciting to go and see.
In the DreamWorks stable, Kung Fu Panda should post one of the largest openings for a non-sequel animated entry. It even has the potential to set a new high. Currently, 2004’s Shark Tale and 2005’s Madagascar are tops with $47.6M and $47.2M, respectively. At today’s ticket prices those would be in the low $50M range. Panda has similar features like having a popular comedian in the lead. Dramatic actors add little to the box office strength of an animated film with their voices, even big A listers. But when comedians are at the center and are allowed to improvise and add their own sense of humor, moviegoers cheer. Panda also has the type of comedy that will be loved by adults as well as by kids. Good marks from critics won’t hurt either.
The marketing has been solid. The concept is familiar with a young talking animal going after his dreams while the Asian setting adds something new. Big business should be had with kids of single-digit age since recent family offerings have been too risqué for parents to buy tickets for. Plus direct competition is close to zero making for a perfect time to strike. Attacking over 3,600 theaters, Kung Fu Panda may eat up around $52M this weekend.
No comedian has been more consistent at the box office this decade than Sandler who has scored $100M+ grossers over the last six consecutive years. Aside from Will Smith, no other Hollywood star can claim such a streak. Plus not since the Harold and Kumar sequel has there been a comedy aimed at young males. And after all the media attention that Carrie Bradshaw and pals have gotten in the past week, guys may be ready for some testosterone-fueled fun.
However, Sandler fans are not known to be all that into Israeli soldiers or hairdressers so subject matter could be a problem. Last July’s Chuck and Larry bowed at number one with $34.2M, but it was also the funnyman’s lowest opener for a broad comedy since 2000’s Little Nicky. Maybe the combination of a ridiculously long title and a not-so-macho storyline could prevent Sandler from reaching his usual $40M debut mark again this weekend. In addition, the comedian is straying from his natural voice for the first time since Nicky which doesn’t bode well either. Fans like it best when Adam plays Adam, just a regular American dude getting himself into comical situations. Infiltrating over 3,300 theaters, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan could debut with around $35M.
Sandler is The Zohan
Panda and Zohan kick off an unusually light June release schedule which will see fewer wide releases than normal. In fact across all four of the month’s weekends only two competitors enter wide release each session for a total of eight major players. Looking at the last several years there have always been 10 to 12 wide releases over the same time period. Studios are hoping that each film this June will have some extra breathing room to find its audience and not get stomped on a week later by a barrage of four pictures cramming into multiplexes at the same time.
In limited release, Picturehouse will platform its Oscar-nominated historical epic Mongol in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The subtitled story of the rise of Genghis Khan features a cast assembled from across Asia and is directed by the acclaimed Russian filmmaker Sergei Bodrov. Though it lost out to The Counterfeiters in the foreign language race this year, it still is being aggressively marketed to arthouse moviegoers and fans of world cinema. Mongol expands to major markets on June 20.
Sergei Bodrov’s Mongol
Last weekend, the 179 years of life experience of Parker–Cattrall–Davis–Nixon pulled an upset victory over the 190 years of Ford–Spielberg–Lucas as it was truly no country for old men. But the boys will try to beat out the girls this time around for the title of top holdover in what will certainly be a much closer race.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will face some competition for young men from Zohan while families will be tempted away by Paramount’s own Panda. But adult men will still be focused on the Communist-fighting whip man so a 45% drop could result leaving a $24M frame. That would propel the cume to a stunning $254M after 18 days.
Sex and the City shocked the industry with its stellar $56.8M bow last weekend. Also impressive were the sturdy grosses of $5.5M a piece on Monday and Tuesday this week. But the sizable 34% Friday-to-Saturday tumble showed how much demand was absorbed on that first day which was essentially an after-work girls-night-out for fans. Word-of-mouth has been good, but so much of the target audience has already been reached so a big drop is likely even though the new releases are not direct competitors. Panda however will take many thirtysomething and fortysomething mothers out of the picture. A 60% fall could occur giving the New Line-Warner Bros. flick roughly $23M – still a full-figured number. That would give Sex a fabulous $100M in just ten days.
Universal’s The Strangers was a surprise hit last weekend posting the best horror movie opening of 2008. But a fast fade is likely so sales could slump by 55% to about $9.5M. That would give the Rogue production a solid $37M in ten days. Iron Man is steadily closing in on that triple-century mark. The super hero smash should dip by 35% to around $9M boosting the cume to $290M.
LAST YEAR: The summer of threequels moved forward with Ocean’s Thirteen which bowed at number one with $36.1M for Warner Bros. on its way to $117.2M domestically and $311M worldwide. That put the bad boys behind the $363M of Twelve and the $444M of Eleven. Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End dropped to second after two weeks on top with $21.1M breaking the quarter-billion mark in just over 17 days. Universal’s Knocked Up, the first of two pregnancy comedy hits in 2007 to sail past $140M, followed with $19.6M in its sophomore frame. Sony’s animated penguin film Surf’s Up debuted in fourth with a respectable $17.6M leading to a $58.9M final. Rival toon Shrek the Third sat in fifth with $15.3M. The horror sequel Hostel Part II struggled in its opening weekend taking in $8.2M or less than half the bow of its predecessor a year earlier. Lionsgate reached $17.6M.
The failure of Daniel Craig‘s Flashbacks of a Fool is the big box office story of the week, with the film flopping so spectacularly it didn’t even make the top ten.
The film revolves around Daniel Craig’s fading Hollywood star Joe Scott, who returns home for a friends funeral and looks back over his life – cue self-obsessed naval gazing from a narcissistic Craig.
Critics were decidedly unsure about the film; many praised the performances and technical aspects, but slammed the general premise, with Little White Lies’ Danny Bangs labelling the film “a two-hour whining session” and Empire’s Sam Toy describing the screenplay as ‘malformed’.
However, maybe marketing was a bigger problem than bad reviews for the film — a silly title, an oblique, talky plot where little actually happens, and having the current James Bond in a role that isn’t James Bond must surely have confused the public to such an extent that they gave the film the widest of berths. And good luck to them.
To manufacture a laboured segue, another film with fool in the title made a much bigger splash in cinemas. Fool’s Gold — a daft rom-com with genre experts Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson playing estranged lovers bought together by a treasure hunt (genius!) obviously tickled audiences’ fancies, despite an almost insultingly ridiculous plot and slapdash direction from Andy Tennant (thought of by many as the worst director in Hollywood).
Nonetheless, with the rain pouring down and the threat of a looming recession, it seems our nation’s cinemagoers would love nothing more than some perky, sun-drenched, escapist nonsense to get them through these oh-so-troubling times.
That’s maybe the reason for another of these weeks’ theatrical success stories – Mike Leigh‘s Happy-Go-Lucky – which came in at number nine in the chart but took by far the highest amount of dough-per-screen. Leigh’s optimistic and cynicism-free tale of a school teacher from North London won of the hearts and minds of both jaded critics and audiences – a fact that makes the usually grumpy RT feel warm inside.