Welcome to Rotten Tomatoes’ compendium of cinema’s best-reviewed tales of swords and sorcery, fire and ice, and dungeons and…you get the idea. The swirling mythic cauldron (i.e. our database) reveals to all the best-reviewed live-action fantasy movies of all time, sorted by our ranking formula with at least 20 reviews each!
Critics Consensus:Solomon Kane's formulaic and bleak narrative is overcome by an entertaining, straightforward adherence to its genre, exciting gore, and a gratifying lead performance by James Purefoy.
Synopsis: A man (James Purefoy) must renounce his newly taken vows of peace to rescue a young woman (Rachel Hurd-Wood) from... [More]
Critics Consensus: Terry Gilliam remains as indulgent as ever, but The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus represents a return to the intoxicatingly imaginative, darkly beautiful power of his earlier work, with fine performances to match all the visual spectacle.
Synopsis: Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), the leader of a traveling show, has a dark secret. Thousands of years ago he traded... [More]
Critics Consensus: A goofy, old-school sword-and-sandal epic, Clash of the Titans mines Greek mythology for its story and fleshes it out with Ray Harryhausen's charmingly archaic stop-motion animation techniques.
Synopsis: Perseus (Harry Hamlin), son of the Greek god Zeus (Laurence Olivier), grows up on a deserted island. His destiny is... [More]
Critics Consensus: While still slightly hamstrung by "middle chapter" narrative problems and its formidable length, The Desolation of Smaug represents a more confident, exciting second chapter for the Hobbit series.
Synopsis: Having survived the first part of their unsettling journey, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his companions (Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage)... [More]
Critics Consensus: A faithful interpretation that captures the spirit of whimsy, action, and off-kilter humor of Neil Gaiman, Stardust juggles multiple genres and tones to create a fantastical experience.
Synopsis: To win the heart of his beloved (Sienna Miller), a young man named Tristan (Charlie Cox) ventures into the realm... [More]
Critics Consensus: It's not easy to take the longest Harry Potter book and streamline it into the shortest HP movie, but director David Yates does a bang up job of it, creating an Order of the Phoenix that's entertaining and action-packed.
Synopsis: Now in his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) learns that many in the wizarding community do not know... [More]
Critics Consensus:Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel's overstuffed narrative into an involving -- and often downright exciting -- big-screen magical caper.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh... [More]
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps more enchanting for younger audiences, Chamber of Secrets is nevertheless both darker and livelier than its predecessor, expanding and improving upon the first film's universe.
Synopsis: The follow-up to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" finds young wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends, Ron... [More]
Critics Consensus: With a deliciously wicked performance from Angelica Huston and imaginative puppetry by Jim Henson's creature shop, Nicolas Roeg's dark and witty movie captures the spirit of Roald Dahl's writing like few other adaptations.
Synopsis: While staying at a hotel in England with his grandmother, Helga (Mai Zetterling), young Luke (Jasen Fisher) inadvertently spies on... [More]
Critics Consensus: The main characters are maturing, and the filmmakers are likewise improving on their craft; vibrant special effects and assured performances add up to what is the most complex yet of the Harry Potter films.
Synopsis: The fourth movie in the Harry Potter franchise sees Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returning for his fourth year at Hogwarts School... [More]
Critics Consensus: With an enchanting cast, beautifully crafted songs, and a painterly eye for detail, Beauty and the Beast offers a faithful yet fresh retelling that honors its beloved source material.
Synopsis: Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its... [More]
Critics Consensus: A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.
Synopsis: A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a... [More]
Alice Through The Looking Glass may not be getting critics supremely high off caterpillar smoke (neither did the Tim Burton-directed original), but don’t let that stop you from having a lauded fantasy movie weekend with your family: simply check out this gallery list of 24 Certified Fresh PG and below fantasy classics and modern hits!
Inspired by Disney’s reimagining of The Jungle Book, get ready to set your heart cockles to “warmed” because here comes 24 Certified Fresh live-action Disney movies!
Every week (as part of our new Blu-ray HQ on Rotten Tomatoes) we’re going to share what we’re watching on Blu-ray, whether they’re classics or personal favorites, for a particular studio. With the holiday season in full swing, we’ll be sharing some of our personal favorites from Disney that have been released on Blu-ray. If you’re searching for some family friendly high definition goodness, see if some of our personal Disney favorites can help jump start your gift giving!
Take the hottest Disney Princess since Beauty and the Beast‘s Belle in Enchanted‘s Giselle, add a generous helping of Amy Adams’ charm, a dash of Dr. McDreamy himself (Patrick Dempsey) at his Grey’s Anatomy peak, and weave in some characters and themes from Disney classics, and you have yourself one of Disney’s most enjoyable movies in recent memory. Taken from her animated fairy tale world of Andalasia, where her days consist of the tasks of being pretty, singing with her animal friends, and waiting for Prince Charming (or Prince Edward, played by James Marsden), Giselle is tricked by an evil queen into falling down a well/portal that lands her in modern day New York City. While trying to find her way home to Andalasia, Giselle has to learn what it’s like to not be an animated character and also discover the real life meaning of true love, which begins to understand through, of all people, an emotionally detached divorce lawyer. Nearly all of Enchanted’s special features are presented in 1080P, with the exception of Carrie Underwood’s (another plus!) music video for “Ever Ever After.” The Blu-ray includes making-of clips, deleted scenes, a pop up story, and trailers for National Treasure: Book of Secrets and Sleeping Beauty on Blu-ray.
Monster’s Inc: the other black sheep of the Pixar canon? It’s their least discussed movie outside of A Bug’s Life, but not for lack of quality; this tale of monsters employed by a mega-corporation to scare children in the human world to harness the energy of their screams is a compltely solid, clever tale but somehow lacks a certain je ne sais quoi that keeps it from classic status. The characterizations may not run too deep and the universe of the monsters too overwhelming for most audiences, but it builds up to a stunning emotional finale and the climatic chase sequence is arguably the best action sequence Pixar has ever put out. The Blu-ray features a lengthy commentary feature from the filmmakers, an overview of the Monsters ride in Tokyo, two original shorts, “interviews” with the characters, deleted scenes, and is definitely packed with enough fun stuff for the kids.
It’s old hat at this point to praise Pixar for its innovation, for its attention to detail, for its emotionally satisfying storytelling. So let’s take slightly a different tack with Certified Fresh Ratatouille: has there ever been a more tactile, sensorial animated feature than this one? Nearly everything in Ratatouille seems tangible, from the pots and pans in the Parisian kitchens to the fur on its protagonist’s little rat body. And the tasty concoctions that our hero Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) cooks up are so vividly realized that you can practically smell them. How real does this movie feel in high-definition? You’ll have to find out for yourself, but to entice you, the Ratatouille Blu-ray has a 14-minute documentary on the intersection between cinema and cuisine, along with deleted scenes and two Pixar shorts: Lifted and Your Friend the Rat.
Contrary to what many have come to believe, The Nightmare Before Christmas was not, in fact, directed by Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish); the stop-motion animated film was helmed by Henry Selick, who went on to bring us the similarly animated films James and the Giant Peach and this year’s Coraline. Burton did, however, produce Nightmare and come up with its story, and his fingerprints are all over the film, from its dark yet playful themes right down to the character design. The story focuses on Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, who happens upon a mysterious door in the middle of the forest that leads him to discover Christmastown. Enchanted by the charms of Christmas, Jack returns to Halloweentown and attempts to recreate the holiday for his own townsfolk, with disastrous results. In Blu-Ray, each character bursts with life onscreen in never-before-seen clarity, and Danny Elfman’s musical numbers pop in HD audio. There are also tons of special features, including featurettes, commentaries, an original poem narrated by Christopher Lee, Burton’s short film Vincent, and a lot more. The film is quickly becoming a holiday classic, and with the amount of stuff you get with the disc, this is definitely a Blu-Ray to pick up and store in your collection.
Forget the supposed eco-message about our dying Earth — “I just wanted to cover the world in trash,” said director Andrew Stanton, and never has an entire planet piled high with refuse looked so beautiful. From the opening seconds of WALL-E — as we zoom into a vacated world, the sound of a long-gone show tune collapsing into Thomas Newman’s eerie score — Pixar’s lonely robot movie casts an unforgettable spell, taking us at once back to the glory days of ’70s sci-fi and into the shiny future of CG storytelling. The movie’s bleep-and-clank first half (a sound design marvel from Ben Burtt) is as bold a piece of filmmaking as anything this decade, and if WALL-E resorts to more conventional storytelling for its denouement, it’s never less than superb. As you’d expect the film scrubs up fresher than an oil bath on Blu-ray, where you can really see the intricacy of Stanton’s compositions and his animators work on the robots’ expressions. Features include a picture-in-picture commentary, audio tracks with Stanton and Burtt and a load of making-of featurettes. Essential stuff.
It’s almost time to hand out some golden popcorn — the nominations for the 2008 MTV Movie Awards have been announced!
To cast your vote for each category’s winner — and to choose your favorite of the fan-created movie spoofs in the, um, “Best Movie Spoof” category — head to MovieAwards.MTV.com (link below). A complete list of the nominees follows:
Best Movie: Juno Transformers Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End I Am Legend Superbad National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Best Male Performance:
Will Smith, I Am Legend
Shia LaBeouf, Transformers
Denzel Washington, American Gangster
Matt Damon, The Bourne Ultimatum
Michael Cera, Juno
Best Female Performance:
Ellen Page, Juno
Keira Knightley, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up
Amy Adams, Enchanted
Jessica Biel, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Denzel Washington, American Gangster
Angelina Jolie, Beowulf
Topher Grace, Spider-Man 3
Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
Best Comedic Performance:
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Adam Sandler, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Jonah Hill, Superbad
Seth Rogen, Knocked Up
Amy Adams, Enchanted
Matt Damon vs. Joey Ansah, The Bourne Ultimatum
Tobey Maguire vs. James Franco, Spider-Man 3
Hayden Christensen vs. Jamie Bell, Jumper
Sean Faris vs. Cam Gigandet, Never Back Down
Chris Tucker & Jackie Chan vs. Sun Ming Ming, Rush Hour 3
Alien vs. Predator, Aliens vs. Predator Requiem
Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer, Disturbia
Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey, Enchanted
Daniel Radcliffe and Katie Leung, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Ellen Page and Michael Cera, Juno
Briana Evigan and Robert Hoffman, Step Up 2 The Streets
Zac Efron, Hairspray
Seth Rogen, Knocked Up
Jonah Hill, Superbad
Michael Cera, Superbad
Chris Brown, This Christmas
Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray
Megan Fox, Transformers
Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad
Best Summer Movie So Far: Iron Man Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Sex and the City: The Movie Speed Racer The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian
If you loved Will Smith’s I Am Legend up until its final chapters, you’re in luck; a decidedly different denouement can be found on the special edition DVD, our top pick for you home video enthusiasts. For more subdued thrills, the Oscar-nominated romance Atonement is also new to shelves; Disney’s delightful princess pic Enchanted offers even lighter fare. More adventurous moviegoers have magnificent critical bungles to dissect in Richard Kelly’s science fiction Southland Tales, Guy Ritchie’s crime pic Revolver, also new this week.
While Will Smith‘s last-man-on-Earth pic broke box office records last December and proved yet again that the erstwhile Fresh Prince is worth his salt as an action hero, the final scenes of Francis Lawrence‘s adaptation (from the Richard Matheson novel) left many viewers cold. But Warner Bros. has the ultimate treat for those of you who left the theater shaking your heads: a wildly different alternate ending on the Two-Disc Special Edition of I Am Legend that might just redeem the theatrical cut’s last-act inanity. The muscled Smith acquits himself well as the last remaining survivor of a global outbreak, tromping the empty streets of Manhattan by day and battling the vampiric infected by night while slowly going crazy from loneliness. Catch the usual special features on an accompanying DVD-ROM, but again, the real reason to pick up this release is the film itself — and its bonus alternate ending.
Keira Knightley and James McAvoy star as young lovers torn apart by a single, devastating lie in director Joe Wright‘s stunning epic romance. When rich and beautiful Cecilia Tallis (Knightley) gets caught in a clinch with her childhood friend, Robbie Turner (McAvoy), their love must withstand a false accusation by Cecilia’s young sister, Briony (Saiorse Ronan) then prison, war, and separation. Wright’s critically acclaimed period pic — the epitome of the prestige piece, and movingly executed — is at once romance, mystery, war film and character drama, all set to Dario Marinelli‘s Oscar-winning syncopated, symphonic score. Deleted scenes, featurettes on adapting the Ian McEwan novel and making the film, and a commentary track by director Wright complement the release.
The limitation of classic Disney films like Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty has been that, while perfectly…enchanting within the confines of their animated worlds, such stories couldn’t possibly translate with real actors. (Besides, where would you find real mice and birds that could sew Cinderella’s dress together without making a mess?) Enter Enchanted, Disney’s stab at a live-action princess movie complete with animal friends and impromptu singing; with the lovable Amy Adams as a cartoon heroine come to life in dirty, real-life New York City, the Mouse House gamble proved lucky. Critics liked the film’s relentlessly cheery sensibility and self-aware Disneyfications; we like a good blooper reel on any DVD release. Extras include Carrie Underwood’s music video for “Ever Ever After” and behind-the-scenes featurettes for two of the film’s Oscar-nominated songs.
Not a single American film in the past few years has piqued as much curiosity, or as much critical debate, as Richard Kelly‘s Southland Tales. A huge-scaled futuristic-philosophical romp about fate in post-nuclear Los Angeles starring the likes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, Justin Timberlake, and half the cast of Saturday Night Live, Kelly’s sci-fi opus was either an artsy, ambitious endeavor or simply the sophomore slump inevitably following Kelly’s similarly divisive Donnie Darko. Yours truly was in the infamous Cannes audience when Kelly unleashed his behemoth upon the world and will be among the obsessed watching the DVD over and over for any clue as to what he was thinking; alas, no explanation by way of director commentary appears on this initial disc.
Fans of author Susan Cooper’s children’s fantasy series The Dark Is Rising will likely be disappointed, if not downright outraged, by this big-screen adaptation of her second book. Why? Try skipping the first novel entirely and making a number of story alterations, the most obvious of which is Americanizing the 14-year-old protagonist. But critics say that even the uninitiated viewer should be wary, lest subpar computer graphics, a boring script, and a fantasy yarn that is decidedly un-fantastic — about a teen plopped into an ancient battle between good and evil — is your idea of a good time.
In his latest film, Guy Ritchie tackles gangsters and criminals — shocker, right? But Revolver, his last film since the disaster that was Swept Away, is more than just an uber-Brit shoot-em-up starring Jason Statham…ok, so it also stars Statham (who made his name in early Ritchie films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch). And it was a critical and commercial disappointment (just like Swept Away). That’s partially because Revolver, like Ritchie compatriot Matthew Vaughn‘s Layer Cake, is an existential kind of gangster thriller — perhaps over-indulgently so, say scribes. Con man Jake Green (Statham) leaves a long prison stint to seek revenge on the man who put him there (Ray Liotta). Throw in gambling, hitmen, Andre “3000” Benjamin, a blood disease, supposed Kabbalah references, and philosophical musings galore, and you’ve got one heck of a mess — just the latest in Ritchie’s filmography before his next crime pic.
Thus concludes our latest round-up of new releases. Remember your Latin: “Nam et ipsa scientia potestas es.”
First, Disney ordered you to Step Up, and you complied. Then, they demanded that you Step Up 2 the Streets — and you did that, too. You know what comes next, right?
Yes, gang, the House That Walt Built is brewing up Step Up 3-D.
Variety reports that Disney has inked a deal with Offspring Entertainment, the company behind the Step Up franchise, keeping the company under the Disney mantle for another three years. The move comes after Step Up 2 the Streets earned back its $20 million production budget in its opening weekend.
Of course, fancy footwork isn’t all Offspring’s got going for it; founders Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot also brought the studio titles such as Sandra Bullock‘s Premonition and the upcoming Zac Efron comedy Seventeen, not to mention the following crowded development slate:
Among the projects that Offspring is developing at Disney are “Undateable,” a comedy scripted by Jack Angelo and Sam Brown (with Fuse Entertainment also producing); “Monday, Monday,” a Flint Wainess-scripted comedy that is a teenage “Groundhog Day“; “Wish,” a live-action “Aladdin” scripted by Bill Kelly (“Enchanted“); a Jason Filardi-scripted “Topper” remake that Offspring will produce with Mandeville, with Steve Martin starring; and a Don Scott-scripted remake of “All of Me” that has Queen Latifah attached to star.
We’ve selected some of our favorite moments from Hollywood’s biggest night! Browse our gallery of gowns on the red carpet, winners onstage, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the 80th Annual Academy Awards.
Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard win the Oscar for Best Song, but Irglova’s speech is cut off. Host Jon Stewart breaks precedence by bringing Irglova back onstage, where she delivers another of the night’s more plaintive, heartfelt thank yous.
Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones embrace; and Javier Bardem raises a fist in triumph when their film, No Country For Old Men, wins the night’s most coveted prize: the Oscar for Best Picture.
Anyway, yeah, 20th Century Fox is excited for the sequel’s May start — and who wouldn’t be, with a synopsis like the one published by Variety?
Pic kicks off when the artifacts from the Museum of Natural History are boxed up and sent to the archives at the Smithsonian in Washington. Adams will play an undetermined historical figure who has a crush on security guard Larry (Stiller).