(Photo by Touchstone/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Wes Anderson Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

Texas played its part in the revolution of ’90s American independent cinema. Dazed and Confused put Richard Linklater and Austin on the map. John Sayles made his most thrilling movie there, the neo-Western Lone Star. And emerging from Houston with an offbeat crime-caper was Wes Anderson. Bottle Rocket fizzled at the box office, but it was a crucial calling card for the director and his band of collaborators, like actors Owen and Luke Wilson, and cinematographer Robert Yeoman. And when Martin Scorsese compares your debut to the likes of McCarey and Renoir, you’re probably gonna get another chance in the industry. Bill Murray signing up for Anderson’s second feature, Rushmore, elevated the movie’s stature and release, and introduced Bill’s re-invention as the Melancholy Murray.

Bottle Rocket and Rushmore‘s growing reputations, and Anderson’s own as a modern auteur, generated significant hype for his third film, The Royal Tenenbaums. With its star-studded ensemble cast, the multigenerational comedy-epic would be Anderson’s highest box office earner until Grand Budapest Hotel, and got him into the Academy’s good graces with a Best Screenplay Oscar nomination. Tenenbaums also represents the point Anderson took total command of his craft: Whereas his quirky sensibilities and measured shot compositions enhanced the real-world settings of his first two films, from Tenebaums on that ‘quirk’ would represent all points of reality in his work. Watching an Anderson movie means escaping into a medley of ornate sets, clean lines and angles, impeccable blocking, precisely-picked pop music, and curious dialogue and action.

That was certainly the case for next feature The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, where Anderson was gifted $50 million and carte blanche to shoot whatever he wanted. Which, of course, meant building your own ship, shooting on choppy sea waters and at the famed Cinecittà Studios in Rome, and hiring Henry Selick to animate seahorses. Life Aquatic bombed at the box office and critics were iffy on the slack pacing, but audiences have since boosted up Steve as fashion icon and man of action whilst mired in Millennial malaise.

The Darjeeling Limited is mostly a minor entry, bordering on self-parody as his style continued to wallop character and story. When it was announced Anderson’s next project would be a stop-motion animated movie based on a Roald Dahl story, it was almost too perfectly, eye-rollingly twee. But like knocking out the cedar stick at Whackbat, Fantastic Mr. Fox was a jubilant, all-ages success. Anderson stayed young at heart with Moonrise Kingdom, an intimate adventure of first love and organized scouting, which drew the best reviews of his career and his first significant grosser in a decade.

That would all be topped with his arguable masterpiece, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a dizzying trip through alternate history, meta-fiction, shootouts, and Renaissance paintings, and one very pretty building. It earned Anderson another Best Screenplay Oscar nomination, his first nomination for Best Director, and the film won for Original Score, Editing, Production, and Costume. After four years, his longest gap between films, he put out another stop-motion film, the dystopian, Japan-set Isle of Dogs, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature.

His latest film The French Dispatch stars, unsurprisingly, everybody. Now we’re ranking all Wes Anderson movies by Tomatometer!

#10
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Renowned oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) has sworn vengeance upon the rare shark that devoured a member of his crew.... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 75653%
Critics Consensus: With the requisite combination of humor, sorrow and outstanding visuals, The Darjeeling Limited will satisfy Wes Anderson fans.
Synopsis: Estranged brothers Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) reunite for a train trip across India. The... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 90280%
Critics Consensus: A loving ode to the spirit of journalism, The French Dispatch will be most enjoyed by fans of Wes Anderson's meticulously arranged aesthetic.
Synopsis: A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city that... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 88555%
Critics Consensus: The Royal Tenenbaums is a delightful adult comedy with many quirks and a sense of poignancy. Many critics especially praised Hackman's performance.
Synopsis: Royal Tenenbaum and his wife Etheline had three children and then they separated. All three children are extraordinary --- all... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#6

Bottle Rocket (1996)
85%

#6
Adjusted Score: 88796%
Critics Consensus: Bottle Rocket is Reservoir Dogs meets Breathless with a West Texas sensibility.
Synopsis: In Wes Anderson's first feature film, Anthony (Luke Wilson) has just been released from a mental hospital, only to find... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#5

Rushmore (1998)
90%

#5
Adjusted Score: 94790%
Critics Consensus: This cult favorite is a quirky coming of age story, with fine, off-kilter performances from Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray.
Synopsis: When a beautiful first-grade teacher (Olivia Williams) arrives at a prep school, she soon attracts the attention of an ambitious... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 104608%
Critics Consensus: Typically stylish but deceptively thoughtful, The Grand Budapest Hotel finds Wes Anderson once again using ornate visual environments to explore deeply emotional ideas.
Synopsis: In the 1930s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a popular European ski resort, presided over by concierge Gustave H. (Ralph... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#3

Isle of Dogs (2018)
90%

#3
Adjusted Score: 111583%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director's most winsomely charming stories.
Synopsis: When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island,... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 102151%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#1

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
93%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104518%
Critics Consensus: Warm, whimsical, and poignant, the immaculately framed and beautifully acted Moonrise Kingdom presents writer/director Wes Anderson at his idiosyncratic best.
Synopsis: The year is 1965, and the residents of New Penzance, an island off the coast of New England, inhabit a... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

(Photo by Touchstone/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Bill Murray Movies Ranked

From tales of crashing bachelor parties and kickball games, to intimate fan pranks that he knows the public will never believe, to his unavailabity outside of a 1-800 number, the antics of lord of chaos Bill Murray could overshadow his actual job as an actor. But this decade alone has seen Certified Fresh hits like Moonrise Kingdom, The Jungle Book, Grand Budapest Hotel, and St. Vincent.

The output compares handsomely even to his ’80s heyday, which saw the likes of Ghostbusters, Stripes, Caddyshack, and Scrooged put into theaters. The ’90s not only had his lead-starring masterpiece Groundhog Day, but also the zany What About Bob?, and his first reinvention as the patron saint of comedic melancholia, Rushmore. All that paved the way for his towering 2000s output, featuring The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost in Translation, his Best Actor-nominated Broken Flowers, and Garfield…which we’re mentioning because it led directly to his inspired cameo in Zombieland.

Now, take a look at Bill Murray movies ranked by Tomatometer.

#55

Passion Play (2010)
3%

#55
Adjusted Score: 3558%
Critics Consensus: Passion Play has a terrific cast, but don't be fooled - the only real question at the heart of this misbegotten mystery is what its stars were thinking.
Synopsis: A washed-up musician (Mickey Rourke) tries to protect an enigmatic winged woman (Megan Fox) from a merciless gangster (Bill Murray)... [More]
Directed By: Mitch Glazer

#54

Rock the Kasbah (2015)
7%

#54
Adjusted Score: 11559%
Critics Consensus: The Shareef don't like Rock the Kasbah, and neither will viewers hoping for a film that manages to make effective use of Bill Murray's knack for playing lovably anarchic losers.
Synopsis: While visiting Kabul, Afghanistan, washed-up music manager Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) gets dumped by his last client. His luck changes... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#53

Larger Than Life (1996)
11%

#53
Adjusted Score: 10354%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Jack Corcoran (Bill Murray) is a struggling motivational speaker who lives by the mantra "Get over it!" When he learns... [More]
Directed By: Howard Franklin

#52
Adjusted Score: 13717%
Critics Consensus: Strictly for (very) little kids, A Tale of Two Kitties features skilled voice actors but a plot that holds little interest.
Synopsis: Garfield (Bill Murray) follows Jon (Breckin Meyer) to England and receives the royal treatment after he is mistaken for the... [More]
Directed By: Tim Hill

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 18663%
Critics Consensus: When the novelty of the CGI Garfield wears off, what's left is a simplistic kiddie movie.
Synopsis: Based on the popular comic strip, this live-action comedy follows the exploits of Garfield (Bill Murray), the large, lazy and... [More]
Directed By: Peter Hewitt

#50
Adjusted Score: 17504%
Critics Consensus: Tiresomely self-indulgent and lacking any storytelling cohesion, this Glimpse Inside the Mind finds little food for thought.
Synopsis: A graphic designer (Charlie Sheen) plays out unusual fantasies in his head as a way of coping with the departure... [More]
Directed By: Roman Coppola

#49
#49
Adjusted Score: 17673%
Critics Consensus: Bill Murray delivers a noteworthy portrayal of Hunter S. Thompson, but Where the Buffalo Roam strains to get through its rambling narrative.
Synopsis: In 1968, drug-addled journalist Hunter S. Thompson (Bill Murray) covers the drug possession trial of a group of young people... [More]
Directed By: Art Linson

#48

Aloha (2015)
20%

#48
Adjusted Score: 25443%
Critics Consensus: Meandering and insubstantial, Aloha finds writer-director Cameron Crowe at his most sentimental and least compelling.
Synopsis: While on assignment in Oahu, Hawaii, military contractor Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) reconnects with his old flame Tracy Woodside (Rachel... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#47

The Lost City (2005)
25%

#47
Adjusted Score: 27709%
Critics Consensus: Its heart is in the right place, but what starts as a promising exercise devolves into an overlong, unevenly directed disappointment.
Synopsis: Fico Fellove (Andy Garcia), an apolitical Havana club owner, gets caught in the middle when Fidel Castro's Communist Revolution sweeps... [More]
Directed By: Andy Garcia

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In June 1939, the reigning British king (Samuel West) and queen (Olivia Colman) visit President (Bill Murray) and Mrs. Franklin... [More]
Directed By: Roger Michell

#45
Adjusted Score: 40467%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In London to celebrate his birthday with James (Peter Gallagher), his rich younger brother, hapless American Wallace Ritchie (Bill Murray)... [More]
Directed By: Jon Amiel

#44
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A mysterious stranger (Isaach De Bankolé) works outside the law and keeps his objectives hidden, trusting no one. While his... [More]
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

#43

Space Jam (1996)

#43
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), an evil alien theme park owner, needs a new attraction at Moron Mountain. When his gang, the... [More]
Directed By: Joe Pytka

#42
Adjusted Score: 45266%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Casting agents for an upcoming Martin Scorsese movie suggest that actor Johnny DiMartino (Robert Costanzo) try out for a part,... [More]
Directed By: Philip Frank Messina

#41

The Razor's Edge (1984)
50%

#41
Adjusted Score: 50521%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Somerset Maugham's Larry Darrell (Bill Murray) goes from World War I to a coal mine to the Himalayas seeking inner... [More]
Directed By: John Byrum

#40

Kingpin (1996)
50%

#40
Adjusted Score: 51721%
Critics Consensus: Kingpin has its moments, but they're often offset by an eagerness to descend into vulgar mean-spiritedness.
Synopsis: Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson) is a young bowler with a promising career ahead of him until a disreputable colleague, Ernie... [More]

#39

Get Smart (2008)
51%

#39
Adjusted Score: 58998%
Critics Consensus: Get Smart rides Steve Carell's considerable charm for a few laughs, but ultimately proves to be a rather ordinary action comedy.
Synopsis: When members of the nefarious crime syndicate KAOS attack the U.S. spy agency Control, the Chief (Alan Arkin) has to... [More]
Directed By: Peter Segal

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After saving New York City from a ghost attack, the Ghostbusters -- a team of spirit exterminators -- is disbanded... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#37

City of Ember (2008)
54%

#37
Adjusted Score: 57825%
Critics Consensus: City of Ember is visually arresting, and boasts a superb cast, but is sadly lacking in both action and adventure.
Synopsis: For generations a massive generator has sustained the needs of the underground city of Ember. But the generator was built... [More]
Directed By: Gil Kenan

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 73354%
Critics Consensus: The Dead Don't Die dabbles with tones and themes to varying degrees of success, but sharp wit and a strong cast make this a zom-com with enough brains to consume.
Synopsis: In the sleepy small town of Centerville, something is not quite right. The moon hangs large and low in the... [More]
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

#35

Osmosis Jones (2001)
56%

#35
Adjusted Score: 58971%
Critics Consensus: The animated portion of Osmosis is zippy and fun, but the live-action portion is lethargic.
Synopsis: A cutting-edge, live action/animated action adventure comedy about one white blood cell's (Chris Rock) race against the biological clock to... [More]

#34
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Renowned oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) has sworn vengeance upon the rare shark that devoured a member of his crew.... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#33

Hamlet (2000)

#33
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This is a modern retelling of the classic tale of a young fimmaker in New York City (Ethan Hawke) struggling... [More]
Directed By: Michael Almereyda

#32

Wild Things (1998)
63%

#32
Adjusted Score: 65009%
Critics Consensus: Wild Things is a delightfully salacious, flesh-exposed romp that also requires a high degree of love for trash cinema.
Synopsis: When teen debutante Kelly (Denise Richards) fails to attract the attention of her hunky guidance counselor, Sam (Matt Dillon), she... [More]
Directed By: John McNaughton

#31

Cradle Will Rock (1999)
65%

#31
Adjusted Score: 66805%
Critics Consensus: Witty and provocative.
Synopsis: As labor strikes break out throughout the country, New York is alive with cultural revolution. Nelson Rockefeller (John Cusack) commissions... [More]
Directed By: Tim Robbins

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 67949%
Critics Consensus: Episodes vary in quality, but overall this talky film is quirkily engaging.
Synopsis: This 11-vignette film focuses on the human interactions that happen while partaking in the everyday indulgence of coffee and cigarettes.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

#29

Charlie's Angels (2000)
69%

#29
Adjusted Score: 73513%
Critics Consensus: Mixing tongue-in-cheek cheesecake with glossy action set pieces, Charlie's Angels is slick and resonably fun despite its lack of originality.
Synopsis: A trio of elite private investigators armed with the latest in high-tech tools, high-performance vehicles, martial arts techniques and an... [More]
Directed By: McG

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 69241%
Critics Consensus: A Very Murray Christmas preaches effectively to the converted with a parade of superstar guests and hummable songs that - combined with the host's trademark presence - adds up to a unique holiday experience.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Sofia Coppola

#27

Scrooged (1988)
69%

#27
Adjusted Score: 72384%
Critics Consensus: Scrooged gets by with Bill Murray and a dash of holiday spirit, although it's hampered by a markedly conflicted tone and an undercurrent of mean-spiritedness.
Synopsis: In this modern take on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a wildly successful television executive... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 75653%
Critics Consensus: With the requisite combination of humor, sorrow and outstanding visuals, The Darjeeling Limited will satisfy Wes Anderson fans.
Synopsis: Estranged brothers Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) reunite for a train trip across India. The... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#25

Meatballs (1979)
72%

#25
Adjusted Score: 74664%
Critics Consensus: Meatballs is a summer camp comedy with few surprises, but Bill Murray's riffing adds a spark that sets it apart from numerous subpar entries in a frequently uninspired genre.
Synopsis: Tripper (Bill Murray) is the head counselor at a budget summer camp called Camp Northstar. In truth, he's young at... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#24

Caddyshack (1980)
73%

#24
Adjusted Score: 77308%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly crude and juvenile, Caddyshack nevertheless scores with its classic slapstick, unforgettable characters, and endlessly quotable dialogue.
Synopsis: Danny Noonan (Michael O'Keefe), a teen down on his luck, works as a caddy at the snob-infested Bushwood Country Club... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#23

Ghostbusters (2016)
74%

#23
Adjusted Score: 97941%
Critics Consensus: Ghostbusters does an impressive job of standing on its own as a freewheeling, marvelously cast supernatural comedy -- even if it can't help but pale somewhat in comparison with the classic original.
Synopsis: Paranormal researcher Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and physicist Erin Gilbert are trying to prove that ghosts exist in modern society.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Feig

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 76240%
Critics Consensus: Inspired casting and a prevailing sweetness make Mad Dog and Glory an oddball treat.
Synopsis: Wayne Dobie (Robert De Niro) is a shy cop whose low-key demeanor has earned him the affectionate nickname "Mad Dog."... [More]
Directed By: John McNaughton

#21

St. Vincent (2014)
77%

#21
Adjusted Score: 85099%
Critics Consensus: St. Vincent offers the considerable pleasure of seeing Bill Murray back in funny form, but drifts into dangerously sentimental territory along the way.
Synopsis: Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), a struggling single woman, moves to Brooklyn with her 12-year-old son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). Having to work... [More]
Directed By: Theodore Melfi

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 88555%
Critics Consensus: The Royal Tenenbaums is a delightful adult comedy with many quirks and a sense of poignancy. Many critics especially praised Hackman's performance.
Synopsis: Royal Tenenbaum and his wife Etheline had three children and then they separated. All three children are extraordinary --- all... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#19

Quick Change (1990)
83%

#19
Adjusted Score: 85130%
Critics Consensus: Quick Change makes the most of its clever premise with a smartly skewed heist comedy that leaves plenty of room for its talented cast to shine.
Synopsis: With the aid of his girlfriend, Phyllis Potter (Geena Davis), and best friend, Loomis (Randy Quaid), Grimm (Bill Murray) enters... [More]
Directed By: Howard Franklin

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Before going on vacation, self-involved psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) has the misfortune of taking on a new patient:... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#17

Get Low (2009)
85%

#17
Adjusted Score: 89155%
Critics Consensus: Subtle to a fault, this perfectly cast ensemble drama is lifted by typically sharp performances from Robert Duvall and Bill Murray.
Synopsis: When much-feared hermit Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) comes to town with a wad of cash and announces his intention to... [More]
Directed By: Aaron Schneider

#16

On the Rocks (2020)
87%

#16
Adjusted Score: 105712%
Critics Consensus: On the Rocks isn't as potent as its top-shelf ingredients might suggest, but the end result still goes down easy -- and offers high proof of Bill Murray's finely aged charm.
Synopsis: Faced with sudden doubts about her marriage, a young New York mother teams up with her larger-than-life playboy father to... [More]
Directed By: Sofia Coppola

#15

Broken Flowers (2005)
87%

#15
Adjusted Score: 93715%
Critics Consensus: Bill Murray's subtle and understated style complements director Jim Jarmusch's minimalist storytelling in this quirky, but deadpan comedy.
Synopsis: When his latest girlfriend (Julie Delpy) leaves him, retired computer magnate Don Johnston (Bill Murray) has no greater ambition than... [More]
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

#14

Stripes (1981)
88%

#14
Adjusted Score: 89921%
Critics Consensus: A raucous military comedy that features Bill Murray and his merry cohorts approaching the peak of their talents.
Synopsis: Hard-luck cabbie John Winger (Bill Murray) -- directionless after being fired from his job and dumped by his girlfriend --... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#13

Zombieland (2009)
89%

#13
Adjusted Score: 99788%
Critics Consensus: Wickedly funny and featuring plenty of gore, Zombieland is proof that the zombie subgenre is far from dead.
Synopsis: After a virus turns most people into zombies, the world's surviving humans remain locked in an ongoing battle against the... [More]
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer

#12

Tootsie (1982)

#12
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: New York actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a talented perfectionist who is so hard on himself and others that... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 94422%
Critics Consensus: Remixing Roger Corman's B-movie by way of the Off-Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors offers camp, horror and catchy tunes in equal measure -- plus some inspired cameos by the likes of Steve Martin and Bill Murray.
Synopsis: Meek flower shop assistant Seymour (Rick Moranis) pines for co-worker Audrey (Ellen Greene). During a total eclipse, he discovers an... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#10

Rushmore (1998)
90%

#10
Adjusted Score: 94790%
Critics Consensus: This cult favorite is a quirky coming of age story, with fine, off-kilter performances from Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray.
Synopsis: When a beautiful first-grade teacher (Olivia Williams) arrives at a prep school, she soon attracts the attention of an ambitious... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#9

Isle of Dogs (2018)
90%

#9
Adjusted Score: 111583%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director's most winsomely charming stories.
Synopsis: When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island,... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#8

Ed Wood (1994)
92%

#8
Adjusted Score: 96146%
Critics Consensus: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team up to fete the life and work of cult hero Ed Wood, with typically strange and wonderful results.
Synopsis: Because of his eccentric habits and bafflingly strange films, director Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) is a Hollywood outcast. Nevertheless, with... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 104608%
Critics Consensus: Typically stylish but deceptively thoughtful, The Grand Budapest Hotel finds Wes Anderson once again using ornate visual environments to explore deeply emotional ideas.
Synopsis: In the 1930s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a popular European ski resort, presided over by concierge Gustave H. (Ralph... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 102151%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#5

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
93%

#5
Adjusted Score: 104518%
Critics Consensus: Warm, whimsical, and poignant, the immaculately framed and beautifully acted Moonrise Kingdom presents writer/director Wes Anderson at his idiosyncratic best.
Synopsis: The year is 1965, and the residents of New Penzance, an island off the coast of New England, inhabit a... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#4

The Jungle Book (2016)
94%

#4
Adjusted Score: 114733%
Critics Consensus: As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch, The Jungle Book is the rare remake that actually improves upon its predecessors -- all while setting a new standard for CGI.
Synopsis: Raised by a family of wolves since birth, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) must leave the only home he's ever known when... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 103113%
Critics Consensus: Effectively balancing humor and subtle pathos, Sofia Coppola crafts a moving, melancholy story that serves as a showcase for both Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.
Synopsis: A lonely, aging movie star named Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and a conflicted newlywed, Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), meet in Tokyo.... [More]
Directed By: Sofia Coppola

#2

Groundhog Day (1993)
97%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103334%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sweet, and inventive, Groundhog Day highlights Murray's dramatic gifts while still leaving plenty of room for laughs.
Synopsis: Phil (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole. He gets... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#1

Ghostbusters (1984)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 103031%
Critics Consensus: An infectiously fun blend of special effects and comedy, with Bill Murray's hilarious deadpan performance leading a cast of great comic turns.
Synopsis: After the members of a team of scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their cushy positions at a... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

(Photo by Fox Searchlight/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Wes Anderson Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Wes Anderson‘s first feature, 1996’s Bottle Rocket, bombed at the box office, perplexing studios and audiences with its quirky characters and filmmaking. If only they knew what was in store. Compared to the pastel-colored, stop-motion, insistently symmetrical fantasias Anderson has gone on to craft over the past two decades, Bottle Rocket‘s off-beat tale of amateur crooks ambling about in West Texas is practically Italian neo-realism.

But Anderson’s style was already emerging then, along with his choice of the collaborators that would elevate him into a zeitgeist-defining career. Namely, one Owen C. Wilson, who starred in and co-wrote Bottle Rocket. Wilson would go on to co-write Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, then become a feature player in the Andersonverse for many features beyond. Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman joined the troupe in 1998 with Rushmore. By 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson films were leaving reality behind, inviting us to a nostalgic, melancholic world of the director’s own creation. Tenenbaums would earn Anderson his first Oscar nomination, in the Best Original Screenplay category. Even more fulfilling: Margot and Richie Tenenbaum would become a Halloween staple for panicking, last-minute hipsters for decades to come.

The success of Tenenbaums allowed Anderson to nab his largest budget ever, along with carte blanche on how to shoot his twee epic The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou. The production involved being at sea for months, hiring Henry Selick to handcraft exotic underwater fauna, and residency at the legendary Cinecittà studio in Italy, where Fellini, Leone, Coppola, Scorsese, and many more legends have worked. Steve Zissou‘s plot was as choppy as the ocean in storm, leading to Anderson’s worst reviews, though its aesthetic would influence pop culture and the art world at large. (And it features in our book, Rotten Movies We Love.)

After his minor work, The Darjeeling Limited, Anderson released a comeback hit: Fantastic Mr. Fox. It was the first time he would work directly in stop-motion animation, with the film’s scratchy, tactile quality unlike anything seen on the big screen in decades.

Since then, it’s been a golden age for Anderson and his fans, with the jubilant, romantic, adventure sweep of Moonrise Kingdom, the Best Picture- and Best Director-nominated Grand Budapest Hotel, and the sublimely strange Isle of Dogs. His latest film The French Dispatch stars, unsurprisingly, everybody. Now we’re ranking all Wes Anderson movies by Tomatometer!

#10
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Renowned oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) has sworn vengeance upon the rare shark that devoured a member of his crew.... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 75653%
Critics Consensus: With the requisite combination of humor, sorrow and outstanding visuals, The Darjeeling Limited will satisfy Wes Anderson fans.
Synopsis: Estranged brothers Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) reunite for a train trip across India. The... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 90280%
Critics Consensus: A loving ode to the spirit of journalism, The French Dispatch will be most enjoyed by fans of Wes Anderson's meticulously arranged aesthetic.
Synopsis: A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city that... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 88555%
Critics Consensus: The Royal Tenenbaums is a delightful adult comedy with many quirks and a sense of poignancy. Many critics especially praised Hackman's performance.
Synopsis: Royal Tenenbaum and his wife Etheline had three children and then they separated. All three children are extraordinary --- all... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#6

Bottle Rocket (1996)
85%

#6
Adjusted Score: 88796%
Critics Consensus: Bottle Rocket is Reservoir Dogs meets Breathless with a West Texas sensibility.
Synopsis: In Wes Anderson's first feature film, Anthony (Luke Wilson) has just been released from a mental hospital, only to find... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#5

Rushmore (1998)
90%

#5
Adjusted Score: 94790%
Critics Consensus: This cult favorite is a quirky coming of age story, with fine, off-kilter performances from Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray.
Synopsis: When a beautiful first-grade teacher (Olivia Williams) arrives at a prep school, she soon attracts the attention of an ambitious... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 104608%
Critics Consensus: Typically stylish but deceptively thoughtful, The Grand Budapest Hotel finds Wes Anderson once again using ornate visual environments to explore deeply emotional ideas.
Synopsis: In the 1930s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a popular European ski resort, presided over by concierge Gustave H. (Ralph... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#3

Isle of Dogs (2018)
90%

#3
Adjusted Score: 111583%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director's most winsomely charming stories.
Synopsis: When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island,... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 102151%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#1

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
93%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104518%
Critics Consensus: Warm, whimsical, and poignant, the immaculately framed and beautifully acted Moonrise Kingdom presents writer/director Wes Anderson at his idiosyncratic best.
Synopsis: The year is 1965, and the residents of New Penzance, an island off the coast of New England, inhabit a... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

It certainly isn’t every day that we get a stop-motion feature about a young man’s quest to rescue his dog from government-imposed island quarantine, but when it does happen, there isn’t a working director better equipped to handle it than Wes Anderson — which makes it an awfully good thing that Anderson’s latest feature, this weekend’s Isle of Dogs, tells exactly that story. In celebration of Anderson’s latest return to theaters, we’ve decided to take a look back at the films that brought us here, while once again asking you to rank your personal favorites. You know what that means: it’s time for Total Recall!


Use the arrows to rank the movies, or click here to see them ranked by Tomatometer!

Indie classics, animated hits, well-reviewed dramas, and blockbuster comedies: Owen Wilson has done it all. This week, he makes a rare foray into action thriller territory opposite Pierce Brosnan in No Escape, so we knew this would be the perfect occasion to take a fond look back at some of the many critical highlights from a very prolific — and impressively varied —filmography. It’s time to pay tribute to the man who brought Marmaduke to life, Total Recall style!


 

 10. The Darjeeling Limited (2007) 69%

Darjeeling

Reuniting after the six-year layoff that followed The Royal Tenenbaums, frequent collaborators Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson paired up for 2007’s The Darjeeling Limited, a typically quirky dramedy about three eccentric brothers (played by Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman) who struggle — not always entirely successfully — to reconnect by taking a train ride across India in order to reunite with their mother (Anjelica Huston). While a troubling number of critics felt Darjeeling found Anderson settling into a rut, the majority felt that even if he was treading somewhat familiar ground, he managed to do it with style. Calling it “Arguably Wes Anderson’s most compassionate, mature film,” Nick Rogers of Suite101 credited the film with “[dancing] around disconcerting what-ifs: If they weren’t your brothers and sisters, would you voluntarily befriend them, or do you tolerate quirks and annoyances because blood links you?”

Watch Trailer


 

9. Inherent Vice (2014) 73%

Inherent

It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say Wilson’s had an easy time of it with critics lately — his recent duds include Are You Here and She’s Funny That Way — but he’s also made his mark in a few well-reviewed releases, including a brief appearance in The Grand Budapest Hotel and a more substantial supporting role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s star-studded adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. Here, Wilson appears as Coy Harlingen, a man whose disappearance prompts his wife (Jena Malone) to hire the film’s P.I. protagonist (Joaquin Phoenix) to mount a search. The plot’s a whole lot messier than that — and critics seemed admittedly divided over just how successfully Anderson managed to wrestle it onto the screen — but even if they weren’t quite sure what to make of it, most enjoyed what they saw. “It is no exaggeration to say that this could become the new Big Lebowski,” wrote Helen O’Hara for GQ. “Something that will not just stand up to repeat viewings but positively reward every single rewatch of its twisted, lunatic glory.”

Watch Trailer


 

8. Cars (2006) 74%

Cars

At a comparatively paltry 74 percent on the Tomatometer, 2006’s Cars represented something of a critical setback for PIxar — but while the reviews that greeted this John Lasseter-directed tale of a young racecar (Owen Wilson) and his quest to wrest the Piston Cup from a pair of challengers (Michael Keaton and Richard Petty) weren’t up to the usual Pixar standard, audiences didn’t mind; it grossed over $460 million on its way to spawning a sequel (and a spinoff), and even if it didn’t measure up to Pixar’s previous, it was still good enough to earn praise from scribes like Chris Vognar of the Dallas Morning News, who wrote, “no other outfit can match Pixar’s knack for plucking heartstrings without tearing them off the frets.”

Watch Trailer


 

7. Wedding Crashers (2005) 76%

Wedding Crashers

Part of the R-rated comedy renaissance of the aughts, Wedding Crashers may not have given Wilson the opportunity to do anything new — here, he appears as John Beckwith, a soft-spoken lech with a heart of gold — but it played squarely to Wilson’s comedic gifts, had a solid Steve Faber/Bob Fisher script, and surrounded Wilson and his co-star, Vince Vaughn, with some terrific supporting talent, including Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, and Isla Fisher. Though some critics had problems with Crashers‘ uneven tone — and the scads of gratuitous flesh on display in the movie’s opening montage — most found it too much fun to resist. “The likes of the sneakily subversive Wilson and Vaughn deserve better,” wrote MaryAnn Johnson of Flick Filosopher, “but this is darn close to a perfect showcase for what they can do, and how much better they do it together.”

Watch Trailer


 

6. Shanghai Noon (2000) 79%

Shanghai Noon

Westerns and kung fu movies have enjoyed a close relationship for years, and that rich shared tradition is given a tongue-in-cheek salute with Shanghai Noon, an action-comedy that transcends its goofier elements (Lucy Liu plays the female lead, a character named Princess Pei-Pei) and delivers a well-rounded blend of humor, adventure, and — of course — jaw-dropping stunts. Jackie Chan stars as Chon Wang (say it out loud with a drawl), a Chinese imperial guard who is sent to Nevada to rescue the princess, kidnapped by agents of the villainous Lo Fong (Roger Yuan). Of course, no sooner has he arrived in Nevada than he gets tangled up with Roy O’Bannon (Owen Wilson), a rather inept outlaw who starts out hijacking Wang’s train and ends up becoming an invaluable ally in his quest. For some fans, Shanghai seemed at first like just another Americanized buddy project for Chan, who had already done this sort of thing with Chris Tucker in Rush Hour. Chan and Wilson proved a duo worth watching, though; on their way to a $99 million gross (and an eventual sequel), they earned praise from critics like the New York Times’ A.O. Scott, who wrote, “Shanghai Noon is, in classic western tradition, a celebration of male bonding, unabashedly juvenile, boyishly risqué and disarmingly sweet.”

Watch Trailer


 

5. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) 81%

Tenenbaums

A year after breaking the box-office bank in Meet the Parents, Wilson and his frequent castmate reunited for a far less mainstream excursion into the oddball end of the comedy spectrum: Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. Co-writing the screenplay (about a mind-bendingly eccentric family whose overbearing, insensitive patriarch turns the lives of his children upside down) and appearing amidst an eyebrow-raising ensemble cast that also included Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bill Murray, and his brothers Andrew and Luke, Wilson was at his quirkiest and most neurotic — in other words, at his best. While it wasn’t a huge hit at the box office, Tenenbaums fared well with most critics, including Geoff Pevere of the Toronto Star, who called it “An eloquent, eccentric and surprisingly touching tribute to the comic dignity of failure.”

Watch Trailer


 

4. Meet the Parents (2000) 84%

Meet the Parents

Ben Stiller is one of the kings of uncomfortable comedy, and few films have taken advantage of his gift for squirm-inducing laughs as brilliantly as Meet the Parents, the 2000 smash hit Jay Roach comedy about male nurse Gaylord “Greg” Focker (Stiller) and his painfully awkward (and/or just plain painful) attempts to make a good first impression on his girlfriend’s parents while dealing with the unexpected presence of her annoyingly perfect ex-boyfriend (Wilson). Featuring plenty of guffaw-worthy physical comedy and splendidly antagonistic chemistry between Stiller and Robert De Niro, Parents grossed over $500 million, spawning a franchise and earning the applause of critics like Time’s Richard Schickel, who chuckled, “Alas, poor Focker. He can’t help himself. And we can’t help ourselves from falling about, equally helpless, at this superbly antic movie.”

Watch Trailer


 

3. Bottle Rocket (1996) 85%

Bottle Rocket

Wilson cut his cinematic teeth in style with 1996’s Bottle Rocket, an indie darling that not only kicked off his big-screen acting career, but found him co-writing the first of three highly regarded screenplays (followed by Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums) with director Wes Anderson. Although it was a blip on the commercial radar, this cheerful crime comedy about a trio of Texans (Wilson, his brother Luke, and Robert Musgrave) whose rather inept first foray into armed robbery leads them into the path of an older, wiser thief (James Caan) was a favorite of critics like the Washington Post’s Desson Thomson, who called it “A hilarious, inventive and goofy breath of fresh air.”

Watch Trailer


 

2. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) 93%

Fantastic Fox

These days, it’s a rare animated film that doesn’t boast a star-studded cast, but most of them don’t attract the sort of award-hoarding talent that Wes Anderson lined up for Fantastic Mr. Fox, is stop-motion adaptation of the Roald Dahl book about a rascally fox (George Clooney) whose devotion to his wife (Streep) is tested by his need to have the last laugh against a trio of bloodthirsty farmers. Rounded out by an eclectic list of co-stars that included Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson, Fox thrilled critics like Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News, who called it “A visual treasure that successfully blends deadpan quirkiness with a wry realism rarely seen in any film, let alone one for children.”

Watch Trailer


 

1. Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris

Following a fairly dire year that saw him surfacing in Little Fockers and providing the voice of Marmaduke, Wilson enjoyed a huge critical rebound with his starring performance in Midnight in Paris — a late-period smash hit for writer/director Woody Allen, who enjoyed some of the warmest reviews (and the highest grosses) of his career with the fantasy-infused comedic tale of an ennui-addled screenwriter who heads out for a melancholic walk on the streets of Paris and ends up taking much more of a journey than he bargained for. “Woody Allen seemed to have lost his fizz as a filmmaker of late,” observed Jason Best for Movie Talk, “and then he uncorked the sparkling Midnight in Paris, a comic fantasy with all the effervescence of vintage champagne.”

Watch Trailer


 

Finally, here’s Tom Hiddleston imagining what it might have sounded like if Owen Wilson had played Loki:

He…is…Beowulf! Robert Zemeckis’ latest CGI hero leads the charge among this week’s new releases – get those pause buttons ready for Angelina’s nude scene, fellas! – but we’ve also got the latest from Wes Anderson (The Darjeeling Limited), a new adventure starring DC’s favorite superheroes (Justice League – The New Frontier), and vampires in the snow (30 Days of Night).


Beowulf

Tomatometer: 69%

No other title new to DVD this week comes close to achieving Beowulf-scale buzz; the Robert Zemeckis CGI-fest, about the titular epic hero and his battle with a demon and her hideous offspring, is a home video enthusiast’s dream. Sweeping landscapes and surprisingly excellent camera work enhance the centerpiece of this techno-forward project: namely, its near-lifelike motion captured performances by the likes of Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, and, yes, a nude Angelina Jolie. Pick up the unrated director’s cut, and if you’re so equipped, watch it in HD-DVD.

 

The Darjeeling Limited

Tomatometer: 67%

Wes Anderson fans will feel instantly familiar with his latest film, about three estranged brothers (Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Adrien Brody) on a soul-searching train trek across India; as with The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, and, let’s face it, each one of Anderson’s films, The Darjeeling Limited is imbued with a quirky sensibility, meticulous art design, a hipster-ready soundtrack, and a Wilson brother.

 

Justice League – The New Frontier

Tomatometer: N/A

David Boreanaz as The Green Lantern? Neil Patrick Harris as The Flash? A bizarre, but star-studded voice cast brings to life everyone’s favorite DC superheroes in this new animated movie, based on the comics miniseries. Featuring Golden Age characters like Wonder Woman (Lucy Lawless), Superman (Kyle MacLachlan), Batman (Jeremy Sisto), and Martian Manhunter (Miguel Ferrer), The New Frontier DVD boasts a bevy of special features, including a ten-minute preview of the next DC/Warner Bros. animated film, Batman: Gotham Knight.


 

30 Days of Night


Tomatometer: 50%

Based on the popular graphic novel of the same name, 30 Days of Night has something for everyone: vampires, a clever set up, and Josh Hartnett! OK, maybe the gory thrills aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but critics say it’s a decent, if erratic, pic for fans of the bloodsucker genre. Region 2 buyers get a bonus graphic novel, but stateside fans will have to settle for eight featurettes and a commentary track.

Goya’s Ghosts


Tomatometer: 28%

Academy Award-winning director Milos Forman turns his attention to Spanish painter Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgard), who becomes witness to shifting politics and religion as his muse (Natalie Portman) is held prisoner by the Spanish Inquisition. Recent Oscar winner Javier Bardem rounds out the cast as Brother Lorenzo, a conflicted priest whose life is irrevocably intertwined with Goya’s, but even a handful of Oscar winners and real thespians couldn’t save this period pic from suffering the collective sigh of disappointment among critics.

Looking for lists of critics’ favorite films from 2007? Today is your lucky day!

Not to be outdone by last week’s unveiling of the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures awards, a number of critics’ associations have announced their honors, including the New York Film Critics Online, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association. Let’s take a look, shall we? The awards follow, with Tomatometer ratings following film titles in parentheses:

New York Film Critics Online:
PictureThere Will Be Blood (100 percent) / The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (94 percent)
ActorDaniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
ActressJulie Christie (Away From Her, 95 percent)
DirectorPT Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
Supporting ActorJavier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) (95 percent)
Supporting ActressCate Blanchett (I’m Not There, 79 percent)
Breakthrough PerformerEllen Page (Juno, 92 percent)
Debut DirectorSarah Polley (Away From Her)
Ensemble CastBefore the Devil Knows You’re Dead (88 percent)
ScreenplayThe Darjeeling Limited, 66 percent (Wes Anderson, Jason Schwartzman, Roman Coppola)
DocumentarySicko (93 percent)
Foreign LanguageThe Lives of Others (93 percent) / Persepolis (100 percent)
AnimatedPersepolis
CinematographyThere Will Be Blood (Robert Elswit)
Film MusicThere Will Be Blood (Jonny Greenwood)

Los Angeles Film Critics Association:
PictureThere Will Be Blood
Director — Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Actor — Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
ActressMarion Cotillard, La Vie en rose (74 percent)
Supporting ActorVlad Ivanov, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (96 percent)
Supporting ActressAmy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone, (93 percent) and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
ScreenplayTamara Jenkins, The Savages (90 percent)
Foreign Languange Film4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
DocumentaryNo End in Sight (95 percent)
AnimationRatatouille (97 percent) and Persepolis (tie)
MusicGlen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, Once (98 percent)
CinematographyJanusz Kaminski, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Boston Society of Film Critics:
PictureNo Country for Old Men
ActorFrank Langella (Starting Out in the Evening, 80 percent)
Actress — Marion Cotillard (La Vie en rose)
Director — Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)
Supporting Actor — Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
Supporting Actress — Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Ensemble CastBefore the Devil Knows You’re Dead
ScreenplayBrad Bird (Ratatouille)
DocumentaryCrazy Love (78 percent)
Foreign LanguageThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Cinematography — Janusz Kaminski (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association:
PictureNo Country for Old Men
DirectorJoel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men)
ActorGeorge Clooney (Michael Clayton, 90 percent)
Actress — Julie Christie (Away From Her)
Supporting Actor — Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
Supporting Actress — Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
ScreenplayAaron Sorkin (Charlie Wilson’s War, adaptation, 88 percent); Diablo Cody (Juno, original)
DocumentarySicko
Foreign FilmThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly
AnimatedRatatouille

Source: ComingSoon (New York)
Source: Variety (Los Angeles)
Source: Variety (Boston)
Source: Variety (Washington, D.C.)

Wes AndersonWes Anderson burst onto the American Indie scene in 1996 with his first feature film Bottle Rocket which also introduced the world to Luke and Owen Wilson. Cementing his reputation as the Godfather of Quirk with films like Rushmore, The Life Aquatic and The Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson returns to screens this year with The Darjeeling Limited, about a trio of brothers who take a train journey through India and discover more about themselves and each other than perhaps they’d ever hoped for. He talks to Rotten Tomatoes.

Where did the idea for the film come from originally?

Wes Anderson: Initially I had two ideas; one that I wanted to make a movie in India and the second one was that I had this idea about a movie with three brothers on a train together. I mixed them together and they became The Darjeeling Limited.

The other main idea I think was that I thought I’d like to write with Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman and I think the movie we wound up making is really the combination of all three of our points of view mixed together.

Your movies are renowned for their fantastical edge, but when you think about them the stories you tell are always quite down to earth. Does the fantasy come after the idea?

WA: You know, it all sort of happens together I think. The movies I make tend not to be quite reality but the characters are inspired by real people and they’re always very personal. This movie, for instance, is a very personal movie; everything comes from my experiences, or Jason’s or Roman’s experiences. That was really our goal and it’s always been important to us that’s it’s both personal to us and hopefully personal for other people. That’s the idea!

I can’t imagine seeing the film without having seen Hotel Chevalier, your short prologue, first. Why didn’t it proceed the film in the US?

WA: Well it’s just been added to the print in the US from this week, actually. And I think that’s just as well because the short gives you some information and clues. Questions that get answered within the movie. In America I thought people would get to see it on iTunes – I thought everyone who wanted to see it would get to see it – but it’s just been a sort of puzzle for me.

The Darjeeling Limited

I believe you’re entering the world of animation for your next project.

WA: Yes, we’re doing an animated film; an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book The Fantastic Mr. Fox. We’ve just started it and George Clooney plays Mr. Fox. We’re making it here in London and it’s stop-motion adaptation. I wrote the script with Noah Baumbach who made The Squid and the Whale. It’ll take some time!

It’s a new area for you to explore; how are you finding it?

WA: It is and I like it, it’s fun. It’s fun to do an animated movie and I really enjoyed writing the script with Noah. The thing with animation is that you record the actors like a radio show and then the animators become actors in their own way because it’s their job to take this puppets and make them seem alive. They bring their own personalities to the way they move these puppets.

You’ve always seemed very open to experimentation on your films and it seems like some moments happened spontaneously on set. How does that work in animation?

WA: Well for this film we recorded all the voices on locations. We went out in a forest, we went in an attic, we went in a stable. We went underground for some things. There was a great spontaneity in the recordings because of that, I think.

And then the animators bring their own spontaneity to it as well, because when they do a take of a shot it really is like just one continuous activity for them. They launch into it and do it, and they’re not even quite sure how it’s going to turn out when they’re doing it. They’re sort-of sculpting their way through a scene and trying to make this inanimate object alive.

So while it seems more rigid, you actually get two passes at that spontaneity.

The Darjeeling Limited

How involved are you in the actual animation process?

WA: My job is first to write the script, and then to record and edit the voices. And then I’m responsible for designing the environment and I have an art director I’m working with on that, costume designers and character designers. There are different people who are in charge of these departments. And then I work on planning the shots and the storyboards. There’s a guy named Marc Gustavson who’s the director of animation, and he’s the one who really will take this puppets and make them seem alive and he oversees a team of animators. So I have my own ideas about what to do there, but he brings a great deal of experience into that and he’s really the guy who’s in charge when the puppets start moving around.

From shooting on a moving train to a fully-fledged animation project; are you always looking for the next challenge as a director?

WA: I don’t really look for challenges as much as I like adventures. Other than that I’m just trying to find stories I want to tell. This one is about foxes and badgers and so it has to be animated in one way or another. India, I just wanted to work there. They bring their own challenges. The hardest project I’ve done was The Life Aquatic; working at sea is a huge challenge.

The Times bfi 51st London Film Festival - RT Highlights
LondonWelcome to the Times bfi 51st London Film Festival, the capital’s annual event celebrating the best in cinema from around the globe. Running this year from 17th October to the 1st November, the festival will play host to many local, national and international films, premieres, actors and directors.

Unlike the hyper-competative and sales-led environments of Cannes and Sundance, the London Film Festival is an altogether simpler affair, inviting members of the public to sample the films on offer. And the festival’s timing puts it in the perfect position to pick early Oscar hopefuls; many of the films in the programme are already generating early buzz and for most in the UK it’ll be the first and only chance to see them before the end of the year.

So it’s with that in mind that RT-UK editor Joe Utichi and film critic Paul Anderson have been hitting the festival to cherry pick the twenty films from the festival you’re likely to be hearing a lot about in the coming months.

Click on the films below to find out more, or click here to browse through the feature from the beginning.The Assassination of Jesse James, The Darjeeling Limited, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Eastern Promises
Enchanted, Funny Games, Grace is Gone, I'm Not There
In the Shadow of the Moon, Into the Wild, Juno, Lions for Lambs
Lust, Caution, Planet Terror, The Savages, Sicko
Son of Rambow, Surprise Movie, Talk to Me, Things we Lost in the Fire

The Times bfi 51st London Film Festival - RT Highlights
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

It’s a long title, long film, long coats and a long time getting to the screen. There’s a lot of long going on here. It took two years to score a release once it was done, so what’s wrong with it? Well, er, nothing.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Brad Pitt‘s labour of love, is slow; very slow. Slow and long. But good westerns should be. The best western is as much about the pace and the look as it is about anything, and this looks amazing. There are sumptuous shots of prairies and sepia tinted men in hats and (long) coats saying a lot without speaking much. The film feels poetic and meditative, like you could be doing yoga while it’s on.

Yes it is Pitt’s movie but the star is Casey Affleck as the titular coward. Robert Ford always wanted to be in the James Gang, he idolised Jesse, wanted to be him, dag nabit he probably fancied him. The poster boy of the 1880’s, so myth would tell us, was a Robin Hood figure and American icon, but Jesse James was a vicious killer and this film doesn’t shy away from that, the source being a fictional version of the story by Ron Hansen.

There aren’t many gunfights as such and those that do happen flash up are brutal and over with quickly, as one suspects they probably were at the time. The parallel with Pitt’s own celebrity is interesting, this is a film as much about fame and idolisation and in the end Robert Ford thought he was doing society a favour by shooting James in the back.

Andrew Dominik is the Australian director of Chopper and in what is only his second film, rivals John Hillcoat’s The Proposition in handling the Wild West with great skill, giving the story time to breathe. Pitt stalks around brooding dark violence and menace while Affleck’s Ford is baby faced, naïve and eager to please. It is evident on this example at least that Affleck is destined to outshine brother Ben in front of the camera.

Take a cushion, you’re in for a fair stretch, but it is worth every ass-numbing minute. Gorgeous to witness, with some modern day resonance, an interesting story and subtle yet lightening performances. Paul Anderson

The Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson makes a welcome return to intimately quirkily comedy after the outrageously quirky comedy The Life Aquatic. Or, Wes Anderson makes another one of those quirky comedy things. It largely depends on your point of view.

The Darjeeling Limited tells the tale of three brothers and their pilgrimage across India in search of their mother who abandoned them years prior. Former Anderson collaborators Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson join Adrien Brody as the three brothers exploring India aboard the titular train, along the way learning more about each other than they’d ever learnt before.

Like many of Anderson’s characters, not one of the brothers has much in the way of redeeming qualities, and like many of Anderson’s locations, India is presented as a country of bright colours and strange inhabitants. Indeed, it’s safe to say that if you’re a Wes Anderson fan you can’t go wrong with this film; it’s pretty-much more of the same. For anyone not so enamoured of Anderson, that’ll be a big problem as this certainly won’t be the film to change that.

In the mid to late nineties, Anderson championed the quirky American indie, but as box-office receipts and film-school grads have multiplied, so the quirky American indie is fast enveloping the entire American indie landscape, and whether Anderson’s particular brand of quirk has any originality left at this point is a big topic for debate.

Schwartzman, Wilson and Brody do fine jobs in their roles, and the film’s opener – a fifteen minute segment entitled Hotel Chevalier and co-starring Natalie Portman – makes the project worth checking out on its own. For cineastes, it’s a well-realised portrait of love and lust while Portman fans can admire the lack of clothing on display.

But Hotel Chevalier is available for free on iTunes in the US, and at this point it’s worth wondering if more of the same from Anderson in the film proper really justifies the cost of admission. Joe Utichi

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Julian Schnabel is an artist in the truest sense; he makes art. He attracts like-minded individuals; Johnny Depp is not so much an admirer more a kindred spirit. Transforming a heart-breaking story into an entertaining film needed an artist’s hand and eye and luckily this film got it.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly takes its name from the deeply moving book from Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor of Elle magazine in France, who, at the age of 43, suffered a huge stroke that should have killed him but instead left him paralysed save for the ability to blink one eye. His brain was fine, he could understand, but he couldn’t speak. His condition was diagnosed as ‘locked in syndrome’.

The film begins as Bauby’s eyes open after a two-week coma, and for the opening segment the camera becomes his only working eye. Eventually we get to see the twisted, dribbling mouth of the wheelchair bound victim and Schnabel cleverly takes us on a comparison journey, in home movie style, with the ruggedly good looking Parisian Bauby living and loving life.

Beautiful women surround him; Celine, the mother of his three children, (Emmanuelle Seigner), to whom he is still cruel, is a saint. His speech therapist Henriette (Marie-Josee Croze) and the woman charged with dictating the book, Claude (Anne Consigny), are now beyond his once effortless seductive powers.

The narrative unfolds as an internal monologue from Matthew Amalric‘s Bauby, complete with snide remarks at the surgeon and a preoccupation with his nurse’s cleavage. His only releases are his flights of fancy; his imagination is not locked in and consequently he dines where he likes, seduces women, and travels wherever he wants, all the time cursing for being too selfish and unkind to his children.

Henriette and Claude could lend Job some patience, as the alphabet communication system is spelt out over and over until the correct letter, then word is reached. The most moving scenes are with Bauby’s father Papinou (Max Von Sydow) shown both in flashback and in an agonising post-stroke phone call, where a housebound elderly father likens his son’s situation to his own.

The book is a deeply moving, affecting and very funny masterpiece and Schnabel has replicated Bauby’s imagined world superbly to visually stunning effect. Flawless performances deserve a wide audience and make The Diving Bell and the Butterfly one of the Festival highlights. PA

Eastern Promises

A companion-piece to the excellent A History of Violence, David Cronenberg has enlisted the help of Viggo Mortensen again and directed a script from Steve Knight who brought us the story of the London people you see but ignore, Dirty Pretty Things. And he nearly gets away with it.

Mortensen is a Russian driver for an Eastern European gangland family and is tattooed to the max. A teenage girl dies while giving birth and Naomi Watts, a midwife, is so shaken by this she decides to find out more about her. This leads to a discovery of a diary, which in turn leads her to Mortensen. And do you know what? She really shouldn’t go there.

Vincent Cassel plays Mortensen’s tighter-than-tight buddy and in usual Cassel style can make you feel the need to change your underwear with just one look. This is an extremely violent film and although not a horror picture in Cronenberg’s usual sense, some scenes are certainly horrific.

Mortensen is brilliant (Aragorn… who knew?), and Watts her usual high standard, while Cassel is just nuts.

Unlike Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises doesn’t capture the underbelly of the unseen so well. The homoeroticism is overplayed (why does Mortensen need to be naked to get a tattoo on the shoulder?) and there is no tangible sense of being an outsider looking into a closed world through the crack in the door, which would have made a half-decent thriller into a tense and buttock-clenching one.

Is this the end of horror for Cronenberg? Unlikely, but Eastern Promises is a disappointing follow-up to A History of Violence. Come on Dave, bring on the gore. PA

The Times bfi 51st London Film Festival - RT Highlights
Enchanted

Disney’s first attempt at hand-drawn animation in years, Enchanted, is perhaps one of this year’s family film highlights.

The tale of a tried and true Disney Princess, Gisele (Amy Adams), who finds her Prince Charming (James Marsden) before being sent to a faraway land by an evil stepmother (Susan Sarandon), is primarily live-action, book-ended by 20 minutes of hand-drawn Disney.

The faraway land in question is New York City, and so we open with an animated Gisele singing, dancing, and generally sickeningly happy as she engages a gaggle of woodland animals in some spring-cleaning. When she’s later sent down a well and into New York City we see her struggling with her surroundings and generally having trouble living a Disney life in a cold, harsh real world.

Fortunately, the film’s ultimate message, that real life isn’t a Disney cartoon, is unlikely to play to its young target audience, but it’s the biggest gag for parents and allows the whole family to enjoy the comedy and adventure without resorting to cheap and cheerful Dreamworks-esque innuendo.

Marsden is every inch the Prince Charming and Adams, while clearly not as beautiful as most outrageously sexy Disney princesses, moves with so many obvious Disney flairs that it’s a wonder they didn’t animate the whole thing and have her mime the animations.

The joke wears thin towards the end, and the film threatens to undermine years of classic animation from Disney of old, but when it works it really works, and it’s a joy to behold. It’s also worth a trip just for some hand-drawn animation, though on that score a CGI squirrel during the New York sequences rather ironically ends up stealing the show. JU

Funny Games

Funny Games is Michael Haneke‘s shot-for-shot remake of his German version for an American audience. It was just as nasty with subtitles.

A wealthy couple take peachy son and cuddly dog to summer home for a well-earned break. While dad and son sort out the sailing boat, that nice polite boy staying with friends’ next door pops round for some eggs. D’oh, he smashes them, asks for more and smashes those too. Hang on why is he wearing gloves?

So begins a descent into torture, bondage, humiliation, violence, blood and audience culpability. Yes, as an audience member one feels complicit and voyeuristic, as the so-called games are unveiled. Haneke wants to evoke this feeling; he wants the troubled youth and aggressive society in which they inhabit to be all your fault.

Funny Games is a deeply unlikeable film, but there is no criticism implicit in that, it is meant to be unlikeable. No one cries better on screen than Naomi Watts and as ever she is willing to visit the land of raw for her art and as usual does it brilliantly. Tim Roth as the husband is a bit-part once he gets clobbered with a golf club and it is Michael Pitt who steals the show as the creepily polite psychopath accomplice to Brady Corbet‘s egg-smasher. It was ever thus with cinema psychos that the more ‘normal’ they seem the more sinister they really are.

The nods and winks to the camera are a touch irritating as is the rewind bit in the middle but if you’ve seen the original you’ll be expecting all that. Funny Games is an uncomfortable, disturbing film perfect for festivals. PA

Grace is Gone

Lonesome Jim writer James C. Strouse marks his directorial debut with Grace is Gone, a moving portrait of a man struggling to come to terms with the death of his wife in Iraq and his role as a single parent to two young girls.

What’s most remarkable about the film is that it doesn’t attempt to politicise its story at all. As John Cusack‘s Stanley Philipps opens the film, leading his team at an out-of-town shopping complex in a chant about how the customer is always right, we instantly connect with him, and as he learns of his wife’s fate a couple of scenes later we’re already invested in his life. So when his brother, unaware of Grace’s passing, later attempts to chastise Stanley for his position on the war he’s quickly silenced. It’s a film about family conflict, not political conflict, and it’s all the stronger for it.

The film takes a journey with Stanley as he abandons his commitments, pulls his kids out of school and takes them on a road trip with the sole purpose of keeping the news of their mother’s death from them. It becomes an albatross that hangs over Stanley, but it’s just as much an enabler, for on the journey he gets to grips with his role as a parent and his relationship with his kids.

Cusack has never been better, his nack for engaging an audience more essential here than ever due to some of the more dubious decisions Stanley makes along the way, and Strouse directs with much-needed reserve, never allowing the film to get in the way of Stanley’s story. JU

I'm Not There

Velvet Goldmine, Todd Haynes‘ film about a seventies glam rock idol, split filmgoers down the middle. You either get it and it’s a masterpiece or you think there was nothing glamorous about the seventies and all bands look like bricklayers in make up. This time round Haynes is lucky, Bob Dylan already polarises people.

Haynes has taken six moments in Dylan’s life in I’m Not There, married them to what he believes is the musician’s personality at the time, and cast six different actors to play him, including a woman and a black kid.

Littered throughout the piece are references to characters in Dylan songs and well-documented events throughout his life. None of the characters is called Bob Dylan however. Ben Whishaw is Arthur Rimbaud, reflecting the singer’s love for the poet, Heath Ledger plays him as an actor troubled by his success and disappearing from view; Richard Gere, whose sequence is the weakest in the film, is Billy The Kid, a nod to Dylan’s appearance in Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid, and Marcus Carl Franklin is supposedly a black 12 year-old Woody Guthrie, a youth out of time. The stand-out performance and the one that takes up most screen time is Cate Blanchett‘s as Jude, a singer at the height of fame struggling with the constant barrage of questions about the meaning of the songs and the singer’s authenticity. To her credit, five minutes in you forget she’s a woman.

Ambitious and inspired, it’s a little long and full of too many Dylan in-jokes and references. It won’t change your mind either way about Dylan but it might encourage other filmmakers to try future biopics in this way. PA

The Times bfi 51st London Film Festival - RT Highlights
In the Shadow of the Moon

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. JU
Into the Wild

While most outside America will be unfamiliar with the name Christopher McCandless, the story of his abandonment of civilisation in favour of hiking across America on his way to Alaska is one we can probably all relate to. Who hasn’t thought about throwing off the shackles and experiencing nature in all its glory?

Of course most of us are either too scared or too sensible ever to attempt to do that and that’s perhaps why McCandless’ tale is so intoxicating; his journey is one we all wish we had the courage to take.

Sean Penn directs Emile Hirsch in this adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s book, Into the Wild, about McCandless, and while it runs a little long, at 140 minutes, in takes in some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable and keeps us gripped throughout as we join our young lead on his journey into either enlightenment or insanity.

Penn deifies McCandless a little too readily, encouraging us to make an idol out of him, and while most will happily do just that, it also makes it hard for us to engage with the film. Penn’s embrace of no-frills solitariness is flawed by the trailers, catering and crew we know to be behind single shot.

No, real credit must go to Hirsch, who goes out of his way to inhabit McCandless regardless of the creature comforts available to him off-screen, for it’s with him and him alone we must ultimately spend two hours of our time with. JU

Juno

Jason Reitman‘s debut feature, Thank You For Smoking, coming, as it did, in the same year as his father Ivan’s My Super Ex Girlfriend, was a brilliantly biting satire about the tobacco industry and suggested that perhaps dad’s talent had been well and truly passed on.

His second, Juno, continues his trend for witty comedy, casting Ellen Page as a high-school girl whose desire to lose her virginity leads to an unfortunate bout of pregnancy. She meets Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner through an ad in the Penny Saver and agrees to adopt the infant their way. But nine months is a long time, and pregnancy seems sure to bring with it a whole heap of inconvenience.

Page is brilliant as Juno, and a cast of recognisable supporting players back her up with aplomb. It’s definitely full of quirk – it’s an American indie after all – but, like Thank You For Smoking, there’s something real at the film’s heart and we’re encouraged to believe the quirk rather than let it wash over us. JU

Lions for Lambs

The most high profile of the recent glut of war themed releases – due mainly to its stellar cast – Lions For Lambs gets its title from an alleged quote from a World War One German General who said of the British troops, “never before have I seen such lions led by such lambs”. Apocryphal or not the debate over right against might is real enough.

There are three layers to the film. The first is a moral, ethical, hypothetical discourse with Robert Redford as a scarily convincing looking college Professor and Andrew Garfield as the owner of a fine mind behind a surfer exterior; the second is a political and strategic debate with media and PR consequences featuring an electrifying face off between Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise. Thirdly is the actuality of the troops in a war zone.

The performances are flawless with Cruise on his best smarmy bastard form as the ambitious senator and cheerleader for the masters of war trading blows with Streep’s journalist, over a new plan for the war in Afghanistan. Streep pleads mea culpa over the media’s acquiescence during the first Iraq/Afghan surge, but is less compliant this time even in the face of an exclusive story. Redford and Garfield debate whether seriously smart people should ‘do something’ with specific reference to two soldiers, Redford’s ex pupils, from neighbourhoods ignored by Uncle Sam who worked hard for their college grades then enlisted to make a real change.

And yes it is those same soldiers we see in the war zone, injured and low on ammo. Lions for Lambs is a one eyed view on the futility of the war on terror. Redford’s politics are all over it despite his best efforts at balance with Cruise’s hawk view. Nothing happens in the film in terms of action bar a few exchanges from the pinned down troops; it’s all about the dialogue and its evident that this is what Redford wants to achieve. When you leave the cinema and go to the pub he wants you to engage and discuss the politics of a war that few in the US want anymore.

There are many Vietnam references and lots of questions needing answers and decisions to be made as a consequence. What do you want to do? Do you want to end the war on terror? Do you think you should act/protest/enlist/run for the Senate? America’s liberal, artsy intelligentsia is pricking consciences but does anyone or should anyone outside the US care? PA

The Times bfi 51st London Film Festival - RT Highlights
Lust, Caution

Ang Lee‘s startling ability to jump between projects as diverse as Hulk, Crouching Tiger and Brokeback Mountain is almost as exciting to behold as every new film from the director is.

Lust, Caution is no exception; it’s a thrilling, breathtaking, dramatic, devastating and enrapturing film about a young girl who goes undercover in World War II-era Shanghai in an attempt to woo and then assassinate a key political figure.

Based on an Eileen Chang story, Tony Leung is Mr. Yee, a seemingly untouchable man whose heart is won by Tang Wei‘s Wang Jiazhi. And while Leung is outstanding, it’s Tang Wei, in her first role, who really steals the show, delivering a nuanced and emotional performance as a girl torn apart by politics and her heart, two elements that rarely see eye-to-eye.

Key sexual moments between Yee and Wang are shot explicitly, though never exploitatively, and it’s interesting to note that the film will be released as an NC-17 in the US. The rating is commercial suicide, but the film simply wouldn’t have the power it has without the sex scenes so it helps that it’s penned by the exec in charge of the studio, long time Lee collaborator James Schamus.

Breaking box-office records in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Lust, Caution deserves to have the same cross-over effect as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and here’s hoping this is the NC-17 film that breaks down the confines of the curious American ratings system. JU

Planet Terror

Let’s get the disappointment out of the way first; Machete is the only fake trailer attached to the theatrical standalone print of Planet Terror. It makes sense that it’s Robert Rodriguez‘ trailer that made the cut, but for those of us outside the United States for whom the idea of pirating the camcorder jobs done on Grindhouse doesn’t sit right, it’s a crying shame. We’re missing out on Edgar Wright’s brilliant Don’t, Eli Roth’s inspired Thanksgiving, and Rob Zombie’s brilliantly-titled Werewolf Women of the S.S. You can sit all the way through the credits; you’ll be wasting your time.

Honestly, the idea of experiencing the whole, balls-to-the-wall grindhouse experience was the biggest disappointment facing fans outside North America, but the Weinsteins’ needs must, and their decision to split the flicks could have been forgiven had the full experience, at the very least, survived two ticket prices. We got some extra time with Death Proof, but the Planet Terror that’s hitting cinemas is the same cut premièred as part of Grindhouse, providing ample opportunity to queue up all the fake trailers within it. As it is most theatregoers outside of the US will, in fact, be missing that full experience at the very least until the DVD arrival of Planet Terror. So why bother?

Well, for starters, perspective is important. As much as the brothers Weinstein plan to reap the rewards that come from double-dipping the Grindhouse experience internationally, we are still getting two films from a pair of the most creative film-makers on the planet. Death Proof is unadulterated Tarantino, and Planet Terror is the funniest zombie movie since Shaun and the goriest since 28 Days.

The films exist in something of a shared universe. For those who’ve seen Death Proof first, nods to Jungle Julia’s fate and an expansion of that somewhat cryptic Dr. Block/Earl McGraw scene will bond the two films even if they’re covered by separate admissions, and the fake film grime and dodgy projection effects cross both features.

Multi-hyphenate Rodriguez creates a stunning world in which he unleashes his zombie plague, draws delicious characters straight out of seventies B-movies, and lets his actors run wild with them. Freddy Rodriguez Rose McGowan shine, but with the remaining cast performing so brilliantly around them it’s the ensemble that sells it. JU

The Savages

It’s a tricky thing, the what-to-do-with-the-old-folks-when-they-start-to-lose-it movie. Filmmakers are always battling with the question of balance between dark humour and pathos, not forgetting to allow just enough dignity to prick everybody’s conscience about dealing with the elderly. One of the better more recent attempts was Away From Her based on the short story by Alice Munro with Julie Christie as an Alzheimer’s victim. The Savages nails the balance beautifully.

Directing her own script, Tamara Jenkins has landed two of cinema’s best in the lead roles. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney are John and Wendy Savage, siblings suddenly thrown together after years of non-communication, to take care of their father who is rapidly descending into dementia. John is writing a book on Brecht, he is also about to end a long-term relationship and Wendy is a penniless playwright in an unfulfilling relationship with a married man.

So they’re pretty uptight people, right? What plays out is a beautifully told story of responsibility, guilt, communication and selfishness with a heavy dose of realism. Philip Bosco is dad Lenny, a heady mix of deaf, cantankerous and incontinent, who beat his kids when mum left and wasn’t as bothered about caring for them as they are about him now.

Hoffman plays the pragmatist, managing the situation with the adroitness of a nursing home administrator. Linney’s Wendy is more emotional and tries to get dad into a beautifully landscaped home but sadly dad fails the test, so she buys a lava lamp for his room. What is prevalent throughout is the brilliant comedic touch in Jenkins’s script, which allows some hilarious bickering between Hoffman and Linney, especially when he puts his neck out playing tennis.

To its credit The Savages doesn’t bash you over the head with its message about being good to the old folks. Some people get ill and old, Lenny cuts a pathetic and pitiful character, but we all die and luckily the script is funny and nuanced enough, while being executed brilliantly by the leads, not to make it maudlin. PA

Sicko

Michael Moore is back with a new documentary about the healthcare system in America and its ill-treatment of patients who are paying through the nose for medical cover.

Sicko presents a compelling case against HMOs, but as with most of Moore’s work it is more than obvious that while the facts are indisputable there are plenty more he’s chosen to ignore. For this British critic, his portrayal of the socialised system of our NHS made that abundantly clear. Yes, as Moore shows us, we don’t pay for our hospital visits, and the cashier in hospitals gives us money for transport home after an operation, and our doctors are, indeed, incentivised to offer the best care to their patients.

But Moore neglects to ask how long we need to wait for a hospital bed in many cases. Or if people ever get sick because the hospitals they’re staying in aren’t clean enough. This is where our NHS fails, but because it doesn’t support Moore’s case it’s simply not mentioned.

That the treatment of patients in America is shockingly inhuman in many cases is obvious, and Moore uncovers a huge number and variety of horror stories about it. Like much of his work, though, while the film will inspire plenty of discussion through its accessibility, the discussion about Moore himself will outweigh that of the subject he examines. JU

The Times bfi 51st London Film Festival - RT Highlights
Son of Rambow

You can tell that Son of Rambow came from a pair of creative types. There’s something about the notion of a couple of friends getting together after school with a video camera and a vague memory of cool things they’d seen in movies and putting together their own tribute that just screams creativity and one wonders how much of the film came from Nick Goldsmith and Garth Jennings‘ own experiences as kids.

When his parents strict religious beliefs force him out of a Geography lesson and into the hallway, Will meets troublemaker Carter and strikes up an unlikely friendship. Carter teaches Will a little of his streetwise attitude and, when he’s shown First Blood, Will convinces himself he’s Rambo’s son and shows Carter a sketchbook full of colourful illustrations which tell a slightly odd but rather wonderful story.

The pair set out to make a sequel in which Will, as the Son of Rambow, attempts to rescue his dad and save the world. Along the way they pick up some collaborators, but when tensions fray on set their friendship, Carter’s relationship with his brother, and Will’s relationship with the church are all called into question.

Best known for producing and directing Hitchhiker’s Guide as well as any number of the nineties greatest music videos as Hammer and Tongs, Goldsmith and Jennings bring their creative flair to an independent level with this heart-warming coming-of-age story that’s been gathering momentum since its debut at this year’s Sundance.

But what’s most important is that Son of Rambow is so much more than its basic premise. Those of us who grew up with grand designs to make the next Indiana Jones will identify with Will and Carter, but all can identify with the film’s grander themes. Lead brilliantly by its two confident young leads, Son of Rambow may well be the best British movie of the year. JU

Surprise Movie: No Country for Old Men

The last few years haven’t been kind to the Brothers Coen. Indeed, you have to go back to 2001 – past The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty – to get back onto comfortable ground when it comes to their work, and considering these are the guys who brought the world Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing and The Big Lebowski, that’s a crying shame. Fortunately with this year’s offering, which played as the surprise movie at the LFF, the Coens have gone back to those roots and have delivered a film worthy of the standards they’ve previously set. No Country for Old Men is classic Coen, both sumptuously involving and wickedly funny.

Based on the book by Cormac McCarthy, the Coens have brought their unique sensibilities to bear on a tale of a drug deal gone wrong and the $2 million in cash found at the scene by a hunter living a modest life in Texas. His name is Llewellyn Moss and he’s smart enough to know that someone will be coming for the loot. But it soon becomes obvious you can’t prepare for Chigurh, an assassin with a flair for creative execution and an enthusiasm for high body counts.

On the trail, too, is an aging Sheriff called Bell who’s convinced the world has changed on him a little too much as he jumps from crime scene to crime scene hoping to track Moss down before Chigurh has a chance.

Full of just the right mix of drama, action and comedy, this is the sort of movie that’ll have you engrossed until its final moments. And if it does get a little bogged down in Texan philosophizing in those final moments, they do nothing to touch what’s come before. JU

Talk to Me

It’s easy to forget in this multimedia, mass media, and global communications world just how important radio used to be at times of major unrest or trauma. The 1960s was a turbulent decade of change and 1968 in particular was the most incredible year. Martin Luther King was assassinated, so too Bobby Kennedy and, in Washington DC at least, there was a man who gave hope to those with a sense of hopelessness following those two tragedies. Talk to Me is his story.

Ralph ‘Petey’ Green was an ex con, raised by his maternal Grandmother, who learned to DJ in jail playing records his Grandma sent him. Between songs he would speak the felon’s point of view. A recovering junkie and alcoholic he spoke the same language and had been to the same places. Released early thanks to a deal he cut with the warden, he bullied his way into a job at Washington radio station WOL, whose head of programming, Dewey Hughes, was the brother of a fellow inmate. Don Cheadle plays Green and Chiwetel Ejiofor is Hughes.

The film plays out as a ‘what Petey did next’ to a glorious soundtrack of soul and funk music over two decades. Cheadle plays Petey with such exuberance, even when showing his many flaws, that all thoughts of ‘that accent’ in Ocean’s are banished forever. This guy was bling way before bling existed. Green set up volunteer programmes all over the city and encouraged poor kids from the projects to get educated and avoid the path leading to incarceration. Can you imagine Wogan having the same effect? TV snapped him up and he became a big star and eventually quit drinking.

he performances of the two leads are what save the film from becoming a plodding catalogue of Petey adventures. Ejiofor plays the black man working in the white man’s world brilliantly; the initial exchanges between him and Cheadle when Petey derides him by calling him Mr Tibbs are lightning. Hughes went out on a limb for Green and the two became firm and lifelong friends.

The studio boss is Martin Sheen; comically corporate and at first exasperated by Hughes’s decision to employ Green. But it soon becomes apparent to everyone that Green has a connection to the street and the listeners the station wants to reach, through his own experiences and his articulation of the civil rights issues and the plight of the Afro-American; evidenced by his heartfelt announcement of the shooting of Dr King, equal parts sad and angry. Suddenly the voice of the street was being heard by ‘The Man’.

Green had bucket loads of self-belief which the film overall lacks. Take the lead performances away and Talk to Me doesn’t go anywhere, which is a shame because the story deserves better. PA

Things we Lost in the Fire

Are there any better ‘lived in’ faces than Benicio Del Toro‘s? If he saw you at the bus stop and introduced himself as a recovering heroin addict you’d believe him right? Conversely Halle Berry is too beautiful, that smile, those cheekbones, that skin! Luckily they got cast in the right roles, then.

Berry and David Duchovny are prosperous and sexy and utterly devoted to each other and their two kids. Then he gets shot and killed trying to help a woman being attacked and suddenly lives are shattered and the people involved are ill equipped to pick up the pieces. Del Toro plays Jerry, he and Duchovny’s Brian have been best friends forever. He’s a failed lawyer and junkie going to his addict meetings and working as a janitor. Berry turns to him after the shooting to help her get her life back on track. She asks him to come live in the garage, converted after the fire of the title, so they can lean on each other and patch up their lives. This works up to a point but their relationship is strained as Del Toro gets on with the kids really well, knows some of their secrets (because their dad told him), and fulfils some of the role that Duchovny hadn’t a chance to. Berry’s character Audrey is in denial and not coping with her loss.

It is a gently humorous film with a brilliantly convincing performance from Del Toro, especially during cold turkey after a relapse into the old ways. Berry is tearful and luminous but it seems as if it’s nothing more than just a job, emotionally there is no depth. Yes there is a lot of sad, and a drizzle of schmaltz and a surprising amount of emotional intimacy; Bier handles the pace, relationships and chemistry with the actors with expert ease. The kids are really cute too.

Overall it’s unclear what Things We Lost in the Fire is trying to say. Life goes on? We all suffer loss and face traumatic events and sharing is good? Whatever the message, it would be ignored without Del Toro’s mighty performance. PA

This week at the movies we have a lovelorn single dad (Dan
in Real Life
, starring
Steve Carell and
Juliette Binoche),
brothers on a train (The Darjeeling Limited,
starring
Owen Wilson and
Jason Schwartzman,
and the return of Jigsaw (Saw IV,
starring Tobin
Bell
and
Scott Patterson
). What do the critics have to say?

The perpetually awesome
Steve Carell and
Juliette Binoche team up for
Dan
in Real Life
, a rom-com about an advice columnist who falls for his
brother’s significant other. It sounds good on paper: who wouldn’t be intrigued
by the pairing of the brilliantly guileless Carell with Binoche, an actress of
uncommon range and depth? Though Life suffers from an uneasy mix of sitcom wackiness and sentimentality, director Peter Hedges has a clear love for the film’s characters, with most critics agreeing Carell and company overcome the weak script. At 60 percent, Dan looks to survive his mid (Tomatometer) Life crisis.
 





"Want to join my Lynne Cheney book discussion group?"


Wes Anderson‘s back, and with him comes the visual splendor and melancholy humor
for which he’s known. In
The Darjeeling Limited
,
Adrien Brody joins
Anderson regulars Owen Wilson and
Jason Schwartzman in the story three brothers
trekking across the Subcontinent in search of spiritual truth. The critics
aren’t all on board with Darjeeling; some find Anderson’s quirks
overwhelming and impersonal. But the majority says it’s engaging and funny in
that deadpan Wes Anderson way, with loads of quirky visual touches. At 66
percent on the Tomatometer, The Darjeeling Limited may be worth the trip.
(Check out our Wes Anderson Total Recall feature
here.)
 



“I’m telling you, Wes Anderson has never seen Harold and Maude!”


For those of you who yearn for even more insight into the twisted mind of
Jigsaw, you’re in luck: Saw IV hits theaters Friday. However, if you’re a
movie critic, you won’t be able to see it before the rest of us civilians, since
it wasn’t screened before release. Whoever correctly guesses the Tomatometer
will be the sharpest tool in the RT shed.
 




Scott Patterson wishing he were back in Stars Hollow.
 

Also opening this week in limited release:
Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
,
a doc about the venerable folksinger/lefty activist, is at 92 percent on the
Tomatometer;
The Living and the Dead
, a psychological
horror film about
an unbalanced man caring for his sick mother, is at 89 percent;
Jimmy Carter
Man From Plains
,
Jonathan Demme‘s doc about the 39th president, is at 81
percent;
Sidney Lumet‘s


Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
, a family drama starring
Philip Seymour
Hoffman
, Marisa Tomei, and
Ethan Hawke, is at 79 percent;
The Island, a
Russian import about a soldier who takes refuge in a monastery, is at 71
percent;
Mr. Untouchable
, a doc about the rise and fall of drug kingpin
Nicky Barnes, is at 63 percent;
Lynch
, an examination of the man behind
Twin
Peaks
, is at 63 percent;
Black Irish
, a coming-of-age dysfunctional
family drama, is at 50 percent;
Lagerfeld Confidential
, a doc about the
fashion icon, is at 45 percent;
Music Within
, a drama about a Vietnam Vet
who fought for the rights of the disabled, is at 38 percent;
O Jerusalem
,
a dramatization of the establishment of Israel, is at 33 percent;
Slipstream
,
written and directed by Anthony Hopkins, is at 30 percent;
Bella
, about
an unconventional love story in New York City, is at 30 percent; and
Rails &
Ties
, a drama about a family struggling with illness starring
Kevin Bacon
and Marcia Gay Harden, is at 23 percent.
 





Seeger, with some random groupie.
 

Finally, props to
m_ioannidis for coming the closest to guessing
The
Comebacks
10 percent Tomatometer. And semi-props to
SplendidIsolation and
BlueStar 50 for coming the closest to guessing
Sarah Landon and the
Paranormal Hour
‘s zero percent score.

Recent Steve Carell Movies:
———————————–
24% — Evan Almighty (2007)
74% — Over the Hedge (2006)
92% — Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
83% — The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
51% — Melinda and Melinda (2005)

Saws:
—————–
27% — Saw III (2006)
35% — Saw II (2005)
46% — Saw (2004)

Tag Cloud

SundanceTV IMDb TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt cartoon Mary poppins slasher Tomatazos rt labs critics edition critic resources thriller SXSW Logo critics BBC One women GoT Baby Yoda biopic Rocketman USA National Geographic Musicals TCA 2017 Britbox asian-american documentary Brie Larson zombie Valentine's Day Music hispanic Star Trek Podcast directors Rom-Com Arrowverse 1990s cats adenture Lifetime twilight superman Paramount Network revenge Trailer Western The Purge Film Nat Geo Peacock DC streaming service Discovery Channel FX reviews royal family Pacific Islander cars facebook TCA television Lifetime Christmas movies new zealand DirecTV Holiday 2020 comics 24 frames Stephen King Avengers Chernobyl zombies Captain marvel HFPA game of thrones Elton John monster movies streaming Paramount Shudder Action golden globes TIFF Set visit WarnerMedia Tarantino 79th Golden Globes Awards spider-verse crime drama parents Neflix political drama live event genre 2019 Musical scary movies toronto young adult Calendar The Witch razzies sopranos scary cinemax Instagram Live period drama docuseries blaxploitation leaderboard space Nominations Super Bowl rotten TV Land Television Critics Association disaster technology talk show stoner Broadway streaming movies 2021 BBC screenings Classic Film The Arrangement Emmy Nominations vs. Vudu spanish language strong female leads Family PBS casting spy thriller 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards PlayStation Toys crime LGBT Universal Pictures boxing live action kids spinoff spain Disney Disney Plus 99% robots king arthur Ellie Kemper stand-up comedy rt archives elevated horror art house NBA pirates of the caribbean The Walt Disney Company 2018 movie biography composers 90s ITV war Shondaland Hear Us Out best spider-man Cannes FX on Hulu Mystery Pride Month historical drama crime thriller marvel comics OneApp MSNBC Sundance Now Christmas HBO Max marvel cinematic universe TCA Awards Hallmark scene in color franchise TNT blockbuster Anna Paquin Sneak Peek halloween suspense natural history VOD Mindy Kaling sports Turner Paramount Plus LGBTQ TV renewals Binge Guide Amazon Studios Academy Awards GIFs HBO Opinion Image Comics hidden camera RT21 Apple TV+ IFC romance slashers Mary Poppins Returns Martial Arts E3 FXX 2015 a nightmare on elm street Drama halloween tv Amazon aapi YA Masterpiece mutant hist foreign VICE 4/20 spanish supernatural Crackle Pirates breaking bad series Sony Pictures Photos south america comic book movie kong Columbia Pictures 2017 Mary Tyler Moore Countdown unscripted dceu dark sitcom Animation New York Comic Con Grammys theme song Reality based on movie Crunchyroll dreamworks zero dark thirty scorecard Holidays Polls and Games YouTube Red jamie lee curtis TV CMT mob Wes Anderson australia hispanic heritage month mockumentary police drama Adult Swim cops TCM Apple TV Plus book Trivia cults saw Disney+ Disney Plus Television Academy CBS All Access APB ratings doctor who worst VH1 MTV aliens dc Oscars Exclusive Video boxoffice Reality Competition Pixar Funimation Mudbound game show batman sag awards kaiju TBS new star wars movies MCU Hulu canceled TV shows Warner Bros. diversity fast and furious Comic-Con@Home 2021 Kids & Family documentaries American Society of Cinematographers cancelled A24 singing competition true crime cancelled TV series Starz trailers nfl ESPN Prime Video Food Network mcc BAFTA toy story The CW BET Awards ABC Signature Quiz rotten movies we love Video Games Superheroe laika CNN travel sequel Black History Month Bravo cancelled television discovery Fox News First Reviews Infographic Freeform cooking versus high school Alien FOX docudrama Tags: Comedy reboot Women's History Month Spring TV Pet Sematary social media witnail festivals target Legendary Watching Series classics dramedy Nickelodeon Spectrum Originals HBO Go psychological thriller lord of the rings italian free movies christmas movies History black comedy satire Disney Channel video on demand Country E! canceled universal monsters Marvel Studios Pop NBC telelvision psycho animated Year in Review See It Skip It Biopics Awards rt labs WGN science fiction comedies worst movies Writers Guild of America Netflix Christmas movies joker Hallmark Christmas movies Summer medical drama Superheroes YouTube Premium X-Men OWN finale book adaptation Walt Disney Pictures Spike TLC Epix jurassic park romantic comedy king kong San Diego Comic-Con Apple green book Endgame football obituary international Certified Fresh archives Syfy dragons legend richard e. Grant emmy awards vampires DC Universe ABC Cosplay GLAAD name the review Emmys teaser rom-coms Awards Tour festival IFC Films Amazon Prime Video comic books golden globe awards sequels wonder woman anime gangster Netflix Film Festival PaleyFest award winner Trophy Talk indiana jones blockbusters Tokyo Olympics Tumblr politics japan cancelled TV shows japanese Comics on TV CBS Comedy Central Winners DC Comics transformers hollywood Ghostbusters Sundance Lionsgate movies serial killer comic james bond prank Horror what to watch President Sci-Fi binge tv talk new york Extras comic book movies Hollywood Foreign Press Association Acorn TV 71st Emmy Awards Pop TV Teen 93rd Oscars Universal BET YouTube stop motion AMC superhero independent heist movie crossover Best and Worst miniseries venice Tubi posters El Rey nbcuniversal Black Mirror concert dexter Fall TV feel good Fargo quibi chucky mission: impossible Election olympics Turner Classic Movies adventure news nature Winter TV fresh Marvel Character Guide black all-time Sundance TV Showtime dogs ViacomCBS films werewolf french AMC Plus remakes Marathons Thanksgiving Box Office Travel Channel TV movies Fantasy basketball The Academy The Walking Dead adaptation Esquire Dark Horse Comics deadpool Song of Ice and Fire Premiere Dates Comic Book 20th Century Fox 72 Emmy Awards RT History Schedule 21st Century Fox ID USA Network First Look Heroines Ovation BBC America 73rd Emmy Awards Lucasfilm TruTV ghosts NYCC Rocky know your critic screen actors guild children's TV Disney streaming service indie Amazon Prime Fox Searchlight Interview trophy Red Carpet Marvel Television criterion comiccon SDCC 007 renewed TV shows Star Wars Comedy anthology popular action-comedy die hard godzilla ABC Family justice league 45 TCA Winter 2020 TV One video child's play CW Seed Chilling Adventures of Sabrina latino Rock debate 2016 A&E DGA Cartoon Network Creative Arts Emmys harry potter