(Photo by Open Roadt/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Liam Neeson Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

After a major film debut with 1981’s Excalibur, Liam Neeson spent the rest of that swingin’ decade slowly climbing the acting ladder. (See him randomly in Krull, The MissionThe Dead Pool, and more, for example.) But after holding his own opposite Patrick Swayze in 1989’s Next of Kin, Neeson was at last upgraded to star for Sam Raimi’s dark superhero movie Darkman…where he spends most of the movie disfigured and fully covered in bandages. Still, Darkman was a financial success, especially for an original superhero IP in this era, and Neeson carried on with lending his baritone gravitas in dramas like the Certified Fresh Husbands and Wives.

In 1994, Neeson nabbed his only Oscar acting nomination with the monumental Schindler’s List, which would go on to win Best Picture for producer Steven Spielberg, who of course also got Best Director. Neeson took on another significant title historical role a few years later with Michael Collins, before entering the pop cultural fray as the decidedly unhistorical (though we suppose it depends on who you ask) Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace. And after that, just into the 21st century, Neeson appeared in Gangs of New York, Kingdom of Heaven, and Batman Begins. A resume that includes working with Raimi, Spielberg, Allen, Lucas, Scorsese, Scott, and Nolan? Sounds like that’d be a career peak for most…

And yet 2008’s Taken was still to come, which would transform Neeson into the go-to mid-budget action guy, create a cottage industry of similar flicks to follow in its wake. Some were pretty good (Cold Pursuit, A Walk Among The Tombstones), others came out decent (The Commuter, Non-Stop), a few were god-awful (Taken 2, Taken 3), and some were one was amazing (The Grey).

We also recently saw Neeson’s softer side resurface with Ordinary Love, his first romantic film since 2003’s Love Actually and one of the best-reviewed films of his career, proving he remains as versatile as ever. To celebrate his birthday, we take a look back on all Liam Neeson movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#72

The Nut Job (2014)
12%

#72
Adjusted Score: 15558%
Critics Consensus: Hampered by an unlikable central character and source material stretched too thin to cover its brief running time, The Nut Job will provoke an allergic reaction in all but the least demanding moviegoers.
Synopsis: After he accidentally destroys the winter food supply of his fellow Liberty Park residents, Surly (Will Arnett), a squirrel, is... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lepeniotis

#71

Taken 3 (2014)
13%

#71
Adjusted Score: 17468%
Critics Consensus: Hampered by toothless PG-13 action sequences, incoherent direction, and a hackneyed plot, Taken 3 serves as a clear signal that it's well past time to retire this franchise.
Synopsis: Ex-covert operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) and his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), are enjoying a reconciliation when Lenore is brutally... [More]
Directed By: Olivier Megaton

#70

The Other Man (2008)
15%

#70
Adjusted Score: 15749%
Critics Consensus: Despite the best efforts of a talented cast, The Other Man is talky, witless, and tension-free.
Synopsis: When his shoe-designer wife, Lisa (Laura Linney), disappears while on one of her frequent business trips, computer executive Peter (Liam... [More]
Directed By: Richard Eyre

#69

The Haunting (1999)
17%

#69
Adjusted Score: 20198%
Critics Consensus: Sophisticated visual effects fail to offset awkward performances and an uneven script.
Synopsis: This horror tale focuses on visitors to the secluded mansion of Hill House who have been called to the isolated... [More]
Directed By: Jan de Bont

#68
#68
Adjusted Score: 3927%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scottish miner Danny Scoular (Liam Neeson) loses his job, and, when his past as a political activist prevents him from... [More]
Directed By: David Leland

#67

Taken 2 (2012)
22%

#67
Adjusted Score: 29094%
Critics Consensus: Taken 2 is largely bereft of the kinetic thrills -- and surprises -- that made the original a hit.
Synopsis: Two years ago, retired CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) used his "particular set of skills" to rescue his daughter,... [More]
Directed By: Olivier Megaton

#66
Adjusted Score: 42856%
Critics Consensus: Amiable yet forgettable, MiB International grinds its stars' substantial chemistry through the gears of a franchise running low on reasons to continue.
Synopsis: The Men in Black have expanded to cover the globe but so have the villains of the universe. To keep... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#65

Under Suspicion (1991)
25%

#65
Adjusted Score: 8860%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the late 1950s, British police officer Tony Aaron (Liam Neeson) resigns from the force after sleeping with Hazel (Maggie... [More]
Directed By: Simon Moore

#64

After.Life (2009)
25%

#64
Adjusted Score: 26380%
Critics Consensus: It has an interesting premise and admirable ambitions, but After.Life fails to deliver enough twists or thrills to sustain its creepy atmosphere.
Synopsis: Following a terrible car crash, a woman (Christina Ricci) awakes to find an enigmatic mortician (Liam Neeson) preparing her for... [More]

#63

Third Person (2013)
25%

#63
Adjusted Score: 29028%
Critics Consensus: Third Person finds writer-director Paul Haggis working with a stellar cast and a worthy premise; unfortunately, he fails to fashion a consistently compelling movie out of the intriguing ingredients at his disposal.
Synopsis: An acclaimed novelist (Liam Neeson) struggles to write an analysis of love in one of three stories, each set in... [More]
Directed By: Paul Haggis

#62

Gun Shy (2000)
26%

#62
Adjusted Score: 25906%
Critics Consensus: A dark comedy of the low brow nature -- filled with fart and gay jokes. Even Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock cannot save this failure.
Synopsis: Legendary undercover DEA agent Charlie Mayough (Liam Neeson) has suddenly lost his nerves of steel. On the verge of a... [More]
Directed By: Eric Blakeney

#61
#61
Adjusted Score: 33186%
Critics Consensus: Its 3D effects are an improvement over its predecessor's, but in nearly every other respect, Wrath of the Titans fails to improve upon the stilted acting, wooden dialogue, and chaos-driven plot of the franchise's first installment.
Synopsis: Ten years after defeating the Kraken, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is living a quieter life as a fisherman and sole parent... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 37306%
Critics Consensus: An obviously affectionate remake of the 1981 original, Louis Leterrier's Clash of the Titans doesn't offer enough visual thrills to offset the deficiencies of its script.
Synopsis: Perseus (Sam Worthington), the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), is caught in a war between gods and is helpless to... [More]
Directed By: Louis Leterrier

#59

High Spirits (1988)
27%

#59
Adjusted Score: 26344%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Irish hotelier Peter Plunkett (Peter O'Toole) attempts to fill the chronic vacancies at his castle by launching an advertising campaign... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#58

Before and After (1996)
32%

#58
Adjusted Score: 31360%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The lives of Carolyn Ryan (Meryl Streep), a small-town doctor, and her artist husband, Ben (Liam Neeson), are shaken up... [More]
Directed By: Barbet Schroeder

#57

Krull (1983)
32%

#57
Adjusted Score: 32330%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On the planet of Krull, an evil creature called the Beast decimates the world's army and kidnaps the lovely Princess... [More]
Directed By: Peter Yates

#56
Adjusted Score: 41962%
Critics Consensus: While it offers a few laughs and boasts a talented cast, Seth MacFarlane's overlong, aimless A Million Ways to Die in the West is a disappointingly scattershot affair.
Synopsis: Mild-mannered sheep farmer Albert Stark (Seth MacFarlane) feels certain that the Western frontier is trying to kill him, then he... [More]
Directed By: Seth MacFarlane

#55

Battleship (2012)
34%

#55
Adjusted Score: 42586%
Critics Consensus: It may offer energetic escapism for less demanding filmgoers, but Battleship is too loud, poorly written, and formulaic to justify its expense -- and a lot less fun than its source material.
Synopsis: Lt. Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is a weapons officer aboard the destroyer USS John Paul Jones, while his older brother,... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#54
Adjusted Score: 41389%
Critics Consensus: Mark Felt may dramatize the man behind Deep Throat, but its stodgy treatment of history offers little insight into the famous whistleblower.
Synopsis: Lifelong G-Man Mark Felt, aka "Deep Throat," leaks information to the press that helps to uncover the Watergate scandal of... [More]
Directed By: Peter Landesman

#53

The Marksman (2021)
39%

#53
Adjusted Score: 44154%
Critics Consensus: The Marksman benefits from having Liam Neeson in the lead, but this formulaic action thriller should have aimed higher.
Synopsis: Hardened Arizona rancher Jim Hanson (Liam Neeson) simply wants to be left alone as he fends off eviction notices and... [More]
Directed By: Robert Lorenz

#52

Honest Thief (2020)
40%

#52
Adjusted Score: 45863%
Critics Consensus: Guilty of first-degree squandering, Honest Thief returns Liam Neeson to late-period action thriller mode but neglects to supply much of a story.
Synopsis: Hoping to cut a deal, a professional bank robber agrees to return all the money he stole in exchange for... [More]
Directed By: Mark Williams

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 46533%
Critics Consensus: Although it's an objective and handsomely presented take on the Crusades, Kingdom of Heaven lacks depth.
Synopsis: Still in grief over his wife's sudden death, village blacksmith Balian (Orlando Bloom) joins his long-estranged father, Baron Godfrey (Liam... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 40572%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Gen. Douglas MacArthur (Liam Neeson) conducts a covert operation behind enemy lines to infiltrate North Korean headquarters.... [More]
Directed By: John H. Lee

#49

Khumba (2013)
44%

#49
Adjusted Score: 37217%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After his herd rejects him for having only half his stripes, a young zebra (Jake T. Austin) sets out on... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Silverston

#48

Shining Through (1992)
41%

#48
Adjusted Score: 31139%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Spirited New Yorker Linda Voss (Melanie Griffith) goes to work for international lawyer and secret Office of Strategic Services operative... [More]
Directed By: David Seltzer

#47

Made in Italy (2020)
45%

#47
Adjusted Score: 50085%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A London artist and his estranged son try to mend their relationship as they work together to repair a dilapidated... [More]
Directed By: James D'Arcy

#46

The A-Team (2010)
49%

#46
Adjusted Score: 56211%
Critics Consensus: The A-Team assembles a top-rate cast only to ditch the show's appealingly silly premise for explosive yet muddled blockbuster filmmaking.
Synopsis: A man who loves when a plan comes together, Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) leads a close-knit team of elite operatives.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Carnahan

#45

The Good Mother (1988)
50%

#45
Adjusted Score: 50074%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Boston woman's (Diane Keaton) ex-husband sues for custody of their daughter after an incident over her live-in lover (Liam... [More]
Directed By: Leonard Nimoy

#44
Adjusted Score: 56089%
Critics Consensus: Its leisurely, businesslike pace won't win the franchise many new fans, but Voyage of the Dawn Treader restores some of the Narnia franchise's lost luster with strong performances and impressive special effects.
Synopsis: Visiting their annoying cousin, Eustace, Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund Pevensie (Skandar Keynes) come across a painting of a majestic... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 56183%
Critics Consensus: Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks give it their all, but their solid performances aren't quite enough to compensate for The Next Three Days' uneven pace and implausible plot.
Synopsis: Life for John and Lara Brennan (Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks) is miserable after she is convicted of a murder she... [More]
Directed By: Paul Haggis

#42

Chloe (2009)
51%

#42
Adjusted Score: 55928%
Critics Consensus: Despite its promising pedigree and a titillating premise, Chloe ultimately fails to deliver the heat -- or the thrills -- expected of a sexual thriller.
Synopsis: Catherine and David Stewart (Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson) are a well-to-do couple living in a posh area of Toronto, but... [More]
Directed By: Atom Egoyan

#41
Adjusted Score: 62032%
Critics Consensus: Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy -- albeit visually dazzling -- start.
Synopsis: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ; Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#40

Ethan Frome (1993)
50%

#40
Adjusted Score: 50163%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A farmer (Liam Neeson) with an invalid wife (Joan Allen) falls in love with her cousin (Patricia Arquette) in snowy... [More]
Directed By: John Madden

#39

Nell (1994)
55%

#39
Adjusted Score: 55614%
Critics Consensus: Despite a committed performance by Jodie Foster, Nell opts for ponderous melodrama instead of engaging with the ethical dilemmas of socializing its titular wild child.
Synopsis: Cut off from the modern world, Nell (Jodie Foster) is a wild child, who has lived her entire life with... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#38

Seraphim Falls (2006)
55%

#38
Adjusted Score: 58067%
Critics Consensus: A brutal, slow-moving drama that unfolds among some great-looking scenery.
Synopsis: Gideon (Pierce Brosnan), a former Union officer, finds himself the prey of a manhunt led by Carver (Liam Neeson), Gideon's... [More]
Directed By: David Von Ancken

#37

Unknown (2011)
55%

#37
Adjusted Score: 61875%
Critics Consensus: Liam Neeson elevates the proceedings considerably, but Unknown is ultimately too derivative -- and implausible -- to take advantage of its intriguing premise.
Synopsis: After a serious car accident in Berlin, Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) awakes to find his world in utter chaos.... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#36

The Commuter (2018)
55%

#36
Adjusted Score: 67878%
Critics Consensus: The Commuter's cast is better than its workmanlike script - which helps make this reasonably diverting Liam Neeson action thriller worth the price of a matinee ticket or rental, if not a full-price ticket.
Synopsis: Insurance salesman Michael is on his daily commute home, which quickly becomes anything but routine. After being contacted by a... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#35

The Dead Pool (1988)
55%

#35
Adjusted Score: 55954%
Critics Consensus: While it offers its fair share of violent thrills and tough wit, The Dead Pool ends the Dirty Harry series on an uninspired note.
Synopsis: In the fifth installment of the Dirty Harry series, gritty cop Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is fresh off the conviction... [More]
Directed By: Buddy Van Horn

#34

Next of Kin (1989)
56%

#34
Adjusted Score: 48024%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When their brother Gerald (Bill Paxton) is murdered by a Chicago mobster (Adam Baldwin), Truman (Patrick Swayze) and Briar Gates... [More]
Directed By: John Irvin

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 61450%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted if monotonous drama about a transvestite prostitute in London during the 1970s.
Synopsis: As a baby, Patrick (Cillian Murphy) is left by his mother on the steps of the rectory in their small... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#32

Taken (2008)
59%

#32
Adjusted Score: 65053%
Critics Consensus: Taken is undeniably fun with slick action, but is largely a brainless exercise.
Synopsis: Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), a former government operative, is trying to reconnect with his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). Then his... [More]
Directed By: Pierre Morel

#31

Run All Night (2015)
59%

#31
Adjusted Score: 66327%
Critics Consensus: Liam Neeson is in typically fine form, but Run All Night suffers from a convoluted plot and workmanlike execution.
Synopsis: Longtime hit man Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson), best friend of mob boss Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), has seen better days.... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 65449%
Critics Consensus: A gripping drama even though the filmmakers have taken liberties with the facts.
Synopsis: Follows Captain Alexi Vostrikov (Harrison Ford) who, at the height of the Cold War, is ordered to take over command... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#29

Leap of Faith (1992)
64%

#29
Adjusted Score: 64132%
Critics Consensus: Steve Martin's layered performance transcends the somewhat undercooked narrative of Leap of Faith.
Synopsis: Touring Christian evangelist Jonas Nightengale (Steve Martin) and his cohorts tend to put on their bogus faith-healing revivals in major... [More]
Directed By: Richard Pearce

#28

The Mission (1986)
67%

#28
Adjusted Score: 67929%
Critics Consensus: The Mission is a well-meaning epic given delicate heft by its sumptuous visuals and a standout score by Ennio Morricone, but its staid presentation never stirs an emotional investment in its characters.
Synopsis: Jesuit priest Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons) enters the Guarani lands in South America with the purpose of converting the natives... [More]
Directed By: Roland Joffé

#27

Love Actually (2003)
64%

#27
Adjusted Score: 71836%
Critics Consensus: A sugary tale overstuffed with too many stories. Still, the cast charms.
Synopsis: Nine intertwined stories examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love. Among the characters explored are... [More]
Directed By: Richard Curtis

#26
Adjusted Score: 68852%
Critics Consensus: Kahlil Gibran's the Prophet is a thrillingly lovely adaptation of the classic text, albeit one that doesn't quite capture the magic of its source material.
Synopsis: A dissident being kept under house arrest recounts valuable lessons in a series of vignettes while a mischievous young woman... [More]
Directed By: Roger Allers

#25
Adjusted Score: 73698%
Critics Consensus: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is an entertaining family adventure worthy of the standard set by its predecessor.
Synopsis: One year after their previous adventure, the Pevensie children (Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell) return to the... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Adamson

#24

Suspect (1987)
67%

#24
Adjusted Score: 66731%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Carl Anderson (Liam Neeson), a deaf, mute and homeless war veteran, is arrested for the murder of a prominent judge's... [More]
Directed By: Peter Yates

#23
Adjusted Score: 73754%
Critics Consensus: A Walk Among the Tombstones doesn't entirely transcend its genre clichés, but it does offer Liam Neeson one of his more compelling roles in recent memory, and that's often enough.
Synopsis: Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson), formerly part of the NYPD, now works as an unlicensed private detective. His latest client is... [More]
Directed By: Scott Frank

#22

Cold Pursuit (2019)
68%

#22
Adjusted Score: 79213%
Critics Consensus: Cold Pursuit delivers the action audiences expect from a Liam Neeson thriller -- along with humor and a sophisticated streak that make this an uncommonly effective remake.
Synopsis: Nels Coxman's quiet life as a snowplow driver comes crashing down when his beloved son dies under mysterious circumstances. His... [More]
Directed By: Hans Petter Moland

#21

Rob Roy (1995)
73%

#21
Adjusted Score: 74418%
Critics Consensus: Rob Roy is an old-fashioned swashbuckler that benefits greatly from fine performances by Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, and Tim Roth.
Synopsis: In 18th century Scotland, Robert Roy MacGregor (Liam Neeson) is the head of a proud Highlands clan that herds cattle.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Caton-Jones

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 79190%
Critics Consensus: Though flawed, the sprawling, messy Gangs of New York is redeemed by impressive production design and Day-Lewis's electrifying performance.
Synopsis: Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young Irish immigrant released from prison. He returns to the Five Points seeking revenge... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#19

The Bounty (1984)
74%

#19
Adjusted Score: 73808%
Critics Consensus: Thanks in large part to its cast, and Anthony Hopkins in particular, The Bounty's retelling of the mutiny on the HMS Bounty is an intelligent, engaging adventure saga.
Synopsis: Captain Bligh (Anthony Hopkins) struggles to restore discipline among the crew of the HMS Bounty after the ship has an... [More]
Directed By: Roger Donaldson

#18

Les Miserables (1998)
75%

#18
Adjusted Score: 76846%
Critics Consensus: This intelligent, handsomely crafted adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel condenses the story's developments without blunting its emotional impact.
Synopsis: After serving a lengthy prison sentence, Jean Valjean (Liam Neeson) turns his life around after an act of kindness opens... [More]
Directed By: Bille August

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 75999%
Critics Consensus: Oliver Hirschbiegel's dramatic take on "The Troubles" is an actor's showcase -- and Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt are more than up to the challenge.
Synopsis: In 1970s Northern Ireland, young Joe Griffin watches in horror as the teenage leader of a UVF cell shoots Joe's... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Hirschbiegel

#16
Adjusted Score: 83784%
Critics Consensus: With first-rate special effects and compelling storytelling, this adaptation stays faithful to its source material and will please moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: During the World War II bombings of London, four English siblings are sent to a country house where they will... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Adamson

#15

Michael Collins (1996)
78%

#15
Adjusted Score: 79508%
Critics Consensus: As impressively ambitious as it is satisfyingly impactful, Michael Collins honors its subject's remarkable achievements with a magnetic performance from Liam Neeson in the title role.
Synopsis: In the early 20th century, Michael Collins (Liam Neeson) leads the Irish Republican Army with the help of his friends... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#14

The Grey (2012)
79%

#14
Adjusted Score: 86833%
Critics Consensus: The Grey is an exciting tale of survival, populated with fleshed-out characters and a surprising philosophical agenda.
Synopsis: Following a grueling five-week shift at an Alaskan oil refinery, workers led by sharpshooter John Ottway (Liam Neeson) are flying... [More]
Directed By: Joe Carnahan

#13

Excalibur (1981)
74%

#13
Adjusted Score: 80415%
Critics Consensus: John Boorman's operatic, opulent take on the legend of King Arthur is visually remarkable, and features strong performances from an all-star lineup of British thespians.
Synopsis: The magical sword of Excalibur starts off in the hands of British lord Uther Pendragon (Gabriel Byrne) and then, years... [More]
Directed By: John Boorman

#12

Silence (2016)
83%

#12
Adjusted Score: 103532%
Critics Consensus: Silence ends Martin Scorsese's decades-long creative quest with a thoughtful, emotionally resonant look at spirituality and human nature that stands among the director's finest works.
Synopsis: Two 17th-century Portuguese missionaries, Father Sebastian Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), embark on a perilous journey... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#11

Darkman (1990)
83%

#11
Adjusted Score: 87222%
Critics Consensus: Gruesome and deliciously broad, Sam Raimi's Darkman bears the haunted soulfulness of gothic tragedy while packing the stylistic verve of onomatopoeia springing off a comic strip page.
Synopsis: When thugs employed by a crime boss lead a vicious assault on Dr. Peyton Wilder (Liam Neeson), leaving him literally... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#10

Batman Begins (2005)
84%

#10
Adjusted Score: 95911%
Critics Consensus: Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.
Synopsis: A young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels to the Far East, where he's trained in the martial arts by Henri... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#9

A Monster Calls (2016)
86%

#9
Adjusted Score: 105983%
Critics Consensus: A Monster Calls deftly balances dark themes and fantastical elements to deliver an engrossing and uncommonly moving entry in the crowded coming-of-age genre.
Synopsis: Conor (Lewis MacDougall) is dealing with far more than other boys his age. His beloved and devoted mother (Felicity Jones)... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona

#8
Adjusted Score: 103035%
Critics Consensus: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs avoids anthology pitfalls with a consistent collection tied together by the Coen brothers' signature blend of dark drama and black humor.
Synopsis: An anthology of six short films that take place in 19th-century post-Civil War era during the settling of the Old... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#7

Kinsey (2004)
90%

#7
Adjusted Score: 96185%
Critics Consensus: A biopic of the sex researcher is hailed as adventurous, clever, and subversive, with fine performances by Liam Neeson and Laura Linney.
Synopsis: Biology professor Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson) has a perfectly respectable life teaching and doing research at Indiana University along with... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#6

Widows (2018)
91%

#6
Adjusted Score: 116985%
Critics Consensus: Widows rounds up a stellar ensemble for a heist thriller that mixes popcorn entertainment with a message - and marks another artistic leap for director Steve McQueen.
Synopsis: A police shootout leaves four thieves dead during an explosive armed robbery attempt in Chicago. Their widows -- Veronica, Linda,... [More]
Directed By: Steve McQueen

#5

Ponyo (2008)
91%

#5
Adjusted Score: 96826%
Critics Consensus: While not Miyazaki's best film, Ponyo is a visually stunning fairy tale that's a sweetly poetic treat for children of all ages.
Synopsis: During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#4

Ordinary Love (2019)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 100529%
Critics Consensus: Led by strong performances from Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson, Ordinary Love wrings heartrending drama out of one couple's medical travails.
Synopsis: Joan and Tom have been married for many years. An everyday couple with a remarkable love, there is an ease... [More]

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 96167%
Critics Consensus: Husbands and Wives is a blistering, emotionally raw snapshot of two marriages self-destructing.
Synopsis: Gabe (Woody Allen) and his wife, Judy (Mia Farrow), are shocked to discover that their best friends, Sally (Judy Davis)... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#2

The LEGO Movie (2014)
96%

#2
Adjusted Score: 105889%
Critics Consensus: Boasting beautiful animation, a charming voice cast, laugh-a-minute gags, and a surprisingly thoughtful story, The Lego Movie is colorful fun for all ages.
Synopsis: Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary LEGO figurine who always follows the rules, is mistakenly identified as the Special -- an... [More]

#1

Schindler's List (1993)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 108406%
Critics Consensus: Schindler's List blends the abject horror of the Holocaust with Steven Spielberg's signature tender humanism to create the director's dramatic masterpiece.
Synopsis: Businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) arrives in Krakow in 1939, ready to make his fortune from World War II, which... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

(Photo by Columbia/ courtesy Everett Collection)

All Michael Apted Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Michael Apted was best known for directing the Up series, documentary films that tracked the personal lives of 14 British people across six decades, from childhood into retirement age. Apted took over directorial duties after the first installment, 1964’s 7 Up, and released a new installment every seven years without fail, up to 2019’s 63 Up. Roger Ebert called the project “an inspired, even noble, use of the film medium.”

Beyond the social intimacy of his documentaries, Apted navigated the studio corridors respectably, specializing in dramas and thrillers. Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist, Enigma, and Amazing Grace represent some of the best of this work, and Apted even entered blockbuster territory with the James Bond entry The World is Not Enough and took a crack at Narnia with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

And now we look Michael Apted’s movies ranked by Tomatometer.

#24

Incident at Oglala (1992)
100%

#24
Adjusted Score: 86814%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Robert Redford narrates this documentary about the Pine Ridge Shootout on an Oglala Sioux reservation in South Dakota. On June... [More]
Starring: Robert Redford
Directed By: Michael Apted

#23

28 Up (1985)
100%

#23
Adjusted Score: 100267%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#22

56 Up (2012)
99%

#22
Adjusted Score: 100090%
Critics Consensus: Director Michael Apted continues to utilize cinema as a window into the lives of everyday people, and in the reflection of this documentary we can glimpse our own aging humanity.
Synopsis: Continuing a project he began in 1964, filmmaker Michael Apted revisits his original subjects and sees how their lives are... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted, Paul Almond

#21

63 Up (2019)
98%

#21
Adjusted Score: 100305%
Critics Consensus: 63 Up continues a groundbreaking documentary series with another gently eye-opening look at the human experience.
Synopsis: An exploration of the lives of British children from different socioeconomic backgrounds who are revisited every seven years to discuss... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Michael Apted

#20

49 Up (2005)
97%

#20
Adjusted Score: 98096%
Critics Consensus: The latest installment in this remarkable series, 49 Up is a satisfying continuation of Michael Apted's singular sociological and cinematic experiment.
Synopsis: Twelve people, documented every seven years since they were each 7 years old, discuss how their lives have changed since... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#19

35 Up (1991)
94%

#19
Adjusted Score: 94523%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 46262%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This documentary profiles seven world-class scientists who discuss their careers, obsessions and inspirations. Among them, physicist Michio Kaku explains his... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#17

42 Up (1998)
89%

#17
Adjusted Score: 88809%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Michael Apted's saga continues with the lives of people he first profiled in "Seven Up!" in 1964.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#16

Thunderheart (1992)
89%

#16
Adjusted Score: 89844%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a series of murders stuns a small Native American reservation, the FBI sends in agent Ray Levoi (Val Kilmer)... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 87354%
Critics Consensus: Like a classic traditional country song, Coal Miner's Daughter draws on time-tested formula -- and undeniable talent -- to tell a solidly affecting story.
Synopsis: Raised in rural Kentucky poverty and married at the age of 13, Loretta Lynn (Sissy Spacek) begins writing and singing... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 84701%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This film is an adaptation of wildlife expert Dian Fossey's autobiography. Midwesterner Fossey (Sigourney Weaver) leaves the United States for... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#13

Class Action (1991)
76%

#13
Adjusted Score: 77242%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Liberal activist lawyer Jedediah (Gene Hackman) alienated daughter Maggie (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) years ago when she discovered his many affairs.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#12

Gorky Park (1983)
78%

#12
Adjusted Score: 78826%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Soviet detective Arkady Renko (William Hurt) uncovers a vast network of deceit and intrigue when he investigates a triple murder... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 72052%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Chicago reporter Ernie Souchak (John Belushi) is beaten up by double-dealing police officers after he writes about an unethical city... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#10

Enigma (2001)
72%

#10
Adjusted Score: 74019%
Critics Consensus: The well-crafted, twist-filled Enigma is a thinking person's spy thriller.
Synopsis: In March 1943 the code breakers at Bletchley Park, Britain's top secret Station X, are facing their worst nightmare: Nazi... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#9

Agatha (1979)
71%

#9
Adjusted Score: 71426%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A fictitious account of crime writer Agatha Christie's unexplained 11-day disappearance in 1926. Facing the breakdown of her marriage to... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#8

Amazing Grace (2006)
67%

#8
Adjusted Score: 72029%
Critics Consensus: Amazing Grace is your quintessential historical biopic: stately, noble, and with plenty of electrifying performances.
Synopsis: In 18th-century England, House of Commons member William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd) and his close friend and a future prime minister,... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#7

Extreme Measures (1996)
56%

#7
Adjusted Score: 56436%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Dr. Guy Luthan (Hugh Grant) treats a homeless man with strange symptoms, but then the patient disappears out from under... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#6

Nell (1994)
55%

#6
Adjusted Score: 55614%
Critics Consensus: Despite a committed performance by Jodie Foster, Nell opts for ponderous melodrama instead of engaging with the ethical dilemmas of socializing its titular wild child.
Synopsis: Cut off from the modern world, Nell (Jodie Foster) is a wild child, who has lived her entire life with... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 57462%
Critics Consensus: Plagued by mediocre writing, uneven acting, and a fairly by-the-numbers plot, The World Is Not Enough is partially saved by some entertaining and truly Bond-worthy action sequences.
Synopsis: Bond (Pierce Brosnan) must race to defuse an international power struggle with the world's oil supply hanging in the balance.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#4
Adjusted Score: 56089%
Critics Consensus: Its leisurely, businesslike pace won't win the franchise many new fans, but Voyage of the Dawn Treader restores some of the Narnia franchise's lost luster with strong performances and impressive special effects.
Synopsis: Visiting their annoying cousin, Eustace, Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund Pevensie (Skandar Keynes) come across a painting of a majestic... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#3

Firstborn (1984)
36%

#3
Adjusted Score: 35331%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A teen (Christopher Collet) protects his divorced mother (Teri Garr) from her boyfriend (Peter Weller), a drug dealer in a... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#2

Unlocked (2017)
26%

#2
Adjusted Score: 29479%
Critics Consensus: Unlocked strands an all-star cast in a spy thriller whose embrace of old-school formula might be refreshing if it weren't bogged down in genre clichés and a predictable plot.
Synopsis: After failing to apprehend the terrorist behind a Paris attack that claimed dozens of lives, CIA agent Alice Racine is... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#1

Enough (2002)
22%

#1
Adjusted Score: 24740%
Critics Consensus: Enough exploits the serious issue of spousal abuse to make an illogical, unintelligent thriller.
Synopsis: Working-class waitress Slim (Jennifer Lopez) finds her life transformed when she marries wealthy contractor Mitch (Billy Campbell). She settles into... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

A Wrinkle in Time, adaptation of the Madeleine L’engle kids fantasy novel and Ava DuVernay’s sojourn into $100 million filmmaking, isn’t getting the best reviews. As the score settles in the lower-40s, Wrinkle would place somewhere in the middle of this week’s gallery: the 24 worst children’s book adaptations, each rated PG and ranked by Tomatometer.

This week’s Ketchup includes casting rumors and news for The Dark Knight Rises and Superman: Man of Steel, news about the fourth entry in the Chronicles of Narnia series, The Amazing Spider-Man already getting a sequel and new movies for Nicolas Cage, Benicio del Toro, Salma Hayek, Kenan Thompson and John Travolta.

This Week’s Top Story

NARNIA CHRONICLES TO CONTINUE WITH THE MAGICAN’S NEPHEW

Here in the USA, the Chronicles of Narnia fantasy franchise based upon the books by C.S. Lewis are perceived as being borderline flops. However, the movies actually continue to be international hits, including last year’s Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is now over the $300 million mark. So, Walden Media is in talks with 20th Century Fox about continuing The Chronicles of Narnia franchise. However, instead of moving on to the fourth book, The Silver Chair, Walden instead is aiming to adapt the sixth book, The Magician’s Nephew. Besides reportedly being the second most popular book in the series, The Magician’s Nephew also has the distinction of being a prequel about Professor Digory when he was a young boy and how the magical world of Narnia was created. If negotiations with 20th Century Fox proceed, the next step will be to find a screenwriter to adapt The Magician’s Nephew.

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 WHO IS THE MYSTERY GIRL IN THE DARK KNIGHT RISES?

Ask most Batman fans who his sidekick is, and you will get a resounding majority who say Robin. That question for comic book fans is not quite as simple, however, as Batman has had many young sidekicks, particularly recently. This week, the young actress Juno Temple (Atonement) was confirmed as playing a “street smart Gotham girl” in The Dark Knight Rises, which led to speculation about what role exactly she might be playing. Although there are other characters Temple could be playing, one possibility is Stephanie Brown. In the comics, Stephanie Brown was first introduced in 1992 as Spoiler, a crimefighting sidekick of sorts for Robin. Stephanie went on to herself become a new Robin until eventually taking on a third identity as the new Batgirl. It should be noted, of course, that this is all just speculation at this point. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was also officially confirmed as costarring in The Dark Knight Rises this week (although this had been basically known for a while). The initial story reported that JGL would be playing Alberto Falcone, who was a central character in Batman: The Long Halloween, but Entertainment Weekly has since debunked that story. So, the identities of both characters remain a mystery.

#2 WHO WILL BE THE VILLAIN IN SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL?

A while back, there was a report that Viggo Mortensen was in talks to costar in Superman: Man of Steel as General Zod, the Kryptonian villain in Superman 2 played by Terence Stamp. This week, director Zack Snyder, doing press for Sucker Punch, confirmed that Viggo Mortensen will not be in Superman: Man of Steel at all. Meanwhile, two actors’ names emerged this week as being possibilities to playing a villain in the film, although in both cases, exactly who that villain might be is not yet known. Those two actors are Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, The Runaways) and Edgar Ramirez, star of the Carlos mini-series, and also cast as Ares in the sequel Wrath of the Titans. Shannon and Ramirez don’t seem to be either obvious choices to play General Zod, or to even possibly be considered for the same role. As with characters in The Dark Knight Rises, who exactly they might be considered to play for now will have to be the subject of fan speculation. To get things started, this writer likes the idea that Michael Shannon sort of looks like he could play (a much less muscular version of) Bizarro, who would be a good villain to separate this reboot from all of the previous movies.

#3 OLIVER STONE CASTS HIS SAVAGES

For his next film, director Oliver Stone is taking a break from politics (and Wall Street) with an adaptation of the Don Winslow novel Savages. The novel tells the story of two California pot growers who find themselves blackmailed into working for a Mexican drug cartel when one of their girlfriends is kidnapped. The casting news for Savages went into overdrive this week through a series of stories, as Oliver Stone prepares to start filming in June. The first name mentioned was Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass), who will play one of the pot growers. The second story gave us news of Taylor Kitsch (Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as the other pot grower, who will also star in the upcoming John Carter of Mars and the board game adaptation Battleship. Salma Hayek is also in talks to play the matriarch of the drug cartel and Olivia Wilde, (TRON Legacy) is in talks to play the kidnapped girlfriend (after Jennifer Lawrence had to drop out so that she can star in The Hunger Games). Finally, Benicio Del Toro is also in talks to costar in Savages, as the drug cartel enforcer that notifies the drug dealers that their friend has been kidnapped.

#4 ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER HALF DOZEN SCIENCE FICTION PROJECTS

Last week, the Weekly Ketchup covered six different science fiction projects, and this week sees the deluge continue with another six projects announced. Not all of these items are necessarily fresh, but they have to be listed somewhere. Jodie Foster’s next project as director will be a science fiction thriller with a family element. Not much else is known about that one right now. DreamWorks has acquired an original “high concept sci-fi” spec script called Genneris by newcomer Nic Kelman. Again, no details are known about Genneris. Divergent is an upcoming young adult novel by Veronica Roth (intended to be the start of yet another YA franchise) which has been picked up by Summit Entertainment (the studio behind the Twilight series). Divergent is set in a futuristic dystopia where Chicago is broken up into six districts based upon human traits like honesty, bravery and intelligence. A young girl named Beatrice must decide which area she wants to devote the rest of her life to. And there’s also a romantic angle. Of course. 20th Century Fox has picked up the rights to the upcoming Tahereh Mafi novel Shatter Me, which is set in a dystopian future and tells the story of a 17 year old girl who possesses a deadly touch. The 2012 release date of The Hunger Games can probably be credited (or blamed) with all of these movies about teenage girls in dystopian future settings. Stories involving the moon but set in the here and now are also newly popular (and admittedly, these two are only borderline science fiction, and one of them’s not even fiction). With the Warner Bros project All You Need is Kill getting close to being shelved, director Doug Liman (Jumper, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) is lining up another project. Formerly called Luna, the currently untitled project is about a group of former space science employees who travel around the world stealing technology to build a rocket to go to the moon to acquire an energy source there. Doug Liman is meeting with several actors and actresses for the project. Finally, there is Sex on the Moon, which is actually based upon the true story (and was first announced in January). Writer/director Will Gluck (Easy A, the upcoming Friends With Benefits) is in talks with Sony Pictures and the producers of The Social Network to take on the adaptation of the Ben Bezrich non-fiction book Sex on the Moon. That book tells the true story of 25-year-old NASA intern Thad Roberts who, in an attempt to impress a girl, came up with a scheme to steal moon rocks from the Johnson Space Center. It’s a romantic comedy. Obviously.

#5 SNL’S KENAN THOMPSON AND ANDY SAMBERG CONTINUE A PROUD TRADITION

Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels has been getting movies made for his cast members for nearly 20 years now, starting with Wayne’s World in 1992. Kenan Thompson is the latest SNL cast member to get such a movie, although Thompson actually has a TV and movie career (Heavyweights, Good Burger) that predates his joining the SNL cast. Kenan Thompson will star in the Paramount Pictures comedy Party Starters about “that sort of entertainer guy who gets the old people to dance at weddings and keeps the party rolling.” Party Starters will be written by Saturday Night Live staff writer Bryan Tucker, who has also worked on MADtv and The Chris Rock Show. Thompson’s SNL costar Andy Samberg also continued his growing movie career this week by landing a starring role with Rashida Jones (The Social Network) in the romantic comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever. The comedy tells the story of a couple who are about to get divorced but decide to remain friends after their separation. Celeste and Jesse Forever will be directed by Lee Toland Krieger (2009’s The Vicious Kind) from a script by newcomer Will McCormack.

Rotten Ideas of the Week

#4 PARAMOUNT CANCELS THE AMBITIOUS REMAKE OF DUNE

Amid the dozen or so science fiction projects that have been announced in the last two weeks, there is at least one that now appears unlikely to happen anytime soon. After four years of development, Paramount Pictures has put the planned remake of Frank Herbert’s Dune into turnaround over budget issues. Dune is considered a science fiction classic, and was the inspiration for the 1984 movie directed by David Lynch, as well as a 2000 Sci Fi Channel mini series, and many sequel novels. Dune tells the intergalactic story of the battle for control of the planet of Arrakis, the source for the spice melange, which is the most valuable substance in the universe because of its use in space travel. Producer Richard P. Rubinstein plans to continue to find a studio home for the Dune remake, although the budget of over $100 million will likely be a steep obstacle. Dune wasn’t, however, the only big ambitious Paramount genre project to have news this week of jeopardy because of budget concerns. The adaptation of the Max Brooks novel World War Z, about a zombie apocalypse, which Brad Pitt is producing, is also in danger of being shelved if Paramount cannot find a partner to share the risk of the $125 million budget. Regardless of what one thinks of either a Dune remake or World War Z, both of these stories are considered Rotten Ideas because they are signs that Hollywood is moving away from ambitious genre movies that many fans may have enjoyed (see also: the shelving of Guillermo Del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness a while back).

#3 THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN REBOOT ALREADY GETTING A SEQUEL

Audiences won’t know until next summer whether Sony’s decision to reboot a recent franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man was a good idea or not. Indeed, the movie hasn’t even finished filming yet. However, Columbia Pictures is already moving forward with plans for a sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man, which depending on how you count the movies, will be either #2 or #5 in the series. Screenwriter James Vanderbilt (Zodiac; cowriter of The Losers and the upcoming Total Recall remake) has been hired to start working on the sequel script. Vanderbilt was first hired by Columbia to work on what would have been Spider-Man 4 (under Sam Raimi), and when that project was shelved, he was hired to write The Amazing Spider-Man instead. No premise details are yet known about the planned sequel. Although it is likely a sure thing that Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) will be cast again in the sequel, it is not yet known if Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) will also direct the sequel after also directing The Amazing Spider-Man. This is one of the week’s Rotten Ideas mostly because it is an example of a studio rushing to a sequel before knowing for sure whether the first film will even be successful enough to warrant one. The track record for the Spider-Man movies at the box office is certainly robust, and The Amazing Spider-Man may turn out to be a good movie. However, the opposite could also be true of The Amazing Spider-Man. There’s really no way of knowing what fans will get on July 3, 2012 when the 3D reboot is released.

#2 NICOLAS CAGE AND JOHN TRAVOLTA LIKELY TO STAGE A FACE/OFF REUNION

Fifteen years after starring both against and as each other in Face/Off, Nicolas Cage and John Travolta are now considering costarring together in not one, but two different independent movies. The movie closest to happening is an action thriller called Shrapnel about “a former Bosnian soldier who seeks vengeance against the American who badly wounded him by disguising a deadly war game as a friendly backwoods hunting trip.” The question that is not answered in this news is which of them would be playing the Bosnian, but given his interest in vocal acrobatics, it’s probably Nicolas Cage. Cage and Travolta will probably both sport ridiculous hair styles in the roles. John McTiernan (Die Hard, The Thirteenth Warrior), who hasn’t directed a movie since 2003’s Basic (also starring John Travolta), was attached to Shrapnel last year. However, a month later, McTiernan was found guilty of perjury and sentenced to a year in prison, so it’s possible he is no longer involved with Shrapnel. Shrapnel was written by Evan Dougherty, who also wrote the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman, in which Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron will star. The other potential Cage/Travolta reunion movie is a thriller called Sea Trial by writer/director Raymond De Felitta (City Island, Two Family House), based upon a novel by his father Frank De Felitta. Sea Trial is about a couple on a romantic Caribbean cruise who soon learn that the ship’s Captain McCracken is evil, as they are assigned chores, their meals are limited, and their cruise on the Penny Dreadful becomes, well, dreadful. Again, it’s anyone’s guess which actor would play Captain McCracken, but in this case, I’m guessing it’s probably John Travolta. Sea Trial is considered farther from happening because Raymond De Felitta is still working on financing the movie.

#1 AKIRA CASTING CALL INSPIRES ONLINE PROTESTS

Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures are ramping up for an August 2011 filming start date for the live action adaptation of the Katsuhiro Otomo manga series Akira. For the lead roles of Tetsuo and Kaneda, eight actors have been given the Akira script, and the eventual leads are expected to come from these two groups. For Tetsuo, the motorcycle gang member who gains amazing mutant abilities after government experiments, the three actors being considered are Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, The Amazing Spider-Man), James McAvoy (Wanted, X-Men: First Class) and Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga). For the role of Kaneda, the leader of the motorcycle gang and Tetsuo’s best friend, the five actors being considered are Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class), Garrett Hedlund (TRON Legacy), Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, Walk the Line), Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Justin Timberlake (The Social Network). Whoever came up with this list at Legendary seems to be a fan of The Social Network and X-Men: First Class. Akira was previously adapted as a 1988 Japanese anime film, but for this live action version, the setting is being changed to a futuristic “New Manhattan.” That all of the actors are caucasian has not escaped the notice of online fans, with the RaceBending.com site now organizing a petition protesting the decision not to consider Asian American actors for the roles. That site got its start in 2009 with a petition protesting the casting of The Last Airbender. This story is the week’s Most Rotten Idea for two reasons. Besides the argument that Hollywood is “whitewashing” an adaptation of a Japanese classic, there is also the notion of Akira getting a live-action remake at all.

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook or a RT forum message.

This weekend, two big-budget new releases topped the North American box office but moviegoers were not too enthusiastic about either one. Debuting at number one was the fantasy sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader while the Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie spy flick The Tourist opened in second place. The overall marketplace remained sluggish as ticket buyers continued to wait for that one blockbuster that truly excites them.

The third installment in the Narnia franchise opened at number one with an estimated $24.5M but failed to reach even half of the debut weekend grosses of its two predecessors. Released by Fox and presented in 3D, the new chapter averaged $6,892 from 3,555 locations. Openings for the first two 2D films, which were distributed by Disney, were $65.6M for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from this same weekend in 2005 and $55M for Prince Caspian from May 2008. Dawn Treader even opened below the $25.8M of 2007’s The Golden Compass, another effects-heavy fantasy adventure debuting in early December. That pic failed to triple its opening weekend and ended its domestic run with $70.1M.

[rtimage]siteImageId=10239211[/rtimage]

December films tend to have better legs than those released in the other eleven months since holiday shopping makes moviegoing a lower priority earlier in the month and the Christmas holidays boost attendance in the final week. But sequels and films with built-in audiences tend to have weaker legs. Fox reported that the audience for Dawn Treader was broad with 51% being female and 52% being under 25. The CinemaScore was a good A-. Overseas markets saw much better results with an estimated $81M for a healthy global bow of $105.5M. The production cost was an estimated $150M.

Opening in second place was the Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie vehicle The Tourist which collected an estimated $17M from a more narrow release in 2,756 theaters for a similar $6,168 average. Boasting more starpower than what should be allowed by law in Hollywood, the PG-13 pic tells of an American math teacher visiting Venice who is lured into a dangerous world by a seductive British agent. The Sony release earned lackluster reviews and instead was sold on the star wattage of the leads who are undoubtedly among the world’s most popular superstars.

[rtimage]siteImageId=10239212[/rtimage]

But with a generic story that wasn’t properly explained in the trailers, audiences hesitated. The debut for the $100M-budgeted pic fell a little short of the star-driven spy pic Knight & Day from this past summer which bowed to $20.1M and a $6,501 average on its way to $76.4M. Tourist also debuted with less than half of the $36M that Jolie’s last film Salt opened to in July. A weak B CinemaScore indicates a shaky road ahead. Exit polls showed that the crowd was 55% female and 53% over 30.

Rapunzel dropped from first place but the 3D toon Tangled held up well sliding only 33% to an estimated $14.6M in its third weekend. Disney has grossed $115.6M to date with its hit princess pic and the road may lead to about $175M after the holidays.

Dropping 50% in its fourth round was the wizard hit Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 which took in an estimated $8.5M lifting the 24-day cume to $257.7M. It was the lowest fourth-weekend gross for any film in the long-lasting franchise despite the fact that it enjoyed the highest ticket prices. The last film Half-Blood Prince did $8.9M in August 2009 while the last holiday season chapter Goblet of Fire managed $10.3M in December 2005 which coincidentally also featured the top spot debut of a Narnia film. The first 24 days accounted for 84% of Goblet‘s $290M total and 89% of Prince’s $302M final. Even with the Christmas and New Year’s holiday boosts around the corner, Deathly Hallows still looks on course to finish its domestic run at or just shy of the $300M mark.

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Denzel Washington’s leggy action hit Unstoppable dipped 37% in its fifth frame to an estimated $3.8M with Fox’s sum rising to $74.3M.

Fox Searchlight orchestrated a wildly successful expansion of its awards contender Black Swan by widening from 18 to 90 theaters and jumping up to number six. Films with so few theaters almost never get this high on the charts. The Natalie Portman ballet thriller grossed an estimated $3.3M for an incredible $37,022 average becoming only the second film of the last two years to crack the national top ten while playing in less than 100 theaters. Cyrus, the distributor’s indie comedy hit from July, was the other. With more cities to come this Friday, and with Portman likely to score awards and nominations from various industry groups in the days and weeks ahead, look for Swan to remain a major box office force in the long-term. So far, it has beaten the numbers of last December’s Up in the Air which was released in a similar manner over the same weeks with better averages on the first weekend ($80,212 vs $78,763) and second ($37,022 vs $33,255).

Sony’s musical Burlesque followed with an estimated $3.2M, down 48%, for a $32.6M tally to date. Fox’s comedy Love and Other Drugs grossed an estimated $3M, down 47%, and put its total at $27.6M.

[rtimage]siteImageId=10238692[/rtimage]

Comedies rounded out the top ten with the Robert Downey Jr. film Due Date taking in an estimated $2.5M, down 38%, for a $94.9M cume and the 3D toon Megamind dropping 49% to an estimated $2.5M raising Paramount’s total to $140.2M.

Paramount generated an explosive platform debut for its Oscar hopeful The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale which grossed an estimated $320,000 from just four theaters in three markets for a scorching $80,000 average. Based on a true story of half-brothers that were both boxers, the R-rated film played in New York and Los Angeles plus Boston and Lowell, Massachusetts which is where the brothers are from. Reviews have been very positive and Bale is already being touted as the front-runner to win all the Best Supporting Actor trophies this awards season. Rather than expand the film gradually and let word-of-mouth build over time, the studio is quickly going nationwide on Friday into more than 2,200 theaters over a very competitive frame that will see rival films Tron: Legacy, How Do You Know, and Yogi Bear all entering the ring. The Fighter is hoping for some Golden Globe nominations this week as it goes into its wide break.

[rtimage]siteImageId=10239213[/rtimage]

Disney platformed Miramax’s Helen Mirren-led The Tempest in five theaters and bowed to an estimated $45,000 for a solid $9,000 average. The Julie Taymor-directed film met with weak reviews and expands to 20 locations on Friday.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $82.9M which was even with last year when The Princess and the Frog expanded nationwide and hit the top spot with $24.2M; but up 6% from 2008 when The Day the Earth Stood Still opened at number one with $30.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru!

This week at the movies, we’ve got a spiritual journey (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, starring Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes) and some European intrigue (The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie). What do the critics have to say?



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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Thus far, the Chronicles of Narnia movies have generated respectful enthusiasm from audiences and critics – in contrast to the rabid culthood surrounding the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movies. And critics say that’s not likely to change with the franchise’s latest outing, (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which they say is visually striking but lacks both excitement and a sense of wonder. Once again, the Pevensie children are back in Narnia, and this time they must journey across the sea and collect seven swords in order to save Narnia from certain destruction. The pundits sayDawn Treader isn’t bad, and some of the creature designs are remarkable, but it’s short on urgency, wide-eyed marvel, and a sense of fun.



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The Tourist

Everybody loves a caper picture, the kind in which beautiful people get in and out amidst picturesque locales. Right? Not necessarily in the case of The Tourist; critics say the seemingly can’t-miss proposition of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie trying to escape danger amidst the splendor of Europe’s most iconic cities is a serious letdown, a slow-moving bagatelle with minimal chemistry between its superstar leads. Depp stars as a lovelorn American who meets the mysterious, beautiful Jolie on a train. It turns out she’s caught up in an international game of cat-and-mouse, and Depp is caught in the crossfire. A certain level of absurdity is inherent in this sort of thing, but the pundits say The Tourist is too slackly paced to keep audiences from suspending disbelief, and the romance between Depp and Jolie is a nonstarter. (Check this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some other noteworthy superstar duos in the same movie.)


Also opening this week in limited release:

Finally, props to Harrison M. for coming the closest to guessing The Warrior’s Way‘s 38 percent Tomatometer.

As the release of The
Chronicles of Narnia: Prince
Caspian
draws ever nearer,
RT has been inviting members
of the cast and crew to give read-
ers a glimpse into the new film. A few
weeks ago Caspian himself, Ben Barnes,
had some words. Today Anna Popplewell and
William Moseley, explain why Susan’s and Peter’s
last journey into Narnia shouldn’t be missed…

ANNA POPPLEWELL

I suppose I should be used to it by now, but the scale
has upped itself pretty-much proportionately going
into this film. It’s still a huge deal. Having another fantasy
race of people in the Telmarines, meant that we had
hundreds and hundreds of extras playing soldiers on
set. That meant bigger cameras and bigger depart-
ments and it just meant that everything was
upped in terms of the scale.

In the first movie, Susan took on a very
motherly role because the children had been
evacuated – she feels very responsible for
her siblings. In this film, as before, Peter
takes charge quite a lot and I think although
Susan, being quite a bossy person, would
love to take charge if she had the opportunity,
she has to put up with some of Peter’s
not-so-wise decisions.

I think one of the major developments in
this film is the fact that Peter and Susan
are told at the end of the movie that they’re
not coming back to Narnia. That’s obvious-
ly a really big deal and is a mark of the
fact that they’ve grown up and learnt a lot.
It was a weird and bittersweet moment
when we filmed that scene with Aslan
because it was pretty-much at the end of
filming. It really drove it home! I think
there’s a scene in Dawn Treader in which
Lucy talks about Susan and they could
do a flashback, but I’ve not been talking
to them about it at all and I’m not
attached to it yet. I think Will and I are
going to do a planned visit and storm in
and hijack the whole thing! Rewrite it!

When we met Ben Barnes, who’s playing Cas-
pian, we knew that he was going to be doing
the next one with Georgie and Skandar so we
felt kind of responsible to ensure he was a
nice guy who would look after them and
everything. But he’s really great and I think
those three will have a good time together.
It’s sad that we’re not going to be shooting the
next one but at the same time I felt at the end
of the last one that I was ready to move on and
do other things. CONTINUE TO PAGE TWO

WILLIAM MOSELEY

The first film was a children’s Narnia. This film is going
to be an adult Narnia, and I say that with every implic-
ation, as in we’re fighting adults this time, we’re not
fighting mythical creatures anymore. Even Tilda
Swinton
as an actress is definitely a mythical creature!
We’ve got a whole army of humans to fight this time.
Narnia’s changed. It’s 1300 years later, it’s not pastoral
anymore, or idyllic. It’s dark and nasty and all the crea-
tures we once knew, who roamed the land freely, have
been pushed into the forest and the woods and forced to
live this closed lifestyle.

Peter has changed too. He used to be a very nice, considerate,
moral person. Very selfless. And this time he’s quite selfish and
he’s quite angry and frustrated and thinks he deserves more. The
film starts with this huge fight sequence where he’s just angry and
he’s lashing out because nobody respects him as a High King in
London – of course. He has to learn an important lesson of humility.

It’s also Peter and Susan’s last time in Narnia. To some deg-
ree we’re passing Narnia on to Caspian. It’s almost like
we’re passing the torch and going back to England
because we’ve learnt our lessons from Narnia. And it
does feel like I’m passing the torch on to Ben Barnes
too. It sounds weird and ridiculous, because I know
we’re just actors in a film, but when you put so
much of your heart into something you really do
want to pass it over and to have someone accept
it with respect and I really think Ben Barnes will
pull up trumps. And if he doesn’t then I think
Skandar will knock him into shape and get him
there!

This film is pretty epic, I’ve got to say. This one-
on-one fight I do with Miraz – I know I’m complete-
ly biased and don’t take my judgements as
told, but I really think it’s going to be one of
the best one-on-one fights anyone’s ever
seen on screen. We had a camera on a 360-
degree dolly and they had three cameras
pitched in. I was with the head stunt guy
because he wanted to do it with me.
We’re spinning around fighting, and
there are these three cameras filming
at 90 frames a second so it’s in slow
motion spinning all around and it
looks so cool! This huge battle-
field in the background. It’s
pretty epic.

The Chronicles of Narnia:
Prince Caspian
is released
in the US on 16th May,
Australia on 5th June
and the UK on
26th June.

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