(Photo by Fox Searchlight/ courtesy Everett Collection)
All Reese Witherspoon Movies Ranked
Reese Witherspoon rose to prominence in the late 1990s, a receptive era for twisted comedies (Freeway), teen thrillers (Fear, Cruel Intentions), and quirky satires (Pleasantville, Election). And Witherspoon would become a household name just a few years later through box office hit comedies Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama.
Johnny Cash-biopic Walk the Line would net Witherspoon her first Best Actress Oscar nomination and win for her portrayal as June Carter Cash. Going for more indie-focused, challenging material in the immediate years afterwards produced mixed results, with the likes of Mud and Inherent Vice at the top of that cult-movie pile.
Water for Elephants and Wild (which earned her a second Oscar nom) have been her most recent film glories, but Witherspoon is fully occupied now with her production company, getting women-led television projects off the ground like Big Little Lies, Truth Be Told, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Morning Show. Meanwhile, a third Legally Blonde has long been in the works; for now, we’re ranking all Reese Witherspoon movies by Tomatometer!
Critics Consensus:A Wrinkle in Time is visually gorgeous, big-hearted, and occasionally quite moving; unfortunately, it's also wildly ambitious to a fault, and often less than the sum of its classic parts.
Synopsis: Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace, have been without their scientist father, Mr. Murry, for five years, ever... [More]
Critics Consensus: Delightfully sweet like a lollipop, Just Like Heaven is a dreamy romantic comedy that may give you a toothache when it attempts to broach difficult end of life issues by throwing a cherry on top.
Synopsis: David (Mark Ruffalo) is a recently widowed architect moving into a new apartment in San Francisco. But the apartment isn't... [More]
Critics Consensus: Oliver Parker's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic play is breezy entertainment, helped by an impressive cast, but it also suffers from some peculiar directorial choices that ultimately dampen the film's impact.
Synopsis: Two young gents have taken to bending the truth in order to put some excitement into their lives. Worthing (Colin... [More]
Critics Consensus: It suffers from a frustratingly deliberate pace, but with nuanced performances from Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon, and Reese Witherspoon to fall back on, Twilight can't help but be compelling.
Synopsis: Harry (Paul Newman), a retired private eye, lives in an apartment on the grounds of the estate owned by his... [More]
Critics Consensus: If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale.
Synopsis: In New York City in 1987, a handsome, young urban professional, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), lives a second life as... [More]
Critics Consensus:Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material -- and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.
Synopsis: In a California beach community, private detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) tends to work his cases through a smoky... [More]
Critics Consensus:The Good Lie sacrifices real-life nuance in order to turn its true story into a Hollywood production, but the results still add up to a compelling, well-acted, and deeply moving drama.
Synopsis: After their village is destroyed and their parents killed by Northern militia, Sudanese orphans Theo, his siblings and other survivors... [More]
Critics Consensus: It's sentimental, and some viewers may feel manipulated by the melodramatic final act, but The Man in the Moon offers a finely drawn coming-of-age story with an excellent cast -- including Reese Witherspoon in her film debut.
Synopsis: Maureen Trant (Emily Warfield) and her younger sibling Dani (Reese Witherspoon) share a strong connection, but local boy Court Foster... [More]
(Photo by Brigitte Lacombe / TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved./courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: Universal/courtesy Everett Collection.)
All Meryl Streep Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer
Meryl Streep landed her first Oscar nomination for just her second on-screen role: 1978’s The Deer Hunter, opposite John Cazale. A few more performances after that and she’d find herself standing before Hollywood’s elite, accepting the gold trophy for her complex “villain” role in 1980’s Kramer vs. Kramer. Stardom came within that decade, as she made her mark across disparate films and genres, becoming versatility personified in the acting game, as featured in a Best Picture winner (Out of Africa), rom-coms (Heartburn), political social thrillers (Silkwood), dramas (Sophie’s Choice), and period pieces (Ironweed).
This canny ability to wedge and dissolve into roles that sparked her attention has been rewarded with a record 21 Oscar nominations over decades, winning three for Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, and The Iron Lady. Yes, there were noms for so-called Oscar bait like Doubt, The Post, and the actually-Rotten Iron Lady, but Streep pulled nominations out of more unique genres, like musicals (Into the Woods), broad comedies (The Devil Wears Prada, Florence Foster Jenkins), and wherever you want to categorize Adaptation.
Streep’s most recent films have been Greta Gerwig’s Little Women adaptation, and the mostly-ignored The Laundromat. She must’ve enjoyed the Steven Soderbergh experience on Laundromat, because she’s teaming up with him again for comedy Let Them All Talk next. Additionally, she’s got another musical (along with the Mamma Mia! movies, they’ve been a late-career boon) in the works in The Prom, from Ryan Murphy. And now, we’re celebrating with all Meryl Streep movies, ranked by Tomatometer!
Critics Consensus: Though lensed with stunning cinematography and featuring a pair of winning performances from Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Out of Africa suffers from excessive length and glacial pacing.
Synopsis: Initially set on being a dairy farmer, the aristocratic Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) travels to Africa to join her husband,... [More]
Critics Consensus: The sheer amount of acting going on in August: Osage County threatens to overwhelm, but when the actors involved are as talented as Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, it's difficult to complain.
Synopsis: The death and funeral of their father brings three sisters to the home of their mother, Violet (Meryl Streep), an... [More]
Critics Consensus: Although it softens the nasty edges of its source material, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a gothic visual treat, and it features a hilariously manic turn from Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf.
Synopsis: After the three young Baudelaire siblings are left orphaned by a fire in their mansion, they are carted off to... [More]
Critics Consensus: A rare film that surpasses the quality of its source novel, this Devil is a witty expose of New York's fashion scene, with Meryl Streep in top form and Anne Hathaway more than holding her own.
Synopsis: Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a recent college graduate with big dreams. Upon landing a job at prestigious Runway magazine, she... [More]
Critics Consensus: The final film by the great Robert Altman, A Prairie Home Companion, the big screen adaptation of Garrison Keillor's radio broadcast showcases plenty of the director's strengths: it's got a gigantic cast and plenty of quirky acting and dialogue.
Synopsis: A private investigator (Kevin Kline) keeps tabs on the proceedings as guests, cast and crew (Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Woody... [More]
Critics Consensus:Florence Foster Jenkins makes poignant, crowd-pleasing dramedy out of its stranger-than-fiction tale -- and does its subject justice with a reliably terrific turn from star Meryl Streep.
Synopsis: In the 1940s, New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) dreams of becoming a great opera singer. Unfortunately, her... [More]
Critics Consensus: Its greatness is blunted by its length and one-sided point of view, but the film's weaknesses are overpowered by Michael Cimino's sympathetic direction and a series of heartbreaking performances from Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken.
Synopsis: In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel... [More]
Ready those Oscar ballots! With the Academy Awards around the corner, it’s time to start catching up on what you missed in theaters. Snap up this week’s offerings for award-nominated performances (George Clooney and Co. in Michael Clayton, Tommy Lee Jones in In the Valley of Elah) and a handful more notable titles of 2007 (American Gangster, Lust, Caution, Margot at the Wedding, Redacted).
There are seven reasons to pick up Tony Gilroy’s Michael Clayton on DVD this week: Academy Awards nominations for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Directing, Score, Screenplay, and Best Picture. The taut corporate thriller, about a legal “fixer” (George Clooney) who uncovers sinister goings-on in a case he’s working, is marked by excellent contributions all around. With the exception of deleted scenes and a commentary by director Gilroy and his brother/editor John Gilroy, the bonus menu is sparse, but the real value in picking Michael Clayton up on DVD is the film itself — and the chance to watch two of the best supporting performances in recent memory (by Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton, both Oscar-nominated).
Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe face off in Ridley Scott’s tale of real-life Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas (Washington) and detective Richie Roberts (Crowe), from a Steven Zaillian script. Critics praised the pic for capturing a gritty sense of place and time — New York City’s seedy underbelly, circa 1970 — and for dazzling performances from its two leading men. Rapper Jay-Z, after an early screening, penned an entire album of songs inspired by the film. And while conspicuously omitted from Oscar honors, American Gangster made numerous Top Ten lists last year. In turn, Universal Studios is releasing the film in not one, but two substantial releases: a 2-disc Unrated edition with 18 additional minutes of footage, and a 3-disc version containing a 32-page collector’s production booklet, music videos by Jay-Z and Ghostface Killah, and a digital copy of the film.
Tommy Lee Jones has twice before been nominated for an Oscar (earning the honor in 1992 for JFK and winning 1994’s award for The Fugitive), but his latest nomination, for his role as the father of a missing soldier in In the Valley of Elah, is his first as a leading man. Elah is written and directed by Paul Haggis and, like Haggis’ Oscar-winning Crash, unapologetically tackles the ground of social commentary: namely, the adverse psychological toll the Iraq war is exacting on soldiers and their loved ones. Two bonus featurettes add texture with a peek at the film’s production and interviews with filmmakers, actors, and the real-life parents of the man whose story inspired the film.
Ang Lee’s WWII thriller is, as expected, a lush and steamy affair. In 1942 Shanghai, wealthy housewife Mrs. Mak (Tang Wei) partakes in gossip and mah-jongg with other well-to-do ladies while seducing a married man; but Mak is not what she seems — her identity and the affair are staged, part of an elaborate plan by radical students to assassinate a traitorous official. Sexy, NC-17 love scenes mark Lee’s erotic follow-up to Brokeback Mountain in this powerful, beautiful, and tragic love story.
Noah Baumbach caught Hollywood’s attention with 2005’s semi-autobiographical The Squid and the Whale (after making an acclaimed debut ten years earlier with Kicking & Screaming and co-scripting Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), so the heat was on to see if his next film, Margot at the Wedding, would measure up. The verdict? Mixed. Critics note Baumbach’s spot-on, incisive observations of well-heeled East Coasters, but found his characters — including Nicole Kidman and Baumbach’s wife Jennifer Jason Leigh as frictional sisters — overwhelmingly unlikeable.
Culling its title from the controversial CIA practice of transporting detainees to areas of borderline-torturous interrogation facilities, Rendition is a muddled, if well-intention, entry into the current subgenre of politically-relevant think pieces. Director Gavin Hood, coming off of his Oscar win for the South African drama Tsotsi, submits a rather disappointing Hollywood debut. Rendition stars Reese Witherspoon as a pregnant American woman struggling to learn why her Egyptian-born husband has disappeared, and her off-screen S.O. Jake Gyllenhaal as a conflicted government suit who is witness to the acts of torture.
Arguably the most divisive of 2007’s Iraq-themed films, Brian de Palma’s Redacted is not only an anti-war missive but is also an experiment in mixed media filmmaking — double the chance to alienate movie goers simply looking to be entertained, but a thought-provoking experience for those up for a challenge. De Palma uses a variety of faux-documentary formats to paint a picture of U.S.-occupied Iraq (soldiers’ home videos, European documentary crews, local news reports) and the precarious balance of clashing cultures and violence that threatens to explode with deadly consequences.
‘Til next week, happy renting!
Bloodthirty vampires flew high, depressing dramas sank, and many holdovers
held up well at the North American box office. The new horror flick 30 Days of Night
easily ruled the charts while a handful of adult dramas were met with opening
weekend sales that ranged from mild to embarrassing. Oscar-winning actresses Reese
Witherspoon and Halle Berry
both failed miserably with their new serious stories which were both shunned by
ticket buyers. With so many fall offerings eating into each others’ business,
the overall marketplace remained sluggish as for the fifth consecutive weekend
the top ten slumped below year-ago levels.
Sony commanded the top spot with its R-rated gorefest 30 Days of Night
which opened with an estimated $16M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Attacking
2,855 theaters, the vampires-in-Alaska pic averaged a solid $5,604 and tapped
into a pre-Halloween box office that offered no major scary movies. The lack of
competition helped the $30M Josh Hartnett
starrer which brought out older teens, young adults, and genre fans. Days
was based on a popular graphic novel and earned mixed reviews which is above
average by horror picture standards.
followed up his muscular top spot debut for his latest comedy Why
Did I Get Married? with a strong second weekend hold dropping only
43% to an estimated $12.1M. After just ten days in theaters, the Lionsgate
release has already collected a sturdy $38.9M which is just ahead of the $38.1M
that Perry’s first film Diary of a
Mad Black Woman took in during its first ten days in 2005. Married
suffered a smaller drop than his other films witnessed indicating that the
filmmaker’s latest entry could be reaching beyond its core African American
audience. Diary fell 50% in its sophomore session while
Madea’s Family Reunion and Daddy’s Little
Girls tumbled by about 57% each. Married looks on course to reach
a remarkable $65-70M which would be a new career high for Perry
Posting the smallest decline in the top ten once again was The Rock‘s hit family
Plan which ranked third in its fourth weekend with an estimated
$8.1M. That represented a slim drop of only 26% and boosted Disney’s cume to
$69.2M. The durable sensation ranks as the actor’s second biggest hit in a lead
role after The Scorpion King which took in $90.5M in 2002. Game Plan should
easily surpass that mark and has not yet seen a drop of more than 35%.
Also holding up very well was George Clooney‘s legal thriller Michael Clayton
which remained in fourth place with an estimated $7.1M. The Warner Bros. title
dropped by only 32% and boosted its total gross to $22M matching its production
budget. The marketplace was crowded with adult dramas targeting Clayton‘s
audience so the strong hold was an impressive performance. Powerful reviews and
good word-of-mouth contributed to the success. A final tally of $40-50M may
Two new films fought fiercely over the number five spot. Miramax estimated that
its kidnapping thriller Gone Baby Gone would collect $6M over the weekend from
1,713 theaters for a mild $3,503 average. The directorial debut of Ben Affleck
stars his brother
Casey Affleck along with Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris and was
greeted with stellar reviews from film critics. Produced for $19M, Gone faced
tough competition from other adult dramas but could have legs in the weeks
Aiming for teens and young adults with a dose of immature spoof comedy was The
Comebacks which grossed an estimated $5.9M for Fox. The PG-13 sports film
enjoyed a much wider release in 2,812 venues and generated a dull $2,080
average. The debut was nowhere near the numbers that the studio has seen in the
recent past with its other spoof comedies. Both Epic Movie from earlier this
year and Date Movie from 2006 debuted to about $19M. Comebacks will be lucky to
reach that amount overall.
Despite the weekend estimates reported by Miramax and Fox, three studios
estimated that Comebacks edged out Gone Baby Gone by a slim margin over the
weekend. Miramax’s estimate factored in a 26% Saturday-to-Sunday decline while
Fox’s figure includes a more reasonable 38% drop. All other films in the top ten
projected Sunday declines of 34% to 51%. Final box office grosses to be reported
on Monday will tell which film truly earns the fifth-place spot. The position is
valuable to studios for the publicity since many news outlets only report on the
top five films each weekend and ignore anything below them.
Falling hardest among holdover titles was the Joaquin
crime thriller We Own the Night
which dropped by 49% to an estimated $5.5M in its second weekend. The Sony
release has banked $19.8M in ten days and looks headed for a mediocre finish of
Generating the hottest average in the top ten was the latest re-release of Tim
Burton’s creepy animated hit The Nightmare Before Christmas which debuted to an
estimated $5.1M from only 564 theaters for a potent $9,122 average. The special
3D version was given a wider launch by Disney compared to this weekend a year
ago when it opened in 168 theaters for a $3.3M weekend and sizzling $19,506
average. That re-release bagged $8.7M while its original 1993 run brought in
$50M. With no other good options for parents other than the studio’s own The
Game Plan, Nightmare proved to be an exciting pre-Halloween option for families.
The PG-rated film will only play for a limited three-week engagement and goes
back into the Mouse House’s vault soon after the pumpkin holiday.
Moviegoers ignored the terrorism drama Rendition despite its acclaimed cast
allowing it to barely debut in the top ten. The New Line release opened to an
estimated $4.2M from 2,250 locations for a horrible $1,856 average. It was Reese
Witherspoon’s first film since winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for
2005’s Walk the Line, but fans were not biting. Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep,
and Alan Arkin also starred in the R-rated story of a woman in search of her
Egyptian-born husband who is captured by the CIA after being suspected of being
a terrorist. Rendition was the third film in recent weeks dealing with Middle
East issues and entered a marketplace flooded with serious adult dramas. Plus
lukewarm reviews helped to make this a non-priority among ticket buyers this
Halle Berry joined fellow Oscar-winning actress Reese in striking out with
audiences with her new adult drama. The former Storm headlined the Paramount
release Things We Lost in the Fire with Benicio Del Toro and attracted a measly
$1.6M in business on opening weekend, according to estimates. Debuting in 1,142
locations, the R-rated film about a woman who befriends her dead husband’s
heroin-addicted pal averaged a pathetic $1,405. Reviews were generally favorable
and studio research indicated that two-thirds of the audience consisted of women
over 30. Fire cost a relatively low $16M to produce, but has a long road ahead
of it in order to reach profitability.
Two additional films risked going nationwide and met with embarrassing results.
The teen thriller Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour bowed to an estimated
$560,000 from 1,115 theaters for a disastrous $502 average for Freestyle
Releasing. Meanwhile, Rocky Mountain Pictures unleashed its animated pic The Ten
Commandments in 830 sites and was met with only $480,000, according to
estimates, for a horrible $578 average. Both films should find their primary
audiences on DVD.
Focus saw a soft bow for its downbeat drama Reservation Road which debuted in
just fourteen theaters for a weak estimate of $36,821 for a poor average of
$2,630. The arthouse crowd was just not in the mood for this depressing drama
about the death of a young boy which starred Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Connelly, and Mira Sorvino. Also hurting Road‘s performance were
reviews that were far from glowing.
With all the new content in the multiplexes, five films were tossed out of the
top ten over the weekend. The costume drama sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age
dropped 49% in its sophomore session to an estimated $3.1M giving Universal a
weak $11.2M in ten days. Look for the Cate Blanchett pic to end its domestic run
with a dismal $16-18M. Overseas prospects do look brighter though.
Sony’s durable musical extravaganza Across the
Universedipped by 29% to an
estimated $2.7M for a solid $16.8M total from less than 1,000 theaters. A
$25-30M final could result. The Saudi Arabia-set political thriller The Kingdomfell by 48% in its fourth outing to an estimated $2.4M. Universal has taken in
$44M thus far and should end up with just under $50M which means that the $70M
production will need to still work hard overseas and on video in order to break
Competition, or a lack of it, will be the deciding factor at the North American box office this weekend for the half-dozen new releases that studios are packing into already overcrowded multiplexes. Leading the way is the horror film 30 Days of Night followed by the sports comedy The Comebacks which both will be targeting the teens and young adults that Hollywood has been ignoring in recent weeks. Mature adults who already have a wide selection of serious dramas to choose from will be served up three more – Reese Witherspoon‘s Rendition, Ben Affleck‘s Gone Baby Gone, and Halle Berry‘s Things We Lost in the Fire. With far too many films aiming for the same finite audience segment, some are sure to eat into the potential of others.
Sony will monopolize the horror crowd looking for a scare before Halloween with its gorefest 30 Days of Night which tells of vampires that attack a small town in northern Alaska during its annual sunless period. The R-rated film prominently informs moviegoers in its marketing that it is based on a graphic novel hoping to tap into a little bit of the excitement generated by 300 last spring. The first eight months of this year were brutal to R-rated horror films with none reaching number one and high-profile franchise flicks like Hostel II, 28 Weeks Later, and The Hills Have Eyes 2 all failing to reach $10M on opening weekend. But the Halloween remake over Labor Day weekend changed all that and was followed three weeks later by another top spot debut from horror-action hybrid Resident Evil: Extinction. But those have died out so 30 Days stands as the only creepfest at a time when scary movies are in demand. Attacking 2,700 theaters, 30 Days of Night should easily top the charts and could bite into around $19M over the weekend.
30 Days of Night
Fox spoofs the world of sports films with its new comedy The Comebacks which will target adolescents either too young for 30 Days or uninterested in scary movies. With so many mature stories hogging up screens, the market can certainly use a dose of immature humor right about now. The Comebacks is the first viable PG-13 comedy aimed at teens since fellow sports comedy Balls of Fury launched at the end of August. After a mid-week debut, that pic bowed to $11.4M over three days and Comebacks will play to many of the same folks. And with seventeen R-rated films opening wide over the last eight weeks, there has been little to celebrate for the under-17 crowd. Sure The Comebacks looks dumb, but dumb can sell. Add in a trim running time of under 90 minutes and commercial prospects are not bad. This is disposable entertainment for 14-year-olds. It will draw attention upfront, and be forgotten two weeks from now. Thanks to a lack of direct competition, The Comebacks could debut with about $11M from 2,800 sites.
Leading the charge for the 30-plus crowd this weekend is Reese Witherspoon who headlines the political thriller Rendition from New Line. The R-rated drama finds the Oscar winner playing a woman whose Egyptian-born husband is captured by the CIA after being suspected of being a terrorist. Jake Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep add to the cast. Rendition follows The Kingdom and In the Valley of Elah as military-themed films this fall with connections to the Middle East. Audiences will want only so much of this content. Witherspoon will have her starpower put to the test since she is the only major commercial star here and she is outside of her safety zone of romantic comedies. The film will play to mature adults and will have to compete not only with this weekend’s other new dramas, but also with an assortment of holdovers already playing to the same audience. Reviews have been mixed which will also make things difficult. Debuting in roughly 2,200 locations, Rendition may capture about $9M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.
Reese Witherspoon and Peter Sarsgaard in Rendition
Ben Affleck makes his directorial debut with the crime thriller Gone Baby Gone which stars his brother Casey in the lead role. The Miramax release also stars Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Michelle Monaghan and carries a R rating. Reviews have been good which will come as a shocker to those that look at this movie as nothing more than Daredevil getting to hop into the director’s chair. Reese, Joaquin, George, Cate, and Halle will all be cutting into the adult pie which can only expand by a certain amount. The marketing push has been highlighting the film as being from the author of Mystic River in hopes of finding those who loved that other Boston-set fall crime drama. An invite to the top five may not arrive for Ben. Opening in approximately 1,500 theaters, Gone Baby Gone could collect about $6M this weekend.
Freeman, Affleck and Monaghan in Gone Baby Gone
Yet another new option for adults looking for serious fare is the Halle Berry–Benicio Del Toro starrer Things We Lost in the Fire. The Paramount release about a widow who seeks comfort from her dead husband’s drug-addicted friend will play to a mature audience and skew more female. The R-rated film has generated some good early reviews and both leads have Oscars on their shelves, but it will not be enough to compete with the other films targeting the same crowd. Berry showed in April that she can only open a picture so much when her thriller Perfect Stranger bowed to a $4,211 average even though A-lister Bruce Willis co-starred. With a not-so-wide release in about 1,000 theaters this weekend, Things We Lost in the Fire might debut with around $3M.
Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro in Things We Lost in the Fire
Freestyle Releasing has booked the few remaining empty screens out there for its teen thriller Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour. As one of the only PG-rated suspense pics ever made, the film will try to attract younger teenagers not interested in sports-themed comedies. With only 1,100 theaters, a quiet marketing campaign, no stars, and zero buzz, a weak debut of about $1M could result.
Disney’s The Game Plan once again has no new competition for the kiddie audience. Why studios have programmed so many serious adult dramas into this month and no other good family films is anyone’s guess. A 35% dip would leave The Rock with $7M and an impressive cume of $68M after 24 days.
Both Sony’s We Own the Night and the Warner Bros. thriller Michael Clayton will have to fight extra hard in order to compete with the new releases gunning for their customers. Night looks to slide more and fall by 45% while the strongly reviewed Clayton could ease by 40% with both films grossing roughly $6M over the weekend. That would lead to ten-day totals of $20M and $21M, respectively.
LAST YEAR: Just two months after the release of the similarly-themed magician pic The Illusionist, Buena Vista still managed to score a number one bow for The Prestige which opened with $14.8M on its way to $53.1M. Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed enjoyed a strong hold and ranked second with $13.5M in its third frame. Debuting in third was Clint Eastwood‘s war saga Flags of Our Fathers with $10.2M leading to a disappointing $33.6M final for Paramount. Sony’s animated hit Open Season ranked fourth with $8.2M. Rounding out the top five was rival family film Flicka with $7.7M for Fox on its way to only $21M. Also premiering in the top ten was Sony’s Marie Antoinette with $5.4M which led to a final tally of just $16M.
Many horror films go to great lengths to create a dark atmosphere. 30
Days of Night does them all one better, venturing to a place where it’s night for
a month: Barrow, AK, the northernmost point in the U.S. Unfortunately, critics
are left cold by this one. Night stars Josh Hartnett and Melissa George
as an estranged couple defending their town against a horde of bloodthirsty
vampires. Critics say the film has some frightful moments that should please
gorehounds, but overall, the film lacks the nuance and sustained tension to
really put this kind of genre exercise over. At 39 percent on the Tomatometer, Night
Hartnett and company check for undead termites.
Reese Witherspoon stars in Rendition as a housewife whose husband is imprisoned
and tortured by the U.S. for his suspected involvement with terrorists. Jake Gyllenhaal co-stars as a government employee trying to set him free, with Meryl
Streep as a bureaucrat intent on keeping him there. While critics commended the
film for exploring the issue of torture within the context of combating
terrorism, they say the plot is spread thinly across an abundance of characters
and doesn’t give the film the emotional drive it needs, while arriving at an
oversimplified conclusion of this very complex subject. At 39 percent, this Rendition is less than extraordinary.
Who needs work when you have Snood?
Ben Affleck has had a rollercoaster career, but critics say his feature
directorial debut, Gone
Baby Gone, is one of the high points. Treading
the same rough Boston streets as Mystic River (also adapted from one of
source writer Dennis
Lehane‘s novels), Gone Baby Gone tells the story of
a pair of private eyes (Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan) searching for a
lost four-year-old, a quest that delves into the dark shadows of the city, from
the criminal underworld to corrupt cops. Critics say Baby is grim, but
also deliciously noirish and morally complex, featuring standout performances
from its leads, as well as Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris. With a score of 89
percent on the Tomatometer, Gone Baby Gone‘s critical reaction should
assuage Ben’s depression over the current state of his beloved Red Sox. (Check
out this week’s Total Recall, where we examine some of Affleck’s notable
Affleck ponders another imminent Red Sox defeat.
Susanne Bier, famed in her native Denmark for her dark and complex melodramas,
makes her American debut this week with Things
We Lost in the Fire. Halle Berry
stars as a grieving widow who invites Benicio Del Toro’s character, her
husband’s childhood friend and heroin addict, to move in with her and her
children. Though it frequently drips into maudlin territory (something Bier
avoided with her previous effort, the Certified Fresh After the Wedding),
critics recognize it as at least a sincere tearjerker, and an honest and
emotionally raw portrayal of two tortured people. At 64 percent, Fire isn’t
red-hot but should appease viewers out for a soapy drama.
A therapeutic game of thumb war.
Movie lovers who lack the patience to sit through the The Decalogue are
in luck: The Ten Commandments tells the story of Moses in less than an
hour and a half, and in animated form, no less. But is it any good? Well,
critics are forbidden to bear false witness, and they say it isn’t. The Ten
Commandments follows Moses’ journey from infancy to the point where he leads
the Chosen People to the Promised Land, and features voice work from the likes
of Ben Kingsley and Christian Slater. But critics say the film’s middling
animation and lack of nuance make for a dull take on one of the Bible’s most
rousing tales. At 20 percent on the Tomatometer, critics say thou shall not
enjoy The Ten Commandments.
This week, the folks behind both The
Comebacks and Sarah
Landon and the Paranormal Hour declined to screen their films for pundits. The
Comebacks spoofs inspirational sports movies, while Sarah Landon is
about a 17-year-old who discovers spectral activity in her hometown. Our only
guess is that it was assumed each film would receive a critical (buzzer)
beating, or wouldn’t stand a ghost of a chance with the scribes. (Thank you.
I’ll be here all week.) Guess those Tomatometers.
"You have a beard but you’re not the bad guy? That’s weird."
Finally, props to Bloody Mathias for coming the closest to guessing Tyler
Perry’s Why Did I Get Married‘s 48 percent Tomatometer. Try putting a
bandage on it, and perhaps then you won’t be bloody, Mathias.
The remake, which will be directed by Jim Sheridan from a script by David Benioff, takes Bier’s 2004 Danish original and moves its backdrop from Denmark to the United States. The synopsis, from Variety:
The film…centers on a man (Maguire) who is sent to fight in Afghanistan while his black-sheep brother (Gyllenhaal) cares for his wife and child.
No release date is given for the project, but shooting is scheduled to begin in November. Gyllenhaal will next be seen with Reese Witherspoon and Meryl Streep in Rendition, opening October 19.
I mentioned yesterday I was expecting to post a Juno review, but I was also expecting for something at some point to go wrong. What went right: I saw Juno. What went wrong: I was rather underwhelmed. But don’t take that as ill omen; I’m apparently a bad judge at these indie coming-of-age comedies. I thought Eagle vs Shark was going to set the world on fire, while the Certified Fresh Rocket Science didn’t elevate me.
However, the people I saw Juno with are head over heels for it (and the festival crowd, who mostly refuse to register emotions, cheered and applauded with reckless abandon), including RT editor Jen Yamato who has also graciously volunteered to later review the movie. I will say this: Kimya Dawson, Cat Power, Kinks, and two (!) songs from Belle & Sebastian? Killer soundtrack, man.
Rendition is generating buzz as a groundbreaking Toronto film, showing waterboarding and electric torture in full detail. But call me desensitized: that stuff didn’t nearly shock as much as, say, the ball-busting scene in Casino Royale. Director Gavin Hood was recently announced to helm Wolverine, and it’s easy to see why: after nabbing the foreign film Oscar for Tsotsi, Hood gives in to his Hollywood impulses completely for Rendition, a polished-to-a-shine thriller in the vein of Babel. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Peter Sarsgaard (I wanted those two to have a poker face-off, but, alas, they never meet), Rendition follows half a dozen storylines across two continents, each peripherally revolving around one’s man secret detainment and torture in South Africa. Each actor gets their moment to shine and clever editing creates an intriguing late-game plot twist, but it’s a relatively simple movie whose message isn’t anything you haven’t already read in a New York Times op-ed.
You know how Nick Drake songs are so depressing they sort of cheer you up? Alexandra is so awful that I was floating out of the theater, congratulating myself for having made it all the way through. Playing less like a foreign film and more like a spoof of a foreign film in an episode of Seinfeld, Alexandra follows the cranky titular character as she visits her grandson at an army base whilst complaining to the camera for 90 straight minutes. Extreme close-ups, washed out cinematography, pointless shots of nature — director Alexander Sokurov leaves no principle of obnoxious art cinema unemployed. Shockingly, this is the same Sokurov who created 2002’s Russian Ark, the hypnotic historical drama famously shot in only one take. Here, Sokurov films like he’s painting a bedroom wall: patient, even scenes of absolutely nothing interesting at all.
In the mood for a little dish on the forthcoming Wolverine movie? How about a lot? Today’s your lucky day — Wizard has posted a fat pantsload of information, speculation, and other assorted -ations, and we’re here to break it down and point you in the right direction for all the Wolvie news that’s fit to print.
As previously announced, David Benioff — who also wrote Troy and this fall’s The Kite Runner — has written a script that everyone seems to love, and Gavin Hood (of last year’s Oscar-winning Tsotsi and the upcoming Rendition) will direct. Also, as previously confirmed, there’s no room at the inn for most of the familiar faces from the X-Men films. The bulk of the lengthy article, however, deals with the movie’s finer points, including plot details. To wit:
Based on info from insiders who say they’ve read Benioff’s script, get ready for all kinds of prequel action as Wolverine’s first ties to Weapon X, his first run-in with Victor Creed (aka Sabretooth), his bonding with adamantium and his feral origins are explored. When asked if the film would touch on Wolvie’s early-year comic book connections to Japan, [Hugh] Jackman curbed the rumor in favor of others.
“[The Japan connection] is still something we really want to do,” admitted the actor-producer. “What we need to do is establish who he is and find out how he became Wolverine. And by the end of the movie, I want it to be that you definitely knew who this guy was, like Mad Max and Dirty Harry. He’s a good guy, but he’s not a nice guy. He’s just the guy you want on your side.” Sources also mentioned scenes featuring Wolverine in Vietnam, a pre-X-Men love interest for the furry mutant and character names familiar to comic fans such as the teleporter John Wraith, who served with Wolverine on special ops missions as part of Team X, along with Fred J. Dukes (aka the Blob).
Wolverine‘s release date is still being listed as “sometime in 2008,” but for pretty much everything else there is to know right now, check out the article below!