(Photo by Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)

All Viola Davis Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

After a decade of bit parts, many of them within the gainful employ of Steven Soderbergh’s production company, Viola Davis broke into the mainstream with a movie-stealing turn – and from Meryl Streep! – in 2008’s Catholic Church child abuse drama Doubt. Davis has all of 10 minutes of screen time in Doubt but earned an Oscar nomination for her work, joining the likes of Ruby Dee for American Gangster or Ned Beatty for Network of Oscar nominees who made the most out of their single-scene appearances. Yet, Davis forms Doubt’s emotional pillar, powerfully delivering social and cultural history that further obfuscates the film’s central mystery.

Davis has been releasing multiple movies a year ever since, frequently playing women of power or high up in their professions, in the likes of Law Abiding Citizen, Knight & Day, Ender’s Game, and Suicide Squad, as Amanda Waller, one of that movie’s rare bright spots. And Davis has frequently reached the same heights as Doubt in Certified Fresh films like Widows, The Help (receiving a Lead Actress nomination), and Fences, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. Davis got another Lead Actress nom for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and she returned as Waler for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. And now, we’re ranking all Viola Davis movies by Tomatometer!

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 31373%
Critics Consensus: Unnecessarily violent and unflinchingly absurd, Law Abiding Citizen is plagued by subpar acting and a story that defies reason.
Synopsis: Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is an honorable family man, until the day his wife and daughter are murdered in a... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#24

Suicide Squad (2016)
26%

#24
Adjusted Score: 50737%
Critics Consensus: Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and a little more humor than previous DCEU efforts, but they aren't enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing.
Synopsis: Figuring they're all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret... [More]
Directed By: David Ayer

#23
Adjusted Score: 29367%
Critics Consensus: Divided between sincere melodrama and populist comedy, Madea Goes to Jail fails to provide enough laughs -- or screen time -- for its titular heroine.
Synopsis: After a high-speed car chase, Madea (Tyler Perry) winds up behind bars because her quick temper gets the best of... [More]
Directed By: Tyler Perry

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 35038%
Critics Consensus: Derivative and schmaltzy, Nicholas Sparks' Nights in Rodanthe is strongly mottled by contrivances that even the charisma of stars Diane Lane and Richard Gere can't repair.
Synopsis: When Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane) arrives at the coastal town of Rodanthe, N.C., her life is in chaos. There, she... [More]
Directed By: George C. Wolfe

#21

Blackhat (2015)
32%

#21
Adjusted Score: 39562%
Critics Consensus: Thematically timely but dramatically inert, Blackhat strands Chris Hemsworth in a muddled misfire from director Michael Mann.
Synopsis: After a Hong Kong nuclear plant and the Mercantile Trade Exchange in Chicago are hacked by unknown perpetrators, a federal... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#20

Won't Back Down (2012)
35%

#20
Adjusted Score: 37991%
Critics Consensus: Despite the best efforts of its talented leads, Won't Back Down fails to lend sufficient dramatic heft or sophistication to the hot-button issue of education reform.
Synopsis: Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and Nona Alberts (Viola Davis) are two women from opposites sides of the social and economic... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Barnz

#19

Eat Pray Love (2010)
36%

#19
Adjusted Score: 43829%
Critics Consensus: The scenery is nice to look at, and Julia Roberts is as luminous as ever, but without the spiritual and emotional weight of the book that inspired it, Eat Pray Love is too shallow to resonate.
Synopsis: Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) thought she had everything she wanted in life: a home, a husband and a successful career.... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Murphy

#18

Lila & Eve (2015)
40%

#18
Adjusted Score: 40793%
Critics Consensus: Lila & Eve gets some mileage out of its formidable stars, with Viola Davis in particular proving that she will commandingly commit to any material, but this is a revenge flick served stale due to a lackluster script.
Synopsis: After the senseless murder of her son (Aml Ameen), a grief-stricken mother (Viola Davis) joins forces with another woman (Jennifer... [More]
Directed By: Charles Stone III

#17
Adjusted Score: 52940%
Critics Consensus: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close has a story worth telling, but it deserves better than the treacly and pretentious treatment director Stephen Daldry gives it.
Synopsis: Oskar (Thomas Horn), who lost his father (Tom Hanks) in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, is convinced... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Daldry

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 54239%
Critics Consensus: Charming romantic leads and esteemed supporting cast aside, Beautiful Creatures is a plodding YA novel adaptation that feels watered down for the Twilight set.
Synopsis: In the small town of Gatlin, S.C., teenage Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) sees his static world shaken by the arrival... [More]
Directed By: Richard LaGravenese

#15

Knight and Day (2010)
52%

#15
Adjusted Score: 59848%
Critics Consensus: It's pure formula, but thanks to its breezy pace and a pair of charming performances from Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, Knight and Day offers some agreeably middle-of-the-road summer action.
Synopsis: June Havens (Cameron Diaz) chats up her charming seatmate on a flight out of Kansas, but she doesn't realize that... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#14
Adjusted Score: 61902%
Critics Consensus: It's amiable, and it does a surprisingly good job of sidestepping psych ward comedy cliches, but given its talented cast and directors, It's Kind of a Funny Story should be more than just mildly entertaining.
Synopsis: Stressed by adolescence, 16-year-old Craig Gilner (Keir Gilchrist) checks himself into a mental-health clinic. Unfortunately, the youth wing is closed,... [More]
Directed By: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

#13

Ender's Game (2013)
62%

#13
Adjusted Score: 71068%
Critics Consensus: If it isn't quite as thought-provoking as the book, Ender's Game still manages to offer a commendable number of well-acted, solidly written sci-fi thrills.
Synopsis: When hostile aliens called the Formics attack Earth, only the legendary heroics of Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) manage to attain... [More]
Directed By: Gavin Hood

#12
Adjusted Score: 68368%
Critics Consensus: Led by strong performances from Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is a hauntingly original rumination on love and loss.
Synopsis: Following the death of their child, a woman (Jessica Chastain) leaves her husband (James McAvoy) and flees to the suburban... [More]
Directed By: Ned Benson

#11

Troop Zero (2019)
68%

#11
Adjusted Score: 70821%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a charming cast and infectious energy, Troop Zero is more than the sum of its instantly familiar parts.
Synopsis: Misfit Birdie Scouts enter a national competition.... [More]
Directed By: Bert & Bertie

#10

The Help (2011)
76%

#10
Adjusted Score: 84909%
Critics Consensus: Though it fails to fully engage with its racial themes, The Help rises on the strength of its cast -- particularly Viola Davis, whose performance is powerful enough to carry the film on its own.
Synopsis: In 1960s Mississippi, Southern society girl Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns from college with dreams of being a writer. She turns... [More]
Directed By: Tate Taylor

#9

Trust (2010)
79%

#9
Adjusted Score: 79843%
Critics Consensus: Director David Schwimmer gets some gut-wrenching performances out of his actors but he still lacks the chops to fully ratchet up story tension.
Synopsis: A man (Clive Owen) has difficulty coping with the knowledge that his 14-year-daughter (Liana Liberato) was assaulted by a sexual... [More]
Directed By: David Schwimmer

#8

Doubt (2008)
79%

#8
Adjusted Score: 87864%
Critics Consensus: Doubt succeeds on the strength of its top-notch cast, who successfully guide the film through the occasional narrative lull.
Synopsis: In 1964 the winds of change are sweeping through Sister Aloysius' (Meryl Streep) St. Nicholas school. Father Flynn (Philip Seymour... [More]
Directed By: John Patrick Shanley

#7

Get On Up (2014)
80%

#7
Adjusted Score: 87130%
Critics Consensus: With an unforgettable Chadwick Boseman in the starring role, Get On Up offers the Godfather of Soul a fittingly dynamic homage.
Synopsis: James Brown (Chadwick Boseman) was born in extreme poverty in 1933 South Carolina and survived abandonment, abuse and jail to... [More]
Directed By: Tate Taylor

#6

Prisoners (2013)
81%

#6
Adjusted Score: 90366%
Critics Consensus: Prisoners has an emotional complexity and a sense of dread that makes for absorbing (and disturbing) viewing.
Synopsis: Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) faces a parent's worst nightmare when his 6-year-old daughter, Anna, and her friend go missing. The... [More]
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

#5

State of Play (2009)
84%

#5
Adjusted Score: 92861%
Critics Consensus: A taut, well-acted political thriller, State of Play overcomes some unsubtle plot twists with an intelligent script and swift direction.
Synopsis: Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) is a rising star in Washington; handsome, unflappable and seemingly honorable, he's seen as his... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 110304%
Critics Consensus: Enlivened by writer-director James Gunn's singularly skewed vision, The Suicide Squad marks a funny, fast-paced rebound that plays to the source material's violent, anarchic strengths.
Synopsis: Welcome to hell--a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#3

Widows (2018)
91%

#3
Adjusted Score: 116986%
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

#2

Fences (2016)
92%

#2
Adjusted Score: 107956%
Critics Consensus: From its reunited Broadway stars to its screenplay, the solidly crafted Fences finds its Pulitzer-winning source material fundamentally unchanged -- and still just as powerful.
Synopsis: Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) makes his living as a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a... [More]
Directed By: Denzel Washington

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 118344%
Critics Consensus: Framed by a pair of powerhouse performances, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom pays affectionate tribute to a blues legend -- and Black culture at large.
Synopsis: Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians... [More]
Directed By: George C. Wolfe

(Photo by Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection)

All Harrison Ford Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Unless you had tremedous recall of all the bit roles in American Grafitti or The Conversation, the first time the world at large set their eyes on Harrison Ford was in the little indie that could: Star Wars. With no previous acting reference points for most audiences, Ford WAS Han Solo, the glumly debonair and seductive space rogue who gave a dash of modern cynicism to Star Wars’ populist mysticism, singing aliens, and laser swords.

Ford returned for The Empire Strikes Back, jumpstarting the best run of movies anybody had in the ’80s. None of his films this decade were Rotten, and nine of them are Certified Fresh — utter classics and masterpieces like Blade Runner, Return of the Jedi, and all three Indiana Jones movies. 1985’s Witness, in which Ford plays a steely detective protecting an Amish boy who’s seen a murder, garnered him his only Best Actor Academy Award nomination.

Ford’s ’90s highlights include The Fugitive (another box office smash and a Best Picture nominee), taking on the CIA analyst Jack Ryan role created by Tom Clancy in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, and kicking off unruly passengers as the freaking President of the United States of America in Air Force One.

After a 19-year absence from the big screen, he, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas brought Indy back for The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The movie would go on to be designated Certified Fresh by critics, though it’s no secret critical and audience appreciation for the movie remains weak. A fifth Indiana Jones is currently in early pre-production.

Since them, Ford has gamely returned to the roles that made him famous: Han in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Deckard in Blade Runner 2049. Both movies would also be Certified Fresh, the first time Ford would have two consecutive CF films since the ’80s. And now we’re taking a look back we rank all Harrison Ford movies by Tomatometer!

#41

Paranoia (2013)
7%

#41
Adjusted Score: 10836%
Critics Consensus: Clichéd and unoriginal, Paranoia is a middling techno-thriller with indifferent performances and a shortage of thrills.
Synopsis: Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is a rising star at a global tech company run by Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman). An... [More]
Directed By: Robert Luketic

#40

Random Hearts (1999)
15%

#40
Adjusted Score: 17474%
Critics Consensus: Even Harrison Ford could not save the dull plot and the slow pacing of the movie.
Synopsis: After a plane crash in which both their spouses are killed, Sergeant Dutch Van Den Broeck (Harrison Ford) and Congresswoman... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#39

Firewall (2006)
18%

#39
Adjusted Score: 24527%
Critics Consensus: Harrison Ford's rote performance brings little to this uninspired techno-heist film whose formulaic plot is befuddled with tedious and improbable twists.
Synopsis: Bank security expert Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) builds a career on his expertise in designing theft-proof computer systems for financial... [More]
Directed By: Richard Loncraine

#38
Adjusted Score: 26740%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Steve Binder

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 33113%
Critics Consensus: Despite a timely topic and a pair of heavyweight leads, Extraordinary Measures never feels like much more than a made-for-TV tearjerker.
Synopsis: John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) is a man on the corporate fast-track, with a beautiful wife (Keri Russell) and three children.... [More]
Directed By: Tom Vaughan

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 35400%
Critics Consensus: Hollywood Homicide suffers from too many subplots and not enough laughs.
Synopsis: After music mogul Antoine Sartain's (Isaiah Washington) rappers are murdered, Sgt. Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) and police Detective K.C. Calden... [More]
Directed By: Ron Shelton

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 39224%
Critics Consensus: Like its predecessors, Expendables 3 offers a modicum of all-star thrills for old-school action thriller aficionados -- but given all the talent assembled, it should have been a lot more fun.
Synopsis: Years ago, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) co-founded the Expendables with Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). After Stonebanks became an arms dealer,... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Hughes

#34

The Devil's Own (1997)
35%

#34
Adjusted Score: 36991%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: As a favor to a friend, policeman Tom O'Meara (Harrison Ford) lets visiting Irishman Rory Devaney (Brad Pitt) stay with... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 37517%
Critics Consensus: A generally enjoyable, if completely forgettable piece of Hollywood fluff.
Synopsis: In the South Pacific island of Makatea, career-driven magazine editor Robin Monroe (Anne Heche) is on a week-long vacation getaway... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#32

Regarding Henry (1991)
43%

#32
Adjusted Score: 44686%
Critics Consensus: Although Harrison Ford makes the most of an opportunity to dig into a serious role, Regarding Henry is undermined by cheap sentiment and clichés.
Synopsis: An unscrupulous corporate lawyer, Henry Turner (Harrison Ford) will do whatever it takes to win a case, and treats his... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#31

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
44%

#31
Adjusted Score: 53071%
Critics Consensus: Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are as dependably appealing as ever, but they're let down by director Jon Favreau's inability to smooth Cowboys & Aliens' jarring tonal shifts.
Synopsis: Bearing a mysterious metal shackle on his wrist, an amnesiac gunslinger (Daniel Craig) wanders into a frontier town called Absolution.... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 50583%
Critics Consensus: Robert Zemeckis is unable to salvage an uncompelling and unoriginal film.
Synopsis: It had been a year since Dr. Norman Spencer (Harrison Ford) betrayed his beautiful wife Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer). But with... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#29

Frisco Kid (1935)
50%

#29
Adjusted Score: 53926%
Critics Consensus: Not even a genial Gene Wilder or a dashing Harrison Ford can rescue The Frisco Kid from a monotonous procession of gently comedic sketches that never cohere into a memorable yarn.
Synopsis: After escaping an attempt to shanghai him, Bat Morgan (James Cagney) heads to the Barbary Coast and Paul Morra's (Ricardo... [More]
Directed By: Lloyd Bacon

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 60621%
Critics Consensus: The Age of Adaline ruminates on mortality less compellingly than similarly themed films, but is set apart by memorable performances from Blake Lively and Harrison Ford.
Synopsis: Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) has miraculously remained a youthful 29 years of age for nearly eight decades, never allowing herself... [More]
Directed By: Lee Toland Krieger

#27

Morning Glory (2010)
55%

#27
Adjusted Score: 60683%
Critics Consensus: It's lifted by affable performances from its impeccable cast, and it's often charming -- but Morning Glory is also inconsistent and derivative.
Synopsis: Newly hired as a producer on a national morning-news program called "Daybreak," Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) decides to revitalize the... [More]
Directed By: Roger Michell

#26

Hanover Street (1979)
57%

#26
Adjusted Score: 40615%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A U.S. bomber pilot (Harrison Ford) goes on a secret World War II mission with his English lover's (Lesley-Anne Down)... [More]
Directed By: Peter Hyams

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 48652%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After successfully sabotaging radar-guided Nazi guns, Mallory (Robert Shaw) and Miller (Edward Fox) find themselves attached to an elite American... [More]
Directed By: Guy Hamilton

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 65445%
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

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 76282%
Critics Consensus: It's undermined by distracting and unnecessary CGI, but this heartwarming Call of the Wild remains a classic story, affectionately retold.
Synopsis: Buck is a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life gets turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his... [More]
Directed By: Chris Sanders

#22

Ender's Game (2013)
62%

#22
Adjusted Score: 71068%
Critics Consensus: If it isn't quite as thought-provoking as the book, Ender's Game still manages to offer a commendable number of well-acted, solidly written sci-fi thrills.
Synopsis: When hostile aliens called the Formics attack Earth, only the legendary heroics of Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) manage to attain... [More]
Directed By: Gavin Hood

#21

Sabrina (1995)
63%

#21
Adjusted Score: 65805%
Critics Consensus: Sydney Pollack's Sabrina doesn't do anything the original didn't do better, but assured direction and a cast of seasoned stars make this a pleasant enough diversion.
Synopsis: Sabrina Fairchild (Julia Ormond) is a chauffeur's daughter who grew up with the wealthy Larrabee family. She always had unreciprocated... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#20

Patriot Games (1992)
74%

#20
Adjusted Score: 76071%
Critics Consensus: Patriot Games doesn't win many points for verisimilitude, but some entertaining set pieces -- and Harrison Ford in the central role -- more than compensate for its flaws.
Synopsis: When former CIA agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) hampers an IRA terrorist attack in London, he kills one of the... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 77277%
Critics Consensus: Harrison Ford capably tackles a tough, unlikable role, producing a fascinating and strange character study.
Synopsis: A brilliant but unstable inventor and his family create what they hope will be their Utopia in Central America.... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#18

Frantic (1988)
76%

#18
Adjusted Score: 78759%
Critics Consensus: A tense, on-point thriller in the vein of Polanski's earlier work.
Synopsis: While attending a medical conference in Paris, Dr. Richard Walker (Harrison Ford) is horrified when his wife, Sondra (Betty Buckley),... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#17

Air Force One (1997)
78%

#17
Adjusted Score: 80411%
Critics Consensus: This late-period Harrison Ford actioner is full of palpable, if not entirely seamless, thrills.
Synopsis: After making a speech in Moscow vowing to never negotiate with terrorists, President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) boards Air Force... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#16
Adjusted Score: 88420%
Critics Consensus: Though the plot elements are certainly familiar, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull still delivers the thrills and Harrison Ford's return in the title role is more than welcome.
Synopsis: It's the height of the Cold War, and famous archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), returning from his latest adventure, finds... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 82563%
Critics Consensus: Perfecting the formula established in earlier installments, Clear and Present Danger reunites its predecessor's creative core to solidly entertaining effect.
Synopsis: Agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) becomes acting deputy director of the CIA when Admiral Greer (James Earl Jones) is diagnosed... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#14

42 (2013)
81%

#14
Adjusted Score: 87776%
Critics Consensus: 42 is an earnest, inspirational, and respectfully told biography of an influential American sports icon, though it might be a little too safe and old-fashioned for some.
Synopsis: In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), legendary manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, defies major league baseball's notorious color barrier by... [More]
Directed By: Brian Helgeland

#13
Adjusted Score: 91162%
Critics Consensus: Though failing to reach the cinematic heights of its predecessors, Return of the Jedi remains an entertaining sci-fi adventure and a fitting end to the classic trilogy.
Synopsis: Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) battles horrible Jabba the Hut and cruel Darth Vader to save his comrades in the Rebel... [More]
Directed By: Richard Marquand

#12

Working Girl (1988)
84%

#12
Adjusted Score: 86939%
Critics Consensus: A buoyant corporate Cinderella story, Working Girl has the right cast, right story, and right director to make it all come together.
Synopsis: Savvy New York City receptionist Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) gives her conniving boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), an excellent business... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#11
Adjusted Score: 89562%
Critics Consensus: It may be too "dark" for some, but Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom remains an ingenious adventure spectacle that showcases one of Hollywood's finest filmmaking teams in vintage form.
Synopsis: The second of the Lucas/Spielberg Indiana Jones epics is set a year or so before the events in Raiders of... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 90112%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to an outstanding script, focused direction by Alan Pakula, and a riveting performance from Harrison Ford, Presumed Innocent is the kind of effective courtroom thriller most others aspire to be.
Synopsis: Prosecuting attorney Raymond Horgan (Brian Dennehy) assigns his chief deputy, the taciturn Rusty Sabitch (Harrison Ford), to investigate the rape... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#9
Adjusted Score: 93082%
Critics Consensus: Lighter and more comedic than its predecessor, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade returns the series to the brisk serial adventure of Raiders, while adding a dynamite double act between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.
Synopsis: An art collector appeals to Jones to embark on a search for the Holy Grail. He learns that another archaeologist... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 120779%
Critics Consensus: Visually stunning and narratively satisfying, Blade Runner 2049 deepens and expands its predecessor's story while standing as an impressive filmmaking achievement in its own right.
Synopsis: Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has... [More]
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

#7

Blade Runner (1982)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 99684%
Critics Consensus: Misunderstood when it first hit theaters, the influence of Ridley Scott's mysterious, neo-noir Blade Runner has deepened with time. A visually remarkable, achingly human sci-fi masterpiece.
Synopsis: Deckard (Harrison Ford) is forced by the police Boss (M. Emmet Walsh) to continue his old job as Replicant Hunter.... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#6
Adjusted Score: 105728%
Critics Consensus: A legendarily expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster filmmaking and things have never been the same.
Synopsis: The Imperial Forces -- under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) -- hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#5

Witness (1985)
93%

#5
Adjusted Score: 95093%
Critics Consensus: A wonderfully entertaining thriller within an unusual setting, with Harrison Ford delivering a surprisingly emotive and sympathetic performance.
Synopsis: After witnessing a brutal murder, young Amish boy Samuel (Lukas Haas) and his mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis) seek protection from... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#4
Adjusted Score: 110988%
Critics Consensus: Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series' former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.
Synopsis: Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren... [More]
Directed By: J.J. Abrams

#3
Adjusted Score: 104208%
Critics Consensus: Dark, sinister, but ultimately even more involving than A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back defies viewer expectations and takes the series to heightened emotional levels.
Synopsis: The adventure continues in this "Star Wars" sequel. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)... [More]
Directed By: Irvin Kershner

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 102222%
Critics Consensus: Featuring bravura set pieces, sly humor, and white-knuckle action, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most consummately entertaining adventure pictures of all time.
Synopsis: Dr. Indiana Jones, a renowned archeologist and expert in the occult, is hired by the U.S. Government to find the... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#1

The Fugitive (1993)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 102752%
Critics Consensus: Exhilarating and intense, this high-impact chase thriller is a model of taut and efficient formula filmmaking, and it features Harrison Ford at his frantic best.
Synopsis: Wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) escapes from the law in an attempt to find her... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Davis

(Photo by Universal Pictures/ courtesy Everett Collection)

20 Movies To Watch If You Can’t Wait For Dune

Director Denis Villeneuve has called Dune the “longstanding dream.” He’s not alone. Since 1965, the Frank Herbert epic has been a bewitching vision shared between the minds of adventurous readers, worming deep into the psyche of grand science-fiction devotees. Of course, Villeneuve stands out among Dune fans – he’s the first one in decades who gets to turn the novel into a movie. Like the book, it will follow the path of royal Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), his training in psychokinetic arts, and his family’s arrival to rule desert planet Arrakis, the galaxy’s sole source of a powerful mineral mixture called spice.

Dune will release December 2020, but if you need those inhospitable desert fumes in your life now, you can watch Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049. Get to the Las Vegas sequence and pretend that’s Arrakis wind and sand whipping your face. (The surrounding movie’s pretty good, too.) Or just go straight to the well and watch the previous movie version of Dune, directed in 1984 by David Lynch. He’s essentially disowned the film, but it’s a well-meaning attempt, rendered mostly incomprehensible by the end if you’re not familiar with the book – exactly why Villeneuve’s Dune will be split into two movies. Dune has long stymied filmmakers (it was actually done decently on TV with the 2000 miniseries), and you’ll get the behind-the-scenes treatment of a noble but failed adaptation inside the wonderful documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune.

Dune towers within the space opera: A genre of sci-fi adventure where pulpy action and plot twists rule the stars, with frequent space and military battles, and streaks of sweeping romance. More space operas from movie history include The Chronicles of Riddick, The Last Starfighter, Flash Gordon, The Fifth Element (there’s a literal opera in this), Serenity, and Battle Beyond the Stars, featuring special effects by James Cameron.

We all know about the impact of Flash Gordon and The Hidden Fortress on George Lucas when thinking up his own space opera, Star Wars. Dune‘s influence fills out the rest. The Force is akin to Dune‘s own all-encompassing mystic system, and Tatooine is essentially a stand-in for Arrakis. So we’re including A New Hope here, even though you’ve already seen it. We hope.

John Carter and Stargate are more in the realm of space fantasies, but the action and arid settings match. Ditto the Earthly, apocalyptic Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. While there are obviously better movies in the series, it’s inside Thunderdome where Max is sculpted as a messianic figure, the type of imagery central to the Dune arc.

If space military operations are more your thing, engage with the sleek Ender’s Gameor violent propaganda satire Starship Troopers. And if you like what Dune dishes on ecological and environmental notions (with a potential side of giant sand critters), eat up the hippie-dippie Silent Running along with Hayao Miyazaki’s early masterpiece Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

On animation: The medium has long opened eyes to whole new worlds, like Disney’s underseen Treasure Planet. Or the trippy French classic Fantastic Planet. And even the full-length Daft Punk cosmic fantasy Interstella 5555, produced by Leiji Matsumoto, godfather of the animated space opera. His epic movies like Arcadia of My Youth and the two Galaxy Express films don’t have Tomatometers so we didn’t include them, but they’re currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 34904%
Critics Consensus: As an action movie, Riddick offers some thrills, but as a sequel to Pitch Black, it's a disappointment.
Synopsis: Galactic criminal Riddick (Vin Diesel) is on the run, with bounty hunters on his tail. He receives guidance from Aereon... [More]
Directed By: David Twohy

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 50284%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Shad of Akir (Richard Thomas) recruits a space cowboy (George Peppard) and other warriors to defend his planet from a... [More]
Directed By: Jimmy T. Murakami

#18

Stargate (1994)
53%

#18
Adjusted Score: 55721%
Critics Consensus: Stargate has splashy visuals and James Spader to recommend it, but corny characterization and a clunky script makes this a portal to ho-hum.
Synopsis: In modern-day Egypt, professor Daniel Jackson (James Spader) teams up with retired Army Col. Jack O'Neil (Kurt Russell) to unlock... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#17

John Carter (2012)
52%

#17
Adjusted Score: 61244%
Critics Consensus: While John Carter looks terrific and delivers its share of pulpy thrills, it also suffers from uneven pacing and occasionally incomprehensible plotting and characterization.
Synopsis: When Civil War veteran John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) mysteriously awakes on the surface of Mars -- also called Barsoom --... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#16

Dune (1984)
43%

#16
Adjusted Score: 48178%
Critics Consensus: This truncated adaptation of Frank Herbert's sci-fi masterwork is too dry to work as grand entertainment, but David Lynch's flair for the surreal gives it some spice.
Synopsis: In the year 10191, a spice called melange is the most valuable substance known in the universe, and its only... [More]
Directed By: David Lynch

#15

Ender's Game (2013)
62%

#15
Adjusted Score: 71068%
Critics Consensus: If it isn't quite as thought-provoking as the book, Ender's Game still manages to offer a commendable number of well-acted, solidly written sci-fi thrills.
Synopsis: When hostile aliens called the Formics attack Earth, only the legendary heroics of Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) manage to attain... [More]
Directed By: Gavin Hood

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 70084%
Critics Consensus: A fun movie...if you can accept the excessive gore and wooden acting.
Synopsis: In the distant future, the Earth is at war with a race of giant alien insects. Little is known about... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#13

Silent Running (1972)
71%

#13
Adjusted Score: 72857%
Critics Consensus: It doesn't fulfill the potential of its ambitious themes, butSilent Running stands as a decidedly unique type of sci-fi journey marked by intimate character work and a melancholic mood.
Synopsis: After the end of all botanical life on Earth, ecologist Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) maintains a greenhouse on a space... [More]
Directed By: Douglas Trumbull

#12

Treasure Planet (2002)
69%

#12
Adjusted Score: 73658%
Critics Consensus: Though its characterizations are weaker than usual, Treasure Planet offers a fast-paced, beautifully rendered vision of outer space.
Synopsis: The legendary "loot of a thousand worlds" inspires an intergalactic treasure hunt when 15-year-old Jim Hawkins stumbles upon a map... [More]
Directed By: John Musker, Ron Clements

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 74084%
Critics Consensus: Visually inventive and gleefully over the top, Luc Besson's The Fifth Element is a fantastic piece of pop sci-fi that never takes itself too seriously.
Synopsis: In the 23rd century, a New York City cabbie, Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), finds the fate of the world in... [More]
Directed By: Luc Besson

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 77138%
Critics Consensus: The plot is as barebones a space movie will allow, but The Last Starfighter captures an era and eager style of filmmaking well.
Synopsis: After finally achieving the high score on Starfighter, his favorite arcade game, everyday teenager Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) meets the... [More]
Directed By: Nick Castle

#9

Flash Gordon (1980)
83%

#9
Adjusted Score: 87135%
Critics Consensus: Campy charm and a knowing sense of humor help to overcome a silly plot involving a spacefaring ex-football player, his adoring bevy of groupies, and a supervillain named Ming the Merciless.
Synopsis: Although NASA scientists are claiming the unexpected eclipse and strange "hot hail" are nothing to worry about, Dr. Hans Zarkov... [More]
Directed By: Mike Hodges

#8
Adjusted Score: 83971%
Critics Consensus: Beyond Thunderdome deepens the Mad Max character without sacrificing the amazing vehicle choreography and stunts that made the originals memorable.
Synopsis: In the third of the "Mad Max" movies, Max (Mel Gibson) drifts into an evil town ruled by Turner. There... [More]

#7

Serenity (2005)
82%

#7
Adjusted Score: 88357%
Critics Consensus: Snappy dialogue and goofy characters make this Wild Wild West soap opera in space fun and adventurous.
Synopsis: In this continuation of the television series "Firefly," a group of rebels travels the outskirts of space aboard their ship,... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#6
Adjusted Score: 23364%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Leiji Matsumoto

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 120779%
Critics Consensus: Visually stunning and narratively satisfying, Blade Runner 2049 deepens and expands its predecessor's story while standing as an impressive filmmaking achievement in its own right.
Synopsis: Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has... [More]
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

#4
Adjusted Score: 89248%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Far in the future, after an apocalyptic conflict has devastated much of the world's ecosystem, the few surviving humans live... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#3

Fantastic Planet (1973)
91%

#3
Adjusted Score: 90532%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Planet is an animated epic that is by turns surreal and lovely, fantastic and graceful.
Synopsis: This animated tale follows the relationship between the small human-like Oms and their much larger blue-skinned oppressors, the Draags, who... [More]
Directed By: René Laloux

#2
Adjusted Score: 105728%
Critics Consensus: A legendarily expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster filmmaking and things have never been the same.
Synopsis: The Imperial Forces -- under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) -- hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 101686%
Critics Consensus: Part thoughtful tribute, part bittersweet reminder of a missed opportunity, Jodorowsky's Dune offers a fascinating look at a lost sci-fi legend.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky discusses how he would have adapted Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel "Dune" for the big screen.... [More]
Directed By: Frank Pavich

In Theaters This Week:



RoboCop

48%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material.

An insane amount of gunfire permeates this shiny, noisy remake of the groundbreaking 1987 action satire. That film’s cheeky tone has been replaced here with a more serious (and seriously violent) exploration of the nature of free will and the importance of privacy. Joel Kinnaman stars as a former Detroit police officer in the near future who becomes a half-man/half-robot crime fighter after an explosion nearly kills him. He has to take down a ton of bad guys, both in real life and in practice simulations, with some heavy-duty firepower. But because this is a PG-13 movie, there’s no blood. There’s also a bit of drug material as RoboCop infiltrates a hidden manufacturing warehouse. And Samuel L. Jackson, as a bloviating, Bill O’Reilly-type TV commentator, gets to spew some amusing profanity – only some of which gets bleeped out.



Endless Love

16%

Rating: PG-13, for sexual content, brief partial nudity, some language and teen partying.

Continuing with the ’80s-remake theme of the week, we have this forbidden teen romance which is pretty much completely different from the 1981 Franco Zeffirelli original. Writer-director Shana Feste has kept the names the same but taken out all the crazy. Her version feels more like an extended Abercrombie & Fitch ad, with its gorgeous lead actors frolicking in idyllic situations. Alex Pettyfer plays the smart, decent-hearted mechanic’s son who dares to fall in love with Gabriella Wilde’s character, a wealthy, sheltered cardiologist’s daughter. They make out a lot, have sex on the carpet in front of a fireplace and engage in partying that’s alluded to but never shown. Despite his hunky dreaminess, Pettyfer’s character is also hotheaded — he punches a couple of guys and gets arrested. Probably fine for older tweens/young teens and up.



Winter’s Tale

13%

Rating: PG-13, for violence and some sensuality.

Angels and demons prowl among us in this wackadoodle romantic fantasy from writer-director Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind). Colin Farrell stars as a seemingly ageless man who believes he’s meant to save a beautiful girl (Jessica Brown Findlay) from dying of consumption in 1916 New York. But that miracle might belong to someone else a century later. Despite the fact that she doesn’t have long, the two fall in love, which features some partial nudity and a tasteful sex scene. There are also some skirmishes with the bad guys who are after them, led by a scary, supernatural Russell Crowe. The plot line and its driving mythology are so convoluted, they might confuse young viewers — but that’s not who this movie is intended for, anyway.

New On DVD:



Ender’s Game

62%

Rating: PG-13, for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material.

This sci-fi fable is about genocide and child warriors, so yeah, maybe it’s not the most appropriate movie for the youngest viewers in your home. But tweens and up certainly have seen this kind of mature, challenging material in The Hunger Games movies, and may even have read the Orson Scott Card book that provides the inspiration here. Asa Butterfield stars as 16-year-old genius Ender Wiggin, who emerges as The One as he goes through his training at the elite Battle School. He must then lead his own soldiers into war to save the human race. No pressure. As is so often the case with important sci-fi, Ender’s Game has bigger and more complicated ideas on its mind beyond just the battle sequences. So I guess it’s a matter of whether you feel like having those conversations with your kids.



All Is Lost

94%

Rating: PG-13, for brief strong language.

An incredibly tense, precisely crafted film starring Robert Redford in what is essentially a wordless role. He plays a man stranded alone for days on a small yacht in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Nothing frightening happens in the traditional horror-movie sense of the word, but Redford’s character’s ordeal becomes unbearably harrowing as each new day passes. When he finally snaps and allows himself to speak, on day six, he yells the four-letter word the rest of us would have yelled early and often starting from day one. Oder kids may find the quiet tone and deliberate pacing a bit dull, but there’s also a lesson here about resourcefulness and courage.

This week on home video, we’ve got a blockbuster based on a beloved sci-fi novel, a survival tale featuring a towering performance from Robert Redford, an almost universally praised landmark film from Saudi Arabia, a comedy sequel 14 years in the making, and a bit of a clunker from Ridley Scott and some other talented folks. On the TV side, we’ve got an acclaimed adaptation of an iconic literary character, a Golden Tomato-winning French import, and a TV movie, as well as a bunch of smaller releases. Read on for the full list:



Ender’s Game

62%

Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel Ender’s Game isn’t just another sci-fi epic; it’s taught in college courses, and it’s part of the US Marine Corps’ official reading list. Naturally, there was much anticipation leading up to the release of its feature film adaptation, and while it didn’t blow everyone away, most agreed it was relatively solid. The story centers on Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a gifted young boy in the distant future who, along with other similarly gifted children, is groomed by the military to help defend humanity against an alien threat. Most critics felt the film was true enough to the source material to please fans, but others found that some of the book’s power was lost in translation, resulting in a too-serious tone and a somewhat unearned sense of self-importance. Regardless, almost all agreed the film was well-acted and visually impressive enough to earn it a 61% on the Tomatometer.



All Is Lost

94%

J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost, the survival story of one man lost at sea, may have the shortest cast listing of any feature film on IMDB. Though its lone actor, Robert Redford, failed to make it into this year’s crowded Best Actor Oscar field, the film boasts a powerhouse performance by the veteran, who carries the film entirely. Redford plays an unnamed man whose ship collides with a rogue shipping container in the middle of the ocean. With his boat steadily taking on water, the man struggles to patch up the hole and fix his communications equipment, hoping to survive long enough to be rescued. Critics roundly praised All Is Lost as a showcase for Robert Redford’s talent; even Pi had a tiger to talk to from time to time. Certified Fresh at 93% on the Tomatometer, this is an equally thrilling and moving tale of survival that grips the viewer and refuses to let go.



Wadjda

99%

Even before anyone had seen Wadjda, it had already secured two landmark achievements: it was the first feature film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia — where no movie theaters exist — and it was the first to be made by a female Saudi filmmaker, namely Haifaa Al-Mansour. With that in mind, it’s something else altogether that the film has earned near universal acclaim from critics. The story centers on the titular young Saudi girl, who dreams of owning a green bike and racing her neighborhood friend, Abdullah, something the locals frown upon. With family drama brewing at home, Wadjda sets out to earn her own bike money however she can. Critics engaged with the Wadjda‘s central themes of freedom and change in the face of oppression, calling the film an inspiring critique of Saudi society that somehow manages also to be a charming tale of youthful whimsy. Certified Fresh at 99% on the Tomatometer, Golden Tomato winner Wadjda is both insightful and delightful without overtly moralizing or succumbing to cloying sentimentality.



The Best Man Holiday

70%

Back in 1999, writer/director Malcolm D. Lee scored a surprise hit with The Best Man, an ensemble rom-com about a tight-knit group of friends hashing out their issues. Fourteen years later, Lee reunited the entire cast for The Best Man Holiday, earning the best reviews he’s gotten since 2002. This time around, the gang meets up for a Christmas holiday together at Mia’s (Monica Calhoun) request, only to find that older doesn’t always mean wiser. While Harper (Taye Diggs) surreptitiously attempts to gather info for a biography of retiring football star Lance (Morris Chestnut), Candace (Regina Hall) and Mia hide secrets of their own, and wildcard Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) is looking for love in all the wrong places. Critics conceded that the plot contrivances are fairly standard and familiar, but also that Lee manages to wring some genuine laughs and heartfelt sentiment out of them. It’s a little out of season at this point, but at 68% on the Tomatometer, The Best Man Holiday is a decent dramedy worthy of its predecessor.



The Counselor

34%

When you’ve made as many films as Ridley Scott has, you’re bound to release a stinker every now and then. You just don’t expect that stinker to come from the pen of Cormac McCarthy and star the likes of Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Brad Pitt. Fassbender plays the titular counselor, who, tempted by a huge profit margin, unwisely gets himself wrapped up in a drug deal with a Mexican cartel. When the deal immediately goes wrong, the counselor becomes a target and finds he has few friends he can count on. Past adaptations of Cormac McCarthy’s work have yielded great results, but critics say his first attempt at an original screenplay mostly falls flat; The Counselor is a sloppily plotted thriller that spends too much of its time on clumsy dialogue and too little of it building real tension. At 34% on the Tomatometer, it’s hardly representative of the talented individuals involved.



Sherlock – Season 3

Benedict Cumberbatch is fast becoming a household name (and oh what a name it is), and though he’d previously appeared in a handful of notable roles, it was BBC’s 2010 series Sherlock that first brought him international recognition. Paired with Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, Cumberbatch plays a contemporary version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective, a brash, socially oblivious genius who gets off on solving seemingly unsolvable mysteries and utilizes modern technology to its fullest. The series, written by Doctor Who veterans Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, adapts several of Sherlock Holmes’s classic characters and storylines, seamlessly integrating them into present-day settings and infusing them with razor sharp dialogue and crisp, inventive cinematography. Here in the US, the third and final 90-minute episode of the third season — Certified Fresh at 97% — aired just last week, and tomorrow, it will be available on DVD and Blu-ray. [NOTE: Beware of spoilers in the trailer below if you haven’t seen the first two seasons.]



Killing Kennedy

56%

National Geographic enjoyed a strong response to their adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Lincoln, so they decided to do the same for the controversial television personality’s similarly titled JFK book, Killing Kennedy. The film, which aired on the National Geographic Channel on November 10 of last year, stars Rob Lowe as JFK, Ginnifer Goodwin as Jackie O, and Will Rothhaar as Lee Harvey Oswald, focusing both on Kennedy’ rise to power and Oswald’s growing disillusionment. While critics were somewhat split on the film, with some calling it another unnecessary — and somewhat underwhelming — portrait of an all too familiar event while others praised the performances and the somewhat novel approach to the story, Killing Kennedy did earn nominations from the Writers, Directors, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. At 59% on the Tomatometer, it’s an acceptable biopic that could have been better but nevertheless hits most of the right notes.



The Returned – Season 1

In this modern era of Hollywood remakes and reboots, it’s kind of remarkable for a foreign-language television series to be imported wholesale for the US market, but that’s exactly what happened with French supernatural drama The Returned (aka Les Revenants). Originally aired in 2012, the series was picked up by SundanceTV, who premiered it on Halloween last year. The story takes place in a small town in the mountains, where the recently deceased suddenly begin reappearing as if nothing had ever happened. As they attempt to reintegrate themselves into normal life, the mystery is compounded by strange occurrences and puzzling discoveries that seem to coincide with the phenomenon. Back in September, The Returned won the International Emmy Award for Best Drama, and its first season not only boasts a Certified Fresh 100% on the Tomatometer, but it also won our Golden Tomato Award for Best New Show of 2013.

Also available this week:

  • The Armstrong Lie (84%), a Certified Fresh Alex Gibney documentary chronicling the controversy surrounding former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal.
  • G.B.F. (80%), a teen comedy about a newly outed gay teen whose “arm-candy” potential becomes the object of every popular girl’s affections.
  • How I Live Now (67%), starring Saoirse Ronan in a post-apocalyptic YA novel adaptation about an American girl living overseas and struggling to survive when warfare in Europe prompts martial law in the UK.
  • Austenland (30%), starring Keri Russell in a comedy about a woman trying to make the most of her limited budget on a visit to a Jane Austen theme park.
  • Diana (8%) starring Naomi Watts in a biopic focusing on the relationships Princess Di maintained during the last two years of her life.
  • Disney is releasing a Diamond Edition of the 1967 animated film The Jungle Book (87%).
  • Season one of The Americans (89%), the FX drama starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as KGB spies posing as a married American couple in 1980s Washington D.C.
  • Season two of Dallas (94%), TNT’s revival of the classic soap revolving around the oil-rich Ewing family.

From futuristic kid soldiers to teen princesses on the lam, charismatic cats to harrowing slave performances, here are 25 stars who 2013 will be remembered for.

A week before the Hemsworth brothers begin their double feature of November tentpoles, the sci-fi entry Ender’s Game opened atop the North American box office and was joined in the top five by fellow new releases Last Vegas and Free Birds, all of which posted moderate or respectable launches.

Debuting to an estimated $28M, the effects-driven futuristic action pic Ender’s Game landed in the number one spot with a performance that was reasonably good, but not especially impressive for an expensive production. Based on the best-selling novel, the PG-13 film averaged $8,218 from 3,407 locations including higher-priced IMAX and other large-format screens. Reviews were mixed for the Lionsgate release and the CinemaScore grade was a middling B+. Tapping into a built-in audience, not having any standout buzz, and facing the arrival of Thor: The Dark World next weekend, Game is not likely to last very long and should finish up with a front-loaded theatrical run.

Bad Grandpa enjoyed the best second weekend hold ever for a Jackass film dipping only 36% to an estimated $20.5M giving Paramount a healthy $62.1M in ten days. The low-cost $15M comedy should end its domestic run with about $110M making for yet another profitable installment for the eleven-year-old franchise. Fan feedback has been excellent.

The old timers comedy Last Vegas opened in third pace with an estimated $16.5M from 3,065 theaters for a respectable $5,390 average. Starring Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline, the PG-13 film about a group of old friends reuniting for a bachelor party in Sin City played to a mature crowd as expected. Critics were not too impressed, but moviegoers came out for the CBS Films release for the starpower and premise.

Audience data showed that 53% were female and an understandably high 83% were 25 and older. With a promising A- CinemaScore grade, a much older target audience, and no major direct competition coming, Vegas should be able to hold up well throughout the November weeks ahead and reach a domestic gross that doubles the $28M production cost.

2013 has been a tough year for animated films – especially those that are not on the very top tier – and Free Birds was the latest to lack excitement with family audiences. The PG-rated turkey flick debuted to an estimated $16.2M from 3,736 theaters for a mild $4,336 average. Relativity had relatively clear sailing for its launch as the only other kidpic out there – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 – was in its sixth weekend. But the target audience was not excited to spend top dollar for this toon and reviews were lousy.

No animated films open until Thanksgiving so the distributor is hoping that lack of competition will help in the days and weeks ahead. The A- CinemaScore indicates that customers were fairly pleased with their purchase. Even bigger players like DreamWorks, Fox, and Sony have struggled to make toons work this year.

Space juggernaut Gravity fell back to fifth place but still posted a solid frame grossing an estimated $13.1M making for the best fifth weekend gross for any film since The Avengers. Warner Bros. has banked a stunning $219.2M to date making it the highest-grossing non-franchise film of 2013, and number eight overall. The Bullock blockbuster also smashed the $200M international and $400M global marks this weekend. The $27.1M overseas weekend gross pushed the offshore cume to $207.5M with worldwide climbing up to $426.7M.

Captain Phillips, another star-driven survival thriller getting Oscar buzz, followed with an estimated $8.5M. Down only 27%, the Tom Hanks film stands at $82.6M to date.

Fox Searchlight gave another expansion to its awards hopeful 12 Years A Slave which widened from 123 to 410 theaters and more than doubled its weekend gross in the process. The acclaimed period drama took in an estimated $4.6M and posted another promising average with $11,220 putting it in good shape for the road ahead. Many prestige films stumble when expanding to this many markets but Slave is remaining a relevant and much-talked-about film bringing in new audiences thanks in part to stellar reviews. Cume is $8.8M and next weekend it expands again into roughly 1,000 locations.

Three C’s rounded out the top ten. Toon sequel Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 dropped 33% to an estimated $4.2M for a $106.2M cume for Sony. Horror flick Carrie grossed an estimated $3.4M, down 43%, giving Sony $32M to date. Fox’s crime drama The Counselor tumbled 59% in its sophomore round to an estimated $3.3M putting the total at just $13.6M.

Rachel McAdams saw lackluster results for her latest romance About Time which was given a limited release in only 175 locations this weekend by Universal. The R-rated time travel love story bowed to an estimated $1.1M for a mild average of $6,046 which does not bode well for next weekend’s nationwide expansion. Reviews have been mixed.

Generating plenty of must-see awards buzz – especially in the acting categories – was Dallas Buyers Club which delivered a superb platform launch over the weekend as the final release for the current incarnation of Focus Features. The Matthew McConaughey film bowed to an estimated $264,000 from only nine locations in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto for a strong $29,333 average. The R-rated true story expands on Friday to a dozen new markets – including Dallas – and will be everywhere by November 22. Reviews were sensational and McConaughey is seen as a major contender for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

A week ahead of its domestic launch, the super hero tentpole Thor: The Dark World opened across much of the planet this weekend taking in a sensational $109.4M from 36 markets led by $13.4M in the U.K. The second Thor flick lands in over 3,800 North American theaters this Friday (with first shows beginning at 8:00pm on Thursday night) and has scared away all other new wide releases. China also opens next weekend so the global tally will soar by the end of next weekend.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $118.3M which was even with last year when Wreck-it Ralph opened at number one with $49M; but up 18% from 2011 when Puss in Boots stayed in the top spot with $33.1M in its second weekend.

Follow Gitesh on Twitter.

This week at the movies, we’ve got a space-warfare strategist (Ender’s Game, starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford), time-travelling turkeys (Free Birds, with voice performances by Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson), and a document leaker (Last Vegas, starring Michael Douglas and Robert De Niro). What do the critics have to say?



Ender’s Game

62%

Adapting a beloved novel to the big screen is often a dicey proposition. That said, critics feel that Ender’s Game does a pretty good job of bringing its source material to cinematic life, with strong performances and a thoughtful tone that helps to make up for occasional stretches of solemnity and dullness. Earth is under siege from alien invaders, and the fate of humanity rests on the shoulders of Ender (Asa Butterfield), a bullied teenager whose precocious gifts are cultivated in order to devise a strategy to defeat the enemy. The pundits say Ender’s Game isn’t always emotionally rousing, but it’s still a smart, visually exciting sci-fi film that should (mostly) please fans of Orson Scott Card’s book. (Watch our video interviews with Ford, Butterfield, Viola Davis, and Hailee Steinfeld.)



Free Birds

20%

The idea of an animated action comedy starring turkeys is pretty funny in theory. Unfortunately, critics say that in practice, Free Birds is thin stuff; with its slack pace and less-than-inspired story, this is one turkey toon that never takes flight. Pampered Reggie (voiced by Owen Wilson) and activist Jake (Woody Harrelson) team up to travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving in order to kill the annual tradition of eating turkeys before it starts. The pundits say little kids might enjoy Free Birds, but their parents are likely to find the animation underwhelming and the jokes a bit flat.



Last Vegas

46%

A lot of people go to Vegas in search of a wild, unpredictable good time. Unfortunately, critics say Last Vegas plays things way too safe; while the combined talents of Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, and Mary Steenburgen keep things amiably watchable, the film never ventures outside its comfort zone. Douglas plays a longtime bachelor who’s finally tying the knot, so he meets up with a group of longtime buddies in Sin City to celebrate; revelry and reflection ensue. The pundits say the cast of Last Vegas makes for good company, but there are few surprises to be found on this trip. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Kline’s best-reviewed movies).

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • These Birds Walk, a documentary about a home for Pakistani street children, is at 100 percent.
  • The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology, a documentary in which philosopher Slavoj Zizek riffs on the subtexts undergirding a vast array of popular movies, is at 94 percent.
  • Dallas Buyers Club, starring Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in a drama about a man seeking treatment for HIV in the early days of the epidemic, is Certified Fresh at 94 percent.
  • Casting By, a doc about the world of Hollywood casting directors, is at 90 percent.
  • Belgian import The Broken Circle Breakdown, a drama that follows the highs and lows in the relationship between two bluegrass musicians, is at 83 percent.
  • Aftermath, a drama about two brothers who suffer repercussions from their community after digging into the town’s past, is at 75 percent.
  • In the Name Of…, a drama about a young priest who struggles with matters of the flesh while running a halfway house for troubled teens, is at 71 percent.
  • Man of Tai Chi, directed by and starring Keanu Reeves in a martial arts film about a young fighter who competes in an underground fight club, is at 71 percent.
  • Mr. Nobody, starring Jared Leto and Diane Kruger in a sci-fi drama about the repercussions of a child choosing which parent to live with, is at 71 percent.
  • About Time, starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams in a romantic comedy about a guy whose relationship with a beautiful woman is constantly stymied by time-travel problems, is at 65 percent.
  • Running From Crazy, a documentary about Mariel Hemingway and her attempts to come to terms wither famous family’s history, is at 44 percent.
  • Last Love, starring Michael Caine in a dramedy about the relationship between a lonely professor and a plucky young dancer, is at 40 percent
  • Big Sur, starring Kate Bosworth and Josh Lucas in an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s novel, is at 38 percent.
  • Diana, starring Naomi Watts in a biopic of the Princess of Wales, is at nine percent.

International Editor Luke Goodsell chats up the cast of Ender’s Game to find out how they got involved with this long-awaited adaptation, and whether or not they dared call Harrison Ford “Han Solo” to his face.



On the heels of Thursday’s viral video and character posters, fans packed Hall H at Comic-Con International in San Diego for the world-premiere of the trailer for the adaptation of author Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi novel Ender’s Game. Present for the screening and Q&A were director Gavin Hood, producer Roberto Orci and stars Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld.

The Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment film is set on a future Earth at war with bug-like aliens called Formics. As interplanetary fighting heightens, a military-school program is established to recruit bright young minds for rigorous training, with the story centering on the gifted Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Butterfield).

Before the trailer even premiered, the crowd chanted for Star Wars and Indiana Jones veteran Ford, who sauntered to his seat, calm and cool, in front of the roaring fans.

The lights dimmed and we were treated to the trailer, with Ford’s character Colonel Hyrum Graff providing narration to footage of countless alien ships approaching Earth and torching the ground as he explains that a first invasion nearly destroyed the planet. “They will be back,” he states ominously. We see a futuristic car approach a lake surrounded by mountains, with Butterfield’s Ender appearing to train in front of touch screens as we hear, “The world needs you. You were bred for this — you see things in a way we can’t.” Ben Kingsley’s Mazer Rackham meets with Ford and Viola Davis’ Major Gwen Anderson as we see Ender manipulating ships and battles. After a particularly successful battle, Major Anderson deadpans, “I’ve never seen anyone do that.” The superiors continue to convene as the stakes get higher, until it becomes clear it’s the boy’s life or the world’s survival. Ender is revealed in a sleek suit, and he goes off book and abandons his supports to helm an epic battle, controlling hundreds of ships with the flick of a wrist.

Orci noted the novel and film will be separate entities, explaining, “You want to do what’s true to the book… take what you love about the book, but also show people who don’t know the book why you loved it. You cannot take the love of a book for granted — the audience is going to come and see it for its own merits. That’s the line you have to walk.”

Of embodying such an iconic character, Butterfield said, “It was pretty big, to say the least. It was exciting for me to bring such a beloved novel and someone like Ender to life, and it was a challenge, but we had a lot of fun doing it.”

The preparation for the film’s young cast proved grueling. Steinfeld recalled, “It was the first time that I’d ever had to physically train for a film — we had about three weeks of training before we started filming. We went to space camp in Alabama, we went through a military boot camp where we learned how to march and how to salute. It was very physically demanding, but I loved it.”

Asked what it was like to play Ender’s mentor, Ford gruffly joked with moderator Chris Hardwick, “I would correct your observation in that he is not so much Ender’s mentor as he is Ender’s manipulator.” As Hardwick good-naturedly groveled, Ford joked — in his classic gravely grumble — “I am never coming back here.”

The actor went on to address what attracted him to the script, saying, “I was drawn to the complexity of the moral issues here — the questions about the complex moral issues that are involved in the military. The ability to wage war removed from the battlefield is one of the realities of our life now. This was unknown 28 years ago, but the issues of the manipulation of young people for their value as soldiers because of their special skills, their motor skill capacities, and because of their conceptual freedom, is something that was really complex and interesting to me. And I was delighted to be involved in playing a character that wrestled with these concerns and brought them into public consciousness.”

Hood confessed one of his favorite things about the book was the, “Amazing environment, the battle room. It’s truly beautiful. There’s the real technical challenge of bringing that visual idea to the screen. What I love at the heart of the book is that this is not a simple story of good and evil. I’m kind of bored with that — we’ve seen enough visual-effects movies; visual effects don’t do it for us unless they’re supported by a great story. And this is totally a great, complex story… to have characters that are not simple, that wrestle with their own capacity for good and evil.”

The director went on to talk about his incredible cast, saying, “You can’t fake intelligence,” and then demonstrated his camaraderie with Ford by joking, “When he’s not having a good day, you bring in Sir Ben Kingsley and he makes up for it.” The comment made the stoic Ford crack a smile.

The first question from the audience addressed the controversy surrounding Card’s writings about homosexuality and his opposition to same-sex marriage, which have led to a boycott of the film and a statement from Lionsgate reaffirming its support of the gay community.

“The truth is, our first reaction when this first came up was we never want to invite controversy and we were first concerned with anyone who might be hurt by anything that comes up in anything we’re associated with,” Orci replied. “But, we decided to use the attention that’s on us now — no matter how bad — to completely and unequivocally support Lionsgate in the defense of LBGT rights… and a lot of people worked on this movie, a lot of people worked to get this movie out… and I would hate to see the efforts of all these people thwarted for the opinions of less than a percent of the people behind this movie. Particularly because the message of the book and of the movie is tolerance, compassion, empathy — all things that we hope are going to live on long beyond statements that any of us make. And so, rather than shy away from the controversy, we’re happy to embrace it and use the spotlight to say we support LGBT rights and human rights.” His remarks received intermittent bursts of applause, and were met with a roar upon completion.

Another audience member asked which prop they’d choose to bring home if they could take only one. Hood joked, “Harrison Ford.” Butterfield said, “This futuristic wash kit they gave us, which included some futuristic hair brushes and a futuristic toothbrush. It had like flashing lights and stuff.”

And, taking advantage of Ford’s presence, another brave audience member capped off the panel by asking Ford if Han Solo and Indiana Jones were to meet, what their first words would be to each other. Ford shrugged and deadpanned, “Hi, how are you?” The audience roared with laughter.

Ender’s Game arrives Nov. 1.


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Article originally published on Comic Book Resources.

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