After breaking into the mainstream as smarm personified in Wedding Crashers, Bradley Cooper seemed poised for a career filled with rude comedies and rom-coms — and for a few years, his filmography threatened to live down to those limited expectations, with stuff like Failure to Launch and All About Steve surrounding his follow-up hit The Hangover. Once he had half a chance, however, Cooper flashed his dramatic chops, giving audiences a feel for what he could really do in Limitless before vaulting into the Oscar-nominated A-list with American Sniper, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle. Factor in his MCU stint as the lovably misanthropic Rocket in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s clear we’ve seen just the tip of what this multi-hyphenate talent can do. For further proof, here’s a look at all Bradley Cooper movies, rounded up and sorted by Tomatometer!
Critics Consensus: Neither as clever nor as interesting as it appears to think it is, The Words maroons its talented stars in an overly complex, dramatically inert literary thriller that's ultimately a poor substitute for a good book.
Synopsis: When shallow wannabe-writer Rory (Bradley Cooper) finds an old manuscript tucked away in a bag, he decides to pass the... [More]
Critics Consensus:Joy is anchored by a strong performance from Jennifer Lawrence, although director David O. Russell's uncertain approach to its fascinating fact-based tale only sporadically sparks bursts of the titular emotion.
Synopsis: A story of a family across four generations, centered on the girl who becomes the woman (Jennifer Lawrence) who founds... [More]
Critics Consensus:Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's action-packed plot, dazzling visuals, and irreverent humor add up to a sequel that's almost as fun -- if not quite as thrillingly fresh -- as its predecessor.
Synopsis: Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians are hired by a powerful alien race, the Sovereign, to protect their precious batteries... [More]
Critics Consensus:Avengers: Infinity War ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.
Synopsis: Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet --... [More]
Critics Consensus: With appealing leads, deft direction, and an affecting love story, A Star Is Born is a remake done right -- and a reminder that some stories can be just as effective in the retelling.
Synopsis: Seasoned musician Jackson Maine discovers -- and falls in love with -- struggling artist Ally. She has just about given... [More]
Welcome to the new millennium. The decade horror came home to America. The decade horror went global. Welcome to the 80 Best Horror Movies of the 2000s.
If horror movies reflect the fears and concerns of a people, it’s notable that America claimed torture-porn as their de rigueur subgenre. Something in Saw and its ilk’s slow-roasted dismantling of human flesh appealed to a nation consumed by post-9/11 paranoia and a bombardment of wartime images and atrocity. But while torture-porn movies made a killing at the box office, none were ever particularly well-reviewed; only Hostel arrives here. Recovering from the ’90s doldrums, the best horror movies came from overseas, as digital cameras lowered the cost to film and the rise of the internet made knowledge and dissemination of these movies as simple as a mouse click. In fact, of the top 10 movies here (which includes the likes of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Host), only two were shot in America. Other trends seen during this decade: Asian originals and occasional remakes (The Ring, Thirst), found footage (Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield), the return of the living dead (Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later), and nostalgic throwbacks (Slither, Death Proof). The only stipulation for a movie to be considered for this list was a Fresh rating from at least 20 reviews.
Time to add some scary MIDIs to your MySpace and set AIM status to away (FOREVER), because here comes the best scary 2000s movies!
Critics Consensus:Death Proof may feel somewhat minor in the context of Tarantino's larger filmography, but on its own merits, it packs just enough of a wallop to deliver sufficiently high-octane grindhouse goods.
Synopsis: Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) is a professional body double who likes to take unsuspecting women for deadly drives in 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: With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski's haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts.
Synopsis: It sounds like just another urban legend -- a videotape filled with nightmarish images leads to a phone call foretelling... [More]
Critics Consensus:Vampire Hunter D's gothic charms may be lost on those unfamiliar with the anime series that spawned it, but the crisp action and nightmarish style will satiate horror aficionados' bloodlust.
Synopsis: In a dark and distant future, when the undead have arisen from apocalyptic ashes, an original story unfolds. Ten thousand... [More]
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's latest entry in his much-vaunted Dead series is not as fresh as his genre-inventing original, Night of the Living Dead. But Land of the Dead does deliver on the gore and zombies-feasting-on-flesh action.
Synopsis: In a world where zombies form the majority of the population, the remaining humans build a feudal society away from... [More]
Critics Consensus: Though its underlying themes are familiar, House of the Devil effectively sheds the loud and gory cliches of contemporary horror to deliver a tense, slowly building throwback to the fright flicks of decades past.
Synopsis: Desperate to make some money so she can move into a new apartment, college student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes... [More]
Critics Consensus: Plunging viewers into the nightmarish hellscape of an apartment complex under siege, [Rec] proves that found footage can still be used as an effective delivery mechanism for sparse, economic horror.
Synopsis: A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.... [More]
This week, Kenneth Branagh brings his interpretation of Agatha Christie’s distinguished detective Hercule Poirot to theaters in Murder on the Orient Express, a stylish period mystery set aboard a passenger train. But Hollywood has a rich history of telling stories on and about trains, almost from the very beginning, so we thought it would make sense to take a look back at the best train movies to grace the silver screen.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is fast approaching but did you know that its cast members have previously acted in other movies outside the franchise? And that some of them were good? We take the 10 biggest stars of Marvel’s intergalactic, planetary adventure and give you some Fresh and Certified Fresh movies of theirs that you may have missed. Put these on the mixtape!
Film:Wanted (2008, 71%). This adaptation of the Mark Millar comic stars James McAvoy as an underachieving, over-medicated corporate drone who’s enlisted by the mysterious Angelina Jolie to join a secret fraternity of assassins, hone his hidden superhuman strength, and avenge his father’s murder.
Role: A movie starring Angelina that made $350 million worldwide isn’t your normal “hidden gem,” but amidst the bullet curving and car chases it’s easy to forget Pratt’s role. He plays McAvoy’s delightful douchebag co-worker and memorably takes a keyboard to the face. Pratt essentially played the same dude in the first season of Parks & Recreation before the character was re-written, turning him into a TV fan favorite and eventual legendary space outlaw.
Film:Infinitely Polar Bear (2015, 82%). Sometimes when Mark Ruffalo gets mad, he turns into the green smashing Hulk. And sometimes he goes to the hospital and has his kids taken away from him, as in this bipolar disorder-addressing drama from Maya Forbes.
Role: Saldana plays Ruffalo’s long-suffering wife, who moves herself and the kids into an apartment as her estranged husband gets help to get it together. Ruffalo puts in another of those highly-tuned sensitive performances, which Saldana matches scene for scene.
Film:The Midnight Meat Train (2008, 72%). The movie biz carves up another Clive Barker adaptation, this time telling the drenched tale of people getting butchered on a subway and the amateur photographer who makes it his quest to expose the truth.
Role: Cooper plays the photographer, who becomes intensely obsessed with figuring out why the murders are taking place, at great risk to his health and relationship with his girlfriend. Studio politics effectively reduced this movie to being dumped directly to video, though it’s grown a small cult due to its unflinching gore and its mega-black ending.
Film:Slither (2006, 86%). Guardians director James Gunn’s feature debut is a nasty little horror-comedy about a small town overcome by an alien parasite that begins its colonization of Earth by possessing a philandering car dealer. Before long, everyone’s pets are missing, the local livestock are turning up mutilated, and neighbor-on-neighbor violence is at an all-time high.
Role: Rooker stars in Slither as Grant Grant, aka patient zero himself, the car dealer who becomes infected by an extraterrestrial slug and, in turn, whose mistress becomes the hive queen. The problem is, Grant still retains some of his human memories, and all of them lead back to his not-so-doting wife (Elizabeth Banks), who’s understandably less than thrilled to come home to a horribly disfigured man slowly transforming into a tentacled monster. It all amounts to a raucous mix of uncomfortable laughs and the ridiculous kind body horror that would make David Cronenberg proud.
Film:Bone Tomahawk (2015, 91%). This surprisingly confident debut by writer/director S. Craig Zahler seamlessly introduces elements of horror into a deliberately paced Western about a local sheriff who leads a small party of gunslingers to face off against a tribe of ruthless cannibals after some of his townspeople are abducted.
Role: Russell’s filmography is vast and varied, but this underseen thriller (and Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, both from 2015) arguably makes the best use of his late-period gruffness and magnificent facial hair, and he is terrific as the sheriff who sacrifices everything for his town. The whole thing is a tightly wound slow build to a grisly, violent climax, and there are a few things in there you won’t be able to unsee.
Film:Inherent Vice (2015, 74%). After the gold rush of the hippie era, reality and hard living sets in as 1970 rolls on in California. Perpetually stoned private dick Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is hired to solve a beguiling case while avoiding the LAPD and a life of responsibility.
Role: Del Toro plays Doc’s attorney and occasional informant Sauncho. He gives a classically mumbly Benicio performance, but attach that to the film’s outsized characters and byzantine plot and it all weaves into a piquant psychedelic tapestry.
Film:Waitress (2007, 89%). Adrienne Shelly’s smart and heartfelt romantic comedy centers on an unhappily married waitress (Keri Russell) who dreams of opening her own bakery and finds something akin to hope when her unwanted pregnancy leads to an affair with her equally married new physician.
Role: Having done some space swashbuckling of his own (on FOX’s TV series Firefly and its follow-up feature film Serenity), as well as co-starring in another gem on this list (Slither), Nathan Fillion brings his effortless charisma to this decidedly understated charmer as the aforementioned doctor, striking up such a natural chemistry with Keri Russell that, maybe just for a little while, infidelity doesn’t seem like such a bad thing after all.
Film:Reversal of Fortune (1990, 92%). In the famous murder case of 1990, Claus von Bulow stands on trial, accused of sending his wife into a diabetic coma after pumping her with an overdose of insulin.
Role: Close plays Claus’ wife Sunny and spends the entire movie with her eyes closed and her tongue hanging out of her mouth. Just kidding, reverse that: there’s plenty of Close and Jeremy Irons going at it in a dramatic exploration of this tense marriage.
TV Series:The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015, 68%). Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer play American and Russian secret agents who begrudgingly join forces during the Cold War-era ’60s to track down a nuclear weapon in this Guy Ritchie adaptation of the classic TV series.
Role: Debicki wears killer dresses and assembles even deadlier bombs as one of the two major villains in this movie, which is celebrated for its action scenes and quirky humor (at least for a movie with this many explosions), though it struggled at the box office.
Film:Nighthawks (1981, 70%). Originally conceived as a third French Connection, the film deals with urban terrorism in New York as Rutger Hauer, in his first English role and one year before the legendary Blade Runner, runs New York through the wringer.
Role: Stallone is an NYPD detective named Deke DaSilva, tasked with taking down the sadistic Hauer in a city still at the height of its grime and grit. The film was plagued with production problems and multi-hyphenate Stallone took over directing duties briefly.
It’s a good week for mediocre films (Body of Lies, Changeling, Quarantine and Flash of Genius, all walking a fine line between Fresh and Rotten) and an even better one if you’re a Wildcat fan (High School Musical 3: Senior Year)! Horror fans have an enticing two-fer to consider (Quarantine and the better-reviewed Midnight Meat Train), while left-wingers get the political Borat (Bill Maher’s Religulous). See what else is new this week on DVD.
If there’s a tween or teen girl in your family, chances are they’ll be on their best behavior this week in hopes of snagging the third and final chapter of Disney’s High School Musical franchise, which comes to home video in three different piggy bank-draining versions. Should the kids spring for a single-disc’s worth of Troy Bolton, a double-disc DVD, or go all the way to Blu?
We recommend picking up the 2-disc DVD over the single-disc because, let’s face it, if you’re going to buy High School Musical 3, you might as well get more bang for your buck. Where only a single bonus feature appears on the single-disc DVD, more featurettes, bloopers, deleted scenes, and a sing along bolster the 2-disc and enrich the musical tale of PG-rated teen angst (Play basketball or be in the school play? Start college early or go to prom?). It also includes a digital copy of the extended cut of the film. EXTENDED CUT — that means even more Wildcat singing and dancing!!!
Blu-ray buyers get all of the above, plus a few additional featurettes and the wonderment of seeing Vanessa Hudgens’ Neutrogena-sponsored pores in high definition.
Below, check out two exclusive behind-the-scenes clips in which the HSM3 cast learns to waltz and Zac Efron learns the ropes behind the camera. Is a career change in order?
Next: Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies falls short of Fresh
Despite boasting the combined powers of Leonardo di Caprio, Russell Crowe, Departed screenwriter William Monahan and celebrated director Ridley Scott, Body of Lies was brimming with more promise than it ultimately delivered. Critics were split neatly down the middle on this politically-charged thriller about a CIA agent (Di Caprio) enmeshed in a Jordanian anti-terror plot; even with its solid cast (including scene-stealer Mark Strong as the head of Jordanian intel), Body of Lies couldn’t truly deliver. While the Blu-ray release comes packed with an enviable amount of bonus material (some of which must be played as interruptions to the film, instead of Picture-in-Picture), a commentary track by Scott, Monahan, and original author David Ignatius will do just fine, and appears along with a few featurettes on the standard disc release.
One of the lowest-rated films to be nominated for an Academy Award this year (thanks to Angelina Jolie’s Best Actress nomination, plus nods for Cinematography and Art Direction), Changeling should be an intriguing pick up for Oscar prognosticators this week. Directed by Clint Eastwood, Changeling tells the story of a working class mother who loses her child in 1928, only to be told months later by insistent cops that another boy is her son. Conventionally-told but compelling nonetheless, this should be an interesting rental for anyone who missed the film in theaters; in addition to two making-of featurettes on the standard release, the Blu-ray disc contains archival materials of the real-life story upon which Changeling is based, plus a feature that compares the Los Angeles-area period settings to their modern day locations.
Period biographical pictures about men struggling on the brink of greatness sometimes do well (A Beautiful Mind, Tucker: The Man and His Dream) and sometimes fall short of the mark. Unfortunately, Marc Abraham’s Flash of Genius — the true story of Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear), who invented the intermittent windshield wiper in 1967 — is of the latter category, earning middling marks from critics on its way to DVD shelves. If windshield wipers (or Kinnear’s co-star, the awesome Lauren Graham) intrigue you, we recommend a rental, though beware that only a director commentary and deleted scenes accompany the film. Universal is also releasing Flash of Genius day-and-date On Demand.
Even I’m getting tired of referring to Hounddog as “The Dakota Fanning Rape Movie,” so let’s accept the fact of its early and lasting reputation and move on, shall we? Hounddog stars the then- 12-year-old Fanning as a Southern tomboy in the 1950s with a fondness for Elvis; when the controversial event occurs, she finds comfort and redemption in the blues. Deborah Kampmeier’s drama made waves at Sundance, though most reviews were overwhelmingly negative; try and let that stop you from indulging your morbid curiosity.
Next: Simon Pegg loses friends and alienates people
As in The Devil Wears Prada, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People aims to satirize an insider industry with a lead character begrudgingly working their way up the corporate ladder — only this time it’s not Anne Hathaway, it’s British comic actor Simon Pegg, and his work is in entertainment journalism, not fashion. Critics were mostly un-amused by this slap-sticky adaptation of former Vanity Fair contributor Toby Young’s memoirs, citing an irregular tone, too much crudeness, and a mediocre script. However, a feature-length commentary with director Robert D. Weide and star Pegg accompanies the disc, which might be worth a gander thanks to the always-amusing (in real life, anyway) Pegg.
Czech New Wave director Jiri Menzel (Closely Watched Trains) returns to form with this World War II-set dramedy about an ambitious waiter whose personal fortunes rise and fall as the country succumbs to the Nazis, then the Communist party, in the mid-20th century. This multiple festival award-winner, based on the novel by Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, is the week’s standout Certified Fresh release.
When Lionsgate unceremoniously dumped Midnight Meat Train into a very limited theatrical run last summer, horror fans were outraged, and rightly so; the adaptation of a Clive Barker short story was actually Fresh — so why hide it from the movie-going public? This month, Midnight Meat Train finally makes it to DVD, and those eagerly anticipating the Ryuhei Kitamura-directed slasher can take solace in the fact that they can finally see the tale in a DVD-only unrated cut. Bradley Cooper (He’s Just Not That Into You, Wedding Crashers) stars as a shutterbug on the trail of a subway killer (Vinnie Jones); three featurettes accompany the film.
Next: Hollywood remakes Spanish horror with Quarantine
A television reporter (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman (Steve Harris) are the only people able to document the mysterious happenings inside a Los Angeles apartment building in this remake of the Spanish horror film, REC (94%). Atmospheric scares enhance this Blair Witch-styled tale, although critics agreed it fell short of the mark of the original. Director John Erick Dowdle and producer Drew Dowdle, who co-wrote the screenplay, contribute a commentary track, while additional features flesh out the bonus menu.
When director Larry Charles teamed up with Sacha Baron Cohen, the result was Borat. When he joined forces with Bill Maher, the result was Religulous, a comedy-documentary whose main focus is to satirize organized religion, and satirize it hard. A commentary track in which Charles and Maher explain their filmmaking methods and experiences highlights the extras.
Until next week, happy renting!
The unofficial start of the four-day nerd-off that is Comic-Con International really began Wednesday evening, when doors opened to packed crowds at 6pm and filled the monstrous exhibition hall with the usual shoulder-to-shoulder traffic — and the con hadn’t even really begun. Just wait ’til Saturday.
Panels on all matter of comics, movies, television, and pop culture begin today, and everyone has the time and place of their Must See event committed to memory: the Iron Man panel; J.J. Abrams’ top secret Star Trek casting announcement(s); the annual cos-play Masquerade on Saturday. But Preview Night was a different matter.
Seemingly thousands of eager fans made their way to the Convention Center to sneak an early peek at booths, snap up freebies, and ogle the gargantuan set ups on display from the likes of Warner Bros., Mattel, Sci Fi.com, and more. Somewhere, lucky victors nabbed promo shields for the 300 DVD release; most toted along the complimentary branded plastic bags that get easily accumulated here.
Our initial survey of the floor showed lots of cool toys and collectibles, the usual writers’ alley of table signing and on-the-spot illustration, and movie studios blasting their upcoming trailer reels overhead. A display of custom-painted Darth Vader helmets impressed. A slick life-sized Batmobile — shiny black with hot orange piping sat begging for attention (and got plenty of it).
Today we’ll be hitting the Paramount panel, chock full of goodies (Iron Man, Star Trek,Beowulf, Indy 4) before seeing what Lionsgate has to offer (The Eye, Midnight Meat Train, Good Luck Chuck, Saw IV). Genius Products and The Weinstein Co. have brought in Grindhouse stars Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Danny “Machete” Trejo, and “Cherry Darling,” who was spotted at Preview Night posing for pictures.
There’s also a Fanboys panel, a George Romero panel, and a Cartoon Network sneak peek. Somewhere in the convention center, Uwe Boll is screening clips of his upcoming Postal. Ray Harryhausen, who is in his eighties, is on about a billion panels here. And there’s that Shoot ‘Em Up screening later tonight…