Woody Harrelson has come an awfully long way since he joined the cast of Cheers in 1985, originating the role of hayseed bartender Woody Boyd and kicking off a career that has grown to encompass one of the more eclectic, unusual, and just plain interesting filmographies in modern Hollywood. Comedies? Dramas? Thrillers? Harrelson’s done ‘em all — and with his turn as the Colonel in War for the Planet of the Apes making its way to theaters this weekend, we figured now was the perfect time to take a look back at some of the critical highlights in the Harrelson oeuvre, Total Recall style!
Awards season is officially in full swing, with the Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globes already behind us and several more ceremonies scheduled in the weeks to come. RT is no stranger to the process, and since our very own Golden Tomato Awards have been finalized, we thought it would be nice to share with you, our faithful readers, how some of the recipients have responded. Click here to discover what won the Golden Tomatoes and then read on here for the directors’ reactions.
We got the Golden Tomato for Finding Nemo and I never thought I’d get it again, so to have it happen a second time is just so thrilling. It’s hard to not be bowled over by it, because you can’t beat that Tomatometer number. The facts are right there, everybody likes it so much! Winning the Golden Tomato Award twice is really going to spoil me — everything is going to be a letdown after this. It’s a huge honor, it really is.
This is the most unexpected and gratifying honour for a small film like ours to receive. Rotten Tomatoes has become the definitive site for people who are passionate about movies and I am absolutely thrilled that Man on Wire is their best reviewed film of the year.
I’m truly honored to be served this Golden Tomato! It’s my favorite vegetable… or is it a fruit? Seriously, as a filmmaker who puts his heart and soul into every movie I make it’s really nice when you know that critical opinion is on your side… and Rotten Tomatoes makes sure you know, one way or the other!
I have to be honest: when I set out to make a film about a vengeful vagina, critical acclaim was not at the forefront of my mind. But the fact that critics embraced this film should encourage other filmmakers that it’s OK to take chances in this genre, which is so often, and justifiably, maligned.
I am happy and honored to receive the gorgeous Golden Tomato from your site, which in the past year, as I spent more time Googling my name and trying to relive my past glory than actually writing and working again, has been my favorite ego booster on the net. Success is indeed a comfortable bed, and I like to sleep. Thanks a lot.
Click here to browse Golden Tomato Awards 2009.
This week, pick up Steve Carell’s sweetly bumbling spy antics (Get Smart), the promising new Futurama movie (Bender’s Game), a few early holiday treats (Shrek the Halls, A Christmas Story Collector’s Edition) and more, plus learn about the future of digital movie rentals and another controversial election-timed DVD coming in the mail.
Bumbling spy Maxwell Smart got a 2008 update, courtesy of Office darling Steve Carell, when Warner Bros.’ big budget action-comedy Get Smart smashed its way through theaters to a $221 million global box office take. This week, take home the gadgets-and-gags adventure as Get Smart makes its way to DVD and Blu-ray!
In Get Smart, CONTROL analyst Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) yearns to become a field agent, like his idol, Agent 23 (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). When the agency is attacked, it’s up to Smart to save the world and all of CONTROL from the evil forces of KAOS.
Special DVD features include five featurettes, a bonus digital copy, and the “Comedy Optimization Mode,” in which you can view over 20 minutes of alternate jokes — what Warner Bros. calls “62% more laughs.” Watch Steve Carell unleash a barrage of alternate jokes with a sample of Get Smart‘s “Smart Takes” DVD feature below!
Next: Futurama: Bender’s Game
Futurama fans still hopeful for a franchise turnaround after the last mildly disappointing direct-to-DVD film, The Beast with a Billion Backs, should be pleasantly satisfied by the third feature-length adventure starring the Planet Express crew. Deviating from the tone set by the popular cancelled series and the first two of four subsequent DVD films, Bender’s Game takes 21st century pizza boy Fry, one-eyed gladiatrix Leela, misanthropic robot Bender and their pals away from science fiction and into the realm of the true nerd: fantasy.
As the gang embarks on a dangerous quest for dark matter to fuel their spaceship, they become fantastical characters straight out of Dungeons & Dragons, as imagined by Bender. A rich feature-length commentary by cast and crew, deleted scenes, bloopers, and more accompany the disc, along with cool featurettes including one that teaches you to draw Zoidberg, Leela and Bender.
Next: TIVO and Netflix partnership
What would happen if the future of DVD rentals and the future of digital video recording joined forces? We’ll find out soon enough, as rent-by-mail trailblazer Netflix and DVR pioneer TiVo have officially cemented a long-discussed partnership that could significantly change the world of home video entertainment.
Thanks to the partnership announced Thursday, mutual subscribers to Netflix and TiVo will soon be able to download their Netflix queue through their TiVo feed, eliminating the need to receive and return physical DVDs through the mail. And you thought it couldn’t get any easier!
Next: Anti-Obama DVD in newspapers
In a move similar to the controversial anti-Islam DVD mailed to households across America back in September, a conservative group is funding the distribution of anti-Barack Obama DVDs in the swing states of Ohio, Florida and Nevada only days away from next Tuesday’s Presidential election.
Hype: The Obama Effect will arrive in the mail along with five major newspapers in the aforementioned states this week; David Bossie, president of Citizens United, who will be spending $1 million on the effort, calls the DVD and its message “a truthful attack.” Look for your copy in The Columbus Dispatch, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Palm Beach Post, and the Las Vegas Journal-Review. Read more here.
Director Brad Anderson (Next Stop Wonderland, The Machinist, Session 9) sets strangers on a train rumbling across the icy Russian tundra in this taut thriller, new to DVD. Emily Mortimer and Woody Harrelson star as a married couple traveling on the famous Trans-Siberian railroad when they befriend another couple (Eduardo Noriega, Kate Mara) who draw them into dangerous plot of infidelity, drugs, and murder. What’s more criminal is the lack of special features on this sparse, yet intriguing, release.
Next: The Bourne Trilogy
Amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne made a game-changing Hollywood debut with 2002’s The Bourne Identity, followed by two impressive sequels that held up the hype (2004’s The Bourne Supremacy) and then surpassed it (2007’s Oscar-winning The Bourne Ultimatum). This week you can get your hands on the super-charged series as the complete trilogy comes to DVD and Blu-ray — a perfect way to start getting excited about the just-announced fourth Bourne flick, set to reunite star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass.
Next: Shrek the Halls
Shrek, Donkey, Princess Fiona and their friends gather to celebrate the Shrek family’s first Christmas in this holiday special that first aired last November. Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas reprise their roles from the Shrek feature films in this 30 minute program. But considering its brief runtime and too-light smattering of special features, Shrek the Halls may be a worthwhile investment for strictly die-hard fans of the franchise.
Next: What We Do is Secret
Revisit one of the more tragic stories in punk rock history with this biopic of Germs frontman Darby Crash, who lit up LA’s 1970 punk scene before realizing a five-year plan for fame that ended with his planned suicide. Shot guerilla-style over the course of two years, director Rodger Grossman’s meticulously-detailed film drew mixed results from critics but should be an intriguing watch for Germs faithful. Founding Germs member Pat Smear (who would go on to join Nirvana and Foo Fighters) produced all of the film’s music, which was performed largely by the cast; after providing his own vocals as lead singer Darby Crash, actor Shane West (yes, the dude from A Walk to Remember) went on to tour with the remaining Germs under the moniker The New Germs.
Next: Waterworld: Extended Edition
Can the movie once known as “Fishtar” improve with an additional 40 minutes of footage? Find out this week, as Waterworld: 2-Disc Extended Edition hits shelves. A lucky thirteen years after it debuted as one of the most expensive flops in movie history (global sales eventually evened out the $175M budget), Kevin Costner’s pricey aquatic odyssey returns to DVD, but what has been added?
If you recall the original cut, you’ll be pleased to notice new scenes that flesh out the daily experiences of Costner’s Mariner, who gets a new name, and those of the Smokers. The downside: this extended cut, though closer to director Kevin Reynold’s vision, is the same one televised in 1997 and hasn’t been cleaned up much, so expect the TV-ready absence of profanity, nudity, and some scenes of violence.
Next: A Christmas Story Ultimate Collector’s
If you don’t already own one of the previously-released special editions of this holiday classic, consider throwing down for this bonus-packed Ultimate Collector’s Edition; we triple-dog dare you. The tale of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) holding out for the ultimate present — a Red Ryder BB gun — one Christmas in 1940 remains one of the best-loved family flicks of the holiday season, and Warner Bros. has gift-wrapped it in an amazing set for DVD and Blu-ray.
Pick up the DVD set for a plethora of extras, including an audio commentary with director Bob Clark and actors Billingsley and Melinda Dillon, featurettes, a documentary and more; you’ll also get a 48-page recipe book, chef’s apron, and a set of cookie cutters with designs based on iconic moments in the film (leg lamp cookies!). Blu-ray buyers will get even more special features, including script pages, and a string of leg lamp holiday lights.
Emily Mortimer and Woody Harrelson star as Jessie and Roy, Westerners riding from China to Moscow aboard the Trans-Siberian Express. When the couple learns that their new travelling companions (Kate Mara and Eduardo Noriega) aren’t what they seem, they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous chase across the continent, hounded by Russian cops and gangsters.
Below check out an exclusive clip from Transsiberian, in which Jessie (Mortimer) reunites with her clueless husband, Roy (Harrelson) while harboring a terrible secret.
Transsiberian currently has an 86 percent Tomatometer rating and is in select theaters now.
This week, we’ve got the Caped Crusader (The Dark Knight, starring
Christian Bale and
Heath Ledger), ABBA aficionados (Mamma Mia!, starring
Meryl Streep and
Amanda Seyfried), and space-bound simians (Space Chimps, with voice work by
Andy Samberg and
Jeff Daniels). What do the critics have to say?
The wait is over, Batfans. And the word is good. Critics are calling The Dark Knight one of the year’s best, a brooding, complex, emotionally wrenching film that plumbs the emotional depths of the Batman mythos. The sequel to the series reboot
Batman Begins, TDK finds Bruce Wayne/ Batman (Christian Bale) tangling with his most iconic archenemy, the Joker (Heath Ledger) — while finding the two have more in common than they’d like to admit. The pundits give kudos all around, from
Christopher Nolan‘s white-knuckle direction and provocative script to the able cast that includes
Maggie Gyllenhaal, and
Aaron Eckhart. But much of the critical gushing is reserved for the late Ledger, who plays the Joker like a man possessed (some suggest the Academy should take notice of his performance). At 93 percent on the Tomatometer, The Dark Knight isn’t just Certified Fresh. It’s also the best-reviewed Batman movie of all time, and the third best-reviewed wide release of the year, trailing only
WALL-E at (97 percent) and
Iron Man (at 93 percent). (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we revisit all the Batman movies.)
It is a fact that you can dance. It is also true that you can jive. However, will you have the time of your life at Mamma Mia? Critics aren’t quite going that far. Meryl Streep stars as a single mother whose daughter (Amanda Seyfried) is about to get married, and has invited three men to her wedding in Greece, trying to determine which is her real father; romance and renditions of “S.O.S.” and “Waterloo” ensue. Nobody denies ABBA’s tunes are darned infections (noted fans include
Sid Vicious and
John McCain), and some pundits concede Mamma Mia! has moments of frothy fun. However, others say the movie is ultimately way too sugary, sentimental, and lightweight to truly satisfy, and though Streep is in fine form, others in the cast don’t fare as well with the musical numbers. At 47 percent on the Tomatometer, the scribes aren’t falling “Head Over Heels” for Mamma Mia!
“Let me show you a fast way to wax the banister.”
Monkeys and chimps were some of the earliest space travelers, so an animated take on their exploits would seem like a sure bet for the kiddies, right? Well, critics aren’t going bananas for the CGI feature
Space Chimps. Ham III (voiced by Andy Samberg) is the good-for-nothing grandson of a space pioneer who finds himself part of team of chimps who have been blasted through a black hole, where they find a planet ruled by and evil monarch. The pundits say Space Chimps is bland and dull, featuring indifferent animation and a tired storyline that may please really little kids but virtually no one else. At
21 percent on the Tomatometer, these Chimps are lost in space.
Also opening this week in limited release:
84% — Batman Begins (2005)
12% — Batman & Robin (1997)
43% — Batman Forever (1995)
87% — Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
79% — Batman Returns (1992)
69% — Batman (1989)
80% — Batman: The Movie (1966)