It’s the first streaming column of the month, and you know what that means: subscription services have rolled out a ton of new selections. With that in mind, as usual, we’ve pared the list down to just the Certified Fresh options. Read on for the full list.


New on Netflix

 

Marguerite (2015) 95%

This French period drama follows a well-to-do woman with ambitions of becoming a famous singer despite a near-total lack of musical talent.

Available now on: Netflix


Once Upon a Time in the West (1969) 95%

Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, and Jason Robards headline an ensemble cast in Sergio Leone’s epic western about a pair of outcasts who help defend a recent widow from a greedy railroad baron and his sadistic thugs.

Available now on: Netflix


Patton (1970) 94%

George C. Scott delivers an iconic Oscar-winning performance as the titular general, who goes toe-to-toe with a British field marshal while working together to thwart German forces in World War II.

Available now on: Netflix


Quiz Show (1994) 96%

Based on true events, this Robert Redford drama set in the late 1950s centers on the scandals that emerged when it was discovered that a popular television quiz show had rigged its results.

Available now on: Netflix


Unforgiven (1992) 96%

In this Best Picture-winning western, Clint Eastwood stars as an aging gunslinger whose soul has been irrevocably stained by the violence of his past; Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman lend sturdy support.

Available now on: Netflix


Dazed and Confused (1993) 92%

Richard Linklater’s affectionately nostalgic look at the 1970s centers on a group of high school friends in Texas as they celebrate the last days of the school year.

Available now on: Netflix


Three Kings (1999) 94%

George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube star in David O. Russell’s Certified Fresh war satire about a trio of Gulf War soldiers who embark on a gold heist and end up witnessing the repercussions of the war firsthand.

Available now on: Netflix


Grizzly Man (2005) 92%

Werner Herzog’s engrossing documentary tells the strange, fascinating, and ultimately ill-fated story of adventurer and amateur bear expert Timothy Treadwell.

Available now on: Netflix


Barton Fink (1991) 90%

John Turturro and John Goodman star in the Coen brothers’ dark comedy about a playwright with writer’s block who moves into a Los Angeles hotel that may not be all it seems.

Available now on: Netflix


The Imitation Game (2014) 89%

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this Oscar-winning drama about pioneering scientist Alan Turing, who is recruited by the British government to help break a Nazi code during World War II.

Available now on: Netflix


Dheepan (2015) 87%

This Palme d’Or-winning drama follows a Sri Lankan refugee who experiences difficulty acclimating to Paris.

Available now on: Netflix


Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) 89%

Arguably the most celebrated — surely the most widely recognized — Audrey Hepburn film. We just prefer to pretend all the Mickey Rooney stuff doesn’t exist.

Available now on: Netflix


The Commitments (1991) 89%

This musical comedy based on the novel of the same name tells the story of a group of working-class musicians in Ireland who decide to form a soul band.

Available now on: Netflix


Titanic (1997) 89%

In James Cameron’s multiple Oscar-winning romance, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet play star-crossed lovers who meet aboard the ill-fated ocean liner. He teaches her how to spit.

Available now on: Netflix


Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010) 88%

This Certified Fresh documentary from Werner Herzog depicts everyday life in a village in Siberia.

Available now on: Netflix


Ghost Town (2008) 85%

Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear star in this comedy about a man who wakes up from a near-death experience and discovers he can see ghosts… all of whom want a favor from him.

Available now on: Netflix


Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) 81%

Matthew Broderick stars in John Hughes’ 1980s classic about a teenage iconoclast who takes his best pal on a wild tour of Chicago in an effort to cheer him up.

Available now on: Netflix


Viva (2015) 80%

This drama centers on a Cuban drag performer who clashes with his estranged boxer father when he returns from a 15-year absence.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Chinatown (1974) 99%

Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway star in this classic Roman Polanski noir about a private detective who stumbles into a vast conspiracy involving the privatization of water rights in California.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Last Waltz (1978) 98%

Martin Scorsese’s music documentary focuses on the 1976 farewell concert for The Band, where artists like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell all performed.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Let the Right One In (2008) 98%

This 2008 thriller from Sweden gave the seemingly tired vampire genre a much needed shot in the arm by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Bowling for Columbine (2002) 95%

Michael Moore’s provocative documentary is a pointed examination of America’s rocky relationship with firearms.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Before Sunset (2004) 94%

The second entry in Richard Linklater’s painfully romantic Before trilogy, Sunset catches up with Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) nine years after the two first met and spent a night together in Vienna.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Host (2006) 93%

A breakout film for South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, this sci-fi monster flick that combines scares, laughs, and satire in service of a popcorn flick as entertaining as it is intellectually satisfying.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Timecrimes (2007) 89%

This sci-fi thriller centers on a man who finds himself in a time loop when he inadvertently witnesses the death of a woman outside his new country home.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Roger Dodger (2002) 88%

Campbell Scott and Jesse Eisenberg star in this dramedy about a proud womanizer who takes his teenage nephew under his wing, only to discover they are nothing alike.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Pride & Prejudice (2005) 86%

Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden star in this adaptation of the Jane Austen novel about a woman struggling to choose between a number of suitors.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Lethal Weapon (1987) 80%

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover star as mismatched partners in this comedy about a pair of cops trying to take down a dangerous drug dealer.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Trollhunter (2010) 82%

This Norwegian found footage horror comedy follows a group of college students in pursuit of a suspected bear poacher who instead stumble upon an unexpected discovery.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


I Saw the Devil (2010) 81%

This dark thriller from South Korean director Kim Jee-woon centers on a desperate man on the hunt for his daughter’s murderer.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on Hulu

 

Carrie (1976) 93%

Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, and John Travolta star in Brian DePalma’s horror classic, the tale of a lonely teenager with telekinetic powers.

Available now on: Hulu


The Blair Witch Project (1999) 86%

Full of creepy campfire scares, this mock-doc keeps audiences in the dark about its titular villain — thus proving that imagination can be as scary as anything onscreen.

Available now on: Hulu


Available to Purchase

 

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) 97%

Sam Neill and Julian Dennison star in Taika Waititi’s dramedy about a 13-year-old and his curmudgeonly uncle who are forced to flee the authorities and hide out in the woods.

Available now on: Amazon, FandangoNOW, iTunes

Whether you are after a lazy, Sunday night rental or are looking to build up your movie collection, Couch Tomato will keep you up to date on the best films and TV released on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia each week. Let’s begin…


Couch Tomato Pick of the Week:


Ghost Town

84%


Consensus: Ricky Gervais’ consistently sharp performance and beautifully dry execution transform this otherwise mainstream comedy into an endearing, funny, and altogether snappy romantic comedy. With ghosts.

Misanthropic dentist, Dr. Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais), is a surly chap with a disdain for the living. His anti-social behaviour crosses the bounds of nature, however, when a near-death experience leaves him with the startling ability to, if not communicate then at least bicker, with the dead. Every ghost in New York seems to be desperate for his help, including Frank (Greg Kinnear) the caddish ex of Pincus’ neighbour and love interest, Gwen (Téa Leoni).

Viewing tip: this could have been stock-standard fare with a saccharine twist of Jennifer Love Hewitt / Ghost Whisperer earnestness. Instead it is a rom-com with lots of rom and com so whip this one out for date night. Dim the lights, hold hands and have a tissue handy in case one of you gets a bit weepy and needs comforting.

DVD and Blu-ray special features include commentary by David Koepp and Ricky Gervais and short featurettes: Making Ghost Town, Ghostly Effects and Some People Can Do It.

Below, watch Ricky Gervais’ acceptance speech for his Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh Award for Ghost Town.


Certified Fresh off the Vine:


Transsiberian

90%

Consensus: Traditional in form yet effective in execution, this taut thriller updates the “danger on a train” scenario with atmospheric sense.

Set deep in the wild wild east on the Trans-Siberian Railway, the twists and turns in director, Brad Anderson’s (Next Stop Wonderland, The Machinist, Session 9), film are driven by genuine surprises rather than big-budget bangs. Woody Harrelson plays the dopey tourist well, right down to his indignant and futile cry of ‘but we’re American’ as things start to go pear-shaped for him and his troubled wife, a flinty Emily Mortimer. Also starring Ben Kinsley, Eduardo Noriega, and Kate Mara.

Viewing tip: you will need a bottle if ice-cold vodka and some shot glasses to get you through this one. For the teetotallers, a plate of potatoes and some sweet, black tea will capture the mood just as well. Do not watch before making the trip yourself. It will scare the tourist right out of you!

Special features include a making-of featurette.


JCVD

85%


Consensus: JCVD is a touching, fascinating piece, with Jean-Claude Van Damme confounding all with his heartfelt performance.

Mickey Rourke isn’t the only 80s star making a comeback these days. Jean-Claude Van Damme is back on our screens in this self-reflective and strangely amusing film. JCVD presents a faded action star at odds with his celebrity, and his life.

Part bank heist, part confessional, this film is a world away from Bloodsport. Not just for the Van Damme fans, it is worth watching for the monologue that punctuates the film in an intriguing way.

Viewing tip: this film must be viewed in conjunction with the Mussels from Brussels’ earlier work. You will find them all in the rotten end of the Tomatometer.


You know, for kids:


Bolt

88%


Consensus: Bolt is a pleasant animated comedy that overcomes the story’s familiarity with strong visuals and likable characters.

Bolt (voice of John Travolta) is a canine television star who believes his own hype. Having been accidentally shipped to New York, he uses his imagined super powers to fight his way back to Hollywood and his person and co-star, Penny (voice of Miley Cyrus).

Viewing tip: this film is great for adults as well as kids, so use them as a beard and then watch it with them. If you share a house with tweens, there is enough Miley Cyrus here to keep them sated before Hannah Montana The Movie is released so use it as a stop-gap before they take over your home entertainment system.

DVD and Blu-ray special features include never before seen bonus short Super Rhino, interviews, deleted scenes and the music video I Thought I Had Lost You!


Tale of Despereaux

55%


Consensus: Despite its striking visuals, The Tale of Despereaux as a story feels familiar and unimaginative.

Tale of Despereaux, the Other Rodent Animation, is so exquisite you can almost forgive the laboured storyline. It is a heartfelt tale about courage that delivers its message with all the subtly of a good bludgeoning. It is pretty while it does it, however, so fans of animation will enjoy the Blu-ray version and the little ‘uns will be captivated for the duration.

Viewing tips: watch it for the art and have no expectations about the story-line.

DVD and Blu-ray special features include Despereaux’s Quest video game suitable for DVD Player, PlayStation or PC.


Still Ripe — Pick of the Classics:


Forbidden Games

100%


René Clément’s story of loss and war, as told through the eyes of children, has entered the realm of cult. Its unsentimental gaze at a young child’s preoccupation with death after losing her parents and pet dog to Nazi bombing, has divided audiences for years.

François Truffaut targeted this film in his 1954 diatribe, ‘A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema’, for being a symptom of the staid old-guard of filmmakers he rallied against. It was refused entry to the Cannes Film Festival, yet won the Golden Lion Award for Best Picture at the Venice Film Festival. It also won an Honorary Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Viewing tips: this is not the first time this film has been released on DVD but it holds an important place in French film history and as such belongs in any good DVD collection. It is rather harrowing so while it stars children, for goodness sake don’t let your kids watch it. Or if you do, keep a close eye on the family pets in the days following.


RT on TV:


True Blood


The creator and Executive Producer of True Blood is best known for writing the Academy Award-winning American Beauty and creating the Emmy Award-winning HBO series Six Feet Under. Now from the deep, dark depths of Alan Ball’s mind comes the sexiest vampire series to hit the small screen.

Set deep in the backwoods of Louisiana, True Blood tells the story of Sookie Stackhouse, played by Anna Paquin (The Piano, X-Men). She’s a waitress who can read people’s minds. While it has its uses, this skill that has rendered her a bit of a freak in her small-town world; a world in which vampires just happen to be out of the closest and living amongst us.

The fantasy element of this HBO series is downplayed, with the tensions between humans and vampires being reminiscent more of racism and segregation than Buffy-like demon fighting. It is dark, sweaty and yes…very sexy. It also doesn’t pull any punches on the violence. Not for those with a queasy stomach.

The first season is based on the Sookie Stackhouse book, ‘Dead Until Dark’ by Charlaine Harris.

Viewing tips: don’t watch with your grandma. They like to get it on down there in the deep south! If you watch too many episodes in a row you may find yourself sleeping with the light on.

DVD and Blu-ray each come in a 5 box disc set.


Lost – Season 1 and 2

Yes…yes…these seasons have already been released on DVD but for those of you hard-core fans, this time around you can see the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 in all their glory on Blu-ray. Presented in a widescreen theatrical format with a pristine picture and theatre-quality sound, they will now be stranded in high definition.

And just to prove that J.J. Abram’s mind-bending series really does go on forever, there is an additional 11 hours of bonus material across the two series.

Viewing tips: pack some sandwiches and a thermos. This one will suck you into its time vortex. You will sit down to watch one episode and get off the couch two days later.

Ricky Gervais - Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com

NB: This is the third part of a larger feature – to start from the beginning click here.

Ricky Gervais, the award-winning creator of The Office and Extras, is a very funny guy – a description he’d no doubt agree with.

But fame found the 47 year-old late in life. An early stint in the 80s as one half of pop duo Seona Dancing – by his own admission a duo more than slightly influenced by David Bowie — didn’t catapult the Reading-born Gervais to international success. Instead it was years later, when he wrote, directed and starred in The Office, a faux-documentary about life in a Slough paper merchant’s, that Gervais truly found fame. The show became one of the country’s most successful sitcoms and set Gervais up as one of comedy’s icons.

His career has gone from strength to strength ever since. With his writing partner Stephen Merchant and radio producer Karl Pilkington, The Ricky Gervais Show served London station XFM well for years before spinning off into the most successful podcast of all time. With Merchant he went on to write Extras, leveraging all the good will he’d earned with The Office to pepper a sitcom about life as a Supporting Artiste with cameos from the likes of Kate Winslet, Samuel L. Jackson and Orlando Bloom.

Hollywood soon beckoned, and Gervais’ star began to ascend Stateside with cameos in the likes of Night at the Museum, For Your Consideration and Stardust. This year it’s his turn to dominate, with the recently-released comedy Ghost Town marking his first romantic lead. He’ll follow it next year with This Side of the Truth, which he’s written and directed with Matthew Robinson. The star-studded comedy is set in a world in which the human race hasn’t evolved the gene to lie until a writer discovers he’s different.

Proving his talents operated just as comfortably in the live arena, Gervais has performed three stand-up shows, Animals, Politics and Fame, which have had respective DVD releases. A new show for the US will be released there shortly.

Dinner and the Movies
Ricky Gervais talks to RT-UK editor Joe Utichi

As Gervais works to finish This Side of the Truth and begins work on his next project — a new British comedy with Stephen Merchant — he joins RT to accept his Certified Fresh award for Ghost Town and discuss his career past, present and future. This is the latest chapter in our Dinner and the Movies series of extended interviews, which began with Kevin Smith and continued with Neil Gaiman, Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro.

The interview, presented in 15 parts which we’ll release in 5 chapters every day this week, can be watched back-to-back for a full conversational experience or dipped in and out of at will. Start from the beginning here.

Previously:

Part 1 – On being Certified Fresh and the worth of reviews.
Part 2 – On this year’s Emmys — highlights and lowlights.
Part 3 – On receiving the RT award and the public reception of Ghost Town.
Part 4 – On redemption as a key theme and comedy plus.
Part 5 – On how annoyance informs the podcast.
Part 6 – On the brilliance of Karl Pilkington.
Part 7 – On a return to the podcast and a possible live run.
Part 8 – On going back to Extras.
Part 9 – On taking Andy Millman and company to America.
Part 10 – On why it’s easy to be ambitious.
Part 11 – On what to expect from This Side of the Truth.
Part 12 – On Karl’s appearance in the film and his take on evolution.

In Today’s Chapter:

Part 13 – On Karl becoming a Rotten Tomatoes film critic.
Part 14 – On The Man from the Pru and a TV spin-off for the film.
Part 15 – On Simon Pegg, British comedy and dealing with press over-exaggeration.

Join us again tomorrow as Gervais discusses the ease of ambition, what to expect from This Side of the Truth and Karl’s abortive appearence in the film. But for now, continue onto Part 13.

Ricky Gervais’ home on the web is rickygervais.com

Part 13 of 15: On Karl becoming a Rotten Tomatoes film critic.

Could Karl soon be reviewing films for RT? We certainly hope so — Ricky and RT strike a deal.

Continue on Part 14: On The Man from the Pru and a TV spin-off for the film.

Part 14 of 15: On The Man from the Pru and a TV spin-off for the film.

Gervais will reteam with Stephen Merchant on The Man from the Pru — he shares his idea for a TV spinoff exclusively with RT.

Continue on Part 15: On Simon Pegg, British comedy and dealing with press over-exaggeration.

Part 15 of 15: On Simon Pegg, British comedy and dealing with press over-exaggeration.

Simon Pegg recently made some comments that started an all-out war with Gervais. Except it didn’t. Ricky laughs about the “feud,” talks about British comedy and ponders press over-exaggeration.

This concludes our Dinner and the Movies interview with Ricky Gervais. If you missed any part of it click here to start from the beginning. Ricky Gervais’ home on the web is rickygervais.com

Ricky Gervais - Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com

NB: This is the third part of a larger feature – to start from the beginning click here.

Ricky Gervais, the award-winning creator of The Office and Extras, is a very funny guy – a description he’d no doubt agree with.

But fame found the 47 year-old late in life. An early stint in the 80s as one half of pop duo Seona Dancing – by his own admission a duo more than slightly influenced by David Bowie — didn’t catapult the Reading-born Gervais to international success. Instead it was years later, when he wrote, directed and starred in The Office, a faux-documentary about life in a Slough paper merchant’s, that Gervais truly found fame. The show became one of the country’s most successful sitcoms and set Gervais up as one of comedy’s icons.

His career has gone from strength to strength ever since. With his writing partner Stephen Merchant and radio producer Karl Pilkington, The Ricky Gervais Show served London station XFM well for years before spinning off into the most successful podcast of all time. With Merchant he went on to write Extras, leveraging all the good will he’d earned with The Office to pepper a sitcom about life as a Supporting Artiste with cameos from the likes of Kate Winslet, Samuel L. Jackson and Orlando Bloom.

Hollywood soon beckoned, and Gervais’ star began to ascend Stateside with cameos in the likes of Night at the Museum, For Your Consideration and Stardust. This year it’s his turn to dominate, with the recently-released comedy Ghost Town marking his first romantic lead. He’ll follow it next year with This Side of the Truth, which he’s written and directed with Matthew Robinson. The star-studded comedy is set in a world in which the human race hasn’t evolved the gene to lie until a writer discovers he’s different.

Proving his talents operated just as comfortably in the live arena, Gervais has performed three stand-up shows, Animals, Politics and Fame, which have had respective DVD releases. A new show for the US will be released there shortly.

Dinner and the Movies
Ricky Gervais talks to RT-UK editor Joe Utichi

As Gervais works to finish This Side of the Truth and begins work on his next project — a new British comedy with Stephen Merchant — he joins RT to accept his Certified Fresh award for Ghost Town and discuss his career past, present and future. This is the latest chapter in our Dinner and the Movies series of extended interviews, which began with Kevin Smith and continued with Neil Gaiman, Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro.

The interview, presented in 15 parts which we’ll release in 5 chapters every day this week, can be watched back-to-back for a full conversational experience or dipped in and out of at will. Start from the beginning here.

Previously:

Part 1 – On being Certified Fresh and the worth of reviews.
Part 2 – On this year’s Emmys — highlights and lowlights.
Part 3 – On receiving the RT award and the public reception of Ghost Town.
Part 4 – On redemption as a key theme and comedy plus.
Part 5 – On how annoyance informs the podcast.
Part 6 – On the brilliance of Karl Pilkington.
Part 7 – On a return to the podcast and a possible live run.
Part 8 – On going back to Extras.
Part 9 – On taking Andy Millman and company to America.

In Today’s Chapter:

Part 10 – On why it’s easy to be ambitious.
Part 11 – On what to expect from This Side of the Truth.
Part 12 – On Karl’s appearance in the film and his take on evolution.

Join us again tomorrow as Gervais discusses the ease of ambition, what to expect from This Side of the Truth and Karl’s abortive appearence in the film. But for now, continue onto Part 10.

Ricky Gervais’ home on the web is rickygervais.com

Part 10 of 15: On why it’s easy to be ambitious.

It’s easy to be ambitious, says Gervais, which is just as well as he’s been busy recently.

Continue on Part 11: On what to expect from This Side of the Truth.

Part 11 of 15: On what to expect from This Side of the Truth.

What can audiences expect from This Side of the Truth? Ricky explains the film.

Continue on Part 12: On Karl’s appearance in the film and his take on evolution.

Part 12 of 15: On Karl’s appearance in the film and his take on evolution.

There’s a cameo for Karl Pilkington in This Side of the Truth. Or is there? We discuss his role and his take on the film’s themes.

Join us again tomorrow as Gervais finds a job for Karl Pilkington on RT, talks about his reteaming with Stephen Merchant on The Man from the Pru and continues the “feud” with Simon Pegg.

Ricky Gervais’ home on the web is rickygervais.com

Ricky Gervais - Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com

NB: This is the third part of a larger feature – to start from the beginning click here.

Ricky Gervais, the award-winning creator of The Office and Extras, is a very funny guy – a description he’d no doubt agree with.

But fame found the 47 year-old late in life. An early stint in the 80s as one half of pop duo Seona Dancing – by his own admission a duo more than slightly influenced by David Bowie — didn’t catapult the Reading-born Gervais to international success. Instead it was years later, when he wrote, directed and starred in The Office, a faux-documentary about life in a Slough paper merchant’s, that Gervais truly found fame. The show became one of the country’s most successful sitcoms and set Gervais up as one of comedy’s icons.

His career has gone from strength to strength ever since. With his writing partner Stephen Merchant and radio producer Karl Pilkington, The Ricky Gervais Show served London station XFM well for years before spinning off into the most successful podcast of all time. With Merchant he went on to write Extras, leveraging all the good will he’d earned with The Office to pepper a sitcom about life as a Supporting Artiste with cameos from the likes of Kate Winslet, Samuel L. Jackson and Orlando Bloom.

Hollywood soon beckoned, and Gervais’ star began to ascend Stateside with cameos in the likes of Night at the Museum, For Your Consideration and Stardust. This year it’s his turn to dominate, with the recently-released comedy Ghost Town marking his first romantic lead. He’ll follow it next year with This Side of the Truth, which he’s written and directed with Matthew Robinson. The star-studded comedy is set in a world in which the human race hasn’t evolved the gene to lie until a writer discovers he’s different.

Proving his talents operated just as comfortably in the live arena, Gervais has performed three stand-up shows, Animals, Politics and Fame, which have had respective DVD releases. A new show for the US will be released there shortly.

Dinner and the Movies
Ricky Gervais talks to RT-UK editor Joe Utichi

As Gervais works to finish This Side of the Truth and begins work on his next project — a new British comedy with Stephen Merchant — he joins RT to accept his Certified Fresh award for Ghost Town and discuss his career past, present and future. This is the latest chapter in our Dinner and the Movies series of extended interviews, which began with Kevin Smith and continued with Neil Gaiman, Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro.

The interview, presented in 15 parts which we’ll release in 5 chapters every day this week, can be watched back-to-back for a full conversational experience or dipped in and out of at will. Start from the beginning here.

Previously:

Part 1 – On being Certified Fresh and the worth of reviews.
Part 2 – On this year’s Emmys — highlights and lowlights.
Part 3 – On receiving the RT award and the public reception of Ghost Town.
Part 4 – On redemption as a key theme and comedy plus.
Part 5 – On how annoyance informs the podcast.
Part 6 – On the brilliance of Karl Pilkington.

In Today’s Chapter:

Part 7 – On a return to the podcast and a possible live run.
Part 8 – On going back to Extras.
Part 9 – On taking Andy Millman and company to America.

Join us again tomorrow as Gervais discusses the ease of ambition, what to expect from This Side of the Truth and Karl’s abortive appearence in the film. But for now, continue onto Part 7.

Ricky Gervais’ home on the web is rickygervais.com

Part 7 of 15: On a return to the podcast and a possible live run.

Could the podcast return as a live show? Gervais certainly hopes so, as he explains to RT.

Continue on Part 8: On going back to Extras.

Part 8 of 15: On going back to Extras.

Extras demands more screen time, says Gervais, as he discusses with RT where Andy Millman could go next.

Continue on Part 9: On taking Andy Millman and company to America.

Part 9 of 15: On taking Andy Millman and company to America.

Andy Millman seems destined for Hollywood, as we discuss with Ricky Gervais.

Join us again tomorrow as Gervais discusses the ease of ambition, what to expect from This Side of the Truth and Karl’s abortive appearence in the film.

Ricky Gervais’ home on the web is rickygervais.com

Ricky Gervais - Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com

NB: This is the second part of a larger feature – to start from the beginning click here.

Ricky Gervais, the award-winning creator of The Office and Extras, is a very funny guy – a description he’d no doubt agree with.

But fame found the 47 year-old late in life. An early stint in the 80s as one half of pop duo Seona Dancing – by his own admission a duo more than slightly influenced by David Bowie — didn’t catapult the Reading-born Gervais to international success. Instead it was years later, when he wrote, directed and starred in The Office, a faux-documentary about life in a Slough paper merchant’s, that Gervais truly found fame. The show became one of the country’s most successful sitcoms and set Gervais up as one of comedy’s icons.

His career has gone from strength to strength ever since. With his writing partner Stephen Merchant and radio producer Karl Pilkington, The Ricky Gervais Show served London station XFM well for years before spinning off into the most successful podcast of all time. With Merchant he went on to write Extras, leveraging all the good will he’d earned with The Office to pepper a sitcom about life as a Supporting Artiste with cameos from the likes of Kate Winslet, Samuel L. Jackson and Orlando Bloom.

Hollywood soon beckoned, and Gervais’ star began to ascend Stateside with cameos in the likes of Night at the Museum, For Your Consideration and Stardust. This year it’s his turn to dominate, with the recently-released comedy Ghost Town marking his first romantic lead. He’ll follow it next year with This Side of the Truth, which he’s written and directed with Matthew Robinson. The star-studded comedy is set in a world in which the human race hasn’t evolved the gene to lie until a writer discovers he’s different.

Proving his talents operated just as comfortably in the live arena, Gervais has performed three stand-up shows, Animals, Politics and Fame, which have had respective DVD releases. A new show for the US will be released there shortly.

Dinner and the Movies
Ricky Gervais talks to RT-UK editor Joe Utichi

As Gervais works to finish This Side of the Truth and begins work on his next project — a new British comedy with Stephen Merchant — he joins RT to accept his Certified Fresh award for Ghost Town and discuss his career past, present and future. This is the latest chapter in our Dinner and the Movies series of extended interviews, which began with Kevin Smith and continued with Neil Gaiman, Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro.

The interview, presented in 15 parts which we’ll release in 5 chapters every day this week, can be watched back-to-back for a full conversational experience or dipped in and out of at will. Start from the beginning here.

Previously:

Part 1 – On being Certified Fresh and the worth of reviews.
Part 2 – On this year’s Emmys — highlights and lowlights.
Part 3 – On receiving the RT award and the public reception of Ghost Town.

In Today’s Chapter:

Part 4 – On redemption as a key theme and comedy plus.
Part 5 – On how annoyance informs the podcast.
Part 6 – On the brilliance of Karl Pilkington.

Join us again tomorrow as Gervais discusses a possible return to the podcast with a live show, and taking Andy Millman to the US in Extras. But for now, continue onto Part 4.

Ricky Gervais’ home on the web is rickygervais.com

Part 4 of 15: On redemption as a key theme and comedy plus.

Redemption has been a key theme for Gervais in The Office, Extras and now Ghost Town. He discusses why “comedy plus” is important.

Continue on Part 5: On how annoyance informs the podcast.

Part 5 of 15: On how annoyance informs the podcast.

The Ricky Gervais Show Podcast is one of the most popular of all time — Ricky explains why the dynamic works so well.

Continue on Part 6: On the brilliance of Karl Pilkington.

Part 6 of 15: On the brilliance of Karl Pilkington.

Karl Pilkington has a head like an orange, but he’s strangely brilliant. Gervais tells RT why that’s so.

Join us again tomorrow as Gervais discusses a possible return to the podcast with a live show, and taking Andy Millman to the US in Extras.

Ricky Gervais’ home on the web is rickygervais.com

Ricky Gervais - Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com

Ricky Gervais, the award-winning creator of The Office and Extras, is a very funny guy – a description he’d no doubt agree with.

But fame found the 47 year-old late in life. An early stint in the 80s as one half of pop duo Seona Dancing – by his own admission a duo more than slightly influenced by David Bowie — didn’t catapult the Reading-born Gervais to international success. Instead it was years later, when he wrote, directed and starred in The Office, a faux-documentary about life in a Slough paper merchant’s, that Gervais truly found fame. The show became one of the country’s most successful sitcoms and set Gervais up as one of comedy’s icons.

His career has gone from strength to strength ever since. With his writing partner Stephen Merchant and radio producer Karl Pilkington, The Ricky Gervais Show served London station XFM well for years before spinning off into the most successful podcast of all time. With Merchant he went on to write Extras, leveraging all the good will he’d earned with The Office to pepper a sitcom about life as a Supporting Artiste with cameos from the likes of Kate Winslet, Samuel L. Jackson and Orlando Bloom.

Hollywood soon beckoned, and Gervais’ star began to ascend Stateside with cameos in the likes of Night at the Museum, For Your Consideration and Stardust. This year it’s his turn to dominate, with the recently-released comedy Ghost Town marking his first romantic lead. He’ll follow it next year with This Side of the Truth, which he’s written and directed with Matthew Robinson. The star-studded comedy is set in a world in which the human race hasn’t evolved the gene to lie until a writer discovers he’s different.

Proving his talents operated just as comfortably in the live arena, Gervais has performed three stand-up shows, Animals, Politics and Fame, which have had respective DVD releases. A new show for the US will be released there shortly.

Dinner and the Movies
Ricky Gervais talks to RT-UK editor Joe Utichi

As Gervais works to finish This Side of the Truth and begins work on his next project — a new British comedy with Stephen Merchant — he joins RT to accept his Certified Fresh award for Ghost Town and discuss his career past, present and future. This is the latest chapter in our Dinner and the Movies series of extended interviews, which began with Kevin Smith and continued with Neil Gaiman, Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro.

The interview, presented in 15 parts which we’ll release in 5 chapters every day this week, can be watched back-to-back for a full conversational experience or dipped in and out of at will.

In Today’s Chapter:

Part 1 – On being Certified Fresh and the worth of reviews.
Part 2 – On this year’s Emmys — highlights and lowlights.
Part 3 – On receiving the RT award and the public reception of Ghost Town.

Join us again tomorrow as Gervais discusses his favourite theme, redemption, explains how the podcast dynamic works and revels in the brilliance of Karl Pilkington. But for now, continue onto Part 1.

Ricky Gervais’ home on the web is rickygervais.com

Part 1 of 15: On being Certified Fresh and the worth of reviews.

As Ricky comes to the RT office to pick up his Certified Fresh award he talks about critical success and the worth of awards.

Continue on Part 2: On this year’s Emmys — highlights and lowlights.

Part 2 of 15: On this year’s Emmys — highlights and lowlights.

Gervais’ appearance at the Emmy awards this year was one of the show’s few highlights — he discusses it with RT.

Continue on Part 3: On receiving the RT award and the public reception of Ghost Town.

Part 3 of 15: On receiving the RT award and the public reception of Ghost Town.

Gervais’ appearance at the Emmy awards this year was one of the show’s few highlights — he discusses it with RT.

Join us again tomorrow as Gervais discusses his favourite theme, redemption, explains how the podcast dynamic works and revels in the brilliance of Karl Pilkington.

Ricky Gervais’ home on the web is rickygervais.com

As you may have seen, with our recent stories about a TV spinoff for The Man from the Pru and a new outing for the Extras, Ricky Gervais recently stopped by the Rotten Tomatoes London office for a bit of a chat. The purpose of his visit, though, was to collect his Certified Fresh Award for Ghost Town, which sits at an impressive 84% after more than 140 reviews. Now, in glorious videovision, you can enjoy his hilarious acceptance speech.

For those who aren’t quite so inclined to enjoy a spot of video, here’s what Ricky had to say about the award.

Ricky Gervais:
Thank you for this Rotten Tomatoes award. It sounds bad but it’s actually a good thing because on the scale of fresh to rotten I was 85% fresh. It’s a good result; it’s a wonderful result, so I thank the wonderful website Rotten Tomatoes for this award. This will take pride of place on my awards shelf. Well, the Emmys are obviously… Emmys and Golden Globes will take pride of place but this will be… well, just past the BAFTAs. It will definitely be in front of the British Comedy Awards. Slightly better plastic… Thank you so much, go and see Ghost Town. You have? What did you think? I’ll tell you what you thought — you thought it was 85% excellent. Thank you Rotten Tomatoes.
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Ghost Town is in cinemas now. For more on Ricky Gervais, check out his official website. RT’s full interview with Gervais will be on the site soon.

Could Andy Millman be hoping to make it big in Hollywood and rub shoulders with Al Pacino in a new return to Ricky Gervais‘ comedy hit Extras? Gervais certainly thinks so.

Speaking exclusively to Rotten Tomatoes, as he came into our London office to collect a Certified Fresh award for his movie Ghost Town, Ricky revealed that more Extras was certainly on the cards. “There’s an open end [to the series],” he said, “same as The Office, but we couldn’t go back to The Office for many reasons. Extras has more legs and there could certainly be another chapter.”

Gervais didn’t specify whether this would be a one-off special or a new series – recent indications point to the former — but he did tease us on the potential route the show would take. “The Andy story can continue,” he told RT, “Has he just walked out? Does he want to come back? Does he go to America, does he try to do a remake? There’s a thousand different ways we could go but we’d only do it if we’re really sure about it.”

Despite his hesitance, Gervais was clearly keen to explore Andy’s American adventure. The show, he said, is “always the opposite of my career. That’s the fun: there but by the grace of God go I.

“I read, every day in the paper, ‘So and so to be remade in America. Will it be like The Office?’ Probably not, The Office was the first thing to make it in thirty years. I also see stuff like, ‘So and so big in America,’ – no they’re not, that’s their PR saying that.”

In the show, Andy writes a sitcom called When the Whistle Blows, which is quickly watered-down by the BBC as they take back his control. In the special, could we see an attempt at an American remake, just as The Office was remade for NBC? “It’d be nice for Andy to go [to America] and maybe Britain thinks he’s huge but actually he’s struggling. Maybe everyone assumes the remake will be huge and it gets cancelled after one episode or one series.

“It’d be nice to play with that perception of what Brits get from America and what the truth is. And, obviously, he’d maybe take some of the films that I turned down…”

As for guest stars, though, Gervais was citing early days. “We’ve got a lot to beat in terms of guest stars,” he told us, “Where do you go from De Niro, Sam Jackson and Kate Winslet? I’d love Al Pacino. I think we could do a lot with him.”

Join us later for more with Gervais, as he accepts his Certified Fresh award and sits down for a full interview.

Ghost Town is in cinemas now and you can find out more about Gervais at his official website.

Speaking exclusively to Rotten Tomatoes, writer and comedy actor Ricky Gervais revealed that his upcoming feature film, The Man from the Pru, would spinoff into its own television series shortly after its debut. “We’re thinking of doing a TV spinoff,” Gervais said. “We’re doing it the M*A*S*H way round. It was originally just going to be a TV series — in fact it predates Extras.”

The multi-hyphenate, whose directorial debut This Side of the Truth is shot and is due in cinemas late next year, recently visited the Rotten Tomatoes office in London to collect a Certified Fresh award for Ghost Town, in which he stars. The film, about a man whose hospital mishap results in a rather unwanted ability to see dead people, is currently an impressive 85% fresh with 143 reviews collected.

The Man from the Pru will be his next project, and his first big-screen collaboration with Stephen Merchant, with whom he co-wrote The Office and Extras. The film will follow a group of twenty-somethings in the 1970s as they waste their lives while working at the Prudential building society. “It’s that thing of whether these working class guys can escape their class. Are they going to move in with their mum when they get married and then move in next door when they get their first house?”

Explaining the concept of spinning the film off into its own TV show, Ricky told RT, “it’d be lovely to launch this sort of quintessentially British feel and then have that ongoing thing ready where you can hit the ground running. I think it’s a much better way around than doing a TV show and trying to turn it into a film. This way around gives it a bit more gravitas, I think.

“The film would be The Man from the Pru, but then the show could be The Men from the Pru. It could be a prequel, we might not get to where we did in the film, or we might move the emphasis a bit, we might make it slightly more sitcom and less epic. We’re going to think of it as we go along, really.”

The project is close to home for Gervais in more ways than one. Not only is it set in his hometown of Reading, but he revealed that some of the dialogue in the script for the film came from conversations he’d had with his mother in his youth. “There’s a line in it that my mum said to me,” he explained. “I was thinking of going to France and she went, ‘What do you want to go abroad for? There are parts of your own town that you haven’t seen yet.'”

Of course we’ll be following the project as we learn more, but that’s not all from Gervais on RT this month. Join us tomorrow when we’ll be sharing his words on the possibility of more Extras, and later on to catch his hilarious acceptance speech and our full interview. Could Karl Pilkington soon be reviewing films on RT? Find out more soon.

Ghost Town is in cinemas now. You can find out more about Ricky’s many upcoming projects at rickygervais.com

Hitting the UK cinemas this week we have Ricky Gervais as a dentist who sees dead people in the comedy Ghost Town, the long awaited big screen debut for the Disney behemoth that is High School Musical 3, and on a slightly less fluffy note we have a young mother who sees her husband and son killed in a terrorist attack in Incendiary. But what did the UK critics have to say?

Ricky Gervais boasts a proud record of two hugely successful TV series with The Office and Extras, pioneering and record-breaking podcasts with Stephen Merchant and the legendary Karl ‘Head Like A ****ing Orange’ Pilkington, a range of critically acclaimed childrens books with the Flanimals, three sellout stand-up shows, and most recently a few minor, but well received roles in Hollywood films Night At The Museum, For Your Consideration and Stardust. But how would he fare in his first starring role as misanthropic dentist Bertram Pincus, who discovers he can communicate with the dead after dying for seven minutes during a botched medical procedure? With the movie Certified Fresh at 85% on the Tomatometer, UK critics reflected what their American counterparts had said about the movie, praising Gervais for his enjoyable, sharp and witty performance as the spirit spotting teeth tyrant, which elevates the film above its possibly creaky concept into, what some of the critics are saying, one of the rom-coms of the year. Up next for Gervais is This Side Of Truth, due for release next year, a comedy in which he not only stars, but he has written, and co-directed, so we will see if we can add auteur to his already glittering CV.

If you are aged over the age of 14, you may find the whole High School Musical phenomenon slightly bewildering, but with ticket pre-sales for the threequel, the first cinematic outing for the smash hit series, breaking box-office records, there is no denying that Disney have a monster on their hands. Teen heartthrobs Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens reprise their roles as Troy and Gabriella, in the final year at East High School, with university looming, the couple have to face up for a possible future apart. UK critics praised the movie for its slick production, feel good factor, and positive messages, but on the whole the jaded critics felt underwhelmed by it’s saccharine lightweight nature, predictable plot and sanitised vision of high school life. But even at a Rotten 58% on the Tomatometer, we’ve no doubt that the critical reception for HSM3 will have no bearing whatsoever on its box office takings come half term week.

Incendiary is directed by Sharon Maguire who previously helmed Bridget Jones Diary and is an adaptation of a novel by Chris Cleave. The novel was notable for its release on 7/7/05, the day of the London bombing atrocities, as it also deals with a terrorist bomb plot in London. Michelle Williams stars as a young mother who’s life is torn apart when her son and husband are killed in a bomb blast at the Arsenal football stadium, who seeks solace in her grief with Ewan McGregor‘s reporter character. The critics have praised Williams’ earnest portrayal as the mourning mother in the well-natured drama, but on the whole the movie has been dismissed for its unrealistic portrayal of modern London, far-fecthed nature and cliché ridden plot. At 26% on the Tomatometer, Incendiary is more of a misfire than a blast off.

Also worth checking out this week…

Chocolate — A tough, uncompromising, real stunt, Thai Kung Fu flick, with a slushy plot but badass fight scenes. 69% on the Tomatometer.

Quote Of The Week

“Committed acting, cast chemistry and the odd touching moment just about save you from checking whether this was actually produced by Bernard Matthews.”

Incendiary. Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro.

Moviegoers were in the mood for suspense as the Samuel L. Jackson cop thriller Lakeview Terrace easily topped the North American box office beating out three new comedy openers. Dane Cook’s latest My Best Friend’s Girl disappointed, the animated pic Igor bowed respectably, while the Ricky Gervais starrer Ghost Town played to empty auditoriums. The debuting films joined forces for just $37M in ticket sales falling short of the $63M pumped in last weekend by that frame’s four-pack of new titles. Still, the top ten managed to match year-ago levels.

Sony scored its fifth number one opener of the year with Lakeview Terrace which debuted with a solid $15.6M, according to estimates. The PG-13 film about a veteran cop that terrorizes an interracial couple that moves in next door to him played in 2,464 theaters and averaged an impressive $6,331 per site. Produced for about $20M, Terrace connected with adult audiences despite stiff competition in the marketplace for mature moviegoers. According to studio research, 69% of the crowd was over 25 while 56% was female. For Jackson, it was a chance to flex some solo muscle at the box office as the film had no other stars in it. An effective marketing campaign by the studio’s Screen Gems unit also helped to deliver results. Reviews were not too positive, but ticket buyers instead responded to starpower and a good promotional push.




Last weekend’s number one film Burn After Reading held up well in its second frame. The caper comedy from the Coen brothers grossed an estimated $11.3M falling a reasonable 41% and lifted its ten-day cume to a solid $36.4M. The George Clooney-Brad Pitt pic enjoyed a smaller decline than those seen by other wide releases from the Oscar-winning filmmakers. 2003’s Intolerable Cruelty, which also starred the former Batman, dropped 48% in its second weekend while 2004’s Tom Hanks starrer The Ladykillers fell by 44%. Focus looks to ride Burn to the vicinity of $65M.

Dane Cook’s newest comedy failed to live up to the numbers posted by his previous efforts. The romantic comedy My Best Friend’s Girl, which also stars Kate Hudson and Jason Biggs, bowed to an estimated $8.3M from 2,604 theaters for a weak $3,187 average. That was a hefty 39% below the $13.7M of Cook’s Good Luck Chuck from this same weekend last year, and 27% behind the $11.4M debut of Employee of the Month from October 2006. All three were released by Lionsgate in roughly 2,600 locations. Girl carried an R rating and earned the same negative reviews the comedian routinely sees from critics.

Debuting to respectable results in fourth place was the new animated comedy Igor with an estimated $8M from 2,339 playdates. The PG-rated film averaged $3,425 and faced no competition in its quest for family audiences. Pre-release expectations were low since it is not based on any popular brand name property. The MGM release has no other kidpics to face next weekend so it may avoid the large drops seen by most other films.




Three sophomore titles followed. The Robert De Niro-Al Pacino cop flick Righteous Kill tumbled 53% in its second weekend to an estimated $7.7M ranking fifth. With $28.8M taken in across ten days, the Overture Films release should eventually reach $40-45M. Kill has already become the top-grossing film for the new distribution company which made a name for itself this summer with the indie smash The Visitor.




Tyler Perry’s latest hit The Family That Preys took a tumble in its second weekend falling 57% to an estimated $7.5M. The drop was nearly identical to the sophomore slides of 58% and 57% for past films Madea’s Family Reunion and Daddy’s Little Girls, respectively. Lionsgate has banked $28.4M in ten days with Family and should find its way to around $40M by the end of the run. Picturehouse witnessed a sharp decline for its chick flick The Women which fell 48% in its second outing to an estimated $5.3M. With $19.2M collected in ten days, the ensemble film could reach the neighborhood of $30M.

Good reviews meant nothing to the new Ricky Gervais comedy Ghost Town which opened poorly in eighth place with an estimated $5.2M. Averaging a mild $3,436 from a subdued wide release in 1,505 locations, the PG-13 film about a dentist that can see and speak to spirits also stars Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni. The target audience of mature adults had many other options to choose from so competition was tough, plus Gervais has yet to prove himself as a box office draw who can sell tickets. The DreamWorks production was released by Paramount.




Warner Bros. spent its tenth weekend in the top ten with The Dark Knight which grossed an estimated $3M, off just 29%, for a towering $521.9M domestic total. Overseas, the gargantuan smash raised its cume to $455.7M giving the superhero blockbuster a stunning $977.6M worldwide. That puts Knight at number four on the all-time global blockbusters list after Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest which all topped the $1 billion mark. Bruce Wayne should become a box office billionaire in early October. Sony’s leggy hit The House Bunny rounded out the top ten dipping 33% to an estimated $2.8M pushing the cume to $45.7M.

September is when top distributors start rolling out their awards contenders and this weekend saw two of them generate sensational launches. Paramount Vantage unveiled the Keira Knightley costume drama The Duchess in seven theaters in New York and Los Angeles and grossed an estimated $203,000 for a sizzling $28,932 average. Attracting mostly good reviews, the PG-13 film will expand into the Top 20 markets this Friday. Warner Bros. rode into twice as many theaters with its Ed Harris-directed Western Appaloosa which collected an estimated $258,000. Averaging a sturdy $18,429 from 14 sites, the R-rated pic stars Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger, and Jeremy Irons and will expand nationally on October 3.




The top ten films grossed an estimated $74.6M which was off only 1% from last year when Resident Evil: Extinction opened in the top spot with $23.7M; and down 3% from 2006 when Jackass: Number Two debuted at number one with $29M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,
www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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