Inception

(Photo by Warner Bros. Thumbnail: New Line, Vertical Entertainment /courtesy Everett Collection)

20 Movies To Watch If You Loved Inception

Ten years ago, Inception, the dream-team movie collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Christopher Nolan, rode into theaters on a wave of hype and secrecy matching the director’s previous game-changer, The Dark Knight. The dizzying dream heist thriller floored audiences with its complex shots – a city collapsing on itself, along with the practical effects wizardry of rotating hallway brawls – and a densely, literally layered plot. It left audiences wanting more… and we’re here to help. If you’re looking for more movies like Inception, the two other Nolan films that hew most closely are 1999’s brain-splitter Memento, and 2006’s treacherous The Prestige. But you, esteemed Tomato-reader, already knew that, have seen ’em both – probably many times – and thus know the joys of a David-Bowie-as-Nikola-Tesla performance! We present, then, 20 more movies to watch if you loved Inception.

First, there’s Shutter Island, which has a lot of overlap with Inception, and not just because they star the same guy. They’re both slick, dark thrillers that question reality and perception. (See our list of 20 movies to watch if you loved Shutter Island, which has more Incept-y movies like Dark City and The Game.)

What makes a movie like Inception? The initial response is for some cracking sci-fi mind-f–kers. The number of these films has exploded since 2000, especially in the last decade: Think the space-time continuum-whacking Predestination, Primer, and Timecrimes. Movies like Mr. Nobody, The Congress, The Cell, Coherence, Time Lapse, and Enemy explore identity across multiple realities. Inception shares the most in the plot department with Satoshi Kon’s anime Paprika.

But the mood really started in the ’90s. An approaching new millennium felt like crossing a threshold into the unknown future, where technology, like Inception‘s mechanics to hijack dreams, brought limitless opportunities and dangers. The Truman Show, eXistenZ, Being John Malkovich, and The Thirteenth Floor explore this space. Earlier brain-hopping takes include adventure romp Dreamscape, and the absurdly violent Total Recall. Then there’s Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who was on simulated realities in the 1970s with World on a Wire, which Criterion has pressed for its original 3.5 hour cut.

Of course, Inception wouldn’t have resonated if it was all just sleight-of-hands and technical games; DiCaprio’s family drama provided a compelling emotional hook. Movies that have this same melancholic thread in complicated settings include Robin Williams afterlife fantasy/drama What Dreams May Come, and the existentially devastating Synecdoche, New York.

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 31293%
Critics Consensus: Bad script and confusing plot undermine the movie's impressive visuals.
Synopsis: A man awakens to discover a bloody shirt in his house and his boss murdered the night before. Did he... [More]
Directed By: Josef Rusnak

#19

The Cell (2000)
45%

#19
Adjusted Score: 50311%
Critics Consensus: The Cell offers disturbing, stunning eye candy, but its visual pleasures are no match for a confused storyline that undermines the movie's inventive aesthetic.
Synopsis: "The Cell" takes a shocking, riveting mind trip into the dark and dangerous corridors of a serial killer's psyche --... [More]
Directed By: Tarsem Singh

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 55397%
Critics Consensus: An insubstantial plot overshadows the beautiful, surreal scenery.
Synopsis: After Chris Nielsen (Robin Williams) dies in a car accident, he is guided through the afterlife by his spirit guide,... [More]
Directed By: Vincent Ward

#17

Mr. Nobody (2009)
68%

#17
Adjusted Score: 67335%
Critics Consensus: Mr. Nobody's narrative tangles may bedevil as much as they entertain, but its big ambitions and absorbing visuals make for an intriguing addition to director Jaco Van Dormael's filmography.
Synopsis: In 2092 the last mortal human (Jared Leto) on Earth reflects on his long past and thinks about the lives... [More]
Directed By: Jaco Van Dormael

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 75875%
Critics Consensus: Charlie Kaufman's ambitious directorial debut occasionally strains to connect, but ultimately provides fascinating insight into a writer's mind.
Synopsis: Life is looking pretty bleak for theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman). His wife and daughter have left him,... [More]
Directed By: Charlie Kaufman

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The implausible escape of a brilliant murderess brings U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner (Mark Ruffalo)... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#14

Enemy (2013)
71%

#14
Adjusted Score: 75727%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a strong performance from Jake Gyllenhaal and smart direction from Denis Villeneuve, Enemy hits the mark as a tense, uncommonly adventurous thriller.
Synopsis: A mild-mannered college professor (Jake Gyllenhaal) discovers a look-alike actor and delves into the other man's private affairs.... [More]
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

#13

Primer (2004)
73%

#13
Adjusted Score: 76416%
Critics Consensus: Dense, obtuse, but stimulating, Primer is a film for viewers ready for a cerebral challenge.
Synopsis: Intellectual engineers Aaron (Shane Carruth) and Abe (David Sullivan) build and sell error-checking technology with the help of their friends... [More]
Directed By: Shane Carruth

#12

The Congress (2013)
73%

#12
Adjusted Score: 75930%
Critics Consensus: The Congress rises on the strength of Robin Wright's powerful performance, with enough ambitious storytelling and technical thrills to overcome its somewhat messy structure.
Synopsis: An aging actress (Robin Wright) agrees to preserve her digital likeness for a studio to use in any future films... [More]
Directed By: Ari Folman

#11

eXistenZ (1999)
74%

#11
Adjusted Score: 76805%
Critics Consensus: Gooey, slimy, grotesque fun.
Synopsis: Video game designer Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh) has created a virtual reality game called eXistenZ. After a crazed fan... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#10

Dreamscape (1984)
78%

#10
Adjusted Score: 80040%
Critics Consensus: Dreamscape mixes several genres -- horror, sci-fi, action -- and always maintains a sense of adventure and humor.
Synopsis: Selfish teen Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) is coerced into joining a government project in which psychics like him are trained... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Ruben

#9

Time Lapse (2014)
78%

#9
Adjusted Score: 62109%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three friends discover a photo machine that shows pictures a day into the future. After they use it for personal... [More]
Directed By: Bradley King

#8

Total Recall (1990)
82%

#8
Adjusted Score: 87434%
Critics Consensus: Under Paul Verhoeven's frenetic direction, Total Recall is a fast-paced rush of violence, gore, and humor that never slacks.
Synopsis: Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a bored construction worker in the year 2084 who dreams of visiting the colonized Mars.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#7

Predestination (2014)
84%

#7
Adjusted Score: 86972%
Critics Consensus: Fun genre fare with uncommon intelligence, Predestination serves as a better-than-average sci-fi adventure -- and offers a starmaking turn from Sarah Snook.
Synopsis: A temporal agent (Ethan Hawke) embarks on a final time-traveling assignment to prevent an elusive criminal from launching an attack... [More]

#6

Paprika (2006)
85%

#6
Adjusted Score: 87384%
Critics Consensus: Following its own brand of logic, Paprika is an eye-opening mind trip that is difficult to follow but never fails to dazzle.
Synopsis: Dr. Atsuko Chiba works as a scientist by day and, under the code name "Paprika," is a dream detective at... [More]
Directed By: Satoshi Kon

#5

Coherence (2013)
88%

#5
Adjusted Score: 90274%
Critics Consensus: A case study in less-is-more filmmaking, Coherence serves as a compelling low-budget calling card for debuting writer-director James Ward Byrkit.
Synopsis: Eight friends at a dinner party experience a troubling chain of events due to the malevolent influence of a passing... [More]
Directed By: James Ward Byrkit

#4

Timecrimes (2007)

#4
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Nacho Vigalondo's time-travel thriller opens with Hector spying on a beautiful woman undressing in the woods near his property. Investigating,... [More]
Directed By: Nacho Vigalondo

#3
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this quirky cult-favorite comedy, unemployed New York City puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) reluctantly takes a temp job as... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

#2

The Truman Show (1998)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 101730%
Critics Consensus: A funny, tender, and thought-provoking film, The Truman Show is all the more noteworthy for its remarkably prescient vision of runaway celebrity culture and a nation with an insatiable thirst for the private details of ordinary lives.
Synopsis: He doesn't know it, but everything in Truman Burbank's (Jim Carrey) life is part of a massive TV set. Executive... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#1

()

#1

Moonrise Kingdom

(Photo by © Focus Features)

105 Great Movies to Watch Alone

For some, staying home right now can mean curling up with a loved one on the couch for a date-night flick or gathering the whole family together for movie night. For many others, it can mean flying solo – long days and nights of streaming by yourself. We’re here to help with some movie suggestions we think are tailor-made for that latter experience.

Just like going to the movie theater alone can be a singularly joyous “treat yo self” excursion, solo home-viewing can be a great experience too – if you choose the right film. There are movies out there that actually benefit from being watched alone: It might be that they require a level of concentration and focus that distracting friends and loved ones just won’t allow you, or that the maximum scare factor is best felt when you are completely isolated – just like the babysitter being stalked on screen. It might just be that the movie has the kind of awkward/titillating sexy bits that make watching it with a first date – or, let’s say, mom – not exactly ideal. Watch it alone – no judgment, no nervous giggles.

To help those solo-fliers get through the next little while, the RT team pulled together a list of movies perfect for watching alone for all of those reasons – and a bunch that are just guaranteed to put you in an awesome mood the moment they start. Which might be the best reason of all.

What’s your favorite movie to watch by yourself? Let us know in the comments.
Click on each movie’s title to find out more, including where to stream, rent, or buy.  


BECAUSE THE MOVIE REQUIRES YOUR ABSOLUTE CONCENTRATION…

#13

Memento (2000)
93%

#13
Adjusted Score: 100064%
Critics Consensus: Christopher Nolan skillfully guides the audience through Memento's fractured narrative, seeping his film in existential dread.
Synopsis: Leonard (Guy Pearce) is tracking down the man who raped and murdered his wife. The difficulty, however, of locating his... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 75875%
Critics Consensus: Charlie Kaufman's ambitious directorial debut occasionally strains to connect, but ultimately provides fascinating insight into a writer's mind.
Synopsis: Life is looking pretty bleak for theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman). His wife and daughter have left him,... [More]
Directed By: Charlie Kaufman

#11

The Irishman (2019)
95%

#11
Adjusted Score: 123934%
Critics Consensus: An epic gangster drama that earns its extended runtime, The Irishman finds Martin Scorsese revisiting familiar themes to poignant, funny, and profound effect.
Synopsis: In the 1950s, truck driver Frank Sheeran gets involved with Russell Bufalino and his Pennsylvania crime family. As Sheeran climbs... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#10
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After a painful breakup, Clementine (Kate Winslet) undergoes a procedure to erase memories of her former boyfriend Joel (Jim Carrey)... [More]
Directed By: Michel Gondry

#9

Annihilation (2018)
88%

#9
Adjusted Score: 108010%
Critics Consensus: Annihilation backs up its sci-fi visual wonders and visceral genre thrills with an impressively ambitious -- and surprisingly strange -- exploration of challenging themes that should leave audiences pondering long after the end credits roll.
Synopsis: Lena, a biologist and former soldier, joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X --... [More]
Directed By: Alex Garland

#8

Magnolia (1999)
83%

#8
Adjusted Score: 89661%
Critics Consensus: Magnolia is an ambitious, lengthy work that ultimately succeeds due to interesting stories and excellent ensemble performances.
Synopsis: On one random day in the San Fernando Valley, a dying father, a young wife, a male caretaker, a famous... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#7

12 Monkeys (1995)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 93669%
Critics Consensus: The plot's a bit of a jumble, but excellent performances and mind-blowing plot twists make 12 Monkeys a kooky, effective experience.
Synopsis: Traveling back in time isn't simple, as James Cole (Bruce Willis) learns the hard way. Imprisoned in the 2030s, James... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#6

Zodiac (2007)
89%

#6
Adjusted Score: 100390%
Critics Consensus: A quiet, dialogue-driven thriller that delivers with scene after scene of gut-wrenching anxiety. David Fincher also spends more time illustrating nuances of his characters and recreating the mood of the '70s than he does on gory details of murder.
Synopsis: In the late 1960s and 1970s, fear grips the city of San Francisco as a serial killer called Zodiac stalks... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#5

Silence (2016)
83%

#5
Adjusted Score: 103529%
Critics Consensus: Silence ends Martin Scorsese's decades-long creative quest with a thoughtful, emotionally resonant look at spirituality and human nature that stands among the director's finest works.
Synopsis: Two 17th-century Portuguese missionaries, Father Sebastian Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), embark on a perilous journey... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#4

The Deer Hunter (1978)
91%

#4
Adjusted Score: 99849%
Critics Consensus: Its greatness is blunted by its length and one-sided point of view, but the film's weaknesses are overpowered by Michael Cimino's sympathetic direction and a series of heartbreaking performances from Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken.
Synopsis: In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cimino

#3

Parasite (2019)
98%

#3
Adjusted Score: 127460%
Critics Consensus: An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft.
Synopsis: Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#2

The Master (2012)

#2
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a troubled, boozy drifter struggling with the trauma of World War II and whatever inner... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#8

The Game (1997)
76%

#8
Adjusted Score: 79710%
Critics Consensus: The ending could use a little work but this is otherwise another sterling example of David Fincher's iron grip on atmosphere and storytelling.
Synopsis: Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a successful banker who keeps mostly to himself. When his estranged brother Conrad (Sean... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#1

Inherent Vice (2014)
73%

#1
Adjusted Score: 83386%
Critics Consensus: Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material -- and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.
Synopsis: In a California beach community, private detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) tends to work his cases through a smoky... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#1

Burning (2018)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 105592%
Critics Consensus: Burning patiently lures audiences into a slow-burning character study that ultimately rewards the viewer's patience -- and subverts many of their expectations.
Synopsis: Jong-soo runs into Hae-mi, a girl who once lived in his neighborhood, and she asks him to watch her cat... [More]
Directed By: Lee Chang-dong

#1

Vertigo (1958)

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Hitchcock's romantic story of obsession, manipulation and fear. A detective is forced to retire after his fear of heights causes... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#1

The Tree of Life (2011)
84%

#1
Adjusted Score: 98301%
Critics Consensus: Terrence Malick's singularly deliberate style may prove unrewarding for some, but for patient viewers, Tree of Life is an emotional as well as visual treat.
Synopsis: In this highly philosophical film by acclaimed director Terrence Malick, young Jack (Hunter McCracken) is one of three brothers growing... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#1

The Prestige (2006)
76%

#1
Adjusted Score: 83673%
Critics Consensus: Full of twists and turns, The Prestige is a dazzling period piece that never stops challenging the audience.
Synopsis: An illusion gone horribly wrong pits two 19th-century magicians, Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman), against each... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#1

Under the Skin (2013)
84%

#1
Adjusted Score: 95071%
Critics Consensus: Its message may prove elusive for some, but with absorbing imagery and a mesmerizing performance from Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin is a haunting viewing experience.
Synopsis: Disguising herself as a human female, an extraterrestrial (Scarlett Johansson) drives around Scotland and tries to lure unsuspecting men into... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Glazer

#1

Gattaca (1997)
83%

#1
Adjusted Score: 85785%
Critics Consensus: Intelligent and scientifically provocative, Gattaca is an absorbing sci fi drama that poses important interesting ethical questions about the nature of science.
Synopsis: Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) has always fantasized about traveling into outer space, but is grounded by his status as a... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Niccol


BECAUSE THE MOVIE IS GONNA MAKE YOU UGLY CRY…

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 84626%
Critics Consensus: Benigni's earnest charm, when not overstepping its bounds into the unnecessarily treacly, offers the possibility of hope in the face of unflinching horror.
Synopsis: A gentle Jewish-Italian waiter, Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni), meets Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), a pretty schoolteacher, and wins her over with... [More]
Directed By: Roberto Benigni

#12

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%

#12
Adjusted Score: 105720%
Critics Consensus: Pan's Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.
Synopsis: In 1944 Spain young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her ailing mother (Ariadna Gil) arrive at the post of her mother's... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#11

Beaches (1988)
40%

#11
Adjusted Score: 43072%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Hillary (Barbara Hershey) and CC (Bette Midler) meet as children vacationing in Atlantic City, N.J., and remain friends throughout the... [More]
Directed By: Garry Marshall

#10

Steel Magnolias (1989)
70%

#10
Adjusted Score: 71172%
Critics Consensus: Steel Magnolias has jokes and characters to spare, which makes it more dangerous (and effective) when it goes for the full melodrama by the end.
Synopsis: M'Lynn (Sally Field) is the mother of bride-to-be Shelby Eatenton (Julia Roberts), and as friend Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton) fixes... [More]
Directed By: Herbert Ross

#9

Stepmom (1998)

#9
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three years after divorcing Jackie (Susan Sarandon), the mother of his children, Luke Harrison (Ed Harris) decides to take the... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#8

The Color Purple (1985)
81%

#8
Adjusted Score: 82400%
Critics Consensus: It might have been better served by a filmmaker with a deeper connection to the source material, but The Color Purple remains a worthy, well-acted adaptation of Alice Walker's classic novel.
Synopsis: An epic tale spanning forty years in the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), an African-American woman living in the South... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 82228%
Critics Consensus: A classic tearjerker, Terms of Endearment isn't shy about reaching for the heartstrings -- but is so well-acted and smartly scripted that it's almost impossible to resist.
Synopsis: Widow Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter, Emma (Debra Winger), have a strong bond, but Emma marries teacher Flap... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#6

Toy Story 3 (2010)
98%

#6
Adjusted Score: 112785%
Critics Consensus: Deftly blending comedy, adventure, and honest emotion, Toy Story 3 is a rare second sequel that really works.
Synopsis: With their beloved Andy preparing to leave for college, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and... [More]
Directed By: Lee Unkrich

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 89615%
Critics Consensus: Wise, funny, and heartbreaking without resorting to exploitation, The Fault In Our Stars does right by its bestselling source material.
Synopsis: Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), a 16-year-old cancer patient, meets and falls in love with Gus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a... [More]
Directed By: Josh Boone

#1

Wendy and Lucy (2008)
85%

#1
Adjusted Score: 92420%
Critics Consensus: Michelle Williams gives a heartbreaking performance in Wendy and Lucy, a timely portrait of loneliness and struggle.
Synopsis: Wendy (Michelle Williams), a near-penniless drifter, is traveling to Alaska in search of work, and her only companion is her... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Reichardt

#4

My Girl (1991)
50%

#4
Adjusted Score: 50560%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Tomboy Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) has good reason to be morbid: her mother died giving birth to her, and her... [More]
Directed By: Howard Zieff

#3

Selena (1997)

#3
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this biographical drama, Selena Quintanilla (Jennifer Lopez) is born into a musical Mexican-American family in Texas. Her father, Abraham... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Nava

#2

Up (2009)
98%

#2
Adjusted Score: 109563%
Critics Consensus: An exciting, funny, and poignant adventure, Up offers an impeccably crafted story told with wit and arranged with depth, as well as yet another visual Pixar treat.
Synopsis: Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner), a 78-year-old balloon salesman, is about to fulfill a lifelong dream. Tying thousands of balloons to... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson

#1
Adjusted Score: 110789%
Critics Consensus: Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg's touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old.
Synopsis: After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#1
Adjusted Score: 89503%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully scripted and perfectly cast, Me & Earl & the Dying Girl is a coming-of-age movie with uncommon charm and insight.
Synopsis: An awkward high-school senior (Thomas Mann) and a gravely ill classmate (Olivia Cooke) surprise themselves by becoming inseparable friends.... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

#1

Stories We Tell (2012)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 98582%
Critics Consensus: In Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley plays with the documentary format to explore the nature of memory and storytelling, crafting a thoughtful, compelling narrative that unfolds like a mystery.
Synopsis: Through a series of revealing interviews, filmmaker Sarah Polley investigates the truth about her family history.... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Polley

#1

Old Yeller (1957)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 101989%
Critics Consensus: Old Yeller is an exemplary coming of age tale, packing an emotional wallop through smart pacing and a keen understanding of the elemental bonding between humanity and their furry best friends.
Synopsis: While Jim Coates (Fess Parker) is off on a cattle drive, his wife, Katie (Dorothy McGuire), and sons, Travis (Tommy... [More]
Directed By: Robert Stevenson

#1

Marley & Me (2008)
63%

#1
Adjusted Score: 68332%
Critics Consensus: Pet owners should love it, but Marley and Me is only sporadically successful in wringing drama and laughs from its scenario.
Synopsis: Newlyweds John and Jenny Grogan (Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston) leave behind snowy Michigan and move to Florida, where they buy... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 28943%
Critics Consensus: Though wholesome, the Mandy Moore vehicle A Walk to Remember is also bland and oppressively syrupy.
Synopsis: Set in North Carolina, "A Walk To Remember" follows the rite of passage of a jaded, aimless high school senior... [More]
Directed By: Adam Shankman


BECAUSE THE MOVIE WILL INSTANTLY PUT YOU IN A BETTER MOOD…

#13

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
93%

#13
Adjusted Score: 104518%
Critics Consensus: Warm, whimsical, and poignant, the immaculately framed and beautifully acted Moonrise Kingdom presents writer/director Wes Anderson at his idiosyncratic best.
Synopsis: The year is 1965, and the residents of New Penzance, an island off the coast of New England, inhabit a... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#12

Groundhog Day (1993)
97%

#12
Adjusted Score: 104067%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sweet, and inventive, Groundhog Day highlights Murray's dramatic gifts while still leaving plenty of room for laughs.
Synopsis: Phil (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole. He gets... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#11

The Goonies (1985)
77%

#11
Adjusted Score: 80849%
Critics Consensus: The Goonies is an energetic, sometimes noisy mix of Spielbergian sentiment and funhouse tricks that will appeal to kids and nostalgic adults alike.
Synopsis: When two brothers find out they might lose their house they are desperate to find a way to keep their... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 109747%
Critics Consensus: Clever, incisive, and funny, Singin' in the Rain is a masterpiece of the classical Hollywood musical.
Synopsis: A spoof of the turmoil that afflicted the movie industry in the late 1920s when movies went from silent to... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

#9

Amélie (2001)

#9
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: "Amélie" is a fanciful comedy about a young woman who discretely orchestrates the lives of the people around her, creating... [More]
Directed By: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#7

The Birdcage (1996)
81%

#7
Adjusted Score: 84022%
Critics Consensus: Mike Nichols wrangles agreeably amusing performances from Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in this fun, if not quite essential, remake of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles.
Synopsis: In this remake of the classic French farce "La Cage aux Folles," engaged couple Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) and Barbara... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 86807%
Critics Consensus: Matthew Broderick charms in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a light and irrepressibly fun movie about being young and having fun.
Synopsis: Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) has an uncanny skill at cutting classes and getting away with it. Intending to make one... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 86333%
Critics Consensus: Though there was controversy over the choice of casting, Zellweger's Bridget Jones is a sympathetic, likable, funny character, giving this romantic comedy a lot of charm.
Synopsis: At the start of the New Year, 32-year-old Bridget (Renée Zellweger) decides it's time to take control of her life... [More]
Directed By: Sharon Maguire

#4

Clueless (1995)

#4
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school's pecking scale.... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#3

The Intouchables (2011)
75%

#3
Adjusted Score: 79772%
Critics Consensus: It handles its potentially prickly subject matter with kid gloves, but Intouchables gets by thanks to its strong cast and some remarkably sensitive direction.
Synopsis: An unlikely friendship develops between a wealthy quadriplegic (François Cluzet) and his caretaker (Omar Sy), just released from prison.... [More]

#2

Tommy Boy (1995)
42%

#2
Adjusted Score: 43339%
Critics Consensus: Though it benefits from the comic charms of its two leads, Tommy Boy too often feels like a familiar sketch stretched thin.
Synopsis: After his beloved father (Brian Dennehy) dies, dimwitted Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) inherits a near-bankrupt automobile parts factory in Sandusky,... [More]
Directed By: Peter Segal

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 99436%
Critics Consensus: Little Miss Sunshine succeeds thanks to a strong ensemble cast that includes Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, and Abigail Breslin, as well as a delightfully funny script.
Synopsis: The Hoover family -- a man (Greg Kinnear), his wife (Toni Collette), an uncle (Steve Carell), a brother (Paul Dano)... [More]

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After losing his job at a steel factory, Gaz (Robert Carlyle) learns that his wife wants to sue him for... [More]
Directed By: Peter Cattaneo

#1

Mamma Mia! (2008)

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Donna (Meryl Streep), an independent hotelier in the Greek islands, is preparing for her daughter's wedding with the help of... [More]
Directed By: Phyllida Lloyd

#1

Billy Elliot (2000)

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The life of 11-year-old Billy Elliot, a coal miner's son in Northern England, is forever changed one day when he... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Daldry

#3
Adjusted Score: 55627%
Critics Consensus: Provides lots of laughs with Myers at the healm; as funny or funnier than the original.
Synopsis: In his second screen adventure, British super spy Austin Powers must return to 1969, as arch-nemesis Dr. Evil has ventured... [More]
Directed By: Jay Roach

#1

Step Brothers (2008)
55%

#1
Adjusted Score: 63191%
Critics Consensus: Step Brothers indulges in a cheerfully relentless immaturity that will quickly turn off viewers unamused by Ferrell and Reilly -- and delight those who find their antics hilarious.
Synopsis: Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) have one thing in common: they are both lazy, unemployed... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#1

Airplane! (1980)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 103487%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly juvenile and silly, Airplane! is nevertheless an uproarious spoof comedy full of quotable lines and slapstick gags that endure to this day.
Synopsis: This spoof comedy takes shots at the slew of disaster movies that were released in the 70s. When the passengers... [More]

#1

Game Night (2018)
85%

#1
Adjusted Score: 99577%
Critics Consensus: With a talented cast turned loose on a loaded premise -- and a sharp script loaded with dark comedy and unexpected twists -- Game Night might be more fun than the real thing.
Synopsis: Max and Annie's weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party... [More]

#1

Pride (2014)
92%

#1
Adjusted Score: 98186%
Critics Consensus: Earnest without being didactic and uplifting without stooping to sentimentality, Pride is a joyous crowd-pleaser that genuinely works.
Synopsis: Realizing that they share common foes in Margaret Thatcher, the police and the conservative press, London-based gays and lesbians lend... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Warchus

#1

Pitch Perfect (2012)
81%

#1
Adjusted Score: 86241%
Critics Consensus: Pitch Perfect's plot is formulaic, but the performances are excellent and the musical numbers are toe-tapping as well.
Synopsis: College student Beca (Anna Kendrick) knows she does not want to be part of a clique, but that's exactly where... [More]
Directed By: Jason Moore

#1

Hot Fuzz (2007)
91%

#1
Adjusted Score: 99761%
Critics Consensus: The brilliant minds behind Shaun of the Dead successfully take a shot at the buddy cop genre with Hot Fuzz. The result is a bitingly satiric and hugely entertaining parody.
Synopsis: As a former London constable, Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) finds if difficult to adapt to his new assignment in the... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#1
Adjusted Score: 43264%
Critics Consensus: Undisciplined, scatological, profoundly silly, and often utterly groan-worthy, Robin Hood: Men in Tights still has an amiable, anything-goes goofiness that has made it a cult favorite.
Synopsis: Crusading nobleman Robin of Loxley (Cary Elwes) escapes from prison in Jerusalem and returns home to find that the evil... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#1

Sing Street (2016)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107232%
Critics Consensus: Sing Street is a feel-good musical with huge heart and irresistible optimism, and its charmimg cast and hummable tunes help to elevate its familiar plotting.
Synopsis: In 1985, a Dublin teenager (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) forms a rock 'n' roll band to win the heart of an aspiring... [More]
Directed By: John Carney

#1

Big (1988)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 103369%
Critics Consensus: Refreshingly sweet and undeniably funny, Big is a showcase for Tom Hanks, who dives into his role and infuses it with charm and surprising poignancy.
Synopsis: After a wish turns 12-year-old Josh Baskin (David Moscow) into a 30-year-old man (Tom Hanks), he heads to New York... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 112580%
Critics Consensus: With a terrific cast and a surfeit of visual razzle dazzle, Crazy Rich Asians takes a satisfying step forward for screen representation while deftly drawing inspiration from the classic -- and still effective -- rom-com formula.
Synopsis: Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. She's also surprised... [More]
Directed By: Jon M. Chu


BECAUSE THE MOVIE’S VERY SEXY BITS WILL BE LESS AWKWARD SOLO…

#13

Magic Mike XXL (2015)
65%

#13
Adjusted Score: 74755%
Critics Consensus: Magic Mike XXL has enough narrative thrust and beefy charm to deliver another helping of well-oiled entertainment, even if this sequel isn't quite as pleasurable as its predecessor.
Synopsis: It's been three years since Mike Lane's (Channing Tatum) retirement from stripping, but the former dancer misses the excitement and... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Jacobs

#12

Basic Instinct (1992)
55%

#12
Adjusted Score: 60683%
Critics Consensus: Unevenly echoing the work of Alfred Hitchcock, Basic Instinct contains a star-making performance from Sharon Stone but is ultimately undone by its problematic, overly lurid plot.
Synopsis: The mysterious Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a beautiful crime novelist, becomes a suspect when she is linked to the brutal... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 96270%
Critics Consensus: A road movie that's not only sexy, but intelligent as well.
Synopsis: The lives of Julio and Tenoch, like those of 17-year old boys everywhere, are ruled by raging hormones, intense friendships,... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#10

The Dreamers (2003)
60%

#10
Adjusted Score: 66108%
Critics Consensus: Though lushly atmospheric, The Dreamers doesn't engage or provoke as much as it should.
Synopsis: In May 1968, the student riots in Paris only exacerbate the isolation felt by three youths: an American exchange student... [More]
Directed By: Bernardo Bertolucci

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During World War II a secret agent (Tang Wei) must seduce, then assassinate an official (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) who... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

#8

Sirens (1994)
74%

#8
Adjusted Score: 75531%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 1930s Australia, Anglican clergyman Anthony Campion (Hugh Grant) and his prim wife, Estella (Tara Fitzgerald), are asked to visit... [More]
Directed By: John Duigan

#7

Secretary (2002)
77%

#7
Adjusted Score: 81991%
Critics Consensus: Maggie Gyllenhaal impresses in this romantic comedy with a kinky twist.
Synopsis: Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a young woman with a history of severe emotional problems, is released into the care of... [More]
Directed By: Steven Shainberg

#6

Boogie Nights (1997)
93%

#6
Adjusted Score: 97831%
Critics Consensus: Grounded in strong characters, bold themes, and subtle storytelling, Boogie Nights is a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg.
Synopsis: In the San Fernando Valley in 1977, teenage busboy Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) gets discovered by porn director Jack Horner... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#5

Wild Things (1998)
63%

#5
Adjusted Score: 65009%
Critics Consensus: Wild Things is a delightfully salacious, flesh-exposed romp that also requires a high degree of love for trash cinema.
Synopsis: When teen debutante Kelly (Denise Richards) fails to attract the attention of her hunky guidance counselor, Sam (Matt Dillon), she... [More]
Directed By: John McNaughton

#4

Unfaithful (2002)
50%

#4
Adjusted Score: 55941%
Critics Consensus: Diane Lane shines in the role, but the movie adds nothing new to the genre and the resolution is unsatisfying.
Synopsis: Described by director Adrian Lyne ("Fatal Attraction") as "an erotic thriller about the body language of guilt." When Edward (Richard... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Lyne

#3

Bound (1996)
90%

#3
Adjusted Score: 91422%
Critics Consensus: Bound's more titillating elements attracted attention, but it's the stylish direction, solid performances, and entertaining neo-noir caper plot that make it worth a watch.
Synopsis: Sparks fly when Violet (Jennifer Tilly) sets eyes on Corky (Gina Gershon) in an elevator. Violet is the girlfriend of... [More]

#2

Swimming Pool (2003)
83%

#2
Adjusted Score: 88049%
Critics Consensus: A sensual thriller with two engaging performers demanding our undivided attention.
Synopsis: When uptight British writer Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) has difficulty with her new detective novel, her publisher, John Bosload (Charles... [More]
Directed By: François Ozon

#1

Mulholland Dr. (2001)
84%

#1
Adjusted Score: 90299%
Critics Consensus: David Lynch's dreamlike and mysterious Mulholland Drive is a twisty neo-noir with an unconventional structure that features a mesmirizing performance from Naomi Watts as a woman on the dark fringes of Hollywood.
Synopsis: A dark-haired woman (Laura Elena Harring) is left amnesiac after a car crash. She wanders the streets of Los Angeles... [More]
Directed By: David Lynch

#1

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
76%

#1
Adjusted Score: 82227%
Critics Consensus: Kubrick's intense study of the human psyche yields an impressive cinematic work.
Synopsis: After Dr. Bill Hartford's (Tom Cruise) wife, Alice (Nicole Kidman), admits to having sexual fantasies about a man she met,... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#1

Weekend (2011)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 98017%
Critics Consensus: It may be a chamber piece but Weekend's revelations on modern sexuality expand far beyond the modest setting.
Synopsis: A gay man's (Tom Cullen) weekend-long encounter with an artist (Chris New) changes his life in unexpected ways.... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Haigh

#1

Body Heat (1981)

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Shyster lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt) begins a passionate affair with Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), wife of a wealthy Florida... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Kasdan

#1

Shame (2011)
79%

#1
Adjusted Score: 87692%
Critics Consensus: Boasting stellar performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, Shame is a powerful plunge into the mania of addiction affliction.
Synopsis: Successful and handsome New Yorker Brandon (Michael Fassbender) seems to live an ordinary life, but he hides a terrible secret... [More]
Directed By: Steve McQueen

#1

Showgirls (1995)
22%

#1
Adjusted Score: 24970%
Critics Consensus: Vile, contemptible, garish, and misogynistic -- and that might just be exactly Showgirls' point.
Synopsis: Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) arrives in Las Vegas with only a suitcase and a dream of becoming a top showgirl. She... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 35596%
Critics Consensus: While creatively better endowed than its print counterpart, Fifty Shades of Grey is a less than satisfying experience on the screen.
Synopsis: When college senior Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) steps in for her sick roommate to interview prominent businessman Christian Grey (Jamie... [More]
Directed By: Sam Taylor-Johnson

#1

Fear (1996)
46%

#1
Adjusted Score: 46808%
Critics Consensus: Fear has an appealing young cast, but their efforts aren't enough to consistently distract from an increasingly overblown - and illogical - teen stalker story.
Synopsis: When 16-year-old Nicole Walker (Reese Witherspoon) meets 23-year-old David McCall (Mark Wahlberg) at a Seattle nightclub, she falls in love.... [More]
Directed By: James Foley


BECAUSE THE MOVIE’S EVEN SCARIER IN PERFECT SILENCE…

#13

The Descent (2005)
86%

#13
Adjusted Score: 93863%
Critics Consensus: Deft direction and strong performances from its all-female cast guide The Descent, a riveting, claustrophobic horror film.
Synopsis: A year after a severe emotional trauma, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) goes to North Carolina to spend some time exploring caves... [More]
Directed By: Neil Marshall

#12

A Quiet Place (2018)
96%

#12
Adjusted Score: 118868%
Critics Consensus: A Quiet Place artfully plays on elemental fears with a ruthlessly intelligent creature feature that's as original as it is scary -- and establishes director John Krasinski as a rising talent.
Synopsis: If they hear you, they hunt you. A family must live in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by... [More]
Directed By: John Krasinski

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A beautiful young Frenchwoman, Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco), travels out to the country to visit her family and brings along... [More]
Directed By: Alexandre Aja

#10

The Strangers (2008)
48%

#10
Adjusted Score: 54443%
Critics Consensus: The Strangers has a handful of genuinely scary moments, but they're not enough to elevate the end results above standard slasher fare.
Synopsis: Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) are expecting a relaxing weekend at a family vacation home, but their stay... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Bertino

#9

Hush (2016)
93%

#9
Adjusted Score: 95382%
Critics Consensus: Hush navigates the bloody waters of home invasion thrillers and incisive slashers for a contemporary horror puree.
Synopsis: A deaf woman is stalked by a killer in her home.... [More]
Directed By: Mike Flanagan

#8

28 Days Later (2002)
87%

#8
Adjusted Score: 94188%
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory.
Synopsis: A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the "Rage" virus from a medical research... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#7

Alien (1979)
98%

#7
Adjusted Score: 108924%
Critics Consensus: A modern classic, Alien blends science fiction, horror and bleak poetry into a seamless whole.
Synopsis: In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#6

Dead Silence (2007)
21%

#6
Adjusted Score: 23344%
Critics Consensus: More tasteful than recent slasher flicks, but Dead Silence is undone by boring characters, bland dialogue, and an unnecessary and obvious twist ending.
Synopsis: After his wife meets a grisly end, Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten) returns to their creepy hometown of Ravens Fair to... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#5
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Desperate to make some money so she can move into a new apartment, college student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes... [More]
Directed By: Ti West

#1

The Others (2001)
83%

#1
Adjusted Score: 89447%
Critics Consensus: The Others is a spooky thriller that reminds us that a movie doesn't need expensive special effects to be creepy.
Synopsis: Grace (Nicole Kidman), the devoutly religious mother of Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), moves her family to the... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#4

Don't Breathe (2016)
88%

#4
Adjusted Score: 103105%
Critics Consensus: Don't Breathe smartly twists its sturdy premise to offer a satisfyingly tense, chilling addition to the home invasion genre that's all the more effective for its simplicity.
Synopsis: Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex and Money are three Detroit thieves who get their kicks by breaking into the houses of... [More]
Directed By: Fede Alvarez

#3

The Shining (1980)
85%

#3
Adjusted Score: 93702%
Critics Consensus: Though it deviates from Stephen King's novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness -- exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson.
Synopsis: Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block.... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#2

Wait Until Dark (1967)
96%

#2
Adjusted Score: 96529%
Critics Consensus: Nail-bitingly tense and brilliantly acted, Wait Until Dark is a compact thriller that makes the most of its fiendishly clever premise.
Synopsis: After a flight back home, Sam Hendrix (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) returns with a doll he innocently acquired along the way.... [More]
Directed By: Terence Young

#1

The Conjuring (2013)
86%

#1
Adjusted Score: 93985%
Critics Consensus: Well-crafted and gleefully creepy, The Conjuring ratchets up dread through a series of effective old-school scares.
Synopsis: In 1970, paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren are summoned to the home of... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 41730%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A retired police detective (Charles Durning) hunts a deranged British seaman out to re-create a baby sitter's (Carol Kane) horror.... [More]
Directed By: Fred Walton

#1

Silent House (2011)
43%

#1
Adjusted Score: 46809%
Critics Consensus: Silent House is more technically proficient and ambitious than most fright-fests, but it also suffers from a disappointing payoff.
Synopsis: Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is working with her father (Adam Trese) and uncle (Eric Sheffer Stevens) to renovate an old family... [More]
Directed By: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 106177%
Critics Consensus: It Comes at Night makes lethally effective use of its bare-bones trappings while proving once again that what's left unseen can be just as horrifying as anything on the screen.
Synopsis: After a mysterious apocalypse leaves the world with few survivors, two families are forced to share a home in an... [More]
Directed By: Trey Edward Shults

#1

The Orphanage (2007)
87%

#1
Adjusted Score: 94026%
Critics Consensus: Deeply unnerving and surprisingly poignant, The Orphanage is an atmospheric, beautifully crafted haunted house horror film that earns scares with a minimum of blood.
Synopsis: Laura (Belén Rueda) has happy memories of her childhood in an orphanage. She convinces her husband to buy the place... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona


Thumbnail image: Everett Collection, Paramount Pictures, Focus Features

Home video enthusiasts, prepare yourself for what may be the best week ever! This week you’ll have to choose between Academy Award flicks Rachel Getting Married (Best Actress Nominee, Anne Hathaway) and Milk (Best Actor, Sean Penn), plus a few films that should have been honored at this year’s Oscars (Happy-Go-Lucky, Let the Right One In). Next, consider a Certified Fresh comedy (Role Models), a Charlie Kaufman original (Synecdoche, New York), and a pair of period pics (Cadillac Records, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas). We won’t judge if you give Jason Statham’s latest a spin (Transporter 3), but we do insist that Blu-ray viewers pay attention to a few key re-mastered releases (Pinocchio 70th Anniversary Edition, The Batman Anthology). Dig in to RT on DVD for more!

Rachel Getting Married — 87%


Anne Hathaway put those Princess Diaries days behind her with an excellent (and Oscar-nominated) performance as Kym, a recovering drug addict who powers her way through her sister’s wedding like a locomotive in Jonathan Demme‘s Rachel Getting Married. Director Demme, best known for making films like The Silence of the Lambs (and in recent years, the acclaimed documentaries Neil Young: Heart of Gold and Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains), lends the proceedings the feel of a verité film, his viewer another guest at the weekend nuptials; the script from Jenny Lumet (Sidney’s daughter) stings and warms in equal measure.

One notable DVD featurette examines the film’s eclectic soundtrack, which includes songs from Robyn Hitchcock (who performs on-screen during the wedding), and TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adembimpe (who in a key role, plays Rachel’s fiancé). Deleted scenes, a cast and crew Q&A, and two commentary tracks highlight the remainder of the bonus menu. Watch an exclusive clip below.

Next: Watch Sean Penn’s Oscar-winning performance in Milk

Milk — 93%

Two weeks ago on Oscar night, a pair of acceptance speeches reminded us that sometimes movies are about more than just entertainment. Both Sean Penn (who won the Academy Award for Best Actor) and Dustin Lance Black (who won for Best Original Screenplay) honored slain San Francisco politician and gay rights advocate Harvey Milk, whose life and work became the basis for Gus Van Sant’s moving biopic, Milk. Penn, no stranger to politics, and Black, a Mormon-raised gay writer who thanked Milk for helping him overcome his own struggles, are just two reasons to pick up the triumphant, bittersweet period drama this week. (Need another reason? It’s among the best-reviewed films of 2008.)

Bonus features include deleted scenes and three featurettes on the real-life Harvey Milk and the intersection of Hollywood and gay rights.

Next: The best movie you didn’t see in 2008, Let the Right One In

A piece of future advice for 2010: don’t get caught buying a ticket to the American remake of Let the Right One In without having seen the original. This Swedish vampire tale, adapted by writer John Ajvide Lindqvist from his own novel and directed by Tomas Alfredson, is a quiet miracle of a film that, in this writer’s opinion, deserved a shot at the Foreign Oscar race (it went un-nominated by its home country). Part fang horror, part coming-of-age romance, Let the Right One In tells the story of young, bullied Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) and his new neighbor, Eli (Lina Leandersson), a girl who appears to be Oskar’s age but in fact is a blood-drinking vampire who must keep her secret from the public eye; when her older human caretaker leaves (was he once, like Oskar, young and in love with Eli?) the pair turn to one another for help and companionship, captured poetically by Alfredson. It’s one of the most beautiful — and dark, and darkly humorous — films of last year, and a much-needed jumpstart to a genre that’s become reliant on mediocrity and gore.

Deleted scenes and a making-of documentary comprise a disappointingly light special features menu, but if sales do well don’t be surprised to get a commentary track on an eventual double dip.

Next: Catch Sally Hawkins’ infectious cheer in Happy-Go-Lucky!

Should British actress Sally Hawkins have earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a supremely cheerful school teacher in Mike Leigh‘s Happy-Go-Lucky? We say yes, but judge for yourself this week as the intimate, infectious film makes its way to home video. Through a series of real-life trials that might test the patience of any normal person, the effervescent Poppy (Hawkins, who workshopped the role with Leigh) maintains a smile no matter how rough life gets — to the consternation of her grumpy driving instructor, Scott (a hilariously on-edge Eddie Marsan), and perhaps, also to viewers. Only a few extra features are to be found here, including a commentary track by director Leigh, although one behind-the-scenes featurette in particular provides insight into the creation of the film and of the Poppy character, whose bliss is anything but ignorant.

Next: Raunchy laughs with Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott in Role Models

Role Models — 76%

Director David Wain has had a hit-or-miss career with his comedies (I blame that Stella sense of humor) but his latest flick, Role Models, is a solid combination of crass humor, strong characterizations, and dorkiness of the RPG-playing kind. Which is to say, I was sold. The Certified Fresh comedy — a rarity these days, unless your name is Judd Apatow — follows energy drink-selling buddies Danny and Wheeler (Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott) sentenced to mentor a pair of troubled kids as community service: sword-wielding LARP devotee (that’s Live Action Role Playing game to you non-nerds), Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, AKA Superbad‘s McLovin’) and foul-mouthed troublemaker Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson, who steals the show).

The DVD includes both the theatrical cut and an uncut version that runs three minutes longer, as well as a host of featurettes/deleted scenes/alternate takes. Look for Knocked Up OB-GYN Ken Jeong in a scene-stealing role as the king of Augie’s role-playing realm.

Next: Charlie Kaufman’s challenging Synecdoche, New York

If you’re a fan of Charlie Kaufman, chances are you’re enamored of the signature complexities of his screenplays for films like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Well, if you like those Kaufman flicks, just try to wrap your mind around his latest, which also marks his directorial debut. Synecdoche, New York tells the story of a struggling playwright (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who decides to mount his life’s greatest work — an autobiographical play with no ending — in a giant warehouse, casting actors to play himself and his loved ones until the whole thing takes on a meta-quality that will have you scratching your head well past the end credits. It’s impressive stuff, if fairly impenetrable; as Roger Ebert advises, see it twice. Four DVD featurettes, including a Blogger’s Roundtable discussion of the film with Glenn Kenny, Walter Chaw, Andrew Grant, Karina Longworth, and Chris Beaubien, should help you filter Kaufman’s opus.

Next: Transporter 3 the worst of the franchise, but hey — it’s Jason Statham!

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who actually want to see Transporter 3, and those who wouldn’t do it for a million bucks. (There’s also my kind — people who had to see it and wish they didn’t.) While the first Transporter (53%) is a straight-up pleasure, and the second (51%) is more of a guilty one, this third flick — directed by Olivier Megaton, who named himself after Hiroshima — is a slim imitation of a Transporter movie, and features the worst actress of the entire franchise (newcomer Natalya Rudakova, who was apparently discovered by Luc Besson on the street). But if you like the idea of watching Jason Statham fight baddies using a dress shirt as a weapon (all the while getting increasingly unclothed), then Transporter 3 might not feel like a complete waste of time.

Next: Beyonce, Mos Def sing the blues in Cadillac Records

If soul music is your bag, then Cadillac Records should be worth a rental; the biographical tale of Chess Records, the studio that brought musicians like Etta James (Beyonce Knowles) and Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright) to the masses in the 1960s, earned decent enough reviews but critics agreed the light drama coasted on the strength of its music. Adrien Brody stars as Leonard Chess, the R&B-loving businessman who made it all happen; Beyonce, Wright, and Mos Def (as Chuck Berry) hit all the right notes in performing their own songs. Featurettes, deleted scenes, and a commentary by director Darnell Martin supplement the disc.

Next: Holocaust dramatics in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

A German boy befriends a Jewish prisoner and begins to question the Nazi way of life in this Holocaust drama, which drew mixed reviews from critics. While some thought it among the best films of the year, others criticized its execution and the decision to turn an event as horrific as the Holocaust into a parable. Deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and a commentary track by writer/director Mark Herman and author John Boyne, who wrote the original book of the same name.

Next: Pinocchio celebrates his 70th birthday on Blu-ray

Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray — 100%

It’s hard to believe that Disney’s classic adventure Pinocchio is already celebrating its 70th birthday, but what’s even more incredible is how good a job the Mouse House has done with this Blu-ray release; every single scene is a dazzling work of art. Disney’s remastering process has burnished the film with an amazing clarity and richness, so much so that watching Pinocchio again this way is like watching it for the first time. You’ll be swept away by the painterly details that the Blu-ray cut reveals — the way something as simple as an ocean wave laps against another in the background, or how the camera turns to follow Pinocchio walk up and down a street despite the medium’s two-dimensional constraints.

Fans of the wooden hero (or of Disney animation history in general) should employ either the new pop up trivia track or the “Cine-Explore” track featuring film critic Leonard Maltin, animator Eric Goldberg, and J.B. Kaufman. In addition to behind-the-scenes documentary features that cover all things Pinocchio, Disney has included deleted scenes (told via storyboards), production galleries, archival trailers from every one of Pinocchio‘s theatrical releases, games, alternate viewing options (including the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio), and, as with Disney’s Blu-ray titles, a standard DVD of the film. Wish upon a star for this stellar (and limited edition!) Blu-ray release.

Next: Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology on Blu-ray

It’s that Bat-time, people: time to sit down with all four pre-Nolan Batman flicks and revisit the franchise before the franchise, from Batman (69%) to Batman Returns (77%) to Batman Forever (44%) to Batman & Robin (12%)! Warner Bros. is releasing all four films to DVD and Blu-ray (each in their own 2-disc Special Edition), and though the set does not include either Batman Begins (84%) or The Dark Knight (94%) (or the camp-tastic 1966 version), keep in mind that a double and triple dip is inevitable. That said, if you’re a Batman completist and love the high def format, you’ll find that these remastered flicks look and sound good even one to two decades after initial release. Just watch out for those Blu-ray-enhanced codpieces.

A host of commentary tracks, deleted scenes, featurettes, and even a four-film spanning “Shadows of the Bat” documentary come within the box set, though there are no added materials beyond what has already appeared in the anthology on standard DVD.

Until next week, happy renting!

The 34th annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, held January 12, honored Manoel de Oliveira — as well as a number of outstanding films and filmmakers, all listed below.

Best Picture:
Wall-E (runner-up: The Dark Knight)

Best Director:
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire (runner-up: Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight)

Best Actress:
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky (runner-up: Melissa Leo, Frozen River)

Best Actor:
Sean Penn, Milk (runner-up: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler)

Best Screenplay:
Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky (runner-up: Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York)

Best Supporting Actress:
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona (runner-up: Viola Davis, Doubt)

Best Supporting Actor:
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight (runner-up: Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky)

Best Foreign Language Film:
Still Life (runner-up: The Class)

Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film:
Man On Wire (runner-up: Waltz With Bashir)

Best Production Design:
Mark Friedberg, Synecdoche, New York (runner-up: Nathan Crowley, The Dark Knight)

Best Animation:
Waltz With Bashir

Best Music/Score:
A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire (runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

Best Cinematography:
Yu Lik Wai, Still Life (runner-up: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire)

Source: Los Angeles Film Critics Association

Charlie Kaufman is one of Hollywood’s most original thinkers, and his quirky, complex, thought provoking scripts have been the basis for some of the oddest — and most strangely affecting — films of recent years. Now, the wildly inventive screenwriter behind Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (for which he won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay) turns to directing with Synecdoche, New York.

A complex, aching meditation on aging and the artistic process, Synecdoche stars Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as Caden Cotard, a theater director in upstate New York who, during a period of tension with his wife (Catherine Keener), works to mount a sprawling, wildly ambitious play that encompasses his life and the lives of virtually everyone around him — often with multiple actors and actresses playing or standing in for other characters. Kaufman sat down with RT to discuss the nexus between art and life, the nature of autobiographical storytelling, and the process of staying true to one’s vision.

What was the initial idea you had in creating Synecdoche, New York?

Charlie Kaufman: Spike Jonze and I were approached by Sony to do a horror movie. We talked about things that we thought were really scary in the world, as opposed to horror movie conventions. We talked about things like mortality and illness and time passing and loneliness and regret. We kinda went in with that, and we got assigned to go off and write it, and I spent a couple years trying to explore those notions, and that’s what the movie is.

A lot of your writings deal with the juncture between art and life.

CK: In this case, and maybe in other cases, these are worlds that I know, so I utilize them. I think that people create the world that they live in. Your existence is very subjective, and you tell stories and organize the world outside of you into these stories to help you understand it. I don’t think the world objectively exists the way we think it exists, you know? There’s a constant sort of storytelling process. So in that sense, what Caden is doing in this movie is larger than the issue of the creative process in the arts. It’s the creative process of existence. He’s trying to sort through — like everybody is — his life, and trying to assign meaning to it, and aging in the process, and trying to deal with the issues that come up in his life, and trying to understand them.

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Caden Cotard in Synecdoche, New York.

How autobiographical are your scripts?

CK: I mean, I think they’re autobiographical in that anything that anybody writes is autobiographical. You can’t get away from it. The things that are of interest in this movie are things that are of interest to me. I’m not Caden Cotard. I’m not that person. But a lot of his concerns are my concerns, and I don’t know how it could be otherwise. The alternative would be to write about things that don’t interest me, which I don’t think any writer does.

You’ve probably heard the whole “meta” label a million times at this point. Are you tired of it? Or is it something you strive for, to create films that work outside the way that other movies operate?

CK: I’m interested in trying to explore what I think is the truth at a given time in my life, and part of the process of being honest is — in my mind — talking about the idea that you’re watching a movie. You’re sitting here watching a movie. And I like that. It appeals to me intellectually, and also in a way I can’t even explain. It tickles me, you know? It’s always tickled me, and they’re ideas I get excited by, and you go toward what you’re excited by, I think, when you’re writing. It’s an intuitive process for me. People say, “Why John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich?” Well, because I thought it was funny, you know? And if you think something is funny, then there’s some resonance there. You hope at some point when it goes out into the world that it resonates with other people, but really, the only gauge that you have is what you think. To not pander. As a writer, or as a filmmaker, you have to present yourself, and part of what yourself is is what you’re interested in, or what you think is funny, or what you think is sad, or what you think is horrible.

How much is Nicolas Cage like the real you in Adaptation? One can’t help but think about that when watching the movie…

CK: …And I put that situation out there to be thought of because obviously I named him after me. On a very surface level, there are many things about what happened in that story that happened. I mean, I did get stuck writing this thing. I struggled in the way that he did. I came up with the idea to put myself in there. I do have, at different times, a certain kind of self-consciousness in the world, an insecurity. [But] once I was there with that world, I was free in my mind to make things up, and to blur the line, because that’s interesting to me. So yeah, there are things, obviously, about the character of Charlie that aren’t true. I don’t have a twin brother, for example. It’s a device. And once I came up with it as a device to give Charlie someone to talk to, because he’s a writer living alone with no friends, then it excited me, because I thought, “Well, what if this opposite version of him decides that he wants to be a writer?” And then all of a sudden, all this other stuff opened up for me that was fun to think about.

What’s the difference between writing and directing? Do you think you can get more of what’s in your head on the screen when you’re directing?

CK: I wanted to try. I think directing and writing are very different jobs, and that is very apparent to me now. It probably was before, but now I understand more so why they’re different. Obviously, directing is a more social and managerial job. The other thing about directing is that it’s a very, very pragmatic job, and writing isn’t. You spend most of your time as a director trying to move forward with the movie. It happens on a daily basis, if not more than once a day, that you are struggling with budgetary constraints. Whereas when you’re writing, the limitation that you have is your imagination. So it’s decidedly non-pragmatic.

Charlie Kaufman (second from left) on the set of Synecdoche, New York.

Synecdoche, New York seems a lot darker than the other stuff you’ve done. That’s not to say your other films were necessarily light-hearted…

CK: Depending on the audience, it seems to get a lot of laughs. But yeah, I think I know what you’re saying. One of the things is that I’m moving — as a person and as a writer — through time. I’m a different age now. I’m thinking about different things. I have different life experiences. I’m trying to get closer to being honest. And by closer I mean that at different ages I have different ideas of what the truth is, and at any point I’m trying to express that at that moment in time. I think one of the things I wanted to do in this movie was not have an out for people. If there are any expectations for things that I write, I think there’s an expectation that there’s going to be some sort of thing that the audience gets at some point that is like a clever thing that is kind of an out, like, “Oh yeah! I get it now. OK, I can go home now. That’s clever,” if they like it. I decided not to do that this time. I wanted to tell the story, and I wanted it — within the realm of realm of the dream logic and the surreal stuff in the movie — I wanted it to be true. And the truth of it was, this man goes through his life, and there isn’t a moment where you go, “Oh! That’s what this is about. Now I feel safe.” This would be a like a free fall until the end of his life, and that’s what I did.

What are you working on now?

CK: I’m trying to write something new, but it’s very early on. I don’t know what it’s gonna be yet.

When I was watching the film, it kind of reminded me of Luis Bunuel‘s That Obscure Object of Desire, in that there was a certain fluidity to some of the characters; some would seem to act as proxies for others.

CK: I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen that movie. I’m getting these things that I’ve never seen. A lot of people say [the film reminds them of] 8 1/2, which I’ve never seen. I’ve heard All That Jazz [as well]. And in fact, if I see another movie, and I see that I’m thinking along the lines of something else, I won’t do it. For example, I really like David Lynch. He deals with dream reality a lot. But my dreams and David Lynch’s dreams are not the same. I didn’t want to incorporate his dreams. As much as I love them, they’re his. I’m trying to find my own. I want to do my own thing, and I’m trying to get closer to realizing that as a filmmaker.

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