(Photo by Consolidated Pictures Group/courtesy Everett Collection)

80 Best Dog Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

Dogs: Man’s best friend, movie’s most endangered hero. Seriously, how many times have we gone into a dog movie hoping we didn’t just get suckered into another one where the dog dies in the end? But some of those movies make up the classics. And some of those movies where the dog lives happily after ever, with a nice house and a bowl of kibble and a robust 401k, are also classics. And some dog movies ain’t so classic, but people love ’em anyways, so we’re including those, and all the other good boys and girls of canine cinema for our guide to the 80 Best Dog Movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

First, we’ve retrieved all the golden films of yesteryear, like Old Yeller, Lassie, and The Incredible Journey. Then we rescued those nearly forgotten from the kennels of history, including Wendy and Lucy, Sounder, and Megan Leavey. After that, we introduced them to the tearjerkers of today, such as Hachi: A Dog’s Tale and Marley and Me.

Because dogs can take on new dimensions of ferocity and cuteness in animation, there’s plenty to see here in this list. Take the Disney classics (The Fox and the Hound, Bolt). Add a little stop-motion (Isle of Dogs, Frankenweenie). And, of course, bring along the ones that can solve mysteries (Scooby-Doo), hold a job (Wallace, he of Gromit), and pilot their house (Snoopy, Come Home).

And we approached the dogs that could benefit from a little obedience school, like the ones in Cujo, White Dog, and its reverse friend White God. Also, because seekers of dog movies don’t necessarily mind some treacly sentiment the way critics do, we’re opening the doggie doors to some movies rated Rotten that audiences adore, like Balto and All Dogs Go to Heaven.

Finally, we took home some films that aren’t strictly known as dog movies (e.g. Umberto D, As Good As It Gets, I Am Legend) but whose (canine) stars play a significant role in the plot, and generate (human) character development.

Time to let all of them off the leash for the 80 Best Dog Movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#80

The Stray (2017)
40%

#80
Adjusted Score: 31404%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Young Christian Davis finds a stray dog named Pluto and decides to bring it home to his parents and two... [More]
Directed By: Mitch Davis

#79
#79
Adjusted Score: 43439%
Critics Consensus: Despite hitting some sweet notes, Beverly Hills Chihuahua is little more than disposable family entertainment.
Synopsis: Chloe (Drew Barrymore), a pampered Chihuahua from Beverly Hills, gets an unwelcome taste of the real world when she gets... [More]
Directed By: Raja Gosnell

#78

101 Dalmatians (1996)
41%

#78
Adjusted Score: 41649%
Critics Consensus: Neat performance from Glenn Close aside, 101 Dalmatians is a bland, pointless remake.
Synopsis: Fashion designer Anita and computer-game writer Roger meet, fall in love and marry along with their dalmatians Perdita and Pongo.... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#77
Adjusted Score: 50879%
Critics Consensus: Its heartstring-tugging overtures may be difficult for dog lovers to resist, but The Art of Racing in the Rain is sentimental and contrived.
Synopsis: Denny Swift is a Formula One race car driver who understands that the techniques needed on the racetrack can also... [More]
Directed By: Simon Curtis

#76

Zeus and Roxanne (1997)
44%

#76
Adjusted Score: 29608%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Children engineer a romance between their single parents (Steve Guttenberg, Kathleen Quinlan), while his dog and her dolphin bond.... [More]
Directed By: George Miller

#75
#75
Adjusted Score: 44746%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this animated feature, canine casino owner Charlie (Burt Reynolds) is killed by gambler Carface (Vic Tayback), but returns to... [More]
Directed By: Don Bluth

#74
Adjusted Score: 21933%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A mischievous puppy (Scott Wolf) joins a pack of strays when he leaves home to pursue a more exciting life.... [More]
Directed By: Darrell Rooney

#73

Air Bud (1997)
45%

#73
Adjusted Score: 45645%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Diffident in the wake of his father's death, high schooler Josh (Kevin Zegers) struggles to adapt to his new home... [More]
Directed By: Charles Martin Smith

#72

Hotel for Dogs (2009)
46%

#72
Adjusted Score: 49596%
Critics Consensus: Hotel for Dogs may appeal to children and dog lovers, but it's ultimately contrived, predictable, and simplistic.
Synopsis: After moving into a foster home that forbids pets, siblings Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin) must quickly... [More]
Directed By: Thor Freudenthal

#71

Rock Dog (2016)
47%

#71
Adjusted Score: 50475%
Critics Consensus: Rock Dog is amiable enough, but its second-tier animation and uninspired story add up to a movie whose meager charms are likely to escape all but the youngest and least demanding viewers.
Synopsis: For the Tibetan mastiffs on Snow Mountain, a dog's life has a simple riff -- guard a peaceful village of... [More]
Directed By: Ash Brannon

#70

Benji the Hunted (1987)
55%

#70
Adjusted Score: 54056%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a shipwreck separates the courageous dog Benji from his trainer (Frank Inn), the crafty canine must brave the dangers... [More]
Directed By: Joe Camp

#69

The Shaggy D.A. (1976)
50%

#69
Adjusted Score: 19054%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When successful lawyer Wilby Daniels (Dean Jones) returns from vacation to find his home has been burglarized, he decides to... [More]
Directed By: Robert Stevenson

#68

A Dog's Journey (2019)
51%

#68
Adjusted Score: 54581%
Critics Consensus: A Dog's Journey is as sentimental as one might expect, but even cynical viewers may find their ability to resist shedding a tear stretched to the puppermost limit.
Synopsis: Bailey is living the good life on the Michigan farm of his boy, Ethan and Ethan's wife Hannah. He even... [More]
Directed By: Gail Mancuso

#67
Adjusted Score: 14363%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scooby and friends investigate creepy goings-on and a mystery involving a famous horror writer in a small Massachusetts town.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#66

Oliver & Company (1988)
50%

#66
Adjusted Score: 53476%
Critics Consensus: Predictable and stodgy, Oliver & Company isn't one of Disney's best, though its colorful cast of characters may be enough to entertain young viewers looking for a little adventure.
Synopsis: In this animated update of the classic "Oliver Twist" tale, Oliver (Joey Lawrence) is an orphaned kitten taken in by... [More]
Directed By: George Scribner

#65

Turner & Hooch (1989)
52%

#65
Adjusted Score: 52814%
Critics Consensus: Tom Hanks makes Turner and Hooch more entertaining than it might look on paper, but ultimately, this is still a deeply silly comedy about a cop and a canine.
Synopsis: Det. Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) is an uptight, by-the-book police officer who hopes to leave his sleepy California town and... [More]
Directed By: Roger Spottiswoode

#64
Adjusted Score: 53323%
Critics Consensus: While a dull affair for parents, Clifford's Really Big Movie should charm its intended preschool audience.
Synopsis: A gigantic red dog (John Ritter) leaves home and becomes the main attraction at a traveling circus.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Ramirez

#63
Adjusted Score: 34713%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Seaver family arrives at San Francisco International Airport to catch a flight to Canada. They check in their pets:... [More]
Directed By: David R. Ellis

#62

Balto (1995)
54%

#62
Adjusted Score: 54864%
Critics Consensus: Balto is a well-meaning adventure with spirited animation, but mushy sentimentality and bland characterization keeps it at paw's length from more sophisticated family fare.
Synopsis: In this animated feature, a deadly diphtheria epidemic strikes the remote town of Nome, Alaska. With the life-saving medicine located... [More]
Directed By: Simon Wells

#61

Cats & Dogs (2001)
53%

#61
Adjusted Score: 57285%
Critics Consensus: A great concept, but the movie fails to develop the characters and some of the jokes are hit-or-miss.
Synopsis: "Cats & Dogs" uncovers the truth about the high-tech, secret war being waged in neighborhoods everywhere that humans aren't even... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Guterman

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 58453%
Critics Consensus: An old-fashioned, if bland, adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's novel.
Synopsis: Abandoned by her mother years ago, Opal (AnnaSophia Robb), a 10-year-old girl, moves with her preacher father (Jeff Daniels) to... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Wang

#59
Adjusted Score: 30993%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While sailing off the shore of British Columbia, John McCormick (Bruce Davison), his son, Angus (Jesse Bradford), and the boy's... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Borsos

#58

A Dog's Way Home (2019)
59%

#58
Adjusted Score: 63187%
Critics Consensus: A Dog's Way Home may not quite be a family-friendly animal drama fan's best friend, but this canine adventure is no less heartwarming for its familiarity.
Synopsis: As a puppy, Bella finds her way into the arms of Lucas, a young man who gives her a good... [More]
Directed By: Charles Martin Smith

#57

Benji (2018)
60%

#57
Adjusted Score: 38548%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A dog comes to the rescue and helps heal a broken family when a boy and his sister stumble into... [More]
Directed By: Brandon Camp

#56
Adjusted Score: 14363%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Transported into a video game, the gang must survive different levels of difficulty to solve a mystery.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 69768%
Critics Consensus: The Secret Life of Pets 2 doesn't teach its animated stars any new narrative tricks -- but for fans of the original, this funny, energetic sequel should still satisfy.
Synopsis: Explore the emotional lives of pets and the deep bond between them and the families that love them as Max,... [More]
Directed By: Chris Renaud

#54

Cujo (1983)
62%

#54
Adjusted Score: 64447%
Critics Consensus: Cujo is artless work punctuated with moments of high canine gore and one wild Dee Wallace performance.
Synopsis: In this tale of a killer canine, man's best friend turns into his worst enemy. When sweet St. Bernard Cujo... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Teague

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 76282%
Critics Consensus: It's undermined by distracting and unnecessary CGI, but this heartwarming Call of the Wild remains a classic story, affectionately retold.
Synopsis: Buck is a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life gets turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his... [More]
Directed By: Chris Sanders

#52

Iron Will (1994)
67%

#52
Adjusted Score: 66188%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: His father's demise leaves young Will Stoneman (Mackenzie Astin) and his mother struggling to save their farm from financial ruin.... [More]
Directed By: Charles Haid

#51

Marley & Me (2008)
63%

#51
Adjusted Score: 67367%
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

#50

White Fang (1991)
65%

#50
Adjusted Score: 65791%
Critics Consensus: This glossy edition of White Fang shaves off the rough-hewn edges that made Jack London's epic story so distinct, but gorgeous photography and heartfelt performances make this an appealing adventure.
Synopsis: This adaptation of Jack London's wilderness tale focuses on young Jack Conroy (Ethan Hawke), who has arrived in Alaska to... [More]
Directed By: Randal Kleiser

#49

Dog Days (2018)
62%

#49
Adjusted Score: 65433%
Critics Consensus: Dog Days is frivolous but frothy, sporting a forgettable cast of human characters but a lovable troupe of pooches that ought to delight viewers looking for a gentle affirmation of humanity's bond with their furry friends.
Synopsis: Elizabeth is a charming anchorwoman who seeks advice from her dog's therapist. Tara is a spunky barista who dreams of... [More]
Directed By: Ken Marino

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 64190%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A college professor (Richard Gere) forms a lasting bond with a dog that he finds on a train platform.... [More]
Directed By: Lasse Hallström

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 67466%
Critics Consensus: Lady and the Tramp's cute dogs and likable cast work well enough, but the live-action update lacks some of the magic that made the original 1955 film such a delight.
Synopsis: In this heartwarming romantic adventure, a timeless re-telling of the 1955 animated classic, Lady, an overachieving, pampered American Cocker Spaniel... [More]
Directed By: Charlie Bean

#46

The Plague Dogs (1982)
63%

#46
Adjusted Score: 50330%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this animation, Snitter (John Hurt) and Rowf (Christopher Benjamin) are two dogs trapped in a lab where they are... [More]
Directed By: Martin Rosen

#45
Adjusted Score: 15019%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A scrappy puppy tries to rescue his siblings after evil Cruella kidnaps them.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Kammerud, Brian Smith

#44

The Shaggy Dog (1959)
68%

#44
Adjusted Score: 69135%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The son of dog-hating former mailman Wilson Daniels (Fred MacMurray), young Wilby (Tommy Kirk) accidentally becomes a canine himself when... [More]
Directed By: Charles Barton

#43

I Am Legend (2007)
68%

#43
Adjusted Score: 77384%
Critics Consensus: I Am Legend overcomes questionable special effects and succeeds largely on the strength of Will Smith's mesmerizing performance.
Synopsis: Robert Neville (Will Smith), a brilliant scientist, is a survivor of a man-made plague that transforms humans into bloodthirsty mutants.... [More]
Directed By: Francis Lawrence

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 70029%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Young Marty (Zachary Browne) adopts Shiloh, a beagle mistreated by its former owner, local hunter and town drunk Judd (Scott... [More]
Directed By: Sandy Tung

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 71582%
Critics Consensus: The Fox and the Hound is a likeable, charming, unassuming effort that manages to transcend its thin, predictable plot.
Synopsis: After his mother is killed, Tod the fox (Mickey Rooney) is taken in by the kindly Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan).... [More]

#40
Adjusted Score: 39354%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this sequel, the hero of the first film, Jack Conroy, passes the torch to adventure-seeker Henry Casey (Scott Bairstow)... [More]
Directed By: Ken Olin

#39

Eight Below (2006)
72%

#39
Adjusted Score: 78241%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a stellar cast of marooned mutts, who deftly display emotion, tenderness, loyalty and resolve, Eight Below is a heartwarming and exhilarating adventure film.
Synopsis: The frozen wasteland of Antarctica serves as the background for a tale about the bonds of friendship and loyalty. Three... [More]
Directed By: Frank Marshall

#38

Shiloh (1997)
73%

#38
Adjusted Score: 59230%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Young Marty Preston (Blake Heron) wants to keep a beagle dog that followed him home. He even names him Shiloh.... [More]
Directed By: Dale Rosenbloom

#37

My Dog Skip (2000)
73%

#37
Adjusted Score: 75633%
Critics Consensus: Critics say My Dog Skip is cute, wholesome entertainment for the family. It's especially designed to appeal to your sentiment, but you might find yourself choking up just the same.
Synopsis: Who says best friends have to be human? Not Willie Morris (Frankie Muniz), who receives a talented terrier named Skip... [More]
Directed By: Jay Russell

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 86698%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and blessed with a talented voice cast, The Secret Life of Pets offers a beautifully animated, cheerfully undemanding family-friendly diversion.
Synopsis: Max (Louis C.K.) is a spoiled terrier who enjoys a comfortable life in a New York building until his owner... [More]
Directed By: Chris Renaud

#35

Wiener-Dog (2016)
74%

#35
Adjusted Score: 80780%
Critics Consensus: For filmgoers predisposed to enjoy Todd Solondz' brand of black comedy, Wiener-Dog won't disappoint -- but those put off by previous works need not apply.
Synopsis: A cute dachshund puppy finds itself shuffled from one oddball owner to the next, including two couples, a veterinary nurse... [More]
Directed By: Todd Solondz

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 77575%
Critics Consensus: An offbeat, eccentric black comedy, A Boy and His Dog features strong dialogue and an oddball vision of the future.
Synopsis: Vic (Don Johnson) is a libidinous 18-year-old traversing the post-apocalyptic desert of 2024, in the company of his telepathic dog,... [More]
Directed By: L.Q. Jones

#33
Adjusted Score: 17934%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When their van breaks down in a remote desert town, Scooby and the gang find themselves surrounded by aliens.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#32

White Fang (2018)
80%

#32
Adjusted Score: 51397%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young boy befriends a half-breed wolf as he searches for his father, who has mysteriously gone missing during the... [More]
Directed By: Alexandre Espigares

#31
Adjusted Score: 77723%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A cat and a dog find perils and mates after straying from their farm in Japan. Narrated by Dudley Moore.... [More]
Directed By: Masanori Hata

#30

Alpha (2018)
80%

#30
Adjusted Score: 87545%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and beautifully filmed, Alpha offers a canine-assisted epic adventure that blends rousing action with an extra helping of canine charm.
Synopsis: Young Keda tries to survive alone in the wilderness after he's left for dead during his first hunt with his... [More]
Directed By: Albert Hughes

#29

Baxter (1989)
89%

#29
Adjusted Score: 37918%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A bull terrier observes the behavior of an old lady, a young couple and a troubled boy and adapts his... [More]
Directed By: Jérôme Boivin

#28

Red Dog (2011)
83%

#28
Adjusted Score: 83694%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A dog unites a fractured community while searching for its master.... [More]
Directed By: Kriv Stenders

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 89981%
Critics Consensus: James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson, doing what they do best, combine smart dialogue and flawless acting to squeeze fresh entertainment value out of the romantic-comedy genre.
Synopsis: Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is an obsessive-compulsive writer of romantic fiction who's rude to everyone he meets, including his gay... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#26

Wendy and Lucy (2008)
85%

#26
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

#25
Adjusted Score: 45012%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scooby (Scott Innes) and the rest of the Mystery, Inc., crew encounter creepy characters at a haunted house on a... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#24

Benji (1974)
86%

#24
Adjusted Score: 69398%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Stray dog Benji doesn't need an owner, preferring to roam freely all over his friendly Texas town. He delights in... [More]
Directed By: Joe Camp

#23

Oddball (2015)
87%

#23
Adjusted Score: 86530%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A chicken farmer and his granddaughter train a dog to protect a penguin sanctuary from foxes.... [More]
Directed By: Stuart McDonald

#22
Adjusted Score: 87908%
Critics Consensus: Disney's remake of The Incredible Journey successfully replicates, and in some ways improves upon, the simple charms of the original, with its cross-country animal odyssey sure to delight kids.
Synopsis: Before the Seavers leave for a family vacation to San Francisco, they drop off their pets -- Chance (Michael J.... [More]
Directed By: Duwayne Dunham

#21

Megan Leavey (2017)
86%

#21
Adjusted Score: 92166%
Critics Consensus: Megan Leavey honors its real-life subjects with a sensitive, uplifting drama whose honest emotion more than makes up for its mild approach to the story.
Synopsis: The true life story of Megan Leavey, a young Marine corporal whose unique discipline and bond with a military combat... [More]

#20

Frankenweenie (2012)
87%

#20
Adjusted Score: 96448%
Critics Consensus: Frankenweenie is an energetic stop-motion horror movie spoof with lovingly crafted visuals and a heartfelt, oddball story.
Synopsis: Young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is a science nerd and outsider at school, but he does have one good friend:... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#19

Lassie (1994)
88%

#19
Adjusted Score: 87267%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On their way to start a new life at a sheep farm in rural Virginia, the Turner family are halted... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Petrie

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 88064%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An unlikely trio of pets -- aging bull terrier Bodger, spry Labrador retriever Luath, and Siamese cat Tao -- begin... [More]
Directed By: Fletcher Markle

#17

White God (2014)
88%

#17
Adjusted Score: 92021%
Critics Consensus: White God isn't an easy watch, but its soaring ambition and powerful acting -- human and canine alike -- make it well worth the effort.
Synopsis: Failing in his efforts to find his beloved owner (Zsófia Psotta), an abandoned dog eventually joins a canine revolt against... [More]
Directed By: Kornél Mundruczó

#16

Sounder (1972)
90%

#16
Adjusted Score: 91608%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Morgans, a family of poor black sharecroppers in the Depression-plagued South, struggle to find enough to eat despite the... [More]
Directed By: Martin Ritt

#15

Bolt (2008)
89%

#15
Adjusted Score: 96474%
Critics Consensus: Bolt is a pleasant animated comedy that overcomes the story's familiarity with strong visuals and likable characters.
Synopsis: The days of canine superstar Bolt (John Travolta) are filled with danger and intrigue ... until the cameras stop rolling.... [More]

#14

Togo (2019)
92%

#14
Adjusted Score: 93560%
Critics Consensus: An endearing and exciting underdog story that benefits greatly from its stars (canine and human alike), Togo is a timeless tale, well-told.
Synopsis: "Togo" is the true story set in the winter of 1925 of champion dogsled trainer Leonhard Seppala and his lead... [More]
Directed By: Ericson Core

#13

My Dog Tulip (2009)
90%

#13
Adjusted Score: 91585%
Critics Consensus: A beautifully animated diversion, My Dog Tulip is as comforting and delightful as cuddling with your own canine companion.
Synopsis: Despite a lack of affinity for dogs, a confirmed bachelor (Christopher Plummer) adopts an Alsatian and forms a close bond... [More]

#12

Isle of Dogs (2018)
90%

#12
Adjusted Score: 111580%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director's most winsomely charming stories.
Synopsis: When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island,... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#11

White Dog (1982)
92%

#11
Adjusted Score: 92319%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An animal-trainer (Paul Winfield) tries to deprogram an actress's (Kristy McNichol) found dog, trained for racial attacks.... [More]
Directed By: Samuel Fuller

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 92738%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Charlie Brown's (Chad Webber) beloved dog Snoopy (Bill Melendez) receives a letter from his original owner, Lila (Johanna Baer), who... [More]
Directed By: Bill Melendez

#9

Lassie (2005)
93%

#9
Adjusted Score: 94334%
Critics Consensus: A beautifully-made retelling of the classic collie tale, one need not be a dog-lover to fall for Lassie.
Synopsis: Young Joe Carraclough (Jonathan Mason) and his family (Samantha Morton, John Lynch) love their faithful collie, Lassie. However, when Joe's... [More]
Directed By: Charles Sturridge

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 97157%
Critics Consensus: A nostalgic charmer, Lady and the Tramp's token sweetness is mighty but the songs and richly colored animation are technically superb and make for a memorable experience.
Synopsis: This Disney animated classic follows a pampered cocker spaniel named Lady (Barbara Luddy) whose comfortable life slips away once her... [More]

#7

Lassie Come Home (1943)
94%

#7
Adjusted Score: 94707%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In a small Yorkshire village during the Great Depression, financial pressures cause the parents of young Joe Carraclough (Roddy McDowall)... [More]
Directed By: Fred M. Wilcox

#6

Best in Show (2000)
93%

#6
Adjusted Score: 97140%
Critics Consensus: A fine example of writer-director-star Christopher Guest's gift for improv comedy, Best in Show boasts an appealingly quirky premise and a brilliantly talented cast.
Synopsis: The tension is palpable, the excitement is mounting and the heady scent of competition is in the air as hundreds... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Guest

#5
Adjusted Score: 102223%
Critics Consensus: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a subtly touching and wonderfully eccentric adventure featuring Wallace and Gromit.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Steve Box

#4

Heart of a Dog (2015)
96%

#4
Adjusted Score: 99982%
Critics Consensus: Of a piece with much of director Laurie Anderson's idiosyncratic output, Heart of a Dog delves into weighty themes with lyrical, haunting grace.
Synopsis: Musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson reflects on the deaths of her husband Lou Reed, her mother and her beloved... [More]
Directed By: Laurie Anderson

#3

Umberto D (1952)
97%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100133%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by Carlo Battisti's moving performance as Umberto D, Vittorio de Sica's deeply empathetic character study is a bracing glimpse into the lives of the downtrodden.
Synopsis: When elderly pensioner Umberto Domenico Ferrari (Carlo Battisti) returns to his boarding house from a protest calling for a hike... [More]
Directed By: Vittorio De Sica

#2
Adjusted Score: 102963%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of pooches and a memorable villain (Cruella De Vil), this is one of Disney's most enduring, entertaining animated films.
Synopsis: In a Disney animation classic, Dalmatian Pongo is tired of his bachelor-dog life. He spies lovely Perdita and maneuvers his... [More]

#1

Old Yeller (1957)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 101991%
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

This week on DVD we’ve got a sweeping historical epic from Down Under (Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, plus an exclusive deleted scene), a tale of talking pooches (Beverly Hills Chihuahua), and a Certified Fresh drama starring Kristin Scott Thomas (I’ve Loved You So Long). For those whose interests are piqued by the words “direct to DVD,” we’ve also got two new animated adventures (Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic, Wonder Woman) and a titillating vengeance pic (Stiletto, starring Stana Katic, Tom Berenger, and Michael Biehn), plus a bayou thriller adapted from a James Lee Burke bestseller (In the Electric Mist, starring Tommy Lee Jones). Lastly, we offer the latest from Crow T. Robot and Co. (Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. 14) and a Blu-ray offering that will go well with some fava beans and a nice Chianti (Silence of the Lambs on Blu-ray).


1. Australia — 54%


Baz Luhrmann‘s epic tale of war and love in mid-century Australia was, to say the least, an ambitious undertaking; addressing the nation’s history of class inequality and its people’s can-do spirit against the backdrop of World War II via an opposites-attract romance and a dash of Aborigine mysticism — with an homage to The Wizard of Oz thrown in to boot — sounded complicated enough on paper, let alone brought to life onscreen. And yet, for better or worse, that is precisely what Lurhmann did.

Australia isn’t for everyone; cynics thought it cloying, while fans thought it wondrous, although all agree its nearly three-hour-runtime is an endurance test. But if you’re a fan of stars Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman (or want to watch young Brandon Walters’ breakthrough debut performance, a child actor debut to rival those in Slumdog Millionaire) then Australia might be your cup of tea.

Unfortunately, your options are limited as Australia is available only as a single-disc DVD (with two deleted scenes and nothing more) or on Blu-ray, with a handful of extra featurettes. Below, watch one of the deleted scenes, in which Lady Ashley (Kidman) is served a rude dinner by her angry household staff.

Next: You know you want it — Beverly Hills Chihuahua

If you, like us, secretly chuckled to yourself when those Taco Bell commercials came on, then you might get another sly kick out of Beverly Hills Chihuahua. The dog-out-of-water tale follows a spoiled LA pooch (voiced by Drew Barrymore), who gets lost in Mexico and must find her way home with the help of some canine friends. Photo realistic pups talking with the aid of CG — and, unfortunately, often in stereotypical accents — sound silly, but will no doubt warm over the kiddies (moreso than most adults). A handful of bonus extras will keep fans entertained for an extra hour or so after watching the film, including the darn-catchy “Chihuahua!” song sung by a horde of choreographed Mexican Chihuahuas.

Next: Kristin Scott Thomas in I’ve Loved You So Long

Philippe Claudel’s quiet character study reveals Kristin Scott Thomas as you’ve never seen her before, makeup-free and haggard-looking (but still gorgeous), distant and tortured (and speaking fluent French) in the role that earned her nominations from the BAFTAS, César, and Golden Globe Awards. Thomas plays Juliette, a woman struggling to re-enter society after serving a prison sentence for killing her own child; Elsa Zylberstein plays her sister Lea, a mother herself who is the only friend Juliette has left in the real world. While bonus materials are sparse, you can watch deleted scenes and access an alternate audio track dubbed in English.

Next: Our Direct-to-DVD Pick of the Week — Stiletto!

4. Stiletto — N/A

Stana Katic (The Spirit, Quantum of Solace, and the upcoming ABC show, Castle) stars in this direct-to-video action thriller as Raina, a gorgeous assassin who sets her sights on a former lover, a Greek crime boss (Tom Berenger), and a circle of ill-fated goons. Her weapon of choice? A stiletto knife, naturally. But wait, that’s not all! This R-rated vengeance flick not only hearkens back to the days of the female exploitation tales of the 1970s, it stars a veritable Walk of Fame of bad-ass actors (most of whom have seen better days): Michael Biehn, William Forsythe, Tom Sizemore, D.B. Sweeney, Kelly Hu, and Dominique Swain. Give Stiletto a rental and chalk it up as another guilty pleasure.

Next: Tommy Lee Jones Goes Direct To Video With In the Electric Mist

Joining Stiletto in direct-to-video land is In the Electric Mist, a fantasy- thriller that boasts a decidedly stellar cast led by Tommy Lee Jones. Adapted from James Lee Burke’s bestselling novel of the same name and directed by European auteur Bertrand Tavernier (‘Round Midnight), In the Electric Mist is born of impressive pedigrees, yet missed out on a theatrical release after screening at the Berlin Film Festival. In it, Detective Dave Robicheaux (Jones) is on the hunt for a serial killer in the Deep South, an investigation complicated by encounters with a band of Confederate soldiers…

Next: Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic

6. Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic — N/A

Like a visual version of a book on tape, Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic serves up the landmark Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons graphic novel as a page-by-page story, enhanced with Flash animation and narrated by actor/veteran audio book narrator Tom Stechschulte, who even does the female voices. While the appeal of this 2-disc set might extend only to Watchmen diehards — probably the only people willing to sit through this 5-hour-plus version of Watchmen — it also comes with a sneak peek at this week’s Wonder Woman and $7.50 towards a ticket for Friday’s Watchmen.

Next: DC’s Animated, Feature Length, and Feminist Wonder Woman

7. Wonder Woman — N/A

A host of Hollywood all-stars (Rosario Dawson, Virginia Madsen, and…Vicki Lewis) lend their voices to this direct-to-video animated film, which tells the origin story of DC Comics’ super-heroine, Wonder Woman, and gives her a modern-day adventure to boot. Keri Russell voices Princess Diana (AKA Wonder Woman), the heir to a race of Amazon women who is charged with returning a wayward pilot (Nathan Fillion) to New York City while defeating the evil god Ares (Alfred Molina); violent enough to earn a PG-13 rating, Wonder Woman also serves as a devoutly feminist diatribe (and is directed by a woman, Superman: Doomsday co-director Lauren Montgomery), for better or worse. Bonus episodes of Justice League, a commentary track, two feature-length documentaries and a sneak peek at DC’s next animated flick, Green Lantern, highlight the special features.

Next: Mystery Science Theater 3000 is Back!

8. Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. 14 — N/A

Joel, Tom Servo, and Crow T. Robot are back in the latest installment of the adventures in movie watching known as Mystery Science Theater 3000. Volume 14 comprises episodes with four MSTK3K classics, each with its own case: Mad Monster (the 1942 mad scientist-werewolf flick), Manhunt in Space (a multi-episode feature from the Rocky Jones, Space Ranger television series), Soultaker (starring Joe Estevez, who also gives a new interview on the disc), and Final Justice (a Joe Don Baker vehicle directed by Greydon Clark, who also graces this set with an interview).

Next: Wong Kar-Wai’s Ashes of Time Redux

Unlike many of his peers in Asian cinema, Wong Kar-Wai is not a director known for action spectacles or historical epics. But in 1994, he made just that: Ashes of Time, the story of an embittered ex-swordsman and the people who come in and out of his life, all adrift and consumed with their memories, lost loves, and their own selfishness — like an emo wuxia film, if such a hybrid could exist. A box office failure during its initial release, Ashes of Time got a shiny new redo from Wong himself in 2008, resulting in a much shorter, remastered version of the flick, also bolstered with new music from Yo-Yo Ma. Retrospective making-of interviews with Wong, longtime DP Christopher Doyle, and cast members like Tony Leung Ka-Fai highlight the DVD, along with an extensive Q&A session between Wong and Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman.

Next: Silence of the Lambs Blu-ray

9. Silence of the Lambs Blu-ray — 96%

We close this RT on DVD by recommending one of the standout Blu-ray releases of the week: MGM’s Silence of the Lambs Blu-ray, which has been delayed numerous times so far. Was it worth the wait? If you’re a Hannibal Lecter fan ravenous for tons of bonus materials and behind-the-scenes stories about the making of Jonathan Demme’s serial killer thriller, you’ll enjoy the assortment of deleted scenes (count ’em — 22 total!), featurettes, outtakes and making-of documentaries included here. Add to that the film’s lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and 1080p visual presentation, and you’ve got the perfect way to revisit this chilling classic — along with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Until next week, happy renting!

With critical success for Slumdog Millionaire last week (94%), we have more award-friendly fare in the UK cinemas this Friday in Darren Aronofsky‘s spandex-tastic The Wrestler. Also out this week is Will Smith‘s latest, the emotional drama, Seven Pounds, with kids-flick Beverley Hills Chihauhau yapping at its heel. Plus My Bloody Valentine 3D splatters onto and out of our screens via some nifty technology and ropey looking specs. But what did the UK critics have to say?

Fresh from winning two Golden Globes (Best Actor, Best Original Song), bathed in critical acclaim from the festival season, and surrounded by pre-Oscar hype, The Wrestler finally body-slams into the UK cinema screens, but does it live up to expectations. With seven 5-Star ratings tallied from respected UK sources including Empire, Channel 4, Total Film and The Daily Mail, it seems like The Wrestler is destined for glory at 98% on The Tomatometer. Plaudits have not just been reserved for Mickey Rourke who puts in his best performance for years as past-it pro-wrestler Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson, but praise has rightly been heaped on director Darren Aronofsky for his own comeback of sorts after the critical kicking of his last film The Fountain (51%). Chris Hicks of Total Film summed up the critical response to The Wrestler:

“Aronofsky’s most authentic film refuses to ridicule the amateur wrestling circuit, while Rourke’s portrait of a has-been will surely be the comeback of the year.”

Will Smith returns to our screens this week following the decidedly iffy Hancock (39%), reteaming with the director of The Pursuit Of Happyness, Gabriele Muccino, for the emotional drama Seven Pounds. Plot details have been kept tightly under wraps due to a twist ending, but the critics weren’t too impressed despite being kept in the dark. Seven Pounds currently stands at a Rotten 27% on The Tomatometer, with the main criticisms being aimed at the film’s illogical and convoluted plotting, mis-handling of a heavyweight subject, and at Smith himself, with Matthew Turner of View London calling it “a career worst performance”. Don’t waste your £7 on Seven Pounds.

Beverley Hills Chihuahua, from Disney, is as silly as it sounds, and features pampered pooches who talk, naturally. It currently stands at a Rotten 40% on the Tomatometer, with most critics dismissing the film as made-for-kids fodder. The critics agreed that it’s probably suitable for youngsters, with the canines putting in better performances than most of the humans involved. The critics wouldn’t write it off completely though, with the traditionally hard-to-please Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian saying:

“This piece of egregious silliness from Disney – featuring live-action canines with CGI moving mouths – isn’t quite as awful as it sounds.”

My Bloody Valentine 3D is a remake/sequel to the 1981 slasher-film original. Utilising the latest 3D technology and making the most of its 18 certificate, My Bloody Valentine 3D promises horror thrills never seen before on the UK screens. With early reviews counted, the film currently stands at a healthy 71% on the Tomatometer, with Nigel Floyd of Time Out gushing “This is why 3D was invented”. Most of the critics were wowed with the polished and impressive use of 3D technology, despite the film itself never really transcending its clichéd slasher roots. Anton Bitel of Channel 4 said:

“It is a vacuous trawl through horror’s more sensationalist tropes… but that is just another way of saying that this is popcorn cinema at its most unapologetic and unpretentious, guaranteed to delight gorehounds and to bring young lovers closer together.”

Quote Of The Week

“Not that anybody would expect perfection from a film called Beverly Hills Chihuahua, but the chewed bone of a story makes it all mutts ado about nothing.”

Beverley Hills Chihuahua. Elliot Noble, Sky Movies.

In one of the bigger upsets in recent box office history, the canine
adventure Beverly Hills Chihuahua
remained at number one with the highly touted and highly pedigreed Body of Lies
landing with a thud in third.

The rich dogs of Beverly Hills took pole position at the box office once again
this weekend as Beverly Hills Chihuahua
lapped up another $17.5M, according to estimates, a fall of 40% from last
weekend’s debut. The total for the PG-rated family adventure stands at $52.5M
with the $100M brass ring now within site.



Second place was a surprise with the Sony horror flick Quarantine
scaring up an estimated $14.2M for a per screen average of a strong $5,770, tops
in the top 10. Wit Halloween just around the corner, moviegoers were looking for
a couple of good scares and the well-marketed Quarantine was just the ticket.

Landing in third place with a very loud thud was the (former) Academy Award
hopeful Body of Lies.
With past Academy winners and nominees taking part in all aspects of the film
including writing (William Monahan), directing (Ridley Scott)
and acting (Leonardo DiCaprio and
Russell Crow
), Lies was expected to easily debut at number one but instead
the war-on-terror story set in the Middle East did not resonate with audiences.
Lies grossed $13.1M this weekend, according to estimates, for a per screen
average of $4,841 while playing on 250 more screens than Quarantine.
 

The highest grossing film of the season, Eagle Eye,
fell to fourth place this weekend with an estimated $11M, a drop of 38% from
last weekend, bringing it’s cume to $70.5M. Fifth place belonged to another
holdover, the teen dramedy Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
which took in $6.5M this weekend, according to estimates, bringing its total to
$20.8M. Look for a final gross in the $40M range.

Debuting quietly in sixth place was the Universal football drama The Express
with an estimated $4.7M. The story of Heisman-winning running back Ernie Davis
failed to connect with moviegoers but should see better results on DVD.
 


Rob Brown as Ernie Davis in The Express

Seventh place belonged to lovers as Nights in Rodanthe
fell 37% to $4.6M, according to estimates, bringing it’s total to $32.3M.

The battle for eighth and ninth was a close one as the reported difference
between the two films was only $18,000. Currently in eighth is the Warner
Brothers western Appaloosa
which roped in an estimated $3.34M this weekend, bringing its total to $10.8M.
Rising into the top 10 at number nine was the period drama The Duchess with an
estimated $3.32M bringing its cume to $5.6M for Paramount Vantage.

Crash landing at number 10 was the debuting fantasy film City of Ember
from Fox. The story of an underground city on the verge of collapse was yet
another film that failed to connect with paying audiences, grossing an estimated
$3.2M for a poor per screen average of $1,583, the lowest in the top 10.
 

The top ten films grossed $81.5M which was up 1.5% from last year when Why
Did I Get Married?
opened in the top spot with $21.4M; and down 15.5% from
2006 when The Grudge 2 debuted at number one with $20.8M.

This weekend a jam-packed slate of eight new films opening or expanding nationwide flooded the multiplexes but it was a pampered little dog that ticket buyers wanted turning Disney’s family comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua into the box office king. Younger-skewing movies ruled the charts while an assortment of niche pics targeting specific audiences found some success elsewhere in the top ten. Three new films opening in over 1,000 theaters each failed to even make the top ten proving that the marketplace can only handle so much content. But the variety of product did lead ticket sales well ahead of year-ago levels starting October on a positive note.

Moviegoers just couldn’t resist talking animals and the Disney brand name as Beverly Hills Chihuahua delivered a powerful number one opening with an estimated $29M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Averaging a stellar $9,020 from 3,215 locations, the PG-rated tale of a rich dog lost in Mexico connected with kids and parents and posted the best opening for a kidpic since June’s WALL•E launched to $63.1M. It was the second best family film opening ever in the September-October corridor trailing only Will Smith’s Shark Tale which debuted to $47.6M in October 2004. Also helping the Mouse House this weekend was the lack of good family movies over the past couple of months. The road ahead looks rosy as few options for children stand in the way of Chihuahua over the next month. Between now and the November 7 launch of the DreamWorks sequel Madagascar Escape 2 Africa there is High School Musical 3, but that belongs to the Disney empire.


Shia LaBeouf might be on his way to scoring another career $100M+ blockbuster as his latest actioner Eagle Eye enjoyed a good hold in its second frame. Last weekend’s top film dropped 39% to an estimated $17.7M and lifted the film’s ten-day cume to a solid $54.6M. Paramount and its soon-to-be-ex-wife DreamWorks should find their way to $95-100M.

Despite Eagle Eye‘s presence, Sony was still able to connect with teens and young adults with its comedy Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist which debuted in third place with an estimated $12M. Playing in 2,421 playdates, the PG-13 romantic comedy averaged a healthy $4,957. According to studio research, 55% of the audience was under 21 while 62% was female. With Chihuahua skewing very young and most other new releases aiming for adults over 30, Playlist was able to reach a crowd that had few viable options this weekend. The modest $13M budget should allow it to become a moneymaker too.


Richard Gere and Diane Lane suffered the worst drop in the top ten with their romance Nights in Rodanthe which fell 45% to an estimated $7.4M. With $25.1M in the bank, the Warner Bros. release should reach about $40M. By comparison, the actors charmed $52.8M from movie fans in 2002 with Unfaithful which amounts to about $65M at today’s ticket prices.

The Ed Harris-directed Western Appaloosa expanded nationally after a two-week limited run and enjoyed a respectable take of an estimated $5M from 1,045 theaters. Averaging $4,794 per location, the Warner Bros. title showed that there is still an audience for this classic genre of films. Cume is $5.6M. Samuel L. Jackson’s thriller Lakeview Terrace slipped only 35% to an estimated $4.5M in its third frame boosting the 17-day total to $32.1M for Sony.


Focus followed with Burn After Reading which grossed an estimated $4.08M, off just 34%, for a $51.6M cume. The Christian-themed hit Fireproof was close behind with an estimated $4.07M dropping a reasonable 41% in the second weekend. Budgeted at a mere $500,000, the Samuel Goldwyn release has captured a solid $12.5M in ten days and could go on to finish with an impressive $20-25M.

Vivendi Entertainment opened its first wide release with the David Zucker-directed comedy An American Carol which grossed an estimated $3.8M for a ninth place finish. Playing in 1,639 locations in the United States, the PG-13 film about a Michael Moore-type filmmaker who is visited by three ghosts who show him the true meaning of America averaged only $2,325 per site. Kevin Farley, Kelsey Grammer, and Leslie Nielsen star and reviews were not very positive. Carol opens in Canada this Friday.

Rounding out the top ten and scoring the second best average on that list was the Bill Maher doc Religulous which collected an estimated $3.5M from only 502 theaters for a potent $6,972 average. Directed by Larry Charles (Borat), the R-rated film that explores the merits of organized religion earned generally upbeat reviews for Lionsgate. The last film to open in the top ten in fewer theaters was the Spanish-language immigration drama Under the Same Moon with $2.8M from 266 sites in March.


A slew of new releases also debuted outside the top ten with most generating disappointing results. The one film which audiences did actually connect with was the Anne Hathaway drama Rachel Getting Married which scored a sensational $33,667 average from nine theaters after grossing an estimated $303,000 this weekend in its platform bow. The Sony Classics release about a surly young woman who goes back home for her sister’s wedding has been praised by critics and has earned Hathaway plenty of kudos buzz making her, at the moment, one of the frontrunners on Oscar night. Directed by Jonathan Demme, the R-rated pic expands into more markets in the coming weeks.

Universal stumbled with its Greg Kinnear drama Flash of Genius which opened in 1,098 locations collecting just $2.3M, according to estimates. With a weak $2,120 average, the tale of an inventor screwed by the auto giants just didn’t make moviegoers want to spend top dollar. Reviews were mixed.


Miramax’s new arthouse thriller Blindness was panned by critics and flopped in its nationwide opening. The Julianne Moore pic took in an estimated $2M from 1,690 sites for an embarrassing $1,185 average. The figures only represent the U.S. and not Canada. The Simon Pegg comedy How to Lose Friends and Alienate People attracted few people debuting to an estimated $1.4M. Averaging only $801 from 1,750 theaters, the MGM release saw weak reviews from critics.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $91M which was up a robust 44% from last year when The Game Plan remained in the top spot in its second frame with $16.6M; but off 7% from 2006 when The Departed debuted at number one with $26.9M.

This week at the movies, we’ve got hot dogs (Beverly
Hills Chihuahua
, starring
Drew Barrymore
and Andy Garcia),
young love (Nick
and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
, starring
Michael Cera
and Kat
Dennings
), magazine mishaps (How
to Lose Friends and Alienate People
, starring
Simon Pegg and
Kirsten Dunst),
vision loss (Blindness,
starring
Julianne Moore
and
Mark Ruffalo),
Dickensian satire (An
American Carol
, starring
Kevin Farley
and Kelsey
Grammer
), invention thievery (Flash
of Genius
starring
Greg Kinnear
and Lauren
Graham
), and hired guns (Appaloosa,
starring Ed Harris
and Viggo
Mortensen
). What do the critics have to say?

Rotten Tomatoes loves canines and we have an office located in Beverly Hills,
but even we couldn’t help but feel pangs of despair and embarrassment whilst
enduring the trailer to

Beverly Hills Chihuahua
. So imagine our surprise when the movie comes out of the gate with a Fresh Tomatometer!
And imagine our non-surprise when it freefalls into Rotten territory. Drew
Barrymore, Andy Garcia, and George Lopez give voice to the dogs of BHC, a movie being praised by the critics for enthusiastic voice performances
but its lack of surprise or originality does little to separate it from anything
else littered throughout the family-movie bone yard. At 45 percent, your kids are barking up the right tree this weekend in
Beverly Hills.

 


“Sorry, skinny dipping is beneath me.”

 

Michael Cera and indie rock have been a winning combination in the past, so does
fortune strike again for the Canadian kid? He co-stars in his new movie,

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
, with Kat Dennings as two music loving-teens who meet-cute and go on an all-night quest for a secret show by one
of their favorite bands. Philosophical discussions, hipster ruminations, and
mutual appreciation ensues. Though it lacks a strong narrative drive or the easy
witticism of similar films like Juno or
Sixteen Candles,
its unabashed romantic streak and strong central
performances drives its message home. At 71 percent on the Tomatometer, Nick and Norah’s
Infinite Playlist
is music for the hip and the young at heart.


“Save me: this dude hasn’t changed clothes since Superbad.”

 

Like Ricky Gervais, whose Ghost Town barely made a box office blip a few weeks
back, Simon Pegg is another Brit who’s having a tough go at the movies in
America. Pegg’s latest,

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
, finds him without his usual
collaborators (Edgar Wright and Nick Frost), trading company for Kirsten Dunst
and Megan Fox in an outrageous account of a British journalist who burns all
his bridges writing for a glitzy New York magazine. Pegg charms again,
but the critics cite his Toby Young character as irredeemably unlikable, and the
film’s comedy is too slapsticky and broad for any satire about the entertainment
industry to make an impact. At 37 percent, How To has lost the critics and may
alienate audiences.

 


Simon Pegg auditioning for Anchorman II: The Reckoning of Ron Burgundy.

 

With City of God and The Constant Gardener, Fernando Meirelles
established himself as an expert stylist in the realm of political thrillers.
However, critics say his latest, Blindness,
is over earnest and lacks the visceral punch of his previous works. The film
stars Julianne Moore as a woman who does not to succumb to an outbreak that
leaves much of the world’s population without sight; she hides her condition in
order to get the bottom of a sinister government quarantine of the blind. The
critics say Blindness has its moments, but it lacks the horror of Jose
Saramago’s source novel; it’s both emotionally muted and technically overdone.
At 38 percent on the Tomatometer, Blindness may not be worth seeing.

 


Danny Glover pioneering a new role: crazy blind pirate man cabbie.

 

Flash of Genius
may sound like your typical based-on-true-events, little-guy-takes-on-the man
movie, but critics say it’s a smart, compelling yarn with a few surprises up its
sleeve. Greg Kinnear stars as Robert Kearns, a college professor and amateur
inventor whose innovation — intermittent windshield wipers — was co-opted by
big auto manufacturers without giving credit; Kearns spends decades attempting
to right this injustice, and it takes a toll on his family. The pundits say Flash
of Genius
is a solid underdog tale, featuring a driven performance by
Kinnear and a script that doesn’t hammer its points home. At 73 percent on the
Tomatometer, Flash of Genius is a clever invention.

 


“Can’t think of anyone more unlikely to have a movie? Here’s the dude who
invented AstroTurf.”

 

Sometimes a movie doesn’t have to break new ground to be satisfying. Critics say
that although Appaloosa

may not be the finest Western in recent years, it’s got good performances and
enough convention-defying twists to make it an amiable time at the movies. Ed
Harris (who also directs) and Viggo Mortensen star as a pair of hired guns who
are trying to bring order to a New Mexico town; however, their rapport is
challenged when they fall in love with the same woman (Renee Zellweger). The
pundits say Appaloosa harkens back to the classic Westerns of John Ford
and Howard Hawks, and though it doesn’t move at a particularly sprightly pace,
the leads’ chemistry and a playful sense of humor make it a smart, solid film.
At 73 percent on the Tomatometer, Appaloosa may be worth a visit.


“You had me at ‘Ayup.'”

After slumming it with Scary Movies and Ashton Kutcher movies (My Boss’s Daughter)for years,
director David Zucker finally returns with his first original satire property
since 1988’s The Naked Gun. Will
An American Carol
,
a slap-happy putdown of a Michael Moore-ish character who learns the true
meaning of patriotism, recapture the critical glory of the Naked Guns or
Airplane? Hard to say, as An American Carol was apparently not screened
for critics. Surely, you’ll be able to guess its Tomatometer?


“No, I don’t speak jive! Go away!”

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Jonathan Demme’s Rachel
    Getting Married
    , starring Anne Hathaway as a woman whose emotional
    problems overshadow her sister’s wedding, is at 79 percent.
  • Religulous,
    Bill Maher’s gonzo examination of religious fundamentalism, is at 64 percent.
  • Ballast, a
    drama about how a suicide changes the lives of three people in the rural south,
    is at 79 percent.

Finally, Kirk Cameron bless you, Random_Jake: you came closest to guessing Fireproof‘s
percent Tomatometer last week.

Recent Drew Barrymore Movies:

 

 

Hollywood kicks off the fourth quarter with a stampede of new releases that will test the elasticity of the marketplace. Ambulances are already on standby to rush the high number of casualties off to local video stores. Seven films open or expand into 800 or more theaters each while an eighth picture debuts in more than 500 locations still hoping to reach moviegoers from coast to coast. Leading the way and likely to post solid results are Disney’s family comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Sony’s teen saga Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. The rest of the menu will struggle to pick up the remaining scraps during a time when overall box office is not too busy to begin with.

The canine comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua looks to dominate the multiplexes this weekend with Disney generating plenty of interest with kids and parents. The PG-rated tale of a pampered dog lost on the mean streets of Mexico features voices from Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez, and Cheech Marin. Piper Perabo and Jamie Lee Curtis take up the human roles. A classic fish-out-of-water story coupled with the always bankable talking-animal formula means plenty of dough will be rolling in for this one. Competition is minimal with Igor in its third session being the only other choice for families right now. In fact there hasn’t been a hit comedy for children since June’s WALL•E so demand is intense. The top kidpic openings during the September-October corridor over the last three years have been $19.1M for Corpse Bride in 2005, $23.6M for Open Season in 2006, and $23M for The Game Plan in 2007. Opening in 3,215 theaters, Beverly Hills Chihuahua should exceed those films. A debut of about $26M could result this weekend.


Piper Perabo, Jamie Lee Curtis and friend in Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Set to attract a fair share of teens this weekend is the romantic comedy Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. Cera’s stock price skyrocketed last year with Superbad and Juno which grossed a combined $265M. Here he safely is back in his zone which should register well with teens and young adults. Shia LaBeouf‘s got the only other major film for the under-25 set so direct competition will be light. That puts Nick in a position to make it into the top three this weekend and post a solid average. Sony’s marketing push has been commendable and the trailer is exciting the target audience. Plus the PG-13 rating opens the door to younger teens. As the frame’s second widest opener, Nick and Norah bows in about 2,300 locations and might gross around $13M this weekend.


Michael Cera and Kat Dennings in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Backed by lukewarm reviews, Miramax’s Blindness hits theaters with some buzz but will still face an uphill battle. The R-rated film about an epidemic that takes away a victim’s sight stars Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and Danny Glover with Brazil’s Fernando Meirelles directing. The opening night selection at this year’s Cannes now enters the North American commercial market in search of serious adults looking for arthouse thrills. The lack of enthusiasm from critics will hurt the prospects for Blindness as will the abundance of options for the 30-plus crowd. An intriguing concept and the presence of indie film heavyweights will help, but pulling in business will still not be easy. Opening in 1,690 theaters, Blindness might debut with roughly $6M.


Julianne Moore and Alice Braga in Blindness

A British celebrity journalist enters the world of high society at a New York magazine in the new comedy How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox, and Jeff Bridges star in the R-rated MGM release. Pegg has built up a small cult following on this side of the pond with films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but his starpower has not reached the heights where tons of ticket buyers come running to his next role. Fox’s return to the big screen after last year’s smash Transformers could score some points with young men though. Reviews have been mixed and a wide assortment of competing comedies will split the audience. Landing in 1,750 sites, a debut of about $5M could result.


Simon Pegg in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

The year has been light on biopics but Greg Kinnear plans to change that with Flash of Genius, the true story of the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper and his long battle with the automotive industry for recognition of his work. The PG-13 film will target adults looking for an underdog story, however starpower is lacking and the subject matter is a tough sell. Reviews have been good but not glowing. Universal is not going very wide so the film’s potential will be curtailed but its average may be respectable. Debuting in roughly 1,000 playdates, Flash of Genius could collect about $3M this weekend.


Greg Kinnear in Flash of Genius

Warner Bros. expands its acclaimed Western Appaloosa from 14 to 800 houses nationwide on Friday. The Ed Harris film averaged $10,469 last weekend in limited release and will now test the waters across the country targeting older adults. A $3M take could result.


Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris in Appaloosa

The right pokes fun at liberals in the new comedy An American Carol which features a heavy-set Michael Moore-type filmmaker being visited by three spirits who show him how great Uncle Sam really is. Directed by spoof king David Zucker, the PG-13 film should find better business in the McCain states than in the Obama ones. The release date is aimed at making the film relevant at a time when so much attention is on politics, but overall interest does not seem to be all that strong. Some more controversy, even if artificially manufactured in true Moore style, could have helped this one stand out in the crowded marketplace. Vivendi will attack 1,639 venues on Friday with An American Carol and it could end up with about $3M.


Kevin Farley in An American Carol

Those on the left should not feel abandoned. Comedian Bill Maher offers up his skewering of the world’s God squads in the documentary Religulous which opens in 502 theaters nationwide this weekend. Borat director Larry Charles is behind the camera of this R-rated pic which has been working extra hard to attract controversy only to find limited success in that department. This is a film that desperately needs news coverage in order to sell but with most media outlets only having the bandwidth to cover the elections and the financial crisis, Religulous is not getting its message heard by enough of its target audience. Sponsoring Joe Biden’s podium during Thursday night’s vice presidential debate may be the only true way for the film to reach its base. An opening of around $2M could result.


Bill Maher in Religulous

Last weekend, Shia LaBeouf scored another number one hit with Eagle Eye which generated the fourth best September bow ever. Word-of-mouth has been good and most of the new titles will not have much of a direct impact on the thriller’s teen and young adult audience. A 40% drop could result giving Paramount around $17.5M for the weekend and $54M in ten days.

Nights in Rodanthe‘s audience of older women typically do not rush out on opening weekend so a good hold could result. The Richard GereDiane Lane hit Unfaithful actually dipped a mere 29% in its sophomore frame in 2002 so their new collaboration should see more takers buying tickets this weekend. The Warner Bros. release may fall 35% to about $8.5M pushing the ten-day total to $25M.

The Kirk Cameron marital drama Fireproof shocked Hollywood with its fourth place opening last weekend despite playing in fewer theaters than any other film in the top ten. It also showed the industry the value of films that appeal to audiences not properly served by mainstream studio fare – something Tyler Perry has been proving year after year although with bigger grosses. With intense upfront demand, Fireproof may see a more sizable 45% slide to roughly $3.5M giving the faith-based pic a solid $12M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: For a second straight weekend The Rock and Disney joined forces to rule the top spot with the family hit The Game Plan which dipped only 28% in its second frame to $16.6M. Ben Stiller‘s R-rated comedy The Heartbreak Kid opened in second with a disappointing $14M on its way to $36.8M for Paramount. Universal’s military thriller The Kingdom ranked third with $9.7M and was followed by Sony’s threequel Resident Evil: Extinction with $4.5M. Debuting poorly in fifth was Fox’s The Seeker: The Dark is Rising with $3.7M leading to a weak $8.8M finish. The dance drama Feel the Noise landed in eighth with a $3.2M bow from just over 1,000 screens and ended with $5.9M for Sony.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s bestselling self-help book, He’s Just Not That Into You, has gone from the top of the charts to the cultural lexicon, to the point where the titular phrase has become popular shorthand for “wake up and move on, dummy.” It’s being turned into a movie, of course, courtesy of New Line and Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films — and now The Hollywood Reporter is offering an early rundown of the cast.

According to the article, Barrymore — who can be seen in next year’s South of the Border, with Cheech Marin and Salma Hayek — will star as “a woman perpetually confused by dating,” and could be joined by…deep breath…Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin. From the article:

Jennifer Connelly plays a woman stuck in a tired marriage with Cooper’s character. Kevin Connolly, meanwhile, is a man pining after a woman, still not cast, who is having an affair with Cooper.

Goodwin is a young woman obsessed with Kevin Connolly’s character who tries to set up accidental meetings with him only to run across his friend, played by Long, who takes her on as a “My Fair Lady” experiment.

Not a bad group of actors, all in all; the timing is particularly fortuitous for Connolly and Goodwin, who are enjoying small-screen success with HBO’s Entourage and Big Love, respectively. No word on when the movie will be hitting screens, but production is slated to begin in September.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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