(Photo by Fox Searchlight / courtesy Everett Collection)

20 Movies To Watch If You Loved Jojo Rabbit

When director Taika Waititi isn’t busy making Thor the funniest character in the MCU, he takes the time to stay true to his quirky indie roots, releasing movies like Jojo Rabbit. It’s about a young Nazi boy with an imaginary Hitler friend, whose mother is hiding a Jewish teenaged girl in their home. It’s also up for Best Picture in this year’s Oscars race.

It’s a high-wire act mining jokes out of World War II, and when the film came out there were immediate and mostly favorable comparisons to Jojo‘s forebears like Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, To Be or Not to Be, Life Is Beautiful, and the original The Producers. And speaking of Mel Brooks, he lends his wisdom for documentary The Last Laugh, which explores the boundaries of humor in the face of human horror and catastrophe. Meanwhile, Train of Life is just as funny as any of the movies mentioned so far, and remains criminally underseen.

Using a child’s perspective to explore the origins and horrors of World War II is an evocative yet risky technique. If successful, it creates empathy in the viewer. When it fails, critics and audiences will deem it exploitative. Come and See is arguably the most memorable of this type of film, but be warned it is not a comedy and will mess you up. It’s also a masterpiece. Forbidden Games and Au Revoir Les Enfants are gentler classics, and just about as affecting and powerful. If you’re not a blubbering mess by the end of those and want even more World War II movies from kids’ point of views, try The Tin Drum, The Diary of Anne Frank, or The Boy In the Striped Pajamas.

Beyond World War II, there have been a lot of great films as seen through the eyes of youth that unearth truths for people across all ages. Peter Brook’s adaptation of The Lord of the Flies explores how authoritarian tendencies develop organically when left unchecked. Pan’s Labyrinth uses fantasy to help a young girl engage with and escape the darkness of reality. Beasts of the Southern Wild, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Florida Project all use the power of imagination to create better worlds for their young heroes.

And if you’re just looking for a rousing adventure of young lovers on the run (and also in scouting uniforms), see Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson. Waititi shares the same comedic sensibility and timing as Anderson, as seen in Jojo Rabbit and his earlier efforts, Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

#20
Adjusted Score: 69507%
Critics Consensus: A touching and haunting family film that deals with the Holocaust in an arresting and unusual manner, and packs a brutal final punch of a twist.
Synopsis: During World War II, 8-year-old Bruno (Asa Butterfield) and his family leave Berlin to take up residence near the concentration... [More]
Directed By: Mark Herman

#19

Train of Life (1998)
64%

#19
Adjusted Score: 63423%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After hearing accounts of Nazis herding Jews onto trains, an isolated shtetl deports itself, by rail, to safety.... [More]
Directed By: Radu Mihaileanu

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 83276%
Critics Consensus: Some may find its dark tone and slender narrative off-putting, but Spike Jonze's heartfelt adaptation of the classic children's book is as beautiful as it is uncompromising.
Synopsis: Feeling misunderstood at home and at school, mischievous Max (Max Records) escapes to the land of the Wild Things, majestic... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 81246%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In Nazi-occupied Holland in World War II, shopkeeper Kraler hides two Jewish families in his attic. Young Anne Frank (Millie... [More]
Directed By: George Stevens

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 84627%
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

#15

The Tin Drum (1979)
84%

#15
Adjusted Score: 85676%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Oskar Matzerath (David Bennent) is a very unusual boy. Refusing to leave the womb until promised a tin drum by... [More]
Directed By: Volker Schlöndorff

#14
Adjusted Score: 93739%
Critics Consensus: Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fantastical, emotionally powerful journey and a strong case of filmmaking that values imagination over money.
Synopsis: Six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) lives with her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), in a remote Delta community. Wink is a stern... [More]
Directed By: Benh Zeitlin

#13

Boy (2010)
88%

#13
Adjusted Score: 89269%
Critics Consensus: Boy possesses the offbeat charm associated with New Zealand film but is also fully capable of drawing the viewer in emotionally.
Synopsis: A New Zealand youth (James Rolleston) finds that his father (Taika Waititi) is a far cry from the heroic adventurer... [More]
Directed By: Taika Waititi

#12

The Producers (1968)
90%

#12
Adjusted Score: 98651%
Critics Consensus: A hilarious satire of the business side of Hollywood, The Producers is one of Mel Brooks' finest, as well as funniest films, featuring standout performances by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.
Synopsis: Down and out producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel), who was once the toast of Broadway, trades sexual favors with old... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 91602%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Amidst a nuclear war, a plane carrying a group of schoolboys crash lands on a deserted island. With no adult... [More]
Directed By: Peter Brook

#10

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
93%

#10
Adjusted Score: 104515%
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

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 97766%
Critics Consensus: Charlie Chaplin demonstrates that his comedic voice is undiminished by dialogue in this rousing satire of tyranny, which may be more distinguished by its uplifting humanism than its gags.
Synopsis: After dedicated service in the Great War, a Jewish barber (Charles Chaplin) spends years in an army hospital recovering from... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

#8

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%

#8
Adjusted Score: 104443%
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

#7

Come and See (1985)
97%

#7
Adjusted Score: 99510%
Critics Consensus: As effectively anti-war as movies can be, Come and See is a harrowing odyssey through the worst that humanity is capable of, directed with bravura intensity by Elem Klimov.
Synopsis: The invasion of a village in Byelorussia by German forces sends young Florya (Aleksey Kravchenko) into the forest to join... [More]
Directed By: Elem Klimov

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 118912%
Critics Consensus: The Florida Project offers a colorfully empathetic look at an underrepresented part of the population that proves absorbing even as it raises sobering questions about modern America.
Synopsis: Set in the shadow of the most magical place on Earth, 6-year-old Moonee and her two best friends forge their... [More]
Directed By: Sean Baker

#5
Adjusted Score: 108699%
Critics Consensus: The charmingly offbeat Hunt for the Wilderpeople unites a solid cast, a talented filmmaker, and a poignant, funny, deeply affecting message.
Synopsis: A boy (Julian Dennison) and his foster father (Sam Neill) become the subjects of a manhunt after they get stranded... [More]
Directed By: Taika Waititi

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 99266%
Critics Consensus: Louis Malle's autobiographical tale of a childhood spent in a WWII boarding school is a beautifully realized portrait of friendship and youth.
Synopsis: In 1943, Julien (Gaspard Manesse) is a student at a French boarding school. When three new students arrive, including Jean... [More]
Directed By: Louis Malle

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 100310%
Critics Consensus: A complex and timely satire with as much darkness as slapstick, Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not To Be delicately balances humor and ethics.
Synopsis: Acting couple Joseph (Jack Benny) and Maria Tura (Carole Lombard) are managing a theatrical troupe when the Nazis invade Poland.... [More]
Directed By: Ernst Lubitsch

#2

The Last Laugh (2016)
98%

#2
Adjusted Score: 99612%
Critics Consensus: The Last Laugh takes a fresh -- and unexpectedly funny -- approach to sensitive subject matter, uncovering affecting insights about the nature of comedy along the way.
Synopsis: Comics, actors, filmmakers and concentration camp survivors discuss the ramifications and ethical dilemmas of using the Holocaust as a topic... [More]
Directed By: Ferne Pearlstein

#1

Forbidden Games (1952)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 101735%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Orphaned after a Nazi air raid, Paulette (Brigitte Fossey), a young Parisian girl, runs into Michel (Georges Poujouly), an older... [More]
Directed By: René Clément

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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!

A trio of new releases and a hearty menu of popular holdovers made for a robust Thanksgiving weekend at the North American box office. The holiday comedy Four Christmases led the way with a stellar number one opening while sophomores Bolt and Twilight were in a virtual tie for second place with nearly identical grosses. The top ten films grossed $154M – the best tally for the turkey holiday in eight years.

Superstars Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon contributed their producing and acting talents to Four Christmases and were rewarded with a potent debut grossing an estimated $31.7M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and a fantastic $46.7M over five days since opening on Wednesday. The New Line pic was distributed by Warner Bros. and averaged a stellar $9,571 from 3,310 sites over the three-day period. The PG-13 film about a couple that must attend yuletide events at the homes of each of their divorced parents was just the type of comedic entertainment that moviegoers were in the mood for during the long holiday weekend. Ticket buyers ignored the bad reviews and instead responded to the starpower, the unique premise, and the comedy. Look for both actors to add another $100M blockbuster to their resumes in the coming weeks.




Jumping up one notch from last weekend, Disney’s animated flick Bolt posted a slight uptick in ticket sales for a solid holiday performance. The PG-rated toon grossed an estimated $26.6M inching up 1% from its $26.2M bow last week. Though the canine star opened weaker than expected, it made up for that shortfall by generating a sensational second weekend take. After ten days, Bolt has grossed $66.9M. The studio is hoping that it will continue to see strong legs since there will be no new kidpics released over the next two weekends.

Last weekend’s top film Twilight experienced a hefty decline as expected and ranked third with an estimated $26.4M. Falling 62%, the Summit release has now banked a stellar $119.7M which is quite an impressive sum for a no-star film budgeted at only $37M. The PG-13 film averaged a sturdy $7,699 from 3,425 locations.




James Bond was still a popular draw for movie fans over the holiday weekend with Quantum of Solace dropping only 27% to an estimated $19.5M. That put Sony’s domestic total at a robust $142.1M after 17 days which is 23% ahead of Casino Royale at the same point in its run and 18% ahead of 2002’s Die Another Day. The overseas total for Quantum vaulted to $340.1M lifting the global haul to a stunning $482.2M.

Fox’s big-budget historical epic Australia debuted with an estimated $14.8M over three days and $20M across five days. The Hugh Jackman-Nicole Kidman film opened in 2,642 locations and averaged a respectable $5,607. But given the cost of the massive production (the studio kicked in $78M of the $130M budget) the Baz Luhrmann-directed film will need strong legs and spectacular international grosses in order to break even. According to studio research, 65% of the audience was over 25 while 52% was female. Competition for adult audiences was fierce over the holiday weekend with many choosing to spend their dollars on Four Christmases and Quantum of Solace while young women were still distracted by Twilight. Reviews were mixed for Australia and the running time of 165 minutes meant fewer showtimes per day.




Paramount ranked sixth with its toon entry Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa which slipped only 7% to an estimated $14.5M boosting the overall cume to $159.5M. The sequel’s final domestic haul looks like it will end up a bit below the $193.2M of its 2005 predecessor.

Delivering a seventh-place debut was Jason Statham’s action sequel Transporter 3 which grossed an estimated $12.3M over the weekend and $18.5M over the extended holiday period. The franchise showed signs of age as the five-day bow failed to match the $20.5M four-day debut of Transporter 2 which launched over the slower Labor Day holiday frame. The third chapter in the series played in 2,626 locations and averaged a decent $4,695 over the Friday-to-Sunday span. Fox released the first two pics in the franchise while Lionsgate distributed this new chapter.

Universal’s hit comedy Role Models dropped by 28% to an estimated $5.3M giving the Seann William Scott-Paul Rudd pic a solid $57.9M to date.




Specialty films filled up the next three positions on the charts. The Holocaust drama The Boy in the Striped Pajamas expanded again from 406 to 582 locations and grossed an estimated $1.7M this weekend. The Miramax release averaged a mild $2,904 but raised its sum to $5.2M.

Sean Penn’s highly praised performance in the Focus Features release Milk helped to deliver the weekend’s best average thanks to an estimated $1.38M from only 36 theaters. Averaging a sizzling $38,361, the R-rated film about the first openly gay elected official in America won rave reviews from critics and has generated Oscar buzz for Penn who hopes to score his fourth Best Actor nod from the Academy this decade and fifth overall. The Gus Van Sant-directed film’s five-day total since opening on Wednesday is $1.9M. On Friday, Milk will expand to nearly 100 theaters and will add more runs on December 12.




Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire continued its impressive limited run widening from 32 to 49 theaters for a weekend gross of $1.37M, according to estimates, putting it a hair behind in eleventh place. Cume is now $3.6M. The Fox Searchlight title averaged a potent $27,898 and will add more theaters each week in December.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $154.1M which was up 10% from last year’s Thanksgiving frame when Enchanted opened in the top spot with $34.4M over three days; and up 10% from 2006’s holiday when Happy Feet remained at number one with $37M in its second weekend.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,
www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week we have the stoner action-comedy The Pineapple Express, with Seth Rogen, James Franco and new boy on the comedy block Danny McBride, plus My Little Eye writer James Watkins makes his directing debut in British hoodie-horror Eden Lake. Then there’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, a family film focussing on the horrors of the Holocaust, and finally the remake of the 1939 classic The Women, with a stellar all-woman cast (Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes) titled, somewhat unsurprisingly, The Women. But what did the critics have to say?

Pineapple Express hit the UK screens this week with critics loading their reviews with weed references as heavily as a stoner loads their spliff (whoops, there I go too!), but what did they actually think of the movie? With Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg on script duties again following their mega-hit Superbad, which was awarded Certified Fresh and received 87% on the Tomatometer, this time round the critics were divided. While more high-brow publications derided the movie for its weak stoner-based humour, a second half that seemingly belongs to another movie and some strange gross-out bloody moments, at the other end of the scale the more – how should we put it – down to earth critics applauded the movie for its entertaining action, solid performances and classy direction from David Gordon Green. So it might be one for you, it just depends on how you roll when it comes to smoke infused comedies.

Having recently wowed the critics with another outstanding performance in Somers Town, Thomas Turgoose returns to our screen, albeit in a minor role as a terrorising teen thug in the British horror Eden Lake. Making his directing debut, James Watkins – who was also on scriptwriting duties – has impressed the critics with this genuinely chilling thriller overflowing with socio-political overtones, commenting on the current British talking point of gang and youth violence. Most critics found the film grim and disturbing with shocks and scares aplenty, although a few dismissed it as formulaic and unrealistic. Currently standing at a healthy 75% on the Tomatometer, it looks like the British film industry has a new name in the making with Watkins.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is told through the eyes of eight-year-old Bruno, played by Asa Butterfield, who befriends a concentration camp inmate through a barb wire fence in his back garden, this touching and haunting drama has won over UK critics with its heartfelt portrayal of a incredibly tough subject, especially as this movie is aimed at a family audience. Superb performances and a solid production divert the attention away from the glaring impossibilities of the plot, and currently at 82% on the Tomatometer, this is vital viewing.

The Women, based on a George Cukor 1939 classic original and boasting a star-studded all female cast, (Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith), what could possibly go wrong with this remake? Well just about everything if you listen to the UK critics, who say the movie lacks any of the charm, wit or interesting characters prevalent in the original and go on to dismiss the scripting, direction and performances as little more than dull. While many didn’t bat an eyelid at the lack of male performances in the movie, writer and director Diane English’s apparent disdain for her own fairer sex was an issue. Described as making Sex and The City sound like Billy Wilder”(Anthony Quinn, The Independent), The Women is currently languishing at a Rotten 10% on the Tomatometer.

Also out this week on a limited release…

EraserheadDavid Lynch’s surreal Eraserhead uses detailed visuals and a creepy score to create a bizarre and disturbing look into a man’s fear of parenthood.

Jar City – A sublimely directed thriller, Jar City combines murder mystery, family drama and ample slices of Icelandic culture into a fascinating cinematic experience.

Quote of the Week

“This is a Class A comedy about Class B drugs. It has a Rizla-thin plot but Camberwell-carrot sized laughs.” Pineapple Express. The Sneak, Sun Online.

Based on John Boynes bestselling and multi-award winning book, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an emotionally charged tale of children’s friendship set in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The film, starring David Thewlis and Vera Farmiga, is released in the UK this Friday, but we’ve got an exclusive clip of the film that you can watch this very second.

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