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All Seth Rogen Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

One-season wonder Freaks and Geeks had a startling amount of its young alums go on to have successful Hollywood careers, Seth Rogen chief among them. He followed mentor Judd Apatow into the movie game with The 40 Year-Old Virgin, starring in a memorable supporting role. Rogen was then upgraded to lead status for Apatow’s follow-up Knocked Up, and the movie’s critical and box office success showed Virgin was no fluke, heralding a significant sea change in mainstream American comedy. Rogen has remained the face of this bong- and bro-tastic style of comedy, also featuring big rips of heartfelt emotion – like Animal House by way of James L. Brooks – in repeated movie hits like Superbad, Pineapple Express, This Is the End, Neighbors, and The Disaster Artist.

He’s been amassing an impressive résumé as producer (not just on his own starring films, but also the likes of Blockers and Good Boys) and director, helming This Is the End, The Interview, and episodes of Future Man and Preacher. His latest comedy was An American Pickle. And now we’re looking at all of Seth Rogen’s movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 14708%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Compson family struggles to adjust to the changes in society during the early 20th century in the Deep South.... [More]
Directed By: James Franco

#31

Zeroville (2019)
23%

#31
Adjusted Score: 23035%
Critics Consensus: Potentially an ironic favorite for cult film fans, Zeroville is a fundamentally misguided -- and descriptively titled -- passion project for its director and star.
Synopsis: With two tattoos of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor on his shaved head, Vikar rides a bus into Hollywood and... [More]
Directed By: James Franco

#30

The Guilt Trip (2012)
37%

#30
Adjusted Score: 41022%
Critics Consensus: Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand have enough chemistry to drive a solidly assembled comedy; unfortunately, The Guilt Trip has a lemon of a script and is perilously low on comedic fuel.
Synopsis: Before embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime road trip, Andy Brewster pays a visit to his overbearing mother, Joyce. That proves to... [More]
Directed By: Anne Fletcher

#29

The Green Hornet (2011)
44%

#29
Adjusted Score: 53339%
Critics Consensus: It's sporadically entertaining, but The Green Hornet never approaches the surreal heights suggested by a Michel Gondry/Seth Rogen collaboration.
Synopsis: Britt Reid (Seth Rogen), the heir to the largest newspaper fortune in Los Angeles, is a spoiled playboy who has... [More]
Directed By: Michel Gondry

#28

The Interview (2014)
51%

#28
Adjusted Score: 55946%
Critics Consensus: Unfortunately overshadowed by controversy (and under-screened as a result), The Interview's screenplay offers middling laughs bolstered by its two likable leads.
Synopsis: Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) are the team behind the popular tabloid-TV show "Skylark... [More]
Directed By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 59740%
Critics Consensus: Though it has a mean streak, and does not cater to all tastes, Observe and Report has gut-busting laughs and a fully committed Seth Rogen in irresistible form.
Synopsis: As head of security at the Forest Ridge Mall, Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) takes his job very seriously, enforcing mall... [More]
Directed By: Jody Hill

#26

The Lion King (2019)
52%

#26
Adjusted Score: 78243%
Critics Consensus: While it can take pride in its visual achievements,The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved--though for some fans that may just be enough.
Synopsis: Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny on the plains of Africa. But... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 60128%
Critics Consensus: Brisk, funny, and sweetly raunchy, For a Good Time, Call... adds to the recent string of R-rated female comedies while serving as an overdue coming out party for the charming Ari Graynor.
Synopsis: Reserved Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) and bubbly Katie (Ari Graynor) are polar opposites and past enemies. However, when both gals... [More]
Directed By: Jamie Travis

#24
Adjusted Score: 75833%
Critics Consensus: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising may not be strictly necessary, but it still wrings a surprising amount of humor from a recycled premise with a distaff twist.
Synopsis: Life is good for Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and pregnant wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) until the unruly sisters of Kappa... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

#23
Adjusted Score: 73012%
Critics Consensus: Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a modest success for Kevin Smith, due in large part to the charm of Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.
Synopsis: Lifelong friends and now roommates, Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are buried under a mountain of debt. When... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 76191%
Critics Consensus: Both funny and scattershot, this loose-knit action/buddy/stoner comedy bridges genres and keeps a steady tempo of low-ball laughs.
Synopsis: Stoner Dale Denton's (Seth Rogen) enjoyment of a rare strain of marijuana may prove fatal when he drops his roach... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#21

Funny People (2009)
69%

#21
Adjusted Score: 77815%
Critics Consensus: Funny People features the requisite humor, as well as considerable emotional depth, resulting in Judd Apatow's most mature film to date.
Synopsis: Recently learning that he has a fatal disease, comic George Simmons (Adam Sandler) spots a struggling performer named Ira (Seth... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow

#20

The Night Before (2015)
69%

#20
Adjusted Score: 74215%
Critics Consensus: The Night Before provokes enough belly laughs to qualify as a worthwhile addition to the list of Christmas comedies worth revisiting, even if it isn't quite as consistent as the classics.
Synopsis: For the last 10 years, lifelong buddies Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have gathered on... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

#19

Paul (2011)
70%

#19
Adjusted Score: 77918%
Critics Consensus: It doesn't measure up to Pegg and Frost's best work, but Paul is an amiably entertaining -- albeit uneven -- road trip comedy with an intergalactic twist.
Synopsis: For the past 60 years, a wisecracking alien named Paul (Seth Rogen) has resided at a top-secret military base in... [More]
Directed By: Greg Mottola

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 83253%
Critics Consensus: An American Pickle lacks the tart snap viewers might expect given its creative premise, but Seth Rogen's dual performance makes this a low-key comedy to relish.
Synopsis: Preserved in pickle brine for 100 years, an Orthodox Jewish factory worker wakes up in New York City and tracks... [More]
Directed By: Brandon Trost

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 81922%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn't approach the depth of the best animated films, Monsters Vs. Aliens has enough humor and special effects to entertain moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: When a meteor full of space gunk transforms Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) into a giant, the government renames her Ginormica... [More]

#16

Neighbors (2014)
73%

#16
Adjusted Score: 81526%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of bawdy humor evenly spread between its well-matched stars, Neighbors earns its R rating -- and filmgoers' laughs.
Synopsis: New parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) move to the suburbs when they welcome an infant daughter into... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

#15

Take This Waltz (2011)
79%

#15
Adjusted Score: 83634%
Critics Consensus: Featuring excellent work from an outstanding cast, the bittersweet drama Waltz proves that in the right hands, a familiar tale can still ring true.
Synopsis: A young woman (Michelle Williams) is torn between the husband (Seth Rogen) that she loves and a new man (Luke... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Polley

#14
Adjusted Score: 84142%
Critics Consensus: Horton Hears A Who! is both whimsical and heartwarming, and is the rare Dr. Seuss adaptation that stays true to the spirit of the source material.
Synopsis: Animated elephant Horton (Jim Carrey) finds a speck of dust floating in the Jungle of Nool. Upon investigation of the... [More]

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 85681%
Critics Consensus: The Spiderwick Chronicles is an entertaining children's adventure, with heart and imagination to spare.
Synopsis: Of the three Grace children, Jared (Freddie Highmore) has always been thought of as the troublemaker. So when strange things... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#12

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
81%

#12
Adjusted Score: 86841%
Critics Consensus: The storyline arc may seem a tad familiar to fans of the original, but Kung Fu Panda 2 offers enough action, comedy, and visual sparkle to compensate.
Synopsis: Now known as the Dragon Warrior, Po (Jack Black) protects the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

#11

Long Shot (2019)
81%

#11
Adjusted Score: 99828%
Critics Consensus: A sharp and deceptively layered comedy that's further fueled by the odd couple chemistry of its leads, this Long Shot largely hits its marks.
Synopsis: Fred Flarsky is a gifted and free-spirited journalist who has a knack for getting into trouble. Charlotte Field is one... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

#10

Sausage Party (2016)
82%

#10
Adjusted Score: 95762%
Critics Consensus: Sausage Party is definitely offensive, but backs up its enthusiastic profanity with an impressively high laugh-to-gag ratio -- and a surprisingly thought-provoking storyline.
Synopsis: Life is good for all the food items that occupy the shelves at the local supermarket. Frank (Seth Rogen) the... [More]

#9

This Is the End (2013)
83%

#9
Adjusted Score: 91209%
Critics Consensus: Energetic, self-deprecating performances and enough guffaw-inducing humor make up for the flaws in This Is the End loosely written script.
Synopsis: In Hollywood, actor James Franco is throwing a party with a slew of celebrity pals. Among those in attendance are... [More]
Directed By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 92444%
Critics Consensus: Steve Carell's first star turn scores big with a tender treatment of its titular underdog, using raunchy but realistically funny comedy to connect with adult audiences.
Synopsis: Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is an amiable single guy who works at a big-box store. Living alone, 40-year-old Andy spends... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow

#7

Steve Jobs (2015)
85%

#7
Adjusted Score: 98210%
Critics Consensus: Like the tech giant co-founded by its subject, Steve Jobs gathers brilliant people to deliver a product whose elegance belies the intricate complexities at its core.
Synopsis: With public anticipation running high, Apple Inc. co-founders Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) and Steve "Woz" Wozniak get ready to unveil... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#6

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
87%

#6
Adjusted Score: 96905%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda 3 boasts the requisite visual splendor, but like its rotund protagonist, this sequel's narrative is also surprisingly nimble, adding up to animated fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Living large and loving life, Po (Jack Black) realizes that he has a lot to learn if he's going to... [More]

#5

Kung Fu Panda (2008)
87%

#5
Adjusted Score: 94519%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda has a familiar message, but the pleasing mix of humor, swift martial arts action, and colorful animation makes for winning Summer entertainment.
Synopsis: Po the panda (Jack Black) works in his family's noodle shop and dreams of becoming a kung-fu master. His dream... [More]

#4

Superbad (2007)
88%

#4
Adjusted Score: 96001%
Critics Consensus: Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience.
Synopsis: High-school seniors Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) have high hopes for a graduation party: The co-dependent teens plan... [More]
Directed By: Greg Mottola

#3

Knocked Up (2007)
89%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100058%
Critics Consensus: Knocked Up is a hilarious, poignant and refreshing look at the rigors of courtship and child-rearing, with a sometimes raunchy, yet savvy script that is ably acted and directed.
Synopsis: Rising journalist Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) hits a serious bump in the road after a one-night stand with irresponsible slacker... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 116559%
Critics Consensus: Oh, hai Mark. The Disaster Artist is a surprisingly poignant and charming movie-about-a-movie that explores the creative process with unexpected delicacy.
Synopsis: The incredible true story of aspiring filmmaker and Hollywood outsider Tommy Wiseau as he and his best friend defiantly pursue... [More]
Directed By: James Franco

#1

50/50 (2011)
93%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100616%
Critics Consensus: A good-hearted film about a difficult topic, 50/50 maneuvers between jokes and drama with surprising finesse.
Synopsis: Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has always tried to take good care of his health, so it comes as a cruel... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

Thumbnail image: Columbia Pictures, Universal / courtesy Everett Collection 

Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner attempt to communicate through an intergalactic language barrier with aliens in this week’s Arrival. Are the visitors hostile? Curious? Come bearing presents and gift cards? Those questions answered in this week’s gallery: 24 best and worst movie alien visitors!

This week on home video, we’ve got plenty of new releases and a few notable reissues. Before we get to the recent films available this week, we’ll go ahead and let you know that there are Blu-Ray reissues of two teen comedy classics: Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Dazed and Confused. And before we go any further, we’ll let you know that, while you can certainly pick up the new Blu-Ray of Dazed and Confused, The Criterion Collection will be releasing their own Blu-Ray edition of the film in October of this year, so you may want to hold out for that. The other notable Blu-Ray release is Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, so if you’re a fan of the director or of star Johnny Depp, that might be worth checking out. As far as new films, we’ve got the latest Simon Pegg/Nick Frost buddy comedy (with Seth Rogen voicing an alien), a stoner adventure comedy, a motion capture kids flick, a Rainn Wilson/Ellen Page superhero satire, a rom-com about class distinctions, and a Michelle Williams-powered Western. Read on for the full list!



Paul

70%

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have proven to be a reliable comic duo, not just in films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but also in the cult favorite BBC show Spaced, all of which were also directed by Edgar Wright. For Paul, Pegg and Frost hooked up with Superbad director Greg Mottola, as well as Superbad star Seth Rogen (as the voice of the titular alien), and the results, while positive overall, weren’t quite as strong as their previous efforts. Paul tells the story of two Comic-Con geeks from overseas who set out on a road trip to visit various sci-fi landmarks and encounter a fugitive alien (Rogen) trying to find his way back home. While the chemistry between the two leads is strong, and the film is peppered with notable appearances by Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, and Bill Hader, critics say Paul doesn’t quite measure up to the pair’s best work. It is amiably entertaining, though, and at a solid 71% on the Tomatometer, it should be a decent rental.



Your Highness

27%

Two more comedy stars paired up with another notable director for this crass and irreverent take on the traditional fantasy adventure. In David Gordon Green’s (Pineapple Express) Your Highness, James Franco and Danny McBride are princely brothers Fabious and Thadeous, who set out on a perilous quest to rescue Fabious’s bride-to-be, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), from an evil sorcerer named Leezar (Justin Theroux). Along the way, the brothers meet a courageous woman warrior (Natalie Portman) who harbors her own reasons for pursuing Leezar and engage in lots of swearing and silly hijinks. Unfortunately, critics largely felt that the premise behind Your Highness — namely, a stoner comedy with swords, dragons, and magic — probably worked a lot better on paper than it did on film, where it became a highly monotonous romp with only occasional laughs. Perhaps the intent was for viewers themselves to be under the influence while watching Your Highness, but judging by its 26% Tomatometer, there’s a strong chance it might not have benefited from even that kind of help.



Mars Needs Moms

37%

Oh, Robert Zemeckis, how much longer will you continue to support endeavors in motion capture filmmaking, even in the face of diminishing returns? Though Zemeckis didn’t direct Mars Needs Moms, he did take on producing duties, and unfortunately for him, the film wasn’t the one to change audiences’ minds about the technology. Based on a book of the same name by Berkeley Breathed, Mars Needs Moms is a sci-fi infused lesson in family values, in which a young boy named Milo witnesses the Martian abduction of his mother and stows away aboard the spacecraft. Once on Mars, Milo discovers that human mothers are being taken for their maternal instincts, which are then implanted in robots to care for their own Martian children. Milo meets up with a kooky man who’s been trapped on Mars since he too followed his mother to the planet, and together they set about trying to rescue Milo’s mom. According to the critics, the film did have some visual flair, but with so many manufactured moments, it simply lacked imagination and heart. As such, it sits at 34% on the Tomatometer and may be another of those films only suitable for young children.



Super

49%

The concept of regular people donning costumes to fight crime in a real world setting is not one that suddenly became popular with last year’s Kick-Ass, and Super, starring Rain Wilson and Ellen Page, is simply the next one to give it a go. As it turns out, most found Super to be mediocre, particularly when compared with the aforementioned Certified Fresh Kick-Ass. Rainn Wilson is Frank D’Arbo, a short order cook whose ex-addict wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) leaves him for a sleazy but charismatic strip club owner (Kevin Bacon). Depressed and deluded, Frank assumes the identity of urban crimefighter The Crimson Bolt, and with his trusty sidekick Boltie (Ellen Page), begins to take justice into his own hands. Ostensibly a dark comedy, Super went a little too dark for some who hoped for a bit more of the comedy, and its unflinching brutality proved to be its undoing. At 45% on the Tomatometer, this one may offer some uncomfortable laughs, but it won’t be a picnic in the park for those of you who are easily disturbed.



Jumping the Broom

58%

Wait, what’s this? A contemporary African-American rom-com about familial relationships and marriage that doesn’t have Tyler Perry’s name plastered all over it? We bet you thought he’d cornered the market on that material. Jumping the Broom stars Laz Alonso and Paula Patton as Jason and Sabrina, two young professionals who meet, fall in love, and decide to get married. There is one little issue, though: Jason is from a working class home, while Sabrina hails from an upper crust family. When the two get their relatives together for the celebration, cultures clash and hilarity (presumably) ensues. Ultimately, critics found the cast to be charming and well chosen, and the film certainly has heart, but, like many films of its kind, Jumping the Broom suffers from lackluster writing and eventually succumbs to clichéd plot conventions. If you’re looking for a light, amusing romantic comedy with some appealing actors doing their thing, you could certainly do worse, but don’t expect any new ground to be broken, and be prepared for the schmaltz.



Meek’s Cutoff

86%

Michelle Williams and director Kelly Reichardt continue the successful partnership they forged in 2008’s Wendy and Lucy with this ponderous indie Western. Based on historical facts, Meek’s Cutoff chronicles the story of a group of American settlers traveling the Oregon Trail whose guide, Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood), leads them into the wilderness with little idea where he’s going. Tension builds as the settlers begin to realize this and supplies begin to run low, and when they encounter and capture a lone Native American, they wonder whether or not he can be trusted to lead them to safety. Reichardt has enjoyed great critical acclaim for her previous work, and Meek’s Cutoff, her third Certified Fresh film in a row, is no exception. Though its pace is rather deliberate, most critics found the film to be an effective, intense journey of terror and survival, bolstered by performances from Greenwood and Williams. It might be too slow for some, but those who stick with it will be rewarded by a psychologically gripping Western.



The Battle of Algiers

99%

The Battle of Algiers is a singular cinematic achievement — it’s a riveting look at the French occupation of Algeria that recreates the tumultuous late-1950s-early-1960s conflict so remarkably that you won’t believe it isn’t a contemporary newscast. Gillo Pontecorvo’s Certified Fresh film gives viewers an unflinching perspective on the Algerian War of Independence, from the rebels urban guerilla warfare tactics to the brutal colonial military response. Despite the passage of time, The Battle of Algiers hasn’t dated a bit — it screened at the Pentagon prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq (the flier for the screening read “How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas”), and Quentin Tarrantino utilized the film’s propulsive theme for a key scene in Inglourious Basterds. It’s about as incendiary as world cinema gets. A new Criterion blu-ray comes loaded with extras, including a making-of featurette, a doc on the history of the war, and interviews with everyone from the filmmakers to the movie’s biggest fans (including Spike Lee and Oliver Stone) to U.S. counterterrorism experts.

Right now, you might say that Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are living every sci-fi movie fan’s dream. The irrepressible British comedy duo, who came to attention via cult TV series Spaced and scored big-screen hits with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, are currently enjoying the success of their third movie collaboration, Paul, which finds them as road-tripping nerds inadvertently harbouring an intergalactic fugitive with an attitude (Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen). Directed with freewheeling brio by Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland), bursting with pop references and some heavyweight genre cameos, it’s a film that manages to be satiric and self-referential while retaining its own brand of wayward road movie lunacy.

On top of that, Frost and Pegg have been filming Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, in which they portray the all-but-identical detective buffoons Thomson and Thompson.
Frost is also soon to appear in what looks to be one of the year’s breakout hits, the aliens-invade-inner-city-London adventure Attack the Block, directed by his friend (and Tintin co-writer) Joe Cornish.

With Paul landing in Australian cinemas this week, we got a chance to talk with Nick Frost about the film, what it’s been like working with Spielberg, and what to expect from Attack the Block. Read on for the full interview, but first, as always, we asked him his Five Favourite Films. “Alright — as of today,” Frost notes of his choices.

 


Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, 95% Tomatometer)

 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is my favourite film of all time. That will always be number one. I can watch it today and it’s like a time machine; it completely takes me back to the way I felt when I first watched it as a kid. For me it never dates, it never ages, and it’s just perfect.

Dead Man’s Shoes (2004, 55% Tomatometer)

 

I’ve also got on there Dead Man’s Shoes, the Shane Meadows/Paddy Considine classic. I think Paddy Considine is the finest actor and I loved working with him on Hot Fuzz and stuff. I think I’d like to be as good an actor as Paddy Considine one day, when I grow up. [laughs] He is amazing.

Bottle Rocket (1996, 79% Tomatometer)

 

Bottle Rocket: I love Wes Anderson and that’s one of my favourites. I mean, it’s my favourite today with this interview. I love his staging of detail and specificity, you know; I think if the devil is in the details, Wes Anderson just nails it.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, 94% Tomatometer)

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark, again, very similar to me with Close Encounters. If I’m sick, or I’ve had a wisdom tooth out or I’m lying in bed in the afternoon and not very well, I will often put Raiders of the Lost Ark on. Again, it’s like a timeless gem for me and it just never gets tired. When my son becomes old enough to watch films I am gonna show him Raiders.

How old is that?

Well, like, three. [laughs]

The Shining (1980, 88% Tomatometer)

 

Finally, just for today, I am gonna say The Shining. Just a great film. It’s a great horror film and it’s incredibly creepy; fantastic performances and just that sense of threat that is prevalent throughout the whole movie. I just love it.

 

Next, Frost talks Paul, working with Spielberg on Tintin, and more aliens in his upcoming Attack the Block.

 

 

RT: This is yours and Simon’s biggest film yet — are you happy with how Paul‘s been doing at the box office so far?

Nick Frost: I think you have to look at your place in the food chain, you know. We’re British filmmakers. Americans like American films; they like American actors and writers — and that’s fair enough. Yes, Paul is a bigger film in itself, because it was a bigger budget, but we’re aware that we are foreign filmmakers in America, so I think Paul has been very successful.

You’ve definitely got another big cult hit on your hands.

Well that’s enough — that’s fine for me. In terms of British people who go to America to make films, I think we’ve done great.

How did you come to enlist Greg Mottola as director, given his background in more indie-style comedies?

We picked Greg, and he picked us. We knew Edgar [Wright] wasn’t available because he was off doing Scott Pilgrim, which was great, and it was Simon and I’s idea anyway; it was something that we’ve always had in mind and that we’ve wanted to do. We were big films of Greg’s first film, Daytrippers, and then I saw Superbad at Comic-Con about three or four years ago, and just flipped out for it. I met Greg there and I spoke to Simon about Greg, and Greg and Simon had a meeting. We had Superbad screened over in London and we just realised that this was exactly who we wanted to do Paul. We wanted it to be like an independent road movie set in America — like Little Miss Sunshine but with Paul instead of Alan Arkin.

 

At what point did you both say, “Let’s write an alien road trip movie”?

Well it started out as a bit of flippancy in the rain. We were shooting Shaun of the Dead and it was f**king raining tons during the scene where we were throwing the records at the Hulk and Mary, and Nira our producer just kinda said, “Maybe we should shoot a film somewhere where it doesn’t rain.” That started us spitballing this idea about the desert, because obviously it doesn’t rain in the desert — but it does, which is the irony — and then that became Nevada which became Area 51, and then, because of the frame of reference that Simon Pegg and I use, it is not a big jump to go to “two comic book nerds find alien in crashed Crown Vic.”

There are scores of pop references in the script, which is of course part of the fun; but was there a point where you and Simon had to say, “Okay, that’s enough”?

Well we don’t have a list, you know. We get asked this question a lot: “You’ve done zombies, you’ve done aliens — what’s next?” It’s not like we set out with a list of genres or a list of references we need to hit and then start it from there. I think Paul is character-driven and the reason there are so many references is that that’s where Graham [Simon Pegg] and Clive [Nick Frost] come from. The only time we did think about the references and pared some of them down was when Simon got the Star Trek gig. I think in original drafts there were more Star Trek references and stuff, and then as soon as he got the gig it seemed we should get rid of them, because it seemed a bit self-referential then.

Well not many films manage to work in references to both Capturing the Friedmans and Mac and Me, so my hat is off to you there…

[laughs] I don’t think people try, to be honest.

Was there a defining moment in your life in which you realised you were a sci-fi fan?

Close Encounters. The first time I ever saw that, that’s the first time I remember becoming aware of cinema, and the power of it; and being aware of a film. It’s a love, certainly for Close Encounters, that has endured for the last 30 years of my life. Also for me, for my friends and my cousins and my younger family, it was all about Star Wars. My whole life growing up was all about Star Wars.

 

Speaking of Spielberg, what’s it like having seen his films as a kid and now to be working with him on Tintin?

Yeah, absolutely fantastic, you know. He’s a hero of mine. I mean, I don’t remember much about going to school, but I certainly remember where I was the first time I saw E.T. and Close Encounters. Once you start working with him it’s very nerve-wracking, you know, because he’s Steven Spielberg for God’s sake; it’s terrifying. But once you’re on set, in quite a short space of time you realise and understand that he’s an absolute genius and a gentleman, and he’s a filmmaker — he’s not in it for the money or the celebrity, he’s in it because he loves making films. He’s happy to talk about Close Encounters and E.T. and stuff, and he’s a great storyteller. Just watching him shoot a film, you see his enthusiasm and his verve for making films, and it is very infectious. You wanna work around that, and perform inside that.

Has he seen Paul?

[MINOR SPOILER]

Well he’s in Paul.

Ah, I didn’t wanna spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it.

Oh I see. He has, yes. He loved it. He really liked it. His only criticism was that he didn’t like the guy who played Steven Spielberg.

 

[laughs] Again with the aliens — you’ve got Attack the Block, Joe Cornish’s film, coming up. Can you tell us about your role?

Aha, yeah I play Ron — I’m like an area drug dealer and I have lots of street kids kind of doing the dirty work for me. I think Joe and I both talked about Ron being like Bruce Dern in Silent Running, you know — he’s just this kind of very peaceful guy who happens to be a grower and a cultivator of marijuana and herbal medicines; he just sits in his council flat cultivating away. I was so happy to do that film and so happy to work with Joe; he’s been a best mate of ours for years, so to see someone have what I think is going to be a massive success with Attack the Block, which he’s written and directed, I’m just proud as f**king punch, you know. And working with those kids — well they’re not kids, they’re young men and women — 99 per cent of those people had never acted before, and Joe and a lady called Lucy Pardee spent months and months street casting those kids. So they bring a tremendous energy and a talent to the set. Again, it’s just one of those jobs that you look forward to getting up and going to work in the mornings.


Paul opens across Australian cinemas this week.

The paranoia-fueled action thriller Limitless led a trio of new releases and opened at number one with a sturdy debut. The crime drama The Lincoln Lawyer and the road comedy Paul both attracted respectable business landing in the top five but the overall marketplace once again failed to match up to last year’s levels.

Relativity Media’s new distribution operation scored its first top spot bow with the Bradley Cooper drama Limitless which premiered on top with an estimated $19M finishing a few notches above industry expectations. The fast-paced thriller about a washed up writer who finds wealth and success after taking a top-secret drug that unleashes the full power of his brain averaged a solid $6,894 from 2,756 theaters and played well to adults of both genders. Produced for $30M, the PG-13 film marked the first hit for Cooper as a leading man after numerous wins at the box office in ensemble pics, most notably 2009’s sleeper smash The Hangover. Robert De Niro co-starred.

Audience research showed that cross-gender appeal was strong as females only slightly outnumbered males with 52% of the crowd. 60% was 25 and over while 57% was non-Caucasian. Despite heavy competition for adults right now, Limitless connected with its target audience thanks to an effective marketing push that included a high-profile TV spot during the Super Bowl over a month ago.

Holding steady in second place in its third weekend of play was Johnny Depp’s animated comedy Rango which slipped only 32% to an estimated $15.3M. After 17 days the Paramount release has tallied an impressive $92.6M and will break nine digits by the end of the week becoming the bankable actor’s sixth $100M+ hit over the last eight years.

Depp and Cooper will again face each other over Memorial Day weekend when The Hangover Part II opens against the second session of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The debut of Kung Fu Panda 2 over the sequel-filled holiday will put Paramount in the mix too with another toon.

With three new male-led films entering the marketplace, the military actioner Battle: Los Angeles took a huge hit tumbling 59% to an estimated $14.6M for third place. Produced for $70M, the Sony release has amassed an impressive $60.6M in its first ten days and looks headed for the $80-90M range.

Matthew McConaughey’s courtroom drama The Lincoln Lawyer opened to respectable results in fourth with an estimated $13.4M playing to an older adult audience. Lionsgate’s R-rated pic averaged $4,950 from 2,707 theaters and was well-liked by critics which helped its chances at the box office given its older skew. Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei, and William H. Macy also were part of the cast. The distributor won some industry press with its promotion with discount finder Groupon which allowed users to buy tickets for only $6. For the sake of box office reporting, Lionsgate used full ticket values and not the actual discounted price paid by consumers.

The alien comedy Paul debuted close behind in fifth with an estimated $13.2M from 2,802 sites for a decent $4,695 average. Starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of Shaun of the Dead fame, the R-rated road picture also featured Seth Rogen voicing the title character. Studio research showed that the audience was 56% male and 58% 25 and older. Reviews were generally positive. Universal began the global release a month ago with its United Kingdom bow and has grossed $28.1M overseas so far.

Only $245,000 separated the estimates for Lincoln and Paul so the film could swap positions when final grosses are reported on Monday. The distributors estimated similar Saturday-to-Sunday declines with Lincoln at 35% and Paul at 32%.

The fairy tale remake Red Riding Hood fell 48% to an estimated $7.3M in its second weekend giving Warner Bros. $26M in ten days. A final total of around $40M seems likely. Matt Damon’s The Adjustment Bureau followed with an estimated $5.9M, off 49%, putting Universal at $48.8M to date.

After a weak opening, the 3D toon Mars Needs Moms enjoyed a good sophomore hold slipping only 23% to an estimated $5.3M thanks to no new competition. But the Disney film stands at just $15.4M after ten days and looks set to end its run with only $30M.

Off only 35% in ninth was the teen drama Beastly with an estimated $3.3M followed by the raunchy flick Hall Pass with an estimated $2.6M dropping 48%. Totals are $22.2M for the CBS Films pic and $39.6M for the Warner Bros. comedy.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight debuted the critically acclaimed Paul Giamatti comedy Win Win in just five theaters and grossed an estimated $154,000 for a strong $30,723 average. Focus expanded its period drama Jane Eyre from four to 26 locations and delivered an estimated $478,000 for a sturdy $18,385 average. The total stands at $731,000.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $99.8M which was down 10% from last year when Alice in Wonderland stayed in the top spot for a third time with $34.2M; but up 7% from 2009 when Knowing debuted at number one with $24.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru!

twitter.com/giteshpandya

This week at the movies, we’ve got a close encounter (Paul, starring Simon Pegg and Seth Rogen); some rough justice (The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey and Marisa Tomei), and an experimental drug (Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro). What do the critics have to say?



Paul

70%

Simon Pegg’s filmography is littered with expert genre parodies (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), and director Greg Mottola is known for mixing big laughs with poignancy and intelligence. And although their new effort, Paul, may not live up to their previous work, critics say it’s an amiable, sweet road comedy that smartly sends up sci-fi references. Pegg stars as a fanboy who’s on a tour of America’s UFO landmarks along with his mate Nick Frost when he meets Paul (voiced by Seth Rogan), a crass, smart-mouthed little green man. With the Feds in hot pursuit, it’s up to our heroes to transport their alien pal to his intergalactic craft. The pundits say Paul isn’t the most disciplined comedy on the block, but it’s witty, warm, and smarter than your average road-trip romp.



The Lincoln Lawyer

83%

Matthew McConaughey’s big break as a leading man came with the 1996 adaptation of John Grisham’s A Time To Kill (not to mention Amistad the following year). So it’s nice to see him back in the courtroom, and critics say The Lincoln Lawyer is a good old-fashioned legal thriller with some interesting twists and an excellent performance from its star. McConaughey stars as a somewhat sketchy defense attorney who’s just landed the case of his career when he’s brought in to defend a millionaire bad boy (Ryan Phillippe). Soon, however, our protagonist discovers that not everything is as it seems. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Lincoln Lawyer won’t set the world on fire, but it’s skillfully made and entertaining, and it greatly benefits from a stellar cast. (Take a look at Phillippe’s Five Favorite Films.)



Limitless

69%

Limitless takes the concept of the Faustian bargain and gives it a contemporary spin: what if a revolutionary pharmaceutical could help you reach your full potential? It’s an interesting idea, but critics say the movie only partially fulfills it — it’s smart and slick, but also occasionally haphazard and frustrating. Bradley Cooper stars as a struggling writer who’s encouraged by a friend to try an untested miracle drug; soon, his brain is running on all cylinders and making big bucks on Wall Street. However, the drug has some serious side effects, and sinister forces want to get their hands on Cooper’s stash. The pundits say Limitless is stylishly directed and well performed, but in raising so many intriguing questions without answering them, the film can feel like a missed opportunity. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down Limitless star Robert De Niro’s Best Movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Nostalgia for the Light, a documentary about a research team in Chile’s investigations into big questions, is at 100 percent.
  • Bill Cunningham New York, a doc about the legendary New York Times fashion photographer, is at 91 percent.
  • Win Win, starring Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan in a comedy about a wrestling coach who ends up caring for a runaway, is at 89 percent.
  • Winter in Wartime, a drama about a youngster aiding the Resistance in Nazi-occupied Holland, is at 85 percent.
  • The Music Never Stopped, a drama about a father who attempts to treat his son’s brain ailment with music, is at 72 percent.
  • The Butcher, The Chef And The Swordsman, an action comedy about a butcher knife forged from the remains of legendary swords, is at 60 percent.
  • Desert Flower, the tale of a Somali woman who escaped an arranged marriage to become a model, is at 44 percent.
  • Cracks, starring Eva Green in a drama about jealousy and obsession at a remote all-girls boarding school, is at 39 percent.

Finally, want to win a Rotten Tomatoes shirt? First, watch a movie opening this week. Then, on Sunday, tweet your review and tag it #fresh or #rotten. We’ll choose 10 winners! Check us out on Twitter!

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