The critics haven’t always been kind to Adam Sandler over the course of his film career, but box office receipts don’t lie — his detractors have been handily outnumbered by his many ardent fans, many of whom have been laughing it up over the SNL vet’s shtick for decades. His filmography’s certainly had its share of ups and downs, but it includes some of the biggest — and most eminently quotable — comedy hits in recent memory, from Billy Madison to Happy Gilmore, as well as a number of beloved rom-coms like The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates, and indie gems in the form of The Meyerowitz Stories and Punch-Drunk Love. In fact, one of his latest was exactly that: 2019’s Uncut Gems, the intense crime thriller from the Safdie bros, drew some of the highest critical acclaim of Sandler’s career.
Watch out for hired goons, giant penguins, and, of course, Bob Barker, and let’s take a look at his entire filmography, from the best Adam Sandler movies to the worst, ranked by Tomatometer!
Critics Consensus: Every bit as lazily offensive as its cast and concept would suggest, The Ridiculous Six is standard couch fare for Adam Sandler fanatics and must-avoid viewing for film enthusiasts of every other persuasion.
Synopsis: White Knife, an orphan raised by Native Americans, discovers that five outlaws are actually his half-brothers. Together, they set out... [More]
Critics Consensus: While it's almost certainly the movie event of the year for filmgoers passionate about deer urine humor, Grown Ups 2 will bore, annoy, and disgust audiences of nearly every other persuasion.
Synopsis: Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) moves his family back to his hometown to be with his friends, but he finds --... [More]
Critics Consensus: A dunderheaded story of mistaken identity, The Do-Over finds Adam Sandler and David Spade retreading old ground -- minus the comedic pep required to enliven the decidedly uninspired proceedings.
Synopsis: When two guys fake their owns deaths and assume the identify of two others, they quickly discover that those men... [More]
Critics Consensus:The Cobbler represents a slight step up from Adam Sandler's recent comedies, but while its cloying sentiment proves a more palatable substitute for his usual crass humor, it still isn't terribly compelling.
Synopsis: A frustrated shoemaker (Adam Sandler) finds a magical sewing machine that allows him to see the world in a new... [More]
Critics Consensus: While it does represent a new foray into raunch for the normally PG-13 Sandler, That's My Boy finds him repeating himself to diminishing effect - and dragging Andy Samberg down with him.
Synopsis: While still a teen himself, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son,Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent.... [More]
Critics Consensus: Audiences who enjoy Adam Sandler's belligerent comic energy may find him in joyously obnoxious form as Billy Madison, but this thinly-plotted starring vehicle surrounds its star with an aggressively pedestrian movie.
Synopsis: Man-child Billy Madison (Adam Sandler) has been a spoiled rich kid all his life, and spends his days drinking and... [More]
Critics Consensus: Gross-out humor overwhelms the easy chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, who bring some energy and yucks to this tale of a girl with short-term memory loss and the guy who tries to get her to love him.
Synopsis: Playboy vet Henry sets his heart on romancing Lucy, but she has short-term memory loss; she can't remember anything that... [More]
Critics Consensus:Hotel Transylvania 2 is marginally better than the original, which may or may not be enough of a recommendation to watch 89 minutes of corny, colorfully animated gags from Adam Sandler and company.
Synopsis: Now that Dracula (Adam Sandler) has opened the Hotel Transylvania's doors to humans, things are changing for the better; however,... [More]
Critics Consensus:Reign Over Me is a charming, affecting tale of friendship and loss, with solid performances from Adam Sandler as a broken, grief-stricken man and Don Cheadle as his old friend and savior.
Synopsis: Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler), who lost his family in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, still grieves over their deaths.... [More]
(Photo by Magnolia Pictures, New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures Classics, Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)
The 30 Essential Vampire Movies To Watch Right Now
Werewolves, mummies, and cobbled-together lab freaks have been around since the earliest decades of film, but no monster was perhaps more camera-ready than the vampire. Those counts and lords who love to mug and menace for the camera, mesmerize with their fancy capes, and whose pale skin glows in the luminous flicker of old film cameras. So no surprise that some of the best vampire movies back then are some of the best vampires now, like Dracula, Nosferatu, and Vampyr, even as they approach their centennial anniversaries. That’s the bar that’s been set for our guide to the essential and best vampire movies, and still we found plenty worthy to follow in their fang-steps.
Across legend, we know vampires for their allure and seductive properties. (Or at least, just their property — who wouldn’t be charmed by a 600-bedroom castle?) The sex appeal of the vampires has especially been played up in movies since the ’80s: As the sexy suburban neighbor (Fright Night), the upper-strata socialites (The Hunger), and a smoulderer’s row of hot guys (Interview with the Vampire) and leather jacket rebels (The Lost Boys).
Or if you just want some action, see From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, Daybreakers, Underworld, and 30 Days of Night.
So, looking for something to watch on your next open-coffin-and-chill night? Then go to bat with our 30 Essential Vampire Movies!
Critics Consensus:Vampire Hunter D's gothic charms may be lost on those unfamiliar with the anime series that spawned it, but the crisp action and nightmarish style will satiate horror aficionados' bloodlust.
Synopsis: In a dark and distant future, when the undead have arisen from apocalyptic ashes, an original story unfolds. Ten thousand... [More]
Critics Consensus: Worth watching for Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton's performances alone, Only Lovers Left Alive finds writer-director Jim Jarmusch adding a typically offbeat entry to the vampire genre.
Synopsis: Artistic, sophisticated and centuries old, two vampire lovers (Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston) ponder their ultimate place in modern society.... [More]
Critics Consensus: Overblown in the best sense of the word, Francis Ford Coppola's vision of Bram Stoker's Dracula rescues the character from decades of campy interpretations -- and features some terrific performances to boot.
Synopsis: Adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic vampire novel. Gary Oldman plays Dracula whose lonely soul is determined to reunite with his... [More]
Critics Consensus: Trading gore for grandeur, Horror of Dracula marks an impressive turn for inveterate Christopher Lee as the titular vampire, and a typical Hammer mood that makes aristocracy quite sexy.
Synopsis: On a search for his missing friend Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen), vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is... [More]
Critics Consensus: Flawed but eminently watchable, Joel Schumacher's teen vampire thriller blends horror, humor, and plenty of visual style with standout performances from a cast full of young 1980s stars.
Synopsis: Teenage brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) move with their mother (Dianne Wiest) to a small town in... [More]
Critics Consensus: Despite lacking some of the book's subtler shadings, and suffering from some clumsy casting, Interview with a Vampire benefits from Neil Jordan's atmospheric direction and a surfeit of gothic thrills.
Synopsis: Born as an 18th-century lord, Louis is now a bicentennial vampire, telling his story to an eager biographer. Suicidal after... [More]
Critics Consensus: One of the silent era's most influential masterpieces, Nosferatu's eerie, gothic feel -- and a chilling performance from Max Schreck as the vampire -- set the template for the horror films that followed.
Synopsis: In this highly influential silent horror film, the mysterious Count Orlok (Max Schreck) summons Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to... [More]
Looking for a Halloween horror binge for the weekend? Stream the three seasons of Penny Dreadful on Netflix. Want to frighten your friends and loved ones? Turn on Splatterdays, Pluto TV’s free marathon of horror classics. Keep reading to learn more about the season’s best Halloween programming.
Visit the streaming service’s Halloween-themed hub for a personalized selection of popular Halloween TV episodes and movies. Hand-picked Halloween collections include Freaky Franchises, Foreign Frights, Psychological Horror & Thrillers, Sci-Fi Scares, Indies, Zombies, Humorous Horror, Anthologies, alongside Hulu Originals and Huluween Essentials.
AMC FearFest, AMC
The network’s annual horror marathon promises 104 spooky titles, including Alien, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Final Destination, The Omen, Leprechaun, and more (ongoing).
Netflix & Chills, Netflix
The streaming service’s spooky hub contains plenty of horror movies and horror TV series, plus a selection of original movies and series debuting throughout the month of October.
On Halloween day, TNT will air nine hours straight of some of the CW hit’s spookiest episodes, including “Ghostfacers,” “Monster Movie,” “ScoobyNatural,” and many more. The marathon runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31.
A Shudder Halloween Collection, Shudder
The horror streaming service is highlighting classics including the Halloween movies and originals including Belzebuth and Terrified.
13 Nights of Halloween, HDNet Movies
A mix of classic and modern horror and thriller films will play every night on the network. Highlights include a Night of the Living Dead Marathon, an Edgar Allan Poe/Vincent Price night, and a 24-hour marathon on Halloween itself.
In the Tall Grass(2019)36% — the film based on the novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill, now streaming on Netflix
Fractured(2019)59% — a family’s car trip goes wrong in this film starring Sam Worthington and Lily Rabe, now streaming on Netflix
Wounds(2019)47% — a New Orleans bartender’s life begins to unravel after a series of disturbing and inexplicable events that begin to happen to him after picking up a phone left behind at a bar, now streaming on Hulu
Little Monsters(2019)79% — the critically acclaimed Australian horror comedy about a school field trip that ends with a zombie outbreak stars Lupita Nyong’o and is now streaming on Hulu
Rattlesnake(2019)30% — a single mother (Carmen Ejogo) and her daughter drive across the country to start their new life, but things go wrong when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and the daughter is bitten by a rattlesnake, premieres Friday, Oct. 25 on Netflix
It’s October, people! That means it’s time to sharpen your pumpkin-carving knives, stock up on candy, and…turn on your TV (or at least set your DVR) to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year. TV networks and streaming services are celebrating Halloween all month long with marathons, specials, series, episodes, and more.
Check back periodically throughout October as we update the list with the latest in Halloween programming!
Classic Horror, TCM and Filmstruck
The classic film network is dedicating different days of the week to various Halloween-themed programming. Every Wednesday will celebrate a different Horror Star of the Week (including Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Vincent Price), while Sundays are for the Monster of the Month: The Mummy (programming includes 11 of the best mummy-themed films ranging from 1936’s Mummy’s Boys to 1971’s Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb). On the network’s streaming service, Filmstruck, find a lineup of monster movies, Japanese horror films, and more.
Three new original series from Nerdist will debut on Legendary Digital Networks’ Alpha during October: Bizarre States: California, Vampire: The Masquerade – L.A. By Night, and The Dark Side, in addition to other Halloween-themed programming.
On Halloween day, TNT will air 12 hours straight of some of the CW hit’s spookiest episodes, including the pilot, “Bloody Mary,” “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester,” “Monster Movie,” and many more.
Halloween and Alfred Hitchcock Collections, Shudder
The horror streaming service is highlighting classics including Halloween, Halloween 4, Halloween 5, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; and an Alfred Hitchcock collection that includes Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Birds, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rope, and Shadow of a Doubt.
Halloween Programming, Cartoon Network App
Check out Halloween specials for popular Cartoon Network Series The Powerpuff Girls, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, Unkitty, and more.
Halloween Movies, Pluto TV
Stream ‘n’ scream with plenty of holiday classics, including Night of the Living Dead, Paranormal Activity 2, Leprechaun In the Hood, Silent Hill, Idle Hands, and more.
BBC AAAAAAmerica, BBC America
Get in the spooky spirit with a week’s worth of programming with movie marathons, a takeover of The X-Files, and hours of Hitchcockian horror. Plus, the network is partnering with streaming service Shudder for a Saturday of original films seen for the first time on television.
Halloween Baking Championship — Mondays at 9 p.m. on Food Network
No Escape Room — a father and daughter check out a small town escape room and discover there is something sinister about the place in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. on Syfy
Cucuy: The Boogeyman — a teenage girl confined to her home on house arrest soon discovers that the nightmarish urban legends of the Mexican boogeyman, El Cucuy, are actually true in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. on Syfy
Karma — when recent college grad Manny has trouble making ends meet, his father-in-law offers him a job evicting delinquent tenants. Manny soon finds himself unleashing a karma demon which stalks him at every turn in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. on Syfy
Killer High — Sabrina’s perfectly planned high school reunion goes south when a monster keeps killing all the guests in this horror-comedy original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. on Syfy
The Good Witch — “The Tale of Two Hearts”
Dead in the Water — an all-female crew on a boat in the middle of nowhere must deal with an invader on their ship in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 27 at 9 p.m. on Syfy
Modern Family85% — “Good Grief” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 9 p.m. on ABC
The Cool Kids75% — “Politician, Freemason, Scientist, Humorist and Diplomat, Ben Franklin” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 24 9:30 p.m. on ABC
Superstore93% — “Costume Competition” premieres Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. on NBC
Young Sheldon — “Seven Deadly Sins and a Small Carl Sagan” premieres Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS
MacGyver — “Dia de Muertos + Sicarios + Family” premieres Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. on CBS
Hawaii Five-0 — “A’ohe mea ‘imi a ka maka (Nothing More the Eyes to Search for)” premieres Friday, Oct. 26 at 9 p.m. on CBS
Three years ago this weekend, Hotel Transylvania set a new opening weekend record for the month of September with $42.5M on its way to a surprising $148.3M final domestic run ($358.4 worldwide). Sony looked at the family marketplace and very smartly opened up Hotel Transylvania 2 on the same weekend this year and set yet another September record, this time grossing an estimated $47.5M from 3,754 theaters for a per screen average of $12,653, just a hair below the original’s $12,697 average. Sequels tend to have front-loaded opening weekends so part 2 will have a hard time reaching the heights of part 1, however, there are no other similar family films hitting theaters until The Peanuts Movie on November 6th, so unless Pan or Goosebumps bring in a family crowd, Hotel Transylvania 2 could do reasonably well. Audiences liked what they saw giving the film an A- CinemaScore.
Director Nancy Meyers returned to the big screen for the first time in six years with the Anne Hathaway/Robert De Niro comedy The Intern which grossed an estimated $18.2M this weekend from 3,306 theaters for a per screen average of a solid $5,514. Meyers has a very strong track record as a director, even if she’s better known as a writer. Of her six directorial films, three of them have grossed over $100M, including her last trip to theaters, It’s Complicated which made $112.7M over the Christmas holidays of 2009. In fact her previous four films opened during the month of December where films tend to have longer legs so The Intern may not hit the same numbers but should still have a solid run. Audiences liked what they saw here too giving the film an A- CinemaScore.
Last weekend’s number one film, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, fell a reasonable 54% to an estimated $14M bringing its total to $51.7M. Look for a final in the $85M range which would come up a little short of the original’s $102M total from last year. The mountain thriller Everest added nearly 2,500 screens and jumped one spot to number four this weekend with an estimated $13M, bringing its total up to $23M. Its per screen average fell nearly 68% from last weekend. Rounding out the top five was the Johnny Depp-led Black Mass which slipped 49% from last weekend to an estimated $11.5M, bringing its total up to $42.6M. Look for a finale in the $70M unless a lot of awards buzz start to hit.
In its third weekend the M. Night Shyamalan horror flick The Visit scared up another $6.75M, according to estimates, bringing its cume up to $52M. Seventh place belonged to the dramatic thriller The Perfect Guy which brought in another $4.75M this weekend, bringing its total to $49M. The surprise hit of the season, War Room continued its strong run slipping only 31% in its fifth weekend to an estimated $4.3M bringing its total to an impressive $56M on an estimated $3M budget.
The horror film The Green Inferno from director Eli Roth debuted poorly in ninth place taking in an estimated $3.5M from 1,540 theaters for a per screen average of $2,269. As much as you see Roth’s name I was a little surprised to realize that this is only his fourth feature film as a director and his first since 2007’s Hostel Part II. 2003’s Cabin Fever was a cult favorite, opening to $8.6M and ending with $21M, while his biggest film was 2006’s Hostel which opened to $19.5M and finished with $47M. Hostel Part II was a bit of a disappointment opening with $8.2M on its way to a $17.6M finale. The Green Inferno might be able to make back its estimated $6M budget, but don’t expect too much more as audiences gave the film a very poor C- CinemaScore rating. Roth will next be in theaters in a couple of weeks with the Keanu Reeves thriller Knock Knock.
Rounding out the top 10 was critical darling Sicario which expanded into 59 theaters and grossed an estimated $1.77M for a per screen average of an astounding $30,000. Its total now stands at $3.5M and the film goes into wide release next weekend.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $125.3M which was up 30.6% from last year when The Equalizer opened at number one with $34.1M; and up 36.9% from 2013 when another animated sequel, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, debuted in the top spot with $34M.
We’ve got a spook-tacular pair of cinematic offerings this week: the teen zombie horror/comedy/romance Warm Bodies lurches into theaters, while the silly animated monster mash-up em>Hotel Transylvania hits DVD shelves. Read on to find out what’s appropriate for the whole family.
What’s it about?Warm Bodies is the tale of a star-crossed love affair between a zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult) and Julie (Teresa Palmer), a human, who meet in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. It’s kinda like a certain Shakespeare play, only with more brain-eating.
Who’s it for? It’s rated PG-13 “for zombie violence and some language.” It’s based on a popular YA novel, and while it might be a little too intense for younger kids, it’s safe for teens.
Is it any good? Only a handful of reviews are in for Warm Bodies, but critics have so far given it the seal of approval, calling it a funny and charming twist on forbidden teen romance.
What’s it about? At a remote hotel, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, and a bunch of other horror VIPs gather for Dracula’s daughter Mavis’ birthday celebration. But the ghoulies’ placid idyll is threatened when a Mavis falls for a human and her dad gets really overprotective.
Who’s it for? It’s rated PG “for some rude humor, action and scary images.” Yeah, it’s about monsters, but aside from a couple surprises, it’s almost certainly safe for ages seven and up.
Is it any good? Critics say Hotel Transylvania looks great, and it has a buoyant, giddy tone that may please children, but it largely fails to balance the yuks with its attempts at sincerity.
This week on home video, Adam Sandler plays an animated Dracula, and Colin Farrell reunites with his In Bruges director for another Certified Fresh winner. Then we’ve got a couple of horror movies — one bad and one decent — and an action dud from the guy who made JCVD. Plus, there are a few noteworthy reissues to talk about, so see below for the full list!
Of the three spooky animated family films that opened last fall, two were stop-motion creations, and two were critically acclaimed. Hotel Transylvania, unfortunately, was neither, but lo and behold, it made more money than the other two combined. Playing off familiar horror movie monsters made famous by Universal’s classic lineup, the film stars Adam Sandler as the voice of Dracula, who runs the titular hotel as a sort of resort getaway for his freaky friends. On the occasion of his daughter Mavis’s (Selena Gomez) 18th birthday, he invites the whole gang — Frankenstein (Kevin James), the Mummy (CeeLo Green), etc. — to celebrate, but complications ensue when a normal guy named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) wanders in unexpectedly and falls in love with Mavis. Hotel Transylvania didn?t fare too terribly with critics — at 43%, it’s still the highest rated film Adam Sandler’s made since 2009’s Funny People — but most found it a bit too loud and underwritten for older audiences. If you need something bubbly and forgettable to occupy the kids while you tend to trick-or-treaters, this’ll probably work.
Martin McDonagh’s first feature, 2008’s In Bruges, was an underseen sleeper hit that enjoyed some long tail success on home video; it would appear that reteaming with star Colin Farrell for Seven Psychopaths was a good idea. Utilizing an impressive supporting cast — including Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Abbie Cornish, Harry Dean Stanton, and more — Seven Psychopaths tells the story of a struggling writer (Farrell) whose actor buddy (Rockwell) unwittingly steals the pet pup of a violent gangster (Harrelson) in hopes of inspiring him to finish his latest screenplay. Critics largely found the film a rollicking good time, with sharp dialogue, clever storytelling, and just enough violence to keep audiences on their toes. Though it might be a little absurd and over-the-top for some, it’s Certified Fresh at 82% (like In Bruges) and promises a pretty fun and funny ride.
The Paranormal Activity films have always relied more on atmosphere, the eerie quiet and subtle noises that build to a jump scare or shocking climax. Unfortunately, this tactic becomes quickly formulaic, and that’s part of the reason critics were none too impressed with the fourth installment. Paranormal Activity 4 is a sequel set five years after the events of the second film, focusing on teenage girl Alex (Kathryn Newton) and her family as they deal with what appears to be a supernatural presence in their house; the unseen force seems to be connected to Alex’s next door neighbors, who may or may not be Katie and her nephew Hunter from the previous films. Critics say PA4 still manages a handful of creepy moments, but also that the film’s themes are now so overdone that they feel formulaic, and that its attempts to make up for this with a beefed up mythology largely fall flat.
Ready for another ghost story? Rebecca Hall, Imelda Staunton, and Dominic West star in a period haunted house flick set in 1920s London, and critics say their performances help to elevate the relatively familiar material. An author and skeptic (Hall) who has recently lost her fiancé is asked by an instructor at an all boys boarding school to look into the death and subsequent sightings of a student there. Predisposed not to believe in the supernatural, she takes the job and begins to question everything she knows as she witnesses more and more evidence of the inexplicable. The doubting skeptic, the mansion full of children, the period setting — these are not new elements in the genre, but what sets The Awakening apart from the pack, say critics, is the old-fashioned horror storytelling, the transformation of Hall’s character (and her ability to sell that transformation), and competent direction from Nick Murphy. At 60%, it may not scare the pants off you or blow your mind, but it’s probably one of the better atmospheric chillers.
Tunisian director Mabrouk El Mechri surprised a lot of folks with his poignant meta-thriller JCVD back in 2008, so how would he handle an international spy thriller starring the next Superman (Henry Cavill), Bruce Willis, and Sigourney Weaver? Not very well at all, apparently. Cavill plays Will Shaw, a government advisor who reluctantly travels to Spain for a family holiday. When a boating accident leads to the mysterious disappearance of his family, Will becomes embroiled in a CIA scandal involving his agent father (Willis), the Mossad, and a valuable briefcase. The main offender here is one we’ve seen sink many an action film: cliché. From generic spy lingo to predictable plot twists, The Cold Light of Day never emerges from its genre trappings to offer the same kind of freshness El Mechri displayed in his earlier film. As such, this one sits at a truly dismal 5% on the Tomatometer, so consider yourself warned.
Also available this week:
Ridley Scott’s 1977 debut The Duellists (90%), starring Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel in a stylish historical drama about two men in Napoleon’s army who engage in a series of duels over several years, on Blu-ray.
A 25th Anniversary Die Hard collection that includes all four released films, as well as a brand new bonus disc entitled “Decoding Die Hard,” on Blu-ray.
A new Blu-ray of Luis Buñuel’s final film, That Obscure Object of Desire (100%). (NOTE: This film was previously available in a Criterion Collection edition; this is a separate, unaffiliated release.)
The fanboy anticipation for Looper has grown to a fever pitch over the last few months. It appears the wait was worth it; critics say Rian Johnson‘s third feature pulls off that rarest of trifectas — it’s at once a provocative head trip, a tense thriller, and an intriguing character study. It’s 2044, and control of time-travel technology is in the hands of the mob; when they want somebody rubbed out, they send them back 30 years for an assassin to kill. But when one such “looper” (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is tasked with killing a future version of himself (Bruce Willis), he finds himself on the run from perhaps fate itself. The pundits say that despite the occasional narrative stumble, the Certified FreshLooper is such an exciting, heartfelt, and ambitious sci-fi tale that it’s sure to imspire plenty of conversation after the lights come up. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Willis’ best-reviewed films.)
They may look scary, but all the famous movie monsters are just like us on the inside. That’s the clever premise of Hotel Transylvania, but while critics say the movie looks great and has moments of comic inspiration, it largely fails to balance the yuks with its attempts at sincerity. At a remote hotel, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, and a bunch of other horror VIPs gather for Dracula’s daughter Mavis’ birthday celebration. But the ghoulies’ placid idyll is threatened when Mavis falls for a human and her dad gets really overprotective. The pundits say Hotel Transylvania has a buoyant, giddy tone that may please children, but it’s also loud and thinly-scripted. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames, an image gallery of legendary creatures in animation.)
If you’ve seen one inspirational story of underdogs taking on the system, you’ve seen ’em all, right? Not necessarily, though critics say Won’t Back Down feels awfully familiar — not to mention simplistic — despite the best efforts of stars Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Davis and Gyllenhaal play a teacher and a single mom, respectively, who become so disillusioned by the bureaucratic rigidity of the local public school system that they start a grass-roots movement to wrest control from the teachers union. The pundits say Won’t Back Down is well-acted, but its script fails to lend dramatic heft or sophistication to the hot-button issue of education reform.
Also opening this week in limited release:
The Other Dream Team, a documentary about the politics surrounding the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team, is at 86 percent.
The Waiting Room, a documentary about the workings of a public hospital in Oakland, is at 86 percent.
Joe Dante‘s The Hole, a horror film about a pair of middle-schoolers who discover a bottomless pit in the basement of their new house, is at 81 percent.
Tales of the Night, an animated collection of vignettes featuring fantastic tales from around the world, is at 80 percent.