The Devil Wears Prada

(Photo by Brigitte Lacombe / TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved./courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: Universal/courtesy Everett Collection.)

All Meryl Streep Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

Meryl Streep landed her first Oscar nomination for just her second on-screen role: 1978’s The Deer Hunter, opposite John Cazale. A few more performances after that and she’d find herself standing before Hollywood’s elite, accepting the gold trophy for her complex “villain” role in 1980’s Kramer vs. Kramer. Stardom came within that decade, as she made her mark across disparate films and genres, becoming versatility personified in the acting game, as featured in a Best Picture winner (Out of Africa), rom-coms (Heartburn), political social thrillers (Silkwood), dramas (Sophie’s Choice), and period pieces (Ironweed).

This canny ability to wedge and dissolve into roles that sparked her attention has been rewarded with a record 21 Oscar nominations over decades, winning three for Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, and The Iron Lady. Yes, there were noms for so-called Oscar bait like Doubt, The Post, and the actually-Rotten Iron Lady, but Streep pulled nominations out of more unique genres, like musicals (Into the Woods), broad comedies (The Devil Wears Prada, Florence Foster Jenkins), and wherever you want to categorize Adaptation.

Streep’s most recent films have been Greta Gerwig’s Little Women adaptation, and the mostly-ignored The Laundromat. She must’ve enjoyed the Steven Soderbergh experience on Laundromat, because she’s teaming up with him again for comedy Let Them All Talk next. Additionally, she’s got another musical (along with the Mamma Mia! movies, they’ve been a late-career boon) in the works in The Prom, from Ryan Murphy. And now, we’re celebrating with all Meryl Streep movies, ranked by Tomatometer! Alex Vo

#58

Evening (2007)
27%

#58
Adjusted Score: 32415%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully filmed, but decidedly dull, Evening is a collossal waste of a talented cast.
Synopsis: Lying on her deathbed, drifting in and out of consciousness, Ann Grant Lord (Vanessa Redgrave) calls forth memories of her... [More]
Directed By: Lajos Koltai

#57

Lions for Lambs (2007)
27%

#57
Adjusted Score: 35202%
Critics Consensus: Despite its powerhouse cast, Lions for Lambs feels like a disjointed series of lectures, rather than a sharp narrative, and ends up falling flat.
Synopsis: Inspired by their idealistic professor, Dr. Mallery (Robert Redford), to do something meaningful with their lives, Arian (Derek Luke) and... [More]
Directed By: Robert Redford

#56
#56
Adjusted Score: 31724%
Critics Consensus: An enviable collection of sterling actors are all woefully miscast in The House of the Spirits, a plodding saga of magical realism that lacks much magic or realism.
Synopsis: A rancher (Jeremy Irons), his clairvoyant wife (Meryl Streep) and their family face turbulent years in South America.... [More]
Directed By: Bille August

#55

Before and After (1996)
32%

#55
Adjusted Score: 28778%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The lives of Carolyn Ryan (Meryl Streep), a small-town doctor, and her artist husband, Ben (Liam Neeson), are shaken up... [More]
Directed By: Barbet Schroeder

#54

The Giver (2014)
35%

#54
Adjusted Score: 41257%
Critics Consensus: Phillip Noyce directs The Giver with visual grace, but the movie doesn't dig deep enough into the classic source material's thought-provoking ideas.
Synopsis: Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lives in a seemingly idyllic world of conformity and contentment. When he begins to spend time with... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#53

She-Devil (1989)
40%

#53
Adjusted Score: 40813%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Housewife and mother Ruth Patchett (Roseanne Barr), an overweight and unkempt woman, can seem to do nothing to make her... [More]
Directed By: Susan Seidelman

#52

Dark Matter (2007)
40%

#52
Adjusted Score: 40897%
Critics Consensus: The creaky plotting, inscrutable characters, and unconvincing ending make it difficult for audiences to connect with Dark Matter.
Synopsis: Liu Xing (Ye Liu), a promising Chinese doctoral candidate accepted into an elite astronomy program in the United States, struggles... [More]
Directed By: Chen Shi-Zeng

#51

The Laundromat (2019)
40%

#51
Adjusted Score: 50448%
Critics Consensus: The Laundromat misuses its incredible cast by taking a disappointingly blunt and unfocused approach to dramatizing the real-life events that inspired it.
Synopsis: When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin begins investigating a fake insurance policy.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#50

Heartburn (1986)
45%

#50
Adjusted Score: 44288%
Critics Consensus: Despite an astonishing collection of talent across the board, Heartburn's aimless plot inspires mild indigestion instead of romantic ardor.
Synopsis: Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep), a New York food critic, beds Mark Forman (Jack Nicholson), a Washington, D.C., newspaper columnist. The... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#49

Rendition (2007)
47%

#49
Adjusted Score: 53712%
Critics Consensus: The impressive cast cannot rescue Rendition, which explores complex issues in woefully simplified terms.
Synopsis: Isabella El-Ibrahimi (Reese Witherspoon), the wife of an Egyptian engineer, tries desperately to track down her husband after he disappears... [More]
Directed By: Gavin Hood

#48

Prime (2005)
50%

#48
Adjusted Score: 54704%
Critics Consensus: Though Streep is dependably terrific in her role, the rest of the movie is too sitcom-ish, and the romance itself is dull.
Synopsis: Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman) is a 37-year-old divorced Catholic businesswoman falling for David (Bryan Greenberg), a 23-year-old Jewish artist. With... [More]
Directed By: Ben Younger

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 57247%
Critics Consensus: Hawn and Streep are as fabulous as Death Becomes Her's innovative special effects; Zemeckis' satire, on the other hand, is as hollow as the world it mocks.
Synopsis: When a novelist loses her man to a movie star and former friend, she winds up in a psychiatric hospital.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#46

The Iron Lady (2011)
52%

#46
Adjusted Score: 62482%
Critics Consensus: Meryl Streep's performance as The Iron Lady is reliably perfect, but it's mired in bland, self-important storytelling.
Synopsis: In her twilight years, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) reflects on her life and career as she... [More]
Directed By: Phyllida Lloyd

#45

Mamma Mia! (2008)
55%

#45
Adjusted Score: 61690%
Critics Consensus: This jukebox musical is full of fluffy fun but rough singing voices and a campy tone might not make you feel like "You Can Dance" the whole 90 minutes.
Synopsis: Donna (Meryl Streep), an independent hotelier in the Greek islands, is preparing for her daughter's wedding with the help of... [More]
Directed By: Phyllida Lloyd

#44

Plenty (1985)
56%

#44
Adjusted Score: 40079%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Susan Traherne (Meryl Streep) is trying to put find her purpose in the wake of World War II. After a... [More]
Directed By: Fred Schepisi

#43

The River Wild (1994)
57%

#43
Adjusted Score: 58618%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fast-paced thriller in which a young family on a white-water rafting adventure in Montana are taken hostage by a pair... [More]
Directed By: Curtis Hanson

#42

Falling in Love (1984)
54%

#42
Adjusted Score: 34271%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Commuting to Manhattan on the same train, two married strangers (Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep) meet by accident and have... [More]
Directed By: Ulu Grosbard

#41

Out of Africa (1985)
61%

#41
Adjusted Score: 68019%
Critics Consensus: Though lensed with stunning cinematography and featuring a pair of winning performances from Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Out of Africa suffers from excessive length and glacial pacing.
Synopsis: Initially set on being a dairy farmer, the aristocratic Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) travels to Africa to join her husband,... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#40

Ironweed (1987)
58%

#40
Adjusted Score: 59080%
Critics Consensus: Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep play masterfully off each, but Ironweed's unrelenting bleakness proves to be more monotonous than compelling.
Synopsis: In Depression-era Albany, N.Y., erstwhile baseball star Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) has become an alcoholic vagabond after guilt over accidentally... [More]
Directed By: Hector Babenco

#39

It's Complicated (2009)
58%

#39
Adjusted Score: 65684%
Critics Consensus: Despite fine work by an appealing cast, It's Complicated is predictable romantic comedy fare, going for broad laughs instead of subtlety and nuance.
Synopsis: Jane (Meryl Streep), a successful restaurateur, has been divorced from Jake (Alec Baldwin) for many years, although they remain friends.... [More]
Directed By: Nancy Meyers

#38

The Ant Bully (2006)
62%

#38
Adjusted Score: 65758%
Critics Consensus: Sometimes inventive and witty, this animated adventure into an ant-sized world is a pleasant diversion.
Synopsis: Tired of weathering constant attacks on their colony, ants shrink a destructive boy, named Lucas (Zach Tyler Eisen), to their... [More]
Directed By: John A. Davis

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 22541%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When one of his patients is found murdered, psychiatrist Dr. Sam Rice (Roy Scheider) is visited by the investigating officer... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 66511%
Critics Consensus: Meryl Streep's depiction of an ordinary person doing extraordinary things transcends, inspires, and entertains.
Synopsis: After being abandoned by her husband, depressed music teacher Roberta (Meryl Streep) lands a job teaching violin to underprivileged children... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 64010%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Kate Mundy (Meryl Streep) is the eldest of five sisters living together in a small house in Ireland in 1936.... [More]
Directed By: Pat O'Connor

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 72187%
Critics Consensus: Meryl Streep's outstanding work helps Ricki and the Flash overcome its inconsistent tone and fairly predictable premise.
Synopsis: It's been a roller-coaster ride for Ricki Rendazzo (Meryl Streep), a one-time wife and mother of three who left her... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 75017%
Critics Consensus: The sheer amount of acting going on in August: Osage County threatens to overwhelm, but when the actors involved are as talented as Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, it's difficult to complain.
Synopsis: The death and funeral of their father brings three sisters to the home of their mother, Violet (Meryl Streep), an... [More]
Directed By: John Wells

#32

Into the Woods (2014)
71%

#32
Adjusted Score: 79845%
Critics Consensus: On the whole, this Disney adaptation of the Sondheim classic sits comfortably at the corner of Hollywood and Broadway -- even if it darkens to its detriment in the final act.
Synopsis: As the result of the curse of a once-beautiful witch (Meryl Streep), a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#31
Adjusted Score: 78379%
Critics Consensus: Although it softens the nasty edges of its source material, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a gothic visual treat, and it features a hilariously manic turn from Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf.
Synopsis: After the three young Baudelaire siblings are left orphaned by a fire in their mansion, they are carted off to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Silberling

#30

Suffragette (2015)
73%

#30
Adjusted Score: 81148%
Critics Consensus: Suffragette dramatizes an important -- and still painfully relevant -- fact-based story with more than enough craft and sincerity to overcome its flaws.
Synopsis: In early 20th-century Britain, the growing suffragette movement forever changes the life of working wife and mother Maud Watts (Carey... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Gavron

#29

Silkwood (1983)
76%

#29
Adjusted Score: 78381%
Critics Consensus: Silkwood seethes with real-life rage -- but backs it up with compelling characters and trenchant observations.
Synopsis: This drama is based on the true story of Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep), who works at a nuclear facility, along... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#28
Adjusted Score: 83047%
Critics Consensus: A curious, not always seamless, amalgamation of Kubrick's chilly bleakness and Spielberg's warm-hearted optimism, A.I. is, in a word, fascinating.
Synopsis: A robotic boy, the first programmed to love, David (Haley Joel Osment) is adopted as a test case by a... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 82516%
Critics Consensus: A rare film that surpasses the quality of its source novel, this Devil is a witty expose of New York's fashion scene, with Meryl Streep in top form and Anne Hathaway more than holding her own.
Synopsis: Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a recent college graduate with big dreams. Upon landing a job at prestigious Runway magazine, she... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#26

Hope Springs (2012)
75%

#26
Adjusted Score: 82494%
Critics Consensus: Led by a pair of mesmerizing performances from Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, Hope Springs offers filmgoers some grown-up laughs -- and a thoughtful look at mature relationships.
Synopsis: Long-married couple Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) love each other, but after so many years together, Kay... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#25

Sophie's Choice (1982)
78%

#25
Adjusted Score: 80777%
Critics Consensus: Sophie's Choice may be more sobering than stirring, but Meryl Streep's Oscar-winning performance holds this postwar period drama together.
Synopsis: Stingo (Peter MacNicol), a young writer, moves to Brooklyn in 1947 to begin work on his first novel. As he... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#24

Julie & Julia (2009)
78%

#24
Adjusted Score: 86813%
Critics Consensus: Boosted by Meryl Streep's charismatic performance as Julia Child, Julie and Julia is a light, but fairly entertaining culinary comedy.
Synopsis: Frustrated with a soul-killing job, New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) embarks on a daring project: she vows to prepare... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron

#23
Adjusted Score: 83441%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this story-within-a-story, Anna (Meryl Streep) is an actress starring opposite Mike (Jeremy Irons) in a period piece about the... [More]
Directed By: Karel Reisz

#22
Adjusted Score: 95066%
Critics Consensus: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again doubles down on just about everything fans loved about the original -- and my my, how can fans resist it?
Synopsis: In 1979 young Donna, Tanya and Rosie graduate from Oxford University -- leaving Donna free to embark on a series... [More]
Directed By: Ol Parker

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 102565%
Critics Consensus: Mary Poppins Returns relies on the magic of its classic forebear to cast a familiar -- but still solidly effective -- family-friendly spell.
Synopsis: Now an adult with three children, bank teller Michael Banks learns that his house will be repossessed in five days... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#20

The Hours (2002)
79%

#20
Adjusted Score: 85728%
Critics Consensus: The movie may be a downer, but it packs an emotional wallop. Some fine acting on display here.
Synopsis: "The Hours" is the story of three women searching for more potent, meaningful lives. Each is alive at a different... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Daldry

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 87671%
Critics Consensus: While not the classic its predecessor is, this update is well-acted and conjures a chilling resonance.
Synopsis: Years after his squad was ambushed during the Gulf War, Major Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) finds himself having terrible nightmares.... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#18

Doubt (2008)
79%

#18
Adjusted Score: 88348%
Critics Consensus: Doubt succeeds on the strength of its top-notch cast, who successfully guide the film through the occasional narrative lull.
Synopsis: In 1964 the winds of change are sweeping through Sister Aloysius' (Meryl Streep) St. Nicholas school. Father Flynn (Philip Seymour... [More]
Directed By: John Patrick Shanley

#17

The Homesman (2014)
80%

#17
Adjusted Score: 86125%
Critics Consensus: A squarely traditional yet somewhat progressive Western, The Homesman adds another absorbing entry to Tommy Lee Jones' directorial résumé.
Synopsis: A frontier farm woman (Hilary Swank) saves the life of a claim-jumper (Tommy Lee Jones) and persuades him to help... [More]
Directed By: Tommy Lee Jones

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 88711%
Critics Consensus: The final film by the great Robert Altman, A Prairie Home Companion, the big screen adaptation of Garrison Keillor's radio broadcast showcases plenty of the director's strengths: it's got a gigantic cast and plenty of quirky acting and dialogue.
Synopsis: A private investigator (Kevin Kline) keeps tabs on the proceedings as guests, cast and crew (Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Woody... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 85660%
Critics Consensus: Uniting a pair of powerhouse talents with a smart, sharply written script, Postcards from the Edge makes compelling drama out of reality-inspired trauma.
Synopsis: Hollywood actress Suzanne Vale is on a slippery slope as a recovering addict. On exit from rehab, it is recommended... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#14

Marvin's Room (1996)
84%

#14
Adjusted Score: 86523%
Critics Consensus: Marvin's Room rises above the pack of dysfunctional family dramas thanks to an impeccable cast that includes Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Synopsis: Bessie (Diane Keaton) and Lee (Meryl Streep) are sisters who have remained apart for nearly 20 years due to radically... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Zaks

#13
Adjusted Score: 61454%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A liberal United States senator, Joe Tynan (Alan Alda) is in over his head with both his work and his... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Schatzberg

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 102048%
Critics Consensus: Florence Foster Jenkins makes poignant, crowd-pleasing dramedy out of its stranger-than-fiction tale -- and does its subject justice with a reliably terrific turn from star Meryl Streep.
Synopsis: In the 1940s, New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) dreams of becoming a great opera singer. Unfortunately, her... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Frears

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 96401%
Critics Consensus: The divorce subject isn't as shocking, but the film is still a thoughtful, well-acted drama that resists the urge to take sides or give easy answers.
Synopsis: On the same day Manhattan advertising executive Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) lands the biggest account of his career, he learns... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#10

The Post (2017)
88%

#10
Adjusted Score: 113510%
Critics Consensus: The Post's period setting belies its bitingly timely themes, brought compellingly to life by director Steven Spielberg and an outstanding ensemble cast.
Synopsis: Katharine Graham is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper -- The Washington Post. With help from editor... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#9

One True Thing (1998)
88%

#9
Adjusted Score: 90655%
Critics Consensus: Solid performances lift this drama to a higher level.
Synopsis: Kate (Meryl Streep), the undervalued matriarch of the Gulden family, is diagnosed with cancer. Daughter and journalist Ellen (Renée Zellweger)... [More]
Directed By: Carl Franklin

#8
Adjusted Score: 93614%
Critics Consensus: Sentimental, slow, schmaltzy, and very satisfying, The Bridges of Madison County finds Clint Eastwood adapting a bestseller with heft, wit, and grace.
Synopsis: A moving love story about a photographer on assignment to shoot the historic bridges of Madison County. He meets a... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#7

Adaptation (2002)
91%

#7
Adjusted Score: 97362%
Critics Consensus: Dizzyingly original, the loopy, multi-layered Adaptation is both funny and thought-provoking.
Synopsis: Nicolas Cage is Charlie Kaufman, a confused L.A. screenwriter overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, sexual frustration, self-loathing, and by the... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 102653%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#5

The Deer Hunter (1978)
88%

#5
Adjusted Score: 96866%
Critics Consensus: Its greatness is blunted by its length and one-sided point of view, but the film's weaknesses are overpowered by Michael Cimino's sympathetic direction and a series of heartbreaking performances from Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken.
Synopsis: In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cimino

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 94375%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While on vacation in the Australian outback, Seventh Day Adventist priest Michael Chamberlain (Sam Neill) and his wife, Lindy (Meryl... [More]
Directed By: Fred Schepisi

#3

Manhattan (1979)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 99457%
Critics Consensus: One of Woody Allen's early classics, Manhattan combines modern, bittersweet humor and timeless romanticism with unerring grace.
Synopsis: Director Woody Allen's love letter to New York City stars Allen as frustrated television writer Isaac Davis, a twice-divorced malcontent... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#2

Little Women (2019)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 121521%
Critics Consensus: With a stellar cast and a smart, sensitive retelling of its classic source material, Greta Gerwig's Little Women proves some stories truly are timeless.
Synopsis: In the years after the Civil War, Jo March lives in New York and makes her living as a writer,... [More]
Directed By: Greta Gerwig

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 99247%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) isn't having a good week. For starters, he died after he got hit by a bus.... [More]
Directed By: Albert Brooks

Unfortunately, with only two recent wide releases making it onto home video this week, we’ve once again had to dip into the reissues of previously released films to flesh out our list of choices. The two new releases are, of course, It’s Complicated, the Meryl Streep/Alec Baldwin/Steve Martin-powered rom-com, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the ambitious fantasy film by Terry Gilliam featuring the late Heath Ledger’s final screen performance. Aside from those, however, we’ve also got some new Blu-Ray versions of modern classics, a couple of new Criterion editions, and a beloved BBC series based on a Jane Austen novel. Continue on to read through the full list!



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It’s Complicated

Even Meryl Streep makes a mediocre movie every once in a while, right? Well, in the case of It’s Complicated, at least the film made a pretty good amount of money, which means there’s a bigger market for romantic comedies aimed at the baby boomer generation than one might be inclined to think. Co-starring alongside Streep are two hefty leading men in Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, both legends in their own right, playing Streep’s remarried ex-husband Jake (Baldwin) and newly divorced admirer Adam (Martin). What ensues is a complicated love triangle when Streep’s character, Jane, and Jake find themselves reconnecting at their son’s college graduation, despite the fact that Adam is making himself available to Jane and Jake has a young wife waiting for him back home. Writer/director Nancy Meyers has a certain knack for rom-coms catering to an older audience (Something’s Gotta Give, What Women Want), but It’s Complicated failed to resonate completely with critics, who recognized the appeal of the talented cast but felt the story was somewhat predictable and broad. It only missed Freshness by a little bit, however, earning a 57% on the Tomatometer, so the film should still be satisfying for those looking for a good-natured comedy.



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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Monty Python alumnus Terry Gilliam hasn’t had as much success in the past decade as he did during the 70s and 80s, when he helmed such modern favorites as Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Brazil, and 12 Monkeys, but his visionary style has remained intact. Though the film was overshadowed by the tragic passing of its star, Heath Ledger, during the middle of production, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus still managed to somehow pull itself together, and Gilliam succeeded in finding a way to work around Ledger’s partially finished role by turning to a handful of other talented stars (Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jude Law). What resulted was a highly imaginative (would you expect anything less from Gilliam?) and visually stunning piece of fantasy bolstered by strong performances. Unfortunately, some critics were unable to look past the cracks here and there, criticizing the film for an uneven tone and somewhat disjointed story, but Parnassus still managed to earn a Fresh 65% on the Tomatometer. For anyone eager to see Heath Ledger’s final screen performance, or for anyone who is a Terry Gilliam fan, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray this week, and both come with a slew of special features that includes several items dedicated to Ledger.



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District 13: Ultimatum

You know those guys you see in commercials, running and leaping off the sides of buildings with catlike reflexes whilst in pursuit of the perfect deodorant? To quote Jim from The Office, that would be “parkour, internet sensation of 2004.” In fact, Luc Besson (Leon: The Professional, The 5th Element) wrote and produced a French movie in 2004 starring David Belle, one of the founders of parkour as we know it today, called District B13, which basically served as one action-packed infomercial for the urban sport (if one may call it that). The film resonated well with critics, earning Certified Fresh status with critics at 81%, so last year’s sequel, District 13: Ultimatum seemed only natural to make. Though it didn’t fare as well as its predecessor, Ultimatum still managed a 73% Tomatometer, successfully reuniting its two stars (Belle and stuntman/martial artist Cyril Raffaelli) in another flurry of rooftop jumping, thrilling stunts, and explosive and inventive fight sequences. Ultimatum didn’t get a wide release here in the states, so if you missed it when it opened here, now’s your chance to catch this little action gem.



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Dune – Blu-Ray

Dune, directed by David Lynch (just post-Eraserhead) and scripted by Lynch and novelist Frank Herbert, is a brand of cult that meets at the intersection of psychotropic High Art and old fashioned weirdness. Set in the year 10,191, the planet is a wasteland of desert but a Petri dish of shamanism. A spice that enlightens and the ongoing threat of sandworms hangs over the story, which culminates in a hand-to-hand combat scene between stars Kyle MacLachlan and (of all available 80s villains) Sting in the sand. Their tussle calls to mind the desert love sequence from Zabriskie Point, with less playfulness but just as much “dynamic tension.” How could this not be a cult film?! It’s got something for every possible sub-culture! The cut of the film on the bluray is the 137-minute theatrical version in 2.35:1. There were between three and five versions of the film, depending on who you ask, but so far as it appears, this is the same version as can be found on the previous HD DVD release. With 11 deleted scenes and featurettes about costume, production design, models, miniatures and effects, there’s word that this isn’t quite the DVD release that Dune fans have been dreaming of, but, if nothing else, the picture quality (featuring MacLachlan’s enhanced eyes) is reportedly gorgeous!



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Out of Africa 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray

Now here is an example of a strong Meryl Streep. Under the direction of Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, The Firm) and acting alongside Robert Redford, Streep garnered a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role in Out of Africa. Though she didn’t win, the film did snag both the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for Pollack, not to mention five more Academy Awards (out of 11 total nominations), so it’s safe to say the film was a success. Out of Africa is based on the autobiography of the same name by Karen von Blixen-Finecke, who wrote the book under the pen name Isak Dinesen, and chronicles the years Blixen (played by Streep) spent living in Kenya on a coffee plantation with her husband, a Dutch baron. Blixen meets a local hunter named Denys Finch Hatton (Redford) and develops a relationship with him after a trip home to Denmark to treat a case of syphilis she’s contracted from her philandering husband. As their lives become intertwined, Blixen realizes that she and Hatton are too different, and that he is too free at heart to be entirely hers. Though the film has, interestingly enough, only earned a 61% on the Tomatometer, there is something to be said not only about the quality of talent involved with the project, but also about the numerous awards it won. This week, a special 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray edition of the film hits store shelves, and it packs extras like a commentary by Pollack, a documentary comparing the Blixen of the film to the real woman, and deleted scenes.



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Tombstone – Blu-Ray

The legendary shootout at the O.K. Corral in 1881 has transcended historical fact and firmly planted itself into the greater mythology of the US’s old “Wild West,” its principle figures etched into the American consciousness like characters in a tall tale. As such, it’s no surprise that there have been numerous portrayals of the gunfight and the events leading up to it in all forms of art and modern media, but the 1993 film Tombstone may be the best known today. The all-star cast includes Kurt Russell as retired lawman Wyatt Earp, Val Kilmer as Earp’s friend Doc Holliday, Sam Elliott as Wyatt’s older brother brother Virgil, and Bill Paxton as the youngest Earp brother Morgan, as well as Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Thomas Haden Church, and Billy Zane in supporting roles. Tombstone is, of course, a dramatized version of real events that took place in 1881, when the titular Arizona town was besieged by a gang of outlaws calling themselves the Cowboys, and Earp and Co. took it upon themselves to bring the Cowboys to justice. Kilmer’s performance in particular drew praise from critics all around — this may be his best role — and the film earned a 79% on the Tomatometer. If you’re looking for a good western, one with memorable characters and a compelling story, you could do much worse than to pick up Tombstone this week.



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Ride with the Devil – Criterion Collection

Director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain) might not have been the first name to come to mind when looking for someone to helm a film on the American Civil War, but he made it happen. Starring Tobey Maguire and Skeet Ulrich as brothers Jake and Jack Bull, Ride with the Devil focuses on the brothers as they join the Confederate cause and befriend a former slave (Jeffrey Wright) fighting for the South. The film is a meditation on loyalty, exploring the emotional and psychological struggles of the brothers, sons of German immigrants, and a freed slave as they fight alongside those who would just as easily cast them aside in more normal times. Critics unfortunately didn’t fall head over heels for Devil, however, citing some uneven acting and flat storytelling, but when the film does succeed, it becomes a beautifully shot and thought-provoking look at one of the bloodiest times of this nation’s history. This director-approved special edition, released by the Criterion Collection on both DVD and Blu-Ray, comes with two commentaries, a new interview with Jeffrey Wright, and a booklet of essays, and it’s available this week.



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Traffic – Blu-Ray

Steven Soderbergh is one of those directors who continues to move seamlessly between the mainstream (the Ocean’s films) and the arthouse(Che, The Girlfriend Experience), and he’s also been particularly prolific in the past few years, whether you realized it or not. One instance his work in both arenas seemed to merge was 2000’s Traffic, a bleak and sobering look at how the drug trade affects several connected lives, as filtered through different colored lenses to differentiate between the storylines. The star-studded cast, which includes Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Luis Guzman, and more, was a major success in Traffic, according to critics, who felt the acting was strong all around, and the film’s portrayal of moral relativity helped to add to its heft. Though it is still available in a superbly fleshed out Criterion Collection edition, Universal is re-releasing Traffic on a combo DVD/Blu-Ray disc (one format on either side) with a handful of extras this week for those who may not want to spring for the more expensive Criterion.



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The Fugitive Kind – Criterion Collection

One can never be sure how a film adaptation of a stage play will turn out when all is said and done, but in the case of Sidney Lumet’s The Fugitive Kind, based on the Tennessee Williams (who also helped write the film’s script) play Orpheus Descending, what more can you ask for than Marlon Brando in a snakeskin jacket? Alright, we don’t mean to be glib about it, but this was Brando in his heyday, when he could make ladies swoon just by breathing in their direction, which is sort of what he does here. The Fugitive Kind centers on Brando’s character, Val Xavier, a drifter who wanders into a small town and catches the eyes of three very different women: Carol Cutrere (Joanne Woodward), the resident “bad girl” in town; Vee Talbott (Maureen Stapleton), wife of the local sherriff; and Lady Torrence (Anna Magnani), his new boss’s wife, who will do anything to prevent Val from choosing either of the other two. The film has just a 50% Tomatometer, currently based on only 6 reviews, and critics seem fairly split on the film, with some calling it a triumph of superb acting, while others criticize it as a poor translation from stage to film. In any case, Criterion has seen fit to release a new transfer of The Fugitive Kind this week, and it includes special features like an interview with Lumet, a documentary featuring Tennessee Williams talking about his work’s various film adaptations, and an hourlong presentation of three one-act plays written by Williams and directed by Lumet. Definitely worth a pickup for any fan of Brando, Williams, or Lumet.


Pride and Prejudice (Restored Edition)

Likely the most popular Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice has been adapted ad nauseum to theater, TV and film and usually not to the taste of the book’s rather diehard following (and this is one of few works of chicklit that can be said to have a “diehard” following). The beauty of this version, a mini-series by the BBC, is that it went to great lengths to be as completist about the events of the novel as possible-in short it’s trying to be the diehard fan’s answer to adaptations. Mr. Darcy (a then lesser-known Colin Firth) has plenty of room to seem icy and removed and the idealistic and driven Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) flaunts her high self-esteem so it doesn’t seem like blind arrogance. As this was initially set up for television, the quality of the previous DVD images were reportedly quite dim and dark, but this Blu-Ray features a restored version and a handful of featurettes on the subject. A featurette with stars Adrian Lukis & Lucy Briers is also included.

Written by Ryan Fujitani and Sara Schieron

This week at the movies, we’ve got a legendary detective (Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law); matriculating rodents (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, starring David Cross and Jason Lee); a middle aged love triangle (It’s Complicated, starring Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin); turbulent business travel (Up in the Air, starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga); and a directionless director (Nine, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Penelope Cruz). What do the critics have to say?



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Sherlock Holmes

Known for his hyperkinetic lad pictures, Guy Ritchie may not seem like an obvious choice to direct a Sherlock Holmes adaptation, given that 221B Baker St.’s most famous resident is a paragon of sophistication and stateliness. But a little Robert Downey Jr. goes a long way, critics say, and the star’s elementary appeal helps to draw us into this 21st century, action-packed update of the legendary detective. As Holmes, Downey is abetted by Jude Law, who plays his right hand man Watson; together, they must foil a plot to destroy Britain, while Holmes must deal with his favorite nemesis, the brilliant Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). The pundits say Sherlock Holmes maintains both the pulpy spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original short stories and the wittiness of its lead characters, and if the movie’s sometimes too high-octane for its own good, it still provides a cracking good time. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Law’s best-reviewed films.)



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Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

Alright everyone, sing along with me: “Christmas, Christmas time is near /Time for toys and time for cheer…” “The Chipmunk Song” is a holiday staple, but critics say the pint-sized trio’s latest seasonal offering — Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel — is far less likely to bring yuletide merriment. This time around, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are headed to high school, where they meet riot grrrls the Chipettes — now employed by the ‘Munks old enemy, Ian Hawke (David Cross). Can these two rodent bands find common ground — and save their school’s music program? The pundits say this Squeakquel is sure to please little kids, but adults may be less amused by the film’s lowbrow hi-jinks and general inanity.



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It’s Complicated

With names like Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin on the marquee, you’d expect a film with a title like It’s Complicated to provide some smarter-than-average laughs. And critics say that while the cast does its best to elevate this movie, the results are more farcical — and predictable — than one would hope. Streep stars as Jane, whose ex-husband Jake (Baldwin) has remarried; at their son’s graduation, the two resume their love affair – which complicates things for Jane’s children and her new suitor Adam (Martin). The pundits say everything here is handled with plenty of professionalism, but It’s Complicated ultimately succumbs to sitcom conventions when it could have been something more.



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Up in the Air

Jason Reitman‘s Certified Fresh Up in the Air has already thrilled critics and snared a number of award nominations, and this week it expands into wide release. George Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham, who has accumulated big frequent flyer mileage from his company, which tasks him with firing people in person. But when the corporation cuts back on travel, will Bingham still cross paths with a fellow traveler (Vera Farmiga)? The pundits say Up in the Air is styling, timely, and features magnificent performances.



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Nine

It’s based on a hit Broadway musical (which is itself adapted from the Fellini classic 8 1/2). It’s loaded with Oscar winners. So what’s the matter with Nine? Well, critics say it lacks showstopping numbers, a strong narrative, and a sense of restraint. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as a film director who is in an artistic rut, so he turns to the women in his life, a group that includes Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, and Marion Cotillard, among others. The pundits say the cast acquits itself well enough on the vocal front, and the film has a couple dazzling moments, but ultimately, Nine is superficially flashy, hyperactively edited, and musically undistinguished.


Also opening this week in limited release: