Anthony Hopkins was such a fixture on the Oscars circuit during the ’90s that it was a shock to learn his nomination at this Academy Awards is his first in 20 years. After winning Best Actor for Silence of the Lambs in 1992, and getting nominated every two years after that for The Remains of the Day, Nixon, and then Amistad, the knighted actor would have to wait two decades before The Two Popes would put him officially back in the running for Oscar gold.
Of course, the awards are just one aspect of a legendary career that is now spanning into its seventh decade, one that started with a major role in 1968’s The Lion in Winter, starring Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn. A Bridge Too Far, Magic, and The Elephant Man would be among Hopkins’ highlights in the years that followed, opening into an epic run in the ’90s, beginning with immortalizing Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. Besides his Oscar-nominated hits, other films of the decade include Howards End, Legend of the Fall, The Mask of Zorro, and Meet Joe Black, guaranteeing Hopkins was inescapable no matter what movies you were into.
Hopkins returned to the Dr. Lecter for Hannibal and Red Dragon. And his most memorable roles in recent years play into his effortless gravitas, like a famed director in Hitchcock, Methuselah in Noah, Odin in the Thor trilogy, and one-half of The Two Popes, for which he was nominated for his latest acting Oscar. Lately, there was Elyse, and The Father, which drew some of the strongest reviews of his career. Now, we’re taking a look back and ranking Anthony Hopkins movies by Tomatometer! —Alex Vo
Critics Consensus: Cacophonous, thinly plotted, and boasting state-of-the-art special effects, The Last Knight is pretty much what you'd expect from the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise.
Synopsis: Humans are at war with the Transformers, and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving the future lies buried... [More]
Critics Consensus: Don't let the title -- or the talented cast -- fool you: The Virtuoso falls far shy of even base level competency in its attempts to wring fresh excitement from a threadbare assassin thriller setup.
Synopsis: Danger, deception, and murder descend upon a sleepy country town when a professional assassin (Anson Mount) accepts a new assignment... [More]
Critics Consensus: While it's still hard to argue with its impeccable cast or the fun they often seem to be having, Red 2 replaces much of the goofy fun of its predecessor with empty, over-the-top bombast.
Synopsis: Former CIA black-ops agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) and his old partner, Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), are caught in the... [More]
Critics Consensus: Despite best intentions from director Emilio Estevez and his ensemble cast, they succumb to a script filled with pointless subplots and awkward moments working too hard to parallel contemporary times.
Synopsis: In 1968 the lives of a retired doorman (Anthony Hopkins), hotel manager (William H. Macy), lounge singer (Demi Moore), busboy... [More]
Critics Consensus: Featuring a swoon-worthy star turn by Brad Pitt, Legends of the Fall's painterly photography and epic sweep often compensate for its lack of narrative momentum and glut of melodramatic twists.
Synopsis: In early 20th-century Montana, Col. William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins) lives in the wilderness with his sons, Tristan (Brad Pitt), Alfred... [More]
Critics Consensus:Chaplin boasts a terrific performance from Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role, but it isn't enough to overcome a formulaic biopic that pales in comparison to its subject's classic films.
Synopsis: Re-creation of the life of comic genius Charlie Chaplin, from his humble beginnings in south London through his early days... [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: Sharper and wittier than your average period piece, The Lion in Winter is a tale of palace intrigue bolstered by fantastic performances from Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, and Anthony Hopkins in his big-screen debut.
Synopsis: It's Christmas 1183, and King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) is planning to announce his successor to the throne. The jockeying... [More]
Critics Consensus: David Lynch's relatively straight second feature finds an admirable synthesis of compassion and restraint in treating its subject, and features outstanding performances by John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins.
Synopsis: Dr. Frederic Treves (Anthony Hopkins) discovers Joseph (John) Merrick (John Hurt) in a sideshow. Born with a congenital disorder, Merrick... [More]
Critics Consensus: Director Jonathan Demme's smart, taut thriller teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Synopsis: Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice... [More]
Critics Consensus: Thanks to brilliant performances from Debra Winger and especially Anthony Hopkins, Shadowlands is a deeply moving portrait of British scholar C.S. Lewis's romance with American poet Joy Gresham.
Synopsis: C. S. Lewis (Anthony Hopkins), the renowned author of "The Chronicles of Narnia" series, is a bachelor and Oxford University... [More]
Critics Consensus:The Dresser brilliantly showcases two of the most gifted actors of their generation within a thoughtful, well-executed production offering intelligent commentary on the human condition.
Synopsis: In a touring Shakespearean theatre company, backstage hand Norman is devoted to the brilliant but tyrannical head of the company,... [More]
Aaron Eckhart stars as a doctor able to enter the subconscious minds of possessed patients in this week’s Incarnate, a new take on the old exorcism story. And in this week’s 24 Frames gallery, we give our take on the best and worst exorcism horror movies by Tomatometer. Before we start, some règle de jeu: there are no comedies or non-horrors listed, and only movies with at least 20 reviews qualify. Got it? Good. God help us.
New films with demons and assassins enjoyed moderate debuts while Oscar contenders for Best Picture scored solid sales figures but the overall North American box office remained stuck in a funk. Another snowstorm affected theaters in the Northeast but a weekend with football made audiences more available.
Opening at number one with a respectable but not stellar debut was the supernatural thriller The Rite starring Anthony Hopkins which scared up an estimated $15M which was enough to lead the weak frame. The Warner Bros. release about an American sent to the Vatican to study with a priest that specializes in exorcisms averaged a decent $5,027 from 2,985 locations. Reviews for the PG-13 pic were poor. Given the lack of scary movies since Halloween and the past success of exorcism-related films, a larger opening could have been expected. Last summer’s no-star mockumentary The Last Exorcism debuted to $20.4M. The CinemaScore for Rite was a B and the film skewed older as 64% of the crowd was 25 and over.
Dropping a notch to second place, but holding up very well in its sophomore frame, was the Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher comedy No Strings Attached with an estimated $13.7M. Declining by only 31%, the Paramount release raised its ten-day tally to a solid $39.7M and could see a final gross of $70-80M. Unlike many other recent star-driven comedies, Strings was not too expensive to produce thanks to a $25M budget and will turn into a nice moneymaker for its backers. A lack of football this weekend certainly helped the female-skewing pic broaden its audience to include more young men.
Two action films claimed third place with each reporting an estimated Friday-to-Sunday take of $11.5M. Sony’s The Green Hornet fell only 35% and enjoyed a good hold pushing its 17-day total to $78.8M on its way to a little past the $100M mark.
Jason Statham’s latest action vehicle The Mechanic opened with an estimated $11.5M as well and reached the higher end of the range the actor has seen lately when anchoring a film. The R-rated remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film averaged a decent $4,255 from 2,703 theaters for CBS Films. It was the second widest debut ever for a Statham-anchored action film behind only the 3,303 playdates for Transporter 2. Mechanic‘s debut came as good news to the action star who has stumbled in recent years with Crank: High Voltage and The Bank Job which debuted with $7M and $5.9M, respectively, but bounced back last summer as one of the main ingredients in Sylvester Stallone’s action hit The Expendables.
To no surprise, Mechanic played best to the guys. The audience was 61% male and 64% over the age of 25. The CinemaScore was only a B- but the Friday-to-Saturday increase of 30% was more than twice the 14% of the frame’s other new release The Rite. CBS Films paid only $5M for North American rights plus P&A.
Final grosses to be released on Monday will determine the true third place film. Sony projected a 38% Saturday-to-Sunday decline for Hornet while Mechanic‘s Sunday was estimated to fall by only 31%. Most films in the top ten were projecting in the 35-40% range
Best Picture contender The King’s Speech, which led all films with a dozen Academy Award nominations last week, saw its ticket sales surge thanks to the extra media attention and 877 additional screens. The Weinstein Co. release took in an estimated $11.1M, up a solid 41%, from 2,557 theaters after an expansion from 1,680 sites. Its average of $4,342 was only slightly down from last weekend’s $4,676. The Colin Firth-Geoffrey Rush drama has banked a strong $72.2M and is now headed past the $100M mark. Fueling its Oscar momentum, Speech director Tom Hooper won the top prize on Saturday from the Directors Guild of America boosting his odds significantly for winning the comparable award at the Oscars. Until this weekend, The Social Network‘s David Fincher had been seen as the front-runner.
Rival Best Picture foe True Grit enjoyed a bump at the box office too inching up 4% to an estimated $7.6M. But unlike Speech, Grit actually lost theaters. Paramount’s hit Western now stands at $148.4M and is on course to reach more than $175M which is incredible for the genre and for the Coen brothers. The Dilemma suffered the worst decline in the top ten sliding 40% to an estimated $5.5M upping the cume to a lackluster $40.6M for Universal.
Another pair of contenders for the top Oscar followed, each displaying potent legs. Fox Searchlight’s Black Swan dropped 13% to an estimated $5.1M and was followed by Paramount’s The Fighter which took in an estimated $4.1M for a scant 3% dip. Both films have been in wide release since December 17 and shed some screens this round. Totals stand at $90.7M and $78.4M, respectively. Still on the road to nine-digit territory, the leggy kidpic Yogi Bear rounded out the top ten with an estimated $3.2M, off 17%, for a $92.5M total.
Fox Searchlight re-expanded its other Best Picture contender 127 Hours going from 69 to 916 locations and collected an estimated $2.1M this weekend bumping the cume to $13.4M.
The Mexican-American comedy From Prada to Nada saw a soft debut in limited release opening to an estimated $1.1M from 256 theaters. Lionsgate’s pic about privileged Beverly Hills sisters forced to move to a tough Latino neighborhood in East Los Angeles averaged a mild $4,297. The Spanish-language drama Biutiful, featuring an Oscar-nominated performance by Javier Bardem, fared well in its limited bow grossing an estimated $461,000 from 57 sites for a solid $8,088 average. Including previous grosses from its Oscar-qualifying run in late December, the Roadside Attractions title has taken in $623,000 to date. Snubbed during the early part of awards season, the serious drama about a dying father has now entered the spotlight thanks to nods for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $88.2M which was down 15% from last year when Avatar stayed in the top spot with $31.3M; and off 8% from 2009 when Taken opened at number one with a surprisingly strong $24.7M.
If you’re looking for an action star that can simultaneously seem both tough-as-nails and emotionally vulnerable, Jason Statham is your man. Critics say the star brings a level of emotional heft and gritty brawn to The Mechanic, which is otherwise a so-so action flick with some decent thrills but little originality. Based upon a 1972 Charles Bronson vehicle (pun intended), Statham stars as an existential hit man who seeks vengeance after a close friend is killed. He teams up with his friend’s son (Ben Foster) to get the bad guys, but soon our heroes are on the run themselves. The pundits say The Mechanic is pretty standard stuff, with little to distinguish it beyond Statham, who’s efficient and cool as always. (Check out Foster’s Five Favorite Films here.)
Given the number of horror flicks who turn demonic possession into schlock, The Rite gets points for taking the battle between good and evil seriously. However, critics say there’s a difference between being serious and being dull, and despite a typically classy performance from Anthony Hopkins, The Rite is too much of a slog to deliver much in the way of thrills. Colin O’Donoghue stars as a seminary student of shaky faith who travels to the Vatican to learn how to perform exorcisms. Under the tutelage of Father Lucas (Hopkins), the young man soon finds that the powers of evil are very strong indeed, and he must conjure the strength to fight for good. The pundits say The Rite has its moments, but Hopkins can’t elevate a script that takes way to long to get moving. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down star Rutger Hauer’s best-reviewed movies.)
Also opening this week in limited release:
Poetry, about a sixtysomething woman who enrolls in a poetry class to stave off personal demons, is at 100 percent.
Strongman, a documentary about the sad decline of a champion muscleman, is at 100 percent.
Lemmy, a doc about the legendary frontman of Motorhead, is at 82 percent.
Kaboom, a sci-fi black comedy about a group of swingin’ college students, is at 81 percent.
When We Leave, a drama about a woman trying to escape an abusive relationship in Istanbul, is at 80 percent.
During the 1980s, the action thriller genre soared to absurd new heights, only to retreat into direct-to-video cheese — and Rutger Hauer‘s career went right along with it, from early cult favorites (Nighthawks, Blade Runner) to, well, less memorable fare (pretty much anything Hauer filmed in the 1990s). But even if the scripts got worse, Hauer’s steely glare and commanding screen presence only improved with age — and he’s put them to use in a recent string of successful films, including Sin City and Batman Begins. With Rutger appearing alongside Anthony Hopkins in this weekend’s The Rite, we knew now was the perfect time to take a look back at his brightest critical highlights. It’s time for Total Recall!
A marked departure for its young star Matthew Broderick, who was mostly known for playing the wisecracking protagonist of WarGames, Richard Donner’s Ladyhawke blended lush medieval fantasy with 1980s synth pop to tell the tale of an exiled knight (Hauer) and his betrothed (Michelle Pfeiffer), separated by the curse of a jealous bishop (John Wood) — and the escaped thief (Broderick) who becomes a crucial ally in their quest to reunite. Audiences didn’t quite know what to make of Laydhawke during its theatrical run, and mostly stayed away, but most critics enjoyed it — including Jeffrey Overstreet of Looking Closer, who enthused, “We need more fantasy like this: high adventure, brilliant swordplay, convincing magic, three-dimensional characters, arresting cinematography, and best of all, a good story.”
A period drama with a mystical bent, Simon Magus takes place in a 19th-century European village, where a poor young man (Stuart Townsend) and a wealthy, unscrupulous businessman (Sean McGinley) vie for the right to build a train station that will attract travelers on the nearby railroad, whose path has dried up tourism and brought economic hard times. As the eccentric landowner who cares more about poetry than material wealth, Hauer had a chance to prove he was capable of playing characters who aren’t warriors or villains — and to take part in a film that Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times praised by writing, “Poetic and ambiguous, it manages to be magical in both the beautiful and terrifying senses of the word.”
Hauer’s first major role in an American production came courtesy of Nighthawks, a Sylvester Stallone/Billy Dee Williams buddy cop thriller whose script had been refashioned from the abandoned French Connection III. Despite those rather uninspired beginnings — and its disappointing performance at the box office — Nighthawks is one of the more fondly remembered entries in the genre, largely thanks to Hauer’s performance as the publicity-hungry terrorist known as Wulfgar. “All of it is standard stuff,” admitted Janet Maslin of the New York Times, while hastening to add, “and yet Nighthawks has been assembled with enough pep to make it feel fresh.”
One of Hauer’s many collaborations with director Paul Verhoeven, 1980’s Spetters was the Dutch hit that really launched their careers in America. Nominally about the world of professional motocross racing, Spetters courted controversy with sexually graphic scenes, heaps of violence, and a script heavy with offensive portrayals of… well, pretty much everybody, including Christians and gays. Plenty of filmgoers failed to find much of value here, but as Verhoeven proved so often in his early career, there’s a difference between shocking simply to shock and doing it to prove a point, and Spetters leans far more heavily on the latter tactic. As Ken Hanke of the Asheville Mountain Xpress sighed wistfully after a later viewing, “Remember when Paul Verhoeven made good movies?”
Part of a busy 2005 for Hauer that included roles in major films (including Batman Begins), a direct-to-video sequel (Dracula III), and a made-for-TV disaster epic (The Poseidon Adventure), Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s Sin City used modern filmmaking techniques to bring the distinctive visual thrills of Miller’s graphic novel series directly to the screen. A member of an impressive ensemble cast that included Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Wood, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, and Benicio del Toro, Hauer appeared as the villainous Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark, whose murderous machinations set in motion a gory path of revenge for Marv (Rourke). Definitely not for the squeamish, Sin City earned the admiration of critics like Bruce Newman of the San Jose Mercury News, who called it “The most gorgeous digital movie ever made” and “a stunning leap forward in both the technology of digital cinema and the art of filmmaking.”
A film adaptation of the “unauthorized autobiography” of famed television producer (and winsomely smarmy game show host) Chuck Barris had been in and out of development since the 1980s, but it took George Clooney to finally make it happen. Clooney marked his directorial debut with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, starring Sam Rockwell as Barris and following his quite possibly fictional account of his years as a TV personality/CIA assassin. Hauer pops up here as a spy who aids Barris during a German mission, part of an eyebrow-raising supporting cast that also included Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, and Clooney himself. Offering praise for Clooney, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, and the cast, the New York Observer’s Andrew Sarris wrote, “Mr. Clooney, Mr. Kaufman and all their collaborators are entitled to take a deep bow for fashioning an engrossing entertainment out of an almost sure-fire prescription for a critical and commercial disaster.”
Hauer got his start on the late 1960s Dutch TV series Floris, along with the show’s creator, Paul Verhoeven — and once they’d both made a name for themselves in Hollywood, they reunited for this big-screen extension of the show’s 16th-century European mythology. Hauer stars as Martin, a spurned mercenary who embarks on a muddy quest for revenge against the commander who betrayed him. Also starring a young Jennifer Jason Leigh, Flesh & Blood wasn’t a huge box office hit, but it offered an unusually realistic take on the era (TV Guide wrote that “a more appalling view of the turmoil and misery of the late Middle Ages may never be seen”) and helped set up Verhoeven’s RoboCop success with an adventure that eFilmCritic’s Scott Weinberg deemed “Brutally ugly and irresistibly entertaining.”
Nobody exudes an air of chilly, impeccably groomed menace quite like Rutger Hauer — a talent that served him well in his small but pivotal role as Wayne Enterprises CEO William Earle in Batman Begins. After Thomas Wayne’s murder, and the departure of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) for years of soul-searching, Earle remade the company in his own image — which included turning it into a publicly traded weapons manufacturer. Though he was a foe far more easily vanquished than, say, the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) or Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson), Earle was plenty nefarious in his own way, and his presence helped add subtext to a film that reinvigorated the superhero genre and moved Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune to write, “If comic books must be a staple of our movie diet, please let them be as thought-provoking and thrilling as this.”
Rutger Hauer has been part of a few cult classics in his day, but none have been cultier — or classic-er — than Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. An adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner starred Harrison Ford as the replicant-hunting Rick Deckard, and Hauer as his chief target, the replicant known as Roy Batty. It was a flop during its theatrical run in 1982, but we all know what happened next: Runner is almost universally regarded as a sci-fi classic, as well as a longtime favorite of critics like Roger Ebert, who called it “a seminal film, building on older classics like Metropolis or Things to Come, but establishing a pervasive view of the future that has influenced science fiction films ever since.”
We tend not to hear much about the Dutch film industry, but it’s produced its share of great films and major talents — and with 1978’s Soldier of Orange, it gave us a combination of the two, by introducing Hollywood to director/co-writer Paul Verhoeven. Hauer had already worked with Verhoeven on multiple occasions, but none made the kind of international splash enjoyed by this drama about Dutch college students during World War II — it earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, not to mention the praise of critics like the New York Times’ Vincent Canby, who wrote, “Soldier of Orange may not be great art but it’s a good yarn. And the combined effects of Mr. Verhoeven’s comfortingly old-fashioned storytelling and Mr. Hauer’s unexpectedly brittle performance keep it moving at a fast clip.”
In case you were wondering, here are Hauer’s top 10 movies according RT users’ scores: