(Photo by Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)

All Laurence Fishburne Movies Ranked

Laurence Fishburne made his movie debut in just about the best way possible: As part of the platoon that goes up the river in Apocalypse Now. He was 14 when filming started and production was so troubled that by the time the movie released, Fishburne had already celebrated his 17th birthday.

The ensuing ’80s saw the actor taking mostly smaller roles but working with big name directors (Steven Spielberg in The Color Purple, Spike Lee in School Daze) that kept him — still credited as Larry at the time — employed and just a performance away from stardom. The chance came in 1991 with John Singleton’s explosive dramatic debut, Boyz n the Hood, in which he played young father Furious Styles. And Fishburne famously closed out the decade with The Matrix, a movie still at the forefront of pop culture 20 years later. When Fishburne was cast as the Bowery King in John Wick: Chapter 2, there was immediate rejoicing that he was reuniting on-screen with Matrix alum Keanu Reeves.

And after 2019’s Parabellum, what further wacky misadventures await Reeves and Fishburne in the series? As we await another sequel, we’re ranking all Laurence Fishburne movies by Tomatometer!

#59

Imprisoned (2018)
0%

#59
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A prison warden frames a parolee for a murder.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Kampf

#58
#58
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An Indian Vietnam veteran (Stephen Lang) trains five street punks in the Everglades to fight vice in Miami.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Michael Glaser

#57

Quicksilver (1986)
13%

#57
Adjusted Score: 7593%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A hotshot stock-exchange floor trader (Kevin Bacon) loses his shirt and becomes a bicycle messenger in a hilly city.... [More]
Directed By: Tom Donnelly

#56

Fled (1996)
18%

#56
Adjusted Score: 18516%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During a routine prison work detail, convict Piper (Laurence Fishburne) is chained to Dodge (Stephen Baldwin), a cyberhacker, when gunfire... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Hooks

#55

Ride Along (2014)
18%

#55
Adjusted Score: 22528%
Critics Consensus: Kevin Hart's livewire presence gives Ride Along a shot of necessary energy, but it isn't enough to rescue this would-be comedy from the buddy-cop doldrums.
Synopsis: For two years, security guard Ben (Kevin Hart) has tried to convince James (Ice Cube), a veteran cop, that he... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story

#54

The Colony (2013)
20%

#54
Adjusted Score: 20625%
Critics Consensus: A formulaic sci-fi thriller, The Colony features cliched dialogue, cheesy special effects, and underdeveloped characters.
Synopsis: Forced to live underground, survivors of an ice age embark on a mission to reach another outpost.... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Renfroe

#53

Just Cause (1995)
26%

#53
Adjusted Score: 25554%
Critics Consensus: Just Cause you round up a phenomenal cast, that doesn't mean you have everything you need for a solid legal thriller -- and this film is forgettable proof.
Synopsis: Paul Armstrong (Sean Connery), a law professor who staunchly fights the death penalty, is lured into defending a death row... [More]
Directed By: Arne Glimcher

#52

Biker Boyz (2003)
22%

#52
Adjusted Score: 24954%
Critics Consensus: Waste of a good cast. For a movie about bike racing, it never gets up to speed.
Synopsis: Slick Will, the mechanic for a legendary motorcycle racer named Smoke (Laurence Fishburne), is struck dead during an off-the-grid race.... [More]
Directed By: Reggie Rock Bythewood

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 24656%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A tenacious federal agent traces the supply line of a group of cagey and experienced cocaine dealers.... [More]
Directed By: Jason Cabell

#50

Bad Company (1994)
27%

#50
Adjusted Score: 12482%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An ex-CIA man (Laurence Fishburne) sleeps with his new boss (Ellen Barkin), out to kill her partner (Frank Langella) in... [More]
Directed By: James Hong, Damian Harris

#49

Event Horizon (1997)
30%

#49
Adjusted Score: 32102%
Critics Consensus: Despite a strong opening that promises sci-fi thrills, Event Horizon quickly devolves into an exercise of style over substance whose flashy effects and gratuitous gore fail to mask its overreliance on horror clichés.
Synopsis: When the Event Horizon, a spacecraft that vanished years earlier, suddenly reappears, a team is dispatched to investigate the ship.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Anderson

#48

Once in the Life (2000)
28%

#48
Adjusted Score: 28071%
Critics Consensus: Once in a Life is a promising directorial effort by Laurence Fishburne. But the story is too conventional and similar to the many ghetto action/dramas that come before it.
Synopsis: A gritty drama centered around brotherhood and friendship, "Once in the Life" is a realistic depiction of how everyday choices... [More]
Directed By: Laurence Fishburne

#47
Adjusted Score: 56773%
Critics Consensus: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story -- and some of America's most iconic superheroes -- in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.
Synopsis: It's been nearly two years since Superman's (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis.... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#46

Passengers (2016)
30%

#46
Adjusted Score: 47802%
Critics Consensus: Passengers proves Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence work well together -- and that even their chemistry isn't enough to overcome a fatally flawed story.
Synopsis: On a routine journey through space to a new home, two passengers, sleeping in suspended animation, are awakened 90 years... [More]
Directed By: Morten Tyldum

#45

Death Wish II (1982)
33%

#45
Adjusted Score: 27295%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Relocating to Los Angeles from New York City, vigilante Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) wants to start a safer life for... [More]
Directed By: Michael Winner

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 42205%
Critics Consensus: A disappointing conclusion to the Matrix trilogy as characters and ideas take a back seat to the special effects.
Synopsis: In a dystopia overrun by robots, Neo (Keanu Reeves), mankind's greatest hope, is trapped in a limbo world. Meanwhile, the... [More]

#43

21 (2008)
36%

#43
Adjusted Score: 43095%
Critics Consensus: 21 could have been a fascinating study had it not supplanted the true story on which it is based with mundane melodrama.
Synopsis: Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a brilliant student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, needs some quick cash to pay his tuition... [More]
Directed By: Robert Luketic

#42
Adjusted Score: 44559%
Critics Consensus: While an improvement on its predecessor, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is nevertheless a juvenile, simplistic picture that has little benefit beyond its special effects.
Synopsis: Reed (Ioan Gruffudd), Susan (Jessica Alba), Johnny (Chris Evans) and Ben (Michael Chiklis) face an intergalactic messenger who has arrived... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story

#41

Cherry 2000 (1988)
38%

#41
Adjusted Score: 36495%
Critics Consensus: While Cherry 2000 has a certain low-budget appeal, all but the most ardent genre enthusiasts are likely to find its silly story and uneven performances unintentionally amusing.
Synopsis: In the post-apocalyptic California of 2017, Sam Treadwell (David Andrews) manages a recycling plant. His companion is Cherry 2000 (Pamela... [More]
Directed By: Steve DeJarnatt

#40

Armored (2009)
40%

#40
Adjusted Score: 41611%
Critics Consensus: This B-grade thriller has a good cast and director but is undone by plot holes and messy conclusion.
Synopsis: Following his return from Iraq, Ty Hackett (Columbus Short) takes a job at the same armored-car company where his father... [More]
Directed By: Nimród Antal

#39

Cadence (1990)
42%

#39
Adjusted Score: 24487%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A misfit soldier (Charlie Sheen) lands in a bully's (Martin Sheen) stockade with five men united by their race and... [More]
Directed By: Martin Sheen

#38

Hoodlum (1997)
43%

#38
Adjusted Score: 42480%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Having just been released from jail, Bumpy Johnson (Laurence Fishburne) returns to his criminal ways as a linchpin in the... [More]
Directed By: Bill Duke

#37

Khumba (2013)
44%

#37
Adjusted Score: 38019%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After his herd rejects him for having only half his stripes, a young zebra (Jake T. Austin) sets out on... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Silverston

#36

Higher Learning (1995)
45%

#36
Adjusted Score: 47077%
Critics Consensus: It's hard to fault Higher Learning's goals; unfortunately, writer-director John Singleton too often struggles to fit his themes within a consistently engaging story.
Synopsis: In John Singleton's powerful portrait of college life in the 1990s, a group of incoming freshmen at Columbus University --... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#35

Gardens of Stone (1987)
44%

#35
Adjusted Score: 27267%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Grizzled war veteran Sgt. Clell Hazard (James Caan) is disheartened when he is stationed as a guard in Arlington National... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#34

Bobby (2006)
47%

#34
Adjusted Score: 53540%
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]
Directed By: Emilio Estevez

#33
Adjusted Score: 60782%
Critics Consensus: Where'd You Go, Bernadette offers dispiriting proof that a talented director, bestselling source material, and terrific cast can add up to far less than the sum of their parts.
Synopsis: Former architect Bernadette Fox seems to have it all -- a beautiful home in Seattle, a successful and loving husband,... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#32

Osmosis Jones (2001)
56%

#32
Adjusted Score: 59098%
Critics Consensus: The animated portion of Osmosis is zippy and fun, but the live-action portion is lethargic.
Synopsis: A cutting-edge, live action/animated action adventure comedy about one white blood cell's (Chris Rock) race against the biological clock to... [More]

#31

Standoff (2016)
53%

#31
Adjusted Score: 53024%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Armed with a shotgun and one bullet, a war veteran (Thomas Jane) tries to protect a young murder witness from... [More]
Directed By: Adam Alleca

#30

School Daze (1988)
57%

#30
Adjusted Score: 58218%
Critics Consensus: School Daze is undeniably messy, but thought-provoking themes, strong performances, and Spike Lee's ingratiating energy help tie it all together.
Synopsis: At historically black Mission College, the activist-minded Dap (Larry Fishburne) immerses himself in a world of political rhetoric and social... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#29

Man of Steel (2013)
56%

#29
Adjusted Score: 70739%
Critics Consensus: Man of Steel's exhilarating action and spectacle can't fully overcome its detours into generic blockbuster territory.
Synopsis: With the imminent destruction of Krypton, their home planet, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife seek to preserve their race... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 65984%
Critics Consensus: This remake has been praised by some as an expertly made B-movie, and dismissed by others as formulaic.
Synopsis: While en route to prison, a bus carrying criminals Marion (Laurence Fishburne), Beck (John Alberto Leguizamo) and Anna (Aisha Hinds)... [More]
Directed By: Jean Richet

#27

The Signal (2014)
61%

#27
Adjusted Score: 63418%
Critics Consensus: Director William Eubank clearly has big ideas and an impressive level of technical expertise; unfortunately, The Signal fritters them away on a poorly constructed story.
Synopsis: A surprise awaits three college students (Brenton Thwaites, Beau Knapp, Olivia Cooke) who think they have tracked a rival computer... [More]
Directed By: William Eubank

#26

Rudderless (2014)
64%

#26
Adjusted Score: 64148%
Critics Consensus: Rudderless asks its cast to carry an awful lot of weight for its occasionally manipulative story; fortunately, this talented bunch -- led by Billy Crudup -- is often more than up to the task.
Synopsis: After a grieving father finds a box of demo tapes made by his now-dead son, he forms a band in... [More]
Directed By: William H. Macy

#25

Predators (2010)
65%

#25
Adjusted Score: 72103%
Critics Consensus: After a string of subpar sequels, this bloody, action-packed reboot takes the Predator franchise back to its testosterone-fueled roots.
Synopsis: Brought together on a mysterious planet, a mercenary (Adrien Brody) and a group of coldblooded killers now become the prey.... [More]
Directed By: Nimród Antal

#24

Red Heat (1988)
68%

#24
Adjusted Score: 68981%
Critics Consensus: Red Heat's overreliance on genre formula is bolstered by Walter Hill's rugged direction and a strong touch of humor.
Synopsis: A Moscow detective (Arnold Schwarzenegger) shows his local police escort (James Belushi) how to hunt a Soviet drug smuggler in... [More]
Directed By: Walter Hill

#23

Othello (1995)
68%

#23
Adjusted Score: 70153%
Critics Consensus: Perhaps less than the sum of its parts, Othello is still highly entertaining, and features excellent performances from Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh.
Synopsis: Heroic general Othello (Laurence Fishburne), the only African in the Venetian army, is carrying on a courtship with white noblewoman... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Parker

#22

The Mule (2018)
70%

#22
Adjusted Score: 81418%
Critics Consensus: A flawed yet enjoyable late-period Eastwood entry, The Mule stubbornly retains its footing despite a few missteps on its occasionally unpredictable path.
Synopsis: Broke, alone and facing foreclosure on his business, 90-year-old horticulturist Earl Stone takes a job as a drug courier for... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 79834%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, with eye-popping stunts and special effects, the latest Mission: Impossible installment delivers everything an action fan could ask for. A thrilling summer popcorn flick.
Synopsis: Retired from active duty, and training recruits for the Impossible Mission Force, agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) faces the toughest... [More]
Directed By: J.J. Abrams

#20

Rumble Fish (1983)
75%

#20
Adjusted Score: 77513%
Critics Consensus: Rumble Fish frustrates even as it intrigues, but director Francis Ford Coppola's strong visual style helps compensate for a certain narrative stasis.
Synopsis: Disaffected and restless, Rusty James (Matt Dillon) is spoiling for a fight. Abandoned by his mother and living with his... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#19

King of New York (1990)
72%

#19
Adjusted Score: 73397%
Critics Consensus: King of New York covers familiar narrative ground with impressive style -- and leaves plenty of room for its talented cast to deliver gripping performances.
Synopsis: A crime lord plots to take control of New York's underground drug economy and distribute the profits to the poor.... [More]
Directed By: Abel Ferrara

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 82305%
Critics Consensus: Though its heady themes are a departure from its predecessor, The Matrix Reloaded is a worthy sequel packed with popcorn-friendly thrills.
Synopsis: Freedom fighters Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) continue to lead the revolt against the Machine... [More]

#17
Adjusted Score: 73315%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors offers an imaginative and surprisingly satisfying rebound for a franchise already starting to succumb to sequelitis.
Synopsis: During a hallucinatory incident, young Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has her wrists slashed by dream-stalking monster Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#16

Class Action (1991)
76%

#16
Adjusted Score: 77134%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Liberal activist lawyer Jedediah (Gene Hackman) alienated daughter Maggie (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) years ago when she discovered his many affairs.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#15

The Cotton Club (1984)
77%

#15
Adjusted Score: 77502%
Critics Consensus: Energetic and brimming with memorable performers, The Cotton Club entertains with its visual and musical pizazz even as its plot only garners polite applause.
Synopsis: The lives of various characters intersect at Harlem's renowned Cotton Club. Handsome horn player Dix Dwyer (Richard Gere) falls for... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#14

Last Flag Flying (2017)
77%

#14
Adjusted Score: 92677%
Critics Consensus: Last Flag Flying balances raw drama against refreshing moments of humor in an impeccably cast film that wrestles with questions of patriotism, family, and grief.
Synopsis: Thirty years after serving together in the Vietnam War, Larry "Doc" Shepherd, Sal Nealon and the Rev. Richard Mueller reunite... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#13

The Color Purple (1985)
76%

#13
Adjusted Score: 76990%
Critics Consensus: It might have been better served by a filmmaker with a deeper connection to the source material, but The Color Purple remains a worthy, well-acted adaptation of Alice Walker's classic novel.
Synopsis: An epic tale spanning forty years in the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), an African-American woman living in the South... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 90881%
Critics Consensus: A warm, family-friendly underdog story, featuring terrific supporting performances from Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne, and Angela Bassett.
Synopsis: Akeelah, an 11-year-old girl living in South Los Angeles, discovers she has a talent for spelling, which she hopes will... [More]
Directed By: Doug Atchison

#11

Contagion (2011)
85%

#11
Adjusted Score: 96733%
Critics Consensus: Tense, tightly plotted, and bolstered by a stellar cast, Contagion is an exceptionally smart -- and scary -- disaster movie.
Synopsis: When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minnesota from a Hong Kong business trip, she attributes the malaise she feels... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#10

Deep Cover (1992)
87%

#10
Adjusted Score: 86285%
Critics Consensus: Deep Cover rises above standard-issue crime thriller fare thanks to a smartly cynical script and powerhouse performances from its unorthodox but well-matched leads.
Synopsis: David Jason (Jeff Goldblum) is the biggest drug dealer in Los Angeles, and Russell Stevens (Larry Fishburne) is an undercover... [More]
Directed By: Bill Duke

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 31227%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A semi-fictionalized account of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-African-American Air Force squadron during World War II, the film centers... [More]
Directed By: Robert Markowitz

#8

The Matrix (1999)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 95071%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the Wachowskis' imaginative vision, The Matrix is a smartly crafted combination of spectacular action and groundbreaking special effects.
Synopsis: Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can... [More]

#7

Mystic River (2003)
88%

#7
Adjusted Score: 95665%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by the exceptional acting of its strong cast, Mystic River is a somber drama that unfolds in layers and conveys the tragedy of its story with visceral power.
Synopsis: When the daughter (Emmy Rossum) of ex-con Jimmy Marcus (Sean Penn) is murdered, two of his childhood friends from the... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 106207%
Critics Consensus: A lighter, brighter superhero movie powered by the effortless charisma of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp offers a much-needed MCU palate cleanser.
Synopsis: Scott Lang is grappling with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. Approached by Hope... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 109342%
Critics Consensus: John Wick: Chapter 2 does what a sequel should -- which in this case means doubling down on the non-stop, thrillingly choreographed action that made its predecessor so much fun.
Synopsis: Retired super-assassin John Wick's plans to resume a quiet civilian life are cut short when Italian gangster Santino D'Antonio shows... [More]
Directed By: Chad Stahelski

#4
Adjusted Score: 100381%
Critics Consensus: With a fascinating real-life story and powerhouse performances from Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, What's Love Got to Do With It? is a can't miss biopic.
Synopsis: Based on the life of the legendary soul singer, Tina Turner (Angela Bassett) -- born Anna Mae Bullock -- discovers... [More]
Directed By: Brian Gibson

#3

Boyz N the Hood (1991)
96%

#3
Adjusted Score: 99891%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and thematically rich, Boyz N the Hood observes Black America with far more depth and compassion than many of the like-minded films its success inspired.
Synopsis: Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is sent to live with his father, Furious Styles (Larry Fishburne), in tough South Central Los... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#2

Apocalypse Now (1979)
98%

#2
Adjusted Score: 105329%
Critics Consensus: Francis Ford Coppola's haunting, hallucinatory Vietnam War epic is cinema at its most audacious and visionary.
Synopsis: In Vietnam in 1970, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) takes a perilous and increasingly hallucinatory journey upriver to find and terminate... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#1
Adjusted Score: 103211%
Critics Consensus: As sensitive as the young man at its center, Searching for Bobby Fischer uses a prodigy's struggle to find personal balance as the background for a powerfully moving drama.
Synopsis: After he beats his dad (Joe Mantegna) in a chess match, Josh Waitzkin (Max Pomeranc), a 7-year-old, gets noticed for... [More]
Directed By: Steven Zaillian

One might be inclined to think that the fact we’re leading off this week’s column with Larry Crowne is an indication of a fairly dry selection of home video choices, but one would be wrong. Granted, most of the noteworthy choices are older films getting the hi-def treatment, but they’re great choices nonetheless. We didn’t even have time to mention, for example, Blu-ray rereleases of Evil Dead 2 or Metropolis. What we do have this week is a directorial misfire by Tom Hanks (co-starring Julia Roberts), a heartfelt romance starring Ewan McGregor, and a strange indie road film. On top of that, Criterion is releasing new Blu-rays of a Jean Renoir masterpiece and an acclaimed trilogy, and we’ve got new editions of Infernal Affairs, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady. So, overall, not a terrible week at all!

Larry Crowne

37%

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts were once highly sought-after stars, both of them having won Academy Awards in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories, respectively, but neither of them has earned as much critical recognition lately as they used to. Enter Larry Crowne, a romantic comedy pairing up the Charlie Wilson’s War co-stars, directed and co-written by Hanks. Here, the titular character (Hanks) is a recently downsized retail employee who decides to enroll in community college, where he meets various new friends and falls in love with his Public Speaking instructor (Roberts). Unfortunately, while the film’s two stars are certainly likeable and are able to maintain a relaxed chemistry, critics found the story all too conventional and bland, earning Larry Crowne a mere 34% on the Tomatometer. Fans of both stars may enjoy the film, but as it stands, it’s a missed opportunity for two very capable powerhouse actors.

Beginners

85%

Partially based on writer/director Mike Mills’ own father, Beginners is one of those smaller independent films that critics praised but hardly anyone else saw. Told primarily in various flashbacks, the film stars Ewan McGregor as thirty-something Oliver, whose father Hal (Christopher Plummer) comes out as a homosexual at age 75 after the passing of his wife and proceeds to live a full life as a gay man until his death. Oliver also meets a French actress named Anna, played by Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds), who sparks those initial memories of Hal, and attempts to navigate his relationship with her with the same vigor Hal exhibited in his last years. Certified Fresh at 84%, Beginners charmed critics, who appreciated the film’s multi-generational exploration of romance with wit and depth, even if it wore its heart on its sleeve. Though it might be a tad sentimental for some, most generally considered it a thoughtful delight, so if your interest is piqued, you might as well give it a shot.

Bellflower

73%

Here’s another intriguing film that got a lot of people talking earlier in the year when it premiered at Sundance back in January. Written by, directed by, and starring Evan Glodell, Bellflower is that rare beast of a film that seems propelled by its own manic energy and eccentric outrageousness. The story follows two friends who mod old cars, Mad Max style, and build flamethrowers, until one of them falls in love with a girl and they all embark on a dark, nihilistic journey together. A couple things to note here: Glodell, a bit of gearhead himself, not only built and modified the cars featured in the film, he also crafted the flamethrower and pieced together the camera used to film the movie out of vintage camera parts and Russian lenses. Filmed on a tiny budget, Bellflower is one of those very independent films that comes around every once in a while and impresses critics with its ambition and audacity; Certified Fresh at 73%, it might signal the arrival of a unique new talent, and one can only wonder what he might accomplish with a bigger budget.

Three Colors Trilogy – Criterion Collection

The late, great Krzysztof Kieślowski wasn’t a filmmaker lacking in ambition. He’s best known for two lengthy masterworks that tackle big subjects — The Decalogue was a 10-part series that explored the worldly implications of the 10 Commandments, and the Three Colors trilogy examined the complications and coincidences that mark everyday life through the colors of the French flag (Blue, White, and Red = liberty, equality, fraternity). Casual viewers may be initially put off by the trilogy’s length, but once you start, you’ll be hooked: all three films are marked by an intoxicating sense of the beauty and mystery inherent in the human condition, and feature great performances by (among others) Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, and Irene Jacob. The new Criterion set features a heaping helping of features, including interviews with cast and crew members, making-of docs, early shorts by Kieślowski, and other behind-the-scenes miscellany.

Infernal Affairs – Blu-Ray

94%

You’ve heard of it, but maybe you just never got around to seeing the famous Hong Kong hit that was remade by Martin Scorsese as The Departed (which, by the way, finally won Scorsese his first Best Director Oscar). If you’ve seen the latter film, then the plot summary for Infernal Affairs will sound familiar: Tony Leung plays a police officer named Chan who is assigned to undercover work as a member of the triads, and Andy Lau (not to be confused with the director, Andrew Lau) is Lau, a member of the triads who is recruited to join the police force and report back to his boss. As both become aware that their respective organizations have been infiltrated, a complex cat-and-mouse game ensues, with each attempting to smoke out the rat before the other. There are about as many crime thrillers about the triads as there are about the yakuza or the mafia, so it takes something special to set any one of them apart; Infernal Affairs has that special something, as indicated by its Certified Fresh 95% on the Tomatometer. The new Blu-ray of the film includes a few extras, like a making-of featurette, an alternate ending, and a couple of official trailers.

The Rules of the Game – Criterion Collection

96%

Just in time for the Occupy Wall Street protests, Criterion has released a pristine new Blu-ray of The Rules of the Game, Jean Renoir’s incendiary comedy of manners. Long cited as one of cinema’s greatest films, The Rules of the Game is also a dark satire on the frivolity of the bourgeoisie; it follows a group of upper crust French folk who, over the course of a wild weekend at an opulent country estate, shoot rabbits, engage in illicit affairs, and generally ignore the coming storm of World War II. The new Criterion Blu-ray features a new digital restoration of the film, and includes an introduction from Jean Renoir, a bunch of documentaries on the great director, an alternate ending, and a featurette on the reconstruction of the film.

My Fair Lady – Blu-Ray

94%

If you’ve ever wondered how Audrey Hepburn earned her global reputation as a Hollywood sweetheart, the place to start would probably be Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but you wouldn?t go wrong if you picked up My Fair Lady, which also happens to be a pretty strong case for the “remakes can be good” argument. Winner of a whopping eight Academy Awards, My Fair Lady is an adaptation of the stage musical of the same name, which itself was based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, which was in turn made into a previous film of the same name in 1938. Whew! Here, Hepburn plays poor, Cockney-speaking flower girl Eliza Doolittle, who seeks out Rex Harrison’s Henry Higgins for lessons in proper speech so as to secure a job at a flower shop. Accepting a wager from a colonel Hugh Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White), Higgins sets out to prove that he can transform Eliza into a lady who might pass for a member of aristocratic lineage. This week, a new Blu-ray of the film hits shelves, complete with bonus features that include a making-of featurette, cast and crew interviews, production information, and a look at the Oscar highlights.

West Side Story – 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray

92%

Perhaps the most oft-referenced of modern musicals, West Side Story is also perhaps the greatest homage to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in all of popular culture. The 1961 movie version swept the Oscars, and it’s easy to see why: West Side Story is big, bold, colorful entertainment, filled with great songs (including “Tonight,” “Jet Song,” “Gee, Officer Krupke,” “America”) inventive direction from Robert Wise, and, for the time, a certain gritty realism missing from glossy Hollywood musicals (though let’s be honest: the Sharks and the Jets wouldn’t last 30 seconds if they found themselves in The Warriors). The West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition features a sparkling new transfer of the movie and comes packed with extras, including making-of featurettes, docs on the film’s legacy, and commentary from lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and for those hardcore fans, there’s even a separate box set available.

This week at the movies, we’ve got robots in disguise (Transformers: Dark of the Moon, starring Shia LaBeouf and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), a recession romance (Larry Crowne, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts), and a royal mix-up (Monte Carlo, starring Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester). What do the critics have to say?

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

35%

Three films into the franchise, we pretty much know what we’re getting with a Transformers movie: tons of hyperkinetic robot action, with little in the way of character development or coherent plotting. So it is with Transformers: Dark of the Moon; critics say this latest installment is a marked improvement over Revenge of the Fallen, but it’s still an exercise in sensory overload that favors special effects over storytelling. This time out, the Autobots and Decepticons are both gunning for the remains of Sentinel Prime, which were discovered on the moon and contain important secrets; as usual, the Autobots’ buddy Sam (Shia LaBeouf) finds himself in the line of fire. The pundits say Transformers: Dark of the Moon has admittedly impressive special effects and a few solid action sequences, but the whole thing becomes numbing after a while – it’s just spectacle, with few (if any) compelling characters, a manufactured product that impresses with sheer bombast but stretches its thin plot way past the breaking point.

Larry Crowne

37%

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are two of the biggest movie stars we have, so it’s fair to assume that any film with both of them is going to be pretty good, right? Well, not necessarily. Critics say despite the stars’ relaxed, easy chemistry, Larry Crowne is surprisingly bland and conventional. Hanks stars as a middle-aged Navy vet who loses his job and decides to enroll in community college. There he becomes a motor scooter enthusiast and starts a relationship with one of the school’s professors. Hanks and Roberts were terrific together in Charlie Wilson’s War (and Hanks won high praise for his previous directorial outing, That Thing You Do!), but the pundits say Larry Crowne is remarkably generic and inauthentic, a pleasant trifle that brings smiles from time to time but never hums with dramatic urgency or l’amour fou. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Hanks’s best-reviewed movies.)

Monte Carlo

40%

There’s nothing wrong with movies about wish fulfillment — heck, that’s one of the main things that draws us to the theater. But you have to do more than just surround your protagonists with riches, and critics say Monte Carlo misses plenty of opportunities to explore beyond its premise, though it’s got its charms, thanks to some decent performances and overall good spirits. Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester star as vacationers who get mistaken for royalty, and soon, their dull European vacation becomes a luxurious, whirlwind tour of the continent. But what will happen when our heroines get found out? The pundits say Monte Carlo is decent tween fare, but it’s silly, predictable stuff that never pushes the boundaries of its formula.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Crime After Crime, a documentary about a woman’s long legal battle after a murder sentence many felt was unjust, is at 100 percent.

  • Delhi Belly, a Bollywood comedy about three average dudes who find themselves in the crosshairs of a crime boss, is at 80 percent.

  • Terri, starring John C. Reilly in a comedy about a teen misfit who befriends his school’s vice principal, is at 73 percent.

  • The Romanian import Aurora, a murder mystery that painstakingly examines a killer’s psyche, is at 71 percent.

  • The Perfect Host, starring David Hyde Pierce in a psychological thriller about a wanted bank robber who crashes a dinner party, is at 41 percent.

  • Love Etc., a doc about five New York couples and the complexities of their romantic relationships, is at 38 percent.