(Photo by DreamWorks Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Having the #1 TV show to fall back on when starting a movie career was a good thing for George Clooney, especially when he was alternately starring in groovy, off-beat genre flicks (From Dusk till Dawn, Out of Sight) and helping destroy a comic book franchise (Batman & Robin). But by 1999, Clooney was ready to cut the cord on ER, paving the way for immediate movie breakthroughs in comedy (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), blockbusters (Ocean’s Eleven), and even as a director himself, with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which we’re including on this list because he also stars.
As seen beginning with Confessions, the cross-section of politics and media would be a driving concern for Clooney’s acting choices, such as Syriana, Michael Clayton, The Ides of March, Money Monster, and Good Night, and Good Luck. Yet he also switches to the broad buffoon with ease, especially with the Coen brothers, as in O Brother, Burn After Reading, and Hail, Caesar!. Somewhere in between this Bawdy George and Serious George, you’ll find material that has drawn Clooney some of his highest marks: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up In the Air, and The Descendants, the latter two for which he was Best Actor Oscar-nominated.
Up until directing himself in 2020’s The Midnight Sky, Clooney hadn’t appeared in a narrative feature since 2016. Meanwhile, he got top billing in Grizzly II: Revenge, a film shot in 1983 that wasn’t completed and released until 2021. Will the movie finally restore Clooney’s rightful original career path as horror movie maven? We’ll just have to wait an see — until then, we’re looking back on all George Clooney movies, ranked by Tomatometer!
Maybe it’s because it’s the end of the year, and the assumption is that most of the gift-giving is done and over with, but this week brings us precious few choices in home video. First off, we’ve got the latest George Clooney vehicle, in which he plays a contemplative international operative. Then, we’ve got the latest in a popular video game-based franchise. To round things out, there are also a couple of poorly reviewed dramas, one starring a former WWE star and one from Joel Schumacher. The majority of the remaining choices are direct-to-dvd releases, so we limited our list to new titles. Have at it, and we’ll see you next year!
Resident Evil has proven to be one of the more successful video game-based film franchises, spawning something of a cult following for its horror-infused action extravaganzas. Earlier this year, director Paul W.S. Anderson and stars Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter returned for the fourth installment of the series, Resident Evil: Afterlife, which boasted the use of 3D technology developed by James Cameron. This purported final chapter sees Jovovich’s heroine, Alice, teaming up once again with Larter’s Claire Redfield to lead a band of survivors to a mobile safe haven known as Arcadia. Now, none of the previous Resident Evil films has received anything higher than a 34% Tomatometer score, and Afterlife continues this trend, but chances are, if you’re a fan of the series, you’re probably not going to care what the critics said about it anyway. Expect nothing more than plenty of zombie-killing and big, spectacular action set pieces and you’re probably sure to find enough to enjoy.
If you go into The American expecting a fast-paced, action-packed spy thriller, prepare to be disappointed. If, however, you’re in the market for an ennui-laden, moody character study – the kind that Michelangelo Antonioni made in his prime – you might find The American to be a cool, intelligent throwback. George Clooney stars as an assassin who decamps in rural Italy after a particularly gruesome hit. There, he befriends a kindly priest and romances a mysterious woman – but can he really hide from his past? Though Fresh, The American drew mixed notices from critics, who admired director Anton Corbijn’s sleek aesthetics and atmospherics, but decried the film’s slow pace. The DVD contains a featurette on the making of the film, plus audio commentary and deleted scenes.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson capitalized on the star power he amassed in the WWE to embark on a successful film career, so it’s only natural that some of his former colleagues might attempt to do the same. Unfortunately, John Cena hasn’t been able to achieve quite the same level of success that Johnson has, starring mostly in poorly-reviewed action flicks. Enter Legendary, a more “serious” film whose story somewhat mirrors that of recent hit The Fighter. Cena plays Mike Chetley, a former wrestling champ who’s become estranged from his widowed mother and younger brother after a car accident claims the life of his father. In an attempt to pull his family back together, the younger sibling, Cal (Devon Graye), joins his high school wrestling team, hoping that Mike will return to train him. Though the film boasts the talents of Patricia Clarkson and Danny Glover in supporting roles, critics were so unimpressed by the heavily formulaic story that it managed to earn only a paltry 17% Tomatometer score. Not the best showing for all involved, but for better or for worse, it’s available on home video this week.
Joel Schumacher is something of an enigma as a director. He’s helmed a couple of nostalgic ’80s classics like St. Elmo’s Fire and The Lost Boys, a couple of decently-reviewed John Grisham adaptations, thrillers like Falling Down, and even a version of The Phantom of the Opera… And then there’s the oft-criticized entries in the Batman franchise, which are so infamous for being terrible that they’ve virtually overshadowed all his past successes. Well, don’t expect that to change with Twelve, a bleak look at the lives of privileged high schoolers in New York that critics found so shallow and soulless that they saw fit to reward it with a paltry 4% on the Tomatometer. Chace Crawford is White Mike, son of a wealthy restauranteur who spends his free time dealing drugs to his classmates, and Emma Roberts plays Mike’s gal pal from the poorer side of town; they’re surrounded by a bevy of rich ne’er-do-wells who engage in all the shockingly naughty activities we’ve come to expect from films like this. Unfortunately, Twelve, based on a novel by Nick McDonell, suffers from comparisons to films adapted from Bret Easton Ellis novels (Less than Zero, American Psycho) and ultimately falls flat in its efforts to present a thoughtful look at teenage delinquency.
Written by Ryan Fujitani and Tim Ryan
This weekend, the summer movie season closed quietly as the top ten slumped to its worst performance of 2010 with audiences finding other ways to spend their Labor Day holiday weekend. Two of the three new releases — George Clooney’s assassin pic The American and Robert Rodriguez’s violent revenge actioner Machete — met with moderate bows while Drew Barrymore’s romantic comedy Going the Distance failed to attract business. The top ten films tumbled to less than $75M (over the Friday-to-Sunday period) making for the lowest performance in nearly one year giving the marketplace very little momentum going into the fall season.
For the first time in his career, George Clooney anchored a number one hit movie all by himself as the Focus release The American shot to the top with an estimated $16.4M in ticket sales over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday frame. The R-rated drama averaged a decent $5,808 from 2,823 theaters over four days and has grossed $19.5M in the six days since its Wednesday launch. The Oscar-winning actor has reached the top spot numerous times but always when surrounded by other major stars like with the Ocean’s series or The Perfect Storm. The Friday-to-Sunday gross for the modest $20M production was $13.1M for a $4,650 average.
With the box office filled with films catering to teens and young adults, The American scored by playing to a more mature crowd. Autumn releases typically skew older so the Italy-set film was the appropriate choice to end off summer and welcome in the fall. The last time the chart was topped by such a low gross was Labor Day 2009 and the last film to open at number one with a smaller gross was Bangkok Dangerous with $7.8M two years ago over the September 5-7 session.
After winning the box office race on Friday, Fox’s Mexploitation actioner Machete finished in second place over the long four-day weekend with an estimated $14M. Robert Rodriguez’s Danny Trejo-led action-comedy played in 2,670 sites and averaged a mediocre $5,243 per location over the long weekend. Over three days, the gross was $11.4M while the average was $4,279. The performance was almost identical to the $11.6M opening and $4,419 average of 2007’s Grindhouse which featured a fake trailer for Machete which became the inspiration for the campy feature film.
Holding up relatively well in its second weekend, the crime thriller Takers dropped to third with an estimated $13.5M falling 47% from its top spot debut when comparing the three-day periods. Sony’s PG-13 offering has taken in a better-than-expected $40M in its first 11 days of release and could be looking at a final take of around $60M.
Tumbling 64% from its impressive debut last weekend, the fright flick The Last Exorcism took fourth place with an estimated $8.8M in ticket sales. Lionsgate has scared up a solid $33.6M in 11 days and looks headed for a $42-45M finish.
Audiences showed no interest in Drew Barrymore’s latest romantic comedy Going the Distance which opened poorly in fifth place with an estimated $8.6M over four days. The R-rated pic about a couple trying to make a long distance relationship work averaged a weak $2,842 from 3,030 theaters. Co-starring Justin Long, the Warner Bros. release enjoyed the most theaters of any new release over the past two weeks, but also suffered the worst debut. Reviews were generally negative and the strict rating kept out younger teens. The Friday-to-Sunday take was only $6.9M.
The rest of the top ten was filled with holdovers that moviegoers were busy catching up on after a long hot summer. All dropped by 30% or less when comparing Friday-to-Sunday sessions. Lionsgate’s The Expendables grossed an estimated $8.5M, off 30%, raising the cume to $94.1M. Sony followed with its pair of late summer star-driven hits The Other Guys and Eat Pray Love which took in estimates of $6.7M and $6.3M, respectively. The Will Ferrell action-comedy dipped only 16% lifting the total to $108.1M while the Julia Roberts travel journal fell 30% and has banked $70.4M to date.
Summer’s biggest non-sequel Inception eased by a scant 7% to an estimated $5.9M and has collected $278.4M thus far for Warner Bros. Rounding out the top ten was Universal’s family comedy Nanny McPhee Returns Returns with an estimated $4.7M, down 26%, and a disappointing $23.5M overall.
With the season coming to an end, the following are the top ten blockbusters of Summer 2010: Toy Story 3 ($408.8M), Iron Man 2 ($312.1M), The Twilight Saga: Eclipse ($298.8M), Inception ($278.4M), Despicable Me ($241.3M), Shrek Forever After ($238.4M), The Karate Kid ($175.9M), Grown Ups ($159.4M), The Last Airbender ($131.1M), and Salt ($115.6M).
The top ten films grossed an estimated $93.2M over four days which was off 3% from the long Labor Day weekend last year when The Final Destination remained in the top spot with $15.3M; but up 9% from 2008’s holiday which fell a week earlier when Tropic Thunder stayed at number one for the third week in a row with $14.6M.
Written by Gitesh Pandya of Box Office Guru.
This week at the movies, we’ve got one tough Mexican (Machete, starring Danny Trejo and Jessica Alba), long-distance lovers (Going the Distance, starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long), and a lonely assassin (The American, starring George Clooney and Thekla Reuten). What do the critics have to say?
Machete started as a trailer for a fake movie, then became a real movie. It’s a curious route to the multiplex, but critics say this old-school exploitation flick largely delivers – if you’re in the mood some sleazy fun with zero pretense. Danny Trejo stars as the title character, a migrant worker who’s enlisted to assassinate a firebrand politician before being double-crossed. Will he get the women? Will he kill the bad guys? The pundits say Robert Rodriguez’ latest excursion into grindhouse territory isn’t particularly profound, but it’s a trashy good time, loaded with wildly violent action and gloriously disreputable kicks.
It’s a modern conundrum that many face: what do you do when you meet the person of your dreams — right before they relocate to a new city? It’s a concept that Going the Distance attempts to address, but unfortunately, critics say this so-so romantic comedy is light on substance and relies too heavily on the natural charm of its leads. Drew Barrymore and Justin Long star as two thirtysomethings on the verge of couplehood, but with a major stumbling block – she’s on the verge of moving to San Francisco. Can true love triumph over geographic obstacles? The pundits say Going the Distance benefits greatly from the charm of Barrymore and Long, but it’s bogged down by raunchy dialogue and pop-culture references that undercuts the basic sweetness of the story. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down Barrymore’s best-reviewed movies.)
For good or ill, The American is certainly not your typical tale of international intrigue. Critics say you shouldn’t go into this tale of a lone-wolf contract killer expecting a slam-bang action-fest — it’s a minimalist, existential spy picture, at once beautifully shot and emotionally remote. George Clooney stars as a skilled assassin who sequesters himself in the Italian countryside; soon he’s sharing friendship with a local priest – and romance with a mysterious woman. But do such entanglements violate the assassin’s code? The pundits say that while The American is sophisticated and well-acted, it’s also likely to divide audiences: some will find its languid pace to be tense and hypnotic, while others may be bored stiff.
Also opening this week in limited release: