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150 Essential Sci-Fi Movies to Watch Now

There’s only one place where you can get clones, time travel, simulated realities, irradiated and irritated giant lizards, and space fights and beyond. (Maybe not all at once, but we can dream.) Anything’s possible in this creative nebula known as science fiction, and with its long and historic association with cinema, we present our choices of the greatest science-fiction movies ever: The 150 Essential Sci-Fi Movies!

As they do with horror, filmmakers use science fiction to reflect our aspirations, terrors, and issues of the times. Through genre lens, we can consider our impact on the environment (Godzilla, WALL-E), technology gone berserk (The Terminator, Ex Machina), identity (Blade Runner, The Matrix), and societal breakdowns (Children of Men, A Clockwork Orange). We might even check-in on the current state of the human condition (Gattaca, Her).

Or, maybe we just want to see giant ants wreak havoc across the neighborhood. There may not be a lot of subtext in a big monster movie like Them!, or even crowd-pleasing masterpieces like Star Wars or Back to the Future, but they speak to the one thing that attracts us to movies in the first place: escapism. Science-fiction movies are our tickets to planets far-away (Star Trek, Avatar, Starship Troopers), or a quick hop to a local joint in the solar system (The Martian, Total Recall). They take us just above the atmosphere (Gravity), deep down to the bottom of the ocean (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Abyss), and into the human body (Fantastic Voyage). Limited only 2020by imagination, sci-fi inspires wonder, awe, terror, and hope for alternative mindsets and better futures.

Sci-fi spreads across subgenres, all represented here: the monster movie (Cloverfield), space opera (Serenity), cyberpunk (Ghost in the Shell), and post-apocalyptic (Mad Max: Fury Road) and more. Or it can fuse onto traditional genres like drama (Donnie Darko, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), comedy (Repo Man, Idiocracy), and action (Predator, Demoliton Man). Wherever the destination, these movies — each with at least 20 reviews — were selected because of their unique, fun, and possibly even mind-blowing spins on reality.

It’s time to strap in and cue the Theremin for some of the best science-fiction films created: Time to launch the 150 Essential Sci-Fi Movies!

#150
Adjusted Score: 67938%
Critics Consensus: A frantic and occasional funny adaptation of Douglas Adams' novel. However, it may have those unfamiliar with the source material scratching their heads.
Synopsis: Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) is trying to prevent his house from being bulldozed when his friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def)... [More]
Directed By: Garth Jennings

#149

The Endless (2017)
92%

#149
Adjusted Score: 98416%
Critics Consensus: The Endless benefits from its grounded approach to an increasingly bizarre story, elevated by believable performances by filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead.
Synopsis: Two brothers receive a cryptic video message inspiring them to revisit the UFO death cult they escaped a decade earlier.... [More]

#148

Timecrimes (2007)
89%

#148
Adjusted Score: 90231%
Critics Consensus: Timecrimes is a low-budget thriller that's well-crafted and loaded with dark humor and bizarre twists.
Synopsis: Nacho Vigalondo's time-travel thriller opens with Hector spying on a beautiful woman undressing in the woods near his property. Investigating,... [More]
Directed By: Nacho Vigalondo

#147

Ad Astra (2019)
83%

#147
Adjusted Score: 106795%
Critics Consensus: Ad Astra takes a visually thrilling journey through the vast reaches of space while charting an ambitious course for the heart of the bond between parent and child.
Synopsis: Thirty years ago, Clifford McBride led a voyage into deep space, but the ship and crew were never heard from... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#146

Westworld (1973)
85%

#146
Adjusted Score: 88554%
Critics Consensus: Yul Brynner gives a memorable performance as a robotic cowboy in this amusing sci-fi/western hybrid.
Synopsis: Westworld is a futuristic theme park where paying guests can pretend to be gunslingers in an artificial Wild West populated... [More]
Directed By: Michael Crichton

#145

High Life (2018)
82%

#145
Adjusted Score: 96495%
Critics Consensus: High Life is as visually arresting as it is challenging, confounding, and ultimately rewarding - which is to say it's everything film fans expect from director Claire Denis.
Synopsis: Monte and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of... [More]
Directed By: Claire Denis

#144

Coherence (2013)
88%

#144
Adjusted Score: 90276%
Critics Consensus: A case study in less-is-more filmmaking, Coherence serves as a compelling low-budget calling card for debuting writer-director James Ward Byrkit.
Synopsis: Eight friends at a dinner party experience a troubling chain of events due to the malevolent influence of a passing... [More]
Directed By: James Ward Byrkit

#143
Adjusted Score: 80873%
Critics Consensus: Rocky Horror Picture Show brings its quirky characters in tight, but it's the narrative thrust that really drives audiences insane and keeps 'em doing the time warp again.
Synopsis: In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), stuck with a flat tire during a storm,... [More]
Directed By: Jim Sharman

#142

Midnight Special (2016)
83%

#142
Adjusted Score: 97826%
Critics Consensus: Midnight Special's intriguing mysteries may not resolve themselves to every viewer's liking, but the journey is ambitious, entertaining, and terrifically acted.
Synopsis: The government and a group of religious extremists pursue a man (Michael Shannon) and his son (Jaeden Lieberher), a young... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Nichols

#141

Wizards (1977)
59%

#141
Adjusted Score: 61012%
Critics Consensus: Its central metaphor is a bit too on the nose, but Wizards is an otherwise psychedelic, freaky trip into an alternate version of our world.
Synopsis: After the death of his mother, the evil mutant wizard Blackwolf (Steve Gravers) discovers some long-lost military technologies. Full of... [More]
Directed By: Ralph Bakshi

#140

Annihilation (2018)
88%

#140
Adjusted Score: 108010%
Critics Consensus: Annihilation backs up its sci-fi visual wonders and visceral genre thrills with an impressively ambitious -- and surprisingly strange -- exploration of challenging themes that should leave audiences pondering long after the end credits roll.
Synopsis: Lena, a biologist and former soldier, joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X --... [More]
Directed By: Alex Garland

#139

Contact (1997)
66%

#139
Adjusted Score: 70084%
Critics Consensus: Contact elucidates stirring scientific concepts and theological inquiry at the expense of satisfying storytelling, making for a brainy blockbuster that engages with its ideas, if not its characters.
Synopsis: In this Zemeckis-directed adaptation of the Carl Sagan novel, Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) races to interpret a possible message... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#138

The Congress (2013)
73%

#138
Adjusted Score: 75930%
Critics Consensus: The Congress rises on the strength of Robin Wright's powerful performance, with enough ambitious storytelling and technical thrills to overcome its somewhat messy structure.
Synopsis: An aging actress (Robin Wright) agrees to preserve her digital likeness for a studio to use in any future films... [More]
Directed By: Ari Folman

#137
#137
Adjusted Score: 85362%
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by impressive special effects and a charming performance from its young star, Flight of the Navigator holds up as a solidly entertaining bit of family-friendly sci-fi.
Synopsis: This 1978 Disney adventure tells the story of 12-year-old David (Joey Cramer) who lives with his family in Fort Lauderdale,... [More]
Directed By: Randal Kleiser

#136
#136
Adjusted Score: 94422%
Critics Consensus: Remixing Roger Corman's B-movie by way of the Off-Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors offers camp, horror and catchy tunes in equal measure -- plus some inspired cameos by the likes of Steve Martin and Bill Murray.
Synopsis: Meek flower shop assistant Seymour (Rick Moranis) pines for co-worker Audrey (Ellen Greene). During a total eclipse, he discovers an... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#135
#135
Adjusted Score: 81593%
Critics Consensus: Alita: Battle Angel's story struggles to keep up with its special effects, but fans of futuristic sci-fi action may still find themselves more than sufficiently entertained.
Synopsis: Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido, a... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#134

Ready Player One (2018)
72%

#134
Adjusted Score: 98589%
Critics Consensus: Ready Player One is a sweetly nostalgic thrill ride that neatly encapsulates Spielberg's strengths while adding another solidly engrossing adventure to his filmography.
Synopsis: In 2045, the planet is on the brink of chaos and collapse, but people find salvation in the OASIS, an... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#133
#133
Adjusted Score: 66951%
Critics Consensus: The epitome of so-bad-it's-good cinema, Plan 9 From Outer Space is an unintentionally hilarious sci-fi "thriller" from anti-genius Ed Wood that is justly celebrated for its staggering ineptitude.
Synopsis: Residents of California's San Fernando Valley are under attack by flying saucers from outer space. The aliens, led by Eros... [More]
Directed By: Edward D. Wood Jr.

#132

Rollerball (1975)
68%

#132
Adjusted Score: 69687%
Critics Consensus: In Rollerball, social commentary collides with high-speed action -- and the audience is the winner.
Synopsis: The year is 2018 in a futuristic society where corporations have replaced countries. A violent futuristic game known as Rollerball... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#131

Silent Running (1972)
71%

#131
Adjusted Score: 72857%
Critics Consensus: It doesn't fulfill the potential of its ambitious themes, butSilent Running stands as a decidedly unique type of sci-fi journey marked by intimate character work and a melancholic mood.
Synopsis: After the end of all botanical life on Earth, ecologist Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) maintains a greenhouse on a space... [More]
Directed By: Douglas Trumbull

#130
#130
Adjusted Score: 85844%
Critics Consensus: Steven Spielberg's adaptation of War of the Worlds delivers on the thrill and paranoia of H.G. Wells' classic novel while impressively updating the action and effects for modern audiences.
Synopsis: Dockworker Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) struggles to build a positive relationship with his two children, Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#129

Metropolis (2001)
87%

#129
Adjusted Score: 87540%
Critics Consensus: A remarkable technical achievement, Metropolis' eye-popping visuals more than compensate for its relatively routine story.
Synopsis: Visually stunning Japanese anime interpretation of Fritz Lang's classic film, also based on Osamu Tezuka's outstanding 1945 illustrations. A Japanese... [More]
Directed By: Rintaro

#128

Shin Godzilla (2016)
86%

#128
Adjusted Score: 90751%
Critics Consensus: Godzilla Resurgence offers a refreshingly low-fi -- and altogether entertaining -- return to the monster's classic creature-feature roots.
Synopsis: A mysterious monster emerges from Tokyo Bay and wreaks havoc upon Japan.... [More]

#127
Adjusted Score: 82561%
Critics Consensus: Though it may be short on dazzling special effects, The Search for Spock is still a strong Star Trek installment, thanks to affecting performances by its iconic cast.
Synopsis: Adm. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) has defeated his archenemy but at great cost. His friend Spock has apparently been... [More]
Directed By: Leonard Nimoy

#126
Adjusted Score: 113388%
Critics Consensus: Rogue One draws deep on Star Wars mythology while breaking new narrative and aesthetic ground -- and suggesting a bright blockbuster future for the franchise.
Synopsis: Former scientist Galen Erso lives on a farm with his wife and young daughter, Jyn. His peaceful existence comes crashing... [More]
Directed By: Gareth Edwards

#125

The Fountain (2006)
53%

#125
Adjusted Score: 60766%
Critics Consensus: The Fountain -- a movie about metaphysics, universal patterns, Biblical symbolism, and boundless love spread across one thousand years -- is visually rich but suffers from its own unfocused ambitions.
Synopsis: A man (Hugh Jackman) travels through time on a quest for immortality and to save the woman (Rachel Weisz) he... [More]
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

#124

Logan's Run (1976)
63%

#124
Adjusted Score: 64926%
Critics Consensus: Logan's Run overcomes its campier elements and undercooked plot with a bounty of rousing ideas and dashing sci-fi adventure.
Synopsis: In the year 2274, young residents enjoy an idyllic, hedonistic lifestyle within the protective confines of a domed city. The... [More]
Directed By: Michael Anderson

#123

The Blob (1958)
68%

#123
Adjusted Score: 70237%
Critics Consensus: In spite of its chortle-worthy premise and dated special effects, The Blob remains a prime example of how satisfying cheesy B-movie monster thrills can be.
Synopsis: A drive-in favorite, this sci-fi classic follows teenagers Steve (Steven McQueen) and his best girl, Jane (Aneta Corseaut), as they... [More]
Directed By: Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.

#122

Scanners (1981)
70%

#122
Adjusted Score: 72537%
Critics Consensus: Scanners is a dark sci-fi story with special effects that'll make your head explode.
Synopsis: Scanners are men and women born with incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers. There are many who exercise the benefits of... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#121

Things to Come (1936)
93%

#121
Adjusted Score: 97350%
Critics Consensus: Eerily prescient in its presentation of a dystopian future, Things to Come's special effects may be somewhat dated, but its potent ideas haven't aged at all.
Synopsis: It's Christmas 1940, and Everytown resident John Cabal (Raymond Massey) fears that war is imminent. When it breaks out, the... [More]

#120

Cube (1997)
64%

#120
Adjusted Score: 65916%
Critics Consensus: Cube sometimes struggles with where to take its intriguing premise, but gripping pace and an impressive intelligence make it hard to turn away.
Synopsis: Without remembering how they got there, several strangers awaken in a prison of cubic cells, some of them booby-trapped. There's... [More]
Directed By: Vincenzo Natali

#119

Strange Days (1995)
65%

#119
Adjusted Score: 67805%
Critics Consensus: Strange Days struggles to make the most of its futuristic premise, but what's left remains a well-directed, reasonably enjoyable sci-fi fantasy.
Synopsis: Former policeman Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) has moved into a more lucrative trade: the illegal sale of virtual reality-like recordings... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#118

Heavy Metal (1981)
61%

#118
Adjusted Score: 62964%
Critics Consensus: It's sexist, juvenile, and dated, but Heavy Metal makes up for its flaws with eye-popping animation and a classic, smartly used soundtrack.
Synopsis: Adventures from deep space to futuristic New York, and beyond. Each world and story is dominated by the presence of... [More]
Directed By: Gerald Potterton

#117
#117
Adjusted Score: 77574%
Critics Consensus: An offbeat, eccentric black comedy, A Boy and His Dog features strong dialogue and an oddball vision of the future.
Synopsis: Vic (Don Johnson) is a libidinous 18-year-old traversing the post-apocalyptic desert of 2024, in the company of his telepathic dog,... [More]
Directed By: L.Q. Jones

#116
Adjusted Score: 81841%
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

#115
#115
Adjusted Score: 78602%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After meteors enter Earth's atmosphere, blinding much of the planet's population in the process, plantlike creatures known as Triffids emerge... [More]
Directed By: Steve Sekely

#114
#114
Adjusted Score: 80653%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After Dr. Bronson (Hayden Rorke) discovers Zyra, a new planet, fellow astronomer Dr. Hendron (Larry Keating) checks Bronson's data and... [More]
Directed By: Rudolph Maté

#113

Sunshine (2007)
77%

#113
Adjusted Score: 83186%
Critics Consensus: Danny Boyle continues his descent into mind-twisting sci-fi madness, taking us along for the ride. Sunshine fulfills the dual requisite necessary to become classic sci-fi: dazzling visuals with intelligent action.
Synopsis: In the not-too-distant future, Earth's dying sun spells the end for humanity. In a last-ditch effort to save the planet,... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#112

Liquid Sky (1982)
96%

#112
Adjusted Score: 96541%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An alien creature invades New York's punk subculture in its search for an opiate released by the brain during orgasm.... [More]
Directed By: Slava Tsukerman

#111

Dark Star (1974)
78%

#111
Adjusted Score: 79146%
Critics Consensus: A loopy 2001 satire, Dark Star may not be the most consistent sci-fi comedy, but its portrayal of human eccentricity is a welcome addition to the genre.
Synopsis: A satiric look at the problems experienced by a crew of bumbling astronauts on a mission to destroy rogue planets.... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#110

Open Your Eyes (1997)
85%

#110
Adjusted Score: 87514%
Critics Consensus: Director Alejandro Amenábar tackles some heady issues with finesse and clarity in Open Your Eyes, a gripping exploration of existentialism and the human spirit.
Synopsis: Handsome 25-year-old Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) had it all -- a successful career, expensive cars, a swank bachelor's pad, and an... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#109

Paprika (2006)
85%

#109
Adjusted Score: 87382%
Critics Consensus: Following its own brand of logic, Paprika is an eye-opening mind trip that is difficult to follow but never fails to dazzle.
Synopsis: Dr. Atsuko Chiba works as a scientist by day and, under the code name "Paprika," is a dream detective at... [More]
Directed By: Satoshi Kon

#108

Serenity (2005)
82%

#108
Adjusted Score: 88357%
Critics Consensus: Snappy dialogue and goofy characters make this Wild Wild West soap opera in space fun and adventurous.
Synopsis: In this continuation of the television series "Firefly," a group of rebels travels the outskirts of space aboard their ship,... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#107

Turbo Kid (2015)
91%

#107
Adjusted Score: 91465%
Critics Consensus: A nostalgic ode to kids' movies of yesteryear, Turbo Kid eyes the past through an entertaining -- albeit surprisingly gory -- postmodern lens.
Synopsis: In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, an orphaned teen (Munro Chambers) must battle a ruthless warlord (Michael Ironside) to save the girl... [More]

#106

THX-1138 (1971)
86%

#106
Adjusted Score: 91474%
Critics Consensus: George Lucas' feature debut presents a spare, bleak, dystopian future, and features evocatively minimal set design and creepy sound effects.
Synopsis: In the future, mankind lives in vast underground cities and free will is outlawed by means of mandatory medication that... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#105

Attack the Block (2011)
90%

#105
Adjusted Score: 96874%
Critics Consensus: Effortlessly mixing scares, laughs, and social commentary, Attack the Block is a thrilling, briskly-paced sci-fi yarn with a distinctly British flavor.
Synopsis: South London teenagers (John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones) defend their neighborhood from malevolent extraterrestrials.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Cornish

#104

Upgrade (2018)
88%

#104
Adjusted Score: 99400%
Critics Consensus: Like its augmented protagonist, Upgrade's old-fashioned innards get a high-tech boost -- one made even more powerful thanks to sharp humor and a solidly well-told story.
Synopsis: A brutal mugging leaves Grey Trace paralyzed in the hospital and his beloved wife dead. A billionaire inventor soon offers... [More]
Directed By: Leigh Whannell

#103
#103
Adjusted Score: 94420%
Critics Consensus: While fans of the series will surely appreciate it, First Contact is exciting, engaging, and visually appealing enough to entertain Star Trek novices.
Synopsis: The Enterprise and its crew follow a Borg ship through a time warp to prevent the Borg from taking over... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Frakes

#102

The World's End (2013)
89%

#102
Adjusted Score: 97925%
Critics Consensus: Madcap and heartfelt, Edgar Wright's apocalypse comedy The World's End benefits from the typically hilarious Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, with a plethora of supporting players.
Synopsis: Gary King (Simon Pegg) is an immature 40-year-old who's dying to take another stab at an epic pub-crawl that he... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#101
Adjusted Score: 97055%
Critics Consensus: Employing gritty camerawork and evocative sound effects, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a powerful remake that expands upon themes and ideas only lightly explored in the original.
Synopsis: This remake of the classic horror film is set in San Francisco. Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) assumes that when a... [More]
Directed By: Philip Kaufman

#100

The Host (2006)
93%

#100
Adjusted Score: 98421%
Critics Consensus: As populace pleasing as it is intellectually satisfying, The Host combines scares, laughs, and satire into a riveting, monster movie.
Synopsis: Careless American military personnel dump chemicals into South Korea's Han River. Several years later, a creature emerges from the tainted... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#99

A Quiet Place (2018)
96%

#99
Adjusted Score: 118865%
Critics Consensus: A Quiet Place artfully plays on elemental fears with a ruthlessly intelligent creature feature that's as original as it is scary -- and establishes director John Krasinski as a rising talent.
Synopsis: If they hear you, they hunt you. A family must live in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by... [More]
Directed By: John Krasinski

#98
Adjusted Score: 110988%
Critics Consensus: Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series' former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.
Synopsis: Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren... [More]
Directed By: J.J. Abrams

#97

Repo Man (1984)
98%

#97
Adjusted Score: 100371%
Critics Consensus: Repo Man is many things: an alien-invasion film, a punk-rock musical, a send-up of consumerism. One thing it isn't is boring.
Synopsis: After being fired from his job, Los Angeles slacker and punk rocker Otto (Emilio Estevez) lands a gig working for... [More]
Directed By: Alex Cox

#96
#96
Adjusted Score: 70084%
Critics Consensus: A fun movie...if you can accept the excessive gore and wooden acting.
Synopsis: In the distant future, the Earth is at war with a race of giant alien insects. Little is known about... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#95
#95
Adjusted Score: 74084%
Critics Consensus: Visually inventive and gleefully over the top, Luc Besson's The Fifth Element is a fantastic piece of pop sci-fi that never takes itself too seriously.
Synopsis: In the 23rd century, a New York City cabbie, Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), finds the fate of the world in... [More]
Directed By: Luc Besson

#94

V for Vendetta (2006)
73%

#94
Adjusted Score: 84194%
Critics Consensus: Visually stunning and thought-provoking, V For Vendetta's political pronouncements may rile some, but its story and impressive set pieces will nevertheless entertain.
Synopsis: Following world war, London is a police state occupied by a fascist government, and a vigilante known only as V... [More]
Directed By: James McTeigue

#93

Dredd (2012)
79%

#93
Adjusted Score: 85904%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by bombastic violence and impressive special effects, rooted in self-satire and deadpan humor, Dredd 3D does a remarkable job of capturing its source material's gritty spirit.
Synopsis: Mega City One is a vast, violent metropolis where felons rule the streets. The only law lies with cops called... [More]
Directed By: Pete Travis

#92
Adjusted Score: 90665%
Critics Consensus: Featuring director John Sayles trademark humanity and an expressive performance from Joe Morton, The Brother from Another Planet is an observant, dryly comic sci-fi gem.
Synopsis: "The Brother" (Joe Morton) is an alien and escaped slave on the run from his home planet. After he lands... [More]
Directed By: John Sayles

#91
Adjusted Score: 70898%
Critics Consensus: Sci-fi parodies like these usually struggle to work, but Buckaroo Banzai succeeds through total devotion to its own lunacy.
Synopsis: Buckaroo Banzai is caught with his trusted allies, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, in a battle to the death between evil... [More]
Directed By: W.D. Richter

#90

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#90

#89

Dark City (1998)
76%

#89
Adjusted Score: 80497%
Critics Consensus: Stylishly gloomy, Dark City offers a polarizing whirl of arresting visuals and noirish action.
Synopsis: John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) awakens alone in a strange hotel to find that he is wanted for a series of... [More]
Directed By: Alex Proyas

#88

Under the Skin (2013)
84%

#88
Adjusted Score: 95071%
Critics Consensus: Its message may prove elusive for some, but with absorbing imagery and a mesmerizing performance from Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin is a haunting viewing experience.
Synopsis: Disguising herself as a human female, an extraterrestrial (Scarlett Johansson) drives around Scotland and tries to lure unsuspecting men into... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Glazer

#87
#87
Adjusted Score: 87170%
Critics Consensus: Filled with stunning imagery, The Man Who Fell to Earth is a calm, meditative film that profoundly explores our culture's values and desires.
Synopsis: Thomas Jerome Newton (David Bowie) is an alien who has come to Earth in search of water to save his... [More]
Directed By: Nicolas Roeg

#86

The Fly (1986)
93%

#86
Adjusted Score: 98490%
Critics Consensus: David Cronenberg combines his trademark affinity for gore and horror with strongly developed characters, making The Fly a surprisingly affecting tragedy.
Synopsis: When scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) completes his teleportation device, he decides to test its abilities on himself. Unbeknownst to... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#85

Cloverfield (2008)
78%

#85
Adjusted Score: 85527%
Critics Consensus: A sort of Blair Witch Project crossed with Godzilla, Cloverfield is economically paced, stylistically clever, and filled with scares.
Synopsis: As a group of New Yorkers (Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman) enjoy a going-away party, little do they know... [More]
Directed By: Matt Reeves

#84

Men in Black (1997)
92%

#84
Adjusted Score: 97654%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a smart script, spectacular set pieces, and charismatic performances from its leads, Men in Black is an entirely satisfying summer blockbuster hit.
Synopsis: They are the best-kept secret in the universe. Working for a highly funded yet unofficial government agency, Kay (Tommy Lee... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

#83

Tron (1982)
71%

#83
Adjusted Score: 76692%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps not as strong dramatically as it is technologically, TRON is an original and visually stunning piece of science fiction that represents a landmark work in the history of computer animation.
Synopsis: When talented computer engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) finds out that Ed Dillinger (David Warner), an executive at his company,... [More]
Directed By: Steven Lisberger

#82

Bumblebee (2018)
90%

#82
Adjusted Score: 105127%
Critics Consensus: Bumblebee proves it's possible to bring fun and a sense of wonder back to a bloated blockbuster franchise -- and sets up its own slate of sequels in the bargain.
Synopsis: On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee the Autobot seeks refuge in a junkyard in a small California beach... [More]
Directed By: Travis Knight

#81

Independence Day (1996)
68%

#81
Adjusted Score: 71582%
Critics Consensus: The plot is thin and so is character development, but as a thrilling, spectacle-filled summer movie, Independence Day delivers.
Synopsis: In the epic adventure film "Independence Day," strange phenomena surface around the globe. The skies ignite. Terror races through the... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#80

Barbarella (1968)
74%

#80
Adjusted Score: 79213%
Critics Consensus: Unevenly paced and thoroughly cheesy, Barbarella is nonetheless full of humor, entertaining visuals, and Jane Fonda's sex appeal.
Synopsis: Barbarella (Jane Fonda) roams 41st-century space with her blind guardian angel, Pygar (John Phillip Law).... [More]
Directed By: Roger Vadim

#79

Donnie Darko (2001)
87%

#79
Adjusted Score: 90338%
Critics Consensus: Richard Kelly's debut feature Donnie Darko is a daring, original vision, packed with jarring ideas and intelligence and featuring a remarkable performance from Jake Gyllenhaal as the troubled title character.
Synopsis: In a funny, moving and distinctly mind-bending journey through suburban America, one extraordinary but disenchanted teenager is about to take... [More]
Directed By: Richard Kelly

#78

Pacific Rim (2013)
72%

#78
Adjusted Score: 84164%
Critics Consensus: It may sport more style than substance, but Pacific Rim is a solid modern creature feature bolstered by fantastical imagery and an irresistible sense of fun.
Synopsis: Long ago, legions of monstrous creatures called Kaiju arose from the sea, bringing with them all-consuming war. To fight the... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#77

Idiocracy (2006)
73%

#77
Adjusted Score: 73429%
Critics Consensus: Frustratingly uneven yet enjoyable overall, Idiocracy skewers society's devolution with an amiably goofy yet deceptively barbed wit.
Synopsis: In 2005, average in every way private Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) is selected to take part in a secret military... [More]
Directed By: Mike Judge

#76

Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
81%

#76
Adjusted Score: 82959%
Critics Consensus: Fahrenheit 451 is an intriguing film that suffuses Truffaut's trademark wit and black humor with the intelligence and morality of Ray Bradbury's novel.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the Ray Bradbury novel about a future society that has banned all reading material and the job of... [More]
Directed By: François Truffaut

#75

Demolition Man (1993)
60%

#75
Adjusted Score: 60905%
Critics Consensus: A better-than-average sci-fi shoot-em-up with a satirical undercurrent, Demolition Man is bolstered by strong performances by Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, and Sandra Bullock.
Synopsis: With innocent victims caught in the crossfire in Los Angeles' intensifying war on crime, both cop John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone)... [More]
Directed By: Marco Brambilla

#74

A Scanner Darkly (2006)
68%

#74
Adjusted Score: 75003%
Critics Consensus: A faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel, A Scanner Darkly takes the viewer on a visual and mind-blowing journey into the author's conception of a drug-addled and politically unstable world.
Synopsis: In the near future, as America virtually loses the war on drugs, Robert Arctor, a narcotics cop in Orange County,... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#73

Source Code (2011)
92%

#73
Adjusted Score: 101330%
Critics Consensus: Finding the human story amidst the action, director Duncan Jones and charming Jake Gyllenhaal craft a smart, satisfying sci-fi thriller.
Synopsis: Helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is part of a top-secret military operation that enables him to experience the last... [More]
Directed By: Duncan Jones

#72

The Abyss (1989)
87%

#72
Adjusted Score: 90558%
Critics Consensus: The utterly gorgeous special effects frequently overshadow the fact that The Abyss is also a totally gripping, claustrophobic thriller, complete with an interesting crew of characters.
Synopsis: Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio are formerly married petroleum engineers who still have some issues to work out. They... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#71
Adjusted Score: 91718%
Critics Consensus: Led by Rupert Wyatt's stylish direction, some impressive special effects, and a mesmerizing performance by Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes breathes unlikely new life into a long-running franchise.
Synopsis: Will Rodman (James Franco), a scientist in San Francisco, is experimenting with a drug that he hopes will cure his... [More]
Directed By: Rupert Wyatt

#70

Altered States (1980)
85%

#70
Adjusted Score: 89027%
Critics Consensus: Extraordinarily daring for a Hollywood film, Altered States attacks the viewer with its inventive, aggressive mix of muddled sound effects and visual pyrotechnics.
Synopsis: Respected scientist and psychology professor Edward Jessup (William Hurt) decides to combine his experiments in sensory deprivation tanks with powerful... [More]
Directed By: Ken Russell

#69

Predestination (2014)
84%

#69
Adjusted Score: 86969%
Critics Consensus: Fun genre fare with uncommon intelligence, Predestination serves as a better-than-average sci-fi adventure -- and offers a starmaking turn from Sarah Snook.
Synopsis: A temporal agent (Ethan Hawke) embarks on a final time-traveling assignment to prevent an elusive criminal from launching an attack... [More]

#68

They Live (1988)
85%

#68
Adjusted Score: 88826%
Critics Consensus: A politically subversive blend of horror and sci fi, They Live is an underrated genre film from John Carpenter.
Synopsis: Nada (Roddy Piper), a wanderer without meaning in his life, discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#67

Seconds (1966)
78%

#67
Adjusted Score: 84362%
Critics Consensus: Featuring dazzling, disorienting cinematography from the great James Wong Howe and a strong lead performance by Rock Hudson, Seconds is a compellingly paranoid take on the legend of Faust.
Synopsis: Banker Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) gets a call one day from a friend he thought was dead. It turns out... [More]
Directed By: John Frankenheimer

#66

Soylent Green (1973)
69%

#66
Adjusted Score: 72323%
Critics Consensus: While admittedly melodramatic and uneven in spots, Soylent Green ultimately succeeds with its dark, plausible vision of a dystopian future.
Synopsis: In a densely overpopulated, starving New York City of the future, NYPD detective Robert Thorn (Charlton Heston) investigates the murder... [More]
Directed By: Richard Fleischer

#65
Adjusted Score: 91339%
Critics Consensus: One of Disney's finest live-action adventures, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea brings Jules Verne's classic sci-fi tale to vivid life, and features an awesome giant squid.
Synopsis: In 1866, Professor Pierre M. Aronnax (Paul Lukas) and his assistant Conseil (Peter Lorre), stranded in San Francisco by reports... [More]
Directed By: Richard Fleischer

#64

The Hunger Games (2012)
84%

#64
Adjusted Score: 97734%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling and superbly acted, The Hunger Games captures the dramatic violence, raw emotion, and ambitious scope of its source novel.
Synopsis: In what was once North America, the Capitol of Panem maintains its hold on its 12 districts by forcing them... [More]
Directed By: Gary Ross

#63

Avatar (2009)
81%

#63
Adjusted Score: 94655%
Critics Consensus: It might be more impressive on a technical level than as a piece of storytelling, but Avatar reaffirms James Cameron's singular gift for imaginative, absorbing filmmaking.
Synopsis: On the lush alien world of Pandora live the Na'vi, beings who appear primitive but are highly evolved. Because the... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#62

Minority Report (2002)
90%

#62
Adjusted Score: 97592%
Critics Consensus: Thought-provoking and visceral, Steven Spielberg successfully combines high concept ideas and high octane action in this fast and febrile sci-fi thriller.
Synopsis: Based on a story by famed science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, "Minority Report" is an action-detective thriller set in... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#61
Adjusted Score: 97200%
Critics Consensus: While Alphaville is by no means a conventional sci-fi film, Jean-Luc Godard creates a witty, noir-ish future all his own.
Synopsis: Government agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) is dispatched on a secret mission to Alphaville, a dystopian metropolis in a distant... [More]
Directed By: Jean-Luc Godard

#60

Them! (1954)
93%

#60
Adjusted Score: 97809%
Critics Consensus: One of the best creature features of the early atomic age, Them! features effectively menacing special effects and avoids the self-parody that would taint later monster movies.
Synopsis: While investigating a series of mysterious deaths, Sergeant Ben Peterson (James Whitmore) finds a young girl (Sandy Descher) who is... [More]
Directed By: Gordon Douglas

#59

Videodrome (1983)
78%

#59
Adjusted Score: 82397%
Critics Consensus: Visually audacious, disorienting, and just plain weird, Videodrome's musings on technology, entertainment, and politics still feel fresh today.
Synopsis: As the president of a trashy TV channel, Max Renn (James Woods) is desperate for new programming to attract viewers.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#58

Snowpiercer (2013)
94%

#58
Adjusted Score: 104212%
Critics Consensus: Snowpiercer offers an audaciously ambitious action spectacular for filmgoers numb to effects-driven blockbusters.
Synopsis: A post-apocalyptic ice age forces humanity's last survivors aboard a globe-spanning supertrain. One man (Chris Evans) will risk everything to... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#57
Adjusted Score: 103697%
Critics Consensus: One of the best political allegories of the 1950s, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is an efficient, chilling blend of sci-fi and horror.
Synopsis: In Santa Mira, California, Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) is baffled when all his patients come to him with the... [More]
Directed By: Don Siegel

#56

Predator (1987)
82%

#56
Adjusted Score: 84704%
Critics Consensus: Predator: Part sci-fi, part horror, part action -- all muscle.
Synopsis: Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a soldier of fortune, is hired by the U.S. government to secretly rescue a group of politicians... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 92781%
Critics Consensus: Planet of the Apes raises thought-provoking questions about our culture without letting social commentary get in the way of the drama and action.
Synopsis: Complex sociological themes run through this science-fiction classic about three astronauts marooned on a futuristic planet where apes rule and... [More]
Directed By: Franklin J. Schaffner

#54

Mad Max 2 (1981)
94%

#54
Adjusted Score: 97780%
Critics Consensus: The Road Warrior is everything a bigger-budgeted Mad Max sequel with should be: bigger, faster, louder, but definitely not dumber.
Synopsis: After avenging the death of his wife and young son at the hands of a vicious gang leader, Max (Mel... [More]
Directed By: George Miller

#53

Star Trek (2009)
94%

#53
Adjusted Score: 109157%
Critics Consensus: Star Trek reignites a classic franchise with action, humor, a strong story, and brilliant visuals, and will please traditional Trekkies and new fans alike.
Synopsis: Aboard the USS Enterprise, the most-sophisticated starship ever built, a novice crew embarks on its maiden voyage. Their path takes... [More]
Directed By: J.J. Abrams

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 91311%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an atmospherically grimy futuristic metropolis, Escape from New York is a strange, entertaining jumble of thrilling action and oddball weirdness.
Synopsis: In 1997, a major war between the United States and the Soviet Union is concluding, and the entire island of... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 91191%
Critics Consensus: Though it's dated in spots, The War of the Worlds retains an unnerving power, updating H.G. Wells' classic sci-fi tale to the Cold War era and featuring some of the best special effects of any 1950s film.
Synopsis: Scientist Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry) and Sylvia Van Buren (Ann Robinson) are the first to arrive at the site of... [More]
Directed By: Byron Haskin

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 120779%
Critics Consensus: Visually stunning and narratively satisfying, Blade Runner 2049 deepens and expands its predecessor's story while standing as an impressive filmmaking achievement in its own right.
Synopsis: Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has... [More]
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

#49

Galaxy Quest (1999)
90%

#49
Adjusted Score: 94479%
Critics Consensus: Intelligent and humorous satire with an excellent cast -- no previous Trekkie knowledge needed to enjoy this one.
Synopsis: The stars of a 1970s sci-fi show - now scraping a living through re-runs and sci-fi conventions - are beamed... [More]
Directed By: Dean Parisot

#48

Fantastic Voyage (1966)
91%

#48
Adjusted Score: 93666%
Critics Consensus: The special effects may be a bit dated today, but Fantastic Voyage still holds up well as an imaginative journey into the human body.
Synopsis: The brilliant scientist Jan Benes (Jean Del Val) develops a way to shrink humans, and other objects, for brief periods... [More]
Directed By: Richard Fleischer

#47

Solaris (1972)
92%

#47
Adjusted Score: 98823%
Critics Consensus: Solaris is a haunting, meditative film that uses sci-fi to raise complex questions about humanity and existence.
Synopsis: A psychologist is sent to a space station orbiting a planet called Solaris to investigate the death of a doctor... [More]
Directed By: Andrei Tarkovsky

#46

Her (2013)
94%

#46
Adjusted Score: 105292%
Critics Consensus: Sweet, soulful, and smart, Spike Jonze's Her uses its just-barely-sci-fi scenario to impart wryly funny wisdom about the state of modern human relationships.
Synopsis: A sensitive and soulful man earns a living by writing personal letters for other people. Left heartbroken after his marriage... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

#45

The Iron Giant (1999)
96%

#45
Adjusted Score: 101301%
Critics Consensus: The endearing Iron Giant tackles ambitious topics and complex human relationships with a steady hand and beautifully animated direction from Brad Bird.
Synopsis: In this animated adaptation of Ted Hughes' Cold War fable, a giant alien robot (Vin Diesel) crash-lands near the small... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#44

Fantastic Planet (1973)
91%

#44
Adjusted Score: 90532%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Planet is an animated epic that is by turns surreal and lovely, fantastic and graceful.
Synopsis: This animated tale follows the relationship between the small human-like Oms and their much larger blue-skinned oppressors, the Draags, who... [More]
Directed By: René Laloux

#43

Total Recall (1990)
82%

#43
Adjusted Score: 87434%
Critics Consensus: Under Paul Verhoeven's frenetic direction, Total Recall is a fast-paced rush of violence, gore, and humor that never slacks.
Synopsis: Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a bored construction worker in the year 2084 who dreams of visiting the colonized Mars.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#42

Moon (2009)
90%

#42
Adjusted Score: 96875%
Critics Consensus: Boosted by Sam Rockwell's intense performance, Moon is a compelling work of science-fiction, and a promising debut from director Duncan Jones.
Synopsis: Astronaut Sam Bell's (Sam Rockwell) three-year shift at a lunar mine is finally coming to an end, and he's looking... [More]
Directed By: Duncan Jones

#41

The Martian (2015)
91%

#41
Adjusted Score: 107209%
Critics Consensus: Smart, thrilling, and surprisingly funny, The Martian offers a faithful adaptation of the bestselling book that brings out the best in leading man Matt Damon and director Ridley Scott.
Synopsis: When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#40

Gravity (2013)
96%

#40
Adjusted Score: 109984%
Critics Consensus: Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity is an eerie, tense sci-fi thriller that's masterfully directed and visually stunning.
Synopsis: Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission. Her commander is veteran astronaut Matt... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#39

Interstellar (2014)
72%

#39
Adjusted Score: 88285%
Critics Consensus: Interstellar represents more of the thrilling, thought-provoking, and visually resplendent filmmaking moviegoers have come to expect from writer-director Christopher Nolan, even if its intellectual reach somewhat exceeds its grasp.
Synopsis: In Earth's future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#38
Adjusted Score: 101335%
Critics Consensus: Propelled by Charlie Kaufman's smart, imaginative script and Michel Gondry's equally daring directorial touch, Eternal Sunshine is a twisty yet heartfelt look at relationships and heartache.
Synopsis: After a painful breakup, Clementine (Kate Winslet) undergoes a procedure to erase memories of her former boyfriend Joel (Jim Carrey)... [More]
Directed By: Michel Gondry

#37

Looper (2012)
93%

#37
Adjusted Score: 103710%
Critics Consensus: As thought-provoking as it is thrilling, Looper delivers an uncommonly smart, bravely original blend of futuristic sci-fi and good old-fashioned action.
Synopsis: In a future society, time-travel exists, but it's only available to those with the means to pay for it on... [More]
Directed By: Rian Johnson

#36
Adjusted Score: 99252%
Critics Consensus: Close Encounters of the Third Kind is deeply humane sci-fi exploring male obsession, cosmic mysticism, and music.
Synopsis: Science fiction adventure about a group of people who attempt to contact alien intelligence. Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) witnesses an... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#35

Arrival (2016)
94%

#35
Adjusted Score: 121925%
Critics Consensus: Arrival delivers a must-see experience for fans of thinking person's sci-fi that anchors its heady themes with genuinely affecting emotion and a terrific performance from Amy Adams.
Synopsis: Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touch down in 12 locations... [More]
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

#34

Ex Machina (2014)
92%

#34
Adjusted Score: 103686%
Critics Consensus: Ex Machina leans heavier on ideas than effects, but it's still a visually polished piece of work -- and an uncommonly engaging sci-fi feature.
Synopsis: Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) a programmer at a huge Internet company, wins a contest that enables him to spend a... [More]
Directed By: Alex Garland

#33

WALL-E (2008)
95%

#33
Adjusted Score: 105657%
Critics Consensus: Wall-E's stellar visuals testify once again to Pixar's ingenuity, while its charming star will captivate younger viewers -- and its timely story offers thought-provoking subtext.
Synopsis: WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#32
Adjusted Score: 110804%
Critics Consensus: Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg's touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old.
Synopsis: After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#31

Godzilla (1954)
93%

#31
Adjusted Score: 100824%
Critics Consensus: More than straight monster-movie fare, Gojira offers potent, sobering postwar commentary.
Synopsis: A fire-breathing behemoth terrorizes Japan after an atomic bomb awakens it from its centuries-old sleep.... [More]
Directed By: Ishirô Honda

#30

Forbidden Planet (1956)
96%

#30
Adjusted Score: 99424%
Critics Consensus: Shakespeare gets the deluxe space treatment in Forbidden Planet, an adaptation of The Tempest with impressive sets and seamless special effects.
Synopsis: In this sci-fi classic, a spacecraft travels to the distant planet Altair IV to discover the fate of a group... [More]
Directed By: Fred McLeod Wilcox

#29

12 Monkeys (1995)
89%

#29
Adjusted Score: 93669%
Critics Consensus: The plot's a bit of a jumble, but excellent performances and mind-blowing plot twists make 12 Monkeys a kooky, effective experience.
Synopsis: Traveling back in time isn't simple, as James Cole (Bruce Willis) learns the hard way. Imprisoned in the 2030s, James... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#28

Jurassic Park (1993)
92%

#28
Adjusted Score: 102598%
Critics Consensus: Jurassic Park is a spectacle of special effects and life-like animatronics, with some of Spielberg's best sequences of sustained awe and sheer terror since Jaws.
Synopsis: In Steven Spielberg's massive blockbuster, paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#27

Primer (2004)
73%

#27
Adjusted Score: 76416%
Critics Consensus: Dense, obtuse, but stimulating, Primer is a film for viewers ready for a cerebral challenge.
Synopsis: Intellectual engineers Aaron (Shane Carruth) and Abe (David Sullivan) build and sell error-checking technology with the help of their friends... [More]
Directed By: Shane Carruth

#26

Stalker (1979)
100%

#26
Adjusted Score: 103174%
Critics Consensus: Stalker is a complex, oblique parable that draws unforgettable images and philosophical musings from its sci-fi/thriller setting.
Synopsis: In an unnamed country at an unspecified time, there is a fiercely protected post-apocalyptic wasteland known as The Zone. An... [More]
Directed By: Andrei Tarkovsky

#25

Gattaca (1997)
83%

#25
Adjusted Score: 85785%
Critics Consensus: Intelligent and scientifically provocative, Gattaca is an absorbing sci fi drama that poses important interesting ethical questions about the nature of science.
Synopsis: Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) has always fantasized about traveling into outer space, but is grounded by his status as a... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Niccol

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 99156%
Critics Consensus: A stunning feat of modern animation, Ghost in the Shell offers a thoughtful, complex treat for anime fans, as well as a perfect introduction for viewers new to the medium.
Synopsis: In this Japanese animation, cyborg federal agent Maj. Motoko Kusanagi (Mimi Woods) trails "The Puppet Master" (Abe Lasser), who illegally... [More]
Directed By: Mamoru Oshii

#23

Brazil (1985)
98%

#23
Adjusted Score: 100777%
Critics Consensus: Brazil, Terry Gilliam's visionary Orwellian fantasy, is an audacious dark comedy, filled with strange, imaginative visuals.
Synopsis: Low-level bureaucrat Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) escapes the monotony of his day-to-day life through a recurring daydream of himself as... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#22
Adjusted Score: 90996%
Critics Consensus: Considered by many fans to be the best of the Star Trek movies, Khan features a strong plot, increased tension, and a sharp supporting performance from Ricardo Montalban.
Synopsis: As Adm. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Capt. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) monitor trainees at Starfleet Academy, another vessel from... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Meyer

#21

District 9 (2009)
90%

#21
Adjusted Score: 102336%
Critics Consensus: Technically brilliant and emotionally wrenching, District 9 has action, imagination, and all the elements of a thoroughly entertaining science-fiction classic.
Synopsis: Thirty years ago, aliens arrive on Earth -- not to conquer or give aid, but -- to find refuge from... [More]
Directed By: Neill Blomkamp

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 95135%
Critics Consensus: Disturbing and thought-provoking, A Clockwork Orange is a cold, dystopian nightmare with a very dark sense of humor.
Synopsis: In an England of the future, Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his "Droogs" spend their nights getting high at the Korova... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#19

RoboCop (1987)
90%

#19
Adjusted Score: 95719%
Critics Consensus: While over-the-top and gory, Robocop is also a surprisingly smart sci-fi flick that uses ultraviolence to disguise its satire of American culture.
Synopsis: In a violent, near-apocalyptic Detroit, evil corporation Omni Consumer Products wins a contract from the city government to privatize the... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#18
Adjusted Score: 102081%
Critics Consensus: Socially minded yet entertaining, The Day the Earth Stood Still imparts its moral of peace and understanding without didacticism.
Synopsis: When a UFO lands in Washington, D.C., bearing a message for Earth's leaders, all of humanity stands still. Klaatu (Michael... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wise

#17

Akira (1988)
90%

#17
Adjusted Score: 93563%
Critics Consensus: Akira is strikingly bloody and violent, but its phenomenal animation and sheer kinetic energy helped set the standard for modern anime.
Synopsis: In 1988 the Japanese government drops an atomic bomb on Tokyo after ESP experiments on children go awry. In 2019,... [More]
Directed By: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

#16

Children of Men (2006)
92%

#16
Adjusted Score: 101450%
Critics Consensus: Children of Men works on every level: as a violent chase thriller, a fantastical cautionary tale, and a sophisticated human drama about societies struggling to live.
Synopsis: When infertility threatens mankind with extinction and the last child born has perished, a disillusioned bureaucrat (Clive Owen) becomes the... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#15

The Terminator (1984)
100%

#15
Adjusted Score: 105178%
Critics Consensus: With its impressive action sequences, taut economic direction, and relentlessly fast pace, it's clear why The Terminator continues to be an influence on sci-fi and action flicks.
Synopsis: Disguised as a human, a cyborg assassin known as a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travels from 2029 to 1984 to kill... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#14

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
91%

#14
Adjusted Score: 104406%
Critics Consensus: Gripping, well-acted, funny, and clever, Edge of Tomorrow offers entertaining proof that Tom Cruise is still more than capable of shouldering the weight of a blockbuster action thriller.
Synopsis: When Earth falls under attack from invincible aliens, no military unit in the world is able to beat them. Maj.... [More]
Directed By: Doug Liman

#13

Aliens (1986)
97%

#13
Adjusted Score: 104458%
Critics Consensus: While Alien was a marvel of slow-building, atmospheric tension, Aliens packs a much more visceral punch, and features a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver.
Synopsis: After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team.... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#12
Adjusted Score: 104208%
Critics Consensus: Dark, sinister, but ultimately even more involving than A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back defies viewer expectations and takes the series to heightened emotional levels.
Synopsis: The adventure continues in this "Star Wars" sequel. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)... [More]
Directed By: Irvin Kershner

#11

The Thing (1982)
82%

#11
Adjusted Score: 88509%
Critics Consensus: Grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950s take, John Carpenter's The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller rife with compelling tension and some remarkable make-up effects.
Synopsis: In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 114455%
Critics Consensus: With exhilarating action and a surprising amount of narrative heft, Mad Max: Fury Road brings George Miller's post-apocalyptic franchise roaring vigorously back to life.
Synopsis: Years after the collapse of civilization, the tyrannical Immortan Joe enslaves apocalypse survivors inside the desert fortress the Citadel. When... [More]
Directed By: George Miller

#9

Alien (1979)
98%

#9
Adjusted Score: 108927%
Critics Consensus: A modern classic, Alien blends science fiction, horror and bleak poetry into a seamless whole.
Synopsis: In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#8
Adjusted Score: 98521%
Critics Consensus: T2 features thrilling action sequences and eye-popping visual effects, but what takes this sci-fi/ action landmark to the next level is the depth of the human (and cyborg) characters.
Synopsis: In this sequel set eleven years after "The Terminator," young John Connor (Edward Furlong), the key to civilization's victory over... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#7

Inception (2010)
87%

#7
Adjusted Score: 101366%
Critics Consensus: Smart, innovative, and thrilling, Inception is that rare summer blockbuster that succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually.
Synopsis: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people's dreams and steal their secrets from... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#6

The Matrix (1999)
88%

#6
Adjusted Score: 95175%
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]

#5
Adjusted Score: 105728%
Critics Consensus: A legendarily expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster filmmaking and things have never been the same.
Synopsis: The Imperial Forces -- under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) -- hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#4

Metropolis (1927)
97%

#4
Adjusted Score: 110464%
Critics Consensus: A visually awe-inspiring science fiction classic from the silent era.
Synopsis: This influential German science-fiction film presents a highly stylized futuristic city where a beautiful and cultured utopia exists above a... [More]
Directed By: Fritz Lang

#3

Blade Runner (1982)
89%

#3
Adjusted Score: 99674%
Critics Consensus: Misunderstood when it first hit theaters, the influence of Ridley Scott's mysterious, neo-noir Blade Runner has deepened with time. A visually remarkable, achingly human sci-fi masterpiece.
Synopsis: Deckard (Harrison Ford) is forced by the police Boss (M. Emmet Walsh) to continue his old job as Replicant Hunter.... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 103089%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, funny, and breathlessly constructed, Back to the Future is a rousing time-travel adventure with an unforgettable spirit.
Synopsis: In this 1980s sci-fi classic, small-town California teen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is thrown back into the '50s when... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 106047%
Critics Consensus: One of the most influential of all sci-fi films -- and one of the most controversial -- Stanley Kubrick's 2001 is a delicate, poetic meditation on the ingenuity -- and folly -- of mankind.
Synopsis: An imposing black structure provides a connection between the past and the future in this enigmatic adaptation of a short... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

With the season 7 premiere coming July 16, Game of Thrones dominates the current pop culture consciousness. What you may not know is that some of the stars of HBO’s hit fantasy series can be found in some truly superb films you may have missed. Here are 14 Certified Fresh theatrical gems starring the GoT cast.



More Game of Thrones season 7 coverage:

Praise the sun! National Daylight Appreciation Day is here, inspiring this week’s gallery of 24 movies set under the blanket of night (or at least in rooms that could use a few windows) that will want you want to get grossly incandescent with some hot vitamin D.

We bet those pesky xenomorphs are getting smug now that their last two movies, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, have gone Certified Fresh.

Enough with the space jockeys, unqualified cartographers, and people who run in straight lines: How about terrorizing someone who can put up a real fight? Vote on our 10 suggestions below or leave your dream Alien deathmatch in the comments!

Comic book movies are all the rage these days, and every year we see more of them hitting theaters than before. Whether you’re into quirky indie comics (Ghost World, American Splendor), superhero action titles (The Dark Knight, The Avengers), graphic novels (300, Persepolis), or even manga (Oldboy), there’s probably a big screen adaptation on this list for you. Read on to find out what’s available to watch online (whether through full purchase, rental, or streaming subscriptions) right now.


Batman Begins
84%

In the origin story of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, Christian Bale stars as Bruce Wayne, orphaned billionaire who dons the cape and cowl to uncover a conspiracy to poison Gotham City’s water supply.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


The Dark Knight
94%

Batman faces a treacherous new villain in The Joker (Heath Ledger), who terrorizes Gotham City and forces Batman to make tough decisions to keep the peace.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


The Dark Knight Rises
87%

Gotham City has enjoyed eight years of peace following the events of The Dark Knight, but a broken Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) must become the Batman once again when Bane (Tom Hardy) takes the entire city hostage.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Iron Man
94%

When wealthy military industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is taken hostage by terrorists and ordered to build a new weapon, he instead invents an armored suit and decides to dedicate his life to fighting evil.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


Iron Man 2
72%

Now known to the world as Iron Man, Tony Stark must deal with a rival arms manufacturer and becomes the target of a vengeful man with ties to his past.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Thor
77%

In the distant realm of Asgard, a powerful warrior named Thor (Chris Hemsworth) breaks a centuries-old truce, earning him exile to Earth. Once among humans, Thor must protect his new friends from an evil adversary who has followed him from Asgard.

Available now on: Amazon, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Vudu


Captain America: The First Avenger
80%

Scrawny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers for a super-soldier program prior to WWII and leads American forces against Nazi collaborator Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and his nefarious HYDRA army.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu, Netflix


The Incredible Hulk
67%

After a military experiment gone wrong leaves his biology drastically altered, scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) flees the US to search for a cure and fights to keep his blood out of military hands.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Marvel’s The Avengers
91%

When a mystical object is stolen from a remote research facility, the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. assemble Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk to retrieve it and prevent a large-scale alien invasion.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu


Persepolis
96%

Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical tale recounts the childhood of an outspoken Iranian girl growing up during the Islamic revolution.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


American Splendor
94%

A stylish indie biopic that blends live action and animated elements in an adaptation of underground comic writer Harvey Pekar’s autobiographical comics of the same name.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


A History of Violence
87%

When small town man Tom Small (Viggo Mortensen) commits an act of heroism that gets him on the local news, a mysterious stranger (Ed Harris) recognizes him and shows up, daring to reveal secrets from a past Tom claims never existed.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Road to Perdition
81%

Tom Hanks plays Depression-era hitman Michael Sullivan, whose son witnesses an execution at the hands of his father. When Connor (Daniel Craig), the son of his employer, kills his wife and younger son in an attempt to keep the family quiet, Sullivan sets out on a path of revenge.

Available now on: Amazon


Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
82%

Young slacker Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) falls for his dream girl, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), but if he wants to be with her, he’ll have to defeat her seven evil exes in battle first.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Spider-Man
90%

In the first of Sam Raimi’s three Spider-Man films, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is bitten by a radioactive spider and inherits superhuman powers, which he uses to stop Norman Osborn, the megalomaniacal Green Goblin.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Spider-Man 2
93%

Peter Parker is now a college student and dating Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), but he finds adversaries in the disturbed Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Harry Osborn (James Franco) — Peter’s best friend and the son of Green Goblin.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Spider-Man 3
63%

This time out, Spider-Man squares off against Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and the alien symbiote Venom (Topher Grace), the latter of which presents a particularly personal struggle for Peter.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


The Amazing Spider-Man
72%

Marc Webb’s reboot of the franchise stars Andrew Garfield as a wisecracking Peter Parker, who is bitten by a radioactive spider and discovers secrets about his past that lead to the birth of his first adversary, the Lizard (Rhys Ifans).

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Sin City
77%

Based on Frank Miller’s comic series, Robert Rodriguez’s neo-noir is a stylish, violent crime thriller following multiple storylines of pulpy fiction.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Hellboy
81%

Guillermo del Toro brings to life Mike Mignola’s antihero Hellboy (Ron Perlman), a demon-turned-good who teams with other paranormal heroes to defeat Rasputin, the Russian mystic who summoned Hellboy for the Nazis sixty years prior.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Hellboy II: The Golden Army
86%

Ron Perlman reprises his title role in this sequel, which finds Hellboy fighting to keep an otherworldy tyrant from wiping out humanity.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


X-Men
82%

Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, and more provide the star power for this pioneering entry in the franchise about superpowered mutants with contradictory philosophies about achieving acceptance in the human world.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


X2: X-Men United
85%

As Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his X-Men continuing to fight for the mutant cause, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) sets out to uncover secrets about his dark past.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


X-Men: The Last Stand
57%

As Magneto (Ian McKellen) prepares for an all out assault on humankind, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) rallies his troops to meet their forces head-on in a massive mutant battle.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


X-Men: First Class
86%

Director Matthew Vaughn takes us back to the 1960s, when a young Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) first meet, begin to gather mutants to their respective cause, and discover they hold very different ideas about the future.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Click to Page 2 to see the availability of Kick-Ass, Dredd, 300, and the Superman, early Batman and Men in Black franchises, plus more!


Superman: The Movie
94%

As Planet Krypton verges on annihilation, a lone infant escapes into space, only to land on Earth and live out his dual life as both Clark Kent (Christopher Reeve) and the powerful Superman.

Available now on: Amazon


Superman II
85%

Superman saves Paris from a nuclear attack, but he simultaneously awakens a trio of powerful Kryptonian criminals in Earth’s orbit who then attempt to take over Earth.

Available now on: Amazon


Superman Returns
75%

This 2006 film picks up where Superman II left off, as Clark Kent/Superman (Brandon Routh) returns after years of absence only to find that the world is getting along fine without him… and his former enemy Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) is up to his old tricks.

Available now on: Amazon


Ghost World
93%

Based on the Daniel Clowes graphic novel, this coming-of-age comedy focuses on recent high school grads Enid and Rebeca (Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson), who spend their summer navigating relationships and trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

Available now on: Amazon


Oldboy
81%

In this South Korean thriller, a man (Choi Min-sik) is kidnapped and held captive for 15 years by an anonymous party for undisclosed reasons; when he is finally set free, he begins to unravel the dark mystery behind his imprisonment.

Available now on: Amazon, Netflix


Men in Black
92%

New York cop James Edwards (Will Smith) is recruited for a top secret government agency tasked with policing earth’s resident aliens; with his partner Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), the two help stop a “Bug” (Vincent D’Onofrio) bent on the destruction of a hidden universe.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Men in Black II
39%

Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) has retired and had his memory wiped, but when a shapeshifting villain (Lara Flynn Boyle) takes control of the MIB offices, Agent J (Will Smith) must team up with him again to bring her to justice.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Men in Black 3
68%

After an unexplained anomaly wipes all traces of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) from the present, Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to partner up with a young K (Josh Brolin) and set things right.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Kick-Ass
76%

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) wonders why there aren’t any real superheroes in the world, so he buys a goofy outfit and tries his hand at vigilante justice. When he inadvertently upsets a crime boss (Mark Strong), he teams up with a few fellow heroes to take him down.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Dredd
79%

In a dystopic near future, “judges” dispense justice at their discretion. Dredd (Karl Urban) and a rookie partner (Olivia Thirlby) get their first assignment: take down a highrise populated by gangsters and ruled by a ruthless drug lord named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


V for Vendetta
73%

This adaptation of the Alan Moore graphic novel, set in an alternate England, stars Natalie Portman as a young woman who joins with a mysterious masked man, skilled in speech and combat, who seeks to overthrow the totalitarian government.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Batman: The Movie (1966)
79%

Adam West and Burt Ward star in this campy classic, which finds the Caped Crusader (West) and Robin (Ward) chasing down a gang of their most famous adversaries after they’ve dehydrated the UN.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Batman (1989)
71%

Tim Burton’s take on Batman stars Michael Keaton in the title role as he attempts to thwart the Joker’s (Jack Nicholson) plan to poison consumer products used by the citizens of Gotham City.

Available now on: Amazon


Batman Returns
80%

Tim Burton follows up the 1989 hit with a much darker film, in which Batman (Michael Keaton) must deal with Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the Penguin (Danny DeVito).

Available now on: Amazon


Batman Forever
38%

Val Kilmer takes up the cape and cowl for Joel Schumacher’s decidedly campier sequel; Robin (Chris O’Donnell) enters the picture to lend Batman a hand against the Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones).

Available now on: Amazon


Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
84%

A companion to the 1990s animated series, Mask of the Phantasm pits Batman against the Phantom, who frames Batman for the murder of a crime lord and uncovers a dangerous link to someone from his past.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


300
61%

Zack Snyder directs a violent and stylish adaptation of Frank Miller’s fictionalized retelling of the legendary battle of Thermopylae, where, as legend has it, a small army of Spartans held off the entire Persian army.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Red
72%

In this action-comedy, Bruce Willis heads up a squad of retired CIA agents who fight back then they’re targeted by their former agency for their knowledge of clandestine operations.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Barbarella
74%

Jane Fonda stars as the title heroine in this sci-fi cult favorite about a government rep from Earth who searches the galaxy for a missing scientist and explores her sexuality with a number of intergalactic suitors.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu, Netflix


Watchmen
65%

It’s the mid-1980s in an alternate universe US, where superheroes exist but are prevented from using their powers. When a new threat arises, former allies come together to ensure it fails.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Blade
57%

Wesley Snipes stars as the titular vampire hunter, who sets out to stop Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), a vampire with ambitions of “turning” every human in the world.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Blade II
57%

Guillermo del Toro helms this sequel, which finds Blade (Wesley Snipes) joining forces with his nemesis Damaskinos (Thomas Kretschmann) to fight a super-race of vampires.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Heavy Metal
61%

Based on stories from the eponymous sci-fi comic magazine, Heavy Metal tells a handful of loosely connected stories through eye-popping animation.

Available now on: Amazon


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie
41%

Four turtles exposed to radiation grow up learning martial arts from a mutated rat sensei and do battle with a ruthless crime lord known as Shredder.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze
35%

The Turtles are back to take down Shredder, who has obtained some of the same radioactive ooze that transformed the Turtles and uses it to create new warriors to do his bidding.

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu

This week, we return to a regular rotation of home video releases with a few notable selections and, as always, a few less than notable ones. Among the choices are a well received comic-based action film, Tim Burton’s latest stop-motion project, a Qatsi-esque visual collage, and a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller. In addition, there’s also a Jennifer Lawrence-powered horror dud, a hit-and-miss road trip comedy, and an implausible Nic Cage heist flick. See below for the full list!



Dredd

79%

One of the most well known UK comic heroes, Judge Dredd already received the big screen treatment back in 1995 with no less than Sly Stallone in the title role. Unfortunately, that film was an all-around disappointment, critically, commercially, and for fans. Enter 2012’s Dredd, a reintroduction of the character rather than a remake, with Karl Urban as the eponymous Judge and Olivia Thirlby as his tenderfoot sidekick Judge Anderson. Set in a dystopian future where Judges play every law enforcement role — including executioner — Dredd and Anderson infiltrate a 200-story highrise to shut down a drug lord named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey); lots of blood and mayhem ensue. Critics found Dredd a refreshing new take on the character, fueled by impressive special effects, deadpan humor, and a good bit of the old ultraviolence. Certified Fresh at 78%, this actioner might even manage to wipe the image of a wisecracking Rob Schneider from your memory.



Frankenweenie

87%

Before he found his soul mates in Johnny Depp and Danny Elfman, Tim Burton put together a short film about young boy who brings his pet dog back to life and called it Frankenweenie. Since that film — originally intended to play before screenings of Disney’s Pinocchio in 1984 — was deemed too scary for young audiences, Burton waited until he was a big name before bringing the little pooch back to the cinemas, this time in stop-motion animation. The story is essentially an embellished version of the short: a young boy by the name of Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan) brings his dog Sparky back to life, but his classmates also discover the reanimation formula and inadvertently begin turning dead animals into monsters; it’s up to Victor and Sparky to help save the town. Frankenweenie is about as “Tim Burton” as you can get, but his personal touch, his obvious love for both the story and the stop-motion craft, infuses the film with energy. Certified Fresh at 89%, it’s an odd little family movie, but one that’s fun to watch.



House at the End of the Street

13%

It’s a tricky thing to earn an Oscar nod early in your career; folks will forever expect the same quality of work with every new role. Jennifer Lawrence earned a Best Actress nomination for her work in Winter’s Bone, and while (almost) every film she’s done since then has been Fresh, 2012’s House at the End of the Street proves they can’t all be winners. In this horror thriller, a divorced mother (Elisabeth Shue) and her daughter Elissa (Lawrence) move into a new home, next door to a house with a dark past. The sole survivor (Max Thieriot) of a grisly murder spree years ago still occupies that house, and when he and Elissa begin a relationship, she slowly begins to unravel all the terrible secrets that exist. If you were looking for a few scares, critics say you won’t find them here; at 11% on the Tomatometer, House at the End of the Street is a poorly executed chiller that makes little use of its star’s talents. Good thing she did Silver Linings Playbook to make up for it.



Hit & Run

48%

The first time Dax Shepard and David Palmer teamed up to direct a movie (2011’s Brother’s Justice), they earned a 0% Tomatometer score, so they didn’t have to do much to improve their record the second time around. And improve they did, to a much better (but still Rotten) 47%, with last year’s Hit & Run, a raucous road trip comedy about a former getaway driver (Shepard) who abandons his witness protection program identity so he can drive his girlfriend (Shepard’s real life gal pal Kristen Bell) to a job interview in Los Angeles. On the way, the couple are pursued by a friend from his past (Bradley Cooper), an ex-girlfriend (Kristin Chenoweth), and a US Marshall (Tom Arnold). Critics admitted that Hit & Run featured some interesting surprises, but also felt the action was underwhelming and the writing wasn’t quite up to par.



Stolen

20%

Nicolas Cage and director Simon West have made one other film together, 1997’s Con Air, an over-the-top actioner that has amassed somewhat of a cult fandom. 2012’s Stolen, however, isn’t likely to achieve the same. Cage stars as Will Montgomery, a recently released bank robber who was imprisoned for a $10 million heist. A former partner (Josh Lucas) believes he still has access to the stolen loot, so he kidnaps Will’s daughter (Sami Gayle), prompting Will to rob another bank just to pay the ransom. Unfortunately, for all its would-be tension and heist intrigue, critics found Stolen a rather ineffectual thriller, with its requisite impossible leaps of logic, unimaginative exposition, and a surprisingly muted performance from the typically animated Cage. It currently sits at 13%, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.



Samsara

76%

Ron Fricke has already directed two films in the same vein as the Qatsi trilogy, the first film of which he served on as cinematographer. Both 1987’s Chronos and 1993’s Baraka are visual documentaries, collages of powerful and evocative images set to music and devoid of narration, and Samsara offers more of the same. Fricke spent five years collecting footage in twenty-five countries for this meditative exploration of life’s interconnection, depicting various peoples and landscapes ranging from sacred grounds to industrial sites. Though critics felt its message was a bit heavy-handed, they granted that the incredible visuals — shot in 70mm — were more than enough to make up for any narrative flaws. Certified Fresh at 76%, Samsara isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but for those looking for something slightly beyond typical cinema, it should provide a beautiful, thought-provoking experience.



Compliance

89%

“Truth is stranger than fiction,” as they say, and it often makes for really compelling cinema. Case in point: Compliance, a little-seen thriller whose plot was largely based on a real life prank phone call made in 2004 to a McDonald’s in Kentucky. Ann Dowd plays Sandra, a fast food restaurant manager who receives a phone call from a man who identifies himself as a police officer and implicates a female employee (Dreama Walker) in a crime. The employee in question, Becky, is compelled by legal threats from the caller to retire to an office in the back of the restaurant, where the caller’s demands escalate from searching Becky’s pockets to having Becky remove all her clothing, and worse. As others are pulled into the scam, the caller becomes increasingly bold until everything unravels. Critics found Compliance both gripping and disturbing, anchored by smart direction from Craig Zobel and strong, committed performances, particularly from Ann Dowd, who’s already earned accolades for her work here. Certified Fresh at 89%, Compliance may be tough to watch for some, but it displays fine filmmaking from all involved.

Also available this week:

  • The original 1962 Cape Fear (95%), starring Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, and Martin Balsam, on Blu-ray.
  • Multiple Oscar-winner Mrs. Miniver (91%), directed by William Wyler and starring Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, and Teresa Wright, on Blu-ray.
  • Clssic 1932 ensemble drama Grand Hotel (89%), starring Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, John Barrymore, and others, on Blu-ray.
  • Another multiple Oscar-winner, Driving Miss Daisy (Certified Fresh at 79%), on Blu-ray.
  • The HBO film Game Change (63%), starring Ed Harris, Woody Harrelson, and Julianne Moore in the story of Sarah Palin’s candidacy for Vice President in 2008.
  • Inspirational sports drama Touchback (42%), starring Kurt Russell, Brian Presley, and Melanie Lynskey.

The Avengers. The Dark Knight Rises. Skyfall. There were plenty of highly-anticipated, critically acclaimed films that wowed moviegoers this year. But you know all about that stuff already, so we at RT decided to give some love to a few of the overlooked, underappreciated, and, in some cases, critically dismissed movies that made an impression on us. Read on for a rundown of lesser-known gems from 2012 that we think deserve another look.


85%

End of Watch

Matt Atchity – Editor in Chief

This was one of my favorite movies of the year (along with The Grey), but it really struggled to find an audience. So I was glad to see if get a recent re-release nationwide, and I really recommend seeing it if you have the chance. This story about two cops in South Central LA is sometimes funny, sometimes terrifying, and sometimes heartbreaking, and this movie caught me completely off-guard. I’m not sure what I’d been expecting, maybe another forgettable cop drama. What I got instead was a riveting ride-along with two cops (played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena) that I really believed had been partners for years. They had an easy familiarity that looked like a couple of guys that had gone beyond being partners or friends, and into real brotherhood. You laugh with them when they laugh at each other, and you worry about them when they’re on their own. Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera and David Harbour all put in strong supporting turns, Kendrick as Gyllenhaal’s new girlfriend, and Ferrera and Harbour as fellow cops. As I said before, I strongly recommend this movie, and I’d really like to see some of this cast (especially Pena) get some notice as the awards season heats up.


89%

The Turin Horse

Tim Ryan – Senior Editor

Nobody makes films like Hungarian director Bela Tarr. His spare, eerie meditations on morality and mortality occupy a bleak, mystical plane that seems to exist outside of time (or any notions of contemporary cinematic influence). The plot of The Turin Horse is simple — a man and his daughter tend to their farm while waiting for an apocalyptic storm to hit — and it’s told with an absolute minimum of artifice: the camera barely moves as our protagonists eat, work, and go about their daily business in near silence. I’m not even going to try to sell you on The Turin Horse; it’s the type of movie experience that will strike some as poetic and evocative, and others as a nifty cure for insomnia. But it casts a hypnotic spell, one that I’ve been unable to shake since seeing it. If you choose to watch it, I’ll give you one piece of advice: wear a sweater, because you can practically feel a wintery chill from the screen.


86%

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Grae Drake – Senior Editor

Since I am terrible at remembering actual historical events, I love movies with revisionist history–especially when they involve pirates and claymation. Aardman Studios enlisted the help of Hugh Grant, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, and Martin Freeman to tell the tale of the Pirate Captain, who really isn’t a great leader, and his quest to impress a girl (Queen Victoria). Along the way, he meets Charles Darwin, enters a science contest, tries to win Pirate of the Year, and learns what friendship is really all about. This film is nothing less than what I have come to expect from the Wallace and Gromit folks– it’s hysterical from start to finish, has staggering amounts of charm, and provides phenomenal detail even within the foam on beer. Every time I watch it, I want to give this movie a hug.


95%

The Queen of Versailles

Ryan Fujitani – Editor

This critically acclaimed but largely underseen documentary surprised me not so much because it was good, but because I enjoyed it for very different reasons than I expected. Lauren Greenfield’s The Queen of Versailles begins with a portrait of a wealthy family living in excess: time-share mogul David Siegel and his wife Jackie are in the process of building their dream house, a 90,000 sq. ft. mansion modeled after the Palace of Versailles. But then, the 2008 economic crisis hits them hard, and Siegel is forced to make vast cutbacks, both in his corporate empire and within the Siegel home itself; construction on the mansion is halted. At this point, one might expect to be overcome by a sudden rush of gleeful schadenfreude – and certainly, I felt some of this as I watched the beleaguered patriarch agonize over his expenses – but the film begins to reveal the layers behind the glitz and glamour, and this shift is what took me by surprise. Jackie’s been warped by her wealth, sure, but she’s well-meaning, she’s loving, she’s supportive, and she wants so badly for her family to feel like a family; I have to admit, I was kind of touched. The Queen of Versailles is an absolutely fascinating glimpse at the lives of the super rich, but its power is in its portrayal of the Siegels who, at the end of the day, are just another family trying to adapt to changes they’re wholly unprepared for. Never before have I experienced such a mix between my sympathy for and smug satisfaction with the misfortune of others.


47%

The Comedy

Luke Goodsell – International Editor

What can I say, I love movies about messed-up, unpleasant people — and the more messed-up and unpleasant the better, as far as I’m concerned. Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have been testing the dynamics of audience discomfort for years with their brilliant Awesome Show, and that laugh-or-cringe sensibility manifests in a complex, dramatic way in Heidecker’s character here. Giving easily one of my favorite performances of the year, Heidecker plays a kind of repulsive trust-fund monster whose money allows him to do literally nothing with his life — nothing, that is, apart from drift from situation to situation antagonizing people; as though some kind of slovenly Andy Kaufman had been resurrected for a Noah Baumbach movie. He’s hideous but he’s also hilarious, and The Comedy moves more like a drama — you’re just never sure whether you should be in howls of pain or hysterics. The most impressive thing about both Alverson’s direction and Heidecker’s genius underplaying is not just the truth they locate in this husk of a man-boy, it’s that they nearly make you care about his sad predicament by the movie’s end. It’s the kind of character and film that splits critics down the middle, as well it should — with 40% on the Tomatometer, there’s love and loathing aplenty. The Comedy had a miniature theatrical run, but it’s widely available on VOD. Watch it, and either thank me or despise me afterwards.


77%

Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Alex Vo – Editor

Of the 6,000 films Jay and Mark Duplass were involved with this year, Jeff, Who Lives at Home stands out. Not that I have any personal identification with a slacker who lives in his mom’s basement and believes he’s getting signs from the universe to do something meaningful, Jeff who (probably) eats too much cereal and (probably) is still hung-up on his ex. No identification at all. Instead, I connected with the movie’s charm and simplicity, from the title all the way down to its surprisingly generous spirit. Jeff (Jason Segel, essentially updating his Freaks and Geeks character for the information age) is presented as a lovable oaf, who could be a real underdog if it weren’t so inconvenient to getting high. And there is exciting depth to his friends and family, which includes people played by Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, and Ed Helms, all of whom get a few great scenes. Jeff’s adventure is madcap and full of digressions, easing its way into an affecting finale against the backdrop of a setting sun. Mumblecore, aka hipster Dogme, may be fleeting but in considering Jeff’s little heartfelt accomplishment, we can see the signs of life.


El Dedo

Kerr Lordygan – Review Aggregator

Tossing around in my head films such as Smashed (possible Oscar buzz on this anyway) and Bait (2012, funny, silly, exciting with quite creative gore), I ended up opting for El Dedo (“The Finger”). A selection of the Global Film Initiative, the film handles a slightly grotesque premise with lightheartedness and charm. The results are sometimes comical and always endearing. The plot is just ridiculous enough to be true. Based on real events, a few of the real-life subjects co-star, breaking the fourth wall to bring us closer. A beloved townsmen running for mayor in a town’s first election is murdered and his finger is saved for sentimental purposes. The town looks to the severed index finger for guidance, but will it still win the mayoral election? The characters are so likeable, the plot is almost surreal, this one is a winner, even for those who might not ordinarily watch foreign films.


53%

People Like Us

Catherine Pricci – Review Aggregator

This Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks drama may not necessarily be off the radar, but overall it was poorly received. And that’s unfortunate since this underappreciated film had fantastic performances by its two leads. A lot of critics felt this film lacked depth and was melodramatic, but most agreed that Pine and Banks put in standout performances. And audiences should keep an eye on newcomer Michael Hall D’Addario, who played Banks’s son; he stole most of the scenes he was in and is definitely someone to look out for in the future. If you like films with great performances, and don’t mind a tear or two, this one is worth another look.


26%

This Means War

Beki Lane – Production Assistant

I’m here to recommend a flick that got crushed on the Tomatometer, but is still tasty if you can handle a little pulp. This Means War is formulaic, but I believe that plot formulas exist because, just often enough, they work. This one really surprised me. If you don’t make the mistake of going in expecting something more than what it is, this film offers a lot of laughs and a really good time. Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are really funny, and keep it stylish to boot. This film doesn’t fall into the chick flick category, nor does it cater exclusively to the bros. Rather it has great balance, and can be appreciated by all. In the civil unrest that can arise during the debate of what DVD to select for a stay-in date night, This Means War can bring both sides to a suitable accord.


79%

Dredd

Julio de Oliveira – Project Manager

Dredd is not one of those movies that you never heard about, but it’s probably one you didn’t care to watch when it hit the theaters earlier this year. Let’s face it, its box office was far from great, but – as a comic book fan – I decided to give it a shot, and I’m really glad I got to watch it in all its 3D glory. The guys behind Dredd did a pretty good job giving life to Mega City One, a post-apocalyptic metropolis dominated by crime, where cops enforce the law onto its citizens as judges, jury and executioners. The city looks so overpopulated, chaotic and hopeless that it convinces the audience that the unorthodox methods applied by the judges are the only way to go. Instead of spending a long time introducing this dystopic reality, director Pete Travis let you learn as you go. He basically shows a day in the life of the always-frowning Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and rookie psychic partner Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), who get trapped in a gigantic residential complex called Peach Tree – more like a vertical concrete slum, dominated by drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). The movie is packed with action, God-they-are-not-gonna-make-it moments, and loads of gory violence. I also really like its beautiful, dark cinematography and the visual impact of the well-applied slow-motion technology and bullet-time effects. It’s a visual masterpiece. Dredd is still not available on home entertainment, but it will hit 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on January 8, 2013.


This week at the movies, we’ve got an aging baseball scout (Trouble with the Curve, starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams); a deadly judge (Dredd 3D, starring Karl Urban and Olivia Thirby); cartel-busting cops (End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena); a religious leader (The Master, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman); and a creepy dwelling (House at the End of the Street, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue). What do the critics have to say?



Trouble With the Curve

51%

Nobody plays a grizzled-but-secretly-lovable coot like Clint Eastwood. And critics say he and co-star Amy Adams are in fine form in Trouble with the Curve, even if the movie’s plot is as well-worn as an old catcher’s mitt. Gus Lobel (Eastwood) is an aging scout for the Atlanta Braves who’s losing both his sight and his preternatural gift for judging talent. When the team hopes to secure a hotshot prospect in the draft, Gus’ daughter Mickey (Adams) joins him on a trip to scout the player, mending their frayed relationship in the process. The pundits say Trouble With the Curve may not be a home run, but it’s a solid single: it’s warm, well-acted, and really predictable. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down the best movies starring Eastwood.)



Dredd 3D

79%

Judge Dredd, from 1995, has long been a punchline for fans of comic book adaptations. So it’s a small miracle that critics are pretty psyched about the franchise’s reboot — they say Dredd 3D is tense, visceral, and visually dazzling. Karl Urban stars as the title character, a law-enforcement agent that acts as judge, jury, and executioner. Patrolling the streets of a dystopian megalopolis, Dredd battles a vicious drug syndicate that’s taken over a heavily fortified apartment building. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Dredd is ultra-violent (sometimes excessively so), but it’s also deftly paced, action packed, and surprisingly smart.



End of Watch

85%

A buddy-cop movie shot in a found-footage style, End of Watch might initially look like a feature length episode of COPS. However, critics say this is a gritty take on well-trodden turf, and it benefits greatly from the chemistry between leads Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. They play partners in the LAPD – one of whom is shooting a few days on the beat for a film school project – and what a wild few days they are. Upon making what seems like a routine bust, our heroes become the targets of a ruthless drug cartel. The pundits say the Certified Fresh End of Watch is an immersive experience, putting audiences on a ride-along with two terrifically realized characters.



The Master

84%

Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master opens in wide release this weekend, and critics say this tale of a troubled man who falls under the influence of a shadowy religious leader is immersive, expertly crafted, and wonderfully acted. Joaquin Phoenix stars as a navy vet in the midst of personal turmoil who turns to Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the charismatic leader of a group called the Cause; soon, the two men are locked in a test of wills. The pundits say Certified Fresh The Master is a challenging work, but it’s often hypnotic and elusive in the best sense. (Check out RT staffer Jeff Giles’ Paul Thomas Anderson watching series here.)



House at the End of the Street

13%

It appears the folks behind House at the End of the Street were afraid the film wasn’t built on the sturdiest of foundations, since reviews are currently unavailable. Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue star as a mother and daughter who move into a new neighborhood, only to learn that the house next door was the site of a gruesome double murder that remains shrouded in mystery. It’s time to guess the Tomatometer! (And check out RT 24 Frames, which delves into Lawrence’s life and career.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Finally, props to Brian Clarkson and Simon Opitz for coming the closest to guessing Resident Evil: Retribution‘s 29 percent Tomatometer.

Rotten Tomatoes Radio show imminent! SiriusXM channel 104, 3PM PST/6PM EST! We’ll be talking about Dredd 3D, House at the End of the Street, End of Watch, Trouble with the Curve and all the other new releases. Our guest today is esteemed critic, Leonard Maltin.

Today’s call-in question: “What bad movies should be rebooted in hopes of making a good movie?” Call in during the segment at 888-996-2946. Bye now!!!

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