Water, water everywhere, and not a damn way to get home. That’s this week’s gallery theme: Movies where we see people trapped on the open seas, inspired by Adrift, starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin as two young lovers whose boat is incapacitated after sailing directly into a catastrophic hurricane (and with Claflin’s character suffering from a life-threatening injury). Likewise, the movies in this gallery see heroes under immense pier pressure when their boats get hijacked, destroyed, or worse of all, disappeared all together.

Note: Because a lot of movies fall under this theme, we’re not including submarine movies (Das BootBelowBlack Sea) or movies where the heroes can generally head home at any time (JawsThe Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou).

Co-starring in a short-lived sitcom about cross-dressing friends generally isn’t the most direct path to superstardom, but there’s an exception to prove every rule — only one, though; sorry, Peter Scolari — and after racking up over $3 billion in domestic ticket receipts, winning a mantel full of awards (including back-to-back Best Actor Oscars), and starring in some of the best-reviewed films of the last 25 years, Tom Hanks has demonstrated that he’s pretty darned exceptional. With his latest project, Steven Spielberg’s historical drama The Post, arriving in theaters this weekend, we decided now was the perfect time to pay tribute to an impressive body of work by twirling the dials on the Tomatometer, making a list of Hanks’ best-reviewed films, and playing Total Recall!

Use the arrows to rank the movies, or click here to see them ranked by Tomatometer!

This week in streaming video, we get an Oscar nominee in the form of a Tom Hanks-powered true story, a sci-fi romance, and a Sylvester Stallone-Arnold Schwarzenegger team up, plus a cult favorite Bret Easton Ellis adaptation. Read on for the full list:

Captain Phillips

In this Best Picture nominee, Tom Hanks plays the captain of a cargo ship that’s hijacked by Somali pirates; as the situation becomes more grim by the minute, it’s up to the captain to maintain composure and keep his crew safe.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

About Time

In this romantic comedy, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) travels back in time to woo Mary (Rachel McAdams), but soon discovers that other aspects of his life don’t quite line up the way he’d like them to.

Available now on: iTunes, Vudu

Escape Plan

Sylvester Stallone stars as a security expert who’s been wrongly imprisoned, so he teams up with a fellow inmate (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and devises a plan to bust out.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

American Psycho

In this cult favorite, based upon Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial novel, Christian Bale as the loathsome, status-obsessed serial killer Patrick Bateman.

Available now on: Amazon Prime

This week on home video, we’ve got a couple of Oscar nominated films headlining the list, so you can get caught up on them before the trophies are handed out. Then we’ve got a grindhouse sequel by Robert Rodriguez, Lake Bell’s writing and directing debut, and a few smaller releases to talk about. Read on for the full list:

Captain Phillips


One of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture (as well as nods in five other categories), Captain Phillips has already racked up a number of awards nominations and made it onto AFI’s annual list of Top Ten Films. Based on the true account of the 2009 hijacking of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama, the film stars Tom Hanks as the titular captain, who endures an intense hostage situation when a small band of armed Somali pirates led by a man named Muse (Barkhad Abdi, who received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nom for his work) storm their way onto the ship and take control. Thanks to outstanding performances, a smartly put together script, and Paul Greengrass’s masterful use of tension, Captain Phillips earned a Certified Fresh 93% on the Tomatometer. Though many feel Hanks was snubbed in the Best Actor category, his turn as the real life hero here only further solidifies his stature as one of Hollywood’s most reliable actors.

Blue Jasmine


Another film causing a stir on the awards circuit, Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine has already earned a Golden Globe for its star, Cate Blanchett, and she’s a favorite to win the Oscar for Best Actress as well. The story centers on a woman named Jasmine (Blanchett) who travels to visit her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins, also Oscar-nominated for Best Supporting Actress) in San Francisco after a string of bad luck in New York. Jasmine’s steady descent into desperation is told partially in flashback, depicting how her relationships with both Ginger and her husband (Alec Baldwin) have crumbled. Though Woody Allen sits behind the camera, Blue Jasmine is largely a vehicle for Cate Blanchett, and she makes the most of her role. The supporting cast, which also includes Andrew Dice Clay (yep, you read that right), Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Peter Sarsgaard, and more, are solid, and the film sports a Certified Fresh 91%. This isn’t a feelgood story by any means, but it finds Allen and his stars at their finest.

In a World…


Frequent TV star Lake Bell made her feature writing and directing debut last year with In a World…, and by the looks of things, she’s got a bright future behind the camera. Bell stars as Carol Solomon, a vocal coach trying to make a go of it in the voiceover business, where her father Sam (Fred Melamed) happens to be the reigning king. When Carol inadvertently steals a job from Sam’s friend Gustav (Ken Marino), the men realize they may actually have some competition from a female voice. In a World… is nutty but clever and well written, and critics roundly applauded Bell’s work, awarding her a Certified Fresh 92% on the Tomatometer. The film didn’t reach a whole lot of people when it debuted back in August, so if you’re in the mood for a sharp screwball satire full of comedy veterans, this is a good bet.

Machete Kills


Robert Rodriguez’s grindhouse movie-based-on-a-fake trailer, Machete, was an unexpected but welcome dose of shlocky lowbrow thrills; its successor, however, somehow lost everything that made the first film fresh and fun. Danny Trejo returns as the badass ex-Federale in Machete Kills, which finds the antihero recruited by the President of the US (Charlie Sheen, of course) to take down a madman named Marcos Mendez (Demian Bichir) threatening to blow up Washington, D.C. When Machete finally catches up with Mendez, he realizes he is only part of a much bigger plot, one that may have him traveling to space. Machete Kills is insane, as expected, but most critics found the sequel inadequately assembled and lacking the inventiveness to set it apart from its predecessor. At 29% on the Tomatometer, this is probably exactly like you might expect it to be.

Also available this week:

  • Sunlight Jr. (66%), starring Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon in a drama about the hard lives of a convenience store clerk and her disabled boyfriend.
  • Mexican import Instructions Not Included (56%), a comedy about a single father who hoofs it to Los Angeles with his infant daughter to find the girl’s mother and ends up raising her there.
  • Charlie Countryman (29%), starring Shia LaBeouf in a drama about a man who runs afoul of the Romanian underworld when he falls in love with a gangster’s girlfriend on a plane trip.

After announcing their five nominees for Best Film Director of 2013, the Directors Guild of America continued on January 9 by further announcing their nominees for directing achievements in television. Accordingly, we’ve updated our list below to include the TV categories. The winners will be announced at a Jane Lynch-hosted ceremony on January 25 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in sunny Los Angeles.

Between 2003 to 2011, the DGA Award winner also took home the Best Director Oscar in February, until 2012, when Argo‘s Ben Affleck got the DGA and ultimately was not nominated for the Academy Award.

    Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming

  • Dave Diomedi – Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, “#799”
  • Andy Fisher – Jimmy Kimmel Live, “#13-1810”
  • Jim Hoskinson – The Colbert Report, “#10004”
  • Don Roy King – Saturday Night Live, “Saturday Night Live with Host Justin Timberlake”
  • Chuck O’Neil – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, “#19018”

    Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Shows

  • Matthew Bartley – The Biggest Loser, “1501”
  • Neil P. DeGroot – 72 Hours, “The Lost Coast”
  • Paul Starkman – Top Chef, “Glacial Gourmand”
  • J. Rupert Thompson – The Hero, “Teamwork”
  • Bertram van Munster – The Amazing Race, “Beards in the Wind”

This week at the movies, we’ve got a hostage situation (Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Keener), and a deadly mission (Machete Kills, starring Danny Trejo and Michelle Rodriguez). What do the critics have to say?

Captain Phillips


Director Paul Greengrass (United 93, Bloody Sunday) is an expert at adapting true stories to the big screen with a sense of you-are-there immediacy. Tom Hanks is great at portraying relatable people operating under extraordinary duress. Together, they make Captain Phillips a tense, endlessly involving thriller that entertains even as it raises intriguing questions. Hanks plays Phillips, the captain of a cargo ship that?s hijacked by Somali pirates; as the situation becomes more grim by the minute, it?s up to the captain to maintain composure and keep his crew safe. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Captain Phillips is potent, powerful stuff, with terrific performances and a script that gives multiple dimensions to all parties involved. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Hanks’ best-reviewed films.)

Machete Kills


There’s a thin line separating trashy fun and plain ol’ trash, and unfortunately, critics say Machete Kills is too often on the wrong side of the divide; despite its emphasis on gleefully over-the-top violence and campy laughs, the movie is too slackly paced and overlong to fully register as a guilty pleasure. This time out, the president enlists our blade-wielding hero (played by Danny Trejo) to stop a billionaire arms trader bent on inciting chaos across the globe. The pundits say Machete Kills is like its predecessor in many ways, just less so; it’s got some clever cameos and delightfully tasteless action, but there’s less energy on display this time out. (Take a look through our gallery of the ladies of the Machete movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

In Theaters This Week:

Captain Phillips


Rating: PG-13, for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and substance abuse.

It?s stunning that this film has a PG-13 rating. Paul Greengrass’ thriller, based on the true story of Somali pirates who took over an American cargo ship in 2009, is hugely violent, bloody and intense for nearly all of its two-plus-hour running time. Tom Hanks stars as the title character, a veteran, all-business captain who must find creative ways to appease the pirates while also protecting his crew and trying to communicate with emergency officials and the military. There’s a ton of gunfire, stabbings, slicings, beatings, a kidnapping and — eventually ?- several deaths. The action is both visceral and claustrophobic, with men on both sides trapped in cramped quarters fighting for their lives. One of the hardest parts to watch, though, is Captain Phillips’ cumulative shock once the ordeal is over. This is probably suitable for teenagers at the youngest.

New On DVD:

After Earth


Rating: PG-13, for sci-fi action violence and some disturbing images.

This movie is terrible, regardless of how old you or your kids are. Speaking of kids, Will Smith’s teenage son, Jaden, is the true star here and gets top billing over his more famous dad. Perhaps the most potentially disturbing element for younger viewers in M. Night Shyamalan’s film is the fact that Jaden Smith’s character must fend for himself, away from his father, in a toxic, post-apocalyptic version of our planet once the spaceship they?re riding in crash lands. He must survive severe fluctuations in the elements and slay giant, fake-looking, computer-generated monsters, which are more yucky than scary. This is probably OK for tweens and up.

Europa Report


Rating: PG-13, for sci-fi action and peril.

A great pick for older kids with an interest in science fiction and space exploration. This faux documentary is based on the now-familiar found-footage conceit but it’s inspired by a real-life breakthrough finding. It follows six superstar astronauts gathered from around the globe who travel to Jupiter’s moon Europa to confirm the existence of water and — more importantly — ocean life. Nine months into the journey, they lose contact with Earth — and that’s when things start getting scary. In classic horror-movie fashion, they find themselves being picked off, one by one, by the various dangers that lurk in the vast darkness. But the situations they find themselves in are tense without being graphic, and the way people perish is never gory.

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