A recording career and starring roles on In Living Color and his very own sitcom sound like they would have been enough to keep Jamie Foxx out of the movie game during the ’90s. But indeed, Foxx the multi-hyphenate found time to debut as a comedy movie lead for The Truth About Cats & Dogs in 1996 and then delivered his first dramatic performance in Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday three years later. But that was all a prelude to his big 2004, when Foxx was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award with the Michael Mann/Tom Cruise thriller Collateral and took home Oscar gold that night for Best Actor, thanks to the musical biopic Ray.
He teamed up with Mann again for Miami Vice in 2006, the same year of musical sensation Dreamgirls‘ arrival. Due Date, Valentine’s Day, Rio, and Horrible Bosses were four $100 million-grossing box office hits in a row, so with his reputation as a guy who can get awards and put butts in seats cemented, there was only one place to go left: Casa de QT. Working with Quentin Tarantino produced the brassy Western Django Unchained, which would go on to become the director’s biggest B.O. draw.
Django would be Foxx’s last Certified Fresh movie for a while, through a stretch of years that has included The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Robin Hood, and White House Down. 2017’s Baby Driver brought back some of that critical acclaim, and so has his latest: Just Mercy, a true story legal drama featuring Foxx as Walter McMillian, who was imprisoned for a murder in 1986 he did not commit. Co-starring Michael B. Jordan and Brie Larson, see where the critics place Just Mercy as we rank all Jamie Foxx movies by Tomatometer!
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott's revisionist take on this oft-told tale offers some fine acting and a few gripping action sequences, but it's missing the thrill of adventure that made Robin Hood a legend in the first place.
Synopsis: After the death of Richard the Lion-Hearted, a skilled archer named Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) travels to Nottingham, where villagers... [More]
Critics Consensus:Miami Vice is beautifully shot but the lead characters lack the charisma of their TV series counterparts, and the underdeveloped story is well below the standards of Michael Mann's better films.
Synopsis: A case involving drug lords and murder in South Florida takes a personal turn for undercover detectives Sonny Crockett (Colin... [More]
Critics Consensus: Like most sequels, Rio 2 takes its predecessor's basic template and tries to make it bigger -- which means it's even busier, more colorful, and ultimately more exhausting for viewers outside the youthful target demographic.
Synopsis: Blue macaws Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and their three children are comfortably settled in the city -- perhaps... [More]
Critics Consensus: While the cast is outstanding and the special effects are top-notch, the latest installment of the Spidey saga suffers from an unfocused narrative and an overabundance of characters.
Synopsis: Confident in his powers as Spider-Man, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) embraces his new role as a hero and spends time... [More]
Fox’s got a new Ice Ageand it’s set on collision course for theaters this Friday. Animation at the studio has weaved a winding line through Saturday morning cartoons, adult fare, and studio closures before lifting Fox as one of Hollywood’s major animated players decades later, alongside Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks. In this week’s gallery, we look at 24 films and TV shows highlighting the history of Fox Animation.
The sequel to 2013’s Planes finds Dusty Crophopper (voiced again by Dane Cook), the cropduster-turned-racer, unable to compete anymore because of a faulty, outdated gearbox. Seeing the need for emergency support in town, he reinvents himself as a firefighting plane, traveling far away to train with a veteran team. He sees a ton of action, not all of which he’s ready for, and winds up in some danger. The forest fires he helps contain are intense and all-consuming; they ravage trees and send visitors to an historic lodge scurrying to safety. It’s also mentioned that not all firefighters make it out of these situations alive. So if that kind of peril troubles your kids, that might be something to consider beforehand. I took my son, who’s almost 5, and he had no problem with it. There’s also a handful of innocuous fire truck fart jokes.
Sequel time again. The follow-up to the 2011 animated hit Rio is lively and colorful and enjoyable during the musical numbers, but a bit dull and overloaded when it comes to actual storytelling. This time, neurotic Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) and energetic Jewel (Anne Hathaway) are the parents of three baby blue macaws, and they’re all enjoying domesticated bliss in the big city. But when they learn that other rare birds of their species still exist in the Amazon, they journey to find them, with a cadre of creatures and people on their tails with devious intentions. Nigel (Jemaine Clement), the evil cockatoo who villainously stole the show last time, can’t fly anymore so he’s more of a preening diva here. And there’s a subplot about illegal forestry that’ll go over young kids’ heads. Still, it’s all appropriate for the entire family.
This week on home video, we’ve got an animated sequel, a puzzling sci-fi tale, and the second season of a much buzzed-about BBC America TV series. Beyond that, we’ve got a handful of notable smaller movies, as well as two excellent choices from the Criterion Collection. Read on for details:
Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway reprise their voice roles as Blu and Jewel, the pair of blue macaws who found love in Fox’s 2011 animated film Rio, in this sequel, which follows them as they pursue the trail of another recently spotted macaw. Along the way, Blu, Jewel, and their three kids clash with an illegal logging operation in the Amazon, reunite with Jewel’s family, and run into some trouble in the form of an old nemesis. Unfortunately, critics weren’t as smitten by the colorful couple’s antics this time around, saying Rio 2 felt simply like a bigger, busier retread of its predecessor and rewarding its efforts with a 46 percent on the Tomatometer. Nevertheless, it may serve as a colorful distraction for your little ones, especially considering the special features include an extensive playlist of both sing-along and dance-along songs, among other things.
Those of you looking to hunker down with a copy of Under the Skin this week purely because “it’s the movie where Scarlett Johansson gets naked” might end up with more than you bargained for (don’t worry; we know that’s not really why you’re watching it). Jonathan Glazer’s (Sexy Beast) third film, an adaptation of Michel Faber’s eponymous sci-fi novel, is the stylized account of an alien who takes the form of a woman (Johansson) to seduce men and, ultimately, absorb their innards. Over time, the alien’s predatory instincts give way to curious observation, but to what end? Critics mostly agreed that Under the Skin‘s visual themes and narrative ambiguity might not be accessible to all viewers, but they also praised Johansson’s performance and the film’s haunting, heady ideas, making the film Certified Fresh at 86 percent. Available on DVD and Blu-ray this week, special features include a little over 42 minutes’ worth of featurettes on topics ranging from the casting and music to the production design and visual effects.
BBC America’s hit sci-fi series has been a coming out party for its star, Tatiana Maslany, who acts opposite herself in multiple roles and has earned a Golden Globe nomination for her efforts (no Emmy nom, though, much to the dismay of fans). After a first season that slowly drew an increasingly larger audience by word of mouth, Orphan Black returned for its second season back in April, expanding its narrative to include more characters, more twists, and more evidence why Maslany deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the show’s Certified Fresh 97 percent Tomatometer. For those of you looking for some extra clone goodness, the season two Blu-ray that hits shelves this week includes a number of making-of featurettes, including an extended version of the four-clone scene (dance party, woohoo!) and clone character profiles.
Also available this week:
Wrinkles (96 percent), an animated film about life in a retirement home, with voice work from Martin Sheen and Matthew Modine.
Israeli import Bethlehem (77 percent), a Certified Fresh drama exploring the complex relationship between an Israeli Secret Service agent and his Palestinian informant.
Road to Paloma (70 percent), a road movie about a Native American who flees across the country after he avenges his mother’s murder, starring, written by, and directed by Jason Momoa.
The Face of Love (42 percent), starring Ed Harris and Annette Bening in a dramedy about a widow who meets and falls in love with a man who looks exactly like her deceased husband.
Season three of Hell on Wheels, starring Anson Mount in a Western drama about a former Confederate soldier who becomes a foreman in the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad.
And of course, two more choices from the Criterion Collection: David Cronenberg’s breakout 1981 thriller Scanners (79 percent) is available in a first-time Criterion edition, and Robert Bresson’s 1959 classic Pickpocket (97 percent) is available in a new DVD edition and a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack.
Rio 2 is the sequel to Rio, hence the name. And like that 2011 animated hit, it soars in the musical segments but stays earthbound when it comes to actual story. This time, nervous Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) and confident Jewel (Anne Hathaway) have given birth to three baby blue macaws, and they’re all living a life of domesticated bliss in the city. But when they discover there are other rare birds of their kind still out there in the Amazon, they make the trek to find them – with several people and creatures on their tails who have varying dastardly intentions. The evil cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement) can’t fly this time so he’s more of a preening diva than a true villain. There’s also a half-baked subplot about illegal forestry that’ll be sure to get the kids excited. But the colors are wondrous and the production numbers are a delight. Everything in here is suitable for the whole family.
Rating: PG-13, for brief strong language and sexual references.
Kevin Costner stars as the general manager of the beleaguered Cleveland Browns, who must navigate athletes, agents, team executives, competitors, the media and even his own mother during one of the most important dates on the NFL calendar: draft day. Given this testosterone-infused environment, it’s no surprise that there’s some rough talk and profanity. Costner gets to utter the one well-chosen F-bomb you get with a PG-13 rating. There’s also a slightly mature subplot involving Costner’s relationship with a fellow executive, played by Jennifer Garner. But kids and pre-teens should probably stay away from this — not because of anything inappropriate, but because they’ll be bored. Director Ivan Reitman’s film focuses on the nitty-gritty of NFL machinations: the phone calls, manipulation and trading that go on between teams. But teens and up, especially those who are into football (or fantasy football), will probably enjoy it.
Rating: PG-13, for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.
If the giant talking spiders or ugly orcs don’t get you, the ferocious, fire-breathing dragon Smaug will. In between there are piercing arrows, ominous shadows, stabbings and beheadings. (And just think: If you have a 3-D TV at home, some of those severed heads will come flying right at you.) Yes, the source material – J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, contains this kind of fantasy action, but director Peter Jackson’s second film in his treatment of the book is just extraordinarily violent. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf pals enjoy many lively adventures on their way to Lonely Mountain, but once they get there they must contend with Smaug himself. Benedict Cumberbatch voices him, so you know he’s going to be deeply chilling. Given the graphic nature of this movie and the extended running time, this really is just for the most mature tweens and up.
Plenty of animated films can entertain the kiddies for two hours without leaving much of an impression. Critics say Rio 2 is visually sharp and action-packed, but it’s also overly busy and short on big laughs. Married macaws Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) have settled down with their chicks in the big city, but when an ornithologist discovers a flock of endangered blue macaws, the family travels to the Amazon rainforest, where they find a group of birds who can’t relate to Blu’s city-slicker ways. The pundits say that althoughRio 2 is colorful and energetic, its lack of storytelling discipline and overabundance of musical numbers makes for a thinner experience than its predecessor. (Check out our video interview with the stars of Rio 2 here.)
Moneyball proved that front-office action could be as riveting as anything on the playing field. Unfortunately, critics say that while Draft Day is slick and well acted, it suffers from predictable plotting and a shortage of insight. Costner stars as Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver, who’s tasked with rebuilding the team after another losing season. But Sonny’s not just worried about the Browns’ roster — he’s got a host of family issues to deal with as well. The pundits say Costner is rock-solid in the lead role, but the other characters aren’t as well fleshed out, and the film often fumbles the football details. (Watch our interview with the stars of Draft Day, and browse our gallery of memorable football movies.)
If you think you’ve seen every permutation on the haunted house horror flick template, think again. Critics say Oculus is a very effective frightfest, one that features interesting characters and an encompassing sense of dread. After the bizarre death of their parents, a pair of siblings return to their childhood home in order to confront the murderous party responsible: a haunted antique mirror that has the power to distort reality. The pundits say Oculus is sharply crafted, well acted, and often very scary.
Also opening this week in limited release:
Dancing In Jaffa, a documentary about a dance instructor who teaches classes for Israeli and Palestinian kids, is at 100 percent.
The King of Escape, a comedy about a middle-aged tractor salesman who accompanies a teenage girl fleeing her parents, is at 100 percent.
Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg are back as the two lovey-dovey Spix’s Macaws Blu and Jewel in Rio 2. Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Rodrigo Santoro, and Jemaine Clement join them, along with newcomers Kristin Chenoweth and Andy Garcia. Grae Drake discusses their bird calls and hidden talents.