(Photo by A24)
All 118 A24 Movies Ranked
Indie movie company A24 has built an almost unprecedented level of brand identity and loyalty. Savvy moviegoers actually get excited seeing their rainbow chromatic card in front of movies, despite A24 not being associated with any one filmmaker (like J.J. Abrams with Bad Robot), genre (horror and Blumhouse), or medium (animation studios like Pixar). It’s simply a soft style that threads through the best movies they put out, not quite definable, that’s catnip to open-minded filmgoers and critics alike.
A24 began in 2013 with A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, directed by Roman Coppola. It was decidedly not a box office or critical success, but does present one of A24’s modus operandi: Giving risky movies from established outsider filmmakers a shot in the theatrical space. You’ll see it again with Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women, and Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring. Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight won Best Picture in 2017, demonstrating A24 has got their finger on the cultural pulse (with credit to the Academy as well, of course).
Meanwhile, leaning into directorial debuts has paid off dividends, in the form of Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, Robert Eggers’ The Witch, and Ari Aster’s Hereditary. Recently Everything Everywhere All At Once became a pandemic-era sensation and rose up as the company’s highest-grossing domestic movie ever. After that, we saw Marcel the Shell With Shoes On and Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. Now, we’re ranking all A24 movies by Tomatometer! —Alex Vo
Adjusted Score: 128991%
Critics Consensus: Lady Bird delivers fresh insights about the turmoil of adolescence -- and reveals writer-director Greta Gerwig as a fully formed filmmaking talent.
A teenager (Saoirse Ronan) navigates a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother (Laurie Metcalf) over the course of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 118926%
Critics Consensus: Eighth Grade takes a look at its titular time period that offers a rare and resounding ring of truth while heralding breakthroughs for writer-director Bo Burnham and captivating star Elsie Fisher.
Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 124040%
Critics Consensus: Moonlight uses one man's story to offer a remarkable and brilliantly crafted look at lives too rarely seen in cinema.
A look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young black man growing up in Miami. His... [More]
Adjusted Score: 114039%
Critics Consensus: Led by arresting performances from Steven Yeun and Yeri Han, Minari offers an intimate and heart-wrenching portrait of family and assimilation in 1980s America.
A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104648%
Critics Consensus: Poignant, profound, and utterly heartwarming, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is animated entertainment with real heart.
Marcel is an adorable one-inch-tall shell who ekes out a colorful existence with his grandmother Connie and their pet lint,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 118968%
Critics Consensus: The Farewell deftly captures complicated family dynamics with a poignant, well-acted drama that marries cultural specificity with universally relatable themes.
Billi's family returns to China under the guise of a fake wedding to stealthily say goodbye to their beloved matriarch... [More]
Adjusted Score: 119721%
Critics Consensus: The Florida Project offers a colorfully empathetic look at an underrepresented part of the population that proves absorbing even as it raises sobering questions about modern America.
Set in the shadow of the most magical place on Earth, 6-year-old Moonee and her two best friends forge their... [More]
Adjusted Score: 110399%
Critics Consensus: First Cow finds director Kelly Reichardt revisiting territory and themes that will be familiar to fans of her previous work -- with typically rewarding results.
Two travelers, on the run from a band of vengeful hunters in the 1820s Northwest, dream of striking it rich... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103485%
Critics Consensus: Menashe offers an intriguing look at a culture whose unfamiliarity to many viewers will be rendered irrelevant by the story's universally affecting themes and thoughtful approach.
Deep in the heart of New York's notoriously secretive Hasidic Jewish community, Menashe, a good-hearted but somewhat hapless grocery store... [More]
Adjusted Score: 112101%
Critics Consensus: Led by an outstanding Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once lives up to its title with an expertly calibrated assault on the senses.
When an interdimensional rupture unravels reality, an unlikely hero must channel her newfound powers to fight bizarre and bewildering dangers... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104369%
Critics Consensus: As riveting as it is sad, Amy is a powerfully honest look at the twisted relationship between art and celebrity -- and the lethal spiral of addiction.
Archival footage and personal testimonials present an intimate portrait of the life and career of British singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104984%
Critics Consensus: A fresh spin on the classic slasher formula, X marks the spot where Ti West gets resoundingly back to his horror roots.
A group of actors sets out to make an adult film in rural Texas under the noses of their reclusive... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104154%
Critics Consensus: Startling, upsetting, and overall absorbing, Boys State strikingly depicts American political divisions -- and machinations -- taking root in the next generation.
A raucous journey into the heart of democracy captures an unusual rite of passage: 1,100 teenage boys from across Texas... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100782%
Critics Consensus: De Palma may not make believers out of the director's detractors, but they'll likely share longtime fans' fascination with his career's worth of entertaining stories.
Filmmaker Brian De Palma discusses his body of work, including "Sisters," "Obsession," "Carrie," "Dressed to Kill," "Blow Out," "Scarface," "The... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98397%
Critics Consensus: Raw, bracingly honest, and refreshingly unconventional, Krisha wrings fresh -- and occasionally uncomfortable -- truths from a seemingly familiar premise.
Tensions rise at a Thanksgiving gathering when a troubled woman (Krisha Fairchild) reunites with the extended family that she abandoned... [More]
Adjusted Score: 108182%
Critics Consensus: Brought to life by delicate work from writer-director Paul Schrader and elevated by a standout performance by Ethan Hawke, First Reformed takes a sensitive and suspenseful look at weighty themes.
The pastor of a small church in upstate New York spirals out of control after a soul-shaking encounter with an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103691%
Critics Consensus: The sweet chemistry between Joaquin Phoenix and Woody Norman is complemented by writer-director Mike Mills' empathetic work, helping C'mon C'mon transcend its familiar trappings.
Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) and his young nephew (Woody Norman) forge a tenuous but transformational relationship when they are unexpectedly thrown... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106490%
Critics Consensus: Led by incredible work from Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, Room makes for an unforgettably harrowing -- and undeniably rewarding -- experience.
Held captive for years in an enclosed space, a woman (Brie Larson) and her young son (Jacob Tremblay) finally gain... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101762%
Critics Consensus: A brilliantly unsettling blend of body horror and psychological thriller, Saint Maud marks an impressive debut for writer-director Rose Glass.
The debut film from writer-director Rose Glass, Saint Maud is a chilling and boldly original vision of faith, madness, and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99134%
Critics Consensus: An absorbingly reflective documentary that benefits from its subject's self-chronicling, Val offers an intimate look at a unique life and career.
For over 40 years Val Kilmer, one of Hollywood's most mercurial and/or misunderstood actors has been documenting his own life... [More]
Adjusted Score: 112705%
Critics Consensus: Uncut Gems reaffirms the Safdies as masters of anxiety-inducing cinema -- and proves Adam Sandler remains a formidable dramatic actor when given the right material.
A charismatic jeweler makes a high-stakes bet that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. In a precarious high-wire... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104019%
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.
Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) a programmer at a huge Internet company, wins a contest that enables him to spend a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 107062%
Critics Consensus: Led by a stellar Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth strips the classic story down to its visual and narrative essentials.
Joel Coen's bold and fierce adaptation of "Macbeth," a tale of murder, madness, ambition, and wrathful cunning.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 109208%
Critics Consensus: A visual treat filled out by consistently stellar work from Robert Pattinson, Good Time is a singularly distinctive crime drama offering far more than the usual genre thrills.
A bank robber stops at nothing to free his brother from prison, launching himself into a nightlong odyssey through New... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104764%
Critics Consensus: An affecting story powerfully told, The Last Black Man in San Francisco immediately establishes director Joe Talbot as a filmmaker to watch.
Jimmie and his best friend Mont try to reclaim the house built by Jimmie's grandfather, launching them on a poignant... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97359%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly performed and smartly unconventional, The End of the Tour pays fitting tribute to a singular talent while offering profoundly poignant observations on the human condition.
Writer and journalist David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) interviews author David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) for Rolling Stone magazine.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96220%
Critics Consensus: Slow West serves as an impressive calling card for first-time writer-director John M. Maclean -- and offers an inventive treat for fans of the Western.
A bounty hunter (Michael Fassbender) keeps his true motive a secret from the naive Scottish teenager (Kodi Smit-McPhee) he's offered... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97542%
Critics Consensus: Drawing on another terrific performance from Honor Swinton Byrne, The Souvenir Part II continues its story with profound emotional complexity and elegant storytelling.
An ambitious film student enters an intoxicating world of unpredictable romantic entanglements in 1980s London.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98602%
Critics Consensus: The Humans takes its Tony-winning source material from stage to screen without sacrificing the essence of writer-director Stephen Karam's dysfunctional drama.
Erik Blake has gathered three generations of his Pennsylvania family to celebrate Thanksgiving at his daughter's apartment in lower Manhattan.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95223%
Critics Consensus: A Prayer Before Dawn is far from an easy watch, but this harrowing prison odyssey delivers rich rewards -- led by an outstanding central performance from Joe Cole.
The amazing true story of Billy Moore, an English boxer incarcerated in Thailand's most notorious prison. Thrown into a world... [More]
Adjusted Score: 117211%
Critics Consensus: Oh, hai Mark. The Disaster Artist is a surprisingly poignant and charming movie-about-a-movie that explores the creative process with unexpected delicacy.
The incredible true story of aspiring filmmaker and Hollywood outsider Tommy Wiseau as he and his best friend defiantly pursue... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99510%
Critics Consensus: A one-man show set in a single confined location, Locke demands a powerful performance -- and gets it from a never-more-compelling Tom Hardy.
A man's (Tom Hardy) life unravels after he leaves a construction site at a critical time and drives to London... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102698%
Critics Consensus: Free of visual or narrative embellishments, Gloria Bell rests almost completely on Julianne Moore's performance in the title role -- and she's gloriously up to the task.
A free-spirited divorcee spends her nights on the dance floor, joyfully letting loose at clubs around Los Angeles. She soon... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98159%
Critics Consensus: The Spectacular Now is an adroit, sensitive film that avoids typical coming-of-age story trappings.
An innocent, bookish teenager (Shailene Woodley) begins dating the charming, freewheeling high-school senior (Miles Teller) who awoke on her lawn... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100724%
Critics Consensus: In Fabric's gauzy giallo allure weaves a surreal spell, blending stylish horror and dark comedy to offer audiences a captivating treat.
A lonely divorcee visits a bewitching London department store to find a dress to transform her life. She soon finds... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94531%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and steeped in Southern atmosphere, Mississippi Grind is a road movie and addiction drama that transcends each of its well-worn genres.
Convinced that his newfound friend (Ryan Reynolds) is a good-luck charm, a gambling addict (Ben Mendelsohn) takes the man on... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96253%
Critics Consensus: Impeccably cast and smartly written, Bodies Bodies Bodies is an uncommonly well-done whodunit.
When a group of 20-somethings gets stuck at a remote mansion during a hurricane, a party game gone very, very... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90456%
Critics Consensus: Informative, compassionate, and beautifully filmed, The Elephant Queen should satisfy nature documentary lovers of all ages.
A journey of family, courage, and coming home; joining Athena, the majestic matriarch, as she leads her elephant herd across... [More]
Adjusted Score: 113688%
Critics Consensus: A gripping story brilliantly filmed and led by a pair of powerhouse performances, The Lighthouse further establishes Robert Eggers as a filmmaker of exceptional talent.
Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 111720%
Critics Consensus: As thought-provoking as it is visually compelling, The Witch delivers a deeply unsettling exercise in slow-building horror that suggests great things for debuting writer-director Robert Eggers.
In 1630 New England, panic and despair envelops a farmer, his wife and their children when youngest son Samuel suddenly... [More]
Adjusted Score: 111827%
Critics Consensus: A Ghost Story deftly manages its ambitious themes through an inventive, artful, and ultimately poignant exploration of love and loss.
A passionate young couple, unexpectedly separated by a shocking loss, discover an eternal connection and a love that is infinite.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105863%
Critics Consensus: Green Room delivers unapologetic genre thrills with uncommon intelligence and powerfully acted élan.
Members (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat) of a punk-rock band and a tough young woman (Imogen Poots) battle murderous white supremacists... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98780%
Critics Consensus: Gritty, gripping, and weighted with thought-provoking heft, A Most Violent Year represents another strong entry in writer-director J.C. Chandor's impressive filmography.
In 1981 New York, a fuel supplier (Oscar Isaac) tries to adhere to his own moral compass amid the rampant... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99754%
Critics Consensus: Led by Simon Rex's magnetic performance, Red Rocket is another vibrant, ground-level look at modern American life from director/co-writer Sean Baker.
The audacious new film from writer-director Sean Baker (The Florida Project, Tangerine), starring Simon Rex in a magnetic, live-wire performance,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100159%
Critics Consensus: Lean on Pete avoids mawkish melodrama, offering an empathetic yet clear-eyed portrayal of a young man at a crossroads that confirms Charley Plummer as a major talent.
Charley, a teen living with his single father, finds work caring for an aging racehorse named Lean on Pete. When... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100057%
Critics Consensus: Made by a filmmaker in command of her craft and a star perfectly matched with the material, The Souvenir is a uniquely impactful coming of age drama.
A shy film student begins finding her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97063%
Critics Consensus: Tackling a sensitive subject with maturity, honesty, and wit, Obvious Child serves as a deeply promising debut for writer-director Gillian Robespierre.
An immature, newly unemployed comic (Jenny Slate) must navigate the murky waters of adulthood after her fling with a graduate... [More]
Adjusted Score: 112825%
Critics Consensus: Hereditary uses its classic setup as the framework for a harrowing, uncommonly unsettling horror film whose cold touch lingers long beyond the closing credits.
When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106410%
Critics Consensus: The Green Knight honors and deconstructs its source material in equal measure, producing an absorbing adventure that casts a fantastical spell.
An epic fantasy adventure based on the timeless Arthurian legend, THE GREEN KNIGHT tells the story of Sir Gawain (Dev... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100215%
Critics Consensus: Zola captures the stranger-than-fiction appeal of the viral Twitter thread that inspired it -- and announces director/co-writer Janicza Bravo as a filmmaker to watch.
"Y'all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out? It's kind of long but full... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105408%
Critics Consensus: 20th Century Women offers Annette Bening a too-rare opportunity to shine in a leading role -- and marks another assured step forward for writer-director Mike Mills.
In 1979 Santa Barbara, Calif., Dorothea Fields is a determined single mother in her mid-50s who is raising her adolescent... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98754%
Critics Consensus: Although its reach occasionally exceeds its grasp, After Yang yields rich rewards for those willing to settle into its low-key wavelength.
When his young daughter's beloved companion -- an android named Yang -- malfunctions, Jake (Colin Farrell) searches for a way... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106487%
Critics Consensus: On the Rocks isn't as potent as its top-shelf ingredients might suggest, but the end result still goes down easy -- and offers high proof of Bill Murray's finely aged charm.
Faced with sudden doubts about her marriage, a young New York mother teams up with her larger-than-life playboy father to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103161%
Critics Consensus: As strange as it is thrillingly ambitious, The Lobster is definitely an acquired taste -- but for viewers with the fortitude to crack through Yorgos Lanthimos' offbeat sensibilities, it should prove a savory cinematic treat.
In a dystopian society, single people must find a mate within 45 days or be transformed into an animal of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106659%
Critics Consensus: It Comes at Night makes lethally effective use of its bare-bones trappings while proving once again that what's left unseen can be just as horrifying as anything on the screen.
After a mysterious apocalypse leaves the world with few survivors, two families are forced to share a home in an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91876%
Critics Consensus: Morris from America adds some novel narrative twists to its father-son story -- and gains added resonance thanks to a powerful performance from Craig Robinson.
A 13-year-old rapper (Markees Christmas) focused on hip-hop stardom falls for a rebellious classmate (Lina Keller) after moving from the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95397%
Critics Consensus: Darkly imaginative and brought to life by a pair of striking central performances, Lamb shears expectations with its singularly wooly chills.
A childless couple in rural Iceland make an alarming discovery one day in their sheep barn. They soon face the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85855%
Critics Consensus: Grim yet compelling, Share avoids rote didacticism thanks to sensitive direction and committed central performances.
A disturbing video leaked from a local high school throws a Long Island community into chaos and the national spotlight... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95385%
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.
Disguising herself as a human female, an extraterrestrial (Scarlett Johansson) drives around Scotland and tries to lure unsuspecting men into... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99824%
Critics Consensus: An up-close look at one family's emotional ups and downs, Waves captures complicated dynamics with tenderness and grace.
The epic emotional journey of a suburban African American family as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85824%
Critics Consensus: Oasis: Supersonic foregoes a comprehensive approach to its multi-platinum subjects in favor of an appreciative -- and stirring -- look at their heady early years.
A revealing look at the meteoric rise of seminal '90s rock band Oasis, weaving never-before-seen concert footage with candid interviews... [More]
Adjusted Score: 108362%
Critics Consensus: Ambitious, impressively crafted, and above all unsettling, Midsommar further proves writer-director Ari Aster is a horror auteur to be reckoned with.
A young American couple, their relationship foundering, travel to a fabled Swedish midsummer festival where a seemingly pastoral paradise transforms... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91410%
Critics Consensus: Poignant and piercingly honest, While We're Young finds writer-director Noah Baumbach delivering some of his funniest lines through some of his most relatable characters.
Middle-aged filmmaker Josh Srebnick (Ben Stiller) and his wife, Cornelia (Naomi Watts), are happily married, but stuck in a rut.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86826%
Critics Consensus: The Hole in the Ground artfully exploits parental fears with a well-made horror outing that makes up in sheer effectiveness what it lacks in originality.
One night, Sarah's young son disappears into the woods behind their rural home. When he returns, he looks the same,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96685%
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.
Monte and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89162%
Critics Consensus: With appealing leads and a narrative approach that offers a fresh perspective on familiar themes, The Lovers tells a quietly absorbing story with unexpected emotional resonance.
A man and his wife, each embroiled in an extramarital affair, are sent reeling when they suddenly fall for the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100498%
Critics Consensus: The Killing of a Sacred Deer continues director Yorgos Lanthimos' stubbornly idiosyncratic streak -- and demonstrates again that his is a talent not to be ignored.
Dr. Steven Murphy is a renowned cardiovascular surgeon who presides over a spotless household with his wife and two children.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93622%
Critics Consensus: Mid90s tells a clear-eyed yet nostalgic coming-of-age tale that might mark the start of an auspicious new career for debuting writer-director Jonah Hill.
In 1990s Los Angeles, a 13-year-old spends his summer navigating between a troubled home life and a crew of new... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81937%
Critics Consensus: The Monster uses its effectively simple setup and a powerful lead performance from Zoe Kazan to deliver a traditional yet subtly subversive -- and thoroughly entertaining -- horror story.
A divorced mother and her headstrong daughter must make an emergency late-night road trip to see the girl's father. As... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81411%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
A merciless cowboy sets out on a dangerous journey across the frontier, determined to do whatever it takes to avenge... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91886%
Critics Consensus: American Honey offers a refreshingly unconventional take on the coming-of-age drama whose narrative risks add up to a rewarding experience even if they don't all pay off.
Star (Sasha Lane), an adolescent girl from a troubled home, runs away with a traveling sales crew that drives across... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82291%
Critics Consensus: Elle Fanning gives a terrific performance in this powerful coming-of-age tale about a pair of teenage girls whose friendship is unnerved by the threat of nuclear war.
In 1962 London, the lifelong friendship between two teenagers (Elle Fanning, Alice Englert) dissolves after one seduces the other's father.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80296%
Critics Consensus: Skin could stand to go a bit deeper below its surface, but a worthy story and a committed performance from Jamie Bell make this timely drama well worth a watch.
A young man makes the dangerous choice to leave the white supremacist gang he joined as a teenager. With his... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78032%
Critics Consensus: Never Goin' Back benefits from the chemistry between leads Maia Mitchell and Camila Morrone, whose easy rapport lifts a coming-of-age story with uncommon insight.
Angela and Jessie are best friends intent on taking a wild beach trip, but when their roommate loses all of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78482%
Critics Consensus: Into the Forest grounds its familiar apocalyptic framework with a relatable look at the bond between two sisters, compellingly brought to life by Elliot Page and Evan Rachel Wood.
In the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, two sisters must fight for survival after an apocalyptic blackout leaves them without... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80279%
Critics Consensus: The Children Act showcases yet another powerful performance from Emma Thompson, who elevates this undeniably flawed picture into an affecting adult drama.
Judge Fiona May must race against the clock to determine the fate of a teenage boy in need of a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78100%
Critics Consensus: The Death of Dick Long mixes dark humor with provocative ideas to produce a sharp blend that's admittedly uneven but uniquely satisfying.
In small-town Alabama, Zeke and Earl scramble to cover up the unlikely and illegal events that led to their friend's... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77867%
Critics Consensus: Slow-building and atmospheric, The Blackcoat's Daughter resists girls-in-peril clichés in a supernatural thriller that serves as a strong calling card for debuting writer-director Oz Perkins.
During the dead of winter, a troubled young woman (Emma Roberts) embarks on a mysterious journey to an isolated prep... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77983%
Critics Consensus: The Exception (The Kaiser's Last Kiss) elegantly blends well-dressed period romance and war drama into a solidly crafted story further elevated by Christopher Plummer's excellent work and the efforts of a talented supporting cast.
German soldier Stefan Brandt goes on a mission to investigate exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Kaiser lives in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 73185%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
When teenager Alan and his younger brother find a bag of gold coins in a dead man's island home, they... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85413%
Critics Consensus: Disarmingly odd and thoroughly well-acted, Swiss Army Man offers adventurous viewers an experience as rewarding as it is impossible to categorize.
Being stranded on a deserted island leaves young Hank (Paul Dano) bored, lonely and without hope. As a rope hangs... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75855%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a strong performance from Jake Gyllenhaal and smart direction from Denis Villeneuve, Enemy hits the mark as a tense, uncommonly adventurous thriller.
A mild-mannered college professor (Jake Gyllenhaal) discovers a look-alike actor and delves into the other man's private affairs.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72376%
Critics Consensus: Flawed yet viscerally effective, The Kill Team interrogates battlefield morality with a hard-hitting intensity further amplified by a talented cast.
When a young U.S. soldier in Afghanistan witnesses other recruits killing civilians under the direction of a sadistic sergeant, he... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87209%
Critics Consensus: Free Fire aims squarely for genre thrills, and hits its target repeatedly and with great gusto -- albeit with something less than pure cinematic grace.
When a black-market arms deal goes outrageously wrong, Justine finds herself caught in the crossfire, forced to navigate through a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79308%
Critics Consensus: Challenging and rewarding in equal measure, Climax captures writer-director Gaspar Noé working near his technically brilliant and visually distinctive peak.
When members of a dance troupe are lured to an empty school, drug-laced sangria causes their jubilant rehearsal to descend... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74829%
Critics Consensus: Remember risks wandering into exploitative territory, but it's bolstered by some of Egoyan's best latter-day directing and a typically stellar performance from Christopher Plummer.
With help from a fellow Holocaust survivor (Martin Landau), a widower (Christopher Plummer) who struggles with memory loss embarks on... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81566%
Critics Consensus: If its narrative and thematic reach sometimes exceeds its grasp, magnetic performances from a stellar cast help Men make the most of its horror provocations.
In the aftermath of a personal tragedy, Harper (Jessie Buckley) retreats alone to the beautiful English countryside, hoping to have... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75144%
Critics Consensus: Spring Breakers blends stinging social commentary with bikini cheesecake and a bravura James Franco performance.
College students Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) are short of the cash... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74305%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by engaging performances from Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, the tension-filled The Rover overcomes its narrative faults through sheer watchability.
In the near future, mankind's greed and excesses have pushed civilization to the breaking point. Society is in decline, and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 68615%
Critics Consensus: Laggies may not do as much with its ideas as it could, but it's buoyed by a winsome performance from Kiera Knightley, as well as Lynn Shelton's empathetic direction.
When 28-year-old Megan attends her 10-year high-school reunion, she realizes that very little in her life has changed. An unexpected... [More]
Adjusted Score: 66125%
Critics Consensus: The Sky Is Everywhere never quite scales the heights of profundity to which it aspires, but star Grace Kaufman proves a perfect fit for director Josephine Decker's vision.
Tucked among the magical redwood trees of Northern California and surrounded by her grandmother's gargantuan roses, 17-year-old Lennie Walker, a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 63472%
Critics Consensus: Gritty, stylish, and smart, Son of a Gun serves up plenty of genre thrills while offering a refreshing change of pace for Ewan McGregor.
JR, a teenage criminal, is locked up for a minor crime and forced to adapt to the harsh realities of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 59756%
Critics Consensus: The Last Movie Star has a few poignant moments thanks to Burt Reynolds and Ariel Winter, but their performances are stranded in a middling drama unworthy of their efforts.
An aging screen icon gets lured into accepting an award at a rinky-dink film festival in Nashville, Tenn., sending him... [More]
Adjusted Score: 67701%
Critics Consensus: While it's certainly timely and beautifully filmed, The Bling Ring suffers from director Sofia Coppola's failure to delve beneath the surface of its shallow protagonists' real-life crimes.
A teenager (Israel Broussard) and his gang of fame-obsessed youths (Katie Chang, Taissa Farmiga) use the Internet to track the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 62312%
Critics Consensus: Native Son's struggles with its problematic source material are uneven but overall compelling, thanks largely to Ashton Sanders' poised work in the central role.
A young African-American living in Chicago enters into a seductive new world of money and power after becoming a chauffeur... [More]
Adjusted Score: 60859%
Critics Consensus: Woman Walks Ahead gets some extra mileage out of watchable work from Jessica Chastain and Michael Greyeyes, but uneven pacing and two-dimensional characters undermine their efforts.
A headstrong New York painter embarks on a dangerous journey to meet Sitting Bull but must face off with an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 67324%
Critics Consensus: Under the Silver Lake hits its stride slightly more often than it stumbles, but it's hard not to admire - or be drawn in by - writer-director David Robert Mitchell's ambition.
Sam is a disenchanted 33-year-old who discovers a mysterious woman, Sarah, frolicking in his apartment's swimming pool. When she vanishes,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 60868%
Critics Consensus: Trespass Against Us benefits from Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson's typically strong performances, even when they aren't quite enough to balance the story's narrative drift and awkward tonal shifts.
After an elaborate heist goes south, reluctant criminal Chad (Michael Fassbender) must find a way to escape from the clutches... [More]
Adjusted Score: 52624%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
In a spooky small town, when a slew of pizza delivery boys are slain on the job, two daring survivors... [More]
Adjusted Score: 52239%
Critics Consensus: How to Talk to Girls at Parties has energy and ambition, but is ultimately too unfocused to do much with either -- or develop its themes into a cohesive whole.
Worlds collide when Enn, a shy teenager in 1970s London, meets the beautiful and rebellious Zan at a party. They... [More]
Adjusted Score: 51768%
Critics Consensus: Its classic horror aims exceed its blood-slicked grasp, but False Positive works its way sneakily under the skin.
After months of trying and failing to get pregnant, Lucy (Ilana Glazer) and Adrian (Justin Theroux) finally find their dream... [More]
Adjusted Score: 50479%
Critics Consensus: Tusk is pleasantly ridiculous and charmingly self-deprecating, but that isn't enough to compensate for its thin, overstretched story.
A U.S. podcaster (Justin Long) ventures into the Canadian wilderness to interview an old man (Michael Parks) who has an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 47706%
Critics Consensus: In spite of Aubrey Plaza's committed performance, Life After Beth remains a sketch-worthy idea that's been uncomfortably stretched to feature length.
A guy (Dane DeHaan) discovers that his girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza) has returned from the dead, but his joy turns to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 44666%
Critics Consensus: Hot Summer Nights is easy on the eyes and clearly indebted to some great films, but its strengths -- including a charismatic young cast -- are often outweighed by its uninspired story.
An awkward teenager gets in over his head dealing drugs while falling for his business partner's enigmatic sister during one... [More]
Adjusted Score: 37559%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Michael, a young United Nations employee, travels to Iraq with his mentor, who wants to show him how successful the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 39939%
Critics Consensus: Equals is a treat for the eyes, but its futuristic aesthetic isn't enough to make up for its plodding pace and aimlessly derivative story.
Nia (Kristen Stewart) and Silas work together in a futuristic society known as the Collective. A seemingly utopian world, the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 36737%
Critics Consensus: Cut Bank contains typically outstanding work from its solid veteran cast, but it's lost in a dull morass of predictably derivative crime thriller clichés.
Things go from bad to worse when a murder witness (Liam Hemsworth) in small-town Montana tries to leverage the crime... [More]
Adjusted Score: 26208%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
When the leader of a motorcycle gang is released from prison, he must fight his former deputy for control of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 34984%
Critics Consensus: Mojave has no shortage of talent on either side of the camera; unfortunately, it amounts to little more than a frustrating missed opportunity.
A down-and-out artist (Garrett Hedlund) has a dangerous and shocking encounter with an evil drifter (Oscar Isaac) in the desert,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 28468%
Critics Consensus: Wan and lugubrious, The Captive represents another atmospheric, beautifully filmed misfire from director Atom Egoyan.
Eight years after a child disappeared without a trace, detectives find disturbing clues that indicate that the girl is still... [More]
Adjusted Score: 29581%
Critics Consensus: Woodshock's engages visually, but its half-baked premise is as underwhelming as it is unsatisfying.
A haunted young woman spirals into confusion and chaos after she falls under the spell of a potent, reality-altering drug.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 25600%
Critics Consensus: Just like its underserved protagonist, Barely Lethal is in disguise -- it wants you to think it's smarter than it is but it fails by falling prey to all the clichés it mocks.
Seeking a normal adolescence, a special-operations agent (Hailee Steinfeld) fakes her own death and enrolls in high school as an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 26458%
Critics Consensus: Stylistically overwrought and tedious, The Adderal Diaries aspires for profundity but instead feels like a shambolic class project thrown together right before it was due.
Suffering from writer's block, author Stephen Elliott (James Franco) reconnects with his estranged father (Ed Harris) while investigating the murder... [More]
Adjusted Score: 24794%
Critics Consensus: Dark Places has a strong cast and bestselling source material, but none of it adds up to more than a mediocre thriller that gets tripped up on its own twists.
A woman (Charlize Theron) confronts traumatic, childhood memories of the murder of her mother and two sisters when she investigates... [More]
Adjusted Score: 19551%
Critics Consensus: Dull, maudlin, and fundamentally empty, The Sea of Trees extinguishes the contributions of a talented cast and marks a depressing low point in director Gus Van Sant's career.
After traveling to Japan's Aokigahara Forest, a troubled teacher (Matthew McConaughey) meets a mysterious stranger (Ken Watanabe) who takes him... [More]
Adjusted Score: 17599%
Critics Consensus: Tiresomely self-indulgent and lacking any storytelling cohesion, this Glimpse Inside the Mind finds little food for thought.
A graphic designer (Charlie Sheen) plays out unusual fantasies in his head as a way of coping with the departure... [More]
Adjusted Score: 15188%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
A Chinese emigrant (Justin Chon) and his best friend (Kevin Wu) rise through the ranks of one of New York's... [More]
Adjusted Score: 11756%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
An enigmatic detective embarks on a cross-country search for a once-prominent author who's mysteriously disappeared after a string of dangerous... [More]
This feature is by Catherine Young, the current USC Annenberg-Rotten Tomatoes Digital Innovation and Entertainment Criticism fellow, a partnership with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Cate is writing on the representation of women in film; read her piece, What Ever Happened To Cinema’s Virginal Final Girl?, here.
Over the last decade of cinema, audiences have shown an affection for women who steal – especially when they look good doing it. Since 2010, there’s been a number of big-budget, studio-released, female-fronted films that focus on women and girls with a taste for luxury and a penchant for crime. Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring showed the appeal of empty consumerism and label addiction, Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor gave us style and cunning wrapped up in a sharp three-piece suit, and Ocean’s 8 brought eight actresses together for the jewel heist of a lifetime. That’s not to mention the stylish, pole-dancing heroes of Hustlers, the bad girls of Spring Breakers, or the hilariously mismatched partners of The Hustle. And all these films have been successful, making bank at the box office, or becoming cult hits, and inspiring memes and followings.
(Photo by A24/courtesy Everett Collection)
So what exactly makes this type of anti-heroine – whom we’ll call The Designer Thief – so compelling? After all, even though they’re fun to watch, it would probably be a lot less fun to fall victim to one of their schemes.
Simply put? She’s got the look.
Whether it’s stealing for fun or stealing for profit, a major draw of the Designer Thief is the way she is depicted. The highly stylized treatment of these characters transforms them from figures we judge into figures of envy. They are successful thieves, able to live in beautiful homes and swan around in beautiful clothes, and through them we can imagine what our lives would be like if we also had access to unfettered wealth. These criminal characters permit us to enjoy the thrill of their ill-gotten gains, minus the guilt or responsibility of actually committing any crimes. We get a taste of the high life, without having to do the nasty work to get there. The trope of the Designer Thief proliferates because it lets us into a world most of us will never experience.
(Photo by A24/courtesy Everett Collection)
Sofia Coppola’s 2013 film The Bling Ring, based on a true story, is all about conspicuous consumption. In it, a band of idle, celebrity-obsessed teens becomes fixated on the lives and lifestyles of the socialites filling the pages of tabloid magazines and websites like TMZ. Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and The Hills’ Audrina Patridge are just a few of the women who are unlucky enough to be the subjects of the teens’ materialistic devotion. That devotion turns criminal when the group decides to relieve the women of their beautiful things by breaking into their houses and stealing them.
As their scores get bigger and riskier – they repeatedly hit the same houses and are eventually caught on security cameras – the members of the Bling Ring are almost compelled to continue stealing. They pilfer designer dresses and expensive bags to suit their own tastes, or to resell for cash, and the film takes great pains to show the teens sincerely indulging in their newfound access to this wealth. They know and understand not just the value of the objects they steal, but the social cache that comes with the labels stitched inside them. “Look at her sunglasses – these are Alexander McQueen!” one girl exclaims during an early heist at Hilton’s house. The item itself is immaterial, but the name has power. Dressing in their stolen designer gear, the Designer Thieves of The Bling Ring inherit some measure of these socialites’ mystique and allure, and themselves become mysterious and alluring within their peer group.
(Photo by A24/courtesy Everett Collection)
As moderately well-off children in and around Beverly Hills, what the teens of the Bling Ring really desired – in real life and on screen – was the lifestyle they saw depicted in the press by the models and socialites they envied. The things were merely a portal to the sense of superiority they were chasing. Crime was a means to an end. The small group of (largely) women did not steal to fund projects or pay bills, but simply to accumulate things.
And yet, we don’t judge the Ring too harshly – because we as an audience can be just like them: desperately aspiring for more. The Bling Ring’s actions allow us as viewers a perverse kind of voyeurism. We too get to enjoy playing in the closets of the rich and the famous – and even judge them. (These are not victimless crimes… but have you seen the victims?!) It’s hard to justify the conspicuous consumption of these stars in the first place. Who truly needs an entire closet filled with expensive Birkin bags? Seeing these young women play dress-up in the riches they had not earned, for fun, and even get away with it for a time, permits us all to experience our own illicit thrill. At the time, some criticized Coppola for taking aim at rampant consumerism, while seeming to also celebrate it. Perhaps that was entirely the point.
(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection)
Ocean’s 8 is an all-female reboot of the Steven Soderbergh-helmed Ocean’s heist trilogy. The film is one long jewel heist – it’s almost as if the Bling Ring grew up, but never left those walk-in closets. The movie presents its cast of heavy hitters like Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Rihanna – women well-known for their extraordinary glamour offscreen – as low-level, working-class grifters who combine their powers for one last score.
Ocean’s 8 leans hard into luxury. The movie begins with Debbie Ocean (Bullock) leaving prison. Rather than reaching out to friends or family, her first order of business is to run a quick scam on a department store to get makeup and clothing, then continue her streak at a nearby luxury hotel by swindling her way into someone else’s just-vacated room. Within hours of leaving the state’s custody, Debbie already has access to room service on someone else’s tab and all the fancy clothing she wants. The film’s introduction is a distillation of the designer thief in action, and we cheer her on for getting her way.
(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection)
The rest of the film continues the gambit. Not only do the women aim to steal a $150 million diamond necklace, but the theft itself takes place at the annual Costume Institute Gala. Colloquially known as The Met Ball, the event is widely considered to be one of the most lavish and exclusive social events in the world. Each year, designers gather with their celebrity guests to show off extravagant fashion centered on an annual theme. Rihanna, who also stars in the film, is regularly one of the Gala’s most highly anticipated guests, and co-chaired the event the same year the film was released.
By choosing this location for their heist, the movie places the women’s theft squarely within the realm of luxury and idolized aesthetics. While the men of the original Ocean’s trilogy robbed casinos – high-stakes venues largely controlled by masculine power – these women rob an event whose most high-profile presence is the legacy editor of a women’s fashion magazine. The focus of their heist, the Cartier Toussaint necklace, is the embodiment of shiny, sparkly beauty, and at the end of the film, we find out it isn’t the only thing they took. Our grown-up Bling Ring also steals all the jewelry from the rest of the Institute’s displays, too.
(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection)
In keeping with the highly stylized venue of their heist, the women’s costumes are also extremely glamorous. The costuming serves a dual purpose: in the story, it allows them to blend in at the Met Gala; for the audience it gives us a visual thrill – and options for the Designer Thief we most identify with. The cast is packed with famous actresses spanning several generations, all of them with highly distinct visual personalities made clear through costume choices. The red ball gown Rihanna wears as the con reaches its peaks is a stunner that dazzles viewers and allows the character to fit in. Blanchett’s stylish three-piece suits give her an enviable swagger and clear authority that inform her place in the hierarchy of the group and give hints about her relationship to Bullock’s Debbie. Helena Bonham Carter’s dizzy piles of clothing tell us instantly why her fashion company has fallen out of favor, and why she needs the money, but it also give us an “alternative girl” style icon to latch onto. For each character, her wardrobe is set dressing for the type of thief they become, the motivations for their theft and their participation in this world. For each audience member, it’s a chance to once again revel in luxury and style – and in this case we get eight distinct styles to choose from.
We find another version of the Designer Thief in Paul Feig’s 2018 comedy-thriller, A Simple Favor. In the film, Emily Nelson (Blake Lively) is an inscrutable PR director for a fashion company, who stands out for her stylish and immaculately tailored suits (and skill with a cocktail shaker). In fact, the various suits Lively wears in the film (and on the film’s press tour) became an obsession for some fans, with Pinterest and Instagram posts and accounts devoted to her wardrobe. But those same designer suits are eventually revealed to be nothing more than a series of individual pieces superficially put together to resemble a tailored pantsuit. And like her seemingly perfect uniform, Emily is is ultimately revealed all style and little substance.
(Photo by Lionsgate/courtesy Everett Collection)
Emily disappears in the first act, presumed kidnapped or murdered. But Feig’s twisty plot eventually reveals she is the film’s villain, having murdered her drug-addicted twin sister before going into hiding in order to collect on her own life insurance. We learn also that her husband is a failed novelist whom she married in the hopes of sharing in his success, and her gorgeous house is a relic to all the money they have squandered in their marriage. The many damaged people she has left in her wake all have stories of the way she took advantage of and leached off them, only moving on when they had nothing left to give.
And yet despite being the explicit villain of the story, it is Emily who has become the cult favorite of Feig’s movie. Her manipulation and murder are the selling point of the film’s appeal rather than a reason to reject the character, because she does it all with flair and finesse – and while looking great. Lively imbues the character with a forceful confidence that – contrasted with Anna Kendrick’s Stephanie‘s suffocating timidity – allows viewers to find a foothold into that ever elusive quality: “likability.” With her pushiness, style, and uncomfortable frankness, Emily leaves the film’s biggest impression, despite disappearing for much of its run time. In the end, despite her significant flaws, Emily is the character the audience most wants to be.
(Photo by Lionsgate/courtesy Everett Collection)
There will likely always be a market in film for women like the Designer Thief. The archetype allows us to hold multiple ideas at once without having to examine the ways they conflict with each other or call each other into question. Historically in film, men steal for power and wealth (Fast Five, The Italian Job, Bandits), but women steal for the promise of comfort and stability. The Designer Thief is a product of our contrasting ideas about what we want women to be and do and how we’d like to see them when we know we’ll remain safe from the effects of their choices. When it comes down to it, the Designer Thief allows us to live vicariously through her by seeing women embrace the opulence and wealth they didn’t earn. Isn’t it fun to imagine a life of luxury without the possibility of a life sentence?
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(Photo by Sarah Shatz/©Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)
50 Movies With Epic Parties To Stream Right Now
In these days of six-feet-apart distancing, the idea of throwing/attending/completely humiliating yourself at a wild party is out of the question – no matter how much you might currently be fantasizing about doing just that. We here at Rotten Tomatoes have been feeling the itch for company of late too, and with that in mind decided to help bring the party home to you – with the help of some of the most out-of-control gatherings ever committed to screen. Start streaming one of the films below and – voila – you’ll be surrounded by booze, music, and friends. (Bonus: Your friends might include Kirsten Dunst, Seth Rogen, and Dave Chappelle.)
There’s something for everyone here: a ton of house parties for those looking for a Solo cup vibe; decadent bacchanals for those who want to live fancy (Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby, Marie Antoinette); office parties for those missing their colleagues (The Apartment, Office Christmas Party); and a sci-fi rave (The Matrix: Reloaded), a period ball (Pride and Prejudice), and some kink (Eyes Wide Shut) for good measure. (Note: We decided to leave some epic parties out, because, well, we didn’t like how the ended – looking at you Carrie and Scream.)
With that said, it’s now time to do our hair, grab something from mom’s liquor cabinet, and call an Uber – er, we mean, plonk ourselves on the couch. Party’s about to start and you don’t want to be unfashionably late.
Let us know your favorite movie party in the comments – and which movie characters you’d have on your party guest list. To see where to stream each movie, click into the title for more details.
Adjusted Score: 31010%
Critics Consensus: A clumsy and scattered comedy with a poorly executed script.
This ensemble comedy follows an array of young people in New York City on New Year's Eve. Among the numerous... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96245%
Critics Consensus: Nostalgic in the best sense, Everybody Wants Some!! finds Richard Linklater ambling through the past with a talented cast, a sweetly meandering story, and a killer classic rock soundtrack.
In 1980 Texas, a college freshman (Blake Jenner) meets his new baseball teammates (Will Brittain, Ryan Guzman), an unruly group... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96296%
Critics Consensus: Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience.
High school seniors Seth and Evan have high hopes for a graduation party. The co-dependent teens plan to score booze... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97339%
Critics Consensus: Full of humor and nostalgia, Adventureland is a sweet, insightful coming-of-age comedy that will resonate with teens and adults alike.
It's the summer of 1987, and recent college grad James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) can't wait to begin his long-anticipated dream... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94542%
Critics Consensus: Almost Famous, with its great ensemble performances and story, is a well-crafted, warm-hearted movie that successfully draws you into its era.
Set in 1973, it chronicles the funny and often poignant coming of age of 15-year-old William, an unabashed music fan... [More]
Adjusted Score: 37817%
Critics Consensus: It has an amusing enough premise, but Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead will just leave viewers pining for the madcap hijinks promised by the title.
Sue Ellen Crandell (Christina Applegate) is a teenager eagerly awaiting her mother's (Concetta Tomei) summer-long absence. While the babysitter (Eda... [More]
Adjusted Score: 44217%
Critics Consensus: Beerfest features some laugh-inducing gags, but is too long and the pacing too uneven to form a coherent, functioning comedy.
Two brothers (Erik Stolhanske, Paul Soter) from America happen upon a secret and centuries-old beer-games competition during a visit to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 51697%
Critics Consensus: Its cast of gifted comics is good for a handful of laughs, but Office Christmas Party's overstuffed plot ultimately proves roughly as disappointing as its clichéd gags and forced sentimentality.
When the CEO (Jennifer Aniston) tries to close her hard-partying brother's (T.J. Miller) branch, he and his chief technical officer... [More]
Adjusted Score: 41847%
Critics Consensus: Occasionally clever and moderately intelligent, Can't Hardly Wait also contains too many cheap laughs, recycled plotting, and flat characters.
School's out, and an entire graduating class -- from football stars and cool girls to complete nerds -- gathers at... [More]
Adjusted Score: 47508%
Critics Consensus: A tiresome movie about unsympathetic college kids engaging in self-destructive behaviors.
Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, "Rules" centers around Partrick Bateman's younger brother and his college friends bizarre... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77371%
Critics Consensus: Romy and Michele's High School Reunion has an admittedly slight premise, but it's elevated by ample heart, an infectiously playful spirit, and the buoyant chemistry of Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino.
Ten years after their high school graduation, Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow) haven't exactly accomplished everything that they... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100352%
Critics Consensus: One of the definitive Generation X movies, Say Anything... is equally funny and heartfelt -- and it established John Cusack as an icon for left-of-center types everywhere.
In a charming, critically acclaimed tale of first love, Lloyd (John Cusack), an eternal optimist, seeks to capture the heart... [More]
Adjusted Score: 43197%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Nervous high school senior Tom Lawrence (Chris Young) visits Port Chester University, where he gets a taste of politically correct... [More]
Adjusted Score: 60068%
Critics Consensus: While certainly ambitious -- and every bit as visually dazzling as one might expect -- Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby emphasizes visual splendor at the expense of its source material's vibrant heart.
Midwest native Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) arrives in 1922 New York in search of the American dream. Nick, a would-be... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75144%
Critics Consensus: Spring Breakers blends stinging social commentary with bikini cheesecake and a bravura James Franco performance.
College students Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) are short of the cash... [More]
Adjusted Score: 73010%
Critics Consensus: Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger add strong performances to an unexpectedly clever script, elevating 10 Things (slightly) above typical teen fare.
Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) is beautiful, smart and quite abrasive to most of her fellow teens, meaning that she doesn't... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74409%
Critics Consensus: The Night Before provokes enough belly laughs to qualify as a worthwhile addition to the list of Christmas comedies worth revisiting, even if it isn't quite as consistent as the classics.
For the last 10 years, lifelong buddies Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have gathered on... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72415%
Critics Consensus: Undeniably lowbrow but surprisingly sly, Revenge of the Nerds has enough big laughs to qualify as a minor classic in the slobs-vs.-snobs subgenre.
Geeky college students Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) and Lewis (Robert Carradine) are evicted from their dormitory when the Alpha Betas --... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76721%
Critics Consensus: Baz Luhrmann's visual aesthetic is as divisive as it is fresh and inventive.
Baz Luhrmann helped adapt this classic Shakespearean romantic tragedy for the screen, updating the setting to a post-modern city named... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81751%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of bawdy humor evenly spread between its well-matched stars, Neighbors earns its R rating -- and filmgoers' laughs.
New parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) move to the suburbs when they welcome an infant daughter into... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82296%
Critics Consensus: Though its heady themes are a departure from its predecessor, The Matrix Reloaded is a worthy sequel packed with popcorn-friendly thrills.
Freedom fighters Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) continue to lead the revolt against the Machine... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83001%
Critics Consensus: Wedding Crashers is both raunchy and sweet, and features top-notch comic performances from Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.
Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) and John (Owen Wilson) are divorce mediators who spend their free time crashing wedding receptions. For the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82020%
Critics Consensus: Kubrick's intense study of the human psyche yields an impressive cinematic work.
After Dr. Bill Hartford's (Tom Cruise) wife, Alice (Nicole Kidman), admits to having sexual fantasies about a man she met,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 32172%
Critics Consensus: It has a charming sweetness about it, but Take Me Home Tonight is neither funny nor original enough to live up to the comedies it evokes.
Recent MIT grad Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) should be well on his way to a successful career at a Fortune... [More]
Adjusted Score: 32841%
Critics Consensus: Unoriginal, unfunny, and all-around unattractive, Project X mines the depths of the teen movie and found-footage genres for 87 minutes of predictably mean-spirited debauchery.
Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) are three anonymous high-school seniors who are determined to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 65417%
Critics Consensus: So embarrassing it's believable, American Pie succeeds in bringing back the teen movie genre.
A riotous and raunchy exploration of the most eagerly anticipated -- and most humiliating -- rite of adulthood, known as... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76199%
Critics Consensus: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising may not be strictly necessary, but it still wrings a surprising amount of humor from a recycled premise with a distaff twist.
Life is good for Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and pregnant wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) until the unruly sisters of Kappa... [More]
Adjusted Score: 53286%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
On the eve of his wedding to his longtime girlfriend, Debbie (Tawny Kitaen), unassuming nice guy Rick (Tom Hanks) is... [More]
Adjusted Score: 65016%
Critics Consensus: While not consistently funny, the movie does have its moments.
After discovering his girlfriend (Juliette Lewis) has been participating in group sex, attorney Mitch (Luke Wilson) feels his world come... [More]
Adjusted Score: 71506%
Critics Consensus: Its flagrantly silly script -- and immensely likable cast -- make up for most of its flaws.
Four pals are stuck in a rut in adulthood: Adam (John Cusack) has just been dumped, Lou (Rob Corddry) is... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104818%
Critics Consensus: Director Billy Wilder's customary cynicism is leavened here by tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos.
Insurance worker C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) lends his Upper West Side apartment to company bosses to use for extramarital affairs.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97146%
Critics Consensus: Grounded in strong characters, bold themes, and subtle storytelling, Boogie Nights is a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg.
In the San Fernando Valley in 1977, teenage busboy Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) gets discovered by porn director Jack Horner... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88148%
Critics Consensus: A funny and clever reshaping of Emma, Clueless offers a soft satire that pokes as much fun at teen films as it does at the Beverly Hills glitterati.
Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school's pecking scale.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83917%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
While trying to tie his shoe, bumbling extra Hrundi V. Bakshi (Peter Sellers) unwittingly triggers explosives that destroy the set... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91586%
Critics Consensus: Energetic, self-deprecating performances and enough guffaw-inducing humor make up for the flaws in This Is the End loosely written script.
In Hollywood, actor James Franco is throwing a party with a slew of celebrity pals. Among those in attendance are... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94873%
Critics Consensus: Featuring one of Tom Cruise's best early performances, Risky Business is a sharp, funny examination of teen angst that doesn't stop short of exploring dark themes.
Ecstatic when his parents leave on vacation for a few days, high school senior Joel Goodsen (Tom Cruise) cuts loose... [More]
Adjusted Score: 120207%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and fresh, Booksmart does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy.
Academic overachievers Amy and Molly thought keeping their noses to the grindstone gave them a leg up on their high... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96880%
Critics Consensus: Blockers puts a gender-swapped spin on the teen sex comedy -- one elevated by strong performances, a smartly funny script, and a surprisingly enlightened perspective.
Julie, Kayla and Sam are three high school seniors who make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83581%
Critics Consensus: Significantly more mature than the teen raunch comedies that defined the era, Sixteen Candles is shot with compassion and clear respect for its characters and their hang-ups.
With the occasion all but overshadowed by her sister's upcoming wedding, angst-ridden Samantha (Molly Ringwald) faces her 16th birthday with... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93707%
Critics Consensus: Sure, it's another adaptation of cinema's fave Jane Austen novel, but key performances and a modern filmmaking sensibility make this familiar period piece fresh and enjoyable.
In this adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved novel, Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) lives with her mother, father and sisters in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 20880%
Critics Consensus: A derivative gross-out comedy that's short on laughs.
He's the biggest man on campus. He's the boss with the sauce. He's the guy all the girls want and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 30059%
Critics Consensus: Though it strives to mimic The Hangover, 21 and Over is too predictable, too unabashedly profane, and too inconsistently funny to carry the torch.
Straight-A college student Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) has always done what's been expected of him. But when his two best... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95091%
Critics Consensus: The talents of director John Landis and Saturday Night Live's irrepressible John Belushi conspired to create a rambunctious, subversive college comedy that continues to resonate.
When they arrive at college, socially inept freshmen Larry (Thomas Hulce) and Kent (Stephen Furst) attempt to pledge the snooty... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95707%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high... [More]
Adjusted Score: 121993%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Homecoming does whatever a second reboot can, delivering a colorful, fun adventure that fits snugly in the sprawling MCU without getting bogged down in franchise-building.
Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 57275%
Critics Consensus: Hardly in the same league as John Hughes' other teen movies, the resolutely goofy Weird Science nonetheless gets some laughs via its ridiculous premise and enjoyable performances.
Teen misfits Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) design their ideal woman on a computer, and a freak... [More]
Adjusted Score: 66580%
Critics Consensus: Lavish imagery and a daring soundtrack set this film apart from most period dramas; in fact, style completely takes precedence over plot and character development in Coppola's vision of the doomed queen.
An Austrian teenager (Kirsten Dunst) marries the Dauphin (Jason Schwartzman) of France and becomes that country's queen following the death... [More]
Adjusted Score: 66177%
Critics Consensus: Sisters' sharp blend of pathos and vulgarity, along with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's effervescent chemistry, are more than enough to make up for the handful of laughs this coming-of-age comedy leaves on the table.
When their parents decide to sell their home, siblings Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate (Tina Fey) learn that they have... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97246%
Critics Consensus: Dave Chappelle's Block Party is a raucous return to the spotlight for the comic, buoyed by witty, infectious humor and outstanding musical performances.
Actor, writer and comic Dave Chappelle loads up a bus with residents of his Ohio hometown and takes them to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94411%
Critics Consensus: House Party is a light, entertaining teen comedy with an infectious energy.
Play's parents are out of town, and he's planning the house party to end all house parties. His best friend,... [More]
(Photo by Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount)
In 2019, Rotten Tomatoes turns 21, and to mark the occasion we’re celebrating with a series of features that look back at the brightest moments on screen of the past two decades – and one year – and the things that have us excited for the future.
Since its inception in 1987, South by Southwest (a.k.a. SXSW or just “South By”) has grown to become one of the most celebrated pop culture events in the world, with its unparalleled mix of music, film, and digital media. It’s one of the best places to scope out both established artists and rising talents, as well as all kinds of innovations in interactive entertainment.
In other words, it should be no surprise that some heavy hitters have graced the stages and screens in Austin, TX, and this is especially true of the film division. In the past 21 years, SXSW has served as the proving ground for up-and-coming filmmakers hoping to make a big splash, and it’s also played a big role in hyping up eventual cult classics and box office hits. With that in mind, and with SXSW 2019 kicking off this weekend, we decided to look back at some of the most memorable movie premieres that have happened at the festival during RT’s existence. Read on for a trip down memory lane at South By.
Director Morgan Neville didn’t even know that SXSW had a film festival component when he was looking to premiere his first documentary, a sometimes breezy and wistful look at an evolving Los Angeles through the lens of the people who shaped it. Variety’s review of the premiere decried the film’s listlessness and its “graceless and too abrupt” editing, the latter of which actually tapped into the associative, nonlinear style that would set Neville’s unorthodox documentarian work apart from the pack. Neville remembers the premiere as “low key” and intimate, surrounded by fellow “neophyte filmmakers” showing their wares. Shotgun Freeway was named runner up for Best Documentary Feature that year, and Neville would go on to win an Oscar (for 20 Feet from Stardom) and an Emmy (for Best of Enemies) and then break box office records with his film Won’t You Be My Neighbor?.
Four Letter Words (2000) : Director Sean Baker Makes His Mark
Sean Baker’s first feature followed a group of white suburban young men in a slice-of-life tale, showing the blunt inner workings of the male psyche. It’s not surprising that the town that embraced Slacker fell in love with Baker and his objective, almost journalistic film work. As Baker told SXSW World: “I might not have kept going if it wasn’t for SXSW.” Reviews for the low-budget gem weren’t necessarily glowing, but they hit on Baker’s strength of presenting a character’s world with honesty, a trait he would carry on as he delved into the lives of disparate women in the San Fernando Valley (Starlet), Chinese immigrants in New York (Take Out), a trans sex worker in L.A. (Tangerine), and single moms in Kissimmee (The Florida Project).
(Photo by Thinkfilm courtesy Everett Collection)
Spellbound (2002) 97%: A Documentary D-E-L-I-G-H-T (And Awards Contender)
Director Jeffrey Blitz wasn’t even present for the first SXSW screening of his spelling bee documentary. Nervous, he’d taken a flight out from a commercial job and arrived outside the theater just as it was letting out. He told SXSW World: “I heard [people] raving about this spelling bee documentary they had just seen,” and thought it was a prank. Blitz’s first feature, Spellbound won the Documentary Feature Jury Award and became the festival’s first breakout hit, winning an Emmy and getting nominated for an Academy Award.
Hellboy (2004) 81%: GDT Earns Thunderous Applause, Cements SXSW’s Midnight Cred
Guillermo del Toro had already directed cult classics Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, and Blade II before he took aim at the film adaptation of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy comic. The unofficial midnight world premiere of the film brought del Toro, Mignola, and star Ron Perlman to Austin, and the ending credits were met with what the Austin Chronicle called “thunderous cheers.” The film became a box office success, grossing nearly $100 million and spawning a sequel, but it also sealed SXSW as a midnights-friendly destination.
The Puffy Chair (2005) 77%: Enter the Duplass Bros.
It’s difficult to overstate the impact the Duplass brothers had on both filmmaking and the film culture of SXSW. The Puffy Chair would mark their first feature, but the pair had already premiered a few of their shorts at the fest, creating a kind of community with like-minded filmmakers like Joe Swanberg and Andrew Bujalski, who premiered Kissing on the Mouth and Mutual Appreciation, respectively, alongside The Puffy Chair. From this year forward, SXSW was known as the place for Mumblecore, and the Duplass brothers would go on to bring their style to the mainstream.
The Comedians of Comedy (2005) 44%: Open Mic Night With A Generation’s Defining Comics
Film festivals haven’t always been receptive to comedy, especially if the film is a documentary about lesser-known comics popular only on the alt-comedy circuits. But director Michael Blieden found a home for his debut documentary feature with SXSW and brought Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis, Maria Bamford, and Brian Posehn to the masses of Austin with a premiere that included live stand-up sets by the film’s subjects. The Austin Chronicle called the film “incisively bawdy,” and the well-received live performance set the stage for the massive influx of comedy acts that would flock to the festival every year. Oswalt, Galifianakis, Bamford, and Posehn became some of the defining comics of their generation.
(Photo by Universal Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)
Knocked Up (2007) 89%: Apatow Finds His Testing Ground
Judd Apatow raked in the praise for his directorial debut, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but the idea of a comedy with a runtime more than two hours long was still a novelty when his follow-up Knocked Up tested the waters in Austin at a sneak preview. Variety called it “uproarious,” and attendees noted the laughter was so loud in the theater that a good number of the punchlines couldn’t even be heard. Viewers of that preview wondered whether Paramount would cut the film down to under 90 minutes — nope! SXSW became Apatow’s proving ground that longer, more thoughtful comedy could play to wide audiences.
Nights and Weekends (2008) 85%: Greta Gerwig Makes Her Directing Debut
With a budget of $15,000, Mumblecore comedy Nights and Weekends brought Joe Swanberg back to SXSW, but this time with a relatively unknown co-director/co-writer/co-star — Greta Gerwig. Swanberg and Gerwig had collaborated before on 2007’s Hannah Takes the Stairs, but this film would mark Gerwig’s directorial debut. Noel Murray at the AV Club said, “Swanberg and Gerwig also have a gift for constructing the kind of moments rarely seen in contemporary American independent film.” Gerwig had always intended to become a playwright, and though it would be another nine years before she would direct again (Lady Bird), that effort would earn her Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.
SXSW was no stranger to the type of romantic verité filmmaking Austinite Richard Linklater revived from the Left Bank French New Wave with Before Sunrise. But Barry Jenkins’ Medicine for Melancholy pried the genre from white hands and showed two African American characters talking from dawn ’til dusk about art, culture, and love. The film starred the unknown Wyatt Cenac and Tracey Heggins, but the buzz out of SXSW was enough to propel Medicine to multiple Indie Spirit Awards nominations, inspiring a generation of black filmmakers, including Justin Simien, Lena Waithe, Ava DuVernay, and Terence Nance.
Tiny Furniture (2010) 80%: Lena Dunham Follows Up on the Promise
Lena Dunham’s hour-long feature debut Creative Nonfiction showed so much promise at 2008’s SXSW that when she returned in 2010 with a proper full-length feature, Tiny Furniture, critics were already hip to the wünderkind’s comic sensibilities. The film took the top narrative feature prize, with Dunham accepting a breakout award for women directors, leading IFC Films to acquire and distribute Tiny Furniture. Dunham’s relationship with SXSW continues, and the fest has become a destination for young female auteurs, including Julia Hart, Stella Meghie, and Nijla Mu’min.
(Photo by Liam Daniel/Screen Gems courtesy Everett Collection)
Attack the Block (2011) 90%: Joe Cornish Earns Peter Jackson Comparisons
By the time Joe Cornish premiered his feature debut, Attack the Block, SXSW programming had already become known for its Midnights section. Fans of director Edgar Wright knew the Shaun of the Dead helmer had executive produced for Cornish and packed the theater in anticipation of a Wright-anointed genre film, but the general reception was that Attack was so much better than they could even hope for. Writing for Cinemablend, Matt Patches called the film a throwback to early Peter Jackson and said audiences emitted an “audible, pleasantly shocked yelp” throughout the gory action sequences.
Undefeated (2011) 96%: An Oscar Winner Starts Its Journey
Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin knew they were “no-name directors” when they applied to SXSW with their documentary debut about a struggling Memphis football team. The Austin Chronicle said, “Undefeated isn’t just a great sports doc, it’s a great documentary. Period.” The directors credit the festival with helping the film sell for a seven-figure deal after an all-night auction, get distribution, and earn widespread acclaim, leading to their winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary. “That definitely changed our lives, and it all started at SXSW,” Lindsay and Martin told SXSW World.
Bridesmaids (2011) 89%: A Work in Progress Works Wonders
Paul Feig had already made a name for himself acting in and directing numerous comedies, but when he brought his work-in-progress Bridesmaids to SXSW for a midnight premiere, he says not a single person in the audience knew anything about the film. On top of that, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph weren’t completely known outside of their individual runs on SNL. But Feig said to SXSW World that when the audience burst into laughter that “it was possibly the greatest night of my career.” Bridesmaids introduced audiences to superstar Melissa McCarthy and raked in a whopping $288 million at the box office.
Spring Breakers (2012) 67%: A24 Makes a Big Play
At the SXSW world premiere of Harmony Korine’s teen day-glo crime thriller, only a few audience members squeamish from the provocateur’s film walked out, but those who stayed raucously applauded such an audacious movie. At the same time, fledgling distribution company A24 was trying to make a name for itself and saw the perfect opportunity in Korine. They purchased the film right out of the festival, marking themselves as a company to take a chance on artists and weirdos and bolstering SXSW as a destination for film acquisitions.
(Photo by Cinedigm courtesy Everett Collection)
Short Term 12 (2013) 98%: The Stars of Tomorrow in a Move That Sets the New Standard
Director Destin Daniel Cretton specifically aimed to finish his feature about a young staff worker in a residential treatment facility for the SXSW deadlines. Producer Asher Goldstein said it felt like the perfect “cultural fit” for this story about simple people trying to live their lives, starring a cast of complete then-unknowns, including Brie Larson, Stephanie Beatriz, Rami Malek, and Lakeith Stanfield. Before the film even premiered at SXSW, sales negotiations began, signaling Short Term 12 was something special. It won both the Grand Jury and Audience Award for Narrative Feature, and prompted The Atlantic in 2014 to ask “Who’s This Year’s Short Term 12?” at SXSW.
The Invitation (2015) 89%: Karyn Kusama’s Thrilling Comeback
Director Karyn Kusama stripped her style down to its indie roots for her horror-thriller The Invitation. She’d faced an uphill battle with high-budget flops, like Aeon Flux and Jennifer’s Body, but burst back on the scene and out of director jail with a psychological stunner she filmed on a bare budget in a single location. Midnighter attendees of the premiere immediately buzzed about the film, with Justin Chang, writing for Variety, calling it a “perfectly pitched exercise in psychological dread.” The Invitation hit many best-of lists when it premiered theatrically, but Kusama credits SXSW with the relaunch of her career. “SXSW means discovery, it means surprise, and it means a jolt of energy, which was there in abundance for us,” she told SXSW World.
Krisha (2015) 95%: Why You Stay for the Q&A
Trey Edward Shults’ short film Krisha won big at SXSW 2014. When he stretched that drama — about a woman who reconnects with her family over a disastrous Thanksgiving weekend — into a feature, Shults naturally wanted it to premiere at SXSW as well. For the Q&A portion, Shults brought his stars, his real-life aunt Krisha Fairchild and mother Robyn Fairchild, for an intimate talk about family and filmmaking. “I’ve been a professional actor my whole life, but I had no ambition,” Krisha said, before crediting her nephew for sparking a creative flame in her. The film won the Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Filmmaking, and the audience went wild when Shults’ entire cast/family stormed the stage.
Tower (2016) 99%: A Tense, Moving Hometown Achievement
Keith Maitland is an Austin director whose films revolve around the people, places, and major events of Texas. His documentary Tower was based on a Texas Monthly story from Pamela Colloff, which walked people through the terrifying 96-minute ordeal of Charles Whitman climbing the UT Austin tower and opening fire on a campus of innocent people. The SXSW premiere was an emotional affair, with Eric Kohn of IndieWire saying that Tower “imbues the catastrophe with renewed urgency.” The film won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for Documentary Feature, and Maitland told SXSW World that “sharing this deeply emotional story here, where it happened, was one of the most cathartic cinematic experiences I’ve ever witnessed.”
(Photo by Steve Dietl/Warner Bros.)
Keanu (2016) 78%: Key and Peele Meet Expectations
Before there was Get Out, there was Peter Atencio’s crime comedy Keanu, co-written by Alex Rubens and Jordan Peele in his feature-writing debut. Some fans of the stars’ Comedy Central show Key & Peele waited in line for three hours for the midnight premiere, and Peele and Keegan-Michael Key began throwing out stuffed cats to an audience dreading a time change and an hour lost the next morning. The reception to the film was only warm, but it was enough to propel Peele into writing his next feature, which would earn him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Ana Asencio’s gritty, spare, 80-minute thriller marked a wicked debut for the writer-director-producer-star, who’d spent a decade perfecting the script. And SXSW proved a perfect match for a 16 mm film about an immigrant woman caught in the most tragic day of her life. At the premiere, audiences gasped, shook by tension and an unnerving ending. Peter Goldwyn of Samuel Goldwyn Films snapped up the rights and said, “Most Beautiful Island is a memorable film, which captured hearts, minds, and the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW,” and although Asencio hasn’t released a follow-up yet, that ending she wrote earned a place on Vulture’s “100 Scares That Shaped Horror.”
A Quiet Place (2018) 96%: Silence on Screen, Screams in the Theater as Box Office Monster Is Born
John Krasinski’s horror debut earned what Variety writer Ramin Setoodeh called “enough shrieks inside the theater to please [the] director” at the film’s SXSW premiere. As Setoodeh pointed out, SXSW had become a proving ground for out-of-the-box studio releases, and the fanfare inside the theater that night signaled to Paramount Pictures they’d have a hit on their hands. Eric Kohn of IndieWire wrote that “the movie maintains a minimalist dread throughout, with every footstep or sudden move carrying the potential for instant death.” A Quiet Place went on to earn $340 million at the box office, making SXSW a reliable litmus test yet again.
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Influential French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema has named its Top 10 Movies of 2013, with Alain Guiraudie’s excellent cruising thriller Stranger by the Lake emerging as their favorite.
The typically auteur-heavy selection also gave nods to Harmony Korine’s mad-genius Spring Breakers, Abdel Kechiche’s Palme d’Or champ Blue is the Warmest Color and Alfonso Cuarón’s galactic ride Gravity, while also recognizing Steven Spielberg’s relatively old-fashioned Lincoln (which was released in 2013 over there.)
You can bet the Oscars won’t be this interesting.
Here’s the full list:
1. Stranger By the Lake (Dir: Alain Guiraudie)
2. Spring Breakers (Dir: Harmony Korine)
3. Blue is the Warmest Color (Dir: Abdellatif Kechiche)
4. Gravity (Dir: Alfonso Cuarón)
5. A Touch of Sin (Dir: Zhang Ke Jia)
6. Lincoln (Dir: Steven Spielberg)
7. La Jalousie (Dir: Philippe Garrel)
8. Nobody’s Daughter Haewon (Dir: Hong Sang-soo)
9. You and the Night (Dir: Yann Gonzalez)
10. La Bataille de Solférino (Dir: Justine Triet)
From futuristic kid soldiers to teen princesses on the lam, charismatic cats to harrowing slave performances, here are 25 stars who 2013 will be remembered for.
This week on home video, we’ve got a Harmony Korine film starring James Franco, a Stephenie Meyer adaptation, and a Tina Fey/Paul Rudd dramedy. Then there’s also a crime thriller and an Oscar-nominated doc, not to mention a couple of noteworthy rereleases. See below for the full list.
Also available this week:
- Certified Fresh New Zealand coming-of-age dramedy Boy (88%), about a boy (of course) who loves Michael Jackson and fantasizes about what his estranged father was like.
- Criterion is releasing Kenji Mizoguchi’s 1952 drama The Life of Oharu (100%), co-starring Toshiro Mifune in a story about a prostitute in feudal Japan who reflects upon her fall from grace, on DVD and Blu-ray.
- Tyler Perry’s Temptation (16%), a drama about a restless woman coming to grips with her marital infidelity.
Only a few notable choices are newly available on streaming video this week, including Harmony Korine’s latest, a Chilean historical drama and a doc about the war on drugs. Read on to find out what’s available to watch right now.
Filmmaker, provocateur, degenerate, genius: Harmony Korine is the writer of Kids and Ken Park, and the director of Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy, Mister Lonely, Trash Humpers and Spring Breakers — the latter of which also happens to be, thus far, the best American film of 2013. Here are Mr. Korine’s all-time favorite movies.
Brewster McCloud (Robert Altman, 1970; 83% Tomatometer)
After I saw this film when I was a kid, I went hang-gliding with my next door neighbor and we crashed into an abandoned missile silo. My neighbor lost his right leg. This movie was a big influence on that.
Pam & Tommy Lee: Stolen Honeymoon (Tommy Lee (uncredited), 1998; 69% Tomatometer)
I remember seeing this in a Nashville movie theater when it was first released in Dolby. I didn’t know what to expect. I still think it’s very underrated and misunderstood.
Pixote (Hector Babenco, 1981; 100% Tomatometer)
My favorite film of all time.
Battle in Heaven (Carlos Reygadas, 2005; 44% Tomatometer)
This film is next level.
It’s the first time I ever saw an orangutan drink beer out of a can.
Spring Breakers is in theaters now.
Also opening this week in limited release:
Gimme The Loot, a drama about a pair of graffiti artists looking to raise funds for a bold act of tagging, is at 100 percent.
My Brother The Devil, a drama about a pair of siblings who each find themselves drawn into the world of London’s street gangs, is at 100 percent.
108 (Cuchillo de palo), a documentary about gay rights in Paraguay, is at 100 percent.
The Sapphires, a musical dramedy about a Australian Aboriginal soul group, is Certified Fresh at 92 percent.
Eden, starring Jamie Chung in a drama about a woman abducted into a human trafficking ring, is at 85 percent.
Starbuck, a comedy about a fourtysomething slacker who discovers he’s fathered hundreds of children through sperm back donations, is at 63 percent.
Hunky Dory, starring Minnie Driver in a comedy about a high school drama teacher who attempts to stage a glam rock version of The Tempest, is at 58 percent.
Come Out And Play, starring Vinessa Shaw in a horror film about a young couple on vacation who discover a band of possessed children, is at 50 percent.
Everybody Has a Plan, starring Viggo Mortensen in a drama about a man who assumes the identity of his dead brother and finds himself in the midst of criminality, is at 20 percent.
Love And Honor, starring Liam Hemsworth and Teresa Palmer in a drama about a soldier who goes AWOL to win back the girl who dumped him, is at 14 percent.
Pretty self-explanatory here. With Spring Breakers hitting theaters and warmer seasons just around the corner, PopSugar takes a look at some of the most memorable bikini-themed moments in film. Click through for the full list!