(Photo by DreamWorks/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Jamie Foxx Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

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!

#33

Stealth (2005)
12%

#33
Adjusted Score: 17301%
Critics Consensus: Loud, preposterous, and predictable, Stealth borrows heavily and unsucessfully from Top Gun and 2001.
Synopsis: Navy fighter pilots Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx) and Kara Wade (Jessica Biel) are tasked with training... [More]
Directed By: Rob Cohen

#32

Held Up (2000)
17%

#32
Adjusted Score: 16543%
Critics Consensus: Lackluster performances and fluff humor can't keep this wreck from sinking.
Synopsis: Foxx portrays Michael Dawson, a successful Chicago businessman whose life falls apart while he's driving to the Grand Canyon with... [More]
Directed By: Steve Rash

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In a series of interconnected stories, various Los Angeles residents (Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper) wend their way through... [More]
Directed By: Garry Marshall

#30

Booty Call (1997)
25%

#30
Adjusted Score: 22429%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Rushon (Tommy Davidson) is sexually pent-up and ready to take thing things to the next level with his girlfriend, Nikki... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Pollack

#29

Sleepless (2017)
25%

#29
Adjusted Score: 27803%
Critics Consensus: Sleepless wastes a talented cast -- and solid source material -- on a tired crime drama whose clichés rapidly outnumber its thrills.
Synopsis: Undercover Las Vegas police officer Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx) finds himself caught in a high-stakes web of corrupt cops, internal... [More]
Directed By: Baran bo Odar

#28

Bait (2000)
26%

#28
Adjusted Score: 27633%
Critics Consensus: Even though Jamie Foxx shines in Bait, the movie suffers from music video roots and a formulaic script that strains credibility.
Synopsis: Landing in jail for a petty theft crime, Alvin finds himself sharing a cell with John Jaster, the incarcerated half... [More]
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 31373%
Critics Consensus: Unnecessarily violent and unflinchingly absurd, Law Abiding Citizen is plagued by subpar acting and a story that defies reason.
Synopsis: Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is an honorable family man, until the day his wife and daughter are murdered in a... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#26

Annie (2014)
28%

#26
Adjusted Score: 33656%
Critics Consensus: The new-look Annie hints at a progressive take on a well-worn story, but smothers its likable cast under clichés, cloying cuteness, and a distasteful materialism.
Synopsis: Ever since her parents left her as a baby, little Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) has led a hard-knock life with her... [More]
Directed By: Will Gluck

#25

The Players Club (1998)
31%

#25
Adjusted Score: 31035%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Single mother Diana Armstrong (LisaRaye) takes to sliding down a stripper pole in order to pay for college -- and... [More]
Directed By: Ice Cube

#24
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Quincy Watson (Jamie Foxx) has been having a tough time. After being abruptly dumped by his fiancée (Bianca Lawson), he... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Taplitz

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 41512%
Critics Consensus: Horrible Bosses 2 may trigger a few belly laughs among big fans of the original, but all in all, it's a waste of a strong cast that fails to justify its own existence.
Synopsis: Tired of always answering to others, Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) go into business for... [More]
Directed By: Sean Anders

#22

Due Date (2010)

#22
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) will be a dad for the first time when his wife gives birth in five... [More]
Directed By: Todd Phillips

#21

Robin Hood (2010)
43%

#21
Adjusted Score: 51693%
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]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 45568%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Boxing promoter the Rev. Fred Sultan (Samuel L. Jackson) decides the best way to revive public interest in his top... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

#19

Miami Vice (2006)
46%

#19
Adjusted Score: 55674%
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]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#18

Rio 2 (2014)
48%

#18
Adjusted Score: 52448%
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]
Directed By: Carlos Saldanha

#17

The Kingdom (2007)
51%

#17
Adjusted Score: 59043%
Critics Consensus: While providing several top-notch action scenes, The Kingdom ultimately collapses under the weight of formula and muddled politics.
Synopsis: Charged with the most important assignment of his career, federal agent Ron Fleury (Jamie Foxx) has one week to assemble... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#16

White House Down (2013)
52%

#16
Adjusted Score: 59090%
Critics Consensus: White House Down benefits from the leads' chemistry, but director Roland Emmerich smothers the film with narrative clichés and choppily edited action.
Synopsis: Capitol police officer John Cale (Channing Tatum) has just been denied his dream job of protecting President James Sawyer (Jamie... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#15

Any Given Sunday (1999)
52%

#15
Adjusted Score: 57375%
Critics Consensus: Sometimes entertaining, but overall Any Given Sunday is a disappointment coming from Oliver Stone.
Synopsis: Four years ago, DAmato's (Al Pacino) Miami Sharks were at the top. Now, his team is struggling with three consecutive... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 64792%
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]
Directed By: Marc Webb

#13

The Soloist (2009)

#13
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Los Angeles columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) has reached an impasse in his life. His marriage is on the... [More]
Directed By: Joe Wright

#12

Jarhead (2005)

#12
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the late 1980s, Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) enlists as a Marine, training in boot camp under a sadistic drill... [More]
Directed By: Sam Mendes

#11

Shade (2003)
67%

#11
Adjusted Score: 38873%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Tiffany (Jamie Foxx), Charlie (Gabriel Byrne) and Vernon (Thandie Newton) are con artists looking to up the ante from their... [More]
Directed By: Damian Nieman

#10

Ali (2001)
68%

#10
Adjusted Score: 72998%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps no film could fully do justice to the fascinating life and personality of Muhammad Ali, Mann's direction and Smith's performance combine to pack a solid punch.
Synopsis: With wit and athletic genius, with defiant rage and inner grace, Muhammad Ali forever changed the American landscape. Fighting all... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) are workers who would like nothing better than to grind... [More]
Directed By: Seth Gordon

#8

Rio (2011)
72%

#8
Adjusted Score: 78914%
Critics Consensus: This straightforward movie reaches great heights thanks to its colorful visual palette, catchy music, and funny vocal performances.
Synopsis: Captured by smugglers when he was just a hatchling, a macaw named Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) never learned to fly and... [More]
Directed By: Carlos Saldanha

#7

Dreamgirls (2006)
78%

#7
Adjusted Score: 86912%
Critics Consensus: Dreamgirls' simple characters and plot hardly detract from the movie's real feats: the electrifying performances and the dazzling musical numbers.
Synopsis: Deena (Beyoncé Knowles),Effie (Jennifer Hudson) and Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose) form a music trio called the Dreamettes. When ambitious manager... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#6

Ray (2004)
79%

#6
Adjusted Score: 86557%
Critics Consensus: An engrossing and energetic portrait of a great musician's achievements and foibles, Ray is anchored by Jamie Foxx's stunning performance as Ray Charles.
Synopsis: Legendary soul musician Ray Charles is portrayed by Jamie Foxx in this Oscar-winning biopic. Young Ray watches his 7-year-old brother... [More]
Directed By: Taylor Hackford

#5

Just Mercy (2019)
85%

#5
Adjusted Score: 105705%
Critics Consensus: Just Mercy dramatizes a real-life injustice with solid performances, a steady directorial hand, and enough urgency to overcome a certain degree of earnest advocacy.
Synopsis: After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation.... [More]
Directed By: Destin Daniel Cretton

#4
Adjusted Score: 87567%
Critics Consensus: Sharp, witty, and charming, The Truth About Cats and Dogs features a standout performance from Janeane Garofalo.
Synopsis: Abby (Janeane Garofalo) hosts a popular radio show about pets. When Brian (Ben Chaplin) calls in to ask about his... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lehmann

#3

Collateral (2004)
86%

#3
Adjusted Score: 94839%
Critics Consensus: Driven by director Michael Mann's trademark visuals and a lean, villainous performance from Tom Cruise, Collateral is a stylish and compelling noir thriller.
Synopsis: A cab driver realizes his current fare is a hit man that has been having him drive around from mark... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#2

Django Unchained (2012)
86%

#2
Adjusted Score: 99465%
Critics Consensus: Bold, bloody, and stylistically daring, Django Unchained is another incendiary masterpiece from Quentin Tarantino.
Synopsis: Two years before the Civil War, Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave, finds himself accompanying an unorthodox German bounty hunter named... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#1

Baby Driver (2017)
92%

#1
Adjusted Score: 122176%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, exciting, and fueled by a killer soundtrack, Baby Driver hits the road and it's gone -- proving fast-paced action movies can be smartly written without sacrificing thrills.
Synopsis: Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

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In Theaters This Week:



Thor: The Dark World

66%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.

This sequel to the 2011 hit Thor is pure spectacle – massive amounts of pixelated carnage, a repetitive and numbing barrage of noisy sameness. The battles are so big and messy and so full of over-the-top creatures, the Marvel comic-inspired mayhem barely registers as anything recognizable. The hunky, hammer-wielding Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must fight to restore peace and balance to the cosmos when an ancient, evil force threatens to take over during some sort of rare harmonic convergence. One well-chosen snarl from his evil brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is more disturbing than any of the on-screen fights. Oh, and giant chunks of London get flattened by space ships – but again, the violence to too cartoonish to be truly frightening. Fine for older kids, maybe 9 and up.

New On DVD:



White House Down

52%

Rating: PG-13, for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.

It’s sort of astonishing that this movie got a PG-13 rating, given the insane amount of gunfire, explosions and carnage it contains. After all, this is a Roland Emmerich movie. But! Unlike that other recent (and similar) White-House-under-siege film Olympus Has Fallen, which was rated R, there’s barely any bloodshed. It’s just as numbing but not nearly so gruesome. So there you have it. This time, Channing Tatum must save our nation’s capital and protect a president under attack. What troubled me, as a mother, was seeing Joey King, as Tatum’s 11-year-old daughter, being used as a pawn — watching her get roughed up by bad guys, including having a gun repeatedly placed to her head. She’s a tough girl who can stand up for herself, but the extent to which the villains abuse her as a source of audience thrills seemed gratuitous. These images may not disturb older kids, but they’ll likely bother their parents. Also: Jamie Foxx, as the Obamaesque president, drops the one F-bomb you get with a PG-13 rating.



Grown Ups 2

8%

Rating: PG-13, for crude and suggestive content, language and some male rear nudity.

I cannot imagine why most kids would want to tag along with Adam Sandler and their man-child friends as they stumble through a series of gross and crass sight gags, then get in touch with their feelings as they learn to embrace middle age. But for older kids who might get a kick out of puerile humor, this sequel to the 2010 hit Grown Ups features, but is not limited to: fart jokes, pee jokes, poop jokes, vomit jokes, jokes about boobs, jokes about butts and jokes about stoned, bi-polar school bus drivers. Otherwise known as Sandler’s oeuvre. There is smart and clever slapstick humor out there – share it with your children instead.



Parkland

Rating: PG-13, for bloody sequences of ER trauma procedures, some violent images and language, and smoking throughout.

Thematically, this recreation of the JFK assassination is probably best for older kids. A star-studded cast including Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver takes us through those horrific days from the perspective of various people involved in the event. They include Secret Service and FBI agents, Abraham Zapruder (who famously shot the film that captured the killing) and the trauma surgeons at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, where the president ultimately was pronounced dead. Although director Peter Landesman takes a detached, matter-of-fact tone — and doesn’t show us the shooting itself — he still depicts a graphically bloody scene, which would be uncomfortable for anyone to watch.

This week, we’ve got a couple of new releases and a handful of older movies for your viewing pleasure. The most notable choices include White House Down, The Addams Family, and The Fisher King. Read on to find out what’s available to watch right now.


White House Down
52%

Channing Tatum stars as John Cale, a United States Capital Police officer on a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with his daughter when a paramilitary group launches an attack. It’s up to Cale to thwart the terrorists and protect President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx).

Available on: Amazon


We’re the Millers
49%

Jason Sudeikis stars as a small-time weed dealer who becomes indebted to his supplier when his stash is stolen. He contrives a plan to smuggle major weight in an RV, traveling with a ragtag group of neighbors (whose ranks include Jennifer Aniston as a stripper) pretending to be a family on vacation.

Available now on: Amazon


The Addams Family

Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, and Christina Ricci star in this big-screen adaptation of the humorously macabre brood from the hit TV series and Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons.

Available now on: Netflix


Brighton Beach Memoirs
71%

Jonathan Silverman and Blythe Danner star in this adaptation of Neil Simon’s celebrated autobiographical play about the teenage years of an aspiring writer living with his extended family in Brooklyn.

Available now on: Netflix


Bukowski: Born into This

This Certified Fresh documentary takes a closer look at the life and writings of hard-living poet and novelist Charles Bukowski, and features interviews with such luminaries as Bono, Sean Penn, and Harry Dean Stanton.

Available now on: Crackle


The Fisher King
84%

Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams star in Terry Gilliam’s magical realist fantasy about a radio shock jock who befriends a homeless man on a mission to find the Holy Grail in a Manhattan apartment.

Available now on: Crackle

We’ve got a lot to cover this week on home video, including a Roland Emmerich actioner, the Extended Edition of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a box set of Mad Men‘s sixth season, complete collections for shows like Seinfeld and Saved by the Bell, and notable indie releases like Lovelace, As I Lay Dying, and more. Read on for the full list:



White House Down

52%

The second of the “attack on the White House” action films to hit theaters this year, White House Down earned slightly better reviews than Olympus Has Fallen. Channing Tatum plays Secret Service applicant John Cale, who doesn’t quite make the cut, but nevertheless chaperones his politics-loving daughter on a White House tour after his unsuccessful job interview. Lucky for him — and not so lucky for the bad guys — a group of mercenaries takes the president (Jamie Foxx) hostage, and Cale jumps into action to prove his mettle, save the president, and ensure the safety of his daughter. Directed by Roland Emmerich, White House Down takes itself much less seriously than Olympus Has Fallen did, and it seems to have worked to its benefit; even though it’s fairly standard action fare, Tatum and Foxx have great chemistry, so even at 50% on the Tomatometer, this might be fun for a couple hours.



The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Extended Edition

64%

Whether or not you will be interested in this Extended Edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey depends, of course, entirely on whether you felt the film was already too long, which was one of the criticisms leveled against it. That said, this version adds just 14 minutes of extra footage, a far cry from the 2 extra hours across the LOTR Extended Editions. What might make this a worthy pickup for Tolkien fans, however, is the wealth of bonus features to be found here. How much, exactly? We’re talking over 9 hours of HD-quality featurettes, contained on two separate extra discs. We won’t list what the features are, because, as you can imagine, they cover pretty close to everything. So, while An Unexpected Journey may have divided some audiences, this would still be a pretty nice gift for anyone interested in the making of the film.



Lovelace

53%

In 1972, Linda Boreman (aka Lovelace) starred in the world’s first “mainstream” hardcore pornographic film, Deep Throat, which became a commercial success and a pop culture phenomenon; Andy Bellin’s film, Lovelace, offers a glimpse at Lovelace’s troubling rise to porn stardom. Amanda Seyfried stars as the young Lovelace, who escapes her religious family in Florida and marries Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard), an abusive man who not only forced Lovelace into prostitution at gunpoint, but also compelled her to hide the dark truth of their relationship under the guise of sexual liberation. Lovelace earned a 54% on the Tomatometer, with critics acknowledging both Seyfried’s and Sarsgaard’s commitment to their roles, but lamenting the lack of depth to the film. It’s a heartbreaking story, but its failure to dig deeper ultimately robs it of some of its power.



Parkland

Not everyone gets to make their feature debut with a film about an infamous moment in US history featuring a star-studded cast, but that’s exactly what Peter Landesman did. Parkland recounts the events of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, choosing to focus on the untold stories of the people on the fringes of the event, rather than honing in on the assassination itself, like others have already done. For example, Paul Giamatti plays Abraham Zapruder, the man whose amateur camera footage of the event we’ve all come to know so well; Zac Efron plays the young resident tasked with trying to save the president; and Billy Bob Thornton is the chief of JFK?s Secret Service detail. While critics applauded Parkland‘s fresh angle on the tragedy, many also felt the film’s various narrative threads failed to cohere properly, making the film seem disjointed. At 47% on the Tomatometer, it’s an ambitious, interesting exercise, but one that perhaps could have been put together a bit better.



Mad Men – Season Six

Whatever it is they’re putting in the water over at AMC, we’d all be better off if they would just bottle it up and send cases of it to other networks. The first of its super-successful hourlong dramas — preceding the likes of Breaking Bad and The Walking DeadMad Men completed its sixth season earlier this year, and critics say it’s as strong as it ever was. We don’t want to spoil anything for those looking to catch up (and we’ll have a Weekly Binge article coming this week to help you with that), so we’ll just mention that the season six box set comes with a few bonus featurettes, including a half hour look at the growing drug culture during the time period of the season and another 30-minute piece on the fabulous production design of the show.

Also available this week:

  • French import Renoir (69%), a biographical drama about the relationship between the famed Impressionist painter and his son Jean (before his directorial career).
  • James Franco’s As I Lay Dying (41%), an adaptation of the William Faulkner novel about a rural family transporting the body of their deceased mother to her hometown for burial.
  • Brian De Palma’s Passion (33%), starring Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams in an erotic thriller about the dark and twisted relationship between an advertising exec and her subordinate.
  • Girl Most Likely (20%), starring Kristen Wiig in a comedy about a failed playwright who is forced to live with her estranged mother when a desperate plea for help backfires.
  • Grown Ups 2 (7%), the sequel to the Adam Sandler-Chris Rock-Kevin James-David Spade-etc comedy about a bunch of guys hanging out and trying to be funny.
  • There’s also Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga Box Set, for fans of Stephenie Meyer’s wildly successful vampire-human-werewolf romance.
  • The Certified Fresh first season of Under the Dome (82%), a Stephen King adaptation, is available.
  • Season two of Magic City is available.
  • A reissue of the Complete Series of Seinfeld is available on DVD.
  • Also available this week: Absolutely Fabulous: Absolutely All of It is new on DVD.
  • And lastly, two collections that will take some of you back to your childhood: Saved by the Bell: The Complete Collection and Boy Meets World: Complete Collection are both available on DVD.

In Theaters This Week:



White House Down

52%

Rating: PG-13, for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.

Yet another White-House-under-siege movie? So soon? Just a few months after the release of Olympus Has Fallen, our nation’s capital once again is being attacked on screen. The difference is, that film was rated R, so you saw the physical consequence of massive gun battles. The PG-13 White House Down has the kind of insane violence you’d expect from director Roland Emmerich — both up-close-and-personal shootings in close quarters and barrages of automatic gunfire from the skies — but with barely any blood. It’s just as numbing but not nearly so gruesome. More troubling to me, as a mom, was watching Joey King, as Channing Tatum’s 11-year-old daughter, being used as a pawn — seeing her roughed up by bad guys, including having a gun placed to her head several times. She’s a tough girl capable of standing up for herself, but the extent to which the villains abuse her as a source of audience thrills seemed gratuitous and made me uneasy. Whether or not these images disturb older kids, they’ll likely bother their parents. Also: Jamie Foxx, as the Obamaesque president, drops the one F-bomb you get with a PG-13 rating.



A Band Called Death

94%

Rating: Unrated but contains language and smoking.

This documentary is actually a great choice for kids this week, especially if they’re into music or are aspiring performers themselves. It traces the origins of a long-forgotten band called Death, hence the title: three black, teenage brothers from Detroit who pioneered the punk sound in the early 1970s, long before the Sex Pistols or the Ramones. Their songs completely rock and stand up with just as much vibrancy and vitality today. But the story of how they taught themselves to play in their modest home, worked tirelessly to perfect their sound and hustled to get their music out to the world is a terrific lesson for young people — especially those for whom American Idol is the standard for achieving success.

New On DVD:



The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

38%

Rating: PG-13, for sexual content, dangerous stunts, a drug-related incident and language.

Steve Carell pulls off the seemingly impossible feat of being unlikable as an arrogant Las Vegas magician whose longtime act has grown outdated and unpopular. Jim Carrey, as a gonzo, Criss Angel-style street performer with a cable TV show called “Brain Rapist,” steals his spotlight and his audience. His stunts are outrageously over-the-top: ridiculous stuff like sleeping overnight on hot coals and holding his urine for several days straight. In theory, it’s all too cartoonish to give your kids any ideas, but who knows? Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to have that talk with them about not trying this stuff at home. Especially if you have boys.

This week at the movies, we’ve got an attack on the executive branch (White House Down, starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx) and feuding law-enforcement officers (The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy). What do the critics have to say?



White House Down

52%

Director Roland Emmerich blew up the White House in Independence Day, and he’s back to wreak more havoc on the presidential residence in White House Down, which critics say is a cheerfully absurd thriller with a few kinetic action scenes and an overreliance on rudiments cribbed from Die Hard. Channing Tatum stars as John Cale, a United States Capital Police officer on a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with his daughter when a paramilitary group launches an attack. It’s up to Cale to thwart the terrorists and protect President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). The pundits say White House Down will satisfy audiences in need of an old-school action fix, but others will find it numbing, predictable, and way over-the-top. (Check out this week’s Total Recall for a countdown of co-star Richard Jenkins’ best-reviewed movies, as well as our interviews with the White House Down cast.)



The Heat

66%

Given the right performers, even the most predictable comedy can earn big laughs. Case in point: The Heat, which critics say gets a major boost from an anarchic Melissa McCarthy and an exasperated Sandra Bullock, whose deft interplay enlivens an otherwise pedestrian script. Bullock plays a straight-arrow FBI agent who teams up with McCarthy, a loose-cannon Boston detective to take down a drug kingpin. Can our heroines put their personal animosity aside long enough to crack the case? The pundits say McCarthy is hilarious, Bullock is an excellent comic foil, and the supporting cast is solid as well, resulting in a film that puts a fresh twist on buddy-cop movie cliches. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of Bullock’s career in pictures.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Museum Hours, a drama about a pair of lonely souls who form a bond within the walls of the Kunsthistorisches Art Museum in Vienna, is at 100 percent.
  • 100 Bloody Acres, a horror comedy about two brothers who make fertilizer out of human blood and bones, is at 91 percent.
  • A Band Called Death, a rockumentary about the rediscovery of a pioneering proto-punk group, is at 89 percent.
  • The French drama Laurence Anyways, about a writer who asks his fiancée to support his transition into a woman, is at 80 percent.
  • How To Make Money Selling Drugs, a doc about the illicit drug trade featuring interviews with former dealers and kingpins, is at 67 percent.
  • Some Girl(s), starring Adam Brody and Kristen Bell in a dramedy about a successful author on the cusp of matrimony who meets up with his exes to apologize for his mistakes, is at 59 percent.
  • Byzantium, starring Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton in a fantasy thriller about a mother and daughter vampire pair taking refuge in a quiet town, is at 56 percent.
  • Redemption, starring Jason Statham in a thriller about a damaged ex-soldier who falls in with a criminal gang, is at 55 percent.
  • Pedro Almodóvar‘s farce I’m So Excited!,about boozy and kinky goings-on aboard a passenger plane that’s forced to fly in circles due to technical difficulties, is at 52 percent.
  • The Secret Disco Revolution, a doc featuring interviews with Gloria Gaynor, the Village People, and other notable practitioners of the genre, is at 42 percent.

Richard Jenkins

Audiences who turn out for White House Down this weekend will be paying for the privilege of watching director Roland Emmerich blow up an American landmark (and/or seeing Channing Tatum in a dirty tank top), but when they do, they’ll be getting an added treat: An appearance by the one and only Richard Jenkins, who achieved ultimate “That Guy” status years before earning a richly deserved Best Actor Oscar nomination in 2008. Character actors don’t come with much more character than Mr. Jenkins, so with all due respect to Emmerich’s effects and Tatum’s pecs, we knew this was the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to one of Hollywood’s most distinguished supporting players. It’s time for Total Recall!


76%

10. Intolerable Cruelty

Two years after popping up in The Man Who Wasn’t There, Jenkins reunited with the Coen brothers for Intolerable Cruelty, a comedy that — while taking as jaundiced a view of fate and human nature as anything else in their filmography — offered a relatively frothy take on the old-fashioned Hollywood battle-of-the-sexes farce. Starring George Clooney as a well-known divorce lawyer and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the woman he lives to regret railroading out of a potentially huge settlement (during a segment in which he steamrolls her lawyer, played by Jenkins), Cruelty struck some critics as excessively mean-spirited in its enthusiastically nasty depiction of unscrupulous attorneys and money-grubbing divorcees — but it struck just the right balance for Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune, who found it “Elegant, cheerfully cynical fun of the kind we used to get regularly from Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks and other masters of the classic Hollywood screwball comedy.”


74%

9. Killing Them Softly

Jenkins’ world-weary face and soft-spoken demeanor can be used to convey warmth and kindness or coldly pragmatic cruelty, depending on the occasion, and in writer/director Andrew Dominik’s Killing Me Softly, they were called upon for a bit of both. Here, Jenkins plays a Mafia go-between for a hitman (Brad Pitt) who’s been contracted to kill a shady game room proprietor (Ray Liotta) in order to restore dignity to the local gambling operation; it seems like a straightforward enough job, but things get complicated, owing to the involvement of a pair of incompetent crooks (Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn) as well as the unpredictable hitman Pitt’s hired to rub them out (James Gandolfini). Although it wasn’t one of Pitt’s more commercially successful efforts, it earned praise from critics like Mick LaSalle, who wrote, “There is not one moment in the film that doesn’t represent the director’s carefully considered thought, whether we’re talking about acting values, camera placement, sound or style of presentation.”


76%

8. Sea of Love

Jenkins’ career has grown to the point where he’s capable of landing central roles, but in his earlier years as a film actor, he developed a reputation as the kind of guy who could imbue even smaller parts with enough three-dimensional believability to make them seem larger than they really were. Case in point: 1989’s Sea of Love, the slow-burning thriller about an alcoholic cop (Al Pacino) who becomes embroiled in a disturbing murder case while falling in love with the sultry femme fatale (Ellen Barkin) who may or may not be the serial killer he’s looking for. As the fellow cop who ended up marrying Pacino’s character’s wife after she walked out on him, Jenkins is mostly relegated to the background, but he’s one of several characters (as well as actors smartly chosen by director Harold Becker) who help ground the lurid and often ridiculous film with some semblance of normalcy. “Sea of Love has its Cinemax lapses in taste,” admitted Bill Chambers of Film Freak Central, “but most films of the genre lack sophistication from which to lapse.”


77%

7. The Mudge Boy

A Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee, this little-seen indie starred Emile Hirsch as the painfully shy son of a widowed recluse (Richard Jenkins) who can’t seem to figure out what to make of him — which is understandable, seeing as how the kid sleeps with a chicken and likes to dress up in his late mother’s clothes. Such personality quirks don’t do Hirsch’s character any favors in the small social circles he’s forced to run at school, and from The Mudge Boy‘s earliest scenes, the viewer can sense that things aren’t going to end well for him, but it’s still hard to look away. Calling it “Unsettling and mildly shocking at times,” Newsday’s Jan Stuart wrote, “this is an adolescent tale of the sort one might expect from Flannery O’Connor or Paul Bowles if they were in the business of coming-of-age dramas.”


78%

6. Burn After Reading

Part of Jenkins’ prolific breakthrough year in 2008 — which also included The Visitor and Step Brothers — the Coen brothers production Burn After Reading employed an eyebrow-raising cast of character actors (including John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and, of course, J.K. Simmons) to unravel a pitch-black comedy about a burnout CIA analyst (Malkovich) whose memoirs are stolen and end up in the hands of a pair of dunderheaded health club employees (McDormand and Brad Pitt) who misunderstand their meaning and try selling them to the Russians, all while a philandering U.S. Marshal (George Clooney) complicates matters by unwittingly carrying on affairs with all of the women involved. “None of it makes strict sense, which is why it’s called screwball,” admitted the Toronto Star’s Peter Howell, “but in its own crazy way Burn After Reading nails the essential folly of humans pretending to be civilized.”

81%

5. The Man Who Wasn’t There

The first of Jenkins’ three Coen brothers films (so far), 2001’s The Man Who Wasn’t There gave him the small but pivotal role of Walter Abundas, friend and next door neighbor to Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton), the small-town barber whose marital difficulties form the basis for a noir-influenced misadventure that includes a murder, a seedy lawyer (Tony Shalhoub), and a crucial moment of indiscretion with Walter’s piano-playing teenage daughter (Scarlett Johansson). Admitting that it’s “Slowly paced for a thriller and with a hero many will find off-putting,” Empire’s Kim Newman argued that “this is nevertheless a gripping, unusual and challenging work from the most consistently brilliant filmmakers of the last decade.”


87%

4. Flirting With Disaster

Jenkins earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his work in this David O. Russell comedy, starring Ben Stiller as an adopted man who refuses to name his newborn child until he can learn the identity of his biological parents — thus kicking off a cross-country road trip involving his wife (Patricia Arquette), an adoption agency employee (Tea Leoni), and a pair of ATF agents who happen to be in a relationship with each other (Jenkins and Josh Brolin). As can often be the case with Russell’s films, it’s a bit of an unwieldy setup, but it all came together satisfyingly enough for most critics — including Roger Ebert, who observed, “There are conventions in this sort of story, and Russell seems to violate most of them. He allows the peculiarities of his characters to lead them away from the plot line and into perplexities of their own. To watch that happening is a lot of fun.”


90%

3. The Visitor

After a career’s worth of “that guy” roles, Jenkins earned his moment to shine (and a Best Actor Oscar nomination) in 2008’s The Visitor, a quietly graceful indie drama about a college professor whose lonely existence is upended when he’s forced to attend a conference in New York and, arriving at the old apartment he rarely visits, is startled to discover a pair of illegal immigrants renting it from a fraudulent “realtor.” Rather than having them thrown out, he decides to let them stay — an act of uncommon kindness that ultimately proves more rewarding to the professor than his unexpected tenants. Calling it a “parable of decency,” Tony Macklin of the Fayetteville Free Weekly wrote, “The best movies are those that understand the human condition and have a personal vision. The Visitor is one of those rare creations.”


88%

2. Let Me In

Hollywood doesn’t exactly have a spotless track record when it comes to adapting foreign films, so many cineastes feared the worst when Relativity Media announced plans to remake the Swedish critical favorite Let the Right One In with Cloverfield director Matt Reeves at the helm. Happily, even with the language switch — and a new cast that included Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, and Jenkins — the original story’s uncommonly smart, creepy take on the vampire genre came shining through, and although Let Me In wasn’t a huge box office success, it resonated with appreciative critics like Amy Biancolli of the Houston Chronicle, who called it “A striking piece of character-driven horror” that “ranks (despite the effects) among the more understated fright fests to hit the mainstream in recent memory.”


92%

1. The Cabin in the Woods

Studio difficulties held up its release for over two years, but unlike the vast majority of films that spend an extended period of time in the vault before reaching theaters, The Cabin in the Woods enjoyed an enthusiastic critical response — partly because members of its cast and crew had gone on to bigger things since production wrapped in 2009 (including director/co-writer Drew Goddard, producer/co-writer Joss Whedon, and cast member Chris “Thor” Hemsworth), and partly because of the way the story manages to embrace horror movie tropes while subverting them with an infectious blend of love and intelligence. It’s hard to discuss Cabin‘s plot without spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but the Atlantic’s Christopher Orr described it pretty well, calling it “A horror movie embedded in a conspiracy flick embedded in another horror movie” and “the most inventive cabin-in-the-woods picture since The Evil Dead and the canniest genre deconstruction since Scream.”


In case you were wondering, here are Jenkins’ top 10 movies according RT users’ scores:

1. The Visitor — 82%
2. The Man Who Wasn’t There — 81%
3. Eye Of God — 78%
4. The Cabin in the Woods — 76%
5. Let Me In — 74%
6. North Country — 72%
7. The Mudge Boy — 71%
8. Jack Reacher — 69%
9. Step Brothers — 68%
10. Friends With Benefits — 66%


Take a look through Jenkins’ complete filmography, as well as the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don’t forget to check out the reviews for White House Down.

 

White House Down puts our nation’s most important house in peril, but thankfully, Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, and Maggie Gyllenhaal are there to save it and the people inside. They reveal what Roland Emmerich is like as a director, how their roles mirror their real lives, and then Grae Channings all over their Tatum.

 

BONUS FOOTAGE: Discussing Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum’s highest Tomatometer scores got the pair so worked up, Channing Tatum entered into a gentleman’s wager with Grae Drake on the score for White House Down. Stay tuned to the Tomatometer to find out the winner.

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