In Bruges

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The 60 Best Black Comedies, Ranked By Tomatometer

Let’s say you’re the type to laugh while handling the darkest subject matters: Murder, doomsday, blackmail, and maybe even a lil’ tasty cannibalism. If so, twisted friend, you sure have arrived at the right spot to get your gallows guffaws: The 60 Best Dark Comedies, Ranked by Tomatometer!

All this dark material ranges in variation of glib macabre glee, different styles that we’ll touch upon in our selection of the best-reviewed funny black comedies. Most common are movies about murder and the subsequent covering-up, especially when the corpses have a habit of popping up at the most inconvenient times. Think Best Picture-winning Parasite, Fargo, Burn After Reading, and Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry.

Another style of the black comedy movie: Mining jokes out of political fallout when millions of lives are at stake, as seen in Dr. Strangelove, In the Loop, and The Producers. Or how about movies that get you on the serial killer’s side, like being on the ride for The Voices or Monsieur Verdoux. They twist you around enough to make you feel amusingly guilty hoping they’ll get away with it all.

The emergence of the black comedy movie seemed to come around in the 1940s, when filmmaking had evolved enough to artistically interpret real-world horrors (e.g. World War II) with mordant humor, as seen in To Be or Not to Be and Arsenic and Old Lace. Of course, how would they have known their groundbreaking path through the dark side would eventually come to the taboo of cannibalism, as seen in appetizing films like Delicatessen and Eating Raoul? And lest you assume we’re not in touch with our more subtle side when it comes to comedy of the damned, we’ve included philosophical destroyers Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?, Carnage, and the brilliant Withnail and I.

Major players in the realm of dark comedies include status quo-defecating John Waters (Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos), Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Todd Solondz (Happiness, Welcome to the Dollhouse), and the devilish Danny DeVito (The War of the Roses, Ruthless People). Our final stipulation for their movies and everything else on the list is that each had to be rated Fresh, and have at least 20 reviews, to ensure enough critics have shared in the gleeful discomfort.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad (feel free to keep adding more) world out there these days: Grab life by the ruffled lapel and throw it into the wood chipper with The 60 Best Black Comedies, Ranked!

#60

Adam's Apples (2005)
70%

#60
Adjusted Score: 70571%
Critics Consensus: Good and evil collide with interesting results in Adam's Apples, a dark Biblical allegory that's alternatively funny and shocking.
Synopsis: Following a stint in jail, Adam (Ulrich Thomsen), a former neo-Nazi, is temporarily assigned to live in a religious enclave.... [More]
Directed By: Anders Thomas Jensen

#59

Carnage (2011)
70%

#59
Adjusted Score: 77940%
Critics Consensus: It isn't as compelling on the screen as it was on the stage, but Carnage makes up for its flaws with Polanski's smooth direction and assured performances from Winslet and Foster.
Synopsis: When some roughhousing between two 11-year-old boys named Zachary and Ethan erupts into real violence, Ethan loses two teeth. Zachary's... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#58

The Ref (1994)
72%

#58
Adjusted Score: 75458%
Critics Consensus: Undeniably uneven and too dark for some, The Ref nonetheless boasts strong turns from Denis Leary, Judy Davis, and Kevin Spacey, as well as a sharply funny script.
Synopsis: Bickering spouses (Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey) annoy the cat burglar (Denis Leary) who takes them hostage in their Connecticut home.... [More]
Directed By: Ted Demme

#57

The Voices (2014)
74%

#57
Adjusted Score: 77389%
Critics Consensus: The Voices gives Ryan Reynolds an opportunity to deliver a highlight-reel performance -- and offers an off-kilter treat for fans of black comedies.
Synopsis: A mentally unhinged factory worker (Ryan Reynolds) must decide whether to listen to his talking cat and become a killer,... [More]
Directed By: Marjane Satrapi

#56

Better Off Dead (1985)
77%

#56
Adjusted Score: 77517%
Critics Consensus: Better Off Dead is an anarchic mix of black humor and surreal comedy, anchored by John Cusack's winsome, charming performance.
Synopsis: Lane Meyer (John Cusack) is a teen with a peculiar family and a bizarre fixation with his girlfriend, Beth (Amanda... [More]
Directed By: Savage Steve Holland

#55

Used Cars (1980)
77%

#55
Adjusted Score: 78210%
Critics Consensus: Robert Zemeckis' pitch-black satire of American culture doesn't always hit the mark, but it's got enough manic comic energy to warrant a spin.
Synopsis: Rudy Russo (Kurt Russell) is an unscrupulous car salesman who aspires to become a politician. In the meantime, however, Rudy... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#54

Freeway (1996)
77%

#54
Adjusted Score: 78065%
Critics Consensus: A modern update on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Freeway is an audacious black comedy with a star-making performance from the young Reese Witherspoon.
Synopsis: Following the arrest of her mother, Ramona (Amanda Plummer), young Vanessa Lutz (Reese Witherspoon) decides to go in search of... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Bright

#53

Bad Santa (2003)
78%

#53
Adjusted Score: 87132%
Critics Consensus: A gloriously rude and gleefully offensive black comedy, Bad Santa isn't for everyone, but grinches will find it uproariously funny.
Synopsis: In this dark comedy, the crotchety Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) and his partner (Tony Cox) reunite once a... [More]
Directed By: Terry Zwigoff

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 89908%
Critics Consensus: With Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers have crafted another clever comedy/thriller with an outlandish plot and memorable characters.
Synopsis: When a disc containing memoirs of a former CIA analyst (John Malkovich) falls into the hands of Linda Litzke (Frances... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#51

Catch-22 (1970)
79%

#51
Adjusted Score: 81506%
Critics Consensus: Catch-22 takes entertainingly chaotic aim at the insanity of armed conflict, supported by a terrific cast and smart, funny work from Buck Henry and Mike Nichols.
Synopsis: This scathing war satire follows Capt. John Yossarian (Alan Arkin), a pilot stationed in the Mediterranean who flies bombing missions... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#50

Killer Joe (2011)
80%

#50
Adjusted Score: 86727%
Critics Consensus: Violent, darkly comic, and full of strong performances, Killer Joe proves William Friedkin hasn't lost his touch, even if the plot may be too lurid for some.
Synopsis: A cop (Matthew McConaughey) who moonlights as a hit man agrees to kill the hated mother of a desperate drug... [More]
Directed By: William Friedkin

#49

Pink Flamingos (1972)
81%

#49
Adjusted Score: 86140%
Critics Consensus: Uproarious and appalling, Pink Flamingos is transgressive camp that proves as entertaining as it does shocking.
Synopsis: A bizarre fat woman (Divine) and her misfit family compete with a Baltimore couple (David Lochary, Mink Stole) to be... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 84751%
Critics Consensus: A high-concept high school reunion movie with an adroitly cast John Cusack and armed with a script of incisive wit.
Synopsis: After assassin Martin Blank (John Cusack) has trouble focusing on his work, resulting in a failed assignment, he returns to... [More]
Directed By: George Armitage

#47

Happiness (1998)
82%

#47
Adjusted Score: 83169%
Critics Consensus: Happiness is far from a cheerful viewing experience, but its grimly humorous script and fearless performances produce a perversely moving search for humanity within everyday depravity.
Synopsis: This dark ensemble-comedy is centered on the three Jordan sisters. Joy (Jane Adams) moves through lackluster jobs with no sense... [More]
Directed By: Todd Solondz

#46

T2 Trainspotting (2017)
81%

#46
Adjusted Score: 99839%
Critics Consensus: T2 Trainspotting adds an intoxicating, emotionally resonant postscript to its classic predecessor, even without fully recapturing the original's fresh, subversive thrill.
Synopsis: First there was an opportunity, then there was a betrayal. Twenty years later, Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to the... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 91323%
Critics Consensus: Seven Psychopaths delivers sly cinematic commentary while serving up a heaping helping of sharp dialogue and gleeful violence.
Synopsis: Boozy writer Marty (Colin Farrell) is a man in search of a screenplay. He has a catchy title but no... [More]
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 85125%
Critics Consensus: The Brand New Testament takes a surreal, subversive, and funny look at Biblical themes through a modern -- and refreshingly original -- lens.
Synopsis: God is discovered living in Brussels with his daughter.... [More]
Directed By: Jaco Van Dormael

#43

Men & Chicken (2015)
84%

#43
Adjusted Score: 86856%
Critics Consensus: Men & Chicken's bizarre setup only skims the surface of a challenging, well-acted comedy with a warm heart to match its grotesque visuals and dark themes.
Synopsis: Two outcast brothers get to know their biological family and discover the horrible truth about themselves and their relatives.... [More]
Directed By: Anders Thomas Jensen

#42

Four Lions (2009)
83%

#42
Adjusted Score: 87101%
Critics Consensus: Its premise suggests brazenly tasteless humor, but Four Lions is actually a smart, pitch-black comedy that carries the unmistakable ring of truth.
Synopsis: A group of young Muslim men living in Sheffield decide to wage jihad, and they hatch an inept plan to... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Morris

#41

Harold and Maude (1971)
85%

#41
Adjusted Score: 89694%
Critics Consensus: Hal Ashby's comedy is too dark and twisted for some, and occasionally oversteps its bounds, but there's no denying the film's warm humor and big heart.
Synopsis: Cult classic pairs Cort as a dead-pan disillusioned 20-year-old obsessed with suicide and a loveable Gordon as a fun-loving 80-year-old... [More]
Directed By: Hal Ashby

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 92888%
Critics Consensus: The Art of Self-Defense grapples compellingly with modern American masculinity -- and serves as an outstanding calling card for writer-director Riley Stearns.
Synopsis: After getting attacked on the street, Casey enlists in a local dojo that's led by a charismatic and mysterious sensei.... [More]
Directed By: Riley Stearns

#39

In Bruges (2008)
84%

#39
Adjusted Score: 91012%
Critics Consensus: Featuring witty dialogue and deft performances, In Bruges is an effective mix of dark comedy and crime thriller elements.
Synopsis: After a particularly difficult job, hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) head to Belgium to hide out... [More]
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 87845%
Critics Consensus: The War of the Roses is a black comedy made even funnier by hanging onto its caustic convictions -- and further distinguished by Danny DeVito's stylish direction.
Synopsis: After 17 years of marriage, Barbara (Kathleen Turner) and Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas) want out. The trouble is, neither one... [More]
Directed By: Danny DeVito

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 92640%
Critics Consensus: Tongue-in-cheek satire blends well with entertaining action and spot-on performances in this dark, eclectic neo-noir homage.
Synopsis: Two-bit crook Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) stumbles into an audition for a mystery film while on the run from... [More]
Directed By: Shane Black

#36

Game Night (2018)
85%

#36
Adjusted Score: 99576%
Critics Consensus: With a talented cast turned loose on a loaded premise -- and a sharp script loaded with dark comedy and unexpected twists -- Game Night might be more fun than the real thing.
Synopsis: Max and Annie's weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party... [More]

#35

Eating Raoul (1982)
86%

#35
Adjusted Score: 86344%
Critics Consensus: Eating Raoul serves up its spectacularly lurid tale with a healthy heaping of pitch-black humor and anarchic vigor.
Synopsis: The absurd Blands (Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov) lure swingers home to be conked by a skillet, robbed and removed by... [More]
Directed By: Paul Bartel

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 89320%
Critics Consensus: In Order of Disappearance's black comedy doesn't always hit its targets, but on the whole, it still adds up to a sly, entertaining revenge thriller.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Hans Petter Moland

#33

Ingrid Goes West (2017)
86%

#33
Adjusted Score: 99512%
Critics Consensus: Led by strong performances from Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen, Ingrid Goes West delivers smart, topical humor underlined by timely social observations.
Synopsis: Following the death of her mother and a series of self-inflicted setbacks, young Ingrid Thorburn escapes a humdrum existence by... [More]
Directed By: Matt Spicer

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 85756%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Writer and notorious marriage detractor Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) falls for girl-next-door Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane), and they tie the... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

#31

Female Trouble (1975)
88%

#31
Adjusted Score: 89816%
Critics Consensus: Director John Waters' affection for camp brings texture to societal transgression in Female Trouble, a brazenly subversive dive into celebrity and mayhem.
Synopsis: An obese woman (Divine) gives birth to an obnoxious child and embarks upon a bizarre and violent life of crime.... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#30

Cheap Thrills (2013)
88%

#30
Adjusted Score: 91697%
Critics Consensus: Gleefully nasty and darkly hilarious, Cheap Thrills lives down to its title in the best possible way.
Synopsis: A series of escalating bets pits recently reunited friends against each other.... [More]
Directed By: E.L. Katz

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 92407%
Critics Consensus: World's Greatest Dad is a risky, deadpan, dark comedy that effectively explores the nature of posthumous cults of celebrity.
Synopsis: When the son of high school English teacher Lance Clayton (Robin Williams) accidentally kills himself, Clayton writes a fake suicide... [More]
Directed By: Bobcat Goldthwait

#28

The Lobster (2015)
87%

#28
Adjusted Score: 102751%
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.
Synopsis: In a dystopian society, single people must find a mate within 45 days or be transformed into an animal of... [More]
Directed By: Yorgos Lanthimos

#27

After Hours (1985)
89%

#27
Adjusted Score: 93851%
Critics Consensus: Bursting with frantic energy and tinged with black humor, After Hours is a masterful -- and often overlooked -- detour in Martin Scorsese's filmography.
Synopsis: In a Manhattan cafe, word processor Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) meets and talks literature with Marcy (Rosanna Arquette). Later that... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#26

Delicatessen (1991)
89%

#26
Adjusted Score: 92924%
Critics Consensus: Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet deftly combines horror, sci-fi, and humor in Delicatessen, a morbid comedy set in a visually ravishing futuristic dystopia.
Synopsis: Clapet (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) is a butcher who owns a run-down apartment building in post-apocalyptic France. The building is in constant... [More]

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 92961%
Critics Consensus: An outstanding sophomore feature, Welcome to the Dollhouse sees writer-director Todd Solondz mining suburban teen angst for black, biting comedy.
Synopsis: Middle-school student Dawn Weiner (Heather Matarazzo) faces degradation at school -- where she is teased constantly -- and at home.... [More]
Directed By: Todd Solondz

#24

The Producers (1968)
90%

#24
Adjusted Score: 98628%
Critics Consensus: A hilarious satire of the business side of Hollywood, The Producers is one of Mel Brooks' finest, as well as funniest films, featuring standout performances by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.
Synopsis: Down and out producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel), who was once the toast of Broadway, trades sexual favors with old... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#23

A Serious Man (2009)
89%

#23
Adjusted Score: 97606%
Critics Consensus: Blending dark humor with profoundly personal themes, the Coen brothers deliver what might be their most mature -- if not their best -- film to date.
Synopsis: Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a physics professor at a 1960s university, but his life is coming apart at the... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#22
Adjusted Score: 121205%
Critics Consensus: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri deftly balances black comedy against searing drama -- and draws unforgettable performances from its veteran cast along the way.
Synopsis: After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three... [More]
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 88583%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a local man's corpse appears on a nearby hillside, no one is quite sure what happened to him. Many... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#20

Polyester (1981)
93%

#20
Adjusted Score: 93723%
Critics Consensus: As proudly tacky as its titular fabric, Polyester finds writer-director John Waters moving ever so slightly into the mainstream without losing any of his subversive charm.
Synopsis: A frustrated housewife, Francine Fishpaw (Divine), tries to maintain her sanity while taking care of her dysfunctional household. Elmer (David... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 90247%
Critics Consensus: The Firemen's Ball is an uproarious comedy of incompetence, mining laughs and sharp satire from an allegory that is amusing and distressing in equal measure.
Synopsis: In Milos Forman's satire on Communism set in a small Czechoslovakian town in the 1960s, the local firemen decide to... [More]
Directed By: Milos Forman

#18

Trainspotting (1996)
91%

#18
Adjusted Score: 95679%
Critics Consensus: A brutal, often times funny, other times terrifying portrayal of drug addiction in Edinburgh. Not for the faint of heart, but well worth viewing as a realistic and entertaining reminder of the horrors of drug use.
Synopsis: Heroin addict Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) stumbles through bad ideas and sobriety attempts with his unreliable friends -- Sick Boy... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#17
Adjusted Score: 105954%
Critics Consensus: A thrilling leap forward for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman is an ambitious technical showcase powered by a layered story and outstanding performances from Michael Keaton and Edward Norton.
Synopsis: Former cinema superhero Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is mounting an ambitious Broadway production that he hopes will breathe new life... [More]

#16

Heathers (1989)
93%

#16
Adjusted Score: 96383%
Critics Consensus: Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.
Synopsis: Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lehmann

#15

Fargo (1996)
94%

#15
Adjusted Score: 100722%
Critics Consensus: Violent, quirky, and darkly funny, Fargo delivers an original crime story and a wonderful performance by McDormand.
Synopsis: "Fargo" is a reality-based crime drama set in Minnesota in 1987. Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) is a car salesman... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#14

Withnail and I (1987)
94%

#14
Adjusted Score: 94623%
Critics Consensus: Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann prove irresistibly hilarious as two misanthropic slackers in Withnail and I, a biting examination of artists living on the fringes of prosperity and good taste.
Synopsis: Two out-of-work actors -- the anxious, luckless Marwood (Paul McGann) and his acerbic, alcoholic friend, Withnail (Richard E. Grant) --... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Robinson

#13

Ruthless People (1986)
93%

#13
Adjusted Score: 96878%
Critics Consensus: It's sometimes crude and tasteless, but Ruthless People wrings acid-soaked laughs out of its dark premise and gleefully misanthropic characters.
Synopsis: Sam Stone (Danny DeVito) hates his wife, Barbara (Bette Midler), so much that he wants her dead. He's ecstatic when... [More]

#12

In the Loop (2009)
94%

#12
Adjusted Score: 99598%
Critics Consensus: In the Loop is an uncommonly funny political satire that blends Dr. Strangelove with Spinal Tap for the Iraq war era.
Synopsis: During an interview, British Cabinet Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) delivers an off-the-cuff remark that war in the Middle East... [More]
Directed By: Armando Iannucci

#11
Adjusted Score: 100087%
Critics Consensus: Led by a volcanic performance from Elizabeth Taylor, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a scathing adaptation of the Edward Albee play that serves as a brilliant calling card for debuting director Mike Nichols.
Synopsis: History professor George (Richard Burton) and his boozy wife, Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), return late one Saturday night from a cocktail... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 108998%
Critics Consensus: The Death of Stalin finds director/co-writer Arnando Iannucci in riotous form, bringing his scabrous political humor to bear on a chapter in history with painfully timely parallels.
Synopsis: When tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin dies in 1953, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to become... [More]
Directed By: Armando Iannucci

#9

Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
97%

#9
Adjusted Score: 102706%
Critics Consensus: Charles Chaplin adds an undercurrent of malice to his comedic persona in Monsieur Verdoux, an unsettling satire that subverts the tramp's image to perversely amusing effect.
Synopsis: Monsieur Verdoux (Charles Chaplin) is a dapper Parisian family man who loses his job as a bank clerk. In order... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 100675%
Critics Consensus: A complex and timely satire with as much darkness as slapstick, Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not To Be delicately balances humor and ethics.
Synopsis: Acting couple Joseph (Jack Benny) and Maria Tura (Carole Lombard) are managing a theatrical troupe when the Nazis invade Poland.... [More]
Directed By: Ernst Lubitsch

#7

Brazil (1985)
98%

#7
Adjusted Score: 100937%
Critics Consensus: Brazil, Terry Gilliam's visionary Orwellian fantasy, is an audacious dark comedy, filled with strange, imaginative visuals.
Synopsis: Low-level bureaucrat Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) escapes the monotony of his day-to-day life through a recurring daydream of himself as... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#6
Adjusted Score: 106024%
Critics Consensus: Stanley Kubrick's brilliant Cold War satire remains as funny and razor-sharp today as it was in 1964.
Synopsis: A film about what could happen if the wrong person pushed the wrong button -- and it played the situation... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#5

Parasite (2019)
98%

#5
Adjusted Score: 127460%
Critics Consensus: An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft.
Synopsis: Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#4

Multiple Maniacs (1970)
100%

#4
Adjusted Score: 101532%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Cavalcade of Perversion, a traveling freak-show, is a front for a band of psychotic kidnappers and murderers.... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#3

The Ladykillers (1955)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 102462%
Critics Consensus: The Ladykillers is a macabre slow-burn with quirky performances of even quirkier characters.
Synopsis: Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) likes to report suspicious behavior to the police. Unaware of her reputation, the dapper thief Professor... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Mackendrick

#2

A New Leaf (1971)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103513%
Critics Consensus: Elaine May is a comedic dynamo both behind and in front of the camera in this viciously funny screwball farce, with able support provided by Walter Matthau.
Synopsis: A spoiled and self-absorbed man who has squandered his inheritance, Henry Graham (Walter Matthau) is desperate to find a way... [More]
Directed By: Elaine May

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 104434%
Critics Consensus: Performed with chameleonic brio by Alec Guinness, Kind Hearts and Coronets is a triumphant farce.
Synopsis: When his mother eloped with an Italian opera singer, Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price) was cut off from her aristocratic family.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Hamer

It’s the very first streaming column of 2017, which means it’s also the first streaming column of the month, which means the subscription services are releasing a ton of new titles, and we’re culling them down to the very best. Read on for all the Certified Fresh choices available on Netflix and Amazon Prime this week.


New on Netflix

 

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 99%

Steven Spielberg’s family classic — the tale of a young boy named Elliott who discovers an orphaned alien in his backyard — boasts one of the most beloved movie characters in history.

Available now on: Netflix


The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) 95%

Robert Wise’s Certified Fresh sci-fi classic tells the story of an alien being who arrives on Earth with a warning for mankind: make peace or face annihilation.

Available now on: Netflix


Hugo (2011) 93%

Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of the Brian Selznick novel stars Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz in the story of a young boy who befriends a reclusive toymaker in order to unlock the secret behind an automaton left to him by his late father.

Available now on: Netflix


Superman: The Movie (1978) 94%

– Franchise

All four of the classic Superman films starring Christopher Reeve — and Bryan Singer’s 2006 update — are available on Netflix this week.

Available now on Netflix: Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV, Superman Returns


Boogie Nights (1997) 93%

Paul Thomas Anderson’s ensemble opus about life in the porn industry made a movie star out of Mark Wahlberg and benefited immeasurably from great performances by Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, Luis Guzman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and William H. Macy.

Available now on: Netflix


Gimme the Loot (2012) 91%

This independent drama follows a pair of graffiti artists over two days as they attempt to raise funds for a bold act of tagging.

Available now on: Netflix


After Innocence (2005) 92%

This documentary catches up with several men exonerated by DNA evidence and freed from prison as they attempt to reintegrate into society.

Available now on: Netflix


Cheap Thrills (2013) 88%

This dark comedy centers on two friends and a wealthy married couple who meet at a bar and engage in a series of progressively more twisted dares.

Available now on: Netflix


The Shining (1980) 85%

Stanley Kubrick’s iconic adaptation of the Stephen King novel stars a creepy Jack Nicholson as a struggling writer who relocates his family to an empty hotel during a harsh winter season and slowly goes mad.

Available now on: Netflix


Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) 79%

Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant star in this comedy about a brash thirtysomething London woman who decides to shape up and meets a couple of eligible bachelors.

Available now on: Netflix


Beautiful Girls (1996) 79%

Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman, a young Natalie Portman, and a bunch of other noted indie thespians star in this mid-1990s comedy about a high school reunion in snowy New England.

Available now on: Netflix


Braveheart (1995) 79%

Mel Gibson directs and stars in this multiple Oscar-winner as William Wallace, a Scottish folk hero from the 13th century who led his people against the English in the First War of Scottish Independence.

Available now on: Netflix


Caddyshack (1980) 73%

Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray star in Harold Ramis’s directorial debut, a beloved comedy about the unruly, unusual new members of an exclusive country club.

Available now on: Netflix


V for Vendetta (2006) 73%

Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving star in this dystopian thriller about a lone freedom fighter plotting a series of revolutionary bombings against a tyrannical government who recruits a young woman to join his cause.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 95%

– Franchise

Harrison Ford stars as the iconic archaeologist/adventurer whose thrilling exploits take him all over the globe. Amazon Prime subscribers will be able to stream all of the Indiana Jones movies this week.

Available now on Amazon Prime: Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


Iron Man (2008) 94%

This action blockbuster, which kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe in spectacular style, stars Robert Downey Jr. in a role he was born to play: an arrogant billionaire supergenius who creates a weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Cropsey (2009) 91%

This Certified Fresh documentary tells the chilling tale of a Long Island child killer that many assumed was an urban legend.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Trading Places (1983) 88%

Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd star in John Landis’s classic comedy about a well-to-do businessman and a common street hustler whose lives become intertwined when the businessman’s bosses concoct an elaborate bet involving them.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


American History X (1998) 83%

Edwards Norton and Furlong star in this drama about an ex-white supremacist who returns from prison a changed man and attempts to prevent his younger brother from following the same path.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Beetlejuice (1988) 85%

Tim Burton’s offbeat comedy stars Michael Keaton as the titular ghoul, a chaotic wildcard whose services are called upon by a newly deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) to help rid their home of its new occupants.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Jesus' Son (1999) 80%

Billy Crudup and Samantha Morton star in this drama about an aimless junkie who meets an interesting collection of characters as he attempts to straighten out his life.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Untouchables (1987) 83%

Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, and Robert De Niro star in Brian DePalma’s dramatization of the Prohibition Era war between Al Capone and lawman Eliot Ness.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Stardust (2007) 77%

Based upon Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel and featuring an all-star cast, this fantasy follows a young man who embarks on a journey through a forbidden kingdom to prove his love to the girl of his dreams by presenting her with a fallen star.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Gangs of New York (2002) 73%

Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis headline an all-star cast in Martin Scorsese’s stylized portrayal of the rise of criminal power in New York’s Five Points neighborhood during the mid-1800s.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Happy Feet (2006) 76%

Elijah Wood and Robin Williams lend their voices to this animated feature about an emperor penguin who overcomes his inability to sing by becoming a fantastic dancer instead.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Available to Purchase

 

Insecure: Season 1 (2016) 100%

Issa Rae stars in this HBO comedy series, partly based on her web series Awkward Black Girl, that centers on two black women learning to navigate their personal and professional lives in Los Angeles.

Available now on: Amazon, Google PlayiTunes


Pinocchio (1940) 100%

Disney’s classic take on the story of a wooden boy who wishes to become human is being made available to stream this week.

Available now on: AmazonFandangoNOW, iTunes


Queen of Katwe (2016) 94%

Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo star in Mira Nair’s inspirational tale based on a true story about a chess prodigy who is discovered in a Ugandan slum and nurtured to become a champion.

Available now on: AmazonFandangoNOW, iTunes


Christine (2016) 88%

Rebecca Hall stars in this fact-based drama as Christine Chubbuck, the Florida news reporter who committed suicide on live TV in 1974.

Available now on: AmazoniTunes


Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) 82%

This surprisingly effective prequel to the forgettable 2014 original follows a scam psychic and her two daughters as they deal with an unwelcome spirit who enters their lives via the titular game board.

Available now on: AmazoniTunes

It looks like the home video departments at all the studios decided to take Memorial Day off, because hardly anything worth mentioning is hitting shelves this week. We start off with a romance remake critics didn’t like very much, and a handful of TV shows and small movies only a handful of people chose to see. Read on for details:



Endless Love

16%

Though the film is notable for featuring a young Tom Cruise in his first role, the most enduring thing to come out of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 romance Endless Love might be the chart-topping duet by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie it inspired. Nevertheless, we got a remake of that film earlier this year, and critics say it’s even less memorable this time around. Based on the novel by Scott Spencer, the story revolves around the romance between high schoolers Jade (Gabriella Wilde) and David (Alex Pettyfer), whose attempts to be together are repeatedly thwarted by Jade’s father (Bruce Greenwood). Will Jade forsake her love and leave for a summer internship in preparation for a medical career at Brown University? Of course not. Endless Love is less faithful to its source material, which isn’t a problem in and of itself, except that it’s strikingly bland, full of clichés, and in some moments, even unintentionally funny.

Also available this week:

  • A Birder’s Guide to Everything (90%), starring Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Kingsley in a coming-of-age road movie about a teen who sets off with his friends in search of an extinct bird.
  • Run & Jump (86%), starring Maxine Peake and Will Forte in a drama about an Irish housewife whose husband suffers a stroke and whose family is subsequently made the subject of a psychological study.
  • Cheap Thrills (85%), a Certified Fresh dark comedy about two friends and a wealthy married couple who meet at a bar and engage in a series of progressively more twisted dares.
  • Another Criterion Collection release this week: Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (55%), starring Bill Murray and a bunch of people in a story about an oceanographer in search of a shark who once ate one of his men.
  • Season three of BBC’s adaptation of the Swedish crime drama Wallander (100%), starring Kenneth Branagh as the titular detective.
  • Season four of USA’s Covert Affairs (100%), which finds Piper Perabo’s CIA agent Annie posing as an importer/exporter of fine goods.
  • Season three of another USA drama, Suits (70%), about a young NYC lawyer without a degree and the mentor who helps keep his secret.

 

This week at the movies, we’ve got individuality under attack (Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet) and Kermit under lock and key (Muppets Most Wanted, starring Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey). What do the critics have to say?



Divergent

41%

Based on a series of popular young adult novels, Divergent is a sci-fi allegory about the dangers of conformity. Ironically, critics say the biggest problem with the film is that it borrows too heavily from the likes of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, leaving its terrific cast stranded in a sea of exposition. In a dystopian future, teenagers are forced to chose one of five factions with which they’ll associate for life. However, Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) doesn’t fit neatly into any one group, and her independent streak makes her a target when two rival tribes prepare for war. The pundits say Woodley gives a star-making performance, and her supporting cast is top-notch, but Divergent is too grim and jumbled to fully resonate. (Check out our gallery of co-star Kate Winslet in some of her most memorable roles.)



Muppets Most Wanted

80%

“Everybody knows that the sequel’s never quite as good,” sing Kermit and Fozzie in the opening scene of Muppets Most Wanted. The operative word here is “quite,” for the critics say that while this caper comedy lacks the breezy charm of The Muppets, it’s got enough laughs and catchy tunes to entertain in its own right. Hot off their successful reunion show, the Muppets decide to take their act on the road, but things quickly go amiss when they sign up with a fast-talking booking agent (Ricky Gervais) who’s in league with a wanted criminal mastermind — and who looks exactly like Kermit the Frog. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Muppets Most Wanted maintains the anarchic spirit of the Muppets, and if the story isn’t as strong this time out, the rapid-fire gags are reliably witty and inventive. (Check out our video interviews with the cast, as well as our rundown of the best films from the Jim Henson Company.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Finally, props to Vicente Torres and Nat Brautigam for coming the closest to guessing The Single Moms Club‘s 17 percent Tomatometer.


If you need a good cinematic laugh, look no further than David Koechner‘s films. Among them are Semi-Pro, Paul, and Anchorman – The Legend of Ron Burgundy (whammy!). His latest film in theaters signals something of a departure from these comedies — which is a nice way of saying that although Cheap Thrills isn’t without laughs, it’s much darker than his usual fare. His Five Favorite Films reflect both of those sides of his personality.


Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Terry Gilliam & Ian MacNaughton, 1974; 97% Tomatometer)




I saw it when I was 13 and it had an amazing impact on me, I couldn’t believe something was so funny and so smart. The level of writing is so crazy; it’s a continual inspiration. It blew my mind. I was at home babysitting my younger siblings. My parents were out dancing, and it came on at 1:30 AM. I would watch Saturday Night Live, and it was on after. I thought it was a horror film to start because it’s dark and there’s the pop-pop-pop and there’s smog. In the movie, that’s their preamble thing that I missed, so I didn’t know it was a comedy.

Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979; 99% Tomatometer)




It’s so epic and so well-acted, it’s got a literary lineage, and it’s just amazing. I was a fan of all the music, and it’s so well-used in the picture. I was always intrigued and fascinated by the Vietnam war and this made me feel like I was there. I was surprised by so many things about the reality of war. When Martin Sheen’s character is going up the river and he goes to this one place where they’re blowing up a bridge everyday and he says, “Where’s your CO,” and he says, “Ain’t you him?” and I was just like, “Oh shit.” And the other thing that still stays with me today, the way the character acted — the helicopter pilot that’s going down — he says “Mayday Mayday, we’re going down.” He doesn’t overdo it; he gives information that’s necessary for other people to hear, and so for me that was a big acting lesson. I didn’t know it at the time. Any other actor — he may have been a real pilot — any other actor would have chewed that up, screaming, “Mayday,” but a real pilot has to convey information to the tower. He goes, “I’m in trouble, I’m in trouble,” and that’s it.


Hearts of Darkness makes that movie even better.

That should be my next film. But instead…

The Blues Brothers (John Landis, 1980; 87% Tomatometer)




I’ll say The Blues Brothers. I love it. I just love it. I was 13 when SNL started so I was a big fan of everything those guys were doing. Belushi, Aykroyd, et al, so that was a movie I still love. I was on a tour bus last year and it came on, and I was just so delighted and blown away.

Henry V (Kenneth Branaugh, 1989; 100% Tomatometer)




I’ve never seen Shakespeare so easily digestible. Everything is so perfectly played and [Kenneth Branagh] is so wonderful. For me, it’s unparalleled. Every actor is just so fine tuned and so good. I love every inch of that movie.

Man Bites Dog ( André Bonzel & Benoît Poelvoorde, 1991; 75% Tomatometer)




Man Bites Dog is a Belgian film in 1992. It’s about a film crew that starts following a serial killer around, and he’s charming and disarming and delightful, and he kills people with this film crew never interceding. The first time you see it, you’re like, “Wait a minute,” and you laugh a few times, and the second time, you laugh the whole time. It’s a bleak, dark comedy, but my god, it’s so funny. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was before the onslaught of reality television, but it makes a perfect comment on it now. It had subtitles and I still loved it. I laughed so hard.


Cheap Thrills opens everywhere this Friday.

 

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