April 22, 2011
Critics Consensus: Water for Elephants Is A Little Soapy
This week at the movies we've got a big-top romance (Water for Elephants, starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson); a maternal fixer (Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family, starring Loretta Devine and Bow Wow), and familial felines (African Cats, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson). What do the critics have to say? Nowadays, the word "melodrama" is mostly used pejoratively, but it wasn't always so: melodramas were the stock-in-trade of great directors like George Cukor and Douglas Sirk. However, we live in more cynical times, and critics say the Depression-set Water for Elephants has an evocative sense of its time and place but lacks the burning passions required to pull off this type of romantic weepie.
April 22, 2011
Total Recall: Reese Witherspoon's Best Movies
She's one of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood, with nearly 30 films to her credit and a lifetime box office gross total topping a billion dollars -- and this weekend, Reese Witherspoon will add to that impressive sum with Water for Elephants, the adaptation of Sara Gruen's bestselling novel about a circus veterinarian (Robert Pattinson) who falls in love with a performer (Witherspoon) married to the troupe's cruel animal trainer (Christoph Waltz). To celebrate her return to the big screen, we decided to dedicate this week's Total Recall to an appreciative look back at some of Reese's best-reviewed releases -- an admirably eclectic batch that includes some of the most successful films of the last 15 years. Which ones are your favorites?