Attention, people who are not fans of pencils, books, teachers, and/or dirty looks: This is your time of year. The mercury is rising, schools are closing their doors, wardrobes are shrinking, and folks all across this great nation are getting ready to go on -- you guessed it -- summer vacation! In honor of our collective yearning to clock out of work, buckle the family into the minivan, and head off for sunny adventures, we've decided to dedicate this week's Total Recall to movies that revolve in some way around summer vacation. We picked a few classics, but we tried to include a few surprises, too -- all in the name of giving you a well-rounded list with room for comedy, drama, dancing, and even a little sci-fi. Are you ready for the summer?
Much has been made of the fact that Steven Spielberg produced J.J. Abrams' Super 8 -- and rightly so, given how strongly it seems to evoke memories of Spielberg's classic past. But even though we think of Spielberg as a director first, he's also had a very busy (and fairly distinguished) career as a producer -- and to show you what we mean, we decided to dedicate this week's Total Recall to films he didn't direct. We ended up with a varied list that includes some huge hits, a handful of modern classics, and maybe even a few surprises. Read on!
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Jun. 01 2011, 03:55 PM
Since breaking into the film business in the mid-1990s, James McAvoy has collected a pile of positive reviews and award nominations, and he's done it while dividing his time between thoughtful independent fare (like The Last King of Scotland) and big-budget blockbusters (such as Wanted). But all that was merely a prelude for this weekend, when McAvoy suits up as the mighty (and decidedly wheelchair-free) Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class. With a starring role in one of the summer's most highly anticipated films under his belt, we thought it was about time to take a look at some of the brightest spots in McAvoy's filmography, Total Recall style. Let's get started!
So we don't know if you've heard, but there's a sequel to a little movie called The Hangover coming out this week, in which pre-wedding festivities once again go horribly, hilariously awry for three guys in way, way over their heads (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms). The first Hangover took bachelor party comedy to a new level, so in honor of the Wolfpack's return, we took a look at some of the other notable entries in the genre. Like many actual weddings, some of these movies didn't turn out the way they were supposed to, but we're betting you'll find a few favorites as you sift through the Tomatometer wreckage. Dearly beloved, it's time to Total Recall!
We started feeling the summer thaw at theaters a few weeks ago with Fast Five and Thor, but everyone knows blockbuster season hasn't truly begun until we have our first Jerry Bruckheimer production -- and right on cue, here's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, in which Johnny Depp once more sets sail for hundreds of millions of dollars in shiny box office doubloons. Nobody produces a hit like Bruckheimer -- and although his successes have often come over the disbelieving protests of scornful critics, his filmography also includes plenty of well-reviewed releases. What better time to count down the top 10?
Over the course of his relatively brief film career, Paul Bettany has played a wide variety of roles -- tennis pro, legendary poet, albino monk, and the voice of a supercomputer, to name a few -- but he's never carried a movie about a vampire-slaying priest with a cross on his face. Until now, that is, and the release of this weekend's Priest, which adapts the Korean comic about a centuries-long war between humanity and legions of undead bloodsuckers. To celebrate this career milestone, we decided now would be the perfect time to take a look back at the highlights of his filmography. It's time for Total Recall!
From the pantheon of ancient deities to the pages of Marvel Comics and finally to the silver screen, Thor has had quite the journey -- and judging from its robust Tomatometer, the hammer-wielding Asgardian is none the worse for wear. Arriving this weekend at theater near you (and on suitably massive IMAX 3D screens), Kenneth Branagh's action epic blends timeless mythology with cutting-edge special effects and a marquee-ready cast -- and in the process, it continues Hollywood's long love affair with all things Viking-related. Naturally, we decided to get in the spirit of things by smoking some cod, pouring a big cup of mead, and looking back at some of the more noteworthy examples of the genre. Hop into our longship, won't you?
With the end of the school year just around the corner, we're officially in prom season -- time for teens to rent limos, get gussied up in formal wear, and trip the light fantastic. Disney is celebrating with the appropriately titled Prom, in which the social event of the season affects the lives and relationships of an eclectic cast that includes Aimee Teegarden and Jere Burns, and it got us thinking about some of the more memorable proms in Hollywood history. From teen comedies to action, musicals, and horror, prom has been a popular theme over the years -- so hit the dance floor with us for an especially well-dressed Total Recall!
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?
Horror is one of Hollywood's most consistent money-making genres, and it's been a terrific gateway for some of our most well-respected actors and directors -- but unless you're really good at playing a homicidal maniac behind a mask, it's hard to make a consistently successful career out of scaring people. Though his filmography has certainly weathered its fair share of ups and downs, Wes Craven is a notable exception to the rule: starting with 1972's Last House on the Left, he's demonstrated an uncommon gift for freaking out filmgoers around the world. In honor of his return to the Scream franchise this week, we decided to lock the door, close the curtains, and take a peek (through our fingers, natch) at his best films, Total Recall style!
He's a performance artist, published author, gala host, soap star, college student, and one of the most prolific film actors currently working in Hollywood. Is there anything James Francohasn't done? Well, up until this week, he'd never been the subject of a Total Recall -- but once we found out he'd be starring in David Gordon Green's raunchy medieval comedy Your Highness, we knew the time had come. From indie flicks to blockbusters, Franco's been in just about every kind of picture -- and here, without further ado, are his ten best-reviewed films. How many have you seen?
What has two long ears, a pair of drumsticks, a vendetta against Easter chicks, and a habit of pooping jelly beans? Why, it's E.B., the Russell Brand-voiced star of the brand new Easter comedy Hop -- and the latest example of Hollywood's long-standing fascination with rabbits. As main characters and supporting players, they've shown up in comedies and dramas, children's animation, and even a horror movie or two. With that in mind, we decided to take a cue from this weekend's release schedule and honor rabbits in the movies with a very special cottontailed edition of Total Recall!
Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch, opening this weekend, is a state-of-the-art action thriller featuring the latest advancements in special effects and cleavage-baring underthings -- but underneath all that 21st-century gimcrackery, it's also a throwback to one of the most time-honored tales in film: the prison break movie. We decided to celebrate this nod to tradition by compiling a list of some other noteworthy examples from the genre, from 75-year-old classics to more recent (and more big-budget) blockbusters. Sharpen that nail file, keep an eye out for the warden, and get ready to bust out of the slammer Total Recall style!
When Bradley Cooper achieves super-genius status thanks to an experimental drug in this weekend's Limitless, he'll attract some Oscar-winning attention in the form of the one and only Robert De Niro. He's had a rough few years at the box office, what with stuff like Hide and Seek and Righteous Kill, but De Niro is still one of the most respected actors of his (or any) generation, and even though he isn't the star of Limitless, we decided now would be the perfect time to give his incredible filmography the attention it deserves. Ten movies, and every single one of them over 90 percent on the Tomatometer -- now that's what we call a Total Recall!
Brace yourselves, Earthlings -- this weekend, when Battle: Los Angeles lands in theaters, we'll be defending ourselves from another wave of invading extraterrestrials, with only Aaron Eckhart and his plucky platoon of hard-charging Marines standing between us and utter destruction. This has been a recurring theme at the box office lately, and we certainly haven't seen the last of it -- so we decided to dedicate this week's feature to a random sampling of cinematic alien invasions of the past. We narrowed the list by focusing on movies featuring groups of intergalactic visitors (sorry Starman, E.T., and Predator), but still only scratched the surface of a time-honored Hollywood tradition. Which of your favorites made (or missed) the cut?
For (ahem) some of your Rotten Tomatoes editors, 1988 might seem like it was only yesterday -- but the painful truth is that it was actually almost a quarter century ago, and thus fair game for gleefully retro comedies like this weekend's Take Me Home Tonight, which takes us (and a cast that includes Topher Grace and Anna Faris) back to the year of perestroika, the Seoul Summer Olympics, and the Bush/Dukakis election. In that spirit, we decided to take our own trip back in time for this week's list, and revisit the year's biggest box office hits (according to Box Office Mojo). Grab your Walkman, break out your NES, and Total Recall like it's 1988
He may not be a household name, but David Morse is one of America's most recognizable actors, thanks to a 30-year career that has taken him from the stage (including an Obie-winning performance in How I Learned to Drive) to the TV screen (where his résumé includes a six-year run on St. Elsewhere) and more than 40 films. This weekend, Morse will appear as Nicolas Cage's shotgun-toting buddy in Drive Angry, which naturally got us thinking about the many highlights in one of Hollywood's preeminent "that guy" filmographies. From supporting roles to starring turns, here's the best of David Morse!
After a five-year break, Martin Lawrence is back for another round as the perpetually cross-dressing cop Malcolm "Big Momma" Turner, and this time he's got company: in Friday's Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Brandon T. Jackson joins Martin as his equally frock-friendly stepson, Trent "Charmaine Daisy" Pierce. All these fellas running around in wigs and dresses got us thinking about some of the many other films that required their male stars to put on a little makeup, flash a little leg, and bat a few eyelashes. From comedies to dramas, Oscar winners to cult classics, this week's Total Recall is a total drag!
This weekend, Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell strap on their swords and sandals for Kevin Macdonald's adventure epic The Eagle, adding another chapter to Hollywood's decades-long fascination with the Roman Empire. The genre has had its ups and downs over the years, but it's never really gone away completely, and for good reason -- from goofy comedies to sweeping romances and blockbuster action adventures, it's a time period with something to offer film fans of all persuasions. To prove it, here's this week's feature: a fond (but by no means comprehensive) look back at some of our favorite films inspired by ancient Rome. We came, we saw, we Total Recalled!
Humans are social creatures, but we also need our privacy, and having it invaded is one of the more unpleasant things a person can be forced to deal with. Ironically, we sort of seem to love watching other people go through it -- just ask Hollywood, where stalker movies have been raking in the dough for decades. This weekend brings us another entry in the genre: The Roommate, starring Leighton Meester as a college co-ed who develops a psychotic obsession with Minka Kelly, and it got us thinking about previous stalkers on the silver screen. From bunny boilers to former rappers, this week's list has something for everyone who enjoys watching someone's life infiltrated by a crazy person. It's time for Total Recall!