Most of his best-known routines are unprintable in polite company, but that hasn't prevented Chris Rock from building a career as one of the best-known and most versatile comics of his generation -- from television (including a stint on Saturday Night Live and an Emmy-winning HBO talk show) to his recording career (including 1997's Grammy-winning Roll with the New) to his steadily expanding list of film credits, Rock has been making people laugh -- and making them think -- for nearly 20 years. To celebrate the release of his latest big-screen comedy, Neil LaBute's Death at a Funeral remake, we decided to take a look through Rock's filmography and find its ten freshest entries. It's time for Total Recall!
The next time you feel like your career isn't going as smoothly as you'd like, or worry that your dreams may never come true, just remind yourself that, for quite awhile, the biggest credit on Steve Carell's résumé was a bit role in Curly Sue. Almost 20 years later, Carell's perseverance (and tons of talent) have paid off, making him a star of not only some of the last decade's top-grossing comedies, but one of TV's most critically beloved sitcoms. This week, Carell teams up with fellow rising comedy star -- and NBC alum -- Tina Fey for Date Night, and we decided to honor the occasion by taking a look at the critical highlights of his career so far. It's Total Recall time!
The concept of time travel has fascinated people for generations, contributing to the storylines of classic fiction in all formats -- including, of course, the movies, where filmgoers have watched centuries vanish in the blink of an eye. Protagonists have used all sorts of methods to leave the present, from the outlandish to the relatively mundane; this Friday, for example, John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke will travel back to the 1980s in a Hot Tub Time Machine. To celebrate Hollywood's latest temporal journey, we decided to take our own trip into the past, and have a look at some of our favorite movie time machines!
Making the jump from sitcom lead to film star is tricky -- just ask former Friends stars David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, and Matthew Perry, all of whom have found that the big screen can be a rather inhospitable place. But there's an exception for every rule, and although her filmography is not without its share of failures (Love Happens, anyone?), Jennifer Aniston has shown an impressive ability to balance commercial hits (The Break-Up) with critical winners (The Good Girl). With her latest effort, the action comedy The Bounty Hunter, hitting theaters this weekend, we took the opportunity to look back at the ten best-reviewed films from Hollywood's favorite Friend. It's Total Recall time!
Since earning his career breakout with Good Will Hunting in 1997, Matt Damon has won an Academy Award, worked for some of the finest directors (and alongside some of the most talented actors) in Hollywood, and proved his mettle as a dramatic actor, gifted screen comic, and steely action hero. But he's never been given the Total Recall treatment -- so in honor of Matt's latest release, the Iraq War thriller Green Zone, we decided to rifle through the Damon filmography and take a closer look at the 10 most critically successful entries -- an assortment of goodies so strong that Ocean's Eleven just misses. Which of your favorites made the cut? Which ones have the critics blasphemously overlooked? There's only one way to find out!
For 25 years and counting, Tim Burton has been one of the most successful directors in Hollywood -- and he's done it his way, presenting filmgoers with an ever-growing list of films that celebrate the strange and macabre, from comedies (Beetlejuice) to dramas (Big Fish) to thrillers (Sleepy Hollow), with a few stops for big-budget blockbuster fare along the way (Batman, Planet of the Apes). Heck, Burton's even proven his mettle as a director of animated fare (Corpse Bride) and served as a producer on at least one movie he didn't direct, but you probably thought he did (The Nightmare Before Christmas). This week, Burton brings his unique style to bear -- in 3-D, no less! -- on the Lewis Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland, and to celebrate, we decided to take a look back at his ten best-reviewed films. Let's Total Recall, shall we?
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Feb. 24 2010, 02:14 PM
For more than 40 years, on screen and off, no one has been able to unnerve audiences with quite as much panache as Roman Polanski -- or rack up as many critical raves in the process. The esteemed director has certainly released a few poorly received films (see 1986's Pirates -- or, better yet, don't), but even his worst reviews pale in comparison with the personal tragedies and legal problems that have overshadowed his career for the last several decades -- most notably the 1969 murder of his wife Sharon Tate and the 1977 sexual assault case that sent Polanski fleeing to Europe in order to escape the American legal system. Still, it's hard to overstate Polanski's significance in the film world, and with his latest effort, The Ghost Writer, currently earning appreciative nods from top scribes, we thought now would be a great time to survey the Polanski filmography Total Recall style. What are his ten best-reviewed films? Read on to find out!
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Feb. 17 2010, 06:09 PM
Busting out of the cheapie horror sequel and/or TV sitcom ghetto can be done -- just ask George Clooney, who has a Killer Tomatoes sequel and a pile of Facts of Life episodes on his resume -- but it isn't easy; when Leonardo DiCaprio surfaced in Critters 3 and the rapidly aging Growing Pains in 1991, it seemed safe to assume he was destined for a brief, direct-to-video career. Nineteen years, multiple Academy Award nominations, and over a billion dollars in box office grosses later, ihe's one of the biggest names in the business. In honor of his achievements -- and his fourth collaboration with Martin Scorsese, Shutter Island, arriving in theaters this week -- we decided now would be the perfect time to take a look back at Mr. DiCaprio's best-reviewed films.
Some actors struggle with typecasting for their entire careers -- and some, like Anthony Hopkins, get to do pretty much whatever they want. Since making his film debut in 1968, Hopkins has dabbled in everything from Merchant Ivory period dramas to horror, moving from television to film -- and picking up an Academy Award, and several nominations, along the way. He's battled a bear in The Edge, walked away unscathed from the misery of Joel Schumacher's Bad Company, and even survived Freejack, but he's never been given the Rotten Tomatoes Total Recall treatment -- so in honor of his supporting turn in The Wolfman, we decided now would be the perfect time to look back at the 10 best-reviewed films in his distinguished career.
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Feb. 03 2010, 01:43 PM
Not even a family tree full of dramatic DNA automatically adds up to the kind of talent Jeff Bridges has displayed over the course of his nearly 40-year career. Bridges has gone on to score five Oscar nods -- his most recent nomination, for Crazy Heart, was awarded just this week -- all while assembling one of the more interesting, and critically successful, filmographies in the business. So successful, in fact, that Bridges' top six films all boast Tomatometers above 90 percent -- which is a roundabout way of saying that you can't have a Jeff Bridges Top 10 without leaving out plenty of good stuff -- in the interest of getting the chorus of groans out of the way up front, you won't find The Big Lebowski, Tron, or The Contender here. So what does that leave? Let's spin the dials on the Tomatometer and find out!
Eight years is an eternity in Hollywood. Why, in 2002, Pierce Brosnan was still James Bond, Nia Vardalos was a budding film mogul, and Ryan Reynolds was still just that guy from National Lampoon's Van Wilder. It was also the year Mel Gibson starred in M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, an eventual $400 million hit -- and the beginning of an unexpectedly long absence for one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Aside from an appearance in The Singing Detective the following year, Gibson has been uncharacteristically camera-shy for almost a decade now, but all that ends this week, with his starring turn in Martin Campbell's Edge of Darkness. Seeing Mel return to his action roots has us in a celebratory mood -- and what better way to celebrate than a look back at his best-reviewed films? Yes, folks, it's Total Recall time!
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Jan. 20 2010, 04:24 PM
He may not be quite the box office draw he once was, but don't cry for Harrison Ford: Over the last 35 years or so, he's amassed a lifetime gross in excess of $3.4 billion -- and more importantly, he's kicked bad-guy tail as some of the most memorable cinematic heroes in history, including Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and Jack Ryan. He's made a whole bunch of great movies along the way, too -- and with his latest effort, the medical drama Extraordinary Measures, opening this Friday, we thought now would be the perfect time to take a look back at some of the critical highlights of Ford's illustrious filmography.
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Jan. 13 2010, 04:10 PM
Over the course of his more than 30 years in show business, Denzel Washington has done pretty much everything -- he's played cops (good and bad), lawyers, reporters, educators, doctors, mobsters, and more, earning two Academy Awards and more than a billion dollars in box office grosses along the way. With more than 65 films attached to his name in our database, Washington boasts a lifetime Tomatometer of 68 percent (which is rather astounding when you consider that one of those films is 1990's Heart Condition). One thing he's never been given, however, is the Total Recall treatment -- and seeing as how he's about to brighten up our January with the starring role in the Hughes brothers' post-apocalyptic drama The Book of Eli, we decided now would be the perfect time!
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Jan. 06 2010, 03:01 PM
Ten years ago, the only people that knew who Amy Adams was were either members of her family or folks who spent too much time reading the Drop Dead Gorgeous credits. Today? She's one of Hollywood's fastest rising stars, with a pair of Oscar nominations under her belt and a growing reputation for enlivening even the most pedestrian fare. If you've ever seen one of Adams' movies, the reasons for her speedy ascent should be obvious: With dramatic chops, sharp comic timing, and looks that work equally well for character roles and glamorous leads, she's a casting director's dream. And if you haven't seen any of her films, don't fret -- with her latest, the romantic comedy Leap Year, reaching theaters this weekend, we thought now would be a great time to look back on her filmography, Total Recall style!
Tradition holds that the only thing we're supposed to watch on New Year's Eve is an assortment of minor celebrities doing their best to entertain us before the ball drops in Times Square -- but as any self-respecting film buff knows, there are any number of movies whose plots revolve in some way around the changing of the calendar year, and quite a few of them are a lot more entertaining than any "New Year's Rockin' Eve." (Sorry, Dick Clark.) For this week's Total Recall, we decided to take a cross-section sampling of New Year's flicks from various genres, touching on some classics and a few surprises along the way. Break out the bubbly, because 2010 is almost here, and we're celebrating Total Recall style!
Over the course of a filmography spanning 20 years and dozens of movies, Jude Law has become one of the most successful actors of his generation -- in fact, just a few years ago, he made the industry's "top 10 most bankable" list. Ten years ago this Christmas, Law scored one of his earliest high-profile roles with The Talented Mr. Ripley; this weekend, Law caps off a decade in the spotlight with Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, co-starring with Robert Downey, Jr. (who earned his own Total Recall a few weeks ago -- click here to check it out). To celebrate, we decided to take the opportunity to pay tribute to some of Mr. Law's biggest critical hits. Of course, given his propensity for smaller parts, we had to prune a few entries from the upper reaches of Law's Tomatometer; his roles in films like The Aviator and Lemony Snicket weren't quite substantial enough to make the grade. Still, we think you'll find plenty to love in this week's list. Without further ado... Jude Law's best movies!
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Dec. 16 2009, 02:58 PM
He got his start as a miniature model maker at Roger Corman Studios, and promptly went on to establish himself as one of the biggest directors in Hollywood -- both in terms of his staggering box office grosses ($3.5 billion worldwide and counting) and his seemingly limitless appetite for epic storytelling. Like a lot of filmmakers, James Cameron's imagination has often outpaced the available technology -- but unlike most of his peers, when confronted with those limits, he simply spurs the invention of new technology to get around them. Cameron's latest effort, Avatar, required the development of a whole new 3-D camera, and rode the bleeding edge of CGI's outer limits. After years of buildup, Avatar is finally here -- but before we witness what's being hyped as the future of filmmaking, why don't we look back at James Cameron's past?
You may not know his name, but you almost certainly recognize his face -- and you might even know his voice too: Since the early 1980s, Keith David has been one of the most prolific actors in the business, scoring roles in a dizzying array of films, lending his voice to cartoons and videogames, and even singing when he feels like it. Heck, he even popped up on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood during the 1980s, appearing as Keith the Southwood Carpenter. You've heard of "that guy" status for actors? That's Keith David in a nutshell -- and since you'll be hearing his voice in The Princess and the Frog this weekend, we thought now would be the perfect time to give this ubiquitous thespian the Total Recall treatment!
Child actors are notorious for fizzling out once their prepubescent charms disappear during adolescence, or once they discover the various vices of the adult world, and it seems to be the rare case when a young starlet can overcome these hurdles and transition successfully into a career of grownup roles. Natalie Portman is one such success story: after making her debut as a 12-year-old in Luc Besson's Leon The Professional, Portman gradually took on more adult roles until she was playing everything from a young, widowed mother (Cold Mountain) to an emotionally manipulative stripper (Closer). This week, she stars alongside Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal in the family drama Brothers, so we felt it was the right time to take a look back at the extensive filmography of this young star to determine Natalie Portman's Best Movies.
Some actors are lucky enough to make the jump from television to film stardom. Some are lucky enough to get their careers back on track after falling off the A-list. But how many stars have been able to do both -- and walk away virtually unscathed from the flaming wreckage of Battlefield Earth in the bargain? Only John Travolta, ladies and gentlemen. Travolta buddies up with Robin Williams in this weekend's Old Dogs, which inspired us to take a look back at a filmography far more varied than you might remember. Dramas? Comedies? Thrillers? Cartoons? Heck, Travolta's done 'em all -- and he's been doing it for more than 30 years, too. It's high time he got the Total Recall treatment, wouldn't you say?