Since breaking into Hollywood in 1992 with his low-budget masterpiece El Mariachi, Robert Rodriguez has done it all -- and not only in terms of his eclectic filmography, which includes action, sci-fi, horror, comedy, and family-friendly thrills. He's also one of the most hands-on filmmakers in the studio system, assuming editing, composing, and cinematography duties on top of directing, writing, and production. Given all that, we felt it was only right that we honor this weekend's return to the Spy Kids franchise by taking a look back at some of the brightest critical highlights from his career. It's time for Total Recall!
Cue another round of "truth in advertising" jokes, film fans: the fifth Final Destination hits theaters this week, bringing moviegoers one more round of screaming teenagers meeting their doom in a variety of fiendishly clever ways. Like the romantic comedy, we love to disparage the "dead teenager" movie (the term was famously coined by Roger Ebert as a pejorative for 1980s slasher flicks), but we clearly can't get enough: some of Hollywood's longest-lasting franchises (not to mention a few horror classics) have been built on the fresh corpses of teen characters who ran afoul of supernatural forces or homicidal maniacs. For this week's Total Recall, we decided to take a look back at a few noteworthy examples from an often critically maligned -- yet always quite popular -- subgenre. Which ones made the (ahem) cut? Read on to find out!
When Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds pee in a magic fountain and switch bodies during this weekend's The Change-Up, they won't just be setting up a bunch of wacky jokes about how being married with kids is different from the single life, they'll be extending a long Hollywood tradition. For decades, filmmakers have been fascinated with the possibilities of body-switching, and it's easy to see why: it's a premise that's equally useful for comedies, dramas, and sci-fi thrillers. For this week's Total Recall, we decided to take a look at some noteworthy examples, including a few from each of the genres mentioned above -- and some that aren't so easily categorized. Which are your favorites? Which movies would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Jul. 27 2011, 02:36 PM
There aren't many actors who have the depth and sensitivity to carry indie fare and enough charisma to lead a blockbuster franchise, but with one foot in the art house and the other firmly planted at the multiplex, Daniel Craig is one star who can have his Layer Cake and eat it too. With a slew of films on the horizon -- including Dream House, David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Bond 23, and this weekend's Cowboys and Aliens -- Craig is busier than ever, so we decided now would be the perfect time to take a look at some of his critical highlights, Total Recall style!
Woody Harrelson has come an awfully long way since he joined the cast of Cheers in 1985, originating the role of hayseed bartender Woody Boyd and kicking off a career that has grown to encompass one of the more eclectic, unusual, and just plain interesting filmographies in modern Hollywood. Comedies? Dramas? Thrillers? Harrelson's done 'em all -- and with his supporting turn in Friends with Benefits making its way to theaters this weekend, we figured now was the perfect time to take a look back at some of the critical highlights in the Harrelson oeuvre, Total Recall style!
After 10 years and several billion dollars, the Harry Potter film franchise is finally drawing to a close this week with the eighth installment in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. With the kind of deafening buzz that goes with being one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year -- not to mention almost universally positive early reviews from critics -- the final Potter is the undisputed film of the week, so when it came time to put together this week's Total Recall, we knew what we had to do. While you're counting down the hours to the big premiere, join us for a look back at some of the critical highlights from one of the most successful franchises of all time!
Most of us spend a pretty big portion of our lives at work, and a lot of that time isn't exactly exciting -- which probably has a lot to do with why most characters in the movies don't spend much of their screen time on the clock. But that isn't to say Hollywood hasn't produced its share of cinematic statements about work -- and with Seth Gordon's Horrible Bosses opening this weekend, we decided now would be a fine time to look back on some of the most noteworthy entries in the genre. Whether you're looking for inspirational dramas, thoughtful statements on what it means to be truly gainfully employed, or just a few laughs, this week's Total Recall has something that (ahem) works for everyone!
Co-starring in a short-lived sitcom about cross-dressing friends generally isn't the most direct path to superstardom, but there's an exception to prove every rule -- only one, though; sorry, Peter Scolari -- and after racking up over $3 billion in domestic ticket receipts, winning a mantel full of awards (including back-to-back Best Actor Oscars), and starring in some of the best-reviewed films of the last 25 years, Tom Hanks has demonstrated that he's pretty darned exceptional. With his latest project, the grown-up romantic comedy Larry Crowne, arriving in theaters this weekend, we decided now was the perfect time to pay tribute to an impressive body of work by twirling the dials on the Tomatometer, making a list of Hanks' best-reviewed films, and playing Total Recall!
Once upon a time, animation could be neatly divided into two eras: BD and AD, or before and after Disney. That all changed, however, with the release of 1995's Toy Story, a movie that -- although it bore the Disney logo -- marked the feature-length debut of an upstart studio named Pixar, one which signaled the imminent discovery of brand new, computer-generated vistas for kids of all ages. Pixar has released nine films since then, all of them remarkably Certified Fresh -- and with the studio's twelfth outing, Cars 2, landing in theaters this weekend, we thought now would be an opportune time to take a fond look back at the studio's extraordinary full-length filmography in chronological order.
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?