Total Recall

Thursday, Dec. 12 2013, 03:21 PM

No surprises here, folks -- other movies are coming out this week, but it's really all about The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, and when it came time to figure out who would be the focus of our list, there was only one choice. Yes, we're talking about Peter Jackson, the director whose latest venture to Middle-earth is one of 2013's most eagerly awaited sequels -- and whose filmography is about so, so much more than hobbits and orcs. From gory comedies to vulgar puppets and beyond, Jackson has displayed one of the most artfully wandering spirits in Hollywood over the course of his career, and it's high time we took a look at the critical highlights. Get ready for Total Recall!

Wednesday, Dec. 04 2013, 04:10 PM

He's been Batman, Bateman, and battled Terminators -- and this weekend, Christian Bale battles Woody Harrelson for the fate of Casey Affleck in Out of the Furnace, the latest eminently well-cast drama from Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper. In honor of Bale's latest cinematic excursion, we decided to take this opportunity to pause for a fond look back at some of the brighter critical highlights from an acclaimed career that's still collecting them at an impressive pace. It's time for Total Recall!

Wednesday, Nov. 27 2013, 01:20 PM

Spike Lee returns to theaters with Oldboy this weekend, and while his remake of the revenge classic marks the first "Film" in a career full of "Joints," it's still the same old Spike behind the cameras -- which, as this week's list will attest, is a very good thing indeed. With comedies, dramas, and documentaries to choose from, there's something for everybody here, especially if you like your pictures full of energy and attitude. So what are you waiting for? It's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Nov. 21 2013, 09:58 AM

The Hunger Games franchise belongs to Jennifer Lawrence, but she's hardly alone up there on the screen; in fact, she's surrounded by a fairly incredible supporting cast stocked with talented veteran actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Woody Harrelson, and Stanley Tucci. Oh, and Donald Sutherland, who reprises his role as the ruthless President Snow in the latest installment, Catching Fire. Sutherland's suitably icy performance so impressed us that we decided to dedicate this week's feature to some of his finest moments on the big screen. From socially conscious dramas to goofball comedies, Donald's done it all -- and, as our countdown attests, done it brilliantly. It's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Nov. 14 2013, 10:31 AM

For a lot of teen idols, all that screaming adulation is a one-way ticket to oblivion -- but it can also be the first step in a long career. A case in point: Matt Dillon, who suffered his share of professional setbacks after rising to glowering fame in films such as The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, only to re-emerge at the end of the 1980s as a versatile actor with dramatic depth (Drugstore Cowboy) to match his gift for comedy (There's Something About Mary). With Dillon appearing in Sunlight Jr. this weekend, we thought now would be a great time to revisit some of his many critical highlights. It's time for Total Recall!

Wednesday, Nov. 06 2013, 04:01 PM

It's hard to build any kind of consensus in this crazy modern world, but if there's one thing pretty much all of us can agree on, it's that Rachel McAdams is adorable. Her winsome charm, already put to excellent use in a series of hits that includes The Notebook and Midnight in Paris, returns to the big screen this weekend in the date movie of the season: Richard Curtis' About Time, a romantic comedy with more on its mind than your average meet-cute. In honor of McAdams' latest outing, we decided to take a look back at some of the brighter critical highlights from her filmography -- which contains a lot more variety than you might expect. It's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Oct. 31 2013, 03:10 PM

Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, and Morgan Freeman's names might come first in the posters for this weekend's Last Vegas, but the fourth name on that list boasts a pretty impressive résumé in his own right. In fact, with an Oscar and a pair of Tonys to his credit, Kevin Kline is one of the better-resprected actors of his generation -- which is exactly why we decided to dedicate this week's list to a look at some of the brightest critical highlights from his distinguished career.

Thursday, Oct. 24 2013, 01:25 PM

Old people. They might look sweet and harmless, but some of them are up to no good -- and some of them, as evidenced in this weekend's Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, are actually Johnny Knoxville disguised as a senior citizen with a misbehaving nuisance (Jackson Nicoll) for a grandson. Knoxville's latest endeavor got us thinking about actual retirement-aged stars whose cinematic exploits tended toward the unseemly, and before we knew it, we had an entire list of movies. You know what that means: it's time to put down your crossword puzzle, grab your Ensure and your Metamucil, and join us for a very old-fashioned Total Recall!

Thursday, Oct. 17 2013, 06:33 PM

There have been so many horror remakes that there's no way we could cover them all at once. We did, however, decide to collect a sampling list, making room for some of the best, worst, and most puzzlingly misguided examples from the genre. Let's get started, shall we?

Thursday, Oct. 10 2013, 05:58 PM

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 fact-based Paul Greengrass thriller Captain Phillips, 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!

Thursday, Oct. 03 2013, 03:26 PM

Once upon a time, it looked like Ben Affleck might spend the rest of his career in little-seen duds like Jersey Girl and Surviving Christmas -- a precipitous fall for a guy who won an Oscar at the age of 25 and starred in blockbusters like Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and The Sum of All Fears. Now just look how things have changed: Having reinvented himself as a critically lauded director with 2007's Gone Baby Gone, Ben's back in front of the camera this weekend in Runner Runner, playing the sleazy head of an online gambling empire who lures a college student (Justin Timberlake) into his operation. What better time to take a fond look back at Mr. Affleck's critical highlights, Total Recall style?

Thursday, Sep. 26 2013, 03:12 PM

Movies about race car drivers don't always have the easiest time with critics (see: Days of Thunder, Stroker Ace, Six Pack), but if there's a director in Hollywood capable of turning driving really fast in circles into a solid all-around blockbuster, it's probably Ron Howard. He gets his chance this weekend, as the already well-reviewed Rush (currently playing in Europe and in limited U.S. release) expands nationwide with the fact-based tale of James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), 1970s racing stars whose rivalry proved memorably entertaining on as well as off the course. Of course, this isn't Howard's first trip around the track, so we decided to dedicate this week's list to a rundown of some of the brighter critical highlights from a career full of crowd-pleasers. Goodbye gray sky, hello blue -- it's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Sep. 19 2013, 06:19 PM

In what promises to be the most nail-bitingly intense kidnapping drama since Ron Howard directed Mel Gibson in 1996's Ransom, Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman team up in this weekend's Prisoners to find a pair of missing girls who may or may not have been lured into a van by gross Paul Dano. In honor of Gyllenhaal's latest dramatic tour de force, we've decided to devote this week's list to a fond look back at some of the brightest critical highlights from a wonderfully eclectic filmography that looks like it's only begun to tap into his prodigious potential. It's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Sep. 12 2013, 08:46 PM

Witness protection movies are nothing new, but this weekend's The Family has a better pedigree than most, with behind-the-scenes talent that includes executive producer Martin Scorsese and a terrific cast headed up by Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, and the one and only Robert De Niro. De Niro's suffered through some rough recent years at the box office, what with stuff like Killing Season and The Big Wedding, but he's still one of the most respected actors of his (or any) generation, with a filmography so incredible that not even the Best Picture-winning The Deer Hunter can break our Tomatometer-ranked top 10. Now that's what we call a Total Recall!

Thursday, Sep. 05 2013, 05:18 PM

It's been nearly a decade since the surly, freaky-eyed Richard Riddick graced our cineplex screens, but even after the relative failure of 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick, fans never lost hope that we'd see his return -- and neither did Riddick's portrayer, Vin Diesel, who fought long and hard to secure funding for a third installment. It took a lot of work (and leveraging his house) to make it happen, but Riddick is finally here. Naturally, we decided that this week would be the perfect time to devote an installment of Total Recall to the Diesel filmography, and recount the critical high points of a journey that's taken him from bit player to $100 million-grossing franchise topliner, multi-hyphenate media mogul, social media star, and future Marvel hero. Get ready for plenty of action, folks -- it's Vin Diesel time!

Wednesday, Aug. 28 2013, 04:20 PM

Jon Voight's latest movie, this weekend's Ethan Hawke/Selena Gomez thriller Getaway, has been consigned to late August oblivion -- but well before he spent summer's dog days playing an oddly accented kidnapper, Voight earned a reputation for being one of Hollywood's more talented and hard-working actors, with an eye for scripts that would challenge the audience as well as himself. Naturally, we decided to devote this week's list to an appreciation of his best-reviewed works, so without further ado...everybody's talkin' Total Recall, Jon Voight style!

Thursday, Aug. 22 2013, 02:58 PM

A lot of her time is taken up with Game of Thrones these days, but Lena Headey hasn't forsaken her film career; in fact, she'll be seen in an impressive six movies (and counting) between 2013-14. One of those projects, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, is arriving in theaters this weekend, so we decided now would be the perfect time to take an appreciative look back at some of her most critically successful cinematic efforts. From quiet British dramas to Disney flicks and horror films, Lena's done a lot -- and it doesn't look like she'll be slowing down anytime soon. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the finest bits of her filmography here!

Thursday, Aug. 15 2013, 06:06 PM

He earned his first real success by tapping into America's unquenchable thirst for broad slapstick comedy, but Jim Carrey always had bigger ambitions than anyone could have guessed by watching Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and he's proven it repeatedly by choosing projects beyond the scope of Farrelly-friendly laffers. His reach has occasionally exceeded his grasp, but few careers can boast a range extending from Dumb and Dumber to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And with his appearance as the Colonel in Kick-Ass 2 bowing this weekend, we decided there was no time like the present to take a look at the best-reviewed films of Jim Carrey's career!

Thursday, Aug. 08 2013, 03:02 PM

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. In honor of his latest starring role, in Neill Blomkamp's Elysium this weekend, we decided to rifle through the Damon filmography and take a closer look at the ten most critically successful entries. Which of your favorites made the cut? Which ones have the critics blasphemously overlooked? There's only one way to find out!

Friday, Aug. 02 2013, 10:26 AM

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are the big stars of this weekend's 2 Guns, but they're not alone; the movie also boasts a solid supporting cast that includes a number of wily character actor vets -- including the one and only Bill Paxton, whose eclectic film and television pursuits have been keeping us solidly entertained for three decades and counting. To celebrate his latest role, we decided to spend this week looking back at Mr. Paxton's best-reviewed roles, and although we had to leave out at least one important cameo (hello, The Terminator) and watch one cult classic dip below the cutoff line (farewell, Weird Science), we still ended up with a mighty fine list of films. Game over, man -- it's time for Total Recall!


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