For 210 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 42% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 6.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

A.A. Dowd 's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Boyhood
Lowest review score: 16 Left Behind
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 210
210 movie reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 A.A. Dowd
    There’s a cumulative power here that transcends any rough patches. Boyhood isn’t perfect, but it’s an astonishing, one-of-a-kind accomplishment—and further proof that Linklater is one of the most daring, ambitious filmmakers working today.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 91 A.A. Dowd
    If there was any doubt that this is a horror movie, Hans Zimmer’s score pounds and roars with dread — the appropriate soundtrack for the madness of history.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 83 A.A. Dowd
    If nothing else, Gravity makes the case for throwing immense resources at true visionaries; the blockbuster craftsman as adventurer, Cuarón expertly blends the epic with the intimate. For every stunning 3-D setpiece involving a dangerous hailstorm of metallic debris, there’s a moment of small tenderness.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 83 A.A. Dowd
    Given the material, it’s fitting that Mr. Turner is the director’s most visually ravishing movie. With cinematographer Dick Pope behind the lens, every shot is gorgeous enough to hang in a museum.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 A.A. Dowd
    Just as swoon-worthy, and essential, as its predecessors, Before Midnight reveals the full scope of Linklater’s ambition. This is not just another stellar follow-up, but the latest entry in what’s shaping up to be a grand experiment — the earnest attempt to depict the life of a relationship onscreen, decade by increasingly tumultuous decade. In the process of justifying its own existence, Before Midnight redeems the very notion of sequels.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 83 A.A. Dowd
    Beautifully shot by Amélie cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis is instantly recognizable as the work of its sibling auteurs. But it’s also something of a departure — looser and more rambling than the average Coen concoction, with a lovingly recreated period setting.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 A.A. Dowd
    Two Days, One Night is a small miracle of a movie, a drama so purely humane that it makes most attempts at audience uplift look crass and calculated by comparison.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 A.A. Dowd
    Polley’s fledgling foray into documentary filmmaking is also an investigative mystery, a real-life soap opera, and — most compellingly, perhaps — a searching “interrogation” (the director’s word) of the hows and whys of storytelling itself.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 75 A.A. Dowd
    As cinema, Selma is commendable; as cultural barometer, it’s beyond reproach.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 A.A. Dowd
    Her
    Four films into a sterling career, the director’s made his most beguiling, profoundly human work yet.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 A.A. Dowd
    In examining the man’s selfless service, Moss uncovers something greater than a vision of a divided community; he’s made a drama as prickly and surprising as any fictional character study.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 83 A.A. Dowd
    Ida
    Over an efficient 80 minutes, no shot feels wasted, and no one says much that couldn’t be better communicated through their placement in the artfully arranged frame.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 A.A. Dowd
    American Hustle turns out to be a freewheeling party of a movie, one that never stops adding complications and wrinkles and hungry new players to the mix.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 83 A.A. Dowd
    For Michael Keaton, Birdman is some kind of gift from the movie gods, a license to have his cake and messily devour it too.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 A.A. Dowd
    Anderson’s latest invention, The Grand Budapest Hotel, may be his most meticulously realized, beginning with the towering, fictional building for which it’s named.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 A.A. Dowd
    Explicit lesbian lovemaking aside, Blue is, at heart, a somewhat ordinary coming-of-age romance, pulled and stretched nearly to its breaking point.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 A.A. Dowd
    More "Full Metal Jacket" than "Dead Poet’s Society," the film is an epic battle of wills between two fanatical artists, one doing everything in his power to painfully make a master out of the other.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 A.A. Dowd
    The Missing Picture might have felt academic, even coldly removed, were it not for its scathing narration, penned by Panh (with Christophe Bataille) and read by Randal Douc.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 A.A. Dowd
    If there’s any fault to find in this expertly directed, frequently hilarious study of imploding male ego, it’s that Östlund basically arrives upon a perfect ending — one that brings the movie full circle, both dramatically and visually — and then bypasses it in favor of a more muddled one. But as climactic missteps go, it’s not exactly disastrous.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 A.A. Dowd
    Believe it or not, though, the real horror of this superb Aussie monster movie has almost nothing to do with the title fiend and everything to do with the unspoken, unspeakable impulses he represents. Remove the Babadook from The Babadook, in other words, and something plenty terrifying remains.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 A.A. Dowd
    Really, though, the film’s focus is on neither the destination nor the journey, but on the individuals planting themselves in front of the lens.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 58 A.A. Dowd
    Payne, who never met pathos he didn’t feel inclined to puncture with slapstick humor, has somehow made his best drama and his worst comedy rolled into one.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 A.A. Dowd
    What’s uniquely remarkable about The Long Day Closes, Terence Davies’ 1992 return to his own childhood, is how gloriously disorganized its story feels.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 67 A.A. Dowd
    Putting a human face on a public tragedy that already had a human face, Fruitvale Station plays like an uncomplicated eulogy, with little more to say on its subject than “what a shame this bad thing happened.”
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 A.A. Dowd
    There’s something undeniably affecting about that trajectory, which allows McConaughey to turn his character into an empathetic figure — one whose prejudice fades as his fighting spirit intensifies — without sacrificing his rapscallion spirit. He’s the same loudmouthed macho braggart at the end of the movie than he was at the beginning, but now he’s a loudmouthed macho braggart with purpose.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 A.A. Dowd
    The plight of this struggling family unit weighs more heavily on the heart with each passing minute, making Stray Dogs the rare marathon-length art film that seems to grow less oppressive the longer it goes on.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 A.A. Dowd
    More often that not, however, Captain Phillips is riveting. Though he remains unfortunately convinced that violently shaking his camera is the best way to achieve visual urgency, Greengrass nevertheless excels at pressure-cooker scenarios.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 A.A. Dowd
    Setting several scenes to the famously poignant plinks of pianist Frédéric Chopin, Love Is Strange never achieves the sheer emotional resonance of "Make Way For Tomorrow"; it’s gently affecting, not deeply heartbreaking — in part because Sachs builds to a less devastating punctuation than McCarey did.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 A.A. Dowd
    If Ponsoldt can step beyond the 12 steps, he might make something truly spectacular.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 58 A.A. Dowd
    The movie reaches for big insights about America’s obsession with winning and the dangers of unchecked entitlement, while simultaneously treating its real-life subjects like the stars of a Greek tragedy.

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