Alan Scherstuhl

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For 329 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 59% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 7.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Alan Scherstuhl's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Gideon's Army
Lowest review score: 0 Saving Lincoln
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 329
329 movie reviews
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    Porter's film is dramatic, unsettling, despairing, and in the end thrilling -- at some point, it grows from a portrait of this country's problems into a celebration of a possible solution.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    A genuine nail-biter, scrupulously made and fully involving, elemental in its simplicity.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    Demme has crafted yet another superb document of musicians at work, one as much about creation—and the sources of inspiration—as it is about performance. A wonderful film, as in, it's full of wonders.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    Levinson follows the ups and downs of bringing that beast of a collider online, but the movie's deepest thrill lies in what these men and women will theorize next, and how they will test it.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    The story's outline may be familiar, but its emphasis and quality are not.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    Patient, observational film demands you surrender to it, that you keep your phone in your pocket, which means that movie theaters now sometimes offer a more unmediated look at the world than modern life itself.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    The fights Virunga documents couldn't feel more urgent. This is one of the year's most compelling and important films.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    Raw and insistent, bold and brawling, Girlhood throbs with the global now, illustrating the ways an indifferent society boxes in the people who grow up in project-style boxes.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    This film, a great one, demands a follow-up.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    This is a film to see and then see again, to soak in and marvel at and -- like its director -- try to keep up with.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    [A] strange, singular heartbreaker of a film about life still flourishing in the most inhospitable conditions.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    Cutter Hodierne's gorgeous, harrowing debut feature, Fishing Without Nets, doesn't just ask you to feel a bit for Somali pirates, as Captain Phillips did -- Hodierne puts you in their shoes.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    Vital, illuminating, and terrifying, Rory Kennedy's Last Days in Vietnam probes with clarity and thoroughness one moment of recent American history that has too long gone unreckoned with.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    Some critics find Andersson's latest redundant, arguing that its sketches lack the freshness of those in Songs From the Second Floor. I found it the fullest flowering yet of his approach, with Andersson orchestrating his finest dada — and even risking tenderness and horror.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    The film is richly detailed, and its acting seems almost invisible — the performers just seem to be these people. Court is one of the strongest debut features in years.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    Vital, thoughtful, and deeply personal, first-timer Darius Clark Monroe's autobiographical doc stands as a testament to the power of movies to stir empathy.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    The stirring new documentary The Case Against 8, showcasing the lawyers and plaintiffs who challenged California's 2008 gay marriage ban, is the best kind of popular history, a film that trembles with tears and hope, and I dare you to get through it without bawling some yourself.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    A commanding indictment of the exploitative nature of geopolitics, and of Europe's and the U.S.'s abuse of native peoples around the world.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    The film, while wrenching and audacious, is crafted with that humane and observational mastery of great Iranian cinema of recent decades.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    One of the year's best films, Mary Dore's She's Beautiful When She's Angry is an urgent, illuminating dive into the headwaters of second-wave feminism, the movement that — no matter what its detractors insist — has given us the world in which we live.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    Serge Bozon's smart, surprising, marvelously realized French crime-and-sex police drama/comedy distinguishes itself with trenchant plotting, inspired framing, and performances that honor true human feeling even as they lunge into the screwball.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    A pained and gorgeous summoning, Petra Costa's haunted doc Elena dances with death, memory, and family, seducing viewers and then breaking their hearts.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    Jennifer Kent's maternal nightmare The Babadook is the imperial stout of recent fright flicks -- it's the one that will have you walking funny and might rip into your sleep. It's hard to say that you'll enjoy this film, but it's hard not to admire it, if maybe with your eyes half shut.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    This patient, beautiful, painful, engrossing film pits husband and wife against each other and their world in a series of extended conversations/confrontations.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Scherstuhl
    This stellar, incisive slice-of-life doc centers on the kind of crowd-pleasing competition story that lures in audiences and then lays bare heartsick truths about small-town America today.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Despite the poetry its subtitle promises, the fascinating crows-in-the-skyline doc Tokyo Waka is more informative than lyric, which is not at all a complaint.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Prince Avalanche reconciles Green's twin modes into a whole no other director could have, deeply felt and light as laughter.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The comic scenes arc into bleakness, and the bleak ones often collapse back into comedy.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    It's sweaty, disorienting, thrilling. Rarely has a narrative feature so marvelously integrated a sequence of experimental filmmaking, and that sequence alone guarantees A Field in England should thrive on the midnight circuit.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The movie is revealing, wrenching, and important, a reminder that what feels wrong in our gut—the effort to turn free-roaming and unknowable beasts into caged vaudevillians—is always worth investigating.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Granik, director of Winter's Bone, captures scenes of rare power.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    What's perhaps most moving in Waiting for August, a quiet film of weight and joy, is its sense of desperate normalcy.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Wise, warm, funny, open, and more interested in life as it's actually lived than any other to debut this summer.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    A 45-minute proto-hip-hop bliss-out, a masterpiece of train- and tag-spotting dedicated to memorializing the extravagant graffiti on its era's MTA trains and how those trains rumbled across Brooklyn and the Bronx, bearing not just exhausted New Yorkers but gifted artists' urgent personal expression.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Accomplishes the nearly impossible trick of updating viewers on the prevalence of genocide in the 20th and 21st centuries without rubbing our noses in our failure to stop it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    What's singular here isn't that the stars are playing brother and sister, or that they stir such sublime and anxious joy from each other. It's that the real love story isn't even between the damaged-but-lovable characters. It's between two profoundly depressed people and life itself.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    He may not be likable, but he remains fascinating. The film is on firm ground when examining Knievel's actual measurable impact: the action/extreme sports that have flourished since his retirement.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Dencik’s gorgeous, surprising, meditative film opens up one of the world’s last unknown places, and it will also make you want to befriend every Dane you can.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Caucus is a lively, hilarious, upsetting crash-course in recent history. It's also revelatory at times, especially as it reframes infamous sound bites in their of-the-moment context.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Michael Winterbottom's wise and involving Everyday specializes in unscripted-feeling moments that ache of life.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The final, moving, nerve-wracking reels are all sea, sky, and desperation.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    It's always political when regular people speak plainly about their circumstances — here, it's also moving, revelatory, and often funny, offering plenty to mull over during the long shots of train workers trundling their food carts.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Cooper's interest is in the collaboration between the talent and its managers, in the way the duo urged their charges to begin to conceive of their sound, look, marketing, and live performances as all expressive of a singular vision.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Whiskery and restless, grooving and grotesque, the documentarian Les Blank's long-suppressed film A Poem Is a Naked Person plays like your memories of some mad, stoned last-century summer.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The film is fascinating, even if you're resistant to this dark star's gravity.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    A spare and ravishing doc.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The Seven Five makes for a fascinating character study, but the doc's drama is also compelling.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    As a whole, Martha Shane and Lana Wilson's wrenching, humane film is as convincing a brief as I can imagine in favor of that most controversial of all pregnancy-terminating procedures.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    With extraordinary access, Pahuja illuminates extraordinary conflicts and contradictions facing modern girls in a country even less ready for them than ours.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Co-writer/director/proudly nude star Amalric cuts everything to the quick: Most shots have the feel of still photos, the camera firmly planted, and the movie always hustles us to the next, back and forward in time, the effect part Resnais and part staccato Kodak slideshow.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The key question is whether this procedural—as in, here we watch killers proceed—contributes to any greater understanding. I believe it does.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The documentary is stellar, despite some vague visual-metaphor stuff involving dioramas in an attic. Bring something you can punch, as you will be furious.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Nothing in this film (and little in any other movie this year) compares to the scenes of Sandusky's adopted son, Matt, recounting his realization that the charges of pedophilia against Sandusky squared with the ways Sandusky had treated him, too — treatment he'd never been brave enough to admit.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Goldfine and Geller pace and structure The Galapagos Affair like the true-crime tale that it is, its mysteries rich and involving, its characters enduring in the imagination long after the film has ended.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Garbus's film is a portrait of a soul torn apart by forces beyond it and within it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The performances are strong, the imaginary visions are suggestive and fleeting, and the film as a whole is swoony, tender, skittish, a little scary — in short, this is what young love feels like. More Meyerhoff, please!
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The Attack is most avowedly "about" terrorism. But that's a subject, not the subject. The film, an arresting and upsetting one, is also about love, trauma, and trust, both within one particular marriage and within entire cultures.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Its central journey lives up to the title: Maclean finds time to savor rivers and starscapes and layers of light and mountainous land. The dialogue is flighty yet weighty, each line like some delicate woodcut.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The movie's packed with minor incidents, all fresh, compelling, and funny. It also boasts two lengthy scenes that are touched with something greater.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Sutton's Memphis framed in fascinating layers -- leaves and tree limbs, wig shops and overgrown gravel roads. It's a movie of a place and a character rather than about them.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Zero Motivation opens as bleak, rebellious comedy but grows into a smart and moving story of entering adulthood.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The film is brisk, brief, well acted, smartly crafted, and shrewdly judged.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    A marvelous film, stripped of false urgency.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Ordinary life comes to look like a humiliation in the late reels of Lenny Cooke, yet another heartbreaker of a doc in which a compelling basketball story powers a discomfiting examination of a crisis facing young American men.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    This superb, suspenseful film, completed in 2009, opens as a playful comedy of vacationing couples and awkward romance, one that might be set in the French countryside, but by the end has become a moral drama likely to corrode your certainties.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    A Most Wanted Man is simply a complex tale superbly told, with time for nuance and to soak in its mysteries.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    What surprises (a little) and fascinates (a lot) are the town-to-town commonalities Counting invites you to appraise.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    If White Reindeer's satirical elements feel off the rack, that's because what they're satirizing in our real lives is, too.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The horror's a long time coming, but Goldthwait and company make the waiting worth it.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Those more devoted to the genre can debate whether Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman is the best comic-book movie of the last few years. What's beyond argument, however, is that Vaughn has whipped up the most interesting one, the only to make ferocious, unsettling art out of the great contradiction of superheroic fantasy: jolly do-goodism and its brutalizing sadism.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The director invites us in, to play and dream.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Here's a movie with magic.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Yet another first-rate film from a Middle East rich with them.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    If beauty and revelation is your bottom line, Anthony Powell's rhapsodic Antarctica: A Year on Ice will prove a grand time at the movies.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    At least we have this gem, the rare tease of what could have been that actually proves satisfying enough on its own.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Valedictory and elegiac, Keach's film captures a performer who only truly seems to inhabit himself during the performances.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    It's part caper comedy, part revenge tale, and part glorious whopper.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Even if you know this history already, A.K.A. Doc Pomus is vital and endearing, a celebration of a great artist, a great character, and the universality of great pop.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The biggest suspense: As everything gets worse for everyone, will this consummate director's outraged worldview afford anyone any pity? At first you'll seethe — then your heart will ache.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    A simple, solid, deeply affecting film.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Forget its generic title, its breakup setup, and its indie-standard Brooklyn walk-and-talks: Writer/director Desiree Akhavan's Appropriate Behavior is the freshest comedy of life and love in the city since Obvious Child.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Vital and vigorous even when its characters feel scraped of vigor/vitality, Philippe Garrel's latest finds boho Parisians facing the ends of marriages, affairs, and the feasibility of bohemian existence itself.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    We Are Mari Pepa is a sweaty, urgent, beautifully honest bliss out.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Part of what makes writer-director Rick Famuyiwa's Dope so fresh and joyous is that in many key ways it's not new at all.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Director James Ponsoldt gives us long, loose, single-shot courtship scenes, each a marvel of staging and performance.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    The directors plant a camera in front of Roth and get him talking. To smooth over edits, they show us book covers and old photos—Roth was dashing, charming, a little dangerous, one of his college friends tells us, but she doesn't need to say it. It's manifest, and it's still true. The film is especially recommended to anyone who thinks they hate him.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Schimberg, in this debut, demonstrates rare assuredness in shooting and staging scenes, coaxing unexpected but true-feeling flourishes from his cast of mostly amateurs blessed with extraordinary faces.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    Tender, humane, and searing, How I Live Now stands as something all too rare: a movie about young people that young people may love — but not one that lies to them, and not one built for them alone.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Scherstuhl
    It's a tough film to shake, a slice-of-life that slices, knifelike. It's a funny drama of brothers that first makes you hate its prickly leads but then, after steeping you in their bottomed-out day-to-day, might inspire you to hope for them.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Alan Scherstuhl
    The early scenes, of the couple falling for each other, offer more inspired gorgeous wonder than late Malick films, and the emotions are more piercing.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Alan Scherstuhl
    For the most part, the narrative here feels generational, representative, rather than invested in the specific incidents of specific lives.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Alan Scherstuhl
    The Double, with its inviting alienation, nails a curious mood that's been too long absent from contemporary film: the anxious admission that the world might be weighted against the plucky individual, and that prickling you feel just before such thoughts make a sweat break out.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Alan Scherstuhl
    The film is often beautiful and appealingly light. Every clear-eyed insight into why pushy people insist on pushing is matched by loose ensemble humor and lyric reveries.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Alan Scherstuhl
    Moments of pain and revelation keep coming, all varied and surprising. These accrete into a mountain of evidence for Sauper's thesis: South Sudan might be new, but the forces shaping it are the same that have damned Africans for centuries — the rest of the world's lust for resources and conversions. That everything is beautiful just makes it hurt all the more.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Alan Scherstuhl
    Director Levan Gabriadze is adept at the sinking something's not right creepiness too few horror films dig into. His techniques are certain to be copy-pasted by imitators.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Alan Scherstuhl
    Sure, all the studios offer anymore are big, dumb adventure spectacles, but that's not a knock against the achievement of this one, which at least parades wonders before us, not the least being the greatest dragon in the history of movies.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Alan Scherstuhl
    This is squirmy, hilarious fun.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Alan Scherstuhl
    The film is an adventure, a reason to despair, a chance to hang out with a great talker, and an often beautiful portrait of this city's promise and cruelty.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Alan Scherstuhl
    The kind of movie fans will be quoting for the rest of their lives, Shoot Me, from director-producer Chiemi Karasawa, is as much a playdate as portrait, a jumble of salty highlights attesting to the pleasure of her company.

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