Barbara VanDenburgh

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For 173 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 45% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Barbara VanDenburgh's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Tribe
Lowest review score: 20 Ripped
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 173
  2. Negative: 13 out of 173
173 movie reviews
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Wolf Totem doesn’t feel so much like fully formed narrative film as it does a trumped up National Geographic special on Inner Mongolia eager to make use of shiny new IMAX cameras.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    For all of Cianfrance’s seriousness, the material proves too essentially melodramatic, hokey and self-serious to save. No gorgeous cinematography and no cast, no matter how A-list, can ultimately save this material from itself.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    To the film's credit, it knows it's ridiculous. It's aiming for ridiculous, and it hits the mark as precisely as the strippers groove half-naked to their beats.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The story is good enough to tell itself, and the filmmakers should have let it.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    It’s an assured debut from a rising star that nails tone and pace. It would be a solid summer thriller were it not grossly undermined by its astonishingly regressive treatment of its leading lady.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The film really pops to life only when it gets a little messy, and it's never messier than when it loses itself in family dynamics.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    It’s all very competent, containing all the separate components we ask of period pieces and literary adaptations: great actors, dramatic staging, lush scenery, elaborate costuming. It looks as pretty as a tightly cinched corset, and leaves just as little room to breathe.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    There's a welcome lack of pretension to the proceedings. Stalwarts like Hurt and Ian McShane are on hand to class up the joint — everyone's got a British accent except for Johnson — while the predictable story bludgeons its way towards an inevitable conclusion.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Although it brings nothing new to the con-artist fold, or even anything thrilling, Focus is a seductive enough rehash that benefits from the built-in pleasures of the trade.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The ambitious visual stylings don’t do enough to buoy a film that lacks a certain soaring spirit. If the adaptation is serviceable, it’s also dull — a disappointing fate for a story that’s anything but.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Our teenage years are so overwrought with emotion; not to put them in play at all makes Brandy feel like little more than a cipher for Plaza’s deadpan dark humor. And that’s pleasurable enough for a quick fling, but hardly the foundation of a lasting relationship.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The film spends more time lingering on Emma's love affairs than it does in making sense of them; her declarations of passion and despair lack both.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Attractively staged and spiced through with raunch, About Last Night is still a pleasant enough romp, even if you have no intention of returning its phone calls.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    "I didn't hate it" isn't a high watermark for praise, but when it comes to most Sparks adaptations, it's practically as good as winning an Oscar.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    What spares Learning to Drive is an awful lot of comedic talent and artistic good will. Clarkson and Kingsley imbue average material with easy charm and wit, clicking onscreen with the smooth platonic chemistry of old friends.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    There’s a limit to how much patience one has for spending time with terrible people living large. But for all the lackluster familiarity of the film’s style, the story is too interesting, too baffling to deny.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    It's not a fascinating (or even particularly interesting) character study — the film never lets you get close enough to its leading man to understand his damage — but it's nevertheless an intermittently moving one.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Scenes go on too long. Jokes outwear their welcome. The plot, though perfunctory (it’s no more complex or intriguing than the average hourlong television crime procedural), gets muddled. Even though McCarthy keeps the laughs coming, The Heat doesn’t really pack enough.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The zombification of Austen’s material is frequently funny and sometimes clever, but the film stumbles hard when it loses sight of just how ridiculous it is.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    The intentions are noble, but the film’s eagerness to honor Mandela instead shortchanges him. Mandela was a man who broke the mold; “Mandela” is a film content to nestle very neatly into it.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    In spite of the compelling raw material in the lives of its ostensible subjects, it strikes out as an act of storytelling.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Ornamented heavily with creative visual pleasures, the film is bogged down, not just by weighty thematic issues — death, divorce, bullying, unfairness — but by professions of its own grandeur.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    As far as missteps go, Prince Avalanche is at least an interesting one, which is better than Green has done in awhile.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Nothing fresh is being brought to the table, but it's a sufficient bit of fun for anyone who longs for the days of Brosnan's spy swagger.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Less obvious is how his parents will react should Ravi break ways with tradition and confess his true feelings. Their struggle to maintain their sense of cultural identity in a rapidly changing world is far more moving than any grown man’s commitment issues, even when that grown man is as ingratiating as Ravi.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    No, Atomic Blonde isn’t lacking in sex appeal or swagger. But what it is in want of are stakes.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    If you have a yen for martial-arts action, Man of Tai Chi could do the trick depending on how seriously you take Reeves’ performance. At the film’s worst, it’s empty yet still attractive (much, it can be argued, like Reeves).
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Props to Bad Milo for its fearlessly pulp approach in exploring well-worn characters and their ho-hum dilemmas, but you know you’ve got a dull story on your hands when not even a butt monster can jazz it up enough.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    Mostly, it's fine. The acting is fine. The writing is fine. The story is fine. There are a few laughs. And that should be fine enough. But with material as rich as Leonard's serving as the foundation, just fine is a disappointment.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Barbara VanDenburgh
    It’s never a boring film to look at, but it is often a tiring one. Running over two hours, the film is bloated with portent and repetition, each story taking too long to get to its inevitable moral.

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