For 1,157 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Dana Stevens' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Fruitvale Station
Lowest review score: 0 The Nutcracker
Score distribution:
1157 movie reviews
    • 95 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The Social Network wants to be a social satire, a miniaturist comedy of manners, and a Greek tragedy; it bites off a lot, at times more than it can chew. But even the unmasticated morsels are pretty tasty.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Based on a horrifying real-life case that took place in the Moldavia region of Romania in 2005, Beyond the Hills can be seen as both a critique of patriarchal religious systems and an allegory about the tension between secularism and faith (as well as a precisely and painfully observed portrait of one particular friendship).
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Her (Reichardt's) juxtaposition of imponderably vast landscapes and regular-scale individual lives is what gives Certain Women its mood at once of delicate restraint and of moral gravity.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    As an intimate chamber piece with pitch-dark subject matter, James White could only avoid bathos by featuring two actors at the top of their game, alive not only to the inner worlds of their own characters but to the shared world they both know they’re on the brink of losing.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The movie itself triumphs by similar means; it is a marvel of unleashed childishness, like a birthday party on the edge of spinning out of control.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    It skips from buoyant satire to domestic melodrama, leaving behind a curious mix of emotions.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    With a neck-snapping jolt, turns into the scariest exercise in cinematic sleight of hand since "The Blair Witch Project."
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Submarine isn't a perfect film, but it's a terrific first one.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    An investigation, at once lucid and enigmatic, of exile, loneliness and the fragile possibility of friendship.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Feisty, intellectually engaging.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    One thing that Loving gets right in a way that few civil rights dramas do: It insists on racial discrimination as a systemic problem, not merely an interpersonal one.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Soul Kitchen is sprawling, undisciplined, raucous, occasionally crass-and so full of life you forgive it everything.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    This installment is all about the grown-up kids. The three young leads - especially Emma Watson, who can do more with a still face than any actress her age - are all terrific
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The Dreamers, which is disarmingly sweet and completely enchanting, fuses sexual discovery with political tumult by means of a heady, heedless romanticism that nearly obscures the film's patient, skeptical intelligence.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    It is impossible not to marvel at Mr. Suleiman's knack for turning rage and hopelessness into burlesque.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    A witty and acute examination of friendship, ambition and betrayal in the Parisian literary world.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Like the best war movies -- and like martial literature going back to the Iliad -- it balances the dreadful, unassuageable cruelty of warfare and the valor and decency of those who fight.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Mr. Pucci, emerging slowly from behind a stray lock of brown hair, plays Justin's ambiguous transformation with deft understatement. And Mike Mills, who wrote and directed, keeps the film from slipping either into melodrama or facile satire, the two traps into which this genre is most apt to fall.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Ballets Russes does tell a marvelous story of midcentury show business, encompassing both the most exalted expressions of pure art and the sometimes grubby commerce that sustained it.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The script of Before Sunset is both rambling and self-conscious, and at times it has the self-important sound of clever writing. But though it is sometimes maddening, the movie's prodigious verbiage is also enthralling.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Revisits the San Francisco of the late 1960's and early 70's, a time and place so encrusted with legend and cliché that you might wonder if there is anything left to say. It turns out there is quite a lot -- which the filmmakers have brought triumphantly to life.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Lithgow and Molina play Ben and George with such depth, tenderness, and history that their affection for one another’s bodies (there’s no sex, but loads of snuggling) seems like a natural extension of their pleasure in being together.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The cast, working in conditions that appear to have been only slightly less dire than those portrayed in the film, work together in a grim, convincing improvisatory rhythm.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The first really good spy movie about the impossibility, under present historical circumstances, of making a really good spy movie.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    And then comes that transcendent last scene, in which the man whose side we’ve barely left during this incredible ordeal is suddenly revealed as the best kind of hero, not super at all but ordinary and vulnerable and human.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    A movie I snickered at more than once but never stopped staring at in wonder. This isn’t Nolan’s best film by any stretch, but it abounds in the qualities that are among his strengths.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Spider-Man, while hardly immune to these vices, is, like Mr. Maguire, disarmingly likable, and touching in unexpected ways.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Compliance examines, among other things, how misplaced faith in authority can lead to abuse on a systemic scale. It's a deeply moral movie about the failure of morality, as grueling to watch as it is necessary.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The next two hours might not have quite delivered on that initial promise of wonder - we grown-ups, being heavy, are not so easily swept away by visual tricks - except when I looked away from the screen at the faces of breathless and wide-eyed children, my own among them, for whom the whole experience was new, strange, disturbing and delightful.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    A teasing, self-conscious and curiously heartfelt demonstration of his (Mr. Kim) mischievous formal ingenuity.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Electrifying.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Two very fine actors, Ned Beatty and Liev Schreiber, engaged in an intense contest to see who can give the more understated performance.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    From start to finish, is pretty much a blast.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Anchors its melodramatic formula in tough, heartfelt realism.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    A freshness and intensity that recall the television series "My So-Called Life."
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The resulting film is an unruly, riveting assemblage of anecdotes and impressions. The larger political and military questions about the war in Iraq are kept deliberately in the background, which some viewers may find frustrating.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The feelings that this simple, deeply intelligent movie produces -- of horror, admiration, hope and grief -- are as hard to name as they are to dispel.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Perhaps it's all a bit too much, and perhaps it doesn't add up, but the loose ends give the picture a jaunty, improvised feeling that, while it leads to some confusion, is ultimately part of its whimsical charm.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The thoughtful and leisurely paced Marley is an exemplary music documentary in almost every way - but the area in which it falls short is an important one. Like a surprisingly large number of films about musicians (whether biopic or documentary), this one is curiously resistant to letting the audience hear its subject's songs in their entirety.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The real protagonist is the family itself -- a fragile, complex organism undermined by internal conflict and menaced by the cruelty and indifference of the society around them.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    With a woman-with THIS woman-all the invincible-spy clichés feel fresh and fun again.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Because it is so visually splendid and ethically serious, the movie raises hopes it cannot quite satisfy. It comes tantalizingly close to greatness, but seems content, in the end, to fight mediocrity to a draw.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Simultaneously a thoroughly mannered, mischievously artificial confection and an acute piece of psychological realism. Whose psychology, and which reality, remains ambiguous even after the tart, delicious final twist.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Like their Star Wars forebears, Boyega’s Finn and Ridley’s Rey are brave, funny, and admirable but also imperfect, uncertain, and sometimes afraid. That is to say, they’re genuine, multisided characters with believable motivations—no small victory in a movie designed with the express purpose of breaking world box-office records.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    It's particularly exciting to get to see an inventive underground work like This Is Not a Film in the wake of Iran's first-ever Oscar win for Asghar Farhadi's great film "A Separation." It's becoming clear that the blossoming of Iranian cinema, which has been going on now for at least 20 years, is too strong a force for the government censors to contain.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Without Ms. Kidman's brilliantly nuanced performance, Birth might feel arch, chilly and a little sadistic, but she gives herself so completely to the role that the film becomes both spellbinding and heartbreaking, a delicate chamber piece with the large, troubled heart of an opera.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The Guest isn’t here to deliver an earnest social message about the state of veterans’ affairs. Instead, the way good horror movies do, it channels our collective fear, guilt, and rage by creating a monster.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    What distinguishes The Low Down from movies like "The Brothers McMullen" and "My Life's in Turnaround" is its ragged edge of authenticity, its refusal to plot its characters' lives on the graph of romantic comedy convention.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Maggie’s agonizing zero-sum struggle to balance a life of military service and a steady relationship with her son feels fresh, raw, and real — even if the conflict it enacts is as old as the transition between The Iliad and The Odyssey, between the horrors of the battlefield and the difficult journey home.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    By focusing on the power of cannily staged collective action to turn the tide of public opinion, Selma achieves a contemporary relevance that few historical dramas can — especially those built around real-life figures as encrusted in layers of hagiography as MLK.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Star Trek Beyond may not go where no Trek has gone before, but it’s that very fidelity to the show’s original values that will keep fans trekking to the box office.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Feels fresh and satisfying. Maybe it's the presence of Jason Statham, the British action star who has a physicality like no other actor out there right now.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Outrageous fun.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    A gleefully crummy buddy comedy that uses horror-movie conventions as catapults to hurl the audience down one "whoa, dude!" narrative wormhole after another.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    It unfolds with the verve and clarity of a piece of music, carefully composed and passionately played.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The movie belongs to Ms. Rodriguez. With her slightly crooked nose and her glum, sensual mouth, she looks a little like Marlon Brando in his smoldering prime, and she has some of his slow, intense physicality. She doesn't so much transcend gender as redefine it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The rocky but loving relationships Amy has with her father and sister are every bit as important to the story as the connection she shares with her (would-be) boyfriend, and all three parts of her life affect and change one another, just like in—imagine that!—real life.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Poetry is perhaps the best way to think about Mr. Anderson's suave, exuberant balance of free-form inspiration and formal control.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The accidental poignancy of Make It Funky! comes from juxtaposing the charisma and dignity of those musicians - and the knowledge of how much great music New Orleans has given the world - with the unavoidable images of devastation from the last two weeks.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Though both highly stylized and highly stylish, Drive isn't hurting for substance. It has rich, complex characters and a storyline that's both emotionally engaging and almost sickeningly suspenseful.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    I pretty much loved this movie from start to finish - risible implausibilities, insufficiently explained premise and all. An admirably spare survival thriller, The Grey (nice title!) abounds in qualities that are rare in movies of its type. It's quiet, contemplative, and almost haiku-like in its simplicity.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The movie's sexual politics are as contrived as its plot, which veers off into one of the surprise endings of which Mr. Altman is so fond.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Mixing pop savvy with startling formal ambition, Mr. Mann transforms what is essentially a long, fairly predictable cop-show episode into a dazzling (and sometimes daft) Wagnerian spectacle.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The film, which includes some breathtakingly beautiful images of the green, wet Guyanese jungle and a monumental waterfall that cuts through it, is driven less by narrative than by ideas and impressions.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Mr. Mantegna, who as an actor is one of the leading interpreters of Mr. Mamet's work, gives generous room to the movie's first-rate ensemble.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    For all its echoes of Frank Capra and Charlie Chaplin (as well as Ford), the movie is also a love letter to modern Tokyo, whose alleyways and skyscrapers are drafted with flawless precision and tinted with tenderness and warmth.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Whether or not The River is, as some critics have claimed, Mr. Tsai's masterpiece, it is an excellent introduction to his oblique narrative style, his favored themes and his careful, lyrical visual sensibility.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Wargnier's sumptuous, moving new film, captures both the hope of the returning Russians and their brutal betrayal.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    For people who enjoy coming out of movies unsettled, a little riled up, bursting with questions, and spoiling for a debate, see Elle.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Though its story may sound formulaic on paper, please take my word for it: Monsieur Lazhar, written and directed by Philippe Falardeau, is a sharply intelligent, deeply sad, and not remotely sappy film about both teaching and collective grief.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    "For my vision of the cinema," Orson Welles once said, "editing is not simply one aspect. It is the aspect." According to Edge Codes.com, a wonderfully informative new documentary, what was true for Welles's cinema is true for the medium as a whole.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    It finds a way to make the play's rich, dense literary language (just before the climactic battle, one character accuses another of "breaking his oath and resolution like/A twist of rotten silk") sound as terse and urgent as the dialogue in a tightly plotted action thriller.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    With Quitting, he (Zhang) has removed sentimentality from the theme and presented it with unflinching honesty, a quality he shares with his fearless cast.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The revelation of Hateship Loveship is the casting of Kristen Wiig, who effortlessly makes the shift from comedian to straight dramatic actress in a role full of potential ego traps that she never falls into.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Instead of prying into his soul, the filmmakers investigate his working conditions and offer a sort of backstage ethnographic study of the professional stand-up culture.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Like its humor, the film's sentiment sneaks up on you, and so does the dramatic reversal that makes it something more than a collection of wry anecdotes.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Blue Ruin is a Clint Eastwood vigilante fantasy with an anti-Clint at its center—small-statured, round-faced, nervous Dwight (Macon Blair), whose burning desire to avenge the long-ago murder of his parents doesn’t make him one whit less terrified of actually doing it.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    This is a movie that traffics in deep hindbrain emotions: fear and rage and lust and, above all, the pure animal drive to go on living.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Poignant though it is, the movie is the opposite of depressing. There is too much life in it.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    I say give The End of the Tour a try. Ponsoldt’s gentle, talky road movie is a sort of Gen-X update of "My Dinner With André": A movie of ideas that, far from being the pompous screed that category might imply, actually contains interesting ideas — and what’s more, allows its characters’ perspectives on those ideas to remain in productive tension with one another.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Moonrise Kingdom is fun: a gorgeously shot, ingeniously crafted, über-Andersonian bonbon that, even in its most irritatingly whimsical moments, remains an effective deliverer of cinematic pleasure.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Perhaps more than any of the M:I directors so far, McQuarrie understands the unique properties of this singular movie star — his ascetic intensity, his sometimes-scary moral certainty, his always-scary drive to excel. The result of their collaboration is a briskly paced and witty reminder of why we go see summer action movies in the first place.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Spielberg has an effortless-seeming knack for creating compositions that are not just lovely to look at but integral to the idea or emotion he’s trying to express.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Though her movie has a clear narrative line, and might even be classified as romantic comedy, it is also a meticulously constructed visual artifact, diffidently introducing the playful, rebus-like qualities of installation art to the conventions of narrative cinema.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Waugh's dialogue, effortlessly catching the lockjaw intonations and facetious mannerisms of the British aristocracy between the world wars, is a gift to screenwriters and performers alike. The actors Mr. Fry has assembled receive the gift with gusto and grace.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    It is a small, plain movie, shot in 16 millimeter in dull locations around Boston; but also, like its passive, quizzical heroine, it is unexpectedly seductive, and even, in its own stubborn, hesitant way, beautiful.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    While this film can seem politically simplistic, it is nonetheless psychologically astute, and more complicated than it at first appears.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    (Director Bigelow) piles up one nerve-racking crisis after another, interspersed with moments of ethereal, almost otherworldly beauty.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The most shocking thing about it may be its unabashed sincerity.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Full of nuance and complexity, but it is also as accessible and engrossing as a grand 19th-century novel.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Happy People's images of the Taiga, while often breathtaking, come from the standard visual language of nature documentary: in between interviews with villagers, cutaways to icicles hanging from branches or dawn breaking over an expanse of snow. It's Herzog's inventive use of voice-over that elevates the film above an extremely well-researched episode of "Nature."
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The ultimate praise given to sports movies is always, "Even if you don't care about sport X, you'll care about these characters," and that's certainly true of Undefeated (I don't, and I did).
    • 96 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    This is not to say that Gravity is a masterpiece: Unlike Cuarón’s extraordinary "Children of Men", it doesn’t quite pull off its ambitious effort to combine formal inventiveness, heart-pounding action, and intimate human storytelling. But it succeeds thrillingly at the first two of those categories, and only misses the mark on the last because it tries a little too hard — which is certainly a welcome respite from the countless sci-fi thrillers that privilege the human story not at all.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Very much a writer's film: Mr. Schickel's elegant, occasionally knotty prose, read by Sidney Pollack, offers a clear, nuanced interpretation of the artist's work in relation to his life.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    This is a small movie about a small world, but its modesty is part of what makes it durable and satisfying.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The majority of Fury Road’s effects were done without using CGI, but even so, the onslaught of action is so fast-paced and overpowering there’s little time to appreciate Miller’s analog artistry, and the feeling of being inside a video game—a sinking sensation familiar from less carefully orchestrated action movies—sometimes takes over.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    Days of Future Past is the kind of extravagant production that sweeps you up in a sense of mythic grandeur even as you struggle to follow what’s going on.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The actor's (Murray) quiet, downcast presence modulates the antic busyness that encircles him, and his performance is a triumph of comic minimalism.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Dana Stevens
    The animating humanism of Scott’s film is irreducible. It’s a wry tribute to the qualities that got our species into space in the first place: our resourcefulness, our curiosity and our outsized, ridiculous, beautiful brains.

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