For 739 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 61% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 36% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 7.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Ansen's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 70
Highest review score: 100 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Lowest review score: 0 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 43 out of 739
739 movie reviews
    • 85 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    De Palma has brought back Travolta's edge and intelligence. Relieved of having to give a star turn, Travolta seems happy to buckle down and do a straight-ahead, no-frills acting job. [27 July 1981, p.74]
    • Newsweek
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    There's something decidedly mechanical about this intermittently gripping movie's bleak view of human nature.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    The film seems to want us to pin a medal to its own chest.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    Escape From New York gets more conventional as it goes along, settling for chases and narrow escapes when it could have had wild social satire as well. Carpenter has a deeply ingrained B-movie sensibility--which is both his strength and limitation. He does clean work, but settles for too little. [27 July 1981, p. 75]
    • Newsweek
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    In the antic, melancholy comedy The Royal Tenenbaums, the singular Wes Anderson (“Rushmore”) abandons his native Texas for a storybook vision of New York.
    • Newsweek
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    Damon's Ripley is considerably different from the charming sociopath in Patricia Highsmith's novel or the smooth lothario played by Alain Delon in the 1960 French thriller "Purple Noon."
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Harron sets the stage expertly, but her lack of a point of view ultimately enervates the movie. [6 May 1996, p. 78]
    • Newsweek
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    Townsend explodes the industry's tunnel vision in a series of skits, the best of which are explosively funny. His vision of the Black Acting School, run by white instructors ("You, too, can learn to walk black"), captures the movie's message in a raucous nutshell. He also gives us a memorable black street version of a Siskel-Ebert-type critic show called "Sneakin' in the Movies." This supercheapo flick ($ 100,000) is a hit-or-miss affair, but it comes as a tonic: no one's made this movie before. [6 Apr 1987, p.64]
    • Newsweek
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    It’s sad to see such stunning work self-destruct. You walk out haunted by the movie that might have been.
    • Newsweek
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Penn's eye for landscapes is stunning, and his affection for outsider lifestyles is tangible. Hirsch, who carries the film on his increasingly emaciated shoulders, performs heroically, but there's an edge missing. The ideal casting would have been the young Sean Penn.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    As anthropology, it's fascinating, and everything about the production is first class. But the human drama at the heart of this movie is stillborn.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    Ray
    It's hobbled by the too-familiar conventions of the musical biopic: with so many chapters of Charles's life to cover, Hackford's movie never finds a rhythm, a groove, to settle into. It wins its battles without winning the war.
    • Newsweek
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Go
    John August's trickily structured script owes an all too obvious debt to "Pulp Fiction," but Liman's film is more like kiddie Tarantino.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    Self-conscious to the point of suffocation.
    • Newsweek
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    Gangs is a dream project Scorsese has wanted to make for 30 years. You have to honor its mad ambition. But sadly, it feels like a dream too long deferred.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    Too facile to resonate deeply. Shouldn't a movie celebrating Nash give you some idea what his mathematical work is about? Fishier still is the suggestion that the cure for paranoid schizophrenia is love.
    • Newsweek
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    This Man in Black is, frankly, a bit of a wuss. As a love story, Walk the Line can seduce. As a biopic, it treads awfully familiar Overcoming Adversity turf.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The storytelling seems occasionally disjointed, but more important, for all the special-effects wizardry, that touch of film magic never surfaces.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    It succeeds in bringing O'Barr's comic-book vision to life, but there's little else going on behind the graphic razzle-dazzle and the moody, ominous soundtrack.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 40 David Ansen
    The Wrath of Khan is a small soap opera about a man coming to terms with age and death and a son he had never acknowledged. It's really "On Golden Galaxy," and it would have made a lot more sense as a modestly produced hour of television. [7 June 1982, p.53]
    • Newsweek
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    As tempting as it may be to herald Romero as the Swift of schlock, his shopping-mall metaphor is really little more than a clever gag. The director's technique has been refined since his "Living Dead" days, but his grasp of characters is still pretty crude, and he reveals himself to be an all-too-predictable liberal moralists when he singles out the woman and the black as the true heroes. These objections should not-and won't-keep Romero loyalists away. For blood, guts and chuckles, most horror fans will undoubtedly find Dawn of the Dead finger-lickin' good. [7 May 1979, p.90]
    • Newsweek
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension doesn't play it safe. For that alone you may want to bless its demented little heart. Buckaroo Banzai may not work, but that's the risk of high-wire acts. At least it's up there trying. [20 Aug 1984, p.75]
    • Newsweek
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    Noyce orchestrates the suspense with impressive visual flair, using the constricted setting to great advantage. But an hour into the tale impatience sets in when it becomes clear that neither he nor screen-writer Terry Hayes has anything more in mind than pressing our fear buttons. Ultimately, this is just a waterlogged damsel-in-distress movie. [17 Apr 1989, p.72]
    • Newsweek
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    What keeps this movie honest is the characters, each of them a mass of conflicting instincts, virtues and vices. You know Gonzalez Inarritu comes from outside Hollywood because he doesn't divide the world into heroes and villains.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The comic setup is smart, and the undertone of seriousness makes the first part of "City Slickers" genuinely amusing. But when the movie decides to get seriously serious it wears out its welcome fast. Did we really pay to see a male-sensitivity-training movie on horseback? [24 June 1991, p.60]
    • Newsweek
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    I might buy Babel if it had any real interest in its characters, but it's too busy moving them around its mechanistic chessboard to explore any nuances or depths.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    An ambitious, intense, but overdetermined exploration of the varieties of ethnic intolerance.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    There are inspired moments in this edgy, unstable comedy.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 David Ansen
    Arthur is not the best comedy of the season, which is a pity because it has the best comic team--Dudley Moore as a childish, perpetually soused millionaire named Arthur Bach and John Gielgud as his snobbish, reprimanding and adoring valet, Hobson. [27 July 1981, p.75]
    • Newsweek
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 David Ansen
    The storytelling is cheesy, but action fans won't want to miss the debut of the Next Big Thing in martial arts.

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