For 625 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Denby's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Grizzly Man
Lowest review score: 10 Dreamcatcher
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 625
625 movie reviews
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Like so many earnestly conceived morality tales, Promised Land is built around a man's quandaries. Any actor less skilled and sympathetic than Damon might have betrayed the material into obviousness. [14 Jan. 2013, p.78]
    • The New Yorker
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    On the Road is always on the verge of imparting some great truth, but it never arrives. [14 Jan. 2013, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Movies are good at this sort of brute physicality, but the trouble with The Impossible is that is also tells a rather banal story. [28 Jan. 2012, p.81]
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Cool, violent, a cigarette dangling from his mouth, Gosling reprises his inexorable-loner routine from “Drive.” Cianfrance and the screenwriters Ben Coccio and Darius Marder wrote thirty-seven drafts of the script, but gave him almost nothing to say. He rides, he smokes, he knocks over banks, he loves his baby, and that’s it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Yet, despite the good acting, the middle section of the film, set at the Capitol, is attenuated and rhythmless — the filmmakers seem to be touching all the bases so that the trilogy’s readers won’t miss anything.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The Wolf of Wall Street is a fake. It’s meant to be an exposé of disgusting, immoral, corrupt, obscene behavior, but it’s made in such an exultant style that it becomes an example of disgusting, obscene filmmaking. It’s actually a little monotonous; spectacular, and energetic beyond belief, but monotonous in the way that all burlesques become monotonous after a while.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    While re-creating the vast swing of German forces in and out of Russia, Kadelbach tries to capture the inner turmoil of two men. Call it half a victory.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Nothing in the movie makes sense, but I prefer to think that Ride Along is just a badly told joke, rather than an insult to its audience.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    This literal-minded movie sells old pieties and washes away fear so thoroughly that it creates a new kind of fantasy, in which all's right with a very troubled world. [21 April 2014, p.110]
    • The New Yorker
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Transcendence is a muddle; it takes more creative energy than this to catch up to the present. [28 April 2014, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The movie, bad as it is, will do as a demonstration of a talented man’s freedom to choose different ways of being himself.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The revelation is Wilde. A slender beauty with high cheekbones, she makes Anna a full-fledged neurotic, candid and demanding and changeable, shifting abruptly from snuggling happiness to angry defiance.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Reitman is a witty filmmaker, but here he seems a little disconnected, too.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    It's not boring (given the subject, how could it be?), but almost nothing in it works.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    (Lurie's) a shameless, if skilled, manipulator of easy emotions. (29 Oct 2001, p. 93)
    • The New Yorker
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie that Josée Dayan has made about the Duras-Andréa affair is not a scandal. Unfortunately, it’s not much of anything but a solemn joke. [14 April 2003, p.88]
    • The New Yorker
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Not meant to be realistic; it was shot by the director Steven Shainberg in a slow, dreamy neo-De Palma style and in candy colors, and Gyllenhaal has a Kewpie-doll silliness that almost makes the naughty parts of the movie fun. [23 Sept 2002, p. 98]
    • The New Yorker
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    After the complex buildup of tensions, the last ten minutes of the movie are a comic-pathetic letdown: the subdued acting and the trash-strewn street scenes lead to nothing more striking than the kind of overexplicit clichés heard in mediocre TV dramas. Even De Niro's discipline and skill can't save lines that should never have been spoken in the first place. [9 September 2002, p.162]
    • The New Yorker
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The Recruit is quick and tense, and some of it is fun, but I didn't believe a single thing in it, and the over-all effect of the movie is to make one depressed that the Christmas "art" season is over. [27 January 2003, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Kevin Kline does his best movie work yet as Nick Bottom...But in most other ways this "Midsummer Night" is hard to endure.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Has its satirical charms, but it repeats itself remorselessly, and it has no emotional center. We are so distant from Val that when he gets his sight back we don't feel a thing. [20 May 2002, p.114]
    • The New Yorker
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie is derivative, flat, halfhearted, its squareness unrelieved by irony or fantasy. [3 March 2003, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    I know there are intelligent people who are awed by this sort of deep-dish magical mystery tour, but surely something is wrong with a movie when you can't tell a live character from a dead one and you don't care which is which. [9 December 2002, p. 142]
    • The New Yorker
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    In the movie's best moments, the misery has a comic lilt to it. [28 Jan 2002, p. 90]
    • The New Yorker
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Bertolucci is trying hard to shock us with this stuff, but, for all the perversities and the abundant nudity, the movie has an air of inconsequence about it. [9 February 2004, p. 74]
    • The New Yorker
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    One of the more high-minded and painful follies of recent years.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    A shapeless mess, but at least it’s not as monotonous as “Kill Bill Vol. 1.” [19 & 26 April 2004, p. 202]
    • The New Yorker
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Second-rate bawdiness--that is, bawdiness without the wit of Boccaccio or Shakespeare or even Tom Stoppard--is more infantile than funny, and I’m not sure that the American playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, who concocted this piece for the stage and then adapted it into a movie, is even second-rate.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The clichéd macho silliness of the picture gets to be infuriating after a while.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie is a technological and publicity triumph, and a calamity in every other way.

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