For 628 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 3.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Denby's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Winter's Bone
Lowest review score: 10 Wild Wild West
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 628
628 movie reviews
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Has some of the wittiest writing Sayles has ever done for the movies and some of the best acting he's ever coaxed out of his performers, and the picture is a pleasant, if unexciting, experience. [8 July 2002, p.84]
    • The New Yorker
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Harmless, but it gave me a pain. Why make such a fuss over middle-aged bodies anyway? [22 & 29 December 2003, p. 166]
    • The New Yorker
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The other Grant, the irresistible but slippery Cary, was called to account by such strenuous and willful mates as Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn, and Ingrid Bergman. But Hugh Grant has never been matched with a woman who directly challenged his oddly recessive charm. [3 June 2002, p. 100]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The Theory of Everything makes a pass at the complexities of love, but what’s onscreen requires a bit more investigation.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The French creators of the dance numbers take their work very seriously; they speak of it in terms that would have shamed George Balanchine. That they are sincere in their ideas, however, doesn't mean that they aren't provincial in their own way and long out of date; nor does it mean, to our astonishment, that their show isn't repetitive, solemn, and slightly boring.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Slamming different kinds of experience together, Lee tries to do with montage what he cannot do with dramatic logic.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Poky but often charming.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The memoir is strongly written, and I wish that the movie, directed by John Curran (Marion Nelson did the adaptation), had more excitement to it.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Smart, willful, and perverse, this Frida is nobody's servant, and the tiny Hayek plays her with head held high. You may want to laugh now and then, but you won't look away. [11 November 2002, p. 195]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    It’s the right role for Cruise, but the movie is so devoted to him, so star-driven, that it begins to seem a little demented.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Seven Psychopaths is the kind of movie that can lift someone who's had a crappy day out of a funk. It's an unstable mess filled with lunatic invention and bizarre nonsense, and some of it is so spontaneous that it's elating. [22 Oct. 2012, p.88]
    • The New Yorker
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Crowe has an animal quickness and sensitivity, a threatening way of penetrating what someone is up to, a feeling for weakness in friends as well as opponents. He seems every inch a great journalist; it's not his fault that the filmmakers let the big story slip through their fingers.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The scenery, of course, could stop the heart of a mountain goat, and Wild has an admirable heroine, but the movie itself often feels literal-minded rather than poetic, busy rather than sublime, eager to communicate rather than easily splendid.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The movie's meaning seems to be: we're all crippled in some way, so just live with it--celebrate it, even. That isn't satire; it's moss-brained sentiment that turns "sensitivity" into a dimly dejected view of life.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The movie won't do much for anyone who doesn't have an academic or fanboy absorption in junk.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    In 2002, Carnahan made an intense and violent little cop film, "Narc," with Jason Patric and Ray Liotta. He seemed to have absorbed the influences of John Cassavetes and Martin Scorsese and come up with a style of his own. I was a fan of that movie, but Smokin’ Aces feels like Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" pushed much further along into lethal absurdity.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    One of the main virtues of John Rabe is to demonstrate that, however much we know about the worst of all wars, it still has little-known corners that can amaze us.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    I couldn't imagine anyone better suited to play the role. But this movie is a lot less interesting than it might be. Though it's not bad--in fact, it's rather sweet--it's too simple a portrait of a very complicated and calculating entertainer.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    An obscene, ridiculous, and occasionally very funny movie, and if it ever gets to the Middle East it will roil the falafel tables on both sides of the Arab-Israeli divide.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The movie is overwrought and unfocussed.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    This Kong is high-powered entertainment, but Jackson pushes too hard and loses momentum over the more than three hours of the movie. The story was always a goofy fable--that was its charm--and a well-told fable knows when to stop.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    It's about guns and sex and fast boats, and, baffling as it is at times, it's still the kind of brutal fantasy that many of us relish a great deal more than yet another aerated digital dream.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Saved! is a minor work, yet it has a teasing lilt to it, and to make it at all took courage and originality. [31 May 2004, p. 88]
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The most confidently professional work Soderbergh has ever done, but it's also the least adventuresome and emotionally vital. It vanishes faster than a shot of bourbon. [Dec 10 2001, p. 110]
    • The New Yorker
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    This movie, taken all together, is one of the most bizarre combinations of distinguished talent and inane ideas that I've ever seen.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The fight against traditionalism has long been won, so the movie’s indignation feels superfluous, but Mike Newell’s direction is solid, the period décor and costumes are a sombre riot of chintz and pleated skirts, and the movie has an air of measured craft and intelligence. [22 & 29 December 2003, p. 166]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Ben Affleck probably respects Lehane the genre writer (there are five books with Patrick Kenzie as the hero) more than he should. He also has some way to go before he becomes a good director of action.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    I don't believe that anyone will have much trouble seeing what's wrong with the picture, but it's one of those bad movies that you remember with a smile a year later. [9 September 2002, p. 162]
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The plot material isn't as strong as in the first two movies--if anything, it feels a bit desperate--but the anti-Disney joke blunderbuss remains in good working order.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Has a slapdash feeling to it.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The crud and petty desperation of The Cooler is enjoyable as atmosphere, and the movie is passionate. [12 January 2004, p. 86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    That the story is true (and based on an expertly written book by Jonathan Harr) doesn't make A Civil Action any more satisfying dramatically -- there's a streak of obviousness in the moral melodrama that dampens one's interest.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The boyfriend, one Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), a Brit rocker and professional sex god, turns out to be the best thing in the movie.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Yet, for all its skill, Public Enemies is not quite a great movie. There’s something missing--a sense of urgency and discovery, a more complicated narrative path, a shrewder, tougher sense of who John Dillinger is.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Lucas shifts back and forth between this kind of original invention and a dependence on pompous dead-level dreck, a grade-B cheapness that he's obviously addicted to. [20 May 2002, p. 114]
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Inside the stony exterior of The American beat some tired old ideas about innocence and redemption. How can you make an intellectual thriller and put a whore with a heart of gold in it?
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The Butler is a lightweight, didactic movie, a kind of well-produced high-school entertainment.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Peter Sarsgaard, with an oozing voice and a wolfish smile, is a terrific creep, and Hank Azaria and Bobby Cannavale have fun overplaying porn-world figures, but the movie, at its center, remains unawakened.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    It's nothing we haven't seen done better before (by Paul Greengrass in the recent "Bourne Ultimatum," for instance), but it's good enough as kinetic entertainment.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    This movie, though perfectly pleasant, does not have a great script.
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The movie is strange and muddled -- a disorganized epic -- but Day-Lewis, disporting himself with royal assurance, does what he can to hold it together. [23 & 30 December 2002, p. 166]
    • The New Yorker
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    As an evocation of danger, the movie seems threatening yet is nowhere near serious or intelligent enough to satisfy our current sense of alarm. [3 June 2002, p. 100]
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The Ground Truth is an emotionally potent work, but the great study of an Iraq vet, in either documentary or fictional form, has yet to be made.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is what my mother would have called a kakabarly--a large, foaming broth into which she emptied the forlorn and highly miscellaneous contents of her icebox.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    In the end, this odd, beautiful movie is remote and more suggestive than satisfying--a coolly impassive film about catastrophe made at a time when some of us might prefer an attempt at explanation. And yet Elephant is something to see. [27 October 2003, p. 112]
    • The New Yorker
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Fiennes and his team have mounted a handsome re-creation of Victorian England, but the Dickens-Ternan affair isn't much of a story -- at least, not as realized here. [6 Jan. 2014, p.73]
    • The New Yorker
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    At its best, the picture is violently exciting; at its worst, banal and monotonous. Yet the relative absence of mighty significances did not prevent the Matricians sitting all around me--mostly men aged about thirty--from remaining utterly still, as if at a High Mass, throughout the movie. [10 November 2003, p. 128]
    • The New Yorker
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    42
    Sixty-six years later, when a black man holds the Presidency, equality may still be, for some, unbearable, but Robinson abruptly moved America forward. 42, however limited at times, lays out the tortured early days of that advance with clarity and force.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Pfeiffer digs into the role and won't let go. The rest of the movie is conventionally earnest.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    A very strange, often terrible affair that is nevertheless mesmerizing, in a limited way.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Two winter-season entertainments -- "Haywire" and Contraband with the minimalist but inexorable Mark Wahlberg -- have no greater ambition than to engage our dreams of behaving badly. Of the two, Contraband is the more absorbing. [30 Jan. 2012, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The Matador teeters between comedy and moral inquiry but doesn't quite make it either way. The movie features a startling performance, however, by Pierce Brosnan.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The movie goes like the wind, but it's more a technological exercise than anything else.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Structurally a mess and unevenly made, but the first forty minutes or so are quite beautiful. [7 July 2003, p. 84]
    • The New Yorker
    • 88 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The Grand Budapest Hotel is no more than mildly funny. It produces murmuring titters rather than laughter -- the sound of viewers affirming their own acumen in so reliably getting the joke. [10 March 2014, p.78]
    • The New Yorker
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    It would be lovely to announce that the new Bond movie is scintillating, or at least rambunctiously exciting, but Skyfall, in the recent mode of Christopher Nolan's "Batman" films, is a gloomy, dark action thriller, and almost completely without the cynical playfulness that drew us to the series in the first place. [12 Nov. 2012, p.94]
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    I'm more than ready to welcome a new style and a new metaphysic, but I still respond with skepticism and exasperation to Weerasethakul's work, which is sensuous and ruminative but also flat, almost affectless. [28 March 2011, p. 116]
    • The New Yorker
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    This is one of the rare movies that are too sensitive for their own good.
    • 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
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    It's essentially a skit idea, not a dramatic idea, and the best the movie does with it is to repeat it. What saves Bridesmaids is Feig's love of performers - in particular, his love of actresses.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    When the credits were over at last, I sighed, and took away a moviegoer's fantasy of Ledger and Miller starting work again, far away from Venice and ball gowns, on something that might be worth seeing.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    LaBute's didactic purpose kills any possibility of frivolous entertainment. [19 May 2003, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Often quite beautiful. But Madagascar, which was directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, is mismanaged pretty much from start to finish.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Holy Motors is full of larks and jolts, but the movie is so self-referential that it's mainly aroused by itself. The audience, though eager to be pleased, is left unsatisfied. [22 Oct. 2012, p.88]
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    It’s a sad movie--funny, yet wounded and bewildered.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Huckabees is the real thing--an authentic disaster--but the picture is so odd that it should inspire, in at least a part of the audience, feelings of fervent loyalty.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    It's the first boring performance of Damon's career, although the bland inertia may not be his fault. The way Eastwood stages the "readings," they hold no terror for George.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The movie leaves us with the sense that, twelve years after Biggie Smalls's death, a lot of people are trying to extract whatever profit or pride they can from the chaotic life of a young man who was, as he well knew, a work in progress.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Moderately enjoyable, in its exhausting way. [5 March 2012, p. 87]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Yet as art this revisionist movie, grimly effective as some of it is, doesn't hold a candle to the remarkable cycle of pictures in the late seventies and the eighties which captured the discordant character of a tragic war. [11 Mar 2002, p. 92]
    • The New Yorker
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The characters observe no boundaries, and neither does the movie--Baumbach hasn’t worked out the struggle between speaking and withholding, as Bergman did. People simply blurt out scathing remarks, so there’s little power in the revelations and betrayals. “Margot” is sensually as well as dramatically impoverished.
    • 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
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The latest minimalist provocation from the infuriating but talented French director Bruno Dumont. [12 April 2004, p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Crystal Skull isn't bad--there are a few dazzling sequences, and a couple of good performances--but the unprecedented blend of comedy and action that made the movies so much more fun than any other adventure series is mostly gone.
    • 76 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.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The Bucket List will quickly be kicked into oblivion, but, at a lifetime-achievement-award ceremony, Nicholson’s tempest will fit nicely into a montage of Crazy Jack moments.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    [Downey] can make offhandedness mesmerizing, even soulful; he passes through the key moments in this cloddish story as if he were ad-libbing his inner life.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The Hangover Part II isn't a dud, exactly - some of it is very funny, and there are a few memorable jolts and outlandish dirty moments. But it feels, at times, like a routine adventure film set overseas.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Babel is an infuriatingly well-made disaster.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    O.K. for children.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    There are many scenes of mock-lucha wrestling, which become as boring as actual wrestling. Nacho Libre, naïvely made kids’ stuff, lacks such minor attributes as a decent script and supporting cast.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The audience decided to sell Snakes to itself, and that became the event--the actual movie could never have been more than another exploitation picture.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Wilson and the director, Steven Shainberg, draw on Arbus's family and on many elements from her life and her art, only to turn the material into feeble nonsense.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The movie is a mess, but it’s certainly not dull.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    In brief, I fell cheated by these clever, narrative-disrupting films. They seem to miss the point. After all, every fiction film is magical--an artifice devoted to “What if?”
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    When Wright literalizes the fantastic, the movie turns squalid. He does better when he lets his visual fancies roam free. [25 April, 2011 p.88]
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    We're supposed to be overwhelmed by magic, but what we see is fancy film technique and a lot of strained whimsy.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The Lovely Bones has been fashioned as a holiday family movie about murder and grief; it’s a thoroughly queasy experience.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    This disposable date movie is not so much written and acted as cast—just about every young actor in the country is in it.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Inglourious Basterds is not boring, but it’s ridiculous and appallingly insensitive.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Unconvincing and ineffective; the many patches of ideological montage, growing like kudzu throughout the film, weaken the impact of its best moments.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Kevin Smith turns out to be reverent after all: he wants to separate true love from mere copulating for money, but his story mixes romance and porn so inextricably that he seems confused, and the movie trips over its own conceits.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    There is evidence that at some point this project (which was initiated by Oliver Stone) might have been serious, but Campbell has produced little more than a churning, vivid backdrop for romance. [10 November 2003, p. 129]
    • The New Yorker
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The battle scenes are extraordinarily mucky and violent, but here, as in Tavernier's "Let Joy Reign Supreme," the intricate protocols of aristocratic sexual passion are the most startling elements. The movie, however, is opaque at its center. [25 April, 2011 p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    At key moments, Lucky You loses its nerve.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The movie is a showcase for digital technology and for Norton’s virtuosity, but I wish it weren’t such a weightless shambles.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    It's a peculiar movie, frantic and useless, with a hyperactive camera that gives us no more than fleeting impressions of Edie ecstatic at parties, Edie strung out on drugs, Edie lying mostly naked on a bed, with her skin splotchy from injections.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Is this a case of spectacularly rotten timing, or is something being kept from us? The account of why the friends cross the border isn’t very persuasive…The young men may be clueless, but the filmmakers’ habit of obfuscating key points makes us wonder whether somebody is lying.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    I have a vision of eight-year-olds leaving the movie in bewilderment. Why are the creatures so unhappy? That question doesn’t return a child to safety or anywhere else. Of one thing I am sure: children will be relieved when Max gets away from this anxious crew.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    I enjoyed parts of "Wedding," and I'm not about to tell people that they should not have enjoyed it. I'm just afraid that Hollywood will respond to its success by making many more sitcoms in the guise of movies. [23 Sept 2002, p. 98]
    • The New Yorker
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The young Welsh-born actor Christian Bale is a serious fellow, but the most interesting thing about him--a glinting sense of superiority--gets erased by the dull earnestness of the screenplay, and the filmmakers haven't developed an adequate villain for him to go up against.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    For all its handsomeness and its occasional moments of piercing intelligence, it's a fundamentally depressing piece of work--not because it deals with tragic events and memories but because the characters seem hapless and even stupid, and the writer-director can't, or won't, take control.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Has an oddly amorphous and inconclusive feeling to it. We never do find out who Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal) is, and his best friend, Troy (Peter Sarsgaard), who shifts back and forth between sanity and hysteria, is a mystery, too.
    • 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.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The film is perceptive and shrewd about such matters as the awkwardness of two kinds of aristocracy and power brought face to face. But "Hyde Park" never catches fire.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Pretty much a miscalculation from beginning to end. [26 Nov. 2012, p.87]
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The script is sketchy and somewhat puzzling (after a blissful night with Mousse, Paul leaves in the morning without explanation), but we're carried along by the potently ambiguous moods, the slow shifts from distant friendship to intimacy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Apart from Blanchett's performance, Veronica Guerin is not very interesting. The movie offers a brainless Hollywood version of investigative journalism. [10 November 2003, p. 129]
    • The New Yorker
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The movie holds one in its surly grip, but when it's over, few people, I think, are likely to be haunted by it. Futility may work as a mood in a short story, but in a full-scale movie it doesn't bear looking at for very long. (29 Oct 2001, p. 92)
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Damon may be too young, too unformed, to play an amnesiac. Gazing at that blank face, we can't imagine that Bourne has any experiences or memories to forget. [17 & 24 June 2002, p. 176]
    • The New Yorker
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The movie is so discreet and respectful that, outside the classroom, within whose walls the glory of French literature and language triumph, it never quite comes to life. [16 April 2012, p. 86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The scenes of the musicians rehearsing or talking about music, with the actors playing parts of Opus 131 themselves (the longer stretches are played by the Brentano Quartet), are fascinating and moving for anyone who loves this music; the rest of the movie is conventional.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Estevez has made a vague gesture at a large, metaphoric structure without having the dramatic means to achieve it. His choreography of the panic and misery in the hotel after the shooting is impressive, and some of the actors do fine in their brief roles. But his script never rises above earnest banality, and we are constantly being taught little lessons in tolerance and humanity:
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The Terminal is highly crafted whimsy; it lacks any compelling reason to exist, and its love story is a dud. Ever bashful when it comes to boy-girl stuff, Spielberg has structured the relationship between Amelia and Viktor to be as asexual as possible.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Soderbergh ends the movie with a few jokes, which is casual and neat but leaves you wondering whether the practice of making enormous movies about nothing isn't a little mad.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    This bio-pic, written by Abi Morgan and directed by Phyllida Lloyd, is an oddly unsettled compound of glorification and malice. It whirts around restlessly and winds up nowhere. [2 Jan. 2012, p.78]
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Inception, is an astonishment, an engineering feat, and, finally, a folly.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The extreme innocence of Rose (Andrea Riseborough), the young girl whom Pinkie seduces in order to keep her quiet, is no longer very convincing, or even interesting.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Considered as a sequel, Be Cool is not an insult, but it’s a lazy, rhythmless, and redundant piece of moviemaking.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Even as Cold Weather approaches nullity, it gives some pleasure. [7 Feb. 2011, p. 83]
    • The New Yorker
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Elegant nonsense. For some years, it's been clear that De Palma's work has lost the jolting intellectual energy and wit of his "Carrie" and "Dressed to Kill" days, and in Femme Fatale the Master is just diddling. [25 November 2002, p. 108]
    • The New Yorker
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Almost nothing engages us emotionally. [8 Oct. 2012, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The movie’s heart is certainly in the right place--it’s a quietly outraged work--but I wish there were more excitement in it from moment to moment.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Walk Hard runs down quickly, and suffers further from having the wide-eyed and weightless Reilly as its star.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Even judged by the not excessively demanding standards of middle-aged renovation fantasies, A Good Year isn’t much.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Reitman is a witty filmmaker, but here he seems a little disconnected, too.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    With the exception of Jake Gyllenhaal, whose shambling self-disgust hits the only genuine note, the movie is a classic of Hollywood miscasting and ambition gone askew.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The Oxford theory is ridiculous, yet the filmmakers go all the way with it, producing endless scenes of indecipherable court intrigue in dark, smoky rooms, and a fashion show of ruffs, farthingales, and halberds. The more far-fetched the idea, it seems, the more strenuous the effort to pass it off as authentic.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    A virtual textbook of action clichés.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The movie is a divertissement; it's lightweight and almost meaningless except for the fights, which are extraordinarily violent. [30 Jan. 2012, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Somehow the movie that Rob Marshall has made from Golden's novel is a snooze. How did he and the screenwriter, Robin Swicord, let their subject get away from them?
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Sean Penn’s Into the Wild is certainly visual--it’s entirely too visual, to the point of being cheaply lyrical.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Zwick can’t find anything fresh in this deeply pious East-meets-West stuff. The movie comes close to dying between battle scenes. [8 December 2003, p. 139]
    • The New Yorker
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The movie's conceits are just barely endurable, but the sharpness of Dörrie's eye--for Tokyo's electric night, for Fuji's iconographic landscapes, for cherry blossoms--sustains emotion even when story logic fails.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The ineluctable downward pull of absolutely everything in this movie is more exasperating than moving. [12 January 2004, p. 86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The filmmakers peddle fear and then try to claim the moral high ground; the treatment is foolish, confused, and borderline irresponsible.
    • 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Strange, empty movie, a metaphysical Cracker Jack box without a prize in its empty-calorie depths.
    • 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Not even Neeson, with his strength and his wounded-giant vulnerability, can prevent our interest in Unknown from sliding into contempt.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The trouble with Holofcener's scheme is that the center of the movie is dead. Olivia has no drives or hopes or powerful regrets. She has nothing to say, and Aniston does most of her acting with her lower lip.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The Dark Knight is hardly routine--it has a kicky sadism in scene after scene, which keeps you on edge and sends you out onto the street with post-movie stress disorder.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    If you were to watch Lockout a few months from now, at home alone, it wouldn't produce more than a shrug. Movies this bad need to be revered in public places. Go see it in a mall, and try to sneak a beer or two in with you.
    • 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
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The plot of Silver City is movieish in the extreme, with filthy abandoned mines subbing for the bars and alleys of urban noir, but it’s no more than mild cheese--“The Big Sleep” or “Chinatown” without the malice, rigorous design, and narrative epiphanies.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Near the end of the journey, chronicling Sunni car bombers in Iraq, he (Baer) talks sorrowfully of Muslims killing Muslims, and he concludes that suicide bombing has lost any coherent political meaning and has taken on an irresistible life of its own as a glamorous cult.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Tintin is exhausting, and, for all its wonders, it wears one out well before it's over.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The unexciting look and feel of the movie wouldn’t have bothered me if the filmmakers had penetrated Hanssen’s skull a little.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The Duplasses' sensitivity, which is genuine, yields too much tepid relationship-speak, and Marisa Tomei, one of the most appealing actresses in Hollywood, is left with little to play.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Luhrmann's vulgarity is designed to win over the young audience, and it suggests that he's less a filmmaker than a music-video director with endless resources and a stunning absence of taste. [13 May 2013, p.78]
    • The New Yorker
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie isn’t a desecration, but it’s action filmmaking, not America, that needs to be reborn.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    W.
    Richard Dreyfuss, hunching over and baring his teeth like a shark cruising off a Martha's Vineyard beach, does a wicked impersonation of Cheney. His relish for the part suggests that the movie should have been done not as an earnest bio-pic but as a satirical comedy -- as a contemporary "Dr. Strangelove," with a cast of satyrs and clowns.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Even Frances McDormand, the salt-of-the-earth actress who has warmed so many of the Coen brothers movies, falls into a queasy dead zone.
    • 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
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The picture is a kind of fattened goose that's been stuffed with goose-liver pâté. It's overrich and fundamentally unsatisfying.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The Green Hornet is what you get when someone who dropped out of high school to do standup comedy, then spent a decade in movies and television, conceives a Hollywood "passion project." [24 Jan. 2011, p. 82]
    • 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
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    It's not boring (given the subject, how could it be?), but almost nothing in it works.
    • 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
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Penn gives a strenuous, at times shrewd and acid performance, which has been embedded, unfortunately, in a clumsy and ineffective movie.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Morning Glory has a depressed, rancid air. [22 Nov. 2010, p. 141]
    • The New Yorker
    • 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
    • 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
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Thoroughly derivative, and it doesn't illuminate youth crime -- it exploits it.
    • 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
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie is halfhearted, fragmentary, unachieved.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    An interminable, redundant, unnecessary epic devoted to suffering, suffering, suffering.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The filmmakers, I think, got in over their heads and couldn't decide whether they were making an action thriller or a drama of conscience; they wound up flubbing both.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Crowe is attempting a modern screwball comedy--the kind of thing that, sixty years ago, Howard Hawks, directing Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck, would have turned into romantic farce--but he has scaled the movie as an epic and turned his gabby heroine into a fount of New Age wisdom.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    “Them” — apart from a few affecting scenes — is a hollow, high-minded folly.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The two characters are ciphers, and the script, which Sachs co-wrote with Mauricio Zacharias, is by turns underwritten or banal.
    • 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
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The futility of a noodling movie star is hardly a revelation of the absurdity of the human condition, or whatever this movie is supposed to be about. [20 & 27 Dec. 2010, p. 146]
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Michael Moore has teased and bullied his way to some brilliant highs in his career as a political entertainer, but he scrapes bottom in his new documentary, Sicko.
    • 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
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Amelia is handsome yet predictable and high-minded--not a dud, exactly, but too proper, too reserved for its swaggering subject.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The clichéd macho silliness of the picture gets to be infuriating after a while.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    What a comedown, after the weirdly beautiful things Singer and his technicians did in the first two movies.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    War Horse is a bland, bizarrely unimaginative piece of work. [2 Jan. 2012, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    It seems that the director, who also made "The Incredible Hulk" and "Clash of the Titans," will do anything to distract us from the emptiness to which he has devoted himself. [10 & 17 June 2013, p.110]
    • The New Yorker
    • 80 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Unfortunately, it's also maddeningly repetitive, and dependent on the kind of strained English whimsy that leaves your throat sore from laughter that dies in the glottal region.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Much of what Oskar says in the book is amusingly beside the point. Onscreen, however, the sound of a hyper-articulate boy talking semi-nonsense becomes very hard to take.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    As you watch, you don't think of the decline of American civilization; you think that these are good actors giving themselves a hell of a workout in a misbegotten movie. [6 Jan. 2014, p.72]
    • The New Yorker
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    May have been written by a young woman, but it feels like a middle-aged man's fantasies about young people. The dialogue is actually - to retrieve an old word - vulgar. [7 Feb. 2011, p. 82]
    • The New Yorker
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie is messily ineffective. Daniels likes charged, discordant scenes, with sudden explosions of violence. He shoves the camera in people's faces, and he can't convincingly stage a scene with more than two people in it. [8 Oct. 2012, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The Canyons is not porn, but it has the demoralized second-rateness and the lowlife inanity of the porn world.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The material has been turned into a trivially narcissistic product for teen-age girls who want to feel indignant about wrongs they are unlikely to suffer.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    There’s a big hole in the middle of the movie: the director, Tom Tykwer, and the screenwriter, Eric Warren Singer, forgot to make their two crusaders human beings.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Off the dance floor, however, Black Swan is trashy and incoherent. Aronofsky, for all his gifts, is a gaudy maestro, opportunistic and insecure as an artist.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Prince of Persia is meant purely as light entertainment, but the way it draws on layers of junk is depressing.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The Dictator, like its predecessors, is short (eighty-three minutes), but it runs down fast, and the lewd jokes pile up. [28 May 2012, p. 76]
    • The New Yorker
    • 77 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    In this movie, Phoenix turns himself inside out, but Cotillard’s reserved performance doesn’t move us. Bruno advances in his confused way, Ewa resists, and, despite Jeremy Renner’s flickering presence, the movie becomes dour and repetitive. Looking at them, you finally think, Enough! Life must be elsewhere.
    • 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
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Never Let Me Go is in such good taste that we never feel any horror over the idea at the center of it.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    One of the more high-minded and painful follies of recent years.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    A clunky and obvious comedy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie is a technological and publicity triumph, and a calamity in every other way.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Burroughs invented a primal fiction: a man winds up on another planet, and has to find his way among strange creatures. Sticking to that fable, which was central to "Avatar," might have saved John Carter, but Stanton loses its appealing simplicity in too many battles, too many creatures, too many redundant episodes. [26 March 2012, p.108]
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie is pervaded by a cataclysmic sense of loss, but we don’t need to be chastised with the ideal of Christian love to understand that sex isn’t enough. And someone might tell Malick that beauty isn’t enough, either. Only a major filmmaker could have made To the Wonder, but nothing in it adds up.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    (Lurie's) a shameless, if skilled, manipulator of easy emotions. (29 Oct 2001, p. 93)
    • The New Yorker
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    As director, Foster, working with Kyle Killen's screenplay, treats the goofy premise with a literal earnestness-as a family drama about separation and reunion-that seems all wrong. A little wit would have helped.

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