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
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Watching the movie, you feel the constriction and the disgust of the life below, but Holland, pacing the film well, knows when to come up for air. Each time she does, the daylight seems like a benediction. [13 & 20 Feb. 2012, p 120]
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Black holes, relativity, singularity, the fifth dimension! The talk is grand. There’s a problem, however. Delivered in rushed colloquial style, much of this fabulous arcana, central to the plot, is hard to understand, and some of it is hard to hear. The composer Hans Zimmer produces monstrous swells of organ music that occasionally smother the words like lava. The actors seem overmatched by the production.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Villeneuve has what I keep looking for in directors: a charged sense of the way the world actually works.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Revved by the stage performances, the cast courses through the material with disciplined exuberance--especially the eight young actors at the center of the drama, many of whom have never appeared in a film before.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The Duchess is enragingly elusive and possibly mad; the General is very direct and also possibly mad.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Source Code is a formally disciplined work -- a triumph of movie syntax -- made with rhythm and pace. Jones, unlike most commercial directors, accelerates the tempo without producing visual gibberish. [11 April, 2011 p. 88]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Putting it mildly, this style of shallow, panting composition isn't the way I’d like movies to go, but, of its kind, The Bourne Supremacy is incredibly skilled--much more exciting than its predecessor.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Quiety sumptuous movie. [15 April 2002, p. 98]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Still, it's le Carre's material; it was shot in dark, lurid, vital Hamburg; Hoffman is the star; and I was completely held. [28 July 2014, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Part thriller, part character study, Arbitrage is Nicholas Jarecki's first feature, and it moves swiftly and confidently, with many details that feel exactly right. [24 Sept. 2012, p.98]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    A lyrical throwback to such movies as René Clément's "Forbidden Games" (1952) and other works of the humanist European cinema of a half century ago. [12 April 2003, p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    A much better movie about the South during the Civil War than “Gone with the Wind”--visionary, erotic, and tragic where the older movie is flossy, merely ambitious and self-important. [22 & 29 December 2003, p. 166]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    This is a movie of great spirit and considerable charm. It’s about the giddiness of promise--the awakening of young talent, after years of the Depression, to a moment when anything seems possible.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    A superb martial discipline has ended in a commercial movie genre--not the worst fate in the world, but the comic irony of it is of little interest to a director bent on glorification. [9 Sept. 2013, p.90]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The movie is sheer hurtling mechanism - the entire world in motion - and it's great silly fun.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Ray
    Vibrantly intelligent and tough-minded bio-pic.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The 40-Year-Old-Virgin is a hit, I would warrant, because it’s truly dirty and truly romantic at the same time, a combination that's very hard to pull off.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    A wonderfully entertaining movie.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Eastwood has become tauntingly tough-minded: “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” he seems to be saying. And, with the remorselessness of age, he follows Chris Kyle’s rehabilitation and redemption back home, all the way to their heartbreaking and inexplicable end.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    For all the beauty and power of Road to Perdition, there's not much spontaneity in it, and the movie's flawless surface puts a stranglehold on meaning. [15 July 2002. p. 90]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Watergate has never really gone away for those of us who lived through it, and, in Penny Lane's Our Nixon, a shrewdly edited collection of news footage and "home movies" taken by members of the Nixon White House staff, there they are again, our familiars. [9 Sept.2013, p.91]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    When he follows his nose -- say, by tracing his own connections to Eric Harris, one of the Columbine shooters -- he implicates himself in what he hates and fears, and he emerges as a wounded patriot searching for a small measure of clarity. [28 October 2002, p. 119]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The movie feels not only like a trial but like a trial in absentia. [7 Oct 2002, p. 108]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The principal suspense in this fascinating movie is generated by the polite, and then not so polite, ferocity of the arguments between the two men.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The movie was not written for Eastwood, but it still seems to be all about him--his past characters, his myth, his old role as a dispenser of raw justice.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    If Ross had merely told his story and re-created the media folk culture of the thirties, the movie might have been a classic. [4 August 2003, p. 84]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Buoyant and observant, 50/50 is a small winner; the director, Jonathan Levine ("The Wackness"), has a great touch, mordant but light-handed.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    After we’ve heard three or four versions of the joke, the words no longer shock. They describe not acts but fantasies, and the movie becomes a celebration of the infinite varieties of comic style.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Who are these men, so eager for asceticism, violence, and martyrdom? At first, we think that’s what we’ll learn from The Oath, a fascinating documentary directed, produced, and shot by Laura Poitras. We don’t really, but what we do find out is of equal interest, and oddly reassuring.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Menzel strings his sequences together with great affection and skill, but the movie, an absurdist picaresque, doesn't have much cumulative impact, and perhaps the hero is too much a lightweight to hold an epic together.

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