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 3.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Denby's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Dreamgirls
Lowest review score: 10 Arthur
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 628
628 movie reviews
    • 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
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    No one could mistake the movie for a documentary, but the picture has some of the rectitude of a good documentary--a tone of plainness without flatness.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Kasdan is shrewd and funny about such things as the ease with which powerful people can mimic, when they need to, the forms of sincerity and concern. The satire is unrelenting but not too broad; it stays close to common observation.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    It's an expertly made, intentionally minor movie, though when Monroe, doping herself with everything available, lies in bed, confused and hapless, there are depressing intimations of the end to come.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The movie has an air of momentousness, yet most of it is conventional, though well-directed, pop mayhem.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 100 David Denby
    An Altman-influenced movie made without the master's acrid bitterness. The Last Kiss may come out of Italian opera and comedy, but in spirit it's Shakespearean -- objective, impassive, and at peace with a world in which men and women manage to be both ordinary and extraordinary. [5 August 2002, p.80]
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Eastwood is a more forceful actor than he was twenty years ago--less opaque, less stylized, and altogether more idiosyncratic. He's too old and unsuited by temperament to play the tough city newspaper reporter in this film, but he still has an authority that few younger actors could match.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The movie’s story is conventional in shape, but it has passages of crazy exhilaration and brilliant invention.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Ali
    Michael Mann is a fluent, evocative filmmaker, and the movie is well written, expertly staged, and beautifully edited. [24 & 31 Dec 2001, p. 126]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Scott may always have had an eye on the box office, but from "Alien" and "Thelma & Louise" on, he has made women into heroines. In that regard, he's still ahead of the curve. Rapace's scene is a classic of its kind; it tops John Hurt's notorious misfortunes in "Alien."
    • 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
    • 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
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Vignettish and offhand, but it’s extremely pleasant, and it suggests what can be done with lightweight equipment and a loose-limbed approach to the right subject. [19 May 2003, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Even as Cold Weather approaches nullity, it gives some pleasure. [7 Feb. 2011, p. 83]
    • The New Yorker
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    A lightweight retelling of Page's life, a sketch, really, which doesn't probe very deeply into Page's bizarre mixture of exhibitionism and piety. But some scenes that might have been borderline exploitation, or just corny…turn out to be ineffably beautiful.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The movie is a moralized historical fantasy, mixing love and politics in Old Hollywood style. Yet I can’t bring myself to be indignant about its inventions. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who was born in Oxford and has acted since she was a child, speaks her lines with tremulous emotion and, finally, radiant authority. Austen, I think, would have been thrilled.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The sinews in Holly Hunter's neck and arms tighten like cables hauled in by a winch; she's all wired up, and in Richard LaGravenese's lovely comedy about loneliness in New York she uses the tension as a source of comedy.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Fury is literally visceral— a kind of war horror film, which is, of course, what good combat films should be.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    A dramatic failure, but, at its best, it offers a frightening suggestion of the way terror can alter reality so thoroughly that, step by step, the fantastic becomes accepted as the mere commonplace. [5 May 2003, p. 104]
    • The New Yorker
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    In all, Appaloosa is good as far as it goes--everything in it feels true--but I wish that Harris had pushed his ideas further.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Like most porn, even art porn, Nymphomaniac falls apart at the end. Von trier even seems to be pranking the audience. But the director has at last created a genuine scandal -- a provocation worth talking about. [24 March 2014, p.84]
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 100 David Denby
    Essentially a romantic adventure story with politics in the background--an old-fashioned movie, I suppose, but exciting and stunningly well made.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    A genuine love story might be difficult for a young audience to handle, but this fantasy is blissful madness--an abstinence fable sexier than sex.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The movie is a methodical and entirely absorbing thriller, featuring a complicated plot (Brian Helgeland adapted the Michael Connelly novel) in which clues are carefully planted, and understanding slowly gathers in the mind of the hero. [19 & 26 August 2002, p. 174]
    • The New Yorker

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