For 602 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 6.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Denby's Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Dreamgirls
Lowest review score: 10 Wild Wild West
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 602
602 movie reviews
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    It's a seize-the-day movie, even though the day is a long time coming. [7 May 2012, p.80]
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen, the filmmakers who made the moving documentary Bully, don't try to answer any questions. They avoid charts and graphs, talking heads and sociology. Their approach is more direct and, perhaps, more effective.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    No stranger man - not even Nixon - has ever been at the center of an American epic.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    For Apatow, one guesses, the only things that can forestall death are comedy (the movie is full of superb comics, including Albert Brooks and Melissa McCarthy) and the flourishing of his children, Maude and Iris, who appear in the movie as Debbie and Pete's daughters.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The movie ends in bitterness. Unable to prevent catastrophe, the most honorable man in this entire affair - an outcast among frauds and the cannily acquiescent - considers himself a failure.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The intricate baseball knowledge that gets passed back and forth among the characters in Trouble with the Curve is much more interesting than the moral simplicities that the movie offers. [8 Oct. 2012, p.87]
    • 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]
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Chronicle becomes a cautionary tale: power corrupts. Yes, and digital power corrupts absolutely. Andrew's sense of decency disappears, and so does the filmmakers' sense of humor. [13 & 20 Feb. 2012, p. 120]
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    In Side Effects, the working out of the thriller plot is accomplished with too much verbal explanation. [11 & 18 Feb. 2013, p.114]
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Cronenberg has made an eccentric and beautiful-looking movie - a languid, deadpan, conceptualist joke.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Shadow Recruit is fun in a minor, winter-season way. If the producers stick with Chris Pine as he ages, they may end up with something worth caring about. [20 Jan.2014, p.78]
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    It’s good-natured and raucous, with many scenes that are just sketched but a few that are truly funny.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    In all, these men and women don't seem to have the seething ambitions and the restlessness of so many Americans. They don't expect to get rich, somehow, next year. They may be happier than we are but they're also less colorful. [28 Jan. 2012, p.80]
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Redford’s patient earnestness — not always a virtue in his earlier work as a director — produces something honorable and absorbing.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Citing Chekhov at this early time in Swanberg's career may be unfair, but an amiable movie like Drinking Buddies cried out for the revelations that a great dramatist--or even a talented screenwriter and director working together--can give us. [9 Sept. 2013, p.90]
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Bob Nelson wrote the script, which Payne has been mulling over for nine years, and some of it, enhanced by the deliberate pacing of his direction, is funny in a deadpan, black-comedy way. But the absurdist atmosphere feels thin: the movie is like a Beckett play without the metaphysical unease, the flickering blasphemies and revelations.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    22 Jump Street is hardly fresh, but the picture has enough energy to get by.
    • 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]
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Lone Survivor will not please people exasperated by an endless war, but it's an achievement nonetheless. [6 Jan. 2014, p. 73]
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Sappy but engaging. [7 & 14 July 2014, p.95]
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The Armstrong Lie goes on forever, perhaps because Gibney can’t believe that, like everyone else, he’s been had. Again and again, he looks for elements of moral clarity (never mind remorse) in Armstrong, and the cyclist looks back at Gibney (and at us) as if he were a fool.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    It's only at the end of Blue Ruin that my pleasure drained away. [28 April 2014, p.86]
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    A very strange, often terrible affair that is nevertheless mesmerizing, in a limited way.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Has a slapdash feeling to it.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.