For 618 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 6.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Denby's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Capote
Lowest review score: 10 Arthur
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 618
618 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 39 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Poky but often charming.
    • 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]
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    This movie, though perfectly pleasant, does not have a great script.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The movie is overwrought and unfocussed.
    • 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.
    • 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?
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

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