For 625 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
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 The Hurt Locker
Lowest review score: 10 Wild Wild West
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 625
625 movie reviews
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The movie is overwrought and unfocussed.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The movie won't do much for anyone who doesn't have an academic or fanboy absorption in junk.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    A very strange, often terrible affair that is nevertheless mesmerizing, in a limited way.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.

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