For 626 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 4.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Denby's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 The Class
Lowest review score: 10 Dogville
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 626
626 movie reviews
    • 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
    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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Pfeiffer digs into the role and won't let go. The rest of the movie is conventionally earnest.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    A very strange, often terrible affair that is nevertheless mesmerizing, in a limited way.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The movie goes like the wind, but it's more a technological exercise than anything else.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Cool, violent, a cigarette dangling from his mouth, Gosling reprises his inexorable-loner routine from “Drive.” Cianfrance and the screenwriters Ben Coccio and Darius Marder wrote thirty-seven drafts of the script, but gave him almost nothing to say. He rides, he smokes, he knocks over banks, he loves his baby, and that’s it.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    I'm more than ready to welcome a new style and a new metaphysic, but I still respond with skepticism and exasperation to Weerasethakul's work, which is sensuous and ruminative but also flat, almost affectless. [28 March 2011, p. 116]
    • The New Yorker
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    This is one of the rare movies that are too sensitive for their own good.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    This literal-minded movie sells old pieties and washes away fear so thoroughly that it creates a new kind of fantasy, in which all's right with a very troubled world. [21 April 2014, p.110]
    • The New Yorker
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Transcendence is a muddle; it takes more creative energy than this to catch up to the present. [28 April 2014, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    It's essentially a skit idea, not a dramatic idea, and the best the movie does with it is to repeat it. What saves Bridesmaids is Feig's love of performers - in particular, his love of actresses.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    When the credits were over at last, I sighed, and took away a moviegoer's fantasy of Ledger and Miller starting work again, far away from Venice and ball gowns, on something that might be worth seeing.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    LaBute's didactic purpose kills any possibility of frivolous entertainment. [19 May 2003, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Often quite beautiful. But Madagascar, which was directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, is mismanaged pretty much from start to finish.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Holy Motors is full of larks and jolts, but the movie is so self-referential that it's mainly aroused by itself. The audience, though eager to be pleased, is left unsatisfied. [22 Oct. 2012, p.88]
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    It’s a sad movie--funny, yet wounded and bewildered.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Huckabees is the real thing--an authentic disaster--but the picture is so odd that it should inspire, in at least a part of the audience, feelings of fervent loyalty.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    It's the first boring performance of Damon's career, although the bland inertia may not be his fault. The way Eastwood stages the "readings," they hold no terror for George.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The movie leaves us with the sense that, twelve years after Biggie Smalls's death, a lot of people are trying to extract whatever profit or pride they can from the chaotic life of a young man who was, as he well knew, a work in progress.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Moderately enjoyable, in its exhausting way. [5 March 2012, p. 87]
    • 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
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The characters observe no boundaries, and neither does the movie--Baumbach hasn’t worked out the struggle between speaking and withholding, as Bergman did. People simply blurt out scathing remarks, so there’s little power in the revelations and betrayals. “Margot” is sensually as well as dramatically impoverished.

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