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 Time Out
Lowest review score: 10 Wild Wild West
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 618
618 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
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    It's not boring (given the subject, how could it be?), but almost nothing in it works.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie is derivative, flat, halfhearted, its squareness unrelieved by irony or fantasy. [3 March 2003, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
    • 83 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    A shapeless mess, but at least it’s not as monotonous as “Kill Bill Vol. 1.” [19 & 26 April 2004, p. 202]
    • The New Yorker
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The Recruit is quick and tense, and some of it is fun, but I didn't believe a single thing in it, and the over-all effect of the movie is to make one depressed that the Christmas "art" season is over. [27 January 2003, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Bertolucci is trying hard to shock us with this stuff, but, for all the perversities and the abundant nudity, the movie has an air of inconsequence about it. [9 February 2004, p. 74]
    • 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.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Prince of Persia is meant purely as light entertainment, but the way it draws on layers of junk is depressing.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    A clunky and obvious comedy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Thoroughly derivative, and it doesn't illuminate youth crime -- it exploits it.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Never Let Me Go is in such good taste that we never feel any horror over the idea at the center of it.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The futility of a noodling movie star is hardly a revelation of the absurdity of the human condition, or whatever this movie is supposed to be about. [20 & 27 Dec. 2010, p. 146]
    • The New Yorker
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The Green Hornet is what you get when someone who dropped out of high school to do standup comedy, then spent a decade in movies and television, conceives a Hollywood "passion project." [24 Jan. 2011, p. 82]
    • The New Yorker
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Morning Glory has a depressed, rancid air. [22 Nov. 2010, p. 141]
    • The New Yorker
    • 79 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Off the dance floor, however, Black Swan is trashy and incoherent. Aronofsky, for all his gifts, is a gaudy maestro, opportunistic and insecure as an artist.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    May have been written by a young woman, but it feels like a middle-aged man's fantasies about young people. The dialogue is actually - to retrieve an old word - vulgar. [7 Feb. 2011, p. 82]
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The Dictator, like its predecessors, is short (eighty-three minutes), but it runs down fast, and the lewd jokes pile up. [28 May 2012, p. 76]
    • The New Yorker
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    As director, Foster, working with Kyle Killen's screenplay, treats the goofy premise with a literal earnestness-as a family drama about separation and reunion-that seems all wrong. A little wit would have helped.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    War Horse is a bland, bizarrely unimaginative piece of work. [2 Jan. 2012, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Burroughs invented a primal fiction: a man winds up on another planet, and has to find his way among strange creatures. Sticking to that fable, which was central to "Avatar," might have saved John Carter, but Stanton loses its appealing simplicity in too many battles, too many creatures, too many redundant episodes. [26 March 2012, p.108]
    • The New Yorker
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Much of what Oskar says in the book is amusingly beside the point. Onscreen, however, the sound of a hyper-articulate boy talking semi-nonsense becomes very hard to take.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Luhrmann's vulgarity is designed to win over the young audience, and it suggests that he's less a filmmaker than a music-video director with endless resources and a stunning absence of taste. [13 May 2013, p.78]
    • The New Yorker
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    It seems that the director, who also made "The Incredible Hulk" and "Clash of the Titans," will do anything to distract us from the emptiness to which he has devoted himself. [10 & 17 June 2013, p.110]
    • The New Yorker
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie is messily ineffective. Daniels likes charged, discordant scenes, with sudden explosions of violence. He shoves the camera in people's faces, and he can't convincingly stage a scene with more than two people in it. [8 Oct. 2012, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 79 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The two characters are ciphers, and the script, which Sachs co-wrote with Mauricio Zacharias, is by turns underwritten or banal.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie isn’t a desecration, but it’s action filmmaking, not America, that needs to be reborn.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie is pervaded by a cataclysmic sense of loss, but we don’t need to be chastised with the ideal of Christian love to understand that sex isn’t enough. And someone might tell Malick that beauty isn’t enough, either. Only a major filmmaker could have made To the Wonder, but nothing in it adds up.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    As you watch, you don't think of the decline of American civilization; you think that these are good actors giving themselves a hell of a workout in a misbegotten movie. [6 Jan. 2014, p.72]
    • The New Yorker
    • 76 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    In this movie, Phoenix turns himself inside out, but Cotillard’s reserved performance doesn’t move us. Bruno advances in his confused way, Ewa resists, and, despite Jeremy Renner’s flickering presence, the movie becomes dour and repetitive. Looking at them, you finally think, Enough! Life must be elsewhere.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The Canyons is not porn, but it has the demoralized second-rateness and the lowlife inanity of the porn world.

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