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 Dreamgirls
Lowest review score: 10 Wild Wild West
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 625
625 movie reviews
    • 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
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie is halfhearted, fragmentary, unachieved.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    An interminable, redundant, unnecessary epic devoted to suffering, suffering, suffering.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The filmmakers, I think, got in over their heads and couldn't decide whether they were making an action thriller or a drama of conscience; they wound up flubbing both.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Crowe is attempting a modern screwball comedy--the kind of thing that, sixty years ago, Howard Hawks, directing Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck, would have turned into romantic farce--but he has scaled the movie as an epic and turned his gabby heroine into a fount of New Age wisdom.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    “Them” — apart from a few affecting scenes — is a hollow, high-minded folly.
    • 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.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    After the complex buildup of tensions, the last ten minutes of the movie are a comic-pathetic letdown: the subdued acting and the trash-strewn street scenes lead to nothing more striking than the kind of overexplicit clichés heard in mediocre TV dramas. Even De Niro's discipline and skill can't save lines that should never have been spoken in the first place. [9 September 2002, p.162]
    • The New Yorker
    • 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
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Kevin Kline does his best movie work yet as Nick Bottom...But in most other ways this "Midsummer Night" is hard to endure.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Michael Moore has teased and bullied his way to some brilliant highs in his career as a political entertainer, but he scrapes bottom in his new documentary, Sicko.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Not meant to be realistic; it was shot by the director Steven Shainberg in a slow, dreamy neo-De Palma style and in candy colors, and Gyllenhaal has a Kewpie-doll silliness that almost makes the naughty parts of the movie fun. [23 Sept 2002, p. 98]
    • The New Yorker
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Amelia is handsome yet predictable and high-minded--not a dud, exactly, but too proper, too reserved for its swaggering subject.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The clichéd macho silliness of the picture gets to be infuriating after a while.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    What a comedown, after the weirdly beautiful things Singer and his technicians did in the first two movies.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    War Horse is a bland, bizarrely unimaginative piece of work. [2 Jan. 2012, p.79]
    • 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
    • 80 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Unfortunately, it's also maddeningly repetitive, and dependent on the kind of strained English whimsy that leaves your throat sore from laughter that dies in the glottal region.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The material has been turned into a trivially narcissistic product for teen-age girls who want to feel indignant about wrongs they are unlikely to suffer.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    There’s a big hole in the middle of the movie: the director, Tom Tykwer, and the screenwriter, Eric Warren Singer, forgot to make their two crusaders human beings.
    • 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
    Prince of Persia is meant purely as light entertainment, but the way it draws on layers of junk is depressing.
    • 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
    • 77 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie that Josée Dayan has made about the Duras-Andréa affair is not a scandal. Unfortunately, it’s not much of anything but a solemn joke. [14 April 2003, p.88]
    • The New Yorker

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