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 6.3 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
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    For the Coens, the plot elements are a given; the telling is all. [20 & 27 Dec. 2010, p. 144]
    • The New Yorker
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    When The Company Men stays with its real business -- the calamity of joblessness -- it is first rate. [20 & 27 Dec. 2010, p.145]
    • The New Yorker
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    This is a bleak but mesmerizing piece of filmmaking; it offers a glancing, chilled view of a world in which brief moments of loyalty flicker between repeated acts of betrayal.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Compliance is a small movie, but it provides insight into large and frightening events, like the voluntary participation of civilians in the terrible crimes of the last century.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Life of Pi, at its best, celebrates the idiosyncratic wonders and dangers of raw, ravaging nature, and Lee wrings more than enough meaning from the excitement of that spectacle; we need nothing higher. [26 Nov.2012, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    The virtue of Zero Dark Thirty, however, is that it pays close attention to the way life does work; it combines ruthlessness and humanity in a manner that is paradoxical and disconcerting yet satisfying as art.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    What Maisie Knew sees things that most of us manage to hide. James might have been shocked by the movie's profane taunts, but he would have recognized the system of betrayals, large and small, that he dramatized so well. [27 May 2013, p.87]
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Villeneuve has what I keep looking for in directors: a charged sense of the way the world actually works.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Gravity is not a film of ideas, like Kubrick's techno-mystical "2001," but it's an overwhelming physical experience -- a challenge to the senses that engages every kind of dread. [7 Oct. 2013, p.88]
    • The New Yorker
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    It's a movie that approaches novelistic richness. [7 Oct. 2013, p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    As the real-life Ronald Woodroof, he (Mcconaughey) does work that is pretty much astounding. [4 Nov. 2013, p.116]
    • The New Yorker
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Nebraska” are the current standards of what a serious Hollywood movie looks like. American Hustle offers so many easy pleasures that people may not think of it as a work of art, but it is. In the world that Russell has created, if you don’t come to play you’re not fully alive. An art devoted to appetite has as much right to screen immortality as the most austere formal invention.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    This movie will never need reviving. Brown’s innovative rhythms will always make his music sound contemporary.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Pride is brilliantly entertaining just as it is, so I trust that no one connected with the film will be insulted if I say that, despite the existence of shows with similarly stirring themes, like “Billy Elliot” and “Kinky Boots,” the story would make a terrific musical.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Happy Valley is a devastating portrait of a community — and, by extension, a nation — put under a spell, even reduced to grateful infantilism, by the game of football.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Mr. Turner is a harsh, strange, but stirring movie, no more a conventional artist’s bio-pic than Robert Altman’s wonderful, little-seen film about van Gogh and his brother, “Vincent and Theo.”
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    This is cinema, more rhetorical, spectacular, and stirring than cable-TV drama: again and again, DuVernay’s camera (Bradford Young did the cinematography) tracks behind characters as they march, or gentles toward them as they approach, receiving them with a friendly hand.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Some of the menacing atmosphere, and even a few scenes, descend from the first two “Godfather” movies. But, in fact, Chandor has done something startling: he has made an anti-“Godfather.”
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    You can see the jokes coming well in advance, but you still laugh uncontrollably.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Ali
    Michael Mann is a fluent, evocative filmmaker, and the movie is well written, expertly staged, and beautifully edited. [24 & 31 Dec 2001, p. 126]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The movie is expert piffle for grownups, directed with great energy by John McTiernan and written with verve by Leslie Dixon and Kurt Wimmer.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    A film that cannot, in the normal sense of the word, be enjoyed, but it can be endured in a spirit of tempered anticipation -- The movie becomes an anguished demand that the dream be fulfilled. [26 Nov 2001, p. 122]
    • The New Yorker
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The actor Tony Goldwyn, directing his first movie, and working from a fine screenplay by Pamela Gray, beautifully captures a moment in which the straitened moral world of the lower-middle-class Jewish characters is beginning to open up -- with necessarily painful results.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    When he follows his nose -- say, by tracing his own connections to Eric Harris, one of the Columbine shooters -- he implicates himself in what he hates and fears, and he emerges as a wounded patriot searching for a small measure of clarity. [28 October 2002, p. 119]
    • The New Yorker
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    A seriously scandalous work, beautifully made, and it deserves a sizable audience that might argue over it, appreciate it -- even hate it. [1 April 2002, p. 98]
    • The New Yorker
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The plot, with its matched, escalating acts of revenge, may be a contrivance, but within that contrivance Changing Lanes plays earnest and well. [6 May 2002, p. 138]
    • The New Yorker
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    For the battered American independent cinema, Linklater's movie is the highest form of life seen in the last couple of years. [12 Nov 2001, p. 138]
    • The New Yorker
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Abrupt and fragmentary, but powerful. [Dec 10 2001, p. 111]
    • The New Yorker
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Spielberg must have sensed that he owed us some fun, and the movie has a sleek and carefree look -- the lightness of a sixties comedy, made with the extraordinary speed and panache of our most fluent director. This is a true holiday film, a gift from some genuine pros who know how to entertain without sweat. [23 & 30 December 2002, p. 166]
    • The New Yorker
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Eminem does not come off as a megalomaniac in 8 Mile, but he expects people to be very, very impressed. I doubt he could lend himself to a fiction that said anything else: his eyes couldn't tell any story but his own. [11 November 2002, p. 195]
    • The New Yorker

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