For 628 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 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Denby's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Farewell
Lowest review score: 10 Wild Wild West
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 628
628 movie reviews
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    It's only at the end of Blue Ruin that my pleasure drained away. [28 April 2014, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    A dramatic failure, but, at its best, it offers a frightening suggestion of the way terror can alter reality so thoroughly that, step by step, the fantastic becomes accepted as the mere commonplace. [5 May 2003, p. 104]
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    No more than a shallow, style-mad entertainment, but it never flags or loses its balance, and, despite the theatricality of the staging and the acting, it’s precisely the materiality of the cinema--that makes us devour it with pleasure. [29 March 2004, p. 103]
    • The New Yorker
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The story of Fernandez and Beck may be grotesque comedy, but Todd Robinson tells it straight, without flinching from its piteousness, horror, or banality.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    At its best when the characters sit around, dither, and ruminate. Moviemaking seems to have become almost magically easy for this independent writer-director. He builds a detailed atmosphere, brings his good people and his bad together, and lets them jabber at one another; the virtuosity is rhetorical rather than visual.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    In all, Appaloosa is good as far as it goes--everything in it feels true--but I wish that Harris had pushed his ideas further.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Challenged by Downey’s energy, Jude Law, who often seems aimless in his movies, comes fully up to speed. He’s virile and quick-witted, and his Watson, if not Holmes’s equal in brainpower, comes close to him in daring. Their repartee evokes the banter of lovers in a screwball comedy; they flirt outrageously but chastely.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Russian Dolls offers touristic views of London, Paris, and St. Petersburg, where Wendy and Xavier both go for the wedding of another former roommate, and many pretty faces and bodies; it's froth with a sprinkling of earnest reflection.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    It’s party time, and the movie is wild and crude without being mean--it’s a comedy of infantile regression, “Animal House” for grownups. [17 March 2003, p. 154]
    • The New Yorker
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The movie is not an argument for chaos; it's an argument for making one's way through life with a relaxed will and an open heart.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The movie is amiable enough: the young Australian actress Teresa Palmer is lovely and crisp, and the Canadian writer-director Michael Dowse manages the party traffic well. [14 March 2011, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Citing Chekhov at this early time in Swanberg's career may be unfair, but an amiable movie like Drinking Buddies cried out for the revelations that a great dramatist--or even a talented screenwriter and director working together--can give us. [9 Sept. 2013, p.90]
    • The New Yorker
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The movie is about preservation and restoration and the power of art. But with what gain in knowledge? It's as if Szpilman had no soul, and no will, apart from an endless desire to tickle the keys. [13 January 2003, p. 90]
    • The New Yorker
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The movie is successful -- harsh, serious, and both exhilarating and tragic, the right tonal combination for Homer. [17 May 2004, p. 107]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    A superb martial discipline has ended in a commercial movie genre--not the worst fate in the world, but the comic irony of it is of little interest to a director bent on glorification. [9 Sept. 2013, p.90]
    • The New Yorker
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    In all, Steve McQueen is a master of fascination rather than of drama--he creates stunning shots rather than an intricate story.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Tears of the Sun may be a flattering myth, but it’s not a bad myth to be flattered by. [17 March 2003, p. 154]
    • The New Yorker
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    As broad and obvious as Wanderlust is, it's often very funny. [5 March 2012, p. 87]
    • The New Yorker
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Ryder is devious and witchy, her eyes flashing, her crinkly voice developing knife edges. She gives an acidly brilliant performance as a desperate, lying woman. [24 Jan. 2011, p. 83]
    • The New Yorker
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Watching the antic inventions of Go for Zucker, I was moved by the thought that Jews have achieved a kind of Germanness again, and even more moved by the thought that Germans have achieved a kind of Jewishness again.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    In all, these men and women don't seem to have the seething ambitions and the restlessness of so many Americans. They don't expect to get rich, somehow, next year. They may be happier than we are but they're also less colorful. [28 Jan. 2012, p.80]
    • The New Yorker
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    In brief, The Brown Bunny, however antagonistic and borderline tedious, is an art work of sorts, and Gallo himself, though an egomaniac of staggering solemnity-a priest of art longing for a cult-is not a fake.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The director, Gore Verbinski, would seem to be an odd man for this material, but he and Steven Conrad hold their ground, sticking to their conviction that Dave's story should play as a belated-coming-of-age movie.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Whitaker, in the performance of a lifetime, makes him (Idi Amin) a charismatic madman.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The Armstrong Lie goes on forever, perhaps because Gibney can’t believe that, like everyone else, he’s been had. Again and again, he looks for elements of moral clarity (never mind remorse) in Armstrong, and the cyclist looks back at Gibney (and at us) as if he were a fool.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Chronicle becomes a cautionary tale: power corrupts. Yes, and digital power corrupts absolutely. Andrew's sense of decency disappears, and so does the filmmakers' sense of humor. [13 & 20 Feb. 2012, p. 120]
    • The New Yorker
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Téchiné is unusually adroit at manipulating a complex set of relations within a very mixed group of people. This movie is easy to take--chatty and sociable, with a brightly lit, even sunshiny gloss and an open sensuality.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    A Prairie Home Companion has many lovely and funny moments, but there's not a lot going on. Dramatically, it's mellow to the point of inertia. There may not be any sweat, but there isn't any heat, either.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Who are these men, so eager for asceticism, violence, and martyrdom? At first, we think that’s what we’ll learn from The Oath, a fascinating documentary directed, produced, and shot by Laura Poitras. We don’t really, but what we do find out is of equal interest, and oddly reassuring.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Bean's touch is unsteady, and Noise is certainly odd, but the movie is alive with the creative madness of New York.

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