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 Osama
Lowest review score: 10 Dreamcatcher
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 625
625 movie reviews
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Thank You for Smoking is a nifty but slight movie. Some of the writing is obvious, and the dramatic structure is flimsy, if not downright arbitrary. But Eckhart, in a sure-handed performance, holds the picture together.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    A lightweight retelling of Page's life, a sketch, really, which doesn't probe very deeply into Page's bizarre mixture of exhibitionism and piety. But some scenes that might have been borderline exploitation, or just corny…turn out to be ineffably beautiful.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    An extremely well-crafted exercise in physical invention and fear. Yet within those limits--the limits of a pop-digital survival drama--Poseidon is an exciting show.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Whitaker, in the performance of a lifetime, makes him (Idi Amin) a charismatic madman.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The movie has a gentle, bemused intelligence, the tone of British liberalism at its most open-minded.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The project lacks the variety of sensuous pleasures that a great movie has to provide.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Kasdan is shrewd and funny about such things as the ease with which powerful people can mimic, when they need to, the forms of sincerity and concern. The satire is unrelenting but not too broad; it stays close to common observation.
    • 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.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    So well made, and so compelling as a portrait of a man at war with himself, that, right up until the end, many people will probably be entertained by its intricately preposterous story.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    One may be horrified by these two, or laugh at them, but both horror and laughter give way to amazement at the human talent for survival.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The movie version of the hit Broadway musical Hairspray is perfectly pleasant--I smiled to myself all the way through it--but it’s not as exhilarating as the show.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Redacted is hell to sit through, but I think De Palma is bravely trying to imagine his way inside an atrocity, and that he’s onto something powerful with his multisided approach.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Ewan McGregor’s bright-eyed Ian, following in the footsteps of characters in Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Match Point,” is a study in guilt-free violence. But Colin Farrell’s Terry is something new. Terry is a decent guy with many weaknesses, and, after the crime is committed, Farrell gives him a piteous self-loathing that is very touching.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Despite all this desolation and depression, however, Still Life is an extremely beautiful movie.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    A rudimentary but thoroughly enjoyable step musical.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    In serious roles, Weisz can be stiff-backed and righteous, but here, doing comedy, she appears to be a major actress eager to reveal everything she’s been holding inside.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The Duchess is enragingly elusive and possibly mad; the General is very direct and also possibly mad.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Is it art? Not remotely. But, up to the final scenes, it’s a tremendous piece of engineering. After all, the narratives have to synch up visually, which can’t be easy to manage. And the hurtling force of Vantage Point is fun to watch.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The actual robbery that the picture is based on is shrouded in mystery, and the screenwriters, Dick Clement and Ian La Fresnais, have engaged in a fair amount of entertaining invention.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Stop-Loss is not a great movie, but it’s forceful, effective, and alive, with the raw, mixed-up emotions produced by an endless war.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    These small-scale, intelligent movies can fall into a trap: it’s hard to achieve a satisfactory dramatic climax when observation is your principal dramatic mode.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    They are Abbott & Costello with dirty mouths--indomitable, ungovernable, and possibly immortal.
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    The movie is smart and tightly drawn; it has a throat-gripping urgency and some serious insights, and Scott has a greater command of space and a more explicit way with violence than most thriller directors.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Defiance, as it turns out, makes insistent emotional demands, and those who respond to it at all, as I did, are likely to go all the way and even come out of it feeling slightly stunned.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Menzel strings his sequences together with great affection and skill, but the movie, an absurdist picaresque, doesn't have much cumulative impact, and perhaps the hero is too much a lightweight to hold an epic together.

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