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
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    It's about guns and sex and fast boats, and, baffling as it is at times, it's still the kind of brutal fantasy that many of us relish a great deal more than yet another aerated digital dream.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Saved! is a minor work, yet it has a teasing lilt to it, and to make it at all took courage and originality. [31 May 2004, p. 88]
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The most confidently professional work Soderbergh has ever done, but it's also the least adventuresome and emotionally vital. It vanishes faster than a shot of bourbon. [Dec 10 2001, p. 110]
    • The New Yorker
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    This movie, taken all together, is one of the most bizarre combinations of distinguished talent and inane ideas that I've ever seen.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The fight against traditionalism has long been won, so the movie’s indignation feels superfluous, but Mike Newell’s direction is solid, the period décor and costumes are a sombre riot of chintz and pleated skirts, and the movie has an air of measured craft and intelligence. [22 & 29 December 2003, p. 166]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Ben Affleck probably respects Lehane the genre writer (there are five books with Patrick Kenzie as the hero) more than he should. He also has some way to go before he becomes a good director of action.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    I don't believe that anyone will have much trouble seeing what's wrong with the picture, but it's one of those bad movies that you remember with a smile a year later. [9 September 2002, p. 162]
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The plot material isn't as strong as in the first two movies--if anything, it feels a bit desperate--but the anti-Disney joke blunderbuss remains in good working order.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Has a slapdash feeling to it.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The crud and petty desperation of The Cooler is enjoyable as atmosphere, and the movie is passionate. [12 January 2004, p. 86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    That the story is true (and based on an expertly written book by Jonathan Harr) doesn't make A Civil Action any more satisfying dramatically -- there's a streak of obviousness in the moral melodrama that dampens one's interest.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The boyfriend, one Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), a Brit rocker and professional sex god, turns out to be the best thing in the movie.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Yet, for all its skill, Public Enemies is not quite a great movie. There’s something missing--a sense of urgency and discovery, a more complicated narrative path, a shrewder, tougher sense of who John Dillinger is.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Lucas shifts back and forth between this kind of original invention and a dependence on pompous dead-level dreck, a grade-B cheapness that he's obviously addicted to. [20 May 2002, p. 114]
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Inside the stony exterior of The American beat some tired old ideas about innocence and redemption. How can you make an intellectual thriller and put a whore with a heart of gold in it?
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The Butler is a lightweight, didactic movie, a kind of well-produced high-school entertainment.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Peter Sarsgaard, with an oozing voice and a wolfish smile, is a terrific creep, and Hank Azaria and Bobby Cannavale have fun overplaying porn-world figures, but the movie, at its center, remains unawakened.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    It's nothing we haven't seen done better before (by Paul Greengrass in the recent "Bourne Ultimatum," for instance), but it's good enough as kinetic entertainment.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    This movie, though perfectly pleasant, does not have a great script.
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The movie is strange and muddled -- a disorganized epic -- but Day-Lewis, disporting himself with royal assurance, does what he can to hold it together. [23 & 30 December 2002, p. 166]
    • The New Yorker
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    As an evocation of danger, the movie seems threatening yet is nowhere near serious or intelligent enough to satisfy our current sense of alarm. [3 June 2002, p. 100]
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The Ground Truth is an emotionally potent work, but the great study of an Iraq vet, in either documentary or fictional form, has yet to be made.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is what my mother would have called a kakabarly--a large, foaming broth into which she emptied the forlorn and highly miscellaneous contents of her icebox.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    In the end, this odd, beautiful movie is remote and more suggestive than satisfying--a coolly impassive film about catastrophe made at a time when some of us might prefer an attempt at explanation. And yet Elephant is something to see. [27 October 2003, p. 112]
    • The New Yorker
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Fiennes and his team have mounted a handsome re-creation of Victorian England, but the Dickens-Ternan affair isn't much of a story -- at least, not as realized here. [6 Jan. 2014, p.73]
    • The New Yorker
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    At its best, the picture is violently exciting; at its worst, banal and monotonous. Yet the relative absence of mighty significances did not prevent the Matricians sitting all around me--mostly men aged about thirty--from remaining utterly still, as if at a High Mass, throughout the movie. [10 November 2003, p. 128]
    • The New Yorker
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    42
    Sixty-six years later, when a black man holds the Presidency, equality may still be, for some, unbearable, but Robinson abruptly moved America forward. 42, however limited at times, lays out the tortured early days of that advance with clarity and force.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Pfeiffer digs into the role and won't let go. The rest of the movie is conventionally earnest.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    A very strange, often terrible affair that is nevertheless mesmerizing, in a limited way.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    Two winter-season entertainments -- "Haywire" and Contraband with the minimalist but inexorable Mark Wahlberg -- have no greater ambition than to engage our dreams of behaving badly. Of the two, Contraband is the more absorbing. [30 Jan. 2012, p.79]
    • The New Yorker

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