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

David Denby's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Bloody Sunday
Lowest review score: 10 Arthur
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 628
628 movie reviews
    • 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
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Watergate has never really gone away for those of us who lived through it, and, in Penny Lane's Our Nixon, a shrewdly edited collection of news footage and "home movies" taken by members of the Nixon White House staff, there they are again, our familiars. [9 Sept.2013, p.91]
    • The New Yorker
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The Butler is a lightweight, didactic movie, a kind of well-produced high-school entertainment.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    It’s good-natured and raucous, with many scenes that are just sketched but a few that are truly funny.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The Spectacular Now goes a little soft at the end, but most of it has the melancholy sense of life just passing by — until, that is, someone has the courage to grab it and make it take some meaning and form.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 David Denby
    Fruitvale Station is a confident, touching, and, finally, shattering directorial début.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Cate Blanchett, who played Blanche on Broadway only a few years ago, gives the most complicated and demanding performance of her movie career. The actress, like her character, is out on a limb much of the time, but there’s humor in Blanchett’s work, and a touch of self-mockery as well as an eloquent sadness.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    World War Z is the most gratifying action spectacle in years, and one reason for its success if the Pitt doesn't play a superhero. [1 July 2013, p.76]
    • The New Yorker
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    May be the most exquisitely crafted movie ever made about a bunch of nitwits. [10 & 17 June 2013, p. 110]
    • 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
    • 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
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 David Denby
    What follows is astounding: a thirty-minute fight, which, in its bitterness, complication, and psychological revelation, recalls episodes from Ingmar Bergman's "Scenes from a Marriage." [27 May 2013, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    Luhrmann's vulgarity is designed to win over the young audience, and it suggests that he's less a filmmaker than a music-video director with endless resources and a stunning absence of taste. [13 May 2013, p.78]
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Redford’s patient earnestness — not always a virtue in his earlier work as a director — produces something honorable and absorbing.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie is pervaded by a cataclysmic sense of loss, but we don’t need to be chastised with the ideal of Christian love to understand that sex isn’t enough. And someone might tell Malick that beauty isn’t enough, either. Only a major filmmaker could have made To the Wonder, but nothing in it adds up.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    The movie isn’t a desecration, but it’s action filmmaking, not America, that needs to be reborn.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Cool, violent, a cigarette dangling from his mouth, Gosling reprises his inexorable-loner routine from “Drive.” Cianfrance and the screenwriters Ben Coccio and Darius Marder wrote thirty-seven drafts of the script, but gave him almost nothing to say. He rides, he smokes, he knocks over banks, he loves his baby, and that’s it.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Singer honors a child's desire not only for adventure but for noble deeds, for loyalty and friendship. [18 March 2013, p.87]
    • The New Yorker
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 David Denby
    At the center of the movie, in place of the ardent, emotionally pulverizing Judy Garland, there is James Franco...as he smirks and winks, his reflexive self-deprecation comes off as a gutless kind of cool, and it sinks this odd, fretful, uncertain movie like a boulder. [18 March 2013, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    In Side Effects, the working out of the thriller plot is accomplished with too much verbal explanation. [11 & 18 Feb. 2013, p.114]
    • The New Yorker
    • 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
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Movies are good at this sort of brute physicality, but the trouble with The Impossible is that is also tells a rather banal story. [28 Jan. 2012, p.81]
    • The New Yorker
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    On the Road is always on the verge of imparting some great truth, but it never arrives. [14 Jan. 2013, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Like so many earnestly conceived morality tales, Promised Land is built around a man's quandaries. Any actor less skilled and sympathetic than Damon might have betrayed the material into obviousness. [14 Jan. 2013, p.78]
    • The New Yorker
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    For Apatow, one guesses, the only things that can forestall death are comedy (the movie is full of superb comics, including Albert Brooks and Melissa McCarthy) and the flourishing of his children, Maude and Iris, who appear in the movie as Debbie and Pete's daughters.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Central Park is at first discomforting, then enraging, then illuminating.

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