For 505 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 20% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 78% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Fear's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 54
Highest review score: 100 Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion [re-release]
Lowest review score: 20 Women in Trouble
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 96 out of 505
  2. Negative: 34 out of 505
505 movie reviews
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    Turning the on-location Tokyo streets into the perfect backdrop for a cartoonishly colorful version of hardboiled drama - call it Pulp Art - House of Bamboo keeps its story line about an undercover Army cop (Stack) battling a gangster (Ryan) on the lean and mean side.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    An epic indictment of media manipulation, this avant-doc delivers its coup de grâce once the camera finally demands accountability - leaving the disgraced despot staring into the lens, and the abyss of history staring back into him.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    Remains a primo example that cinema actually traffics in truthiness 24 frames per second.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    Thirty-six years later, this Molotov cocktail of fizzy champagne and feminist theory has not lost any of its combustible carbonation.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    Shindô concocts a stylistic mix of odd experimental flourishes, female nudity, Soviet-style close-ups and baldly sentimental melodrama to emphasize the toll this disaster took; its cup may runneth over, yet the stark vibe is impossible to shake.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    To fall in love with it, viewers only have to be receptive to a movie that examines the ties that bind with grace, wit and depth.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    There are moments when The Raid: Redemption doesn't feel like an action movie so much as pure action itself, delivered in strong, undiluted doses and with the sort of creative one-upmanship capable of rejuvenating a stale, seen-it-all genre.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    Novelistic is a term that gets thrown around a lot these days, but Diaz’s film more than earns the adjective, and you’d have to go back to Edward Yang’s "Yi Yi" to find another movie that approaches a marathon-length running time yet still makes you wish it were twice as long.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    Shoah's ultimate legacy, however, is being the final word on the Final Solution-one that renders every well-intentioned dramatic re-creation of such horrors into repulsive Ausch-kitsch by comparison.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    Blessed with a weeklong run at the end of Film Forum's bliss-inducing Robert Bresson retrospective, the French filmmaker's 1956 tale of steel bars and iron wills boils a true-story prison break down to its bare necessities.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    A paranoid police procedural, a perverse parable about the corrupting elements of power, and a candidate for the greatest predated Patriot Act movie ever, Elio Petri's stunning thriller makes no attempt to hide the culprit behind the film's grisly murder.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    It’s a near-perfect portrait of a domestic tragedy as a master-and-servant psychodrama, one that leaves catastrophic collateral damage in its wake.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    The final KO of a brilliant cinematic one-two punch, Leos Carax’s follow-up to his gobsmacking feature debut, Boy Meets Girl (1984), proved this enfant terrible was no one-hit wonder. Boy still meets girl, in the form of feral Denis Levant and gorgeous Juliette Binoche, but this sophomore outing’s real romantic coupling is an artist swooning head over heels for his medium.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    The attention to visuals is above and beyond what most vérité is capable of; doing double duty as the film's cinematographer, Fan demonstrates a pitch-perfect photojournalistic eye.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 David Fear
    Though McQueen continues to work his themes of suffering and spiritual transcendence, this unflinching, unforgiving drama is not about a slave, but about slavery itself.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Neither Reilly nor Tomei have ever seemed so effortlessly funny, and whoever thought to cast one of Judd Apatow's regulars as a dysfunctional, disturbed manchild should be dubbed a genius.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    These two trash-talkin’ Picassos may or may not end up getting their due, but Leon and his two extraordinary actors (especially Washington) have already put us squarely on the side of the beautiful losers regardless.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Suddenly, everything clicks; this snooty art merchant may love the sound of his own voice, but you're reminded how much Rohmer valued the sound of others' voices above all, and why going out on a whimper occasionally works wonders.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Lyrical touches and the most moving use ever of Katy Perry's "Firework" almost cancel out a cheap-shot third-act tragedy, yet it's the actors that save the film from soaping itself into Euro-miserablist irrelevance.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    The Square offers more than just pictures of a revolution; it lets you into the mind-set of those fighting for their future, and that makes all the difference.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Push any guy long enough with alcohol and aggressive masculinity, the film suggests, and you'll find an XY-chromosomed predator lurking behind the mask.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Tomboy may add little to conversations about gender or sexuality. It has everything to say, however, about that period of childhood when identity is at its most malleable.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    There are no lava-spewing natural phenomena or gut-wrenching slaughterhouse sequences in this unofficial companion piece, but you do witness sex tourists in Bangkok choosing numbered "girlfriends" as if they were picking out lobsters in a tank.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Though it’s divided into three chapters--“Voices,” “Recollections” and “Innocence”--the film takes a largely free-form look at a dying community that’s more reminiscent of Frederick Wiseman’s nonfiction case studies than the usual sociopolitical hand-wringing.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    No one else has come close to translating England's homegrown blend of deadpan and madcap for a younger audience, much less with such impressive Claymated technique. You couldn't ask for better lesson in "Anglo-Absurdism for Beginners."
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    The film occasionally skews a little on the PBS-dry side, but in terms of looking back on a legacy of American skullduggery and high-level shenanigans, its access and acknowledgment of our dark past make for one intimate indictment.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Short Term 12 isn’t without drawbacks, occasionally dipping into a too-neat narrative tidiness and a self-conscious sloppiness. Yet the film’s charms and ability to cut through jadedness despite the subject matter makes it a rarity — a modest indie that’s feels like it’s in it for the long haul.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    This documentary raises enough questions about the ends justifying the means during an era of endless war that it earns the right to be called essential viewing.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Unlike "The Wrestler," which Siegel scripted, Big Fan has a way of making a socially marginal figure seem oddly charismatic without stacking the sympathy deck.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    His look at an Old World continent reeling from the New World values is both thrilling and damning.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    This muted mobster story reminds us that the ties that bind can also gag you, garrote you and slowly deaden your soul.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    And by the time Thornton has deftly flipped the script regarding the titular Biblical parable's misogyny, you'll feel as if Aussie cinema has indeed discovered its next great voice.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    It's a juicy story, though that doesn't excuse Jarecki from fixating above all else on the tabloid-ready twists and pop-psychological turns of Durst's story.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    If you can roll with Almereyda’s free-form vibe, you’ll find the docu-essay’s cumulative effect goes a long way toward proving his thesis
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Names get checked, baby-faced future celebrities like Vincent Gallo and Steve Buscemi make cameos, and various cross-pollinations between below–14th Street mavericks are clarified.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    If Marcello Mastroianni’s character from "La Dolce Vita" hadn’t stepped off the sweet-life treadmill, this is exactly who he would have become.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    It’s both a sly piece of ethnography and a social satire that reads like a cosmic joke…right up until its climax makes the chuckle catch in your throat.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    If any film could convince people that ACID is the patron saint of tomorrow's Godards, it's this one.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    A strong contender for both the artiest drug movie and the druggiest art movie ever made, Gaspar Noé's tour de force of forced perspectives and free-form grief is, in every sense of the word, a trip.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    R
    This unflinching parable brings the hammer down on its cinematic brethren's fetishization of cell-block Rockefellers. R's final shot says it all: The house wins. The house always wins.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    It's a credit to both the actors and Franco-Algerian filmmaker Rachid Bouchareb (Days of Glory) that the film never dives headfirst into mawkishness.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    It's far from a definitive statement-why does ACT UP, a seminal presence in SF, get such short shrift? - but this oral history provides a righteous cri de coeur for those who perished in the precocktail era.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    It may be a stretch to call the filmmaker a forgotten genius, but if nothing else, Le Grand Amour makes a case that Étaix was a fertile clown, overdue for a bow in the spotlight.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    An Austrian actor whose Easter-Island mug has graced movies such as the Oscar-nominated "The Counterfeiters" (2007), Markovics shows a keen attention to performers that you'd expect from a thespian-turned-director.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Its historical import as a peripheral civil-rights document can't be understated.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    A collective sense of psychological turmoil seems to weigh heavily on the entire country as much as Champ, reaching critical mass once chaos creeps into the city-leading to a quiet, climactic walk into darkness that earns the right to be called haunting.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    By boiling a dysfunctional couple down to a worst-hits clip reel, the director created one painful autopsy of an affair, the polar opposite of those frolicking montages so prevalent in American rom-coms. (He's also gave his actors a hell of a valentine; neither Yanne nor Jobert has ever been better.)
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Would be fascinating by virtue of its subject alone. But the filmmaker wisely emphasizes how Harris also represents something bigger; this isn’t just the story of one man but also the dawning of the virtual über alles age and the death of privacy.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Jean Gentil shares a certain searching quality that marked the best of Bresson's films - and for once, the inevitable analogy with his work seems appropriate.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    It’s a trial run that puts many of his peers’ masterpieces to shame.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    The Tillman Story balances cynical and inspirational aspects in equal measure. Pat's demise-and the media debacle around it-seems that much more tragic and enraging.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    A truly impressive portrait of self-destructive, smooth-talking alpha males, and a testament to an actor who waltzes across that Peter Pan–syndrome tightrope with the greatest of sleaze.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    The sisterhood who have made this an art form mostly remain unsung heroes, as it were, of the hit parade. Their collective bow is long overdue.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    In one grease-monkey swoop, Glodell proves that he's a subversive talent worth following. Let a thousand of his future projects bloom.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    The importance of Tiesel’s performance here can’t be overstated, and even during what is easily the most excruciating birthday-party scene involving cock ribbons ever, the actor lends an incredibly profound sense of sorrow to the film’s pitilessness.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    All ye searching for Primal Fear redux, abandon hope. The character-driven drama he (Curran) offers viewers instead is something far more complex, cracked and unique for an American movie boasting big-name stars: an unblinking glare into the abyss.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    The real strength of Cohen’s occasionally didactic drama, though, is in the way the film redirects your focus to the periphery and reminds you of the richness that resides there. It was an achievement Bruegel mastered early on. And it’s what makes Museum Hours its own work of art.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Like Crazy proves it's still possible to make a love story that's both genuinely sweet and bittersweet.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    When violence eventually rears its ugly head again, the effect is as anticlimactic as the movie’s title is misleading. Brief bliss is a red herring; there’s only a lifetime of pain left in such acts’ wakes.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    The movie’s b&w images of craggy landscapes and shirtless young men have never looked more vibrant.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    While the director doesn't hide her sympathies, she leaves remarkably few stones unturned in a dogged search for answers.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    A worthwhile portrait of a genius who made beautiful music, and a case study for how to tragically, epically self-destruct.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    A first-rate piece of forensic filmmaking.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    To make a Western now is in itself a subversive act. Improving, embellishing and reclaiming an old-fashioned oater from the vintage studio-cheese bin with such humor and vigor seems truly, truly ballsy.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    As you watch these actors, you appreciate the endeavor the climbers went through all the more — and as triumph turns to tragedy, you feel the grief winding its way through your shaken nervous systems.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Every so often, you get the gift of watching an under-the-radar actor bloom into a critical-mass phenomenon before your bloodshot eyes: Franka Potente in "Run Lola Run," or Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds." Add Noomi Rapace to the list; what she does with the title character of this Swedish thriller-cum-pop-lit-adaptation will spawn cults of swooning Rapacephiles stat.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Her
    It’s a tale of lonely souls and literalized online dating, and you assume filmmaker Spike Jonze will characteristically mix high-concept absurdism with heartfelt notions. Unexpectedly, the latter dominates, thanks in no small part to Phoenix’s nuanced, open-book performance.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Mostly, you see a prolific artist going out playing—an unsentimental, salt-of-the-earth tribute that keeps the beat in a way that would make this extraordinary journeyman beam.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    This surreal, sentimental journey does provide an excellent encapsulation of everything Ruiz did best: oddball takes on highbrow lit and lowbrow genre conventions, guided tours of characters’ mazelike memory banks, and a reveling in film culture that doubles as a cinephile’s wet dream.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    This is humanistic drama done right.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    It's only a slight exaggeration to say Kold gives what may be the performance of the year - one that not only offsets the movie's momentary dips into self-conscious quirkiness but adds a genuine sweetness to the proceedings. Forget the muscles; he brings the heart and soul.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    They've given their star one rotten peach of a role, and Depardieu makes the most of it. Because of him, such surreal Gallic scuzziness has rarely seemed so sweetly tender.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    An American remake is already being prepped. We suggest Hollywood simply cries uncle now and calls it a day.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    By the end of this funny, insightful doc, you get a sense of an extraordinary mind that both fueled and fed the zeitgeist. Don't miss it.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Gideon Koppel's free-form portrait of a Welsh farming community may be the most subtly poetic piece of cine-anthropology to come down the pike in eons.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Movies about children fending for themselves are predicated on pushing prepubescent despair into viewers' faces, which only makes this Swedish film's graceful mixture of terror and transcendental girl power that much more impressive.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Ping-ponging between grisly South of the Border carnage and Angeleno musician Edgar Quintero’s growing success as one of the subgenre’s stars, you start to see how this parasitic relationship works.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    You think you're in for another coming-of-age movie about getting into someone's pants until you realize Deep End's real goal is getting under your skin.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    It’s to the filmmakers’ credit that we also see how insecurity and proximity to fame both drove him and drove him crazy, resulting in a layered look at a man who was a jack of all trades, but a master of one: being George.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    You could spend a lifetime peeling the glass onion of Shirley Clarke’s merciless documentary, in which a born performer drops incinerating truth bombs while putting the con in confessional moviemaking.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    At its best, this pomo oater gets within chaw-spitting distance of action-flick greatness; at its worst, the movie is simply unadulterated guns-and-guts fun.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Apted once wanted to give us "glimpses into Britain's future," per the archival-footage announcer. With this installment, he's delivered an intimate portrait of settling down and finally making peace with one's well-publicized past.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    The more Shepard & Dark rewinds through their shared history, the more the film blossoms into something far richer than a simple tribute to a long, beautiful friendship—it becomes an ode to a long-lost era of bohemia, an insightful look into male psychology and pathology, a valentine to the art of letter writing and an illustration of how the past is never dead, because it’s not even past.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    The film has its narrative flaws and, occasionally, distracting stylistic flourishes. Harrelson's portrayal of a swinging dick staring down the abyss, however, is perilously close to perfect; it's the finest, most harrowing thing he's ever done.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Both a baroque thriller set in New York's ballet demimonde and a portrait of artistry as schizoid perfectionism, Darren Aronofsky's new film percolates parallel lines of fine madness-but then, doubling down on duality is this movie's raison d'etre.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    A cross-pollinated mixture of Hollywood-blockbuster bombast, Asian cool and '60s Vegas ring-a-ding swing.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Filtering the fallout of Mexico's drug wars through the eyes of one stoic security guard, documentarian Natalia Almada (El General) avoids the head-on journalistic approach and emerges with something far more impressive: a piece of lyrical, sideways social reportage that still connects an astounding number of dots.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    You can easily see why Ichikawa's vision of the 20th-century Japanese-lit landmark is considered definitive; the way he elevates the story's soap-operatic elements to a level of extraordinary sublimity makes the melodramatic seem positively majestic.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Forget the snark about him ransacking Eric Rohmer's bag of tricks; the gentle ironies and droll, bitter wit here prove Hong is the French New Waver's heir apparent.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Her (Binoche) award-winning performance is reason alone to dive into such intellectual gamesmanship. (She can suggest an entire emotional arc with one facial tic.)
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    For 91 minutes, the pleasure of the Guiteauxes’ company is ours. We are ultimately the richer for it.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    By the time you realize how stealthy the film's critique has been, you've already fallen right into its trap.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Though the characters are fictional, Polytechnique hews close to the facts regarding the 1989 incident, down to its misogynistic Marc Lépine avatar (Gaudette) separating "feminist" coeds in a classroom.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    This colorful, cranium-bursting film isn’t about one specific tale so much as the endless ways you can present narratives; it’s nothing less than a kitchen-sink deconstruction on the art of storytelling.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    Parenting relies on stamina as much as compassion, and Donzelli has, against all odds, crafted a genuinely moving ode to both the tenacity of filial love under extreme circumstances and the toll it extracts. Consider this a coup.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Fear
    As a macro- to micro-exploration of guilt—over giving in to sexual deviancy, its use as a psychological crutch or as something that keeps grief from transforming into closure — The Silence speaks volumes.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 David Fear
    These artists are risking everything by playing Western-influenced music; that Ghobadi cheapens and cheeses up their subversion with Hollywood tricks makes for a seriously bitter irony.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 David Fear
    Circo zeroes in on the interpersonal strife within this collapsing clan - an angle that only occasionally lifts the film above confessional exotica.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 David Fear
    When the movie keeps its focus on retribution and Rambo-esque ambushes, however, this slice of Ozploitation doles out grind-house pleasures by the dozens.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 David Fear
    Only Dissolution's divine climax feels truly poetic. Having the stamina to not break down on the journey to that moment is half the battle.

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