For 726 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 51% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

John DeFore's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Before Midnight
Lowest review score: 0 The Trouble with Terkel
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 67 out of 726
726 movie reviews
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 John DeFore
    The work Richard Linklater and company started in 1995's Before Sunrise retains a clarity of spirit undimmed by 18 years.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    As the melee comes to feel like it may never end, the film executes a masterful narrative shift that will produce instant lumps in many viewers' throats.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Grim backwoods tale takes its time building momentum.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    Despite its successful attempts to show how oil has affected everyday citizens in nearby Nigeria, the film remains fairly dry.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Nielsson somewhat frustratingly avoids giving us many cues to the passage of time, but nevertheless the film captures some of the drama generated by the public's impatience and Mugabe's maneuvering during the long drafting process
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Hersonski enriches this evidence by bringing in survivors of the ghetto, who tell stories of life there while watching the film themselves.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    The picture is fresh and frightening, a strong arthouse contender certain to leave audiences talking.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Action takes a backseat to local color in well-acted drama.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Personal footage interacts intriguingly with reportage here, sometimes making it more than the greatest-hits montage it initially seems.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A funny and tender drawn-from-life love story.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    The doc could benefit from more information about what led up to that day.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Despite the obvious sadness at its heart, the doc benefits from an unforced optimism.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    Dreamy, poetry-filled and prone to veering off on tangents, the picture teases viewers with such self-assurance it's difficult to believe the twentysomething director is a first-timer.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    In-depth account of Army deployment in an Afghanistan hotspot shows soldiering at its most rugged.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    When the film moves out of the paranoiac realm and into action, the violence is deeply satisfying, the twists delightful.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    It's an invigorating chance to experience from afar an ordeal that, unless your name is Eliot Spitzer, you and I will never have to endure.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Inherently unpreachy but making its point more effectively than many participants in the debate can, the film should find vocal advocates in a niche theatrical run.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Where some other recent observation-only docs (a format seemingly on the rise among festival entries) have suffered from sluggish pacing or needless obscurity, Light benefits from Yoonha Park's editing, which keeps things moving without suffering from ADHD.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    It's as honest and clear-eyed about the past as its predecessor, another in a filmography of unpredictable gems. It may be most like Dazed in that the public could take a while to appreciate it for what it is.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Suffice it to say that what satisfies on one level raises questions on others, and that certain plot points mightn't play as well without someone as charismatic as Johnson putting them across.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    An elegant meditation on one of the most distinctive bodies of work in contemporary art.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Self-contained enough for theatrical audiences new to the series, it will play best with those who've come to care for these Brits over time.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    As much as Don't Think Twice focuses on professional envy, though, it remains a love letter to this weirdo art form called improv.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    Very much a work of its time, the documentary offers unique perspectives for fans of both the saxophonist and the pioneering filmmaker, but is unlikely to attract a broad audience beyond those camps.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    A genuinely moving look at life in a group foster home that avoids most of the usual routes into viewers' hearts.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A pure-bliss celebration of Paul Simon's landmark album Graceland coupled with an interesting if not unbiased look at the controversy surrounding its release.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Technically puckish where appropriate but grounded by strong performances from Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder, the film is not awards bait but makes some Big Thinker biographies that are look staid.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A crime-flick love story as Pop-conscious as Wright's earlier work but unironic about its romantic core, it will delight the director's fans but requires no film-geek certification.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    A quietly marvelous travelogue condensing months' worth of observation into a single sleepless night, Bill and Turner Ross's Tchoupitoulas follows their widely praised "45365."
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    Rescued from decay after the director's 2011 death and looking radiant in a 2K restoration, this quiet gem is a time capsule whose potential audience may be small, but will be transported.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Though certainly not for everyone (and not for kids of any age), the regret-tinged film displays a distinctive voice and will be embraced by devotees of offbeat animation.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A moving and effective film whose subject may lack the hot-button boxoffice appeal of the director's "An Inconvenient Truth" but is at least a crisis practically everyone agrees actually exists.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 John DeFore
    The Queen of Versailles will prompt loathing not only among the so-called 99 Percent, but among those in the top 1 percent who would like someone more sane to represent them on camera.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Focused much more intently on video journals Gleason made as his illness progressed, the film both documents his rapid physical decline and ponders the many existential issues it raises — especially for a married couple expecting their first child in a few months.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A deeply satisfying pop biopic whose subject's bifurcated creative life lends itself to an unconventional structure.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    [A] minor but enjoyable doc.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Thoughtful and less sensationalistic than its premise might suggest, it's made for arthouses and offers a fine showcase for costar Rutger Hauer.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Things head eventually in an abstract direction that may have played better onstage than it does here ("we must forget what we didn't see here," guests are eventually instructed), but a compelling atmosphere lingers.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Thorny, blood-boiling and finely made.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A highly entertaining documentary revealing a serious talent behind the one-note present-day reputation.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Straight history is not the whole point here, as Nelson enthusiastically conjures a sense of what it felt like to be a Panther and to be a young black person inspired by them.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Rising well above the typical making-of feature, the documentary will fascinate buffs when shown alongside the operas themselves.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Costa's inquiry into that life offers a deeply felt angle on the broader realities of life in Paraguay during the '80s; while the intimate film is unlikely to expand beyond niche theatrical bookings, it will affect many who see it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Metalhead is uninterested in caricature or easy laughs, and its embodiment of guitar-hero obsession is one much more closely resembling someone you knew in high school, albeit someone who's had an exceptionally hard time dealing with childhood trauma.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    The birds are not only gorgeous but, as they poke for food and rustle around, entertaining.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Throughout the film, a talent-rich gang of cinematographers (many doc-makers in their own right, like Approaching the Elephant's Amanda Rose Wilder and Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo's Jessica Oreck) favor that intimacy over the big picture.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Though it doesn't answer every question it raises and may occasionally confuse the uninitiated, the polished film easily stirs indignation.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    One of rock's underheralded pioneers gets his due in Beware of Mr. Baker, an affectionate but unfawning portrait that finds the drummer of Cream still keeping the beat despite hardships both institutional and self-inflicted (heavy on the latter).
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Amanda Knox makes for succinct, involving viewing — a true-crime doc that acknowledges the lingering debates over its subject's guilt while prompting one to ask: Why did anyone ever believe this outrageous stuff in the first place, much less cling to it for years?
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    The result is uniquely powerful, putting faces and human consequences to a political dispute that seemingly will never end.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Catherine Gund's Born to Fly works very well as a portrait of a maverick artistic sensibility, even if it will leave some viewers wanting more in terms of performance footage.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Throughout, the film's subjects convince us they're doing nothing more than being themselves, so much so that a cynical advisor told Sutton he should market his film as a documentary. That label would prepare potential viewers for Pavilion's lack of story, but it would make a lie of the movie's patient, finely drawn loveliness.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Beautifully put together in just about every way, it will be potent stuff on the small screen but deserves its moment in theaters.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    More than most adaptations, this is a film true to Shakespeare's practice of employing all means at hand to keep the crowd entertained.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Overall, though, the project brings enough good into this rough corner of the world that viewers can walk out with honest cause to be hopeful for its inhabitants.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Tracy Droz Tragos works to get beyond us-versus-them simplicity in Abortion: Stories Women Tell, focusing on personal narrative over politics in a humanistic look at an issue that promises to remain divisive for the foreseeable future.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Interspersing technical talk with a quick history of nuclear testing and other near-misses, the doc demonstrates how often situations like this arise.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Honest and well made but lacking a strong hook.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Visually ravishing, thought-provoking and benefitting from just enough playfulness to set it apart from the nature-doc herd, the film is eco-relevant without being at all dominated by climate change, which is only one of many subjects discussed.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    A chilly allegory whose antihero is both compelling and repulsive.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    It may never be quite solid enough for us to be truly worried about its inhabitants' happiness, but watching them pursue that happiness is a uniquely diverting experience.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Though never hard to follow, the discussion can sometimes challenge an unwonky viewer's attention span. But it contains big insights for those who wade in.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    The feel-good documentary is engaging enough to draw a respectable audience at arthouses, but distribs should work for exposure within communities like the ones this school serves.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Some of these trekkers are more resilient than others, but all seem to agree there's a high, maybe insurmountable barrier between them and civilians. However sympathetic we are, they say, we can hardly understand what they've been through. High Ground makes that difficult task a little easier.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A time capsule capturing the flavor of early-'70s bohemian life in Oklahoma and Texas.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    The picture is one part vintage Woody Allen, a few parts Screwball-era comedy of remarriage, and a vigorous shake of Gerwig herself, without whose particular spirit — "so pure," as an admirer puts it here, and "a little stupid" — this scenario might have trouble getting off the ground.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A vital, gripping film.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    The fact that not every terrible thing can be remedied or appropriately punished is a tough lesson even for adults to learn, but A Monster Calls helps find the sense in it.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 John DeFore
    Heartfelt but clumsy.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Sadly believable and benefiting from an unshowy performance by first-timer Gina Piersanti, it will have many viewers eager to see what Hittman does next.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Talking heads aside, the movie gets a big boost from the wealth of news footage and post-standoff reportage the filmmakers cull from archives.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A very funny Kiwi take on vampire lore and its application to the modern world.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Writer-director Richard Ayoade's feature debut is witty and quirky, with a gripping performance by Paddy Considine.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Ever-curious, self-deprecating about occasions in which his fumbling English keeps him from making questions clear, Gondry works with sweet earnestness to understand his subject and convey that understanding to us.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    Less an investigation into or comprehensive summary of the Penn State sex-abuse scandal than a look at the feelings it elicited, Amir Bar-Lev's Happy Valley is more concerned with the phenomenon of team spirit than any single question of fact or moral judgment.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    A convincing and refreshingly indirect examination of handed-down emotional flaws.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Following up on his lauded debut, Welcome to Pine Hill, Miller again blends fiction and reality to fine effect.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    A class-conscious Scandinavian crime film whose impact is dulled by some extraneous subplots, Daniél Espinosa's Easy Money nevertheless makes a solid vehicle for Joel Kinnaman.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Frederic Jardin's gripping Sleepless Night maintains a consistently high pitch without growing monotonous.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    The doc happily devotes most of its time to a stylish, energetic account of Hanna's career to date and the impact it has had on a generation of women.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    As funny as the first go-round, more beautiful to look at, and better conceived.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Notes on Blindness is more than sufficient to prove that sightlessness, however unwelcome, is a richer experience than we may assume.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A trove of great stills and movie footage accompanies the colorful anecdotes, but the film's most consistent pleasure is the way interviewees recall the moments before the tape rolled on an immortal recording.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    A documentary so stuffed with eye-soothing images one prays it can seduce a climate-change skeptic or two.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    Spy
    Laugh-stuffed and making excellent use of its marquee-grade supporting cast, it promises to be a home run in its early summer release.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    Benefitting from likeable, good-natured subjects and the peculiar pastimes with which they fill their cooped-up hours, the doc certainly gets us interested in and rooting for the Angulo boys.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    A deceptively slight film that strikes the right balance between realist family drama and earnestness.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Cutting through many of the easy signifiers found in bad-behavior comedies to get at what it actually feels like to be an intimacy-phobic mess, Trainwreck finds Judd Apatow putting his directing chops in service of Amy Schumer's deeply felt but cracklingly funny screenplay.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    The tale is surprising, and directors Carlos Aguilo and Mandy Jacobson blaze right through it -- recounting ins and outs across an entire continent in ways that will challenge most viewers in the West.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    Matthew Akers' film is a personally revealing look at an artist most famous for maintaining stone-faced silence for three months.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 John DeFore
    A smart-ass charmer, merciless tearjerker and sincere celebration of teenage creativity.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Energetic, laugh-stuffed and very colorful (it would be a feat to make a dull film about these people).
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Buzzing attentively but not exclusively around cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, director Leah Wolchok strikes a pleasing balance between office minutiae and comic greatest hits; she gets enough face time with individual artists to please comedy nerds while keeping things wholly accessible to casual fans.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    A broken-family melodrama with a minimum of histrionics, Scott McGehee's and David Siegel's What Maisie Knew begins from scenes that will be familiar to most viewers who've witnessed a custody battle. Things get pretty orchestrated from that familiar scenario onward, but never to the point of unbelievability.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A thoroughly engaging film about an inimitable New York painter.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    It's a welcome human-scale outing for a director who stumbled upon leaping from 2000's breakout debut Girlfight to the would-be tentpole dud Aeon Flux.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    The ironies of Plimpton's life are handled delicately, made just obvious enough for viewers to mull themselves.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    The doc's structure is a countdown to opening night, but planning goes smoothly enough that little drama accompanies that ticking clock.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    What might have been annoyingly solipsistic proves mostly charming and poignant instead, largely thanks to Nance's cinematic ingenuity, but also because of his ability to both probe his feelings and hold them at a distance.

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