For 367 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 54% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 42% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

John DeFore's Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Before Midnight
Lowest review score: 10 No One Lives
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 28 out of 367
367 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    The doc could benefit from more information about what led up to that day.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    In-depth account of Army deployment in an Afghanistan hotspot shows soldiering at its most rugged.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A truly moving meditation on identity, family and (as the title of his previous short immodestly put it) the meaning of life, Hertzfeldt's magnum opus is more cosmically satisfying than "The Tree of Life."
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    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
    • 80 John DeFore
    The birds are not only gorgeous but, as they poke for food and rustle around, entertaining.
    • 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
    • 90 John DeFore
    As funny as the first go-round, more beautiful to look at, and better conceived.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Honest and well made but lacking a strong hook.
    • 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 vital, gripping film.
    • 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
    A chilly allegory whose antihero is both compelling and repulsive.
    • 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
    • 80 John DeFore
    Sometimes tender, sometimes frantic and always funny, the film's surprising coherence is exemplified in a climactic scene that pairs credible heartbreak with pure slapstick.
    • 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
    • 70 John DeFore
    A deceptively slight film that strikes the right balance between realist family drama and earnestness.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    The ironies of Plimpton's life are handled delicately, made just obvious enough for viewers to mull themselves.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 John DeFore
    Crude production values are a stumbling block for bare-bones tale.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 John DeFore
    Unfocused, overly long documentary raises provocative questions.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    A mismatched-friends drama whose overall sensitivity is belied by a couple of clumsily contrived plot points, Sean Baker's Starlet pairs story and setting perfectly.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Nothing about the plot is novel, but the film easily maintains a low simmer that picks up in the final act, as Miller has to fight to keep his sinking ship staffed.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Horror and cold humor commingle in Dogtooth, a Greek import whose screenwriters approach scenario construction like misanthropic social scientists planning an experiment -- one whose result suggests that governments might want to rethink policies allowing parents to home-school their children.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Though the film sets out only to chronicle the group's life, not the history of the disease, some viewers will wish for a parting message making sense of where things stand today, with the disease mostly vanished from headlines but still destroying lives around the world.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A delightful romp whose varied pleasures should please kids all along the age spectrum.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Less a rock-doc than a surprisingly affecting look at sibling dynamics in a creative family where one brother is vastly more successful than the other.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A mournful testament to a vibrant piece of global film history almost entirely wiped out of existence.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A disability-centric documentary that moves viewers without resorting to trite devices, Seung-Jun Yi's Planet of Snail takes a condition most of us would find unbearable and demystifies it while finding room for poetry.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Damning documentary pairs an individual sex-abuse case with analysis of institutional dysfunction at the Vatican.
    • 73 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 John DeFore
    Though not novel enough to attract non-devotees of America's Pastime, the film should please fans on the small screen.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Its account of the week beginning January 25 feels like a solid, layman-friendly addition to the West's understanding of this chunk of history.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    Twisty enough to please many arthouse patrons, though some will be rolling their eyes by the end.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Aubrey Plaza proves she can carry a film with this multiplex-friendly comedy about time travel.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Steph Green's first feature has more going for it than a solid dramatic turn by Will Forte.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Following up "Humpday" with another low-rent charmer, Lynn Shelton moves from two- to three-character dynamics.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    All but a must-see for anyone who knows enough to care about the way laws govern information transfer in the digital age, Brian Knappenberger's The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz is an inspiring account of the life of, and an infuriating chronology of the persecution of, one of the Internet's most impressive prodigies.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    Young actor Sitthiphon Disamoe helps keep the tale of a can-do kid from becoming too cute.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    The earnest doc offers enough spirit-lifting moments to prove its thesis and leave viewers inspired.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    Meditative, glossy doc provides some glimpses behind the curtain but isn't terribly enlightening.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    It's laugh-packed, self-aware in a manner that lets everyone in on the joke, and goofily satisfying in the action department.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Fans will love its intimate mood and class-act portrayal of its subject; Dion Beebe's cinematography boasts the expected polish, but the film will likely be most popular on small screens.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    An enjoyably naughty trip through Divine's career that happily makes time to introduce us to Glenn Milstead, the sweet kid and fledgling hairdresser who transformed himself so daringly.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Capturing the spirit of an artist and the quickly-fading moment in media history when his work could have real nationwide impact, Michael Stevens' Herblock: The Black & The White pays homage to the great editorial cartoonist with testimonials from a who's-who of D.C. journalists and opinion-makers.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Becker is now completely paralyzed, unable even to speak. But Vile keeps him almost entirely offscreen until the last thirty minutes, preferring to introduce him as he once was: Uncommonly positive and single-minded in his obsession with the electric guitar.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Portrait of Wally may be too narrowly focused for some viewers, but offers an engaging narrative and high-profile subject that should attract audiences at fests and in specialized theatrical bookings.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Convincingly argued and extremely polished, it has theatrical potential for auds whose reservoir of worry about humanity's future hasn't already run dry.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Jaume Balabueró's effective thriller Sleep Tight puts more value on slow-building bad vibes than on pulled-curtain shock, but its treatment of mental illness and voyeurism, lightly salted with pitch-black humor, will feel pleasingly familiar to fans of the older film.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 John DeFore
    The force of Darby's personality -- a rich stew of righteousness, arrogance and self-delusion -- gives the doc a psychological appeal independent of politics.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    A film whose fascination with bees and their mammoth impact on the global food chain extends far beyond the subject of colony collapse disorder. Arthouse audiences will eat it up.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 John DeFore
    Kids with healthy attention spans may warm to its (literally) colorful characters and outside-the-frame action, but most will find it as lifeless as their parents do.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 John DeFore
    While a composited scene, in which has-been Lenny lectures his younger self about work ethic and wisdom, has an undeniable poignancy, actual tragedy remains far beyond the film's grasp -- as does any illumination beyond the unsurprising suggestion that Cooke just didn't want success as much as peers like LeBron James.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    Daniel Schechter's Life of Crime starts promisingly and ends with a smile but underwhelms in between.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    The movie doesn't really focus on many individuals long enough to make them compelling screen characters.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Carbone's script doesn't tell a story so much as watch the fluctuations in emotional energy here, quietly observing activities both directly and indirectly related to the loss. As a director he's patient but never sluggish, taking time to appreciate the still landscapes his characters move through.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Though it mostly summarizes available arguments instead of uncovering new facts, it's an accessible primer.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    In the last 15 minutes of the film, he burns up some of the credibility he established by not pushing extreme situations too far earlier on.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    Batmanglij balances emotional tension with practical danger nicely, a must in a story whose activist protagonists can make no distinction between the personal and the political.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 John DeFore
    A thrill-stuffed sports doc whose daredevil subject will quickly endear himself even to viewers who've never heard his name.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    If certain pieces of the last act are less convincing than what precedes it, the themes underlying the illicit emigration resonate with the viewer's knowledge that, in the real world, two of these Cubans actually did escape.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Warm-hearted and entertaining, if more sad than its quirky premise suggests.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 John DeFore
    Despite the familiarity of this setup, Way Back is a charmer, putting refreshingly little emphasis on Duncan's romantic needs and allowing family melodrama to erupt and simmer down without pat resolution.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 John DeFore
    The easygoing comedy keeps a familiar story going despite minor plot hiccups.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 John DeFore
    More impressionistic than enlightening, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's Detropia introduces us to some interesting citizens of Detroit and gives them a welcome opportunity to speak for themselves, but reveals little we don't already know.