For 696 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Justin Chang's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The Assassin
Lowest review score: 0 Persecuted
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 72 out of 696
696 movie reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Will Reiser's semiautobiographical script initially prescribes too artificial a story treatment for its characters but is rescued by a genial, low-key vibe that builds in sensitivity and emotion up through the final reels.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Individual moments are not without their felicitous touches -- mainly due to the cast, which is rich to the point of improbability.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Delamarre knows his way around an action scene and keeps the proceedings moving briskly enough, even if the picture clocks in at about 10 minutes longer than its taut, 81-minute predecessor.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    For all its visual sweep and propulsively violent action, this bloodthirsty rendition of the Old English epic can't overcome the disadvantage of being enacted by digital waxworks rather than flesh-and-blood Danes and demons.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    This beautifully composed picture brings a robust physicality to tried-and-true source material, but falls short of the sustained narrative involvement and emotional drive its resolutely old-fashioned storytelling demands.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    It’s an affectionate, sometimes downright slobbery career salute with a soft, unexamined center — a moving experience for all involved, no doubt, but one of limited interest outside the celebrity bubble it depicts.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Its fun first hour soon gives way to a leaden, expository approach that unwisely favors emotional stakes over speculative-fiction smarts.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A moderately clever dystopian mindbender with a gratifying human pulse, despite some questionable narrative developments along the way.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A pair of beautifully mismatched lead performances elevate a predictable drama to unexpected resonance in The Favor.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    As it winds its way toward an unexpectedly grisly final showdown, The Other Woman often feels stranded between gross-out comedy, romantic fantasy and distaff psychodrama in a way that compels fascination and impatience alike.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Joe
    A patiently observed, often unsettlingly violent drama that can’t help but feel overly familiar in some of its particulars, rich in rural texture but low on narrative momentum or surprise.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    This rambunctious paean to pot retains the trademark Apatow sweetness even as it careens from messy vulgarisms to even messier violence.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Writer-director Nick Cassavetes' sprawling dramatization recklessly blurs the line between reconstruction and reality in ways that are admittedly interesting, if more than a little artistically suspect.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The crisply made feature delivers an involving if not always persuasive portrait of religious leaders in conflict.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Revealing without being especially compelling, In Between Days offers a bleak, rigorously naturalistic portrait of an Asian-American teenager's physical and emotional dislocation.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Glossy, well cast, and a consistent hoot until it becomes a serious drag, this neo-“9½ Weeks” is above all a slick exercise in carefully brand-managed titillation — edgier than most grown-up studio fare, but otherwise a fairly mild provocation in this porn-saturated day and age.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Snakes on a Plane is exactly the sort of tasteless, utterly depraved, no-nonsense sluts-and-guts extravaganza it was meant to be.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Those willing to engage may be pleasantly surprised by some of its understated virtues.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A serviceable picture that offers all the sumptuous visual pleasures of a historical costume drama, yet little in the way of actual history.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    ATL
    Higher on stylistic dazzle than originality or coherence.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A likable enough lark that rarely achieves outright hilarity.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Thoroughly -- and sometimes justifiably -- infatuated with its own cleverness, this mistaken-identity thriller delights in narrative complication and Tarantino-esque self-awareness.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    While the film is drenched in atmosphere and packs a verbal and visceral punch, its relentless downward spiral makes for an overdetermined, not entirely satisfying character study.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A passable, tolerable, not unbearable, totally inoffensive adaptation of Judith Viorst’s beloved 1972 children’s book.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Graced with some extra star wattage courtesy of Helen Mirren and Ed Harris, this diminishing-returns sequel sends Nicolas Cage on another quest to strike it rich, get young auds excited about history and solve puzzles that are generally less stimulating than yesterday's Sudoku.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    It plays less like a meaty mystery than an extended thank-you to the fans who breathed it into existence. Still, it’s smooth and engaging enough on its own compromised terms, clearly informed by Thomas’ genre-savvy storytelling and unpretentious craftsmanship, and not without a certain self-deprecating sense of humor about its own immodest origins.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Resolutely sappy and sometimes amateurish, the briskly paced doc remains heartfelt and direct about the same admirable mission Wampler had in making the climb.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Silly, screechy and eminently watchable.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Foster’s pistol-packing turn as an avenging dark angel nearly sustains director Neil Jordan’s grim vigilante drama through a string of implausibilities and occasionally trite psychological framing devices, with deft support from Terrence Howard as a sympathetic cop.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Context and psychological insight are the major casualties of Day Night Day Night, a dramatically limited but strangely powerful portrait of a young would-be terrorist.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A sensitively directed slab of romantic hokum that wrings an impressive amount of emotional conviction from a thoroughly ludicrous premise.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A watchable enough picture that feels content to realize someone else's vision rather than claim it as its own. Any real sense of risk has been carefully ironed out: The PG-13 rating that ensures the film's suitability for its target audience also blunts the impact of the teen-on-teen bloodshed.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Jason Matzner's woozily romantic, gorgeously lensed directorial debut about a trailer park love triangle seems to unspool in a dream of its own, and despite some sketchy story elements, much of it is pretty intoxicating -- that is, until the unambiguous life lessons bring pic down to earth with an earnest splat.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Working from a tightly compressed screenplay by David Nicholls, director Mike Newell strikes the beats of a deservedly oft-told tale with dour competence but little in the way of dramatic inspiration or visual flair.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    As it is, No Strings Attached is content to be sweet rather than edgy, to make you go "awww" instead of "hmmm."
    • 36 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Revisiting the book of Exodus in a feverish Southern-gothic context, this lurid, often ludicrously entertaining slab of Biblesploitation builds an earnest case for spirituality in a skeptical age.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    This vulgar romp is a generally harmless, heartwarming affair, a cinematic Christmas cookie almost sweet and flaky enough to cover the fact that it's laced with hash, cocaine and assorted bodily fluids, blood included.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    This vapid street-dance soap opera boasts the series' flashiest moves and klutziest script yet, like a brilliant acrobat with a speech impediment; it's also one of the few 3D releases since "Avatar" to make compelling use of the format.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Frenetic actioner about refugees from a genetic cloning plant starts off intriguingly, burns up its ideas in the first hour and pads out the rest with joltingly repetitive action sequences.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The film conveys key information and makes important distinctions not generally known, and its effectiveness probably depends on the viewer’s tolerance for poorly executed kitsch and manic physical intrusions by the filmmaker.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    [A] thin but engaging portrait.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    If they never fully sell the situation, the actors nonetheless deliver strong, emotionally accessible work.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Tackles a nifty futuristic premise with bargain-basement efficiency and a deadpan, devil-may-care attitude. It's an initially invigorating tactic that proves slapdash and unsatisfying over the long haul, reducing a potentially rich sci-fier to the level of a halfway decent time-killer
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The problem is not that this film is upsetting (it should be), but that it ultimately seems more interested, and skilled, at dispensing regular shocks than fresh insights.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Unfolding largely within the confines of a single apartment complex, the well-structured scenario is arresting but ill-served by an overly fussy visual treatment from helmer Jeff Renfroe, while Peter Krause's increasingly psychotic performance as an amateur snoop frequently threatens to cross the line between forceful and off-putting.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    As diverting as this action-packed caper often is, it feels not just weightless but emotionally and morally stunted whenever it veers into grown-up dramatic territory.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A luridly entertaining thriller that plays like “Fatal Attraction” for extreme religiophobes, or perhaps a very gory episode of “The Brigham Young and the Restless.”
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    There's no doubt Johnny Mad Dog means to leave the viewer with a visceral impression of its terrors, on that it largely succeeds. Whether that accomplishment deserves praise is more of an open question.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    This solid if disposable genre exercise maintains a hard-driving line of action and a commitment to one-damned-thing-after-another storytelling that carries it past any number of narrative speedbumps and preposterous detours.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    On a moment-by-moment basis, Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess make this long-arc love story viable, sometimes even vital. But the structural conceit proves more reductive than expansive, the big picture too overdetermined to really sweep the viewer away.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    This elaborate exercise in visual Baum-bast nonetheless gets some mileage out of its game performances, luscious production design and the unfettered enthusiasm director Sam Raimi brings to a thin, simplistic origin story.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A low-budget horror-thriller that’s resourceful enough to wring a few fresh chills from a slender premise and a less-than-novel formal conceit.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Computer Chess is ultimately too slack and scattershot to work consistently well as a comedy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Funny and sad isn’t the easiest combination to pull off, and while both descriptors fit The D Train well enough, this dark comedy might just as well be described as edgy and soft, audacious and coy, a largely enjoyable letdown.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    An oddball male weepie whose curious mixture of sweetness and sadism is well anchored by two solid, character-rich lead performances.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    At a time when tortured superheroes like Spider-Man, Superman and Batman would benefit from some serious psychotherapy, it's almost refreshing to see a comicbook caper as blithe, weightless and cheerfully dumb as Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Evocatively lensed, skillfully made and duly attentive to the mercurial qualities of its daunting source material, Walter Salles' picture pulses with youthful energy but feels overly calculated in its bid for spontaneity, attesting to the difficulty and perhaps futility of trying to reproduce Kerouac's literary lightning onscreen.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Schlocky yet resourceful.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    An attempt to infuse an earnest piece of comicbook lore with an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek sensibility yields decidedly mixed results in Green Lantern.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The crazed intensity of Franco’s filmmaking, while duly evocative of Haze’s primitive state, is ultimately too hectic and unmodulated for anything to burrow deep and stay there.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A rare studio entertainment featuring a largely Latino ensemble, yet necessarily fronted by a big-name draw like Costner, McFarland, USA feels at once mildly progressive and unavoidably retrograde.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    While Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, et al. are still good for a few chuckles as a gang of superannuated government assassins, this globe-trotting action-comedy diversion applies a bigger-is-better philosophy across the board, upping the stakes, the firepower and the travel budget, but keeping real thrills and laughs at a modest trickle.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Bristling with arguments about the complexities of black identity in a supposedly post-racial America, this lively and articulate campus-set comedy proves better at rattling off ideas and presenting opposing viewpoints than it does squeezing them into a coherent narrative frame.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Won't do anything for adult auds, but this second bigscreen adventure from the popular VeggieTales franchise should easily win over tots with its reliable menu of silly songs, easily digestible morals and wholesome (if not always fresh) produce-based characters.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Though it renders a convincing portrait of fractured family life and boasts its share of powerfully acted moments, this schematic tale of two siblings, ripped apart by jealousy, misunderstanding and unshakable trauma, plays like a more polished but less effective twin to the 2005 Danish original.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Director Kimberly Peirce’s intermittently effective third feature eschews De Palma’s diabolical wit and voluptuous style in favor of a somber, straight-faced retelling, steeped in a now-familiar horror-movie idiom of sharp objects, shuddering sound effects and dark rivulets of blood.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    If you can stomach the violence -- and despite the R rating, that's a big if -- it's hard to deny that Zombie has made exactly the movie he set out to make, guaranteed to satiate his considerable fan base and sicken just about everyone else.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Videogamers who've been itching for "Grand Theft Auto: The Movie" can tide themselves over in the meantime with Crank, a down-and-dirty actioner that follows a rugged antihero trying to outrun death by keeping his adrenaline flowing.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    There’s a certain pleasure to be had in seeing a revered auteur go off the disreputable deep end, and there’s no denying A Touch of Sin packs a visceral wallop.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Over the course of its generally absorbing if overlong 117-minute running time, it offers a brief and appreciably sympathetic take on the lure of fantasy, the pleasures of role play and the thrill of commanding the multitudes — which is to say that it’s, among other things, a film about filmmaking.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Safe Haven offers an unsurprising but not unsatisfying tour through recognizable Sparkville terrain.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    It's really not all that bad. Ultra-derivative bigscreen transplant of one of the most successful (and controversial) games ever made plays like a mutant cross between a biotech thriller and a zombie movie, with all the alien autopsies, blood-gushing protuberances and meaningless scientific jargon that come with the territory.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The Japanese action aesthete plays it cool and smooth in a picture that exerts a steadily tightening grip, though not until after a first hour of near-impenetrable gangster gab that may leave the uninitiated feeling stranded.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Bloated but energetic, entertaining but interminable, tortured but strangely satisfying, Fists of Legend spends two-and-a-half hours unraveling the knotty saga of three middle-aged fighters, their shared dark past and their rocky road to redemption.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A well-crooned country tune can invest even the hoariest cliches with honest feeling, and in much the same fashion, The Song takes a familiar tale of love, marriage, betrayal and redemption, and delivers a largely satisfying rendition.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The Judge pivots on a simple yet inspired stroke of casting, pitting Duvall’s iconic gravitas against Downey’s razor-sharp wit, and then supplying no shortage of opportunities for both men to chew the scenery.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Undeniably impressive as a visual-psychological construct, The Double is ultimately a rigid, one-joke movie that feels hard pressed to sustain any sort of momentum over the course of its 92-minute running time.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    By the end, thanks to Leon de Aranoa’s steady direction and the actors’ slow-building character work, “A Perfect Day” manages to coalesce into a reasonably tough-minded, compassionate vision of the difficulties and rewards of trying to do the right thing in an intractable situation, though the film has to overcome more than a few flat, indolent stretches to get there.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Maddin's singular humor and fabulous black-and-white mise-en-scene can't sustain this fever dream beyond its initial fascination, making for an intriguing transitional work unlikely to broaden his audience.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A pleasant if fairly pedestrian viewing experience, one that more or less gets the job done in terms of balancing the requisite ooh-ahh moments with another unsurprising reminder of man’s capacity for selfishness and destruction.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    This hyperactive toon extravaganza has color, flair and energy to burn. But it’s the sort of relentless juggling act that finally proves more exhausting than exhilarating.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Observing the situation at an icy remove, Beyond the Hills never builds the palpable menace and pressure-cooker anxiety of "4 Months," and its dramatic progression feels obvious, even predictable, by comparison.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    True torture-porn aficionados will be disappointed, as editor Tariq Anwar cuts away right before blade meets flesh -- a move that feels a tad, well, gutless under the circumstances. But elsewhere, "Citizen" proves startlingly graphic, even by R-rated standards.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A middling third-wheel comedy elevated a couple of notches by the ineffably weird charms of Owen Wilson.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Lemmons advances this story with straight-faced conviction, orchestrating narrative and spectacle with a grandiosity that proves easier to admire from a distance than it is to engage with onscreen.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Much as he did with Ruth Rendell's "Live Flesh," Almodovar has taken an ice-cold psychological thriller, penned by a novelist of far less humanistic temperament, and performed some stylistic surgery of his own, adding broad comic relief, overripe melodrama, outrageous asides and zesty girl-power uplift.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Surfing the crowd in Altman-lite style, pic skims the surface entertainingly but goes limp in its stabs at seriousness, especially in the final scenes, which all but drown in emotional confrontations and hasty happy endings.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Though its absurdist inventions occasionally border on twee, this affectionate slow-blooming romance mines an understated vein of comic melancholy that the actors' wistful performances perfectly capture.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Waist Deep packs considerable energy and style into its tale of an ex-con forced back into a life of crime to rescue his kidnapped son. Yet the kinetic direction and occasional sly humor can't disguise the tale's banal brutality or pump much excitement into its routinized pileup of shoot-outs and car chases.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    An uneven but enjoyable trio of films that take affectionate (and sometimes literal) aim at the Japanese capital.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    The real battle in Roman Polanski's brisk, fitfully amusing adaptation of Yasmina Reza's popular play is a more formal clash between stage minimalism and screen naturalism, as this acid-drenched four-hander never shakes off a mannered, hermetic feel that consistently betrays its theatrical origins.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    By manipulating their story to advance the cynical notion that you really can't trust anyone, the filmmakers inadvertently beg the question why their own motives should be so above suspicion.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    An audacious premise gets dangerously unstable execution in Four Lions, a ballsy but wobbly high-concept farce that sends up the bumbling schemes of a Blighty-based jihadist cell.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    A self-serious eco-thriller assembled with a competent but heavy hand, A Dark Truth decries corporate corruption and Third World oppression in an all-too-obvious manner.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    A fabulously designed underground metropolis proves more involving than the teenagers running through its streets in City of Ember, a good-looking but no more than serviceable adaptation of Jeanne Duprau's 2003 novel.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Overblown saga of shape-shifting demons, butt-kicking clerics and the perils of interspecies romance occasionally dazzles but finally frazzles with its relentless visual assault, embedding Jet Li and his capable castmates in one screensaver-ready fantasy backdrop after another.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    This intermittently effective thriller serves as a rickety vehicle for its two perfectly cast leads, working better as a slow-thawing two-hander than as a chilly ghost story.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Made with obvious passion and drive, but also a nagging predilection for Holocaust-drama cliches.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Unsubtle, uneven and undeniably effective, this take-no-prisoners cancer weepie poses a fascinating moral quandary.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    The undeniable intensity of Gyllenhaal’s bulked-up, Method-mumbling performance may leave you feeling more pummeled than convinced in this heavy-handed tale of redemption, in which director Antoine Fuqua once more demonstrates his fascination with codes of masculine aggression, extreme violence and not much else.

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