For 619 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Justin Chang's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Tree of Life
Lowest review score: 0 Persecuted
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 56 out of 619
619 movie reviews
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Enthralling...An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity, this is seriously brainy pop entertainment that satisfies every expectation raised by its hit predecessor and then some.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Talky in the best sense, the film exhilarates with its lively, authentic classroom banter while its emotional undercurrents build steadily but almost imperceptibly over a swift 129 minutes. One of the most substantive and purely entertaining movies in competition at Cannes this year.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Eco-activist documentaries don't get much more compelling than The Cove, an impassioned piece of advocacy filmmaking that follows "Flipper" trainer-turned-marine crusader Richard O'Barry in his efforts to end dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Ratatouille is delicious. In this satisfying, souffle-light tale of a plucky French rodent with a passion for cooking, the master chefs at Pixar have blended all the right ingredients -- abundant verbal and visual wit, genius slapstick timing, a soupcon of Gallic sophistication -- to produce a warm and irresistible concoction that's sure to appeal to everyone's inner Julia Child.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    This educational eye-popper should prove an excellent draw for science lovers of all ages.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    If Inception is a metaphysical puzzle, it's also a metaphorical one: It's hard not to draw connections between Cobb's dream-weaving and Nolan's filmmaking -- an activity devoted to constructing a simulacrum of reality, intended to seduce us, mess with our heads and leave a lasting impression. Mission accomplished.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Continues Fincher's fascinating transition from genre filmmaker extraordinaire to indelible chronicler of our times.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Bravura narrative filmmaking on a hugely ambitious scale, Carlos is a spectacular achievement.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Result is pure-grade art cinema destined primarily for the delectation of Malick partisans and adventurous arthouse-goers.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    The director’s long-overdue follow-up to “Children of Men” is at once a nervy experiment in blockbuster minimalism and a film of robust movie-movie thrills, restoring a sense of wonder, terror and possibility to the bigscreen.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    A mesmerizing companion piece to his 2008 debut, "Hunger," this more approachable but equally uncompromising drama likewise fixes its gaze on the uses and abuses of the human body, as Michael Fassbender again strips himself down, in every way an actor can, for McQueen's rigorous but humane interrogation.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Wrenchingly acted, deftly manipulated and terrifyingly well made.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    While no film from the narrow perspective of Israeli intelligence could purport to offer a thorough view of the conflict, what makes The Gatekeepers ultimately so compelling is its pervasive sense of moral ambiguity.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Honoring all that was memorable about its forebears while taking the story to new depths of catharsis, Before Midnight stands as a unique and uniquely satisfying entry in what has shaped up to be an outstanding screen trilogy
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Decidedly not revolutionary cinema, Something in the Air instead quietly demystifies its subject. The tone of the piece is wryly affectionate but never indulgent; the experiences depicted feel emotionally true and lived-in without ever catching the viewer up in a rush of intoxication or excitement.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    It’s a simple, even predictable story, yet textured so exquisitely and acted so forcefully as to feel almost revelatory.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Righteous, captivating and entirely successful as single-issue-focused documentaries go, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film draws on startling video footage and testimonies from former orca trainers, building an authoritative argument on behalf of this majestic species.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    If the screenplay, by Dan Futterman (“Capote”) and E. Max Frye, is relatively spare in terms of dialogue, it’s satisfyingly rich and thorny in its conception of the tightly wound triangle at its center, while Miller’s direction evinces the same sustained intensity and consummate control of his material that defined his first two features.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    A captivating 1930s-set caper whose innumerable surface pleasures might just seduce you into overlooking its sly intelligence and depth of feeling.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Surgically precise, grimly funny and entirely mesmerizing over the course of its swift 149-minute running time, this taut yet expansive psychological thriller represents an exceptional pairing of filmmaker and material.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Grounded by a performance of monumental soul from Gleeson as a tough-minded Irish priest marked for death by one of his parishioners, the film offers a mordantly funny survey of small-town iniquity that morphs, almost imperceptibly, into a deeply felt lament for a fallen world.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Nuri Bilge Ceylan is at the peak of his powers with Winter Sleep, a richly engrossing and ravishingly beautiful magnum opus that surely qualifies as the least boring 196-minute movie ever made.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Sans dialogue or translation, each interaction effectively becomes a puzzle to be solved, and Slaboshpytskiy is brilliant at using ambiguity to heighten rather than dull the viewer’s perceptions. Even when the meaning of a particular exchange eludes us, a greater sense of narrative comprehension begins to take hold.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Though compelling throughout, District 9 never becomes outright terrifying, largely because Blomkamp is less interested in exploiting his aliens for cheap scares than in holding up a mirror to our own bloodthirsty, xenophobic species.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    George A. Romero shows 'em how it's done in Land of the Dead, resurrecting his legendary franchise with top-flight visuals, terrific genre smarts and tantalizing layers of implication.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    An endearingly schizoid Frankenstein of a movie, by turns relentlessly high-spirited and darkly poignant.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The riveting interplay between Dench and Cate Blanchett draws blood with every scene, thanks to a precision-honed script and Eyre's equally incisive direction.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A fastidiously grim ghost story that rattles the bones of the haunted-house genre and finds plenty of fresh (but not too bloody) meat.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A mesmerizing portrait of the director as acclaimed artist and tortured human being.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Amusingly predicated on the romantic possibilities of phone sex, Easier With Practice pushes past its titillating premise to become a quietly provocative love story about emotionally stunted manhood and the risks some guys will take to connect.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Saavedra is riveting as a servant whose unblinking focus on her routine masks a profound loneliness.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Eschewing character arcs and talking heads in favor of a more poetic approach, this lyrical exercise in avant-garde entomology is the work of an intuitive filmmaker with an often hypnotic sense of composition.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Raw but utterly enveloping.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Conventional but rousingly effective picture.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    After undergoing some unfortunate mutations in recent years, a beleaguered Marvel movie property gets the smart, stylish prequel it deserves in X-Men: First Class.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The rare sequel that not only improves on but retroactively justifies its predecessor, this lightning-paced caper-comedy shifts the franchise into high gear with international intrigue, spy-movie spoofery and more automotive puns than you can shake a stickshift at, handling even its broader stretches with sophistication, speed and effortless panache.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Working on a richer and more intricate canvas than she's previously attempted, Kelly Reichardt has pulled off a rare thing with Meek's Cutoff -- a low-budget period Western with a bracing feminist spin.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Animism, apparitions, out-of-body experiences, sex with a catfish -- there's all that and more in Apichatpong Weerasethakul's wonderfully nutty Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    This exquisitely beautiful adaptation of Yann Martel's castaway saga has a sui generis quality that's never less than beguiling, even if its fable-like construction and impeccable artistry come up a bit short in terms of truly gripping, elemental drama.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Filtering the world's oldest paintings through the latest in cinematic technology, Werner Herzog delivers a one-of-a-kind art-history lesson in Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    While The Dark Knight Rises raises the dramatic stakes considerably, at least in terms of its potential body count, it doesn't have its predecessor's breathless sense of menace or its demonic showmanship, and with the exception of one audacious sleight-of-hand twist, the story can at times seem more complicated than intricate.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Never one to shy away from unlikely sources of comedy, David O. Russell tackles mental illness, marital failure and the curative powers of football with bracingly sharp and satisfying results in Silver Linings Playbook.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The writer-director's typically eccentric sixth feature is a sustained immersion in a series of hypnotic moods and longueurs, an imposing picture that thrillingly and sometimes maddeningly refuses to conform to expectations.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A wise and impeccably controlled drama that finds Russian helmer Andrei Zvyagintsev in outstanding form.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    If the characters’ quandaries at times feel overly circumscribed, they’re also advanced with a bracing emotional directness, devoid of either cynicism or sentimentalism, that touches genuine chords of feeling over the course of the film’s fleet 130-minute running time.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A sensationally entertaining old-school freakout and one of the smartest, most viscerally effective thrillers in recent memory.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    It’s a rich, glorious mess, and its underlying craftsmanship is apparent in the characters’ beautifully delineated relationships, each with its own jangly rhythm and distinct feel.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Precision-honed performances and a nonsensationalistic approach distinguish this impressive first feature from French helmer Alexandre Moors, which avoids pat explanations as it offers a speculative glimpse into murderous minds.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Director Alex Gibney delivers not just a detailed, full-access account of his subject, in all his defiance, hubris and tentative self-reckoning, but also a layered inquiry into the culture of competitiveness, celebrity, moral relativism and hypocrisy that helped enable and sustain his deception.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Anchored by a fine and flinty performance from Mia Wasikowska, director John Curran’s gorgeously rendered adventure saga succeeds not only in capturing the harshness and wild beauty of Davidson’s journey, but also in mapping a delicate interior pathway into the heart of this most atypical explorer.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Lensed with a complete absence of frills that perfectly suits its honest, unvarnished tone, The Overnighters presents an indelible snapshot of a despairing moment in American history, as men abandon homes, families and dreams to stake their claim in an ever-shrinking land of opportunity.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    There's plenty of blood -- both literal and figurative -- coursing through the veins of Pan's Labyrinth, a richly imagined and exquisitely violent fantasy from writer-director Guillermo del Toro.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Most compelling in its attempts to re-create the experience of paralysis onscreen, gorgeously lensed pic morphs into a dreamlike collage of memories and fantasies, distancing the viewer somewhat from Bauby's consciousness even as it seeks to take one deeper.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    This eccentric and deliriously inventive fantasy finds stop-motion auteur Henry Selick scaling new heights of ghoulish whimsy, buoyed by a haunting score that works its own macabre magic.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    This is polished yet authentically moving.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Filtering one school year through the eyes of three young instructors and a rookie administrator, this loosely scripted satire mostly steers clear of cheap shots and over-the-top gags, balancing its comic observations with a real measure of affection for teachers and students alike.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Slickly charming, genteelly erotic and directed with supreme polish, Cashback is a conventional romantic comedy that plays unconventional games with time and memory.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The horrific 1937-38 massacre of more than 200,000 Chinese during the early days of the Japanese occupation gets a polished presentation in Nanking.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Though it strikes some predictable coming-of-age notes, this moving, well-wrought adventure should appeal to fans of "E.T." and Carroll Ballard.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The title says it all. Compact and exuberant, U2 3D may be no more than a pint-sized concert film with a lustrous surface, but the lensing is so vibrant and the music so buoyant, even nonfans may find their eyes popping and their heads bobbing.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Emotionally harrowing and gentle by turns, this well-acted winter's tale is a more narrative-driven experience than Green's more lyrical Sundance entries, "George Washington" and "All the Real Girls."
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    This eloquent study of loneliness and postmodern drift likely will be received with more admiration than rapture by the helmer's followers. But Juliette Binoche's turn as a harried single mom and pic's enlivening portrait of domestic rupture make this a highly accessible Hou.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    A strikingly original and provocative first feature from scribe-helmer Carlos Brooks.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Highly informative documentary reps a heady mix of charts, graphs and talking heads... superb packaging and timely subject matter.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The film doesn't pack the same cumulative wallop as the brothers' earlier work, but its low-key artistry, immaculate construction and fine performance by relative newcomer Arta Dobroshi should rouse the usual fest acclaim and arthouse interest.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    More zippy, diverting fun from Robert Rodriguez's family filmmaking factory.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    A moving, elegiac, deeply contemplative work that leaves the viewer not with a save-the-world checklist, but rather a spirit of hopeful reflection.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Results are painfully amusing, frequently random and occasionally laugh-out-loud hilarious.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    A raucous and rigorous inquiry into the subject of African-American hair -- the stigmas, the secrets, the shocking price of maintenance -- that gets at universal but rarely discussed truths about black femininity.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    This sharply scripted study of a bereaved woman who literally wishes her partner back from the grave is an impressive directorial bow by British playwright Anthony Minghella. Despite surface similarities with Ghost pic has a different feel and theme.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Maurice, based on a posthumously published novel by E.M. Forster, is a well-crafted pic on the theme of homosexuality.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    An exquisitely tender tale of two young Euro immigrants trying to find themselves (but not each other) in contempo London, Unmade Beds has a lively, romantic spirit that recalls the playfulness and spontaneity of the French New Wave.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Its modesty is what makes its very real virtues -- a tart, literate script, an adroit balance of humor and pathos, a memorable onscreen collaboration between star-scribe Scott Caan and his father James -- so cumulatively impressive.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    A movie of no small generosity: It offers audiences the pleasures of a screenplay whose every acerbic line is firmly rooted in character, and it hands Michael Douglas one of his best roles in years.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Marked by moments of remarkable stillness amid its emotional tumult, the film's classy, perceptive treatment of potentially maudlin material merits wider arthouse attention than it's likely to receive.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Has Gordon Gekko gone soft? The answer is, sort of -- a development that takes some of the bite out of Oliver Stone's shrewdly opportunistic, glibly entertaining sequel, which offers another surface-skimming peek inside the power corridors of global finance.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The behind-the-camera talent Ben Affleck displayed so bracingly in "Gone Baby Gone" is confirmed, if not significantly advanced, in The Town. Again proving a fine director of actors (this time with himself in a starring role), Affleck delivers another potent, serious-minded slice of pulp set on Boston's meanest streets, where loyalty among thieves runs thicker than blood.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The ever-perceptive writer-director further hones her gifts for ruefully funny observation and understated melancholy with this low-key portrait of a burned-out screen actor.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    An exuberantly crafted chase thriller that pulses with energy from its adrenaline-pumping first minutes to its muted bang of a finish.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Paring down narrative and character concerns in favor of a breathtaking application of pure thriller technique, Soderbergh's latest picture is a lean, efficient exercise tossed off with his customary sangfroid and wickedly dry sense of humor.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Calmer and less shattering than his masterly psychodrama "Secret Sunshine" (2007), Poetry is a deceptively gentle tale with a tender ache at its center, as well as a performance from Yun Jung-hee that lingers long in the memory.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    With its accelerated rhythm, relentless flow of incident and wizard-war endgame, "Part 2" will strike many viewers as a much more exciting, involving picture than the slower, more atmospheric "Part 1."
    • 52 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Part 2 has the bonus of a livelier Stewart performance than fans have been accustomed to. No longer a mopey, lower-lip-biting emo girl, this Bella is twitchy, feral, formidable and fully energized, a goddess even among her exalted bloodsucker brethren.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    As classy a film as could be made from Stieg Larsson's sordid page-turner, David Fincher's much-anticipated return to serial-killer territory is a fastidiously grim pulp entertainment that plays like a first-class train ride through progressively bleaker circles of hell.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    J.C. Chandor's precocious writing-directing debut is fastidious, smart and more than a bit portentous as it probes the human costs of unchecked greed.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Despite a few tonal and structural missteps, this intelligent, perceptive drama proves as intimately and gratifyingly femme-focused as Polley's 2006 debut, "Away From Her."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Even when the story mechanics feel more than a bit secondhand, the exquisite interplay of vibrant pastel hues and almost photorealist textures (smoothly but not crucially enhanced in 3D) makes the film a continual pleasure to behold.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Like a superior, state-of-the-art model built from reconstituted parts, Joss Whedon's buoyant, witty and robustly entertaining superhero smash-up is escapism of a sophisticated order.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    A satirical yet sensitive portrait of life in an evangelical Christian community, Higher Ground marks a startlingly bold directing debut for actress Vera Farmiga.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    A crusty jewel of a performance by Brendan Gleeson goes a long way toward enlivening an otherwise routine tale of murder, blackmail, drug trafficking and rural police corruption in The Guard.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    This accomplished debut feature avoids most of the usual pitfalls, channeling its outrage into a tense, focused piece of storytelling with a powerful sense of empathy.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Few movies so taken with death have felt so rudely alive as ParaNorman, the latest handcrafted marvel from the stop-motion artists at Laika ("Coraline").
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    This deliberately paced psychological drama builds an ever-tightening knot of tension around an excellent Michael Shannon, here playing a family man slowly driven mad by apocalyptic visions that could be paranoid, prophetic or both.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Savages never quite captures the novel's diamond-hard sarcasm, it offers other satisfactions in its visceral immediacy, its overriding sense of danger and a clutch of performances that, whatever one's reservations about the characters, can't help but court the viewer's emotional investment.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Judd Apatow's instincts have rarely been sharper, wiser or more relatable than in This Is 40, an acutely perceptive, emotionally generous laffer about the joys and frustrations of marriage and middle age.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Hope Springs is an altogether pleasant surprise: a mainstream dramedy that frankly and intelligently addresses the challenges facing a couple after 31 years of marriage.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Whereas 2007's well-traveled "Heima" reveled in scenic color imagery of the artists' homeland, this minimalist item strips the band down to its output, fashioning black-and-white performance footage into a uniquely spellbinding experience.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    A defiantly analog rejoinder to last year's tech-savvy baseball drama, "Moneyball," Robert Lorenz's square but sturdy directing debut rests on the wonderfully spiky chemistry between Eastwood and Amy Adams.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Gushing more blood and possessing more stamina than any number of Hollywood hack-'em-ups, writer-director Na Hong-jin's pulse-pounding, mordantly funny genre piece is at times messily convoluted, yet serious and full-bodied enough to achieve a genuinely tragic dimension.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Though its glacial pacing will represent a significant hurdle for many viewers, the film grows steadily more involving as dawn breaks and the men make their way back home, and its unflinching observations of the legal and medical establishment at work frequently rivet. Visually, it's as gorgeous a film as Ceylan has made.

Top Trailers