For 816 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 0.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Justin Chang's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lowest review score: 0 Some Kind Of Beautiful
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 88 out of 816
816 movie reviews
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    There is gargantuan excess here, to be sure — and no shortage of madness — but there is also an astonishing level of discipline.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Result is pure-grade art cinema destined primarily for the delectation of Malick partisans and adventurous arthouse-goers.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    A mesmerizing slow burn of a martial-arts movie that boldly merges stasis and kinesis, turns momentum into abstraction, and achieves breathtaking new heights of compositional elegance: Shot for shot, it’s perhaps the most ravishingly beautiful film Hou has ever made, and certainly one of his most deeply transporting.
    • 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.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Even high expectations don’t quite prepare you for the startling impact of Carol, an exquisitely drawn, deeply felt love story that teases out every shadow and nuance of its characters’ inner lives with supreme intelligence, breathtaking poise and filmmaking craft of the most sophisticated yet accessible order.
    • 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.
    • 88 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Bravura narrative filmmaking on a hugely ambitious scale, Carlos is a spectacular achievement.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 78 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    This educational eye-popper should prove an excellent draw for science lovers of all ages.
    • 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.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Continues Fincher's fascinating transition from genre filmmaker extraordinaire to indelible chronicler of our times.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Wrenchingly acted, deftly manipulated and terrifyingly well made.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    The persistence of grief and the hope of redemption are themes as timeless as dramaturgy itself, but rarely do they summon forth the kind of extraordinary swirl of love, anger, tenderness and brittle humor that is Manchester by the Sea.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Linklater indulges his characters’ antics with such wild, free-flowing affection that you might miss the thoughtful undertow of this delightful movie: Few filmmakers have so fully embraced the bittersweet joy of living in the moment — one that’s all the more glorious because it fades so soon.
    • 81 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    An endearingly schizoid Frankenstein of a movie, by turns relentlessly high-spirited and darkly poignant.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    [Stillman] takes the inherent sophistication of Austen’s worldview and introduces just the right note of sly, self-deflating mockery.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The strength of The Witness lies in its recognition that the truth is often not just elusive but unattainable.
    • 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.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A carefully constructed and beautifully acted tale of two very different sisters brought together when their aging father falls seriously ill.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Gibney’s film cuts across subjects and genres with its own fluid, quicksilver intelligence.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    While Cemetery of Splendor is unabashedly a work of slow cinema, the oft-hurled pejorative of “difficult” seems a particularly poor fit for a film whose unforced lyricism could scarcely be more graceful or inviting.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Writer-director Sean Baker’s sun-scorched, street-level snapshot is a work of rueful, matter-of-fact insight and unapologetically wild humor that draws a motley collection of funny, sad and desperate individuals into its protagonists’ orbit.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Desplechin perfectly times the moment when drollery ends and anguish begins, and it’s that sense of vulnerability that lends the film an unexpected emotional force as it moves toward its return-home epilogue.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Saavedra is riveting as a servant whose unblinking focus on her routine masks a profound loneliness.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Shults’s approach craftily favors observation over exposition, and he proves as attentive to Krisha’s surroundings as he is to her inner life.
    • 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
    Writer-director Robert Eggers’ impressive debut feature walks a tricky line between disquieting ambiguity and full-bore supernatural horror, but leaves no doubt about the dangerously oppressive hold that Christianity exerted on some dark corners of the Puritan psyche.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A wise and impeccably controlled drama that finds Russian helmer Andrei Zvyagintsev in outstanding form.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The tension is rooted in psychology rather than gimmickry, and evinces a command of craft that feels old-fashioned in the most refreshing possible sense.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The result is as grim and unyielding a depiction of the Holocaust as has yet been made on that cinematically overworked subject — a masterful exercise in narrative deprivation and sensory overload that recasts familiar horrors in daringly existential terms.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    No filmmaker better understands the revelatory properties of small talk and soju, and few could make the art of repetition seem so rife with possibilities.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    From first frame to last, the filmmaking exudes intelligence and control, with none of the chilly emotional distance those qualities can imply. Form and content are in near-perfect balance.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A sensationally entertaining old-school freakout and one of the smartest, most viscerally effective thrillers in recent memory.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    What’s remarkable about Scott’s genuinely imposing Old Testament psychodrama is the degree to which he succeeds in conjuring a mighty and momentous spectacle — one that, for sheer astonishment, rivals any of the lavish visions of ancient times the director has given us — while turning his own skepticism into a potent source of moral and dramatic conflict.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    This latest film from Roger Ross Williams (“God Loves Uganda”) teems with insights into how children’s fantasy can and can’t bridge a developmental gap, but works on an even more basic, emotional level as a warm testament to a family’s love and resilience.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Conventional but rousingly effective picture.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    This delectable entertainment is as surprising for its continually evolving (and involving) dynamics of desire as for its slow-building emotional power.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    At once questioning and reaffirming the pleasures of cinematic espionage, this is the rare sequel that leaves its franchise feeling not exhausted but surprisingly resurgent at 19 years and counting.
    • 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.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Like so many films consumed with the minutiae of daily journalism, Spotlight is a magnificently nerdy process movie — a tour de force of filing-cabinet cinema, made with absolute assurance that we’ll be held by scene after scene of people talking, taking notes, following tips, hounding sources, poring over records, filling out spreadsheets, and having one door after another slammed in their faces.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    For all the mysteries it chooses to leave off screen and on dry land, Chevalier speaks for itself: Scene by scene, it builds a vision of group dynamics as calm, violent and finally unyielding as the sea.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A mesmerizing portrait of the director as acclaimed artist and tortured human being.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Writer Aaron Sorkin, director Danny Boyle and star Michael Fassbender have given their subject the brilliant, maddening, ingeniously designed and monstrously self-aggrandizing movie he deserves.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Spy
    An uproarious blast of globe-trotting action-comedy delirium that doesn’t spoof the espionage-thriller genre so much as drop a series of banana peels in its path.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Showing an unobtrusive mastery of camera movement, Bi lends concrete form and rich dramatic life to the Buddhist notion that past, present and future are all equally untenable.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    This boardroom tuner charmingly mines humor, romance and no shortage of eccentric lyrics from the world of spreadsheets and stock portfolios, but its real achievement is a formal and conceptual one, conjuring a tongue-in-cheek vision of modern capitalism in splendidly Brechtian terms (and in widescreen 3D, to boot).
    • 89 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Berg’s interviews with past members of the polygamy-practicing Mormon denomination make for damning testimony, but the lasting power of “Prey” is its grim insight into the mentality of the deceived, and its despairing recognition that spiritual and psychological bondage doesn’t end simply by putting a monster behind bars.
    • 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
    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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Richard Gere goes slumming in the streets of Manhattan and emerges with one of his more remarkable performances in Time Out of Mind, a haunting piece of urban poetry that further confirms Oren Moverman as a socially conscious filmmaker of rare conviction and authority.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Raw but utterly enveloping.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    It’s Cranston’s most accomplished and subtly layered film performance to date.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The movie largely benefits from Abu-Assad’s natural talent for building suspense and rhythm; if the story’s elisions and fabrications occasionally feel too tidy, it more than earns its emotional impact on the strength of its excellent young cast.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Emotionally, dramatically and perhaps most of all visually (it’s worth seeing in 3D), this delightful trilogy capper is almost as generously proportioned as its cuddly warrior hero, restoring a winning lightness of touch to the saga while bringing its long-running themes of perseverance and self-knowledge to satisfying fruition.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    For all the impressive authenticity of the various settings, it’s Gerry and Curtis’ continually evolving push-pull dynamic that deservedly takes centerstage here, in a picture driven far less by narrative incident than by its gently pulsing comic undercurrents and vivid contemplation of character.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    An intelligent, solidly argued and almost too-polished takedown of America’s spin factory — that network of professional fabricators, obfuscators and pseudo-scientists who have lately attempted to muddle the scientific debate around global warming — this is a movie so intrigued by its designated villains that it almost conveys a perverse form of admiration, and the fascination proves contagious.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Corbijn succeeds here in large part because his attention to nuance and detail so fully complements that of the German operatives at the story’s core.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    This well-acted, beautifully modulated exercise represents director Karyn Kusama’s strongest work in years, revealing an assurance of tone, craft and purpose that haven’t been in evidence since her Sundance prize-winning debut, “Girlfight.”
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    This is a warmer, less foreboding picture than "Primer," not moving in any conventional sense, but suffused with emotion all the same.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    What’s onscreen is less a cerebral experience than a stirring and bittersweet love story, inflected with tasteful good humor, that can’t help but recall earlier disability dramas like “My Left Foot” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    This coming-of-age dramedy explores how the challenges of being young, black and misunderstood can be compounded in a foreign environment, but goes about it in a grounded, character-driven way that never smacks of manipulation or special pleading.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Anchored by five strong performances, including a piercing turn by Onata Aprile in the 6-year-old title role, this beautifully observed drama essentially strikes the same sad note for 98 minutes, though with enough sensitivity and emotional variation to make the experience cumulatively heartrending rather than merely aggravating.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Shadow Dancer is admittedly slow to gather force and momentum over its 101-minute running time, though by the third act, the deliberately paced drama has exerted a hypnotic grip.

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