For 982 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 42% 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: 63
Highest review score: 100 Inception
Lowest review score: 0 Persecuted
Score distribution:
982 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Without sacrificing his taste for psychosexual perversity or his flair for violent grace notes, Park has given us a teasingly witty and elegant puzzle-box of a thriller whose pleasures are rooted not in visceral shock but in narrative surprise, and which wisely opts to seduce rather than pulverize its audience.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    What makes Detroit vital is not that its images are new or revelatory, but rather that Bigelow and Boal have succeeded, with enviable coherence and tremendous urgency, in clarifying those images into art.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Written and directed by the gifted first-timer Kelly Fremon Craig, and graced by a superb star turn from Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen is the rare coming-of-age picture that feels less like a retread than a renewal. It’s a disarmingly smart, funny and thoughtful piece of work, from end to beginning to end.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Wonder Woman emerges as not only the strongest movie in the present DC cycle, but also the first one that feels like an enveloping, honest-to-God entertainment rather than a raging cinematic migraine.
    • 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.
    • 85 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).
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Even as it moves from tender ethnographic portraiture into a realm of hushed, intimate tragedy, Ixcanul quivers with a fierce if understated feminine energy.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Nothing in this gratifyingly focused movie feels excessive or gratuitous, and a situation that repeatedly threatens to spiral out of control is dramatized with the utmost assurance.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Personal Shopper is a gripping portrait of solitude, which is to say it’s a hell of a one-woman show for Stewart, the rare actress who can blur into the background and magnetize the camera in the same scene.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The movie may look like disposable goods — it’s a sequel, a shoot-’em-up, starring an actor too often treated as a punchline — but it is also a connoisseur’s delight, a down-and-dirty B-picture with a lustrous A-picture soul.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    It recognizes that our most cherished legends are an endless source of consolation in times of suffering and loss, as well as a vital repository of cultural and generational memory. If that message sounds trite or familiar, it has rarely been driven home with this much conviction and intensity of feeling.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The Son of Joseph transforms from a lark into a revelation in its final scenes, which are piercing, absurd and pretty close to miraculous.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    It is a cunningly crafted fiction, full of visual artifice and narrative sleight-of-hand, that by the end could hardly feel more sincere.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Beautiful untruths and half-truths abound in Michael Almereyda’s quietly shimmering new movie.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A gripping dramatic reconstruction, a tribute to the heroes and the fallen, and inevitably an expression of nostalgia for the days when a mass shooting still had the power to shock, Keith Maitland’s film weaves rotoscopic animation, archival footage and present-day interviews into a uniquely cinematic memorial.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Raw
    Julia Ducournau, making a stellar feature writing-directing debut, fosters the kind of disquieting intimacy with her characters that leaves us continually uncertain of whether we should fear them or fear for them.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The fragile interplay of nature and civilization is best expressed in the way Diaz frequently sets the stage for each scene, allowing us to absorb the contours and details of every location before ever so gradually introducing human characters, looking small and ant-like, into the frame.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    This is movie craftsmanship and showmanship of a very high order.
    • 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.
    • 66 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The movie is a straightforward, even familiar, tale of survival and recovery, but its grave respect for the unique extremity of its protagonist’s ordeal cancels out any impulse toward exploitation. It doesn’t make the mistake of assuming that your tears are its natural entitlement, which is precisely why you might find yourself shedding a few before it’s over.
    • 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.”
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Sutton’s vision is unsettling and immersive, his technical precision immaculate. The sound design alone — long, ambient silences disrupted by a flashbulb-popping hallucination or a sudden scream — is reason enough to see the movie in a theater, whatever unpleasant associations the ending may conjure.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The sense of film craft here is so delicate and assured that, even at its most razzle dazzle-prone moments, the movie never seems to be straining for effect.
    • 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.”
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The moral of Moana is that playing it safe can have its limits. It’s hard not to agree, even when this lovely, reassuring hug of a movie doesn’t entirely heed its own advice.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Shot in evocative black and white, Karl Marx City is a sleek, absorbing detective story, a fascinating primer on mass surveillance in the pre-Snowden era, and a roving memoir of East German life.
    • 75 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
    Although rife with pratfalls, near-misses, crazy coincidences and mistaken identities, “Lost in Paris” is a whirligig contraption that never turns frenetic or throws too much at you. It’s like a Jean-Pierre Jeunet farce on Xanax, with a soothing dose of Wes Anderson whimsy for good measure.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    While this alternately goofy, serious, lyrical and beguiling cine-essay serves primarily as a loving tribute to the memory of Anderson’s rat terrier, Lolabelle, its roving, free-associative structure brings together all manner of richly eccentric musings on the evasions of memory, the limitations of language and storytelling, the strangeness of life in a post-9/11 surveillance state, and the difficulty and necessity of coming to terms with death.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Porfirio's view of physical disability often mesmerizes despite its glacial progress and stingy way with narrative information.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    It’s a wondrously silly premise, and one that Lanthimos, not unlike those great cine-surrealists Luis Buñuel and Charlie Kaufman before him, executes with rigorous illogic and immaculate formal control.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The mix of outrageous comedy and gentle sentimentality is familiar but very fresh, especially in the hands of four actresses who effortlessly establish a sense of shared history.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    A biographical drama steeped equally in grace and horror, it builds to a brutal finale that will stir deep emotion and inevitable unease. But the film is perhaps even more accomplished as a theological provocation, one that grapples fearlessly with the intense spiritual convictions that drove Turner to do what he had previously considered unthinkable.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The movie may not have the audacity and emotional grandeur of a new Almodóvar masterpiece, but in every particular — its seamless manipulation of time, its sly infusions of comedy, its expert direction of actors and, yes, its fabulous wallpaper — it confirms his mastery nonetheless.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    [Guadagnino's] made the rare movie that, for all its delight in its own beautiful surface, turns out to be altogether less shallow than it appears.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The pleasure of Edge of Tomorrow is that it’s not an action movie first and foremost, but rather a cheeky little puzzle picture in expensive-looking blockbuster drag.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The final moments of It Comes at Night go beyond the usual standards of horror-movie bleakness to achieve an almost unwatchable cruelty — a powerful accomplishment that also feels, in this context, like a limitation.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Blanchett’s performance is so dominant in terms of screentime and emotional impact that the film succeeds as not only a virtuoso ensemble piece, but also an unflinchingly intimate study of the character in the title.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    This timely and involving documentary elicits both sympathy and schadenfreude, as Greenfield regards her all-too-vilifiable subjects with a complexity that should impress viewers of all economic and political persuasions.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    An absorbing and atmospheric entry in what we might as well term the “red snow” genre.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Two documentary filmmakers infiltrate a mysterious cult, only to find themselves drawn into the leader's insidious grip, in the taut, compelling low-budget feature Sound of My Voice.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Despite the compromises that typically attend a studio-made family entertainment — especially one that has been adapted, however lovingly, from a sharper, edgier piece of source material — The BFG also possesses a rich and unmistakably Spielbergian understanding of the loneliness of childhood, and of the enduring consolations that friendship and imagination can offer. Not unlike its title character, the movie can be cloddish and clumsy, but it is also a thing of wily cleverness and lithe, surprising grace.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    A virtually wordless film that speaks with grave eloquence and simplicity about the human condition. Nothing here feels fancy or extraneous, least of all Redford’s superb performance.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Deliberately steering clear of the usual gangland drugs-and-violence cliches, Josh Locy’s writing-directing debut features a welcome starring role for Andre Royo (“The Wire”), whose performance as a wily hustler trying to stay one step ahead of possible ruin sets the tone for this odd, occasionally mystifying but undeniably singular and imaginative work.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Languorously paced and literally dressed to kill, the movie is a corrosive attack on beauty — or at least our soulless, corporatized definition of the term — but it is also, above all else, a hypnotically beautiful object.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    In the end, it is the wit, warmth and coherence of Lynskey’s performance that lends this violent comic scherzo both its cruelly demented narrative logic and its curiously cheery aftertaste.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    It’s a measure of Bateman’s skill in front of and behind the camera that his performance here betrays nary a shred of actorly indulgence, operating instead in a subdued register that achieves quietly aching moments in the final stretch.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The keenly focused intelligence and low-boil intensity that James Vanderbilt demonstrated in his screenplay for “Zodiac” are on impressive display in Truth.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The overriding effect of Twinsters is a sense of pleasure at having borne witness to emotional epiphanies of the most affecting and intimate sort.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Skipping deftly between time frames while keeping her camera close to her protagonist — played with tremulous understatement by the remarkable actress Alba Rohrwacher — Bispuri traces a journey of delicate interior shifts and reversals.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    A terrific performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a rock-bottom alcoholic is only one reason to appreciate Smashed, an affecting and immersive addiction drama about the unforeseen pitfalls along the road to recovery.
    • 70 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    As a vehicle for the impudent comic stylings of Ryan Reynolds, this cheerfully demented origin story is many, many cuts above “Green Lantern,” and as a sly demolition job on the superhero movie, it sure as hell beats “Kick-Ass.”
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Kiki often casts a rueful gaze, but it’s also exuberant and alive, and never despairing. It leaves you with the bracing sense that however tough and resilient its subjects might be forced to become, their hope of a better, more tolerant future will never go out of style.
    • 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").
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    To describe Endless Poetry as self-indulgent would be entirely accurate and not even remotely insulting.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Lee’s vision of a scarred, gutted city may not please the tourism board, but his movie is better for it: Its seething dramatic texture captures a deeper, more elusive beauty that — like reconciliation, reform or any other human ideal — can only be achieved when the illusion of safety is left behind.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Partridge navigates risky material with assurance, delicacy and a deepening sense of intimacy that can turn, without warning, into complicity: The more at ease we feel in the characters’ company, the more disturbingly questionable the situation becomes.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    In its best moments, this gag-a-minute Bat-roast serves as a reminder that, in the right hands, a sharp comic scalpel can be an instrument of revelation as well as ridicule.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Develops into an endearingly scrappy and romantic romp that serves up some nice soul-searching moments alongside a steady stream of laughs.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Director Yuya Ishii takes a considerable step forward in terms of budget and ambition with this simple, sometimes sentimental yet wise and full-bodied comedy-drama, which movingly testifies to the ways in which dedication, focus and an extreme attention to detail can achieve something of lasting value.
    • 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.

Top Trailers