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 Cove
Lowest review score: 0 Persecuted
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 56 out of 619
619 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Bravura narrative filmmaking on a hugely ambitious scale, Carlos is a spectacular achievement.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Raw but utterly enveloping.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    The film is a brave act of witness complicated by the documaker’s decision to re-create his experiences using clay figurines, a tricky aesthetic device that raises fascinating and problematic questions of representation.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A wise and impeccably controlled drama that finds Russian helmer Andrei Zvyagintsev in outstanding form.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    A story of love and subterfuge in 1980 East Germany that never quite accelerates into an outright thriller, Barbara reps another assured collaboration between director Christian Petzold and his main muse, actress Nina Hoss.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    An indelible tapestry of carefully engineered revelations and deeper human truths.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Result is pure-grade art cinema destined primarily for the delectation of Malick partisans and adventurous arthouse-goers.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    An endearingly schizoid Frankenstein of a movie, by turns relentlessly high-spirited and darkly poignant.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    An agreeably meandering exercise that brings some clever French New Wave fillips and structural repetitions to Hong's characteristically boozy party. Rougher but more approachable than his previous "Oki's Movie."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    the strength of Red Army lies in its deep appreciation for the many ironies of the situation, the bone-deep complexities of national identity, and the fact that, on some level, home will always be home.
    • 82 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.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Saavedra is riveting as a servant whose unblinking focus on her routine masks a profound loneliness.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Suffused with the gentle, unforced humanity viewers have come to expect from Hong Kong helmer Ann Hui, A Simple Life is a tender ode to the elderly, their caregivers and the mutual generosity of spirit that makes their limited time together worthwhile.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Results are painfully amusing, frequently random and occasionally laugh-out-loud hilarious.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    Charming if not especially kid-friendly toon.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    This educational eye-popper should prove an excellent draw for science lovers of all ages.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    Delicately tracing the troubled nine-year bond between two men living in New York, Ira Sachs mines his own memories to sensitive, melancholy if somewhat muted effect in Keep the Lights On.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    In the end M.A.S.H. succeeds, in spite of its glaring faults, because Gould, Sutherland, Skerritt, Jo Ann Pflug as the delicious Lt. Dish, and Roger Bowen, as the goof-off commanding officer who is bright enough to recognize his junior officers' medical competence and stay out of their way, are all believable and bitingly funny in their casual disdain for the Army.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    Enough Said may be her cleanest, most polished and broadly funny effort to date; its emotional generosity is undeniable, but so is its tendency to smooth over some of the hard, brittle edges that have been the more interesting hallmarks of Holofcener’s work.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    97-year-old Detroit fixture Grace Lee Boggs doesn’t just explode the docile-Asian-female stereotypes Lee set out to question with her earlier pic; she makes an inspiring case for self-determination and intellectual fortitude regardless of background.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    Keener, so deliciously nasty in Holofcener's "Lovely and Amazing," is no less engaging here in what is, surprisingly, the film's least bitchy role.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A mesmerizing portrait of the director as acclaimed artist and tortured human being.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    As he did in his Three Gorges Dam documentary "Up the Yangtze," Chang examines how a particular strain of Western culture promises opportunity and prosperity for Chinese youth, even as it remains a continual source of intergenerational tension.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    A lean and suspenseful genre piece that follows a bloody trail of vengeance to its cruel, absurd and logical conclusion.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    Roger Ross Williams’ forceful polemic succeeds to a startling degree, rightly decrying the use of the gospel to incite homophobia, and allowing the most fervent interviewees to damn themselves with their own proselytizing words.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    At 81 minutes, Code Black feels like a brisk, vital report from the frontlines of emergency medicine, forged and rooted in the most intense sort of personal and professional experience.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    It’s an undeniable whopper of a yarn and, coming after a string of middling efforts from Frears, easily the director’s most compulsively watchable picture since “The Queen."
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    The candlelight flickers exquisitely even as the passions are slow to ignite in this spare, shrewdly acted but not especially vital retelling of Jane Eyre.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 70 Justin Chang
    The valedictory sentiments at the heart of this mysterious experiment are conveyed with characteristically wry wit and great generosity of spirit.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    This complex story from the early days of psychoanalysis engrosses and even amuses as it unfolds through a series of conversations, treatment sessions and exchanged letters.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    For a film that is very much about the need to continually question our heroes and hold them to a higher standard, Happy Valley offers an unapologetic tribute to one man’s painful honesty and a tacit rebuke to those who couldn’t muster anywhere near the same courage.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    Pitch-perfect performances by Shirley MacLaine and an unusually restrained Jack Black hold together this offbeat true-crime saga, but Linklater's keen eye for human eccentricity flowers most memorably on the periphery.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    Following the exhaustive efforts of photographer-scientist James Balog to capture irrefutable evidence of the world's glaciers in retreat, first-time helmer Jeff Orlowski's documentary supplies a heroic human-interest angle on global warming that's ultimately less remarkable than the grandeur of its arctic imagery.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    While Wild will surely be praised in the coming months for having a strong, well-written, flesh-and-blood female at its center, it’s to the film’s credit that it wears this badge of honor with a lightness that in no way undermines its sincerity.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    An unexpected treat. Bright and perky, cheeky but never mean-spirited.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    An inventive marriage of ancient China and Agatha Christie, Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame is a lavishly overwrought historical whodunit.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Kelly Reichardt blends her lucid observational approach with a topical-thriller format to engrossing effect in Night Moves.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Steven Soderbergh's elegantly coiled puzzler spins a tale of clinical depression and psychiatric malpractice into an absorbing, cunningly unpredictable entertainment that, like much of his recent work, closely observes how a particular subset of American society operates in a needy, greedy, paranoid and duplicitous age.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    This beautifully designed canine-resurrection saga feels, somewhat fittingly, stitched together from stray narrative parts, but nonetheless evinces a level of discipline and artistic coherence missing from the director's recent live-action efforts.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Justin Chang
    Porfirio's view of physical disability often mesmerizes despite its glacial progress and stingy way with narrative information.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Computer Chess is ultimately too slack and scattershot to work consistently well as a comedy.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Justin Chang
    The desire to stay true to what was lovable and enduring about the originals is palpable throughout, down to the amusing storybook conceit of having the characters interact not only with the narrator (voiced by John Cleese), but also with the letters and punctuation marks on the page.

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