For 972 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 43% 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: 62
Highest review score: 100 Carol
Lowest review score: 0 Some Kind Of Beautiful
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 99 out of 972
972 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The nagging lack of specificity with which the film concludes can’t help but call its entire dramatic construction into question.
    • 76 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    In aiming to steer his dark, fatalistic vision toward something genuinely contemplative and cathartic, Inarritu has managed to appropriate the beauty of Malick’s filmmaking but none of its sublimity — another word for which might be humility. There is plenty of amazement here, to be sure, but all too little in the way of grace.
    • 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.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    If you can stomach the violence -- and despite the R rating, that's a big if -- it's hard to deny that Zombie has made exactly the movie he set out to make, guaranteed to satiate his considerable fan base and sicken just about everyone else.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Computer Chess is ultimately too slack and scattershot to work consistently well as a comedy.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Joe
    A patiently observed, often unsettlingly violent drama that can’t help but feel overly familiar in some of its particulars, rich in rural texture but low on narrative momentum or surprise.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    This cheeky update of a classic fairy tale boasts almost as many talking points as merchandising opportunities.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Diverting but rarely transporting, unpredictable yet strangely overdetermined, Garrone's film never conjures the sustained, enveloping magic promised by its extravagant design and its agreeably unhinged story sense.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    By the end, Ross’ initially disarming fusion of cleverness and whimsy has curdled into a dispiritingly familiar mix of sentimentality and self-satisfaction.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Will Reiser's semiautobiographical script initially prescribes too artificial a story treatment for its characters but is rescued by a genial, low-key vibe that builds in sensitivity and emotion up through the final reels.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    This beautifully composed picture brings a robust physicality to tried-and-true source material, but falls short of the sustained narrative involvement and emotional drive its resolutely old-fashioned storytelling demands.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Gibson has made a movie that is somehow both deeply dishonest and crushingly sincere — and still at war with itself, long after the final shot has been fired.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    As the hours roll slowly past, it’s hard not to feel that this epic achievement in monotonous misery might have retained its impact at a fraction of the length, and that even our grimmest truth-tellers might well find themselves capable of saying more with less.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Though the plot here may be a confusing, multi-threaded mess (which may in fact be the script’s truest homage to Chandler), it’s occasionally offset by the exuberance with which Black blends splatter and slapstick, and the leeway he grants his two very game leads.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Much as he did with Ruth Rendell's "Live Flesh," Almodovar has taken an ice-cold psychological thriller, penned by a novelist of far less humanistic temperament, and performed some stylistic surgery of his own, adding broad comic relief, overripe melodrama, outrageous asides and zesty girl-power uplift.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    While the film is drenched in atmosphere and packs a verbal and visceral punch, its relentless downward spiral makes for an overdetermined, not entirely satisfying character study.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Fair Game serves up impeccable politics with a bit too much righteous outrage and not quite enough solid drama.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A watchable enough picture that feels content to realize someone else's vision rather than claim it as its own. Any real sense of risk has been carefully ironed out: The PG-13 rating that ensures the film's suitability for its target audience also blunts the impact of the teen-on-teen bloodshed.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    While Chris Kelly’s semi-autobiographical writing-directing debut gets off to a painfully broad start, it does intermittently find its footing as it progresses, gathering enough well-observed moments and details to counterbalance its otherwise flailing stabs at humor and pathos.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Undeniably impressive as a visual-psychological construct, The Double is ultimately a rigid, one-joke movie that feels hard pressed to sustain any sort of momentum over the course of its 92-minute running time.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    This high-end softcore thriller is juicily watchable from start to over-the-top finish, but its gleeful skewering of the upper classes comes off as curiously passe, a luxe exercise in one-note nastiness.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    An audacious premise gets dangerously unstable execution in Four Lions, a ballsy but wobbly high-concept farce that sends up the bumbling schemes of a Blighty-based jihadist cell.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The problem is not that this film is upsetting (it should be), but that it ultimately seems more interested, and skilled, at dispensing regular shocks than fresh insights.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The film conveys key information and makes important distinctions not generally known, and its effectiveness probably depends on the viewer’s tolerance for poorly executed kitsch and manic physical intrusions by the filmmaker.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Intriguing but overly portentous drama, which seems far more taken with its own cynicism than most viewers will be.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    A well-observed but emotionally muted costume drama that might well have been titled "My Week With Marie Antoinette."
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Carey Mulligan gives an affecting, skillfully modulated performance that lends a certain coherence to this assemblage of real-life incidents, composite characters, noble sentiments, stirring speeches and impeccable production values — all marshaled in service of a picture whose politics prove rather more commendable than its artistry.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The movie derives its energy almost entirely from the bristling quality of the dialogue and the easy ensemble flow of the performances.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    A certain exhaustion sets in well before the end, collapsing any meaningful distinction between camera-hogging self-indulgence and critical scrutiny.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    This middling melange of Child biopic and contempo dramedy feels overstuffed and predigested as it depicts two ladies who found fame and fulfillment in their respective eras by cooking and writing about it.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Schlocky yet resourceful.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Justin Chang
    Unsettles without illuminating, marred by narcotic pacing and a blank lead performance.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Result is far less abrasive than some of its predecessors, but for that very reason seems unlikely to generate the attention needed to meet Solondz's already modest commercial standards.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A pleasant if fairly pedestrian viewing experience, one that more or less gets the job done in terms of balancing the requisite ooh-ahh moments with another unsurprising reminder of man’s capacity for selfishness and destruction.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A tougher, wiser film might still have extended the characters a measure of compassion, but it might also have left the audience with a deeper curiosity about where life’s challenges could take them next.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    This isn’t just a remake; it’s an act of cinematic upholstery, with all the padding that implies.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Elaborately conceived from a visual standpoint, Ridley Scott's first sci-fier in the three decades since "Blade Runner" remains earthbound in narrative terms, forever hinting at the existence of a higher intelligence without evincing much of its own.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Justin Chang
    Coherence devolves into a noisy, cluttered portrait of dysfunction, all clenched fists and shouted expletives. The twists may be novel, but the talk, and the upshot, are all too dispiritingly familiar.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Justin Chang
    Although assembled with consummate care and obsessive attention to visual detail, Pacific Rim manages only fitful engagement and little in the way of real wonderment, suspense or terror.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Director Chris Weitz's problematic new picture, which, despite Demian Bichir's affecting lead performance and a strong feel for Los Angeles' Mexican-American communities, emerges an earnest and overly programmatic heart-tugger.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    The filmmakers’ undeniable chops and bizarre tonal shifts fail to transform the material into anything more than a stylishly gruesome exercise.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    This rambunctious paean to pot retains the trademark Apatow sweetness even as it careens from messy vulgarisms to even messier violence.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    While I’m generally inclined to applaud an action movie that seeks to be more than just an exercise in carnage, The Villainess turns wearyingly stop-and-go whenever it tries to fill in the void of its protagonist’s emotional and psychological history.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    It’s an affectionate, sometimes downright slobbery career salute with a soft, unexamined center — a moving experience for all involved, no doubt, but one of limited interest outside the celebrity bubble it depicts.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    A disappointingly anemic tale of forbidden love that should satiate the pre-converted but will bewilder and underwhelm viewers who haven't devoured Stephenie Meyer's bestselling juvie chick-lit franchise.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    An uneven but enjoyable trio of films that take affectionate (and sometimes literal) aim at the Japanese capital.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Lee’s movie at once examines and embodies the complicated riddle of cultural identity: Beneath its boozy antics and largely predictable narrative developments, it offers warmly perceptive insights into how difficult it can be for so many first- and second-generation Asian immigrants to define themselves.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Justin Chang
    An initially amusing but fatally overstretched action-comedy that marks a lamer-than-expected big-screen outing for Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Comes off as a derivative wisecracking machine rather than a feat of sustained imagination.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Maddin's singular humor and fabulous black-and-white mise-en-scene can't sustain this fever dream beyond its initial fascination, making for an intriguing transitional work unlikely to broaden his audience.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    ATL
    Higher on stylistic dazzle than originality or coherence.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Though its absurdist inventions occasionally border on twee, this affectionate slow-blooming romance mines an understated vein of comic melancholy that the actors' wistful performances perfectly capture.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A serviceable picture that offers all the sumptuous visual pleasures of a historical costume drama, yet little in the way of actual history.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Despite Amy Adams’ affecting performance as an artist and ’50s/’60s housewife complicit in her own captivity, this relatively straightforward dramatic outing for Tim Burton is too broadly conceived to penetrate the mystery at the heart of the Keanes’ unhappy marriage — the depiction of which is dominated by an outlandish, ogre-like turn from Christoph Waltz that increasingly seems to hold the movie hostage.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    It plays less like a meaty mystery than an extended thank-you to the fans who breathed it into existence. Still, it’s smooth and engaging enough on its own compromised terms, clearly informed by Thomas’ genre-savvy storytelling and unpretentious craftsmanship, and not without a certain self-deprecating sense of humor about its own immodest origins.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Justin Chang
    The French are smelly, vulgar, racist and oversexed, or so it would seem based on 2 Days in New York, a scattershot culture-clash comedy that goes down like yesterday's foie gras.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Where the film falters is in its willingness to settle for canned uplift, reducing the substance of Malala’s global activism to multicultural montages, goosed by Thomas Newman’s emotional cattle prod of a score.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Haley’s movie is ultimately a feature-length valentine to his star, and as such it’s something of a mixed blessing.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Although fiercely committed performances by Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell provide director Tony Goldwyn's film with a core of emotional integrity, a less heavy-handed, more informative approach would have served them and the audience better.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    This unwieldy drama of conscience in the wake of tragedy is hyperarticulate but rarely eloquent, full of wrenchingly acted scenes that lack credible motivation or devolve into shrill hectoring.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The Sense of an Ending, despite its polished construction and immaculate pedigree, doesn’t ultimately mean as much as it thinks it does.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Even the flaws of Thank You for Playing have the effect of underscoring its humanity; the movie may immortalize a creative endeavor, but it never loses sight of the fact that it’s also honoring a life.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Aiming for an Alexander Payne-style synthesis of wry comedy and unflinching character study, pic has been made with the utmost sincerity, but the frankly lugubrious material and barely compensating spasms of humor are all but impossible to warm to.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    This vulgar romp is a generally harmless, heartwarming affair, a cinematic Christmas cookie almost sweet and flaky enough to cover the fact that it's laced with hash, cocaine and assorted bodily fluids, blood included.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Context and psychological insight are the major casualties of Day Night Day Night, a dramatically limited but strangely powerful portrait of a young would-be terrorist.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Amirpour has vision to burn, and inside this not-so-bad batch of splendid atmospherics and half-baked ideas is a leaner, sharper movie trying to chew its way out.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Justin Chang
    Muppets Most Wanted looks and sounds eager to please but immediately feels like a more slapdash, aimless affair, trying — and mostly failing — to turn its stalled creativity into some sort of self-referential joke.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Justin Chang
    The picture's attempts at comic portraiture feel sketchy at best, more or less assigning each character a single, belabored trait.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    The real battle in Roman Polanski's brisk, fitfully amusing adaptation of Yasmina Reza's popular play is a more formal clash between stage minimalism and screen naturalism, as this acid-drenched four-hander never shakes off a mannered, hermetic feel that consistently betrays its theatrical origins.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    A cheerful summer lark that briefly achieves comic liftoff but peters out well before its overblown Times Square climax, it proudly demonstrates that mediocrity — whether in the hunting of malevolent apparitions or the making of a mainstream comedy — is not, and never has been, an exclusively male pursuit.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Picture needs every ounce of goodwill it can wring from Rudd's likable lead performance to offset a sour, borderline misogynistic streak for which scattered snickers offer only modest compensation.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    By the end, thanks to Leon de Aranoa’s steady direction and the actors’ slow-building character work, “A Perfect Day” manages to coalesce into a reasonably tough-minded, compassionate vision of the difficulties and rewards of trying to do the right thing in an intractable situation, though the film has to overcome more than a few flat, indolent stretches to get there.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Its fun first hour soon gives way to a leaden, expository approach that unwisely favors emotional stakes over speculative-fiction smarts.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    This final production from the team of James Ivory and the late Ismail Merchant is itself adrift in more ways than one, with a literate but meandering script by "The Remains of the Day" novelist Kazuo Ishiguro that withholds emotional payoffs to an almost perverse degree.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Working from a tightly compressed screenplay by David Nicholls, director Mike Newell strikes the beats of a deservedly oft-told tale with dour competence but little in the way of dramatic inspiration or visual flair.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A rare studio entertainment featuring a largely Latino ensemble, yet necessarily fronted by a big-name draw like Costner, McFarland, USA feels at once mildly progressive and unavoidably retrograde.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    The glaring failure of Tomorrowland is that its central premise — children are the future — is almost completely negated by the preachiness of the execution and the clumsiness of the storytelling.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    The troubling whiff of nationalist sentiment doesn’t entirely blunt the force and sweep of Ryoo’s multi-pronged narrative, even when the story generally proceeds in fits and starts.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    An alternately sensitive and heavy-handed small-town drama that turns the Salem witchcraft trials into a tenuous metaphor for the intense pressures brought to bear on today’s female youth.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    No one is likely to disagree with the basic correctness of the movie’s conclusions, though you may well object to the process by which it arrives at them.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Celeste & Jesse Forever earns points for bucking formula, but its fusion of snark and sincerity has a calculated slickness that rings increasingly hollow.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Wrapping the political hot potato of illegal immigration in the sentimental balm of a mother-son reunion drama, this stirring tale will be embraced most enthusiastically by Mexican audiences on both sides of the border.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    For all its visual sweep and propulsively violent action, this bloodthirsty rendition of the Old English epic can't overcome the disadvantage of being enacted by digital waxworks rather than flesh-and-blood Danes and demons.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    A bit embalmed in its own nobility, it’s an extraordinary story told in dutiful, unexceptional terms, the passionate commitment of all involved rarely achieving gut-level impact.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Despite some clever virtual-reality concepts and projections about the next frontier of globalization, Alex Rivera's ambitious directing debut lacks the vision, or the budget, to pull off its fusion of sci-fi and aspirational saga.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Funky disco-era throwback never fully jells with a surprisingly intense central tale of father-son estrangement, strongly acted by Chi McBride and 18-year-old rapper-thesp Bow Wow.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    It’s no stretch for Kingsley to project stiff dignity and forthrightness, but that familiarity works against him here, despite his every effort to give the character a human pulse. Clarkson, expert at bringing authenticity to the most inauthentic material, gets to show far more range.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Lovely to look at but a headache to listen to.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Lovely but listless.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Much nastier and less genteel than his best-known Stephen King adaptations ("The Shawshank Redemption," "The Green Mile"), Frank Darabont's screw-loose doomsday thriller works better as a gross-out B-movie than as a psychological portrait of mankind under siege, marred by one-note characterizations and a tone that veers wildly between snarky and hysterical.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Snakes on a Plane is exactly the sort of tasteless, utterly depraved, no-nonsense sluts-and-guts extravaganza it was meant to be.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Justin Chang
    There’s a deeper emptiness at the core of the movie, a failure of nerve and a fundamental incuriosity about what makes the Snowden affair interesting and relevant, then and now.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    Though it renders a convincing portrait of fractured family life and boasts its share of powerfully acted moments, this schematic tale of two siblings, ripped apart by jealousy, misunderstanding and unshakable trauma, plays like a more polished but less effective twin to the 2005 Danish original.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Justin Chang
    A Hologram for the King arrives at its feel-good conclusion honestly enough, but its cultural engagement feels tentative, even secondhand: The movie conjures no shortage of potent images, but push a bit deeper and your fist closes on empty air.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    Cage supplies a stream of tension-defusing laughs while the script steadily applies the screws, but this disposable exercise in comic nihilism offers only a modest payoff at best.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Justin Chang
    A fabulously designed underground metropolis proves more involving than the teenagers running through its streets in City of Ember, a good-looking but no more than serviceable adaptation of Jeanne Duprau's 2003 novel.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Justin Chang
    The more the film implicates David, the more it distances itself and the viewer, playing out in the emotionally detached but sensationalistic, overripe manner of a tabloid freakshow.

Top Trailers