Robert Wilonsky

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For 394 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 31% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 67% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 10.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Robert Wilonsky's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 49
Highest review score: 100 Down from the Mountain
Lowest review score: 0 The New Guy
Score distribution:
394 movie reviews
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    De Sica's 1952 neorealist masterpiece; it's a stark snapshot in which all is revealed about the "daily life of mankind," as the director once offered by way of description.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    Yes, yes--The Incredibles is beautiful to look at, but even more lovely beneath the computer-generated surfaces.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    The first relevant film about rock and roll and the music industry, the first film that lets you in on the secret.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    A gentle, frank, and often hysterical love story about two people destined, and occasionally doomed, to be together forever. Some of us should be as lucky, as blessed, as Harvey Pekar.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    May be the most wrenching, profound and perfectly made movie nobody wants to see.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Capturing the Friedmans does not end after its credits roll; audiences will try the case over and over again in their heads. Jarecki does not judge, but leaves only tragic clues for us to ponder.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    Its exquisiteness can overwhelm in a single sitting.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    Feels like something entirely brand-new; such are the gifts of Kaufman and Gondry, inventors and magicians.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Scorsese's rockudrama withstands big-screen scrutiny some 24 years after its initial release.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    How often does one see a masterpiece about a masterpiece?
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    One of the most remarkable things about Murderball, which is easily among the year's best movies, is how little of its time is filled with the playing of the game.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    It really happened, it's really corny, and it's really great.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    If Dubus' work always resembled some sort of literary therapy session, as has often been said, then Field's version requires grief counseling. It is, at times, that devastating.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    It is a remarkable achievement in filmmaking, a beautiful and brutal work.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    What makes About Schmidt so extraordinary is how ordinary its tale is; it's a gray picture about gray people looking for some kind of meaning in their gray lives.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    The film is a whirlwind blur, a kinetic thrill ride through the industrial backwater that was one of punk and post-punk's most fertile Promised Lands: Manchester.
    • New Times (L.A.)
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    The performances are uniformly remarkable.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    The film, from its deadpan start to its languorous finish, provides the most joyous moviegoing experience in years.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    Where Peter was yee-ha giddy with the discovery of his newfound powers in the first film, he's crushed by the weight of responsibility that comes with them in its far superior successor.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    If Steven Soderbergh taught Clooney how to act in "Out of Sight," then Reitman has taught him how to stop acting. This is the most vulnerable, the most playful, the most human performance of his career.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    The first Kill Bill was nothing but violence--swordfight upon swordfight, till the clanking of steel blades drowned out anything anyone said. The second is its emotional counterpart, the heart without all the blood drained from it.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    There's something more REAL about this version, more human, more lived-in; though their words may have been penned 200 years ago, when Austen was a young woman writing about her idealized self, this cast and crew nudge the material into the now.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    That's what directors do when they have nothing new to say: They go back and rewrite the past, if only to avoid facing the future
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    Treacherously funny and wrenchingly sad.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    School of Rock, populated by bright-shiny faces given a "Revenge of the Nerds" happy ending, is light and meaningless but never worthless. It merely aspires to be a good time and is just that and nothing more, a grin-worthy buzz that wears off in the parking lot.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Audiard keeps things shaky, grim, claustrophobic, doomed. His film has the feel of documentary, as he follows Clara through the daily grind that pulverizes her. We're in her head, literally.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    A remarkable movie with an unsatisfying ending, which is just the point.
    • New Times (L.A.)
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Nathaniel will sometimes take it too far. It's particularly distracting, and even a little distancing, when he waits till the end of a lengthy interview to tell one of his father's former collaborators and friends that he is Louis' son.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Here it is -- another double cross for which you will, and should, hand over your few grubby bucks.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Can barely move during its final half hour, which is a shame, because until then it's a frenetic, engaging ride -- a huge grin, not unlike the one Tom Cruise now hides behind his grownup's braces.
    • New Times (L.A.)
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    If only Condon kept up the Q&A format, because when he ditches it the movie turns flat and familiar.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    It puts us in the shoes of men and women for whom the war is not something distant and intangible but a bloodbath in their own back yard, which makes them the very definition of embedded journalists.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    As giddy and antic as any great Warner Bros. cartoon of the 1930s and '40s -- it bears seeing more than once, if only to allow for the sight gags that play second fiddle to the plot, a rarity in animation -- but also resonant and real. In other words, it's the perfect movie.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Cinema has done a fine job of documenting the anti-apartheid movement, even if too often the spotlight shone brightest on the white man through whom the black man's story was being told.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Anderson and Sandler were meant for each other, and their romance is, unbelievably, our reward.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    A fun and loving biopic
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    The star's the thing, the only thing, and he's brilliant at playing a thinly veiled version of himself.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    A remarkable movie, because, like "Crumb" or even "American Splendor," it adores the very people most of us might ignore if they passed us on the street. It's a love letter to someone who desperately needs one, even 10 years after his death.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Gaghan's a filmmaker for the gamer who doesn't need to have the plot follow a neat, linear path. Besides, you don't need to know precisely what's going on; no one else in the film does either. Which is Gaghan's point.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    If there's a flaw with the film, it's that Justman doesn't trust his narrators enough; too often he'll stage a re-enactment while someone's talking, as if he's afraid the mere tales themselves won't hold our interest. But they will, as long as there's a kid slapping a bass, a sampler swiping a groove or some middle-aged couple slow dancing to Marvin Gaye or the Miracles.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Breezy and easy to swallow. Its maker, Steven Spielberg, hasn't had so much fun in two decades.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Just as you feel the numbing, clammy clench of paranoia on your neck, you realize, nope, the grip is just the director's attempt at tickling you to death. Demme's movie had no right to work. It does, and then some.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    Engaging and revelatory, turning forgotten footnotes and discarded minutiae into the stuff of riveting drama and poignant laughs.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    This Shrek is both funnier and warmer than its predecessor; it's better-looking, too, no longer as clunky and junky as video-game graphics.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    One expects more from writer-director Wes Anderson (and his co-scribbler, Owen Wilson) than such frivolous fun that bears no lingering effect.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    It's the most uplifting movie of a numbing year -- a feel-good film full of songs about feeling god-awful.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    It's either the world's greatest infomercial for fame (and its omnipresent companion, notoriety) or the saddest eulogy of all.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    As frantic and frenzied as its source material.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of About a Boy is how substantial it plays -- as a feel-good film with weight, a knowing comedy with dramatic depth.
    • New Times (L.A.)
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    It's but a witty, engaging hodgepodge of archetypes and clichés; it retreads not only the TV show's story lines, but also those of every "Star Trek" and "Gunsmoke" episode. It needed the room of a big screen just to fit all of its influences into a single place.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    What the books suggest, the movie reveals and revels in--the songs, in other words, those brilliant, backbreakingly fast anthems.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    It's vibrant and verdant and heartbreakingly inviting, begging you to escape into a lovely tale in which children, through a simple act of faith, find their own heaven on earth.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    My Kid Could Paint That's about art—and it IS art, among the best documentaries ever made about that elusive process of manufacturing something out of nothing. But it's also a must-see for every single parent who believes their children are special, when all they want to be is your children.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Rodriguez clearly assumes Sin City to be his "Pulp Fiction," his rambling portmanteau--a blending of disparate tales to form a complete, overwhelming epic.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    That he (Hetfield), and his band, still lives is astonishing enough; that you get to see how and why in a movie so painfully intimate is nothing short of extraordinary.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    It has just enough "comedy" to qualify as crowd-pleaser.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    As enormously entertaining as it is appalling.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    Virgin is astoundingly astute but also wondrously clever, written with more care and joy than any hundred comedies to come out of Hollywood in years.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    The filmmaker who once aimed to enchant his audiences with cheerful stories of beatific visitors from outer space now wants only to scare the hell out of us. E.T., as it turns out, is a mass murderer after all, and we are his Reese's Pieces.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    This movie would be worth feting in any season. It's wrenching but never manipulative, stoic but never dull, exhausting but never wearying.
    • New Times (L.A.)
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    No matter how well you think you know this tale, you do not know it at all. It offers the oldest clichés polished up like some brand-new thing by director Greg Whiteley.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    The fanboy in me loves it, being wrapped in the warm projected glow of nostalgia for a movie I've memorized since age 9.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Steers' film will likely polarize the audience, which, if nothing else, gives it rare resonance; at least it makes you feel, where many similar indie efforts make you sleepy.
    • New Times (L.A.)
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    A celebration of the naughty joke and the courage it takes to tell one.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    It's everything most movies this year have not been: deeply felt, genuine, gracious.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    The first half of Intolerable Cruelty is more than tolerable; it's a dopey kick full of goofy jokes tossed off so quickly you're reminded less of bickering-bantering Grant and Rosalind Russell than Groucho and Chico Marx.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    It's not hard to see why actors love working with Penn, even in the smallest roles; he lets them speak monologues even when they're saying nothing at all.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Klein's the perfect actor to play Howard--a man so actory he probably signs his checks in that thin movie-poster type.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    The movie works because Berg never forgets to keep his heart in the game and not just his head.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    It's hagiography, yes, but also powerful and poignant.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Aimed at the brain, when it should have been one for the heart.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    It just feels like the real thing, which is a trick few writers can muster and even fewer directors can master.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    As surreal as it is obscene, as clever as it is crude. It plays like some raw offspring of underground comix and the comedies of the 1920s.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    What makes Crash so gripping--so terrifying in spots, so moving in others, and even a little funny at times--is how nothing happens as we think it will.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Wilonsky
    At last, his (Howard's) first great (and filling) movie--inspirational, yes, but far from hokey; moving, absolutely, but never saccharine; and gripping, despite its being a fixed fight.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    Clooney has become a movie star, and the Coens have given him his very own "It Happened One Night." The man, and the movie, are downright bona fide.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Statham's totally believable. He might yet become Bruce Willis.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Though it's a blast to watch, it becomes tiresome over the long haul--25 minutes of Thurman hacking her way through the crowd to get to a woman whose fate we're informed of early on. It's the most climactic anti-climax in recent film history, a no-d'uh coda awaiting the ending it really deserves but never gets. Not this year, anyway.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    As he did in "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz", Wright immerses his heroes in pop culture's detritus and diversions, but doesn't drown them in it. You don't have to be dazzled or tickled by the movie, or get every joke, to be touched by it, too.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Not only an exceptional thriller, but a transcendent summer movie: It assumes, for two hours, you've brain and heart enough to stick with a film that doesn't condescend, doesn't beat you up and doesn't dumb you to death.
    • New Times (L.A.)
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    It's more like the déjà vu machine. But that does not negate this movie's copious pleasures, chief among them its prudent decision to act like it's never supposed to be more than good time, a thrilling test-drive in a car you love but can't afford to actually buy.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    The movie resonates precisely because it serves as documentary only pretending to be fiction: It's set in a real place recovering from real pain, which Lee makes tangible.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Hard to watch, harder still to ignore.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Garden State charms with ease and moves with grace; it's warm but never mushy, languorous but never groggy, rueful but never despondent. It's like a perfect pop song--that thing that makes you smile and tear up at the same time.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Without being too glib about it, World Trade Center is a most improbable thing: an upbeat film about September 11, one of the few stories to emerge from that day to come with a happy ending.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    The film is ultimately so extraordinary because it deals with something so ordinary: the desire to be better than we are, without knowing how to do it.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Scott and Olds' is an essential movie, and one of the year's very best.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    It's a movie about discomfort and distance, like an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" or "The Larry Sanders Show" shot in deadpan black-and-white.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    It's a wise and powerful tale of race and culture forcefully told, with superb performances throughout.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    It succeeds where its recent predecessor miserably fails because it demands that you suffer the dreadfulness of war from both sides. That might not make it a milestone, but it's a hell of an improvement.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Altman gladly admits there's not much of a story here; his movies are driven by characters.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Elf
    Elf may be no more than a pleasant, amusing trifle, a grin that fades well before Thanksgiving, but it also will endure in the way all decent Hollywood-made Christmas fairy tales last if they're rendered with good cheer and good will.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    Northfork may be doomed, but the Polish brothers and cinematographer M. David Mullen (who worked with the brothers on their previous features, "Twin Falls, Idaho" and "Jackpot") make the place feel like heaven on earth.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    Identity is an outright blast, so fun it's--pardon--scary.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Wilonsky
    An ethereal, creepy, almost breathtaking meditation on the life of a mind snapped in two.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    The Dancer Upstairs would have made a suitable double feature with "The Quiet American"; both films unfold slowly, build toward an anxious climax and end with a shrug of grief.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Here's a tip: When Vaughn and Wilson are outed as impostors and forced to leave Walken's estate, grab your stuff and walk out. You'll think you just saw a comedy masterpiece.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    Robots doesn't rely on being current, which will ultimately render it as timeless as any great fable. At its center is a big, beating heart.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Wilonsky
    What makes Silverman a truly gifted comic is her timing and delivery.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Wilonsky
    At its best it plays like modern-day Marx Brothers in which every single thing that happens makes no sense and serves no purpose and nothing happens for any reason at all. It exists solely to get a laugh, not to make a point.

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