Stephanie Zacharek
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For 1,459 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 51% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 47% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephanie Zacharek's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Lowest review score: 0 The Amityville Horror
Score distribution:
1,459 movie reviews
    • 53 Metascore
    • 35 Stephanie Zacharek
    A moneygrubbing extravaganza, ugly to look at and interminable to sit through. No movie about the evils of excessive taxation should be this taxing.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 35 Stephanie Zacharek
    Aside from a few arresting visuals, Red Riding Hood is just a slog through the woods.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 35 Stephanie Zacharek
    Peep World barely seems like a movie. Withered and shrunken, it feels even too small for TV.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    If only Leap Year were an anomaly, the kind of picture that comes along only once every four years. Instead, it's yet more evidence that romantic comedies are only getting worse.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's no doubt we need more movies for grown-ups, with jokes that don't hit us over the head, but The Men Who Stare at Goats doesn't fit the bill. At best, it might hypnotize you into a stupor.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    New Moon, on the other hand, merely follows a dictated formula. It's a cheap, shoddy piece of work, one that banks on moviegoers' anticipation without even bothering to craft a satisfying experience for them. Its pandering is an insult.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Terminator Salvation has no brains and no soul; it's just a mass of stiff, creaking metal joints. Clearly, the machines have won.
    • 17 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    I Hate Valentine's Day is a horror show masquerading as a romantic comedy. Maybe Vardalos is just in the wrong line of work.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    If Alex Proyas' Knowing were reasonably entertaining -- instead of just dour, pointless and tedious -- it would be a camp classic.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Pulp needs a pulse -- without one, it's DOA. No matter how hard some of its actors work to resuscitate it, Assault on Precinct 13 is as lifeless as a corpse on a slab.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Cinderella Man is ostensibly the kind of old-fashioned drama that sends audiences home with a satisfied glow. But like so many of Howard's movies, there's something canned and phony about it -- it left me feeling cooked and dehydrated, as if I'd fallen asleep on a tanning bed.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's desperately lifeless.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie works neither as a comedy nor as a lame melodrama -- its entertainment value is embarrassingly feeble.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Challenges us to believe in the power of myth. But the big challenge here is surviving the tedium of Shyamalan's meandering inventiveness. What's supposed to be fanciful storytelling is really just audience punishment.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's a comedy, a political thriller, a love story: Barry Levinson's Man of the Year tries to be all things to all people and fails on every count -- a little like the generic, ineffectual politicians it's pretending to excoriate.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    With The Good German, Soderbergh -- generally a terrific and creative filmmaker -- apes a style, and a way of seeing, that he clearly doesn't understand. It feels like a hit to the stomach.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Bug
    A humorless picture, a somber, arty exercise in deep denial of its exploitation roots. The dialogue is stiff and mechanical and the performances are too.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Carell is on the fast track to becoming Robin Williams, a guy who lost the plot far too early on and began pouring his considerable comic gifts into brain-dead heart-warmers.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The sex scenes -- intense, affecting and emotionally raw -- are the best thing about this frustratingly limp movie.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Ben Stiller, the movie's star, pretty much sinks the whole enterprise.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Cassandra's Dream, an earnest meditation on greed, desire, murder and class struggle, is one of Woody Allen's funniest movies in years -- except Allen doesn't know it.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    It pretends to examine how self-absorbed we are as a culture, only to be consumed by its own self-absorption. It's also badly constructed, humorless and emotionally sadistic .
    • 29 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Sutherland is the only actor in Fool's Gold who isn't trying too hard, perhaps because he doesn't have to. He's the movie's only treasure, hidden in plain sight.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Wears off in about 10.8 minutes.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The most sterile of bodice-rippers, a genteel soap opera in which the sex and intrigue are so muted, so tasteful, that they practically blow off the screen in a scattering of dust.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    This may be one of the most sluggish sports comedies ever made -- even the supposedly rousing final sequence feels belabored and chubby.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture, despite the grand panoramic scale Emmerich has tried to give it, is dopey and static. Its finest moments belong to the thundering herd of woolly mammoths who storm through the picture sometime in its first half-hour.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Owen Wilson doesn't have a single good line in the dismal Drillbit Taylor. So how is it that almost everything he does is funny?
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Watching The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, it struck me that weaving a touching little tale about a death-camp friendship is actually a pretty bad way to teach kids about the Holocaust.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    On second thought, maybe just about everyone should stay away from this drearily cheerful little picture that isn't nearly as funny or as heartwarming -- or even as topical, given the economic climate -- as it thinks it is.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Boring at best and insidious at worst.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Spends a lot of time advertising how exciting it is, without actually being exciting.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    In Crank: High Voltage, Statham just looks miserable, as if appearing in this lousy picture just sucked all the heart right out of him.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The problem with “Wolverine” isn’t that the mythology is detailed and potentially confusing — you could say that about any number of movies based on comic books, even some of the good ones. The bigger issue is that “Wolverine” is so uninvolving that you might not care whether you remember what happened 10 minutes ago.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Year One sets prehistoric comedy back at least 20 years.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is a love story, all right, but it has less to do with the flaws of capitalism than it does with Moore's unwavering fondness for the sound of his own voice, and for what he perceives as his own vast cleverness.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's sad when a bit of grim futuristic silliness like Repo Men falls short on all counts, down to the most basic level of entertainment value.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Unlike the original -- which, in a crazy stroke of genius, allowed Shakespearean thespians like Claire Bloom and Maggie Smith, plus Bond babe Ursula Andress, to mix it up as jealous goddesses -- the new Clash of the Titans is frightfully low on babes.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Just slides off the screen and disappears.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Life in the Bronx is hard, all right. Getting through a movie shouldn't be harder.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Fragmented and contrived, like a badly mapped-out scrapbook.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    It hovers somewhere in that never-never land of movies that try to do too much and don't quite live up to any of their ambitions.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Perfectly inoffensive and harmless, but it's also drab and inert.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Every scene is coated with Marshall's thumbprints, ultimately connecting into a manhandled, mangled, misshapen whole, its themes written out in thunderously obvious cues.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Just a string of cute gags and pouting on Isabella's part that's supposed to signify soul-searching.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Poops out before it ever really gets going.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Deadly dull.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    For a movie that's supposed to be about speed and movement, Torque is a peculiarly slow kind of torture. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition -- especially not in an action movie.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Even with the outlandish characters, gaudy colors and gay satire, this smug John Waters knockoff can't stand up to the real thing.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The direction on Johnson Family Vacation is numbingly slack; the synapses between the scenes don't spark effortlessly, as they should, and the whole enterprise feels dragged-down and belabored.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    No director in the history of moviemaking has expended so much effort in the service of drying up and blowing off the landscape.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Stumbles along laboriously, its jokes following one after another in a sloppy, flat-footed walk.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The air leaks out of Gaudí Afternoon gradually but steadily, until all we're left with is a limp rag of a balloon.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Anything Else isn't just the latest Woody Allen movie; it's also the smallest. His pictures seem to be getting tinier and tinier, and after you've seen them they leave nothing but a tinny echo and a bad taste. Anything Else is misanthropy writ small. Allen is too stingy to be generous even with his contempt.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    All noise with very little fun, and almost no restraint.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Suspect Zero is loaded with cheap thrills for the expensively educated.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Dragonfly wants desperately to be the spiritual heir to "The Sixth Sense," but it's not even as effective a thriller.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    If you can get past the goofy writing, there's lots of noisy action in The Punisher, but little of it is particularly exhilarating. In fact, it's more of an endurance test. If you can sit through it, you should consider yourself duly punished.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's an English movie doing its best to masquerade as the shallowest kind of Hollywood romantic comedy, as if somewhere along the way someone had made a calculated supposition that would be the only kind of comedy American audiences would buy.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    A dismally unfunny comedy, but that's not what's depressing about it. Worse by far is the palpable desperation in Goldie Hawn's performance.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Leaving the theater, I couldn't quell those waves of disappointment: It just should have been funnier.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's a shame when an actor like Sylvester Stallone, who's always at his most appealing when he just hunkers down and lets himself be a big galoot, feels he has to make a bid for respectability.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Cruise pedals hard through The Last Samurai, and the exertion shows. In fact, the whole picture is belabored and lumbering.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The real mystery at the heart of M. Night Shyamalan's latest: How does he persuade actors like Sigourney Weaver and Adrien Brody to act in his supremely lame movies?
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's not much fun, and it's not particularly edifying. Even people who are curious about Holmes (he was better known by his screen name, Johnny Wadd; here, he's played by Val Kilmer) won't find out much about him.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Moore's supporters are quick to impugn the liberal credentials of anyone who criticizes his presentation of the information he digs up (or, in some cases, makes up). For them, Michael Moore is the issues he talks about, so his detractors must be enemies of democratic principles. It's an old trick, akin to the way Pauline Kael was accused of being insensitive about the Holocaust when she didn't like "Shoah."
    • 22 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's hard to discern exactly whom this holiday tripe is for.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    A vehicle for teen singing sensation Mandy Moore. As vehicles go, it's an Edsel.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Actually, the wonder The Polar Express induces feels something like a coma.
    • 21 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie is like a well-intentioned designer knockoff that doesn't know when to quit.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    If it were terrible, you could at least sink your teeth into it; but Welcome to Mooseport is like a biscuit soaked in water, ready to be gummed instead of chewed.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie can't distinguish between what's likable and human and funny and what's simply repellent. In that respect, it's just as indiscriminate as the reality TV it shakes its finger at.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Takes plenty of twists and turns, each so implausible and silly that you have no interest whatsoever in finding out what the next one will be. The director, Paul McGuigan, is fond of fancy split-screen effects and stylish, snappy cutting, but he can't tell a story to save his life.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Unless you're a lover of tigers, there's probably no reason to see Jean-Jacques Annaud's Two Brothers. And maybe not even then.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    This film "Phantom" takes everything that's wrong with Broadway and puts it on the big screen in a gaudy splat.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    It would be destined for the trash heap of Shakespeare adaptations, if not for its female lead, and its heart, 17-year-old Claire Danes.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Everything he (Nolan) does is forced and overthought, and Inception, far from being his ticket into hall-of-fame greatness, is a very expensive-looking, elephantine film whose myriad so-called complexities -- of both the emotional and intellectual sort -- add up to a kind of ADD tedium.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Big-name star Liam Neeson looks on, trying to add some class to the joint, though even he seems to know it's a losing battle.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    So bad it's almost like performance art, or those cheap records from the '60s, where the Chipmunks sing the Beatles' greatest hits.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The whole exercise has the trying-too-hard vibe of a bad toupee.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    With Scott Pilgrim, Wright leaps over the line from chattery cleverness to all-out self-consciousness.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Hop
    There's nothing in it to inspire excitement or even a mild glimmer of delight; it's almost offensive in its dullness.
    • 26 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    It takes too long for the story to come around to the fact that Will is just plain nuts - and even then, he gets over it in a heartbeat.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Blue Jasmine is so relentlessly clueless about the ways real human beings live, and so eager to make the same points about human nature that Allen has made dozens of times before, that it seems like a movie beamed from another planet.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Book Thief is just too tidy to have much impact.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Bateman, as both director and star, digs his heels in too hard to make the movie's points, using lots of ho-hum close-ups and wriggly camera work along the way.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 25 Stephanie Zacharek
    Hits a new low of idiocy and crassness.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 25 Stephanie Zacharek
    Rubber could have been a modest horror novelty, a wicked, malevolent version of "The Red Balloon."
    • 24 Metascore
    • 25 Stephanie Zacharek
    "Piranha 3D" was ridiculous, gory and fun, everything Piranha 3DD is not.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 20 Stephanie Zacharek
    Both mean-spirited and self-conscious. It's all style and no soul, which wouldn't be a problem if its style at least gave us something to look at, or to laugh at. But From Paris With Love, filmed on location in Paris, has a raggedy, greasy, dingy look: It's the movie equivalent of an unbathed, unshaven French boyfriend (the bad kind). It thinks it's suave, but it just smells bad.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 20 Stephanie Zacharek
    A perfect storm of a movie disaster: You've got good actors fighting a poorly conceived script, under the guidance of a director who can no longer make the distinction between imaginativeness and computer-generated effects. The result is an expensive-looking mess that fails to capture the mood, and the poetry, of its source material.
    • 23 Metascore
    • 20 Stephanie Zacharek
    Neither funny nor honest. The exact opposite of a retreat, it's merely exhausting.
    • 17 Metascore
    • 20 Stephanie Zacharek
    Just when you think your jaw can't drop any lower in appalled amazement, comes a romantic comedy so lunkheaded and ill-conceived that it makes your average, idiotic Kate Hudson-Matthew McConaughey outing look like the reincarnation of Hepburn and Grant.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 20 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's a limp romantic drama that occasionally lifts its drowsy head to attempt a wan smile, a picture that starts out being harmlessly dull and ends, somehow, in a place that feels insultingly manipulative.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 20 Stephanie Zacharek
    So contemptuous toward its own characters, and its audience, that it chokes off any visceral thrills it might have offered. The movie substitutes calculation for brains, and the filmmakers seem to think we'll all be too stupid to notice.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 20 Stephanie Zacharek
    Extravagant in movie terms but stingy in emotional ones, it embodies all of Spielberg's bad impulses and almost none of his good ones: It's a grand display of how well he knows how to work us over, and yet the desperation with which he tries to get to us is repulsive.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 20 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's ostensibly about adults, but there's nothing remotely adult about it.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 20 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's nothing offhand or spontaneous-feeling about Nanny McPhee; it's a highly mechanical piece of work, and its potentially delightful details are wasted.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 20 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's lower on the food chain than a mere exploitation picture because it clings so desperately to the notion that it's a serious movie about violence; it doesn't even have enough integrity to serve up cheap, sick thrills for their own sake.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 20 Stephanie Zacharek
    Both the performance and the movie around it are virtually incomprehensible.

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