For 412 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 65% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 34% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephanie Zacharek's Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Palo Alto
Lowest review score: 10 Oldboy
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 412
412 movie reviews
    • 46 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Turteltaub strives to show us realistic-looking magic, without realizing he'd be better off if he acknowledged that there's no such thing. Instead, we get human figures that emerge "magically" from swarms of cockroaches and sorceresses who dissolve into dust particles right before our eyes. It's the best CGI money can buy, and who cares?
    • 68 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's nothing so frustrating as a small movie, made by a clearly gifted filmmaker, that flies close to magic only to be sternly jerked back to earth.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    The problem isn't just that the gags feel airless and pointless; it's that the performers - many of whom have done wonderful work in other settings - seem more bent on pleasing each other than on entertaining us.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Suspenseful in a few places and absurd in plenty of others; if she were a real person, Lisbeth Salander herself would have no patience with it.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Most of Stephen Frears' Tamara Drewe is so breezily entertaining, and so bracingly clear-eyed about what total pains in the asses writers can be, that its final 15 minutes feel like an all-wrong slap in the face.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    As potentially appealing as these two actors might be, there's just nowhere for this story to go.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Tries too hard and ultimately achieves less. It's undone by its own inferiority complex.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Mostly, The Mechanic creaks and groans as it goes through the motions, and not even its lavish violence - which includes much smashing of heads and a nasty screwdriver stabbing - is particularly electrifying.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Hopkins is having a blast, and he's fun to watch.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's a lot that works in Heartbeats - so much that its flaws stand out in disappointingly sharp relief.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    The chief reason to see Potiche - maybe the only reason - is Deneuve.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Bier appears to have a delicate touch with actors: In a Better World is loaded - perhaps overloaded - with nuance, and her performers never overdo a thing.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    The bad news is that The Conspirator - doesn't have enough crackle.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Rio
    If nothing else, Rio is unabashedly jubilant.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Bridesmaids is the Bride of Frankenstein of contemporary comedies, a movie stitched together crudely, and only semi-successfully, from random chick flick and bromance parts.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is cluttered and convoluted and big, and Marshall - taking over the reins from Gore Verbinski - doesn't seem to grasp how exhausting nonstop action can be.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Tree of Life is gorgeous to look at. It's also a gargantuan work of pretension and cleverly concealed self-absorption masquerading as spiritual exploration.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    The timing couldn't be more opportunistic for a new Steven Spielberg movie that mines the thrilling uncertainties of childhood - even if it happens to have been made by J.J. Abrams.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    For every line or gag that works, there are three or four more that seem to belong in a different movie altogether, either a darker one or a breezier one.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Dirty Girl is harmless enough, and the early scenes, in which Danielle surveys poor Clarke with snobbish contempt, have a pleasing nastiness.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Fiennes works hard to keep the rhythm going: He stages hand-to-hand combat sequences and knife fights as if he were making a smart action movie, not adapting Shakespeare, which is precisely the point.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    We Need to Talk About Kevin is a little too facile in the way it sets up the horrific climax: Just one look at this kid and you know he's trouble, yet no one besides mom can see it.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    A movie like Norwegian Wood is a peculiar case – its intentions are sterling, and it's hard to pinpoint any technical flaws. The problem, maybe, is that it's trying too hard; Tran has such firm control over the storytelling that the resulting picture has no room to breathe.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Between the Truffautish voice-overs and Jacques Demy-style musical interludes, it's a wonder anyone in this sort-of drama, sort-of comedy ever gets any rest.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Either in spite of or because of its whimsically convincing quality, Man on a Ledge is reasonably fun to watch along the way.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    But there's so much going on in Big Miracle that the biggest miracle of all – the whales at the center of the story, get lost amid all the criss-crossing love stories, political wheeler-dealing and well-intentioned but inadequate rescue missions.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Seyfried has spent too much time lately in vehicles that aren't worthy of her, "Red Riding Hood" being the most egregious example. Gone at least takes her seriously – except when, to delicious effect, it doesn't.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    At what point do we stop applauding the Duplass brothers for their gumption and stick-to-itiveness and admit that, maybe, their storytelling just isn't so hot? Or that their characters sometimes seem more like groovy-cute constructs than believable people?
    • 54 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is also weirdly compelling, maybe most notably for the way Dafoe's character - who is, in this respect, perhaps a stand-in for the Bronx-born Ferrara - seems to be grappling less with the idea that the world is ending than that the city is ending.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 65 Stephanie Zacharek
    Bully is much better when it sticks to simple storytelling. And storytelling, not grandstanding, is the thing that just might grab the attention of, say, school administrators, people who can have some effect on how bullies are dealt with.