Stephanie Zacharek
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For 1,523 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 46% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephanie Zacharek's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Love Is Strange
Lowest review score: 0 Speed Racer
Score distribution:
1,523 movie reviews
    • 92 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    There are epic impulses everywhere you look in There Will Be Blood; what's missing is character development, focused storytelling and, most significantly (apart from that terrific opening sequence), any sense of raw, intuitive drama.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Her
    Instead of just being desperately heartfelt, Her keeps reminding us — through cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema's somber-droll camera work, through Phoenix's artfully slumped shoulders — how desperately heartfelt it is.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Eastwood is so busy humanizing Japanese soldiers that he ends up rewriting history.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    While the filmmaking overall suffers from a kind of tasteful, low-key blandness, Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of Capote keeps the blood coursing through it. He's the bright, chilling spot of color at the center of an otherwise beige movie.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Up
    Save for a few inspired canine gags and a handful of very pretty visual details, Up left me cold. Its charms appear to have been applied with surgical precision; by the end, I felt expertly sutured, but not much else.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Takes great pains to be a compassionate love story; but the filmmaking itself, self-consciously restrained and desiccated, is inert and inexpressive.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    His (Miyazaki) stories, and often his character design, just leave me cold. I know I'm supposed to be magically transported by his fanciful tales and his whimsical grandiosity, but they make me listless.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Even as dystopian dramas go, the picture is arid and lusterless in its more serious moments and unpleasantly kitschy when it tries to soar over the top.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    Am I alone in thinking that computer animation is the work of the antichrist?
    • 84 Metascore
    • 55 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Descendants is an ultra-polished picture in which every emotion we're supposed to feel has been cued up well in advance. There's nothing surprising or affecting about it. Not even Clooney, who works wonders with the occasional piece of dialogue, can save it.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It is a very expensive-looking, very flashy entertainment, albeit one that groans under the weight of clumsy storytelling in the second half and features some of the most godawful dialogue this side of "Attack of the Clones."
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Comes off not as topical but as opportunist. The picture is brushed with a fine glaze of slickness, a product sealed in a blister pack. It's like airplane air -- it has a packaged freshness that isn't really fresh at all.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture throws off no feeling, not even the misanthropic kind; at best, it manages a dull, throbbing energy, as if Burton were dutifully pushing his way through the material instead of shaping it.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    The animation itself is technically gorgeous, a class act all the way. But there's so little to be found in the faces of the characters, or even in the way their limbs move (much of it adopted, cleverly enough, from Tati's own physical style), that it's not clear what we're supposed to feel for them.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Nolan may want us to believe in the darkness that lurks within each of us, but instead of leading us to it visually, he chops it up and sets it out in front of us, a grim, predigested banquet.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    To be bewildered by Upstream Color is to be human; the story is obtuse by design, though the filmmaking is X-Acto precise. But it's a bloodless movie, and its ideas aren't as tricky or complex as Carruth's arch, mannered approach might suggest.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The plot of Howl's Moving Castle meanders so listlessly that its details become less and less charming.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Grand in its aims but tepid in its conclusions, A Most Violent Year burns slow and gives off very little heat. It's not really that violent. But it sure feels like a year.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    Condon's tone is gentle and lifeless and at times baffling: The picture is a weird cross between clinical and whimsical.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    Well-meaning but remote picture.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 55 Stephanie Zacharek
    The tragedy of The Fighter is that Wahlberg's performance suggests a character who wants more. And yet Russell barely seems to notice how much subtlety Wahlberg brings to his role, or to the movie at large.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The visual originality of The Saddest Music is deceiving: Narratively and spiritually, the movie is bankrupt, even though it's so packed with stuff (including a set of shapely prosthetic glass legs filled with dazzling, fizzy beer) that you can hardly bring yourself to believe that it all adds up to nothing.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Bits of the picture are fascinating to look at, but eventually, exhaustion kicks in, to the point where we're not sure what we're looking at, or why.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    It doesn't matter if the movie around Firth is a good one or a lousy one: Either way, I wouldn't be able to explain how an actor could come up with a performance as subtle, in both its heartbreak and its magnificence, as this one is.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's so little love to be found in Dreamgirls. It's a product that promises magic, and yet gives us nothing to live on.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's a late-night infomercial masquerading as a concert movie, more an advertisement for vitality than a picture of vitality itself. There's something self-congratulatory, preening, about both the performance and the filmmaking.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    Gibney, a prolific and skilled documentarian, marshals and organizes a raft of information as deftly as anyone could wish. But his conclusions are murkier than they might be.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    The vainglorious pas de deux between Philip and Zimmerman is entertaining for a while, though the novelty gradually wears off.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Penn and Teller are bright guys, and their act can be fun in small doses. Yet Tim's Vermeer accentuates one of their worst impulses: They think they're mischievously raining on our parades when, really, they're not telling us much at all.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Gunn has to juggle so many plot elements — so many booming galactic battles, so many whisker-close brushes with death — that it's little wonder he loses his grip on the thing. He inserts occasional moments of wonder but doesn't bother to smooth over the seams.

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