Stephanie Zacharek

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For 1,721 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1 point higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephanie Zacharek's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Wonderstruck
Lowest review score: 0 Collateral Beauty
Score distribution:
1721 movie reviews
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    But deeply earnest pictures aren't always great ones, and this movie's plot mechanics sometimes grind it down. The actors, at least, keep it breathing.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Management is ultimately undone by its own bland idiosyncrasies. It's nothing but a mismanaged opportunity.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Some questions just can't be answered by science, and the quandary of why Creation is so poundingly dull is one of them.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture never quite finds its tone: It's neither go-for-broke outrageous enough to be consistently funny, nor energetic enough to be viscerally entertaining. It's neither as bad as you might fear, nor as much fun as you might hope.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    If you buy the overprocessed headcheese of the serial killer as refined genius, you'll love Red Dragon. Or maybe not. Even Hannibal Lecter devotees may lose patience with this picture's grandiose, self-serious ponderousness -- that's Lecterese for, "It's kind of boring in patches, actually."
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Would be more fun if it were either more shameless or more principled in the bad-girl way, taking a stance on the value of artistry and attitude over commerce.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The more desperately a comedy tries to be outrageous, the less likely it is to be outrageous -- or even just funny. And that's the fate that befalls The Interview, which offers a few moments of casual brilliance... but otherwise trips itself up in the threads of its contrived absurdity.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Always worth watching when Angelina Jolie steps to the fore. Somehow, she takes a thuddingly ill-conceived role and turns it into gold
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Isn't as uproarious as it pretends to be. The foul language, the constant repetition of words like the aforementioned "boobies" -- look, they've even got me doing it -- doesn't feel daring or cathartic, only canned.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    As written by Hardy, Bathsheba is bracingly whole and human; here she’s been outlined, and thus circumscribed, by an eager student’s highlighter.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    While I don't think Blades of Glory is exactly homophobic -- it's not mean-spirited enough for that -- there's something a little too cheap and easy about the way it plays up to the ultra-straight guys in its target demographic.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    In the end, Alice in Wonderland comes off as manufactured instead of dreamy. Burton delivers all the wonder money can buy; what's missing is the wonder it can't.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Handled more delicately, Monster's Ball could have been a fine little movie about human beings' capacity for growth and change. As it is, it's less than half a fine movie. The great surprise is that its actors come through in the clutch.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Perfect Stranger is one of those movies that two years, or two months, from now, you won't recall having seen. Ostensibly a movie about big secrets, it comes up with few that are worth keeping, or telling.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie is straightforward in a way that makes it feel less manipulative than it might.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The plot has been greatly streamlined from Ellroy's book, but even so, it isn't any clearer, and the ending, convoluted and barely believable, hits with a thud.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    One of those unapologetically cerebral space-exploration sci-fi movies that's both boring and compelling at once.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    In its empty-headed hubris, it's not much more admirable than the conniving, moneygrubbing elite it's trying to take down.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Wolverine—despite being an improvement on Gavin Hood’s muddled 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine—isn’t worthy of Jackman’s gifts. It’s a reasonably engaging summer diversion, a semi-rousing adventure that doesn’t make you feel robbed of two hours of your life.
    • 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.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is action-packed but mindlessly so, and it’s neither light enough to work as a coltish entertainment nor smart enough to cut beyond anything but the most rote notions of masculinity.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Bend It Like Beckham is supposedly a movie about youth; its biggest shortcoming is that it rarely feels young.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's something refreshing about the way it invites us to splash around in its little wading pool of amorality.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    As with most animated films today, there’s lots of boring bromides about “family” and “belonging” that you have to suffer through to get to the good stuff.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Chéri is a perfect example of a movie that gets many of the details right and the vibe all wrong.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    To believe Déjà Vu, or even to pretend you can actually follow it, you'll need heavy-duty gear -- harness belt, spelunking helmet, a great deal of rope, PowerBars for sustenance. A little coffee wouldn't hurt, either.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is an exercise in exploitation joi de vivre, and your enjoyment of it will depend on your tolerance for shameless, reckless, unredemptive violence with relatively little artistic or spiritual value. After all, there's a time and a place for everything.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Deadpool, intended as a spiky antidote to superhero oversaturation, ends up impaling only itself.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    These interlocking stories don't move along as swiftly or as urgently as they should, and much of the dialogue thumps along on square wheels.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie is designed to stir up controversy. (Linklater and Schlosser have admitted as much.) But can you really stir up controversy with a lesson plan?
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is like a Tony Scott movie on quaaludes: Words and pictures are matched up in counterintuitive ways, and although the cutting is much slower than in Scott's hyperactive showboating, it makes just about as much sense. The movie's leisureliness is aggressive; the picture is artfully designed to make you feel that if you're bored, it's your own damn fault.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    A very gentle picture, intended to soothe us, not to jolt or shock us. But it's so gentle that it lacks any discernible energy; sometimes it seems there's barely enough tension in the story to keep the images from sliding off the screen.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It might not measure up to the 1967 original, but now Satan's got sooty pussycat eyes and a kitten-cruel smile.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    But as badly as the younger women in The First Wives Club are treated, none of the three central characters, with whom we're supposed to identify so strongly, comes off that well either.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It has its charming, lively moments, but also many that just feel tired and listless, as if the filmmakers were working off a checklist of all the things two well-past-middle-age travelers would say and do while trekking through the wilderness.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    I would have hated Love Actually less if it had been a total, clumsy disaster; the problem is that Curtis does pull off some amazingly well-tuned moments, as well as some very funny ones.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Even as a nostalgia ride, Starsky & Hutch poops out before it ever gets going.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie overall is painless if not exactly electrifying.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Hawke gives his all here -- or maybe just half his all -- and it isn't quite enough: He's trying to be soulful, but he really just looks a little tired. The real delight is Willem Dafoe, as the rednecky leader of the survivor humans.
    • 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's rare to see process — the making of anything — dealt with as clearly and poetically as it is in Saint Laurent. It's too bad the movie feels like a confusing, misshapen muslin.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Never as delightful and silly as it needs to be. The action is often manic, and there's a veneer of unapologetic corniness to it.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's all perfectly OK, and even, at times, delightful.... Yet Minions doesn't add up to all that it should.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    I wasn't sure a movie musical could be worse than last year's styrofoam-and-gilt swan-boat travesty "Phantom of the Opera," but I'm afraid Rent proves me wrong.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is clever, somber, quiet: There's just no reason it has to be as deadly boring as it is.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    In the end, Tupac: Resurrection gives us too much raw Tupac, and yet somehow not enough. He remains a mystery -- one who still sells lots and lots of records.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie has a perversely unifying effect: Muslims, Christians and Jews may not be able to agree on exactly who the heck Jesus is, but they're fully capable of bonding in boredom.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    If The Marked Ones is mildly brilliant in the first half, it stumbles witlessly into its own dumb pentagram in the second.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    So bloodless that it feels like an act of arty dishonesty.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The finest effect in this visceral gouge of a picture is Korean pop star Rain.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Toothless, gutless, one-note political movies like Jonathan Demme's The Manchurian Candidate, a picture that purports to have a galvanizing, liberal-minded theme (big business is taking over our country and our lives) but is really just ploddingly pedestrian.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Isn't emotionally manipulative but simply dull.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's enough sweetness, and enough just-under-the-surface intelligence, in The Education of Charlie Banks to suggest that Durst may have a future as a filmmaker.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The big screen doesn't seem to like Kutcher much, or even to GET him, whatever there is to get.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    So unself-conscious and breezy that you find yourself sailing along with it; its flaws become as negligible as harmless barnacles nestled well below the water line.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    With its wiry twists and turns, ends up buckling under the weight of its own cleverness.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The fatal flaw of Down With Love... is that in mining what's kitschily amusing about those movies, it also re-creates far too faithfully everything that's unbearable about them.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's a movie that needs to look down its nose for its laughs, which generally isn't the best place to find them.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    A neo-vampire movie for tender-hearted preadolescent girls who are afraid of sex. If that's your thing, go for it. But there's something genuinely creepy, and not in the good way.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's nicely made, well shot, and reasonably well acted, yet it's enough to filet the life force right out of you. We need stories in order to dream, and to live. But that doesn't mean we have to buy every crappy one that comes down the pike.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    I left Australia feeling drained and weakened, as if I'd suffered a gradual poisoning at the hands of a mad scientist.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    After its deceptively fleet opening 20 minutes or so, Chamber of Secrets settles into a plodding amble, a rickety framework in which many allegedly exciting things happen -- and are forgotten only minutes later.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Through its first two-thirds, at least, Hide and Seek does a good enough job of piquing our curiosity that the movie's ultimate dumbness is more than a minor insult.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    A little like the '80s crowd-pleaser "Ghost," but way artier.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Over and over again, Hoblit misses opportunities to make an engaging picture, instead giving us a merely pedestrian one.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    A disappointingly blunt, monochrome work.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's sunny and cheerful without coming off as too saccharine.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is so gentle, it barely leaves an impression.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    So gentle it barely has enough vitality to stick to the screen.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Red 2, disappointing in so many ways, isn't torture to watch, in part because Mirren has even more to do than she did in the first installment.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    If you boil Thirteen down to its flimsy bones, you'll find that it's not really so much about peer pressure in contemporary teen life as it is a story about a classic bad egg. That right there dilutes its highfalutin aspirations.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Breaking and Entering is so bloodless that even Minghella's best ideas come off as wan and pale.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    For loyal Malick fans, the woozy dream-logic visuals here may be enough. But this director is hardly the perceptive student of human nature he’s cracked up to be. He understands so little about women – and even less about our shoes.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Holiday drags on for more than two hours, long enough for even the most ardent suitor to lose interest. The premise, so delectable at the start, quickly begins to feel tired and oversold.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The reality is that it's neither hip nor funny: Instead, it's excessively broad one minute and unctuously instructional the next.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    An acceptably entertaining picture. At just 100 minutes long, it feels tight and trim, and unlike so many contemporary action pictures, it boasts only one ending, instead of three false ones. What's more, it's just as dumb as the original.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The story is stuffed with subplots and gags that are sometimes fun by themselves but don’t quite cohere into a whole — the picture has a melismatic waywardness, as if it’s singing as fast as it can yet is never quite sure where it’s going.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    How you'll feel about Sunshine Cleaning probably depends on your tolerance for slender, semi-hip comedic dramas about oddball families grappling with sometimes overwhelming problems.
    • 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.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Less a movie for intelligent moviegoers than a suggestion that we're all brainless chickens.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    An ungodly mess that's great fun to look at for about 15 minutes and exhausting the rest of the time.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    "Pearl Harbor" is exactly the kind of prestige project you'd expect from a director like Bay, hitting all its targets with plodding precision and never once achieving surprise.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Offers only the stingiest platform for its actors, and as a piece of storytelling -- built on the foundation of a great story -- it's an epic that's been sliced and diced into so many little morsels that almost nothing in it has any weight.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's too much people and not enough dog in Lawrence Kasdan's Darling Companion, and even if you prefer people to dogs, that's a serious problem.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Southpaw is an exhausting brutalist melodrama, but if nothing else, Fuqua always works with fine actors, and he's got a passel of them here.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    In terms of the gap between the movie it's trying to be and the movie it actually is, Mona Lisa Smile is in many ways indefensible. Yet for all its problems, it's satisfyingly movielike. The minutes drift by pleasurably and mindlessly.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Fever Pitch lacks that Farrelly spark, that warm, crazy glint.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Island walks a weird, wobbly line between being stupid, falsely fattened-up entertainment and a picture that just might have possibly been made by a person with a brain -- a scrambled one, but a brain nonetheless.
    • 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie -- too much of it -- is spent testing the boundaries of how loud and obnoxious McCarthy can be. Feig doesn't hand this able comic actress the gift of freedom; he simply gives her enough rope, which isn't nearly the same thing.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Even though Coppola is one of our most compassionate storytellers, she can't bring herself to like these kids much. She's not cynical enough to turn this story into satire.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Incredible Hulk suggests only that we've bottomed out on special effects: They're not necessarily getting better -- they're just getting bigger. Technically, Leterrier's Hulk is as realistic-looking as a rampaging green giant could be. But that doesn't make him credible.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    A picture that's dramatically compelling in some places and plodding and didactic in others.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The difference is that Michael Caine delivered the impossible; Jude Law can't.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's a refreshing surefootedness in the way Amiel, his screenwriters Cooper Layne and John Rogers, and most of his actors recognize how preposterous the idea of traveling to the center of the earth in a souped-up Rototiller really is.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Does feature one or two jump-out-of-your-skin moments.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is outrageously predictable and somewhat poky, but there's also something admirably bold about the way it so adamantly demands we swallow its hokum.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is a movie about two people in pain; the last thing they need is for Mendes to turn his cool camera on them. But that's all Mendes knows how to do. He's a clinical director, and whatever feeling he puts into a movie is measured out in careful quarter-teaspoon increments.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Should have been either a whole lot worse or a whole lot better than it is: If it were worse, we could simply toss aside the things that are fun and entertaining about it and not even think twice. And if it were better -- well, we'd have fewer complaints all around.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Godzilla is one of those generic, omnipresent blockbusters that's undone by the very spectacle it strives to dazzle us with: Everything is so gargantuan, so momentous, that nothing has any weight.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Gets more cluttered and confused as it moves along.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is directed with such a loose, slack hand that you'd think Craven had never directed a slasher-thriller before: I didn't jump once; I never even felt vaguely scared or creeped out.
    • 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.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    A Perfect Murder is more like a handful of anemic ice cubes floating in a lukewarm puddle.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    So captivating to look at that you can almost forget there's virtually nothing to it.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Isn't so much a movie as a tract, a parable in which the charred wisdom of its characters is much more significant than the intricacies of their lives.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is one of those lazy, lukewarm pictures that's even more disappointing than a purely bad one, and for one glaring reason: How could Marshall, his writers, and even his actors have let these dogs down so badly?
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Beneath its drab veil of self-seriousness, Mr. Brooks is nothing but just plain silly.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The big problem with it is that the setup is treated as just that, a scheme around which many things that are intended to be funny (but aren't very) are packed like ice around a fish.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Isn't really a movie but a blatant girls' night out vehicle.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Grant takes every stupid line and makes it funny, just by underplaying.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Reader feels weighty, all right; but it's an unsatisfying kind of weight, and Fiennes' presence, as the grown-up Michael, doesn't help much.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Overburdened with knowingly charming touches. It's waterlogged with whimsy.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Just when you think you've got a handle on the central characters in Bobby, yet more of them appear: The thing is a little like the stateroom scene in "A Night at the Opera."
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    If these new, allegedly topical movies are to make us feel anything -- to move us toward any action or even just toward any fresh realization -- they need to at least seem alive on the screen, instead of just courting our polite, measured applause.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    If you dare to keep track, the dumb stuff in The Space Between Us piles up quickly.... But it's not as easy to make fun of the mild sweetness at the heart of the movie.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Dahan's filmmaking damn near sabotages the performance.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Just another ambitious, lavish animated adventure, pretty enough to look at, but ultimately foundering on the weakness of its script.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    When in Rome may fall flat in places, but at least it hasn't had all the personality manicured out of it.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's only one good reason to see The Bone Collector, and her name is Angelina Jolie.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Herman isn't sure if he's doing a big-statement picture or a tiny treasure of a comedy, and his confusion throws Brassed Off off balance.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Probably supposed to be half fashion fantasy, half satire of the fashion world. What a drag that it's not enough of either.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Forgetting Sarah Marshall follows the Apatow formula faithfully enough. All that's missing is charisma -- the je ne sais quois that makes us fall in love in the first place.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    An eminently defensible light entertainment, peopled with characters that are easy to like and care about.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Interpreter is so intent on reminding us that it's a QUALITY piece of work that it forgets to give us the very thing we thought we came in for: a story.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    There’s one significant problem with both Fifty Shades movies that’s impossible to ignore. Dornan is just a dud.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Mendes doesn't care about people -- he's too busy making his art. And with Jarhead he pulls off, effortlessly, what so many pro-and antiwar individuals since Vietnam have tried so conscientiously to avoid: His movie is antiwar and anti-soldier.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    More ambitious than its predecessor. It's also more cluttered and less fleet: The light, pleasingly casual quality of the first picture has evolved into something forced and metallic.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Redford glances too lightly off the story's racial questions. You could call that approach "eminently tasteful" if you're looking for a nice substitute for "wimpy."
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Girl on the Train is less a thriller than a morality tale reminding us never to make snap judgments. No matter how dreadfully some characters behave, we’re not allowed to dislike anyone for long. That kind of catharsis isn’t allowed.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Too bad the story tucked around all that production design is such a futuristic drag.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Funniest in its first half, when you're not quite sure where it's going, and drags in the second, by which time you realize it's going nowhere.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Instead of taking us someplace we fear to go, Secret Window leads us to a place we've already been -- we know it so well, we could write the book on it ourselves.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The plot of Howl's Moving Castle meanders so listlessly that its details become less and less charming.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Baldwin brings so much lumbering weariness to his role that we can't help feeling something for his character
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The road to the finale is littered with dead bodies and red herrings, but Open Grave is more notable for its laid-back approach to storytelling than for its plot twists. That's a kind way of saying it's sort of boring.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Like so many modern animated features, Free Birds packs too much in; the picture feels cramped and cluttered, and, despite its occasionally manic action, it moves as slowly as a fattened bird waddling toward its doom.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    You come away with the sense that you should have come to care (or at least to know) more about its central characters than you do.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Dour, ponderous picture.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's often breezily entertaining.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Freedomland, overall, could have been so much better. But Moore, even in a performance as patchy as this one, is something to watch. She's an echo of the movie that might have been.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Has such a sweet spirit that it's easy enough to let its flaws sail by.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's dull in a very tasteful way, with none of the reverberating tenderness and sometimes surly vigor that characterize Rohmer's best work, things like "Summer" and "The Aviator's Wife."
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The structure of Duplicity is its own worst enemy.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Deschanel may not be as brilliant as the great comedian Gracie Allen (and, at any rate, it's too soon to tell). But her Rube Goldberg timing (which only seems indirect) and blissfully zonked demeanor suggest the spirit of Allen. She's the only actor in Failure to Launch who isn't earthbound; she leaves everyone else in the dust simply by hanging back.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    An adamantly unterrible picture, a reasonably enjoyable diversion.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Tusk is kind of terrible, annoying and self-congratulatory in all the ways we’ve come to expect from Smith (without even, say, any of the silly sweetness of the 2008 Zack and Miri Make a Porno). But Tusk is at least trying to be about something.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    A well-intentioned picture, it’s also a flawed one. This is filmmaking that sets out to make its points but fails, in big ways and small ones, to forge an emotional connection with most of its characters.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's no life, no juice, in the picture. Instead of tempting you into submission, it merely drugs you. It's surprising that a filmmaker who gave us such a lively debut, "Chicago," could slap us with a picture as dull and worthy as this one.
    • 93 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    (Harron) has made a passionless movie about a passionless man, and it's all supposed to add up to make us feel or even just think something, but what?
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    One night in 1408 stretches out until it ends up feeling more like a routine three-day business trip. The scariest thing in it may be the way the clock radio has a way of turning itself on, loudly, of its own accord. The song is always the Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun." Now THAT'S horror.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    A disappointing picture that suffers from all manner of ills: Both the direction and the dialogue are stiff and awkward, and Kramer -- who also wrote the script -- crams too many not-believable-enough subplots into the movie's "Crash"-style construction. Yet Crossing Over is an interesting failure.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Suffers from a lack of conviction.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's nothing wrong with Chan's making a silly comedy for kids. But he's got more in him than grinning, nodding and falling down a lot. All he needs is a filmmaker who's ready to let him to make that leap.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    A simple entertainment that's by and large carried on the backs of its actors, some who are wonderful and others who are merely likable.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Eastwood is so busy humanizing Japanese soldiers that he ends up rewriting history.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Emperor may not be the most dazzling of history lessons, but it never treats the past as a dusty, deserted place.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Even in 3D, as the picture is being shown in some theaters -- Ginormica is a disappointingly flat character.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Although it's supposed to be supremely romantic, there's no daring in it, no go-for-broke passion. It's a nice little movie about romantic compulsion, just big enough to fit in a teacup.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Parts of it are brilliant; some of it feels tired and overplayed. Cohen has come up with some marvelous satirical motifs; elsewhere, he's just showing how far he'll go to get a laugh.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Clearly designed to be an action thriller with emotional underpinnings. But you can't get blood from a stone, no matter how hard you squeeze. And so Cruise, a huge box-office star, is the single bright, blinking emblem of the failure of Mission: Impossible III.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is a here today, gone tomorrow trifle, albeit one with lots of gunplay. In midsummer, that may be enough, but it's still a shame that 2 Guns shoots so many blanks.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Meet the Browns, like the rest of Tyler Perry's movies and plays, will find its audience. His talent lies in knowing what people will buy. He's a marketer, not a filmmaker.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's great that Perry has seized opportunity for himself and for the performers he employs. But has he succeeded only in creating a kind of ghetto for black-themed entertainment that's of sub-par quality -- one that, admittedly, makes him a lot of money?
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Snaps to life too late. But at least there IS life in it. It doesn't hold together as a piece of filmmaking, but there's no doubt it comes from somewhere close to Schreiber's heart.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    The story hits every expected beat, right when you expect it to. And it squanders some of its best resources.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Kelly is devoted to telling his stories visually -- except when he's not. And the second half of The Box, unfortunately, underscores everything Kelly, as a filmmaker, wants to be and just can't.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Strives to be a work of greatness. But Kaufman's overarching vision is a lot less interesting than the small insights he gathers along the way. This is what happens when life imitates art, and blows it.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Penn’s vanity — both in the way he shows off his bod and in the way he drives home the nobility of the once-wayward Terrier — is either the most deeply annoying thing about The Gunman, or the one thing in it that actually works. I’m leaning toward the latter.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Before long, the story's conceit -- a loud-and-clear metaphor for the ways in which we all sometimes feel alien when it comes to human relationships -- just becomes wearying.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Armadillo tells us lots of things we shouldn't be so naïve as to think we don't already know. Maybe we need to see these things again and again, just so we don't lose sight of the costs and risks of the wars in which American and European soldiers are currently engaged.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Fantastic Four doesn't expand on, or even illuminate, anything much beyond the most basic theme of what it feels like to be an adolescent misfit. This is a comic-book movie that actually makes an effort not to go over kids' heads.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Match Point is a fatally neat exercise in detached craftsmanship, and maybe that's the best we can expect from Allen at this point.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Spartan is the same old stuff, but now it's been thoroughly Mametized, like a spray-on treatment you could spritz out of a can.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    I, Robot strives to be so many things that it ultimately falls away to nothing, a heap of expensive metal parts.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    As lousy as it is, Diary of a Mad Black Woman is weirdly fascinating.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Even if there were a compelling narrative here to begin with, Montiel's excessive technique would throw you right out of it.
    • 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.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    To Crowley's credit, Closed Circuit is decidedly unflashy. But maybe that's a liability: There's a fine line between restrained and drab, and Closed Circuit falls just on the wrong side of it.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    In the early scenes of Larry Crowne, Hanks' Larry is so assertively regular he almost comes off as a special-needs child - grinning into his coffee-cup in the big-box-store break room, he has all the sexual allure of Forrest Gump.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    Too earnest and dour to be a silly bit of summer fun, but it's not exactly scientifically sound, either.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    There are some body-horror gross-outs if you're into that sort of thing, but mostly what you get are a bunch of too-obvious leftovers from the "Alien" stockroom, including a selection of moist innards, slimy tendons, dripping fangs and the like.
    • 14 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    The tiniest bit of Hudson's wrinkly-crinkly cuteness goes a long way, and in A Little Bit of Heaven, watching her waste away becomes slow torture. She's like an adorbs Camille.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's a fine line between a character who has a sense of humor about herself and one who's being repeatedly humiliated for entertainment value, and I'm afraid Ally falls on the wrong side of the line.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie's look is artificially grainy, and most of the scenes are encrusted with CGI - you'd have to chip it away with a chisel to get to anything human or interesting or even remotely fantastical.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    The only bright spot in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is Max von Sydow, as a mysterious, and mysteriously mute.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    It comes to the party overdressed and still fails to make an impression.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    As horrific as Something Borrowed is, it's compelling in its own sick way.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    Every actor in Friends with Benefits, including the nearly indestructible Patricia Clarkson and Richard Jenkins, stalls out in the process of pedaling desperately to make this substandard material work.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    Some of us wonder, still, how Margaret Thatcher can continue to live with herself. Watching Meryl Streep walk around so ably in Thatcher's skin isn't enlightening; it's more like a living nightmare.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    Isn't just unfunny; it's so dull.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 45 Stephanie Zacharek
    Your enjoyment - if that's the right word - of Buried will hinge on two things: Your ability to tolerate situations in which characters are confined to very tight spaces, and your willingness to be emotionally manipulated in the cheapest way imaginable.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 42 Stephanie Zacharek
    Watching Identity Thief will steal nearly two hours of your life that you’ll never get back. It takes far more than it gives.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 42 Stephanie Zacharek
    The violence is so indifferently presented that it has no kick; it’s not grim or graphic enough to shock, but it doesn’t rev us up, either. The picture’s various shoot-’em-up sequences are so generically conceived and shot that each one is indistinguishable from the next – by the movie’s end, they may as well all collapse into an exhausted heap.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 42 Stephanie Zacharek
    Dead Man Down is actually mildly entertaining, without being particularly fun.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie chickens out. In the Valley of Elah could have been really interesting -- and really daring -- if it had focused on Hank's realization that his own child, supposedly a good kid, had perhaps committed the kinds of atrocities that would make any decent human being recoil. The movie (which Haggis also wrote) dances around that territory, but doesn't dare to march straight into its terrifying maw.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture has a lax, sleepy vibe: There's never anything taut or electric about it. And so, like Pacino's character, we sleepwalk through it.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Transcendence, written by Jack Paglen, is just more business as usual, one of those "control technology or it will control you" sermons that nonetheless enlists the usual heap of technically advanced special effects.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    So much of Abbas' dialogue consists of stiff platitudes (the script is by journalist Rula Jebreal, based on her novel of the same name); the character she's playing has been reduced to a dull, saintly figure, and not even Abbas can find a way out of that miniature prison.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Next is clearly an attempt at a puzzle movie, one of those brainteaser pictures that lures viewers into another dimension, but it doesn't have the momentum, the quick-wittedness, to keep us wondering what's going to happen next.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Funny People is an ambitious, misshapen picture that feels like two, maybe even three, separate movies uncomfortably jammed into one.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Paris Hilton is the big draw in Jaume Collet-Serra's not-really-a-remake horror-slasher thriller House of Wax, and she'd have to be: There's so little else going on in it that you find yourself waiting for her few brief scenes.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Fonda and Sykes are made for each other, and their incessant bickering and arguing are about the only things that give Monster-in-Law any life.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Shanley offers no resolution to this Sharks vs. Jets conflict. For that, we have to wait for "Doubt! The Musical."
    • 32 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Dull and listless from the start, partly because the leads fail to connect and partly because both the script and the direction let them down.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Becomes more and more preposterous with each scene -- it's almost like performance art.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    A belabored trifle that's occasionally amusing but often just bewildering.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Which would all be well and good, if only Arcand's approach weren't so deliberate and stupefyingly superior.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie is neither cathartic nor entertaining. The action scenes (and there are many of them) feel mechanized and calculated.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Whatever complex or interesting ideas might have been found in the source material have been watered down, skimmed over, mashed into nonsense or simply ignored.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Miller seems to have brought neither his brains nor his heart (both of which we know he's got) to this project. The style is willing. But the spirit is weak.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Intended as nothing more than a here-today, gone-tomorrow zany entertainment, and at the very least, it has a good-natured, slightly raunchy spirit about it. But ultimately, it's a hollow enterprise, all ping and no pong. It doesn't bounce; it splats.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Ambitious, overbearing and hollow; it goes overboard to impress, yet it never feels truly inventive or imaginative. At best, it achieves a level of clumsy camp.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's loads of suffering in Sleepwalking, piled on until the picture almost becomes an unintentional comedy.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Isn't just a movie about decapitation; it's a decapitated movie. It has no idea where its head is at.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Aside from a few well-shaped moments from some of the actors, the editing is about the only thing that keeps your mind occupied in Full Frontal -- and any good editor will tell you that's a problem.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The kind of self-conscious puzzle picture in which characters behave in ways that serve the plot but in no way resemble things that actual human beings would be likely to do.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Other Woman doesn't give these actresses much to do except look ridiculous, if not sneaky and conniving.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Gerry moves slowly and deliberately, like a torture technique, leaving us feeling as dry and dusty and lost as its two characters.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The misfires, including a strange menstruation gag, far outnumber the hits. Dumb and Dumber To is mostly just a kick in the nuts, and not the good kind -- provided there is a good kind.
    • 26 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    If you're trying to reinvigorate the art of the stylish thriller, the movie you come up with needs to be stylish and it needs to be thrilling. Basic Instinct 2, is neither.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Horse Whisperer is just the latest example of tab-A-into-slot-B moviemaking to come out of Hollywood, a weeper that's built according to a solid set of rules.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Land of the Lost isn't a terrible movie. It's merely a perplexing one: Who is this thing for?
    • 22 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Renny Harlin's Legend of Hercules fulfills every silly, flimsy promise that it makes in the first place: There are lots of battles (albeit rather jerkily rendered ones), some grand-looking horses decked out in handsome metal headdresses, and lots of well-oiled beefcake.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is resolutely unhip and proud of it, which can be a good thing in the right hands or, in the wrong ones, just a gimmick. Nearly everything about Pineapple Express is a gimmick.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is muddled and oppressive storytelling (the script is by William Monahan) dotted with elaborate but weightless battle sequences.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Break-Up doesn't know whether it wants to be a facile, enjoyable date movie or an unnerving examination of the dark, pockmarked underbelly of everything we expect out of romantic relationships, and it settles for a deeply unsatisfying nowheresville.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's a fine line dividing Hollywood tradition and overly manipulative junk, and Tears of the Sun crosses it.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Troy isn't so much a simplified retelling of "The Iliad" as a re-imagined version of it, told wholly without imagination.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Dermot Mulroney is the movie's only genuinely romantic lead. And he's so good that he nearly carries The Wedding Date single-handedly.
    • 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.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    In this mess of a picture, Timberlake may be the rookie actor, but he's also the one to watch, the movie's North Star. The rest may as well be pinholes in a box.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Its glorious, snow-capped visuals aside, The Hateful Eight comes off as haggard and atrophied. It’s bloodless even in the midst of all its bloodiness; its characters are devoid of nobility, even the horrible kind. These are uglies not even a mother could love.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's a great story here, but Asante — who has made one previous feature, the 2004 drama A Way of Life — can't quite harness its power.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is mostly tedious and unpleasant, which is a shame for the sake of the performers. Jackman works hard here, and his performance does away with vanity altogether.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture has no legs, no style, no sense of movement other than the meandering, dawdling kind.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    You can feel the good intentions vibrating off the screen, but it's still a listless affair, one that takes forever to go almost nowhere. The picture struggles so valiantly to be a woman's empowerment fable that it leaves you wishing for just a little romance.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Disjointed and disorganized, and it meanders when it needs to gallop.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Revenge of the Fallen just comes off as a bratty kid showing how many swear words he knows.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Has a TV Movie of the Week righteousness about it -- you can feel the way the filmmakers and the director are struggling to educate us, even as they must surely know, deep in their hearts, that the florid, doomed romance is the real focus of the movie.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Premonition doesn't know when to stop. The picture can't decide between cheap scares or deep thoughts, so it goes for both.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Dimly entertaining, the sort of thing that doesn't insult you so much that you feel compelled to flee the theater, but it's too inert to be anything close to charming or compelling.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Forget about cancer -- it's weepy movies like this that are the real scourge.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    [Georgia Rule] is clearly intended to be an uplifting multigenerational drama about abuse, healing and forgiveness. Yet there's something unsavory about the way it uses a character's emotional and psychological scars as a gimmick.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The jokes are forced, almost mechanical, in their crudeness.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is a glazed, inhuman, cluttered piece of work, a storytelling mishmash that buries the considerable charms of its actors under heavy drifts of silt.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Noah is here not to set the record straight, but to set it on its head. This isn't a lavish work of mad genius, it's a movie designed to be a lavish work of mad genius, and there's a difference.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Neither Dahl nor most of his actors ever quite convince us that there's a good reason to sit in front of a movie screen watching them for more than two hours.
    • 17 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is humorless and witless. The barrage of allegedly important details is supposed to keep us intrigued, but it barely keeps us occupied.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    It sure is handsome-looking, throwing off a majestic gleam. But that’s not the same as possessing actual majesty. There’s barely a minute when The Great Wall doesn’t veer into the trying-too-hard zone, and to watch all that striving is simply exhausting.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    An exploration of self-absorption that is itself too self-absorbed to be either entertaining or enlightening.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    So wearying that it makes you feel duped for being open to it in the first place. Hamlet 2 works so hard at being entertaining, in that quirky, Indie 101 sense, that it just grinds you down.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Takes far too long to get cooking, and it works so hard at NOT being exploitation that it loses sight of its reasons for existing in the first place.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Hornet's Nest is filled with boring, not-great-looking white guys, talking - a lot.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Even these actors -- who, in other pictures, are often wonderful in distinctive ways -- don't seem like themselves: It's as if they've been pulverized and pressed into convenient actor shapes.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    There are so many emotions in We Are Marshall that there's hardly any room for football -- and when we finally get some, even THAT'S clogged with excess feeling.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie around Lane and Gere is unreal, a tortured construct, but they open a breathing space in its center.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Might have been classy, entertaining junk -- if only it were entertaining.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's all more wearying than fun. Except for Law, whose courtly sangfroid can elevate even the dumbest roles.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    In the end, Non-Stop is a waste of a perfectly good Neeson, and of our time and goodwill. Please make it stop.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Forget the heat of passion: The movie never breaks a sweat.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Elizabethtown is a sprawl, perhaps the victim of a kind of ADD of the heart.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The story condescends to Mae, and, by extension, to smart, ambitious millennials everywhere — I’m not a millennial, but I felt offended on their behalf.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Especially for a movie that springs from a horrific and grisly crime, True Story feels undershaped and indistinct; it’s too dispassionate to be genuinely chilly.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Lars von Trier is a mechanic, not an artist. And his movies are meat grinders he feeds his characters through.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Becoming Jane would have been more honest if it had been called "No Sex in the Country."
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Too heavy on applied charm and too flimsy when it comes to plot. The picture has a hapless, meandering quality that's tolerable at first but ultimately becomes maddening, as if it were a cartoon narrative recounted by a distracted 4-year-old.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Van Helsing wears its price tag on its ruffled lamé sleeve. And yet it gives off an aura of what I can only call lavish cheapness.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    An extended metaphor for the condition of man, and boy is it extended. In the course of two hours that crawl by like four and a half.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's no energy, no spark, in Made of Honor. Even its clichés -- including a dashing rescue on horseback -- are trotted out with bland indifference.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Judge has its funny moments but is far more serious at heart, and much more of a slog, too.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Moves along, taking two steps backward into crassness for every clever or just plain sweet moment it offers. Although many of the movie's problems seem to be rooted in the script, Columbus has such a heavy touch that he sabotages nearly every scene.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Sure, sex and drugs can take you to a higher plane. But not if a movie crushes your will to live first.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Despite the fact that The Day After Tomorrow is harnessed to the very real threat of global warming, it's still just a big, dumb movie, another Hollywood entertainment that, instead of tweaking and teasing our brains for fun, leaves us feeling thick and stupid.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The supposition, maybe, is that in an alleged thrill ride of a movie like this one, the words aren't supposed to matter.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The whole thing seems so perfectly good-natured that you settle in for some harmless, silly fun. But Dukes runs out of gas early on.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Anger Management is so almost-but-not-quite funny that it feels like one colossal gyp.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Step over to the liquor cabinet and mix yourself a good, stiff drink - if you plan on seeing this godforsaken thing, you'll need it.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is so drab and listless that it often feels like punishment, even though Rickman gives a fine performance, one that's heartfelt as well as characteristically elegant (not to mention sexy).
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    You can't BECOME a character if you want to BE that character: Desperation isn't the same thing as acting. Spacey's mimicry is so precise, it's exhausting.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Goldblum manages to rise above the proceedings via his invisible jetpack of dry wit — thank God for that. The only newcomer who emerges unscathed is Gainsbourg, who glides through this mess with Zen equanimity—even as chaos reigns, she keeps her cool.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    There are so many problems with Norbit that when you try to pin one down, another one splooges out elsewhere.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Jonze's ideas, visual and otherwise, spill out in a faux-philosophical ramble that isn't nearly as deep as he thinks it is; at best, it's a scrambled tone poem. Even the look of the picture becomes tiresome after a while -- it starts to seem depressive and shaggy and tired.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    A glum, listless affair that springs to life now and then, only to sag back into its saggy, depressive cushion.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    As is generally the case with Hollywood movies that use Asian horror films as their inspiration, the Guard brothers seem to have glanced at the original, borrowed a few images and then made the movie according to some preconceived template of what makes audiences jump -- instead of burrowing into the stuff that haunts our dreams.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    It doesn't take long for Bekmambetov to wear out his welcome with a laundry list of generic-looking action sequences: When you've seen one vampire get stabbed in the eyeball, you've seen 'em all.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Lorax is so big, flashy and redundant that it courts precisely the kind of blind consumerism it's supposed to be condemning. It doesn't trust kids to sit still and pay attention for even a minute.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Never have a great historical hero's accomplishments seemed so inconsequential, or so damned hard to figure out.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    To his credit, Langenegger keeps things relatively simple instead of resorting to lots of fast cutting and fancy camera angles. To his detriment, the picture he has made barely moves at all. This no-style style isn't restraint; it's a kind of indifference to filmmaking.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Lone Ranger has it all, but what you end up with is not much. It's an extravagantly squandered opportunity.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Both oversimplifies and overcomplicates Moore's and Lloyd's vision, but it never cuts to the bone. It's a movie drawn with big, bold strokes and very little feeling -- a tracing-paper exercise masquerading as a masterpiece.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    The plot is so convoluted that missing even five minutes at a stretch won't make any difference in your comprehension of the story.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Bale gives a remarkable performance in a movie I can recommend to no one, because the sight of him is more distressing than any of the allegedly deep themes of the picture.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    A movie that wants to be "Speed" so badly that it runs roughshod over the essentials, including a decent script.

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