Stephanie Zacharek

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For 1,730 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 0.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephanie Zacharek's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Lowest review score: 0 Crush
Score distribution:
1730 movie reviews
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    Even beyond its charismatic star, Jauja is captivating, not least because of Alonso's ability to capture the cruel beauty of the natural landscape — you can almost see the earth itself refusing to accept European imperialism blithely.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Stephanie Zacharek
    The film Hawke has made — which borrows its title, though little else, from J.D. Salinger — works both as a celebration of Bernstein, whose spirit is at once gentle and boldly generous, and as a way of exploring creativity and the meaning it can have in our lives.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    This Cymbeline is brash and inventive and more than a little wild. Perhaps we've been wrong about this play all along.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Like all of Branagh's films, even some of the bad ones, Cinderella is practically Wagnerian in its ambitions — it's so swaggering in its confidence that at times it almost commands us to like it. But it's also unexpectedly delicate in all the right ways, and uncompromisingly beautiful to look at.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    In the end, listing this sequel’s flaws and charms is a loser’s game, and I throw up my hands: I just had fun, maybe mostly because watching these actors brings me so much joy. There’s nothing second best about that, or about them.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    The story Levine spins out of this premise has a rambunctious, woolly quality, though in the end there may be too many stringy loose ends for him to weave in properly. Still, Wild Canaries has its quiet charms.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    The fact that Cronenberg directed almost works against Maps to the Stars: We expect greatness from him, not just proficiency, and he doesn't exactly have a gift for comedy, not even the black kind. But the movie still has the darkly glittering Cronenberg touch, even if it's just a light brushing.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Wild Tales is loose-limbed, rowdy, and exhilarating — in its vibrant lunacy, and with its cartoonishly brash violence, it's a little bit Almodóvar, a little bit Tarantino.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Stephanie Zacharek
    What We Do in the Shadows is never as self-conscious as you fear it might be, and it has some of the loose, wiggy energy of early Jim Jarmusch, only with more bite. It makes getting poked a pleasure.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Mommy is first and foremost a mother-and-son story, but it's also a surprisingly delicate exploration of lonely lives, and the temporary islands of companionship that make them bearable.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Stephanie Zacharek
    Levinson and Pacino's willingness to explore the creakier end of life isn't a drawback; it's what gives The Humbling its bittersweet vitality.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Black Sea is so almost-terrific that it's ultimately more disappointing than a movie that's merely badly or carelessly made.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    Strickland builds the film, artfully, into a complex and ultimately moving essay on the privileges of victimhood and the nuances of what it means to suffer for love.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    The triumph of Still Alice is that it’s not about an illness; it’s about a person.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    There’s visual thinking everywhere you look in Blackhat, which is great until you realize that it’s bled into a kind of overthinking — the movie is too much of a good thing, an exercise that flattens any potential exhilaration or excitement into the sensation of grading a term paper.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Spierigs had the framework for something wonderful here, if only they’d trusted themselves to keep things simple.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Stephanie Zacharek
    Although there's nothing sensationalistic about his approach, [Graf] treats the characters' tentative, often problematic bohemianism as a wild, brave, and precious thing, and the lead actors — restrained where it counts and bold where it matters — are a pleasure to watch.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is a dense, multilayered picture, one firmly rooted in a specific landscape, a dramatic coastal spot dotted with the carcasses of decrepit fishing boats, as well as the magnificent skeleton of one long-dead whale.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    With Selma, DuVernay has pulled off a tricky feat, a movie based on historical events that never feels dull, worthy, or lifeless; it hangs together as a story and not just part of a lesson plan. The movie is at once intimate and grand in scope.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    The pleasures offered by The Gambler are simple, but don’t hold that against it. Wyatt, director of the 2011 surprise hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes, brings some bristly, swaggering energy to the thing, and that in turn may have loosened Wahlberg up: He’s both more intense and freer than he’s been in years.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    The third installment, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb may be the best, and even the generally wound-too-tight Ben Stiller — once again playing a bemused Museum of Natural History guard — is easy to tolerate.
    • 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.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    Leigh, Spall, and cinematographer Dick Pope — who borrows lots of lighting tricks from Vermeer and Ingres and even Turner himself, to glorious effect — have gently atomized Turner's character, breaking it into small, potent fragments that affect us in ways we don't see coming.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    Sturdy and rudimentary, Magician may be Welles 101, but it's dotted liberally with TV and radio clips of the famously loquacious auteur talking, talking, and doing more talking — and how could anybody with ears and a brain resist that buttery voice, spinning out clause-laden sentences that take more twists and turns than the streets of Venice but always end, somehow, in a place that's ravishingly articulate?
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Inherent Vice isn't the towering masterpiece that those who admired There Will Be Blood and The Master were probably hoping for, and thank God for that. It's loose and free, like a sketchbook, though there's also something somber and wistful about it — it feels like less of a psychedelic scramble than the novel it's based on.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    Chris Rock couldn't have planned it this way, but his exuberant and wondrous comedy Top Five, opening at just the right time, is like an airdrop of candy over the city, if not the country.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's sort of a fascinating mess, a jagged, dark jumble of a thing anchored by Cage's anguished, moony-eyed obsessiveness. It's not bad enough to be fun, but maybe just bad enough to be intriguing.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Both the material and the setting seem to have shaken something loose in Witherspoon (who is also one of the movie's producers): She's moved further away from those uptight, humorless romantic-comedy cuties she played in the mid 2000s and more toward the breezy, blunt, self- determined characters of her early career.

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