Stephen Hunter

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For 933 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephen Hunter's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 After Life
Lowest review score: 0 The King and I
Score distribution:
933 movie reviews
    • 30 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    One doesn't come away from it with any sense of what the victory cost in human terms.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Endearing if slight, Superstar at least knows what it's doing the whole way.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It's not great; it's also not idiotic.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    The movie is content to be a kind of middling expression of human decency: It's never either terribly funny or terribly dramatic, but Latifah's quiet solidity and common sense root it in ways that larger, louder pictures never achieve.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    He got too much movie. That's the scoring total on Spike Lee's He Got Game, which ultimately must be judged a mild disappointment.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    All the King's Men hasn't been directed so much as over-directed, although the result, when you make an effort to filter out all the film school pyrotechnics, is an honorable run at Robert Penn Warren's classic novel.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Andrew Dominik's long and bizarre movie about the American outlaw appears to stick close enough to the facts so that historians won't be able to complain. But it languishes toward torpor.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    The films are bloody, stupid and buoyant in a kind of infantile way, celebrating mayhem, flesh and gore. Planet Terror is by far the livelier.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    What we have here is a genuine outlaw work of art.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Works far better as journalism than as drama. One weakness is that poor Linklater has to keep bringing in guest explainers, who lay out one policy or another but have nothing whatsoever to do with the story.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It's a cult movie in search of a cult. It'll probably find one. It certainly looks and feels like no other movie ever made.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    No, it's not great. No, it's not a disaster.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    The movie ends not with a bang but a wimp.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    I liked, too, some late plot reversals, sorely needed after the numbingly simple straight-ahead plunge of the first hour of the movie. Things aren't quite what they seem and the twists are neatly done.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    And though brilliantly acted, it's not. For some reason, the director and the writer (Paul Bernbaum) have chosen an exceedingly awkward path into the materials. They break the narrative into two strands and play them off each other in cheap and easy ways for insubstantial effect.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    The movie's surface of bright, brittle patter, initially off-putting, comes finally to serve as camouflage for the sinister movement of large and powerful forces.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It's like a "Saturday Night Live" sketch on a $60 million budget.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Short is a professional choreographer, and his dancing seems unstuck in time. How he can break his movements down to such small elements, keep them so precise and in such rigorous rhythm, yet keep the whole thing on track and moving forward with Nureyev's beauty and discipline is something to see.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Awake is a pleasing if negligible diversion.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It's handsome, well-populated and offers beautiful scenery and settings. But "House of Flying Daggers" it ain't; maybe "House of Fallen Arches"?
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It seems almost disrespectful to weave in a provocative re-creation of the killings -- somehow a massacre of unarmed innocents that shocked the world should be more than just fodder for ginning up the tension at the end of a commercial movie.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    You have a movie in which sharks with triple-digit IQs hunt humans with double-digit IQs. It’s no contest.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It's hardly a muckraking piece but more a celebration of racing at the high end and the extremely prosperous folks who play it.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    You can feel Hoodlum hungering to be bigger than it possibly can be. It wants to be "The Godfather" of African Americans, a vast tale of crime and heroism and nerve and ambition. But it tries too hard and ends up feeling spotty rather than deep. [27Aug1997 Pg D.01]
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Ali
    For a movie, Michael Mann's Ali is great radio. It's almost better to squint, so that you see the film in soft focus, just fury and motion and blurred faces; meanwhile, with your ears cranked open wide, everybody sounds much more like they should than looks like they should.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Unfortunately, while Stallone can carry the weight, the movie can't. Too much of it is too busy -- too many undeveloped subplots -- and some of the main plotting feels murky.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    What compels then isn't the overwrought plot, but the simpler things, the dynamics between the actors, the avuncularity between old pros Costner and Hurt and the class condescension between Costner and Cook. It has a fascinatin' rhythm.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It's frenetic to the point of crazy while achieving a mark that barely exceeds mediocre.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    American director Jim Sonzero has taken the same campus setting and plot and added some rationale by "science-fictioning" it.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    The film is visually mannered and full of posing and longueurs. But it is stylish, very French (despite its American origins) and diverting if well short of brilliant.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    As for Damon, this may not be a performance so much as an appearance. But he cares so utterly, it works.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It's a pretty good sub movie, with some pretty good performances, that, alas, somewhat disintegrates in the last half-hour.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    What's so good about the movie is Gyllenhaal's refusal to show off; he doesn't seem jealous of the camera's attention when it goes to others and is content, for long stretches, to serve simply as a prism though which other young men can be observed.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    The cast and the direction are too good, in the end, for the rather desultory place the movie ends up.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Anthony Hopkins, with a toothpick and a slouch. Fabulous!
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    The script is adroit: It doesn't force the humor, and it steadily keeps track of Jim's growing maturity.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    An enigma inside a conundrum inside an escargot shell, the French puzzler La Moustache will delight some people even as it annoys others.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    A triumph of place over sense.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It's a great style, it's a fabulous performance, but it never quite finds what it's searching for.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Each moment feels real, but the movie wears you out in some way. High naturalism is just as much a stylization as High Stylization. The groping nature of the conversations comes to feel as artificial as iambic pentameter.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    More political allegory than horror movie.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Demonstrates that a movie need not be good to be cool.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    In truth, I didn't care much for it, while respecting it a great deal. It's self-consciously childish and "innocent," and everything is overdrawn to cartoon dimension.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It has the big themes that obsessed Kurosawa at his greatest, and that alone makes it worthwhile.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    The movie's surrender to banality is all the more dispiriting because it gets off to such a good start.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    This dame is as sick as a sick dog on a hot day, if still always perversely amusing, and the story is constructed as a survivor's ordeal, not a colorful picaresque.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It's funny and violent and fast and, er, Danish.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    On the technical side, The Invasion has several first-rate, terrifying action sequences and grips totally from start to finish. But a subplot involving the Russian Embassy doesn't really pay off, and the relationship between Kidman and glum paramour Daniel Craig (another doc) isn't much.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It is not bad on its own terms, and it is certainly engrossing, but it comes nowhere near the power and sordid glory of the original.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Seems to go sideways as often as it goes forward. Altman can't help noticing things more interesting than the story.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It never answers the key question: Why should we care?
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    But for all the meta-movie excitement, the content danced somewhere between mildly interesting and moderately enjoyable.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    That said, what must be added is that, disappointingly, Night Falls on Manhattan doesn't quite add up.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Memoirs of a Geisha is everything you'd expect it to be: beautiful, mesmerizing, tasteful, Japanese. It's just not very hot.
    • 18 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Folks, I think I'm speaking for all of us when I say this is pretty darn fine American entertainment
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    More than watchable, if less than compelling.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    But the best thing about Jakob the Liar is that it's not "Patch Adams at Auschwitz."
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Cocaine is the most aggressively edited film in years: It pounds, it churns, it spurts, it spray-paints.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Reminded me somewhat of Archibald MacLeish's famous line that a poem "should not mean but be." That's the reality of The Apostle: It does not mean, it simply is.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Fitfully amusing but nothing remarkable
    • 32 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    The movie is neither good nor bad, but in its clever packaging of boy fantasy and girl fantasy, extremely cunning. As for Princess Diaz, no force on Earth can stop her now.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    The highest accomplishment of Buffalo Soldiers is its wise invocation of that weirdest of all precincts, the post, and the odd culture it spawns.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    Woody Allen's new film has a few shortcomings but it's a heartfelt cry from what may be the last serious man left in the America as he contemplates what his native land has become.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Seems to me, teenage suicide isn't that funny, and nothing in this movie changed my mind.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    A celebration of the actor's art – but not the dramatist's.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    You keep expecting Shopgirl to get funny or sad or poignant; it never does. It just starts, then it's over.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    The movie is so tepid and inoffensive: It reminded me of a '70s Disney live-action product, with clean-scrubbed "hippies" like Johnny Whitaker chafing harmlessly under the wise ministrations of Suzanne Pleshette, whose job was to keep the kids in hand.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    With its brilliant cast, its creative pedigree, Don't Come Knocking seemed as close to a sure thing as possible, but it only proves the sad truth that there's no such thing as a sure thing.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    So insidey it's almost parochial.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Maybe it's me, but I find it difficult to dislike any movie that has horses, guns and big hats in it.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Weirdly disjointed and uncertain as to tone.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    It's nothing but style and noise, threadbare of content, empty of ideas. Is it anything? Not really.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    It takes what could be called the Chinese equivalent of chutzpah to make a movie with three of the world's most beautiful and talented women -- Gong Li, Maggie Cheung and Zhang Ziyi -- and to be more interested in the male character.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Of The Good German, it can be said that the operation was a brilliant success, even if the patient is not merely dead but most sincerely dead. The movie, in other words, lies there as if on a slab in a morgue, while you admire the corpse for its beauty.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Now, they're together. You can't look at them, but you can't look away either. So it goes.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    The result is a cross between a hurricane and a tornado as run through a movieola dialed all the way up to 10.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Two Woody Allens, two kvetching, whining, neurotic incompetents bungling their lives . . . that's one too many Woody Allens.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    A lot of the film is illuminating; a lot of it is pointless.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    It's a diversion, well crafted by Mackenzie from a book by Alexander Trocchi, but little more than that.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Good message, mediocre movie.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    As spectacular as it is dense and as dense as it is colorful and as colorful as it is meaningless and as meaningless as it is long.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    The story fails to really engage on any level save the kinetic.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    The result is a movie that feels weirdly disconnected from reality.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    In all, it's not too bad and it's not too long.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    All this stuff is probably right. It's just that the director, Victor Salva, underscores his points with thunderous obviousness and manipulates us through ham-handed plot gambits.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    As the movie's tag line has it, it's based on a hell of a story. Too bad they didn't just tell it.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    This mid-level, pretty-but-not-hugely-funny Allen film slips into the top spot by regretful default. I enjoyed every single second of it, a little bit.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    The movie is bittersweet, adult, with a fair eye toward men's eternal spirit of the infantile, and knowing. Possibly it's too slick, but in some awkward way it sums up the true essence of adult life, which is just sort of getting along without doing too much harm. [30 Apr 1999]
    • Washington Post
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    54
    The movie is almost completely uninteresting on the story level but fascinating as a work of imagined reconstruction and anthropology and as a study of the theory and practice of Studio 54.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Everyone in the movie, from Dillane to (especially) Serbedzija down to the child actor Robbie Kay (as young Beer), is fabulous, and Podeswa has an ability to distill history into a few powerful images. The movie, however, is circular in structure and keeps reiterating points it has already made. For some, it will be a long sit.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Is it funny? Now and then. Stupid? Very. Racist? Possibly. Ugly? Profoundly. Wild? Undeniably. Singular? Completely.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Short of good, better than awful, it opens brilliantly, then just goes on, toward self-negating absurdity.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Sadly, the last 40-odd minutes are essentially one fight, pushed to the point of absurdity.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Mild pleasures are available in Mr. Woodcock.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    All in all -- well, there is no all in all. There are just parts. Some fit, some don't. Some are cool, some aren't. It's the craziest thing you ever saw.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    While the music slops and churns and the ground-level bathos rises, the aerial stuff is occasionally stirring.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    The movie is gross but not unfunny as it covers the Zohan's rise through hair culture, aided by his steamy heterosexuality, his lack of inhibition and his stereotypical career aggressiveness, until the old ladies are lined up all the way to the Bronx for a few minutes of bliss in the Zohan's chair.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Still, if the movie is mediocre, the history it represents is not. For that correction to our collective Western amnesia, then, Annaud deserves some special award.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    The movie's highest level of artistic expression was the ingenious Internet campaign that catapulted it to culture phenom months before it even opened. The thing itself turns out to be pretty much an afterthought, cheesy and not very well worked out.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Clever as it is, the film lacks charm. One problem: too many bugs. Second, bigger world for two purposes: to feed birds and to irk humans.

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