For 913 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 1.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephen Hunter's Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 Army of Shadows
Lowest review score: 0 8MM
Score distribution:
913 movie reviews
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    It's a strange enough film, yet weirdly great. No movie has quite gotten the clammy weight of fear, the sense of hopelessness that would necessarily haunt underground workers. To see it is to sweat through your underclothes. It'll melt the pep out of your weekend.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    Great American movies are, these days especially, few and far between, so let's everybody take a deep breath and mark the moment: Hoop Dreams, all three hours' worth, is a great American movie. It's got the sting of drama and the ache of truth; it's even got the sting of truth and the ache of drama.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    Then, finally, there are the endings, all six of them...For us outsiders, it seems like too much of a good thing...But all those are minor rants: The big fact is that The Return of the King puts you there at Waterloo, or Thermopylae or the Bulge, any desperate place where men ran low on blood and iron and ammo, but not on courage.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    Superb.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    I appreciate No Country for Old Men for the skill in the film craft. I understand No Country for Old Men for its penetrating disquisition on narrative conventions and its heroic will in subverting them. I admire No Country for Old Men for the way it tightens its grip as it progresses, taking us deeper and deeper into a hellish world. I just don't like it very much.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    Searing, heartbreaking, so intense it turns your body into a single tube of clenched muscle, this is simply the greatest war movie ever made, and one of the great American movies.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Hanson delivers something ever rarer in film culture, not a new film noir but an old-fashioned total movie, somehow of a single piece.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    As a terrifying example of what can happen when too many angry people are crowded into too small a space, it's a gripper.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    The chronological looseness is part of the pleasure of the piece, which magically reassembles in the last reel into something strong, lucid and compellingly powerful.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    It takes the rock movie into regions it has never been before.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    The genius of the film is its utter commitment to the Pekar point of view.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    It's a very funny movie in that sniffy Brit way.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    The movie, while no fun, faces hard truths and asks hard questions.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    It gets at something exquisitely human, so human that even movie stars feel it.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    The sheer joy of letting go as a tale overwhelms your senses and drives the known world away -- that's the story.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Ferguson builds a compelling case of bad judgment, error, stubbornness and arrogance.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    It is in fact a traditional mystery more reminiscent of Agatha Christie than the reigning film noir aesthetic of 1947. But it's fabulously entertaining.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    A terrific piece of filmmaking. It's taut, believable as it unspools. It's charismatic, with a slow buildup of tension in near-real time that finally explodes into a blast of violence.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    In the last half-hour, the story, like the Japanese, loses its way; lacking any clear-cut goals except survival, the film becomes repetitive. Letters From Iwo Jima is a necessary movie; too bad it's not a great movie.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    A character so real and poignant (yet hysterically funny), she'll linger for months or years.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    The genius of the film, besides Hoffman's stunning performance, is that it knows exactly how much is enough. It never overplays, lingers or punches up.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    The Blue Angel it's clear to Von Sternberg, and to us, that he's connected with some pure being of cinema, whose power to ignite an audience was unstoppable. She became a great star.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    Gripping, whole and nourishing. Certainly of the fantasy film series currently in American theaters -– I include "Harry Potter and the Secret Toity" and "Star Trek: Halitosis" -– The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the best, and not by just a little.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    The movie becomes something quite rare and magical: a text about a text that is also full of life. In other words, it's a true first: It's both postmodern and fun!
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    You may not want to hang with the haunted Caouettes, but the movie is so compelling, it doesn't give you a choice.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    It's the best sports documentary since "Hoop Dreams," a great piece of work."
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Stephen Hunter
    For the truth is, given the audacity, the organization, the seriousness of purpose, the movie isn't nearly as provocative as you think it might be.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    The longest, hardest sit of the season -- you are stuck there, a single tube of puckered muscle, waiting for the extremely ugly violence to occur -- but it is driven by performances of such luminous humanity that they break your heart.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    Short of good, better than awful, it opens brilliantly, then just goes on, toward self-negating absurdity.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    Charlotte Rampling takes you so far inside the pain of Marie Drillon it leaves you stirred, shaken and a little in awe.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 10 Stephen Hunter
    A crackpot Looney Tune, pretentious, abysmally slow, amateurishly acted and, above all, wrong.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    It's a classic story in form, and in this country it used to star Jimmy Cagney.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Stephen Hunter
    It's frenetic to the point of crazy while achieving a mark that barely exceeds mediocre.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    A beautiful story, told in measured cadences by a master of old-timey narrative compression and expression.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    Payne is a comic miniaturist, who works in a small compass, as if through a magnifying glass with tweezers.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    The story is told so passionately that it demands as much of you as it does of its performers, all of whom are up there, giving everything.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Still, the movie -- as beautifully drawn, as sleek and engaging as it is -- has the annoyance of incredible smugness.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Stephen Hunter
    It's the last thing anyone expected: an old-fashioned monster movie with a heart.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    In some ways Soderbergh does a much better job than Tarantino. He handles the time shifts more adroitly, always keeping us on track; he goes easy on the violence, and when he does unleash it, it's short, fast and ugly.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    In its brisk way, it's a devastating piece of work, and very brave too.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 30 Stephen Hunter
    The movie has the sense of being embalmed, or pickled. With its stilted dialogue not quite kitschy enough to be funny and not quite authentic enough to be realistic, the whole movie feels as if it's taking place in formaldehyde.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Stephen Hunter
    You want a happy ending? You want sunshine, sentimentality, a sense of justice and honor and duty? Me too. But you won't find it here.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    Straightforward, droll, brutally honest and arresting.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    He gives these characters the time to develop, to display their nuances, to establish their relationships with each other, to talk out their destinies.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    It feels so real it hurts, and it's the perfect antidote to all those movies where all sorts of stuff blows up.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    It's wondrous, it's fabulous, it's -- all but unprecedented.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Stephen Hunter
    It's a brilliant movie, fluent, spectacular, breathtaking and basically, uh, wrong.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    Surely the most creative trick of the year and grimly funny throughout.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    The results are as riveting as any action movie ever made.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    The cutting is so sinuous and breathtaking, the music (by Danny Elfman after too much coffee) so onrushing and the camera so penetrative of the depths and heights of midtown Manhattan at cloud level, that the illusion, despite its artificiality, works. You don't believe it but you "believe" it.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    An eensy-weensy movie sustained by two utterly gigantic performances.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    Laurent's crime is really the crime of being European and conquering people of color. That understood, Cache is brilliant.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    A wonderful, piercing and hilarious examination of high school politics and how bitter and ruinous it can become.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Isn't quite a great espionage movie or a great Africa movie, but in a summer of heat and wind, it's the next best thing.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    What emerges is quite extraordinary.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Director Ken Loach is full of astonishments. An avowedly leftist filmmaker, he has always seen beyond political cant to compassionate reality. He's also incredibly sensitive to what might be called the nuances of life, and he always brings a high sense of spontaneous reality to his films.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    As an example of the art of casting, the movie is brilliantly engineered. It allows two major stars to each play the showy villain for a time, and also for each to do an imitation of the other.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Lord God, can she take control of a scene, dominate a movie, project to the last seat, radiate power and personality unto the rafters. It's a great performance. I love the way Knightley's eyes light with furious intelligence when she cuts the pompous Darcy a new something or other.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 40 Stephen Hunter
    11 minutes longer than the original, and 11 minutes worse.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Bleak and post-industrial, this is no easy film to watch. It hasn't a conventional image of beauty anywhere within its grim 93 minutes, being shot in harsh natural light that somehow plays up the grime and chill of back-alley life. But by the end, it's suffused with something utterly rare: moral beauty. [27 June 1997, p.D6]
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    From the very first seconds a viewer believes totally in Downfall.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Stephen Hunter
    Is there anything new here? Honestly, not really. The content is the same, the plot the familiar litany of ordeals leavened by soapy interludes. But the fight that develops is taut, tough and extremely bitter; it's never showy in the grinding, big-movie Spielbergian way, but a portrait of the war's daily interface with hell in a very small space, as the four stand against a much larger unit.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    Nuanced, exquisite and predictable.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Stephen Hunter
    You keep waiting for the movie to clarify, to settle down to its archetypal purity: icon of psychotic evil against icon of neurotic good. Music by Wagner in his "Götterdämmerung" mood, screenplay by Nietzsche, with additional lines by Babaloo Mandel. Oh, what a great big movie wallow, what a transformational blast of cine-pleasure. It never quite arrives
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    It's not the sort of film one can be said to enjoy, but it is the sort of film that has the clarity of a dream and lingers for hours.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    The film, built of interviews with participants, is fast-paced, utterly absorbing and ultimately tragic.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    This is an absolutely brilliant film but in a quiet way.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    A superior adaptation that bypasses the Ann Reinking version now on Broadway.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    But [Raimi]'s instructed his fabulous Style to take a hike, and, working from Scott Smith's brilliantly reconfigured script from Smith's own (much darker) novel, delivers a piece that is severe and disciplined in its evocation of the cold terrors of fate.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Lynch's new movie, Mulholland Drive, is a trip and a half: It's like playing Twister and Scrabble simultaneously while high on LSD. Oh, and it's dark out.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 40 Stephen Hunter
    Suffers from what might be called colonitis. It comprises too many equal parts, and they tangle each other up. Everything is important, which comes to mean that nothing is important.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Stephen Hunter
    It lacks Altman's wisdom, but its sense of humor is corrosive, if dispiriting, and its willingness to show the human animal at his most disgusting has a kind of anti-grandeur to it.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    It never disconnects from two values: its honesty and its intensity.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    I love the unsettling details.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    Jackson's big monkey picture show is certainly the best popular entertainment of the year. The film is a wondrous blend of then and now: It honors its mythic predecessor of 1933 while using sophisticated movie technology to seamlessly manipulate the fantastic.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Turns out to be cracking good entertainment, as well as a fresh start for the perdurable 21-picture franchise.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    The first section of Three Times is fabulous; the second is fascinating if remote; and the third a jangly, modernist mess.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    When you think you've figured out Bielinsky's great game, that's when you're in the most trouble: He's the con, and you're just the mark.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Stephen Hunter
    He treats jocks like humans, not stars or superheroes, and in the end has managed something unique for documentaries these days: It's as entertaining as it is fair.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 30 Stephen Hunter
    The movie made almost no sense whatever to me. I literally could not follow it, even as I was dazzled by it.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    The genius is in the writing and in keeping all gambits created by the individual writers in sync, so the piece has a tonal consistency and a narrative flow. A lost art in Hollywood? It's really one of the best movies of the year.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    It's pretty funny. You don't actually watch it so much as indulge it and admire its cleverness.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Stephen Hunter
    The film, therefore, is like a child's view of these events, untroubled by complexity, hungry for myth and simplicity.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Great picture? No. Cool picture? Oui. Not as good, I must say, as the sort of thing we moron yanks were doing on our own over here – "D.O.A." is much better.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Stephen Hunter
    It would be nice to report that director Stanley Nelson comes up with something new, some illumination, some revelation, some heretofore unglimpsed irony, but he doesn't.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    It's a trip to Hell and back, and testimony for embittered cynics of all that a movie can be.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Demonstrates that sometimes the simplest stories are the most profound, and certainly possess the most moral authority. It's a film that emphasizes loyalty and sacrifice, values that have become jokes in most other films these days.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 10 Stephen Hunter
    In the end, I'm wondering what's so special about a film that has but one guilty pleasure and that's Ben Kingsley spraying saliva-lubricated variants of the F-word into the atmosphere like anti-aircraft fire for 10 solid minutes.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Hunter
    Stands with the best movies of this young century and the old one that preceded it: It's passionate, honest, unflinching, gripping, and it pays respects. The flag raising on Iwo might have indeed become a pseudo-event as it was processed for goals, but there was nothing pseudo about the courage of the men who did it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    A brilliantly amusing couple of hours.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    This Tarzan doesn't bellow, he kvetches; he doesn't dominate, he persuades; he doesn't rule, he seeks consensus. He isn't the king of the apes, he's a citizen of the animal planet.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Held together by the intensity of its focus.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    Isn't much of a movie, but it's a whale of a story.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Like the bitter cold in which it's set, Affliction bites hard and true.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Hunter
    May be too much suspense for some, but it's vividly powerful.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    It gets frenetic, in the French way, but it never stops getting amusing. This is what happens when you let grown-ups make movies.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    Manufactured Landscapes makes an inelegant point elegantly. The point: Humanity is altering the landscape drastically and by implication irrevocably.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Hunter
    The movie is exquisitely directed by Anand Tucker in an anti-documentary style that sometimes fractures the time sequence, sometimes re-creates moments impressionistically instead of objectively and is vivid in style.