Dallas Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,518 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Lowest review score: 0 Bewitched
Score distribution:
1,518 movie reviews
  1. At last, his (Howard's) first great (and filling) movie--inspirational, yes, but far from hokey; moving, absolutely, but never saccharine; and gripping, despite its being a fixed fight.
  2. Where Peter was yee-ha giddy with the discovery of his newfound powers in the first film, he's crushed by the weight of responsibility that comes with them in its far superior successor.
  3. The performances are uniformly remarkable.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's painful, it's real, and it's probably the funniest thing you'll see this year...a teen sexploitation classic.
  4. This is the breakout role for Sigourney (née Susan) Weaver, whose iconic presence still propels this ride beyond the scores of substandard imitations that followed. Why see it on the big screen? Because it's bloody brilliant.
  5. Kubrick's comic gem sparkles with enduring relevance.
    • Dallas Observer
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Lasseter and Stanton and the rest of the animators and gagsmiths use the computer with staggering imaginative freedom.
  6. May be the most wrenching, profound and perfectly made movie nobody wants to see.
  7. The singing and dancing in this Chicago are uniformly splendid, right down to Gere's tap dancing. The high wit and dark eroticism Marshall brings to the famous "Cell Block Tango" number are matchless.
  8. A riveting movie that's as entertaining as it is socially and politically important.
  9. Spielberg can never top this. Period.
    • Dallas Observer
  10. The first exceptional drama of 2004, The Mother feels like life itself, sharpened to its finest points.
  11. It gracefully defies the usual categories, gets under your skin in ways you cannot anticipate, then works its way straight toward the heart. It's far and away the bravest and best movie of the year.
  12. He (Spielberg) commemorates the soldiers in that vast Normandy cemetery in the most absolute and honorable way possible.
  13. This film is a miracle, an extravaganza equal to its predecessors and in some ways more stunning. It is a profound testament to the extraordinary power of moving images and sound.
  14. What makes About Schmidt so extraordinary is how ordinary its tale is; it's a gray picture about gray people looking for some kind of meaning in their gray lives.
  15. Treacherously funny and wrenchingly sad.
  16. No one can blend melodrama and heightened emotion with laugh-out-loud wackiness the way Almodóvar does.
  17. Feels like something entirely brand-new; such are the gifts of Kaufman and Gondry, inventors and magicians.
  18. In this bolder, longer new cut, characters are allowed to finish scenes previously left as DVD extras, effects are creepier, and the theories of "the Tangent Universe" are explored in greater depth. Friends and neighbors, this is a Great American Movie.
  19. It's not easy to pull off a good morality tale. That's why Moolaad, the new film from 81-year-old Senegalese writer-director Ousmane Sembene, feels like such an exceptional success. Its moral center is painfully clear, but so is its humanity.
  20. It's best appraised as a strong ensemble piece, a darkly dreamy slab of social commentary and definitely one of the year's best films.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He's (Hanson) never before generated the kind of heat inside a picture--and out of it--that he has with L.A. Confidential.
  21. If not the best superhero movie ever, it's definitely in the top 3. Reeve will forever be Superman to most of us.
    • Dallas Observer
  22. Turns out to be more than simply a near-miracle of filmmaking, however; it is also an astonishing work of art, a historical epic that drifts through one's consciousness like a reverie.
  23. A masterful film about the magic of performance and the foibles of the artists behind it.
  24. So enchanting it takes your breath away.
  25. How often does one see a masterpiece about a masterpiece?
  26. It would be a masterpiece in any language.
  27. A superb and piercing documentary.
  28. The movie's scares are intense, but the notion that the Terminator would move on to politics is even more frightening.
    • Dallas Observer
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Fargo is a concert performance--an illuminating amalgam of emotion and thought. It glimpses into the heart of man and unearths a blackly comic nature, hellishly mercurial and selfish, yet strangely innocent. If it weren't so funny, it would be unbearably disturbing.
  29. One of this year's best films--a classic, even, like a C.S. Forester "Hornblower" story on steroids.
  30. The result is a vivid anthropological document suffused with plenty of emotion and a touch of ancient magic.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Winterbottom has never before done such potent work; he's created a fiction film about the siege of Sarajevo that bristles with the raw, unnerving textures of a battlefield documentary.
  31. Its exquisiteness can overwhelm in a single sitting.
  32. A gorgeous, emotionally rewarding masterpiece that invites compassion, reflection and, at least from this reviewer, a great deal of admiration. It's no wonder that it won 12 Japanese Academy Awards.
  33. It is a remarkable achievement in filmmaking, a beautiful and brutal work.
  34. Smart people will relish its temerariousness, average people will smile awkwardly and comment that it's "kinda different," and dimly lit people may mistake it for the Elmo movie and drool quietly in the back rows. It's a movie for everyone.
  35. Spinal Tap is still on the right side of the fine line between stupid and clever.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Director Barry Levinson has given this swift, sure-footed film a matter-of-fact, improvisational look and feel. To appreciate its brisk, confident, wild comedy, all you need is a funny bone and a BS meter.
  36. It's the best thing Wong has done in years--perhaps ever.
  37. If, in its groundbreaking assault on the mythology of the American West, Brokeback Mountain gets a lot of people into a furious lather, so be it.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The movie has tremendous scope and charge and a dense period fabric, along with a volcanic performance by Djimon Hounsou, the West African actor who plays Cinque.
  38. This roaring crowd-pleaser also boasts hilarious bits of business, insightful observations into the human condition, and geysers of kitschy computer-generated blood.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It respects its characters, its source material, and its audience, and its inherent melodrama is ennobled by the scrupulous intelligence of its director.
  39. Amazingly, almost every note of every performance in Bloody Sunday rings true.
  40. Virgin is astoundingly astute but also wondrously clever, written with more care and joy than any hundred comedies to come out of Hollywood in years.
  41. That's what directors do when they have nothing new to say: They go back and rewrite the past, if only to avoid facing the future
  42. The acting is remarkable across the board, undoubtedly a combination of a strong script, gifted actors and exceptional direction.
  43. There have been other films dealing with the Jewish ghettos during the Nazi occupation of Poland -- some very good -- but The Pianist, the latest feature from Roman Polanski, may be the best.
  44. In short, Just Say Yes.
  45. Craven's other accomplishment here, besides resuscitating the genre, is the way he keeps things scary even when they're at their funniest. The grand finale, while thoroughly bloody and tense, has some genuinely hilarious shtick.
  46. A fluent, intelligent piece of work whose sex and violence are anything but gratuitous, and exactly the kind of highly personal, no-holds-barred vision of life on the ragged edge that independents always aspire to but rarely have the goods to achieve.
  47. As is common in a Frankenheimer picture, the plot lines get a bit tangled in Ronin, but the atmosphere is tense, the style impeccable.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The writing-directing team of brothers Larry and Andi Wachowski has chosen as its filmmaking debut a tightly constructed, stylishly (but rarely self-consciously) executed, gripping little noir parable that couldn't be more firmly grounded in American movie tradition if the filmmakers created a wacky romantic farce about mismatched paramours.
  48. In the end, what Minghella has wrought is a nearly perfect drama of love and war (still the great subjects, after all), an epic that's fluent, frightening and beautiful all at once, that lifts the heart and dashes our dreams in about equal measure.
  49. A six-year-old masterpiece, never-before widely seen in the U.S., is still a masterpiece.
  50. Not just great fun but high art.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Sling Blade is perhaps the year's most impressive debut because it is an uncompromisingly told tale with a minimum of frills.
  51. That he (Hetfield), and his band, still lives is astonishing enough; that you get to see how and why in a movie so painfully intimate is nothing short of extraordinary.
  52. Happily, North Country is not all social-realist grit or straight sermonizing. Not only is Theron achingly real, the fine supporting performances here lend even more dramatic reach and human scale.
  53. What makes Crash so gripping--so terrifying in spots, so moving in others, and even a little funny at times--is how nothing happens as we think it will.
  54. In this modest but brilliant little movie, we find ourselves immersed in life itself.
  55. It's difficult to imagine a more eloquent tribute.
  56. For the most part, Sideways is a great movie--impeccably written, directed and acted--that takes its characters on a journey toward something new.
  57. Radford has made a gripping, highly cinematic adaptation of a gorgeous work of theater.
  58. It was Melville's second-to-last feature, and it shows him in top form, with a more generous dose of humor than usual.
  59. A gentle, beautifully realized tale of love and intimacy...It moved me to tears.
  60. One of the most remarkable things about Murderball, which is easily among the year's best movies, is how little of its time is filled with the playing of the game.
  61. An ideal film for movie buffs, who are bound to delight in each new misfortune even as they sympathize with the documentarians' sometimes inflated vision of a tortured genius at work.
  62. Ought to gain some viewers here with its dark sense of humor and stylish cinematography by Jan Malir. Director Jan Hrebejk names Mike Leigh as an influence, but frankly he's way cooler.
  63. Mostly, Wild Parrots is a great, important, and unforgettable movie.
  64. If you're a fan of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books, all you need to know is this: Disney has done right by The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It's impossible to imagine it done much better, in fact.
  65. This lovely movie, simply and beautifully shot in Brazil's northeastern countryside by cinematographer Breno Silveira, is satisfying from start to finish.
  66. Pure joy to watch -- and an invaluable documentary record of a bygone era.
  67. It is that rare find: a film that is as emotionally truthful as it is satisfying.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Because of the supremely artful way Shear and Reitz have pitched the story, it reaches into places few films, gay or straight, have gone.
  68. A delicious little thriller about an uptight, ill-humored English mystery writer who becomes enmeshed in murder, Swimming Pool is at once comical, contrary, resourceful and ambiguous.
  69. Yes, yes--The Incredibles is beautiful to look at, but even more lovely beneath the computer-generated surfaces.
  70. The work of an obsessive who has developed a light touch--though some of his more outright themes and pronouncements can be heavy-going.
  71. By boiling the characters down to the most basic emotions and eliminating lifestyle-specific idiosyncrasies, we can enter the world of the story with ease.
  72. Part homage and part demolition job, Mars Attacks! is perhaps the funniest piece of giddy schlock heartlessness ever committed to film.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An unpretentious, funky, fast-moving work every bit as enchanting as the book.
  73. Emotionally gripping from start to finish, the movie presents an electrifying and unforgettable look at life in a place that God has all but forgotten.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Easily the scariest horror picture of the '90s, a movie that can take a place among the most potent and inexorable of modern shockers.
  74. It's vibrant and verdant and heartbreakingly inviting, begging you to escape into a lovely tale in which children, through a simple act of faith, find their own heaven on earth.
  75. A big gob of fun.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Seductive from the start, the film grows more stimulating and involving as it goes along because these three are original people who mate and recombine unpredictably.
  76. The film, from its deadpan start to its languorous finish, provides the most joyous moviegoing experience in years.
  77. Davies has nailed Wharton's bitter satire of the flights and follies of New York society in the Gilded Age, and leading lady Gillian Anderson shows dazzling range in her portrayal of the book's doomed heroine.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Dead Man Walking drops a massive, writhing knot of sorrow in your lap and then doesn't tell you what to do with it. If that doesn't sound like entertainment to you, you're right. It does something far more profound: It finds the tragic universal core of a contentious issue.
  78. An animated extravaganza of Gallic wit and soul that delivers more wild humanity than many of the year's live-action features. In a word: go.
  79. Yu's approach to the material is brilliant.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What a breath of fresh air this stifling, claustrophobic, boldly uningratiating vision of an American subculture's last gasp imparts to its contrarian core audience. (Call me a hopeless addict: I've seen it three times.)
  80. The documentary is, in essence, not much more than a record of what happened in Zaire, but it has been assembled with a real feeling for the historical moment. It's literally a blast from the past.
  81. There's something more REAL about this version, more human, more lived-in; though their words may have been penned 200 years ago, when Austen was a young woman writing about her idealized self, this cast and crew nudge the material into the now.
  82. Waking Ned Devine works up enough feel-good momentum that in the end it's irresistible.
  83. Vera Drake is so patient, assiduous and attentive to emotional accuracy that it betrays the utter sloth of most of what we see when we go to the movies.

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