Dallas Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,519 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 3.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 The Squid and the Whale
Lowest review score: 0 The Long Kiss Goodnight
Score distribution:
1,519 movie reviews
  1. A masterful film about the magic of performance and the foibles of the artists behind it.
    • 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
    • 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.
  5. 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.
    • 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.
  6. It is a remarkable achievement in filmmaking, a beautiful and brutal work.
  7. No one can blend melodrama and heightened emotion with laugh-out-loud wackiness the way Almodóvar does.
  8. 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.
  9. He (Spielberg) commemorates the soldiers in that vast Normandy cemetery in the most absolute and honorable way possible.
  10. 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.
  11. Kubrick's comic gem sparkles with enduring relevance.
    • Dallas Observer
  12. It would be a masterpiece in any language.
  13. The performances are uniformly remarkable.
  14. 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.
  15. One of this year's best films--a classic, even, like a C.S. Forester "Hornblower" story on steroids.
  16. 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Lasseter and Stanton and the rest of the animators and gagsmiths use the computer with staggering imaginative freedom.
  17. Spielberg can never top this. Period.
    • Dallas Observer
  18. The movie's scares are intense, but the notion that the Terminator would move on to politics is even more frightening.
    • Dallas Observer
  19. Feels like something entirely brand-new; such are the gifts of Kaufman and Gondry, inventors and magicians.
  20. 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.
  21. The first exceptional drama of 2004, The Mother feels like life itself, sharpened to its finest points.
  22. The result is a vivid anthropological document suffused with plenty of emotion and a touch of ancient magic.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Its exquisiteness can overwhelm in a single sitting.
  27. A superb and piercing documentary.
  28. So enchanting it takes your breath away.
  29. 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
  30. 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.
  31. How often does one see a masterpiece about a masterpiece?
  32. Treacherously funny and wrenchingly sad.
    • 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.
  33. A riveting movie that's as entertaining as it is socially and politically important.
  34. May be the most wrenching, profound and perfectly made movie nobody wants to see.
  35. In short, Just Say Yes.
  36. Impeccably acted by a fine ensemble cast, it's a sheer pleasure to behold.
  37. This lovely movie, simply and beautifully shot in Brazil's northeastern countryside by cinematographer Breno Silveira, is satisfying from start to finish.
  38. A six-year-old masterpiece, never-before widely seen in the U.S., is still a masterpiece.
  39. 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.
  40. It's difficult to imagine a more eloquent tribute.
  41. Unless you're deeply familiar with Korean culture, you've truly never seen anything like it.
  42. Engaging and revelatory, turning forgotten footnotes and discarded minutiae into the stuff of riveting drama and poignant laughs.
  43. 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.
  44. A big gob of fun.
  45. Finally, the man (Hanks) has delivered a moving, slightly unhappy, and ultimately hopeful story in which squishy love takes a backseat to the wondrous whirlwind of life. The season's most delightful surprise.
  46. Clooney has become a movie star, and the Coens have given him his very own "It Happened One Night." The man, and the movie, are downright bona fide.
  47. This is anything but pleasant stuff, but it's a must-see for anyone interested in men and women, fathers and sons, and the kind of murder mystery in which the real casualty is the human soul.
  48. In this modest but brilliant little movie, we find ourselves immersed in life itself.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A fine entertainment value. It's beautifully made, drenched in deep, rich emerald, with sinuous tracking visuals driven forward by pleasantly African-flavored songs from Phil Collins.
  49. The bittersweet charm of this extraordinary film is trumped only by its wisdom. Without resorting to schmaltz or sticky pathos, director Vladimír Michálek (a child of 49) fashions an allegory about aging, friendship and love that equals (and often surpasses) the best American movies on those tricky subjects, from "Cocoon" to "On Golden Pond."
  50. A gentle, frank, and often hysterical love story about two people destined, and occasionally doomed, to be together forever. Some of us should be as lucky, as blessed, as Harvey Pekar.
  51. A fascinating, frequently hilarious meditation on delusion, self-loathing and personal salesmanship
  52. Identity is an outright blast, so fun it's--pardon--scary.
  53. While Sollett provided cast members with a detailed breakdown of the story--a kind of narrative guide--he wanted them to improvise their own dialogue based on how they would react to a similar situation in their own lives....The result is quite extraordinary.
  54. 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.
  55. The year's greatest adventure, and Jackson's limited but enthusiastic adaptation has made literature literal without killing its soul.
  56. 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
  57. 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.
    • 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.
  58. Gleefully blurs the line between species. Vive la révolution!
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An unpretentious, funky, fast-moving work every bit as enchanting as the book.
  59. The first relevant film about rock and roll and the music industry, the first film that lets you in on the secret.
  60. It's definitely an enchanting spectacular for Potter fans anxious to ride the Hogwarts Express toward a new year of magic and mischief.
  61. An ethereal, creepy, almost breathtaking meditation on the life of a mind snapped in two.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  62. Waking Ned Devine works up enough feel-good momentum that in the end it's irresistible.
  63. So inventive, confident, and accomplished is the production that it's a shock to learn Sliding Doors is the work of a first-time director-screenwriter.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The film is so much like the book, it might as well come with a bookmark to hold your place when you step outside to use the restroom.
  64. A gentle, beautifully realized tale of love and intimacy...It moved me to tears.
  65. It was Melville's second-to-last feature, and it shows him in top form, with a more generous dose of humor than usual.
  66. Amazingly, almost every note of every performance in Bloody Sunday rings true.
  67. A diverting mix of insight and spectacle, human and superhuman. This machine is built for kids, but rarely do words like "noble," "Hollywood" and "rawkin'" all apply to one movie.
  68. 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.
  69. Funny, sad, moving and, above all, astute, making I Capture the Castle a fabulous film. Even the cars are tasty.
  70. 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.
  71. Spinal Tap is still on the right side of the fine line between stupid and clever.
  72. 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.
  73. The makers of this film are clearly fans, and they've put more heart and genuine humor into this piece than Paramount has into the original franchise in years.
  74. Part homage and part demolition job, Mars Attacks! is perhaps the funniest piece of giddy schlock heartlessness ever committed to film.
  75. As is common in a Frankenheimer picture, the plot lines get a bit tangled in Ronin, but the atmosphere is tense, the style impeccable.
  76. This engaging film proves a total pleasure, suitable for moviegoers who like their films a bit old-fashioned but still mainstream.
  77. The movie resonates precisely because it serves as documentary only pretending to be fiction: It's set in a real place recovering from real pain, which Lee makes tangible.
  78. Karen Moncrieff makes an extraordinary debut as a feature film writer and director with this observant drama about a budding teenage poet who, amid many traumas, finds the courage to become herself and set out as an artist.
  79. 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.
  80. This uncommonly clever, surprisingly poignant fairy tale packs a social wallop that we're not quite prepared for.
  81. It takes an especially fine-tuned director and an inventive actor to cut as close to the bone as Spider does.
  82. Fast-paced, riveting and affecting.
  83. It is that rare find: a film that is as emotionally truthful as it is satisfying.
  84. 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.
  85. As surreal as it is obscene, as clever as it is crude. It plays like some raw offspring of underground comix and the comedies of the 1920s.
  86. 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.
  87. This is a powerhouse of a film, but not for the obvious reasons that it's about a female serial killer, scampering lesbians and whatever. The project's strength instead emerges from a sense of nobility and purpose in honoring its characters.

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