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 3.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 Topsy-Turvy
Lowest review score: 0 How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Score distribution:
1,518 movie reviews
  1. It's left to Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman as Greg's parents to warm up the picture, and they light it on fire. Indeed, they're having such a swell time as Roz and Bernie Focker that they seem to be in an entirely different movie--a funnier one, a sexier one and a smarter one.
  2. But by the end the audience, along with Clayton, has been jerked around so many times that it's almost too exhausting...By then, it's almost impossible to care.
  3. Try to forget about Michael Gambon in Potter's original BBC miniseries; Keith Gordon's film is its own thing, full of Brechtian artifice and oddball humor -- Mel Gibson's old man act in particular.
  4. This movie is, essentially, porn, and whether it's a turn-on is likely to be subjective to each viewer. Those who find traditional porn too artificial should be pleased.
  5. The entire remake has been dumb-dumbed by John Hughes, who wrote the script and produced.
  6. For Caan's shtick alone, The Yards is worthwhile, but we may also be witnessing the emergence, in Gray, of a young filmmaker who's just starting to find the range.
  7. It's facile, predictable, and contrived, but there's still something winning about this multicultural drama from South Africa.
  8. One of the most schizoid films in recent memory. It opens with crystalline originality, a shimmering comedy with meticulous timing and sharply drawn characters. Then it careens carelessly into syrup. How could he (Martin) not have noticed?
  9. Despite moments of gritty greatness that rival Scorsese's best, the movie is severely hampered by please-everyone syndrome, especially in the editing and choice of music.
  10. What's weird about subUrbia is that Linklater's zoned-out technique is wedded to Bogosian's in-your-face power-rant oratory. The result is like local anesthesia--you can see the incisions, but you can't feel them.
  11. Murphy inhabited Jif like a sweet, innocent child, almost as though he were delighted to shed the cynicism and get down to the sweet, chewy center. Or day-care center, in this case.
  12. That sweet streak has grown, like a cancer, and gradually killed off any of the edge their (Farrellys) humor may have once had.
  13. As a thriller, The Butterfly Effect is iffy and uneven, but as a portrait of a people, it's effective and intriguing.
  14. When the movie works, it gleefully skewers the clichés of the buddy cop genre... When it doesn't work, it's exactly what it purports to be lampooning--a lame, boring cop buddy movie.
  15. A thoroughly unremarkable police action movie starring the magnetic Samuel L. Jackson.
  16. It's moderately compelling drama, but also fairly static stuff, image-wise.
  17. Don Cheadle is wonderful, as always, as the former drug-addict-turned-psychiatrist who worries it's all hopeless but refuses to stop trying. Sounds clichéd, perhaps, but for the most part it works, thanks to piercingly authentic performances.
  18. This is quintessential "family entertainment."
  19. If your expectations aren't too high, there's lots of cool shit on-screen.
  20. Farrell's performance possesses a touch too many mannerisms on loan from Tyrone Power and Clark Gable; you can almost hear the gears turning in his brain each time he cocks his head or raises an eyebrow in homage.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The film is bound together around the oral tradition and the act of storytelling, and this is where the filmmakers shine.
  21. It's hard to know just how much to trust Titanic Town.
  22. Director Stephen T. Kay (The Last Time I Committed Suicide) busts off some cool shots, and Eric Kripke's story is pretty sound until the finale. Worth a look for horror fans, but nothing classic.
  23. The stately pacing and meandering plot often reduce this potential classic to generous eye candy.
  24. I wanted to be transported by this movie; I wasn't quite. But I respect it.
  25. Ultimately, it's the songs that energize this highlight, and lowlight, reel; you may forget the movie when you walk out of the theater, but you will do so while humming the soundtrack.
  26. Quills is bound to titillate some, but for most it's likely to summon little more than a few Oscars and appreciative yawns.
  27. Happily, the director and writer Andrea Gibb treat little Frankie with as much dramatic respect as the grown-up characters, and he saves the movie from killing sweetness.
  28. Silly, yes, but sweet and fun too.
  29. Is it worth the goofy characters and weak story for the effects and action sequences? Absolutely.
  30. Hasty pacing makes for a rich and exciting movie, but not an especially spooky or spellbinding one.
  31. Nói makes a stab at tragic romance.
  32. Homer would be hard-pressed to find any remaining shred of "The Iliad" in this over-the-top entertainment. It has a lot of loud passion but not much poetry, and that's appropriate for a movie that could well be subtitled My Big Fat Greek Bloodletting.
  33. Little Ralph comes off like "Billy Elliot" on steroids. Still, this an energetic movie that can be truly hilarious in spots, and it captures perfectly the oppressive atmosphere of a Catholic boys' school in the ’50s.
  34. This modest project is all about atmosphere and reflection, and, as such, it is successful.
  35. The songs are actually quite good--if also hideously embarrassing--but these comedians take their roles far too seriously, to their peril and our puzzlement.
  36. The movie works while you watch it, with plenty of scares both sudden and psychological.
  37. Most of The Constant Gardener is made with good taste and with respect for its African subjects. But when Fiennes flees a Kenyan village as bandits begin their merciless attack, it's hard not to feel a little uneasy with the medium. We're meant to get a thrill out of the chase, but it's not thrilling. Sickening's more like it.
  38. By the end, Monsieur Ibrahim's determination to be lighthearted in the face of tragedy is a little wearying.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Inside Man is irrelevant, another semi-high-tech mega-heist movie, the rhythms and tropes of which we are all as familiar with as we are with the wallpaper facing our toilets.
  39. For all its flaws, though, Solaris is a good try, and a definite improvement over the dull remakes Soderbergh has been sleepwalking through lately.
  40. The result is a constant feeling of summary, saddled with four times the usual number of after-school issues. Tamblyn is a treat, playing intelligence and anger, and there are some real moments of connection between characters, but the film is hysterical with self-promotion.
  41. Laurel Canyon lacks the sense of risk that "High Art" had, and in doing so, emasculates its apparent protagonist in Sam.
  42. The movie's so hung up (pardon) on its gimmick it never transcends it; might have been better had Kiefer called Moviefone.
  43. A reasonably entertaining -- and occasionally very moving -- picture.
  44. As family reunion trauma flicks go, The Sea is by no means up to the standards of Thomas Vinterberg's "The Celebration," but it does make clear that Kormákur is a director whose evolution will be interesting to watch.
  45. Saw
    It's brutal horror, where anyone can die at any time, and gorehounds will love it. Average folks may find it too intense.
  46. Actually quite agreeable, but only because of a group of actors who are able to salvage the paper-thin material.
  47. Feels less like a brand-new movie than a greatest-hits compendium. It offers nothing new and instead makes do with presenting the warmed-over like something pulled fresh from the oven.
  48. Though it does cheapen itself with some dreadful moments of product placement, it doesn't instantly date itself with cheap pop-culture gags; it will play to our kids' kids tomorrow just as it does today, like something made for children who don't know to expect more from their cartoons than just pleasant, nostalgic mediocrities.
  49. Whatever else is weak or indulgent in this fledgling effort -- self-consciousness and a certain grim solemnity come to mind -- it has the jolt of truth about it, like a lot of thinly veiled fiction.
  50. The film is amateurish in places, but fascinating: Bring your eager hypothalamus and your tuned-up frontal lobes with you. They'll get a workout.
  51. Handily in a league with its predecessor...as good a follow-up as one can imagine, given the built-in difficulties of sequels.
  52. What's most disappointing is the almost utter lack of humor -- In the mindless action sweepstakes, however, there's still enough here to place The Transporter above big-bang gibberish like XXX.
  53. AKA
    Alternately fascinating and distracting.
  54. After trying to prove himself a serious actor in deadly dull movies, Ledger lightens up and brightens up a movie that attempts the trick of bringing a new spin to an old story but can't pull off the stunt.
  55. It never jells. Primarily, it can't rise above two major weaknesses: a plangent, plaintive script and the inadequacies of John Travolta.
  56. Meandering but reasonably charming.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Writer-director David Mamet delights in his own supposed cleverness; he wants you to scratch your head while he manipulates your brain.
  57. Director Christopher B. Stokes (House Party 4) shapes up the fabulous dance sequences with undeniable energy, and real-life brothers Houston and Grandberry are two of the most enjoyable musicians to appear onscreen since Sting played a bellboy.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Manages to be fitfully entertaining, especially in light of its minuscule budget.
  58. The opening credits -- animated sequences that spoof airline safety cards -- are a high point, but if you're not a prude, the rest of the flick ain't bad either.
  59. There's too much self-congratulatory showbiz overkill, and one is forced to wonder exactly who is getting paid, and how much, for leading this parade in his honor. Otherwise, this project makes it easy for anyone to understand the sanctified, semi-crazed star and the elements that created and destroyed him.
  60. Kind of meaningless--a thriller with delights that wear off before the credits even roll, a movie you might have watched on cable some Saturday afternoon and decided you didn't really waste that much time.
  61. Despite his natty wardrobe and calculated sangfroid, Penn doesn't summon up quite the right image.
  62. Assisted Living's overall mix doesn't quite jell, though there are worthwhile moments.
  63. 3-Iron is at times deliciously sensual, creepily somnolent, whimsically spiritual and disturbingly violent. But it is never quite coherent.
  64. When it's all over, you can't remember if you've been watching a movie or just a jumbo-sized coming attraction.
  65. This uneven new film, a series of dialogues from the legendary Ingmar Bergman, is assembled like movements of a concerto.
  66. There are many winning moments here, but director Nigel Cole (Saving Grace) sometimes imparts to the thing a terrible case of the cutes and an overeagerness to please.
  67. Begins as comedy, morphs into drama and only belatedly introduces the noir requisites of subterfuge, cunning and death--none of which, by that time, is necessary or even welcome. There is a great deal of life in this movie, and also promise, but its creepy ending betrays its sincere and painful core.
  68. Once you get past the inherent silliness of the premise, what we've got here is actually a deft little chiller, stylishly directed despite the so-so cast.
  69. The result is something that feels very much like an overachieving made-for-TV movie--a history lesson dolled up like an action movie, with the action relegated to the final third, and even then, the battle is over before it really begins.
  70. As a clear, exhaustive and highly intelligent discussion of one of the most pressing issues of our time, it's a success. As a work of documentary, however, it's flawed by its failure to limit its scope (or at least pare down its material), by its strangely stylized narration and by its lack of a story.
  71. Robert Rodriguez and his kids conjure up a charming 3-D fantasy.
  72. Devotees of the comedienne presumably will think they have died and gone to heaven, while Cho virgins may laugh aloud a half-dozen times but probably won't become converts.
  73. Despite the few good performances, this Hamlet is not a keeper.
  74. Its greatest flaw is the casting of Miller ("Trainspotting," "Hackers"), who continues to have virtually no screen presence...For all that, Plunkett & Macleane is fun.
  75. Neorealism it ain't, but if you have a sufficiently long attention span, there are moments of laugh-out-loud absurdity that are worth the price of admission.
  76. The skeleton's a hoot, and the score, credited to the solo-monikered Valentino, is pitch-perfect. Some judicious editing would make a huge improvement, however, because even at 90 minutes, it feels like Blamire's stretching the joke a bit thin.
  77. It never attempts to know more than they do, or to encourage them to look deeply into themselves. As a result, the film is a little flat.
  78. The jokes in Extract play almost like afterthoughts, the last-second add-ons of a former animator who, until now, has always treated his flesh-and-blood characters a bit like cartoon caricatures and vice versa.
  79. Here's a popcorn movie with soul, welcoming the masses to consider how much can change in popular culture over 30 years, as the horrific becomes the familiar.
  80. The creators of Alexander set out to make an epic, and they can't be faulted for the many elements that succeed on this scale; what's unfortunate is that they don't quite deliver a camp classic.
  81. John Leguizamo, in a rare watchable performance.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    A blender full of all the juicy nuggets that define Troma films: monsters, mayhem, syrupy bloodletting and gooey head-squishing, transgender mutilations, loads of bad acting by complete freaks, and even more pointless nudity by attractive and unattractive people alike.
  82. For the first time, Burton seems comfortable walking around the real world.
  83. Carrey's brand of exhausting physical comedy is a far cry from Segal's useful bewilderment, so this ride is both rougher and loonier.
  84. Ultimately, it's the hip cast that keeps things hopping.
  85. Fans of Arthur C. Clarke may be pleased, but fans of serious biology may bust out laughing at the goofily rendered aliens who show up.
  86. If you can cast all semblance of logic aside, it's sort of fun.
  87. That there's moral ambiguity to his actions represents some sort of step up from the cinematic norm. Alas, Christopher Walken has very little to do as Creasy's best buddy.
  88. It almost plays like a darkly comic "Peanuts" special.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It's nothing more than pleasant matinee fodder with some jarring tones and clunky stretches.
  89. The result is a kind of quirky, high-toned soap opera.
  90. Some won't appreciate the mix of tones, but none of the humor cheapens the film's final blow, nor is it designed to condone terrorism in any way.
  91. This new version, which retains nearly every character and echoes nearly every scenario, is somehow its complete opposite--a slight, breezy incarnation that tries like hell to dishearten, which only makes it disingenuous.
  92. There's something about that project that feels manipulative and wrong.
  93. There could have been life in the material, but no one involved save Hurt and Collins seems to have taken the time to find it.
  94. The movie is facile, but mostly sweet and entertaining.

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