New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 1,960 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The Adventures of Tintin
Lowest review score: 0 Enough
Score distribution:
1,960 movie reviews
  1. It's hard to get past the primitiveness of Allen’s fantasies.
  2. Predictable, not so much from his (Zhang Yimou) previous movies as from the work of the many sentimentalists who have already plowed this well-tilled turf.
  3. A frustrating blend of the sharply funny and the ploddingly generic. Although he does them well enough, we don’t really need Ron Shelton to give us the same old skidding-U-turn cop-thriller theatrics. He’s a much more distinctive talent than this crass spree allows for.
  4. Spiderwick. There’s nothing wrong with it that passion and personality couldn’t fix.
  5. The film is sometimes gentle to the point of blandness, but it's never flimsy.
  6. An unusually powerful mess, a broad satire of suburban self-indulgence with little in the way of a consistent style, and with a character who's serious business: a convicted child molester.
  7. The film is repetitive, top-heavy: Wright blows his wad too early. But a different lead might have kept you laughing and engaged.
  8. The film may have its roots in reminiscence, but it doesn't feel like it comes from the heart: Zeffirelli's, as usual, is swathed in tinsel. Still, the villas on display are gorgeous, and watching those dowager martinets intimidate the Fascisti is fine sport.
  9. Life After Beth is a reasonably fun, medium-gory horror comedy that’s better before the innards hit the fan.
  10. It downplays the effects of George's drug trafficking, not so much on himself and his cronies as on the wrecked lives of the generation of customers we never get to see.
  11. The middling romantic comedy Smart People, which centers on a hyperintellectual dysfunctional family, is of interest chiefly for the first post-Juno role of Ellen Page.
  12. Love it or laugh at it, you will gaze on Southland Tales with awe.
  13. It's fascinating trying to separate the thirties material from the mostly maladroit additions.
  14. If you can stay awake, you'll see a performance by ­Keaton that is radiant in its simplicity, all ditheriness shaken off. She's still ­peaking - ­someone give her a great role.
  15. With the transformation of Al Franken from comedian to activist, Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus stumbled onto a good subject, but in the documentary Al Franken: God Spoke, they stumble around in it.
  16. Except for a screamingly funny climax in which he attempts to kidnap Pamela Anderson (who reportedly wasn't in on the joke), I found the Borat feature (directed by Larry Charles, who does similar duties on "Curb Your Enthusiasm") depressing; and the paroxysms of the audience reinforced the feeling that I was watching a bearbaiting or pigsticking.
  17. Pacific Rim made me marvel at the technology of movies, but never the magic of them.
  18. The ultimate effect of this film, directed by actor Diego Luna, is curiously cold — it never transcends the hagiographic nature of its material, despite a talented cast and a compelling subject.
  19. The unfairness of it all would be worth getting more worked up about if Adore were a better movie. It’s not. But it’s a fascinating one nevertheless — a case study in thwarted cinematic ambition and a cautionary tale of stylistic timidity.
  20. If Cheap Thrills ultimately does carry us along, it’s due largely to Healy’s performance and presence. He’s a figure halfway between schlemiel and criminal, and the film effectively works that full range.
  21. There’s a ravishing aliveness to the spacious imagery; at least the clichés have room to roam free.
  22. A routine, stereotype-stuffed sitcom with pretensions.
  23. To be fair, some of it is good, very good. Jersey Boys has an easy, likable gait. It’s Eastwood’s most fluid film: He gets the swing of the music without fancy editing.
  24. Evocative as it is, The Road comes up short, not because it’s bleak but because it’s monotonous.
  25. Pleasant, if inane – helped along by a likable cast that’s clearly having fun.
  26. Mostly uninspired and insipid, but it rallies, and builds up enough comic steam by the end that you might find yourself amused.
  27. Burn After Reading is untranscendent, a little tired, the first Coen brothers picture on autopilot. In the words of the CIA superior, it’s "no biggie."
  28. It’s not a bad film, exactly, but it’s a jumbled, uncertain one, and it never quite makes a compelling case for itself.
  29. A wee Boy Scout would have done far better in the wilds. It’s tough to think "Waiting for Godot" when what you’re watching is closer to "Dumb & Dumber."
  30. The movie has grand (and Grand Guignol) bits and pieces, but despite the hype it’s no big deal. By horror standards, the premise isn’t especially outlandish.
  31. About Time is like a sermon that starts with a few good jokes and ends with tremulous exhortations to live, live.
  32. Directed by Bryan Singer in a break from his gayish superhero movies, it's a low-key procedural with a dollop of suspense--although perhaps not enough to make up for the foregone conclusion.
  33. If "Psycho" and "Peeping Tom" are the seminal killer-as-voyeur movies, Vacancy is the nasty little runt offspring with no other purpose in life but to gnaw on you.
  34. It starts off with a flourish and winds up limp, like a rabbit pulled out of a hat that turns out to be dead.
  35. They make you wish Haggis would put away the Great Themes, the belabored dialogue, the forced narrative dynamics, and just figure out a way to scale down his scope and tell smaller stories. Maybe it’s not all as connected as he thinks.
  36. Another charmless Hollywood thriller.
  37. The 61-year-old Stallone would deserve a measure of respect for pulling Rambo off, appalling as it is, but this Fangoria-worthy circus of horrors also features footage of actual Burmese atrocities.
  38. The philosophic notions in I Love Huckabees are ultimately not much more than window dressing for some fancy slapstick.
  39. Neither terrible nor excellent; Hayek, who also co-produced, may have obsessed for years about this project, but the result is a fairly standard this-happened-and-that-happened biopic.
  40. Hereafter occupies some muzzy twilight zone, too woo-woo sentimental to be real, too limp to make for even a halfway decent ghost story.
  41. Roach is too stiff a director to give Ferrell room to romp. Bits like the one in which he's challenged to recite "The Lord's Prayer" needed extra zigs and zags instead of variations on the same joke. A looser director like Adam McKay (Step Brothers) might have created a happier climate for improv.
  42. Just because Cole Porter's biography was botched and airbrushed in "Night and Day," starring Cary Grant, doesn't mean De-Lovely, which is up-front about Porter's homosexuality, is a whole lot better.
  43. Too eager to please to be truly dislikable, and Roberts and Cusack have a fine rapport.
  44. Juicy, revved-up, semi-satisfying biopic.
  45. The film never quite reconciles the banality of this love triangle with its far more interesting depiction of the rest of these characters’ lives.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Has an authentic rotgut flavor, but here's the question for the future: Will Gallo learn to criticize his own ideas or continue to pride himself on screwing up?
  46. The film becomes an aria of agony--but with a rousingly yucko finish!
  47. Somewhere inside The Last Exorcism Part II is a very good thriller — a genuinely unnerving movie about possession — struggling to get out. But then the sound drops out, the music shrieks, a figure jumps out, and we’re back to the same old, same old.
  48. The tit-for-tat scenario ought to be wildly entertaining, but the magic is crude, the characters flyweight, and the story protracted and unpleasant.
  49. Roth's deep-dish introspection would be difficult for any movie to achieve, but with the right cast and more passion, we might have been pulled right into Coleman's psychic prison. The Human Stain isn't a movie of ideas, and it's too inert to be a probing character study. No stain is left behind, just a wan watermark.
  50. What we're getting in this movie isn't necessarily better; it's just more.
  51. In a movie with so much graphic suffering by innocent Africans, it’s a bit disconcerting that so much loving attention is paid to Bruce Willis’s anguished mug. There’s an uncomfortable Great White Father (and Mother) aspect to this movie.
  52. In much the same way that Godard used heroines like Anna Karina or Bardot, Toback showcases Campbell's face as a placard of unknowability--a quality he recognizes as inherently feminine. The (inadvertent) question we are left with is, How much is there to know about her anyway?
  53. So even if Here Comes the Boom doesn't quite work as a comedy (it's not particularly funny), or a drama (it's not particularly poignant), it has an earnest charm that keeps us engaged.
  54. The grandeur of the Lord of the Rings trilogy [has] been replaced by something that resembles tatty summer-stock theater.
  55. I hope that in Part 2, Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves give Fiennes a better send-off than Dame J.K. did in her less-than-wizardly climactic wandathon. Having made us sit through two and a half hours with no payoff, they'd better not go all Muggle on us. Next time, we want magic, people.
  56. No mainstream filmmaker since Orson Welles can touch Steven Spielberg when it comes to camera movement and composition--or, more precisely, to composition that gets more vivid as the camera moves...It's the work of a man with film storytelling in his blood. What a bummer when the story he has to tell is a cosmic nothing.
  57. I enjoyed this piece of southern-fried screwball Gothic whimsy (with jolts of CGI spell-casting for the multiplex crowd) so much that I’m sad to admit that it’s nowhere near as potent as "Twilight."
  58. A brisk feminist melodrama that is, historically speaking, a load of wank. It has the feel of a game of “telephone,” in which information is progressively mangled.
  59. Transporting, well acted, and occasionally powerful. It’s also a rushed, maddening mess.
  60. If there’s a sure thing in movies, it’s that if you cast Nicolas Cage in a role in which he goes crazy, he’ll rise to the occasion and keep on rising until he seems even loonier than his character.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    This is a film full of unremarkable compromises — the kind that result in a bland film rather than a bad one.
  61. John Travolta finds no artistic breathing-room in A Love Song for Bobby Long.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Brooks is looking for comedy in all the wrong places. He's no longer his own White Whale. He's something slower, in a shell--his own turtle.
  62. Inland Empire is way, way beyond my powers of ratiocination. It's the higher math.
  63. Cloying as much of this stuff is, it's not cynical. Curtis seems genuinely convinced that love is all around. Far be it from me to say otherwise. We don’t speak the same language.
  64. Spirit of Vengeance is so focused and, as a result, so impoverished that you actually feel bad for Cage. The actor tries to bring the weird (though at this point one wonders if he can even do anything else) but the film more often than not leaves him high and dry, saddling him with standard-issue action hero lines and boilerplate action set-pieces.
  65. The Age of Adaline, for its part, delivers the twists and turns of its fantastical plot with elegance and confidence. Here, the weak romance threatens to bring everything down.
  66. I don't mean to unduly target Kill Bill Vol. 2 --it's certainly no worse than most of the blam-blam fare out there. But what I crave now are movies that speak to me in a different way about violence, that acknowledge the fact that real people are harmed.
  67. These numbers, frankly, display a professionalism and confidence that most of the rest of the movie can't match. And yes, that's the bad news.
  68. Frances McDormand deserves much better than Lisa Cholodenko’s flat-footed Laurel Canyon...McDormand alone makes the picture worth seeing: Her character is a rash combo of steel and dissolution and regret.
  69. Fifty Shades of Grey is nowhere near as laughable as you might have feared (or perversely hoped for): It’s elegantly made, and Dakota Johnson is so good at navigating the heroine’s emotional zigs and zags that you want to buy into the whole cobwebbed premise.
  70. Jolie’s commitment to the part is admirable: She gives this Maleficent a real emotional urgency. But the rest of the movie lets her down.
  71. In their last collaboration, "21 Grams," the director Alejandro González Iñárritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga did syntactical acrobatics to disguise what a dreary and exploitive little soap opera they’d made. Their new movie, Babel, is more mysterious and less coherent.
  72. Undeniably powerful, but also rather numbing.
  73. Divided We Fall is intended to be restorative, but its wish fulfillments, while charming, are also a bit too gaga for that.
  74. Jenkins is so desperate to give his love story a social and economic context that he stops the movie cold for a bunch of unrelated white people to articulate their grievances over gentrification--it's as if "Annie Hall" had paused for a seminar on agrarian reform.
  75. The tall, cool Kidman works hard to impersonate a woman possessed, but she's not the type of actress to fill in a role that hasn't been filled in on paper.
  76. In The Judge, a legal drama that builds to the requisite Hollywood Dark Night of the Soul, Robert Downey Jr. has a role so far inside his comfort zone that the movie has no drive, no urgency.
  77. This series is in its fortieth year; it might be nice to see Bond battle a readily identifiable, real-world villain for a change. There's certainly no shortage.
  78. It all mostly works, but you can’t help but wonder at times if it could have been a lot funnier if it had just a bit more edge.
  79. The Longest Ride is actually one of the more competent Sparks films in some years — a far cry from the creaky noir of "Safe Haven," the awkwardly backloaded melodrama of "The Best of Me," or the phony brooding of "The Lucky One." It goes down smoothly, if blandly, like an air-flavored milkshake.
  80. Yes, it all gets kind of old, and yes, it's all over the place, but you'll probably find yourself laughing at least some of the time. Dick jokes, after all, can be pretty funny.
  81. A crime thriller that is strong on sultry atmosphere--you practically break into a sweat watching it--but weak on believability.
  82. It's a great metaphor - but not a great movie. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris direct in a drably naturalistic style, and the script is thin.
  83. Coogan's mopiness is oddly riveting.
  84. Neeson's gravity elevates the action, and there's a fine, prickly performance by an actor new to me, Frank Grillo, as the asshole of the group. But The Grey, despite moments of sublimity, is as predictable as a funeral. When Ottway angrily calls out to God, the nonanswer is sadly redundant.
  85. It makes the same misstep that Allen's comedies often do: It assumes that the lives of these people are only about sex and love, and so that's all we ever see of them. This one-and-a-half-dimensionality wears thin.
  86. It would take a filmmaker of truly astonishing versatility to harmonize all these disparate tones...But there are moments in Dreamcatcher when Kasdan gives you the giggles and the creeps at the same time, and that’s not easy to do.
  87. Ben Affleck makes for a pretty good jerk, but he can’t pull off outright villainy. That’s probably the main problem with the crime thriller Runner Runner.
  88. This monstro-budgeted sequel to The Matrix has more than twice as many special effects as the original... there is also more than twice as much philosophic bull as before--and there was plenty of that the first time around.
  89. The film is slick when it needs to be raw, tidy when it needs to sprawl, and amorphous when it needs to focus.
  90. The funniest things in Be Kind Rewind are not the many moments in which Mike and Jerry look like Ed Wood’s worst nightmare, but when the pair finds expedient ways to do for pennies what would take Brett Ratner millions and be less expressive to boot.
  91. Larsson is renowned for his attention to marginal details, which gives his prose a rambling, one-thing-after-another pace that many readers find soothing. Onscreen, the lack of acceleration makes for one of those long Scandinavian winter nights.
  92. There are things in San Andreas that no one would have dreamed of seeing 40 years ago, when "Earthquake" (with its tacky, plaster-cracking “Sensurround”) represented the state of the art. But nothing means anything. The spectacle feels less earned than Dwayne Johnson’s biceps, which are ludicrous but not hollow.
  93. The gut-whomping, high-concept romantic thriller This Means War is not a distinguished addition to director McG's oeuvre.
  94. The film arrives with both too much and too little to say. It comes at us in choppy bursts of brilliance and dopiness. That is at once its great charm and its great curse.
  95. Ozon has a smooth gift for scenes of unease, but ultimately Swimming Pool liquifies into a dreary puzzle movie.
  96. A bearable period chick flick with a self-congratulatory “realistic” conceit.
  97. Penn is mostly in "I Am Sam mode" here, doing a lot of shoe-gazing and mumbly-talk, but not without adding an edge of bitter intelligence to his character; he's just too good an actor to merely repeat himself, even when the material encourages him to.

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