New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 1,772 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 54% 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: 62
Highest review score: 100 The Avengers
Lowest review score: 0 She Hate Me
Score distribution:
1,772 movie reviews
  1. Gomorrah isn't memorable. The structure feels random, and the characters remain at arm's length. Next to HBO's "The Wire," which depicted an enormous financial ladder and also brought to life the characters on every rung, the movie is small potatoes: excellent journalism, so-so art.
  2. Hopelessly amateurish, the troupe is saved by a remarkably pretty young blonde called Douce with a sweet soprano to match her angel face. The gifted, unknown actress-singer who plays her, Nora Arnezeder, also saves the movie, which would otherwise blur into a mass of droopy, mustached, big-honkered Gallic character actors.
  3. If you're in the mood for a liberal message movie in which the only surprise is no surprise, American Violet is the ticket.
  4. The movie is a noble enterprise, and Downey is stupendous as usual, but Joe Wright's direction is too slick to elicit much feeling.
  5. Sandler isn't afraid of plumbing his dark side, but Apatow fails him: Scenes of George's self-pity drag on too long, and as the character loses stature, Sandler recedes from his own vehicle. Rogen doesn't fill the vacuum.
  6. Watching this Pelham--a money job from its conception--you can believe that there's no other motivation on Earth.
  7. It will resonate with anyone who has ever buried a loved one and struggled to reconcile the myriad emotions--grief, anger, helplessness. Which is to say, everyone. And yet out of this premise comes glop. Departures needed a little more work in the morgue--like cutting to the bone.
  8. Pontypool doesn't jell--its pretensions way exceed its reach--yet it's madly suggestive, and it rekindled my affection for the genre.
  9. It's hard to get past the primitiveness of Allen’s fantasies.
  10. Evocative as it is, The Road comes up short, not because it’s bleak but because it’s monotonous.
  11. The ending is powerful..., but Shutter Island is a long slog.
  12. Works only in spurts.
  13. 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.
  14. It starts to feel less like a thriller than an actors’ workshop.
  15. In patches it's agreeably lurid, but it's otherwise ho-hum.
  16. Few films go as obviously and bewilderingly wrong as Chloe, but for the first hour it’s a potent little melodrama in which the smooth, super-controlled storytelling contains the theme of unruly obsession like a straitjacket.
  17. The film is repetitive, top-heavy: Wright blows his wad too early. But a different lead might have kept you laughing and engaged.
  18. Hereafter occupies some muzzy twilight zone, too woo-woo sentimental to be real, too limp to make for even a halfway decent ghost story.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. The drama is so muddled that Shakespeare seems to be getting in the way of Taymor's spectacle, the magic long gone by the time Prospera hurls her staff off into the sea.
  22. The sad part is that How Do You Know is nowhere near as dumb as it looks. A couple of comic set pieces are inspired-or would be, if Brooks's timing weren't off.
  23. At least The Green Hornet is likable, and a refreshing change from the heavy, angst-ridden superhero pictures so beloved by obnoxious fanboys.
  24. The thing is scary as hell when it's all creaks and thumps and doors swinging open. Then come the explanations, the special effects, and the inevitable feeling of been-there-been-­bombarded-by-that.
  25. Bier dramatizes our ambivalence so earnestly that it's tempting to give her awards rather than admit that the movie is a crushing bore.
  26. Gibson is better in the later scenes, when Walter tries to escape the Beaver's nefarious influence. And Gibson's never bad. It's just that we know how much is missing. As a raging nutcase, he's capable of so much more.
  27. The film is sometimes gentle to the point of blandness, but it's never flimsy.
  28. It's the only Almodóvar movie in which feeling, emotional or sexual, doesn't suffuse the imagery and hold the ramshackle melodrama together.
  29. The non-ending turns the whole movie into an elaborate tease, too creepy to dismiss, too shallow to justify its "ambiguities."
  30. Novelist-turned-director Leigh's dryly efficient style is perched between the matter-of-fact and the impossibly arty.
  31. As Brown becomes more flagrantly self-destructive and at the same time more deluded, you realize you're watching "Bad Lieutenant" made by a tediously finger-wagging Jew instead of a tediously desecrating Catholic.
  32. Anyway, "Children of Men" this ain't, though the inert directing of Len Wiseman (who helmed the first two films and has a producer credit here) has thankfully been replaced by Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein, who seem to have a lot more verve and even some visual whimsy.
  33. The performance is extraordinary, literally: Close resembles no man I've ever seen, or woman either. She's the personification of fear - the fear of being seen through, seen for what she is.
  34. 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.
  35. The film bulldozes any genuine nuance or insight or even emotion in exchange for ready-made plot points and by-the-numbers catharsis.
  36. There is one nice pop-up scare against a dozen or so false, ineffectual ones - a poor percentage. As the title states, she is a woman and wears black, but she might as well be a hastily decked-out script girl for all her impact.
  37. The gut-whomping, high-concept romantic thriller This Means War is not a distinguished addition to director McG's oeuvre.
  38. 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.
  39. Watching the impossibly dry and somnambulant Good Deeds, you actually miss that crazy side of Perry. It's sort of ironic: Here's a film about a guy who's being false to his true self, and you realize the director might be doing the same.
  40. As a tribute for the awesome destructive power of the teenage libido, the house-party-gone-apocalyptic flick Project X is pretty compelling...Think "Girls Gone Wild" meets "Black Hawk Down." Unfortunately, it also appears to want to tell a story, with characters and things, and on that level it pretty much completely falls apart.
  41. In their move from 11-minute episodes on TV to 94 minutes, Tim and Eric have lost none of their hilarity or irreverence. But this time around, they somehow manage to be tedious, too.
  42. To be fair, when the story is moving, it's okay.
  43. Watching The Hunger Games, I was struck both by how slickly Ross hit his marks and how many opportunities he was missing to take the film to the next level - to make it more shocking, lyrical, crazy, daring.
  44. The Snow White comedy Mirror, Mirror turns out to be not that terrible - or maybe it's that the terrible first half hour wears you down so much that the rest seems relatively pleasant.
  45. 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.
  46. The film would be better if it were gentler. It's broadly written and played, the actors too busy telegraphing their characters' emotions to let us contemplate their faces in peace.
  47. The finished product is in a different league than the whompingly terrible Men in Black II - it hits its marks. But it's not inventive enough to overcome the overarching inertia, the palpable absence of passion.
  48. It also comes as little surprise that she (Fonda) knocks the part out of the park, even if the film around her leaves something to be desired.
  49. As usual, it's Banks, who's turning great performances in lousy movies into some kind of brilliant career strategy.
  50. He's still a young guy, but all throughout Witness Protection I imagined Perry sitting glumly at a dressing-room mirror, like the aging Chaplin in "Limelight," forlornly rubbing makeup in his face - a tired, old clown stuck in a tired, old routine.
  51. I hope I'm not raining on Beasts of the Southern Wild's deluge to say it doesn't always live up to its pretensions. There's a lot of unshaped babble and draggy landscape shots, and the music, so lovely in small doses, is numbing when it's ladled over everything.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. Streep and Jones make themselves small: She's chirpy; he's crusty. Incessant pop standards on the soundtrack supply the emotion the director can't. All that's missing are commercials for estrogen cream and erectile-dysfunction meds.
  55. 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.
  56. Believe it or not, there's a strange kind of lifelessness to the movie that makes you wish it were dumber -- that it was more obnoxious and louder and crazier.
  57. 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.
  58. Although it's shot in lovely, dusty shades of brown with splashes of Coca-Cola red, John Hillcoat's Lawless is dead weight: listlessly classical and then bludgeoning.
  59. It's just a movie about a bunch of guys and gals returning home for their reunion, with the only twist being that it's loaded up with stars and recognizable faces. Unfortunately, that serves to highlight the film's greatest failing, which is that all these big names and faces are given practically nothing to do.
  60. If you want your movie to blow up the right way, you have to do better than the paint-by-numbers story and characters presented here.
  61. 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.
  62. The grandeur of the Lord of the Rings trilogy [has] been replaced by something that resembles tatty summer-stock theater.
  63. I'm not sure any other actress today could have pulled this off without seeming cheap or manipulative. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for the movie itself, which often traffics in the manipulative.
  64. The whole movie is like an NRA wet dream, with Robert Duvall as a crusty gun-range owner who pitches in to shoot bad guys. Jack Reacher already feels as if it belongs to another era.
  65. Identity Thief is funny enough, but it needed to be darker, raunchier, and crazier to live up to the promise of its casting.
  66. 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."
  67. 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.
  68. More a dark fairy tale about vengeance than the action-packed crime thriller it purports to be, the film is at times exhilarating, bold, and beautiful — when it’s not busy being ludicrous, fragmented, and just plain stupid.
  69. The segments are essentially monodramas, so sketchily written that the big moments feel less like recognizable human behavior than recognizable screenwriter overreaching.
  70. The passing of the torch from Raimi to Alvarez is not a momentous occasion. In the end, who really cares? Five years from now, will you want to watch this bloody $14 million extravaganza or Raimi’s shoestring original, which was Amateur Hour elevated to pop art?
  71. To the Wonder feels like generalized woo-woo—and self-parody.
  72. Pleasant, if inane – helped along by a likable cast that’s clearly having fun.
  73. Leterrier’s film is the kind that doesn’t stand up well to scrutiny: The more you know about it, the more befuddled you’ll be.
  74. The movie isn’t dead on arrival, like Snyder’s over-reverent "Watchmen." But it’s pleasure-free.
  75. Some of that fun is infectious. For a while. Maybe 45 minutes. But when actors look as if they’re having a better time than you are, the buzz wears off fast. You turn into a wallflower at an especially obnoxious party.
  76. Without a character, he’s (Pitt) back to that soft, appraising, Robert Redford Jr. stare, his mouth half open as if he’s about to speak but plainly with nothing on his mind apart from, “This is what a movie star looks like without any lines.” The ghouls are having deeper thoughts.
  77. In Redemption, too, Statham brings real conviction to the part of a broken man who winds up breaking himself even more. Look beyond the generic shell, and this wildly imperfect movie appears to have a rare soul lurking inside it.
  78. The story doesn’t feel dramatized. It feels pitched.
  79. Pacific Rim made me marvel at the technology of movies, but never the magic of them.
  80. No movie with this much ass-kicking should feel so lifeless. Nothing in Red 2 is actively offensive, but for the most part, it’s hard to really care for anything that’s happening to these characters.
  81. Slapped with the generic title The Wolverine, the fifth feature-length appearance of Hugh Jackman’s X-Man John Logan is basically "The Bad News Wolverine Goes to Japan" and is not especially world-shaking.
  82. Lovelace is a respectable job, but it never goes deep.
  83. The action is bludgeoning. When Max gets pummeled by fists and lethal objects, we get pummeled by light and noise and rock-'em-sock-'em editing. No shrimp, though. As a narrative, "District 9" wasn't particularly original, either — in the end it was a standard conversion melodrama. But everything is better with shrimp.
  84. 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.
  85. The movie substitutes milky, washed-out color and funereal music for insight. The murders are purposely un-fluid: When you see Mohammad or Malvo take a shot, you don’t see the impact of the bullet. When you see the victim struck, you don’t see the shooter.
  86. Villeneuve is trying like hell to elevate what turns out to be a dumb genre picture.
  87. Luckily, there is a movie you can watch instead that will give you both fascinating context and awesome dancing. It’s called "Planet B-Boy."
  88. 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.
  89. Kill Your Darlings wants to be a young man’s movie, but it’s all “cinema du papa,” as the French New Wave used to call it. The philosophical disconnect is downright cosmic.
  90. About Time is like a sermon that starts with a few good jokes and ends with tremulous exhortations to live, live.
  91. Ender’s Game’s only lyrical presence is Breslin’s. The actress has a gentle soul. In the end, she’s the movie’s mascot, and its mournful spirit.
  92. We know where it’s going, and it doesn’t take long to get there. There are some good jokes along the way, a few of them blandly off-color.
  93. However you cut it, with all that talent, Charlie Countryman feels like a sad, wasted opportunity.
  94. Look, Dear Mr. Watterson is a nice movie. Calvin & Hobbes fans may get a kick out of it. But it falls squarely into the promotional genre of documentary filmmaking — the same way so many music docs nowadays seem to be just movies about how awesome the director’s favorite band is.
  95. Delivery Man feels more unformed, as if nobody’s bothered to give it that extra coat of slick Hollywood paint to cover up the patchwork beneath.
  96. We’re supposed to take this more seriously because it takes itself more seriously.
  97. In the all-star movie adaptation of August: Osage County, another play that holds the stage with fang and claw feels less momentous onscreen.
  98. This one never quite decides if it wants to be a big, boisterous epic or a solemn retelling, and it nearly disappears into the crack between the two.
  99. Exquisitely produced, immaculately acted, and thoroughly uninvolving, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a perfect nothing of a movie.
  100. 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.

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