New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 2,171 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 0.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Avatar
Lowest review score: 0 Arthur
Score distribution:
2171 movie reviews
  1. Spartan is a character study embedded in an action-hero scenario. Neither aspect ever really breaks loose.
  2. Dom Hemingway is an uneven movie, to be sure — plot holes abound, and some of the aforementioned clichés can be distracting — but it’s still hard to resist. Because rarely have an actor and a part been so perfect for each other, and Shepard lets his lead run wild with this offbeat, contradictory character.
  3. It turns out that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is half goofy-great, and half just a goof.
  4. The director, Richard Loncraine, doesn't generate much tension in Firewall's first half...The standard-issue climax is pretty exciting, though.
  5. I like — as always — what Chandor attempts: not just to denounce capitalism but to explain in detail how people go wrong. But the overcomposed, sedate A Most Violent Year lacks the one thing it most needs: violence.
  6. It doesn’t always work as drama, but as a musical, it’s often fantastic.
  7. Neil Young’s concept album turned concert tour turned movie, which is like nothing I’ve ever seen--at least not in an unaltered state.
  8. Still, it's hard not to think that there's a darker, funnier movie in there waiting to get out. In the meantime, we'll always have the humping chicken.
  9. If The Theory of Everything cut as deeply as Redmayne's performance, it might be on the level of "My Left Foot." But there are so damn many problems, easy to ignore at first in the elation of watching Redmayne and the gossamer Felicity Jones as his future wife, Jane, but impossible to shake off in the last third.
  10. Even in a piffle like Something’s Gotta Give, Keaton reminds us of her uncanny ability to inhabit her characters' knockabout emotions.
  11. Selick has a great fantasy filmmaker's artistry, but he lacks that overflowing Geppetto-esque love that brings puppets to life. In Coraline, he's woozy with his own lyricism.
  12. This may sound like an Oprah episode, but the outcome is far from predictable and carries the force of a tragedy in which everyone, and no one, is to blame.
  13. For Sabotage, as good as it is in its first half, can’t keep it together.
  14. The Last Samurai is an idyll in which the savageries of existence are transcended by spiritual devotion. That’s a beautiful dream, and it gives the film a deep pleasingness, but the fullness of life and its blackest ambiguities are sacrificed.
  15. Monster Hunt is not a movie that aims for narrative dexterity, or subtlety, or grace. It’s a blunt, bloated object, designed to bludgeon us with silly action and broad humor.
  16. It’s powerful, all right, and Downey’s performance is lacerating, but missing is any sense of lyricism in Dark’s hallucinatory yearnings. Without that leap of transcendence, this new Singing Detective doesn’t sing.
  17. It’s Aronofsky’s least personal work. So you get a fat dose of conventional melodrama with your Old Testament: It’s the antediluvian "Gladiator."
  18. When the film shifts to Shanghai and the club Casablanca, there's too much lustrous-hued loitering and too few martial­-arts set pieces.
  19. City of Men is clunky and often contrived, but there’s something haunting about fatherless boys in a blighted place fumbling to teach themselves what it means to be a man.
  20. It's plotless. It fits no category -- "docudrama tone poem" probably comes closest.
  21. Movies are the lesser medium for Fey and Carell. They’re the stars of two relatively sophisticated, media-savvy network sitcoms, yet their big-screen comedies are retro.
  22. If the filmmakers had made a point of satirizing the new makeover culture in ways that went beyond camp jibes at décor and suburbia, they might have come up with a classic.
  23. CQ
    Not everything in this ambitious comic escapade works, but Coppola, along with his sister, Sofia, is a real filmmaker. It must be in the genes.
  24. There's something a bit condescending about how the movie devolves into a falling-out-between-friends scenario, as if the only way our attention could be held by this subculture were if it was presented to us sentimentally.
  25. This could be the premise of a zany comedy, but the mood of The Future is, from the outset, defeatist - annoyingly defeatist, to be frank.
  26. There’s a powerful austerity to Manglehorn the man’s tale that Manglehorn the film itself — well acted and touching though it often is — doesn’t quite match.
  27. Inspires the requisite shock and awe, but a little goes a long way. About the fifth time I saw someone slip-sliding away from a 60-foot wave, I longed to hear someone on the soundtrack say, “That guy is really nuts.”
  28. Sutton finds the lyrical tension in torpor; he shows how Willis’s artistic vacuum isn’t a passive thing, how it eats into him, how it even permeates the natural world.
  29. Idlewild is diverting enough to suggest all the unexplored avenues in movie musicals.
  30. Watching Ali and Cole (and, of course, Stewart and Maadi), we find ourselves wishing that they would genuinely get the chance to better understand each other. Do they, by the end? We’re not sure. On that score, Camp X-Ray remains admirably open-ended.
  31. It's all been done before, and better.
  32. The filmmakers betray the essentially childlike appeal of Shrek by piling up all these too-hip Hollywood references aimed at adults. It's not just kids who will feel cheated.
  33. As Li’l Quinquin seesaws between the horrific and the ridiculous, between the playful and profound, between control and chaos, we may find ourselves both frustrated and riveted. Something tells me Bruno Dumont wouldn’t want it any other way.
  34. An art piece in which everything seems to be a metaphor for something else, and as pleasing as it is to watch, it's too pretentious by half.
  35. Channing's formidably good -- a career woman in extremis -- but the movie, which was written and directed by Patrick Stettner, otherwise unfortunately resembles a product of the Neil LaBute Finishing School.
  36. Blue Ruin is more artful and evocative than any recent revenge picture, but it’s still drivel.
  37. Some first-rate animation and some second-rate storytelling.
  38. The movie is moderately enjoyable, but it also makes you feel conned: It offers up a disturbing protagonist and then substitutes cuteness for character.
  39. 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.
  40. A montage-happy, occasionally unpleasant film that’s still strangely watchable, The Other Woman is almost saved by a cast that’s … well, likable isn’t quite the word.
  41. For most of this movie, things are exactly what they seem--mediocre.
    • New York Magazine (Vulture)
  42. There is something sneakily gratifying about all this: Not since the days of "Earthquake" have Hollywood producers so indulged their fantasies of trashing the town.
  43. In patches it's agreeably lurid, but it's otherwise ho-hum.
  44. The ending is a huge letdown, doing little besides setting the stage for the sequel… But for a good hour and change, the film is a big toy box that teases you out of the Gloom.
  45. Bier dramatizes our ambivalence so earnestly that it's tempting to give her awards rather than admit that the movie is a crushing bore.
  46. Clean, pleasant, and thoroughly unremarkable. It passes the time, but with that cast and that director, it should have been so much more.
  47. The film is based on a novel by Susan Minot--one of those books where the author doesn't deign to put dialogue in quotation marks for fear of dispelling the dreamlike mood. It works on paper, but Minot, who shares credit for the adaptation with fellow novelist Michael Cunningham, doesn't understand that screenwriting is the art of taking away.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The movie is physically beautiful, but the ideas are kitsch -- it’s a New Age love story, the latest version of the doomed romances of 50 years ago.
  48. It's hard to get past the primitiveness of Allen’s fantasies.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. Spiderwick. There’s nothing wrong with it that passion and personality couldn’t fix.
  52. The film is sometimes gentle to the point of blandness, but it's never flimsy.
  53. 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.
  54. The film is repetitive, top-heavy: Wright blows his wad too early. But a different lead might have kept you laughing and engaged.
  55. 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.
  56. Life After Beth is a reasonably fun, medium-gory horror comedy that’s better before the innards hit the fan.
  57. 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.
  58. She’s Funny That Way often displays an old-school generosity and polish, and at least one breakout performance — but just as often, its moments of inspiration are tempered by miscasting and shrill attempts at humor.
  59. 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.
  60. Love it or laugh at it, you will gaze on Southland Tales with awe.
  61. It's fascinating trying to separate the thirties material from the mostly maladroit additions.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. As Jesse Owens, [James] mixes confidence, bewilderment, and subdued rage into a powerful whole. It’s not a big, show-offy performance. Quite the contrary: He’s surprisingly quiet, watchful. Everything seems to be submerged, but still present.
  66. Pacific Rim made me marvel at the technology of movies, but never the magic of them.
  67. 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.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. There’s a ravishing aliveness to the spacious imagery; at least the clichés have room to roam free.
  71. A routine, stereotype-stuffed sitcom with pretensions.
  72. 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.
  73. Evocative as it is, The Road comes up short, not because it’s bleak but because it’s monotonous.
  74. Pleasant, if inane – helped along by a likable cast that’s clearly having fun.
  75. Mostly uninspired and insipid, but it rallies, and builds up enough comic steam by the end that you might find yourself amused.
  76. 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."
  77. It’s not a bad film, exactly, but it’s a jumbled, uncertain one, and it never quite makes a compelling case for itself.
  78. 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."
  79. 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.
  80. About Time is like a sermon that starts with a few good jokes and ends with tremulous exhortations to live, live.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. It starts off with a flourish and winds up limp, like a rabbit pulled out of a hat that turns out to be dead.
  84. 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.
  85. Another charmless Hollywood thriller.
  86. 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.
  87. The philosophic notions in I Love Huckabees are ultimately not much more than window dressing for some fancy slapstick.
  88. 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.
  89. Hereafter occupies some muzzy twilight zone, too woo-woo sentimental to be real, too limp to make for even a halfway decent ghost story.
  90. 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.
  91. 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.
  92. Too eager to please to be truly dislikable, and Roberts and Cusack have a fine rapport.
  93. Juicy, revved-up, semi-satisfying biopic.
  94. 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?
  95. The film becomes an aria of agony--but with a rousingly yucko finish!
  96. 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.
  97. The tit-for-tat scenario ought to be wildly entertaining, but the magic is crude, the characters flyweight, and the story protracted and unpleasant.
  98. 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.

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