New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 1,956 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 Zero Dark Thirty
Lowest review score: 0 The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
Score distribution:
1,956 movie reviews
  1. The problem with all this don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it dramaturgy is that ultimately everything is sacrificed for effect. When you're dealing, as Ritchie is, with explosions of real violence and viciousness, the hyperslick technique can't accommodate the real pain that comes with the territory, or ought to. What we're left with is a cackling amorality -- not a philosophy of life, just a posture.
  2. The movie's a smorgasbord of horror, and, ironically, that takes the teeth out of it. We're not really in this villain's world, because we don't know what his world is, or what he is, or what he's trying to even do. It's like a nightmare designed by someone who's heard a lot about nightmares but has never actually had one.
  3. The thinness of the movie, which is what is intermittently enjoyable about it, is at odds with its sob-sister pretensions.
  4. Most of the dialogue is listless, and no matter how much Soderbergh snips and stitches, the movie is a corpse with twitching limbs.
  5. A thoroughly boilerplate bayou actioner, with one notable feature. It’s got good villains – nasty, delirious, stupid villains, among them Franco and Ryder – and for that it’s almost worth seeing. Almost.
  6. Spring Breakers strikes me as another of Korine’s calculated punk outrages, a sploog in Disney’s direction.
  7. A weepie for audiences under the (mistaken) impression that independent movies are always more emotionally honest than Hollywood movies.
  8. On just about every other level other than visuals, Planes is dry, dry, dry. There's no verbal wit, no standout vocal performances.
  9. O'Sullivan's movie could easily have been made 60 years ago. This is not intended as a compliment.
  10. The cast…is first-rate, but each is given a single note to play.
  11. Wasikowska drabs herself down. Her body is undefined in dowdy clothes, her hair hangs limply. But her eyes usher you into her inner world, with its battle between girlish longing and the impatience to move on and be what she really is — whatever that might be. It’s a richer performance than the movie deserves.
  12. Their movie has its moments, to be sure, and the target evangelical audience may well respond enthusiastically, but, unless your own salvation is riding on it, the film is mostly a slog.
  13. Like so many of today’s action films, The Legend of Hercules is too busy peddling slick, stone-faced portent to ever bother making us laugh, or engaging us in any way.
  14. As a piece of suspense, it ain’t exactly "North by Northwest," or even "Three Days of the Condor"; the awkward attempts at chase scenes make it clear that Redford the actor, who has always given off a slightly lugubrious air, has lost a step or two physically.
  15. I found parts of The Sacrament more effective than anything else he’s done to date, as it’s probably the least genre of his movies. But don’t tell West that; I’m pretty sure he still thinks he’s made a horror flick.
  16. Lynch needs to renew himself with an influx of the deep feeling he has for people, for outcasts, and lay off the cretins and hobgoblins and zombies for a while. Mulholland Drive is the product of David Lynch, Inc.
  17. It was undoubtedly a great experience for everyone involved, and the show itself might have been a romp. But as a movie, Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show makes you think of the days in which troupes that didn’t deliver were run out of town, bullets pinging off their heels.
  18. This is yet another of Soderbergh’s “exercises in style,” which means he has one big idea and sticks to it. He makes the space shallow and ugly (faces are bathed in orange) and adds groovy sixties titles and Marvin Hamlisch music.
  19. An unholy mixture of the banal and the bombastic.
  20. The film is a stodgy snooze, and Theron, who is about as expressive here as a porcelain doll, lacks all believability--she's followed her best performance (in Monster) with her worst.
  21. Vehicle 19 sets up a fascinating conceit for itself, and then loses interest in delivering on it. It just wants to get to the cool car chase, but by the time it does, we’ve stopped caring.
  22. Wrath at least has the good sense to try to have a little fun with its mince-myth premise. It's better than Clash, but it's still not particularly good.
  23. As you watch the nannies mistreated and the children left to cry themselves to sleep, the only surprise is that there are no surprises. It’s zombie-land.
  24. Together, Lopez and Caviezel make quite a pair. Sorrowful yet hip, they seem to be inventing a new mood: designer melancholia.
  25. It appears that the filmmakers have taken Hannah Arendt's notion of the "banality of evil" way too literally.
  26. Twisted and outrageous but ultimately artificial. Albert Brooks did this art-reality thing a lot better years ago in "Real Life," his takeoff on PBS's "An American Family," and was sidesplitting besides.
  27. There are moments of welcome tension amid the inchoate lunacy, but these in turn merely highlight why the rest of the film doesn’t work.
  28. The period thriller Gangster Squad plays like an untalented 12-year-old's imitation of Brian DePalma's "The Untouchables."
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Palmetto is an unconvincing, paint-by-numbers pass at American noir by the usually ambitious German director Volker Schlondorff (The Tin Drum).
  29. The empathy never lifts off -- never becomes poetry. It doesn't help that Leigh indulges his unfortunate habit of larding the soundtrack with draggy, mournful music, heavy on the cello.
  30. Some of this stuff is uncomfortably close to minstrelsy. Bad Company closes on a patriotic note in a brief scene that pays heartfelt tribute to the terrorist-thwarting sacrifices of the CIA. Timing is everything, I guess.
  31. Stagedoor features unremarkable rehearsal footage (exhibitionists make poor subjects for vérité documentaries) and thoughtful but unsurprising interviews with camp counselors and parents.
  32. What I can't accept is that the stringy, insipidly earnest teen idol Zac Efron would grow up to be the defensively ironic, twisty-faced Matthew Perry.
  33. Sets up a cast -- and then proceeds to knock them down like ducks in a shooting gallery.
  34. The film will be huge. It’s busy. It’s kinetic. It’s a treat for kids. But like much of Seinfeld’s work outside his TV show, it’s impersonal. It doesn’t come from anywhere interesting.
  35. Schrader really isn't interested in Crane except as the straw man for his moral lessons about sin and sexuality and the nature of celebrity. Auto Focus is the perfect capper to Crane's career: Even in a movie about himself, he remains minor.
  36. The only reason to put yourself through Guy Ritchie's overblown, inelegant Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows is to see Jared Harris, who plays Professor Moriarty, in a chilling low key.
  37. This is the first bad movie that has ever made me call for a sequel - to get it all right.
  38. With McG's migraine-inducing jerky-cam and monochromatic palette (livened only by splotches of rust), Terminator Salvation puts the numb in numskull.
  39. I Origins really loses its oomph when Ian travels to India in search of a particular pair of eyeballs, and the movie closes on a note that would make even M. Night Shyamalan roll his own.
  40. But Besson — by no means a bad filmmaker — has gotten rich off that kind of violence that upsets no one, least of all jaded international action audiences. He tries to have it both ways and fails some of cinema’s most precious resources.
  41. It collapses on all fronts, delivering hot-button platitudes and just-add-water character development.
  42. Such a clunkerama that it made me rethink all the nice things I wrote about its predecessor, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Could the same people have made both films?
  43. The Big Wedding isn’t terrible. De Niro is actually pretty good here — the script gives him plenty of raunchy one-liners, and, while they’re mostly lame, he delivers with conviction, which counts for something nowadays.
  44. A derivative horror picture that somehow rises to the level of a primal scream. The premise is simple, by which I mean both easy to understand and feeble-minded.
  45. Thank God for Barrymore: When Beverly's water breaks and she looks down at her feet and cries, "This is so gross," you know how good this actress can be, and how good this movie might have been.
  46. This is low-grade satire. The shocks to the system in Buffalo Soldiers are nothing more than cheap thrills.
  47. Compounds the problems of its predecessor, "Analyze This," while duplicating almost none of its humor.
  48. As murderous amusements go, the film is mildly diverting, but it's like a faint facsimile of a Claude Chabrol film.
  49. The result: Characters we genuinely care about are lost in a movie that almost dissipates before our very eyes.
  50. With Joe Johnston directing instead of Spielberg, who executive-produces, and a scrum of screenwriters, none named Crichton, the franchise suffers some negligence.
  51. A hapless comedy that already seems about ten years out of date, Be Cool is a curious failure.
  52. The necklace in this movie was crafted by the elite London jewelers Asprey and Gerrard -- out of cubic-zirconium stones. That's just about perfect. The Affair of the Necklace is a cubic-zirconium epic.
  53. People who see Sinbad for its star power--a big selling point in the movie’s marketing campaign--are being oversold.
  54. The result is a loose conglomeration of jokes that never really holds together: Funny in parts, but overwhelmed by the bland emptiness where its protagonist should be.
  55. I found myself staring at his new one, In Praise of Love (Éloge de l'Amour), in a state of rapt annoyance and befuddlement. It's constructed in two sections, which are far more fractured and opaque than the simple description I will here try to set out.
  56. Evan Almighty runs out of comic invention early, and the filmmakers fall back on what real politicians do when they exhaust their small stash of ideas: brainless piety.
  57. The film turns into one of those indie parades of eccentrics that are hit-and-miss but mostly miss.
  58. The doughy Damon and aristocratic Blunt don't match up physically, and they never get any Hepburn-Tracy rhythms going that might create some current.
  59. This is some weak, watered-down stuff.
  60. Another in a long line of middling movies for Travolta, who must have been so stunned to regain his stardom with "Pulp Fiction" that he hasn't stopped working since.
  61. It's heartbreaking how rich this failed project is, with enough poetry for several great movies, but not enough push for one.
  62. It’s a dour, drab, dark movie, enlivened by some moderately effective chills in the first half but ultimately undone by its downbeat aimlessness.
  63. This final installment jettisons most of the Zen mumbo-jumbo from the first two movies in favor of lots of very loud explosions. Since I didn’t take the mumbo-jumbo seriously to begin with, my letdown was minor, but aficionados may feel like they’ve been played for suckers.
  64. Insurgent is not a very good movie, but it’s better than it needs to be.
  65. A glossy, depthless melodrama.
  66. I wish Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone had developed more of a life of its own instead of being essentially a flat visualization of the book.
  67. Nearly three %$^&%!!# hours, and they’re brain-freezing.
  68. Most thriller writers don’t aim so high: You really have to grapple with Lehane’s vision to see how tiresome it is.
  69. It's a perfect fortune cookie of a movie, full of bland life lessons for everybody; would that there were some drama or style in it somewhere along the way.
  70. The Situation is, to put it kindly, a spotty piece of work. The script is by Wendell Steavenson, a reporter who seems to know everything about Iraq and next to nothing about screenwriting. The dialogue is flat, and the actors almost never rise above it.
  71. It's also rather tawdry. The climax is as ludicrous as any Jack Bauer adventure, and Greengrass is always on shaky ground. Literally.
  72. Wish I Was Here, not unlike its predecessor "Garden State," captures a certain generational drift. It just doesn’t know what to do with it. So it beats the damned thing into the ground until it’s dead.
  73. It's too bad J. Edgar is so shapeless and turgid and ham-handed, so rich in bad lines and worse readings. Not DiCaprio, though.
  74. Slipshod and tiresome, The Protector 2 is more than a misfire, it’s a betrayal.
  75. It isn't just the violence that is overplayed. There is so much creepy-Gothic Sturm und Drang in The Passion that at times it seems as if Clive Barker should get credit for the story along with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
  76. The film does occasionally show a pulse when it tries to reimagine the life of the victim — it turns the tables on the mystery and tries to become a film about love and life instead of doom and death. But it’s too little, too late, and too lame.
  77. Although that pairing (Martin/Latifah) alone may be enough to make this movie a hit, the material is thin and pandering and almost criminally negligent in bypassing opportunities for humor.
  78. Believe it or not, the delicate-featured, whisper-thin actress manages to (mostly) pull it off, but the abysmal movie around her lets her down.
  79. Elf
    I was looking forward to something a tad more satirical than this Hallmark card of a movie, which plugs innocence and goodness like they’re going out of style.
  80. It should be wilder, funnier, nuttier.
  81. Jumper is so in sync with the language of modern action movies that it’s possible to look past its soullessness and go with the quantum flow.
  82. This demonic possession story is at times so lame it makes the last "Paranormal Activity" flick look like a masterpiece.
  83. Does anybody really find this crap scary anymore?
  84. The Grisham-esque murder-mystery plot got so scrambled that, finally, it’s anybody’s guess what the filmmakers intended.
  85. Bana is a likable actor, but he doesn’t bring any vulnerability or transparency to the part; it’s hard to tell what he’s thinking, if he’s thinking anything at all. And so, we move from one bleak, bludgeoning setpiece to another. But with each loud noise, the film loses us more and more.
  86. The original film also featured Rob Schneider. I can’t quite believe I’m saying this, but his presence is sorely missed here.
  87. A well-polished cowpat that will confuse and bore those who know nothing about Shakespeare and incense those who know almost anything.
  88. Kidman is stuck in this pomo movie about the making of a TV-show remake. It’s "Being John Malkovich for Morons."
  89. Being a cultural icon is a time-limited occupation; after a while, the culture moves on, and if you don't move with it, you end up with a movie like Anything Else.
  90. Since this is a coming-of-age movie about a poor rural kid who grapples with the big city, it would be nice if its protagonist weren’t such a lummox.
  91. It isn’t a train wreck--a train wreck would be memorable. What’s wrong is wrong by design.
  92. If all this sounds outrageous, and extreme … don’t worry, it’s not. Provocation coupled with ineptitude doesn’t reveal the ugliness of humanity; it simply reveals the ugliness of the filmmakers themselves.
  93. A weird mix of tired jokes, topicality, and crippling anxiety.
  94. The documentary has its roots in a monologue in which the "guest of Cindy Sherman" (what H-O's place-card read at a gala) stood up for his personhood and made himself the center of the story—only there's NO STORY, not even insight into what made this unlikely couple click. Remove the boldface names and there's no movie; that center does not hold.
  95. If there's anything to be learned from this dud, it's that when you decide to adapt an explosive property like The Da Vinci Code, playing it safe isn't safe: Either swallow hard and make the damnable thing or give it to someone with more guts and/or less to lose. Here is a saga that bombards the very foundations of Western religion. But onscreen, there seems to be absolutely nothing at stake.
  96. O
    It's a doomy dirge of a movie, in which the protagonists, or at least the actors who play them, aren't equipped to handle their outsize passions.
  97. Gets points for oddness. Excellence is another matter.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Wild Things, which was written by Stephen Peters and directed by John McNaughton, lacks fantasy and flamboyance, that it lacks, precisely, wild things, and that most of it is just flat.
  98. Exterminating Angels is meant as an autocritique--and yet the director can't get past his notion of himself as a fearlessly transgressive artist-hero, a martyr to the limitations of male gaze.

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