New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 1,802 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 45% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 53% 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: 62
Highest review score: 100 Life of Pi
Lowest review score: 0 Only God Forgives
Score distribution:
1,802 movie reviews
  1. Gloriously filthy, ramshackle, endearing documentary.
  2. One of the wonderful things about Thumbsucker is that, unlike so many movies in which a character changes in order to propel the plot forward, this one stops to follow up on the consequences of those changes.
  3. I'd like to hear from some women about the sole scene I didn't buy--Bello getting angry, then super-turned-on when she learns about her calm Tom's tough-guy origins--but otherwise, A History of Violence is a remarkably convincing examination of heroism, hero worship, and the seductive allure of villainy.
  4. A sci-fi saga that manages to be at once stirring and screwball, gut-busting and gut-wrenching, and more fun than you had at any bigger-budget movie this past summer.
  5. When superb craftsmanship, discipline, and risk-taking (toning down Diaz and MacLaine; treating Collette as a desirous leading lady) are applied to accessible, even frivolous material, the results can be deeply pleasurable. In Her Shoes isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s the best Saturday-night movie millions of people are going to go to.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A pitch-perfect farce for the post-Enron era.
  6. I found The Promise pretty hard to resist. A heady blend of swordplay, somersaults, fairy-tale romance, and computer-generated whoosh.
  7. The actors are in a nice place--poking fun at themselves without spilling into travesty. Fogged by self-absorption, Coogan makes you like him most when he's most dislikable; he has a fool's vulnerability.
  8. It's the perfect moment for the ridiculous but riotously enjoyable revolutionary comic-book thriller V for Vendetta-which will doubtless outrage conservatives and unnerve fuddy-duddys but liberate the rest of us with its magisterial irresponsibility.
  9. I found myself savoring a thriller (as well as a Spike Lee “joint”) that wasn't, for a change, in my face.
  10. The Dardennes' most accessible film. Their handheld camera catches tiny flickers of emotion that few filmmakers come near; you feel as if you're watching the movements of a soul.
  11. The best thing about Down in the Valley is that you hope it's not going where you have an inkling it's going. The purity of Norton's madness is a wonder.
  12. Little Miss Sunshine is an enchanting anthem to loserdom -- a dark comedy that piles on setback after setback and yet never loses its helium.
  13. It's a sensational trip -- gorgeous, gaga.
  14. Downbeat as it is, Half Nelson is a genuinely inspirational film--a terrifically compelling character study and a tricky exploration of the links (and busted links) between the personal and the political.
  15. The ending dispels a lot of the magic, but the silent-movie palette is gorgeous, and the film is worth seeing for the inspired hamming of Paul Giamatti as Vienna's chief inspector, whose plummy tones made me sure I could hear the ghost of James Mason cackling.
  16. Each film in Nicolas Winding Refn's mesmerizingly brutal Pusher trilogy can stand on its own, but it's fun to see all three and observe the way the bad guys in one become the sympathetic heroes (or anti-heroes) in another.
  17. Against a radiant backdrop of decay and rebirth, nothing needs to be said; everything in this lovely film is crystalline.
  18. The movie works smashingly, especially if you haven't seen its Hong Kong counterpart and haven't a clue what's coming. But for all its snap, crackle, and pop, it's nowhere near as galvanic emotionally.
  19. A wrenching elegy to the "greatest generation"--a film with enough breadth and spectacle and poetry to transcend some clunky storytelling.
  20. What a mind-bending odyssey ensues--a tale of good old-fashioned American free expression at war with good old-fashioned American capitalism.
  21. Before it loses its fizz--maybe two thirds of the way through--Volver offers the headiest pleasures imaginable.
  22. This Bond is haunted, not yet housebroken, still figuring out the persona. In Casino Royale, the reset button has been pressed in the manner of "Batman Begins."
  23. Gooses you even in its barren patches and gets fresher and funnier as it goes along. It builds to a shriekingly funny (and scary) revelation and a dénouement so brilliant it's almost demonic.
  24. The movie is brilliant and infectious, much like Bennett's voice: English-deadpan but never snide, and generous to a fault.
  25. Given that the movie doesn't have a single narrative surprise--you always know where it's going and why, commercially speaking, it's going there--it's amazing how good Blood Diamond is. I guess that's the surprise.
  26. Apocalypto turns into the best "Rambo" movie ever made. The worrisome part is that Gibson doesn't think he's making a boneheaded action picture. For him, torture and vengeance are the way of the world. This is Gibsonian metaphysics.
  27. For my money, Flags (however clunky) cuts more deeply, but Letters is more difficult to shake off. Together, they leave you with the feeling that even a just and necessary war is an abomination.
  28. Children of Men is a bouillabaisse of up-to-the-minute terrors. It's a wow, though.
  29. His palette here is deep-toned, with bottomless blacks and supersaturated oranges and blues--as if the Walt Disney of "Pinocchio" had collaborated with Goya.
  30. I was utterly gripped by The Italian. The only problem is that I was rooting for the bad guys.
  31. That's the beauty of Mafioso: that what begins as a comedy of disconnection becomes a tragicomedy of connection -- of roots that go deep and branches that span continents.
  32. It's one of the best kinds of documentaries--not calculated but serendipitous.
  33. The Host packs a lot into its two tumultuous hours: lyrically disgusting special effects, hair-raising chases, outlandish political satire, and best of all, a dysfunctional-family psychodrama--an odyssey that's like a grisly reworking of "Little Miss Sunshine."
  34. James Scurlock's documentary Maxed Out, tells the bone-chilling, bloodcurdling, hair-raising story of a country (guess which one?) that's up to its eyeballs in credit-card debt.
  35. That title would suit a melodrama with an emphasis on doomed love, which is not what Loach has crafted. There is a (chaste) love story and plenty of bloodletting. But what engages him and his screenwriter, Paul Laverty, is the growing tension between brother Irish rebels.
  36. As the political rhetoric between Washington and Tehran becomes dangerously overheated, Offside offers an intimate antidote: an affectionate glimpse into the cultural schisms that young Tehranis face every day. Western audiences will cheer the rebellious girls on.
  37. I'm looking forward to buying Blades of Glory on DVD so I can get my head around the phenomenal skating routines. Obviously, there were wires and lifts and computer-generated effects, but for my money it looked like the lumbering Ferrell and nerdy Heder were Olympic-worthy stylists.
  38. Frank's writing is razor-sharp, his filmmaking whistle-clean. As a fan of sharp razors and clean whistles, I enjoyed The Lookout--yet I did feel let down by the climax, which ought to have been blunter and messier and crazier and more cathartic.
  39. I urge you not to pass up Black Book, especially on a wide screen. It's a marvelous movie-movie, with a new screen goddess. Van Houten has a soft, heart-shaped face on top of a body so naturally, ripely beautiful it has its own kind of truth.
  40. The fun is in the one-thing-after-another delirium the movie induces, and in our breathless anticipation of what they'll hurl at us next.
  41. One way you know that D.J. Caruso is a resourceful director is that he scares you silly with a minimum of violence and a few smears of blood. His job was certainly made easier by Morse, whose glassy demeanor and high, soft rasp suggests horrors that not even Quentin Tarantino could imagine.
  42. Away From Her is a twilight-of-life love story, one that harshly demolishes our romantic notions of love and loyalty, then replaces them with something deeper and, finally, more consoling.
  43. Blistering and nihilistic--a vision to reduce you to a puddle of despair.
  44. The film is, in fact, a cunning exercise in subjectivity and withheld information--and once you accept those parameters, it’s riveting.
  45. Computer-generated animated movies with wall-to-wall jokes can be excruciating, but these jokes are the funniest money can buy.
  46. Bug
    Has the feverish compression of live theater and the moody expansiveness of film. The mix is insanely powerful.
  47. The greatness of Golden Door is its tone; sympathetic but always wry.
  48. Knocked Up feels very NOW. The banter is bruisingly funny, the characters BRILLIANTLY childish, the portrait of our culture's narrowing gap between children and their elders hysterical--in all senses.
  49. It's so money! It's so fun!
  50. It takes some time to realize we're in a maelstrom--going down down down into a saga of obsession, sadism, masochism, and codependency that was and remains one of the great, sick tabloid stories of all time.
  51. It's madly funny--a treat for moviegoers who don't mind gnawed-off limbs with their high jinks.
  52. I found the first half-hour a snooze, but once I adjusted to the movie's rhythms, I was completely enraptured. Ferran weaves the love affair into nature, but not in the mystical, sanctified manner of Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain."
  53. Sicko is Moore’s best film: a documentary that mixes outrage, hope, and gonzo stunts in the right proportions; that poses profound questions about the connection between health care and work.
  54. A meticulous, thoroughly engrossing lesson in how not to win friends (or wars) and influence people (or potential terrorists).
  55. Kohn’s gripping Manda Bala is the opposite of a high-school science doc. It’s a free-form portrait of a place--Brazil--with scary running motifs: kidnapping, mutilation, plastic surgery, bulletproofing, and frog farming.
  56. The first two thirds and change of I Am Legend is terrific mindless fun: crackerjack action with gnashing vampires barely glimpsed (and scarier for that) and how’d-they-do-that New York locations that retroactively justify the traffic jams.
  57. The Afghan boys’ kite-flying contests are the emotional core of the film, and Forster and his crew bring the camera into the sky and make it dip and soar along with the kites. It’s a thrilling spectacle, although it’s also tinged with a peculiarly emasculating aggression.
  58. It’s the equal of "No End in Sight" in its tight focus on the nuts and bolts of incompetence, and it surpasses any recent melodrama in the empathy it evokes for both its victims and--surprisingly--victimizers.
  59. The Band’s Visit resounds with tenderness and melancholy.
  60. Bahrani’s concentration is close to supernatural as he tracks the young, prepubescent Ale (Alejandro Polanco) from job to soul-numbing job, some legal, some extralegal, to the point where you’re forced to suspend altogether your moral judgments and watch with a mixture of pain and awe.
  61. In Married Life, Ira Sachs aims a bit lower than Green but obliterates his target: The funny, the scary, the campy, the sad--they’re all splendidly of a piece.
  62. Battle for Haditha has some of the raw energy of Sam Fuller's war pictures, which weren't subtle but left you energized by their ambivalence (there was no good or evil). It's a hell of a picture.
  63. Director Dennis Dugan knows his way around shin-whacking slapstick, and Sandler is mesmerizing.
  64. This one is alive with discoveries--of locations, characters, the actors who embody them, and even the medium. In The Go-Getter, filmmaking itself feels like Manifest Destiny.
  65. The first two thirds are gangbusters, with marauding bands of tarted-up young witches who look only slightly less scary than Lindsay Lohan and her pals on an average night.
  66. My Winnipeg is overloaded and digressive--it comes with the territory--but it's also grounded in a place, Maddin's Manitoban hometown, and it's painfully engrossing.
  67. Morton is one of those tingly actresses whose skin barely covers her soul, and to watch her search for tender mercies in a crazy-hostile world is a gift. The film is appallingly good.
  68. A tender, even-tempered elegy to a writer who at his peak could ingest staggering (literally) amounts of drugs and alcohol and transform, like Popeye after a can of spinach, into a superhuman version of himself--more trenchant, more cutting, more hilarious than any political journalist before or since.
  69. The most miraculous thing about Man on Wire is not the physical feat itself, 1,350 feet above the ground, but that as you watch it, the era gone, the World Trade Center gone, the movie feels as if it's in the present tense. That nutty existentialist acrobat pulled it off. For an instant, he froze time.
  70. Brown explores a potentially enraging subject--rigidly upheld racial segregation in the country's oldest Mardi Gras celebration, in Mobile, Alabama--but her touch is so unforced and her gaze so open that no one is bruised.
  71. Ought to have been an eye-roller. What a surprise that it's so seductive. The Woodman lives!
  72. As Bolt, John Travolta is inspired: His voice still cracks like an adolescent’s, and he has the perfect dopey innocence.
  73. You can't make this stuff up. You can, however, capture it on film for all time. Trouble the Water is ineradicably moving.
  74. Moving Midway is thrilling.
  75. An uncommonly well-crafted historical feminist tearjerker--both anti-patriarchal and a monument to motherhood.
  76. Leigh has been giving actors their tongues for decades, and of all his films, Happy-Go-Lucky is the easiest, the least labored.
  77. Philippe Claudel's direction is both probing and delicate, and Scott Thomas's face, even immobile, keeps you watching, searching for hints of her character's past, unable to blink for fear of missing something vital.
  78. It's a genuine genre vampire picture; and it's Swedish, winter-lit, Bergmanesque.
  79. The result, however clichéd, is spectacularly unnerving: hair-trigger horror.
  80. I Love You, Man is totally formulaic, but the formula is unnervingly (and hilariously) inside out.
  81. Although Paltrow is radiant (and she nails the character’s ditzy sense of entitlement), it's Phoenix's movie. He is, once again, stupendous, and stupendous in a way he has never been before.
  82. It is filmed with simplicity, a purity of intent, and I wanted to watch the faces of these men in their last seconds of life--not for the sake of history, but because of Wajda's imperative to put his father's death onscreen. He needed to do this. And somehow, sanity is restored.
  83. What makes the movie such an unexpectedly potent little number is that Adventureland comes to stand for Stagnationland; the real roller coaster (i.e., life) is just outside the park.
  84. The film is, finally, a brilliant tap dance over a void: There’s no real drama when the inner life of the female lead is so shrouded, even if that’s the point.
  85. For all the artfulness, the feel of the film is rough-hewn, almost primitive. It’s a fabulous tree house of a movie.
  86. One job of memoir is to show the world through another's eyes and inspire you to live more alertly, and that is the glory of The Beaches of Agnès.
  87. Lynn Shelton's marvelous chamber comedy Humpday butts up against the same sort of taboos as "Brüno," and in its fumbling, semi-improvised way, it’s equally hilarious and even more subversive.
  88. Liam Neeson has gravely splendid pipes as Ponyo’s father, a once-human wizard who lives underwater and despises humankind for polluting the planet.
  89. Even more than his other genre mash-ups, this is a switchback journey through Tarantino’s twisted inner landscape, where cinema and history, misogyny and feminism, sadism and romanticism collide and split and re-bond in bizarre new hybrids. The movie is an ungainly pastiche, yet on some wacked-out Jungian level it’s all of a piece.
  90. Gracefully directed by Robert Schwentke, the film has a perfect performance by Bana, rangy and haunted, never at home in his body.
  91. Guilt and alienation from Argentina’s Lucrecia Martel, so arty, enervated, and allegorical it might have been made by a European in the early sixties.
  92. The cutting is hyperkinetic, yet Lee is always in synch with the cast’s phenomenal energy. He’s in their thrall--and so are we.
  93. However cheeky and blasphemous, this is, at heart, a rather sweet little fable. Which of course would mean nothing if it weren’t explosively funny.
  94. If you can get past the craven concessions to formula, though, it’s rather underful--I mean, wonderful. Taking his cues from John Tenniel’s famous illustrations, Burton indulges his delight in disproportion.
  95. Sensationally effective.
  96. Young Edie Martin, with her chaotic swarm of red ringlets and deadpan dutifulness (she has few lines, but they’re goodies), is the movie’s sign of eternal spring--the butterfly atop the just-opened blossom.
  97. At its midpoint, the film could go either way: toward "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" psychosis or something more hopeful and humanistic. It’s a testament to Saavedra’s tough performance that even with a happy ending, you wouldn’t want to leave her with your kids.
  98. The actors playing parents and spouses (among them Steve Buscemi, Halley Feiffer, Portia, and Kevin Hagan) are stunningly believable. I'm not sure how Morton made sense of her character's ebbs and flows, but I never doubted her. She's a mariner in uncharted seas of emotion.
  99. In the flawless cast, Williams is the most affecting.

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