New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 1,655 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 1.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 United 93
Lowest review score: 0 Arthur
Score distribution:
1,655 movie reviews
  1. del Toro blends agit-prop politics and ghoulishness without making the entire enterprise seem silly.
  2. The stage is set for a wonderful movie, and yet The Luzhin Defence, based on the Vladimir Nabokov novel The Defense, never courts greatness.
  3. I much prefer the whacked-out, Dr. Strangelove-ish brand of political-apocalypse film to all this straitlaced you-are-there dramaturgy, which seems a throwback to the early sixties not only in time but in spirit. But what Thirteen Days sets out to do it does admirably.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    This entertaining but rather peculiar movie asks extraordinary questions, and I wish it were better equipped to give the answers.
  4. Complicated thriller that gets more interesting as its complications pile up.
  5. At its most basic level, Cast Away is a graceful and powerfully rendered survivalist saga.... And yet there's something generic about Chuck's plight. The filmmakers don't opt for the usual happy-face Hollywood ending, but even the half-smile they provide smacks of inspirationalism.
  6. Pleasingly shaggy.
  7. In The Circle, which is banned in Iran, the enforced society of women is, in effect, a community of adults treated as children.
  8. In political terms, True Crime is a far cry from "Dirty Harry" -- it actually stands up for due process of law. In Hollywood, I believe this is known as mellowing.
  9. His (Aoyama) existential odyssey is so attenuated and aloof that he turns suffering into an art thing.
  10. In the scenes between Hanks and Newman, we get glimpses of greatness.
  11. Evans, in effect, is the real producer here, and the film, which mostly consists of artfully blended archival footage, comes across like a last will and testament.
  12. Costner is always at his best when he’s a little ornery, and Duvall is the same way. His grizzled performance is so thoroughly in character that he even chews as if it were 1882.
  13. At its best in the interludes between explosions.
  14. More entertaining than it has a right to be. It's pulpy and preposterous, and yet it gets at a real truth.
  15. Arkin has a great and gentle feeling for small-time malcontents, and he knows how to make their woes our own. He does justice to the human comedy -- and redeems the movie.
  16. It's a pure (guilty) pleasure trip. That's pleasure, De Palma–style -- twisted, dirty, voyeuristic, a vast glissando of amorality.
  17. Jeunet wants us to know that times are hard for dreamers and that one shouldn't pass up a chance for true love. He means it, no doubt, but he doesn't have the simplicity of soul to quite bring off the sentiment. Still, we're charmed by the attempt.
  18. Rivette keeps the life-is-a-play metaphysics to a minimum, and the cast, including Jeanne Balibar and Sergio Castellitto, is attractive.
  19. The emotional resolutions aren't pat, exactly. But they're not messy either, and for material this inherently volatile, that seems like a cheat.
  20. Reygadas is both a sophisticate and a primitive: He sets up his film as a religious allegory, with the nameless painter as a kind of suffering Christ and the old woman--whose name is Ascen, as in Ascension--as his redeemer.
  21. Max
    Noah Taylor does startlingly well by this role, but the conceit behind the film is a bizarre piece of wish-fulfillment.
  22. Great on atmosphere and less good on everything else. That’s not entirely a knock.
  23. Breezily enjoyable but thin.
  24. Hoffman has his specialty, though, and it’s not inappropriate here: He always looks supersmart and yet his reactions to what goes on around him are superslow.
  25. Has some rapturously observant sequences concerning childhood.
  26. Tends to settle for easy, homiletic insights. But it also has a collection of first-rate performances by some marvellous actresses.
  27. As a technical achievement, K-19 is right up there with Das Boot. Don't expect much dramatic depth, though. The fathoms descended in this movie are strictly nautical.
  28. Powerful, uneven police drama.
  29. One of the glummest and most forbidding thrillers ever.
  30. As with much of Soderbergh's avant-garde work, his garde isn't quite as avant as he would have us believe it is. Still, Soderbergh's jazzed stylistics can be smartly entertaining. Without them, an uneven movie like Traffic might seem more of a mélange than it already is.
  31. In this otherwise rather schematic swatch of social catharsis, Brazil's Fernanda Montenegro gives the best performance by an actress I've seen all year.
  32. The best thing about Insomnia is that despite director Christopher Nolan's soft spot for moody-blues obfuscation, he has the good sense to keep his star in practically every shot.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The movie is no more than a well-produced confection designed for quick payoff in the big cities, but it's pretty consistently funny.
  33. A prime piece of whirlybird filmmaking, and the technique saps what might have been a powerful experience.
  34. Eminently disposable, but that's its charm. It stays with you just long enough to make you smile.
  35. Entertaining documentary.
  36. As in many a French movie, especially crime movie, the philosophe and the crook turn out to be each other’s mirror image.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Mamet has to learn to trust the camera more than he does; he has to stop trying to control everything with language; he has to let loose a little and just give in to the fluency, the ease, the free-flowing pleasure of making a movie.
  37. Mamet doesn't take the material as far as it can go -- we're left with a pleasing fable about the battle of the sexes and the virtues of persistence in a just cause. The neatness of it all is both appealing and appalling, and perhaps this combo is what finally hooked Mamet.
  38. Caine is burlesquing his own iconography and enjoying every minute of it. He hasn't lost his dignity, though; it takes a lot of self-possession to act this blissfully silly. He even looks good with bad teeth.
  39. Every generation has to discover the same clichés that were drummed into previous generations, and kids could do worse than to learn them from this film.
  40. Stunning, and it has the added bonus of being about an era that is virtually new to movies. As a dramatic achievement, however, it is not quite so amazing.
  41. Disney's Lilo & Stitch, which is animated in the traditional way, with watercolor backgrounds, is lovely, and funny, too. It owes a great deal to Japanese anime, but there's also a "Looney Tunes" friskiness to it that's distinctively homegrown.
  42. An ungainly, intermittently harrowing omnibus filled with moments of piercing sorrow and rage.
  43. Noé shoots his sequences in long, unbroken takes, and the unblinking horror that results is, I think, the opposite of exploitation. There has been so much lurid bloodletting in the movies that you might think nothing could faze us anymore. Think again.
  44. A kind of psychological whodunit, but without the thrills. The clue-making is rather desultory, as if Cronenberg were indulging a narrative strategy he didn’t really care for.
  45. Freaky Friday gives Curtis the chance to go all goofy and showcase her gift for splayed physical comedy.
  46. Watching this movie, you get the feeling that the Depression existed so that Seabiscuit could be memorialized.
  47. Parts of this film are as blandly lulling as a mood tape, but at best it’s a literally soaring experience.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It’s a pleasant movie -- very pleasant, in fact -- but soft as a down quilt.
  48. Cory Yuen's So Close is a kind of Hong Kong martial-arts variation on the Charlie's Angels movies, only better.
  49. Excruciatingly vivid.
  50. A fine example of what a filmmaker can achieve when she takes on a great subject and lets it play out with all the respect and attention it deserves.
  51. The director of "Gallipoli" and "The Year of Living Dangerously" has muffled the rage and darkness of his best work in favor of an antiquated pleasingness. Master and Commander is a too-comfy classic.
  52. Cold Mountain has some marvelous, intimate moments and a real feeling, at times, for the loss that war engenders, but it also has more than its share of hokum--which would be more entertaining if the hokum were juicier.
  53. Keys takes a scattershot approach to Cuban music, filming not only specific artists, like Los Cohibas and Los Zafiros, but also street musicians in the barrio and just about everywhere else he can find them.
  54. A pretty good documentary about a great subject.
  55. It’s both lowdown and effete, a jamboree of whoopee jokes and sick wit.
  56. For all its high-end ambitions, This So-Called Disaster has a tabloid-TV-like appeal: We want to see if these volatile performers get on each other's nerves.
  57. A smart little teen picture that, for a change, actually features recognizable teens.
  58. Too much of this fantasy is filled out with artsy folderol, but it's a movie like no other--except, maybe, one by Guy Maddin.
  59. What unites everything is Jarmusch’s playful, hang-dog absurdism.
  60. It’s an odd fable: Viktor is the mysterious visitor who shows us what the American Dream is all about--in the movie’s terms, compassion for others--without ever wanting to become an American himself. He's a spiritual twin to E.T., who also had trouble phoning home.
  61. More often than not, Moore goes for the guffaw, and as enjoyable as that can be, it falls short of producing the kind of devastating, in-depth analysis that might really challenge the hearts and minds of ALL audiences, left and right. At the very least, this approach undercuts the effectiveness of Moore’s own case.
  62. The set pieces, such as an unmasked Spider-Man trying to stop a runaway subway car, are furiously scary, and compensate for all the icky mooning and moping that Peter does whenever he's questioning his gift, which is most of the time.
  63. Cunningham's depth of feeling transformed the book's premise into something beyond sniggers or camp, and the best moments in the movie, which was directed by theater veteran Michael Mayer in his film debut and adapted by Cunningham, have a similar emotional charge.
  64. The Village is a better movie (than Signs) --probably his best since "The Sixth Sense"--but it indulges Shyamalan's penchant for messianic uplift.
  65. The film was adapted from a 1993 novel by Robert Bober, who drew on his own childhood experiences, and as it unwinds, one begins to appreciate Deville's desire to see things work out well for these people.
  66. So deliriously chockablock with high-flying, color-coordinated fight scenes that non-aficionados may find it all a bit bewildering--a gorgeous abstraction. It sure is gorgeous, though, and it has a dream cast
  67. Taut and straightforward and a little grungy, which is how these movies ought to be.
  68. Crudup, whose features have the appropriate delicacy, plays Ned with complete conviction; it’s difficult to imagine anyone else succeeding as well.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Barry Levinson’s political and media satire Wag the Dog goes as fast as the wind, and that’s a relief because the idea behind the movie is thin. Very thin -- and at times offensively glib.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It's a new Neeson as Dr. Alfred Kinsey, all spiky-haired and harried, and he's enormously appealing in the role.
  69. May be at once too gimmicky and too sincere. But it still exerts an uncanny power: Like the best of Almodóvar’s work, it throws you a first-love sucker punch that will stagger your heart, mind, and soul.
  70. As one of the few movies around not pushing state-of-the-art animation or Jude Law, Alexander is a damn good date movie.
  71. So fizzy it nearly fizzles out.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Gorgeously shot and utterly respectful of the story of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, but it’s dramatically inert.
  72. Eastwood's earnestness has its own stoic charm. There's something nutty but also heroic in how he plays this macho-man-with-the-heart-of-a-woman premise with a straight face.
  73. Our familiarity with the actors, and their comfort in this period setting, lend the piece an unexpected air of naturalism.
  74. Jackson's wonderfully nuanced, witty performance, and a few unexpected plot turns, give Coach Carter a subtext that helps complicate such knee-jerk oversimplifications, redeeming the role with energetic humor and a loose-limbed grace.
  75. It's simply an astringent action flick that uses the wounded sensitivity of Ethan Hawke and Fishburne's witty hauteur to give the shoot-'em-up scenes some juice.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The new version of Lolita, released at last, turns out to be a beautifully made, melancholy, and rather touching account of a doomed love affair between a full-grown man and a very young woman.
  76. Penn is terrific in his low-key doggedness.
  77. Fortunately, director Ken Kwapis, who's done a lot of briskly unsentimental TV work with young people--"Malcolm in the Middle," most notably--knows how to avoid mawk, keeps the squawk to a minimum, and gets wonderful performances out of at least two of the sisterhood, "Gilmore Girls'" Alexis Bledel as the modest Lena, and America Ferrera ("Real Women Have Curves") as the stubborn Carmen.
  78. A pungent delight.
  79. Danes gives a marvelously quiet, poignant performance.
  80. The terseness of a thriller, the clarity of a documentary, and a mixture of high drama and low humor.
  81. If only Knightley had a co-star equal to her here: The 1995 edition of Colin Firth, come to think of it, would have been perfect.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Its focus--the children--are not even onscreen very much. But their ghosts are everywhere, and the pain of the film is primal.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Given that this retrograde memory loss has cleansed Doug Bruce's perceptions and made him an altogether more open and emotional person, Unknown White Male suggests that amnesia could be the ultimate chicken soup for the soul.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A happier surprise is the smart work of director Richard Donner: 16 Blocks is all jumble and jangle--crowds, snarled traffic, and discordant car horns. The scariest moments have no music.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The fullness of Duck Season is in direct proportion to its smallness; its modesty makes it bloom.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Writer-director Rian Johnson gives the usual teen angst an entertaining kick. But the joke wears off, and what's left is as convoluted and monotonous as any conventional hard-boiled mystery.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Surprisingly diverting as a case study: not only of a talented misfit sublimating like mad to keep his loneliness from consuming him but also of a fringe artistic community (which includes the makers of this film) that rallies to give him the reinforcement he craves.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Its tone is semi-parodic, with lurid black-and-white cinematography and brassy, tongue-in-cheek music. But Harron stops well short of camp.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    James Toback seems oddly nice in Nicholas Jarecki's delicious cult-of-personality documentary The Outsider.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Little turns out well in Rebecca Dreyfus's Stolen, a haunting and expansive documentary.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    This Romanian movie defies categorization--it's halfway between a black comedy and a Fred Wiseman documentary. And it haunts you like the ghost of any dead person you've ever ignored.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    In the world of bloated movie-star vehicles, it's not unusual to see an ego trip of these dimensions. What’s rare is when one hits its marks so smoothly.

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