New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 1,983 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 1 point higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Sideways
Lowest review score: 0 Funny Games (2008)
Score distribution:
1,983 movie reviews
  1. I think the movie works best if you know the original and have a taste for goofy revisionism.
  2. An outlandishly entertaining mixture of high silliness and high style.
  3. Does Rocky Balboa deliver? Weirdly enough, it does: I was jumping out of my seat during Rocky's bout. If you close your eyes and try to halve your IQ--aim for something between a baboon and a lemur--you might even think it's a masterpiece.
  4. 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.
  5. Kingsman is full of elaborately orchestrated violence and acrobatic stunt work, shot in fast, sinewy, CGI-enhanced long takes that push and pull our perspective this way and that. It’s all very silly and not really meant to be taken seriously, but as the story gets more and more brutal, something strange happens: We start to care for these cartoonish characters and this absurd scenario.
  6. Tends to settle for easy, homiletic insights. But it also has a collection of first-rate performances by some marvellous actresses.
    • 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.
  7. The hang-loose grodiness of these films has its charms, and the Ray-Banned team of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, at its best, is good vaudeville.
  8. For all its stridency, Dinosaur 13 isn’t looking to mobilize us or get us to think hard about these issues. It just wants to tell its wild, one-of-a-kind tale in the most engaging way possible, and it does that exceptionally well.
  9. It starts off as a mess, yes, but eventually finds itself in a very poignant place. Even a lesser Terry Gilliam film is usually more engaging and invigorating than most of the other movies out there.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. In the scenes between Hanks and Newman, we get glimpses of greatness.
  13. I’d liked him to have asked the judge specifically about the MySpace girl, whose case led to his comeuppance. But it’s a huge story, and Kids for Cash provides a measure of justice.
  14. Mother and Child is suffused with grief and loss. It’s also suffused with compassion and insight.
  15. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me is one of those showbiz docs that’s not exactly pleasurable but offers a penetrating glimpse — sometimes too penetrating — into what it means to eat, drink, and be contrary in the public sphere.
  16. Operation Filmmaker doesn't quite shake out as a microcosm of the American-Iraq relationship, although Davenport cheekily toys with the conceit. But the movie is endlessly resonant.
  17. As an honest look into relationships, it's a bust. As a straight-up comedy, though, it’s hilarious.
  18. iIsn't really much more than a funny, touching little squiggle, but it has a bracing honesty and pays particular heed to the betweenness in people's lives, to how much goes on when nothing seems to be going on at all.
  19. The beauty of Obvious Child is that there’s nothing obvious about it.
  20. Crudup, whose features have the appropriate delicacy, plays Ned with complete conviction; it’s difficult to imagine anyone else succeeding as well.
  21. And yes, it’s all insanely, relentlessly gory. You could say (and some will) that the gratuitousness of the violence in The Raid 2 is a problem. But it all functions as part of the surreal dance of death.
  22. Women deserve their own gross-out movies, and, in Wetlands, the punk force is strong. If your taste runs thataway, you should see it in a theater with one eye on the audience — and hope that a few people will think they’re going to see a documentary about threatened ecosystems. Talk about all wet!
  23. Freaky Friday gives Curtis the chance to go all goofy and showcase her gift for splayed physical comedy.
  24. Smulders’s performance makes Unexpected more than worthwhile.
  25. A prime piece of whirlybird filmmaking, and the technique saps what might have been a powerful experience.
  26. A charming, funny, reactionary mating comedy.
  27. It’s intermittently very funny. But it doesn’t make the existential leap to the big screen, and it doesn’t have the density of gags or the lunatic free-association of the best episodes.
  28. Clever novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland makes a half-dandy directorial debut with Ex Machina, a sci-fi film that — like much of his work — fakes excitingly in the direction of breaking new ground before turning formulaic so fast.
  29. It may not always succeed, but the lovely, perplexing Winter Sleep is a very personal film from one of the world’s foremost filmmakers. It’s well worth your time.
  30. The movie's revisionist tone is startlingly enough to carry you along.
  31. This is one of the most immediate, personal costume dramas ever made, and so it's not unseemly to consider how the writer-director and her heroine overlap.
  32. Playing Teddy Roosevelt in these films was nowhere near a highpoint for Williams, but it did speak to his fondness for these CGI-infused kids’ spectacles. His final farewell here is gentle, reflectively and almost unbearably moving. It lends the the film a retroactive grace.
  33. Adams is lovely and tremulous, but Big Eyes would be even better if Waltz was in the same key.
  34. The most powerful aspect of this strange little movie is the sense that in an instant things could go very, very bad — even if they don’t. Palo Alto puts you on edge because it’s all dangerous corners.
  35. Ouija is confident, meat-and-potatoes horror, and that’s a lot harder to pull off than it sounds.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. The movie makes you empathize with the rage that drives these young men to violence--but it also makes you see how manly action wipes out their individuality, their uniqueness, and turns them into archetypal meatheads.
  39. 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.
  40. Like Crazy has a lively syntax and could, in an ungrateful mood, be tagged as slick. But Doremus gets the tempos right.
  41. On one level: groan. On another: No one else seems about to make those arrests. The only thing that would scare Wall Street straight is the image of Michael Moore as the new sheriff in town.
  42. A surprisingly moving tale of friendship and family, dressed up as an adorably frivolous sci-fi comedy.
  43. Deliriously stupid romantic time-travel drama.
  44. 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.
  45. The documentary is solid as … as … an anvil. And if you can forget Spinal Tap (hard), it's also rather touching the way these 50-year-olds still have the forged-in-fire fortitude.
  46. Indeed, to even call Josh Trank's film a superhero movie seems wrong: Rather, it's about what the average teenage boy might actually do with superpowers - and there is very little heroism or villainy on display here. Chronicle's very lack of scope is its strength.
  47. The movie makes for a good old-fashioned wide-screen wallow. Norton isn’t remotely credible, but Toby Jones is dandy as a sleazeball with a core of decency, and Watts is so open, so soulfully petulant, so transcendentally pretty, that even Maugham might reconsider the pleasures of the flesh.
  48. The fullness of Duck Season is in direct proportion to its smallness; its modesty makes it bloom.
  49. Somehow, miraculously, the Veronica Mars movie is definitely not bad. It's pretty damn good, actually.
  50. Days of Grace is strong, brutal, despairing stuff. It’s also somewhat anticlimactic, by design.
  51. The good news is that The Dictator is a loose and silly and occasionally exhilarating political farce in the tradition of Chaplin's The Great Dictator (obviously) and the Marx Brothers' antiwar masterpiece "Duck Soup." And it comes in at a fleet 83 minutes - just right.
  52. 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.
  53. Here are two action stars having fun; watching them work together as a team is a lot more entertaining than you might have expected. Try not to think too hard about it, and Escape Plan is stupid, stupid fun.
  54. They’ve taken "2001" and Tarkovsky’s "Solaris" and "Silent Running," mixed in stuff from save-the-earth pictures like "The Core" and "Deep Impact," and thrown in a cheesy climax out of "Alien."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Gorgeously shot and utterly respectful of the story of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, but it’s dramatically inert.
  55. While it was often all over the place, it worked, because directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller ladled out the chaos with such charm.
  56. Cold Turkey is a simmering piece of holiday dystopia with a good, scorching boil-over.
  57. It’s a rare “reboot” that transcends its studio’s money-grubbing. It has some Big Ideas.
  58. It's surprising that The Greatest Movie Ever Sold plays so entertainingly, given that Spurlock's quest is essentially beside the point.
  59. In the end, the movie is more than the sum of its fragments. The montages are intense, the images ravishing. The movie is tactile. When you finally feel this place, you understand just how little you understand.
  60. To like Trance as much as I did, you have to revel in the senseless showmanship — in watching Boyle indulge his taste for cinematic flight, in this case teasing you with the old “Is this real or a dream?” number so artfully that you don’t care that much about the answer.
  61. For all the fecal matter flying around, and all the dick jokes, Bad Grandpa turns out to be an act of redemption: It’s the anti-Borat. And for all its flaws, it might just be the most heartwarming movie of the year.
  62. Weisz is an excellent Hypatia. For all her intelligence, there's something childish, off-kilter, vaguely otherworldly in her aura. She's just the type to be gazing into the heavens while around her all hell breaks loose.
  63. See The War Tapes. Maybe this picture can be worth a thousand lives.
  64. It’s when the Somalis spirit Phillips away in a closed lifeboat that Captain Phillips becomes a great thriller, in part because Barry Ackroyd’s camera is stuck inside with the characters and its jitters finally seem earned.
  65. All over the map, but it's worth enduring the botched gags, formula plotting, and even the racism to marvel at the genius of Robert Downey Jr.
  66. The movie is ludicrous, but Eastwood’s consistency is poignant. He has an agenda and sticks to it.
  67. Chinese Puzzle isn’t much of a story, but in leaning into and embracing its complications Klapisch is able to isolate little instances — exchanges, glances, fragments from which he can mine profundity. That may feel like a cheat, but it isn’t, because this is a world where the moment conquers all.
  68. The film does, however, have the best weapon in the world against the perception of slickness: an actress without a smidgen of actressiness.
  69. We basically know where Laggies is headed; the film is a soft, straight, easy pitch down the middle, story-wise. And it’s a light movie: You won’t get a particularly profound look at adults who act like kids from it.
  70. Powerful, uneven police drama.
  71. Occasionally you see a documentary and it hits you how much you don’t know about someone who was part of your mental landscape.
  72. 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.
  73. Surprisingly intimate and nuanced.
  74. Crudely ­powerful. You can object to the thuggish direction and the script that’s a series of signposts, but not the central idea, which is genuinely illuminating.
  75. The film’s brooding tension would probably work even without the recent tragedy of real-life events. But now, while uneven, the film is uniquely involving — right down to a final shot that will break your heart into a million pieces.
  76. A heartbreaking vérité documentary by Jennifer Venditti about a misfit Maine teenager--a film that makes you think about (and question) what fitting in really entails.
  77. Welcome to Me might as well have been called The Kristen Wiig Show, for better or for worse. It makes a splendid showcase for the brilliant actress’s brand of mousy absurdism, and for her ability to modulate tone. The film dances between hilarity and disquiet, between goofiness and pathos. But I’m not even sure it can be called a movie; it feels like a setup and a character in search of a story.
  78. Wingard is also clearly enamored of the synthesized soundtracks of Giallo and John Carpenter films, and here, he turns that into a whole thing, too: A mix Anna makes for David becomes a plot point, giving the director an excuse to practically drench his scenes in dreamy electronica.
  79. It’s funny, clunky, earnest, and barely credible, but it’s all of a piece.
  80. The Maze Runner only answers some of the questions it so marvelously sets up. And while I probably now know too much about the story for it to work a similar magic next time, I find myself genuinely anticipating the next one.
  81. What makes Fracture hum is the way Hopkins bares his teeth, twitches his nostrils, and trains his shiny pinprick Lecter eyes on his co-star.
  82. The kind of documentary that’s smart enough to step back and let its charming subject take over. It won’t break new ground, but it’s not lazy or generic.
  83. Any war picture in which the heroine stalls the villain with a quiet, painstaking tea ceremony until the wind shifts direction and the good guys can firebomb the bad guys into oblivion is too ineffably Zen not to love.
  84. Pierrepoint is worth seeing for Shergold's attention to process and for all the ghoulish details.
  85. Excitingly convoluted.
  86. The film is a canny balancing act, making Koch's arrogance so plain that you quickly move past it and concede that he accomplished remarkable things for a city that was broke and in chaos and with much of its housing stock in ruins.
  87. There's a huge change that turns the nihilistic carnage of Craven's original into something suffused with old-fashioned family values, so that we can relax and enjoy watching the bad guys get beaten, skewered, dismembered by garbage disposals, and tortured with microwave ovens.
  88. 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.
  89. Morel will inevitably be compared to John Woo, whom he trounces. He has fewer mannerisms (no damn doves) and a keener eye; his fastest, most kinetic shots flow together like frames in a flipbook.
  90. The Awakening has the good sense to find a mood and stick with it. It's not afraid to take itself seriously. It'll send shivers up your spine, both as a thriller and as the melodrama it eventually becomes.
  91. Gray knows how to sell the idea of unalterable destiny with a car chase: That’s the mark of a real action director.
  92. Unfriended really does use everything teens cherish about their technology lifestyle against them. It’s a mean, potent little movie.
  93. In the end, perhaps the most touching quality of this film is its low-key, but sensitively rendered portrait of a young, awkward child who hasn't quite managed to figure his way out in the world yet.
  94. As with all Ozon's work, Time to Leave resounds with grace notes. The wide-screen cinematography by Jeanne Lapoirie offsets (or maybe disguises) the movie's narrow scope, and there's something private--withholding--in Poupaud's beauty that gives his misanthropy a touch of mystery.
  95. Caine makes a grave, soulful vigilante avenger, and first-time director Daniel Barber gives the film a dank, streaky, genuinely unnerving palette.
  96. Cosmopolis is often beautiful, but at times it feels like a movie sealed off from itself.
  97. The movie is semi-infantile camp but often riotous.
  98. 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.

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