New York Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 567 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 The Wolf of Wall Street
Lowest review score: 0 The Wait
Score distribution:
567 movie reviews
  1. It’s so elegant and dreamlike — such a departure from most vampire epics — that you won’t be bored. It also has a wicked sense of humor you usually don’t find in the genre.
  2. Heading toward his destination as a decent man facing ruin by doing the right thing, Mr. Hardy does a great job acting out the phases of anxiety frustration, confusion, exasperation and ultimate resolve — while working overtime to save a movie that takes place entirely on a cell phone from getting boring.
  3. Walking With the Enemy is a powerful piece of filmmaking that examines history and heroism with big-screen artistry, imagination and thrills.
  4. Elegant and understated, Belle is a true story about the effects of slavery on 18th-century England, told in the style of a sweeping romantic saga by Jane Austen or the Brontë sisters.
  5. The case is revisited with painstaking detail, and a riveting picture emerges once again about misunderstood outsiders.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It has a seedy underbelly that will appeal to hard-core Mickle fans; it’s more deranged than it initially seems.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Words and Pictures doesn’t possess the tender grace of "Enough Said," Nicole Holofcener’s wonderful film about middle-aged love. Nor does it have the kinetic energy of a high school movie like "The History Boys", adapted from Alan Bennett’s play. But it’s a winning effort from a director whose varied oeuvre has consistently charmed viewers.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    You will take pleasure in the performances of three top-notch actors — Dakota Fanning, who has matured into a fine young film star, Jesse Eisenberg, frighteningly brooding, and the always excellent Peter Sarsgaard.
  6. You get compassion and intelligence instead of cracker-barrel homilies. And you get mesmerizing performances.
  7. It’s a universal, American “anyone can make it” success story that has uplifting appeal onstage, and in Mr. Eastwood’s capable hands, the joy spreads like apple butter.
  8. Aiysha Hart delivers a mesmerizing performance.
  9. The film, written and directed by Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, is slow as Christmas, but the two protagonists grow on you, like a Virginia creeper vine climbing a garden wall.
  10. Downbeat, depressing and heavy as lead, Calvary is nevertheless an unusual film that never bores. Impeccable performances by Chris O’Dowd, Aiden Gillen, M. Emmett Walsh and Kelly Reilly are riveting. And Mr. Gleeson is a bear-like centerpiece of conflicts and contradictions who anchors the floating pieces of the Irish puzzle in faith and doctrine, while mercifully refusing to sermonize.
  11. Linus Sandgren’s lush camerawork and the glittering, throbbing musical score by A. R. Rahman contribute a distinctive flavor of their own. The performances are superb.
  12. The intelligence and unhackneyed humor of the believable, unself-conscious screenplay by fledgling director Mr. Zwick (son of veteran director Edward Zwick) deserves special praise. It never hits a false note.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It’s "Sideways" meets "My Dinner With Andre" — a low-key, sensual affair punctuated by off-the-cuff moments of brilliant wit and wordplay — and the result is delectable.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    As much as May in the Summer is a comedy — May and her mischievous sisters may remind you of The Three Stooges — it is also an intimate and demystifying look at life in Amman, where the movie was actually filmed.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The most striking thing about the love between Ben and George, the two men the movie focuses on, is how natural it seems.
  13. Turns out to be more suspenseful and keenly plotted than most, with a compelling centerpiece performance by Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) that deserves attention.
  14. When it finally ended, I felt like I had traveled the distance in the next sleeping bag. It’s exhausting but exhilarating.
  15. The question is: how much should one talented but sensitive individual be willing to suffer for his art at the hands of one brilliant but terrifying bully? The two stars are fully committed to the concept that the pursuit of perfection doesn’t always triumph, and the film pounds in the temples with the feverish tempo of a jazz riff.
  16. It never scales the cinematic heights or reaches the same groundbreaking level as "Saving Private Ryan," but it’s intensely ferocious and relentlessly rough on the senses. You’ll know you’ve been to war, and not on the Hollywood front.
  17. Based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe, directed with style and imagination by Brad Anderson (The Machinist), filmed in the creepy darkness of Bulgaria (you hardly get this kind of movie anymore), and starring an illustrious cast solid and dedicated enough to craft to make you believe they’re in a depraved version of Hamlet staged in Elsinore Castle, this is a movie that is several cuts above your usual straitjacket thriller. Enter at your own risk.
  18. Force Majeure is a good movie, but as thought provoking as the ending is, it peters out ineffectually, while the actual staging of the avalanche to the crashing movements of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” seems vaguely comedic and disappointingly corny, if you ask me.
  19. It keeps you creeped out and fascinated.
  20. Another war biopic opening on Christmas day, with tight, two-fisted direction by Clint Eastwood, and a compelling centerpiece performance by Bradley Cooper.
  21. As vital as it is, racial strife is a subject that cries out for a more volatile treatment than this. The Alabama marching sequences and resulting violence, filmed in Selma, where they actually happened, are too understated for my taste. And the home life of King and his vacillating wife Coretta are muted.
  22. Nimble, off the beaten track and very entertaining, it’s the cinematic equivalent of a lava lamp.
  23. Another example of concept over coherence, but the entertainment value is considerable.
  24. This gruesome thriller set in a fogbound insane asylum is incomprehensible and fatally flawed, but having said all of that, I will also say this: It never seems anything less than the work of a skillful film buff. Mr. Scorsese may be a smart aleck, but he’s a professional smart aleck.

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