New York Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 681 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 127 Hours
Lowest review score: 0 Flypaper
Score distribution:
681 movie reviews
  1. The best thing about Gangster Squad is how they got the 1940s accoutrements right.
  2. Surprising, inventive and crisply, merrily written and directed by Derrick Borte, The Joneses is a brisk, captivating entertainment. Think Ozzie and Harriet on speed.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The real pleasures are not to be found in the sweeping shots of the Great Smoky Mountains but in seeing how Mr. Redford and Mr. Nolte’s characters learn to get along.
  3. Anthony Hopkins plays the king of the hops, and he is excellent. So is the rest of the movie, a sober, no-frills account about the highest ransom ever collected up to that time — $10 million and counting.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Thankfully, refreshingly, The Spectacular Now never once feels like a cautionary tale.
  4. Directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), it’s basically another tough genre workout that is all too familiar, with enough tension and violence to keep an audience alert if not riveted.
  5. Depression is a tricky subject for a movie aimed at a target audience that is depressed enough already. But this one justifies its challenges to feel-good escapism through honesty and integrity.
  6. Turns out to be more suspenseful and keenly plotted than most, with a compelling centerpiece performance by Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) that deserves attention.
  7. When it finally ended, I felt like I had traveled the distance in the next sleeping bag. It’s exhausting but exhilarating.
  8. The senior set deserves a few crumpets with their tea, and Part Two, which takes up where the original left off, aims to satisfy.
  9. Its virtues are many and this filmed version of Hardy’s fourth novel is well worth seeing. It rises head and shoulders above most of what we’ve been seeing lately.
  10. My biggest problem with Flight is not the unanswered questions it raises, but the eleventh-hour epiphany just in time for a happy ending. Maybe I'm naturally cynical, but I simply don't believe that people are basically good at heart - and I don't buy into sudden salvation. Otherwise, Flight is one hell of an entertainment.
  11. In retrospect, it's preposterous. But while you're gasping for air, it's one hell of a thrill ride, like being stuck on a malfunctioning roller coaster for an hour and a half at top speed, and unable to get off.
  12. Best of all, I applaud the director's triumph of intimate terror over preposterous puppets and noisy computer-generated effects. In The Bay, the mayhem is both fresh and thrilling.
  13. In a movie without adults, the children are spontaneous and natural. And Ms. Ronan is captivating throughout.
  14. It is quirky, dark, much maligned by feminists and too slow for some tastes, but it's a work worth seeing again, and Ms. Weisz is wonderful in it.
  15. The Grey avoids smug clichés, takes you to places you least expect and settles for no comfortable solutions, while it explores the dark shadows of the male psyche and finds more emotional fragility there than you find in the usual phony macho myths from Hollywood.
  16. Better films about senior citizens displaced by a greedy housing market have been made. (Anyone for Vittorio De Sica’s Umberto D, or Ira Sachs’ recent heartbreaker Love is Strange, about a homeless elderly gay couple?) But the humorous script by Charlie Peters (based on a novel by Jill Ciment), fluidly directed by Richard Loncraine, makes this an agreeable experience.
  17. 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.
  18. The Descendants is a soap opera with Hawaiian shirts.
  19. It all sounds dreadful, like the pilot for another brainless comedy series on network TV, but it grows on you.
  20. Overwhelmed by bad country-western ballads, Two Step is flawed but it makes you laugh and cringe at the same time, and passes 90 minutes painlessly.
  21. This movie is so raw and depressing that in one brutal scene Ms. Connelly is so desperate for a fix that she injects a hypodermic needle into her vagina. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  22. A structurally messy but emotionally effective coming of age movie that gets a lot of it right. High school is an ordeal only the fittest can survive.
  23. It’s sexy, violent and creepy, but damn if it didn’t keep me glued to my chair with tension.
  24. My reservations about Copperhead are outweighed by the noble intentions that inspired it.
  25. Written and directed with precision and sensitivity by Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent), it revives the pleasant art of storytelling most of today’s young filmmakers have all but abandoned, and cures (temporarily, anyway) my allergy to Adam Sandler.
  26. The Girl sounds like a real mess. It isn’t. It’s just a slow, well-made human interest story on a very small scale, ultimately touching but as inconsequential as a slice of pineapple at a Hawaiian luau.
  27. Die Another Day is the most thrilling, lavishly designed and imaginative Bond picture in years. It is also the most preposterous.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    In the small-town-conspiring-on-a-big-lie genre, The Grand Seduction doesn’t get near the mastery of 1998’s "Waking Ned Devine," but the shots of the village in Newfoundland, where it was filmed, are beautiful, and the local accents are convincing.

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