New York Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 754 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 6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 The King's Speech
Lowest review score: 0 Only God Forgives
Score distribution:
754 movie reviews
  1. As a realistic political thriller about Americans in harm's way it is not half as suspenseful or entertaining as "Argo." We may never know the truth about how we found bin Laden, but I still believe what we do know makes a strong enough story on its own without Wonder Woman.
  2. Mr. Spall, winner of the Cannes and New York Film Critics Circle best-actor awards, does his best to bring an unpleasant character to life — grunting and snorting like a boar ready to charge, spitting on his canvases and dragging around with a constant wince like a fat baby with colic. With all due respect, he’s too repulsive to watch for 150 minutes.
  3. Lincoln is also a colossal bore. It is so pedantic, slow-moving, sanitized and sentimental that I kept pinching myself to stay awake - which, like the film itself, didn't always work.
  4. Amy
    Never failed to hold me spellbound, even when I saw obvious spots where easy cutting would reduce the agony to a much more comfortable running time.
  5. Content to make movies for himself (Malick) that nobody else wants to see as long as he can find someone to foot the bill, he's also an iconoclast searching for significance. So am I, but not 138 minutes worth. Anyone seeking symmetry in this cinematic taffy pull risks emerging from it with a pretzel for a brain.
  6. Despite the title, which relates to a song by Van Halen, it is never clear what everybody wants some of, but the film does feature a cast of obviously talented, charismatic unknowns.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Senna's accomplishments are impressive, but his story seems more suited to an ESPN special than a feature-length film.
  7. Preposterous, illogical, senselessly over-plotted and artificial as a ceramic artichoke, David Fincher’s Gone Girl is another splatterfest disguised as a psychological thriller about the disintegration of a murderous marriage that I find one of the year’s grossest disappointments.
  8. This exercise in hysteria is so over the top that you don't know whether to scream or laugh. Despite an emotionally gripping performance by Natalie Portman, it's nothing more than a lavishly staged "Repulsion" in toe shoes.
  9. It’s a movie that knocks itself cross-eyed trying to be hip, clever and today about acerbic seniors, but instead it only makes you long for old ladies in aprons exclaiming “Land sakes alive, I smell something burning in the oven!”
  10. A dreary bummer.
  11. I can't imagine what attracted these two megahunks to such a bore.
  12. Enough is enough. One good thing: The jungle scenes were shot in Hawaii, so at least they all got a paid vacation.
  13. For the Edgerton brothers and for their protagonists, The Square works on several levels, as it shows how far two people will go for love and profit--in more ways than one.
  14. Its eye is on the dirt floor of dullness.
  15. Dreary, depressing and desultory, A Most Wanted Man is not my cup of Schokolade mit Schlagsahne.
  16. The best thing about Super 8, by far, are the kids, all perfectly cast. The script does a much better job making them believable and real than the adults...The rest of the movie steals shamelessly from...
  17. This three-hander has an honesty and a momentum that I found grudgingly rewarding.
  18. Director McQueen shares no primal truths, offers no resolutions, and the movie seems pointless. It seems almost wicked to spread on all that enticement and titillation, and then throw the sandwich away.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The battle here is between the sincerity of the filmmakers’ intentions and the cynicism driving the film’s creation.
  19. It's a fatiguing, low-key character study that drags along annoyingly and pleads for patience, but stick with it and you'll find the engrossing centerpiece performance by Ms. Theron a captivating reward that is well worth the effort.
  20. Not everything from Ireland travels as well as the whiskey. Like mud-thick porridge, Shadow Dancer, another dreary, confusing conspiracy thriller about the Irish “troubles,” is one of them.
  21. Surreal but disappointingly drab, it's still not the best Almodovar in years. Despite the usual Almodovar plot twists, kinky sex and themes of sexual identity reversal, gender bending and mad desire, the cult auteur has gone off the tracks and lost his compass.
  22. The results are variable, exasperating, challenging, often both disappointing and exhilarating. These elements surface throughout Happy Christmas, often simultaneously. Mr. Swanberg is not a total amateur, but he is called “a doodler” for obvious reasons, all of them on red alert here.
  23. Unfortunately, Hide Your Smiling Faces is so slow it could use a few action sequences to speed things up.
  24. What will happen to the man-boy when he's all man and can no longer slouch about in baggy pants and hoodie sweatshirts with perpetually flushed cheeks?
  25. A good cast and the speed-dial theme of eco-terrorism should really add up to a film of more substantial mind over matter than the dull, talky and ultimately pointless espionage thriller The East.
  26. Another eccentric example of style over content, The Double stars creepy Jesse Eisenberg in two roles, when one is always more than enough.
  27. The director’s vision is so dark — and Mr. Crowe’s grumbling, sour-stomach persona so much like a Tums commercial — that you don’t care much what happens to him or his ark, which looks like a big barge with a stove pipe in the middle.
  28. I found the whole thing pokey and plodding, but there’s no denying the fact that even when sitting through Mr. Holmes seems numbing, Mr. McKellen is a force so powerful he’s his own reward.
  29. It shouldn’t happen to a dog — or to an audience of dog lovers.
  30. He (Gordon-Levitt) can act, and there’s a possibility he can also direct, but there’s no evidence in Don Jon that he can do both at the same time.
  31. It's when the music stops that we run into problems. For starters, there are so many questions left unanswered.
  32. Something is missing here, like a clear perspective.
  33. This is an oddball tale that is well worth telling, but Mr. Carrey simply cannot resist turning it into a Three Stooges routine in drag.
  34. Everything Must Go is the one for the Gipper-the movie in which he steps out of character for his own sake and works hard to lose Will Ferrell. The results are mixed, but I admire the guy for making an effort.
  35. Of course, you can’t really make a movie that combines elements of the metaphysical, zombie and haunted-house genres without a few splatter-movie clichés, but Mr. Geoghegan makes them creepier and more unpredictable than I thought possible.
  36. A bleak and pointless exercise in pretentious existentialism.
  37. The Innkeepers, a desultory indie-prod poorly written and lamely directed by Ti West, and filmed on the cheap at the actual location, is a poor-man's rip-off of Stanley Kubrick's hotel spookfest, "The Shining," promising paranormal horrors to all who dare to enter. Where is Jack Nicholson when we need him?
  38. This movie is not without its moments of visual interest, but for a more comprehensive study of Baker’s life and career, read James Gavin’s book Deep in a Dream, or better yet, curl up with the real deal and a glass of wine and listen to what used to be.
  39. Lazy, eccentric, chain-smoking and accident-prone, Mr. Murray gives ’em what they clamor for. His eventual redemption as a saint in disguise is predictable. The direction is negligent and the jokes are mild. It’s an O.K. little picture that doesn’t really go anywhere, but it has a resonance that is easy on the heart.
  40. The two-handed duet at the center of Love Crime radiates, but the parade of easily parodied men who stomp in and out of their corporate offices just seem like script rejects from "Mad Men."
  41. More bitter, bleak lives of American mill workers without a compass and no place to go if they had one are showcased in the pessimistic drama Out of the Furnace. It’s getting to be a dismal film director’s obsession bordering on cliché.
  42. This is not a movie for everybody, but that assessment is not exactly intended as a thumbs down. Alarming thrills are guaranteed.
  43. Shot by Barry Ackroyd, the same cinematographer who filmed "The Hurt Locker," and using the same camera techniques, this movie looks like outtakes from a much better film.
  44. In this overly familiar and ultimately meandering exercise in tedium, Mr. Burns also plays the lead.
  45. When this sick, ludicrous cocktail of sex, violence and mayhem was first unveiled a year ago at the Toronto International Film Festival, one wag aptly described it as "the ghost of Tennessee Williams meets the spirit of Quentin Tarantino."
  46. The lugubrious pop songs by Gregg Alexander are execrable. Ms. Knightley isn’t remotely believable as a bike-riding pop singer. The saving grace is Mark Ruffalo, the only actor on the premises who shows any grit or passion for his character or for the music business.
  47. Boring and sedentary, not to mention only occasionally coherent, this creaking-door mystery is not much of a vehicle to display young Mr. Radcliffe's range and charm.
  48. It's a Clint Eastwood role that only proves you can't send a boy to do a man's job.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    If you can suspend your disbelief that a cute 22 year-old had the power to succeed with civil rights where Martin Luther King and President Kennedy failed, The Help actually has a lot to offer.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The movie achieves the kind of rhythm of an opera, alternating between arias of animated poetry and the recitative of normal speech.
  49. A 2½-hour art film that is something of a well-intentioned mess.
  50. The realism is honorable, the acting is exemplary, and all do good work, but life among the unlucky and disenfranchised who exist without hope is not a subject that will put a glow in your heart or a smile on your face. Be forewarned: The depression is inescapable.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    While the movie may not, in the end, be so effective in tapping into our current class anxieties, that hardly seems to matter. Like a trip to Elysium, it’s a wild ride.
  51. Despite a plot trajectory that changes so often they seem to be making it up as they go along, everyone on and off the screen seems to be doing it by the numbers.
  52. Except for the admirable testosterone on display that represents hours in the gym instead of the acting class, the rest of Magic Mike XXL is seriously stupid.
  53. A stupid waste of time and talent, but it might be just what his (Damon) fans are waiting for.
  54. Disappointingly tedious, On My Way is a contrived vehicle for Gallic icon Catherine Deneuve. At 70, she’s still the embodiment of placid ripeness we know and love, but the movie has little substance.
  55. Directed by the accomplished Joshua Marston, who made the riveting "Maria Full of Grace," this one is slick and wonderful to look at but too slight to hold its own weight and too inconsequential to generate much suspense.
  56. I expected more from a movie about the most feared man in America for half a century. Whatever else you think about him, in retrospect, he had balls of brass - an essential quality replaced in J. Edgar by dull indifference.
  57. Directed with a pulsating fervor by Neil Burger, Limitless is absurd but entertaining action-adventure escapism. Bradley Cooper is versatile and virile, and a valiant leading man.
  58. A movie only a hedge fund manager could love.
  59. As agreeable as she is to watch, the disappointing thing I feel is that she plays everything the same way. For a film about one person that reveals so little about the subject, 94 minutes is longer than it sounds. My advice is to wait for the DVD. This is definitely a movie to watch with a remote control.
  60. In the often illustrious career oeuvre of Clint Eastwood, Trouble with the Curve is a minor entry, a cinematic footnote.
  61. Danny Collins is nothing to write home about, but it kept me entertained without too much guilt, and I didn’t wince. By today’s American movie standards, that’s becoming very high praise indeed.
  62. Don’t be misled by the title Leaves of Grass. Do not expect literacy, either. This stoner comedy has nothing whatsoever to do with Walt Whitman or poetry of any kind.
  63. Rambling, well-shot but inconsequential curio.
  64. It stars Woody Allen, but it still drags along like an oyster trying to walk.
  65. A well-meaning but desultory descent into darkness based on a memoir of the same name by Amy-Jo Albany, daughter of Joe Albany, the great jazz pianist who died in 1988 at age 63. The book, published in 2003, was subtitled Junk, Jazz and Other Fairy Tales From Childhood, and that just about covers it.
  66. Overexposed and barely awake in the most dramatic scenes, Ewan McGregor is the star, but it’s not one of his most energetic performances.
  67. A middling attempt to peek through a lace curtain for a glimpse of the other Upstairs/Downstairs staff members only leads to too many distracting social functions that fail to relieve the film's otherwise solemn pacing.
  68. Trading in her red locks for kohl-lined eyes like a raccoon and the vampire look of Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, [Chastain] is the spookiest thing in Mama. Everything else is cable television.
  69. I'm sure there is much to be learned from Forks Over Knives (the title means fruits and veggies can be forked, but anything you cut with a knife is lethal), but what does it have to do with real life?
  70. By my rough calculation, the real Jack Ryan should be approximately 103. Preposterous but moderately engaging, Jack Ryan has outlived his welcome, and there’s no end in sight.
  71. As good as Citizen Gangster is, it would be even better if you could understand the dialogue.
  72. In a footnote to history that is still too close for comfort, he’s the real meaning of paradise lost.
  73. There are some lovely and moving things here, but over the long haul it’s more like watching an hour and a half of someone’s weekend trip to Knott’s Berry Farm.
  74. The situations in Little Accidents cry out for more clarity than the script delivers, but the carefully observed performances are worth perusal, and the dark, industrialized joylessness of Rachel Morrison’s cinematography is a somber mirror to the sad dead-end life of Appalachia.
  75. Johnny Depp is dismally miscast as the alter ego of the rebellious author with the "screw you" attitude.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Why tell the Sleeping Beauty story anew? With this half-hearted film, Mr. Stromberg, the visual effects wizard behind such big-budget blockbusters as "Oz the Great and Powerful," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Avatar," can’t provide an answer.
  76. A dull, pretentious trifle from director David Gordon Green with Al Pacino in another of his late-career mishaps that does nothing to elevate his fading film status. How I wish he would stick to the stage.
  77. Redundant, unnecessary and a colossal waste of talent and money, you can pretty much sum up Man of Steel in the scene in which a lady police officer watches with her mouth wide open as Superman tosses aside tanks like Tinker Toys. “What are you smiling about, captain?” asks another cop. “Nothing, sir — I just think he’s hot.”
  78. The actors are so good, though, that they make you want to see what they could do in a better movie than this tedious acting-class experiment.
  79. The script may be flawed and the narrative storytelling mechanical, but the period details are fascinating, the camerawork swaggers across a maze of squalid row houses and nightclub floors with visual velocity, and whenever either one Tom Hardy (or both) is onscreen, Legend is engrossing stuff indeed.
  80. You can't fault the theme that life's darkest moments brighten when two people need each other, but there's no drug strong enough to get me through another movie like Love and Other Drugs.
  81. Michael Caine is such a consummate actor that it's a major cause of concern to see him in Harry Brown, another hateful vigilante flick the wags in England have already labeled Dirty Harry Brown for reasons that are immediately obvious.
  82. Anesthesia is a pile of incomprehensible existential gibberish by the vastly untalented actor-writer-director Tim Blake Nelson about the meaning of life in an age of technology, told in the tiresome style of multiple characters who intersect at odd angles in a follow-the-dots plot centered on a single tragic action.
  83. The D Train is so confusing it’s hard to track what anyone had in mind.
  84. Gun Hill Road is worth seeing for the acting. The great character actress Miriam Colon makes a brief but memorable appearance as the strong matriarch of the household, and Ms. Santana, a true transgendered teen who has never acted before, is especially wrenching.
  85. To Rome with Love has moments of isolated charm, but it's only moderately entertaining, it isn't very funny, and it's entirely too long.
  86. Like any good cautionary tale, Puncture tells a suspenseful story responsibly, creating food for thought and leaving the audience both enlightened and entertained.
  87. May not appeal to every taste, but it marks an arresting feature debut for Jordan Scott, a director who is well worth watching.
  88. Written by Emma Thompson, it’s literate and respectful, but a dose of lithium in a champagne glass that is too stolid to ever come alive.
  89. Let it be said that Ms. Streep is galvanizing, even as the film slogs through too much information and not nearly enough illumination.
  90. A benign slice of life about suburban angst on Long Island. It's not much, but thanks to the noble efforts of a very good cast, I've seen worse.
  91. If you’re patience doesn’t wear out, the movie culminates in that clever shock ending that not only explains everything but gives what you’ve just seen a rewarding jolt.
  92. I wish all the agony in The Big Year was leading up to something fascinating in the end, but the most inviting thing in the movie was the exit door.
  93. Armstrong is played by Ben Foster with an astonishing lack of animation or personality, and his literary prosecutor is played by the usually colorful, award-winning Chris O’Dowd with a dreariness that is stripped bare of his usual dynamism.
  94. Too small and dark to appeal to a large audience, it's not a movie to cherish.
  95. It is not a sequel, just another retread of tired material in a franchise that is more than ready for the big comic book bonfire. And why the title? There is nothing amazing about it.
  96. Because it’s written and directed by slick slasher king Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel), expect some genuine, well-executed thrills that keep the adrenaline going. This is a good thing, because Keanu Reeves has the adrenaline rush of road kill.
  97. The good twin/bad twin conceit in 2014 doesn’t have a shred of the original surprise, and Zoe Kazan doesn’t have the chops to carry it off anyway.
  98. Our Brand Is Crisis adds up to a toothless exercise in missed opportunities that is half cautionary tale, half political satire and oddly insignificant as both.
  99. The results are realistic and refined, but uneven and disappointing.
  100. The movie doesn’t know if it’s a teen fantasy-romance or a more sophisticated satire that the material can’t support.
  101. Another teenagers-in-turmoil movie, Quitters has more style than substance, but it’s a cut above most, mainly because first-time director and co-writer Noah Pritzker has a lot of sensitivity toward a familiar subject that renders it real and touching if not exactly original.
  102. Young Mr. Eisenberg and a fine cast give Holy Rollers the ballast it otherwise lacks, but we've been down this road so often that there are times when I could only wonder why I was watching it at all.
  103. It's definitely worth seeing for Ms. Cattrall. This gal can really act.
  104. This dumb movie turns from dubious to preposterous.
  105. The actors work hard to convey terror-especially Mr. Christensen, who proved he could act when he played disgraced journalist Stephen Glass in the marvelous, underrated "Shattered Glass"-but the panic that overtakes the characters never quite grips the audience.
  106. True Story trips and stumbles so much in the telling that you don’t know what to believe, and instead of one man’s irony you end up with two men’s lies.
  107. As a director, Mr. Crowe’s camera meanders all over the place; as an actor, he mumbles and growls his way through the carnage like it was nothing more important than a re-make of Gladiator, filmed on old sets from Gene Autry westerns.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It’s a genuine stab at romantic comedy that stumbles more than it strides.
  108. It is to her everlasting credit that a famously exasperating perfectionist like Barbra Streisand could survive a limp noodle like The Guilt Trip.
  109. Letters to Juliet comes off as just another movie that makes you long for a trip to Northern Italy-but not with any of these people.
  110. Despite its good intentions, this earnest little film seems embalmed.
  111. Cowboys & Aliens is one of the silliest movies ever made, but so many otherwise serious people have attached their names to it that, as Arthur Miller wrote in Death of a Salesman, attention must be paid.
  112. The movie is not great, but the star is not bad. This, in some quarters, is high praise indeed.
  113. A harrowing but tedious chronicle of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’ time in America in the 1950s.
  114. Timely but sluggish and confusing.
  115. Ultimately, everyone in the movie is wasted, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, who provides great eye candy but has nothing important to say or do. Most of the roles are so ambiguous you end up scratching your head in the final reel, and some of the loose ends are so irrelevant they seem to have ended up on the cutting-room floor. With Russell Crowe, it really helps if you can read lips.
  116. My boy Viggo is always fascinating, but the movie is a concept searching for a story.
  117. Empty, pointless and stupid, the barrage of gunfire called Welcome to the Punch is another unappealing entry in the overworked British gangster genre.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    In the end, 30 Minutes or Less is a tidy, entertaining nerd action movie that should provide a good distraction for viewers this summer.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The Mechanic runs on violence, and when no one's being riddled with bullets or getting their hand shoved into a garbage disposal, it lags. That said, the "action" sequences are so frequent and bloody that they render plot nearly obsolete.
  118. Forced, contrived and slow as Christmas, it’s a pleasant enough time-waster, but what a treat to spend just under two hours in the hands of pros.
  119. There are good things in it, but Ms. Hunt is smart, observant and bright enough to make films that resonate with more freshness than this. Maybe next time.
  120. October Gale features picturesque scenery, crisply photographed by Jeremy Benning, and composed in shots that could pass for glossy tourist postcards. The two stars are pretty to look at, but Canada is hard to upstage.
  121. Maybe so much of Son of a Gun seems boring and directionless because so little of the dialogue is comprehensible. This is a problem that tanks so many imports these days.
  122. Too relentlessly depressing to recommend to the everyday audience. It seems to be on automatic pilot. Horrible, sad things keep happening, but it just goes on.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It's a sweet, harmless, meandering tale with an engaging gimmick, but a great love story - or a great movie - it's not.
  123. There are aspects afloat reminiscent of the great 1946 sea epic "Two Years Before the Mast", but Chris Hemsworth is no Alan Ladd. He is to the majesty of a ship at sea what a clamshell is to the bottom of a canoe.
  124. The generic title In Secret is as uninspired as the movie itself.
  125. The film is worth seeing for the excellent ensemble work by a cast that, although diligent and appealing, remain somewhat less than thrilling. They do their best to plumb the depths of domestic dysfunction, but in the end, The Oranges does not quite deliver the goods.
  126. The result is not without a few moments of exhilaration, although the overall effect is more like the Bard of Avon meets "Glee."
  127. The entire movie is about as sexy as a root canal.
  128. It’s described as a smart, suspenseful psychological thriller, but there’s nothing smart about it, and as an alleged thriller, when the mysteries are explained in a twist finale, it could use a psychologist of its own. The only suspense is waiting to see if Diane Lane’s reputation will survive.
  129. Odd Thomas has high-speed chases, explosions, narrow escapes and masses of special effects—none special enough, I’m afraid, to save it from mediocrity.
  130. As the narrative builds, the movie shows how the harassed and impatient Chinese-American finds tolerance, acceptance of others, inner salvation and love. A lot for one movie to negotiate, not always successfully, but the enjoyment factor is obvious.
  131. It takes nearly an hour and a half to watch the charade go south. I’m not sure it’s worth the wait.
  132. An odd, confusing, ugly and mostly indigestible movie about religious hysteria and rock 'n' roll-two subjects I find about as interesting as opening a tattoo parlor. I wish I liked the movie half as much as I like the actor.
  133. Far from the offbeat satire on the American dream gone sour it aims to be, The Brass Teapot is more like a dark flirtation with the American nightmare that backfires.
  134. The theme is racism, insanity and savage brutality in Texas. Some things never change. I guess it’s a new-fangled old-fashioned western.
  135. James Franco again, more subdued and less hokey than usual, this time in something called Good People, the kind of routine thriller they used to show on Thursday and Friday nights before the big Saturday double features, back in the good old studio years when the marquees changed every two days.
  136. Two lost souls on the highway of life — that’s what a well-acted but benign little trifle called Arthur Newman is about.
  137. Battleship is dopey, preposterous and unintentionally hilarious in all the wrong places, but as directed by Peter Berg, it is also energetic, fast-moving and bracing.
  138. In case you think Sarah Palin-You Betcha! is a hit job on an easy subject, see the movie and learn something. It's terrifying, but in all fairness, no disgrace, no rumor of extramarital affairs in office, no broadside is explored unless it can be substantiated.
  139. The film is awkward, the situations tenuous and underdeveloped, the pacing torturous as a slow drip from a leaking faucet, and the narrative just plods along, with the body count rising for no clear reason.
  140. The movie is not about the dog. It's about the people who find love, settle their differences, and get their priorities straight while searching for him. Still, when all is said and done, the dog is the only thing you care about in Darling Companion.
  141. A creepy descent into madness called Dark Was the Night is better than most.
  142. One of the least likable characters (Cox) in recent memory--irascible, but with moments of real tenderness--he’s the reason this strange movie takes on a perverse charm that is uniquely its own.
  143. Ms. Carano still has a lot to learn about acting, but she’s certainly the one you want around in case of a home invasion.
  144. To be honest, I can rarely recall any film, on any subject, that made less sense.
  145. Petunia augurs more titillation than it delivers and only works occasionally.
  146. Statham and Franco, both well-known sleepwalkers on camera, seem more animated than usual. Suspend belief, and you’ll find Homefront predictable but entertaining.
  147. The film was shot in Louisiana, which looks nothing like Iowa. Nobody along the way seems to have a care in the world about cholesterol. And it's the first movie in history that makes Hugh Jackman look repulsive.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Ultimately, though, Dirty Weekend is a vague, languid affair.
  148. Legendary is a soap opera with steroids.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The problem is the movie never gives us a reason to care about Colin in the first place, or even to dislike him that much, if that’s how we’re supposed to feel. Colin is neutral, a kind of empty vessel, and Mr. Cage is his typical aloof self with a "Con Air" accent.
  149. Ms. Farmiga is the only one who seems to be having any fun, as an aging flower child stuck in an earlier decade and addicted to healing vortex workshops and primal screams. Mellow, but very much a work in progress, Goats has a bland but overcrowded menu that could benefit from a little feta.
  150. Clumsy and contrived, the film never manages to connect the dots in a trio of stories set in three different cities, and I had to pinch myself to keep from falling asleep.
  151. The film's weakest link is Rufus Sewell's rumpled gumshoe, inarticulate and mumbling to the point of madness.
  152. One thing that defies debate: Zac Efron is going places as an actor of value. But he deserves better movies than Charlie St. Cloud.
  153. Dirty Girl is a bad movie with no insights that is broadly drawn and genuinely plagued by filthy dialogue. You don't laugh. You just wince, and wonder how the whole thing ever got financed.
  154. Admirable and respectable, it engages you while you’re watching it, then leaves you empty and wanting more.
  155. It’s a real pleasure to share some quality time with Mr. Caine as an old man wise enough to know there’s rarely any such thing as a second time around but brave enough to take a chance anyway. But the writing and direction by Sandra Nettelbeck barely support his forceful presence.
  156. At least Gong is ravishing, which occasionally takes your mind off the gibberish that is going full tilt around her.
  157. Pan
    It’s not about Peter Pan, but about what happened before Peter Pan. The noise you hear is J. M. Barrie turning over in his grave.
  158. If you have already begun to suspect that Something Borrowed may be something less than the sum of its parts-all of which do indeed seem borrowed from other movies and TV rom-coms too numerous to mention-you are right.
  159. After Words is part adventure, part love story, part travelogue, and all as synthetic as rayon.
  160. By the way, for reasons nobody bothers to explain, Las Vegas is played by New Orleans. Go figure.
  161. It opens our eyes to a subculture about which most of us know very little, but it is so unsteady in its focus that interest wanes.
  162. The formulaic cat-and-mouse game played to the death rattle by Michael Douglas’ rich, vicious corporate maniac and Jeremy Irvine’s nice, clean-cut, homespun country boy in Beyond the Reach is so old it’s hairy.
  163. It eventually fails, not because of its philosophical ideas, but because it introduces so many of them at the same time that even a viewer with a score pad can't keep up.
  164. Not a masterpiece, perhaps, but technically polished, with inspired performances and enough suspense that by the time Mr. Hamm found the redemption that freed him from his own demons, I was so wired I needed a Valium.
  165. This one blends the scented candles of a daytime soap with the tamer aspects of a middling thriller. Some folks will bring Kleenex. Others will need NoDoz.
  166. The dependable Australian actor Guy Pearce is always welcome, even in a well-meaning dud like 33 Postcards.
  167. Burning Palms is too sick to attract the masses, but he's onto something subversively valid, and the film is never boring.
  168. Unfortunately, there aren’t many thrills and the pace is so slow that I fell asleep from tedium waiting for something that resembled a goose bump.
  169. James Franco's role hardly exists. He's a doped-up cipher who attends museum openings and drives his car into a cement wall, looking as bored and out of place as he did hosting the Academy Awards.
  170. As a film, though, Chlorine is as confusing as its title. Moviegoers be warned: With the skyrocketing cost of movie tickets (not to mention popcorn), this one is a bad investment.
  171. Sliding down the James Franco hole is not an attractive career goal, but in his (Jonas) new movie Careful What You Wish For, there is evidence that he is at least learning how to act.
  172. A sensitive career-changing performance by luminous Penélope Cruz dominates the Spanish film Ma Ma, but there’s no escaping the fact that the rest of it is not much more than a dreary, tear-stained soap opera.
  173. The movie, which has all the freshness and insight of a Movie of the Week on the Hallmark channel, is a first for the writer-director, which probably accounts for its lack of any definitive style or focus.
  174. A good idea gone bad plagues this movie adaptation of D.M.W. Greer’s controversial 1992 play Burning Blue.
  175. Liam Hemsworth, the Ben & Jerry Flavor of the Month, is a sexy Australian centerfold without a trace of an accent who can actually act. His love interest is Teresa Palmer, a fellow Aussie who recently starred in the zombie flick "Warm Bodies." They may be camera-ready smoothies who take their clothes off often enough to keep the teen dweebs drooling.
  176. Stranded is no blockbuster, but it manages to pass the time better than most of them have done in this summer of discontent.
  177. It reminded me of everything from "Ten Little Indians" to a low-budget take on Neil Simon’s "Murder by Death" without the laughs. It’s diverting for people who love games, but not for the squeamish.

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