New York Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 842 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: 57
Highest review score: 100 Brooklyn
Lowest review score: 0 The Nice Guys
Score distribution:
842 movie reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    You have to see all 10 not because they add up to a coherent whole, but because each is excellent in a distinctive way. I don’t want to go into each of the plots in any detail because one of the joys of Decalogue is its flair for storytelling in the most enjoyable way imaginable.
  1. If the best films hold you in a captive vise, entertain you, keep you spellbound and teach you something at the same time, then 12 Years a Slave is outstanding — brave, courageous and unforgettable.
  2. Manchester by the Sea is the best movie of the year.
  3. Accept Gravity as pure, popcorn-munching show business fun and nothing else, and you won’t go away disappointed.
  4. Gorgeously photographed, sensitively written and directed, flawlessly acted, and deeply, intensely important, Carol is Todd Haynes’ most brilliant film since Far From Heaven and one of the triumphs of 2015.
  5. This film transcends its trendy, obvious limitations with enough vitality and vitriol to make it as informative and breathless as it is entertaining.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Don't let Amour join the legion of "Best Films You Never Saw." I urge you to share its sweetness and wisdom, and learn something.
  9. The year is not over, but I’ve already seen my favorite film of 2015. It’s Thomas McCarthy’s brilliant, responsible, galvanizing and unforgettable Spotlight.
  10. So in spite of its flaws, La La Land has moments of pleasure and satisfaction that are worth the price of admission. It’s not that it’s a bad movie; it’s just not an outstanding entertainment, the way great movies (especially musicals) should be.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Perhaps even more powerfully, the film informs us of stories we don’t know but should.
  11. American Hustle is an essay on the brilliance of corruption.
  12. It’s too twisted and implausible to be everybody’s cup of tea, but it keeps you glued to the screen from beginning to end. Boredom and bathroom breaks are not an option.
  13. 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.
  14. Get ready for a smash hit. Gimmicky but delicious, this is a valentine to the movies I promise you will cherish.
  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. For sure, it’s another example of style over substance — a richly deserved accusation that is always leveled at this kindergarten cop of a director, but I confess it’s a lot of scattered and disjointed fun.
  17. As the actor of the year in the film of the year, I can't think of enough adjectives to praise Firth properly. The King's Speech has left me speechless.
  18. Wake in Fright is the closest a movie can get to a primal scream.
  19. An unrecognizable Michael Keaton seems to have aged 40 years since the last time he appeared on the screen, but he’s still the best (i.e., only) reason to suffer through a miserable load of deranged, deluded crap masquerading as a black comedy called Birdman.
  20. A sensitive, dewy-eyed yet mature performance by Saoirse Ronan is the appealing centerpiece of Brooklyn.
  21. All Is Lost is movie magic on many levels but most importantly as the rare opportunity to watch a seasoned actor at the pinnacle of his power.
  22. The awesome effects take over where the plot used to be, and although this is the end, my guess is that it will fire the imagination for years to come. What fun to feel like a kid again. I had a marvelous time.
  23. This is a subtle, elegant and altogether triumphant film about a subject I thought I was tired of, told with an artistry and freshness that is positively thrilling.
  24. Kate Beckinsale is marvelous as a ruthless baddie in a bustier, and in summation, Love & Friendship gives off a lovely, restrained glow at a time in films when almost everything else has the subtlety of headlights.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Too grim and heartbreaking for some viewers, Room is nevertheless an extraordinary film so powerful and unforgettable that it must be seen.
  28. The movie is wrenchingly slow — you know from the start that nothing is ever going to happen — but Nebraska has a charm that grows on you like a lichen, a wicked sense of humor that makes you laugh in spite of yourself, a concealed heart soft as a Hostess Twinkie, and a generous, welcome respect for the basic decency of the human race, more valuable than any lottery ticket.

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