New York Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 530 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 6.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 The Place Beyond the Pines
Lowest review score: 0 The Myth of the American Sleepover
Score distribution:
530 movie reviews
    • 70 Metascore
    • 25 Critic Score
    By the time the end finally comes, there's no relief. You're left with the vague recollection of an interesting movie you were watching before you got kidnapped and subjected to over an hour of torture porn starring a fat, sadistic clown.
  1. Sleep Tight is a creepy - but highly effective and superbly made - horror movie from Spain in which the monster is spine-tinglingly human.
  2. Director Dolan gets the feeling of emptiness so right that anyone who has ever known the heartbreak of a crushing affair can easily identify, even with subtitles.
  3. 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.
  4. The film works because of Mr. Harrelson's magnetism.
  5. I found Contagion both flawed and fascinating, but it's not an entertainment.
  6. Unfortunately, Hide Your Smiling Faces is so slow it could use a few action sequences to speed things up.
  7. 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.
  8. Mr. Franco must have had a very boring adolescence, because Palo Alto is a very boring movie.
  9. What some critics praise as astute and compelling, I find juvenile and fraught with hysteria. There's no arc here, no real pathos, and the direction is like watching snow melt on the side of a road.
  10. Solitary Man comes on the heels of last year's "A Serious Man" and "A Single Man," so it's small wonder that confusion reigns. But this film, co-directed by David Levien and Brian Koppelman (who also wrote the screenplay), is the best of the three.
  11. It’s one of the most powerful films about the Arab-Israeli conflict that has ever been attempted on the screen.
  12. You get compassion and intelligence instead of cracker-barrel homilies. And you get mesmerizing performances.
  13. Fair Game is an important exposé of corrupt political power gone toxic. It's good enough that it deserves to be better.
  14. Enhanced by superb writing and direction and nuanced performances by an ensemble of great actors, and enough take-home food for thought to keep the mind and senses totally focused from start to finish, The Company Men is pretty damn close to as good as it gets in a disappointing year at the movies.
  15. 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?
  16. There is no hope on the horizon for movies as leaden as The Exploding Girl.
  17. Sightseers is a morose, unsettling blend of pathology for sport and murder for laughs.
  18. I can tell you only that this is a film unlike anything I've seen before-harrowing, haunting and sordid. Be forewarned, it is not for the squeamish. But take a chance and you will be rewarded with a work of nightmarish force that is unforgettable.
  19. What to say about an uphill slog called Crazy, Stupid, Love? It's not nearly crazy enough to clear the clogged arteries of summer comedies, and when the love appears, it's in all the wrong places. Oh well, at least they nailed the stupid part.
  20. Ms. Deneuve has been directed by everyone from François Truffaut to Roman Polanski, but she has gone on the record saying she has a special rapport with Mr. Ozon (the 2002 film "8 Women" remains a classic). He brings out such a loopy delicacy in her that she shines-a charming, witty centerpiece from start to finish.
  21. This is the most unwatchable horror movie masquerading as social comment I have seen this year.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. The kids make stunning debuts, but their accents are thicker than porridge, rendering a good 90 percent of the dialogue so unintelligible that it might as well be in Swahili. Some subtitles are provided out of necessity, but not enough.
  25. Another eccentric example of style over content, The Double stars creepy Jesse Eisenberg in two roles, when one is always more than enough.
  26. I think you’ll find it as fresh, original and breathlessly exciting as I did.
  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. Haywire makes no sense whatsoever, which should come as no surprise. It's the latest brainless exercise in self-indulgence from Steven Soderbergh, whose films rarely make any sense anyway.
  29. Playing the cello is such a pleasant change of pace that he (Walken) eventually grows on you, scene by scene, proving for the first time since his role as Leonardo DiCaprio's troubled father 10 years ago in "Catch Me If You Can," that he really can act. He - along with the rest of the elegant cast - keeps A Late Quartet in tune when it threatens to go flat.

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