New York Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 658 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 Hyde Park on Hudson
Lowest review score: 0 The Wait
Score distribution:
658 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Ms. Cardellini plays it like a zombie, and she isn't helped by all the loitering camera angles and repetitive close-ups of her head framed against car windows. It's a worthy subject, ploddingly explored in a film that is too modest for its own good.
  4. 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."
  5. 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.
  6. A tedious exercise in tedium.
  7. I found Howl a fascinating and imaginative evocation of mid-20th-century liberation, a mere and merciful 90 minutes long.
  8. 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.
  9. World War Z towers above every other alleged summer blockbuster. It’s the real deal.
  10. 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.
  11. In this overly familiar and ultimately meandering exercise in tedium, Mr. Burns also plays the lead.
  12. 42
    It’s a perfectly unexceptional but slickly made, sincerely acted, often entertaining, sometimes manipulative and always watchable blend of action on the diamond and bravery behind the scenes that will please baseball fanatics more than movie historians. It’s a good enough biopic to make you wish it were a better motion picture.
  13. In a bravura performance that is the primary don't-miss reason for its existence, he (Carlyle) gives California Solo all he's got; even in scenes that just exist to pass the time, his presence informs the essence of the man he plays and the humanity of the film itself.
  14. 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."
  15. As an epic of awesome achievement, it never bores.
  16. 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.
  17. Nimble, off the beaten track and very entertaining, it’s the cinematic equivalent of a lava lamp.
  18. 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.
  19. Wonderful, honest and low-key performances inform and enhance The Yellow Handkerchief, an otherwise unexceptional little drama.
  20. Ted
    Most of Ted eludes description, analysis and explanation. You just have to hold onto your own certifiable sense of humor and let Mr. MacFarlane take you where he wants to go. Then get out of the way and enjoy it.
  21. Too bleak and wrenching to recommend unconditionally. You need a strong constitution to watch it soberly, but it is a gripping experience that left me weak in the knees.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. The Trollhunter writers either have an abundance of imagination or they've been smoking a controlled substance.
  25. Valhalla Rising is nothing more than an updated version of the kind of time-honored Hollywood Viking movie Kirk Douglas used to do in his sleep, which means lots of inhuman, bone-crunching violence and no plot.
    • 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.
  26. Filled with nuance, intricate emotion and a refreshing absence of melodramatics, Conviction is a moving exploration of light and love shining through the darkness of despair. Its impact cannot easily be shaken.
  27. A 2½-hour art film that is something of a well-intentioned mess.
  28. 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.

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