New York Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 736 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 6.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 The Whistleblower
Lowest review score: 0 The Big Bang
Score distribution:
736 movie reviews
  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. Accept Gravity as pure, popcorn-munching show business fun and nothing else, and you won’t go away disappointed.
  3. 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.
  4. This film transcends its trendy, obvious limitations with enough vitality and vitriol to make it as informative and breathless as it is entertaining.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. American Hustle is an essay on the brilliance of corruption.
  8. 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.
  9. Get ready for a smash hit. Gimmicky but delicious, this is a valentine to the movies I promise you will cherish.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Wake in Fright is the closest a movie can get to a primal scream.
  14. A sensitive, dewy-eyed yet mature performance by Saoirse Ronan is the appealing centerpiece of Brooklyn.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Too grim and heartbreaking for some viewers, Room is nevertheless an extraordinary film so powerful and unforgettable that it must be seen.
  21. 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.
  22. Some people might blindly and inaccurately accuse this movie of attacking family values, but it has exactly the opposite effect. Touching and funny in their upheaval, the people in The Kids Are All Right open the door to a brand new examination of family values that leaves you charged and cheering.
  23. Argo is a triumph. It has tension, sincerity, mystery, artistic responsibility, entertainment value, technical expertise, a narrative arc and a thrilling respect for the tradition of how to tell a story with minimum frills and maximum impact. It's a great footnote to history, one of the best films of 2012 and a sure-fire contender on Oscar night.
  24. Don't miss this one. A brave and inspired antidote to time-wasting mainstream movies, it is unlike anything you've seen before or will likely ever see again. In short, it is unforgettable.
  25. A documentary so real and unflinching (and at times deeply frightening) that it's hard to watch, but it is one of those film experiences that you'll feel glad about getting through.
  26. Fruitvale Station lacks the same global impact as Milk, but it’s still a harrowing film worth seeing and honoring for boldness and insight. It’s one of the most sobering must-see movies of the summer.
  27. The Descendants is a soap opera with Hawaiian shirts.
  28. An upscale, high-concept $40 million futuristic epic by the visionary South Korean director Bong Joon-ho. It’s too gruesome to recommend to everyone without reservation, but if you love movies, you can’t afford to miss it.
  29. Dallas Buyers Club represents the best of what independent film on a limited budget can achieve — powerful, enlightening and not to be missed.
  30. Among the most gripping, well-paced, acted and directed, and generally thrilling of anything that I've seen (yet) this year.

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