Newsweek's Scores

  • Movies
For 895 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 60% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 37% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Ratatouille
Lowest review score: 0 Meet Joe Black
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 67 out of 895
895 movie reviews
  1. Unless you’re 15 at heart, you may need anger management yourself after sitting through this aggressively crass comedy, which alternates between mean-spirited slapstick and arbitrary uplift.
  2. There are inspired moments in this edgy, unstable comedy.
  3. Comes off as surprisingly unmagical, with characters you only half care about.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Payback may not always be P.C., but it's not interested in making friends, anyway. Just killing enemies.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    While the first half showcases an impressive new directorial talent, the last two quarters fail to score.
  4. A decidedly mixed bag.
    • Newsweek
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It does justice to its source material -- and that may be the problem.
  5. Inside this numbingly formulaic action comedy there's a small, quirky movie not screaming hard enough to get out--the kind of movie that director and co-writer Ron Shelton (“Bull Durham,” “Tin Cup”) could have had some real fun with.
  6. Strikingly devoid of suspense. It’s not always clear who’s the protagonist and who’s the antagonist. Nor is it scary—at its most intense moments, it’s merely yucky.
    • Newsweek
  7. Slightly soggy.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Couldn’t have arrived at a better time: movies have been so bad lately that audiences are positively starving for something mediocre.
  8. This is one of the silliest movies ever made--and lots of instantly forgettable fun.
  9. It’s not half bad, with cool locations and a great stunt leap from the top of a Hong Kong high-rise.
  10. In the end, artifice overwhelms art. Apt Pupil is too serious to work as a genre movie, and too contrived to be taken seriously. [12 October 1998]
    • Newsweek
  11. There are pleasures to be had in the handsome, heroic The Last Samurai. But they' all on the surface.
  12. Demme is understandably reluctant to linger on the horrors of slavery, but it's a dramaturgical mistake. The quick, shocking flashbacks of Sethe's brutalization by her white masters don't do the job--they're horrific, but with a B movie luridness.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Shot in crisp black and white, this homage to "La Dolce Vita" nonetheless lacks the charm and energy of Fellini's farcical original.
  13. Instead of being moved by Christ's suffering, or awed by his sacrifice, I felt abused by a filmmaker intent on punishing an audience, for who knows what sins.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The main problem is the script, which has a few scares but little smarts.
  14. Along the way, not just the storytelling but the original intention has gotten muddled. You leave The Alamo uncertain of what you're meant to feel: is this a celebration of patriotic sacrifice or an illustration of war's futility?
  15. The dialogue is tacky, the characters stock and the special effects no improvement on anything George Lucas did 20 years ago.
  16. These actresses are always worth seeing in just about anything, as is Tuscany. Together they are able to make up for the meandering plot and lack of dramatic oomph.
  17. The fans who have kept John Berendt's nonfiction tale on the best-seller list for more than three years may come away feeling they've seen "Perry Mason" on Valium. [1 December 1997, p.87]
    • Newsweek
  18. Mangold is something of a pseudo-Scorsese, assembling elements of other pictures like "Internal Affairs" and "Bad Lieutenant" into an eclectic mix that lacks its own vital reality.
  19. The saving grace of Con Air is its sense of its own absurdity.
  20. Never mean-spirited, A Dirty Shame has some big laughs, but it's a one-joke movie that shows its strain well before the finish line.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Roberts and Gibson form a "pas de deux," two lonely urbanites fighting vague yet common enemies in a plot that never quite comes together.
  21. Ultimately, Huckabees doesn't work. But it sure does stimulate. This is just the kind of "failure" we could use plenty more of.
  22. Director Mimi Leder fills the mindless-action-movie quota quite stylishly. The trouble is, The Peacemaker thinks it has a mind.
  23. In Lost Highway, reality has become a dream. But Lynch has forgotten how boring it is listening to someone else's dream.
  24. Sometimes stunning, ultimately stupefying epic .
  25. The storytelling is cheesy, but action fans won't want to miss the debut of the Next Big Thing in martial arts.
  26. It's sometimes hard to tell the characters from the candelabra. This lavish screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical is so chockablock with decorative detail the human figures are often competing with the decor for attention.
  27. This clumsy attempt to merge Jane Austen's classic with Bollywood musical conventions falls painfully flat.
  28. You're not sure where it's headed, but with an ensemble this good the aimlessness seems invigorating. It's when the plot kicks in that Newell's movie gets less interesting. It's frustrating to see such a promising premise, and such a delightful cast, wasted.
  29. Harron sets the stage expertly, but her lack of a point of view ultimately enervates the movie. [6 May 1996, p. 78]
    • Newsweek
  30. Howard redeems this lumpy fantasy. Soft-spoken and mysterious, he presides over the movie with a dangerous, feline grace.
  31. The presence of Connery is pure balm, purring those Celtic tones like smoky single-malt Scotch.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    There is too much disconcerting and nasty violence in this light-hearted caper, but when it sticks to its romantic guns, it is often charming.
  32. It has a lovely score by Thomas Newman, stunning production design, striking costumes and gorgeous cinematography. Unfortunately, it just doesn't jell.
  33. Slick and violent and reasonably tense, Ransom holds your attention without being the least bit interesting. [11Nov1996 Pg. 74]
    • Newsweek
  34. Technology has squeezed character to a few measly pixels on the digital screens. Explosions have replaced dramatic climaxes.
  35. But the tale has been squeezed to fit the mold of director John Hughes, which for long stretches makes it feel as much like the third "Home Alone" as the second "Dalmations."
  36. It's gorgeous. It's epic. It's spectacular. But two hours later, it also proves to be emotionally impenetrable.
  37. Soft to the point of squishiness, Phenomenon is rescued from terminal bathos by Travolta's radiant conviction.
  38. Congo is basically the old African ooga-mooga movie brought into the P.C., high-tech age.
  39. The movie does have somewhat more lilt and levity, much of it due to Jim Carrey as the Riddler. But there's still plenty of murk, physical and metaphysical, and more psychobabble about Bruce Wayne's obsessions and repressions.
  40. Lurching uncertainly from slapstick to tears, The Family Stone works hard to warm the cockles of our hearts. The cast is attractive. The sentiments are commendable. But the love Bezucha wants us to feel for the family couldn't possibly compete with the love they already feel for themselves.
  41. The theatricality is off the charts. Lane aims for the balconies; Broderick tones it down for the camera a bit.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    At least in the new Omen, the filmmakers have the sense to keep evil Damien's dialogue to a minimum. His villainy is all in the dimples. But is it too familiar to be scary anymore?
  42. Unfortunately, this narf's a drag: she talks like a fortune cookie and doesn't really do anything. Still, the multicultural cast is fun, the images have a painterly beauty and there are some beguiling comic touches before the story sinks into a swamp of solemn metaphysical glop.
  43. It's filled with Mann's signature macho verisimilitude, but essentially it's the stuff of what, in saner fiscal times, would have been a B movie. Miami Vice delivers the thrills, atmosphere and romance it promises, but it doesn't resonate like major Mann.
  44. Alternately enrapturing and exhausting, brilliant and glib, this is a "Romeo and Juliet" more for the eyes than the ears. [4 Nov 1996, pg.73]
    • Newsweek
  45. I might buy Babel if it had any real interest in its characters, but it's too busy moving them around its mechanistic chessboard to explore any nuances or depths.
  46. You don't have to have lived through the period to find this wrenching. And you don't have to doubt Estevez's sincerity to find it emotionally opportunistic.
  47. Attempting a frame-by-frame duplication of Warner Bros. '40s filmmaking--even the extroverted acting style apes the period--Soderbergh has produced a movie so self-conscious that it's drained of all life.
  48. The longest, grimmest and least funny of the trilogy.
  49. The movie becomes a crazy quilt of competing stories, none of them properly developed. You could cut half the major characters out of Mr. Brooks and never miss them.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Too bad the film ultimately fails to explore [provocative questions], falling instead to cliches.
  50. The storytelling seems occasionally disjointed, but more important, for all the special-effects wizardry, that touch of film magic never surfaces.
  51. If only the laughs were bigger, smarter and more frequent than they are.
  52. Aims for a "Princess Bride" mix of whimsy and wonderment, the sardonic and the romantic, with only sporadic success. Both visually and narratively cluttered, the film diverts more than it enchants.
  53. Penn's eye for landscapes is stunning, and his affection for outsider lifestyles is tangible. Hirsch, who carries the film on his increasingly emaciated shoulders, performs heroically, but there's an edge missing. The ideal casting would have been the young Sean Penn.
  54. There’s a great, piercing story here, but too often you feel you’re watching it through the wrong end of the telescope.
  55. Manages to take an urgent, important topic and turn it into standard Hollywood melodrama. What a waste.
  56. The semifunny Semi-Pro is amiable enough, but you never feel there's much at stake.
  57. The great '30s comedies had edge, bite and relentless forward momentum. Leatherheads is laid-back, amiable and terminally tepid.
  58. Baby Mama is rescued by two scene-stealing veterans: Sigourney Weaver as the smug, patrician owner of the surrogate company, and a priceless, ponytailed Steve Martin as the self-infatuated New Age owner of Round Earth. These two aren't onscreen a lot, but the movie seems most fully alive when they are.
  59. There's a quirky, honest movie struggling to emerge from Then She Found Me (April's Jewish heritage is refreshingly portrayed, and there are lovely, scattered moments when the characters surprise you), but Hunt, in her directorial debut, can't seem to decide whether she'd rather make a spicy ethnic dish or bland comfort food.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The more obvious special effects are downright hokey, such as a weird swirling water creature who looks like something out of a toilet cleaner commercial. As the outcome of all the sword-flinging and catapult-launching is never in question, it's hard to stay engaged with the movie once the fighting begins.
  60. For me, there's a problem with The Hulk, always has been, though it hasn't seemed to bother the tale's legions of fans. When the sensitive, physically unprepossessing Banner/Norton turns into the gargantuan, muscle-bound, growling Hulk, there's a total disconnect.
  61. Wanted has one good plot twist in store (though it makes little sense), and its sense of humor about its own silliness keeps the fantasy afloat for a while. But as the body count rises, so does the portentous tone, and the relentlessness of Bekmambetov's overamped style becomes oppressive.
  62. I don't want to sound like a party pooper (or deny that there is something wickedly funny about seeing these middle-age adolescents beating the crap out of a playground full of little bullying kids) but there's something depressing about the never-ending celebration of eternal adolescence in recent American comedies.
  63. Quantum of Solace isn't frivolous or cheesy, but it isn't all that much fun either.
  64. Doubt stirs up a lot of stormy theatrical weather, but the stolid transfer from stage to screen does Shanley's play no favors.
  65. How do you literalize heaven? It's a problem moviemakers have struggled with forever, and Jackson hasn't solved it.
  66. An ambitious, intense, but overdetermined exploration of the varieties of ethnic intolerance.
  67. No matter how important teamwork is on a job of industrialized entertainment like these ostensibly visionary films, the vision itself has to come from a single inspired sensibility. Despite some intriguing ideas, episodes and effects, that isn't the case with "Star Trek." [17 Dec. 1979, p.110]
    • Newsweek
  68. Spielberg has gone to such lengths to avoid boredom that he has leaped squarely into the opposite trap: this movie has such unrelenting action that it jackhammers you into a punch-drunk stupor. This may be the first movie whose audience O.D.'s on action. [4 June 1984, p.78]
    • Newsweek
  69. It succeeds in bringing O'Barr's comic-book vision to life, but there's little else going on behind the graphic razzle-dazzle and the moody, ominous soundtrack.
  70. Just at the point when Alien 3 should kick into high terror gear, it becomes clear that this hushed, somber sequel doesn't know how to deliver the goods. Fincher has style to spare -- and the sets, cinematography and special effects are all first rate -- but the nuts and bolts of storytelling elude him. [1 June 1992, p.73]
    • Newsweek
  71. It's not just that the movie is formulaic; it's disingenuous. It relies on Roberts's smile to erase all misgivings. But all the stardust in the world can't disguise the fact that this is more package than picture.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    A mish-mash of special effects, tasteless comedy and pointless action.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Relax and enjoy the brain candy.
  72. It's a gorgeous bad movie, the folly of a great visual stylist.
  73. Has its heart in the right place, but its funnybone is out of joint.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    May only be remembered for featuring the first homoerotic nude bathing scene in children's animated movie history.
  74. An adult love story that's trying for stiff-upper-lip poignancy.
  75. O
    The actors attack their roles with commitment (Hartnett’s understatement is impressive), but their fervor can’t hide the movie’s implausible, often confusing storytelling.
  76. This is an elaborate production, but all the jazzy sets and explosions in the world can't disguise the story's complete lack of urgency.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The General's Daughter purports to be a serious examination of the seedy underbelly of military life, but one has the uneasy sensation that it simply wants to show as much of it on screen as possible.
  77. This is a movie afraid of its own shadows.
    • Newsweek
  78. Gorgeous but curiously weightless.
  79. All the state-of-the-art technology in the world is no help to an actor saddled with Lucas's tinny dialogue.
  80. Torn between moody grandiosity and cartoonish mayhem, Daredevil tries to have it both ways, and succeeds at neither.
  81. Too facile to resonate deeply. Shouldn't a movie celebrating Nash give you some idea what his mathematical work is about? Fishier still is the suggestion that the cure for paranoid schizophrenia is love.
    • Newsweek
    • 86 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    In the end, the film lacks the skill of its actors and ends up feeling disjointed and confused about its own message.
  82. The film's claustrophobic, color-coordinated dourness yields little illumination, and as the surging violins accompany our heroine's un-raveling mind, the movie comes queasily close to romanticizing suicide. I knew I was supposed to feel something, but what?
  83. Newell, no hack, tries not to milk the cliches shamelessly, and that may be the movie's final undoing. Lacking the courage of its own vulgarity, Mona Lisa Smile is as tepid as old bathwater.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    BASEketball feels stale and inert. Still, Parker and Stone have a nice, giddy rapport, and it's a kick to hear traces of Cartman and Kenny in their dude-speak.

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