Salon.com's Scores

For 3,085 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Coriolanus
Lowest review score: 0 Hannibal
Score distribution:
3085 movie reviews
  1. Shot in spectacular black-and-white by cinematographer Christian Berger, and marvelously acted by a first-rate German ensemble, The White Ribbon captures a mood of thickening tension and mounting violence.
  2. This is a gorgeous, timely and possibly profound human comedy, and if there’s no disentangling the medium from the message that’s because both are powerful and ambiguous.
  3. Despite their terrible ordeal these women are heroes, not victims. As Mungiu makes clear in the casual, brilliant final scene of this amazing movie, heroes persevere.
  4. It's a distinctive, ominous and hypnotic work of cinema.
  5. In this quiet, beautiful and terrifying fable about a group of lost pioneers, Reichardt combines epic ambition with a focus on intimate, personal detail.
  6. Hirschbiegel and Eichinger, along with their large, brave and talented cast, have done something extraordinary for their generation of Germans, and for the world. They have willfully entered their grandparents' dirtiest, clammiest chamber of secrets.
  7. This movie's an absolute knockout. I know it's only June, but I'm damned if this isn't the breakthrough American film of the year.
  8. Visually ravishing, tonally commanding and built around magnetic performances by Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck as Bonnie-and-Clyde doomed lovers, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is a tragic but not despairing tale of fatal romance set in the Texas hill country in the mid-1970s. It marks the arrival of an immense talent who will be new to most moviegoers – although Lowery is a well-known figure in the indie-film world – and it’s surely one of the best American films of the year.
  9. It’s no news to anyone that “E.T.” is one of the loveliest and happiest of American movie entertainments. It’s also a greater picture than we could have known. [2002 re-release]
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In the scorching new film Traffic, director Steven Soderbergh captures the hypocrisy -- and tragedy -- of the nation's unwinnable war on drugs. Traffic is a huge, determined movie in every way.
  10. A lush, modern valentine to old-fashioned sentiment, and to old-fashioned moviemaking, too.
  11. This stark and intensely controlled film is the work of a powerful visual stylist and storyteller, one who looks like he belongs on the short list of directors who have carried the narrative methods of the silent era deep into modern cinema.
  12. It’s an enormously resonant work of cultural history that should do much to renew attention to the lonely, prophetic voice of James Baldwin.
  13. It's a brilliant work of cinema, a nonfiction film as intense and visceral as any drama, and an emotional and moral experience that feels horrifying and exhilarating at almost the same moment.
  14. A bona fide summer delight loaded with action, humor, nostalgia, a veritable blizzard of pop-culture references and general good vibes.
  15. Chang's images of the Yangtze and the new megacities replacing the villages on its banks are spectacular, and his cast of characters rival any fiction film I've seen recently.
  16. A terrifying, absorbing 93 minutes spent in hell. It captures the intensity of warfare in a visceral fashion that recalls Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" and Oliver Stone's "Platoon."
  17. Mythic, thrilling and brilliantly made motion picture.
  18. Ten
    The ultimate lesson in less-is-more cinema, an intimate and revelatory character study as well as a brilliant, almost symphonic rendering of the distracted, anxious, half-alienated and half-meditative state in which we spend vast amounts of our lives.
  19. Once you start to ride with the rapturous, gorgeous, digressive symphony of images and words and music in this film it's completely absorbing and unlike anything you've ever seen.
  20. An extraordinary accomplishment, a heartbreaking, visually spectacular and largely accessible work from a cinematic master who is more than ready for international attention.
  21. The director seems to be saying that, for survivors, art may be a way back to our finer selves -- extraordinary.
  22. The General may be the most intimate and matter-of-fact of Boorman’s films. Movies like Deliverance and Excalibur revealed Boorman as a master of scope. The General, which is one of his masterpieces, proves the depth at which he’s working.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Reviewed by
      Max Cea
    Though it’s not a film that will enter the canon of cinematic classics, it is nearly perfect, with ample heart, humor and tragedy-tinged humanity.
  23. Easy Money may well be the crime film of the year, or the decade.
  24. I see it as nearly perfect: It's one of the best fantasy pictures ever made.
  25. Its combination of dazzling cinematic craft, psychological insight and black humor make this one of the year's moviegoing musts -- and even or especially at her most deranged, Kim Hye-ja's amazing mother is profoundly, passionately human.
  26. Ray
    What Ray does right, combined with its generosity of spirit, makes it the most satisfying American movie of the year.
  27. This is a supreme example of how a filmmaker can make a work of fiction based on fact that, without didacticism or heavy-handed moralizing, leaves us feeling more connected not just with history but with what makes us human in the first place.
  28. I recognize how few horror movies I've seen before or since that ever manage to capture such a tangible feeling of menace.
  29. It's a handsome and stimulating film, noteworthy more for its terrific acting and provocative ideas than for any kind of dark Cronenbergundian genius.
  30. Leigh and his actors work mysterious magic in Happy-Go-Lucky. This is a movie about hitting the groove of everyday life and, nearly miraculously, getting music out of it.
  31. If The Dark Knight Rises is a fascist film, it's a great fascist film, and arguably the biggest, darkest, most thrilling and disturbing and utterly balls-out spectacle ever created for the screen. It's an unfriendly masterpiece that shows you only a little circle of daylight, way up there at the top of our collective prison shaft - but a masterpiece nonetheless.
  32. Sweetgrass memorably captures a dying way of American life, a marvelously untrammeled American landscape and at least two animals — men and sheep — that despite their millennia-long domestic relationship still have a spark of wildness in them.
  33. Hunger is a mesmerizing 96 minutes of cinema, one of the truly extraordinary filmmaking debuts of recent years. It's also an uneasy, unsettling experience and is meant to be.
  34. The Vuillards are not an easy family, and A Christmas Tale is not an easy movie. But by the end, what Desplechin has given us -- in his own inexplicable way, which is sometimes meandering and sometimes piercingly direct, and sometimes both at once -- is a benediction.
  35. Unassuming masterpiece about life, love and the cruel joke of old age.
  36. What he (Beauvois) conveys, through austere but spectacular visual language, magnificent liturgical singing and an ensemble cast headed by the terrific French veteran actors Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale, is something of the "why."
  37. One of the year's best movies...It's one of the simplest and best re-creations of downscale urban England during the gritty post-punk years ever put on screen, and it's both upsetting and very funny.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    I didn't need to understand every word to see what a beautiful film this was - each camera shot a carefully composed masterpiece that immerses the viewer in a realm of luxuriant imagination.
  38. Whatever moment of inspiration caused Spielberg to cast her (Sally Field) as Mary Todd Lincoln, it was sheer genius, because this is a role that demands bigness.
  39. Jim Sheridan's miraculous In America, a generous but never sentimental fable of Irish immigrants in '80s New York, may be the great movie of 2003.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's impossible not to be utterly blown away by Pixar's animation.
  40. A movie so rousing, so real and so full of complicated emotions that it all feels brand-new.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    I don’t care what your parents told you. It’s a Wonderful Life, that reassuring holiday spectacle, is really the most terrifying Hollywood film ever made. It’s one of a handful of masterpieces directed by Frank Capra, an Italian immigrant who loved America because America saved him.
  41. It’s perhaps the first great love story of the 21st century that could belong only to this century.
  42. A ravishing, emotional and often very funny film about a wedding gone wrong, the end of the world and a woman suffering from profound depression.
  43. Although there isn't a single kiss in this love story, it's intensely erotic -- and more to the point, it's not afraid of eroticsm's juicier and more forthright twin, carnality.
  44. Politically provocative and visually spectacular Snowpiercer - the best action film of 2014, and probably the best film, period.
  45. A pitch-perfect blend of darkness and sweetness, built around a masterful performance by a great actor.
  46. Austrian director Spielmann has long awaited discovery by a wider world, and for my money the gorgeous, brooding, unpredictable neo-noir Revanche is one of the year's best films.
  47. A breakthrough movie after its own fashion, a mysterious existential thriller that's brilliantly acted and masterfully directed, without a second of wasted screen time.
  48. Any way you slice it, it's a brave and brilliant act of defiance.
  49. A marvelous ensemble cast and all the visceral impact and moment-to-moment tension of a fine thriller, together with the distinctive visual style of an art film.
  50. If it plays in any theaters beyond New York and Los Angeles, that'll probably come as a surprise to its distributor (the estimable Lorber Films). None of that diminishes the power and intensity of this claustrophobic mini-masterpiece of the Japanese antiwar tradition, which blends a B-movie aesthetic, brilliant use of montage and documentary elements and a scathing critique of nationalism and militarism.
  51. Carol is one of the greatest American screen romances of any era, period – and perhaps that serves as the ultimate vindication of Haynes’ outspoken commitment to “queer cinema.”
  52. What's so remarkable about Louie Psihoyos' documentary The Cove isn't just that it's a powerful work of agitprop that's going to have you sending furious e-mails to the Japanese Embassy on your way out of the theater. That's definitely true, but the effectiveness of The Cove also comes from its explosive cinematic craft, its surprising good humor and its pure excitement.
  53. One of the most ravishing spectacles the movies have given us.
  54. A sweeping and magnificent work of cinematic craft, by far the best film of Bigelow's career.
  55. Jane Eyre is a passionate, impossible love story, one of the most romantic ever told. But it's also a cold, wild story about destruction, madness and loss, and this movie captures its divided spirit like none before.
  56. If this Hamlet weren't so perfectly conceived visually, it would probably stand solidly on the basis of its acting alone.
  57. Fiennes' crackerjack Coriolanus stays true to the clever, almost mean-spirited twists and turns of the story, and preserves the authentic flavor and texture of the language.
  58. The most disturbing and effective thriller I've seen in many moons. Rarely, indeed almost never, is such high-wattage brainpower coupled with pitch-perfect acting and an exquisite, unfakable sense of cinema.
  59. An Education captures the very limited possibilities for female liberation in early-'60s London -- with massive social change on the distant horizon, but not here yet -- in exquisite detail.
  60. The Equalizer is gripping, mysterious and even sometimes moving, but it’s never pleasant, still less fun. If you decide to go, don’t claim you weren’t warned. If you skip it, you’re missing one of the year’s signal works of superior Hollywood craftsmanship.
  61. An extraordinary and original creation. It belongs alongside "Amores Perros" and "Memento" on a shortlist of 2001's most exciting revelations.
  62. It’s so assured and accomplished, so rigorous on both a human and technical level, and so clearly driven by love for this harsh landscape and its hardened people, that I was entirely swept away by its characters and their story.
  63. The most original, daring, thrilling movie to be released this year, Trainspotting is one of those occasional, astonishing triumphs of risk and imagination that gets you excited about what smart people, pushing themselves and the medium, can accomplish in the movies.
  64. The Incredibles has that rare quality of feeling modern and classic at the same time.
  65. In its own quiet way, it’s a world of marvels.
  66. Sophisticated, brash, sardonic, completely joyful in its execution. It gives anyone who ever loved movie musicals, and lamented their demise, something to live for.
  67. It's first and foremost a visual and sonic symphony, and a Dante-esque journey through a New York nightworld where words are mostly useless or worse.
  68. But the greatness of Chinatown, unappreciated by my adolescent self, lies not in its cynical view of the California dream (that's too easy) but in its fatalistic, even tragic conception of America and indeed of human nature.
  69. This telling of the tale possesses enormous cinematic energy and a killer supporting cast full of hilarious delights.
  70. Under the guise of being nothing more than a quasi-documentary about two comedians cutting up and scarfing gourmet cuisine, The Trip may be the wryest and most affecting of all the recent movies about middle-aged male angst.
  71. Cheung is one of the finest actresses working today, an expressive, lustrous beauty capable of plumbing a boundless range of emotional hues. This is the greatest performance she's given to date.
  72. If Some Like It Hot isn’t the funniest movie ever made, you can’t blame it for not trying. The first time you see Billy Wilder’s 1959 farce, you might not believe that anything can make you laugh so hard for so long. Where most comedies wear out their audience after an hour and a half, “Some Like It Hot” goes on for 122 minutes and leaves you ebullient.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Minghella, by brilliantly editing the romantic scenes down to a few jagged, archetypal moments, captures something of the sacred whirlwind.
  73. He (Vinterberg) has accomplished something that is both extremely simple and extremely difficult: This is a gorgeous literary adaptation true to its period and its source material in almost every respect, largely shot in the “Hardy country” along the south coast of England. It’s also a film that feels charged with life and hunger and romantic-erotic energy.
  74. This is a tragicomic fable about an all-too-real social predicament rather a wish-fulfillment fantasy, and the tragic result may be that hardly anyone notices how good it is, or the sickest, weirdest, most triumphant performance of Wiig’s career.
  75. The picture is so imaginatively made, so attuned to sensual pleasure, so keyed in to the indescribable something that makes life life, that it speaks of something far more elemental than mere filmmaking skill: This is what movies, at their best, can be.
  76. A strange and gorgeous and haunting film that brings the indie aesthetic of the mid-1980s into a context that feels both timeless and highly contemporary.
  77. The most beautiful magic in it is left unseen. And still, it emerges with absolute clarity.
  78. Leviathan, the fourth feature from Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev, may be the one true masterpiece of global cinema released in 2014.
  79. The grandest and most vigorous movie he's (Frears) made in at least a decade. Like Okwe himself, it rises above its limitations, and it's just a little bit bigger than the landscape around it.
  80. Quietly overwhelming.
  81. Everything about Pee-wee's Big Adventure, from its toy-box colors to its superb, hyperanimated Danny Elfman score to the butch-waxed hairdo and wooden-puppet walk of its star and mastermind, Pee-wee Herman, is pure pleasure.
  82. It’s a lot easier to convey the broad-brush satirical flourishes of While We’re Young than to explain the subtler and sometimes darker threads of meaning that run through it.
  83. Underneath the laff-riot and the Hollywood satire, Hail, Caesar! is a curiously delicate film built on profound affection for American movies and the illusions they build, and loaded with in-jokes the mainstream audience will grasp incompletely or not at all.
  84. It’s a brilliant, slow-burning American revenge thriller that hardly puts a foot wrong, a work of startling violence and profound conscience that announces the arrival of an exciting young director.
  85. Aside from the effectiveness of Set Me Free as a coming-of-age story, it's also one of the most poetic avowals of love for movies that I've seen in years.
  86. Requiem, the new film from German director Hans-Christian Schmid, is absolutely astonishing. See it if you possibly can.
  87. With all his artifice, his prodigious narrative risks and seemingly undisciplined mélange of styles and tones, Desplechin has made a film that feels more like real life than anything I've seen in years, from any source. It's a masterpiece.
  88. Blissful, blazingly intelligent adaptation.
  89. This High-Rise is a scathing, intoxicating visual and auditory experience, the most truthful and most powerful Ballard adaptation we’ve ever seen, or are likely to.
  90. Manufactured Landscapes may tell you more about how the 21st century world actually works than you really want to know, but it's a heartbreaking, beautiful, awful and awesome film.
  91. Poetic, funny, darkly romantic and beautifully structured -- is a very different picture from "Pan's Labyrinth." But there's no doubt that it springs from the same cathedral.
  92. One of the year's best films precisely because it can't be boiled down to a message or synopsis. It's an exercise in style that risks trashiness in search of transcendence, and it's a sizzling celebration of the power of music, the power of images, and the electric, destructive power of the human body.
  93. A stereotype-shattering movie that's full of them, and one that may permanently change the way you think about violent crime in America.
  94. A movie for hardcore film geeks and regular folk alike, a stunning, and stunningly improbable, fusion of postmodern pastiche and old-school Hollywood melodrama. It's both a marvelous technical accomplishment and a tragic love story that sweeps you off your feet.

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