Salon.com's Scores

For 3,086 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 Animal Kingdom
Lowest review score: 0 Air Force One
Score distribution:
3086 movie reviews
  1. In its own quiet way, it’s a world of marvels.
  2. Not just one of the great films of the '60s but one of the great films, period -- and the chance to discover it at the beginning of the 21st century, in an era when we think we've seen it all, is an unquantifiable privilege.
  3. This is a true fairy tale, and one of the finest fantasy pictures ever made, but please do not take your young children to see it unless you want them to be scarred for life.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 12 Years a Slave offers no false Hollywood catharsis along with its muted happy ending, because we’re not free from the curse of slavery yet. Looking at it, as it really was, is a start.
  7. Bird is one of the great modern animators -- as well as an astonishingly gifted filmmaker, period -- precisely because he doesn't set out to wow us.
  8. It's 85 minutes of screen time that represents one crystallized moment not in the Beatles' career per se but in the parallel career they forged inside all of us, the one that will last beyond any breakup, retirement or death.
  9. While the tension never lets up for a second, how you respond to the boundary-fudging and wildly improbable ending of Gravity – meaning both how it makes you feel and how you interpret it – will determine whether you think the movie is a genuine pop masterpiece or a canny artifice. Maybe there’s no difference.
  10. It will disturb you as much as thrill you, make you wonder whether the boundaries between life and death, reality and fantasy, imagination and insanity are ever what they appear to be.
  11. 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.”
  12. All I can say about Timberlake's performance as the thoroughly odious, desperately seductive, textbook-case metrosexual Parker is that he brings so much reptilian fun that he unbalances the movie, almost fatally.
  13. It’s an enormously resonant work of cultural history that should do much to renew attention to the lonely, prophetic voice of James Baldwin.
  14. A sweeping and magnificent work of cinematic craft, by far the best film of Bigelow's career.
  15. Something close to a contemporary masterwork, and maybe the best foreign-language film of the year, right at the tail end.
  16. The picture feels weirdly, and disappointingly, disjointed, something that starts out as poetry and ends as product.
  17. In all honesty, Burnett's writing can be stiff and the acting in Killer of Sheep is indifferent. But the reason to see this film does not lie in the dialogue.
  18. Mr. Turner is a rich, ruthless and profoundly compassionate study of life and love and art, for those who find themselves on its wavelength, but it also presents itself as a challenge.
  19. The drawback is that even though The Hurt Locker is extremely effective in places, it ultimately feels unformed and somewhat unfinished.
  20. It’s a lovely film that requires a little patience and a friendly disposition, and may be too low-impact to thrive amid a summer of grotesquely overengineered sequels.
  21. Alexander Payne's new movie, Sideways, makes you feel like you're trapped at dinner with a wiseass who's trying to convince you what a sensitive guy he is.
  22. I love Jackson's "Rings" saga despite his propensity for whimsical animation whenever he tries to strike a chord of dread or menace.
  23. It's a tremendously absorbing blend of history, journalism and drama. As soon as it was over, I wanted to watch it again.
  24. A tightly structured thriller with a brilliantly moody performance by Jeanne Moreau, and depending on your point of view, it's either one of the few genuine French noir films or an early entry in the New Wave.
  25. This is an unforgettable love story set at the close of day, as tragic and beautiful in its way as "Tristan und Isolde," and a portrait of the impossible beauty and fragility of life that will yield new experiences to every viewer and every viewing.
  26. This has to be one of the most completely realized comedies ever made, and, in its odd way, one of the most civilized.
  27. There's so much dreamy beauty in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon that it's almost like a narcotic.
  28. Quietly overwhelming.
  29. For my money, the 33-year-old Isaac – who was born in Guatemala, raised in Florida, and has been working his way toward stardom for years – gives the year’s breakout performance, and Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the Coens’ richest, strangest and most potent films.
  30. There are epic impulses everywhere you look in There Will Be Blood; what's missing is character development, focused storytelling and, most significantly (apart from that terrific opening sequence), any sense of raw, intuitive drama.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The pictures — migrants leaping off a westbound train, a quick close-up of a face riven with conflicting emotions, locusts on a stalk of wheat — truly tell the story. [21 March 1997]
  31. 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.
  32. The Class is a lovely, exhilarating work about the ways in which failure and frustration can open the pathways through which we make sense out of life.
  33. An extraordinary accomplishment, a heartbreaking, visually spectacular and largely accessible work from a cinematic master who is more than ready for international attention.
  34. Speaks to the teenager in all of us.
  35. I see it as nearly perfect: It's one of the best fantasy pictures ever made.
  36. Leviathan, the fourth feature from Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev, may be the one true masterpiece of global cinema released in 2014.
  37. A bona fide summer delight loaded with action, humor, nostalgia, a veritable blizzard of pop-culture references and general good vibes.
  38. It's a difficult film to follow and at 172 minutes is maybe a half-hour too long. But simply as a sensory experience The Fast Runner is amazing.
  39. 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]
  40. Chomet bows to the tradition of conventional animation even as he tests its limits.
  41. Mirren's performance is glorious: Rather than impersonate the queen -- which would have been all too easy to do -- she reaches deeper to locate the buried, calcified thoughts and feelings that might guide this deeply inscrutable woman.
  42. Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell is two or maybe three dangerous kinds of movies all at the same time, and handled so brilliantly that the result is a transformative, unforgettable work of art.
  43. Claire Denis' baffling and exhilarating "Billy Budd" smolders with heat-blasted rhythms and supercharged acting.
  44. The results, in my judgment, are stunning...and at certain moments during the film I wondered whether I had myself fallen asleep and was dreaming its hellish, haunted images.
  45. It's the most ambitious and impressive Coen film in at least a decade, featuring the flat, sun-blasted landscapes of west Texas -- spectacularly shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins -- and an eerily memorable performance by Javier Bardem, in a Ringo Starr haircut.
  46. Ida
    What makes Ida remarkable is how much Pawlikowski is able to accomplish in just 80 minutes, with a pair of mismatched female characters, a handful of wintry and desolate locations, the square-format cinematography of Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal, and a soundtrack that combines modernism, Soviet-bloc pop music and a haunting performance of John Coltrane’s “Naima” that seems to capture all the emotional possibilities the characters cannot express.
  47. 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A movie that refuses to kick into gear until it's far too late.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Though it may be a much clearer picture of the director's original intent, ultimately the new "Apocalypse Now" merely brings into focus the limits and faults of Coppola's -- and Milius' -- original concept.
  48. Her
    This is a handcrafted, passionate and sometimes impossibly beautiful film that argues for both the past and the future, with a poetic spirit that’s extremely rare in American cinema.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Using the overpowering techniques of modern film, Steven Spielberg has cut through the glory-tinged gauze that shrouds World War II to reveal its brutal reality, creating a phenomenology of violence unsurpassed in the history of cinema.
  49. The movie has a crispness about it, an unwillingness to succumb to sentimentality.
  50. It's all beautiful, all right. But before long I began to feel beaten against the rocks of that beauty -- Finding Nemo smacks of looky-what-I-can-do virtuosity, and after the first 10 minutes or so, it's exhausting.
  51. Any way you slice it, it's a brave and brilliant act of defiance.
  52. It's a gleeful, nitrous-oxide high.
  53. 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.
  54. The Incredibles has that rare quality of feeling modern and classic at the same time.
  55. It's a highly original film made in a familiar context, and an exciting moviegoing experience you shouldn't miss.
  56. Like rock 'n' roll itself, the movie's really all about girls. Even when -- no, especially when -- it's pretending not to be.
  57. A narrative picture with many of the qualities of a documentary, not to mention a comic book -- is one of those rare, inventively made movies that isn't so taken with its own novelty it loses sight of its characters. Its warmth is for real, and it enwraps you.
  58. Isn't much more than marvelous entertainment -- but then, that's a lot right there.
  59. It's an expertly made picture that I wish I could stamp out of my mind. What's the value of artistry that sucks the life out of you?
  60. Andrew Jarecki could have done more to lay out the marriage of sexual and religious and social hysteria that made cases like this possible. But he deserves credit for having the guts to say, in this case and in so many like it, who suffered the most.
  61. A work of tremendous confidence and dazzling showmanship that may just be a delirious movie-as-drug-high or may, if you choose to read it this way, contain a level of commentary about the nature of America and the illusioneering of Hollywood.
  62. In casting Jack Nicholson as the jaded Anglo-American journalist who abandons his previous life during a trip to Africa and adopts a dangerous new identity, Antonioni was working with a more powerful and charismatic actor than he has before or since. The result is something like a glamorous thriller or a disaster film in slow motion.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Reviewed by
      Max Cea
    Jarmusch has a tendency (which is intentional) to turn away from what is obviously beautiful and popular, and to instead beautifully render what is rarely noticed and perhaps slightly ugly. He credits the cinematographer Robby Müller with teaching him, “Don’t look for the obvious, always keep your eyes open, keep thinking on your feet.”
  63. The connection between Bob and Charlotte, as Coppola shows it to us at the end of Lost in Translation, is a moment of intimate magnificence. I have never seen anything quite like it, in any movie.
  64. This is a graceful and enveloping feat of filmmaking.
  65. The Overnighters is a documentary about real people in a real place. This is both amazing and frustrating.
  66. This is a teasingly complex political thriller, but it's also a sort-of romance.
  67. It's a cross between confidence and vulnerability that's hard for an actress to pull off, but Streisand hits the note perfectly. And her greatest moment of acting, I think, is also the picture's strongest musical number.
  68. Speaking as one New Yorker who lived through 9/11 and saw this film with a packed house of natives at its Tribeca Film Festival premiere, I experienced Man on Wire as an almost mystical incantation.
  69. As a rich and exuberant character-driven crime saga in an idiom you absolutely have not encountered before, and a dense, unsentimental portrayal of the collision between democracy, capitalism and gangsterism on the frayed margins of the post-colonial world, Gangs of Wasseypur is a signal achievement in 21st-century cinema.
  70. Borat is an astonishingly entertaining picture, and it's a testament to Cohen's gifts that he can pull off a feat as extravagant and as fully realized as this one is.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Elle, like all of Verhoeven’s films, refuses easy categorization. It combines elements of a rape revenge thriller, an extremely dark class comedy and Cronenbergian body horror to create something totally unique — a singular experience that transcends genre.
  71. Son of Saul is a work of superlative filmmaking craft and moral intensity.
  72. From the first frames of Charles Ferguson's No End in Sight, replaying some of the oddest and twitchiest podium performances of Donald Rumsfeld during those heady days of spring 2003, you may feel the crushing weight of an almost Sophoclean impending doom.
    • 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.
  73. Most of the movie's subterranean emotion is found in the unsettled relationship between Solo and William, and in the extraordinary performances by the two leading men.
  74. Stop Making Sense is so beautifully choreographed that in some ways it's more like theater than a rock show. [Review of re-release]
  75. Selma is gripping, inspiring and sometimes terrifying historical drama, loaded with specific detail, that brings a turning point of the civil rights movement back from black-and-white obscurity to present-tense urgency.
  76. In the long and fraught history of Franco-American cultural relations, this movie is more than a peace offering; it's a loving, goofy, joyous French kiss.
  77. Represents a failure of nerve: As if Gondry and Kaufman weren't sure that the story of Joel and Clementine would hold us, the doomed couple's unfolding-in-reverse romance is intercut with a subplot filled with zany touches.
  78. Eastwood is so busy humanizing Japanese soldiers that he ends up rewriting history.
  79. Although there's plenty of music, and plenty of joy, in Once, it's ultimately a quiet, wistful picture.
  80. Offers an exquisite tour of the twilight zone between high school and the so-called real world, as well as between bohemian subculture and the even stranger culture of America at large.
  81. One of the most joyous movies I've ever seen, and one of the handful of great erotic films the movies have given us.
  82. While the filmmaking overall suffers from a kind of tasteful, low-key blandness, Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of Capote keeps the blood coursing through it. He's the bright, chilling spot of color at the center of an otherwise beige movie.
  83. What makes Tulpan remarkable are the extended unbroken scenes, both dramatic and comic.
  84. This is a muscular and accomplished work of kinetic cinema built around two tremendous acting performances, and it’s really about teaching and obsession and the complicated question of how to nurture excellence and where the nebulous boundary lies between mentorship and abuse.
  85. The first Holocaust movie that's actually about another Holocaust movie, and in some peculiar way it brings us closer to the terror and tragedy of the original event.
  86. This is one of Anderson’s funniest and most fanciful movies, but perversely enough it may also be his most serious, most tragic and most shadowed by history, with the frothy Ernst Lubitsch-style comedy shot through with an overwhelming sense of loss.
  87. Winter Sleep belongs alongside “Boyhood” and “Inherent Vice” on the short list of the most powerful films of 2014. Calling a film “good” or “important” is subjective, of course, but this isn’t: All three are reaching for the kind of cinematic transcendence that exceeds language, that weaves together various art forms into an ascending spiral of meaning that cannot finally be captured or defined.
  88. It’s perhaps the first great love story of the 21st century that could belong only to this century.
  89. Citizenfour is both an urgent tale torn from recent headlines and a compelling work of cinema, with all the paranoid density and abrupt changes of scenery of a John le Carré novel.
  90. Band of Outsiders is about the tyranny of living a life of movie-fed fantasies, and while it makes us see the poverty of those fantasies, it also makes them unaccountably rich, poetic, sad.
  91. Polley captures the brisk, cheerful fascism of nursing-home existence with merciless clarity; if you've visited a parent or grandparent in one of those places, you may want to laugh and cry in the same moment.
  92. Sordi is an elegant comic actor in the vein of America's William Powell; the world may confound him, but it can never rumple him.
  93. This is a fine example of British commercial filmmaking at its highest level of craftsmanship.

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