Slant Magazine's Scores

For 4,626 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 33% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 65% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 8.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 Dead Man
Lowest review score: 0 No Escape
Score distribution:
4626 movie reviews
  1. Aleksei German's final film is choreographed with a Felliniesque social grandeur, but tethered to a neorealist's eye for detail and quotidian matters of social justice.
  2. Béla Tarr is the cinema's greatest crafter of total environments and in The Turin Horse, working in his most restricted physical setting since 1984's Almanac of Fall, he (along with co-director Ágnes Hranitzky) dials up one of his most vividly immersive milieus.
  3. Here, a pessimistic Romero dares to tackle the very essence of man’s inhumanity to man. And in the end, Day of the Dead is every bit as compelling and unsettling as its more lauded predecessors.
  4. Inscrutably powerful and brutally honest about diva worship as another form of male domination, Mommie Dearest is to camp what Medea was to Dr. Benjamin Spock.
  5. Rosemary’s Baby is one of horror cinema’s all-time slow burns, drawing viewers gradually into entertaining the possibility that the movie’s series of strange coincidences and accumulating sense of dread are only subjective representations of Rosemary’s unraveling mental state.
  6. With its view of Vietnam as a colonial mud pit being raped by a post-rock generation, it’s as aimless as it is prescient. Coppola’s subjective use of technology (pathologically integrating operatic image and sound) evokes war as a psychedelic fugue state: timeless, horrifying, and affecting us all.
  7. Many things reinforce the enduring greatness of Singin’ in the Rain, but its most charming element is the filmmakers’ love for and dedication to the basic tenants of cinema as pure enchantment, and an open indulgence of all the bells and whistles that have been allowed it to grow into something bigger and (arguably) better over the decades.
  8. Jem Cohen's film finds its most salient tension in the fraught relationship between known and unknown objects.
  9. Christian Petzold never luxuriates in all this film history, but rather channels the artifice and affect it embodies into new insights.
  10. Rather than a fleeting image of violence, however, Friedkin’s cyclical, almost Kafkaesque insistence that politics revolves around now globalized, corporate power delegating hired guns to do under-the-table bidding across national boundaries announces itself through the soundscape, with Tangerine Dream’s electronic basslines substituting for bloodshed. No one escapes the suffocating corrosion of Sorcerer’s polysemous diegesis—not even Friedkin himself, as audiences and industry would have it.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Scarecrow embraces sprawl of both the narrative and geographical variety with freewheeling abandon.
  11. With the invocation of national allegiance as an inherent contradiction, the documentary blooms its larger, allegorical inklings.
  12. Every beautiful, resonant image in writer-director Alex Ross Perry's film is fraught with neurotic, diaphanous riddles.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The pangs of romance, eroticism, anguish, and longing (both for the stolen moments of private passion and for the sense-making schematics of Empire) transcend any period of cinema Tabu may evoke.
  13. It resembles a satirical treatise of self-reflection, functioning simultaneously as a summation of Bruno Dumont's thematic interests over the previous two decades and as a bonkers remake of Humanité.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Davies transcends the facile trap of misery-porn by tapping into the basic notion that could make musicals so enlivening—music as direct expression, music as emotion felt. One of the most profoundly spiritual films in recent decades.
  14. I still stare at it, amazed and entertained, but dwarfed by the very idea of attempting to untangle the crow’s nest that has formed through the film’s ever-expanding histories. And what continuously stupefies me is that time works no miracles on this particular film: Scenes remain familiar, but the narrative seems to shift every time I return to it.
  15. In the Mood For Love is ravishing beyond mortal words.
  16. Adam Wingard's You're Next brazenly merges the home-invasion thriller with the dysfunctional family dramedy.
  17. Felt in the full impact of a theatrical screening (with the pleasure of seeing patrons reflexively kick or stiffen at the sight of Miles startled by her mirrored reflection), its power is not just that of a showman’s calibrated scare machine, but of a somber fugue on the trapped 20th-century creatures who inhabit its world, clawing but never budging an inch.
  18. What's most interesting about the intense deliberations that ensue, specifically when a piece of seemingly indisputable evidence is brought back into question, is how a fresh angle and perspective, usually born from Juror 8's critical thinking, can permanently alter the tone of the discussion.
  19. Carrie, on the other hand, is frighteningly feminine, a slap in the face of those charging De Palma with misogyny as fierce as the one Betty Buckley whales across Nancy Allen’s face.
  20. A stark, eerie and unrelenting parable of dread. There’s a brute force in Night of the Living Dead that catches one in the throat.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    His meticulous, largely self-taught directing style—dazzlingly showcased in House of Games, a master class in dramatically functional compositions and camera moves—should be mandatory viewing for any would-be filmmaker.
  21. Argento’s deliriously artificial horror film owes as much to Georges Méliès and German Expressionism (specifically The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) as it does to Jean Cocteau and Grimm fairy tales. =
  22. Frederick Wiseman is a portraitist of ideals, of the insidious inspirations and nightmares that enable and undermine them, and, implicitly, of the political waves that have yet to balance this duality of first-world life.
  23. The picture is hugely pleased with itself, but it’s too funny and expertly calibrated to mind in the least. Both Hitchcock and Grant raise relaxed confidence to masterpiece level here.
  24. This is a film that isn’t afraid to inhabit the maddening ambivalence of pleasure, recognizing that desire simply doesn’t recognize good manners.
  25. Her
    A screwball surrealist comedy that asks us to laugh at an unconventional romance while also disarming us with the realization that its fantasy scenario isn't too far from our present reality.
  26. Fire at Sea initiates a narrative that probes the fundamental gap between wanting to help and actually being able to do so.
  27. Much like the work of generational cohort Michael Robinson, Alex Ross Perry's films are steeped in a viscous cultural past.
  28. Childhood in Peter Lataster and Petra Lataster-Czisch's documentary is the terrain of contradiction and ambiguity.
  29. It takes cojones for a filmmaker to chase Fassbinder's ghost, but it takes heart and talent to damn near catch up with it.
  30. Even if Hayao Miyazaki's career is complete, a work like this serves to remind us of the shining beacons he's left behind him, the testaments to pursuing beauty in the face of so much ugliness, themselves lasting reminders of the quiet rewards of determination.
  31. Every pan and snap zoom and dissolve is exact, every whorl of smoke and wind-thrown swath of leaves pulled from a dream and placed methodically before our eyes.
  32. The final passages are the most exultant in their taking us beyond ourselves into a wide-eyed state of untarnished possibilities; entirely without words, the film reminds us that, despite how far we’ve come, the real odyssey has only just begun.
  33. The film is a singularly huge, relentless, all-encompassing set piece that mutates and spasms with terrifying lack of foresight. It's all business, business, business.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Long Day Closes posits its pubescent protagonist as a tiny camera absorbing and transforming the reality all around him.
  34. Unforgiven brought the revisionist revenge film into the 1990s and, by extension, the 21st century
  35. One of the most distinct pleasures of Beginners is the way it puts together fragments of someone's life-presumably the filmmaker's, although little does it matter-with humility, and without vying for some complete whole.
  36. The film is virtually perfect: Nary a frame goes to waste in the establishment and development of plot and character, with the occasionally deviant touch serving to neutralize a sense of overly manufactured calculation.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The doc positions The Shining as a comparably coiled, thematically overflowing microcosm--standing in for cinema, for history, for obsession, for postmodern theory buckling under the film's heft.
  37. Alex Ross Perry's characters are shrewd enough to recognize the irrational contours of their lives, which they diagnose and chew over in some of the most inventive, twisty, and richly ironic dialogue in modern American cinema.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Even when the band plays away from private eyes or songs simply play over disconnected footage of them having fun, the strength of their songcraft is stirring.
  38. The dangers of filmmakers trying to replicate a golden era rather than embrace the present are part and parcel of Inherent Vice, but the ramifications are political as well.
  39. Dead Man is likely Jim Jarmusch’s most stunning achievement.
  40. Dickey taps into that stark mortal terror of abandoning control, where to become a wild man is somehow a form of connection.
  41. The seeming miracle of Columbus is its mixture of formal precision with a philosophical grasp of human mystery.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Not only a monstrous visual achievement, but one of the most uniquely humanistic animated features of all time.
  42. The other reason why Hawks's film can't be approached as a pure sociological interrogation is that it's, quite visibly, a Hollywood production with certain inescapable commitments to entertainment convention. This isn't to downgrade the movie, though, as there's a reason why Hawks and other Old Hollywood filmmakers have become so revered.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Where it’s not refined in form, Badlands is so by virtue of the specificity of its material (the then-topical sensationalism of teenage sociopaths and their glamorization in popular culture), a fact that has been buried by the dense literature published on Malick. Yet the film never once feels like the faded photos Holly examines under her father’s stereopticon.
  43. It’s the characters’ ceaseless need to fully understand, outsmart, and undermine nature’s sway that drives them into fervor and, often enough, leads them to shuffle off this mortal coil.
  44. One of the Ryan Coogler film's greatest traits is its reticence, its refusal to say 10 words when two will do, or to say one word when silence says it all.
  45. Throughout, what truly matters to director Jonathan Glazer is articulating through visual and aural enticement the unconscious power of our death drive.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The film's vision of masculine self-sufficiency is built around--and on, via Australia's own bloody colonial history--an elemental violence.
  46. This insane masterpiece shows the self-destructive properties of myth making and how they overlap with the downfall of a community damned from the beginning of time.
  47. Robert Bresson's film hits with the effect not so much reflecting a cleansing of the soul, but rather a ransacking.
  48. Because Bresson’s cinematic personality is as deliberate and clean as it is, the viewer is tempted to chalk up the bizarre and moving experience of watching Lancelot du Lac to some latent spirituality or grace.
  49. A movie which sits at the nexus between spoken and written language, the latter mostly of the programming variety.
  50. As depicted by Jia Zhang-ke, the balance between the spoils and moral rot of murder are far preferable to the debasing rigors of tradition and hollow nationalism.
  51. To hell with equivocation or beating around the bush: Terrence Malick's 1978 Days of Heaven is the greatest film ever made. And let the word film be emphasized, since Malick's sophomore masterpiece earns this exalted designation from its position as a work of pure cinema. [22 Oct. 2007]
  52. Phantom Thread arrives at a place of qualified peace that cauterizes the emotional wounds of Paul Thomas Anderson's cinema.
  53. Too many films these days trivialize poverty as an ironically, tastelessly over-produced pageant to earn kudos. The Grapes of Wrath is flawed, but it captures that shiver of panic that grips anyone for whom the money for the next meal is unknown. The film remains a vital document of the perversion and torment of the fantasy most commonly known as the American Dream.
  54. The Nine Muses is the kind of nonfiction film I actively hope for: a picture of intuitive, free-associational power that cuts far deeper emotionally than a dry recitation of dates and facts could ever hope to.
  55. An acutely felt, altogether devastating family drama as intimate and affecting as it is sprawling and untamed.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Whereas Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago feel more pictorial than cinematic, The Bridge on the River Kwai carefully builds its psychological tension until it erupts in a blinding flash of sulfur and flame.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    To Live and Die in L.A. exhibits a remarkable degree of kineticism, evident in several memorable chase sequences, the film’s headlong momentum abetted by Wang Chung’s dynamic score.
  56. Level Five pictorializes the cruel moment when curiosity encounters tragedy, and the all-too-human abandonment of interest that can follows.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Delineates the quiet, desperate lives of the citizens of Anarene, Texas over the course of one year in the early 1950s.
  57. Rob Zombie understands horror as an aural-visual experience that should gnaw at the nerves, seep into the subconscious, and beget unshakeable nightmares.
  58. Those who find Rohmer heroines difficult - that is, demanding because they are three-dimensional, non-formulaic creations with an intricate set of foibles and needs - might even be won over by the depth and poignancy of Delphine, one of its maker's most generously etched characters.
  59. What makes Phantasm special is the way it captures a boy's life in 1978. [Remastered]
  60. Deep End is as soaked in pheromones and nervous electricity as Mike, but he's as much a product of the world of desire that surrounds him as one of its participants, and when the end finally comes, there's only a reprise of earlier dream imagery to suggest that there was anything other than a spasmodic, hormonal twitch involved in bringing about its conclusion.
  61. Body Double, while not his finest, is the best candidate as De Palma’s signature film. It’s a wicked, feature-length double entendre from a Doublemint era. Take it at face value, take it for its prurience or take it for all it’s worth. Hell, try taking on all three at once.
  62. Romero’s distinctly Pittsburghian sensibilities can’t be underestimated when explaining Dawn’s appeal; the Monroeville Mall perfectly evokes the feel of a hollow monument standing at the center of a community that couldn’t be bothered to define itself any more distinctively than could be represented by their choice between Florsheim or Kinney’s shoes. The mall, in essence, shoulders the burden of their identity.
  63. It's the summative effect of the story's modest exchanges, unspooling one after another in long, tranquil shots, that lends the film its profound sense of loss.
  64. Cinema is a vernacular of domination, and quaking with revelations both formal and personal, the film attests that Godard has spent his career apologizing for it.
  65. Hitchcockian unease permeates the film, but so too does a Godardian use of space and a Bressonian focus on obsession heighten the mounting sense of dread. These elements are groovy for film buffs but are mere icing on the proverbial cake; you don’t need to be in the know to relish Scorsese’s mastery of the form, and what may astonish even more than the creative prowess is how compulsively entertaining the results are.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Leviathan is a titanic achievement, a visceral overload whose impact registers immediately and with great force.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Blow Out is not known as one of Brian De Palma’s horror movies, but of all his films, it’s the one that feels most like a nightmare.
  66. Paterson's sunny aesthetic and disposition marks a stylistic departure for writer-director Jim Jarmusch.
  67. Miyazaki celebrates individualism and nature’s simple, untainted beauties, subsequently pondering the transcendent power of communication between the “inside” and the “outside.”
  68. The lightning in the film’s bottle isn’t some generic feel-good humanism, but a complicated one, fighting for its own existence, sometimes angry, sometimes despondent.
  69. It movingly posits acting as a metaphor for the search for connection, through visceral texture rather than platitude.
  70. The film’s brilliance emanates equally from its structure (the story is delicately bookended by two cultural rituals: a wedding and a funeral), the acuteness of its gaze, and Yang’s acknowledgement of life as a series of alternately humdrum and catastrophic occurrences, like a flower that blooms in the summer and wilts in the fall; he hopes you will notice it, because seeing is what validates its unique extraordinariness.
  71. Asghar Farhadi's film yields a tonal and emotional friction that's simultaneously tragic, transcendent, and comic.
  72. Like the movie itself, every character is a beautiful swirl of contradictions.
  73. The film has a peculiar magic to it, and because of its pace the richness of its sense of detail often goes unnoticed.
  74. Tsai isn't making a social-problem film here, and his critique of patriarchal control is secondary to his portrait of unbearable psychic conditions.
  75. It gently and often imperceptibly shifts between past and present, legend and modernity, wakefulness and reverie.
  76. Bertrand Bonello constructs a clear-eyed sense of how technology keeps getting closer and closer to replacing human consciousness.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It captures a kind of essential form of self-expression (and pleasure) that exceeds categorization, creating a shared experience between the musicians, the filmmakers, and the viewer that feels sublime.
  77. Don't let the women's smirks and wordplay fool you: The fact that art is eternal often makes it more horrifying than life itself.
  78. Eraserhead is an extraordinarily raw film that’s not so much an announcement of its filmmaker’s obsessions, but a complete, intimate, and heartbreaking fulfillment of them.
  79. Tomboy is one of those little big films whose simplicity and concision suggest the excess of meaning that language (cinematic or otherwise) could never account for.
  80. Its utter indulgence in esoterica paradoxically leaves it most vulnerable to the beating heart of this great artist of self-therapy.
  81. The pleasures of Dressed to Kill flat out do not translate to print, but for what it’s worth it is the most perfectly-directed film ever, provided you, like me, bust into orgasmic laughter when De Palma’s double-shuffling editing makes it seem like the only threat Nancy Allen and a wooden cop can see boarding the subway is a 250-pound bag lady.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    While screenwriter Tom Stoppard supplies a literate script, it’s Spielberg’s peerless command of film technique that drives the film, with the director crafting a number of sequences that function as impressive examples of pure visual storytelling.
  82. Fervently passionate and formally meticulous, the latest stunning coup for a director who's made a career of repurposing archetypal storylines.
  83. Bill Gunn and Ishmael Reed collapse conventional notions of reality, providing simultaneous glimpses into the minds of dozens of characters, lingering on scenes and informing them with confessional intensity.

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