Slate's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,699 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Force Majeure
Lowest review score: 0 Domino
Score distribution:
1699 movie reviews
  1. Nightcrawler, like its entrepreneurial-to-a-fault protagonist, is ambitious but ultimately hollow, eager to dazzle and shock us but reluctant to let us inside.
  2. A movie I snickered at more than once but never stopped staring at in wonder. This isn’t Nolan’s best film by any stretch, but it abounds in the qualities that are among his strengths.
  3. While it’s a character portrait of a morally small man, Listen Up Philip doesn’t feel like a morally small movie.
  4. This is no tale told by an idiot — on the contrary, it’s a funny, fast-moving parable about fame and ambition, laid out for us with care and craft by a gifted filmmaker, a long-missed actor, and a world-class cinematographer. But I’m left with the suspicion the whole thing may signify — well, if not nothing, at least a good deal less than the filmmakers would have us believe.
  5. Even if you couldn’t care less about jazz drumming, though, Whiplash is a thrill to watch. Underneath that taut, stylish surface, it’s really a movie about the perils of pedagogy, about the relationship between a passionate (perhaps too passionate) student and a demanding (perhaps too demanding) teacher. Which is to say, a movie about a uniquely powerful and potentially destructive form of love.
  6. Like a film noir siren Gone Girl is beautiful, sexy, and fascinatingly mean — a nasty but estimable piece of work.
  7. Maggie’s agonizing zero-sum struggle to balance a life of military service and a steady relationship with her son feels fresh, raw, and real — even if the conflict it enacts is as old as the transition between The Iliad and The Odyssey, between the horrors of the battlefield and the difficult journey home.
  8. The Guest isn’t here to deliver an earnest social message about the state of veterans’ affairs. Instead, the way good horror movies do, it channels our collective fear, guilt, and rage by creating a monster.
  9. I found The Skeleton Twins merely entertaining, but I’d love to see these two actors team up again, Tracy-and-Hepburn style, and make a string of movies together — maybe some that would venture further into the post–rom-com territory this one begins to explore.
  10. Lithgow and Molina play Ben and George with such depth, tenderness, and history that their affection for one another’s bodies (there’s no sex, but loads of snuggling) seems like a natural extension of their pleasure in being together.
  11. Fassbender spending nearly an entire movie obscured by a giant fake head is such a had-me-at-hello idea that it’s disappointing that Frank never plumbs the fascinating questions it raises about performance, group dynamics, and mental health.
  12. Calvary gives Gleeson ample opportunity to explore his talent for anchoring a movie, making it deeper and richer than the script and direction might otherwise allow.
  13. An entertainment choice I wouldn’t recommend, but one you might not regret if you dial your expectations down (or your drug intake up).
  14. Sex Tape, conversely, is as timid, bland, and predictable as romantic comedies come — though it’s a hard movie to hate entirely.
  15. Boyhood reimagines the coming-of-age film as family album, longitudinal character study, and collaborative artistic experiment — a mad risk that paid off in a movie that’s as transcendent as it is ordinary, just like life.
  16. The playful energy between McCarthy and her completely game co-star, Susan Sarandon is more than enough to keep the movie humming along.
  17. This rough-edged parody feels both distinctive and handmade, and for those reasons alone it’s a hard movie to hate, even when it temporarily loses its comic footing. Anyway, as romantic comedies down the ages have taught us, hatred is just a latent form of love.
  18. Above all else, Venus in Fur is a sharp, sexy comedy (adapted by Ives and Polanski from a translation by Abel Gerschenfeld) performed by two superb and superbly in-tune actors, and directed with a sure hand by a filmmaker who’s clearly not cowed by the challenge of blowing up a two-person chamber piece for the screen.
  19. It’s a welcome sight, seeing him carry a movie again. He’s austere and fascinating in The Rover, and his seriousness of purpose undercuts any possible campiness in the film’s world-gone-wrong setting: Each scene may be more dire than the last, but we care about Pearce, so we care about the movie.
  20. For all the film’s best intentions — and a finely tuned performance from the ever-better Woodley — for me The Fault in Our Stars never entirely found its way out of Sparks territory.
  21. There's something old-Hollywood about Slate's dizzy-dame charm, and at the same time, something very modern about her unapologetic ownership of her own sexuality.
  22. A slow-burning suspense thriller about a trio of eco-terrorists conspiring to blow up a dam, it’s directed by Reichardt with the concision and elegance of a chess master.
  23. This is really a movie about the evil spell Jolie casts on us — it’s both a celebration and a demonstration of her formidable movie star might.
  24. Days of Future Past is the kind of extravagant production that sweeps you up in a sense of mythic grandeur even as you struggle to follow what’s going on.
  25. You don’t go see a 2014 Godzilla reboot for the delicate character shadings and plausible story structure. You go to watch a giant radioactive lizard whale on stuff, and on that score, Godzilla does its work.
  26. I wanted to fall under this movie’s spell as if watching one of those early 20th-century immigrant melodramas — instead, it felt like visiting a meticulously appointed but too-tidy historical museum.
  27. Byrne, who played a tightly wound control freak to perfection in "Bridesmaids," here gets a chance to bust loose. In a late sequence where she frantically spearheads a multipart mission to bring down Delta Psi from the inside, Byrne makes you wish someone would write a big, broad, raunchy comedy just for her.
  28. Ida
    There’s an urgency to Ida’s simple, elemental story that makes it seem timely, or maybe just timeless.
  29. The project as a whole conveys a drab sense of bureaucratic necessity, a "let's get this over with" wheeziness.
  30. Blue Ruin is a Clint Eastwood vigilante fantasy with an anti-Clint at its center—small-statured, round-faced, nervous Dwight (Macon Blair), whose burning desire to avenge the long-ago murder of his parents doesn’t make him one whit less terrified of actually doing it.

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