Slate's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,490 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 43% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Force Majeure
Lowest review score: 0 Life Is Beautiful
Score distribution:
1,490 movie reviews
  1. Wildly funny. Its best jokes approach some savage, atavistic core of cultural taboo and make the viewer wonder: Is it really possible to laugh at this? But by the time you formulate that question, it's too late: You're already laughing.
  2. Nolan turns the Manichean morality of comic books--pure good vs. pure evil--into a bleak post-9/11 allegory about how terror (and, make no mistake, Heath Ledger's Joker is a terrorist) breaks down those reassuring moral categories.
  3. A Serious Man is an exquisitely realized work; the filmmakers' technical mastery of their craft, always impressive, has become absolute. The script reads like a novel, densely allusive, funny, and terse.
  4. A film of great intelligence and quiet assurance, Goodbye Solo exhilarates without ever trafficking in easy uplift.
  5. See it because it's f---ing hilarious.
  6. The best American movie of the year. Has a subtext so powerful that it reaches out and pulls you under. Even when the surface is tranquil, you know in your guts what's at stake.
  7. By the climax, we can hardly breathe -- The outcome is less important than our utter and complete empathy with this man. As we await what he does, we breathe with him, in and out. This is an astonishing movie.
  8. Offers the rare pleasure of watching a major director return to his own material and rework it 30 years later. This story of a pitiful jewel heist gone so profoundly wrong that it approaches the scope of Greek tragedy isn't quite a remake of "Dog Day Afternoon."
  9. The best film of 2002.
  10. An unassuming gem: an impishly funny, melancholy, absolutely delightful English ensemble drama.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The scariest movie in history is actually a bit shy. The subtle, romantic score by Jerry Goldsmith is what keeps the tension at a simmer.
  11. The band's implosion and reassembly makes for one of the most marvelous rock documentaries of all time.
  12. It's an intricate, ambiguous and deeply satisfying movie, a tautly plotted tale of state surveillance and personal betrayal that ultimately becomes an ode to the transformative power of art.
  13. The best movie of the last several years: the most evocative, the most mysterious, the most inconsolably devastating.
  14. The World’s End not only makes a more than worthy conclusion to the Cornetto trilogy — it stands on its own as one of the sharpest, saddest and wisest comedies of the year.
  15. Fashioned by a buff, The Lord of the Rings is a banquet for the buff in us all. I left exhausted, happy, intoxicated.
  16. 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.
  17. The way that Redford’s character — who for all his namelessness and near-wordlessness emerges as a distinct character, a calm, pragmatic, curious man with a dry sense of humor — struggles with that ultimate question is the beating heart of All is Lost, which somewhere in its second hour goes from being a good movie to being a great one.
  18. This unassuming movie will nail you to your seat.
  19. Igby Goes Down got a reaction from me: I think it's the movie of the year. I squirmed, I laughed a lot.
  20. After The Hurt Locker (which is without question the most exciting and least ideological movie yet made about the war in Iraq), everyone will remember Renner's name.
  21. Up
    Up is Pixar's most ambitious attempt yet to take animation to higher (and deeper) places than it's been before, and Giacchino's sprightly music keeps the whole thing, impossibly, aloft.
  22. It's funny--bleakly, blackly so at times, but also tenderly funny with flashes of genuine compassion. The Maid is among the best films I've seen this year.
  23. Fruitvale Station’s wrenching power lies in the specificity of its storytelling and the ordinary human warmth of the world it conjures. You walk out of it, not shaking your head over an abstract social problem, but grieving the senseless death of one flawed, complex, tragically young man.
  24. No, I couldn't be more pleased with what the screenwriter, Steven Kloves, and the director, Mike Newell, have wrought this time.
  25. The exhilaration is slow to build. It doesn't come from any one thing but from countless crosscurrents, tiny bits of color that fill out the portrait.
  26. This is an amazing movie.
  27. Isn't just the most explosively entertaining movie musical in a couple of decades. It's going to be the most influential: the one that inspires the rebirth of the Hollywood musical.
  28. It might be the cinema's most astonishing holy war film. The Lord of the Rings took seven years and an army of gifted artists to execute, and the striving of its makers is in every splendid frame. It's more than a movie--it's a gift.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A desolate, fast, funny, scary film, and it takes more risks than any recent film.
  29. Munich is the most potent, the most vital, the best movie of the year.
  30. I don't just mean it's one of the best movies of the past six years. Children of Men, based on the 1992 novel by P.D. James, is the movie of the millennium because it's about our millennium, with its fractured, fearful politics and random bursts of violence and terror.
  31. An absolutely magical fusion of deadpan Ealing comedy and Gothic horror.
  32. This is the best movie I've seen in a decade. For once it's no hyperbole to say, "Unforgettable!"
  33. The rare film about the life of an artist that is itself a work of art.
  34. A completely different kind of animated movie that, even more than "Ratatouille," reimagines what the medium can do.
  35. On first viewing, Crazy Heart seemed like a pretty good movie with one great performance. After a second time through, it's sneaking up on the title of my favorite film of the year.
  36. Feels fresher, leaner, and faster than any action movie in years.
  37. American satire rarely comes more winning than Election, an exuberantly caustic comedy that shows the symbiotic relationship between political go-get-'em-ism and moral backsliding.
  38. Asghar Farhadi's A Separation serves as a quiet reminder of how good it's possible for movies to be.
  39. A collage of pain that breaks over you like a wave. Every second you can feel the cost to Caouette of what he's showing: The sounds and the images are like a pipeline from his unconscious to the screen.
  40. If you're interested in the history of the human race-if you're a member of the human race-you owe it to yourself to see this movie.
  41. Qualifies as one of my favorite movies of all time. This 1932 masterpiece, now digitally restored with retranslated subtitles and a newly recorded score, is a silent film that doesn't feel silent at all.
  42. Gus Van Sant and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black pull off something very close to magic. They make a film that's both historically precise and as graceful, unpredictable, and moving as a good fiction film--that is to say, a work of art.
    • Slate
  43. For a story that's all about the harnessing of fateful chthonic forces, Paul Thomas Anderson has dug deeper than ever before, and struck black gold.
  44. Ida
    There’s an urgency to Ida’s simple, elemental story that makes it seem timely, or maybe just timeless.
  45. I loved it. Or, to put it another way, I loved it, I loved it, I loved it. I loved every gorgeous sick disgusting ravishing overbaked blood-spurting artificial frame of it.
  46. The fact that Duvall gives such a glorious performance in The Apostle is likely to distract people from the fact that he has also written and directed a glorious movie--the most vivid and radiantly made of 1997.
  47. You don't want to watch this movie, you want to climb inside it and play.
  48. The movie we've been waiting for all year: a comedy that doesn't take cheap shots, a drama that doesn't manipulate, a movie of ideas that doesn't preach. It's a rich, layered, juicy film, with quiet revelations punctuated by big laughs.
  49. The Babadook creates tension not with jump scares or chase sequences but with judicious editing and slow-burn suspense—that is, until it descends into a final half-hour of harrowing emotional and physical intensity, an extended climax that made me gasp aloud, hide my eyes, and weep at least twice.
  50. As the couple’s widening rift exposes the gender and class assumptions that underlie their marriage... Force Majeure morphs into a biting critique of modern masculinity, of traditional parenting roles, and possibly of the institution of marriage itself.
  51. A clever, vividly imagined, consistently funny, eye-poppingly pretty and oddly profound movie … about Legos.
  52. This is the most intoxicatingly beautiful martial arts picture I've ever seen.
  53. It's hard to think of another American film with this range of moods: satirical, sometimes hilarious, yet suffused with a sense of loss and riddled with the kind of violence that makes you recoil and lean forward simultaneously.
  54. Watching the opening of A Hard Day's Night is like getting a direct injection of happiness.
  55. Mr. Turner does resemble "Topsy-Turvy" in its meticulous yet vibrant recreation of the past and its ever-expanding thematic amplitude. This is a movie not only about one particular artist, but about art as both a field of human endeavor and an object of shifting cultural and economic value.
  56. Brilliantly nasty little horror film.
  57. Master and Commander hooks you from its nifty opening salvo to its nifty closing punch line.
  58. May not be the single best movie I've seen so far this year--though it's certainly a contender for the title--but it's without doubt the most surprising.
  59. Britain's diplomatic corps may be as clueless and impotent as In the Loop suggests, but British comedians are fully capable of taking over the world.
  60. Even when you're able to guess the next calamity, it's still a shock in its ejaculatory intensity. The Farrellys never throw in the towel. Pretentious Sundance independents could learn a lot from such pistols.
  61. It's the human struggle that makes this a sci-fi masterpiece.
  62. Not enough happens in it. And yet everything happens in it.
  63. This is finally the zombie flick as cautionary political tale, and as humanist parable. It's not the flesh-gouging zombie we have to worry about, the filmmakers suggest, but the soul-gouging zombie within.
  64. Riveting and so suggestive that you can't consume it passively: You have to brood on it.
  65. It strides above its crudeness like a colossus. It's smart people telling dumb jokes with a brilliant sense of irony. Anchorman gives you permission to laugh like an idiot.
  66. The smartest, funniest, and best-looking sci-fi comedy since the movies learned to morph.
  67. My first viewing left me dazzled but slightly confused; a second deeply impressed; a third rhapsodic. I wish I hadn't needed to rediagram it in my head to turn it into the masterpiece it so obviously wants to be.
  68. A near-perfect piece of popular entertainment, a children's classic.
  69. The movie is so Burtonesque that it verges on self-parody--but it's fun and stunningly beautiful anyway.
  70. No
    It’s the rare political satire that can sound the depths of irony as No does and still end on a note of ambivalent hope.
  71. Though Sweetgrass has moments of great beauty, the film is never nostalgic or idealizing about its human or ovine subjects. It shows the relationship of human and domesticated animal—and the relationship of both to nature—as a productive and symbiotic yet often brutal struggle.
  72. The Ram is sometimes--often, even--a manipulative, self-pitying man, but Rourke and Aronofsky paint his portrait with a rigorous dignity.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Who's this movie for, again? No matter: It's impossible to find more joy in the dark at the moment.
  73. Almost to a one, the people Guest casts are virtuosos, and he lets them hit notes they can't hit anywhere else.
  74. Demme's movie exuberantly crosses the border from documentary into hagiography and from hagiography into celebration.
  75. Actors aren’t Navy SEALs, I know, but Johansson was, in fact, brave to take on this role: brave in that it’s a sharp left turn from what audiences expect or even like; brave in that she embraced an artistically bold method of building a movie when most other movie stars would have said no thanks to the idea of chatting up random Scotsmen in a van.
  76. Anderson must have needed that bonkers third-hour climax because there was nowhere to go short of spontaneous combustion.
  77. During the ghastly, surreal climax, I had fun closing one eye and with the other watching various ashen older men stumble toward the exit.
  78. I wasn't prepared for the slap-happy brilliance of Shrek 2, which should ideally be seen twice--once with kids, once savored at something like a midnight show.
  79. A warm, ingratiating, and fitfully hilarious epicurean road movie with a steady ache-an ache like a red-wine hangover.
  80. Is it or is it not stupendously friggin' rad? And the answer is yes. For most of the first hour, a good portion of the second, and even many of the 40 minutes left after that, Avatar is stupendously friggin' rad.
  81. Is Fiennes miscast? Perhaps. He's a high-strung, somewhat clammy actor--not the first to spring to mind for this warmly self-effacing plodder. But he's remarkably fine.
  82. A rollicking, comic-book Robin Hood plot and more furiously entertaining fight scenes than the ones in Ang Lee's solemn martial-arts art movie.
  83. A Hitchcock-ian murder mystery that unfolds into a maternal melodrama worthy of Joan Crawford, shot through with bursts of black humor. Bong's ability to sustain three or four different tones in one movie without betraying the emotional truth of the story is nothing short of amazing: He can pat his head, rub his stomach, and break our hearts all at the same time.
  84. Gallo’s movie is terrific, an original and disarming vision of a life that's all skids.
  85. Still, for me, Wuthering Heights' almost impersonal immersion in the light and texture and sound of the moors was the source of its vividness and necessity. In order for the art of literary adaptation to remain vital, we have to be willing to let directors throw aside the book and film their dream of it.
  86. The miracle of the movie is the Bolger sisters, who are so direct and matter-of-fact that they hardly seem to be acting. But their simplicity is radiant.
  87. A grave screwball comedy. Its gags aren't just hilarious -- they have a weighty, plaintive soul.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It may be the most visually imaginative Shakespeare film since Akira Kurosawa's "Ran", and certainly one of the more operatic Hollywood creations of recent years.
  88. Shows the dying tremors of a generation, and you might feel as if you can see every molecule, every atom give up the ghost.
  89. A marvelously nasty revenge comedy.
  90. You don't need to be an exploitation fanboy to appreciate the energy, imagination, and spirit with which Rodriguez and Tarantino pay homage to the cheapo cinema they love.
  91. Soderbergh contrives the perfect voice for Leonard's prose--laid-back and grooving when it needs to be, but also taut, with the eerie foreboding of violence about to erupt.
  92. One of the most inspired cases of the medium embodying the message ever captured on celluloid.
  93. As the ghouls evolve toward humanity and the humans toward ghouldom, we can appreciate Romero for using horror to show us How We Live Now, and How We're Living Dead now, too.
  94. The elements in A Walk on the Moon, which is directed by the actor Tony Goldwyn (the bad guy in "Ghost") and written by Pamela Gray, feel miraculously right.
  95. Face/Off is such a blast that at times I forgot I was watching a John Woo movie.
  96. Caine makes Hampton's too-literary narration work by playing it as an inner dialogue: It's the best performance of narration I've ever heard. It makes you want to hear Caine read the whole book--or read anything.

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