Slate's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,453 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 0.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 A Serious Man
Lowest review score: 0 I'm Still Here
Score distribution:
1,453 movie reviews
  1. The premise is admittedly a killer--fun to think about, fun to see realized, not so fun to see screwed up in the last half-hour.
  2. My real problem with Matchstick Men is that it didn't con me well enough: I saw every trick up its sleeve in the first 20 minutes. If everything had been what it seemed--now, that would have been a stunning twist.
  3. The whole movie is like that: showy stunts, explosions, over-the-top acting, fiesta colors, lurid angles, and a sense of nothing--nada--at stake.
  4. 125 minutes is a long time to stare at a movie that's basically in bleached blue-and-white with occasional splotches of brick red. The palette reinforces the monotony of the storyline.
  5. As usual with Penn, I don't completely buy the character, but I completely buy that he has brilliantly internalized SOMETHING. He goes to some weird psychological places, our Sean.
  6. It's a schlock melodrama dolled up in arty frontier vestments.
  7. This is a movie that sends you out shuddering, chuckling nervously, wanting to tell the people in line for the next show, "It's the feel-bad movie of the year!"
    • 30 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Impressively sets a new standard for time travel gone awry.
  8. I found the movie cheap, muddled, and thoroughly devoid of insight.
  9. Emminently skippable.
  10. I'm not sure if the movie's lack of momentum is the fault of the director, the screenwriter, or the star, Romano. But most likely, it represents the luckless convergence of three dismayingly low-watt talents.
  11. The film that Nicholas Hytner has directed (from a screenplay by the playwright Wendy Wasserstein) is slick, sweet, and disastrously unmoving -- even people who live to cry at the movies will find themselves depressingly dry-eyed.
  12. When it comes to weaving personal stories in and out of the special-effects set pieces, the director has the most colossal antitalent since Ed Wood Jr.
  13. King Arthur is profoundly stupid and inept, but it's an endless source of giggles once you realize that its historical revisionism has nothing to do with archeological discoveries and everything to do with the fact that no one at Disney would green-light an old-fashioned talky love triangle with a hero who dies and an adulterous heroine who ends up in a nunnery.
  14. The photography is excellent! the music is striking! the movie is a stinker!
  15. The first 45 minutes or so is stupefying--flat, disjointed, missing all human connective tissue.
  16. Inexpressiveness is what separates the film from its models (chiefly Antonioni) and what makes it so exasperating.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    It has none of the minor virtues of Schumacher's other films. It looks bad: cluttered surfaces, production design reminiscent of overblown Broadway musicals, editing too fast for the eye to catch up, poor staging of fast action.
  17. I wonder if anything could have made this misfire work.
  18. Lost Highway, David Lynch's first movie in five years, is a virtuoso symphony of bad vibes.
  19. Lousy remake.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Volcano is just another $100 million genre movie, and a pretty lousy one, to boot.
  20. Borderline incoherent, theologically unsatisfying, and short to the point of dwarfism on suspense.
  21. Michael Caton-Jones' pompous and coarsely stupid inflation of what remains a superior thriller, Fred Zinnemann's The Day of the Jackal (1973).
  22. A thesis movie, almost a manifesto for despair, and certainly worthy of the aforementioned NR-DS rating. Except that its bad vibes don't linger. Have dinner and smart conversation with friends, hug a child, pick up a good book--and poof, life returns with a happy vengeance.
  23. A depressing comeback for Jane Fonda, but it's still nice to see her in movies again, and in something that isn't dripping with self-actualizing virtue like her last projects.
  24. An overinflated B-movie with no grace, no subtext, no wit, and featuring beefcake/cheesecake actors who look like they've been plucked from the soaps.
  25. 9 Songs could have been "Last Rock Show in London." Unfortunately, it's stupefyingly dull, even with good music and at the short but resonant length of 69 minutes.
  26. The acting in this movie is unusually bad--atrocious, even.
  27. A sour little psychodrama.
  28. Perhaps the saddest thing about Manderlay is how poorly von Trier treats his actors, who are so bludgeoned by the concept and the format they can scarcely breathe.
  29. This movie leaves us with the stale whiff of fake nostalgia and something even more odoriferous: the smell of money.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Jokes from Scary Movie 3 are recycled ad nauseam.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    RV
    RV is another disturbing entry in the dark cycle of movies that began for Robin Williams with "One Hour Photo" and "Insomnia" and has continued with "The Night Listener." I look forward with queasy dread to what he'll do in "Mrs. Doubtfire 2."
  30. Even when engineering a howler like this, De Palma does it in such high style, with such a confident swagger, that the movie is half over before you realize how little is there.
  31. Like licorice, Marie Antoinette is a confection you either love or hate, and both affects seem tied to your feeling about the director herself and her apparent identification with Louis XVI's bride. For my part, I can definitely say that I love licorice and hate Marie Antoinette. But I'm still wrestling with the enigma of Sofia Coppola.
  32. Fatuous, sappy, and dull.
  33. Smokin' Aces is awash in ammo and carnage, but it chugs to the finish line with a tank full of sludge.
  34. Ought to have been called "Slugs for Snails," so leisurely does it creep toward its predictably bombastic conclusion.
  35. Jumper not only makes the rules up as it goes along; it neglects to tell us what those rules are, which is both unfair and unfun.
  36. The state of mind brought on by Speed Racer the movie is more akin to that phenomenon by which young infants, exposed to more stimuli than their systems are equipped to handle, will simply shut down.
  37. I walked out of Choke feeling hustled, which is appropriate enough, I guess, for a movie that's a portrait of a compulsive hustler.
  38. Isn't terrible. OK, it's kind of terrible, but it's a talking-dog movie, and anyone who goes to a talking-dog movie without being prepared to step in poop deserves to ruin his shoes.
  39. One of many burdensome tasks required of the viewer of this fish-out-of-water love story. The toughest of all: caring about any of the characters in this smug, check-off-the-boxes comedy.
  40. If you spin out the unintended analogy of Confessions of a Shopaholic to the current financial crisis, the film starts to mutate from a not-that-funny comedy into a tragic allegory.
  41. The reductio ad absurdum of a summer blockbuster. It is loud (boom!), long (two and a half hours!), incoherent (poorly explained intergalactic warfare!), leering (Megan Fox in short shorts!), racist (jive-talkin' robot twins!), and rife with product tie-ins (Chevy! Hasbro!).
  42. In its eagerness to drag us through the lower depths of human experience, Precious leaves no space for the audience to breathe or to draw our own conclusions. For a film about empowerment and self-actualization, it wields an awfully large cudgel.
  43. A film adaptation should, of course, treat its source material as inspiration rather than dogma. But did Burton have to get the books so ENTIRELY wrong?
  44. In the hierarchy of things that creep into your house, the tooth fairy ranks somewhere beneath Santa Claus and above the Formosan termite.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    The Lightning Thief is loud, scary, oversexed, and really unfun. All that would have been fine if my daughter liked it, but instead it left her and her friend stunned.
  45. What it lacks in charm, humor, and intelligence, it makes up for in sheer volume.
  46. The SNL skits get laughs from combining the grandiose scope of an action movie with the cramped, bare-bones stage of a live late-night comedy show. It's funny because it looks dinky, cheap, and fake. By showing real buildings really exploding, and real throats—or a believable simulacrum thereof--ripped open by real bare hands, MacGruber commits the deeply MacGruber-esque mistake of shooting itself in the foot.
  47. Tron: Legacy is the kind of sensory-onslaught blockbuster that tends to put me to sleep, the way babies will nap to block out overwhelming stimuli. I confess I may have snoozed through one or two climactic battles only to be startled awake by an incoming neon Frisbee.
  48. Where are we? What is this empty, science-fiction-like space in which luxury goods and women who resemble them are ceaselessly rotated in front of our eyes? Oh, it's Hollywood.
  49. Sadly, these small bursts of beauty seemed so at odds with the movie's general crushing mediocrity that they were like quickly squelched protests against it.
  50. This forced march through a chamber of personal and sociological horrors is difficult to endure but easy to forget.
  51. For a series so steeped in supernatural mumbo-jumbo, Pirates of the Caribbean displays remarkably little sense of wonder.
  52. This script - a collaboration between Hanks and Nia Vardalos, the writer and star of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" - would need multiple punch-up sessions to attain mediocrity. Roberts and Hanks aren't just prevented from playing their A games; they're never even taken off the bench.
  53. That What's Your Number? is a bad movie is the least of the reasons to walk out of it feeling awful. Competing for the top spot are these two: the criminal misuse of Faris; and the casual endorsement of courtship practices as arcane and sadistic as Chinese foot-binding.
  54. What's disappointing about Anonymous is that it isn't dumb enough.
  55. The realities that Crowe creates all seem like pleasant enough places to be, but you'd never mistake them for real life. The fuzzy, squishy world of We Bought a Zoo may be the Cameron Crowe-iest of them all.
  56. The Iron Lady is, to put it kindly, a shambles.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Remember that scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark," when a swastika-stamped Nazi crate explodes for no good reason (beyond the fact that the Ark hates Nazis)? Red Tails is like that, only less awesome, and considerably longer.
  57. It's deeply committed to its own weird conceit, diminishing returns and all.
  58. Snow White and the Huntsman, the first feature from British commercial director Rupert Sanders, has its work cut out for it if it wants to be a truly dull piece of junk - but it manages.
  59. At its worst, This Is 40 feels like being condemned to watch two hours of someone else's home movies - overly long, self-indulgent, and bone-crushingly banal.
  60. It would be easier to forgive Identity Thief its overfamiliar comic setups and shameless gag-recycling if the movie’s second half didn’t make such an abrupt about-face from soliciting our revulsion to begging for our pity.
  61. The absence of a single noteworthy villain is perhaps this movie’s most salient flaw (along with the jumbled, barely coherent editing of a seemingly endless chase through a Moscow traffic jam).
  62. Any irregularity in tone becomes a part of the movie’s intentionally rough, imperfect surface — a formal strategy I might find interesting if I could make head or tail of what the movie that’s using it is trying to say.
  63. I didn’t like the movie at all — found it boring, unintentionally comical, at times even (a word I seldom use) pretentious — but I admire the rest of your work so much that I nonetheless feel the need to defend To the Wonder.
  64. With its low-stakes chase scenes, obvious-from-the-get-go villains and nonsensical plotting, this feels more like a 96-minute-long episode of Scooby-Doo that's been laboriously translated into another language and then back into English.
  65. Blomkamp proceeds to spend the last two-thirds of his film crashing spaceships into lawns, or staging high-tech fistfights between Elysium’s stolid hero and his even duller arch-nemesis. It’s a waste of a perfectly good dystopia.
  66. His (Lee) Oldboy is relentlessly unpleasant and difficult to watch, without offering audiences much moral or aesthetic payoff for its hour and 40 minutes of graphic violence and abject degradation. Oldboy is both original and uncompromising, I’ll give it that—it just doesn’t happen to be any good.
  67. Profoundly unnecessary -- cluttered, padded even at 90 minutes, indifferently narrated by Anthony Hopkins, and consistently misdirected by Ron Howard.
  68. He (Annaud) doesn't have a clue how to dramatize the romance. Fiennes, whose eyes are extremely close together, stares with a mixture of rage and longing at Weisz, whose eyes are extremely far apart, and the film turns into "The Dating Game" designed by Picasso.
  69. The movie is one dead, overcomposed scene after another.
  70. Material so utterly conventional that you can predict every plot turn after the first half-hour.
  71. Yeah, they made a ton of junky movies in Hong Kong, but those were dazzlingly fluid and high-flying junky movies. This American retread has the same sort of hack plot but none of the bravura. It makes them look like monkeys, and not bulletproof ones.
  72. The script plays goofy games, stopping the action for Tarantino-style small talk; piling on alternate, "Rashomon"-style flashbacks; and divulging its characters' secrets in no particular order.
  73. Hordes of good actors evidently lined up to appear in Confidence, which wastes Weisz, Guzman, Logue, Forster, and Paul Giamatti, among others. Midway through, a grizzled Andy Garcia shambles in, chewing on a cigar, as an FBI agent; he's so fatuously hammy that his true narrative function is never in doubt.
  74. The movie is a big, noisy mess, with a howler at its center: Overrouged psychiatrist Michael Douglas.
  75. I wouldn't exactly call it entertainment; I found myself wanting to apologize on behalf of obnoxious heterosexual Jewish men the world over.
  76. DiVito turns actors like Robin Williams, Edward Norton, and Catherine Keener into nothing less horrific than giant Danny DeVitos.
  77. One of the least entertaining satires ever made.
  78. A riot of sleazy camera moves, bad acting, and maladroit profane dialogue.
  79. George Lucas does it his way in the pallid Phantom Menace. Even cultists will wish he'd hired a director and some writers.
  80. Let's just say that in spite of its malignant sun-scorched palette, absurdist visions, and narrative loop the loops, the picture looks in hindsight like the same old vigilante crap.
  81. Libel on one of the true visionaries of American business in the 20th century, a man unfairly demonized for doing what others strove to do but doing it faster and better.
  82. The movie is barely sufferable.
  83. I had a hard time maintaining interest in (let along liking) any of these self-involved Hollywood twerps, and scene after scene is a grating mixture of self-aggrandizement and masochism.
  84. Serves up some of the most gruesomely misogynistic imagery in years, then ends with a bid for understanding. Are its makers so deluded that they think they're making the world a more compassionate place?
  85. Linda Hunt's spooky nun speaks of "a hundred levels of consciousness" between death and full, earthbound awareness: Where on that continuum do the executives who green-lighted Dragonfly reside?
  86. The 12 scenes of Irreversible--each shot in a single, semi-improvised take--constitute something of a tour de force. But so would being dragged through the streets by a wire noose.
  87. The movie is bafflingly boring and ridiculous. Its loginess is exacerbated by the pacing of the writer-director, Martin Brest.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    This isn't a movie of hoary Sherwood Forest clichés. It manages, through sheer artistic force, to stoop below cliché--to seem both fresh and rotten at once.
  88. This is a two-hour-and-six-minute snuff movie -- The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre -- that thinks it's an act of faith.
  89. Kaufman proves again how miraculously in synch with his material he can be. Directing a fourth-rate, maladroit, derivative mystery, he becomes a fourth-rate, maladroit, derivative director--worse even than a TV-movie hack.
  90. A sickeningly manipulative, by-the-numbers revenge movie.
  91. You have to feel for the army of talented FX people who must have spent months on scenes--trying to compensate, with their artistry, for the lack of dramatic logic--and having to listen to those lines over and over.
  92. Con Air is boring to the marrow.

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