Slate's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,650 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 Mr. Turner
Lowest review score: 0 Life Is Beautiful
Score distribution:
1650 movie reviews
  1. The movie is good enough to put a chill into the late-summer air. Salva has nasty surprises in the grim, minor-key last third, during which the feeling dawns on you that sleep for the next few nights won't come easily.
  2. The bad news is that Before Sunset is not as delirious an experience as its predecessor. The good news is that it's wonderful anyway, and in ways that tell us something about our romance with "Before Sunrise."
  3. Essentially a solemn, splintered meditation on lost love: a movie about personal space, in space.
  4. It thaws the soul.
  5. An extraordinarily potent brew.
  6. Makes for quite an emotional roller-coaster ride. You don't know whether to celebrate or mock, to laugh or weep.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Idiocracy is easily the most potent political film of the year, and the most stirring defense of traditional values since Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France.
  7. It proves that male action stars can triumph not only over space but, more important, over time.
  8. 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.
  9. The movie made me laugh a lot anyway. It has a big, inventive cast of loons and a great premise.
  10. One of the more lyrical sci-fi action thrillers ever made, in which space and time become love slaves to the directors' witty visual fancies.
  11. Craven guides us expertly down a series of blind, bloody alleys, a journey that's more pleasurable than frustrating. On account of his steady hand, the last act is as good as could be expected: skillfully conceived and entertaining in its preposterousness.
  12. And then comes that transcendent last scene, in which the man whose side we’ve barely left during this incredible ordeal is suddenly revealed as the best kind of hero, not super at all but ordinary and vulnerable and human.
  13. 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.
  14. In moments--the early moments--Sunshine can feel like a new genre classic, albeit one heavily in debt to its predecessors.
  15. A nutty, zany, wacky, unruly, spastically hilarious hodgepodge that hits at least twice as often as it misses—which is a big deal, since there are more gags per square foot of celluloid than in any film since Joe Dante's "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" (1990).
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The best Spike Lee movie to come along since 1992's "Malcolm X." It's also the first Spike Lee movie since "Malcolm X" to star Denzel Washington, and just as Jimmy Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock brought out the best in each other, Denzel and Spike need each other like vermouth and gin.
  16. Compliance examines, among other things, how misplaced faith in authority can lead to abuse on a systemic scale. It's a deeply moral movie about the failure of morality, as grueling to watch as it is necessary.
  17. The mixture of cartoony stylization and regional realism is completely original--and a testament to the genius eye for color of the great cinematographer Roger Deakins and the designer Dennis Gassner.
  18. If his (Zhang's) fight scenes don't fully intoxicate, though, his color and compositional rigor compensate for much. See Hero on the biggest screen you can find, and sit close enough for all that spiraling silk to tickle your nostril hairs.
  19. Cheadle is extraordinary.
  20. For all its relative subtlety, Kill Bill, Vol. 2 remains a cartoon: Its wit is broadsword rather than rapier, and its motives are elemental. The banter is second-tier Tarantino: a cut above his imitators, but below the standard set by "Pulp Fiction" and "Jackie Brown."
  21. It's an exquisitely crafted period picture that keeps promising more and more as it goes along--smarter ideas, richer themes, spookier plot twists--and keeps delivering on every promise, right up until the rug-pulling and overly hasty final sequence.
  22. Unexpectedly delectable.
  23. A passionate and rousing piece of filmmaking--a civics lesson with the punch of a good melodrama.
  24. When it's idling in neutral, and we're watching Stark putter in his workshop or seduce unsuspecting journalists, Iron Man abounds in that rarest of superpowers: charm.
  25. The thoughtful and leisurely paced Marley is an exemplary music documentary in almost every way - but the area in which it falls short is an important one. Like a surprisingly large number of films about musicians (whether biopic or documentary), this one is curiously resistant to letting the audience hear its subject's songs in their entirety.
  26. The recent film it most recalls is "You Can Count on Me" (2000), another small treasure about a fractured family that managed to be moving without troweling on the sap.
  27. No part of us is allowed to relax. Ever.
  28. Somehow, Assisted Living jells. Maggie Riley is astoundingly convincing, and she and Bonsignore's Todd have an unforced chemistry that catches you off guard.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With a theatrical setting, a large ensemble cast, and musical numbers, Altman and his crew are in their own tailored version of heaven.
  29. Babel has great expectations for itself: It wants to be a movie about big ideas and big emotions at the same time. Aided by gorgeous locations and classy trappings (cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto, theme music by Gustavo Santaolalla), it succeeds for the most part.
  30. True Crime gives you sleaze on toast--a heap of tabloid bathos, a dusting of high-mindedness, a dash of gallows humor. It's a bizarre concoction, but it's riveting.
  31. Its unthwartable tempo of quips, gags, cameos (Sly Stallone!), and loud noises rarely feels grating if only because of how loving it feels toward its characters and soundtrack, and how respectful it is toward the limits of its audience’s appetite for superheroic universe-building.
  32. Gives off the same vapor of impending tragedy—of a fate neither just nor unjust but ineffably, wrenchingly right.
  33. With a woman-with THIS woman-all the invincible-spy clichés feel fresh and fun again.
  34. In dramatic terms, Osama couldn't be much simpler. The director is aiming for a sort of tone poem of repression, the girl robbed first of her childhood, then of her burgeoning womanhood.
  35. Zobel and Modi have crafted a thoughtful narrative about the experience of navigating and attempting to accommodate others' personalities.
  36. Like their Star Wars forebears, Boyega’s Finn and Ridley’s Rey are brave, funny, and admirable but also imperfect, uncertain, and sometimes afraid. That is to say, they’re genuine, multisided characters with believable motivations—no small victory in a movie designed with the express purpose of breaking world box-office records.
  37. It's particularly exciting to get to see an inventive underground work like This Is Not a Film in the wake of Iran's first-ever Oscar win for Asghar Farhadi's great film "A Separation." It's becoming clear that the blossoming of Iranian cinema, which has been going on now for at least 20 years, is too strong a force for the government censors to contain.
  38. This wouldn’t work if not for Holland, whose Peter Parker is the kind of self-conscious, quietly exceptional outer-borough teen without whom the entire concept of Spider-Man would sputter.
  39. In spite of its standard biopic gaps and simplifications, Walk the Line gets the big things right.
  40. Everything we love about biblical-movie kitsch is here, only concentrated and heightened.
  41. A minor-key ghost story with major jolts.
  42. 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.
  43. Breezy, brief, and often a howl.
  44. 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.
  45. By focusing on the power of cannily staged collective action to turn the tide of public opinion, Selma achieves a contemporary relevance that few historical dramas can — especially those built around real-life figures as encrusted in layers of hagiography as MLK.
  46. Star Trek Beyond may not go where no Trek has gone before, but it’s that very fidelity to the show’s original values that will keep fans trekking to the box office.
  47. Feels fresh and satisfying. Maybe it's the presence of Jason Statham, the British action star who has a physicality like no other actor out there right now.
  48. Living Out Loud becomes an ode to openness, to letting in everything that the world throws at you.
  49. Edel's clear-eyed and exhaustively researched account is unique in its refusal to either romanticize or villainize the terrorists. It's a study in the seductive appeal, and inevitable failure, of the attempt to bomb one's way to a better world.
  50. Belongs to that most promiscuous of genres -- the go-for-it sports melodrama -- but transcends it and then some.
  51. With an actor as great as Gene Hackman in the lead, a lot of scenes even breathe.
  52. As she's being put through her Oxford-prep paces, Jenny complains about "ticking off boxes," and at times, this film seems to be doing just that: coming-of-age drama, check. Youthful illusions shattered, check. But as with first love, so with the movies: The right girl makes it all worthwhile.
  53. A thriller that isn't kinky isn't much of a thriller. And Cellular has the best kinky phone gimmick since "Sorry, Wrong Number" (1948).
  54. The first real Jackie Chan picture crafted for the American market, is a terrific piece of junk filmmaking.
  55. A gleefully crummy buddy comedy that uses horror-movie conventions as catapults to hurl the audience down one "whoa, dude!" narrative wormhole after another.
  56. Tumbleweeds is gorgeously nuanced.
  57. No movie in the last decade has succeeded in psyching out critics and audiences as fully as the powerful, rambling war epic The Thin Red Line.
  58. The rocky but loving relationships Amy has with her father and sister are every bit as important to the story as the connection she shares with her (would-be) boyfriend, and all three parts of her life affect and change one another, just like in—imagine that!—real life.
  59. A dazzling, repellent exercise in which the case against men is closed before it's opened.
  60. I reckon 90 of the movie's 106 minutes are thriller heaven. The windup, alas, isn't in the same league: Both humdrum and confusingly staged, it pales beside the volcanic climaxes of Franklin's "One False Move" (1992) and "Devil in a Blue Dress."
  61. Though both highly stylized and highly stylish, Drive isn't hurting for substance. It has rich, complex characters and a storyline that's both emotionally engaging and almost sickeningly suspenseful.
  62. This movie keeps a lot of balls in the air: generational and cultural conflict, hospital drama, screwball banter — and only rarely lets one drop.
  63. Even though the film is full of laughs, the jokes hover on the edge of the abyss: This is a world in which lurid colors and extravagant gestures are means of filling the void.
  64. These down moments are fleeting, drowned out by the joyous din of zombie slaying and a scattering of subtler touches, such as Woody Harrelson's shotgun-savant Tallahassee painting a "3" on the side of his various commandeered vehicles, presumably a tribute to NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt.
  65. It's rich, but slow, and children younger than eight (like mine) might get restless. But this big kid was lost in admiration.
  66. There is a long and honorable tradition of broad intermarriage comedies (from the Romans to Abie's Irish Rose to La Cage aux Folles), and this one comes at least shoulder-high to the best. It has been directed by Joel Zwick in a happy, bustling style and acted with madcap ethnic relish.
  67. Feels more like The Bill Clinton Story than "Primary Colors" (1998). It's a paean to naughty boys who dream of potency and become enraptured by their own scams -- a great American archetype.
  68. I pretty much loved this movie from start to finish - risible implausibilities, insufficiently explained premise and all. An admirably spare survival thriller, The Grey (nice title!) abounds in qualities that are rare in movies of its type. It's quiet, contemplative, and almost haiku-like in its simplicity.
  69. Fey's comic gifts mesh with Wiseman's first-hand research, and the wit becomes dazzling.
  70. A giddy ballet in which the women whirl around a still, clueless man.
  71. This is a movie about battling evil that pauses to ask what evil is and whether it’s necessary to understand its nature in order to defeat it.
  72. It's one of those zeitgeist-tapping romantic comedies that feels like a generational marker, a "Tootsie" or "The Graduate" for the 21st century.
  73. Represents a course-correction for Disney's multibillion-dollar princess franchise: It attempts to celebrate the virtues of hard work and pluck, even if the movie itself can feel at times like a lesson rather than an enchantment.
  74. The movie got me where I live, but I think that even non-Park Slope real-estate owners will have a blast at Duplex: It's one of the most unnerving slapstick extravaganzas I've ever seen.
  75. For people who enjoy coming out of movies unsettled, a little riled up, bursting with questions, and spoiling for a debate, see Elle.
  76. Though its story may sound formulaic on paper, please take my word for it: Monsieur Lazhar, written and directed by Philippe Falardeau, is a sharply intelligent, deeply sad, and not remotely sappy film about both teaching and collective grief.
  77. The world according to Mann is loud, dangerous, morally ambiguous, and more than a little greasy, but during the hours you spend there, there's nowhere you'd rather be.
  78. It finds a way to make the play's rich, dense literary language (just before the climactic battle, one character accuses another of "breaking his oath and resolution like/A twist of rotten silk") sound as terse and urgent as the dialogue in a tightly plotted action thriller.
  79. A sharp-witted, visually layered, gorgeously designed, meticulously directed piece of formula pablum.
  80. My chief complaint is that these mutants are a little--well, vanilla. I wish the X-Men had a touch of kinkiness to go with their weird abilities.
  81. Extract seems destined to do minor business at the box office but achieve a kind of immortality as a cult DVD, to be quoted from at parties and passed around to friends. Which may be just fine by its creator--as Beavis and Butt-head have taught us, snickering with your friends in front of the television can is one of life's great joys.
  82. The neat thing about Jonathan Parker's modern-day Bartleby (Outsider Pictures) is that it brings out all the vaudeville undercurrents in Melville's dark tale and turns it into a surreal tragi-sitcom for our own era.
  83. Mopey, draggy, and absurdly self-important, the movie nonetheless twangs at some resonant affective chord. This viewer, at least, was catapulted back to that moment of adolescence when being mopey, draggy, and absurdly self-important felt like a passionate act of liberation.
  84. Whatever this universe is, you're inside it, with your mouth open, wishing that all sporting events could be this exhilarating, that all human bodies could work this way, that all simpleminded movies could be this mindfully empty-headed.
  85. The revelation of Hateship Loveship is the casting of Kristen Wiig, who effortlessly makes the shift from comedian to straight dramatic actress in a role full of potential ego traps that she never falls into.
  86. It's fun to see actors doing what they do and to see them through the eyes of a director.
  87. It's an elegant, civilized, and deeply liberal piece of craftsmanship, with the sort of social conscience you rarely encounter in a modern American thriller.
  88. Man on Wire brings back a time when the towers were still symbols of aspiration and possibility.
  89. 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.
  90. This is a movie that traffics in deep hindbrain emotions: fear and rage and lust and, above all, the pure animal drive to go on living.
  91. The great strength of Michael Clayton is that it's no "Erin Brockovich." Rather than a populist tale of class-action triumph, the movie is a grim vision of legal and ethical compromise at the top.
  92. When the system is rigged, trying to do the right thing wears a man down.
  93. I say give The End of the Tour a try. Ponsoldt’s gentle, talky road movie is a sort of Gen-X update of "My Dinner With André": A movie of ideas that, far from being the pompous screed that category might imply, actually contains interesting ideas — and what’s more, allows its characters’ perspectives on those ideas to remain in productive tension with one another.
  94. The Woodsman should be pretty intolerable, but the writing-line by line-is heartfelt and probing, the direction gives the actors room to stretch out, and the performances are miraculous.
  95. Moonrise Kingdom is fun: a gorgeously shot, ingeniously crafted, über-Andersonian bonbon that, even in its most irritatingly whimsical moments, remains an effective deliverer of cinematic pleasure.
  96. A sturdy piece of work, an old-fashioned conversion narrative with some high-tech zip.
  97. Perhaps more than any of the M:I directors so far, McQuarrie understands the unique properties of this singular movie star — his ascetic intensity, his sometimes-scary moral certainty, his always-scary drive to excel. The result of their collaboration is a briskly paced and witty reminder of why we go see summer action movies in the first place.

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