Slate's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,630 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: 62
Highest review score: 100 Children of Tokyo
Lowest review score: 0 The Amityville Horror
Score distribution:
1630 movie reviews
  1. The film has a kamikaze comic spirit that's spectacularly disarming.
  2. The whole movie is like that: gleaming, but with a whiff of the charnel house. Dirty Pretty Things doesn't quite cut to the bone, but it gets as far as a couple of vital organs.
  3. I could quibble with the conventionally romantic ending and a couple of small but not-so-cosmetic alterations, but on the whole, this is just how I'd always imagined one of my favorite comic novels should look and sound.
  4. Admirable and wondrously strange--as well as gorgeous, funny, dreamlike, mesmerizing, squirmy, and occasionally annoying.
  5. The Farrellys have set themselves the awesome task of arguing passionately for the non-importance of appearance while at the same time making relentless sport of it. The happy news is that they pull it off: In Shallow Hal, they've contrived a deeply humanist gross-out comedy.
  6. To undertake a thriller of this length and scope with no prospect of a morally satisfying resolution, Fincher must have been a little nuts himself. We'll see whether audiences used to the tidy one-hour cases on "CSI" and "Law & Order" will follow him down Zodiac's murky, twisted, and ultimately dead-end street. It may not sound like it from that description, but it's a hell of a ride.
  7. The film is marvelous fun on its own terms -- I laughed all the way through it.
  8. Happy People's images of the Taiga, while often breathtaking, come from the standard visual language of nature documentary: in between interviews with villagers, cutaways to icicles hanging from branches or dawn breaking over an expanse of snow. It's Herzog's inventive use of voice-over that elevates the film above an extremely well-researched episode of "Nature."
  9. Obviously, this sort of taboo-flouting imagery isn't for everyone, but Park's vision is all of a piece.
  10. At its best, the movie evokes that blend of thrill and terror that comes from mixing two chemicals together without being sure that an instant later you'll still be standing there in one piece.
  11. The ultimate praise given to sports movies is always, "Even if you don't care about sport X, you'll care about these characters," and that's certainly true of Undefeated (I don't, and I did).
  12. Despite the movie's many flaws, the two leads' genuine rapport is enough to give the audience a solid contact high.
  13. A truly unformulaic comedy of lust and greed, a farce that seems to write itself, slap-happily, as it goes along.
  14. This is not to say that Gravity is a masterpiece: Unlike Cuarón’s extraordinary "Children of Men", it doesn’t quite pull off its ambitious effort to combine formal inventiveness, heart-pounding action, and intimate human storytelling. But it succeeds thrillingly at the first two of those categories, and only misses the mark on the last because it tries a little too hard — which is certainly a welcome respite from the countless sci-fi thrillers that privilege the human story not at all.
  15. It's both fractured and fluid, with a helter-skelter syntax and a ceaselessly infectious backbeat. Beyond that, it's a blast.
  16. The majority of Fury Road’s effects were done without using CGI, but even so, the onslaught of action is so fast-paced and overpowering there’s little time to appreciate Miller’s analog artistry, and the feeling of being inside a video game—a sinking sensation familiar from less carefully orchestrated action movies—sometimes takes over.
  17. The movie has an intriguing wild card in Bess Armstrong as an ex-prostitute turned Zen masseuse. I'm not sure if she's meant to be brilliantly evolved or an idiot -- or if the actress is really good or really, really terrible. But her chemistry with Forster is terrific.
  18. Burton's overall restraint is a welcome surprise. Shorn of his usual camp trappings, the director evokes a sadness beneath every uneasy smile he draws from the audience.
  19. 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.
  20. It's the feel-good movie of the year.
  21. The animating humanism of Scott’s film is irreducible. It’s a wry tribute to the qualities that got our species into space in the first place: our resourcefulness, our curiosity and our outsized, ridiculous, beautiful brains.
  22. Written and directed by Wisit Sasanatieng, a commercial director making his first feature film, Tears of the Black Tiger is a technical and aesthetic marvel.
  23. The movie is a generic paranoid espionage fantasy, but its proportions are refreshingly correct. It moves quickly, adroitly, and without fuss.
  24. Gojira is no masterpiece, but it has the power of a masterpiece: It's the most emotionally authentic fake monster movie ever made.
  25. A gratifyingly slick and fast-moving Flemish thriller, directed by Erik Van Looy, with superb acting.
  26. Certainly the most genteel film Cronenberg has ever made, with period costumes worthy of Merchant/Ivory, no gore, and very little physical violence. But A Dangerous Method doesn't feel like a wimp-out or a sell-out at all. It's a fiercely thoughtful film, a movie of ideas that understands how powerful ideas can be.
  27. Like Someone in Love is a movie that never quite lets you through to the other side of the glass, but it’s dazzling to watch whatever drifts by on the surface.
  28. A brainy weave of satire and fantasy.
  29. That rare mainstream cop thriller that refuses to telegraph its outcome in the first 15 minutes or, for much of its running time, to tell you how to feel about its protagonists.
  30. Return to Paradise doesn't boast many surprises. It's straight-on, morally uncomplicated. Emotionally, though, it's dense and twisty -- and smashingly potent.
  31. The documentary cannot be called muckraking, as the muck has already been well-raked, but Gibney's recounting has a touch of playful sadism that I quite enjoyed.
  32. Beat by beat, Mamet turns out an immaculately staged, crisply paced, and elegantly acted movie. It's also a tad bloodless, but you can't have everything.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The 39-year-old Spanish director has made a bait-and-switch movie that won’t stop switching, a high-wire act he pulls off through sheer creative onslaught.
  33. Like a film noir siren Gone Girl is beautiful, sexy, and fascinatingly mean — a nasty but estimable piece of work.
  34. The TV Set is a little wonder of a movie, as smart and sad and true as any comedy I've seen this year.
  35. Hathaway transcends her usual complacency in this role and resists the temptation of using Kym's (and her own) wounded-bird appeal to let the character off the hook.
  36. In Cuarón's hands, the world of Harry Potter doesn't feel like a synthetic movie theme park anymore. It's almost real, Hogwarts and all.
  37. Rather than a birds’-eye procedural about a complex international mission, it’s a close-up of that mission from the point of view of the participant who understands it the least.
  38. There are a lot of stale -- and nefarious -- clichés in 8 Mile, but most of the time they're overwhelmed by the pulsing, grinding, hopped-up camerawork and the soulful star turn of Eminem.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Oddly enough, it's when the action of Ong Bak 2 stops that this funkadelic freakshow shines. The screen is stuffed with a gallery of grotesques, some of Thailand's best character actors, who spend their time bleeding, bellowing, and slurping up eyeballs.
  39. Mulholland Drive isn't a "puzzle" like "Memento," in which the pieces (sort of) fit together. There are some pieces here that will never fit -- except maybe in Lynch's unconscious. And yet -- and yet -- this distinctly Hollywood nightmare makes a deeper kind of sense.
  40. Young Adult doesn't fully work, but it's still one of the year's most memorable movies.
  41. As for Bardem: How can I do him justice? He is normally the most robustly physical of actors, with a plummy voice and an insolent sensuality. To see him immobile, ashen, his hair gone, de-bodyized: It's agonizing.
  42. Roberts has her most galvanic role, and she's sensationally appealing.
  43. A charming, hyper-energetic, and wittily self-aware action comedy about gorgeous girls.
  44. The film's best moments are the quiet ones in which Oldman's ironically named Smiley provides the story with its wise, unsmiling soul.
  45. A wonderful movie, observant and hilarious and full of sad and beautiful truths.
  46. Intimacy doesn’t answer the question, which makes it all the more tantalizing: This is an emotional puzzle movie.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Bill Cunningham captured here is a puckish, eightysomething man with electric energy and a wish to devour all of New York through his camera lens.
  47. Has a soft windup, but along the way are some of the best-constructed slapstick sequences since "There's Something About Mary."
  48. The two storylines interweave seamlessly and subtly, the couple's real-life problems not so much repeating as refracting the experiences of their fictional counterparts.
  49. Never loses sight of its mission to be as silly, bawdy, and entertaining as possible.
  50. Wholly unnecessary but highly enjoyable.
  51. The performances, whether from novices like the sensational Lane or professionals like LaBeouf, Keough, and Patton, are at once naturalistic and emotionally precise.
  52. hilarious, sometimes rueful, and strangely hip documentary.
  53. It's all too neatly staged to make for dynamic cinema, even if the dialogue does crackle with a delicious nastiness.
  54. Fluid and lyrical and thoroughly transporting.
  55. 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.
  56. It's the work of an old master summing up. It sure feels that way. The screenwriter, Anne Rapp, has provided Altman with a blueprint not only for an ensemble comedy but also for a comedy that honors the very idea of an ensemble. It's no wonder Altman fell on it.
  57. It's to the director's credit, and Pitt's, that Moneyball is anything but bloodless - in its own quiet, unspectacular way, this movie courses with life.
  58. Because of its convolutions, Howl's Moving Castle isn't quite as transporting as "Spirited Away." But it's a moving bridge between his lyrical fancies and his outrage. Miyazaki is like a soulful cartographer of the soul, mapping our inner landscape, leaving us bedazzled.
  59. Like Statler and Waldorf, older viewers may kvetch and cavil about the details, but when that red velvet curtain goes up, we wouldn't give up our balcony seats for the world.
  60. The film isn't in the same key as Pekar's comic: The tempo is buoyant, puckish, and even more "meta" than the original.
  61. As I watched American Movie, a lot of it struck me as untranscendent misery. But in hindsight it seems less hopeless.
  62. The final minute of the movie is one of the most bleak, and moving, endings I've seen in years.
  63. Salles brings an explorer's eye and breathless curiosity to this fetid milieu, and he gets the most brilliant performances imaginable for this sort of movie.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If Contagion is a "horror movie," as Soderbergh has described it, then you can think of it as the most believable zombie movie ever made.
  64. A pandering, debased, generic little nothing of a movie. And I'm still trying to figure out why I loved it so inordinately.
  65. The downside to all this stylishness: that A Very Long Engagement is Amélie Goes to War.
  66. Captain America isn't a masterpiece, but it's a solidly crafted, elegant adventure movie that held my attention from start to finish and sent me out into the street energized instead of enervated.
  67. The characters are much less finely tuned and the climax is a botch, but the French-financed film is often a riot, and the sensibility is all there.
  68. It keeps surprising us, mainly by being consistently smarter and sadder than inspirational-teacher movies usually let themselves be.
  69. 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.
  70. An aching roundelay, a triumphantly benumbed ensemble farce that mingles condescension and compassion in a manner that's disarmingly--and often upsettingly--original.
  71. Julie & Julia makes deboning a duck a feminist act and cooking a great meal a creative triumph. The stakes may not be as high as the kill-or-be-killed suspense of a summer action movie, but the sauces are way tastier.
  72. This is a grippingly original work, with gorgeous cinematography by Christopher Blauvelt, and the first hour or more achieves something like greatness.
  73. This elegantly hand-drawn caper doesn't have a lot to it - a little girl and her cat help break up a Parisian crime ring, un point c'est tout. But it moves to a different rhythm than the animated spectacles we're used to - it's sparer, less hectic, less cute - and the difference feels welcome and refreshing.
  74. A scruffy delight, a movie with the happiest sort of family values.
  75. Jones and Redmayne are both superb as a devoted but imperfect pair of headstrong people trying, and sometimes failing, to treat each other with care and respect.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The richly multilayered picture tends to have a gently immersive effect, akin to a stroll through the world's most expensive diorama.
  76. Throughout this terse, entertaining parable (it won the grand prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival), the Belgian-born writer-directors Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne ("La Promesse," 1996) immerse you in the sensations of Rosetta's life.
  77. Sets you nearer than theater permits -- and further back than most movies dare. A magic vantage.
  78. The Italian is an aesthetic gem, but a moral muddle.
  79. What it lacks in originality and narrative momentum — even more than Nemo, Finding Dory is in essence a loosely connected series of comic-suspenseful chases, bookended by heart-tugging moments of family separation and reunion — this new movie makes up for in psychological acuity and sensitivity.
  80. Linklater may not have set out to make a decade-spanning triptych of poetic meditations on youth, young adulthood, and middle age, but he, Hawke, and Delpy have accomplished exactly that. The Before series has steadily gotten better as it goes along, which is more than any but the most optimistic among us dare to hope for from love.
  81. Top Five is not an op-ed. The movie probably makes its loudest statement about race simply by existing: an ambitious and personal film full of black stars, backed in part by black producers, written, directed by, and starring a hugely popular black artist.
  82. Tabloid is the perfect movie for that night when you can't decide whether to see something low- or highbrow. It's seamlessly and satisfyingly both.
  83. I laughed all the way through Team America: Scene by scene, it's uproarious.
  84. The German reserve and Italian extroversion are in just the right balance. The movie exists on a tantalizing border -- and I don't mean Switzerland.
  85. When the groom's enormous procession fights its way through the hard rain and muck to the bejeweled bride, Nair's chaos downright sparkles.
  86. It's not a flawless adaptation, but it's a gutsy and deeply affecting one: The filmmakers manage to jazz up Smiley's tempo without losing her melancholy tone; and they find a way--without being untrue to the book--to make the stubbornly recessive protagonist seem a dynamo on the screen.
  87. The feature debut of young Norwegian director Joachim Trier, is as crisp and cool as a swig of Champagne.
  88. Lincoln does sometimes get a little sappy around the edges. Though his project here is clearly one of conscious self-restraint, Spielberg can't resist the occasional opportunity for patriotic tear-jerking, usually signaled by a swell of John Williams' symphonic score. But in between, there are long stretches that are as quiet, contemplative, and austere as anything Spielberg has ever done.
  89. The most remarkable thing Sugar does is give American viewers a sense of how our country must seem to a newly arrived immigrant, without caricaturing or condescending to either guest or host.
  90. Though it goes to places as dark as any you could imagine, Room carries at its heart a message of hope: Two people in four walls can create a world worth surviving for, if they love each other enough.
  91. Fish Tank manages to be about exploitation without being exploitative. For my money--and without opening up the "Precious" debate again--it's by far the better movie.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. That a princess movie filled with brown faces and absent a love interest will be a slumber-party staple for decades may be its most important legacy.
  95. It's always hard to predict how a work of art will age over time, but I have the feeling that, like its three young leads, the Harry Potter series will turn out just fine.

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