Slate's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,655 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 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Lowest review score: 0 Just Go with It
Score distribution:
1655 movie reviews
  1. The feature debut of young Norwegian director Joachim Trier, is as crisp and cool as a swig of Champagne.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. In its brief sojourn on the screen, A Ghost Story moves through centuries of geologic time and into the deepest recesses of the human heart.
  10. 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.
  11. Martin Campbell (who also directed Pierce Brosnan's first outing as Bond in "Goldeneye"), has chosen to give us a Bond who's both metaphorically and literally stripped bare. Let me take this opportunity to thank him for both.
  12. Isn't as campy or as unhinged as the delightful Bailey and Barbato Tammy Faye Baker documentary, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye"; it's more like your standard HBO documentary (and HBO co-produced). But it's extremely entertaining.
  13. Holy Motors, a movie that's beyond weird, and beyond beautiful.
  14. If you see Okja, and I hope you do, stay for the final credits. It’s not often that a stinger scene pops up at the end of a movie, not to pre-sell the inevitable sequel, but to leave you with something to think, wonder, and worry about.
  15. It's not just Swinton's performances—first as a nobleman, then as a woman, then as a lover, then as a mother—that drive the film. Orlando is a movie deeply fascinated by performance, and so over and over again, we see characters putting on shows.
  16. It’s well worth seeing, both for its merciless anatomization of the country’s post-Ceausescu social order and for Gheorghiu’s stupendous central performance as a mother so monstrous she makes Medea look like a pushover.
  17. The movie's approach makes for juicy melodrama.
  18. The heart of Life Itself, and the part of the film that’s most instructive even for those familiar with Ebert’s story, is the long middle section dealing with his stormy, never-resolved relationship with Gene Siskel.
  19. Should you see Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol? By all means, and in the big, big, biggest theater you can find.
  20. Super-entertaining, super-disgusting documentary.
  21. A wicked black comedy with unexpected emotional resonance, one of the most purely pleasurable movies of the year so far.
  22. It has its own explosively twisted originality. It's a geyser of exhilarating tastelessness.
  23. If you're willing to let go of your Hollywood-bred expectations for a movie of this type-spectacular action set pieces, constant pulse-pounding music, a killing every 15 minutes-The American is a great pleasure to watch, an astringent antidote to the loud, frantic action movies that have been clogging our veins all summer.
  24. Peter O'Toole is magisterial, blustering and sublime: His half-deaf duke still has a touch of Lawrence of Arabia's showstopping power.
  25. The film has a foggy cast to it--flat and insinuatingly creepy, like the actor. But then it can be lit, in an instant, by searing flash-pots of cruelty and wit. Even when it's slightly opaque, it's transfixing.
  26. Everything I've ever dreamed of in a crazy comedy. It's close to pure farce, yet its laughs are grounded in loneliness, impotence, self-loathing, and that most discomfiting of vices to dramatize: envy. The action is surreal, the emotions are violently real.
  27. Pi
    This is very much a first feature, with all the hyperbolic, sometimes indiscriminate cinematic energy of a student film. But it's also sensational, a febrile meditation on the mathematics of existence.
  28. Whereas the original was a work of speculative science fiction - a chin-stroking fable about evolution in the nuclear age - this revisiting of the Planet of the Apes myth is an animal-rights manifesto disguised as a prison-break movie.
  29. To me, the movie feels like a small but ingeniously crafted gift.
  30. The very existence of Four Lions is an act of audacity; the fact that it's also smart, humane, and frequently hilarious is nothing short of a miracle.
  31. It's no wonder young musicians say they learned to be rock stars from This Is Spinal Tap. It came to satirize and stayed -- and stays on -- to celebrate.
  32. Wall-E is an improbable delight, a G-rated crowd-pleaser.
  33. One of those half-straight, half-spoof comic-book extravaganzas that don't ever work, and what's neat is that this one does--beautifully.
  34. At its headiest, it’s like Singin’ in the Rain with a souped-up engine, but even if Baby is the Gene Kelly of the getaway car, watching Baby Driver always feels like watching someone else do the driving rather than being behind the wheel yourself.
  35. What emerges from the chaos may be uneven and at times ridiculous, but it's never boring.
  36. The director’s sometimes absurd bravado — along with Forest Whitaker’s grave, wise performance in the title role — is what gives this outsized and sometimes lumbering film its irrefutable emotional power.
  37. Ultimately, it has less in common with "Blair Witch" than with such quivering lumps of sentiment as "Ghost" and Field of Dreams."
  38. I love Nicholson here because he lets Keaton take the movie--and his relative reticence is very attractive.
  39. It's depressing that this first movie in years to dramatize the American Revolution has so little to do with the politics of secession and so much to do with pop-culture themes of vigilantism.
  40. Quinceañera is a rare bird of an indie, a sharp-eyed analysis of class conflict that still manages to leave you as choked up as a proud auntie on her niece's 15th birthday.
  41. It comes by its screams honestly, earning them with incremental, at times agonizing gradations of old-fashioned, what's-that-noise-in-the-hallway suspense.
  42. The laughs are fuller when they're rooted in authentic desperation, and the premise is yeasty enough to keep the film from sinking into facile hopelessness.
  43. Once the premise had been established and the leads began to interact, I stopped totting up the inanities and had a good time.
  44. A religious conspiracy disguised as a romance.
  45. An extremely pleasant, consistently amusing diversion that is never as uproarious as you might hope. But don't panic, as the Guide would say. In a pinch, it will do.
  46. It's a measure of Brooks' stature that he survives the self-sabotage and comes through with his most engaging performance in years.
  47. There's a car chase that's more fluid and inventive than the much-touted freeway sequence in "The Matrix Reloaded," and the stars are nimble enough to make their acrobatics credible--no matter how many stunt doubles the picture employed.
  48. Of all the twists in Catfish-the most surprising of all is what an honest and thoughtful film it turns out, against all odds, to be.
  49. But there are scenery chewers and there are Michelin-gourmet scenery chewers, and Pacino has a three-star feast.
  50. The movie, without seeming to realize it, turns into a romantic parable about the joys of being absorbed by a conglomerate.
  51. Even when Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball) tries to pack too much around the edges (including critiques of record-industry sexism and the mechanisms of black political fundraising), the romance at the movie’s center remains credible and vibrant.
  52. Becomes increasingly unwatchable -- not just bleak but punishing, as if the director wants to fry your circuits along with his characters'.
  53. Once Singer dispenses with the introductory pathos and gets to the nuts and bolts of Stauffenberg's plan, Valkyrie becomes an admirably modest and compact suspense thriller.
  54. Harron, working from a script she wrote with Guinevere Turner, doesn't solve the inherent problems of that narrative, but she evades them quite elegantly. She's made a poem instead of a biopic, an ode to intuition, iconography, seamed stockings, and star power.
  55. You leave The Bridge with a new appreciation for your (relative) mental stability and a vow to make the most of your brief, ephemeral life.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    I love that Godard wants to fiddle with the 3-D image, but at least a portion of his effort feels redundant. At its best moments, Goodbye to Language stops shadowboxing with convention long enough to draw a striking contrast.
  56. It's scary to have to puzzle out a plot line scene by scene -- scary and exhilarating, at least for an hour.
  57. Howard manipulates audiences without guile, jerking tears, piling on catastrophes, smoothing out dissonances, making bad characters badder and good ones gooder--and clearly believing that this is wholesome. At what he does, he's peerless. I wish I had more respect for what he does--and for myself the next morning for surrendering.
  58. Anything Else feels driven. It's like a rant from a therapist's couch--angry, unmediated, free-associational, unleavened by sentiment or compassion. And it's something else that Allen hasn't been lately: funny.
  59. Justin Lin, who's now directed three movies in the Fast series, knows how to choreograph and edit an action sequence so that it's more than an onslaught of chopped-up images and grating noise.
  60. Bogdanovich has been so smooth and loving in his directorial attentions that he has forgotten to give the tragical farce proceedings any terrible momentum.
  61. It's Depp as Barnabas that holds the movie together. The story may be less than coherent and some of the minor characters washouts, but when he's on-screen, there's energy and humor and that foppish sex appeal that (as in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie) reminds you why you once liked Johnny Depp.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    For the first hour of Night Watch, a dark, arresting, and unrelentingly weird thrill ride out of post-Soviet Russia, one feels lost. Not bad lost, as with a densely clotted mess like "Underworld: Evolution," whose mythopoetics land in the viewer's lap in concrete chunks; but good lost, exhilarated lost, like what am I watching?
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Match Point starts out crisply and deliciously, but in the end, it's a chess problem crossed with an ethics exam.
  62. Duchovny is rather endearing and Driver's absolutely enchanting.
  63. As powerful as Foxcatcher can be scene to scene, there’s something maddeningly indistinct about it at times, as if the details that would make it all make sense remain somehow inaccessible to us.
  64. This is one of those roles where casting can't help but trump acting. Like Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, Angelina Jolie IS Mariane Pearl--and that marquee-size "is" gets in the way, not of her performance, but of our ability to suspend disbelief and watch it.
  65. Though the film immerses us in the details of Senna's life and the world of Formula One for 104 thrilling minutes, we leave still wondering both who Senna was and how Formula One racing works.
  66. Cinematically, Doubt is something of a dud. But if it remains a play, it's an ingeniously structured one, with smart, thought-provoking words spoken by fabulous actors, and how often do most of us get to see one of those, whether in three dimensions or two?
  67. This kind of "one crazy night" tale relies on drum-tight structure to work. Without it, The Hangover sputters to a sentimental halt. Still, it's worth staying for the closing credits.
  68. Uneven, ludicrous, but--oh man!--fun to watch.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    People who dismiss Moore and G.I. Jane out of hand are wrong, because she makes a memorably tough heroine and the movie is solid fun, even, in places, quite intelligent.
  69. 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.
  70. The wispy insubstantiality of The Runaways can't be blamed on its cast--Fanning, Stewart, and Shannon are all good in their roles, even if their range is never tested. Ultimately, maybe it's OK that there's not much below the surface of this great-looking but shallow movie.
  71. For most of Wild, we’re alone with Cheryl’s stark aloneness with herself. That’s a fine place to be.
  72. Married Life is a tony, well-upholstered vehicle that glides smoothly toward its destination—but despite an unnecessary and overly sentimental coda, that destination isn't necessarily where you thought you were going all along.
  73. The movie is a testament to compromise, and so are the Farrellys' other movies--between the freakish pain of living and the wonderfully dumb gross-out slapstick that said freakishness makes possible.
  74. An honest tear-jerker.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Elf
    The music is chirpy and borderline annoying. But once you rearrange your expectations and give yourself over to the movie's unfailing earnestness, you realize that Favreau and Ferrell do heartwarming fairly well.
  75. Captivatingly confident, unsparingly wry, and agreeably cynical about how the black mirror of technology can reveal our worst qualities by reflecting our best selves, Creative Control is the rare blast of speculative fiction that has the temerity not to limit itself to rhetorical questions.
  76. It's Miyazaki's use of sound--and silence--that takes your breath away
  77. Good, sometimes thrilling, but it's less a war epic than an evocative romantic melodrama with a patchy first hour.
  78. There's something touching, even a little bit noble, about Moore's eternal willingness to serve as our nation's shame-free populist gadfly.
  79. There's a great, Hitchcockian suspense sequence in a bathtub.
  80. If you want rich folk-art colors, brainy spectacle, and breezy soap opera, then Frida is the biopic for you.
  81. 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.
  82. The music ties together all the pretty pictures, gives the narrative some momentum, and helps to induce a kind of alert detachment, so that you're neither especially interested nor especially bored. Perhaps that's a state of Buddhist enlightenment.
  83. Most haunting of all is Caan, who has never given a performance this layered.
  84. In some strange way, I admire the enterprise. Like his Gerrys, Van Sant doesn't seem to know where he's going to wind up when he embarks on these journeys. The ether that seeps into his head might be the price we have to pay for his keeping his mind so open.
  85. It's bursting with goofy banter, Hollywood in-jokes, sexy love scenes, and chases that go on much too long but have the kind of madcap self-indulgence that makes questions of logic or credibility seem dull-witted. It's a great piece of mindful escapism.
  86. You have to give credit to Frailty for jiggering up the formula a bit, so that what starts as an ominously low-key study of a boy coming of age with a mad father escalates into a combination of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Breaking the Waves" -- Grand Guignol religiosity.
  87. While it's true that you can't pack as much psychological detail into a movie as you can into a novel, director Philip Saville and screenwriter Adrian Hodges bring out the yeasty subtext of even the most brittle encounters.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Throughout the film Egoyan's affectlessness has been whispering to us that life is a puzzle without a solution. The price for this lesson is that his characters seem like mere pieces in that puzzle.
  88. With its unremittingly bleak humor and eagerness to plumb the depths of fanboy abjection, Big Fan seems destined for a future in the cult canon.
  89. A fine movie, beautifully acted, but it isn't easy to love--or to watch. It's a parade of miseries, made even more miserable by Gore Verbinski's direction.
  90. Argo isn't quite on the level of the Sidney Lumet classics to which Affleck pays stylistic homage - smart and taut as it is, it lacks the broader political vision of a film like "Dog Day Afternoon." But Lumet lite still goes down pretty smooth.
  91. Battle of the Sexes breaks little new ground as either a sports film or a lesbian romance, but it’s lively, funny, and, if you’re unlucky enough to be a feminist in 2017, vicariously wish-fulfilling.
  92. I’ll watch anything this auteur puts out, and I’m not sorry I watched this film — even Baumbach’s misfires have oodles more verve than the personality-free product Hollywood often puts out. But I can’t help but mourn what might have been: a second Baumbach campus classic just as good as his first.
  93. Could call Zemeckis subtle; but his style Well suits the poem's crude and earthy brawn. Comic-Con geeks and cinephiles alike Will gape at the resplendent imagery (But don ye specs, and see it in 3-D).
  94. I'm not turning cartwheels over Adaptation as energetically as my colleagues. Part of me -- and I'm thinking aloud here, I've likely been infected by Kaufman's comic self-consciousness, and also by his meta-comic impulse to draw attention to that self-consciousness, and probably also by his meta-meta-comic impulse to draw attention to drawing attention to his self-consciousness -- that -- that --

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