The A.V. Club's Scores

For 7,007 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 47% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 35 Shots of Rum
Lowest review score: 0 The Hottie & the Nottie
Score distribution:
7007 movie reviews
  1. The more striking moments of The Last Knight—this is an ostentatious Michael Bay movie, after all—speak just as loudly to its director’s indifference to both source material and visual scale.
  2. London has a distinct Off-Off-Broadway feel. There's a stagebound quality to its handful of claustrophobic locations, its endless assault of intense coke talk, and its third-rate invocation of David Mamet, David Rabe, and Neil LaBute.
  3. It's an old-fashioned hoke-fest, in which the otherness of Germany is connoted by having everyone speak with a British accent.
  4. While watching Gazzara, Huston, Kevin Corrigan, Rosanna Arquette, and others take things two steps beyond over-the-top is inherently compelling, it becomes embarrassing before long.
  5. Even the sitcom stylings might not matter if the movie were funny, but in spite of the potential for Guffman-esque comedy, The English Teacher boasts few surprises—except perhaps its message, which seems to be that selling out isn’t so bad. Chalk it up to a case of “write what you know.”
  6. Romero’s second horror film, made after Night Of The Living Dead, Season Of The Witch looks significantly less impressive than its predecessor. Where Night Of The Living Dead sandwiched some undistinguished, talky bits featuring actors of widely varying skill between the zombie horror, Season Of The Witch is nearly all undistinguished talky bits featuring actors of widely varying skill. Frankly, it’s kind of a slog.
  7. It loses its superficial charm during a labored third act that gets bogged down in tired, groan-inducing subplots.
  8. Though it runs a mere 76 minutes, it can’t maintain its muddled thesis for even that brief period.
  9. There’s no revenge, no murder, and no kidnapping. It’s a low-budget New Orleans Cage movie with some dignity. It would be a pleasure to report that The Runner is also good, but this slim if mildly compelling film lands somewhere between character sketch and morality tale.
  10. Confusing gender issues like the ones dredged up in Ex-Girlfriend call to mind another Reitman dud, the pregnant-Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy "Junior," and the sophistication level has only slightly improved since then.
  11. The film almost redeems itself with what may be the longest, most elaborate post-film/pre-credits sequence in film history, but it will still disappoint anyone expecting more than watchable trash.
  12. Dough makes smoking pot seem about as edgy as falling asleep in front of the TV.
  13. A Time to Kill embodies all that is wrong with Hollywood attempts to address important issues, raising questions of race and justice but refusing to deal with them on anything but the most simplified, manipulative moral terms.
  14. All the bright colors Cassavetes splashes on the canvas don't make Alpha Dog art.
  15. It's unashamedly escapist, but a turn for the serious as The Vow nears the finish line only underscores its essential silliness and what a poor job the film has done making it seem like its characters need each other for reasons beyond looking good together.
  16. After a sentimental opening sequence, he (Kang) scarcely lets the film pause to breathe, which dulls its effectiveness.
  17. At long last, Nasty Baby decides what it wants to be: a complete mess.
  18. Plays like an undeserved victory lap for a series that only limped to the finish line the last time.
  19. The holiday spirit feels real, but the film does not.
  20. With a little tweaking, this easily could have veered into grindhouse exploitation or mindless wish-fulfillment, but Schwimmer's detached, theatrical approach to his material makes it is more cerebral than visceral, and more Steppenwolf Theatre than Charles Bronson.
  21. A situation of such inherent drama only suffers from the director's attempts to intensify it, and eventually, the scenes of professional and personal rejection begin to suffer from an overabundance of pathos.
  22. The central romance is terminally bland, while Evigan's woozy family melodrama seems borrowed from countless superior dance movies.
  23. Ewing and Grady practically squander the African material, and The Boys Of Baraka doesn't really come to life until the boys return to Baltimore for what turns out to be a permanent summer vacation, due to political unrest overseas.
  24. It's a daring move, focusing on the isolated splendor and interior dramas, and letting the politics remain at most a distant rumble; Coppola deserves credit for offering a different, and probably truer, perspective on life as a royal. But the perspective rarely lends itself to compelling filmmaking.
  25. What makes this film more potentially enticing to Westerners than the seven films that preceded it? Two words: food porn.
  26. While Mammoth is frequently poignant and beautifully acted--especially by Williams, who’s so lost and lonely that she becomes casually cruel--the movie lacks the personal touch that’s distinguished even Moodysson’s “difficult” films.
  27. Peel away the many layers of reference, and all that's left of Americano is the raw need of a lonely, confused young man who's distant from his family, awash in vague memories, and struggling to find himself. This is less a movie than a patient for pop psychologists.
  28. Heavily indebted to the early work of Jim Jarmusch, both for its evocative use of black and white and its tone of deadpan quirkiness, Suddenly is typical arthouse fare, long on atmosphere and fine acting but short on urgency and ambition.
  29. The gold standard for the modern monster movie remains "Tremors," which combines genuine thrills with clever plot twists and distinctive characters. By contrast, Black Sheep has a bunch of one-note living jokes running around willy-nilly while being chased by killer sheep.
  30. There's no subtext to The Jane Austen Book Club, just a skim across the books' surface that winds up re-shelving a great author into the self-help section.
  31. The imagery eventually becomes the only reason to keep watching. This is the first of an announced trilogy, but it already feels as long as the 20th century itself.
  32. How can any comedy with Jack Black as a Mexican wrestler not be gut-bustingly hilarious? Nacho Libre provides an all-too-convincing answer.
  33. It’s not an attractive comparison, but The Greasy Strangler in some ways recalls "The Human Centipede III," in that it raises questions about a filmmaker’s relationship with the viewer. This is a far better and less offensive film than Tom Six’s, but it also comes custom-built to discomfit the majority of its audience.
  34. Tonally, Miss You Already is a slapdash mess of achingly sincere moments and tasteless jokes.
  35. It doesn't help that Sullivan has twice as much screen time and half as much charisma as Braun.
  36. Just because a film takes place entirely in the long shadow of death doesn't mean it has to be this relentlessly dour.
  37. In spite of his considerable intelligence and cinematic gifts, Pawlikowski isn't Roman Polanski, so the delusions and psychosis of his put-upon lead character doesn't have the right intensity. Fifth feels like a literary bauble, chipped by imperfections.
  38. Air
    The movie cheats whenever it can. At least it’s interesting to look at, if only at first.
  39. There's no depth, surprises, or wit to the screenplay, which seems motivated by the sole desire to generate the vilest, most disgusting people and images imaginable.
  40. The difference here — aside from the fact that the jokes aren’t as funny and that John Cusack is nowhere to be found — is the lack of a motivating factor.
  41. Less a film than a terror delivery system, The Grudge repeatedly shows off Shimizu's technical chops, but never gives viewers a reason to care about or identify with the victims.
  42. Though staged with technical skill and unflinching brutality, it's an awfully familiar-looking slaughter filled with moments on loan from other movies.
  43. The movie eventually evokes the sense that Branagh is better at directing in front of the camera than from behind it; its best moments are typically the ones that feature Branagh’s Viktor Cherevin on-screen.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Strauch’s direction, in contrast, is numbingly uninspired, adhering stringently to the Doc. 101 assembly-line template cultivated by the film’s executive producer Alex Gibney.
  44. Physically speaking, the transformation is as impressive as the one Gyllenhaal underwent a year ago to embody the gaunt, wiry sociopath of "Nightcrawler." But was this character, a boxer battling the myriad conventions of his genre, really worth the training regimen that brought him to life?
  45. In The Canyons, there’s no pleasure — only power struggles disguised as sex.
  46. Finishing The Game doesn't get anywhere that "Hollywood Shuffle" didn't go to first, even if it has its own set of specific complaints about how show business treats Asians.
  47. Cheers and many happy returns to Garner as she makes her first starring film role. She's the real deal. But jeers to every other aspect of 13 Going On 30.
  48. Like "Elysium," this rusty A.I. story is basically just "District 9" with a new coat of paint; it’s distinguished only by the jabbering, irritating personality of its title character.
  49. If it weren’t for the costumes, the basic plot could be mistaken for a 19th-century version of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" or "Double Indemnity."
  50. The formalities of the period dialogue and a wavering, inexplicable accent test him (Tatum) beyond his limits, and the film isn't thoughtful or original enough to survive it.
  51. In spite of a little bit of sex and a lot of strong profanity, Ordinary Sinner is pretty reminiscent of an old Afterschool Special.
  52. Contains all the elements of a satisfying teen genre picture, but they've been compromised out of existence.
  53. As documentary moviemaking, though, Ellis and Mueller's work falls a little flat.
  54. The Rehearsal, director Alison Maclean’s first feature since the 1999 Denis Johnson adaptation Jesus’ Son, is such a hodgepodge of arthouse references, arch distancing effects, and emotionally vacant wide-screen compositions that one could easily mistake it for an awkward debut film.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Olsen, so good in "Martha Marcy May Marlene," is stuck playing a judgmental scold, while Wolff waves a video camera around and insists he wants to be Werner Herzog.
  55. Three Stars works best as straight-up food-porn.
  56. More disappointingly, the entire cast seems less committed than they were the first time out.
  57. The movie feels bloodless, and not just because the gore is muted and computerized to stay within the boundaries of a PG-13 rating.
  58. Most of the content of this film is wheel-spinning or conscious setup for the final installment, and that feels apparent at every melodramatic moment.
  59. So doggedly ordinary that it constantly teeters on the edge of tedium.
  60. Like the film itself, Ruffalo and Aniston exacerbate a bad, unfeasible idea with clumsy execution, exerting a whole lot of energy and effort for very little payoff.
  61. The many shots of characters operating devices with remote controls will do little to quiet the complaints that the films have started to resemble video games, and the same can be said of the proliferating digital effects.
  62. Had it been easier to comprehend at the beginning, there's no telling how bad Premonition might have been.
  63. Smith emerges as this subtlety-impaired film's most intriguingly ambiguous character, at times an acid-tongued shrew and at others a bluntly righteous truth-teller. The liveliness of her performance helps ensure that while Married is stiffly written, didactic, and whiplash-inducing in its tonal shifts, it's also very seldom dull.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Adds up to another prefab youth-culture event and a mediocre movie.
  64. Directors Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin deliver some eye-catching fantasy sequences in the early scenes, but the film grows more mundane and the tone more uneven as it goes on.
  65. The documentary is fair-minded but vague, and disturbing only when it describes the cat-killing in gruesome detail...Someone should take another crack at this story. Call it "The Art Of Killing Of A Movie."
  66. More speculative than deeply felt.
  67. A second-act forest fire proves a handy metaphor for Tautou’s slowly burning rage at confinement. Yet while it seems thematically apt, it’s also wholly out of place in this static, emotionless saga, which is defined less by zealous feeling than by a dull, decorous air of respectability.
  68. Like a distracted driver constantly missing his highway exit, Collide keeps passing on opportunities for action in favor of patience-straining exposition.
  69. Spectacularly, unimpeachably, relentlessly preposterous.
  70. There are indications scattered throughout Coco Before Chanel of a major designer quietly and persistently honing her craft, but most of the film could exist without the Chanel name and still smell like the same perfume.
  71. The film is grotesque and bizarre without ever really being funny, and while the sight of Mikkelsen as a nebbishy loser is initially bracing, the novelty wears off fast, leaving little else.
  72. There's too much missing from Josh Koury's documentary Standing By Yourself to call it a great film, but it contains some undeniably riveting, visceral moments.
  73. The outline of a snappy relationship comedy is here, and Bell is talented enough to make one. Maybe next time she’ll commit to it.
  74. Saw III may be the best of the trilogy; hopefully, it'll encourage its makers to wrap the franchise on a relatively high note.
  75. The script is consistently either overexplicit or undernourished, and there’s only so much two fine actors can do.
  76. Like a family dinner with an eccentric uncle, Holidays’ quirkiness is fitfully entertaining, but ultimately exhausting.
  77. Rain lays so much portent on every scene that it becomes ungenerous and morally forbidding, as if each bummed cigarette or leisurely cocktail will lead the family that much closer to oblivion. In this case, the punishment is far greater than the crime.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The Whistleblower's loose camerawork and cool tones sometimes recall Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic," but without his control or unwillingness to strip away his characters' humanity.
  78. The setup promises more intrigue than the film ultimately delivers.
  79. For a film that depends so much on the interaction between words and passion -- and the drama of how each shapes the other -- the shortage of both leaves Possession looking like nothing more than an "Indiana Jones" in which card catalogs stand in for treasure maps, and footnotes for bullwhips.
  80. Pierrepoint is handsomely crafted and well-acted, but its sense of scale is as constricted as a noose.
  81. Chi-Raq, Lee’s modernized take on "Lysistrata," is mostly bad art; it’s about an hour too long, sometimes leadenly unfunny, and set in Chicago, a place the Brooklynite director has no feel for.
  82. Yes, Rent is the movie about AIDS, heroin addiction, homosexuality, strippers, marijuana, cross-dressing, and bisexuality audiences can take their grandparents to go see safe in the knowledge that any lingering trace of danger or authenticity has been carefully removed by director/co-writer Chris Columbus.
  83. Doesn't have the content to match the form, never cohering into anything more substantial than a glum navel-gazer about a little girl lost, unable to find a permanent home (literally or figuratively) on either side of the Atlantic.
  84. There's little here that's especially cage-rattling or side-splitting. Ultimately, Allah only made these guys mildly likable.
  85. It’s hard to make a film that’s critical of digital technology without sounding like a square. It’s this uphill battle that The Circle fights for a little while, then loses about halfway through.
  86. A puff piece for someone who doesn’t need one, Malala wraps Yousafzai’s life in media-circuit testimonials and fairy-tale-like animated sequences that stop just short of drawing an aureola of fire around her.
  87. Ritchie has made a film that's so busy, it starts to become boring.
  88. It’s hard to think of another movie in which Jesus’ followers are so clearly shown as Jews themselves. There’s a quietly powerful post-Crucifixion scene in which the disciples say Kaddish for their fallen leader.
  89. The lucky Mulroney gets to play the kind of sensitive hunk that women want and men want to be, but he's the only one who can be heard over the tired wheezing of the romantic-comedy machinery.
  90. Well-intentioned but muddled, Face groans under the weight of its earnest ambition.
  91. The Predator series needed a shot of vitality, not another workmanlike go-around. SSDP: Same shit, different planet.
  92. The heist-movie plot, the bawdy gags, the ironic repurposing of old holiday-season chestnuts: They’re all here, hastily stuffed into a new package.
  93. Skillfully sketches the parameters of its small-town existence but never quite fleshes out the inhabitants of those parameters. Without the well-considered humor and strongly defined characters of "Chuck," only a good cast stands between Girl and some familiar stereotypes.
  94. Though director Nicholas Hytner does his best to enliven the material, Bennett very much comes across as a dull man’s Charlie Kaufman, even more so when the movie ends with flat, unearned whimsicality. Good as she is here, Smith must cede this round to Dench.
  95. The Edge Of Love is more like a museum piece, placing historical figures in frozen positions, and asking us to judge them as the curators do.
  96. The film calms down a bit in its second half, leaving more room for Bondarchuk’s striking wartime tableaux, making occasional use of its native 3-D cinematography. (The movie, a massive success in Russia last year, will screen primarily in IMAX 3D venues in the U.S.)

Top Trailers