The A.V. Club's Scores

For 5,888 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 49% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 48% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Rachel Getting Married
Lowest review score: 0 Are We There Yet?
Score distribution:
5,888 movie reviews
  1. Virtually every Super Technirama frame of Luchino Visconti's 1963 masterpiece The Leopard could be described as "painterly" in its ornate details and exquisitely balanced color compositions. (Review of DVD Release)
  2. There’s a cumulative power here that transcends any rough patches. Boyhood isn’t perfect, but it’s an astonishing, one-of-a-kind accomplishment—and further proof that Linklater is one of the most daring, ambitious filmmakers working today.
  3. After two hours of dazzlingly fantastical images and stomach-turning gore, del Toro winds around, and finds his story's center.
  4. 4 Months unfolds like one of those street-level Dardenne brothers movies (Rosetta, L'Enfant).
  5. If there was any doubt that this is a horror movie, Hans Zimmer’s score pounds and roars with dread — the appropriate soundtrack for the madness of history.
  6. Bird and his co-writers leave room for quiet moments and gentle morals, but for the most part, they send visual gags and verbal punchlines tearing past at an enjoyably demanding speed, whipping up the film's energy at every turn.
  7. If nothing else, Gravity makes the case for throwing immense resources at true visionaries; the blockbuster craftsman as adventurer, Cuarón expertly blends the epic with the intimate. For every stunning 3-D setpiece involving a dangerous hailstorm of metallic debris, there’s a moment of small tenderness.
  8. Zuckerberg's story ends up feeling bigger than his own life.
  9. Zero Dark Thirty stands to become the dominant narrative about this important historical event, no matter its distortions, composites, or other slippery feints of storytelling. In that, it wields a dangerous power.
  10. Beyond the impeccable performances and direction, it's foremost an exceptional piece of screenwriting, so finely wrought that the drama seems guided by an invisible hand.
  11. Just as swoon-worthy, and essential, as its predecessors, Before Midnight reveals the full scope of Linklater’s ambition. This is not just another stellar follow-up, but the latest entry in what’s shaping up to be a grand experiment — the earnest attempt to depict the life of a relationship onscreen, decade by increasingly tumultuous decade. In the process of justifying its own existence, Before Midnight redeems the very notion of sequels.
  12. A wonderful encore, marked by the painstaking attention to detail and artful balance between terror and joy that make Miyazak's work unique.
  13. Unchecked goodness has its price, after all, and childhood wonder wouldn't be nearly as sweet if it didn't fade. That may explain the film's appeal. It trapped that feeling, and its sense of possibility, in amber -- then, now, and for any time.
  14. Given the material, it’s fitting that Mr. Turner is the director’s most visually ravishing movie. With cinematographer Dick Pope behind the lens, every shot is gorgeous enough to hang in a museum.
  15. For the first hour or more, The Hurt Locker boldly forsakes any conventional narrative hook beyond the ongoing tensions between these men and the terrifying grind of defusing bombs day after day.
  16. It's Pixar's most daring experiment to date, but it still fits neatly into the studio's pantheon: Made with as much focus on heart as on visual quality, it's a sheer joy.
  17. Good comedies are rare, but rarer still are those that conflate laughter with intimacy.
  18. All in all, it's a fitting conclusion to the series, and yet there are disappointments built in. For one, Jackson has opted not to film Tolkien's downbeat "Scouring Of The Shire" epilogue.
  19. Bucking the current company mandate of churning out lesser sequels and prequels, it’s not just a brilliant idea, but maybe the most conceptually daring movie the Bay Area animation house has ever produced. And that’s really saying something, what with "WALL-E" on the books.
  20. Carlos is mostly tense and thrilling, revealing the poisonous side of global citizenship.
  21. A director known for the icy classicism and genre subversion of films like "Funny Games" and "Caché," Haneke has a pitilessness that could not be more perfect for Amour, which would collapse at any whiff of sentimentality.
  22. For what it sets out to accomplish, across a brisk 98 minutes, Petzold’s film feels perfectly judged. And it builds to an ending that’s just plain perfect.
  23. The superbly edited original version of Amadeus used overlapping sound cues for a lively flow between scenes, and the new version breaks up some of that flow with lengthy, talky interludes. Still, Ondrícek's breathtaking images and Forman's essential craft are best appreciated on the big screen, and another theatrical run for Amadeus is a welcome gift, no matter how much this edition unnecessarily gilds what's already a near-perfect lily
  24. It's Malick's particular genius to make viewers feel like they're seeing the world, with all its beauty and danger, for the first time. [28 Nov. 2007]
  25. Beautifully shot by Amélie cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis is instantly recognizable as the work of its sibling auteurs. But it’s also something of a departure — looser and more rambling than the average Coen concoction, with a lovingly recreated period setting.
  26. Schnabel's sleepy, drifty, at times morbidly funny film tackles something more ambitious, by getting into the head of someone who's trying to get out of there himself.
  27. The beauty of The Class is that it puts the lie to the one-teacher-can-make-a-difference myth propagated by so many other films.
  28. The film evolves into a simple, intimate, acutely emotional portrait of a family reaching a painful crossroads.
  29. Anderson's uncompromising masterpiece will continue to resonate as a harrowing cautionary warning to a country with oil pumping through its veins, clouding its judgment and coarsening its soul.
  30. In his three previous films (The Return, The Banishment, Elena), Zvyagintsev frequently pushed past sober into dour, leaning too heavily on a characteristically Soviet sense of gloom and doom... Leviathan is another downer, but it’s considerably looser and livelier than its predecessors, verging at times on black comedy.
  31. The film never lets banter, visual gags, or the usual manic kid-flick running about interfere with its more delicately handled thoughts on loyalty, longing, broken relationships, and generational continuity. It honestly earns its emotion, moment by painstakingly executed moment.
  32. The Look Of Silence is a powerful gesture of political rebellion, one whose boldest action isn’t damning mass murderers to their faces, but being willing to believe that their stranglehold on country and history could be broken.
  33. Though Moolaadé doesn't shy away from the task of educating its viewers about the brutality of "purification," it works equally well as a tribute to righteous defiance wherever it surfaces.
  34. Director Zacharias Kunuk captures that feeling well, but he never quite develops it into a theme epic enough to fill Atanarjuat's scope. His film is by turns mesmerizing and trying, with enough of the former to make the latter worthwhile.
  35. In essence, Timbuktu is about how farce turns into terror.
  36. The film is best treated as a one-of-a-kind wonder: an ingenious contraption that dazzles, teases, attracts, and repels with all the mystery and sublimity of a miniature world.
  37. Mirren begins the film having her portrait painted, looking every inch the monarch and proud to play the part. By the end, she's let the pressure of one week, and maybe a lifetime, show in her eyes.
  38. Polley’s fledgling foray into documentary filmmaking is also an investigative mystery, a real-life soap opera, and — most compellingly, perhaps — a searching “interrogation” (the director’s word) of the hows and whys of storytelling itself.
  39. The trouble with Bashir's extraordinary technique is that it lacks the confrontational realism of live footage; the extreme stylization of the animation can be distancing, making it hard to relate the images to real events and people. But that's also part of Folman's point.
  40. There's not a weak performance in Secrets And Lies, a fact made more notable by the seeming ease with which the cast performs as an ensemble.
  41. The ultimate vision here is of a hard world in which civilization is the aberration, and the things we fear are always waiting for an excuse to make life normal again.
  42. The six men have different personalities that suggest varying styles of leadership, but what's remarkable about The Gatekeepers is how they speak in one voice about the moral complexities of their former jobs and their extreme pessimism about the future.
  43. Ida
    Over an efficient 80 minutes, no shot feels wasted, and no one says much that couldn’t be better communicated through their placement in the artfully arranged frame.
  44. Finds the right balance between reverence and wit.
  45. After Hours is a caffeinated black comedy with an emphasis on speed. With a small crew and a tight shooting schedule, Scorsese transformed limited means into a staccato burst of creative energy, playing up the extreme paranoia and frustration of a data processor stranded in Soho.
  46. An excellent movie, as effective in battle scenes as it is in that of soldiers ruminating on an Edith Piaf song.
  47. A Prophet has been compared to American TV series like "Oz" for its episodic plot and large cast, but it’s more like a Gallic "Goodfellas": thoroughly absorbing, exciting, even poetic. It’s a full evening’s entertainment.
  48. Granik has no taste for noir archness, opting for a chilly, shot-on-decaying-locations naturalism that feels as lived-in as Lawrence's performance.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    All the performers are superb, though as the title suggests, this is Viviane’s show, and Ronit makes for an exceptional martyr (she gets a Passion Of Joan Of Arc-worthy close-up or two) who never loses her very human shadings.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As the story unfolds, carefully and elaborately, what develops is not just a remarkably intricate crime tale but a brilliant and compassionate story of people who struggle to rise above their flawed nature. This may be the best movie of the year; it's definitely one of the greatest crime films of all time.
  49. At its best, Bloody Sunday produces the same chilling illusion of history writ large, clearly detailing the strategies of both sides, then blankly observing the conflict through unadorned, newsreel camera stock and the precise orchestration of large-scale chaos.
  50. Her
    Four films into a sterling career, the director’s made his most beguiling, profoundly human work yet.
  51. It's all presented in a detached style that's ultimately much more moving and truthful than any heartstring-slashing weeper. This may be Egoyan's best work yet, and it's surely one of the best films of the year.
  52. My Perestroika is fairly foursquare as documentary filmmaking goes; it isn't stylistically snazzy, nor doggedly vérité. Its closest kin in the genre is Michael Apted's "Up" films, which are similarly focused on how people change over time.
  53. What's more impressive, and in the end more important, is the high standard of storytelling that Pixar continues to meet by locating both humor and emotional depth in worlds created out of lines of code.
  54. Pleasing mainly just as a message-in-a-bottle from a restless, persecuted artist-that is, until the amazing closing shot, which brings the volatility of post-Green Revolution Iran home with unforgettable force.
  55. In the spirit of the original, Linklater closes with one of the best endings of its kind since George Romero's "Martin."
  56. The action sequences are choreographed with the crackerjack timing expected from Pixar, but the film's funniest and most affecting moments exploit the tension between a special family and a world that insists on dulling them down.
  57. With a lovably cantankerous sense of humor and an honest strain of hard realism and pathos, the film thrives on the tension that comes from an artist who devotes himself to the truth, but watches his image get away from him.
  58. We all lived through this not so long ago; it's an odd thing to make a film whose most striking effect is its ability to bring the feelings of Sept. 11 flooding back, then close on a profoundly disturbing note. A crasser film would have been easier to digest and dismiss. It's hard to do either with United 93, and that's either its genius or its folly.
  59. The film is unfortunately about little more than its potentially mind-boggling plot and structure.
  60. First-time director Jarecki, better known as the co-founder of MovieFone, skillfully integrates the home-movie footage with his own thorough inquiry, weaving past and present into a patient, deeply engrossing piece of storytelling that's rich in ambiguities.
  61. American Hustle turns out to be a freewheeling party of a movie, one that never stops adding complications and wrinkles and hungry new players to the mix.
  62. The two main points Persepolis makes are that strife is relative, and all politics are personal.
  63. By tackling one man’s sense of right and wrong (or lack thereof), Oppenheimer is ultimately tackling human nature.
  64. Gorgeously shot by Lance Acord, who makes Toyko a gaudy dreamscape that's both seductive and frightening, Lost In Translation washes away memories of "Godfather III," establishing Coppola as a major filmmaker in her own right, and reconfirming Johansson and Murray as actors of startling depth and power.
  65. A big, family-style Italian dinner, catered to the broadest tastes, yet satisfying all the same.
  66. In examining the man’s selfless service, Moss uncovers something greater than a vision of a divided community; he’s made a drama as prickly and surprising as any fictional character study.
  67. von Donnersmarck gives his debut feature, The Lives Of Others, no particular style, and the absence of visual risk-taking renders an exciting premise ponderous and stolid.
  68. An important act of historical preservation, a focused and effective film that brings back a dark, important moment in history with startling clarity.
  69. Choreographed to the last beat, the action scenes have a depth that the film's thinly sketched characters never quite develop.
  70. It's a story worth telling, yes--but after 90 minutes, it's hard not to wonder if the storyteller can talk about anything else.
  71. The movie seems like a perfect found object, as if it had always existed and was just waiting to be uncovered.
  72. In choosing cheap gags over incisive cultural commentary, Borat scores more as scatology than satire, but it's easy to overlook its ramshackle nature in light of the explosive laughter.
  73. A devastating and deceptively simple tale adapted from 10th-century folklore, Isao Takahata’s The Tale Of Princess Kaguya distills a millennium of Japanese storytelling into a timeless film that feels both ancient and alive in equal measure.
  74. Two Days, One Night is a small miracle of a movie, a drama so purely humane that it makes most attempts at audience uplift look crass and calculated by comparison.
  75. Unlike Wiseman’s greatest films, National Gallery never quite finds an overarching theme. There’s a fair amount of material regarding the art/commerce divide, but many scenes have no bearing whatsoever on that subject, and the film generally lacks urgency.
  76. It's a cogent, often infuriating explication of how the execution of the war went awry.
  77. What distinguishes Goodbye Solo, beyond Savané’s larger-than-life personality bumping up against West’s intractable curmudgeon, is the continued particularity of Bahrani’s work.
  78. As cinema, Selma is commendable; as cultural barometer, it’s beyond reproach.
  79. Whenever all the pieces are in place, though, Lee reverts to the kind of storytelling he does best.
  80. It's a beautifully shot, beautifully acted piece of fluff.
  81. A surprisingly bittersweet love story at heart, Eternal Sunshine values the sum of experience, which in this case means a thorns-and-all openness to romantic possibilities.
  82. For all the chaos erupting at all times, we never lose track of what’s going on, because it’s been staged not just with diabolical mischief, but also total clarity. What a movie.
  83. It's hard to explain exactly why Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima is so much better than its companion World War II film "Flags Of Our Fathers," except to say that Flags tries too hard to emphasize the ironies of selling a war, while Letters deals with the ins and outs of the war itself.
  84. In its own subdued, mellow way, Once is just about perfect.
  85. It helps that the actors' faces are so mesmerizing, particularly Manjinder Virk as Lorraine.
  86. In the wild and consistently surprising Y Tu Mamá También, anything isn't the half of it.
  87. Capote begins as a sprawling, vivacious comedy-drama in which Hoffman's Capote is only one of a number of fascinating characters, including Chris Cooper's upstanding, ramrod-straight lawman and Keener's tough, blunt assistant/sidekick/foil/author.
  88. A beautifully choreographed and photographed story about tradition and modernity in rural Asia.
  89. More "Full Metal Jacket" than "Dead Poet’s Society," the film is an epic battle of wills between two fanatical artists, one doing everything in his power to painfully make a master out of the other.
  90. A Film Unfinished is affecting as a rare document of a terrible place and time, and those who lived there.
  91. Anderson’s latest invention, The Grand Budapest Hotel, may be his most meticulously realized, beginning with the towering, fictional building for which it’s named.
  92. Epics tend to get extra respect — bonus points for ambition, one might say — and while Ceylan’s film is a decidedly intimate example of the genre, it was clearly perceived, in advance, as an important work just by virtue of its sheer heft.
  93. Explicit lesbian lovemaking aside, Blue is, at heart, a somewhat ordinary coming-of-age romance, pulled and stretched nearly to its breaking point.
  94. Citizenfour offers a remarkably intimate look at history as it happened. In fact, the immediacy of Poitras’ film is so remarkable that, at least for the immediate future, her craft is likely to be overshadowed by her access, her storytelling overshadowed by her opportunity.
  95. Cantet's masterful study of a white-collar businessman in decline.
  96. Has its heartbreaking moments and its surprise giggles, particularly thanks to Ron Hewat's minor role as a former hockey play-by-play announcer now narrating his nursing-home life.
  97. From an emotional standpoint, it's enormously satisfying, even cathartic to watch Ferguson "nail" some of the rogues behind the economic crisis with the unseemly zeal of Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report.
  98. What makes Towers so staggering is the way it brings the full scope of Jackson's adaptation into focus. Without missing a beat in three hours, the film shifts from epic to lyrical and back.

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