The A.V. Club's Scores

For 6,887 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 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 45 Years
Lowest review score: 0 Are We There Yet?
Score distribution:
6887 movie reviews
  1. The film satisfies in much the same way Allen's movie-a-year comedies used to satisfy.
  2. Though Wings Of Desire has a classic look, its mood and style is New Wave in every sense of the term. The synthesis of deep thought, leisurely pacing, and stunning visuals is in the spirit of work by the young European filmmakers of the '60s and '70s. (Reviewed in 2003 for DVD Release)
  3. Bale's live-wire performance typifies the many major and minor elements that elevate The Fighter from the deeply conventional sports movie it might have been into the endearingly offbeat sports movie it turns out to be.
  4. While it’s heartbreaking that the movie never got made (son Brontis Jodorowsky, who would have played Paul Atreides, is particularly poignant imagining his alternate life as a superstar), Jodorowsky’s Dune posits that the raw materials nevertheless left an enduring mark on cinematic sci-fi, providing the basis for famous aspects of "Alien," "Star Wars," and "Contact."
  5. The film is also valuable for raising awareness about Leth, whose work hasn't been as widely recognized as that of his European contemporaries, but who now makes an impressive case for his skills, five times over.
  6. The problem with Beasts Of No Nation is that it approaches war largely on the level aesthetic challenge, meaning that whatever sense of revulsion it creates comes from the personality of Commandant. It’s his absence, rather than memories of murder and rape, that hangs like a dark cloud over the movie’s intriguingly unresolved epilogue.
  7. Shot on gorgeous black-and-white 35 mm that only seems to enhance the melancholic drabness of the events it depicts, Tu Dors Nicole is an especially wispy, French-Canadian addition to an irresistible genre.
  8. Like few of his filmmaking peers, McCarthy understands and respects the power of quiet, and how a whisper can be as explosive as a shout.
  9. Green Room is a rare gift from the genre gods: a nasty, punk-as-f..k midnight movie made by a genuine artist, a filmmaker with a great eye and a true understanding of the people and places he’s splattering in viscera.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    As expressionistic as it is journalistic, Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten triumphs as both an objective record and a poetic lament: It’s a film that’s every bit as entrancing and haunting as the lost music it celebrates.
  10. Iron Man is the rare comic-book movie that makes the prospect of a sequel seem like a promise instead of a threat.
  11. The main problem with Tarzan is its story, which, after a strong start, finds a steady groove and stays with it, offering no particular highs or lows.
  12. If The Winslow Boy has a flaw, it's that Mamet's style is impeccable to a fault, too cool and remote to have much of an emotional payoff. But since few directors can even approach his level of precision, that's a very minor complaint.
  13. Remarkable and timely film.
  14. At bottom, Silent Light is less about faith than matters of the heart, and in Reygadas' hands, the ache is bone-deep.
  15. The film never even attempts to peer behind the curtain of Jay’s colorful existence; it’s content that the show in front of it is spectacle enough. But Deceptive Practices would be a richer, deeper experience if the filmmakers had penetrated Jay’s fierce boundaries even a little.
  16. In many respects, Adam and Eve are nocturnal cousins to the angels from Wim Wenders’ "Wings Of Desire": They’re secret observers of history, living records of the past with little control over the future. But Jarmusch has no interest in the kind of guilt and grief Wenders wove through his movie; Only Lovers comes in a hipper, sexier shade of melancholy.
  17. The movie captures the way scientists sometimes make breakthroughs simply by attempting the impossible.
  18. The movie actually does feature a world — the insular voiceover world — and whenever it strays, it falters.
  19. At its best, The Thoughts That Once We Had functions like a kind of film-buff mixtape, queuing up one magic moment after another. But the quasi-academic aims of the project mute Andersen’s passion; the director must have felt he needed a respectable framework for his cinephilia, but the personal component often seems directly at odds with the Deleuze component.
  20. Yet for all the heart and soul the actor pours into his role, watching Dawn still feels a bit like seeing massive, expensive wheels spin in place.
  21. Schrader has always been better as a writer and a critic than as a dramatist, which is why his most successful work has either been published in film journals or directed by Martin Scorsese. His flat, awkward staging diminishes some good performances -- particularly those of Nolte and a welcome Sissy Spacek.
  22. A viscerally punishing study of repression and masochism, carried out with the utmost discretion and chilling reserve.
  23. Riveting testimonial.
  24. John Carney’s peppy flashback musical Sing Street is to his earlier "Once" what a glossy major-label debut is to a scrappier first album: Both have their pleasures, but the former can’t help but look a little artificial when compared to the latter.
  25. American Honey doesn’t rise and fall on the strength of its love story, if that’s even what happens between Star and Jake. Arnold touches on a lot—rural poverty in America, class divisions, the impulsiveness and recklessness of youth—but never tames her film into a strict polemic.
  26. The larger messages about spirituality often seem forced, and it's more compelling to focus on Lee's visceral cinematic experience than on the larger, fuzzier messages Martel's story conveys about humanity's connection with God.
  27. Let Me In is a beautiful redundancy.
  28. Washington gives a magnetic, layered performance, backed by a largely superb cast, most of whom reprise their roles from the Broadway revival of Wilson’s classic. But the film itself is eluded by the epic qualities of the original text, which play directly to the captive space of the theater.
  29. The Case Of The Grinning Cat is a sequel of sorts to Marker's epic three-hour 1977 documentary on the decline of the left, "A Grin Without A Cat"--though this new work is both shorter and more playful.
  30. Perhaps because any real closure is impossible at this point, The Witness eventually embraces its own inconclusiveness, like some documentary cousin to "Zodiac."
  31. Again as with Bong's earlier films, Mother is a genre exercise that honors convention, yet weaves around it whenever possible. Bong carefully turns Mother into a classic gumshoe tale, with red herrings, interrogations, and moments of sublime suspense.
  32. Keep The Lights On feels less like a memoir than a collage made from diary scraps, evocative but not prescriptive.
  33. Burshtein shoots in extreme shallow focus, framing her actors against a sometimes-blinding blanket of white fuzz. It’s a decision that, coupled with Yitzhak Azulay’s stirring, chant-driven score, lends each conversation a near religious aura.
  34. Temple introduces viewers to Strummer the punster, Strummer the womanizer, and Strummer the poseur, whom his mates could only really talk to when no one else was around.
  35. What keeps the story fresh isn't so much Guadagnino's swooning sense-reveries, which sometimes flow with dreamlike wonder and sometimes just drag; instead, most of the power comes from Swinton, who always makes the most of characters imbued by passion, but straitjacketed by expectations.
  36. Though unabashedly manipulative in its storytelling and structure, Searching For Sugar Man ultimately earns its happy ending and buzzy, crowd-pleasing populist appeal by alchemizing trembling inner-city pain into transcendent international beauty.
  37. Throughout Keane, there's an unnerving feeling that Lewis is capable of anything, from harming himself to assaulting anyone around him.
  38. But while the facts cherry-picked by Alexandrowicz won't surprise anyone who's paid even the slightest attention to what's been going on in the Middle East for the last four decades, the direct inquiries into who should be classified as a "soldier" and who a "terrorist" is still bracing (and relevant to more than just the Israelis).
  39. What's left off the table is a meaningful examination of environmental artists' responsibility to the environment they depict, and the question of whether all truly great art leaves behind a little toxic waste of its own.
  40. Coming after the inspired trifecta of "Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary," "Cowards Bend The Knee," and "The Saddest Music In The World," Brand feels a little like boilerplate Maddin rather than a fresh burst of inspiration.
  41. A florid, often lurid, completely enthralling film held in place by a disarming Portman, who rarely leaves the frame.
  42. Though Lafosse’s handling of the actors is pitch-perfect, his sense of structure is more problematic. The decision to start the movie at the end and then jump back several years undercuts the drama.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An astoundingly moving and elegiac meditation on life, love, music, and the bonds of blood.
  43. The film is little more than an exercise in style, but it's dazzling and mythic, a testament to the fundamental appeal of fast cars, dangerous men, and tension that squeezes like a hand to the throat.
  44. This is a bleak film, one whose undercurrent of morbidity stems any romanticization of the past. That ominousness can at times be suffocating, as the action barrels toward a conclusion it insists on foreshadowing. Light summer fare this is not.
  45. As always with Hong's films, Oki's Movie goes through stretches where it seems aimless and self-indulgent, followed by stretches where it's sharp, funny, and poetic.
  46. The film ends so beautifully that it's easy to forgive the dead passages that preceded it and hope it carries over into his next movie.
  47. Sharp as the dialogue is, it’s hard to imagine any of this working as well without the late, great Gandolfini.
  48. Under Fresnadillo's assured direction, 28 Weeks Later blurs the line between genre entertainment and a photojournalist's shots of the next urban catastrophe.
  49. Like "I Saw The Devil," The Age Of Shadows is a cat-and-mouse scenario that thwarts and subverts audience expectations.
  50. Binoche and Stewart inhabit their characters’ complicated friendship, whether they’re doing the nuts-and-bolts, behind-the-scenes business of managing a career or getting drunk at a small casino.
  51. Mostly content to observe with wary admiration, the film doesn't offer any answers, and life robs the story of any sort of resolution, leaving only footage of one remarkable example of charity in action.
  52. Why it works is anyone's guess. It's fair to argue--and the film makes this argument itself, with no great subtlety--that Godzilla embodies Japan's nuclear anxieties in the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  53. Though Phantom Of The Cinematheque is fascinating throughout, Richard squanders a chance to recreate one of those long Parisian nights where Langlois held court for his fellow movie buffs.
  54. Like many French films of its kind, Private Property remains content to simply observe a situation without tidying up the narrative, which in this case leaves some big questions unanswered. But Lafosse knows that problems that beg for a resolution sometimes don't get one.
  55. The story of Control's creation is the story of great potential, squandered. Joy Division fans should be able to relate.
  56. The brilliance of Long Strange Trip is that Bar-Lev allows for multiple interpretations.
  57. Wagner and company fail to follow Langella's primary rule of storytelling: "Follow the characters around until they do something interesting."
  58. A romantic comedy with jagged edges, Fatih Akin's exhilarating Head-On paves the road to love through miles of prickly thatch.
  59. The hits outnumber the misses well enough in Airplane!, especially in the first half, when the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team (writer-directors David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker) are layering jokes in the foreground and background. There are parodies of popular favorites like Jaws and Saturday Night Fever, wacky stock footage on back-screen projection, slapstick violence against various religious solicitors, and plenty of silly wordplay.
  60. When Lightning In A Bottle steps back and simply lets the old-timers ply their trade, the result is consistently riveting.
  61. Beware Of Mr. Baker is the life story of a man who's led one hell of a fascinating life.
  62. Those schooled in Eastern European history may have better luck deciphering it, but what keeps it compelling throughout is Loznitsa's direction, which favors sophisticated long takes and particularly suspenseful use of foreground and background action. His next film should be a doozy.
  63. Like a lot of scenes in Funny Ha Ha, the commonplace somehow seems invigoratingly original.
  64. It's hardly a rosy picture of what it's like to be gay and 60 in Paris. But it's an engrossing picture.
  65. A solid documentary feeling of “you are there” isn’t always a substitute for “…but here’s what happened when you left, and here’s what it all meant.”
  66. As a place to enter and meditate, Into Great Silence is imminently worthy, but as a documentary, it doesn't do enough to probe the meaning of the quotation Gröning returns to repeatedly: "Oh Lord, you have seduced me, and I was seduced."
  67. Unlikely as it may seem, though, Blue Jasmine finds Allen charting bona fide new territory.
  68. Like many historical dramas, unfortunately, this one depicts gripping events without bothering to craft a coherent viewpoint that lends them meaning.
  69. Barely a feature at 54 minutes, it’s the closest Anderson has come to just kind of goofing around behind the camera — though, obviously, his version of goofing around is more dynamic than an ambitious effort from the average contemporary.
  70. Ron Perlman returns as the film's loveable title character, a demon gone good who's tough on the outside but tender underneath, with a soft spot for kittens, candy, and babies.
  71. Some people might find it distasteful to make a movie about guilty rich folks who give themselves permission to splurge. Others will rightly appreciate the honesty.
  72. Maybe there’s something out there, or maybe there’s nothing at all. Most horror films presuppose that the former is the scarier of the two options, but It Comes At Night is more concerned with the seemingly bottomless depths of the unknown.
  73. Fontaine gives her film the tone of a psychological thriller, with the potential of violence always lurking beneath the surface.
  74. In the scope of things, Ohwon's story is a route into the larger story of an uncertain and tumultuous period in Korea, and it's here that Chi-hwa-seon loses its grip.
  75. Like other great pastiche artists, Gomes has created a time machine to a cinematic era that never quite existed, so it feels simultaneously borrowed and new.
  76. Favors unforgettable images over in-depth storytelling, and prioritizing electrifying moments over narrative arcs.
  77. This is a movie about the casual ways people know each other, even when their relationships are hard to explain-or perhaps even justify.
  78. There’s a fascinating therapeutic undercurrent to the interviews with human beings.
  79. Breathe, the second feature directed by French actress Mélanie Laurent (best known for playing the vengeful Shoshanna in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds), tackles the subject from a refreshingly novel angle, depicting a platonic friendship that quickly grows toxic.
  80. Amanda Knox serves as a corrective—a simple, brutal look at the dangers of hype, hysteria, and rushed prosecution.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    That intertwining of Burnat's home life and his political one make 5 Broken Cameras an unusual, moving work about a much-explored topic.
  81. The opportunity to dig into the trove of Johnson's art is an ultimate reward beyond all offbeat attempts to understand the artist himself. At its best, How To Draw A Bunny amounts to a shadow history of the American avant-garde.
  82. Mann takes all the instincts he learned as a Miami Vice producer and trims them of their excesses, and the result is an unsettling thriller whose detached style perfectly complements its psychological intensity.
  83. Frears has directed a surprisingly sturdy hybrid of thriller and social melodrama, even if the thrills turn ludicrous and the social critique grows a little pat.
  84. Malick's powerful intermingling of brutality and beauty, his signature cutaways to indigenous flora and fauna, and the gentle lyricism of his disjunctive narration and painterly images are too rich to fully register in a single viewing.
  85. In Amandla!, history doesn't just come alive--it sings, dances, and issues a passionate plea for justice and equality. The film joyously celebrates music as both a means to an end and an end unto itself.
  86. It's funny, too, though marked by an uneasy humor that's usually difficult to achieve. Anderson handles it with expert ease: At this point in his career, he moves the camera like a skilled dance partner, investing the smallest gesture with significance.
  87. O’Horten feels like a waking dream. It's a film of subtle, insinuating charm, a character study about an eminently sane, reasonable man unsteadily navigating an increasingly insane, unreasonable world.
  88. Overly conventional as a documentary, but it's inspiring as a rebuttal to the declining state of the world at large. It's encouraging to know that the endurance of institutions like marriage and family could hold the key to keeping civilization intact.
  89. Under The Skin is rich with menacing atmosphere, so much so that viewers could probably tune out the narrative and still get on the proper wavelength.
  90. The movie is plenty affecting when it sticks to credible, low-key difficulties faced with weary decency; there was no need to crank the pathos up to 11 and throw a full-scale pity party.
  91. Markovics largely rescues the film with his mesmerizingly layered, steady performance as a man who solves the problem of compromise by refusing to admit that he's compromising.
  92. Falls short of being a great film because it lacks a certain ambition.
  93. With its soapy earnestness and use of suffering souls as set dressing, After The Wedding could be the cinematic equivalent of a Coldplay song. And while that isn't necessarily a slam, it isn't a recommendation either.
  94. The miracle of Nolan's Batman trilogy is the way it imprints those myths with the dread-soaked tenor of the times.
  95. Through Gray’s orchestration of themes, ironies, and flashes of transcendence, the thick of the jungle becomes as haunting and multivalent an image as the hidden city. It is that which we all disappear into.
  96. A little slow for a crime story, and a little obvious with its anti-capitalism message.
  97. Focusing the film on Gleeson was certainly the right choice. His performance is equal parts funny and unnerving, and he keeps viewers guessing about what drives the man and what he'll do next.

Top Trailers