The A.V. Club's Scores

For 5,445 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 2.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Weekend
Lowest review score: 0 Battle of the Year
Score distribution:
5,445 movie reviews
  1. The film finds a surprising amount of tenderness and humor beneath the brutality. The laughs may catch in the throat, but that's only a byproduct of City Of God's power to leave viewers breathless.
  2. Though there's a formula at the film's core, Whale Rider still has the good taste to make that formula go down easy.
  3. In a sense, Oasis is an unabashed tearjerker, but Lee keeps knocking the melodrama off-balance, making all the big emotional payoffs a little discomforting, because they're not that far removed from something really disturbing.
  4. There are times when even its subtleties seem predictable, when it questions dramatic conventions that indie films have already questioned, like the temperament of movie-parents whose children fear coming out of the closet. Yet the film has an abiding sweetness that's ultimately irresistible.
  5. Not even Douglas Sirk or Lars von Trier would heap so much abuse on a heroine. And yet, on its own melodramatic, tear-jerking terms, Precious works.
  6. The Rwandan genocide was one of the most shameful marks on Bill Clinton's presidency, but for all the film's powerful images, George stops short of the forceful political statement that Rusesabagina's story demands.
  7. Photographic Memory is less wry and more melancholy than McElwee's earlier documentaries; it's a lot like his superb 2003 film "Bright Leaves," which was also concerned with family history and the shifting meaning of images.
  8. A Piece of Work is the antithesis of Jerry Seinfeld's engaging but superficial 2002 documentary "Comedian": where the innately private Seinfeld holds nearly everything back, Rivers loudly broadcasts the kind of fears, anxieties, and ambitions most people would do anything to hide.
  9. As played by Ralph Fiennes in his own cinematic adaptation of the play, Coriolanus' military genius makes him a figure of awe, but it's his near-absence of empathy that makes him terrifying.
  10. This is a movie about a rush to judgment in a city on edge, and it never expands its scope or meaning over the course of its two-hour running time. But the specifics make the story powerful regardless.
  11. For a film about man who spent half his life defying staid convention, Kinsey remains as timid as a choirboy.
  12. In Chéreau's hands, Gabrielle has an operatic quality that throws the repressive environment into sharp relief; the film works like a pressure cooker, seething with bottled passions that intermittently burst through with startling cruelty and violence.
  13. The scenes of death, starvation, and destruction are affecting, but they don't say much about the actual subject of the film.
  14. Like its narrative, this gripping film rarely veers in the expected directions — and is never easy to pin down.
  15. Much like the recent "remember when" documentary "Man On Wire," Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 builds strong momentum in its home stretch, and sends the audience out on a high.
  16. Murray and Jarmusch, two modern masters of minimalism, triumphantly join forces in Broken Flowers, a bittersweet tour de force about a wealthy, deeply depressed lothario.
  17. The film deftly sketches a sibling relationship complicated by obligation, guilt, mistrust, and, not least, an abiding love.
  18. The film also applies a deft touch as it addresses the morality of violent sports, like snowboarding and football, that entertain the many who watch while endangering the few who play. Rather than cast the athletes as pure victims, Walker acknowledges their agency, depicting them as prideful competitors who choose to risk their well-being — or even insist on doing so, as Pearce does.
  19. So The Order Of Myths' central question remains tantalizingly unanswered: When a society respects its old-growth trees so much that they let the roots crack the sidewalks, are they being noble or ignorant?
  20. What begins as a sophisticated meditation on the meaning of heroism gradually slumps into leaden repetition in the second half, as the point gets watered down and belabored. After such provocative beginnings, the film finally, dutifully raises its hand in salute.
  21. Under his (McElwee's) watch, the possibilities of a documentary seem to expand by the minute, incorporating not only journalistic truths, but also personal insights and philosophy, unique regional textures, and unexposed pockets of humanity.
  22. Like many debut features, Reprise is a foremost a statement of purpose, and in that respect, at least, Trier shows limitless promise.
  23. Tsai's latest, What Time Is It There?, runs his usual themes and obsessions through a whimsical premise worthy of Wong Kar-Wai, striking such an exquisite balance between humor and despair that the moods comfortably coexist, just as they do in real life.
  24. WQholly a Coen brothers movie, in that it’s full of exaggerated characters and comic cruelty, anchored to a way of looking at the world that seems to posit a fundamental absence of meaning. And yet there’s something sweet and even a little heartening about the movie, too.
  25. The film satisfies in much the same way Allen's movie-a-year comedies used to satisfy.
  26. 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)
  27. 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.
  28. Sharp as the dialogue is, it’s hard to imagine any of this working as well without the late, great Gandolfini.
  29. 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."
  30. 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.

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