The Dissolve's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,338 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 34% higher than the average critic
  • 7% same as the average critic
  • 59% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Lowest review score: 0 Exists
Score distribution:
1,338 movie reviews
  1. There’s no other movie quite like it.
  2. Her
    Her is a 21st-century love story that perfectly captures the mood of the times and finds new inroads into the exhilaration and heartbreak that have existed since the first “I love you.”
  3. This movie is a portal, leading to a living museum of childhood at its most poignant.
  4. A singularly beautiful nostalgia piece that radiates with love and sadness, and doesn’t extract one type of feeling from another. It’s a film of aching bittersweetness, impeccably realized, past perfect.
  5. Debut features are rarely this confident and accomplished, much less such a perfect blueprint of what to expect from a filmmaker down the line.
  6. This film confirms that Panh approaches the past not as a historian, but as an artist, and an exceptionally vital one at that.
  7. Where Barton Fink sometimes resembled a horror movie, Inside Llewyn Davis plays like an elegy. Its conclusions are more regretful than angry, and while the conflict between art and commerce is no less central, there’s much more emphasis on that conflict’s personal toll.
  8. For all of its provocatively cerebral ideas, the prevailing truth is that Goodbye To Language is actually a great deal of fun—not just to think about, but also to experience. It’s “Godard: The Ride.”
  9. Captain Phillips could have stopped at simply depicting what happened; it’s the steps it takes to examining why it happened that make it extraordinary.
  10. In a spy story, Bethlehem insists, there are no good guys or bad guys, and no victor—just day-in, day-out deceit and betrayal, the weary work of hate.
  11. Shot over five nights in a single location, and almost entirely improvised, Coherence is no-budget filmmaking at its most delectably inventive.
  12. What really sets The Immigrant apart is how urgent it feels. Historical dramas often have a reserve that comes with perspective, but nearly a full century removed from this story, Gray seems, if anything, more emotionally invested here than in his contemporary dramas.
  13. It’s a film that captures humanity at its best and its worst, sometimes simultaneously.
  14. What makes The Duke Of Burgundy so affecting is how deftly Strickland and his remarkable actresses bring something as exotic as lesbian S&M into the realm of the ordinary and relatable. Viewers can see themselves in Cynthia and Evelyn, whether they’re hand-washing each other’s undergarments or not.
  15. Leigh’s generous approach to capturing the fullness of Turner’s life, through unhurried rhythms and scenes, makes Mr. Turner memorable.
  16. This isn’t merely about the follies of a misanthrope, it’s an epic tragedy about life in the Ivory Tower and the inability to understand—much less empathize with—other human beings.
  17. Östland writes the conflict between husband and wife beautifully, like a scab that gets picked at until it bleeds, and he does things cinematically, too, to suggest the growing distance between them—an already-cool visual palette broadens like a yawning chasm.
  18. As in all of Wright’s films, the surface is just as satisfying as the subtext: hilarious comedy, compelling character drama, eye-popping visuals, and a juicy science-fiction story.
  19. George Washington is a mood piece first, and its triumph is in bottling up the intense feeling of early adolescence, and watching how tragedy transforms it.
  20. Gone Girl reveals itself as an optimal meeting of the minds, a perfect amalgam of a writer and a director with complementary fixations.
  21. Even when the plot kicks in and the stakes get raised, there’s a casualness to Guiraudie’s approach that’s singular and admirably defiant of genre expectations. He’s setting a scene. Tension insinuates itself later.
  22. Farhadi isn’t interested in judging his characters so much as comprehending them in all their complexity, and registering the consequences of their actions, particularly on children.
  23. It all serves a portrait of 1970 California that mixes absurdity with an air of looming cataclysm, a volatile formula that wouldn’t work without Phoenix’s performance.
  24. Listen Up Philip doesn’t care to be liked. And in that, it deserves to be loved.
  25. It’s a classic tale of survival that draws on how movies, in the right hands, can make viewers see the world through others’ eyes, and to feel what keeps them grasping as it threatens to slip away.
  26. Only Lovers Left Alive accomplishes the neat trick of reinventing a moribund genre as a distinctly Jarmuschian hangout movie.
  27. DuVernay stages well-known public events like the “Bloody Sunday” march with scrupulousness, scope, and a gut-wrenching visceral power. But Selma’s true success is as a chamber piece, not a thundering historical epic.
  28. It’s emotionally and sexually explicit, as raw as an exposed nerve at times, but Adèle and Emma have public lives as well as private ones, and the film’s great achievement is holding them in balance and observing how they relate to each other.
  29. The extraordinary achievement of Under The Skin is that while Laura develops some human qualities, Glazer resists the temptation to turn this alien’s story into the story of what it means to be human.
  30. There’s nothing lost in his continued refinement of style; if anything, it makes the pleasures of his work that much more acute.
  31. The most tremendous thing about Starred Up is exactly how simple it keeps things, and what a richly nuanced story emerges in the process.
  32. Computer Chess may seem like a novelty item, but it’s that and more, accumulating insight and substance without ever losing the fun of being a lark.
  33. The digressiveness of Y Tu Mamá También is its masterstroke.
  34. Ernest & Celestine isn’t just cute or thrilling, though: It’s openly funny, in a wry, unpredictable way.
  35. Mitchell’s deft handling of the relationships in It Follows gets threaded into an ingenious and exceedingly skillful creepshow.
  36. [McQueen's] film is a tough, soul-sickening, uncompromising work of art that makes certain that when viewers talk about the evils of slavery, they know its full dimension.
  37. The simplified, handheld camerawork and the idea of “cutting for emotion” rather than continuity gets the most out of his actors, who are free to clash and improvise within a scene without worrying about hitting their marks.
  38. Fantastic Mr. Fox may be his most purely pleasurable film to date, evoking the Dahl books and Rankin-Bass productions that so transported him as a kid.
  39. Nebraska is one of Payne’s best films, a near-perfect amalgam of the acrid humor, great local color, and stirring resonances that run through his work.
  40. Wadjda is an object of stark beauty, an oasis of free-spirited cinema emerging from the desert.
  41. Stray Dogs evokes the whole of Tsai’s filmography, but also pays off his collaboration with Lee, who shows a side of himself that’s been hidden away for all these years.
  42. Death is a part of life—one that informs everything we do, on some level or another—and watching Ebert characterize whatever time he has left as “money in the bank,” from what viewers know is his deathbed, is life-affirming and heartbreaking in equal measure.
  43. Part period piece and part coming-of-age story, King Of The Hill balances an incident-packed script with muted tones, painting a rich, absorbing picture of one boy’s struggle to live by his wits.
  44. If the movie is about any one idea in particular, it’s about how parents do their best to stay on top of how their children grow, by taking pictures and documenting the memorable occasions, only to learn too late that most of life happens between the posing.
  45. Since Belfort and his crew are complete knuckleheads, every bit the low-class slobs who bray like animals on the trading floor, The Wolf Of Wall Street may be the funniest film of 2013, rife with gross misbehavior, pranks, and tomfoolery.
  46. The film uses the cutting edge of technology to take viewers to the far reaches of the human experience, but also to create a sense of empathy, of investing in the life of another person. It’s a remarkably complex film, but an admirably simple one, too.
  47. The Act Of Killing raises all kinds of provocative questions about the sins of nations in transition, and about how important it is for those in power to control the narrative.
  48. It’s a richly imagined drama that gives everyone involved a specific and understandable set of motives for acting the way they do.
  49. Clouds Of Sils Maria is a great midlife crisis film, in other words, and, like Irma Vep, it’s also a great meta-commentary on contemporary moviemaking, with Assayas making keen observations about modern celebrity, screen-devouring blockbusters, Internet gossip culture, and the next generation of actresses, represented here by Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz.
  50. While virtually every shot looks like a work of art, much of the beauty of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints comes from Lowery’s refusal to choose sides.
  51. Wingard’s direction is a robust throwback to the VHS gorefests of yore, but with a distinctly more modern slickness and snap, and he knows how to play around with the audience.
  52. Between its distinctly modern intelligence and razor-sharp plotting, Anderson’s clever contraption matches the heights of Gothic grandeur that keep Poe held in esteem today.
  53. Morris’ film does everything it can to make Hawking’s thinking accessible to a wider audience, and reveal how A Brief History Of Time is as much its author’s story as it is the story of the universe.
  54. Like Blood Simple, Blue Ruin deals in crimes of passion, carried out by human beings who are flawed yet tragically relatable—one is about mopping up the blood, the other about the impossibility of stanching the flow.
  55. The strength of Eastwood’s Bridges is in its patience, and how it lets the love story develop from start to finish, even though the audience knows from the beginning the broad strokes of what’s going to happen.
  56. It isn’t a hopeful story, but it is a story of how committed people have fought and struggled to create the possibility for hope in the future.
  57. The film is essentially a war of attrition between emotion and pragmatism, the rare thriller fueled by stress rather than speed.
  58. As a piece of filmmaking, the documentary The Five Obstructions is nowhere near as artful as Leth’s films-within-the-film.
  59. Let The Fire Burn is a fascinating look at official overreaction, government overreach, and the corrupting effects of prejudice on powerful institutions.
  60. Much of the observational brilliance of Approaching The Elephant comes from how closely form relates to content: Out of chaos comes order, both at Teddy McArdle and in the film, which brings the personalities and conflicts into sharper focus as it goes along.
  61. Joe
    Joe’s brilliance doesn’t lie in its destination, but in the gripping, intense, surprisingly joyous and funny journey it takes to get there.
  62. Quietly, persuasively, Tokyo Waka asks whether cultures decline by pouring resources into propping up entities that can no longer support themselves.
  63. Night Moves is a film of deliberate, gnawing intensity and focus, built around a Jesse Eisenberg performance that doesn’t give much away, at least not easily.
  64. Song Of The Sea is a triumph of design and animation, populating lavishly detailed, patterned backdrops with characters so simplified that they could’ve been cut-and-pasted from a newspaper comic strip.
  65. As specific as the film is to Italy at the turn of the turbulent 1970s, it’s also a film about how power first corrupts, then makes mad those who possess it.
  66. While The Fault In Our Stars is more pastel watercolor than hard-edged drama, it’s still hugely warm and winning, thanks in large part to Boone’s unfussy, wistful direction.
  67. This Is Martin Bonner is a story of faith and redemption, but Hartigan casts aside the conventional wisdom that there must be a causal link between the two.
  68. [A] gripping, urgent, and often horrifying documentary.
  69. It’s not just bigger, it’s better, and it bodes well for the future of the series, if not necessarily of its unlucky protagonist.
  70. Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra’s documentary boasts an economical sleekness that’s in tune with the designers’ concepts.
  71. Melodrama is defined by exaggerated characters and events, as well as overt appeals to emotion, and Beyond The Lights fits that mold ably and comfortably. But beneath the shiny surface of music-video imagery and true-loveisms lie some provocative ideas and deep truths about how people relate on a private level vs. a public one.
  72. Spring’s overall balance suggests that Benson and Moorhead are students of Italian genre cinema and of human behavior; the film has insight and style to burn.
  73. The film is a poetic and lulling mediation on humanity as some kind of ancient alien race, which Reggio means to isolate and examine, as though he’s never encountered them before.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The dark, surreal animation unearths the personal side of the story: its nightmarish aspect and traumas. It elevates the film into a portrait of an unspeakable tragedy.
  74. JFK
    So is JFK a good movie? Actually, it’s a great movie that looks better with each passing year. Even aside from what it’s saying, and even with the many, many forced moments, JFK has a mad genius about it.
  75. The film pinballs from one setpiece to the next with almost no concern for plot, characters, pacing, or stakes. At times, laughing at all the jokes actually gets a little exhausting.
  76. Seidl has made an insightful film that’s more about the trials of a young woman’s coming of age than about being overweight.
  77. There’s a fair amount of Hollywood magic in the way director James Frawley and Henson’s Muppeteers stick Kermit and friends into scenarios in which he’s riding a bike, rowing a boat, and walking in cowboy boots. But the less showy effects always defined the Muppets.
  78. Il Futuro is a playful, soulful movie, affecting because it’s populated by lost children who can somehow sense they’re in a movie, and that in a movie, the only future is The End.
  79. The film is an appropriately dour and intense indictment of a law-enforcement community that did not value the lives of some victims enough to devote anything but the slimmest of resources to tracking their killer down.
  80. Director Bennett Miller and screenwriters E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman have thought through every scene and every line in Foxcatcher. Nothing is irrelevant. The film proceeds like a well-constructed argument.
  81. Viewers can walk away with something more precious than factoids: an emotional, aesthetically striking experience that cuts more deeply than words. And if they crave more information, that’s what the Internet is for.
  82. Narco Cultura makes it abundantly, forcefully clear that the illicit business of narcocorridos thrives on the illicit business of cartels—and business is still booming.
  83. While it’s corny by design, Hairspray also aims to get at something truthful, about the various kinds of prejudice weighing down the city circa 1963, and how youthful optimism and music made a difference, if only in the lives of those kids craving some kind of diverse, progressive community.
  84. A heartening but tempered portrait of the media’s ability to effect social change.
  85. For a film that clearly required a small army to make, it often feels thrillingly off-the-cuff, which keeps with The Lego Movie’s themes of creativity and weirdness: Nobody’s following an instruction book with this one.
  86. Director and co-writer Zack Parker (Scalene) combines a Hitchcockian penchant for disorientation with a Brian De Palma-esque formal bravado, and he’s made the rare film that’s impossible to peg all the way up to its final minutes—a truly unnerving study in multiple pathologies.
  87. For all the memorable dialogue and elegant camerawork (courtesy of Javier Aguirresarobe), it’s Blanchett’s movie, and her performance tells yet another story, that of a woman losing control.
  88. It would be enough for The Babadook to get by on scares alone—the eponymous spook is eminiently franchise-able—but Kent doesn’t give the audience that kind of distance. Her agenda is more personal.
  89. With its action taking place primarily in the beige-walled, wood-accented environs of legal offices and courthouses, The Case Against 8 compensates for its visual blandness with good old-fashioned storytelling.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The film works best when it focuses on the talking heads. Reuveny captures everyone’s initial reactions to the news and how their feelings change over time, uncomfortable silences and all. She knows exactly when to cut and when to pause, to let those moments of silence speak for the deceased, and let the pain of the past resonate within the frame.
  90. Something, Anything is the rare film that gently asks the big questions, then gives us space, and room.
  91. Burning Bush is a rare accomplishment. It’s a political film with clear heroes and villains, and true to its HBO roots, it works as a fleet-of-foot juicy plot-delivery system.
  92. While Drug War is ultimately more an exercise in craft than a movie with a lot on its mind, it’s a remarkably skillful exercise, and hardly devoid of ideas.
  93. What makes Furious 7 a serious contender for the title of Fast franchise highlight—challenged only by 2011’s Fast Five and its unmatched vault-heist sequence—is the way it embraces the series’ most basic pleasures while amplifying everything tenfold.
  94. The tedium of The Raid 2’s setup is offset by some of the most jaw-dropping, bone-crunching, flesh-ripping setpieces ever filmed.
  95. The Selfish Giant is a harsh movie, but it isn’t devoid of hope, because Barnard understands that everything has value—even if it can’t be realized until after an object’s been tossed out.
  96. The beginning of the film is purposefully surprising in many little ways, but the rest of the film is a gorgeously shot, heart-in-throat wait to see whether the payoff can dodge expectations nearly as well. The journey is more important than the destination, but Wladyka makes enough daring choices to make both worthwhile.
  97. With thoughtfulness and passion, von Trier strives to give his audience a high, accompanied by the meaning of the high.
  98. First Cousin Once Removed doesn’t come across as overly demeaning or exploitative, because Berliner himself is so kind to Honig in their meetings. But it’s hard to deny that Berliner is using Honig’s deteriorating condition as fodder for his art, just as it’s hard to deny that Berliner’s willingness to risk that criticism is what makes First Cousin Once Removed such a great film.

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