The Globe and Mail (Toronto)'s Scores

For 4,580 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 50% 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: 61
Highest review score: 100 Central Station
Lowest review score: 0 Georgia Rule
Score distribution:
4580 movie reviews
  1. Though Little Miss Sunshine is consistently contrived in its characters' too-cute misery, the conclusion, which is genuinely outrageous and uplifting, is almost worth the hype.
  2. An anthropological marvel and an animal-drive movie that belongs beside the classics of the genre - Red River and Lonesome Dove.
  3. Extracting big drama out of small events is Mike Leigh's forte, and with his latest little masterpiece, Another Year, the English director pushes himself to the extreme.
  4. In a well-paced two and a half hours, Berg's film is an ambitious mixture of summary and fresh investigation.
  5. More humdrum than horrible. It isn't futuristic film noir; it's just everyday film beige.
  6. Shakespeare would have delighted in the chapter, especially in the antagonist, but not at the expense of the longer and darker and still-unfinished book.
  7. Arabian Nights is a remarkable achievement, but also an erratic one.
  8. The crash, lethal in an eye-blink, was hard to watch when I saw it live on television, and it's not any easier here. The day was clear – no rain in sight.
  9. If you long for the bleak intelligence of an Ingmar Bergman film, where humankind is deeply flawed and God is indifferently silent and the landscape is cloaked in perpetual winter, then Beyond the Hills promises to be your cup of despair.
  10. Life is the collection of memories, and Campbell is losing them. But there is solace in the reality that you will not miss what you cannot recall.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Shinkai unleashes a twist early on so clever and cerebral that J.J. Abrams and Christopher Nolan will kick themselves for not thinking of it first. That twist turns things from a teen film to an adult film.
  11. For all that The Sessions does well, it offers some telling deviations from the real story.
  12. Parents of young children should be warned: Here's a family-values film that won't be much fun for the whole family.
  13. In God's ghetto, as in so many of the world's forsaken places, warring armies of infants brandish their weapons of self-destruction, while politicians bluster and inspectors sleep.
  14. Occasionally, Rees's script seems to mimic Alike's poetry, and fall into its own slough of earnestness, as the stages of the girl's dawning enlightenment get dutifully ticked off like stations of the cross.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Even the worst homophobes are viewed as simply potholes on the highway to enlightenment, and Maggie herself appears on TV only long enough to get the channel changed.
  15. Precious is a bit like having a piano dropped on your head: messy but memorable.
  16. Throughout the film, Cheadle's eyes are constantly scanning his environment for opportunities or anything that may be amiss.
  17. Succeeds because the subject knows she's a showbiz monster and plays her role to the hilt. She's Norma Desmond in "Sunset Blvd." or "Mommie Dearest's" Joan Crawford up from the grave.
  18. Altman shakes the camera like a two-bit horror director, and it seems a different sort of signature - less masterful than weary, less signed than resigned. Zero-sum, indeed.
  19. The Fly is a mass-market, horror- film masterpiece that is also a work of art; it is the very movie the timorous feared "Aliens" would be - a gruesome, disturbing, fundamentally uncompromising shocker that accesses the subconscious. [15 Aug 1986]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
  20. It's a film of vigorous performances and provocative modern resonances, though it sometimes struggles to grapple with a grim, politically ambiguous, 400-year-old play.
  21. Like that camel-hair coat Abel wears, A Most Violent Year is classy and commands respect, but a stronger pulse under the lapels would make us care much more.
  22. Here’s another word for Gone Girl: “meta.” It’s a word Flynn uses, which means it’s a thriller about thrillers, and a narrative about narratives, especially the form of domestic violence relished by current-affairs television shows.
  23. Like a Chinese Balzac, Jia expertly balances the micro and the macro, the onrush of the new and the tug of tradition here, blanketing the proceedings with a pall of melancholy as palpable as the smog over Beijing.
  24. A mature biopic as entertaining as it is timely.
  25. The pitch on Dear White People is that it’s “Do the Right Thing for the Obama generation,” which is both an oversell and a disservice to Justin Simien’s witty satire about race relations on a fictional Ivy League campus.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    It's like watching a man trying to scratch an itch by eating an egg. It doesn't address the problem. It's also the sort of thing that Europeans love to think about America -- everybody looking, nobody finding -- and it might explain why this decent, but by no means great, film won the Grand Prix at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.
  26. Mainly the director’s decision to eschew the pulpit in favour of the parishioners pays off handsomely, creating an unaffected yet touching account of this civil-rights victory.
  27. For all that Silence is a gorgeous film filled with imagery that is sometimes startling and often compelling, the director sadly fails in a passion project decades in the making: This is a long and dull costume drama that seems to think a contemporary audience can picture faith as easily as it does a cassock, cross or kimono.
  28. Without Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long would be a watchable but hardly a memorable movie. With her, it's both - she so fully inhabits the character that everyone and everything around her are simply enhanced.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The hook of The Crash Reel is that it’s about the rivalry between two famous American snowboarders, but in reality, Lucy Walker’s slickly produced documentary is about one man’s ongoing battle with himself – on and off the slopes.
  29. Eastwood keeps retracing the same pattern, intercutting from the battlefield to the bond circuit, from the appalling chaos where no one feels heroic to the catered dinners where heroism is the dessert that sweetens the mood and opens the chequebooks. By now, though, the twinned structure seems fragmented, and neither half gets a chance to gather any emotional momentum or to further develop the theme.
  30. The result is good dirty fun, flecked with enough wit to help you overlook the relatively barren characterization.
  31. A seriously black comedy. Black, because affliction and angst abound. Comic, because this rampant bleakness is presented as nothing more than an amusing bauble.
  32. In lesser hands, all this might border on misanthropy. But Jaoui's direction, plus the note-perfect cast, manage two redeeming feats:
  33. The picture makes too many concessions to the Hollywood judges, pulls too many punches. But at least it has real punches to pull, because there's honest sweat here too, and a full complement of those archetypes that lie at the popular heart of the genre.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    At its most heightened state of geek arousal, Frank Pavich’s Jodorowsky’s Dune imagines an alternate pop-cultural universe where an unmade movie changed everything.
  34. The night scenes are particularly resonant, mixing humour, suspense and textured visuals. This is the kind of film dream from which you feel reluctant to wake.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    The actor - like everyone else in this tedious yet affecting film - rises well above his soft-headed, solipsistic material, turning in a performance of nuanced delicacy.
  35. It’s a delightfully cruel work of high tension, perfect in just how quickly and easily it gets under your skin.
  36. Cynical, hip, politically opportunistic and loaded with kick-ass comic action.
  37. Too busy to be boring or deeply engaging, Tarzan is an efficient Disney treatment of a time-tested story. The results aren't bad, just not quite worth a chest-pounding victory yell.
  38. The result is a rare treat, a revival of a period piece that doesn't descend into mere quaintness or prettiness, and that manages to capture the spirit of an earlier time without sacrificing the perspective of our own.
  39. More illuminating than not.
  40. Much of what happens in Silent Light can feel painstakingly mundane: milking cows, harvesting wheat, a long drive at night in and out of shadows. Yet throughout, there's a sense of something ominous impending, and while it remains gentle, the ending is genuinely startling.
  41. Only Lovers is so fluidly edited and thinly plotted that it feels almost off-hand; yet, it’s also made with great care, beautifully lit and set-designed to an eyelash.
  42. If this doc is sometimes elegiac in tone, there is nothing mournful about it. Dorfman is too much the odd-ball optimist, telling funny anecdotes – a lifelong friendship with poet Allen Ginsberg began when she was a young publishing-house secretary and he asked for some mysterious thing called “the can” – and tossing off provocative insights into the nature of photography and life.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A pitch-perfect comedy.
  43. Terms of Endearment is the rare commercial picture that sets audiences to laughing hysterically and crying unashamedly, sometimes within consecutive seconds, and then shoos them out of the theatre in contented emotional exhaustion. [23 Nov 1983]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Good news – it’s incredible. It sets the standard for blockbuster action movies, and manages to be even better than its predecessor.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    De Palma's visual acuity tends to blur into mere gimmickry without the benefit of a resonant script. He got one in Carrie and another in Blow Out. Here, Mamet makes do with a text that is always shrewd but never intelligent. Still, when shwrewdness meets style, smoothing the curves and polishing the twists, the ride becomes a bonafide crowd-pleaser. The Untouchables is the cheering people's happy choice. [4 June 1987]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
  44. A tormented and tormenting man uses violence to break the historic chain of violence, then bequeaths to his loved ones the most precious gift he can give -- his total silence and perpetual absence.
  45. Beneath the polished surface, Dead Poets Society is moribund at the core - too pat, too safe and too hypocritical, as conformist as the conformity it so easily decries.
  46. As he did with "Once," Carney with the somewhat autobiographical Sing Street mixes hardscrabble realism with highly charged romanticism, filmed on a low budget with mostly unknown talent.
  47. It’s bold, captivating cinema, with a soundtrack that threatens to never leave your head.
  48. Every once in a long while, the right director comes across the right project at just the right moment, and things so often discordant fall into perfect harmony.
  49. Less satisfying are the moments when the film concedes to American horror conventions, especially the scuttling vampire effects, which pull us out of the haunted world of these lovely damaged creatures into a place that, while not of this world, feels entirely too familiar.
  50. In Fences, every time a character opens their mouth is an opportunity to savour the playwright’s impeccable ear for language – for capturing the joys and frustrations that come when someone simply tries to say something – anything – about the daily struggle that is life. It’s as much workaday poetry as it is dialogue and Washington knows better than to dilute it or make it his own.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Equally enrapturing are the birders themselves, including the writers Jonathan Franzen and Jonathan Rosen – contemplatively articulate in all their geeky birding glory – and especially Starr Saphir, who leads birding tours through Central Park.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The reason for the city’s proliferation of cats comes late in the film, and it’s delivered as quickly as the rest of the doc’s information: long story short, the cats arrived on ships, figured their journey was over and never returned to port.
  51. Free Willy (for some strange reason, that tiny imperative just gives me the giggles) is a family picture that stays safely within the haven of a cozy formula, yet does a whole lot of inventive work in the process.
  52. Mother symbolically doubles as Mother Korea, devoted to her land. But is she blindly and uncritically devoted, too quick to forgive and forget sins that should be redressed, to treat any flaws in the national character as simply intrinsic to the country's nature?
  53. Despite a superb cast and a fabulous look, the picture collapses under the weight of its lofty pretensions, especially in the black hole of the last act, where it topples into near-absurdity.
  54. A pleasing fix, Searching for Sugar Man is a lost-and-found film about pursuits – one of them abandoned, and one not.
  55. Audaciously whacked-out and never less than entertaining, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan mixes a backstage dance drama with a Freudian psychological thriller that's indebted to Roman Polanski's studies of shattered feminine psyches and David Cronenberg's movies about repressed bodies in rebellion.
  56. The wildly ambitious but flawed biographical film about the English cellist Jacqueline du Pré.
  57. Tense car chases, action scenes handled with crisp panache and Canadian actor Ryan Gosling channelling Steve McQueen as an existential wheel man add up to make Drive one of the best arty-action films since Steven Soderbergh's "The Limey."
  58. And therein lies the difficulty of adapting Indignation for the screen; remove Roth’s prose from the equation and you don’t have much left. Writer and director James Schamus turns Indignation into a minor period piece, a precise but seemingly pointless evocation of the stultifying conventionalism of an American university campus in the 1950s.
  59. At two hours and 43 minutes, Eastwood's Bird is a hypnotic, darkly photographed, loosely constructed marvel that avoids every cliche of the self-destructive-celebrity biography, a particularly remarkable achievement in that Parker played out every cliche of the self- destructive-celebrity life. [14 Oct 1988, p. C1]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
  60. Hawking is as much a phenomenon as the phenomena he explores. Knowing that, A Brief History Of Time has the deceptive simplicity of an elegant equation - it merely sets up the parallels and permits us to wonder, gazing upon the heavens above and the mysteries within. [28 Aug 1992]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
  61. Enough Said confirms filmmaker Nicole Holofcener’s status as one of America’s best stealth satirists.
  62. Only occasionally does Fresnadillo rise above the mundane, but, to his credit, the exceptions are worth savouring.
  63. The result is a good movie that falls short of greatness by aping too well the behaviour of its subject – occasionally brilliant, sometimes mundane.
  64. Amir Bar-Lev’s excellent, definitive film on the Haight-Ashbury acid-testers is long – four fly-by hours – but there are very few wasted moments.
  65. This is a human-sized drama about people with contradictory motives, trying to help or use each other.
  66. Violent and sexy and funny and sad, Head-On is a big collision that doubles as a bizarre love story.
  67. Comes alive with the more relaxed performances from its senior set.
  68. Though the progress of Atim's increasing empathy is predictable, the film understates its points effectively, without simplification.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Woody Allen’s first Stateside production in nearly a decade is a sharply observed, post-economic crash comedy-drama that boasts a formidable performance by Cate Blanchett and addresses such pertinent real-world concerns as class, gender and corporate criminality in urban America.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The Innocents is a powerful, brave film that will stay with you for days.
  69. Like a lot of well-staged parties, though, the affair peaks shortly after the introductions, and then devolves into intrigues, fights and mayhem.
  70. The characters are entertainingly contradictory, though in a somewhat predictable way: Nice people aren’t honest, and honest people aren’t nice.
  71. De Bont knows how to edit a pulse-pounding sequence, he knows how to keep the screen white-hot, and he sure knows how to blow things up real good. What he doesn't know is how to slow down - this premise is perfect for him.
  72. Rather than another oppressive film about poverty, it's a revealing experiment in perspective.
  73. Scored intensely and photographed vividly, the electric film imagines a small slice of doomsday with horrific believability.
  74. What's wrong with The Color Purple - and nothing that's wrong with it keeps it from being a joy to watch - is what you'd expect of Spielberg: he chews on Alice Walker's hard edges until they're gummy. [21 Dec 1985]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
  75. Both a moving first-person essay and an artful exercise in political advocacy, 5 Broken Cameras is about the experience of West Bank protests from the inside.
  76. Reservoir Dogs sizzles - it's dynamite on a short fuse, and you watch it with mesmerized fascination, simultaneously attracted and repelled by the explosion you know will come.
  77. By its third act, Okwe has found his solution and Dirty Pretty Things comes across as both clever but a little pat, another British drama about the misfits who pool their resources to defy the oppressive system, though it does not precisely leave a warm glow.
  78. Like no other war movie you've ever seen.
  79. The value of Amandla! is that the film helps the rest of the world understand, both with our ears and minds, where South Africans have come from.
  80. No film this year has offered quite the cerebral tickle, weird invention and slaphappy gusto.
  81. This low-budget horror film, sophisticated far beyond its budget, is the work of John Carpenter, an authentic prodigy whose style recalls both Martin Scorsese and the Brian De Palma of "Carrie," but who has a metaphysical, sophomoric sense of humor both of those directors lack.
  82. Ultimately this political film’s sentimentality and transparency detract from its power.
  83. In a better entertainment world, Owe would have won a special Buster Keaton Great Stoneface award at last year's Academy Awards.
  84. All this is initially fascinating, and then progressively less so. The problem is the usual serial-killer issue – things, no matter how weird and kinky, get repetitive.
  85. A conventional mixture of thriller and moral drama, the film is unsettling in both intentional and unintentional ways.
  86. The phrase in the title "wanted and desired" is offered by a producer friend of Polanski's who describes him as "wanted" in the United States, but "desired" in Europe, where sexual behaviour is treated more honestly and artists' dark sides are celebrated.
  87. At two hours, After the Wedding stretches out family flux too thinly and waits too long to reveal the final, devastating secret that we already know.

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