The New Republic's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 466 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 39% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 59% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Since Otar Left
Lowest review score: 0 Hulk
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 45 out of 466
466 movie reviews
  1. Aesop endowed animals with human traits to teach us lessons. Seabiscuit almost does the reverse. By means of Ross's adroit shooting and editing, we ourselves pound bravely along the track.
  2. Even though no reasonably well-informed viewer will learn much factual information from the picture, it grips; it even torments, because it lets us move and breathe and shiver and resolve with two particular young men.
  3. It is the central performance that holds us. Cillian Murphy glows.
  4. The film leaves the viewer with an increased sense of Shepard's exceptional being and talent--a prime playwright of his time who, if he had so chosen, could also have been one of its leading film stars.
  5. Moncrieff's insistence on her subject suggests conviction -- about her contribution and about her cast. Both beliefs are pretty much justified.
  6. Smith makes it crackle, with various aggressive honesties and wit. [May 5, 1997}
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  7. Australian "Westerns" occur. An exceptional one is The Tracker, which has the shape of an offbeat American Western and seems at first a sort of Down Under copy. But it develops characters and relationships that are indigenous.
  8. Both these stories, which of course develop further, are more engaging than they may sound, because Desplechin directs them so intelligently and because they are so well acted.
  9. Obviously the variety that was bound to result was part of Brigand's plan. The astonishment is that almost all of the assemblage is fascinating, very little is poor, and one segment is superb.
  10. Bier directs with a sense of motion, pleasant without pushing. Mads Mikkelsen, who plays Jacob, is an actor who absolutely belongs on the screen, a gentler sort of Jack Palance.
  11. Like some wines, The Best of Youth travels well. From its earliest moments the film is intelligently seen.
  12. There is not much progress in the film: actions are repeated and repeated...Yet the film is sustained--and, for the most part, well sustained--by the children.
  13. The overall effect is of a young director treating some old problems with the cinematic lexicon of his time. So he is able to create warmth without slush.
  14. Hanson's rendition is so engulfing that, for this middle-class white man at any rate, the moment after the film finished was like a return to familiar country.
  15. The most enchanting point about cinematographer Eduardo Serra work here is that he hasn't put Vermeer's painting into the film; he has put the film into Vermeer.
  16. As directors, Harari and De Pelegri have just the right light-fingered glissando touch. Not a moment sags. Their cast relishes and fulfills the tempo.
  17. Mamet's real triumph, however, is in his directing. Like every good director, he has "seen" the picture before he made it; and he saw it as a piece with the intimacy and physicality of a play that nonetheless flowed like cinema.
  18. Like an old-fashioned theater program, it tells you early on who and what each of its characters is--and so they prove to be, enjoyably. [10 Apr 1995 Pg.30]
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  19. But conventional though the patterns are, the dialogue, in black and Latino lingo, is topically hot and is heated further by contemporary street naturalism, which in fact is less "natural" than consciously theatrical; so the familiarity of the story is disguised by the crackle of the production. [16 May 1988]
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  20. As Blank, Cusack is both proud and remorseful. And the amazing thing is that as usual, you believe him. [Oct 10, 1997]
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  21. The segments are so cleverly arranged--Apted includes past pictorial references for each of the people we revisit--that now there is something almost mystical involved. It is as if a wizard were giving us an overview of forty-two years that mortals were possibly not meant to see.
  22. The daring achievement of Jarhead is that it is not a film about war, about combat: it is about being a soldier.
  23. Whatever the news-linked reasons for its revival, Pontecorvo's film is wonderfully worth seeing, or re-seeing, for its own sake.
  24. Sitting in front of Tristram Shandy for an hour and a half lets us enjoy the fact that, smooth though its making is, the picture is winking at us.
  25. Whatever the virtues of The Queen--and it certainly has them--it simply would not exist without Mirren.
  26. The film is old-fashioned because it exists. No one, to use an ever-dubious line, makes films like this anymore.
  27. This is the fourth film directed and at least co-written by Beauvois. (He has acted in a number of pictures, including a previous one of his own, and he is in Le Petit Lieutenant for a while.) He is a clean and sure director, with a good selective eye: he knows where we ought to be looking at any moment. We can hope for more Beauvois films with worlds of their own.
  28. This French pastry, directed by Danièle Thompson, who wrote it with her son Christopher, is a meet-cute comedy in excelsis. Or very near excelsis.
  29. An engrossing documentary.
  30. Much of the action is laugh-provoking, and even the plentiful violence is handled as comic by-play. The cast is revved up to sizzle, with Sting in a smallish role, and the thick cockney dialogue is more comprehensible than you might think.
  31. Chabrol insured the power of this dangerously difficult film with perfect casting. The two lovers are so well acted that their story--and its finish--are incredibly convincing.
  32. Moreau's face is the base and the beauty of the film.
  33. Murray, more often than not, is pretty unbearable; but here, playing a man who is unbearable, Murray begins convincingly, amusingly, and gets even more amusing as he metamorphoses. [15 Mar 1993, p.24]
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  34. Grant does have charm, wit and intelligence, displayed through subtlety of inflection, timing and an ability to convey unspoken thoughts between utterances. That's quite a good deal. [April 4, 1994]
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  35. Folke and Isak have nowhere near the dimensions of the pair in "Waiting for Godot" or in "Endgame," but on his level, Hamer follows Beckett's belief that, especially in an odd situation, two can make a multitude.
  36. Extraordinary--vivid, stripped, intense.
  37. Cunningham's novel was helped by his prose, which curves gracefully in the historical present to unify the book in some degree. Stripped of that tegument, the film depends more blatantly on Woolf's fate to give it organism and depth.
  38. The chief reason that we feel generous toward the film is Bullock herself. She tickles. All the others are good, especially Pullman and Gallagher, but she's the one we want to spend time with. [22 May 1995, Pg.28]
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  39. The Coen brothers wrote McDormand’s role best. Much of the time they seem to have had “Pulp Fiction” in their ears--strings of incongruous banalities; but with this pregnant cop, they struck some gold of their own. [March 25, 1996]
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  40. So the monstrous twentieth century recedes into libraries; and so a small cog in the mechanism of that monstrosity bequeaths us her memory of it in a quiet, measured way.
  41. The film's ultimate flaw is in its futility. It cannot really prod us to any effect. What can we do about such situations? Many, many documentaries and fictional films expose injustices or inequities that can be addressed.
  42. The film was directed by John Curran who here does fine, close, and intimate "chamber" work. The cinematography by Maryse Alberti is of the most desirable kind: it creates mood and drama without ever being ostentatious about it. But it is the acting that truly realizes the film.
  43. The plot that follows, including the wretched young woman who lost the house, is of interest only insofar as Kingsley supports the structure with a powerful man.
  44. Sissako makes his point: Africa's best treasure is its humanity.
  45. It's not the most violent picture ever; what film could aspire to that title? But it's so well made, the violence is so gratuitous, and the general reception has been so delighted, that attention must be paid. [23 Nov 1992]
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  46. Welcome to Yoji Yamada. After decades of comedies, he arrives--in this country, at least--with a uniquely touching samurai film. At the age of seventy-three, he starts a new career.
  47. Two aspects stand out. Clint Eastwood is not the first person we might think of to direct a film of leisurely pace, concerned with ghosts and a transvestite...Then there's Kevin Spacey, who grows before our eyes. [29 December 1997, p. 28]
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  48. Weitz's dialogue has sparkle and snap.
  49. Like Ceylan--like many a fine director--Coixet has made her film less as a drama than as the traversal of a state of mind, a mood.
  50. The film, directed almost with fierceness by Kevin Macdonald, is a wondrous recreation of that physical adventure. The most profound element, the moral crux, is skimped, but I kept wondering, not so much about the actors who were playing Simpson and Yates, as about the cameramen who were photographing them on that icy face, possibly suspended while they were doing it.
  51. Fiennes has imagined and created from within. His Luther is not the thunderer we might expect, but he is, wondrously, the incarnation of a man passionate for God and angry with mundane intercessions.
  52. A prime candidate for a time capsule, to disclose a century hence the current state of some of our civilization's discontents, including the ability to be convinced that one is telling the truth even when one is lying.
  53. The film is remarkable for something besides its visual immersion in gold. The director, Gabriele Salvatores, has added his name to the roster of film-makers who have drawn remarkable acting from children.
  54. Holofcener's new film is extraordinary: it engages us from beginning to end without strong narrative, or narratives. It lives through the quality of Holofcener's dialogue and the performances that she has drawn from her actors.
  55. It lets us glimpse once again the stubborn, if slender, persistence of the humane.
  56. It is his best and most courageous work to date. [13 Nov 1989, p. 22]
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  57. Whatever the outcome of all this hugger-mugger, as yet unresolved, Stolen gives us hints about a special sort of muscle.
  58. It has long been clear that Shepard is a rare double talent. He has flourished, rightly, as a playwright, and he is also a compelling film actor. His face does more for the reality of this picture than anything he wrote in the script.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Hopkins uncannily projects Adams's suppressed agonies as well as his querulousness, his zest for scholarship as well as his zest for political intrigue, his pragmatism as well as his idealism. [22 Dec 1997, p. 25]
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  59. But the best of the story is that there isn't much--as such. A slice of living is put before us. Some things happen. That's all.
  60. The son has served the father well, though he faced an odd difficulty: the architect's life was so unusual that his son's understandable absorption with it steals a bit of time from his treatment of the work.
  61. One aspect certainly is remarkable. The dialogue is, at least to an American ear, authentic. Allen doesn't mention any aid on the script, so we are to assume that he wrote it himself.
  62. At the last, My Mother's Smile conveys that, if Bellocchio is just doggedly hanging on to a career, he is still able to make us feel nostalgia for those high Italian days.
  63. The fact that Pitt and Jolie have not been associated with this type of action is something of a help, but what was needed was the off-balance tickle that--to fantasize--Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell would have given it.
  64. The result is a picture that, moving through political and social chaos, is stubbornly amusing.
  65. Harron's work here is unclear in its theme or purpose. Was she showing how a woman managed to find a woman's way to success in a man's world? Was Harron interested in Page's delusion about what she was doing? Or did she want to scoff implicitly at the customers who made Page's career possible? We are left wondering.
  66. Crowe is, in his unique way, astonishing. Even at his biggest moments he seems both convincing and somewhat reticent.
  67. To play for an audience of one that is only a few feet away is different in concentration and shade from playing in the theater, and Madden, though the script lags a bit, has nonetheless helped his actors to render what were once theater scenes as film sequences.
  68. What fascinates is, first, that these comics treat the joke the way jazz musicians might treat a theme that each of them plays differently; and, second, that the passage of this joke from one comic to another is like the bonding of a profession.
  69. Embedded here in a culture of formalities, with some of the arcs and gestures of that culture, it almost becomes an opera of its own.
  70. Precisely the point of films in this genre is to provide pleasant predictability. We collaborate, in a way: we chuckle silently as, so to speak, we make the film ourselves.
  71. Demme's pacing is tight throughout, marred only by some low-angle close-ups of the cannibal that are right out of old Vincent Price thrillers. [Feb 18, 1991]
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  72. What Radford has retained of the original, he treats warmly and intelligently, and with a few welcome surprises in the acting. But he has produced a different work, moderately successful in itself, out of materials provided by Shakespeare.
  73. It is echt Maugham, in its somehow flattering cynicism, its character crinkles, its perceptions that sting even though they don't go very deep.
  74. Andy Garcia, who first became noticeable in The Untouchables, has seductive strength, homicidal cool. One reason to look forward to Part IV is that he'll fill the center better than Pacino does. [21 Jan 1991, p.26]
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  75. This picture is an odd misadventure: a gigantic enterprise that, despite some quite exceptional filming, is thwarted by its two leading actors.
  76. Here is a film that carries within itself not only the parody but the very material it exploits and subverts. [05 Sept 1994 Pg. 34]
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  77. Sophie Scholl is not as devastatingly moving as "The White Rose," but it, too, evokes awe in lesser beings.
  78. Tsai's film is not free of longueurs, but like much modern work in almost every field, these stretches are deliberate assaults on conventional expectation.
  79. As the picture winds on, the feeling grows that Saleem, who clearly knows these people, wants to show that their mode of life in this stark setting has, in a gentle way, a touch of the ridiculous.
  80. Not many of us, I think, would want to see many films made this way, possibly not one more, but this one is an intriguing glance at the director-as-god, deigning to treat human frailty with imperial sway, assuming that his art justifies this slender material.
  81. The picture has enough good feeling and chuckle to take it out of the parochial.
  82. In the leading role Michael Pitt is neither good nor less than good. He simply mopes along druggedly for the film's ninety-seven minutes. Van Sant's inculcation of this non-performance is clearly part of his dogged negativism, his intent to purge his film.
  83. But the contrast between setting and story isn't all that bars North Country from fulfillment. The major trouble is Theron. She plays Josey as well as is needed, but she is simply too beautiful.
  84. Jaoui directs with flow and affection, and she plays Sylvia sensitively. Bacri has the right middle-aged assortment of humors.
  85. When a spectacular film rests on at least a minimal armature of character and cogent action, as Troy does, we can just sink back and enjoy. What we enjoy is the sovereignty over time and place and the force of gravity that film has given to the world.
  86. Russell wants us to feel the itch of familiarity: it's part of his tonal plan. And he survives this structural hazard because he casts all the roles so well and gives his actors dialogue as fresh as the familiar situations would permit. [01 Aug 1994 Pg. 28]
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  87. The most important aspect of the stories about all five characters is the way they are told. Attal and his editor Jennifer Augé have found an attractive playful style: they never let the stories rest, almost juggling them, and keep them gamboling before us.
  88. The real success of Duncan Tucker, who wrote and directed this debut feature, is that, through credible dialogue and sensitive performances, the basic idea overcomes its cleverness and is affecting.
  89. The screenplay of Saraband feels concocted, not absorbed from life in sense and soul like so much of Bergman's work.
  90. To see the flight captain and co-pilot checking the plane before takeoff, to watch the varied passengers settling into their seats, is more agonizing than watching passengers board the ship in all those "Titanic" films. With United 93 we see these people unknowingly stepping into a history that is still in terrible process. But as a work in (let's call it) the Akhmatova mode, it does not and could not succeed.
  91. Softley worries a bit, quite unnecessarily, about keeping our interest; so he lays in a number of overhead shots and considerable zooming at the start of sequences. But his work with his cast is sure, except for the miscast Elliott, and he generates the right internal heat between the lovers.
  92. Like many other Iranian films, Blackboards counters the generally broadcast ideas about this part of the world. It is a testament of quiet endurance, of common concern, of reconciled survival.
  93. The chief pleasure in the picture (set in Los Angeles) is in watching Hopkins spin off another of his nutty self-possessed intellectual criminals--this time it's Hannibal Lecter lite.
  94. The film is in one sense lifelike: in order to get the good, we have to endure the lesser.
  95. The finish is so asymmetrical that it, too, seems a comment on the kind of film this might once have been.
  96. Stone has concentrated on one of the catastrophe's stories and has fashioned it well--with almost palpable physical detail, and with performances that never sink to exploitation.
  97. At least we know this Allen persona, whatever his current name; the other characters, starting from scratch, don't get much past scratch. Although the picture spreads its attention fairly evenly among them, most of them end up as supporting cast because they are only life-size puppets. [Feb 10, 1986]
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  98. Tornatore has learned much from Fellini--especially in the long shots where someone suddenly appears close up. Let's hope he moves on to his own style. Meanwhile, he has given us a nice bask in Sicilian warmth. [Feb. 19, 1990]
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  99. Entertaining though The Hoax is, the film that I imagined before I saw it was better.

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