The New Republic's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 458 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 39% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 58% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Osama
Lowest review score: 0 Hulk
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 44 out of 458
458 movie reviews
  1. The result is not a quilt, just a succession of story snippets that keep interrupting one another.
  2. Flies into the improbable at its big moments. [17 Mar 1997, p. 28]
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  3. The gem in this rag pile is Cameron Diaz as Mary: quick, witty, pretty, warm. There is something about Mary. [17 Aug 1998]
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  4. The story is multiplex and unclear.
  5. Though there is plenty of action, particularly at the start and at the end with two blasting sea battles, much of the film is not sufficiently interesting.
  6. More amusing than exciting. [19 June 1989, p.28]
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  7. Little more than the distended first half of a twisty, dark "Law & Order" script.
  8. Many sequences, many moments, are turned skillfully, and the look of the film is much of the time breathtaking. Yet, for its entire two hours and fifteen minutes, we merely watch it. It is there. We are here, regrettably objective.
  9. Mondovino is repetitious. The version that is being shown here runs 131 minutes and would be more effective with about twenty minutes of condensation.
  10. The picture is so suavely made that we don't feel disappointed until it is over: what chiefly holds us is the quality of the acting.
  11. What keeps us watching? Chiefly it is Edward Norton's performance as Harlan. It is hard to doubt his belief in everything he says, no matter how silly or dangerous it sounds.
  12. At least we have the chance to see Sharif again, with our memory of the sun behind him, even though this film is not much more than a sweetmeat--Turkish delight.
  13. Sternfeld not only deals empathically with his cast, he seems to know that his screenplay is not very novel or stirring; nonetheless, he wants to present these human beings in their skins, so to speak.
  14. Well-photographed and adequately directed and acted, Iron Island is (painless) propaganda, informing us about domestic peace and goodwill. And this film, too, leaves us with a question: why does the currently aggressive Iran want the world, especially our chunk of it, to see what it is "really" like?
  15. None of the actors completely satisfies.
  16. The results make poor old King Kong look like something from a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Such is progress. [12 July 1993, p.26]
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  17. The two leading actors in The Upside of Anger are so good that their performances, even more than the story they are in, keep us interested.
  18. I hazard the guess that quite small children--pre-science fiction, pre-heroics--will enjoy its fairy-tale quality.
  19. This same film, shot for shot, line for line, could have been much more solid and engrossing, much farther up the Parnassian slope, with a better actor as Hughes.
  20. A pretty good thriller for the first forty minutes or so. [25 Aug 1997, p. 24]
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  21. All the actors caught me up so warmly that I stopped feeling guilty about liking this corny picture. [28 April 1997, p.30]
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  22. The overall effect of the film is melancholy: it seems desperate for the past.
  23. Holofcener, who studied film at Columbia and has directed shorts, gets some sprightliness into her writing but not much difference in characterization between the two women. [12 Aug 1996, Pg.26]
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  24. Eastwood has never seemed less the persona he has built through the decades, the calm yet commanding center of a storm.
  25. Haggis has made a safe picture. It is familiar enough that it slips easily into our film-watching faculty without any fuss, yet his handling of it--his muscular belief in what he is doing--makes us hope that his next screenplay will be a bit less safe.
  26. May Ozon and Rampling do more at the level of this film's first hour. Or maybe they could amputate the last part of Swimming Pool and finish the film as it deserves.
  27. Throughout we keep waiting for the real Almodóvar film, and it never arrives.
  28. The film's title ought to be When We Were King's Pawns. Don King maximized the media circus aspects from the start, as the razzle-dazzle directing of Leon Gast, helped in the editing by Taylor Hackford and others, makes electrically clear.
  29. The film's trouble is in what happens in each section: not enough. Once the atmosphere of each period is established, the story is too weak to interest--and the characterizations are too thin to compensate.
  30. Maggie Cheung, who was in Assayas's Irma Vep, plays Emily with a semi-detached feeling--observing the role as much as portraying it. The chief pleasure in the picture is Nick Nolte's performance as the boy's paternal grandfather.
  31. Bonham Carter is like an undergraduate in a university production who seems rather good considering that her performance is only an intelligent diversion while she prepares herself for a career in another field. [24 Mar 1986]
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  32. I cannot remember a moment in this new film that compares, simply in directorial originality, to the work in "Schindler's List."
  33. Why, then, is the picture chilling? Because it is a calm reminder of an inevitability. The sight of long lines of young women doing tiny bits of attachment work or packing hour after hour, day after day, is saddening.
  34. The Hughes brothers' directing compensates a good bit for the story's predictability. [5 July 1993, p.26]
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  35. We are left finally with a double response: it is hard to know exactly why the film was made, what its emotional and thematic point is, yet we are glad it happened because of Harris's performance.
  36. The film might be called a moral travelogue. Instead of showing us mosques and tourist spots in beguiling old Istanbul, it follows a couple of ordinary Turkish men in drab surroundings and affirms that they breathe the same doubt-laden air as much of the rest of the world.
  37. If we can watch this picture at all, it is because this universally admired person (Eastwood) is in it.
  38. The flaw that separates Scorsese's film into its components is its lack of a crystallized theme.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    A potentially stifling ambience is deflected by quiet suspense and the awe-inspiring compositions of the cinematographer, Clay Liford. Decaying rustic interiors evoke Andrew Wyeth still lifes; pastoral long shots suggest a Southwestern walkabout. And Mr. Lowery seems ready for a bigger canvas.
  39. The real pleasure is in having a film that is like a box of assorted chocolates: you have the power to approve or not as you move through the variety, even though the bits are picked for you.
  40. He has had a notable career, and I wish there had been more specifics about it in the film.
  41. To Van Sant's credit, let's note that he has evoked more lightness and variety from Kidman, more scrimshaw gesture and inflection than I thought she could muster. [23 Oct 1995]
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  42. Eloy de la Iglesia, who directed Bulgarian Lovers, has a light and witty touch, reminiscent of his countryman Pedro Almodóvar...But he needed a better screenplay.
  43. What matters much more than the story or the Spicy Stuff is the dancing, the show-biz dancing. It's electric. Exciting. And there's lots of it. [23 Oct 1995]
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  44. The film is merely a succession of odd events. But those events are interesting, and the texture of the village's life is full-fashioned.
  45. The pace is fairly hectic, which it needs to be. (Mustn't linger on bubbles.) The performances are warm, especially the tender Judith Godrèche as the doctor's wife.
  46. It is kept listenable--and watchable--because Bourdieu uses his knowledge of these people with winning ease. The story's conclusion verges on the grim, and it underscores Bourdieu's presumable theme: student life and talk are the last real vacations in many lives.
  47. None of the people in the film is realized as a character: Cronenberg has no interest in character. Each person is given a dab of characteristics and is then sent off to copulate. [21Apr1997 Pg 26]
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  48. The five episodes in Broken Flowers are good enough to make us expect that the picture has a theme, but it hasn't.
  49. Schreiber's directing is ambitious, but it is nowhere near the originality and truth in his acting. Throughout the film we can feel him striving to control, to invent, to glisten.
  50. The war is not scanted: the devastation and butchery are there. But the screenplay by Frank Cottell Boyce, based on a non-fiction account by Michael Nicholson, is thin, sentimental. [29Dec1997 Pg. 28]
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  51. Mamet's understanding of the essentials here and his skill in supplying them are not major achievements for him, but it would be wasteful not to recognize them. Spartan is another feather, though a small one, in his cap.
  52. It is easy to point out gaps in Noujaim's account. (What, for instance, about the rebuilding that tries to go forward in Iraq?) But the prime importance of this film, I'd say, is that it is not an eye-opener. Of course this change in reporting, this bilateralism, has occurred so far only in wars where the U.S. was the overwhelming superior in force.
  53. As in all fiercely realistic thrillers, the action becomes less and less credible as it speeds on. But, as with some such thrillers, we tolerate the incredible as the price of the pulse-quickening.
  54. We may indeed yawn a bit from time to time, but we know that we are yawning in the presence of a director who is intelligently disturbed by the moral inertia he sees around him and whose future is worth watching.
  55. Eastwood, who directed the picture adequately, is inadequate in this role. He has done a lot of impressive acting in films, but none of it has been sexually romantic, and the age of 64 was not the right time to take up that line of work. [03Jul1995, Pg. 26]
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  56. Patently intended to be a serious exploration of a cultural encounter, but this intent withers through a lack of writers' gravity and a mass of action clichés.
  57. To read a Carver collection is to walk through a gallery of beautifully formed objects. To blend his stories into "soup," no matter how smartly, to see them "as just one story," is to vandalize good art, to rationalize filmic opportunism as aesthetic principle. [25 Oct 1993]
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  58. Everything falls into place, click click click. Like many a formulaic piece, this one engages a real theme--here it's the conflict between the concept of duty and the idea of the individual--and does little with it. [25 Jan 1993]
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  59. Martin himself still seems to be filing in at run-throughs for the real star who couldn't make rehearsals. [11 March 1991, p.28]
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  60. Both Wong and Soderbergh have understandably expressed their gratitude at, even in this tripartite way, being part of an Antonioni project... But Eros is better for what they contribute than for his work.
  61. The Good Thief merely adds a new tinct to the pathos of Jordan's career. Once again we see a director who is better than anything he has so far done.
  62. One reasonably dependable pleasure in Woody Allen's films is that he uses old-time songs, in moderately jazzed-up versions, on his soundtracks.
  63. This Jeffrey Hatcher-Kimberly Simi version, directed by Lasse Hallström, has a resemblance to some of Casanova's memoirs but is chiefly based on the assumption that, in a costume drama, anything goes.
  64. The screenplay is at the start far from lucid in setting forth characters and relationships and intents. And after the film has been barreling along for two hours of its 148-minute journey, it seems to have lost the ability to finish. Three or four times in the last half-hour, I thought the film was over, only to be jarred by more of it.
  65. The script is a tidy work of carpentry, in several time planes and with a tart finish. Tense moments abound, fights and shootings and near-drownings, but they seem items drawn from casework files. [5 Aug 1996, p.26]
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  66. The film isn't dreadful: it is just generally disappointing.
  67. Despite the pictorial riches, despite the firm performances by Ray Winstone as the captain and Guy Pearce as Charlie Burns, despite the miraculous John Hurt in an eccentric role that was put in just for spice, The Proposition is hollow.
  68. The film is repetitious. Herzog has varied the original footage with some interviews that he conducted with a former Treadwell girlfriend and some other friends and observers. Still, an hour of it would have been more effective than the present feature length.
  69. Come back, Jim Jarmusch. Come back to the pungency of your first films. Leave the 1970s. Come back to the future. [03 Jun 1996, Pg.30]
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  70. Scorsese's style, fierce as it is, doesn't accomplish what he clearly expected of it. Often, in many arts, fresh treatment can redeem familiar subjects, but it doesn't happen here. [Oct 22, 1990]
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  71. Meyer's screenplay has been called unsuccessful, and I agree; but, without glossing some bumps that are his doing, I'd say that in this case the trouble with the screen adaptation is the novel.
  72. Jordan would like us to believe that the three films are stages in a metamorphosis, but the stitching shows… Part Two, explored and expanded, might have made a good film, especially since Davidson gives a quiet, knowledgeable, perfectly poised performance. [14 Dec 1992]
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  73. Leaves the viewer with the sense of a writing-directing talent concocting complexities. Everything he touches is well-turned, but he now feels compelled to put the pieces together in something other than a lucid design.
  74. Yet the McCarthy/Murrow conflict in the picture is not pressing enough--these days, anyway--to justify the considerable skill expended on it.
  75. The net effect of the incessant dazzle is depressing.
  76. The picture is too long. It repeats and repeats. Thirty minutes, instead of its eighty-six, could have told us all we need to know about the danger and tedium of these lives.
  77. Only the onstage performing has moments of lift, particularly Keillor's diabolically homespun monologues and the cowboys with their risqué jokes that are reminders of such outhouse reading as Captain Billy's Whiz Bang.
  78. [Douglas McGrath's] adaptation of the novel is as complete as two hours would allow. What it lacks texturally is what no adaptation could adequately supply: the gleam of the Austen prose. [19 Aug 1996, Pg.38]
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  79. Pappas's talking heads can't exactly solve the problem, but they help to keep us from forgetting it.
  80. Malick continues to float along the edge of the American film world as an unusually intelligent personage who occasionally delivers the fruit of his meditations. But his role as adjunct philosophe is better than the films he eventually gives us.
  81. A new voyeurism has arisen in the last two decades or so, and Trainspotting caters to it--an addiction to addiction-watching. [August 19, 1996]
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  82. What the role needs, and what Macy cannot quite provide, is the sense not of a robot but of a potent man who has been imprisoned by rote. Remember Jack Nicholson in "About Schmidt."
  83. The English Patient is excitingly promising. Then the screenplay goes rotten, like an overripe melon. [Dec. 9, 1996]
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  84. The writer of Very Bad Things has done poorly by the director. This is particularly painful because they are the same person, Peter Berg. Director Berg shows lively talent, focused and controlled. Writer Berg shows some talent, too, but he is wobbly in design and purpose. [14 December 1998, p.26]
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  85. It's sad to see two talented actresses, Rebecca de Mornay and Jennifer Jason Leigh, wasted in puppet parts. [17 June 1991, p.28]
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  86. Lynn Redgrave is nearly incomprehensible as the housekeeper with some sort of housekeeperly accent. [Dec. 14, 1998]
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  87. Two cheery notes: Nicolas Cage, as the erring brother, shows surprising signs of life, and Cher, as the erring fiancee, confounds those who swore she was a remote-control robot. [8 Feb 1988]
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  88. In short, this squad is an ill-trained, slovenly bunch of soldiers. That such behavior exists, or can exist, in any army is surely commonplace, but that Israeli producers should want to make a film about the matter at this time is puzzling.
  89. What helps Pfeiffer most is the fact that though she is exceptionally pretty, she patently doesn't rely on her prettiness: she wants to act. But, with her Ellen, though we know what she means from moment to moment, we simply don't feel it... Winona Ryder is disastrously miscast. [18 Oct 1993, p.30]
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  90. We are meant to think about a society that revels in this moral pit. But all that puzzled me was why an audience would need a film to immerse it in wanton, speciously motivated death when the television news provides so much of it every day.
  91. But it is precisely with these contrapuntal strands of huge, timeless nature, of the complexity of every human mind, that Malick bloats his film into banality. [Jan. 25, 1999]
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  92. The screenplay is schizoid. The first half is figuratively brassy, but then the violins begin to soar.
  93. Winslet is an actress, Diaz is not. The screenplay by Nancy Meyers, who directed, has dialogue that is not near the snap level of, say, Nicole Holofcener's comparable "Friends With Money."
  94. A moderately engaging satire, some of it amusing and some of it strained, but in considerable measure it reflects a strange circumstance in all our lives.
  95. The best way to watch this film is while sipping coffee in a café. Nicotine optional.
  96. Cruise is becoming a real star, confident and gleaming. But neither he nor Hoffman nor the cleverness of the director, Barry Levinson, can prevail against a screenplay that has a beginning at the Ohio home, a finish in L.A., and nothing much in between. [9 Jan 1989]
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  97. The director, Michael Mann, remembers the best of film noir pretty well, but it doesn't protect his film against its ultimate Movieland silliness.
  98. Its very existence as a film sets up expectations that wouldn't exist within a book -- another reason I'd bet that there would be more pleasure in reading the screenplay. I can't remember ever thinking that previously about a film. (1998 May 23, p. 26)
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  99. Still, it never quite realizes the oneiric quality because, paradoxically, of its best achievement--the performances of the two boys. They are vital, insistent. Their beings contradict the dreaminess and make us ask the questions mentioned above.

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