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 2.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Truman Show
Lowest review score: 0 Miller's Crossing
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 44 out of 458
458 movie reviews
  1. Soderbergh is helped enormously by the interplay of his actors, whom he has cast like a master... [He makes] a film that goes past what it shows to disclose what can't be seen. It's a fine achievement. [4 Sept 1989, p.26]
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  2. Any film that provides Ian Holm with a large role is off to a good start. The Sweet Hereafter gets off to that start and keeps going. [Dec 8, 1997]
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  3. Leigh, the writer, ties up things somewhat neatly and is a touch homiletic. Leigh, the director of cast and camera, is masterly. [Sept. 30, 1996]
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  4. Who is Billy Bob Thornton? The question fascinates after seeing Sling Blade, the extraordinary first film that he wrote and directed and in which he plays the leading role. [Feb. 10, 1997]
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  5. If Boogie Nights were poorly made and acted, its materials would make it intolerably tawdry. But its so well done that we keep watching. [Nov. 10, 1997]
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  6. With most historical films the informed viewer scrutinizes in order to cluck at errors. (There are books full of such cluckings.) With Shakespeare in Love, the more one knows, the more one can enjoy the liberties taken. [Jan. 4, 1999]
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  7. With the ship, with its totality of people, Cameron is wizardly, creating an entire society threading through the various strata of a world that has been set afloat from the rest of the world. [Jan. 5, 1998]
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  8. The Truman Show is a reminder of the Beckett theme. The screenplay by Andrew Niccol starts from something like Beckett's abstraction and reifies it with details of contemporary culture, then moves on into fantasy. [June 29, 1998]
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  9. If this weren't a true story, who would believe it? Well, a good many of us, probably. First, it's the kind of exceptional circumstance we like to dwell on as proof that pessimists are wrong; second, Shine is markedly well made, therefore persuasive. [Nov. 18, 1996]
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  10. The ability to conceive a compact drama on this huge subject and to embody it as perfectly as they have done, added to what they have already accomplished, puts Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne among the premier film artists of our time.
  11. And Ben Kingsley--O rare Ben Kingsley!--is the Jewish accountant whom Schindler plucks from a condemned group to run his business and who combines gratitude with disdain, subservience with pride. (Actors who want to study the basis of acting--concentration--should watch Kingsley.) [13 Dec 1993]
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  12. What an extraordinary idea it was to make this film. What a splendid achievement.
  13. We are certainly entitled to marvel at its very existence, but that isn't enough. The work itself is extraordinary.
  14. Gondry's virtuosity lifts the film far past science fiction into cinematic efflorescence. He shows us, more seductively than other directors have done, how freehand use of film can capture the flashes in our minds that slip between words.
  15. The last minutes of the film are exhilarating, but its real triumph is in everything that precedes the ending--the relatively simple lives of the three women up to that point.
  16. The result is a peculiar small gem, a true Linklater gem. The verity of the film, rather than any novelty or twist, keeps us fixed.
  17. One other element helps Out of Sight tremendously: the editing. [3 Aug 1998]
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  18. In every aspect, his film is superbly made.
  19. Turtles Can Fly, is masterly: it courses before us with grace, a control that paradoxically bespeaks love and anger.
  20. The screenwriter Angus MacLachlan and the director Phil Morrison and an astonishingly perfect cast have quietly made a daring picture.
  21. Herman handled his script cleanly and cast the picture well. [09Jun1997 Pg 30]
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  22. So in all the tumult about this film, the eruption of its subject into wide attention and the consequent revelations about cowboys' lives in the past, let us--without forgetting the American sources of the screenplay--acknowledge the anomaly that the director is Chinese.
  23. The picture is spectacular.
  24. Overall, the effect is presumably what Eastwood wanted: we are present at a momentous event, not watching a movie.
  25. Extraordinary--delicate, seriously disturbing, and lovely.
  26. The picture depends completely on those two performances (Whalberg, Forster), and the two actors come through.
  27. Irons, busily offset by Silver, gleefully choreographed by Schroeder, gives the picture its real bravura reason for being. [19 Nov 1990]
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  28. The making of the film is so slick, the acting so exceptional, that we find ourselves trapped - caring about what happens to the three principals. [6 May 1991, p.26]
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  29. Denis and her editor, Nelly Quettier, have assumed that they do not have to show the details of sex because we know them already. Instead, Denis and Quettier create a small visual poem on the subject.
  30. This is Sollett's first feature film -- he has previously made only one short -- and it shows, more than exceptional talent for cinema itself, his ability to evoke character, in a kind of sidewise offhand way, and to create a sense of community both within and around the film.
  31. The cast could not -- one could almost say need not -- be improved.
  32. The very considerable impact of the picture is mainly the work of two men, the author and the star.
  33. Nothing about this film sounds, as described, novel. Yet it grips, because it has been made with plentiful feeling and vigor. [June 26, 1989]
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  34. An unusually fine screenplay, then, yet LaBute's accomplishment goes further. He has envisioned a cinematic style for his film that harmonizes exactly with its theme and mood. [Sept 1, 1997]
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  35. Happiness very quickly displays finesse and control, colored by a nearly exultant glee. [9 Nov 1998]
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  36. Washington Heights, under De Villa's guidance, bubbles. Once more, as in comparable films, it creates a foreign nexus in a domestic setting -- a group of people who live in two cultures.
  37. It is Fellini's face that is peculiarly welcome, the face that -- in a probably fantasizing but pertinent way -- endorses his films.
  38. It is Akinshina's presence and performance that make the pedestrian story heart-wrenching. She is pretty, responsive, reflective. Without the slightest strain, she convinces us of the beauty and pathos and hope within Lilya.
  39. The essence of the film is that French gambit which Leconte has called "the magic of the unlikely encounter.
  40. Spider is not a pulse-quickening experience, but Fiennes's art makes it engrossing.
  41. Coppola handles her film with very pleasant economy, with a kind of warm precision. Her father, who was one of this picture's producers, can be as proud of her as we are grateful.
  42. "You'll have to be patient." Philibert said, "That's the point." This is the film's success: its patience, which in a way mirrors the teacher's.
  43. Christine Jeffs has directed it with discretion and intimacy, almost a paradoxical privacy.
  44. It is Theron who transmutes and sustains this journey through the lower depths.
  45. Son Frère is a real achievement, delicate, perceptive, somewhat muted but nonetheless strong.
  46. The film's authority rests first and finally on the two actors in the leading roles. They are utterly reassuring. [4 August 1997, p. 26]
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  47. Ozpetek is an enriching director. More than a presentation of its contents, every scene seems also to be a distillation of the matters that led to it. He can take a somewhat worn device--moving the camera around his people as they talk--and make it savory.
  48. Crudup is whole. He creates the man who has pride in what he does, who is suddenly stripped of the work and the pride; and who makes his way, somewhat painfully, to another sort of pride. His story is a small but acute poignancy in the history of the theater, and Crudup realizes it completely.
  49. A comedy that surfs from beginning to end on a wave of high spirits. The tone is young but not juvenile, sexy but not cynical, optimistic but not stupid. [22 April 1996, p.28]
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  50. Sembène's love of his people and his commitment to the richness that underlies the poverty of their condition have always made his films gems of truth, as they do once again here.
  51. It's dazzling and serious, with flurries of impulse playing around a persistent core of madness. [6 May 1996, p. 24]
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  52. The result, except for the stock action climax, is sharp, fast, bitter. [19 September 1994, p. 38]
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  53. The insinuating quality of 3-Iron is irresistible.
  54. It seems quite possible that Me and You marks the arrival of an artist who may affect--disturbingly yet helpfully--films and audiences to come.
  55. García wanted to paint a canvas of nine elements, rather than one large element; and, though only a few of the vignettes are related, the film leaves us with a sense of wholeness, not of stunt.
  56. It contains little that will be new to any informed viewer; yet it fascinates for all of its 140 minutes.
  57. Sheridan and colleagues understood their chief problem: how to sustain interest in a story that was well-known in advance, not a large historical subject with its own prestige but a news story now dated. So they concentrated on character and on acid irony. [03 Jan 1994 Pg. 28]
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  58. The brothers have given us another treasure. Once again they have made a drama of redemption, and once again they convince us that it is possible.
  59. One particular bit of luck for this reissue is the fact that Melville's cinematographer, Pierre Lhomme, was on hand to help with the restoration of this thirty-five-year-old film. The result is a paradoxical beauty. Very many of the scenes are in sunlight--Melville avoided such facile stuff as shadows for suspense--yet they are chilly. The seasons vary, but the general effect is of a bright winter day that is freezing.
  60. A good Listless Film carries a double melancholy for all: it makes us sad for its characters and sad for the world that has thus affected them. Old Joy is such a film.
  61. Despite the fact that parts of this film remind us of past pictures with comparable themes, the director and his actors make it immediate, gripping.
  62. Loach's cast fits perfectly, and his directing has his usual extra tang of commitment. He provides almost a sensory response to his material: we seem to feel the textures and scent the air.
  63. 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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  64. 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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  65. 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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  66. Smith makes it crackle, with various aggressive honesties and wit. [May 5, 1997}
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  67. Even if this film were more gripping than it is, and it grips somewhat, it would be a bit disappointing because it aims so low. Let's hope that Branagh now has the Hollywood adoration out of his system. [16 Dec 1991, p.30]
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  68. [Reiner] pulls everything together adroitly to make Harry Met Sally a real refreshment. It's what they call a summer picture, which means that, if it's good as this one is-it will seem summery even in winter. [21 Aug 1989, p.26]
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  69. Why was this film made after the homes had already been abolished? One reason, hardly trifling, is that it was made excellently. Thematically, however, it stings -- as a reminder that Catholicism is only one religion that is dominated by males and that this domination is proprietary.
  70. Green treats his people with affectionate knowledge, untinged with patronizing. And he sees them in ways that are free of cinematic cliché.
  71. Moreau's face is the base and the beauty of the film.
  72. To name only one of its predecessors -- for me, the towering one -- doesn't "Schindler's List" do everything that Polanski achieves and more?
  73. 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.
  74. 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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  75. Stands as a poignant marker in the career of a major artist.
  76. Spielberg directs so fluently that it takes a while to perceive how well made the film is.
  77. The opening minutes in a Union Army camp are as good as anything in Glory; and the buffalo hunt, as edited by Travis, is a marvel. [10 Dec 1990, p.28]
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  78. 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.
  79. 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.
  80. The picture holds us, not only through our wonderment at the mixture but through Serreau's dexterity and her casting.
  81. 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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  82. It lets us glimpse once again the stubborn, if slender, persistence of the humane.
  83. Frances McDormand plays the record-producing mother with the nativity that talent makes possible.
  84. Steven Spielberg's new film begins as a monumental epic; then it diminishes; and, by its finish, is baffling. [August 24, 1998]
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  85. 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.
  86. Noyce has treated this story almost like a page of holy writ. If he has erred, it is in the very awe of his approach.
  87. 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.
  88. Moncrieff's insistence on her subject suggests conviction -- about her contribution and about her cast. Both beliefs are pretty much justified.
  89. 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.
  90. 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.
  91. 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.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. 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.
  95. The contrast between Holm's pearly speech and the dark things that he tells us and that we see almost outlines twentieth-century civilization, elevation and brutality at opposite ends of the spectrum.
  96. 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.
  97. 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.
  98. Whatever the news-linked reasons for its revival, Pontecorvo's film is wonderfully worth seeing, or re-seeing, for its own sake.
  99. 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.
  100. 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.

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