The New York Times' Scores

For 10,045 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 49% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 47% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The Waiting Room
Lowest review score: 0 3 Geezers!
Score distribution:
10,045 movie reviews
  1. The Grandmaster is, at its most persuasive, about the triumph of style. When Ip Man slyly asks “What’s your style?” it’s clear that Mr. Wong is asking the same question because here, as in his other films, style isn’t reducible to ravishing surfaces; it’s an expression of meaning.
  2. Of Gods and Men is supple and suspenseful, appropriately austere without being overly harsh, and without forgoing the customary pleasures of cinema. The performances are strong, the narrative gathers momentum as it progresses, and the camera is alive to the beauty of the Algerian countryside.
  3. There are plot twists, and then there is what Ms. Ferran does here, which is to transform — impetuously, improbably and altogether marvelously — this somber, realistic tale into something else entirely.
  4. Scrupulously apolitical, The Waiting Room is the opposite of a polemic like Michael Moore's "Sicko." But by removing any editorial screen, it confronts you head-on with human suffering that a more humane and equitable system might help alleviate.
  5. Irresistable, nimble and very funny.
  6. With disarming sincerity and daunting formal sophistication The Tree of Life ponders some of the hardest and most persistent questions, the kind that leave adults speechless when children ask them.
  7. It's a doozy of a story and so borderline ridiculous that it sounds - ta-da! - like something that could have been cooked up only by Hollywood.
  8. In Summer Palace Lou nonetheless succeeds in finding a cinematic language that does more than summarize the important events of a confusing decade. He distills the inner confusion -- the swirl of moods, whims and needs -- that is the lived and living essence of history.
  9. In Spring Breakers [Mr. Korine] bores into a contested, deeply American topic — the pursuit of happiness taken to nihilistic extremes — but turns his exploration into such a gonzo, outrageously funny party that it takes a while to appreciate that this is more of a horror film than a comedy.
  10. Mr. Phoenix’s note-perfect performance flows on the story’s currents of comedy that occasionally turn into rapids, as the funny ha-ha, funny strange back-and-forth abruptly gives way to Three Stooges slapstick.
  11. Post-Soviet Russia in Andrei Zvyagintsev's somber, gripping film Elena is a moral vacuum where money rules, the haves are contemptuous of the have-nots, and class resentment simmers. The movie, which shuttles between the center of Moscow and its outskirts, is grim enough to suggest that even if you were rich, you wouldn't want to live there.
  12. Drinking Buddies, Joe Swanberg’s nimble, knowing and altogether excellent new film, refuses to dance to the usual tune.
  13. It is as intimate and honest a portrait of a rock artist’s creative roots as any film has attempted.
  14. Remarkable as much for its insights as for its audacity, The Dirties approaches school violence with a comic veneer that slowly shades into deep darkness.
  15. Grace is also what defines Mr. Bahrani's filmmaking. I can't think of anything else to call the quality of exquisite attention, wry humor and wide-awake intelligence that informs every frame of this almost perfect film.
  16. It raises the spirits not by phony sentimentality but by the amplitude of its art. From time to time, it is also roaringly funny... A terrific movie. [1 Oct 1993, p.C1]
    • The New York Times
  17. For a film geek this movie is absolute heaven, a dream symposium in which directors, cinematographers, editors and a few actors gather to opine on the details of their craft. It is worth a year of film school and at least 1,000 hours of DVD bonus commentary.
  18. As sweet, as touching, as humane a movie as you are likely to see this summer.
  19. The latest masterwork from Hayao Miyazaki, places emphasis on the natural world, its tumults and fragility.
  20. Life and death, nature and culture, sex and money, man and beast, God and the Devil — Post Tenebras Lux embraces the world even if it doesn’t open itself up to ready interpretation.
  21. A documentary necessarily conveys a point of view, and although Mr. Wiseman, as is his wont, is neither seen nor heard in a film that proceeds without commentary or subtitles, his spirit is palpable. Without overtly editorializing, the film quietly and steadfastly champions state-funded public education available to all.
  22. Every detail of What Richard Did rings true.
  23. An astonishing documentary of culture clash and the erasure of history amid China’s economic miracle.
  24. Mr. Howard has made Ransom in the same clean, swift, logical style that sent his "Apollo 13" into orbit, resulting in a spellbinding crime tale that delivers surprises right down to the wire.
  25. A film of startling originality and beauty -- feels like a communiqué from another time, another place, anywhere but here.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Life Itself is a work of deftness and delicacy, by turns a film about illness and death, about writing, about cinema and, finally, and very movingly a film about love.
  26. A quietly rapturous film about love and redemption.
  27. The film is a testament to the power of observational documentary to tenderly present hypocrisy and to show eccentricity peeking out from behind social masks.
  28. Brazil may not be the best film of the year, but it's a remarkable accomplishment for Mr. Gilliam, whose satirical and cautionary impulses work beautifully together. His film's ambitious visual style bears this out, combining grim, overpowering architecture with clever throwaway touches.
  29. Glorious and goofy and blissfully deranged.
  30. This movie is a blast of sheer, improbable joy, a boisterous, thrilling action movie with a protagonist who can hold her own alongside Katniss Everdeen, Princess Merida and the other brave young heroines of 2012.
  31. In Sweetgrass, a graceful and often moving meditation on a disappearing way of life, there is little here that is objective and much that is magnificent.
  32. The brilliance of The Babadook, beyond Ms. Kent’s skillful deployment of the tried-and-true visual and aural techniques of movie horror, lies in its interlocking ambiguities.
  33. Gentle on the eyes but stirring to the mind, What Now? Remind Me is an extraordinary, almost indescribably personal reflection on life, love, suffering and impermanence.
  34. Meek's Cutoff is as unsentimental and determined as Ms. Williams's character, its absolutely believable heroine. It is also a bracingly original foray into territory that remains, in every sense, unsettled.
  35. Its pleasures are almost obscenely abundant.
  36. An absolute knockout of a movie in the psychological horror line has been accomplished by Roman Polanski in his first English-language film. (Review of Original Release)
  37. Showcasing the best and the worst in human nature, Orlando von Einsiedel’s devastating documentary “Virunga” wrenches a startlingly lucid narrative from a sickening web of bribery, corruption and violence.
  38. As he (Wong Kar-wai) floods the screen with beauty and fills the soundtrack with hypnotic rhythms, he forges a filmmaking style of incomparable eroticism.
  39. In Policeman, Mr. Lapid, making an electrifying feature directing debut, traces the line between the group and the individual in a story that can be read as a commentary on the world as much as on Israel.
  40. Its speedy, funny, happy-sad spirit is so infectious that the movie makes you feel at home in its world even if the landscape is, at first glance, unfamiliar.
  41. Meaningful in its implications, as well as loaded with interest and suspense, High Noon is a western to challenge “Stagecoach” for the all-time championship. (Review of Original Release)
  42. It’s an exciting sports movie, an inspiring tale of prejudice overcome and, above all, a fascinating study of political leadership.
  43. The easy, complacent distance that informs much historical filmmaking is almost entirely absent from this supremely intelligent, unfailingly honest movie.
  44. Mr. Scott’s seriousness isn’t always well served by the scripts he films, but in Mr. McCarthy he has found a partner with convictions about good and evil rather than canned formula.
  45. It is a work of obsessive artisanal discipline and unfettered artistic vision. You have never seen anything like it.
  46. Her
    At once a brilliant conceptual gag and a deeply sincere romance, Her is the unlikely yet completely plausible love story about a man, who sometimes resembles a machine, and an operating system, who very much suggests a living woman.
  47. The 3-D is sometimes less than transporting, and the chanting voices in the composer Ernst Reijseger's new-agey score tended to remind me of my last spa massage. Yet what a small price to pay for such time traveling!
  48. Kubrick's harrowing, beautiful and characteristically eccentric new film about Vietnam, is going to puzzle, anger and (I hope) fascinate audiences as much as any film he has made to date... A film of immense and very rare imagination.
  49. Sustains a documentary authenticity that is as astonishing as it is offhand. Even when you're on the edge of your seat, it never sacrifices a calm, clear-sighted humanity for the sake of melodrama or cheap moralizing.
  50. A deliriously alive movie, The Great Beauty is the story of a man, a city, a country and a cinema, though not necessarily in that order.
  51. You can know every glitch that made this such a dangerous mission, and Apollo 13 will still have you by the throat. [30 June 1995]
    • The New York Times
  52. Shakespeare meets Sherlock, and makes for pure enchantment in the inspired conjecture behind Shakespeare in Love.
  53. Like finding that perfect stage of moderate drunkenness in which the senses are sharpened rather than dulled, and time passes with leisurely grace.
  54. Seemingly banal in its conceit, wildly startling in its execution, it tracks a film crew that, like a detective squad, investigates what became of an ordinary man.
  55. A brilliantly graphic estimation of a whole swath of society in sad decay and, eventually, a withering commentary upon the tragedy of the overcivilized. (Review of Original Release)
  56. The opening shot of Somewhere, Sofia Coppola's exquisite, melancholy and formally audacious fourth feature, prepares you for what is to follow in a characteristically oblique and subtle manner.
  57. It's hard to imagine anyone but Mr. Pitt in the role. He's relaxed yet edgy and sometimes unsettling.
  58. When a film as profoundly quiet as In the Bedroom comes along, it feels almost miraculous, as if a shimmering piece of art had slipped below the radar and through the minefield of commerce.
  59. Mr. Guest and Mr. Levy's jokes are sometimes so subtle as to seem imperceptible, until you realize that they are everywhere, from the broadest gestures to the tiniest details of dress and décor.
  60. A movie that is almost indecently satisfying and at the same time elusive, at once intellectually lofty -- marked by allusions to Emerson, Shakespeare and Seamus Heaney as well as Nietzsche -- and as earthy as the passionate provincial family that is its heart and cosmos and reason for being.
  61. Gratifyingly complex and beautifully told, this tale explores a huge array of cultural, racial, economic and familial tensions. In the process, it also sustains strong characters, deep emotions and clear dramatic force.
  62. Three Sisters documents extreme poverty in rural China with the compassionate eye and inexhaustible patience of a director whose curiosity about his country’s unfortunates never seems to wane.
  63. In some ways, much like Charles Laughton's "Night of the Hunter," which the Coens quote both musically and visually, True Grit is a parable about good and evil. Only here, the lines between the two are so blurred as to be indistinguishable, making this a true picture of how the West was won, or - depending on your view - lost.
  64. City of Life and Death isn't cathartic: it offers no uplifting moments, just the immodest balm of art. The horrors it represents can be almost too difficult to watch, yet you keep watching because Mr. Lu makes the case that you must.
  65. From its very first scenes, Mr. Whedon’s film crackles with a busy, slightly wayward energy that recalls the classic romantic sparring of the studio era.
  66. The horror of The Act of Killing does not dissipate easily or yield to anything like clarity.
  67. Even though The Square depicts widely covered recent events, it still feels like a revelation. This is partly because of the immediacy of Ms. Noujaim’s approach, which often puts the viewer in the midst of chaos as it unfolds.
  68. One of this year's indisputably great films.
  69. Words do more than hurt, they also slash and burn in this sharp, dyspeptic, sometimes gaspingly funny exploration of art and life, men and women, being and nonbeing, and the power and limits of language.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Not merely a technical landmark -- shot entirely in digital 3D -- but also an aesthetic one, in that it’s the first Imax movie that deserves to be called a work of art.
  70. There is hardly a shortage of movies about rock ’n’ roll, but there are few as perfect — which is to say as ragged, as silly, as touching or as true — as We Are the Best!.
  71. With marvelous discipline, Mr. Shapiro crams a wealth of material into a tight 77 minutes, smoothly communicating the group effort required to achieve the perfect shot.
  72. Mark Kendall’s quietly moving documentary, La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus, is as modest and farsighted as its cast of Guatemalans who make a living resurrecting discarded American school buses.
  73. Mr. Herzog is also no ordinary filmmaker. It is the rare documentary like Grizzly Man, which has beauty and passion often lacking in any type of film, that makes you want to grab its maker and head off to the nearest bar to discuss man's domination of nature and how Disney's cute critters reflect our profound alienation from the natural order.
  74. J. C. Chandor, the writer and director of this pulpy, meaty, altogether terrific new film, and Bradford Young, its supremely talented director of photography, succeed in giving this beat-up version of the city both historical credibility and expressive power.
  75. The Girls in the Band is everything a worthwhile documentary should be, and then some: engaging, informative, thorough and brimming with delightful characters.
  76. Throughout We Were Here there is not a hint of mawkishness, self-pity or self-congratulation. The humility, wisdom and cumulative sorrow expressed lend the film a glow of spirituality and infuse it with grace.
  77. The best nondocumentary American feature made yet about the war in Iraq.
  78. As Frankie, Mr. Marlowe delivers a quiet, moving performance of such subtlety and truthfulness that you almost feel that you are living his life.
  79. Her shoulders slumped, her eyes weary, her gait heavy, Ms. Cotillard moves past naturalism into something impossible to doubt and hard to describe. Sandra is an ordinary person in mundane circumstances, but her story, plainly and deliberately told, is suspenseful, sobering and, in the original, fear-of-God sense of the word, tremendous.
  80. One of the most brutal and moving chronicles of American life ever designed within the limits of popular entertainment. [16 Mar 1972]
    • The New York Times
  81. A film whose best moments are so novel, so deliriously funny, and so crazily unexpected that they truly must be seen to be believed. [22 June 1988]
    • The New York Times
  82. Ida
    There is an implicit argument here between faith and materialism, one that is resolved with wit, conviction and generosity of spirit. Mr. Pawlikowski has made one of the finest European films (and one of most insightful films about Europe, past and present) in recent memory.
  83. A film that has the sweep and esthetic power of a full-length ballet.
  84. I realize that the fear of contracting writer's block from a fictional character is crazy, but in the brilliantly scrambled, self-consuming world of Adaptation it has a certain plausibility.
  85. One of the enormous pleasures of genre filmmaking is watching great directors push against form and predictability, as Mr. Romero does brilliantly in Land of the Dead. One thing is for sure: You won't go home hungry.
  86. What the film makes clear, with unfailing sensitivity and wry humor, is that for Shira and her family the ordinary arrangements of living are freighted with moral and spiritual significance.
  87. A virtuoso ensemble piece to rival the director's "Nashville" and "Short Cuts" in its masterly interweaving of multiple characters and subplots.
  88. Best Kept Secret is an exemplary documentary: It spotlights an important issue yet never seeks to squeeze the truth into an easily digestible narrative frame. Instead it expands its storytelling to the boundaries of messy, joyful and painful reality.
  89. Even if you think you know what’s coming, Selma hums with suspense and surprise. Packed with incident and overflowing with fascinating characters, it is a triumph of efficient, emphatic cinematic storytelling. And much more than that, of course.
  90. Audiard's superb remake improves on the original significantly, investing it with aesthetic grandeur and emotional depth.
  91. A fascinating study of a man, and a firm, deeply changed by catastrophe.
  92. Eloquent, meticulously structured documentary -- Sober political and legal analysis alternates with grim first-hand accounts of torture and murder in a film that has the structure of a choral symphony that swells to a bittersweet finale.
  93. Mr. Jordan's screenplay... is both efficient and ingenious. The physical production is as lush as the film's romantic longings. [26 Sept 1992]
  94. A first-rate art-house thriller, Miss Bala tells the strange, seemingly impossible story of a Mexican beauty queen who becomes the accidental pawn of a drug cartel. It's an adventure story that could be called a contemporary picaresque if it weren't so deadly serious.
  95. The Dance of Reality is the work of a highly disciplined anarchist, whose principal weapon against authority is his own imagination.
  96. A brilliantly truthful film on a subject that is usually shrouded in wishful thinking, mythmongering and outright denial.
  97. Prepare yourself for something very special...Here's a severely beautiful, mysterious movie that, as if by magic, liberates the romantic imagination. [16 Oct 1993]
    • The New York Times
  98. This is not a work of film history but rather a generous, touching and slightly daffy expression of unbridled movie love.

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