The New York Times' Scores

For 12,328 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 48% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Pan's Labyrinth
Lowest review score: 0 The Big Bang
Score distribution:
12328 movie reviews
  1. When it deepens its intellectual focus, Hockney begins to lose coherence, with rushed sequences that cover his stage designs, his landscapes and his experiments with photography.
  2. Everything that happens in the last half-hour betrays the canny, hardheaded perspective of what came before.
  3. While it's frustrating that Mr. Palmer doesn't dig deep into the complexities of the fights, one of the movie's strengths is the honesty with which he confesses his doubts about them.
  4. While zine-style animated sequences and VHS taped interviews enliven the pace, the documentary is burdened by too much minutiae. Not every scar earned at a concert deserves to be immortalized in a documentary.
  5. Clearly, the magnet of this picture, which has been a phenomenal success in Italy and other parts of Europe, is this cool-cat bandit who is played by Clint Eastwood, an American cowboy actor who used to do the role of rowdy in the Rawhide series on TV. Wearing a Mexican poncho, gnawing a stub of cheroot and peering intently from under a slouch hat pulled low over his eyes, he is simply another fabrication of a personality, half cowboy and half gangster, going through the ritualistic postures and exercises of each.
  6. Liberation Day, a documentary of preparations for the concert directed by Mr. Traavik and Ugis Olte, is a consistently understated chronicle of Westerners who are very carefully playing with fire.
  7. For all its untidiness, Washington Heights teems with life, and its star, Mr. Perez, has charisma to burn. The movie vividly depicts the interdependence and solidarity of people in working-class urban neighborhoods where residents really need one another.
  8. There’s some intriguing social commentary in the Chinese comedic melodrama I Am Not Madame Bovary.... But appreciating it, and the other points of interest in the movie, requires a perhaps unusual amount of patience, or even indulgence.
  9. We Are Still Here will make you scream and make you laugh, and possibly leave you speechlessly gesticulating at a charred zombielike ghost in the background. But the peak moments are too few.
  10. Stiffly playing a filmmaker with a growing passion for the tango, she makes this a handsome, drily meticulous film with no real fire anywhere beyond its supple dance scenes.
  11. The characters are trapped, suffocated, pushed through a story that gives them very little room or time to figure themselves out, and that finally turns their feelings into the wan stuff of fable.
  12. Tharlo instead opts for fleeting charm and shaggy humanism, until the narrative takes a grim turn that’s both trite and sexist. The bottom drops out of the movie, leaving its interest almost exclusively ethnographic.
  13. Both refreshing and confusing, the film equivalent of an ice cream headache.
  14. Turns the tale of the Headless Horseman into the pre-tabloid story of a rampaging serial killer.
  15. With her shaved head and staring eyes, Aman actually looks as if she had been stripped entirely of her sexuality, like a Holocaust victim. What does seem certain is that a bootleg print of "Yentl" is still making its way through Iran's filmmaking underground, leaving a wide trail of influence behind it.
  16. Darkman sustains mild interest throughout, but it never takes off, partly because a real-estate scam, gangland shootouts, city corruption and a love story clutter up the sad story of Westlake's strange mutation.
  17. Whether you're predisposed to seeing Second Life as liberating or creepy, Life 2.0 would have been more interesting and original if it, like its subjects, had dwelled more in the virtual world, and if it had told us more about that world's mechanics and folkways.
  18. At some point, though, Mr. Byrkit turns one too many corners (characters, meanwhile, begin bustling in and out of rooms like Marx Brothers extras), and what began as a nifty puzzle feels more like a trap.
  19. In fact even the film's most dramatic moments are presented with decorousness bordering on detachment.
  20. Mr. Hardy, however, would rather busy himself with reminders of earlier creature features.... Luckily, John Nolan’s old-school effects are wicked good, and Martijn van Broekhuizen’s mossy photography is pleasingly sinister.
  21. The Overnight ends just as it starts to get interestingly messy, tapping into something real and sweetly touching.
  22. In the end there might not be much to this tale other than titillation, but there's plenty to be said for Ms. Ronan, who was the best thing about "Atonement" and holds her ground against forceful screen presences like Ms. Blanchett and Mr. Bana.
  23. Wes Craven (of the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' films) is in the mood for parody.
  24. If only Red Flag were funnier and tighter and had a sharper idea about what it means to blur the lines between self-interrogation and self-absorption. As it is, the movie throws off too few sparks.
  25. In My Mother's Arms takes a distressing snapshot of an ongoing struggle.
  26. The effort to turn Outbreak into an action picture insures that little of it will be believable, regardless of how much scientific data has been woven into the story. The film's shallowness also contributes to the impression that no problem is too thorny to be solved by movie heroics.
  27. Mr. Farrell and Mr. Doyle continue to hold your gaze, even as Mr. Jordan's screenplay sets your mind to wandering. There is, as noted, a wisp of a tale tucked into this film, one that, as the story wears on, becomes ponderously weighed down with melodramatic filler and even some halfhearted genre action.
  28. Peter Weir’s The Year of Living Dangerously is a good, romantic melodrama that suffers more than most good, romantic melodramas in not being much better than it is.
  29. Everything about In a Better World feels just a little too easy: a better movie might have let in more of the messiness of the world as it is. This one falls into cheap manipulation, winding up the audience with foreboding music and the spectacle of blond children in peril.
  30. [An] incisive, queasy-making documentary.
  31. The access to Fassbinder that the relationship provided was a boon to the film, but a disadvantage as well because the close-up view results in a patchy portrait rather than a coherent biography.
  32. Mr. Dick, whose previous documentaries have examined sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, the inner workings of the movie ratings system and the life and work of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, is a cerebral muckraker. While his techniques are not as nakedly tendentious as Michael Moore’s (and his movies, as a consequence, are not as much fun), he hardly pretends to be a detached or unbiased observer.
  33. There is both too much story and not enough. The contours of this desolate future are lightly sketched rather than fully explained, which is always a good choice. But that minimalism serves as an excuse for an irritating lack of narrative clarity, so that much of what happens seems arbitrary rather than haunting.
  34. The performances, even those by trained actors like Mr. Ramirez and Ms. Majorino, have the hesitant, blinking opacity that some directors look for in nonprofessional casts. Their awkwardness is charming, and part of the point of the movie, but it also makes for some dull stretches and thwarts your ability to regard the characters with sympathy rather than mere curiosity.
  35. Regrettably, the film, almost devoid of music, is drastically undermined at its end by an inadvertently comic rap tribute by the Kansas City performance artist to the "American citizen with Palestinian blood."
  36. One of the decade’s odder political stories is revisited, without much illumination, in Sweet Micky for President.
  37. Things meander along to the inevitable blowup scene and a too-easy ending in which all is forgiven and personal growth has occurred, though not for the viewing audience.
  38. The movie’s extreme compression is its biggest failing. The business end is so minimally sketched, you are left wanting to know a lot more.
  39. This isn't to say that this particular extravaganza, directed by Frank Oz, is in the same super league as The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper. This may be only an impression, based on the fact that the past always looks greener than the present, but The Muppets Take Manhattan seems just a little less extraordinaire than the two other features. [13 July 1984, p.C10]
    • The New York Times
  40. Given that movies can now show us everything, the manifestations that Ms. Rowling described could be less magical only if they were delivered at a news conference.
  41. You may not quite trust Mother and Child -- its soft spots and fuzzy edges give it away -- but you can believe just about everyone in it.
  42. A modest, intermittently engaging film.
  43. Ah, well. "There Was Once ...may feel like sober, do-gooder public television, but it has integrity, recording one specific town's slice of living history. Simple as that, it's a worthy document.
  44. The performances are conscientious and earnest.
  45. Like most movies that examine specific ailments, this gawky, occasionally touching film has the feel of a dramatized case history whose purpose is to educate as much as it is to tell a story.
  46. Dramatically Joe the King feels unglued, as if crucial sequences had been left on the cutting-room floor.
  47. Far more ambivalent and ambiguous film than Mr. Spielberg's. Both North and South are portrayed as brutal, abusive regimes that use their citizens as so much cannon fodder.
  48. Ms. Headland has a concept for a latter-day screwball comedy — two romantically challenged friends whose hang-ups create a roadblock to coupledom — but she doesn’t have the jokes or the emotionally textured characters that can fill in that conceit.
  49. Directed by Erik Nelson, Dreams recalls the career of a runty young geek who evolved into a world-famous artist -- and ladies' man.
  50. Things happen in Wanted, but no one cares. You could call that nihilism, but even nihilism requires commitment of a kind and this, by contrast, is a movie built on indifference.
  51. Neither approves of nor condemns the choices made by its headstrong protagonist; rather, it quietly observes her transformation from naïve schoolgirl to wary but proud single mother.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Some of the most upsetting images are from a century and a half ago: Mathew Brady photos of the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War, the conflict that gave birth to modern battlefield surgery.
  52. The King’s Choice maintains a sense of intrigue when it sticks to the king’s dealings with the government, but the movie drags when it moves outside of back rooms and deviates from setting up the Bräuer-Haakon showdown.
  53. Some of this is affecting, some of it tedious, and the film's inconsistencies of tone are made more glaring by its peculiar look.
  54. In spite of occasional gestures in the direction of political or sociological context -- interviews with anti-Aristide activists, news images of battles beyond Cité Soleil -- Mr. Leth is not, in the end, much concerned with offering an analysis of the Haitian situation. Like Lele, he'd rather have a party with the thugs.
  55. Luke and Claire are guilty, above all, of being dumb and bored. Even their interest in the ghost that may dwell in the dark corners of the Pedlar seems tepid and lacking in conviction. The movie, clever and rigorous though it is, feels that way too.
  56. A sincere but sloppy piece of work. Mr. Hoffman dotes on his cast of first-rate British actors of a certain age - and invites us to savor their energy and professionalism. This is not difficult, though the efforts of these fine actors might have yielded greater delight if they had been given more to do.
  57. Inspiring, but also, as a film, a little tedious, without enough narrative or exploration to justify its feature length.
  58. As inspiring as it is, Doing Time, Doing Vipassana is too sweet for its own good; it plays like a spiritual infomercial.
  59. Behind the film's brass knuckles are tender fingers. Why else would Goon use music from Puccini's "Turandot" to underscore critical dramatic moments?
  60. For a movie about proud outcasts, Slash is a little square.
  61. At best ambiguous and at worst unfathomable, Mimosas, the sophomore feature from the Spanish director Oliver Laxe, merges harsh reality and offbeat mysticism into a reflection on the tug between our higher powers and baser instincts.
  62. A maudlin melodrama about prostitutes in Madrid, Princesas is not, alas, the new film by Pedro Almodóvar, but a dilution of his manner by the writer-director Fernando León de Aranoa.
  63. A lot of intriguing ideas are floated in Teenage... But the film takes a point of view that leaves all of them underdeveloped.
  64. The filmmakers have no patience for details, either basic or telling. Their elliptical method starts to seem lazy, and Jean's plight, a journey from bad to bad, starts to seem a stacked deck. Through it all Mr. Genty holds your attention with his sober dignity. Too bad the filmmakers frequently let that slip into pathos.
  65. From a dramatic standpoint, the movie can be unconvincing... From a formal standpoint, though, the movie impresses, maintaining a sense of anxiety through tight shots and a sound design that favors overlapping voices and constant clatter.
  66. The story is not without interest, and it touches on a couple of worthwhile themes: cultural erasure and the way religious and provincial prejudices can suppress love. But its treatment of these subjects is perhaps undercut by its conventionality.
  67. Eight Below is Grade A pooch porn, an orgy of canine cuteness.
  68. The mystery of Enigma is how a rich historical subject, combined with so much first-rate talent -- a highly capable (if not always exciting) director, a fine English cast, a script by Tom Stoppard -- could have yielded such a flat, plodding picture.
  69. The chemistry between the two is as old as Abbott and Costello. Harold is the sensible worried one, and Kumar zany and reckless. The movie's funniest moments, set at Princeton University, caricature and then demolish the image of Asian-Americans as nerdy, sexless bookworms incapable of fun.
  70. Much of the time, unfortunately, the responsible, institutional filmmaking of Unlikely Heroes, from Moriah Films, an arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, does not do full justice to these stories.
  71. For all its bleakness, the movie, filmed in nearly a dozen states and in half a dozen countries, is not without a certain beauty. There is comfort to be found in blandness and homogeneity.
  72. No life is seamless, and not every biographical portrait needs to be, but this one is so riddled with awkward transitions, including on the soundtrack, that it tends to lurch distractingly, as if Mr. Mori were still trying to figure out how to piece the whole thing together.
  73. You really can't hang a drama on a mathematical theory and expect it to serve as a shortcut for storytelling.
  74. The problem with Youth is not that it’s empty — the accusation Kael and others lodged against Mr. Sorrentino’s precursors — but that it’s small. Its imagination feels shrunken and secondhand, in spite of the gorgeous vistas and beautiful naked women. Or actually, because of them.
  75. Bogged down by the stylistic gimmickry of bustling montages and jarring animated segments, Look Both Ways aims for existential drama but succeeds only in reminding us that misery loves company.
  76. Code of Silence, as directed by Andy Davis, has a slick look and adequate pacing, though its action sequences tend to fizzle as they end.
  77. The movie’s approach is gratuitously grandiose.
  78. An incisive but static and occasionally confusing character study of Lucy Fowler, a disheveled, hard-drinking single woman who has a day job as a contractor and a dissolute night life.
  79. In this sendup of Treasure Island, there are no compelling heroes or villains, and the suspense is minimal. Most of the fun lies in watching the Muppets defuse the swashbuckling tale of its scariness by superimposing their own precociously verbal identities onto their characters.
  80. The fuzziness of Mr. Avitabile’s sentiments on boundary-blind unity is echoed in the movie’s slack, tag-along portraiture.
  81. Chaotic, trifling, oddly likable film.
  82. Although it leaves you with a knot in your stomach, its power is undercut by its own head-banging obviousness.
  83. Has occasional moments of heat, but not much warmth. And while it is pretty enough to look at, real beauty eludes it.
  84. Reasonably well-executed thriller. It suffers not from awkwardness or silliness, which would make it more fun, but rather from its air-brushed, expensive pretentiousness.
  85. As a director, Mr. Ratliff wisely rejects the temptation to make fun of his subjects, most of whom seem to believe sincerely that they are doing the work of God.
  86. [Grand Canyon] eventually pulls its punches, taking an unconvincingly beatific look at the problems and dangers that have been so persuasively outlined in what has come before. But until it hits that false note, Mr. Kasdan's film is at least as fascinating as it is amorphous.
  87. Despite an appealing fondness for New York locations and habits, Mr. Buschel and his cinematographer, Ryan Samul, have embalmed their film in style. J. J.’s ostentatious speeches feel like a projection of self-conscious cleverness, and the film’s virtuoso lighting doesn’t always match up to the needs of a scene.
  88. In spite of the golden presence of Brad Pitt as the killer, a level-headed professional named Jackie Cogan, the movie has an agreeably scuzzy, small-time feeling.
  89. Mr. Goode shows all the charisma of a stalk of boiled asparagus molded into the likeness of Jeremy Irons.
  90. In Infinitely Polar Bear, Ms. Forbes hasn’t made a movie about her father’s illness; she’s made one about her father, who, through hard and weird times, clearly helped give her what she needed so that one day she could tell this story.
  91. There is something shallow and cautious about this film, which strains to maintain a glib, cheery demeanor that is not always appropriate to the details of the story.
  92. Has a friendly, blue-collar vibe (Cody is an ex-fish-sorter from the Shiverpool, Antarctica) and some sly, low-key humor. Nevertheless, a moratorium on penguins might be called for, despite the inevitable anthropomorphic void.
  93. Partly because Miss Sloane is more a character study than a coherent political drama, it fumbles the issue it purports to address, and it eventually runs aground in a preposterous ending.
  94. AKA
    His (Roy's) informed contempt is highly entertaining, but he neglects some of the more problematical and perhaps more illuminating aspects of his story.
  95. Intermittently absorbing, if deliberately stripped of drama.
  96. The movie comes alive only when the camera lingers over the actual paintings and allows their power to speak for itself.
  97. A "slam, bam, thank you, ma'am" trifle of an entertainment.
  98. While far from a great movie, nonetheless effectively dramatizes a position that has been argued, by principled commentators on the left and the right, for several years now: that the abuse of prisoners, innocent or not, is not only repugnant in its own right.
  99. If Conan O'Brien Can't Stop is consistently watchable, it isn't especially funny, nor does it give any deeper insight into its star than you might get from seeing his late-night shows.

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