The New Yorker's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,574 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 38% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 61% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Kid with a Bike
Lowest review score: 0 Bio-Dome
Score distribution:
1574 movie reviews
  1. Starts smart and ends dumb. [24 Aug 1987, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
  2. The film is nonsense, and what counts is whether viewers will feel able to lay aside their logical complaints and bask in what remains: a trip in search of a tan.
  3. Lucky Number Slevin is a bag of nerves. Everything here is too much. The older the actors, the saltier the ham of their performances.
  4. The movie, with spiderlike timidity, scuttles into a corner and freezes. [13 May 2002, p. 96]
    • The New Yorker
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Forest Whitaker directed with a slow, sugary touch -- and, one suspects, an eye toward the home-video market.
  5. Babel is an infuriatingly well-made disaster.
  6. O.K. for children.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The supporting cast of yokels commit plenty of redneck faux pas, but the witty script is weighed down by the director David Dobkin's heavy hand.
  7. There are many scenes of mock-lucha wrestling, which become as boring as actual wrestling. Nacho Libre, naïvely made kids’ stuff, lacks such minor attributes as a decent script and supporting cast.
  8. The audience decided to sell Snakes to itself, and that became the event--the actual movie could never have been more than another exploitation picture.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    For anyone who was transfixed by the first movie, watching the new one is a little like being unplugged from the Matrix: What was I experiencing all that time? Could it have been . . . all a dream? [19 May 2003, p.68]
  9. Everybody in and around this movie is trying too hard...After half an hour, we realized that, instead of enjoying a funny film, we were being lightly bullied into finding fun where precious little exists. [5 April 2004, p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
  10. Wilson and the director, Steven Shainberg, draw on Arbus's family and on many elements from her life and her art, only to turn the material into feeble nonsense.
  11. Now the mush has taken over, and Columbus has slowed his pace in nervous deference to the solemnity of his plot (not to mention the opulence of his characters' lives).
  12. In short, Dark Blue suffers from a problem that, however niggling, is likely to hobble any thriller: no thrills. [17 & 24 February 2003, p.204]
    • The New Yorker
  13. Picture my disappointment as I realized that, for all the pizzazz of Superman Returns, its global weapon of choice would not be terrorism, or nuclear piracy, or dirty bombs. It would be real estate. What does Warner Bros. have in mind for the next installment? Superman overhauls corporate pension plans? Luthor screws Medicare?
  14. The glum fact is that Gone Girl lacks clout where it needs it most, at its core.
  15. The movie is a mess, but it’s certainly not dull.
  16. In brief, I fell cheated by these clever, narrative-disrupting films. They seem to miss the point. After all, every fiction film is magical--an artifice devoted to “What if?”
  17. You should see it just for Chester — the adventurous sham, running ever deeper into a maze of his own devising.
  18. When Wright literalizes the fantastic, the movie turns squalid. He does better when he lets his visual fancies roam free. [25 April, 2011 p.88]
    • The New Yorker
  19. We're supposed to be overwhelmed by magic, but what we see is fancy film technique and a lot of strained whimsy.
  20. Arnold’s very strength — the mashup of grime and epiphany — is in danger of becoming a shtick. Then, there’s the length: an elasticated plot doesn’t really suit a director who is at her best in specific locations, where people get stuck like flies.
  21. The movie is ungainly – you can almost see the chalk marks it's not hitting. But it has a loose, likable shabbiness. [19 Oct 1987, p.110]
    • The New Yorker
  22. The over-all effect is bizarre, daring you to be amused by something both brilliant and bristling with offense; if you sidle out at the end, feeling half guilty at what you just conspired in, then Stiller has trapped you precisely where he wants you.
  23. If only Kim had a sense of humor to match his visual wit. Instead, we get rusted gags and rubbery acting.
  24. The Lovely Bones has been fashioned as a holiday family movie about murder and grief; it’s a thoroughly queasy experience.
  25. This disposable date movie is not so much written and acted as cast—just about every young actor in the country is in it.
  26. The movie is gorgeous, as you would expect from Sorrentino, but beauty this great can lead to suffocation. The plot goes round and round and nowhere, and the highlight is a couple of blistering monologues — one from Weisz, delivered while she is cloaked in mud, and another from Jane Fonda, as an aging screen goddess, encased in her own crust of powder and Botox.
  27. The movie, bad as it is, will do as a demonstration of a talented man’s freedom to choose different ways of being himself.
  28. As the feigning wears off, and Captain America: Civil War crawls to a close, you sense that the possibilities of nature have been not just exceeded but exhausted. Even the dialogue seems like a special effect: “You’re being uncharacteristically non-hyperverbal,” Black Widow remarks to Iron Man. Translation: “Say something.”
  29. Inglourious Basterds is not boring, but it’s ridiculous and appallingly insensitive.
  30. Having delighted in the doominess of Drive, as its journey began, I ended much less joyful than repelled.
  31. The few good jokes (most of them courtesy of the Pharaoh's high priests, voiced by Martin Short and Steve Martin) are swallowed up in this humorless epic.
  32. Unconvincing and ineffective; the many patches of ideological montage, growing like kudzu throughout the film, weaken the impact of its best moments.
  33. You can’t deny the smiling mood that wafts through the film like incense, and to that extent it honors the original three days; but not once does a character’s show of feeling stir you, send you, or stop you in your tracks, and the loss is unsustainable.
  34. Kevin Smith turns out to be reverent after all: he wants to separate true love from mere copulating for money, but his story mixes romance and porn so inextricably that he seems confused, and the movie trips over its own conceits.
  35. There is evidence that at some point this project (which was initiated by Oliver Stone) might have been serious, but Campbell has produced little more than a churning, vivid backdrop for romance. [10 November 2003, p. 129]
    • The New Yorker
  36. The narrative lacks a magnetic north; it encompasses so much, and the needle swings from Jeanne’s predicament to her mother’s dismay and to the support that comes from a celebrated Jewish lawyer, played by the ever-compelling Michel Blanc.
  37. Why, as a patron of Rock of Ages, do I wish I had taken the precaution of entering the theater drunk? [25 June 2012, p.84]
    • The New Yorker
  38. This, to put it mildly, is new terrain for Macy, and his journey--from Arthur Miller, as it were, to Céline and Dostoyevsky--does not always convince.
  39. Gray would have been happiest, I guess, to make movies in the nineteen-seventies, and this one feels much closer to 1975 than to 1988; he could certainly use a seventies audience to watch his movies now--one that could be trusted not to grumble about his slow, unexcitable fades.
  40. In The Conspirator, one wishes that the director had found the grace to touch upon, rather than belabor, the parallels between the conspirators of 1865 and the present-day inmates of Guantánamo.
  41. Fassbender, who was, frankly, much sexier and more devilish in "X-Men: First Class," is required to spend much of his time staring with blank intensity into the middle distance.
  42. The battle scenes are extraordinarily mucky and violent, but here, as in Tavernier's "Let Joy Reign Supreme," the intricate protocols of aristocratic sexual passion are the most startling elements. The movie, however, is opaque at its center. [25 April, 2011 p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
  43. At key moments, Lucky You loses its nerve.
  44. The movie is a showcase for digital technology and for Norton’s virtuosity, but I wish it weren’t such a weightless shambles.
  45. It's a peculiar movie, frantic and useless, with a hyperactive camera that gives us no more than fleeting impressions of Edie ecstatic at parties, Edie strung out on drugs, Edie lying mostly naked on a bed, with her skin splotchy from injections.
  46. The trouble with Super, as with "Kick-Ass," is that the director wants to have his cake, put a pump-action shotgun up against the frosting, blast vanilla sponge over a wide area, and THEN eat it. [4 April, 2011, p. 83]
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    But soon the movie falls flat under an uninspired good-versus-evil plot and pathetically simpleminded dialogue.
  47. Is this a case of spectacularly rotten timing, or is something being kept from us? The account of why the friends cross the border isn’t very persuasive…The young men may be clueless, but the filmmakers’ habit of obfuscating key points makes us wonder whether somebody is lying.
  48. The performances are lusty and concerted, but they remain just that - performances, of the sort that may make you feel you should stagger to your feet at the end and applaud. If so, resist.
  49. I have a vision of eight-year-olds leaving the movie in bewilderment. Why are the creatures so unhappy? That question doesn’t return a child to safety or anywhere else. Of one thing I am sure: children will be relieved when Max gets away from this anxious crew.
  50. I enjoyed parts of "Wedding," and I'm not about to tell people that they should not have enjoyed it. I'm just afraid that Hollywood will respond to its success by making many more sitcoms in the guise of movies. [23 Sept 2002, p. 98]
    • The New Yorker
  51. There are many unanswered questions here (why, for instance, does Pitt's Grim Reaper seem semi-retarded?), not to mention unintended spasms of comedy; in the end, however, they all get swallowed up in the mush.
  52. As with Spielberg's "Munich," there is an awkward, irresoluble tension between the movie's urge to thrill and the weighty pull of the historical obligations that it seeks to assume. How much, to be blunt, should we be enjoying ourselves? What do we owe to The Debt? Whatever the sum, it is more than the film itself, gloomy with unease, seems able to repay.
  53. Cera can be winning enough, with his flat-toned goofiness, in films like "Superbad," but there's only just enough of the guy to fill out one dramatis persona; two at once prove to be beyond him. [11 Jan. 2010, p.83]
    • The New Yorker
  54. It would be a shock if Antichrist had turned out to be anything but shocking.
  55. In the end, the problem with Conversations with Other Women is not that it pulls an ordinary romance into unfamiliar shapes but that it doesn't pull far enough. It may be dotted with fine observations, yet somehow the charm of its novelty grows stale, and the airless feeling of a closed set begins to fester.
  56. The makers of “Wonder Boys,” Douglas’s finest hour, did more to maintain their distance, and their patience, and Solitary Man feels a touch small and sour by comparison. That said, its litany of character studies is more engaging than most of what you will see this summer.
  57. The young Welsh-born actor Christian Bale is a serious fellow, but the most interesting thing about him--a glinting sense of superiority--gets erased by the dull earnestness of the screenplay, and the filmmakers haven't developed an adequate villain for him to go up against.
  58. All movie adaptations of Nabokov fall short, by definition, but this one is the most graceful failure so far.
  59. Che
    It would be comforting, and tidy, to suggest that the director had waited all his life for the chance to make this film, as if it meant everything to him; yet I still have no idea what truly quickens his heart, and at some level, for all the movie’s narrative momentum, Che retains the air of a study exercise--of an interest brilliantly explored. How else to explain one's total flatness of feeling at the climax of each movie?
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Ultimately disappointing--it's bigger budgeted, but somehow less engrossing when played outside the solitary intimacy of the tube. It'll be a great video flick.
  60. For all its technical sophistication, this movie is as blaring and unambiguous as a picture book for the very young.
  61. Skip Godzilla the movie. Watch the trailer.
  62. Seems a touch too long, too airless, and too content with its own contrivances to stir the heart.
  63. That is what kids will come away with, together with a dose of wishful thinking: the vague belief that, with good will and a foe from far away, all those feuding parties of the Wild West - the cowboys, the Indians, and the no-good rogues - could have settled their differences and got along just fine. Go tell it to Gary Cooper.
  64. I happen to find the result intrusive, presumptuous, and often absurd, but, for anyone who thinks that all formality is a front, and that the only point of a façade is that it should crack, Jackie delivers a gratifying thrill.
  65. Everest, in short, suffers from the same problem as Everest: overcrowding.
  66. Allied is written by Steven Knight and directed by Robert Zemeckis, who seems uncertain whether to treat the tale as a wrenching saga of split loyalties or as a glamorous jaunt. Having gathered all the ingredients for derring-do, he forgets to turn up the heat, and the derring never does.
  67. A romantic adolescent boy’s view of friendship.
    • The New Yorker
  68. As a whole, Shattered Glass is carefully constructed, intently played, and shot with creepy calm. It is also, by a considerable margin, the most ridiculous movie I have seen this year. [3 November 2003, p. 104]
    • The New Yorker
  69. Deep and Morton are really flying here (the scene in which the hero instructs the heroine in the passionate possibilities of her art), and they leave the rest of the film looking heavy on its feet. The second half, especially, grows dour and maundering, and by the end the movie seems to flail in desperation, more like a work in progress than like a finished piece.
  70. The Last of Robin Hood, written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, is often pallid and thin.
  71. Clooney and company could have used Sturges - or, even better, Clifford Odets - when it came to rewrites. With all the betrayals and gassy ambitions swirling around here, we badly need dialogue to ignite the film, instead of which even the most aggressive spirits keep firing the dampest of lines.
  72. The only person who wakes the movie from its slumbers is Emily Blunt. She gets a nothing role as a publicist, and makes something both sultry and casual out of it.
  73. The supporting cast provides centripetal force; too bad the center cannot hold.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The characters never take hold, and the result feels eerily hollow, like a series of charming improvisational bloopers.
  74. For all its handsomeness and its occasional moments of piercing intelligence, it's a fundamentally depressing piece of work--not because it deals with tragic events and memories but because the characters seem hapless and even stupid, and the writer-director can't, or won't, take control.
  75. Just creepy and unsavory at moments, but pleased to be so.
  76. The picture is schmaltzy and phallus-shrivelling, too.
  77. Has an oddly amorphous and inconclusive feeling to it. We never do find out who Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal) is, and his best friend, Troy (Peter Sarsgaard), who shifts back and forth between sanity and hysteria, is a mystery, too.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The story moves forward smoothly, but the pace is too even and the course is predictable.
  78. A minor work, but so menaced by distress that the characters take every opportunity to dance the dark away.
  79. The revelation is Wilde. A slender beauty with high cheekbones, she makes Anna a full-fledged neurotic, candid and demanding and changeable, shifting abruptly from snuggling happiness to angry defiance.
  80. A slight and rueful affair, intermittently funny.
  81. LaBute's attempt to follow in the footsteps of Restoration comedy is undercut by the fact that his dialogue is only fitfully funny, and you can't help but feel soured by the flat, ritualistic look of the action. The one enlivening performance comes, surprisingly, from Jason Patric.
  82. The film is perceptive and shrewd about such matters as the awkwardness of two kinds of aristocracy and power brought face to face. But "Hyde Park" never catches fire.
  83. The whole saga, complete with shootings and a car chase, is cooked up for the film. Meanwhile, when it comes to those with whom Davis worked so fruitfully to forge what he calls “social music,” we get nothing of Dizzy Gillespie or John Coltrane, say, and only the odd glimpse of Gil Evans (Jeffrey Grover).
  84. The ideas behind Enduring Love may be fascinating, but they don’t play; they sulk.
  85. If you want a Ron Howard movie about a man obsessed with a creature from the deep, In the Heart of the Sea, sadly, is not the place to start. Try “Splash.”
  86. Pretty much a miscalculation from beginning to end. [26 Nov. 2012, p.87]
    • The New Yorker
  87. If I were a Turkish official, I would not be too worried by this picture. Nothing so slippery can stir up indignation. [18 November 2002, p. 104]
    • The New Yorker
  88. The script is sketchy and somewhat puzzling (after a blissful night with Mousse, Paul leaves in the morning without explanation), but we're carried along by the potently ambiguous moods, the slow shifts from distant friendship to intimacy.
  89. Only Hailee Steinfeld’s committed performance as Nadine, a troubled high-school junior in Oregon, and Woody Harrelson’s deft turn, as a teacher who helps her, make this thin and cliché-riddled comic drama worth watching.
  90. Apart from Blanchett's performance, Veronica Guerin is not very interesting. The movie offers a brainless Hollywood version of investigative journalism. [10 November 2003, p. 129]
    • The New Yorker
  91. Compare this film with "Mud," and you realize how desperately you cared about the fate of the boys in "Mud," whereas those in Vogt-Roberts's movie are often too listless and too plaintive to earn, let alone heighten, our anxiety. [3 June 2013, p.74]
    • The New Yorker
  92. The movie holds one in its surly grip, but when it's over, few people, I think, are likely to be haunted by it. Futility may work as a mood in a short story, but in a full-scale movie it doesn't bear looking at for very long. (29 Oct 2001, p. 92)
    • The New Yorker
  93. Damon may be too young, too unformed, to play an amnesiac. Gazing at that blank face, we can't imagine that Bourne has any experiences or memories to forget. [17 & 24 June 2002, p. 176]
    • The New Yorker

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