The New Yorker's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,665 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 39% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 60% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Dawson City: Frozen Time
Lowest review score: 0 Bio-Dome
Score distribution:
1665 movie reviews
  1. This is a movie of great spirit and considerable charm. It’s about the giddiness of promise--the awakening of young talent, after years of the Depression, to a moment when anything seems possible.
  2. To Rome with Love is light and fast, with some of the sharpest dialogue and acting that he's put on the screen in years. [2 July 2012, p.84]
    • The New Yorker
  3. Less fruitful is the casting of Michelle Pfeiffer as May's older cousin, the mysterious Countess Olenska, with whom Archer falls hopelessly in love. With her silly blond curls, Pfeiffer looks more plaintive than the dark exotic of Wharton's imagination.
  4. Oddly, the effect of that imbalance is not just to heighten the charm of the film but to render it more credible: the course of true memory never did run smooth.
  5. There are times when the movie's entertainment value verges on the scandalous. [4 November 2002, p. 110]
    • The New Yorker
  6. Malik Vitthal’s first feature gives rich dramatic life to a piercingly analytical view of the American way of incarceration.
  7. No male director would have put so much as a toe inside this trouble zone, although Kent does borrow a helpful domestic hint from “Shaun of the Dead”: rather than vanquish our worst nightmare, why not tame it, lock it away, and hope?
  8. The dichotomy turns out to be a false one: whether you revile him or genuflect before him, you are still implying that the guy demands and deserves our fascination. What Sorkin and Boyle have to offer is not a warts-and-all portrait but the suggestion that there is something heroic about a wart.
  9. If Ross had merely told his story and re-created the media folk culture of the thirties, the movie might have been a classic. [4 August 2003, p. 84]
    • The New Yorker
  10. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, for all its terrible matter-of-factness, produces tumultuous feelings of amazement and revolt.
  11. Not much happens, but Coppola is so gentle and witty an observer that the movie casts a spell. [15 September 2003, p. 100]
    • The New Yorker
  12. The result feels, like Shakespeare's play, at once ancient and dangerously new.
  13. All in all, this twerpy little movie is one of the most entertaining pictures to be released so far this year.
  14. Pan
    Wright’s best film so far, livelier and more disloyal to its source than “Atonement” or “Pride and Prejudice” — crams without a care. The outcome is that increasing rarity, a proper children’s film; even the tears are well earned.
  15. What we glean from Belvaux's trilogy is the reassurance (rare on film, with its terror of inattention) that people are both important and unimportant, and that heroes and leading ladies, in life as in art, can fade into extras before our eyes. [Note: From a review of the entire trilogy.] [2 February 2004, p.94]
    • The New Yorker
  16. Spielberg must have sensed that he owed us some fun, and the movie has a sleek and carefree look -- the lightness of a sixties comedy, made with the extraordinary speed and panache of our most fluent director. This is a true holiday film, a gift from some genuine pros who know how to entertain without sweat. [23 & 30 December 2002, p. 166]
    • The New Yorker
  17. You come out of the movie both excited and soothed, as if your body had been worked on by felt-covered drumsticks.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Paramount's most lucrative long-running franchise (nine films in nineteen years) shows little wear and tear in this installment, perhaps the most colorful and relaxed of the series.
  18. I certainly came out of Nobody Knows feeling numb; only later, reflecting on the fact that the movie was inspired by a true story, did it occur to me that the numbness could have been deliberate, and that what suffused this picture was a mist of anger.
  19. By far the best spectacle movie of the season, and one of the few films to use digital technology for nuanced dramatic effect.
  20. The Spanish director Isabel Coixet works with candor, directness, and simplicity. She isn't afraid of lengthy scenes of the two actors just talking to each other, mixed with lavish but respectful attention to Cruz's body, especially her bare chest, which is treated as one of the wonders of all creation.
  21. Best of all -- and the only thing that has really made me laugh at the movies this year -- is a lengthy scene in which Coogan, inspired by the landscape, confesses his desire to star in a traditional costume drama. [13 & 20 June 2011, p. 128]
    • The New Yorker
  22. To some degree, “Hidden” is a cat-and-mouse thriller, the only problem being that mouse and cat insist on swapping roles.
  23. The plot, with its matched, escalating acts of revenge, may be a contrivance, but within that contrivance Changing Lanes plays earnest and well. [6 May 2002, p. 138]
    • The New Yorker
  24. It's a film that you need to see, not a film that you especially want to.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The easy-to-follow screenplay, about the rivalry between two toys -- cowboy Woody and spaceman Buzz Lightyear -- should excite young children; teen-agers and parents can enjoy the brilliantly executed action sequences.
  25. Infinitely charming new romantic comedy.
  26. Zodiac is superbly made, but it's also a strange piece of work.
  27. Linklater barely puts a foot wrong, and he shows that a movie about happiness can be cogent and robust, rather than sappy or wispy; and yet, for all its gambolling mischief, Everybody Wants Some!! leaves us with plenty to rue.
  28. The faults of the movie, semi-excusable as self-vindicating ploys, are nothing compared with its strengths.
  29. What is most winning about Distant is that it can peer past the grief and find a scrap of comedy. [15 March 2004, p. 154]
    • The New Yorker
  30. Powerful, concise, fully sustained.
  31. Central Park is at first discomforting, then enraging, then illuminating.
  32. Inherent Vice is not only the first Pynchon movie; it could also, I suspect, turn out to be the last. Either way, it is the best and the most exasperating that we’ll ever have. It reaches out to his ineffable sadness, and almost gets there.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Both Eastwood's performance and the movie itself have the quality of meat-and-potatoes genre-picture entertainment: nothing fancy, nothing unusual.
  33. The charm -- the midsummer enchantment -- never feels forced; it steals up and wins you. A true romance.
  34. In this movie, Fonda really is iconic. 3:10 to Yuma may be familiar, but, at its best, it has a rapt quality, even an aura of wonder.
  35. For the most part, though, Love & Friendship is a frolic: crisp and closeted rather than expansive, with curt exchanges in drawing rooms, carriages, and gardens.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Although there isn't anything startlingly original in this tale of three Catholic girls falling in love in late-fifties Ireland, it gets a sweet telling in Pat O'Connor's pretty film.
  36. Burnett used many kinds of African-American music on the soundtrack, and the movie itself has the bedraggled eloquence of an old blues record. The amateur actors, who occasionally burst into fury, combined with the black-and-white cinematography, bring the poverty of Watts closer to us emotionally.
  37. What we glean from Belvaux’s trilogy is the reassurance (rare on film, with its terror of inattention) that people are both important and unimportant, and that heroes and leading ladies, in life as in art, can fade into extras before our eyes. [Note: From a review of the entire trilogy.] [2 February 2004, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
  38. You can see the jokes coming well in advance, but you still laugh uncontrollably.
  39. It’s among the most visually extravagant films ever made.
  40. The movie is also about a man without fear. It is often funny and stirring, but as you are watching you know what the game will lead to; dictatorships are not known for their sense of humor. [5 March 2012, p. 86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With its charming performances, bubble-gum colors, and intentionally funny product placements, the movie is like a kiss in a candy store—silly and sweet.
  41. Claudel turns out to be very good at the psychology of intimacy. An observant man, he has assembled a large (and, to us, unknown) cast of actors around his star, and he dramatizes her slow reawakening with an infinite number of small, sharply etched details.
  42. Eminem does not come off as a megalomaniac in 8 Mile, but he expects people to be very, very impressed. I doubt he could lend himself to a fiction that said anything else: his eyes couldn't tell any story but his own. [11 November 2002, p. 195]
    • The New Yorker
  43. This intense, furious melodrama, by the Filipino director Lino Brocka, fuses its narrative energy with documentary veracity.
  44. What the writer and director, Sean Durkin, delivers here is not a cult film at all but something more troubled and insidious - a film about a cult.
  45. In short, Haynes is so smart, tolerant, and thoughtful that he has to be saved by his actors. Julianne Moore takes this picture further, perhaps, than anyone can have dreamed. [18 November 2002, p. 104]
    • The New Yorker
  46. A genuine love story might be difficult for a young audience to handle, but this fantasy is blissful madness--an abstinence fable sexier than sex.
  47. Blancanieves is a feast for the film-crazy. [8 April 2013, p.89]
    • The New Yorker
  48. Abrupt and fragmentary, but powerful. [Dec 10 2001, p. 111]
    • The New Yorker
  49. In short, this film is not quite the frozen and brittle comedy that it appears to be, and, if you can stomach it the first time, you may experience a baffling wish to see it again -- to inspect this crystalline curiosity from another angle. [16 September 2002, p. 106]
    • The New Yorker
  50. This is tricky, ambiguous material, seemingly better fitted to a short literary novel than to a movie, and it could have gone wrong in a hundred ways, yet Baumbach handles it with great assurance.
  51. A wonderfully entertaining movie.
  52. May be the most exquisitely crafted movie ever made about a bunch of nitwits. [10 & 17 June 2013, p. 110]
    • The New Yorker
  53. The Spectacular Now goes a little soft at the end, but most of it has the melancholy sense of life just passing by — until, that is, someone has the courage to grab it and make it take some meaning and form.
  54. Within the carnivalesque atmosphere and high-spirited revelry of Moore’s show, there’s a master of political rhetoric at work, and he devotes that mastery to a high patriotic calling. At its best, Michael Moore in TrumpLand is a moving act of devotion, a motivating turn of rhetoric of potentially historic import.
  55. Not to warm to this movie would be churlish, and foodies will drool on demand.
  56. What we glean from Belvaux’s trilogy is the reassurance (rare on film, with its terror of inattention) that people are both important and unimportant, and that heroes and leading ladies, in life as in art, can fade into extras before our eyes. [Note: From a review of the entire trilogy.] [2 February 2004, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
  57. '71
    As the camera darts down alleyways, or prowls the housing projects where soldiers fear to tread, what really concerns Demange — and what lends such a kick to O’Connell’s performance, on the heels of “Starred Up” and “Unbroken” — is the bewilderment and the panic that await us, whoever we may be, in limbo.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Writer-director Tamara Jenkins hits on a visual style that perfectly reflects her script's endearing juxtaposition of wackiness, sweetness, and sorrow.
  58. One of the most eloquent records we have of a tragedy that brought out some of the most impressively alive men and women in New Orleans.
  59. Still, it's le Carre's material; it was shot in dark, lurid, vital Hamburg; Hoffman is the star; and I was completely held. [28 July 2014, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
  60. Al Mansour is too smart to overdo the symbolic spin, but the thrust of her film, toward the end, could hardly be more urgent. [16 Sept. 2013, p. 72]
    • The New Yorker
  61. It isn’t a dialogue comedy; it’s visceral and lower. It’s what used to be called a crazy comedy, and there hasn’t been this kind of craziness on the screen in years. It’s a film to go to when your rhythm is slowed down and you’re too tired to think. You can’t bring anything to it (Brooks’ timing is too obvious for that) ; you have to let it do everything for you, because that’s the only way it works.
  62. Bright and crisp and funny, the movie turns dish into art--or, if not quite into art, then at least into the kind of dazzling commercial entertainment that Hollywood, in the days of George Cukor or Stanley Donen, used to turn out.
  63. Seldom, it is fair to say, does Kaufman just want to have fun, but as he lifts the spell of his gloom a surprising beauty breaks through.
  64. A film that cannot, in the normal sense of the word, be enjoyed, but it can be endured in a spirit of tempered anticipation -- The movie becomes an anguished demand that the dream be fulfilled. [26 Nov 2001, p. 122]
    • The New Yorker
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Waters gets uniformly bright performances from the large cast -- especially Christina Ricci as Pecker's girlfriend and Mary Kay Place as his mother -- and he succeeds in composing yet another twisted love letter to his home town.
  65. The emotional wallop grows more zealous with almost every sequence, and Loach’s refusal to go easy on us is as stubborn as it was when he made “Cathy Come Home.”
  66. Statistics and their alleged true meaning are at the heart of Moneyball, but it's also one of the most soulful of baseball movies - it confronts the anguish of a tough game.
  67. That is the thing about Gibson, fool that he is in other ways: he has learned how to tell a tale, and to raise a pulse in the telling. You have to admire that basic gift, uncommon as it is in Hollywood these days.
  68. Allen can be literal-minded about his thematic polarities, but, in this movie, he has put actors with first-class temperament on the screen, and his writing is both crisp and ambivalent: he works everything out with a stringent thoroughness that still allows room for surprise.
  69. From the beginning, you can feel this restive, pulsing movie burn from discontent toward disaster. The whole thing should sap the spirit, and make you despair of a lost and wasted country, yet you are constantly shocked awake by the energy of Arbor, whether it is spent on insolence, initiative, or grief. The boy’s a bright wire.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The movie is full of inspired touches as well as excessive ones: its appeal lies in the way its humor always treads the line between sendup and campy overkill.
  70. It is the greatest biblio-climax of any film since "Fahrenheit 451," although Truffaut's prayer was that reading might yet survive calamity and carry the torch of the civilized. Detachment snufffs out that faith; books it warns us, are the first thing to go. [19 March 2012, p.91]
    • The New Yorker
  71. Park has conjured up not only his smartest but also his most stirring film to date. And the least icky.
  72. No weirder than Kaurismäki's previous efforts. Indeed, compared with “Leningrad Cowboys Go America,” this venture tells an alarmingly straight tale. [7 April 2003, p.96]
    • The New Yorker
  73. Along with “No End in Sight,” this movie is one of the essential documentaries of the ongoing war.
  74. How far the story of Christine Chubbuck ripples outward, registering the cultural stresses of its time (and ours), I’m not sure. As an eyewitness report of a lonely soul on the rack, however, the movie is hard to beat.
  75. Cate Blanchett, who played Blanche on Broadway only a few years ago, gives the most complicated and demanding performance of her movie career. The actress, like her character, is out on a limb much of the time, but there’s humor in Blanchett’s work, and a touch of self-mockery as well as an eloquent sadness.
  76. John Cusack and Mahoney have to carry the unconvincing melodramatic portion of the plot, but they carry it stunningly. [15 May 1989]
    • The New Yorker
  77. A raffishly ironic and insinuating movie--and probably the most sheerly enjoyable film of the year so far.
  78. Fish tank may begin as a patch of lower-class chaos, but it turns into a commanding, emotionally satisfying movie, comparable to such youth-in-trouble classics as "The 400 Blows." [18 Jan. 2010, p. 83]
    • The New Yorker
  79. The movie’s story is conventional in shape, but it has passages of crazy exhilaration and brilliant invention.
  80. When the movie was over, a young boy sitting behind me said, "That was great!" He was satisfied, and rightly so.
  81. While Woody Allen’s recent films have grown ever more hermetic in their perplexity, Baumbach is becoming as prolific, and as quick on the comic draw, as the Allen of yore. Will historians of humor look back on this movie, perhaps, and mark it as the point at which the torch was passed?
  82. You might suggest that Bridge of Spies plays everything a touch safe, and that its encomium to American decency need not be quite so persistent. But when a film is as enjoyable as this one, its timing so sweet, and its atmosphere conjured with such skill, do you really wish to register a complaint? Would it help?
  83. Revved by the stage performances, the cast courses through the material with disciplined exuberance--especially the eight young actors at the center of the drama, many of whom have never appeared in a film before.
  84. The required resolution is a long time in coming, but there's plenty to keep you diverted, including the light backchat among the semi-weirdos who make up the brothers' family, and Bullock's ridiculously watchable performance.
  85. The movie is rife with confusions of every type, and Hooper handles them with clarity, grace, and a surprising urgency, far more at ease in this intimate drama than he was with the super-sized galumphings of “Les Misérables.”
  86. If you don't mind the gore, you can enjoy Snowpiercer as a brutal and imaginative piece of science-fiction filmmaking. [7 & 14 July 2014, p.94]
    • The New Yorker
  87. You feel wiped and blinded by such ravishment, yet a voice within you asks: Come on, guys, can't you just stop for the holidays?
  88. However moody, though, Two Lovers didn't strike me as a downer, for the simple reason that it wells with sights and sounds that are guaranteed to lift, not sink, the spirits.
  89. World War Z is the most gratifying action spectacle in years, and one reason for its success if the Pitt doesn't play a superhero. [1 July 2013, p.76]
    • The New Yorker
  90. The movie is a moralized historical fantasy, mixing love and politics in Old Hollywood style. Yet I can’t bring myself to be indignant about its inventions. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who was born in Oxford and has acted since she was a child, speaks her lines with tremulous emotion and, finally, radiant authority. Austen, I think, would have been thrilled.
  91. The hallucinatory power of ayahuasca and the incantatory lure of rituals fuse with existential dread in this darkly hypnotic drama.
  92. Miraculously, he (Polanski) brightens the faded material, and conjures his most graceful work in years.

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