The New Yorker's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,567 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 Schindler's List
Lowest review score: 0 The Da Vinci Code
Score distribution:
1567 movie reviews
  1. Allen's new movie, Match Point, devoted to lust, adultery, and murder, is the most vigorous thing he's done in years.
  2. The result, like many of Winterbottom's films, lies an inch short of disarray; we CAN keep pace with the investigation, but only just, and that sense of splintering honors the unpredictability of the setting.
  3. Black holes, relativity, singularity, the fifth dimension! The talk is grand. There’s a problem, however. Delivered in rushed colloquial style, much of this fabulous arcana, central to the plot, is hard to understand, and some of it is hard to hear. The composer Hans Zimmer produces monstrous swells of organ music that occasionally smother the words like lava. The actors seem overmatched by the production.
  4. Most of Lindon’s fellow-actors are nonprofessionals who do their real-life jobs onscreen, and the intrinsic fascination of their performances—and of the world of work itself—opens exotic speculative vistas.
  5. The first twenty minutes of Wedding Crashers are rabid with simple pleasure.
  6. Stranger by the Lake, it must be said, flirts with monotony. There is something both fascinating and numbing in the rituals on display, and in the matching rhythm of the film's approach. [27 Jan.2014, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
  7. Where the eyes of a Disney princess grow wide as her pumpkin becomes a coach, the folk in Tale of Tales accept that miracles happen, being not an irruption into life but part of its natural flow.
  8. Lo and Behold is, by virtue of its scope, one of Herzog’s more scattershot endeavors.
  9. So skilled are both Carell and Tatum that the movie itself falls prey to the characters’ repression. Though never less than careful and clever, it’s also a stunted and fiercely unhappy piece of work, straining hard to deliver home truths about a commonweal that has beaten itself out of shape.
  10. Performs the unlikely trick of being both taut and plotless.
  11. For all the beauty and power of Road to Perdition, there's not much spontaneity in it, and the movie's flawless surface puts a stranglehold on meaning. [15 July 2002. p. 90]
    • The New Yorker
  12. This movie has almost no bite but plenty of moseying charm, and what it does get right is the idea of poets as perpetual magpies.
  13. Amanda Rose Wilder’s nuanced and passionate documentary, about the first year of a “free” elementary school in New Jersey, reveals the glories and the limitations of unstructured classrooms and observational filmmaking alike.
  14. You don't feel bamboozled, fooled, or patronized by District 9, as you did by most of the summer blockbusters. You feel winded, and shaken, and shamed. [September 14, 2009, pg.115]
    • The New Yorker
  15. One may be horrified by these two, or laugh at them, but both horror and laughter give way to amazement at the human talent for survival.
  16. Betzer’s view of the family’s pathologies goes far beyond troubled nature and lack of nurture to probe haunted American landscapes. Violence and tenderness, piety and crime unite in a terrifying tangle of stunted emotions.
  17. Midnight has one big problem: Allen hardly gives Gil a perceptive moment. He's awestruck and fumbling - he doesn't possess, to our eyes, the conviction of a writer. But who knows? He's young.
  18. You feel both moved and exhausted by the distance that Wilson has to travel, musically and emotionally, before reaching the shore. That makes it, I guess, a happy ending. But then, as one of the Beach Boys remarks, on listening to “Pet Sounds,” even the happy songs are sad.
  19. These small-scale, intelligent movies can fall into a trap: it’s hard to achieve a satisfactory dramatic climax when observation is your principal dramatic mode.
  20. It's only at the end of Blue Ruin that my pleasure drained away. [28 April 2014, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
  21. A dramatic failure, but, at its best, it offers a frightening suggestion of the way terror can alter reality so thoroughly that, step by step, the fantastic becomes accepted as the mere commonplace. [5 May 2003, p. 104]
    • The New Yorker
  22. The movie is memorable and draining, but “Full Metal Jacket” it is not.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Meanders pleasantly, like a road movie, with a seventies-style, anything-goes offhandedness that whisks the audience through the rough spots.
  23. No one could claim that the film is a distinguished contribution to cinema, but it would be churlish to resist its geniality and speed.
  24. It seems not just against the odds but against the laws of nature that a film as bookish, as suburban, and as self-consciously clever as In the House should also be such fun.
  25. No more than a shallow, style-mad entertainment, but it never flags or loses its balance, and, despite the theatricality of the staging and the acting, it’s precisely the materiality of the cinema--that makes us devour it with pleasure. [29 March 2004, p. 103]
    • The New Yorker
  26. If Cars is something of a letdown, that is not because of the moral messages that it delivers but because of the heavy hand with which it cranks them out.
  27. The story of Fernandez and Beck may be grotesque comedy, but Todd Robinson tells it straight, without flinching from its piteousness, horror, or banality.
  28. Indeed, there is barely a frame of Branagh’s film that would cause Uncle Walt to finger his mustache with disquiet.
  29. There is certainly a trill of suspense to be had from these ideological heists, but Weingartner’s movie is never quite as keen-edged as it hopes or needs to be.
  30. At its best when the characters sit around, dither, and ruminate. Moviemaking seems to have become almost magically easy for this independent writer-director. He builds a detailed atmosphere, brings his good people and his bad together, and lets them jabber at one another; the virtuosity is rhetorical rather than visual.
  31. I happen to prefer the extreme unslackness of “Halloween,” and the resourceful pluck of Curtis, to the dreamier dread of Maika Monroe. Nonetheless, like her pursuers, It Follows won’t leave you alone.
  32. In all, Appaloosa is good as far as it goes--everything in it feels true--but I wish that Harris had pushed his ideas further.
  33. Think about it a day later, though, and its hectic swoop from romance to thriller to campaign manifesto leaves oddly little afterglow. The gardener is the only constant here; so much else burns up and blows away.
  34. Challenged by Downey’s energy, Jude Law, who often seems aimless in his movies, comes fully up to speed. He’s virile and quick-witted, and his Watson, if not Holmes’s equal in brainpower, comes close to him in daring. Their repartee evokes the banter of lovers in a screwball comedy; they flirt outrageously but chastely.
  35. A Bigger Splash is fiercely unrelaxing, and impossible to ignore. You emerge from it restive and itchy, as though a movie screen could give you sunburn, and the story defies resolution.
  36. Russian Dolls offers touristic views of London, Paris, and St. Petersburg, where Wendy and Xavier both go for the wedding of another former roommate, and many pretty faces and bodies; it's froth with a sprinkling of earnest reflection.
  37. What IS surprising is the unembarrassed energy that Boyle devotes to his pursuit of the obvious; there’s nothing wrong with the formulaic, it would appear, so long as you bring the formula to the boil.
  38. Yet the great thing about White God is that the more you command it to sit and stay — to settle down as a plausible plot, or to cohere as a political fable — the more it slips its leash and runs amok.
  39. The problem is not that the film debases the book but that movies themselves are too capacious a home for such comedy, with its tea-steeped English musings and its love of bitty, tangential gags.
  40. It’s party time, and the movie is wild and crude without being mean--it’s a comedy of infantile regression, “Animal House” for grownups. [17 March 2003, p. 154]
    • The New Yorker
  41. The movie is not an argument for chaos; it's an argument for making one's way through life with a relaxed will and an open heart.
  42. The fact that Mother keeps its balance is a tribute to the leading actress.
  43. So compact and controlled is this fine film.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The movie's horror-comics second half is cheesy, derivative, and ultimately a little wearying. But it's also unpretentious and insanely cheerful.
  44. The first half of this 1997 movie suffers from abstraction. Still, it's a compelling erotic nightmare.
  45. The movie is amiable enough: the young Australian actress Teresa Palmer is lovely and crisp, and the Canadian writer-director Michael Dowse manages the party traffic well. [14 March 2011, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
  46. Citing Chekhov at this early time in Swanberg's career may be unfair, but an amiable movie like Drinking Buddies cried out for the revelations that a great dramatist--or even a talented screenwriter and director working together--can give us. [9 Sept. 2013, p.90]
    • The New Yorker
  47. The movie is about preservation and restoration and the power of art. But with what gain in knowledge? It's as if Szpilman had no soul, and no will, apart from an endless desire to tickle the keys. [13 January 2003, p. 90]
    • The New Yorker
  48. Almodóvar - whose penchant for narrative complexity grows ever deeper - latches on to the idea of personal history as a puzzle that refuses to be solved.
  49. They give excellent value for money, launching into song the way that normal folk go to the bathroom--regularly, politely, and because, if they didn't, well, darn it, they might just burst.
  50. The movie is successful -- harsh, serious, and both exhilarating and tragic, the right tonal combination for Homer. [17 May 2004, p. 107]
    • The New Yorker
  51. A superb martial discipline has ended in a commercial movie genre--not the worst fate in the world, but the comic irony of it is of little interest to a director bent on glorification. [9 Sept. 2013, p.90]
    • The New Yorker
  52. In all, Steve McQueen is a master of fascination rather than of drama--he creates stunning shots rather than an intricate story.
  53. The Good Thief is too spindly and unconfident for an actor of this bulk, yet without him it would curl up and die. [7 April 2003, p.96]
    • The New Yorker
  54. Hawke is on a roll right now, and Good Kill stirs him to another performance of cogency and zeal. Is it sufficient, however, to support an entire movie?
  55. Cloverfield is a vastly old-fashioned piece of work, creaking with hilarious contrivance. I was thrilled, for instance, to hear someone actually speak the line “It’s alive!”
  56. After a while, you stop counting the chases -- they just get longer and louder, and it's like watching the revival of a forgotten art form; the fact that it's done with a minimum of special effects makes it all the more stirring.
  57. Tears of the Sun may be a flattering myth, but it’s not a bad myth to be flattered by. [17 March 2003, p. 154]
    • The New Yorker
  58. As broad and obvious as Wanderlust is, it's often very funny. [5 March 2012, p. 87]
    • The New Yorker
  59. Ryder is devious and witchy, her eyes flashing, her crinkly voice developing knife edges. She gives an acidly brilliant performance as a desperate, lying woman. [24 Jan. 2011, p. 83]
    • The New Yorker
  60. Without Nancy and her demon lover, Polanski's Oliver Twist feels handsome, steady, and respectful; it has that touch of mummification which wins awards. But Dickens had murder in mind--women killed for their kindness, children for lack of food--and he wanted us to howl and hyperventilate. He asked for more.
  61. Affleck the movie director makes you truly, badly want his bunch of ne'er-do-wells to pull off their heists without a scratch, and you can't ask for much more than that. [20 Sept. 2010, p. 120]
    • The New Yorker
  62. Viewers will be split between those who wonder about this silly, trumped-up story and those who already know and love the silliness for what it was. [4 November 2002, p. 110]
    • The New Yorker
  63. Its characters are no different from the rest of us, in the cluster of their annoyances and kicks, yet utterly removed from us by a system that frowns upon ordinary desire. Jafar Panahi's movie, unsurprisingly, has been outlawed in Iran. Nobody likes a prophet. [19 January 2004, p. 93]
    • The New Yorker
  64. Watching the antic inventions of Go for Zucker, I was moved by the thought that Jews have achieved a kind of Germanness again, and even more moved by the thought that Germans have achieved a kind of Jewishness again.
  65. As the movie shows, the whole furtive business of ratings is indeed ridiculous and should be overhauled.
  66. As the film concludes with his upraised hand, conductor’s fingers unfurling against a blue sky, you do feel that you have witnessed a small victory of wisdom over indifference and ennui. When in doubt, strike up the band.
  67. In all, these men and women don't seem to have the seething ambitions and the restlessness of so many Americans. They don't expect to get rich, somehow, next year. They may be happier than we are but they're also less colorful. [28 Jan. 2012, p.80]
    • The New Yorker
  68. It takes a female director, I think, to catch children, young and old, at these fragile hours, and also to trace a residue of something childlike in their elders.
  69. It’s a romantic, erotic drama that’s told with an unusual blend of rapture and coldness, of overwhelming yearning and clinical detachment — and, above all, the movie has images that go far beyond the recording of performances and the framing of action in order to make a melancholy and mysterious visual music.
  70. The strength of the movie resides mainly in the work of its cameraman, Chris Menges, who delivers a barrage of images as rousing and changeable as the fortunes of Collins himself.
  71. How can one not revere a movie director who causes the printers of travel brochures to cry out in distress? The Greece of sun, sand, and sea is not open for business here, Angelopoulos having decided that grandeur, grief, and grayness are more his line of work.
  72. The more it sags as a thriller, the more it jabs and jangles as a study of racial abrasion.
  73. In brief, The Brown Bunny, however antagonistic and borderline tedious, is an art work of sorts, and Gallo himself, though an egomaniac of staggering solemnity-a priest of art longing for a cult-is not a fake.
  74. It is one of those movies--Antonioni's "Red Desert" being the most flagrant example--that spend so much time brimming with moral and political suggestion that they almost forget to tell us what's actually going on.
  75. The movie is, literally, a tough act to follow, thanks to the brusque, undemonstrative way in which Haneke chops from one subplot to the next. [3 Dec 2001, p.105]
    • The New Yorker
  76. The director, Gore Verbinski, would seem to be an odd man for this material, but he and Steven Conrad hold their ground, sticking to their conviction that Dave's story should play as a belated-coming-of-age movie.
  77. Watching A Christmas Tale, with its bursts of old movies, dregs of empty bottles, lines from books, and fragments of half-forgotten conversations, is like getting to know a family other than your own by leafing through its scrapbooks and laughing at its photograph albums, while it bickers in the next room over stuff you may never understand.
  78. That is an unusually gloomy proposition not just for a studio movie but for a society that, despite the acts and sites of official commemoration, must find good cause to forge ahead from catastrophe. Reign Over Me closes with, at best, a cautious hope, leaving us more anxious than when we went in, and throughout the film there is a stunned and bewildered air hanging over the city, like a heavy smog.
  79. Whitaker, in the performance of a lifetime, makes him (Idi Amin) a charismatic madman.
  80. The Armstrong Lie goes on forever, perhaps because Gibney can’t believe that, like everyone else, he’s been had. Again and again, he looks for elements of moral clarity (never mind remorse) in Armstrong, and the cyclist looks back at Gibney (and at us) as if he were a fool.
  81. Chronicle becomes a cautionary tale: power corrupts. Yes, and digital power corrupts absolutely. Andrew's sense of decency disappears, and so does the filmmakers' sense of humor. [13 & 20 Feb. 2012, p. 120]
    • The New Yorker
  82. Téchiné is unusually adroit at manipulating a complex set of relations within a very mixed group of people. This movie is easy to take--chatty and sociable, with a brightly lit, even sunshiny gloss and an open sensuality.
  83. It was with both joy and mystification, therefore, that I found myself cackling at What We Do in the Shadows like a witch with a helium balloon.
  84. A Prairie Home Companion has many lovely and funny moments, but there's not a lot going on. Dramatically, it's mellow to the point of inertia. There may not be any sweat, but there isn't any heat, either.
  85. The result is that Shall We Kiss? puts its viewers in a bind worthy of the lovers themselves: should we organize a Socratic symposium on the issues raised by the film, or hurl our popcorn violently at the screen?
  86. But Byrne, who has lacked good movie roles of late, is marvellously grave.
  87. Who are these men, so eager for asceticism, violence, and martyrdom? At first, we think that’s what we’ll learn from The Oath, a fascinating documentary directed, produced, and shot by Laura Poitras. We don’t really, but what we do find out is of equal interest, and oddly reassuring.
  88. You cannot help being stirred by the reach and depth, the constant rebuffs to sloppiness, of a strong ensemble.
  89. The tension of Calvary is fitful at best, and much of the movie trips into silliness, but in Brendan Gleeson -- in his proud bearing and his lamenting gaze -- we see the plight of the lonely believer in a world beyond belief. [4 Aug.2014, p.74]
    • The New Yorker
  90. A Master Builder is a bold endeavor, thriftily made, and there is muscle and volume in the performances; but had Demme hung back, and kept things cooler and quieter, the mastery of what Ibsen built, and the agon of his extraordinary hero, would have cast a more looming shadow. [4 Aug. 2014, p.75]
    • The New Yorker
  91. Bean's touch is unsteady, and Noise is certainly odd, but the movie is alive with the creative madness of New York.
  92. Love and Other Drugs has many weak spots, but what it delivers at its core is as indelible as (and a lot more explicit than) the work of such legendary teams as Clark Gable and Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.
  93. The film is slowed by its own beauty, but it is salvaged by two majestic scenes.
  94. Ends with a burst of movie-ish mayhem, and then a burst of sentiment, but when Brewer, Howard, and Ludacris stick to the bitter texture of South Memphis failure and success they produce a modest regional portrait that could become a classic of its kind.
  95. Leconte lacks the austerity to complete a film in which nothing much occurs. And so, with some reluctance, we are bustled toward a climax. [12 May 2003, p. 82]
    • The New Yorker
  96. Locy infuses the film with empathy and wit, and his grandly bittersweet imagination pulls the story toward tragedy, but he also plays loosely with stereotypes better left behind.
  97. More than forty years have passed since A Woman Is a Woman won the Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival for "originality, youth, audacity, impertinence." (When did you last see a movie that might warrant such an award?) [26 May 2003, p. 102]
    • The New Yorker
  98. The great virtue of the movie is its length: a fat-free seventy-six minutes.

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