The New Yorker's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,912 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 1.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Rat Film
Lowest review score: 0 Bio-Dome
Score distribution:
1912 movie reviews
  1. Flags of Our Fathers is an accomplished, stirring, but, all in all, rather strange movie
  2. Unimaginable as anything but a movie. It’s largely wordless, sombrely spectacular, vast and intimate at the same time, with a commitment to detailed physical reality that commands amazed attention for a tight hundred minutes.
  3. Mungiu’s pacing is so sure, however, in its switching from loose to taut, and the concentration of his leading lady so unwavering, that the movie, which won the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, feels more like a thriller than a moody wallow.
  4. It’s not just a blast but, at moments, a thing of beauty, alive to the comic awesomeness of being lost in space.
  5. I prefer to think of Akin, however, not as a forger of patterns but as an ironist who understands that bad luck is a crucible, in the heat of which we are tested, burned away, or occasionally transformed. The Edge of Heaven is about something more exasperating than crossed paths; it is about paths that almost cross but don't, and the tragedy of the near-miss.
  6. With the screenwriters Alice Arlen and Victor Levin, Hunt adapted the story from a 1990 novel by Elinor Lipman, and has turned the material into a fine, tense, unpredictable comedy of mixed-up emotions and sudden illuminations.
  7. Von Trier's latest fable is nothing without its blaze of majesty - or, as his detractors would say, its bombast.
  8. We get tired of watching Whip fail, and we're caught between dismayed pity and a longing to see him punished. Only a great actor could have pulled off this balancing act. [12 Nov. 2012, p.94]
    • The New Yorker
  9. It's an expertly made, intentionally minor movie, though when Monroe, doping herself with everything available, lies in bed, confused and hapless, there are depressing intimations of the end to come.
  10. Noah may not make much sense, but only an artist could have made it. [7 April 2014, p.74]
    • The New Yorker
  11. Jude Law, saying farewell once again to his youthful good looks (Dom has scars and a little too much weight), makes this hyper-articulate ruffian the most intricately soulful character in current movies. [7 April 2014, p.75]
    • The New Yorker
  12. It runs roughly two and a half hours, and the intensity spikes with every fight; without Russell Crowe and Paul Giamatti, however, it would be flat on the canvas. They make it seem a better and more bristling film than it actually is.
  13. Mankiewicz’s Cleopatra is put together of the stuff of legend that the director experienced as personal reality, and he filmed the story as if he had been there. The film may be as close as Hollywood gets, outside the realm of Orson Welles, to a cinematic simulacrum of Shakespeare, less in its lucidly incisive, rhetorically reserved images than in its blend of coruscating language, rowdy comedy, and grand yet urgent and intimate performances.
  14. Midler gives a paroxysm of a performance - it's scabrous yet delicate, and altogether amazing. The movie is hyper and lurid, yet it's also a very strong emotional experience, with an exciting visual and musical flow, and there are sharply written, beautifully played dialogue scenes.
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Pi
    Aronofsky's delirious, Kafkaesque writing and imaginatively distorted camerawork don't quite add up, but it's fascinating, hallucinogenic film work.
  15. The invective energy of Four Lions and its Swiftian vision of a confederacy of dunces are never in doubt. The problem is one of form. [15 Nov. 2010, p.99]
    • The New Yorker
  16. Anybody hoping that The End of the Tour would mirror the formal dazzle of Wallace’s fiction, doubling back on itself like the frantically probing encounters in his 1999 collection, “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men,” will be disappointed. Yet the film, despite its flatness, is worth exploring.
  17. Allen's new movie, Match Point, devoted to lust, adultery, and murder, is the most vigorous thing he's done in years.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. The first twenty minutes of Wedding Crashers are rabid with simple pleasure.
  22. Above all, there is Tom Cruise, whose career was in the ascendant, with “Risky Business” (1983) and “Legend” (1985), in the frantic years covered by the second half of American Made. Because he has changed so little in the interim, and mounted so uncanny a resistance to the onslaught of time, we feel, with a jolt, that we are gazing up at a star as he both was and still is. Astronomers may flee the cinema in confusion.
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. This slapstick adventure comedy is in the commercial genre of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it's a simpler, more likable entertainment than Raiders; it doesn't leave you feeling exhausted.
    • The New Yorker
  26. Lo and Behold is, by virtue of its scope, one of Herzog’s more scattershot endeavors.
  27. 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.
  28. The performance that lingers, once the tale is told, is that of Jay Pharoah as Nate, a fellow-patient on Sawyer’s ward, who has furtively kept hold of his cell phone (she was deprived of hers), and who lends the film an understated calm.
  29. Performs the unlikely trick of being both taut and plotless.
  30. 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
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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
  34. Nobody, not even a hard-core Schrader fan, could claim that First Reformed makes for easy listening, or viewing. If anything, it outstrips its predecessors in severity.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. It's only at the end of Blue Ruin that my pleasure drained away. [28 April 2014, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
  41. 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
  42. The movie is memorable and draining, but “Full Metal Jacket” it is not.
    • 66 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.
  43. No one could claim that the film is a distinguished contribution to cinema, but it would be churlish to resist its geniality and speed.
  44. 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.
  45. 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
  46. 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.
  47. The story of Fernandez and Beck may be grotesque comedy, but Todd Robinson tells it straight, without flinching from its piteousness, horror, or banality.
  48. Indeed, there is barely a frame of Branagh’s film that would cause Uncle Walt to finger his mustache with disquiet.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. You're entertained continuously, though you don't feel the queasy, childish dread that is part of the dirty kick of the horror genre.
    • The New Yorker
  54. 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.
  55. Now and then, Lelio departs into reverie and daydream, and it’s here, loosening the bonds of his naturalistic style, that he draws us closer to the mystery of Marina.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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
  63. 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.
  64. The fact that Mother keeps its balance is a tribute to the leading actress.
  65. So compact and controlled is this fine film.
    • 48 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.
  66. The first half of this 1997 movie suffers from abstraction. Still, it's a compelling erotic nightmare.
  67. 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
  68. 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
  69. 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
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. 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
  73. 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
  74. In all, Steve McQueen is a master of fascination rather than of drama--he creates stunning shots rather than an intricate story.
  75. 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
  76. 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?
  77. 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!”
  78. 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.
  79. 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
  80. As broad and obvious as Wanderlust is, it's often very funny. [5 March 2012, p. 87]
    • The New Yorker
  81. 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
  82. 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.
  83. 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
  84. 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
  85. 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
  86. 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.
  87. As the movie shows, the whole furtive business of ratings is indeed ridiculous and should be overhauled.
  88. 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.
  89. 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
  90. 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.
  91. A competent director (Peter Yates), working with competent technicians, gives a fairly dense texture to a vacuous script about cops and gangsters and politicians. The stars are Steve McQueen with his low-key charisma, as the police-officer hero, and the witty, steep streets of San Francisco.
    • The New Yorker
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. The masochistic gifted-victim game has been played in recent American writing on just about every conceivable level, but Irving's novel is still something special: he created a whole hideous and deformed women's political group (the Ellen Jamesians) in order to have his author-hero, his alter ego, destroyed by it, and the film is faithful to Irving's vision.
    • The New Yorker
  95. Beast is at its best when Buckley is at her most undaunted, showing us Moll at her most extreme — when she lies down by moonlight, for instance, in the shallow hole where a murder victim was found, beside a potato field.
  96. 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.
  97. The more it sags as a thriller, the more it jabs and jangles as a study of racial abrasion.

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