The New Yorker's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,572 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 Winter's Bone
Lowest review score: 0 The Da Vinci Code
Score distribution:
1572 movie reviews
  1. The movie's meaning seems to be: we're all crippled in some way, so just live with it--celebrate it, even. That isn't satire; it's moss-brained sentiment that turns "sensitivity" into a dimly dejected view of life.
  2. As nonsense goes, this has a certain gusto and glee, and what dismayed me was that Bekmambetov felt the need to spice it with the addition of coarsely chopped violence.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The film, which Barrymore produced, is meant to be a charming coming-of-age story, but it plays a little too sweetly for its own good.
  3. The sticking point of the movie is its exorbitant length: two and three-quarter hours does seem like an awful long time to patch up a horse, and a movie that goes straight for your heart should not be allowed to fester.
  4. It treads enjoyably over old ground, and it has a surprisingly foul mouth, though rather than cruising along with the ease of Allen's best work it tends to hobble, and it closes in a flurry of undecided endings.
  5. A movie about mother-son incest may sound like a daring writing-directing début, but David O. Russell, the fledgling auteur, stacks the deck like an old sharpie.
  6. "All good stories deserve embellishment," Gandalf says to Bilbo before they set off, and one has to ask whether the weight of embellishment, on this occasion, makes the journey drag, and why it leaves us more astounded than moved. And yet, on balance, honor has been done to Tolkien, not least in the famous riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum.
  7. The movie won't do much for anyone who doesn't have an academic or fanboy absorption in junk.
  8. In 2002, Carnahan made an intense and violent little cop film, "Narc," with Jason Patric and Ray Liotta. He seemed to have absorbed the influences of John Cassavetes and Martin Scorsese and come up with a style of his own. I was a fan of that movie, but Smokin’ Aces feels like Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" pushed much further along into lethal absurdity.
  9. Another hitch, for Feig, is that, whereas the cheesiness of the effects in the earlier “Ghostbusters” was part of its rackety charm, no current audience will settle for anything less than a welter of wizardry. And so he piles it on, until whole sections of the movie collapse beneath the visual crush.
  10. Thanks to Lane, Hollywoodland, no great shakes as a thriller, becomes a quiet horror story about the monstrosity of time.
  11. Clooney gives it everything, but what does he get in return? A void where the story is meant to be.
  12. One of the main virtues of John Rabe is to demonstrate that, however much we know about the worst of all wars, it still has little-known corners that can amaze us.
  13. Meirelles's picture is so keen to brandish its social wrath, and its spirits are so rampagingly high, that the bruises it inflicts barely last a night. [20 January 2003, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
  14. You can't help feeling that what this enterprise required was Louis B. Mayer, or, though one has no wish to be cruel, Harry Cohn. [3 February 2003, p.98]
    • The New Yorker
  15. Hammers away at the plot so relentlessly that you can feel the nails entering the back of your skull.
  16. At its most persuasive, it conjures live-action versions of Chinese paintings, as if Hou were more at ease with the settings and stakes than with the personalities.
  17. I couldn't imagine anyone better suited to play the role. But this movie is a lot less interesting than it might be. Though it's not bad--in fact, it's rather sweet--it's too simple a portrait of a very complicated and calculating entertainer.
  18. There are gags and scraps of action that give the movie fits of buoyancy, and these tend to come not so much from the younger, eager performers as from the old hands.
  19. Far too long, but thanks to Depp--and to Bill Nighy, properly mean beneath his suckers and blubber--it swerves away from the errors committed by the other big movies this summer.
  20. An obscene, ridiculous, and occasionally very funny movie, and if it ever gets to the Middle East it will roil the falafel tables on both sides of the Arab-Israeli divide.
  21. This is the fifth movie to be written and directed by David Mamet, and it's his most bizarre one yet; people speak in that dreamy, lockjawed manner we first heard in "House of Games," and their entire lives appear to be lived under the spell of some nameless paranoia.
  22. The film is based on the novel by Helen Schulman, who co-wrote the script with Kidd, and it suffers from the same hobbling that bedevils so many literary adaptations; namely, that what strikes a reader as a conceit of some delicacy will strike a moviegoer as clunking whimsy.
  23. What is most disappointing about Big Fish is the nervousness of its fantasizing--a strange unwillingness, new in Burton's work, to trust the wit of the audience. [15 December 2003, p. 119]
    • The New Yorker
  24. The Nichols of 1971 was bold and speedy, keeping pace with Jack Nicholson's contempt, whereas the more civilized Nichols of 2004 seems a beat behind the lines, waiting for peace or charity to break out. They never do.
  25. Mister Foe flirts too often with the unlikely and the foolish, yet there is something to admire in the nerve of its reckless characters, so uneasy in their skins.
  26. The movie is overwrought and unfocussed.
  27. This Kong is high-powered entertainment, but Jackson pushes too hard and loses momentum over the more than three hours of the movie. The story was always a goofy fable--that was its charm--and a well-told fable knows when to stop.
  28. If he had told the story straight, without such hedging, and at half the length, it would have borne far more conviction.
  29. The funniest moment comes when Carrey mimes the effects of the Mask without special effects.
  30. It's about guns and sex and fast boats, and, baffling as it is at times, it's still the kind of brutal fantasy that many of us relish a great deal more than yet another aerated digital dream.
  31. Saved! is a minor work, yet it has a teasing lilt to it, and to make it at all took courage and originality. [31 May 2004, p. 88]
  32. The most confidently professional work Soderbergh has ever done, but it's also the least adventuresome and emotionally vital. It vanishes faster than a shot of bourbon. [Dec 10 2001, p. 110]
    • The New Yorker
  33. Owen has made immense progress, to which Life, Animated is a stirring tribute, yet it leaves a trail of questions unanswered or unasked.
  34. Once you admit that the Jane Austen depicted onscreen bears scant relation to any person named Jane Austen, living or dead, the film fulfills its purpose.
  35. This movie, taken all together, is one of the most bizarre combinations of distinguished talent and inane ideas that I've ever seen.
  36. Whether the film cuts it as a fully functioning weepie is another matter. I was in pieces after “Blue Valentine,” and had to be swept up from the floor of the cinema by the guy who retrieves the spilled popcorn, but the The Light Between Oceans left me disappointingly intact.
  37. All this leaves The Zero Theorem looking both disorderly and stuck. And yet, to my surprise, on returning for a second viewing I found myself moved by the film — by the very doggedness with which it both hunts for and despairs of meaning.
  38. I can't help wishing that Chabrol would, just once, cast off his own good narrative manners--do away with the irritations of a film like A Girl Cut in Two, which is never more than semi-plausible, and arrange his passions, as the elderly Buñuel did in "That Obscure Object of Desire," into shameless, surreal anagrams of wit and lust.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    If the original did not exist, would this picture be worth seeing?
  39. Skip the coda to this movie, with its tiny upswing of hope, and remember the days at the tables, as dim and endless as nights, and the click of the dialogue.
  40. The fight against traditionalism has long been won, so the movie’s indignation feels superfluous, but Mike Newell’s direction is solid, the period décor and costumes are a sombre riot of chintz and pleated skirts, and the movie has an air of measured craft and intelligence. [22 & 29 December 2003, p. 166]
    • The New Yorker
  41. Then, there is Thomas the Tank Engine, who gives the most thoughtful performance in the movie. He is part of a train set in the bedroom of Scott’s young daughter, and, as such, he is perfectly adapted to the dimensions of Ant-Man’s world.
  42. It's all very well to satirize perfect white females, but if you're sick of their attitudes why single them out as protagonists in the first place? What happened to the Asian Nerds? Or the Unfriendly Black Hotties? Or the tired teachers? Why can't we see a movie about them? [10 May 2004, p. 108]
    • The New Yorker
  43. Both of them (Zellweger and McGregor) are set adrift by the movie's discomforting demands, and only in the closing credits (this really is a top-and-tail movie) do they get to do what people do most fruitfully instead of sex, which is to make a song and dance about it. Who needs love? [26 May 2003, p. 102]
    • The New Yorker
  44. For Your Consideration feels weirdly meek and mild, an unmighty wind that quickly blows itself out.
  45. Ben Affleck probably respects Lehane the genre writer (there are five books with Patrick Kenzie as the hero) more than he should. He also has some way to go before he becomes a good director of action.
  46. Marling is the star, and the core of the film's concern. She also co-wrote it with the director, Mike Cahill, yet the result comes across not as a vanity project but as a sobering study of the thoroughly dazed and confused, with a mind-ripping final shot.
  47. Oldboy has the fatal air of wanting so desperately to be a cult movie that it forgets to present itself as a coherent one.
  48. At times, the cutting shifts from the hasty to the impatient to the borderline epileptic, and, while never doubting Scorsese’s ardor for the Stones, I got the distinct impression of a style in search of a subject.
  49. I don't believe that anyone will have much trouble seeing what's wrong with the picture, but it's one of those bad movies that you remember with a smile a year later. [9 September 2002, p. 162]
    • The New Yorker
  50. We get one lovely, cheering sequence of a trashed room putting itself in order, like the untidy nursery in "Mary Poppins," but the rest of the magic here feels randomly grabbed at.
  51. The movie is often absorbing, and skillfully played, but, along with its snarling hero, it doesn’t have much time for ordinary folk. By the end, like Marianne, we are left gasping for air.
  52. The plot material isn't as strong as in the first two movies--if anything, it feels a bit desperate--but the anti-Disney joke blunderbuss remains in good working order.
  53. Has a slapdash feeling to it.
  54. The movie offers a more insightful view of the music business than of Baker’s art.
  55. The crud and petty desperation of The Cooler is enjoyable as atmosphere, and the movie is passionate. [12 January 2004, p. 86]
    • The New Yorker
  56. The saddest thing about If I Stay is that it affords Moretz so little opportunity to be non-sad.
  57. That the story is true (and based on an expertly written book by Jonathan Harr) doesn't make A Civil Action any more satisfying dramatically -- there's a streak of obviousness in the moral melodrama that dampens one's interest.
  58. There are simply too many characters to get a handle on, and the sheer proliferation of special effects offers Singer a license so unfettered that most of the mutants act not according to their natures but purely on the ground of what, at that juncture, looks most groovy. [12 May 2003, p. 82]
    • The New Yorker
  59. The Interpreter is long and tangled, the score is yet another drownout from the thundering James Newton Howard, and the avowed thoughtfulness--about sub-Saharan politics, about the clashing commitments to peace and justice, about the kinship of damaged souls--is at once laudable and vaporous.
  60. The boyfriend, one Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), a Brit rocker and professional sex god, turns out to be the best thing in the movie.
  61. Yet, for all its skill, Public Enemies is not quite a great movie. There’s something missing--a sense of urgency and discovery, a more complicated narrative path, a shrewder, tougher sense of who John Dillinger is.
  62. Diesel, of course, slots into the Fast and Furious films as neatly as a dip-stick. Not only does his name remind you of the stuff you pump into a car; when he opens his mouth, he actually sounds like a car. [3 June 2013, p.74]
    • The New Yorker
  63. Lucas shifts back and forth between this kind of original invention and a dependence on pompous dead-level dreck, a grade-B cheapness that he's obviously addicted to. [20 May 2002, p. 114]
    • The New Yorker
  64. Inside the stony exterior of The American beat some tired old ideas about innocence and redemption. How can you make an intellectual thriller and put a whore with a heart of gold in it?
  65. The Butler is a lightweight, didactic movie, a kind of well-produced high-school entertainment.
  66. Peter Sarsgaard, with an oozing voice and a wolfish smile, is a terrific creep, and Hank Azaria and Bobby Cannavale have fun overplaying porn-world figures, but the movie, at its center, remains unawakened.
  67. It's nothing we haven't seen done better before (by Paul Greengrass in the recent "Bourne Ultimatum," for instance), but it's good enough as kinetic entertainment.
  68. This movie, though perfectly pleasant, does not have a great script.
    • The New Yorker
  69. Who will stay with this film, and glorify it? Two sorts, I reckon: real revellers, randy for sensation, out of their heads; and, a block away, coffee-drinking Ph.D.s, musing on the cinema of alienation, too lost inside their heads to break for spring. [25 March 2013, p.108]
    • The New Yorker
  70. The movie is strange and muddled -- a disorganized epic -- but Day-Lewis, disporting himself with royal assurance, does what he can to hold it together. [23 & 30 December 2002, p. 166]
    • The New Yorker
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Despite some expert performances --the picture remains as confused as its hero; unlike him, it never does find its identity.
  71. This new Star Trek is nonsense, no question ("Prepare the red matter!"), but at least it's not boggy nonsense, the way most of the other movies were, and it powers along, unheeding of its own absurdity, with a drive and a confidence that the producers of the original TV series might have smiled upon.
  72. In short, there are moments, in this very uneven film with its lamination of the ancient and the monstrously new, when the spirit of Fellini hovers overhead like a naughty angel. [25 March 2013, p.109]
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Although it's an agreeable movie, Caton-Jones's direction is too discreet -- too civilized -- to stir the viewer's blood.
  73. One has to ask: does it allow for immersion? Even as we applaud the dramatic machinery, are we being kept emotionally at bay? [29 Oct. & 5 Nov. 2012, p.128]
    • The New Yorker
  74. As an evocation of danger, the movie seems threatening yet is nowhere near serious or intelligent enough to satisfy our current sense of alarm. [3 June 2002, p. 100]
    • The New Yorker
  75. Dershowitz's life-enhancing scenes are flatulent, and they're dishonest: the movie seems to be putting us down for enjoying the scandal satire it's dishing up. [19 Nov 1990]
    • The New Yorker
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    In spite of its noirish glow, De Palma's thriller is oddly unsuspenseful. Although his vaunted technique and Hitchcockian effects are all here, there's no life in the story (co-written by De Palma and David Koepp), and the last-minute burst of sentimentality is especially lame.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It's too long by half an hour, and the director, Ted Demme, can't hold onto a rhythm, but the actors are uniformly sharp, and so are the actresses.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The action is loud and flashy, but there isn't really much suspense. The movie operates in such well-charted waters that it feels less like a dangerous naval mission than like a luxury cruise: the accommodations are cozy and the activities carefully planned.
  76. The writer and director, Jeremy Leven -- himself a former shrink -- has taken a heavy conceit and lightened it into comedy, which is what it deserves.
  77. What is most disconcerting about Dominik's film is his choice of rhythm. We pass from reams of conversation, or cantankerous monologue, to throes of extreme violence, then back to the flood of words - most of them to do with buying, selling, slaying, whoring, or doing time.
  78. As a rule, movies about toys need to be approached with extreme caution; some of them have been bad enough to count as health hazards. This one is the exception.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Paltrow is as radiant as ever, but she keeps picking parts that focus on technical skills like accents -- she has yet to perform the real star's trick of being herself, and inviting the audience to identify.
  79. The Mist is itself a supermarket of B-movie essentials, handsomely stocked with bad science, stupid behavior, chewable lines of dialogue, religious fruitcakes, and a fine display of monsters.
  80. The Ground Truth is an emotionally potent work, but the great study of an Iraq vet, in either documentary or fictional form, has yet to be made.
  81. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is what my mother would have called a kakabarly--a large, foaming broth into which she emptied the forlorn and highly miscellaneous contents of her icebox.
  82. The film's plea for old-fashioned pride and racial tolerance is muffled by a plain, unanticipated fact: Pete Perkins is out of his mind.
  83. Greengrass is as dexterous as ever, yet the result, though abounding in thrills, seems oddly stifled by self-consciousness and, dare one say, superfluous. Come on, guys. There are so many wrongs in the world. If Bourne could tear himself away from the mirror for a moment, could he not be persuaded to go and right them?
  84. Not once does this ruffled sweetness seem like Hanson’s natural terrain. "Wonder Boys" took emotional risks, daring to suggest that with age comes not wisdom but confusion and crummy robes, whereas everything in the new film is designed to slot together with an optimistic click.
  85. In the end, this odd, beautiful movie is remote and more suggestive than satisfying--a coolly impassive film about catastrophe made at a time when some of us might prefer an attempt at explanation. And yet Elephant is something to see. [27 October 2003, p. 112]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The movie is disappointingly impersonal; it doesn't provide readers of the autobiography anything like a fresh vision of its remarkable subject.
  86. Fiennes and his team have mounted a handsome re-creation of Victorian England, but the Dickens-Ternan affair isn't much of a story -- at least, not as realized here. [6 Jan. 2014, p.73]
    • The New Yorker
  87. The movie is as smooth and deadening as a quart of old whiskey, and every bit as depressing as it was meant to be. But why do it at all? [23 Nov. 1994]
    • The New Yorker
  88. A thumper of a movie, full of furious souls.
  89. So acclimatized are we to action flicks, and to onscreen conflicts teeming with soldiers, that it’s refreshing to find a film that concentrates on hanging back and reversing out of harm’s way.
  90. At its best, the picture is violently exciting; at its worst, banal and monotonous. Yet the relative absence of mighty significances did not prevent the Matricians sitting all around me--mostly men aged about thirty--from remaining utterly still, as if at a High Mass, throughout the movie. [10 November 2003, p. 128]
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    McTiernan supplies one climax after another, but when the whole intense, meaningless experience is over you may have trouble putting a name or a face to the movie that just had its way with you.

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