The New Yorker's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,718 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 1.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Rat Film
Lowest review score: 0 The Da Vinci Code
Score distribution:
1718 movie reviews
  1. The humor of two clerks arguing about ethics and sex deflates before the halfway mark, but the writer-director, Kevin Smith, dishes up some funny profanity in his low-budget black-and-white debut.
  2. It feels fresh, almost improvised, mainly because Mills doesn’t drive his scenes toward an obvious resolution.
  3. Inglourious Basterds is not boring, but it’s ridiculous and appallingly insensitive.
  4. Never Let Me Go is in such good taste that we never feel any horror over the idea at the center of it.
  5. It has so many unpredictable spins that what's missing doesn't seem to matter much. The images sing. [10 July 1989]
    • The New Yorker
  6. Babel is an infuriatingly well-made disaster.
  7. The movie is a mess, but it’s certainly not dull.
  8. Hyper-articulate and often breathtakingly intelligent and always brazenly alive. I think it's easily the strongest American film since Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River," though it is not for the fainthearted.
  9. As a director, he seems incapable of trusting his actors to carry the mood, preferring always to lend them a backup -- jokes, fripperies, kooky camera angles -- that they don't require. [5 Nov 2001, p. 105]
    • The New Yorker
  10. There's a sourness, a relentlessness about the movie which borders on misanthropy. In both the social and the personal scenes, the conversational tone veers between idiotic pleasantries and fathomless bile, with nothing in between.
  11. Trashy and opportunistic as some of it is, Training Day is the most vital police drama since "The French Connection" or "Serpico."
    • The New Yorker
  12. Most of the movie lacks zest.
    • The New Yorker
  13. As is proved by documentary footage at the end, Garth Davis’s film is based on a true story; though wrenching, there is barely enough of it to fill the dramatic space, and the second half is a slow and muted affair after the Dickensian punch of the first.
  14. The director looks empathetically at lives of convention and duty that stifle romance and desire, but she reduces the fiery literary lovers to ciphers.
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. A dully conventional film about a brilliantly unconventional musician.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The utterance of the three gentle chimpanzees in Escape from the Planet of the Apes tends to blow you out of the cinema seat, not so much because they can talk as because they all speak the same language.
  18. An enormously enjoyable hybrid, a romantic comedy set at the center of a caper movie. But the froth arrives with steel bubbles--the tone is amused and mordantly satirical.
  19. Cold Souls has its flaws, and it threatens to sag into a Paul-like morbidity, but Giamatti’s anxious mien and unspectacular shamblings have never been better deployed.
  20. Solondz will never be meek and mild, and there are spasms of shame and awkwardness here that will make even devoted viewers wince as sharply as ever. But the movie, his best to date, and a sequel of sorts to "Happiness," feels drenched in an unfamiliar sadness.
  21. This mania is what Marvel followers have hungered for, and it would be fruitless to deny their delight. As Loki says to a crowd of earthlings, "It is the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation." We do, Master, we do.
  22. Miraculously, he (Polanski) brightens the faded material, and conjures his most graceful work in years.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    It feels thin. It's an empty tour de force, and what's dismaying about the picture is that the filmmakers... seem inordinately pleased with its hermetic meaninglessness.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The clever dialogue, seductive camera work, and beautiful production design (the lavish dream sequences look like Busby Berkeley on Ecstasy) almost make you forget the vacancy at the movie's core, but in the end there's no escaping the feeling that the Coens are speaking a secret language.
    • 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.
  23. Whole passages of non-event stream by, and you half want to scream, and yet--damn it all--by the end of The New World the spell of the images, plus the enigma of Kilcher's expression (she is as sculpted as an idol, and every bit as amenable to worship), somehow breaks you down.
  24. 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
  25. It packs political machination, helicopter gunships, single-malt whiskey, Las Vegas, Islamabad, naked butts, and eight years of war. The film, adapted from George Crile’s book, doesn’t always work, but it sure offers value for money.
  26. Has some of the wittiest writing Sayles has ever done for the movies and some of the best acting he's ever coaxed out of his performers, and the picture is a pleasant, if unexciting, experience. [8 July 2002, p.84]
    • The New Yorker
  27. 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.
  28. The actual robbery that the picture is based on is shrouded in mystery, and the screenwriters, Dick Clement and Ian La Fresnais, have engaged in a fair amount of entertaining invention.
  29. There's always something bubbling inside Arthur--the booze just adds to his natural fizz. This was the only film directed by Steve Gordon (who also wrote the script); he was a long way from being able to do with images what he could do with words, but there are some inspired bits and his work has a friendly spirit.
    • The New Yorker
  30. The movie is not a bore, exactly, but it’s certainly a stunt and a disappointment, for at first the situation is provocative. [16 & 23 June 2003, p. 200]
    • The New Yorker
  31. An effective political melodrama that induces a peculiar emotion--the bitterness generated by an old anger that has faded into dull exasperation and now flares up again. [8 Nov. 2010, p.92]
    • The New Yorker
  32. When The Company Men stays with its real business -- the calamity of joblessness -- it is first rate. [20 & 27 Dec. 2010, p.145]
    • The New Yorker
  33. Kill Bill is what’s formally known as decadence and commonly known as crap...Coming out of this dazzling, whirling movie, I felt nothing--not anger, not dismay, not amusement. Nothing. [13 October 2003, p. 113]
    • The New Yorker
  34. The film is alive with bad rock bands and dizzying bit parts, the standout being Kieran Culkin, in the role of Scott's gay roommate, but we feel them gyrating around a hollow core.
  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. 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
  37. 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
  38. Silver’s incisive direction blends patient discernment and expressive angularity; he develops his characters in deft and rapid strokes and builds tension with an almost imperceptible heightening of tone and darkening of mood.
  39. Marlon Brando is airily light and masterly as the veteran anti-apartheid barrister who takes the case even though he knows that he can't get anywhere with the rigged court. He saves the picture for the (short) time onscreen. But the director, Euzhan Palcy, seems lost; her work is heavy-handed, and the script (by Colin Welland and the director, from a novel by Andre Brink) is earnest and didactic.
    • The New Yorker
  40. Jones gets everything--the gestures, the generosity, the mean streak, the bending of the ear to recitals of woe, whether across a lunch table or a prison cell. He even nails the voice, like that of a chorister caught running a racket with the incense.
  41. It’s not just a blast but, at moments, a thing of beauty, alive to the comic awesomeness of being lost in space.
  42. You cannot help being stirred by the reach and depth, the constant rebuffs to sloppiness, of a strong ensemble.
  43. Jacky is not merely beefed up. He is a Minotaur in the making, and that, surely, is why his story becomes such a labyrinth. [27 Feb. 2012, p.87]
    • The New Yorker
  44. The story fits together too neatly and the characters remain ciphers, but scenes of news reports of the high-profile deals—in which the protagonists see themselves—evoke an eerie air of plausibility and alienation.
  45. The result is an evasive, baffling, unexciting production - anything but a classic.
  46. The movie may be a grim warning against the perils of technology and its ability to spew alternative realities, but Cronenberg himself can hardly claim to have his feet firmly planted on the ground.
  47. Observant and true. The pleasure of it lies not in its emotions, which are distinctly on the tepid side, but in the intimacy of its reporting. [28 July 2003, p.94]
    • The New Yorker
  48. Streep can do anything. She is, of course, wasted on this elephantine fable; if only Doubt had been made in 1964, shot by Roger Corman over a long weekend, and retitled "Spawn of the Devil Witch" or "Blood Wimple," all would have been forgiven
  49. A genial, messy comedy of marital discord and mismatched lovers.
  50. In short, Peter Berg has done it again. You come out shaken with excitement, but with a touch of shame, too, at being so easily thrilled.
  51. Ayer should have dropped the movie-within-a-movie, which is confusing in an unproductive way -- we share the men's point of view without it. [24 Sept. 2012, p. 98]
    • The New Yorker
  52. 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.
  53. Tintin is exhausting, and, for all its wonders, it wears one out well before it's over.
  54. What matters most about The Homesman, which Jones co-wrote and directed, is how willingly, and movingly, he cedes the stage to Hilary Swank, as Clint Eastwood did in “Million Dollar Baby.”
  55. A classic screwball fantasy - a neglected modern comedy that's like a more restless and visually high-spirited version of the W.C. Fields pictures...Set in the world of competing used-car dealers in the booming Southwest, this picture has a wonderful, energetic heartlessness; it's an American tall-tale movie in a Pop Art form. The premise is that honesty doesn't exist; if you develop a liking for some of the characters, it's not because they're free of avarice but because of their style of avarice.
    • The New Yorker
  56. Like Ken Loach, Arteta is clearly confident of preaching to the converted, and of whipping up indignation at those who mean us harm. Thanks to his leading players, however, the movie grows limber, ambiguous, and twice as interesting, and the sermon goes astray.
  57. 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.
  58. Goodbye, Lenin! is often drab--the color is washed out, the lighting flat. Yet the movie is sweetly enjoyable as a sardonic elegy for a dream that went bust. [8 March 2004, p. 92]
    • The New Yorker
  59. Hearts and Minds, which gives no clue that atrocities were committed by the other side, and which allows Davis to cut from a rampaging football game, back home, to the Tet offensive, will be a lesson to anybody who thinks that Michael Moore invented the notion of documentary as blunderbuss.
  60. 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.
  61. By the end of The Hateful Eight, its status as a tale of mystery and its deference to classic Westerns have all but disappeared, worn down by the grind of its sadistic vision. That is the Tarantino deal: by blowing out folks’ brains, he wants to blow our minds.
  62. There's a total absence of personal obsession - even moviemaking obsession - in the way Crichton works; he never excites us emotionally or imaginatively, but the film has a satisfying, tame luxuriousness, like a super episode of "Masterpiece Theater."
    • The New Yorker
  63. Schreiber moves with bearish stolidity, even when boxing, and nothing is more poignantly delayed than Chuck’s realization that most of his wounds were self-inflicted.
  64. For Your Consideration feels weirdly meek and mild, an unmighty wind that quickly blows itself out.
  65. 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.
  66. Compliance is a small movie, but it provides insight into large and frightening events, like the voluntary participation of civilians in the terrible crimes of the last century.
  67. 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
  68. 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
  69. So rich is that visual yield, however, that it needs no verbal boost. Yet, from the moment that Margot says to Daniel, while sitting next to him on a plane, "I'm afraid of connections," the dialogue strains and grunts so hard for effect that it threatens to pull a muscle.
    • 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.
  70. This documentary film, about the deconstruction of a great American city, is surprisingly lyrical and often very moving.
  71. Unconvincing and ineffective; the many patches of ideological montage, growing like kudzu throughout the film, weaken the impact of its best moments.
  72. By far the best spectacle movie of the season, and one of the few films to use digital technology for nuanced dramatic effect.
  73. The trouble with Holofcener's scheme is that the center of the movie is dead. Olivia has no drives or hopes or powerful regrets. She has nothing to say, and Aniston does most of her acting with her lower lip.
  74. 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
  75. As the teen-age small-town girl looking for excitement who joins up with a carnival that's traveling through, Jodie Foster has a marvelous sexy bravado. The dialogue, from Thomas Baum's screenplay, is often colorful, but the picture is heavy.
    • The New Yorker
  76. The movie is exhilarating in a way that only hard-won knowledge of the world can be.
  77. The picture is just a flimsy, thrown-together service comedy about smart misfits trying to do things their own way in the Army. But it has a lot of snappy lines (the script is by Len Blum, Dan Goldberg, and Ramis), the director, Ivan Reitman, keeps things hopping (it's untidy but it doesn't lag), and the performers are a wily bunch of professional flakes.
    • The New Yorker
  78. 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.
  79. The movie, bad as it is, will do as a demonstration of a talented man’s freedom to choose different ways of being himself.
  80. Cool, violent, a cigarette dangling from his mouth, Gosling reprises his inexorable-loner routine from “Drive.” Cianfrance and the screenwriters Ben Coccio and Darius Marder wrote thirty-seven drafts of the script, but gave him almost nothing to say. He rides, he smokes, he knocks over banks, he loves his baby, and that’s it.
  81. Spunky yet maudlin, grim yet heartwarming, the movie—written by Mooney and Kevin Costello—is mainly a batch of hollow gestures.
  82. The general opinion of Revenge of the Sith seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones." True, but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion.
  83. It is no mean feat to make a boring film about Jesse James, but Andrew Dominik has pulled it off in style.
  84. The Valet does not show Veber at his best. His palate for misunderstandings of every vintage is as refined as ever; what he has lost is his taste for human failing.
  85. 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.
  86. Good summer fun, but it’s only about two-thirds the picture it could have been. Since Edward Norton has nothing to play against, the rivalry at the heart of the movie never heats up. [16 & 23 June 2003, p. 200]
    • The New Yorker
  87. Voyage of Time inhabits a rarefied plane of thought, detached from the practicalities of daily life, that leave it open to a facile and utterly unjustified dismissal, given the breathtaking intensity of its stylistic unity and the immediate, firsthand force of its philosophical reflections.
  88. Noah may not make much sense, but only an artist could have made it. [7 April 2014, p.74]
    • The New Yorker
  89. 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.
  90. 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
  91. Most important, given that Onkalo will hide and bury just some of Finland's waste, what about everyone else's? [14 & 21 Feb. 2011, p. 139]
    • The New Yorker
  92. 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
  93. The boyfriend, one Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), a Brit rocker and professional sex god, turns out to be the best thing in the movie.
  94. The people in this serious Woody Allen film are destroyed by the repressiveness of good taste, and so is the picture. It's a puzzle movie, constructed like a well-made play from the American past, and given the beautiful, solemn visual clarity of a Bergman film, without, however, the eroticism of Bergman.
    • The New Yorker
  95. No one wants a movie that tiptoes in step with political correctness, yet the willful opposite can be equally noxious, and, as In Bruges barges and blusters its way through dwarf jokes, child-abuse jokes, jokes about fat black women, and moldy old jokes about Americans, it runs the risk of pleasing itself more than its paying viewers.

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