The New Yorker's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,389 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 1.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 In the Bedroom
Lowest review score: 0 Bio-Dome
Score distribution:
1,389 movie reviews
  1. The film is nonsense, and what counts is whether viewers will feel able to lay aside their logical complaints and bask in what remains: a trip in search of a tan.
  2. It is possible to applaud Pacific Rim for the efficacy of its business model while deploring the tale that has been engendered — long, loud, dark, and very wet. You might as well watch the birth of an elephant.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. A lightweight retelling of Page's life, a sketch, really, which doesn't probe very deeply into Page's bizarre mixture of exhibitionism and piety. But some scenes that might have been borderline exploitation, or just corny…turn out to be ineffably beautiful.
  6. The few good jokes (most of them courtesy of the Pharaoh's high priests, voiced by Martin Short and Steve Martin) are swallowed up in this humorless epic.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Niccol's work is artful but self-important and thin.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Their monumentally stupid and childish observations burst like water balloons over the heads of everyone they encounter; the movie plays like a dumbed-down "Animal House," and its idiocy is irresistible.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Garofalo has a certain barbed charm, but it's put to shallow use here.
  7. 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.
  8. Enigma is, to be blunt, "No way Out" meets "Revenge of the Nerds," and the meetinhg is not a happy one. [22 & 29 April 2002, p. 208]
    • The New Yorker
  9. Che
    It would be comforting, and tidy, to suggest that the director had waited all his life for the chance to make this film, as if it meant everything to him; yet I still have no idea what truly quickens his heart, and at some level, for all the movie’s narrative momentum, Che retains the air of a study exercise--of an interest brilliantly explored. How else to explain one's total flatness of feeling at the climax of each movie?
    • 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.
  10. John Crowley’s film is high on its own briskness, and its glances at Irish backstreet life land it securely in the terrain that was mapped out by Stephen Frears’s “The Snapper” and “The Van.” [5 April 2004, p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
  11. The sinews in Holly Hunter's neck and arms tighten like cables hauled in by a winch; she's all wired up, and in Richard LaGravenese's lovely comedy about loneliness in New York she uses the tension as a source of comedy.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!”
  14. Fury is literally visceral— a kind of war horror film, which is, of course, what good combat films should be.
  15. From the start, it feels handsome, steady, and stuck; the ties that bind the historical bio-pic are no looser than those which constrain a royal personage, and the frustration to which Victoria would later admit is legible in the face of Emily Blunt, who takes the title role.
  16. 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
  17. "Deep Throat" bore an X certificate. Inside Deep Throat is an NC-17. Neither is suitable for grownups.
  18. Is this a case of spectacularly rotten timing, or is something being kept from us? The account of why the friends cross the border isn’t very persuasive…The young men may be clueless, but the filmmakers’ habit of obfuscating key points makes us wonder whether somebody is lying.
  19. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is, despite its trickery, that plainest and least surprising of artifacts; the work of art that is exactly the sum of its parts, neither more nor less. [19 Nov 2001, p. 78]
    • The New Yorker
  20. Crowe has an animal quickness and sensitivity, a threatening way of penetrating what someone is up to, a feeling for weakness in friends as well as opponents. He seems every inch a great journalist; it's not his fault that the filmmakers let the big story slip through their fingers.
  21. What really grips the new movie, for all its amused glances at Swiss Guards and ceremonial pomp, is the prospect of a single soul in crisis. [9 April 2012, p.85]
    • The New Yorker
  22. 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.
  23. Like most porn, even art porn, Nymphomaniac falls apart at the end. Von trier even seems to be pranking the audience. But the director has at last created a genuine scandal -- a provocation worth talking about. [24 March 2014, p.84]
    • The New Yorker
  24. Second-rate bawdiness--that is, bawdiness without the wit of Boccaccio or Shakespeare or even Tom Stoppard--is more infantile than funny, and I’m not sure that the American playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, who concocted this piece for the stage and then adapted it into a movie, is even second-rate.
  25. The first twenty minutes of Wedding Crashers are rabid with simple pleasure.
  26. Essentially a romantic adventure story with politics in the background--an old-fashioned movie, I suppose, but exciting and stunningly well made.
  27. 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.
    • 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.
  28. What ensues is a devout communal effort, tricked out with various hops through time and space, to make us forget that it was a piece of theatre in the first place. Needless to say, the attempt is in vain.
  29. If you fancy a modern "Marty," with the old warmth muffled by unfriendly snow, go right ahead. [20 Sept. 2010, p.121]
    • The New Yorker
  30. The movie is a methodical and entirely absorbing thriller, featuring a complicated plot (Brian Helgeland adapted the Michael Connelly novel) in which clues are carefully planted, and understanding slowly gathers in the mind of the hero. [19 & 26 August 2002, p. 174]
    • The New Yorker
  31. In Holdridge's movie there is as much to repel as there is to allure, and I cannot imagine leaving a screening of it in anything less than two minds.
  32. The movie is halfhearted, fragmentary, unachieved.
  33. Woman Is the Future of Man is doomed to infuriate, and its scrutiny of disconnected beings, filmed in long, hold-your-breath takes, might feel like old hat to anyone reared on Antonioni, yet Hong has a grace and stealth of his own, and his scenes tend to tilt in directions that few of us would dare to predict.
  34. The filmmakers register their point, but I don’t think it’s entirely parochial to note that, two decades from now, the American and Japanese children will probably have many choices open to them (including living close to the land), while the Mongolian and Namibian children are more likely to be restricted in their choices to the soil that nurtured them.
  35. Not meant to be realistic; it was shot by the director Steven Shainberg in a slow, dreamy neo-De Palma style and in candy colors, and Gyllenhaal has a Kewpie-doll silliness that almost makes the naughty parts of the movie fun. [23 Sept 2002, p. 98]
    • The New Yorker
  36. Walk Hard runs down quickly, and suffers further from having the wide-eyed and weightless Reilly as its star.
  37. 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.
  38. His (Francois Ozon) theme could hardly be less original (think of "Bonjour Tristesse"), but the tautness is that of a horror film. [5 May 2014, p.85]
    • The New Yorker
  39. There are too many rancors--hatred of life, hatred of others, hatred of their means to happiness--to contend with here, and the loveliness of the verse beats fruitlessly against them, as if against a wharf.
  40. One imagined that a movie about the Crusades would be gallant and mad; one feared that it might stoke some antiquated prejudice. But who could have dreamed that it would produce this rambling, hollow show about a boy?
  41. 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.
  42. A rudimentary but thoroughly enjoyable step musical.
  43. Friends with Benefits is fast, allusive, urban, glamorous - clearly the Zeitgeist winner of the summer.
  44. It's a relief to see Sacha Baron Cohen, in the role of a seamy innkeeper, bid goodbye to Cosette with the wistful words "Farewell, Courgette." One burst of farce, however, is not enough to redress the basic, inflationary bombast that defines Les Misérables. Fans of the original production, no doubt, will eat the movie up, and good luck to them. I screamed a scream as time went by.
  45. Hardy gave his heroine a symphonic range, and all an actress can do is pick out certain tones and strains — the fluted whimsy by which Bathsheba is occasionally stirred, or the brassiness of her anger. Julie Christie was the more accomplished flirt, and her beauty was composed of fire and air, whereas Mulligan relies more darkly on earth and water.
  46. Changeling is beautifully wrought, but it has the abiding fault of righteously indignant filmmaking: it congratulates us for feeling what we already feel.
  47. All in all, Pirates of the Caribbean is the best spectacle of the summer: the absence of pomp is a relief, the warmth of the comedy a pleasure. [28 July 2003, p.94]
    • The New Yorker
  48. What lends the film its grip and its haste is also what makes it unsatisfactory.
  49. The movie re-creates Sam's miserable days with enough sympathy to come within hailing distance of such emblematic works of American disillusion as Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" and Saul Bellow's "Seize the Day."
  50. 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
  51. The only person who wakes the movie from its slumbers is Emily Blunt. She gets a nothing role as a publicist, and makes something both sultry and casual out of it.
  52. 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
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Director Martin Campbell's lumpy direction doesn't coalesce into anything much beyond a pleasant assembly of set pieces.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The film is gorgeously shot (slow-motion basketballs spin in the air like Kubrick's spaceships), and the majestic Aaron Copland score helps some of the images to soar, but Lee's screenplay, heavy-handed and didactic, gives the actors little room to convey any real emotions.
  53. As this matron on the loose, Allen is rancorously funny.
  54. The tale begins and ends in a flurry of joke violence; Cameron has decided to spoof what he used to take seriously, and the result, though bright and deafening, feels oddly slack -- he loosens the screws, and our interest drops away.
  55. Even Frances McDormand, the salt-of-the-earth actress who has warmed so many of the Coen brothers movies, falls into a queasy dead zone.
  56. No one is denying the energy and the dread that stalked the best B movies of the past, but, when the best director of the present revives such monsters, how can he hope to do better than a B-plus?
  57. Strange and off-putting, and hard-nosed types in the film business will no doubt dismiss it as a nothing. But, even if Bubble hasn't brought down the Bastille, the movie is far from nothing.
  58. Cera can be winning enough, with his flat-toned goofiness, in films like "Superbad," but there's only just enough of the guy to fill out one dramatis persona; two at once prove to be beyond him. [11 Jan. 2010, p.83]
    • The New Yorker
  59. The quarter-century-old disgruntled fantasies of two English comic-book artists, amplified by a powerful movie company, and ambushed by history, wind up yielding a disastrous muddle.
  60. Thanks to Lane, Hollywoodland, no great shakes as a thriller, becomes a quiet horror story about the monstrosity of time.
  61. 42
    Sixty-six years later, when a black man holds the Presidency, equality may still be, for some, unbearable, but Robinson abruptly moved America forward. 42, however limited at times, lays out the tortured early days of that advance with clarity and force.
  62. To my eyes, the whole thing past in a blur of fabulous collage. [2 September 2002, p. 152]
    • The New Yorker
  63. The movie's conceits are just barely endurable, but the sharpness of Dörrie's eye--for Tokyo's electric night, for Fuji's iconographic landscapes, for cherry blossoms--sustains emotion even when story logic fails.
  64. Even if you like your movies sick and black, as many people do, it's hard to miss the irony: in the very act of trying to intensify his Southern tale, Friedkin dilutes the impact.
  65. A raffishly ironic and insinuating movie--and probably the most sheerly enjoyable film of the year so far.
  66. Sappy but engaging. [7 & 14 July 2014, p.95]
    • The New Yorker
  67. Soderbergh ends the movie with a few jokes, which is casual and neat but leaves you wondering whether the practice of making enormous movies about nothing isn't a little mad.
  68. Even when the male of the species tries to do better, he does his worst; and the most merciless verdict in Klown is delivered not by the law, or by fate, but by the eyes of women.
  69. In the end, the problem with Conversations with Other Women is not that it pulls an ordinary romance into unfamiliar shapes but that it doesn't pull far enough. It may be dotted with fine observations, yet somehow the charm of its novelty grows stale, and the airless feeling of a closed set begins to fester.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The story moves forward smoothly, but the pace is too even and the course is predictable.
  70. But all that this encounter-session movie actually does is strip a group of high-school kids down to their most banal longings to be accepted and liked. Its real emblem is that dreary, retro ribbon. [8 Apr 1985, p.123]
    • The New Yorker
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    F. Gary Gray, the young director of the 1996 female heist film "Set It Off," runs with a good script (by James DeMonaco and Kevin Fox) and gives us the summer's first action film that's as rich in character as it is in suspense.
  71. 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    For anyone who was transfixed by the first movie, watching the new one is a little like being unplugged from the Matrix: What was I experiencing all that time? Could it have been . . . all a dream? [19 May 2003, p.68]
  72. Bertolucci is trying hard to shock us with this stuff, but, for all the perversities and the abundant nudity, the movie has an air of inconsequence about it. [9 February 2004, p. 74]
    • The New Yorker
  73. 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]
  74. It's a seize-the-day movie, even though the day is a long time coming. [7 May 2012, p.80]
    • The New Yorker
  75. The film has a resigned bitterness, hard to shake off, that feels right for the experience of tough guys, from whatever period of history, who find themselves at the tattered edge of what they take to be civilization.
  76. The Help is, in some way, crude and obvious, but it opens up a broad new swath of experience on the screen, and parts of it are so moving and well acted that any objections to what's second-rate seem to matter less as the movie goes on. [15 & 22 August 2011, p. 96]
    • The New Yorker
  77. I enjoyed parts of "Wedding," and I'm not about to tell people that they should not have enjoyed it. I'm just afraid that Hollywood will respond to its success by making many more sitcoms in the guise of movies. [23 Sept 2002, p. 98]
    • The New Yorker
  78. If I were a Turkish official, I would not be too worried by this picture. Nothing so slippery can stir up indignation. [18 November 2002, p. 104]
    • The New Yorker
    • 62 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    The moral discussions operate like a bad pair of elevator shoes: it's obvious that their function is to lift black-and-white melodrama into message-movie paradise. The whole film, with its steady, important-picture pacing and its bits of pseudo-profundity, is a piece of glorified banality. [14 Dec 1992, p.123]
    • The New Yorker
  79. Nobody could leave The Life Aquatic without the impression of having nearly drowned in some secret and melancholy game.
  80. As for the overriding reason to see the film, that's easy. Lighten Zahedi's complexion, stuff him in a fright wig, and this fellow would be a ringer for Harpo Marx.
  81. 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.
  82. Skip Godzilla the movie. Watch the trailer.
  83. Judi Dench is especially good; playing a vulnerable character, for a change, she allows her habitual toughness to give way to uncertainty, fear, and moments of gathering resolve, and she delivers one of her most wide-ranging and moving performances. [7 May 2012, p. 81]
    • The New Yorker
  84. 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.
  85. 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?
  86. Stop-Loss is not a great movie, but it’s forceful, effective, and alive, with the raw, mixed-up emotions produced by an endless war.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 10 Critic Score
    The movie is a peculiarly irritating failure -- a leaden piece of uplift.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    The picture's attempt to satisfy the aggressive fantasies of a graying white-male audience is weirdly fascinating. It's something you don't see every day: a geriatric comic book.
  87. One of the most impressive movies ever made about espionage.

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