The New Yorker's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,693 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 39% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 60% 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 The Aviator
Lowest review score: 0 The Da Vinci Code
Score distribution:
1693 movie reviews
  1. Adapted from the million-selling novel by Janet Fitch. Not adapted enough, I would say. [14 & 21 October 2002, p. 226]
    • The New Yorker
  2. First, you try to understand what the hell is going on. Then you slowly realize that you will never understand what is going on. And, last, you wind up with the distinct impression that, if there was anything to understand, it wasn’t worth the sweat.
  3. A lot more fun than bludgeoning, soul-draining follies like "Terminator Salvation" or the "Transformers" films, and, with a decisive trim, it could truly have fulfilled its brief as a bright, semi-abstract pop fantasy, at once excitable and disposable. Oddly, it did once exist in that form: in the first trailer.
  4. Thanks for Sharing is worth it, because of Pink. [30 Sept. 2013, p.85]
    • The New Yorker
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Angels, according to this movie's nonexistent logic, travel at the speed of thought and are invisible except to other angels, children, and the dying.
  5. The director looks empathetically at lives of convention and duty that stifle romance and desire, but she reduces the fiery literary lovers to ciphers.
  6. This literal-minded movie sells old pieties and washes away fear so thoroughly that it creates a new kind of fantasy, in which all's right with a very troubled world. [21 April 2014, p.110]
    • The New Yorker
  7. Transcendence is a muddle; it takes more creative energy than this to catch up to the present. [28 April 2014, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Aside from Heche, who is a quick, witty actress, the film seems to reside in a bizarre time warp of bad seventies comedy, complete with retrograde ethnic stereotypes and huge, jiggling breasts.
  8. Much of the dialogue is scissor-sharp--you would expect no less of Marber, who wrote "Closer"--but he is up against blunt and obvious material.
  9. Yet Oblivion is worth the trip. There are two reasons for this. The first is the cinematography of Claudio Miranda.
  10. The absolute tastelessness of Bay’s images, their stultifying service to platitudes and to merchandise, doesn’t at all diminish their wildly imaginative power.
  11. It's essentially a skit idea, not a dramatic idea, and the best the movie does with it is to repeat it. What saves Bridesmaids is Feig's love of performers - in particular, his love of actresses.
  12. The writer and director, Ana Lily Amirpour, delivers this imaginative tale as a simplistic allegory of the haves and the have-nots; she ruefully delights in the wasteland’s postindustrial wreckage while leaving characters’ thoughts and motives blank.
  13. The action simply doesn't have the exhilarating, leaping precision that Spielberg gave us in the past... The joyous sureness is missing. [12 June 1989]
    • The New Yorker
  14. As it is, the movie's lethal climax, with its vague protest against corporate control--and hence in favor of art, music, drugs, or whatever--feels like a poor theft from a more conventional film.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The correspondences he wants us to see from up there start to look contrived, illusory. [27 Sept 1993, p.98]
    • The New Yorker
  15. 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
  16. When the credits were over at last, I sighed, and took away a moviegoer's fantasy of Ledger and Miller starting work again, far away from Venice and ball gowns, on something that might be worth seeing.
  17. The movie may have significant truths to impart, although I have my doubts, but it feels too inexperienced, too unworldly, to have earned the right to them.
  18. He can follow any train of thought, so he does, and it’s no surprise when the trains run out of steam.
  19. No surprise, then, that Goldblum seems a little lonely and marooned in the latest venture, which suffers from a nagging case of Smithlessness.
  20. LaBute's didactic purpose kills any possibility of frivolous entertainment. [19 May 2003, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
  21. The Man Who Knew Infinity, based on Kanigel’s book, and directed by Matthew Brown, feels sluggish and stuck, and it hits an insoluble crux.
  22. 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.
  23. There are two drawbacks here. One is a shortage of superior zombies, although where one goes to rent extra zombies I have no idea...Second, we have a serious shortage of fright. [30 June 2003, p. 102]
    • The New Yorker
  24. Tomorrowland is a bright and pliable sci-fi thriller that stiffens into a sermon. Can’t it just be fun?
  25. Spurlock's documentary will tell you how, and whether, you should join the pilgrimage. Because I have never watched "Battlestar Galactica," and because of my absurd reluctance to dress up as Wonder Woman, I wouldn't last five minutes. [23 April 2012, p. 82]
    • The New Yorker
  26. Often quite beautiful. But Madagascar, which was directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, is mismanaged pretty much from start to finish.
  27. The topic is so grave, and the corralling of ancient Greek comedy so audacious, that you long for Chi-Raq to succeed. Sad to report, it’s an awkward affair, stringing out its tearful scenes of mourning, and going wildly astray with its lurches into farce.
  28. What makes Valkyrie more depressing than exciting is that it forces you to ask, against your judgment, what, exactly, he achieved.
  29. The only performer who seems at ease is Luchini, eternally hangdog, who in one juicy moment spies Gemma and her beau-to-be, at a market stall, and confesses not to envy but to “a strange kind of jubilation” at seeing Flaubert’s narrative lock into place.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The director, Neil Jordan, and his cinematographer, the great Philippe Rousselot, have given the movie an extraordinary seductive look, but Rice (who wrote the screenplay) doesn't provide enough narrative to keep the audience satisfied.
  30. Holy Motors is full of larks and jolts, but the movie is so self-referential that it's mainly aroused by itself. The audience, though eager to be pleased, is left unsatisfied. [22 Oct. 2012, p.88]
    • The New Yorker
  31. It is no mean feat to make a boring film about Jesse James, but Andrew Dominik has pulled it off in style.
  32. Never quite shrugs off its literary manners. [18 & 25 Feb 2002, p. 200]
    • The New Yorker
  33. The good news is that Matchstick Men is saved. Not by the plot, which entails a con so long that you can spot it coming a mile off, but by the presence of Alison Lohman. [22 September 2003, p. 202]
    • The New Yorker
  34. It’s a sad movie--funny, yet wounded and bewildered.
  35. Huckabees is the real thing--an authentic disaster--but the picture is so odd that it should inspire, in at least a part of the audience, feelings of fervent loyalty.
  36. I know that we are meant to be drawn into the undergrowth of these ordinary lives, and the long tale is neatly split into four symbolic seasons;...But do they and their fellow-Brits honestly swell the heart, or do they grate, exasperate, and finally grind us down?
  37. It's the first boring performance of Damon's career, although the bland inertia may not be his fault. The way Eastwood stages the "readings," they hold no terror for George.
  38. In short, the Sheridan of In America wants us to pity his characters for the rough ride that they endure, yet at the same time he traps them inside a bubble of the picturesque and the outlandish. Even if you like this movie, you have to ask: What has it done to deserve its title? [1 December 2003, p. 118]
    • The New Yorker
  39. The movie leaves us with the sense that, twelve years after Biggie Smalls's death, a lot of people are trying to extract whatever profit or pride they can from the chaotic life of a young man who was, as he well knew, a work in progress.
  40. Moderately enjoyable, in its exhausting way. [5 March 2012, p. 87]
    • The New Yorker
  41. Yet as art this revisionist movie, grimly effective as some of it is, doesn't hold a candle to the remarkable cycle of pictures in the late seventies and the eighties which captured the discordant character of a tragic war. [11 Mar 2002, p. 92]
    • The New Yorker
  42. The characters observe no boundaries, and neither does the movie--Baumbach hasn’t worked out the struggle between speaking and withholding, as Bergman did. People simply blurt out scathing remarks, so there’s little power in the revelations and betrayals. “Margot” is sensually as well as dramatically impoverished.
  43. The Crudup of "Almost Famous" was both hairier and more appealing than the tortured womanizer of World Traveler. Couldn't Cal have just stayed home, grown a mustache, and called his dad on the phone? [22 & 29 April 2002, p. 209]
    • The New Yorker
  44. All we are left with, in essence, is an unlikely love affair, performed by two actors so remorselessly skilled that, by the end, you can't see the love for the skill. [3 November 2003, p. 104]
    • The New Yorker
  45. Movies are good at this sort of brute physicality, but the trouble with The Impossible is that is also tells a rather banal story. [28 Jan. 2012, p.81]
    • The New Yorker
  46. The latest minimalist provocation from the infuriating but talented French director Bruno Dumont. [12 April 2004, p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
  47. Woody Allen is trying to please, but his heart isn't in it, and his talent isn't either. He is so much a man of our time that his comedy seems denatured in this classy, period setting
    • The New Yorker
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    But ultimately all that melancholy stifles the characters.
  48. Even if you closed your eyes -- a tempting option -- you would still know that you were in the hollering presence of pain. The story is undiluted dread. [10 March 2003, p. 94]
    • The New Yorker
  49. It is this rage for authenticity, more than the leading lady, that transforms Ghost in the Shell into an American product. Here’s an irony: if anything preserves the unnerving quiddity and strangeness of the Japanese movie, it is Johansson.
  50. Crystal Skull isn't bad--there are a few dazzling sequences, and a couple of good performances--but the unprecedented blend of comedy and action that made the movies so much more fun than any other adventure series is mostly gone.
  51. Yet, despite the good acting, the middle section of the film, set at the Capitol, is attenuated and rhythmless — the filmmakers seem to be touching all the bases so that the trilogy’s readers won’t miss anything.
  52. Despite some memorably painful moments and underlying artistic urgency, the film’s implications remain unprocessed and unquestioned.
  53. The problem with any allegorical plan, Christian or otherwise, is not its ideological content but the blockish threat that it poses to the flow of a story.
  54. The Bucket List will quickly be kicked into oblivion, but, at a lifetime-achievement-award ceremony, Nicholson’s tempest will fit nicely into a montage of Crazy Jack moments.
  55. Too much of the film feels like one of Balsan’s house parties: undriven, indulgent, quite at ease.
  56. [Downey] can make offhandedness mesmerizing, even soulful; he passes through the key moments in this cloddish story as if he were ad-libbing his inner life.
  57. The Hangover Part II isn't a dud, exactly - some of it is very funny, and there are a few memorable jolts and outlandish dirty moments. But it feels, at times, like a routine adventure film set overseas.
  58. How can one defend this prolonged mumble of a motion picture? Well, some of the motion has a hypnotizing grace.
  59. This is pitiful stuff, and, like the violence, it eats away at the blitheness for which Kingsman strives, leaving an aftertaste of desperation that the Connery of “Goldfinger,” say, would not have dreamed of bequeathing. The sadness is that Firth, alone in the film, does raise the spectre of those days, radiating a lightly amused reserve amid the havoc.
  60. Dave’s dread of his brother hooks The Ardennes onto a long chain of fraternal crime dramas, from “The Public Enemy” (1931) and “On the Waterfront” (1954) to “We Own the Night” (2007). Pront can hardly be blamed if his actors lack the sinew of Cagney or Brando.
  61. There is much to savor here, especially the unforced performance of Judah Lewis — one more recruit to the terrific roster of younger actors who are streaming into the movies. Yet the film lacks the courage of its affliction.
  62. Starts smart and ends dumb. [24 Aug 1987, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
  63. 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.
  64. Lucky Number Slevin is a bag of nerves. Everything here is too much. The older the actors, the saltier the ham of their performances.
  65. The movie, with spiderlike timidity, scuttles into a corner and freezes. [13 May 2002, p. 96]
    • The New Yorker
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Forest Whitaker directed with a slow, sugary touch -- and, one suspects, an eye toward the home-video market.
  66. Nicholson's fatuous leering performance dominates the movie, and because his prankishness also comes out in the casting and directing, the movie hasn't any stabilizing force; there's nothing to balance what he's doing--no one with a strait jacket. An actor-director who prances about the screen manically can easily fool himself into thinking that his film is jumping; Nicholson jumps, all right, but the movie is inert.
    • The New Yorker
  67. Babel is an infuriatingly well-made disaster.
  68. O.K. for children.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The supporting cast of yokels commit plenty of redneck faux pas, but the witty script is weighed down by the director David Dobkin's heavy hand.
  69. There are many scenes of mock-lucha wrestling, which become as boring as actual wrestling. Nacho Libre, naïvely made kids’ stuff, lacks such minor attributes as a decent script and supporting cast.
  70. The audience decided to sell Snakes to itself, and that became the event--the actual movie could never have been more than another exploitation picture.
    • 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]
  71. Everybody in and around this movie is trying too hard...After half an hour, we realized that, instead of enjoying a funny film, we were being lightly bullied into finding fun where precious little exists. [5 April 2004, p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
  72. Cheesy low farce, with Danny DeVito as a thieving millionaire who wants to kill his heiress wife (Bette Miler) and is overjoyed when she's kidnapped.
    • The New Yorker
  73. Wilson and the director, Steven Shainberg, draw on Arbus's family and on many elements from her life and her art, only to turn the material into feeble nonsense.
  74. Now the mush has taken over, and Columbus has slowed his pace in nervous deference to the solemnity of his plot (not to mention the opulence of his characters' lives).
  75. In short, Dark Blue suffers from a problem that, however niggling, is likely to hobble any thriller: no thrills. [17 & 24 February 2003, p.204]
    • The New Yorker
  76. Picture my disappointment as I realized that, for all the pizzazz of Superman Returns, its global weapon of choice would not be terrorism, or nuclear piracy, or dirty bombs. It would be real estate. What does Warner Bros. have in mind for the next installment? Superman overhauls corporate pension plans? Luthor screws Medicare?
  77. The glum fact is that Gone Girl lacks clout where it needs it most, at its core.
  78. The movie is a mess, but it’s certainly not dull.
  79. In brief, I fell cheated by these clever, narrative-disrupting films. They seem to miss the point. After all, every fiction film is magical--an artifice devoted to “What if?”
  80. The subject - the romantic life of an American Communist - may be daring, but the moviemaking is extremely traditional, with Beatty playing a man who dies for an ideal. It's rather a sad movie, because it isn't really very good.
    • The New Yorker
  81. You should see it just for Chester — the adventurous sham, running ever deeper into a maze of his own devising.
  82. When Wright literalizes the fantastic, the movie turns squalid. He does better when he lets his visual fancies roam free. [25 April, 2011 p.88]
    • The New Yorker
  83. We're supposed to be overwhelmed by magic, but what we see is fancy film technique and a lot of strained whimsy.
  84. Arnold’s very strength — the mashup of grime and epiphany — is in danger of becoming a shtick. Then, there’s the length: an elasticated plot doesn’t really suit a director who is at her best in specific locations, where people get stuck like flies.
  85. The movie is ungainly – you can almost see the chalk marks it's not hitting. But it has a loose, likable shabbiness. [19 Oct 1987, p.110]
    • The New Yorker
  86. The over-all effect is bizarre, daring you to be amused by something both brilliant and bristling with offense; if you sidle out at the end, feeling half guilty at what you just conspired in, then Stiller has trapped you precisely where he wants you.
  87. If only Kim had a sense of humor to match his visual wit. Instead, we get rusted gags and rubbery acting.
  88. Cedar plays Norman’s story for tragedy but never develops his inner identity, his history, or his ideals; the protagonist and his drama remain anecdotal and superficial.
  89. The Lovely Bones has been fashioned as a holiday family movie about murder and grief; it’s a thoroughly queasy experience.
  90. This disposable date movie is not so much written and acted as cast—just about every young actor in the country is in it.
  91. The movie is gorgeous, as you would expect from Sorrentino, but beauty this great can lead to suffocation. The plot goes round and round and nowhere, and the highlight is a couple of blistering monologues — one from Weisz, delivered while she is cloaked in mud, and another from Jane Fonda, as an aging screen goddess, encased in her own crust of powder and Botox.
  92. The movie, bad as it is, will do as a demonstration of a talented man’s freedom to choose different ways of being himself.

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