The New Yorker's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,594 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 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Lowest review score: 0 Bio-Dome
Score distribution:
1594 movie reviews
  1. The result is that Shall We Kiss? puts its viewers in a bind worthy of the lovers themselves: should we organize a Socratic symposium on the issues raised by the film, or hurl our popcorn violently at the screen?
  2. But Byrne, who has lacked good movie roles of late, is marvellously grave.
  3. Who are these men, so eager for asceticism, violence, and martyrdom? At first, we think that’s what we’ll learn from The Oath, a fascinating documentary directed, produced, and shot by Laura Poitras. We don’t really, but what we do find out is of equal interest, and oddly reassuring.
  4. You cannot help being stirred by the reach and depth, the constant rebuffs to sloppiness, of a strong ensemble.
  5. The tension of Calvary is fitful at best, and much of the movie trips into silliness, but in Brendan Gleeson -- in his proud bearing and his lamenting gaze -- we see the plight of the lonely believer in a world beyond belief. [4 Aug.2014, p.74]
    • The New Yorker
  6. A Master Builder is a bold endeavor, thriftily made, and there is muscle and volume in the performances; but had Demme hung back, and kept things cooler and quieter, the mastery of what Ibsen built, and the agon of his extraordinary hero, would have cast a more looming shadow. [4 Aug. 2014, p.75]
    • The New Yorker
  7. Bean's touch is unsteady, and Noise is certainly odd, but the movie is alive with the creative madness of New York.
  8. Love and Other Drugs has many weak spots, but what it delivers at its core is as indelible as (and a lot more explicit than) the work of such legendary teams as Clark Gable and Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.
  9. The film is slowed by its own beauty, but it is salvaged by two majestic scenes.
  10. 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.
  11. Leconte lacks the austerity to complete a film in which nothing much occurs. And so, with some reluctance, we are bustled toward a climax. [12 May 2003, p. 82]
    • The New Yorker
  12. Locy infuses the film with empathy and wit, and his grandly bittersweet imagination pulls the story toward tragedy, but he also plays loosely with stereotypes better left behind.
  13. More than forty years have passed since A Woman Is a Woman won the Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival for "originality, youth, audacity, impertinence." (When did you last see a movie that might warrant such an award?) [26 May 2003, p. 102]
    • The New Yorker
  14. The great virtue of the movie is its length: a fat-free seventy-six minutes.
  15. Just when this sunshiny and affectionate comedy is beginning to bloom, the inevitable, tear-jerking conclusion closes off the fun like a Venetian blind blocking the light. (29 Oct 2001, p.93)
    • The New Yorker
  16. Their kinship (Gere/Molina)--wholly unsexual yet lit, like that of Martin and Lewis, with an exasperated love--is the beacon of the movie, and it just about survives the lengthening shadows of the later scenes.
  17. Yet the film, against my wishes, left me unmoved.
  18. 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.
  19. Despite all this desolation and depression, however, Still Life is an extremely beautiful movie.
  20. 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
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Directed with an original touch by Richard Kwietniowski, the movie is less about the nature of homoerotic longing than about the closeted nature of love itself.
  21. Anyone who has tamped down that youthful yen for excitement should stay away. But the craving for grownup glamour, however foolish, demands equal satisfaction, and Spectre, in providing it, acquires a throb of mystery that cannot be explained by mere plot.
  22. Such is the hazard of the cartoon: as a form, it thrives on elongation and excess, yet, within its vortices and crannies, who knows what moldy prejudice can breed? [1 December 2003, p. 118]
    • The New Yorker
  23. A rudimentary but thoroughly enjoyable step musical.
  24. In the end, Assayas, shooting the film with relaxed, flowing camera movements, gives his love not to beautiful objects but to the disorderly life out of which art is made.
  25. The Lobster is more than a satire on the dating game. It digs deeper, needling at the status of our most tender emotions.
  26. It's emotionally more alive than anything Allen has done since "Sweet and Lowdown," in 1999. I was absorbed in it, and I liked parts of it. And I wish to God it were better.
  27. With no narrator to shepherd us along, the movie feels noisy and restless. The period is revived by a wealth of songs on the soundtrack, and by the sleek and succulent Panther look.
  28. The father's resignation to that fate is, on balance, the most compelling aspect of the film, and I will not readily forget the sight of him staring out over the town and mourning the long history of his homeland. "We built an industrial colony on top of sheep pens," he says, "and thought we were making a revolution." Maybe Attenberg is topical, after all.
  29. 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.
  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. Is it a great movie? I don't think so. But it's a triumphant piece of filmmaking -- journalism presented with the brio of drama. [24 Sept 1990]
    • The New Yorker
  32. Yet, even if the movie is a fake as a fight picture, it's still a decent commercial entertainment.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The surprisingly witty script was worked on by a squadron of writers, including Robert Towne.
  33. Nightcrawler has patches of clunkiness, to be sure, and Lou’s face-off at a police station, near the end, feels graceless and unnecessary. Yet the movie is quite something, and, despite its title, it doesn’t really crawl.
  34. The comedy is brutal and paper thin, but that is less bothersome than the ending of the movie, which abruptly changes its tone.
  35. What is missing from the film is wit—the deep wit that comes from playing off species and environments against each other.
  36. The movie has an air of momentousness, yet most of it is conventional, though well-directed, pop mayhem.
  37. Bob Nelson wrote the script, which Payne has been mulling over for nine years, and some of it, enhanced by the deliberate pacing of his direction, is funny in a deadpan, black-comedy way. But the absurdist atmosphere feels thin: the movie is like a Beckett play without the metaphysical unease, the flickering blasphemies and revelations.
  38. Most of the innumerable sequels were tripe, but this one has a freshness -- even a kind of wit -- mixed in with all the blood.
  39. I wouldn't trust him (Downey) to look after my handkerchief, but I'll watch him in anything, and that is why Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang--smug as it is, and more like a day in the reptile house than a night at the movies--remains a slithery treat.
  40. Extravagant care is taken with minutiae, and the directors, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, whistle through the first twenty minutes of the plot with a controlled giddiness that would leave many live-action adventures staggering in their tracks. Yet what a curious plot it is.
  41. As Mostow proved in “Breakdown” and “U-571,” he can churn out excitement at a steady pace; whether he can handle dread--altogether a more unstable material--is another matter. [14 & 21 July 2003, p. 85]
    • The New Yorker
  42. The attraction of the movie is its friendly, light tone, its affectlessness, and its total lack of humanity. [6 Aug 1984, p.72]
    • The New Yorker
  43. In truth, Mr. Holmes is not Holmesian at all. It is Jamesian, as shown by a wonderful encounter between Kelmot and Holmes — an attraction of opposites, you might say — on a garden bench.
  44. Timbuktu is hard to grasp, as befits the sand-blown setting and the mythical status of the name. The more you try to define the movie, the faster it sifts away.
  45. RED
    The good news is that, while "The Expendables" was the kind of product that should be shown to health inspectors rather than critics, much of Red is jovial and juvenating. [1 Nov. 2010, p.121]
    • The New Yorker
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The picture's real strength is its witty, vigorous evocation of the fifties media world.
  46. Only at the end do we sense Shelton forcing her hand, and arranging, rather too neatly, for the rebalancing and desaddening of all concerned. [25 June 2012, p.85]
    • The New Yorker
  47. I was surprised at how not-bad it is. It may fall into the category of youth-exploitation movies, but it isn't assaultive, and it's certainly likable. [1 Nov 1982, p.146]
    • The New Yorker
  48. To be at once earthy and ethereal is an uncommon gift. I noticed it, in Browning, when she starred in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," as the calmly eccentric Violet Baudelaire. Already, as a teen-ager, she seemed older and wiser than the events unfolding around her, and, likewise, in Sleeping Beauty, she impugns the drooling antics of the elderly.
  49. Finding Nemo is, as it happens, the most dangerously sugared of the Pixar productions to date--how could any father-finding-son saga be otherwise?--but the threat is now one of oversophistication. [9 June 2003, p. 108]
    • The New Yorker
  50. You leave the film like one of Giovanni's patients rising from the couch -- far from healed, but amused and pacified by the sympathy that has washed over you. [4 Feb 2002, p. 82]
    • The New Yorker
  51. Eastwood is a more forceful actor than he was twenty years ago--less opaque, less stylized, and altogether more idiosyncratic. He's too old and unsuited by temperament to play the tough city newspaper reporter in this film, but he still has an authority that few younger actors could match.
  52. If there's one movie this spring that you shouldn't see with a date, it's Everyone Else, unless you are looking for a quick, low-budget way to break up. Not that Maren Ade's film is especially gloomy or cynical; merely that it functions as a fearsome seismograph, charting not just the major quakes in a relationship but also the barest tremors.
  53. In previous movies, Michael Bay dabbled wearily in Homo sapiens. At last he has summoned the courage to admit that he has an exclusive crush on machines, and I congratulate him on creating, in Transformers, his first truly honest work of art.
  54. Redacted is hell to sit through, but I think De Palma is bravely trying to imagine his way inside an atrocity, and that he’s onto something powerful with his multisided approach.
  55. Finally, a voice-over from Jimmy Carter, lauding the efforts of those involved. All this is, frankly, uncool - a pity, because the rest of Argo feels clever, taut, and restrained.
  56. An amiable family comedy one step above a TV sitcom (and several steps below “Moonstruck.”
  57. Nobody does shrewishness better than McEwan. [8 August 2003, p. 84]
    • The New Yorker
  58. An Education is perceptive and entertaining, but it doesn’t have the jolting vitality of, say, “Notes on a Scandal,” which dramatized an even more unconventional liaison--older woman, fifteen-year-old boy.
  59. If this film has a secret, it dwells in the cinematography — by Vittorio Storaro, no less, who shot “The Conformist,” “Last Tango in Paris,” and “Apocalypse Now.” He worked with Allen on a segment of “New York Stories” (1989), but Café Society marks their first full-length collaboration, and the result is ravishing to behold.
  60. Baker revels in the power of clichés and the generic energy of his low-fi cinematography, which is done with a cell phone. The results are picturesque and anecdotal.
  61. 22 Jump Street is hardly fresh, but the picture has enough energy to get by.
  62. For all its oddities, this movie does carry weight, and, with more than eight per cent of Americans out of work, the timing of its release here could not be more acute.
  63. Hackman works with a joyous authority that seems to come out of the experience of the character he's playing. He liberates David Mamet from David Mamet. [12 Nov 2001, p. 139]
    • The New Yorker
  64. Above all, what makes the movie work -- what renders it not merely exhausting but fulfilling -- are the boys. Bier summons fine performances all around, but Nielsen, in particular, turns the role of christian into a drama all its own. [4 April, 2011, p. 82]
    • The New Yorker
  65. Ousmane Sembène, in his first feature film, from 1966—which is also widely considered the first feature made by an African—distills a vast range of historical crises and frustrated ambitions into an intimate, straightforwardly realistic drama.
  66. The movie has a gentle, bemused intelligence, the tone of British liberalism at its most open-minded.
  67. Beyond question a return to the dark, simmering days of their best work, in “Blood Simple” and “Miller’s Crossing.”
  68. The only player to conquer Chicago is Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is no Charisse in her motions but who gets by on a full tank of unleaded oomph. [6 January 2003, p. 90]
    • The New Yorker
  69. Shadow Recruit is fun in a minor, winter-season way. If the producers stick with Chris Pine as he ages, they may end up with something worth caring about. [20 Jan.2014, p.78]
    • The New Yorker
  70. Sometimes too ominous for its own good.
  71. The pathos of About Schmidt -- of the careful, Chekhovian work that it could have been --gradually slides away. [16 December 2002, p. 106]
    • The New Yorker
  72. 9
    And here's the strangest thing of all: it works. [September 14, 2009, pg.ll4]
    • The New Yorker
  73. In the end, Ex Machina lives and dies by Alicia Vikander. The film clicks on when she first appears, and it dims every time she goes away.
  74. Given the earnest mayhem that prevails at your local multiplex, there is surely a place for a lightly mocking modernist with a growing distaste for the modern. [9 April 2012, p.84]
    • The New Yorker
  75. 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
  76. An efficient, politically inert fantasy.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    First-time feature director Gil Junger gets a lot of laughs in the long setup, but the story eventually reverts to an almost typical high-school romance. Not quite "Clueless."
  77. The work of both Babluani brothers is weirdly stilled and mature, already devoid of the need to show off--serves only to thicken the horror.
  78. The result is a lively bout between bio-pic and fairy tale.
  79. In the end, Lower City is never quite as energetic as it wants to be, touched by the strange, milky lethargy that steeps every waterfront film.
  80. Bullock shades what she normally does into something more interesting -- the angriest and sexiest work she's done. [6 May 2002, p. 138]
    • The New Yorker
  81. Changeling is beautifully wrought, but it has the abiding fault of righteously indignant filmmaking: it congratulates us for feeling what we already feel.
  82. No one who was not laughably self-involved would agree to a project like 20,000 Days on Earth, and yet Cave, to his credit, comes most alive in his hymns to other selves.
  83. In the middle of this confident retread, the director, Peter Hewitt, and the writers, Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, sandwich something far more free and funny--a slapstick version of "The Seventh Seal" in which Bill and Ted play games with Death.
  84. It's enjoyably trivial – a piece of charming foolishness. [24 Mar 1986, p.112]
    • The New Yorker
  85. The whole work drips with a camp savagery (hence the presence of Sacha Baron Cohen as Pirelli, a rival barber and faux-Italianate fop), which in turn relies on the conviction that death itself, like sexual desire, exists to be sniffed at and chuckled over.
  86. Yet Nichols’s movie, though smudged by its dénouement, is not wrecked, and already I am desperate — with a Roy-like yearning — to return to it, and to revel anew in its group portrait of those who are haunted by the will to believe.
  87. In all, the movie is a cunning and peppy surprise, dulled only by the news that no less than four sequels await. Will the spell not wear off before then?
  88. Turing will survive this film with his enigma intact, but the movie itself is the opposite of enigmatic, and Cumberbatch merits more.
  89. Barnard's film, as if nervous of being felled by the straightforward, sinewy thump of Dunbar's writing, ducks and weaves in a series of sly approaches. [2 May 2011, p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
    • 45 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    But, like Jerry Lewis, and, to a degree, Steve Martin, Carrey can make the idiotic seem inspired, and his manic mugging creates some big laughs.
  90. Nothing very important happens, but, moment by moment, the movie is alive with the play of gesture and glances, aggression and withdrawal. [31 March 2003, p.106]
    • The New Yorker
  91. The director is Debra Granik, who made “Winter’s Bone” (2010), in which Ron had a minor role; the melodramatic strain in that film was less convincing than its observational acuities, which return to the fore here. With no narrator, it is up to the camera to shepherd us through Ron’s days.
  92. You could argue that the film is too wrenching a departure for an actress as earthy as Farmiga, but that, I suspect, is why she took the risk - daring herself, in the person of Corinne, to slip the surly bonds of beauty and desire.
  93. This movie, however incomplete and frustrating, is also fully alive and extraordinarily intelligent.
  94. The movie, which Miranda July wrote and directed, is pretty sharp, not to say acidic, on the silliness of good intentions, but she also takes care to slant the best lines toward the subject of time, and its terrible crawl.
  95. Wiseman’s very subject is the difference between neighborhood and community—between the happenstance of urban geography and the commitment of self-identification.

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