Variety's Scores

For 10,187 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Blackfish
Lowest review score: 0 The One
Score distribution:
10187 movie reviews
  1. This deceptively artless, journal-style film has no need for any carefully sculpted twists; rather, it’s the sheer unpredictable perversity of human nature that takes the breath away at key points in Fassaert’s unsettling, perhaps unsolvable, inquiry.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The most successful version yet of this familiar premise.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Harrison Ford-Sean Connery father-and-son team gives Last Crusade unexpected emotional depth, reminding us that real film magic is not in special effects.
  2. Two minor problems in the closing reels hold the film back from instant-classic status.
  3. One of the best Westerns of the 1970s, which represents the highest possible praise. It's a magnificent throwback to a time when filmmakers found all sorts of ways to refashion Hollywood's oldest and most durable genre.
  4. The result is one of Sayles' best films. The music, a mix of blues, seminal rock and newcomer Gary Clark Jr.'s performance, will be an obvious draw, as will the performances by some leading African-American actors.
  5. Though he's sure to deny it, Alexandra is Alexander Sokurov's most directly political work for years. Featuring a performance of monumental depth by opera legend Galina Vishnevskaya, pic presents war for what it is: brutal, crushing, and ugly, and yet Sokurov doesn't lens any battles.
  6. No matter how fantastical the tale (and it gets pretty out-there at points), this splendid Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation makes it possible for audiences of all ages to wrap their heads around one of the unlikeliest friendships in cinema history, resulting in the sort of instant family classic “human beans” once relied upon Disney to deliver.
  7. Performed with matchless aplomb and made with plush professionalism, pic serves up pure pleasure from beginning to end.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Hard-hitting, dark and tragic story that rarely lets up.
  8. Less of a comedy than a hilarious tragedy, I Love You Phillip Morris stars Jim Carrey in his most complicated comedic role since "The Cable Guy."
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The screws are tightened expertly in this suspenseful meller about a flipped-out femme who makes life hell for the married man who scorns her.
  9. Focusing on the absurdly ultraviolent tit-for-tat tussles among a trio of Tokyo crime families, the film is a beautifully staged marvel that confidently reasserts Kitano's considerable cinematic gifts.
  10. Any negative stereotypes viewers might harbor about education in rural communities are sent packing by this magnificently lensed and cumulatively touching account from documaker Nicolas Philibert.
  11. Julianne Moore guides us through the tragic arc of how it must feel to disappear before one’s own eyes, accomplishing one of her most powerful performances by underplaying the scenario.
  12. A resoundingly old-fashioned and well crafted study of evil infecting an American family, Frailty moves from strength to strength on its deceptive narrative course.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Tom Burlinson is very effective as the shy stable-boy who becomes devoted to the courageous horse. Martin Vaughan is impressive as the grimly determined trainer who leases the horse in the first place, as is Celia de Burgh, luminous as his loyal but neglected wife. Ron Leibman practically walks away with the picture as Davis, the smooth American horseowner, and Judy Morris is quietly effective as his naive, talkative wife.
  13. It’s an inspiring picture, particularly given the difficulty of imagining one of today’s sports superstars going so far out on a limb for unpopular beliefs.
  14. An exemplary and dynamic work that goes about as far as a narrative film can in both analyzing a complex personality and portraying a cultural scene.
  15. Pons has aimed for a performance-driven drama whose virtues are of the small-scale, low-key variety, with the director working within narrow dramatic limits as always but here doing so brilliantly.
  16. Toy Story 2 is to "Toy Story" what "The Empire Strikes Back" was to its predecessor, a richer, more satisfying film in every respect.
  17. Wim Wenders’ mastery of the documentary form is again on display in The Salt of the Earth.
  18. A frank, intimate look at a phenomenal popular artist and his extraordinarily dysfunctional family, Crumb is an excellent countercultural documentary.
  19. An enthralling and rigorously realistic outer-space survival story.
  20. This at first slow-moving and then wildly kinetic actioner possesses a cool classicism that will appeal to offshore audiences as well as those at home.
  21. A treat, a delicious blend of perversity, playfulness and deadly passion concealed beneath the tranquil, moneyed surface of the Swiss bougeoisie.
  22. The Dark Horse is as good a title as any for a film that takes an overplayed genre — the inspirational mentor story — and still manages to surprise, sneaking up to deliver a powerful emotional experience within a formula we all know by heart
  23. Expert story construction and compelling thesping and direction make all the narrative elements pay off as if calculated by a precision instrument in which all the parts are working perfectly.
  24. Lively, intelligent collage, both richly complex and immediately accessible.
  25. With the conceptual rigor and emotional directness associated with the best of Iranian cinema, Oskouei simply listens to the stories of those who have never been listened to before. Their shattering testimony, elegantly harmonized in a chorus of stolen childhood, has universal appeal.
  26. It’s this strange alchemy — the way that a terse script can leave so much unsaid, combined with such a talented ensemble’s ability to suggest all the details left either in silence or in darkness — that makes “Sweet Virginia” such a haunting character study.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Sings whenever Williams is onscreen.
  27. The issues come clashing together in an explosive package that, despite some snafus, remains fairly riveting to the end.
  28. In the Fog explores the moralities of wartime with restraint and exacting execution.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Exquisitely acted, tightly directed and impressively assembled.
  29. An extraordinary docu achievement. Handsomely filmed on silvery 35mm and high-definition by Kaye himself, the shrewdly edited picture balances a full spectrum of views from all sides of the abortion debate without obviously taking a position itself.
  30. A breathlessly involving tale of urban indifference, rampant hypocrisy and the difference a little human decency can make, superbly played pic is a black comedy that's frequently funny but never frivolous.
  31. Narco Cultura is as overwhelming as it is absorbing.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Chillingly hilarious.
  32. This portrait of the artist as an old woman is a gentle-hearted gem, as profoundly subtle as it is subtly profound.
  33. After undergoing some unfortunate mutations in recent years, a beleaguered Marvel movie property gets the smart, stylish prequel it deserves in X-Men: First Class.
  34. Porumboiu’s particular brand of farce is always shot through with the pulse of everyday life and its Sisyphean struggles. He is, simply put, one of our great contemporary observers of the human comedy.
  35. Even more than in "Our Beloved Month of August," Miguel Gomes begins Tabu in a seemingly ridiculous vein and unexpectedly shifts to something surprisingly enriching and poetic.
  36. While Cemetery of Splendor is unabashedly a work of slow cinema, the oft-hurled pejorative of “difficult” seems a particularly poor fit for a film whose unforced lyricism could scarcely be more graceful or inviting.
  37. Barry Levinson goes deep with Liberty Heights, and the result is a grand slam.
  38. Although the story is built around the automatically emotional situation of an imperiled kid, scripters Richard Price (who appears briefly as an uncomfortably handcuffed victim of Sinise in the early going) and Alexander Ignon and director Ron Howard largely steer clear of milking the easy melodrama.
  39. Rock is enormously appealing here, balancing his patented comic abrasiveness with a real tenderness, the faint bewilderment of an ordinary man blindsided by his own success. And Dawson makes an excellent foil.
  40. Gripping, highly dramatic thriller that more than confirms the distinctive talent of young Brit helmer Christopher Nolan.
  41. A deeply rewarding throwback to the unself-conscious days when cinema still strove to be magical, The Secrets in their Eyes is simply mesmerizing.
  42. Stevens offers a couple of revelations that bring the documentary to a dramatically and emotionally satisfying conclusion — and, not incidentally, leave a viewer with the pleasing sensation of discovering a worthy individual.
  43. The Nice Guys is an ultra-violent burlesque, the sort of cheerfully hostile buddy bash that’s been a staple since the ’80s, only this one is singularly clever about its own triviality, and it offers the scruffy pleasure of seeing two great actors dial down their gravitas with style.
  44. Separating Housebound from most films of its type is super-smart plotting and confident tonal control, as Johnstone’s screenplay throws one terrific curve ball after another and never allows its goofy humor to compromise its genuinely scary components.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An intense, schematic, superbly made Vietnam War drama.
  45. The filmmakers clearly value their public, crafting a splendid period swooner that delivers classic romance and an indelible insider's view of 1930s circus life.
  46. A very entertaining get-tough fantasy with political and feminist underpinnings.
  47. Anchored by a strong cast, including Samuel L. Jackson (also credited as a producer), Lynn Whitfield and Diahann Carroll, this talented debut by a black female writer-director is a well-made, if also old-fashioned, multi-generational drama.
  48. Tension flows organically from every phase of this dangerous endeavor, making for a highly entertaining outing for operaphiles and operaphobes alike.
  49. This reworking of a popular Hong Kong picture pulses with energy, tangy dialogue and crackling performances from a fine cast.
  50. Clear, urgent and positively terrifying at times.
  51. Very much in line with his maiden screen efforts "In the Company of Men" and "Your Friends and Neighbors"...ends with a satisfying shudder of recognition at the extreme cruelty possible within human relationships, particularly those conceived by Neil LaBute.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It is literate, bawdy, sophisticated, sensual, cynical, heart-warming, and disturbingly thought-provoking.
  52. For Scientologists, going clear refers to a coveted status awarded to those who have completed a certain level of auditing. But for the men and women on screen here, it means something else: reclaiming their own voices and demanding to be heard.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The performances are uniformly excellent. Mastroianni is perfect in the key role of the basically good and honest boy who succumbs to the sweet life. Ekberg is a revelation as the visiting star, while Furneaux almost runs off with the picture as the reporter's instinctive, possessive mistress. (Review of original release)
  53. A fastidiously grim ghost story that rattles the bones of the haunted-house genre and finds plenty of fresh (but not too bloody) meat.
  54. Dowd's graciousness and enthusiasm, and the enormous respect afforded him by industryites on record here, make this a thorough and satisfying acknowledgement of one man's unique contribution to popular music.
  55. Assembled from three years’ worth of visits to one of the world’s most volatile hot zones, the format of Stolen Seas is as every bit as exciting as its content, raising beguiling questions about how the team managed to acquire the footage so stunningly interwoven by editor Garret Price.
  56. Last year's "The Prisoner of Azkaban" seemed dark, but this excellent fourth film derived from J.K. Rowling's books is the darkest "Potter" yet, intense enough to warrant a PG-13 rating.
  57. Joyously re-creates the brief but resplendent reign of the legendary freakadelic drag troupe.
  58. A sensitive, intimate, enormously touching drama.
  59. Emphasis on its combustible emotions, suspense and surprising humor should help draw sophisticated audiences who, once lured, will quickly find themselves hooked for the duration.
  60. Writer-director Sean Baker’s sun-scorched, street-level snapshot is a work of rueful, matter-of-fact insight and unapologetically wild humor that draws a motley collection of funny, sad and desperate individuals into its protagonists’ orbit.
  61. A hilarious farce.
  62. Zoo
    A breathtakingly original nonfiction work by Seattle-based filmmaker Robinson Devor (whose "Police Beat" was among the highlights of Sundance's 2005 dramatic competition).
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    George C. Scott as the fiery Pentagon general who seizes on the crisis as a means to argue for total annihilation of Russia offers a top performance, one of the best in the film. Odd as it may seem in this backdrop, he displays a fine comedy touch.
  63. Sweetgrass offers a one-of-a-kind experience.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Part III matches its predecessors in narrative intensity, epic scope, socio-political analysis, physical beauty and deep feeling for its characters and milieu.
  64. Desplechin perfectly times the moment when drollery ends and anguish begins, and it’s that sense of vulnerability that lends the film an unexpected emotional force as it moves toward its return-home epilogue.
  65. Delicately handled and superbly textured, this fine adaptation of Graham Swift's Booker Prize-winning novel deals with all the really big subjects: love, friendship, death, life.
  66. Though While We’re Young is primarily a comedy — and a very funny one at that, managing to be both blisteringly of-the-moment and classically zany in the same breath — Baumbach has bitten off several serious topics, for which laughter serves as the most agreeable way to engage.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Kramer vs. Kramer is a perceptive, touching, intelligent film about one of the raw sores of contemporary America, the dissolution of the family unit.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Metropolitan succeeds on several levels, offering rich, sparkling dialog, distinct characters and an intriguing peek into a seldom seen milieu.
  67. Offering further proof that the latest 3D technology is good for a lot more than just lunging knives and fantastical storylines, Wim Wenders' dance docu Pina reps multidimensional entertainment that will send culture vultures swooning.
  68. This Central Asia-set historical epic from Russian helmer Sergei Bodrov ("Nomad") boasts breathtaking landscapes, dazzling cinematography, bloody battles and unique traditions.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A standout picture.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A charming, witty, passionate romantic drama about a love transcending space and time, Somewhere In Time is an old-fashioned film in the best sense of that term. Which means it's carefully crafted, civilized in its sensibilities, and interested more in characterization than in shock effects.
  69. Jean-Francois Laguionie’s consistently enjoyable, inventive and beautifully crafted tale is a color riot suitable for all ages.
  70. Jenkins brings a rigor, intelligence and eye for the slightly absurd to the proceedings that is instantly disarming.
  71. A tightly focused romantic drama that exudes the narrative terseness of a good short story and the lucid craftsmanship of a filmmaker in full command of the medium.
  72. Distinguished by its quiet, intelligent, admirably restrained approach and by two finely wrought performances from Harris and Marcia Gay Harden in the leading roles.
  73. Like the speck of sand that seeds a pearl, it’s the tiny fleck of kitsch at the heart of “A Single Man” that makes it luminous and treasurable, despite its imperfections.
  74. With Boyhood, Linklater has created an uncanny time capsule, inviting auds to relive their own upbringing through a series of artificial memories pressed like flowers between the pages of a family photo album.
  75. Ghobadi in this pic displays a complete command of his art as he shifts between -- and even blends -- wrenching tragedy and amusing comedy.
  76. Belzberg's unsparing camera sometimes portrays a level of cruelty that tests viewers' tolerance, but her fearless aesthetic is also a measure of the film's brilliant indictment of any society that can allow its most vulnerable to slip into oblivion.
  77. The circumstances may be contrived, but the characters feel refreshingly genuine.
  78. Audiences will be excused for any feelings of déjà vu the new film might inspire. That won't prevent them from watching it in rapt, anxious silence, however, as the gruesome crimes, twisted psychology and deterministic dread that lie at the heart of Harris' work are laid out with care and skill.
  79. The timing in the Clooney-Farmiga scenes is like splendid tennis, with each player surprising the other with shots but keeping the rally going to breathtaking duration.
  80. As Hakonarson’s beautifully modulated film progresses, recurring images contrast and poignantly resonate with meaning.
  81. As originated by Grisham and adapted by Akiva Goldsman, this is a story of elemental emotional and legal issues splashed across a large canvas, and director Joel Schumacher has done a solid job of keeping the many components in focus and balance.
  82. Now and then, Winterbottom nudges the movie in the direction of narrative... But even when it’s just ambling about, The Trip to Italy casts a warm, enveloping spell.
  83. Saavedra is riveting as a servant whose unblinking focus on her routine masks a profound loneliness.

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