Variety's Scores

For 11,342 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 2.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Carlos
Lowest review score: 0 NOLA Circus
Score distribution:
11342 movie reviews
  1. A spirited and captivating bio-doc that richly deserves the exclamation point in its title.
  2. The kinetically shot concert footage captures the volatile dynamic between performers and audience, as Mick Jagger's provocative posturing is followed by fans storming the stage.
  3. Some viewers will work themselves into a state of severe agitation trying to keep pace with Haghighi’s panoply of diversionary tactics within diversions. Others may simply give in to the sensual allure of the whole contraption, as Haghighi gives lively indigenous treatment to motifs and atmospherics drawn from the Hollywood genre playbook.
  4. In the post-Columbine era, Koury's film has its finger on something particularly potent.
  5. It's hard to walk away unaffected from this heartfelt, well-researched, feature-length documentary.
  6. Babe: Pig in the City is tour de force filmmaking that masks its achievement in a good ripping yarn.
  7. Once again, the DreamWorks team demonstrates that humor is the primary weapon in its arsenal.
  8. This simultaneously beautiful and abjectly unhappy film is forced to close by silently admitting its limitations.
  9. Fernandez (“Used Parts”) has a masterful handle on narrative, structure and character, skillfully blending them all in a tale with atmosphere to spare.
  10. What makes this spiky dramedy so compelling are the Palestinian-Israeli protagonists, whose split lives have rarely been depicted on screen.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Performances by the entire cast, and particularly William Holden and Gloria Swanson, are exceptionally fine.
  11. War Dogs marks a key turning point for Phillips. After all these years of yocks, it’s his first true grown-up movie, and it’s a nimble, gripping, and terrific one, with plenty of laughs, only now they’re rooted in the reality of fear, and in behavior that’s authentically scurrilous.
  12. Taking advantage of a splendid cast, a sharply focused script and the fresh English setting, "Gosford Park" emerges as one of the most satisfying of Robert Altman's numerous ensemble pictures.
  13. Fleischer-Camp and editor Jonathan Rippon’s subtle recontextualizations illuminate the family’s attempt to live their lives as outlined in omnipresent commercials as both illogical and understandable — this is not a film intent on hanging its subjects out to dry.
  14. Boasting complex, sharply drawn characters and top-notch performances, this mature drama plays with ideas of seeing, both the outside world as well as within oneself, as Fluk (“Never Too Late”) masterfully depicts intimacies gone awry.
  15. Reynolds’ film conveys a legitimate, stirring sense of awe about mankind’s innate desire for adventure, discovery and communion with all that surrounds it.
  16. All but stealing the film is Cooper, who seizes a rare opportunity as an extroverted, rather than buttoned-up, character to bust loose like an uncaged alligator.
  17. Enormously entertaining chiller.
  18. Beginning as a colorful documentary about the Puerto Rican transgender community, candidly showcasing nine very different subjects, Mala Mala slowly morphs into a celebration of solidarity and collective activism without ever losing sight of its likable protagonists.
  19. A low-key but sharply observed work that benefits from real local flavor and a gift for lyric image making.
  20. Effectively building dread and emotional tension as tragic incidents triggered by human stupidity and carelessness steadily multiply, this film, like "21 Grams" in particular, employs a deterministically grim mindset in the cause of its philosophical aspirations, but is gripping nearly all the way.
  21. Stunningly shot and marvelously edited to capture the rhythms of the game, the pic transcends its subject much in the way Roger Angell’s essays on baseball offer rare pleasures even to those uninterested in the game.
  22. Writer-director Robert Eggers’ impressive debut feature walks a tricky line between disquieting ambiguity and full-bore supernatural horror, but leaves no doubt about the dangerously oppressive hold that Christianity exerted on some dark corners of the Puritan psyche.
  23. Guediguian's seemingly sprawling but in fact quite precise picture takes a while to establish itself, but is eventually rewarding viewing.
  24. If nothing else, Mistress America confirms Gerwig as one of the great, fearless screen comediennes of her generation — a tall, loose-limbed whirligig who careers through scenes with the beatific ditziness of a Carole Lombard or Judy Holliday.
  25. A superbly written loony-tunes satire, played by a tony cast at the top of its game.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Newman gives an excellent performance, assisted by a terrific supporting cast, including George Kennedy, outstanding as the unofficial leader of the cons who yields first place to Newman.
  26. Deftly balancing epic sociopolitical scope with intimate human emotions, all polished to a high technical gloss, Deepa Mehta's Water is a profoundly moving drama.
  27. Grandly conceived and sensitively drawn.
  28. The Piano confirms Campion as a major talent, an uncompromising filmmaker with a very personal and specific vision.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    House Party captures contemporary black teen culture in a way that’s fresh, commercial and very catchy.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Meticulously detailed thriller.
  29. A spectacular demonstration of what modern technology can contribute to dramatic storytelling.
  30. Though sure to be distasteful for some viewers even to ponder, this giddy exercise transcends mere bad-taste humor to become one of the great jet-black comedies about suburbia.
  31. Superbly orchestrated, visually impressive.
  32. The power of performing arts to restore hope to damaged young lives is marvelously captured in Still I Strive.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Fred Zinnemann’s superbly sensitive film explores the anti-Nazi awakening in the 1930s of writer Lillian Hellman via persecution of a childhood friend, portrayed in excellent characterization by Vanessa Redgrave in title role. Richard Roth’s production is handsome and tasteful.
  33. That rare Princess whose wishes do come true, Montgomery’s what is known as a “genuine discovery.”
  34. Peopled with superbly drawn, attractive characters smoothly integrated into a well-turned, low-tricks plotline, Volver may rep Almodovar's most conventional piece to date, but it is also his most reflective, a subdued, sometimes intense and often comic homecoming that celebrates the pueblo and people that shaped his imagination.
  35. Through immaculate use of picture, sound and time, the director adds another panel to his series of pictures about disaffected, disconnected youth.
  36. Everything Harry Dean Stanton has done in his career, and his life, has brought him to his moment of triumph in “Lucky,” an unassumingly wonderful little film about nothing in particular and everything that’s important
  37. Shallow Grave, a tar-black comedy that zings along on a wave of visual and scripting inventiveness.
  38. The script is executed with enough naturalism to ward off complaints of contrivance — all the way up to a tidy, but quite satisfying, denouement.
  39. If the characters’ quandaries at times feel overly circumscribed, they’re also advanced with a bracing emotional directness, devoid of either cynicism or sentimentalism, that touches genuine chords of feeling over the course of the film’s fleet 130-minute running time.
  40. Strikes a delicate balance of comedy and pathos with an uplifting final act that delivers a resoundingly satisfying emotional payoff.
  41. What emerges, finally, is a film that gives an urgent, original voice to a people too frequently marginalized in both movies and society at large.
  42. Riveting, often haunting.
  43. Good old-fashioned virtues of three-dimensional characters, fine dialogue, recognizable life situations and meat-and-potatoes content.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Industrial Light & Magic special visual effects unit does yeoman work in staging the action with cliffhanger intensity.
  44. Never Let Me Go is that rare find, a fragile little four-leaf clover of a movie that's emotionally devastating, yet all too easily trampled by cynics.
  45. A wise and impeccably controlled drama that finds Russian helmer Andrei Zvyagintsev in outstanding form.
  46. It can take a TV series an entire season to establish a political intrigue as elaborate as the one Cedar devises here — and even longer to flesh out such a fascinating protagonist, when all Cedar had to do was give this archetype a name.
  47. Though the film comprehensively details the political and economic subtleties of what it declares “the crime of the century,” its narrative remains primarily a human-focused one, highlighting the stories of selected steadfast victims, as well as the heroic movers and shakers in the struggle.
  48. As princess movies go, this one broadens the studio’s horizons, and as Moana herself sings in the film, “no one knows, how far it goes.”
  49. Few actresses can convey the kind of honesty and humanity that Zellweger does here -- it's hard to imagine the film without her dominant, thoroughly credible performance.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Aided greatly by an expert film adaptation by its playwright, Willy Russell, Gilbert has come up with an irresistible story about a lively, lower-class British woman hungering for an education and the rather, staid, degenerating English professor who reluctantly provides her with one.
  50. A riveting account of how a soldier's death in Afghanistan was spun into a web of public lies.
  51. Pablo Larrain's breathtaking visual command makes for enthralling viewing in Post Mortem, a rigorous, formally controlled yet emotionally gripping drama set during Chile's bloody 1973 military coup.
  52. The sparks fly thanks to Moore's patented blend of curveball research, expedient juxtaposition, genuine satire and bottomless chutzpah.
  53. The novelty of helmer Gardner’s approach to 9/11, her insider’s look at the almost unimaginable difficulties faced by Cantor Fitzgerald in the weeks following the attack, and the abundance of coverage spanning 10 years of inhouse interactions more than compensate for the docu’s occasional unevenness.
  54. The tension is rooted in psychology rather than gimmickry, and evinces a command of craft that feels old-fashioned in the most refreshing possible sense.
  55. Anchored by a fine and flinty performance from Mia Wasikowska, director John Curran’s gorgeously rendered adventure saga succeeds not only in capturing the harshness and wild beauty of Davidson’s journey, but also in mapping a delicate interior pathway into the heart of this most atypical explorer.
  56. Serraille studied literature before switching to cinema, and her sharp attention to the detail distinguishes Jeune femme from so many first-time indie features.
  57. An alarming cautionary tale about how easy it is in the Internet age to ruin people’s lives while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity, the pic boasts a humorously titillating entry hook that soon gives way to engrossing conspiracy-thriller-like content.
  58. Visually stunning even in its most banal moments and emotionally perceptive almost to a fault.
  59. Although dealing with weighty matters, Jarchovsky’s script (which is based on a real-life incident he experienced during primary school) is leavened with welcome humor and irony.... As usual, Hrebejk’s direction is smooth and the ensemble performances top-notch.
  60. The writer-director's typically eccentric sixth feature is a sustained immersion in a series of hypnotic moods and longueurs, an imposing picture that thrillingly and sometimes maddeningly refuses to conform to expectations.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Absolutely charming, unabashedly offbeat Blue Juice is a quirky comedy billed as Britain's first surf pic.
  61. Takes the refined work of Iranian helmer Abbas Kiarostami up another notch to ever more metaphoric ground.
  62. '71
    A vivid, shivery survival thriller that turns the red-brick residential streets of Belfast into a war zone of unconscionable peril.
  63. Robert Redford's handsome, smartly constructed new film stands likely to capture the imagination of the educated, culturally inclined public.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    the Norman Jewison film tells a crackerjack story, well-tooled, professionally crafted and fashioned with obvious meticulous care. McQueen is neatly cast as the likeable, but lonely heavy. Dunaway makes an excellent detective who gradually develops a conflict of interests regarding her prey. The only message in this film is: enjoy it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Repo Man has the type of unerring energy that leaves audiences breathless and entertained.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Performances by the earnest Fox, the lunatic Lloyd, the deceptively passionate Lea Thompson, and, particularly, the bumbling-to-confident Glover, who runs away with the picture, merrily keep the ship sailing.
  64. A superb, eye-opening and often absurdly funny deconstruction of the myths and realities of global terrorism that is marked by a balance, broadmindedness and sense of historical perspective so absent from many recent political-themed documentaries.
  65. An intensely imaginative piece of conceptual filmmaking that also delivers the goods as a dread-drenched horror movie.
  66. The picture is a devilishly clever series of reversals that keeps you guessing to the very end.
  67. Boasting a deliriously loquacious script together with a rare understanding of how to balance certain Italian caricatures with a grounding sense of realism – a combination that’s truly Virzì’s forte – the film takes two psychologically damaged women...and makes them into a mutually supportive duo who surprisingly touch our emotions.
  68. Who wouldn’t want a picturesque trip to the French capital that delivers more laughs than a nitrous oxide leak near the hyena compound? In fact, I’d go as far as to promise that Lost in Paris offers the three most delightful sight gags you’ll see on screen all year.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There's not the least sign of staleness in this third sample of the Bond 007 formula. Some liberties have been taken with Ian Fleming's original novel but without diluting its flavor.
  69. An exquisite, beautifully acted gem of a film, one that should serve as a prelude to bigger things for stars Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin, as well as director Drake Doremus.
  70. Helmer-writer Eric Mendelsohn returns with his first feature in a decade and the proposition that art film still has a place in the world -- which is an exhilarating idea, especially as represented by 3 Backyards, an exquisite example of calculated execution in pursuit of elusive ideas.
  71. Slee’s film boasts such a high level of writing, acting, and overall production polish that youngsters may be fooled into thinking they’re watching a mindless blockbuster, when in fact, they’ve actually been fooled into thinking.
  72. A script as fresh and distinctive as any produced in the States in recent memory.
  73. The result is as grim and unyielding a depiction of the Holocaust as has yet been made on that cinematically overworked subject — a masterful exercise in narrative deprivation and sensory overload that recasts familiar horrors in daringly existential terms.
  74. Picture sets the gold standard for political documentaries.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    At once rich in historic and character detail and full of eye-popping tableaux, this new spin on the Moses saga sometimes out-DeMilles DeMille's 1956 live-action epic, "The Ten Commandments."
  75. Delivers enough thrills, kicks and cool moments to satiate geeks, fans and mere general viewers worldwide -- until the "Revolutions" installment wraps up the trilogy in November.
  76. Almost too much of a good thing, Peter Jackson's remake of the film that made him want to make movies is a super-sized version of a yarn that was big to begin with, a stupendous adventure that maximizes, and sometimes oversells, its dazzling wares.
  77. An exquisitely realized adaptation of Lionel Shriver's bestselling novel. In a rigorously subtle performance as a woman coping with the horrific damage wrought by her psychopathic son, Tilda Swinton anchors the dialogue-light film with an expressiveness that matches her star turn in "I Am Love."
  78. Aquarius is a character study as well as a shrewd meditation on the needless transience of place and the way physical space elides with our identity.
  79. T3 delivers the goods. A hard-hitting, straight-ahead sci-fi actioner with none of the pretentions and ponderousness that have put at least a portion of the public off of "The Matrix Reloaded" and "Hulk."
  80. The definitive screen chronicle to date of homosexual persecution under the Third Reich.
  81. Jeter's film takes on the quality of a sustained dream, as if the theatrical conceits of Jean Genet were married to a children's story retold via William Faulker's Southern brand of stream of consciousness.
  82. Claire Denis’ latest may appear whisper-thin on the surface, yet it’s marvelously profound, illuminating the love between a father and daughter but also highlighting the difficulty of relinquishing what most people spend a lifetime putting into place.
  83. A rivetingly suspenseful drama that deftly intertwines elements of ticking-clock thriller and tragic farce.
  84. Comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani and writer Emily V. Gordon mine their personal history for laughs, heartache, and hard-earned insight in The Big Sick, a film that’s by turns romantic, rueful, and hilarious.
  85. Splendidly sinuous twister Red Lights sees Gallic helmer Cedric Kahn ("Roberto Succo") take his game to the next level with this inky comic thriller.
  86. Endowed with captivating simplicity, gentle humor, rich humanity and infectious generosity of spirit.
  87. A superior all-ages adventure pic made by a filmmaker who knows more than a thing or two about the genre.

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