Variety's Scores

For 8,768 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Court
Lowest review score: 0 Bio-Dome
Score distribution:
8,768 movie reviews
  1. A slick, stylish drama, Human Capital starts as a class critique wrapped around a whodunit, and though the mystery elements have overtaken the social assessment by the final third, the pic remains an engrossing, stinging look at aspirational parvenus and the super-rich they emulate.
  2. It’s a film that purists might insist isn’t horror in the strictest sense, though this slow-burning investigation of unseemly goings-on at a rural Christian commune is frightening in any genre language.
  3. An exceptionally tasty contempo comedic romance.
  4. Like Sebastian Silva's "The Maid," Queen posits a radically different approach to class and gender empowerment.
  5. The satire is firmly seated in character, and no one understands how well a good homicide can elucidate character better than Wheatley.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Under Elia Kazan's direction, Marlon Brando puts on a spectacular show, giving a fascinating, multi-faceted performance.
  6. A superior piece of Texas pulp fiction that starts out like a house on fire, sags a bit in the middle, then rallies for an exuberantly bloody finish.
  7. Even more than in "Far From Heaven," Moore's housebound wife is a study in pent-up brilliance, with extraordinary devotion to her family.
  8. A perceptive character drama both delicate and tragic.
  9. Todd Robinson constructs a riveting thriller.
  10. This depiction of the trials and tribulations of a working-class Catholic family during the Depression is a far more intimate viewing experience than the similarly themed "Angela's Ashes."
  11. The sins of the fathers have seldom weighed so heavy as in the odd, intriguing and ultimately moving Hitler's Children.
  12. The director's magisterial control over the proceedings makes something fresh and heartrending out of predictable material, particularly for older, thoughtful audiences.
  13. The visual effects are pretty sensational, delivering the cutting-edge CGI goods auds want and expect. It will be hard to watch "Earthquake'' ever again after this one.
  14. Beguilingly simple, relaxed in its mastery and enhanced by Isabelle Huppert’s impeccable poise.
  15. The central idea is quite clever and appealing, and that the charm meter is turned up all the way.
  16. Sandler turns the joke around on his detractors and manages to lead a devilishly energetic vehicle that contains about as many laughs as his previous features combined.
  17. Unabashedly tasteless, wholly trashy and, also, hugely entertaining.
  18. The pic owes its believability to Asser, who served as a therapist similar to Oliver’s character, drawing from his experience to shape the world. Asser brings more than just realism, however, crafting the central father-son relationship on the foundation of classical Greek tragedy.
  19. Achieves a poetic, quasi-religious tone.
  20. Compelling 24-hour odyssey into the life of a world-weary Gotham publicist, driven by a vivid performance from Al Pacino.
  21. A highly engaging picture with a post-apartheid edge (certain scenes play like a farcical "Invictus").
  22. Furiously paced -- just shy of the sensory-overload point -- pic duly merits comparison to its spiritual granddaddy "Mean Streets," not in the usual imitative sense but rather in the freshness, character acuity and low-budget high style brought to a different NYC ethnic milieu.
  23. For all the impressive authenticity of the various settings, it’s Gerry and Curtis’ continually evolving push-pull dynamic that deservedly takes centerstage here, in a picture driven far less by narrative incident than by its gently pulsing comic undercurrents and vivid contemplation of character.
  24. A grim picaresque odyssey across a beautiful scarred landscape laced together by private romantic longing. Handsomely made and vividly acted.
  25. A tour-de-force thriller that deftly transforms its low-budget limitations into spectacular assets.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Manages to be at once historically elucidating and personally compelling.
  26. An intelligent, solidly argued and almost too-polished takedown of America’s spin factory — that network of professional fabricators, obfuscators and pseudo-scientists who have lately attempted to muddle the scientific debate around global warming — this is a movie so intrigued by its designated villains that it almost conveys a perverse form of admiration, and the fascination proves contagious.
  27. [An] initially playful, ultimately haunting documentary.
  28. Karasawa deftly orchestrates the sometimes hairpin tonal shifts, never veering towards the saccharine; if she did, Stritch would probably shoot her.
  29. Meticulously acted, gorgeously shot and hilariously insightful about the strange, inarticulable ways people can get on one another’s nerves, this psychological thriller takes its premise to surprising, darkly comic extremes.
  30. Hot-wired, white-knuckle thriller.
  31. As a tyro auteur, Tanovich has a heavy-handed way of delineating characters and situations that makes this well-meaning film awfully familiar at times.
  32. The film captures a wealth of spectacular and wrenching conflicts, and even if its ability to spin a story out of the footage falls somewhat short of the gold standard set by "March of the Penguins," it's nonetheless a remarkably cohesive piece of work.
  33. “Portrait” abounds in the sort of ironies and contrasts that can make a biodoc fascinating even to auds totally unfamiliar with its subject.
  34. An unbeatably colorful life story.
  35. An unforgettable journey through hell under the earth, where Satan is worshipped as king. Straight-as-an-arrow filmmaking raises this docu above the crowd.
  36. Wright’s strongest achievement here is an evocative depiction of place, where young teens flee from adult supervision and danger lies in wait. And while the story may feel claustrophobic, the visuals are free-flowing.
  37. These days, true-crime docs are a dime a dozen, and yet, returning to the "In Cold Blood" analogy, Into the Abyss dares to plumb the dark hole in America's soul. Herzog's investigation may not work as an anti-death-penalty editorial, but its findings are undeniably profound.
  38. An energetic and imaginative tale of siblings at a criminal crossroads and a street movie that is imaginatively, even poetically, shot, the pic nonetheless remains rooted in the turmoil of an immigrant British demimonde.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Writer-director teamings seldom mesh as smoothly or suggest so many creative affinities as does the one at the heart of subUrbia, a brooding, incisive comedy that blends the talents of helmer Richard Linklater and playwright Eric Bogosian.
  39. Where the film misses its biggest bet, however, is in depriving the animals of the voices they had in the animated version.
  40. Virtually an experimental film -- the humanity is rich, but pure image and sensation are what makes it tick.
  41. A brutal look at police corruption that allows director David Ayer and "L.A. Confidential" author James Ellroy to pool their deeply cynical insights.
  42. Nineteen years after their last adventure, director Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford have no trouble getting back in the groove with a story and style very much in keeping with what has made the series so perennially popular.
  43. Lightness of touch, vibrant performances and a sharp script are the hallmarks of this delightful femme comedy.
  44. Inspirational on the face of it, Clint Eastwood's film has a predictable trajectory, but every scene brims with surprising details that accumulate into a rich fabric of history, cultural impressions and emotion.
  45. A satirical yet sensitive portrait of life in an evangelical Christian community, Higher Ground marks a startlingly bold directing debut for actress Vera Farmiga.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sting, as the weekend super-Mod whose image collapses when he's revealed to work as a bellhop, cuts a slick dash in the dancehall sequences.
  46. A love letter to silent cinema sealed with a smirk, The Artist reteams director Michel Hazanavicius with dapper "OSS 117" star Jean Dujardin for another high-concept homage, delivering a heartfelt, old-school romance without the aid of spoken dialogue or sound.
  47. Intense perfs by Rory Culkin and Alec Baldwin are standouts in a movie that brims with vivid supporting turns.
  48. Pic itself is a long haul, at nearly 2½ hours; yet one needn't be a fan of Metallica or heavy metal to be engrossed throughout.
  49. Succeeds in capturing the book's essential themes and concerns, albeit in a hectic style that could not be more antithetical to that of the literary master of international intrigue.
  50. Bright, glossy, grandly scaled and dramatically stolid, 79-year-old writer-director Jerzy Kawalerowicz's longtime dream project mixes earnest religiosity with the depraved cruelty of Nero's Rome in the classic De Mille tradition.
  51. As wrenching as it is funny.
  52. It’s the trench imagery itself that’s the primary attraction here, and it proves more than worth the wait.
  53. Provides a platform for Sean Connery to deliver a definitive, career-summation performance.
  54. A charming animated feature.
  55. This poignant film about an Israeli family rendered dysfunctional by the sudden death of the husband and father is a strongly emotional experience despite its tendency toward cryptic dramatics.
  56. An insightfully observed and exceptionally acted ensemble piece precisely about what the title suggests.
  57. The uplifting true story of world's oldest primary school student, The First Grader reels you in with its human-interest hook, but packs an even more vital agenda: enlisting Kenyan locals to share little-known details of their nation's independence.
  58. A self-contained master class on cinema.
  59. Dazzlingly nimble and light on its feet, this breezy but densely textured love letter to modern, multicultural Paris in the guise of a romantic suspenser returns its director to the vibrant vein of his pre-Oscar work in "Something Wild" and "Married to the Mob."
  60. Corbijn succeeds here in large part because his attention to nuance and detail so fully complements that of the German operatives at the story’s core.
  61. The rare ability to make intelligent, entertaining cinema from hot-button current issues is beautifully illustrated by Lemon Tree.
  62. An impeccably made and genuinely moving account of how Scottish author J.M. Barrie came to write "Peter Pan."
  63. Should stand with the likes of "Fata Morgana" and "Lessons of Darkness" as one of helmer's best efforts at smudging the lines between docu and fiction.
  64. A modestly scaled and highly pleasurable sequel to Wan’s low-budget 2011 smash that should have genre fans begging for thirds.
  65. Leo Heiblum's pulsating music and Samuel Larson's dense, fascinating sound editing rewardingly compliment Rulfo's electrifying visuals.
  66. Bittersweet, charming yet often very thorny.
  67. A potent combination of ethnography and concert film, Brit helmer Jasmine Dellal's joyous celebration of tzigane music follows the 2001 U.S. "Gypsy Caravan" tour, which showcased five bands from four countries.
  68. Playful and sporty, with just a small twist of the knife, The Cat's Meow is good, uncomplicated fun.
  69. This skillfully acted, handsomely crafted frock piece toys cleverly with gender confusion and sexual identity.
  70. Consistently fascinating material provides an uncommonly eloquent, provocative statement against globalization that's sure to stimulate thinking audiences.
  71. Genuinely spectacular and historically quite respectable, Ridley Scott's latest epic is at its strongest in conveying the savagery spawned by fanaticism.
  72. Superbly cast drama… that looks to be a solid upscale attraction wherever the special chemistry of good writing and performances is appreciated.
  73. Filtering one school year through the eyes of three young instructors and a rookie administrator, this loosely scripted satire mostly steers clear of cheap shots and over-the-top gags, balancing its comic observations with a real measure of affection for teachers and students alike.
  74. Swanberg and co-writer Megan Mercier have crafted an incredibly generous film that wears its heart on its sleeve but never feels sappy or even sentimental.
  75. A skillfully crafted, highly entertaining documentary.
  76. A surprise, a delight and a whimsical experiment.
  77. A highly satisfying low-budget horror-thriller from helmer/co-writer Jim Mickle.
  78. Well positioned to slake the thirst of action fans for world-class, slam-bang rough stuff.
  79. A tightly constructed "dramatic thriller" in which the tension comes as much from what the characters are thinking as from what they end up doing, Jerichow again confirms writer-helmer Christian Petzold ("Yella," "The State I Am In") as a world-class talent who remains underappreciated beyond Germany.
  80. Emerges a surprisingly in-depth, wistful look at outgrowing a youth-only subculture.
  81. Employing a bigger budget, better effects and an edgier director ("Hard Candy's" David Slade), Eclipse focuses on what works -- the stars.
  82. Numerous filmmakers have attempted to dramatize the terrorist activity that gripped Italy in the 1970s, but few have done so with the unsettling power of Marco Bellocchio's Good Morning, Night.
  83. Rob Schroder and Gabrielle Provaas' raunchy, hilariously uninhibited documentary should wow arthouse audiences.
  84. Yonebayashi’s open-hearted tale, more than any other Ghibli offering, could conceivably have worked just as well in live-action, and yet the tender story gains so much from the studio’s delicate, hand-crafted approach.
  85. Full of surprising warmth and charm, unexpected plot turns and droll characters that bounce off each other in refreshing ways.
  86. OC87 serves both its subject and its viewers well by chronicling a process that is actually insightful, entertaining and apparently successful.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With its remarkably intimate look at Israeli Bedouin culture, a subject heretofore little treated, Danny Verete's Yellow Asphalt is a deeply affecting and brutally uncompromising anthology of three unrelated stories.
  87. The Square is journalism, but Noujaim’s agenda is greater than mere reportage.
  88. Though Fanon’s words serve to justify the seemingly unconscionable — violence — the film ends with a very different call to action, one that stresses the need for “new concepts,” as if trying to calm the blood the film has brought to a boil over the dense and daunting 80-odd minutes that have come before.
  89. Hopkins delivers a genuinely charming example through the generosity and affection with which he treats his characters, a racially and culturally mixed bunch that could have seemed schematic and forced.
  90. A splendidly demented gumbo of Hitchcock thriller, American Gothic fairy tale and a contemporary kink all Park's own.
  91. Rather than a case of the Dude doing the Duke, Bridges' irascible old cuss is a genuine original who feels larger than the familiar saga that contains him.
  92. Sad, compelling documentary leaves a few key questions frustratingly unanswered, but the raw materials here are sufficiently bracing.
  93. Crowd-pleasing, darkly comic joyride.
  94. There's nothing like a little world domination to melt the most dastardly evildoer's heart. Since villains so often steal the show in animation, Despicable Me smartly turns the whole operation over to megalomaniacal rogue Gru.
  95. Repugnant content, grislier than the ugliest torture porn, ought to have made the film unwatchable, but it doesn't, simply because Kim's picture is so beautifully filmed, carefully structured and viscerally engaging.

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