Variety's Scores

For 8,873 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 Selma
Lowest review score: 0 Cabin Boy
Score distribution:
8,873 movie reviews
  1. The film pulls no punches, takes no prisoners and flies in the face of feel-good pictures.
  2. An altogether smashing sequel to 2011′s better-than-expected “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” this vivid, violent extension of humanoid ape Caesar’s troubled quest for independence bests its predecessor in nearly every technical and conceptual department.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the wildest fabrications any author has ever tried to palm off on a gullible public. But the fascinating thing is that, from uncertain premise to shattering conclusion, one does not question plausibility of the events being rooted in their own cinematic reality.
  3. A magnificent tapestry of sounds and images, this documentary interweaves multiple leitmotifs that flow through the film like familiar old friends, surging to the forefront only to be reabsorbed and casually encountered farther on.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Black Stallion is a perfect gem.
  4. An astute, intelligent family picture, the film is a potent reminder that you can have your heart in the right place and still produce a gripping, satisfying entertainment.
  5. Righteous, captivating and entirely successful as single-issue-focused documentaries go, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film draws on startling video footage and testimonies from former orca trainers, building an authoritative argument on behalf of this majestic species.
  6. In the hands of a master, indignation and tragedy can be rendered with clarity yet subtlety, setting hysteria aside for deeper, more richly shaded tones. Abderrahmane Sissako is just such a master.
  7. An exhilarating slalom through the wormholes of Christopher Nolan’s vast imagination that is at once a science-geek fever dream and a formidable consideration of what makes us human.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Emerges as a sumptuously produced period piece that is also a rich tapestry of childhood memoirs and moods, fear and fancy, employing all the manners and means of the best of cinematic theatrical from high and low comedy to darkest tragedy with detours into the gothic, the ghostly and the gruesome. (Review of Original Release)
  8. Rourke creates a galvanizing, humorous, deeply moving portrait that instantly takes its place among the great, iconic screen performances. An elemental story simply and brilliantly told, Darren Aronofsky's fourth feature is a winner from every possible angle.
  9. As certain to get auds singing as the man himself, Pete Seeger: The Power of Song is a terrific, multilayered portrait of a singer whose legacy extends beyond music and into every major social action movement since the 1940s. Always enjoyable, this docu proves that a few rare people actually deserve the hagiography treatment.
  10. Paolo Sorrentino, with Youth, delivers his most tender film to date, an emotionally rich contemplation of life’s wisdom gained, lost and remembered — with cynicism harping from the sidelines, but as a wearied chord rather than a major motif.
  11. Working about as far as possible from the commercial mainstream of the movie business, Costa has again made a singular docu-fiction hybrid that defies classification as readily as it reimagines the possibilities of cinema for the post-spectacle, post-theatrical era.
  12. A gloriously cinematic documentay of epic, poetic sadness.
  13. So tastefully mounted and brilliantly acted that it wears down even the corset-phobic’s innate resistance to such things.
  14. A stunning work, revisiting controversial events with journalistic objectivity and a meticulous eye for detail.
  15. A prodigious achievement that conveys the fabric of modern American life, aspirations and incidentally, sports, in close-up and at length, Hoop Dreams is a documentary slam dunk.
  16. Porumboiu is one of the few helmers working today who so completely understands both the power of language and the power of visuals.
  17. The opening of Sicario unfolds at such an anxiety-inducing pitch that it seems impossible for Villeneuve to sustain it, let alone build on it, but somehow he manages to do just that. He’s a master of the kind of creeping tension that coils around the audience like a snake suffocating its prey.
  18. Stunningly made and incisively acted by a large and terrific cast, Michael Mann's ambitious study of the relativity of good and evil stands apart from other films of its type by virtue of its extraordinarily rich characterizations and its thoughtful, deeply melancholy take on modern life.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Repulsion is a classy, truly horrific psychological drama in which Polish director Roman Polanski draws out a remarkable performance from young French thesp, Catherine Deneuve. (Review of Original Release)
  19. An enormously entertaining slice of biographical drama, The Aviator flies like one of Howard Hughes' record-setting speed airplanes.
  20. The pic is a superbly crafted collage whose soundtrack is as complexly textured as the curation and editing of visual elements.
  21. DuVernay’s razor-sharp portrait of the Civil Rights movement — and Dr. King himself — at a critical crossroads is as politically astute as it is psychologically acute, giving us a human-scale King whose indomitable public face belies currents of weariness and self-doubt.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Italy's top bestseller of recent literary history, Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa's The Leopard comes to the screen in a magnificent film, munificently outfitted and splendidly acted by a large cast dominated by Burt Lancaster. (Review of Original Release)
  22. Result is pure-grade art cinema destined primarily for the delectation of Malick partisans and adventurous arthouse-goers.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A richly textured and thoroughly engrossing drama that ranks with indie filmmaker John SaylesJohn Sayles' finest work.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A mesmerizing thriller that will grip audiences from first scene to last.
  23. It's a thrilling, at times brilliant piece of staging that never forgets the emotional pull of either the tragic personal tale or the ramifications of history.

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