Variety's Scores

For 10,944 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 2.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Grizzly Man
Lowest review score: 0 The Trouble with Romance
Score distribution:
10944 movie reviews
  1. Seemingly caught between a daring impressionistic approach and a pedantic recital of dates and locations, this three-hour endurance test is marked by sincere adoration of its subject.
  2. This high-grade concert film will enthrall fans and amuse more open-minded newbies, though it suffers from the most dynamic material being largely clustered in the pic’s front section.
  3. The lead performers, the brighter fillips in Daniel Taplitz’s screenplay and Marcos Siega’s (“Pretty Persuasion”) assured direction make this a pleasing item overall.
  4. Ups the self-parody so much that it's practically a Wayans Brothers spoof, albeit with fewer jokes.
  5. Guggenheim is such a fascinating figure that few will snipe at a character analysis that rarely gets below the surface.
  6. Director Vincenzo Natali (“Splice”) is more effective at sustaining clammy suspense than hiding all the holes in Brian King’s script. But top-billed Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) is effective enough to generate a rooting interest in the plucky protagonist of the piece, and to sustain interest when narrative logic turns fuzzy.
  7. The movie is murky and disjointed, held together not so much by what happens as by a vague atmosphere of obsession.
  8. Director Bert Marcus’ Champs is the moviegoing opposite of a prize fight, a slick but not particularly stylish documentary that actually becomes more focused and energized in the late rounds.
  9. Harrelson shines, particularly in framing scenes with Sandra Oh as a tactful court psychiatrist.
  10. Blood Father is trash, but it does capture what an accomplished and winning actor Mel Gibson can be. Just because he lost his bearings, and his career, doesn’t mean that he lost his talent.
  11. An unembarrassed, high-octane demonstration of the virtues of a U.S. military with a mission, the latest war pic from 20th Century Fox -- a studio with a proud tradition in this field -- couldn't be better timed to fit the popular mood.
  12. This triumph-of-the-underdogs tale is enjoyable in the retelling, despite its repetitious hammering of the message.
  13. Will Reiser's semiautobiographical script initially prescribes too artificial a story treatment for its characters but is rescued by a genial, low-key vibe that builds in sensitivity and emotion up through the final reels.
  14. The temptations of allowing a promotional video to seep inside a genuine non-fiction study nearly overtake East of Havana and its look at a bubbling hip-hop culture in Cuba.
  15. Kids will like Mimzy if for no other reason than it doesn't talk down to them.
  16. Picture takes genre helmer Xavier Durringer ("Chok-Dee") back to his theater roots, with most of the narrative mayhem and laughs coming from the picture's sharp dialogue and strong work by seasoned thesps, who just manage to avoid caricature.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While engaging, pic eventually betrays itself as having a trivial attitude to its chosen subject, with a climactic scene that is genuinely, but inappropriately, amusing.
  17. In keeping with Gitai’s typically austere oeuvre, it’s a long, slow and sober piece — one could even call it a documentary, despite the fact that actors have been hired to perform deposition scenes derived directly from Shamgar transcripts.
  18. Strongly cast, long-limbed yarn contains some of Ratnam's best stuff in its first half but script weaknesses mar the later going and film's overall impact.
  19. Like too many of Sayles’ films, Go for Sisters seems bound to slip through the cracks, not quite memorable enough to make a lasting impression.
  20. The more Dayveon attempts to up the dramatic and moral stakes of its narrative, the less persuasive it is as idiosyncratic, indigenous storytelling.
  21. Helmer John Luessenhop ("Takers") and a small army of scripters go back to the bloody roots of the long-running franchise to concoct a better-than-average horror-thriller that relies more on potent suspense than graphic savagery or stereoscopic tricks.
  22. Notwithstanding some sentimental beats, Peng achieves a delicate balance between bleak realities and a life-affirming attitude, capped by a predictable but necessary catharsis.
  23. With the combination of mobster characters and heavily R&B, hip-hop and disco/soul tune orientation of the soundtrack, pic has a more streetwise feel than most animated fare, which is not to say that it has street smarts.
  24. More than passably amusing.
  25. Though rough edges are very much part of picture's fabric and charm, the current two-hour-plus edit is too choppy, with many sequences feeling rushed or underdeveloped.
  26. Robinson's script is alive to the material's literary roots, although there is a sense that the brakes have been applied so as not to push into territory perceived as too esoteric for American teenagers.
  27. Odd mixture of ultra-sleek visuals, psychological probing, "Paper Moon"-like father-daughter swindling, self-improvement efforts and abrupt tough-guy stuff keeps the picture percolating, even if it seems too artificial to genuinely convince on an emotional or dramatic level.
  28. Up until its unfortunate third-act detour from intriguing verisimilitude to frustrating abstraction, director Marcin Wrona’s Demon enthralls as an atmospheric ghost story with a cheeky undercurrent of absurdist humor.
  29. Crude, sophomorically homophobic but frequently funny, pic also overstays its welcome a bit and indulges in some juvenile excesses. All told, though, The 40 Year Old Virgin delivers enough belly laughs.
  30. Politics aside, however, the movie delivers on the inspiration of its premise, featuring just the sort of laughs one hopes for.
  31. One has no problem praising the bravura acting of the entire ensemble.
  32. More hagiography than history, Heather Rae's long-in-production portrait of Native American activist and poet John Trudell has the uncritically admiring feel of authorized biography.
  33. Lavish and florid, the corny venture falls into so-bad-it's-good territory.
  34. Sixty years after World War II, descendants of a prominent Nazi responsible for implementing Hitler's policies in Slovakia reignite debate over their heritage in emotional docu 2 or 3 Things I Know About Him.
  35. Fourth feature by Mainland helmer Lou Ye ("Suzhou River," "Purple Butterfly") shoots for metaphysical drama but ends up saying very little beneath all the poetic voiceovers, sexual encounters and political seasoning.
  36. Best part, though, is the cast: Everyone's a model, everyone beats each other half to death, and no one looks as if they've ever suffered so much as a coldsore.
  37. Culture shock often proves the stuff of comedy, but the sight of a silver-studded, sombrero-topped mariachi band breaking into a rousing rendition of "Hava Nagila" transports diversity into the realm of the surreal.
  38. Evaluating this project in conventional feature terms is a lost cause; relevant contexts are purely avant-garde and pornographic. Suffice it to say that helmer's careful attention to framing camera, music and content signal primary allegiance to Art rather than Smut.
  39. Before the music takes over, the film inserts a few bits of charm, such as Emmylou Harris excitedly following the latest Major League Baseball scores.
  40. The latest from the culty maker of “Suicide Club,” “Love Exposure” and last year’s TIFF Midnight Madness audience-award winner, “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?,” is so insistently over-the-top from the start that the results are just fairly amusing when they ought to be exhilarating.
  41. Individual moments are not without their felicitous touches -- mainly due to the cast, which is rich to the point of improbability.
  42. Purists will find the pic's obviousness disappointing, but there's no question that the film delivers a sufficient shock quotient to satisfy its youthful target audience.
  43. For a film with such a narrow scope, this one oddly refuses to ask some of the basic questions that might have enriched our understanding.
  44. Elaborate, sporadically amusing but awfully lightweight followup, which has close to the same tone as its predecessor but makes one realize that freshness had a lot to do with its impact.
  45. The fact that the films that serve as her models often sported the same flaws doesn’t excuse this fairly poker-faced spoof’s sometimes borderline-torpid pace and disappointing fade-out.
  46. The Wave sticks mostly to the big-studio formula (albeit on a much smaller budget), introducing a handful of bland soon-to-be-victims before bombarding them with spectacular digital effects.
  47. For Fry, the music's complexity, ambiguity, innovation and humanity far surpass Wagner's personal limitations. He may not convince his viewers of the rightness of his conclusions, but he certainly makes a fervent case for the triumph of art over biography.
  48. It’s dutiful, but it’s also superficial and polite, and it commits the genteel sin of the old biopics: It turns its hero into a plaster saint.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    An edgy, energetic romantic thriller in the tradition of "Run Lola Run," "A Life Less Ordinary" and "Out of Sight."
  49. Z for Zachariah is a handsome-looking film (shot in widescreen, on remote New Zealand locations, by veteran David Gordon Green d.p. Tim Orr) and it doesn’t lack for provocative ideas, though it never digs quite deep enough into any of them.
  50. Some fine individual perfs by the tony cast, plus fine period detail and costumes, make the time pass fairly agreeably, but Tea With Mussolini suffers from a fatal lack of focus and emotional center, reducing potentially involving material to a succession of individual scenes.
  51. Zarcoff does a good job building tension.
  52. Although The Postman conveys a thoroughly imagined vision of a future society, its basic concerns are actually far from those of traditional sci-fi, as it quickly comes to feel more like a Western than anything else.
  53. Falco, light years from "The Sopranos," is exquisitely vulnerable and her scenes play well with Hutton, in his finest role in years as a good man who knows he's sold out.
  54. Though there’s much to savor in the pic’s lavishly distressed visuals and soundscape, its narrative feels increasingly stretched and desultory.
  55. Russian-made pic displays pro technique and visual imagination on a par with, if not better than, Hollywood frighteners, but with a distinctive Slavic accent.
  56. Beatty tries hard to re-create the look and feel of late-’50s Hollywood as it existed both on-screen and off, aided by DP Caleb Deschanel and terrific costume and set contributions. And yet, it actually comes off too conservative for its own time, with stiff performances from Collins and Ehrenreich.
  57. This frisky adaptation of the Steven Levitt-Stephen Dubner bestseller on human behavior by the numbers adds up to a revelatory trip into complex, innovative ideas and altered perspectives on how people think.
  58. Even the flaws of Thank You for Playing have the effect of underscoring its humanity; the movie may immortalize a creative endeavor, but it never loses sight of the fact that it’s also honoring a life.
  59. The screenplay by Matthiessen and co-writers Martin Pieter Zandvliet and Anders Frithiof August is compelling up until the melodramatic, credulity-straining final act, although the characters, apart from Emma, feel underdeveloped.
  60. Victoria & Abdul is a pleasant enough entertainment, and it will bring the inevitable awards chatter Dench’s way (is her acting ever less than pinpoint? Never). But as prestige period pieces go, it’s far from top-drawer (more like second drawer, or even third), because its cozy lack of enlightenment is echoed in the standard but far from scintillating play of its drama.
  61. Having learned a thing or two from Baz Luhrmann, Almereyda substitutes guns for daggers and picks his locations carefully, creating a rich, sultry-looking environment within which to stage the drama.
  62. This more broadly appealing project feels daringly frank on the subject of sex. But as is frequently the case with the most saturnalian comedies, it’s actually quite conservative when it comes to allowing its characters to follow through on their uninhibited talk.
  63. Delamarre knows his way around an action scene and keeps the proceedings moving briskly enough, even if the picture clocks in at about 10 minutes longer than its taut, 81-minute predecessor.
  64. An involving, often kinetic 2½-hour ride for auds who can accept their entertainment overboiled as well as just hardboiled.
  65. The unlikely success story of superstar Brazilian country music duo Zeze di Camargo and Luciano receives a polished if highly manipulative treatment in Two Sons of Francisco.
  66. It’s a thin premise that cues much cheery knockabout comedy, with ample scope for impressively whooshy 3D tracking shots.
  67. Fascinating if overly self-involved Slamdance entry is among the few U.S. pics that deliberately smudges the line between non-fiction and invention as it tells how Crumley and Buice meet online and develop a relationship.
  68. The time away from the ring has done Rocky and the franchise some good, although it takes pic a good long while to gather momentum and clout before a surprisingly satisfying third-act heavyweight bout.
  69. For all the film's provocations and documentation, however, Greenwald never seems get to the heart of the matter: that it is the consumer who makes Wal-Mart powerful.
  70. Lost among the bulletins and traveling shots is any sense of the individuals whose distinctiveness is eliminated under the crushing word “refugee.”
  71. What might have been a cinephile's wet dream turns out instead to be seductive, stimulating and sodden, in that order, in the three-chapter reflection on love and desire.
  72. Helmers Garrett Scott and Ian Olds offer a sympathetic look at the average Joe doing duty in hell -- as well as a sharp indictment of the Pentagon's cavalier support for the troops.
  73. Pic is an obvious but highly accessible entertainment that manages to josh its subjects without being condescending to either Eastern or Western auds.
  74. Pretty formulaic stuff: bland self-empowerment tinged with warm fuzzies in all the right places. But what makes this "Somebody" something is Pasquin's deft touch and understanding with the material.
  75. For all its visual sweep and propulsively violent action, this bloodthirsty rendition of the Old English epic can't overcome the disadvantage of being enacted by digital waxworks rather than flesh-and-blood Danes and demons.
  76. Rather than presenting a nuanced ending that’s open to interpretation, Barrett simply leaves us scratching our heads as to what just happened.
  77. The haunted house setpieces provide reliable doses of jolts, even if one can see the scaffolding of each scare being built from miles away, and director Landon has fun with some clever camera placement here and there.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    One of the film's strengths is its abundant performance footage.
  78. A bright, snappy culture-clash farce in the mode of "Desperately Seeking Susan" and its ilk, Kiss Me, Guido plays gay and Italian-American stereotypes against one another to good-natured, crowd-pleasing results.
  79. Perfectly harmless, often humorous, featherweight confection -- think "Serendipity" re-imagined as a teen-skewing Saturday morning sitcom.
  80. Fans excited to see John Carpenter back in bigscreen action after nine years' absence will find limited cause for joy in The Ward, a horror opus that briskly -- maybe too briskly -- charts ghostly doings at a nuthouse.
  81. Highlighted by a strong and sensual performance from Salma Hayek as the doomed heroine, elegant pic's muted quality and the central character's vexingly contrary behavior will keep auds from connecting with characters who themselves have trouble establishing bonds.
  82. A charming but overextended yarn about some prairie tykes who mistake a table-tennis ball for a glowing pearl from the gods.
  83. Too much of “Bombshell” skims over Lamarr’s more troubling and troubled aspects to paint her in somewhat stock terms as the victim of keep-her-on-that-pedestal misogyny.
  84. The kind of buddy comedy Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau might have starred in 40 years ago, when the material would have felt less dated, if no less silly.
  85. This beautifully composed picture brings a robust physicality to tried-and-true source material, but falls short of the sustained narrative involvement and emotional drive its resolutely old-fashioned storytelling demands.
  86. It’s pleasant enough cinematic comfort food, but even so, you may be hungry again soon afterward.
  87. This merciless work of anti-entertainment is arguably admirable for being as disturbingly disgusting as it wants to be.
  88. It’s an affectionate, sometimes downright slobbery career salute with a soft, unexamined center — a moving experience for all involved, no doubt, but one of limited interest outside the celebrity bubble it depicts.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Covers familiar territory unevenly, but Gil Cates Jr. directs his freshman feature with a mostly assured hand.
  89. Recycles familiar ideas, with just enough droll wit to score as a nifty normal-folk-doing-stupid-deadly-things comedy a la "Fargo."
  90. Smrz brings considerable gusto if not much conceptual originality to the pileup of dire crises, keeping the pace brisk and seriocomic tone variable.
  91. With Michael Cera in the title role, twentysomethings and under will swiftly embrace this original romancer.
  92. Going in Style coasts along on the testy spiky charms of its leading men, who have 246 years of life on earth between them (Caine is 84, Freeman 79, and Arkin 83), but it’s nothing more than an amiable connect-the-dots movie.
  93. The track record of SNL-drawn movies is dire ("It's Pat," "Stuart Saves His Family," "Blues Brothers 2000"), and this one stands just a peg higher, as an amiable, if flyweight, di-version.
  94. Thanks to some accomplished hocus pocus and an appealing cast, this would-be “Ocean’s Eleven” of the magic world remains watchable throughout, even as it plods along without ever quite fulfilling its potential.
  95. Begins extremely well as a saga of greed and conspicuous consumption, but gradually loses its bite.
  96. A heaping serving of metaphysical gobbledygook wrapped in a physically striking package.

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