Variety's Scores

For 9,925 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 45% 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 More Than a Game
Lowest review score: 0 Being Human
Score distribution:
9925 movie reviews
  1. The winner by a knockout is Eddie Jones...Without Jones, pic is a standard drama on the sweet science with the usual tropes and a slight tweak on the usual conflicts.
  2. This revamp (which ignores several interim direct-to-video sequels Van Damme did not participate in) is a bit shorter, a tad more stylish, and utilizes the same clichés a little less ponderously.
  3. The indomitable siblings' unusual background, huge size and highly developed intellects, as well as the dramatic ups, downs and rebounds of their interwoven sagas, should result in a fascinating dual biodoc. But the two-hour pic's lack of economy makes for heavy slogging, with no boxing minutiae too small for exhaustive exposition.
  4. Clearly, Wheatley is bored with the paint-by-numbers approach of his horror contemporaries, but has swung so far in the opposite direction here, the result feels almost amateurishly avant garde at times, guilty of the sort of indulgences one barely tolerates in student films.
  5. Compensating for the technical faults is the writer-director's unmistakable and undiluted need to express the issues he feels are at the heart of his community.
  6. Graced with some extra star wattage courtesy of Helen Mirren and Ed Harris, this diminishing-returns sequel sends Nicolas Cage on another quest to strike it rich, get young auds excited about history and solve puzzles that are generally less stimulating than yesterday's Sudoku.
  7. The actors give the proceedings a mostly quick-witted repartee that prevails over the occasionally stale script.
  8. Takes plenty of liberties with the material and never generates much genuine excitement, but provides an agreeable ride without overloading it with contemporary filmmaking mannerisms.
  9. The latest in a line of documentaries decrying the destruction of viable working-class businesses and residential neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Su Friedrich’s film bypasses sadness and indignation for flat-out anger and well-aimed sarcasm.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Leigh builds a slight story intended to be a microcosm of today’s London.
  10. A tasty if wildly far-fetched thriller, Out of Time proves far stronger in its characterizations than in developing genuine suspense.
  11. It plays less like a meaty mystery than an extended thank-you to the fans who breathed it into existence. Still, it’s smooth and engaging enough on its own compromised terms, clearly informed by Thomas’ genre-savvy storytelling and unpretentious craftsmanship, and not without a certain self-deprecating sense of humor about its own immodest origins.
  12. Televisually presented and arduously overlong at 127 minutes, 150 Milligrams can’t always separate the compelling personal stakes of its narrative from its surfeit of informational minutiae.
  13. None of this will be news to informed viewers, and the documentary's broad theme necessitates quick, superficial treatment of myriad underlying causes. But it's a solid, fairly even-handed spur for discussion that will be particularly welcome in classroom settings.
  14. Grim but engrossing.
  15. Good-natured but only memorable as a platform for the amusingly feisty Peter Falk, The Thing About My Folks plies a light approach to the problems grown children face when their parents appear on the verge of divorce.
  16. The deliberately jittery hand-held lensing enhances the mockery in this mockumentary.
  17. Provides little more than a pleasantly passable Christian sports parable delivered as a sort of Texan golfer's version of "The Karate Kid."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Unfortunately, the film degenerates in final reels to heavy-handed social polemic and sound-and-fury shootout.
  18. Resolutely sappy and sometimes amateurish, the briskly paced doc remains heartfelt and direct about the same admirable mission Wampler had in making the climb.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It's a crowdpleaser -- at least for crowds aged about 6 to 12.
  19. The picture is lacking in the uproarious humor that might well have ensued from the material, which instead inspires occasional laughs but, much more often, bemused fascination and wonderment at the bizarre imaginations and impressive skill of the filmmakers.
  20. A low-structure, high-involvement Brazilian free-for-all destined to take its place among hellish prison films, Carandiru plants a fist in the viewer's stomach.
  21. Silly, screechy and eminently watchable.
  22. Eventually, the impression is created of notes for good scenes full of pungent observations and sharp asides, but without fully developed drama or emotion, leaving a sketchy, wispy feeling when all is said and done.
  23. Not surprisingly, the pic struggles at times to flesh out even its relatively brief 90-odd-minute duration, but it delivers some genuine if generally low-brow laughs along the way.
  24. Less turgid and aggravating than its predecessor, this cleverly produced melodrama remains hamstrung by novelist's Dan Brown's laborious connect-the-dots plotting and the filmmakers' prosaic literal-mindedness in the face of ripe historical antagonisms, mystery and intrigue.
  25. The result is a movie that can be admired in many respects from a distance but is progressively less emotionally engaging.
  26. Chinese thesp Gong Li goes for a striking career makeover in Zhou Yu's Train, a sensual, slickly packaged slice of Euro-style metaphysical cinema centered on a free-thinking woman and the two men in her life.
  27. Though relatively conservative in its approach, Lars Kraume’s teleplay-style treatment of a still-touchy subject has the nerve to name names.
  28. May be too grisly to extend its appeal beyond its fan base.
  29. An interesting idea comes over only half-formed in Johnnie To's Breaking News, an effective Hong Kong crimer that partly returns to the realistic style of some of his late '90s dramas, but never properly knits its theme of media manipulation into pic's punchy thriller format.
  30. Superficial but entertaining new pic offers equal parts freshness and kitsch appeal set to a pulsating Latin soundtrack.
  31. A generic suspenser that doesn't taste bad at first bite but becomes increasingly hard to swallow, The Saint comes off more as a pallid imitation of Paramount's Eurothriller "Mission: Impossible" than as anything resembling the further adventures of Leslie Charteris' charming rogue.
  32. While Chris Kelly’s semi-autobiographical writing-directing debut gets off to a painfully broad start, it does intermittently find its footing as it progresses, gathering enough well-observed moments and details to counterbalance its otherwise flailing stabs at humor and pathos.
  33. Just as An itself seems on the verge of flying away, however, Kawase rewards her audience with an unapologetically contrived but effectively eye-moistening surge of feeling.
  34. Picture loses its delicate edge when it builds to a prescribed dramatic flashpoint within an overly compressed timeframe
  35. Though burdened by major problems of tone, Tanovic's fourth feature succeeds in making clear the incredulity with which most people regarded the thought of war and dissolution of Yugoslavia, as well as the machinations of various opportunistic groups.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The noble intentions of director-writer-producer Noel Marshall and his actress-wife Tippi Hedren shine through the faults and short-comings of Roar, their 11-year, $17 million project – touted as the most disaster-plagued pic in Hollywood history.
  36. While shot through with pointed jabs at chauvinism and mainstream homophobia in Mexican society, The Untamed never quite exceeds the sum of its intriguingly opposed parts.
  37. Not without charm and bearing easy appeal to very young viewers.
  38. The tense buildup to a blazing, if generic, rescue is the most satisfying part of The Assault, a stylized combo of action and drama from Julien Leclercq.
  39. Based loosely and playfully on Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility," From Prada to Nada is a predictable but pleasant comedy.
  40. Amos Gitai's most satisfying pic since war drama "Kippur." Schematic set-up is given a human face by fine performances and a physical journey that's often more interesting than the characters' emotional ones, which are weakened by the Israeli auteur's tendency toward convenient doctrinaire-ism and chunks of expository dialogue.
  41. A consistently intriguing psychodrama that may nonetheless leave many viewers feeling that it’s all buildup and scant payoff.
  42. The sense of evil overkill is entirely representative of the picture itself, which repeatedly looks ready to blow all its fuses due to sensory overload.
  43. Campbell's topnotch production team yields predictably polished results, but the director's decision to revisit the late Troy Kennedy Martin's teleplay, finally, feels lacking.
  44. The Losers is the sort of pyro-heavy exercise parodied in "Tropic Thunder," and no amount of production polish can hide the hollowness beneath its junk-food high.
  45. Unlike more generally philosophical, life-affirming autobiographical docus about dying, “One Cut, One Life” rehashes old problems and tries to resolve multiple unresolved issues already exposed in previous films, proving as exasperating as it is weirdly compelling.
  46. Though complementary, the pic’s images and voiceover never quite fuse into a single whole.
  47. Covering familiar ground from an unfamiliar angle, Ted Woods' oddball documentary White Wash examines the history of African-American disenfranchisement from a black surfer's viewpoint, in the process countering the racist myth that black people don't swim or surf.
  48. Neatly avoiding temptations toward mawkish excess, writer-director Chris Dowling hits a solid double with Where Hope Grows, his intelligently affecting faith-based drama.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    This start for Gregory as producer and Laughton as director is rich in promise but the completed product, bewitching at times, loses sustained drive via too many offbeat touches that have a misty effect.
  49. Given the sheer number of threads that Moorhouse (who adapted the novel with her writer-director husband, P.J. Hogan) keeps in play, it’s surprising how well The Dressmaker coheres, albeit more along narrative lines than tonal ones.
  50. While his static backgrounds and stuttering character movement aren't likely to win over traditional animation fans, Hair High reps the high end of this "Sick 'n' Twisted"-type toonery.
  51. Sophomore effort by Danish helmer Christoffer Boe offers a mix of cerebral sci-fi conceits, baroque visual texture and romantic melancholy similar to that in his Cannes kudo-reaping debut, "Reconstruction." Still, pic is remarkably original and reps further evidence of a unique directorial vision.
  52. Those with just a casual interest will find it colorful if a bit undercooked in the human-interest department, with limited insight into what makes its subjects tick, and the occasional rivalries between them.
  53. 9
    Design aspects are arresting and the filmmaker's abilities are obvious, but the basic survival story remains slight, just as the general setting, no matter how artfully imagined, is by now pretty familiar.
  54. As the industry reshapes itself, this drama by helmer Kabir Khan -- with its bold, righteous, anti-Bush administration bent -- could cut out a new constituency for a genre usually devoted to purely escapist entertainment.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Trying to wring yocks from a deranged couple locked in mortal combat over possession of their house is more suited to film noir than black comedy.
  55. A debut effort that occasionally bogs down in its own symbolism.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It is a Holocaust story from a different angle, not the traditional depiction of a concentration camp or a rescue effort.
  56. An amusing, extravagantly implausible farce that nonetheless makes a pointed argument about the perceived marginalization of childless women in modern society.
  57. Norton directs with assurance.
  58. A tad crasser and pushier than its predecessor, Ice Age: The Meltdown is still an entirely serviceable follow-up to the 2002 hit that will thoroughly amuse kids and get a rise or two out of parents as well.
  59. Take Me to the River compensates for a lack of originality and depth with no shortage of joyful celebration.
  60. This fun if unmemorable occult thriller sports — all too faithfully at times — both the typical pleasures and shortcomings of the movies it pays homage to.
  61. A skittery, rambling but often absorbing portrait.
  62. The potentially ludicrous story is handled artfully enough here to cast an eerie but not off-putting spell throughout, though the ultimate point is more than a tad murky, and the desired poignancy doesn’t fully come across.
  63. Result is hardly a diabolical failure, if not quite a heavenly masterpiece. Schrader's intelligent, quietly subversive pic emphasizes spiritual agony over horror ecstasy, while paying occasional lip-service to the need for scares.
  64. A slick but slight Brit pic, chockfull with tart one-liners and pretty posh people, with one major twist: The romantic leads are both women.
  65. Amu
    Admirably idealistic but dramatically awkward.
  66. Foster’s pistol-packing turn as an avenging dark angel nearly sustains director Neil Jordan’s grim vigilante drama through a string of implausibilities and occasionally trite psychological framing devices, with deft support from Terrence Howard as a sympathetic cop.
  67. Beneath the sitcom cutesiness and boldfaced sentimentality, the film manages to keep just enough reality coursing through to stay grounded.
  68. An amiable time-killer of an espionage comedy.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Substantially better than its predecessor, even while staying strictly within the genre's well-defined boundaries.
  69. Documentarian Jessica Yu employs everything from animation and voiceover thesping to archival documents and eyewitness accounts while examining Henry Darger, a self-taught artist who has been posthumously lionized as a visionary genius.
  70. The script never quite succeeds in making us care about Allan as a character (despite dubbing its quavering narration into English for the ease of American auds), but it finds an interesting balance for a personality who leaves a trail of disaster in his wake.
  71. This study of adolescent desire and alienation across class lines takes its time nurturing a tensely ambiguous relationship between its two young female leads — alertly played by newcomers Lauren McQueen and Brogan Ellis — only to squander a measure of that intrigue on a blunt third-act twist.
  72. Fences has passages of fierce and moving power, but on screen the play comes off as episodic and more than a bit unwieldy.
  73. Context and psychological insight are the major casualties of Day Night Day Night, a dramatically limited but strangely powerful portrait of a young would-be terrorist.
  74. Believable characters trump the retread plot and hokey message.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Territory is typical small town Steven Spielberg; this time set in a coastal community in Oregon. Story is told from the kids' point-of-view and takes a rather long time to be set in motion.
  75. Guediguian's lengthy period yarn features a wide array of characters filmed with his habitual simpatico eye, but loses the dramatic thread in too many plots, too little action and not enough originality.
  76. A picture that, even more than the previous two, feels like a bunch of gags tossed together. The laughs are here, to be sure, although even some of the best of them are retreads and the Swinging '60s recycling act is now feeling a bit past its zeitgeist prime.
  77. Writer-helmer Gurinder Chadha assembles a gallery of broadly played stereotypes into a movie about social attitudes that's more rooted in small-screen sitcom than anything deeper.
  78. Somewhat forced happy ending aside, the pic holds together well.
  79. A sensitively directed slab of romantic hokum that wrings an impressive amount of emotional conviction from a thoroughly ludicrous premise.
  80. Picture represents considerable progress for Katz, a founding member of the mumblecore movement.
  81. As endless processions of friends and colleagues attest to Spinney’s genius, and the filmmakers wallow in never-before-seen behind-the-scenes imagery, they fail to fully capture the actual art of puppeteering, with woefully few substantial excerpts from the show itself.
  82. Precociously inventive horror pic that combines brain-eating zombies with outer space aliens.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Script weaknesses overwhelm ethnographic interest, historical tragedy and some solid performances in period drama "The Gift to Stalin."
  83. Unfolding with the disjointed logic of a bad dream, the pic never catches emotional fire — though not for lack of trying by fast-rising young star Lea Seydoux, who shows her range in a defiantly unglamorous performance.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The nice thing is that Crowe and director Amy Heckerling have provided something pleasant to observe in all of these characters though they really are sadly lacking in anything gripping.
  84. Unswervingly sincere and dramatic without surprise or revelation, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas' longtime pet project may be personal, but it offers little to audiences that hasn't been served up in quantity in the past.
  85. Extraordinary perfs by a mostly young cast likely will be cancelled out by the grim subject.
  86. Winner of the Golden Starfish fiction competition at the Hamptons fest, pic's gutsy, madly ambiguous unleashing of a mixed bag of religious reactions attests to a genuine sense of regionalism.
  87. Sometimes wavers, but its stylistic unevenness is trumped by its topicality.
  88. With intermittently amusing glee, writer-director Ryan Shiraki's tyro film, Freshman Orientation, frolics through the political minefields of a typical college campus.
  89. One of the more absorbing and palatable entries in the rather disreputable "Death Wish"-style self-appointed vigilante sub-genre.

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