Village Voice's Scores

For 8,548 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 37% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 59% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Lowest review score: 0 Followers
Score distribution:
8,548 movie reviews
  1. What Angio captures, beautifully, is that the Mekons make great music because, together and apart, they’re so alive to the world around them.
  2. Boyhood had the curious effect of making me feel lost, uneasy, a little alone in the inexorable march forward — and also totally, emphatically alive.
  3. So elemental in its means yet so cosmic in its drama, it could herald a rebirth of cinema.
  4. The stirring new documentary The Case Against 8, showcasing the lawyers and plaintiffs who challenged California's 2008 gay marriage ban, is the best kind of popular history, a film that trembles with tears and hope, and I dare you to get through it without bawling some yourself.
  5. Subtle emotional intelligence has always distinguished Bellocchio's filmmaking, and Dormant Beauty is constructed from fine-grained layers of it, the filmmaker's equivalent of a master cabinetmaker's craft.
  6. A transcendent comic chiller, when The Guest's characters are in peril we actually care, and Wingard respectfully makes the kills clean and quick.
  7. Chris Rock couldn't have planned it this way, but his exuberant and wondrous comedy Top Five, opening at just the right time, is like an airdrop of candy over the city, if not the country.
  8. 20,000 Days on Earth is meticulously crafted but nonetheless feels casual and heartfelt. It's revelatory, and wonderful, to watch Cave walking (or driving) around, being a real person — if the movie is somewhat staged, it's never stagey.
  9. A commanding indictment of the exploitative nature of geopolitics, and of Europe's and the U.S.'s abuse of native peoples around the world.
  10. The film, while wrenching and audacious, is crafted with that humane and observational mastery of great Iranian cinema of recent decades.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's a political statement, an act of defiance, a master class in one auteur's body of work and process, and a document of a life unseen. But above all, it's a gripping entertainment.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Carlos is nevertheless a movie that one can somehow remember vividly for months. Much of this power is due to the whiplash widescreen cinematography (oft-mistaken for DV), the hopped-up editing, and, not least, Ramirez's aptly arrogant, fully transfixing, Method-style turn.
  11. Spider lasts in the mind and it's built to last -- this is a movie that invites and repays repeated viewings.
  12. Red Army is a riveting look behind the Iron Curtain.
  13. Better than a masterpiece - whatever that is - The Tree of Life is an eruption of a movie, something to live with, think, and talk about afterward.
  14. I'm Not There is the movie of the year.
  15. An organic, childlike wonder, fabulously unpredictable and seethingly inventive.
  16. A tale of sadness and hysteria so raw that it bleeds.
  17. Killer of Sheep is an urban pastoral--an episodic series of scenes that are sweet, sardonic, deeply sad, and very funny.
  18. It's a sensational performance by Chastain...She's a most unlikely leading lady, pale and slight of stature, with a raging mane of strawberry blond hair, but she holds the screen with a feral intensity, an obsessive's self-possession.
  19. Among the many remarkable qualities boasted by Manakamana, perhaps the most surprising is its humor.
  20. Easily the most rigorous, vital, and powerful movie of 2014, Sergei Loznitsa's Maidan may be a perfect Bazinian cinema-machine — reality is captured, crystallized, honored for its organic complexity, and delivered unpoisoned by exposition or emphasis.
  21. It's the rare contemporary film that's as majestically and gruelingly rigorous in its form as in its thematic interrogations.
  22. It's charming, gently humorous, and beautifully attuned to the interior lives of children.
  23. Achieves an abrading, intimate, primal force his later films only hint at. It's difficult to imagine the Euripides original ever being more eloquently adapted.
  24. One of the year's best films, Mary Dore's She's Beautiful When She's Angry is an urgent, illuminating dive into the headwaters of second-wave feminism, the movement that — no matter what its detractors insist — has given us the world in which we live.
  25. You either love it or you love it; in any case, Martin Scorsese's history-making scald is truly a phenomenon from another day and age.
  26. Serge Bozon's smart, surprising, marvelously realized French crime-and-sex police drama/comedy distinguishes itself with trenchant plotting, inspired framing, and performances that honor true human feeling even as they lunge into the screwball.
  27. Ultimate geezerfest and rock-doc holy grail.
  28. A pained and gorgeous summoning, Petra Costa's haunted doc Elena dances with death, memory, and family, seducing viewers and then breaking their hearts.
  29. What's remarkable about Dallas Buyers Club is its lack of sentimentality. The movie, like its star, is all angles and elbows, earning its emotion through sheer pragmatism.
  30. Tian's movie seems to be among the finest expressions of the Chinese new wave.
  31. Tense, engrossing, and superbly structured, Bus 174 is not just unforgettable drama but a skillfully developed argument.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is one of the most fully rounded, unsentimental portraits of an artist you'll ever see on film.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It has come to serve as a solemn metaphor for remembrance, as well as for butt-numbing endurance.
  32. The playfulness of Rivette's sublime female-buddy picture, recalling the fun of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," would inform Susan Seidelman's "Desperately Seeking Susan" 11 years later. But its greatest descendant is David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive," another film about two women erotically attached, a house with a secret, and transformation.
  33. It Felt Like Love is brilliantly, brutally tactile.
  34. Jennifer Kent's maternal nightmare The Babadook is the imperial stout of recent fright flicks -- it's the one that will have you walking funny and might rip into your sleep. It's hard to say that you'll enjoy this film, but it's hard not to admire it, if maybe with your eyes half shut.
  35. That makes this the most rare of films: one that indisputably matters. And one that stuns.
  36. One of the sweetest, saddest stories Franz Kafka never wrote.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The last real earthquake to hit cinema was David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" -- I'm sure directors throughout the film world felt the earth move beneath their feet and couldn't sleep the night of their first encounter with it back in 1986. (Review of 20th Anniversary Re-Release)
  37. Leigh, Spall, and cinematographer Dick Pope — who borrows lots of lighting tricks from Vermeer and Ingres and even Turner himself, to glorious effect — have gently atomized Turner's character, breaking it into small, potent fragments that affect us in ways we don't see coming.
  38. Before Midnight—visually stunning, in a late-summer way—is more vital and cutting than another recent marriage picture, Michael Haneke's old-folks-together death march Amour; it has none of Amour's tasteful restraint, and in the end, it says more about the nature of long-term love.
  39. The world the film describes is so vividly realized that it seems to spill over the edges of the frame, as if the lives of its characters will continue after the credits roll.
  40. Burshtein's lush visual sensibility, and the subtle performances of the excellent cast, create an aching portrayal of longing and interdependence that transcends the boundaries of the family's small world.
  41. One of the year's most hypnotic and fascinating films.
  42. Flight of the Red Balloon is in a class by itself. In its unexpected rhythms and visual surprises, its structural innovations and experimental perfs, its creative misunderstandings and its outré syntheses, this is a movie of genius.
  43. Brash and sweet, We Are the Best! captures perfectly the aimlessness of adolescence, the waiting to become something that's so often intertwined with the desire to make something, to leave your mark on the world in some small way.
  44. This patient, beautiful, painful, engrossing film pits husband and wife against each other and their world in a series of extended conversations/confrontations.
  45. Writer-director Stephen Belber's inspiriting, generous Match is so good that it's like some kind of trick.
  46. The movie's sense of immutable desire resonates well after the lights have come up.
  47. In today's digital bog of empty light and marketing deceptions, this is what early-millennium Euro art-film masterpieces feel like--lean, qualmish, abstracted to the point of parable but as grounded as a gravedigging.
  48. Grave, beautiful, austerely comic, and casually metempsychotic, Michelangelo Frammartino's Le Quattro Volte is one of the wiggiest nature documentaries-or almost-documentaries-ever made.
  49. To an extent, Flags of Our Fathers is to the WWII movie what Eastwood's Unforgiven was to the western -- a stripping-away of mythology until only a harsher, uncomfortable reality remains.
  50. Watkins restages history in its own ruins, uses the media as a frame, and even so, manages to imbue his narrative with amazing presence. No less than the event it chronicles, La Commune is a triumph of spontaneous action.
  51. This is truly a work of symphonic aspirations and masterful execution.
  52. As an action film — which in small bursts it is — Blue Ruin is disquieting and raw, like Commando turned inside out.
  53. For the reportedly painstaking labor it took to create, the film is a marvel to behold--with wonderful shifts in perspective, an intensely tactile design, and an intentional herky-jerkiness of motion that only enriches the make-believe atmosphere.
  54. Literally and figuratively marvelous, a rich, daring mix of fantasy and politics.
  55. To cut to the chase, Robert Bresson's heart-breaking and magnificent Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) -- the story of a donkey's life and death in rural France -- is the supreme masterpiece by one of the greatest of 20th-century filmmakers.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An essay on storytelling and spectatorship within When Inanimate Objects Attack schlock - one infused with the haunting aura and disillusionment of a post–"Easy Rider" road movie - Rubber is some kind of miracle.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One cannot recommend this film strongly enough.
  56. Not just the year's most impressive first feature but also the strongest new movie of any kind I've seen in 2010.
  57. Plunging viewers into the thick of chaos, Leviathan explodes the antiquated paradigm of the documentary or ethnographic film, whose mission has traditionally been to educate or elucidate, to create something that seizes us, never letting us forget just how disordered the world is. This may be the greatest lesson any nonfiction film can teach us.
  58. A film that's both breathtakingly majestic and heartbreakingly intimate.
  59. Surprising, challenging, and never less than thrilling.
  60. The film, a kind of hybrid between understated drama and essayistic tourism, approaches its subjects with uncommon patience and curiosity, lingering over objects and faces as if to savor their aesthetic qualities, eager to convey truths without authorial imposition.
  61. Spring Breakers seems to be holding a funhouse mirror up to the face of youth-driven pop culture, leaving us uncertain whether to laugh, recoil in horror, or marvel at its strange beauty. All I knew is I couldn't wait to see it a second time.
  62. Rohmer's 1986 masterpiece (being re-released with its original French title, which translates as "The Green Ray"), Le Rayon Vert centers on those themes, too, but delivers something much richer: an absorbing, empathic portrait of a complex woman caught between her own obstinacy and melancholy.
  63. The Missing Picture is so immediate, so vital, it practically breathes. Not all memoirs need to exist. But the gentle urgency of Panh's story is right there in the filmmaking. This is a story that had to be told. Even in its stillness, it moves.
  64. It's all true--every magical, exhilarating, infuriating, dumbfounding, jaw-dropping second of Gordon's miniature masterpiece.
  65. Primer unites physics and metaphysics in an ingenious guerrilla reinvention of cinematic science fiction.
  66. With Selma, DuVernay has pulled off a tricky feat, a movie based on historical events that never feels dull, worthy, or lifeless; it hangs together as a story and not just part of a lesson plan. The movie is at once intimate and grand in scope.
  67. Cronenberg's film is at once a lucid movie of ideas, a compelling narrative, and a splendidly acted love story.
  68. The Dark Knight will give your adrenal glands their desired workout, but it will occupy your mind, too, and even lead it down some dim alleyways where most Hollywood movies fear to tread.
  69. The Intruder, is a decisive breakthrough--her (Claire Denis) most poetic and primal film to date, as thrilling as it is initially baffling.
  70. This stellar, incisive slice-of-life doc centers on the kind of crowd-pleasing competition story that lures in audiences and then lays bare heartsick truths about small-town America today.
  71. Landes's tone is never salacious or exploitative, nor for that matter pandering or sentimental. This is a sui generis work—warm, sporadically funny, deeply human, and altogether beguiling.
  72. Voyage to Italy is close to watching actual strangers suffer loneliness despite being together. It can leave an aching bruise, but only if you're paying attention.
  73. Detailed yet oblique, leisurely but compelling, perfectly cast and irreproachably acted, the movie has a seductively novelistic texture complete with a less-than-omniscient narrator.
  74. Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu's brilliantly discomfiting second feature is one long premonition of disaster.
  75. Stranger abounds with precision and detail, evinced not just in the spectacular visual composition but also in the observation of behavioral codes in carnally charged spaces.
  76. Bertolucci's masterpiece--made when he was all of 29--will be the most revelatory experience a fortunate pilgrim will have in a theater this year is a foregone conclusion.
  77. In Something in the Air, that past—a version of Assayas's own—is rendered in visuals so specific and evocative, it's perpetually alive.
  78. One of the richest films of the past decade.
  79. A must-see documentary.
  80. Traffic is not just an ultra-procedural--it's the Big Picture, the Whole Enchilada, complete with a complicated war between two Mexican drug cartels.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Koreeda imbues the story with such specificity, tactility, and humanity that yet another movie about a dysfunctional family reunion becomes a cinematic tone poem.
  81. Rising from Ashes is not just about a cycling team; it's a testament to what happens when human beings care for one another.
  82. Despite the poetry its subtitle promises, the fascinating crows-in-the-skyline doc Tokyo Waka is more informative than lyric, which is not at all a complaint.
  83. Through photos and family lore, but mostly through Dayton's own eloquence, Mitchell assembles a biographical portrait that's inspiring in the best possible way.
  84. Bloody Sunday doesn't surrender its grip on the viewer even after the action shifts from the streets of Bogside to a local hospital where the weeping masses are still under the guns of the war-painted British soldiers.
  85. Perverse, funny, and ultimately profound.
  86. Prince Avalanche reconciles Green's twin modes into a whole no other director could have, deeply felt and light as laughter.
  87. Lipper does an excellent job of using her film as a vehicle for the voices and concerns of Nigerians, and especially of Nigerian women, who are traditionally expected to stay at home while men operate in the public sphere. But Lipper does not limit her camera to political struggles.
  88. Corpse Bride never skimps on the sass (as a good folktale shouldn't). And the variety of its cadaverous style is never less than inspired; never has the human skull's natural grin been redeployed so exhaustively for yuks.
  89. With each of these movies, Klapisch reiterates a core sentiment behind all the romantic comedy: that lives are continuously pieced together, broken, and rearranged in different settings. All that screwing and screwing up in between? Totally necessary.
  90. Remarkable documentary.
  91. Va Savoir has its own unhurried pace and unpredictable humor. This is the sort of comedy Robert Altman could only dream about.
  92. Unknown Pleasures suggests a coolly formalist reinvention of neorealism. The film is both distanced and immediate -- a fiction with the force of documentary.

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