Village Voice's Scores

For 8,143 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 36% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 60% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 7.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Lowest review score: 0 Saving Lincoln
Score distribution:
8,143 movie reviews
  1. Self-contained, enigmatic, illuminated from within, Huppert banks a performance that pays dividends throughout the film.
  2. The lead performances could hardly be better: Gosling, having stolen and propped up entire movies last year ("Murder by Numbers" and "The Believer"), crackles with the economical intensity of a young Tim Roth. Morse, who has racked up decades worth of idiosyncratic character parts, is monumental in this career-peak turn.
  3. Scorches the screen like a prairie fire.
  4. Norway's hallucinatory, edge-of-the-world beauty imbues the story with a woozy, alcoholic haze and a sense of the marginal spaces into which the messiest aspects of private life are shoved.
  5. Va Savoir has its own unhurried pace and unpredictable humor. This is the sort of comedy Robert Altman could only dream about.
  6. A tender and hilarious vision of female adolescence.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Among the many pleasures are the lively intelligence of the artists and their perceptiveness about their own situations.
  7. As mystical as it is gritty, as despairing as it is detached.
  8. Unknown Pleasures suggests a coolly formalist reinvention of neorealism. The film is both distanced and immediate -- a fiction with the force of documentary.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The visual style has an expressionistic undertow, rich in shadowy chiaroscuro compositions.
  9. It's a uniquely lonely film, and one of the year's most memorable.
  10. A vivid exercise in hokum that more or less invented the idea of French film noir...and not just for Americans.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Two hours fly by -- opera's a pleasure when you don't have to endure intermissions -- and even a novice to the form comes away exhilarated.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    Succeeds as the rehumanizing of a near mythical figure.
  11. In a remarkably subtle, assured debut performance, Compston evokes Billy in Loach's "Kes" and, in the heartbreaking final seaside shot, Antoine in Truffaut's "400 Blows."
  12. As straightforward and plot-driven as any movie about life imitating art imitating life could possibly be.
  13. The greatest of all pulp fantasies.
  14. It could be described as the most gripping political thriller to hit the big screen in many years, although given the events it depicts through interviews, photographs, and news footage, the words "gripping" and "thriller" have inappropriately frivolous and commercial associations.
  15. There are long stretches in Sexy Beast that are so exhilarating it feels churlish to dwell on its flaws.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    A horror story, told with Dickensian compassion, permeating outrage, and little hope.
  16. Ten
    Conceptually rigorous, splendidly economical, and radically Bazinian.
  17. A fierce dance of destruction. Its flame-like, roiling black-and-white inspires trembling and gratitude.
  18. A movie of cutting humor, near-constant talk, and one show-stopping dance routine.
  19. 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.
  20. Thrilling and ludicrous. The movie feels entirely instinctual. The rest is silencio.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Hirsch edits segments together to merge disparate voices, showing how for this movement, music was no universal language -- it was specific, pointed, and almost paranormal in its power.
  21. I've seen only a few films in my lifetime that so potently express the golden hopes of childhood and parenthood, as well as the inevitable decimation of that hopefulness -- that forward-looking bliss -- at the hands of catastrophe, or merely age, spite, and exhaustion. Or, as for the Friedmans, all of the above.
  22. 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.
  23. A sustained immersion in gorgeously austere street photography and casual portraiture, the images punctuated by bits of black leader and gnomic intertitles, the action propelled by sweetly pulverized music and an effortlessly layered soundtrack of enigmatic conversations. Poetry is really the only word for it.
  24. I can't remember a teenage romance this engagingly offbeat since "Lord Love a Duck."
  25. This lusty, heartfelt movie has a near Brueghelian visual energy and a humanist passion as contagious as its music.
  26. For all its quasi-documentary materialism, The Son is ultimately a Christian allegory of one man's inchoate desire to return good for evil. The movie requires a measure of faith, and like a job well done, it repays that trust.
  27. A very nutty fruitcake, Spirited Away is characterized by wonderfully detailed animation, packed with incident and populated by all manner of comic creatures.
  28. Adaptation's success in engaging the audience in the travails of creating a screenplay is extraordinary.
  29. Keep your "Lara Croft" and your "Shrek": For me, the summer's reigning icons are Enid, Thora Birch's geek goddess in Ghost World, and her action-movie analogue.
  30. Compare it to what passes for sophisticated filmmaking in this country and the movie becomes a living instrument of cinematic humanism: lovingly intent on observing, not judging; concerned with sympathy, not control; accepting the inevitable ambiguities, not denying them.
  31. A supremely intelligent pastiche.
  32. It's an astonishing Kidman who contributes the film's -- and maybe the year's -- most inspired turn.
  33. The video stores are filled with examples of retro-noir and neo-noir, but Christopher Nolan's audacious timebender is something else. Call it meta-noir.
  34. Grounded in Fessenden's handheld camera, stuttering montage rhythms, and time-lapse photography, the engagingly primitive animated special effects contribute to a mood that's sustained through the surprisingly somber conclusion.
  35. This is one scary movie, not because we see ghosts or monsters, but because Kidman makes us feel her fear as our own.
  36. As bittersweet a brief encounter as any in American movies since Richard Linklater's equally romantic "Before Sunrise."
  37. Without deploying reductive backstory or simplistic psychology, this fearless movie -- easily the year's best debut feature -- illuminates Esther's pathology as an extreme response to the mind-body split.
  38. An inspired homage to his father's work, and a bracing, bittersweet testament of filial love mixed with pain and compassion.
  39. No matter what your opinion of McNamara, The Fog of War is a chastening experience.
  40. A prototype of news-footage realism, the film makes shrewd use of handheld sloppiness, misjudged focus, overexposure, and you-are-there camera upset; the payoff is the scent of authentic panic.
  41. Moormann's film transcends A&E hagiography, and Dowd's spry egoism and science-hipster joie de vivre provide piquant icing. Recalling trends, technical advances, artists, and landmark sessions (one where he suggests the rhythm for "Sunshine of Your Love"), Dowd conjures the excitement that helped coax so many iconic performances.
  42. Wong is sensationally expressive and projects a modern, coolly appraising sexuality. Visually eloquent and often dazzling, the movie is no less terrific. Piccadilly is both evidence of silent cinema at its rudely aborted peak and Wong's frustrated potential to have been among its greatest stars.
  43. Blind Shaft means to leave the viewer dazed, and it does.
  44. There are big crowd scenes, intimate close-ups, and lots of bug’s-eye point-of-view shots. Call me gullible: I believed every second of it.
  45. A quietly impassioned, genuinely stirring indie rarity.
  46. What's most stunning about Raging Bull is the tension between 19th-century melodrama and 20th-century psychodrama, the narrative form brought into being by the conjunction of Freudian theory and the mechanics of the movie camera.
  47. It's a baroque and intermittently brilliant brain twister so convoluted that it inevitably deposits the viewer in an alternate universe.
  48. Yamada shoots his movie with a grandfatherly expertise, never squeezing the drama for juice or distancing us too far from the characters -- it's a pleasure to see a movie that makes every shot count, narratively and emotively.
  49. If Otar is, finally, a mite thin and predictably structured, that takes little away from the filmmaker and her cast, who work hard at fashioning the most outlandish special effect of all: believable human life.
    • Village Voice
  50. This affecting eulogy underscores not only Demme's own tribute to Dominique but also the film's homage to radio. This is a motion picture that's in love with the magic of airborne speech.
  51. Oasis is utterly beguiling because Lee, like many other percipient Asian filmmakers, is simply more attentive to his characters' emotional tumult than the audience's.
  52. As with Téchiné's best work, Strayed is a peculiar, lingering blend of robustness and delicacy--a movie with hardly a single wasted frame, incongruous word, or false gesture.
  53. Bergman locates a generosity and élan that make F&A feel like his youngest film.
  54. Charles Bukowski, the bard of post-war L.A.'s working-class underbelly, was no ordinary cult writer, and John Dullaghan's thorough, compelling doc Bukowski: Born Into This does a credible job of showing why.
  55. Beyond its rare visions of remote vistas, Camel's great charm lies in its seeming simplicity. The camera records the events of the day -- from a little girl's tears to an afternoon sandstorm -- with a childlike clarity and curiosity.
  56. Naomi Watts is a tremendous movie actress. She need only sidle on camera and glance over the terrain to claim the scene. What's her secret? Like the great Isabelle Huppert, Watts doesn't radiate feelings so much as she absorbs them.
  57. A movie of elegant understatement and considerable formal intelligence.
  58. Saleem, a Paris-based Kurd, displays the visual confidence and subtle screwball rhythms of a master, exploiting offscreen space, deadpan compositions, and deft visual backbeats, as well as attaining a breathtaking fidelity to real light and landscape.
  59. This has to be the most richly entertaining movie anyone has ever made on the subject of female genital mutilation.
  60. Jack and Miles are male archetypes, as well as the two most fully realized comic creations in recent American movies.
  61. Drawing on interviews with SLA co-founder Russ Little and amazing TV news footage, Robert Stone illuminates this fantastic narrative as vividly as it has ever been.
  62. Münch's characters are given to a certain rapt, unwieldy thoughtfulness, and accordingly, his films cultivate a mood of almost trancelike introspection.
  63. A smart, realist drama -- I wouldn't be surprised if this one winds up on my 10-best list for '99.
  64. What saves this deeply affecting film from being merely a collection of wrenching cases is Corcuera's attention to detail.
  65. If you can forget the world-historic significance of the mass revolution that overthrew Europe's oldest absolute monarchy -- or rather, subsume it in the mysteries of personality -- The Lady and the Duke is the stuff of human interest.
  66. Genuinely unnerving movie.
  67. As ethereal, moving, and uncompromising as its subject.
  68. Whatever its oversteps and excesses (I do think Park ran a little amok with the computer gimcrackery), Oldboy has the bulldozing nerve and full-blooded passion of a classic.
  69. This extravagant family melodrama, one of the highlights of last year's New York Film Festival, runs two and a half hours and never lags, so moment-to-moment enthralling are Desplechin's narrative gambits, as well as his reckless eccentricity.
  70. It's an altogether remarkable piece of work, deepening the genre while whipping its skin off, satirizing an entire nation's nearsighted apathy as it wonders, almost aloud, about the nature of truth, evidence, and social belonging.
  71. It's precisely Malle's omnivorous appetite that makes his first feature, adapted from a policier, so delectable, one stuffed with many sumptuous sights and sounds.
  72. With elegant restraint the film subtly intimates the wintry dead end-twilight years bereft of love, partner, or vocation-that may be in store for its aged lover man. (Payne's "About Schmidt" did too, when not gorging snidely on idiot Americana.)
  73. Mood is everything, trumped up by a score so rich with pop songs, bossa nova drama, and symphonic mournfulness it's almost a movie on its own. 2046 may be a Chinese box of style geysers and earnest meta-irony, but that should not suggest there aren't bleeding humans at the center of it.
  74. Darwin's Nightmare strings together cruel ironies into a work of harrowing lucidity. It illuminates the sinister logic of a new world order that depends on corrupt globalization to put an acceptable face on age-old colonialism.
  75. For many the question remains about how Treadwell's eventual death should be regarded--as a tragedy, as a fool's fate, or as comeuppance for daring to humanize wild predators and habituating them to human presence. Herzog's perspective is, of course, scrupulously nonjudgmental.
  76. A triumph of documentary activism nine years in the making.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Unlike American counterparts "Kids" or "Dangerous Minds," this highly intelligent comedy (which cleaned up at this year's Césars) doesn't seek to shock or inspire, but merely documents teen moodiness in all its tedious unpredictability.
  77. Keane is a painfully specific figure but at the same time a totem, lean and frightening, for a morass of modern anxieties. That might be this phenomenal film's emergent achievement: Its raw hopelessness is its universality.
  78. 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A dreamlike travelogue that transforms a mundane world into something strange and new.
  79. Cronenberg's movie manages to have its cake and eat it--impersonating an action flick in its staccato mayhem while questioning these violent attractions every step of the way.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Both riveting and disturbing.
  80. Innocence is not merely the year's best first film, but one of the great statements on the politics of being 'tween.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Devos's performance is an expert workshop of internalized emotions and silent forbearance.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Reworking his own raw material, Lepage spins a rich, moving film that acknowledges humanity's power to break out of Earth's daily gravity; in the process, he leaves audiences floating.
  81. Robust, engrossing, and surprisingly restrained in saving most of its effects for the grand finale, the first Chronicles of Narnia installment eschews Harry Potter's satanic subtext and "The Lord of the Rings'" Wagnerian cosmology. It may be as close to adult-friendly kid fare as Hollywood will ever get.
  82. Binoche and Auteuil are both quietly sensational in their fracturing personae, but the film is Haneke's premier postmodern assault--less visceral, perhaps, than "Code Unknown" and the criminally underappreciated "Time of the Wolf," but more thoughtful and, in the end, deeper in the afterplay.
  83. Fateless has a remarkable absence of sentimentality. The movie is obviously artistic, but there are no cheap or superfluous effects. It's almost mystically translucent.
  84. Beehive is a graceful and potent lyric on children's vulnerable hunger, but it's also a sublime study on cinema's poetic capacity to reflect and hypercharge reality.
  85. The Fallen Idol has been overshadowed by the noir comedy, giddy style, and Cold War thematics of Reed and Greene's subsequent sensation "The Third Man," but (in similarly dealing with the nature of betrayal) The Fallen Idol is actually a superior psychological drama.
  86. Camus's film remains a revivifying experience - and a mid-winter oasis. Born and bred in France, Camus made other films, and lots of French TV, but Black Orpheus may still be the greatest one-hit-wonder import we've ever seen.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A film that forges identification with its victimized heroine like none I've seen in decades. (The Nova Scotia–born Page, a Molly Ringwald type who was only 15 when the movie was made, leaves little doubt as to whether a kid can play a grown-up's icky game and win.)
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Nicholas Jarecki's The Outsider is among the great docs about moviemaking.
  87. An explicit ode to mortality, not without a certain grim humor.

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