Village Voice's Scores

For 8,252 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 7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 A Summer's Tale
Lowest review score: 0 Pay It Forward
Score distribution:
8,252 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. An explicit ode to mortality, not without a certain grim humor.
  3. It's here that Melville fully achieved his notion of the sublime, applying "Le Samouraï's" "empty" compositions and near theatrical blocking, as well as its methodical suspense, cosmic fatalism, and sense of grim solitude, to a subject far closer to his heart, namely his own World War II experiences.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Keillor's modest subservience to Altman's group dynamic feels downright gallant, and in the context of the veteran director's most humanistic movie by a wide margin, it certainly has its rewards.
  4. At once robust and ethereal, this is an existential ghost story, with fresh blood pulsing through its veins.
  5. It's still a feat of period filmmaking. More than that, Overlord's revivification of a wasteland Europe offers up a powerful whip lesson for the postwar complacent: that the waging of war, even this most romanticized of conflicts, means bringing a corpse-mountain hell to someone's home neighborhood.
  6. Mann has done something transformative with Farrell: The Irish actor has never had this much charisma and natural authority in a role, and as he navigates that gray area between Crockett's real identity and his fabricated one, revealing subtle fissures in the character's cocksure facade, he's fascinating to watch.
  7. It seems easily the most valuable piece of film to emerge about the war in all of its three-plus years.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The audacity of making an inner-city drama in which the white-male authority figure is the crackhead finds its equal in Gosling's already legendary performance, a high-wire act that's gutsiest for its unconscionable charm.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Beautifully acted and handsomely mounted, this gorgeous period piece is an intelligent and intriguing exploration of "the dark arts" -- less dependent on mere hocus-pocus than on the convincing journey of the soul undertaken by its hero.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The result is an intellectual history of Warhol, bucking the trend toward the star-studded VH1-ization of biodocs and constructed with a mission to dispel the artist's own self-created image as high-fashion hobnobber in favor of a more profound depiction. Burns argues for a cogitating, agitating Warhol: deep thinker, cultural barometer, and world changer.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Directing with a light comic touch and a palpable affection for the characters, Selim draws pitch-perfect acting from a large cast and achieves breathtaking levels of color and clarity from old-fashioned 35mm.
  8. Indeed, the man who invented Borat is a masterful improviser, brilliant comedian, courageous political satirist, and genuinely experimental film artist. Borat makes you laugh but Baron Cohen forces you to think.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Almodóvar isn't what he used to be (who is?), but he's a master of the medium nevertheless, deploying color and light and shadow not merely to express emotions but to tap into ours, directing the blood flow of the audience as much as he directs the movie.
  9. Craig, excellent in both art house endeavors (The Mother, Enduring Love) and blockbuster think pieces (Munich), has both a nasty streak and a soft side never before seen in the series; Fleming would recognize him as most like his literary creation: damaged goods in a tailored tux.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's as weird and whimsical an invention as Guest's "Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show," or "A Mighty Wind."
  10. The special power of Eastwood's achievement is that, save for one indelible moment, the mutual recognition between sworn adversaries happens not on-screen, but later, as we piece the two films together in our minds.
  11. It's a measure of Cuarón's directorial chops that Children of Men functions equally well as fantasy and thriller. Like Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" and the Wachowski Brothers' "V for Vendetta" (and more consistently than either), the movie attempts to fuse contemporary life with pulp mythology.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Director Gabor Csupo of Rugrats "fame" steer clear of cutesy tween stereotypes, but it's Jess's relationship with his father, played by Robert Patrick, that elevates Terabithia from a good kids movie to a classic contender.
  12. If Binder has a considerably heavier hand when it comes to metaphor, his movie nevertheless remains buoyant because the feelings in it are immutable, and because Sandler has never before held the screen with greater intensity.
  13. Offside is blatantly metaphoric and powerfully concrete, deceptively simple and highly sophisticated in its formal intelligence.
  14. Gordon-Levitt's worth the admission all by his lonesome. He's that good--the proverbial young man with an old soul who brings unexpected depth, complexity, and sincerity to what could have been just another damaged-guy role. He's the one to look out for.
  15. It's a precociously assured and mature work, at once humble and bold, that keeps faith with Munro's precise, graceful prose while tailoring its linear progression into shapely cinematic form.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Zoo
    The beautiful and beguiling new film by Robinson Devor meditates on the Enumclaw incident through a hypnotic blend of original reporting, staged reenactment, testimony of involved parties (both zoophiles and local law enforcement), and pervasive, somewhat precious lyricism.
  16. Terror is existential in this highly intelligent, somewhat sadistic, totally fascinating movie.
  17. Colors and angles and sound levels don't match from one cut to the next. The movie is ugly as sin to look at. But it's all intentional on the part of von Trier.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Based on an autobiographical novella by Portland "street poet" Walt Curtis, Mala Noche (1985) was the 33-year-old Van Sant's debut feature. Shot on 16mm for $25,000, it was the first of his bittersweet odes to tender outcasts and remains the simplest and least burdened.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The new Little Women, directed with grace by Gillian Armstrong, adapted with tact by Robin Swicord, and starring an extraordinary ensemble, has made my holiday.
    • Village Voice
  18. Ratatouille is as much a feast for the senses as it is food for thought.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Masterfully edited and cumulatively walloping, Charles Ferguson's No End in Sight turns the well-known details of our monstrously bungled Iraq war into an enraging, apocalyptic litany of fuckups.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The result is a film of startling insight and grace.
  19. Superbad is duly ribald and often achingly funny, brewed from the now-familiar Apatow house blend of go-for-broke slapstick and instantly quotable, potty-mouthed dialogue.
  20. Like many of the best movies about war and its lingering echo, The Hunting Party is full of dark humor. Writer-director Richard Shepard, maker of 2005's "The Matador," is becoming a master at finding the right tone, balancing the seriousness of his characters' purpose with the madness of their intentions.
  21. A rhapsodic movie directed with considerable formal intelligence and brooding power from an original screenplay by Steve Knight, Eastern Promises is very much a companion to "A History of Violence."
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's the imaginative background, and Fessenden's talent at insinuating it into the action, that counts--and unnerves--in this most chilling of global-warming movies.
  22. To these eyes, Into the Wild is an unusually soulful and poetic movie that crystallizes McCandless in all his glittering enigma, and allows us to decide for ourselves whether he was the spiritual son of Thoreau, Tolstoy, and John Muir, or the boy most likely to become Theodore Kaczynski.
  23. Jeremy Kagan's excellent adaptation of William Gibson's stage play.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    On the plus side, 100 percent sober when I watched it, I can say with some authority that Dylan Haggerty has written an eleventh-hour candidate for the funniest movie of 2007, that Gregg Araki has directed his finest film since 1997's "Nowhere," and that Faris, flawless, rocks their inspired idiot odyssey in a virtuoso comedic turn.
  24. In what has been a pretty remarkable career up to now, it's this performance that fully affirms Smith as one of the great leading men of his generation.
  25. Persepolis is a small landmark in feature animation. Not because of technical innovation--though it moves fluidly enough, and its drawings have a handcrafted charm forgotten in the era of the cross-promoted-to-saturation CGI-'toon juggernauts--but because it translates a sensitive, introspective, true-to-life, "adult" comic story into moving pictures.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Cloverfield never stops to identify the why, whence, or whereto of its rampaging meanie—this relentless thriller stops for nothing—but as for what to call it, behold . . . al-Qaedzilla!
  26. Iron Man, too, is something that people will see regardless of the reviews, but here is the point: Where Michael Bay (Transformers) has mastered a kind of sensory-assaulting pop art, Favreau is a born storyteller who engages the audience's imagination rather than crushing it in a tsunami of digital noise.
  27. With his elegant cadence, crisp comedic timing, and witty flipping of homophobic stereotypes--in his very choice and use of language--Bachardy is that story come to life: the student who eventually mirrored his teacher, the molded who became a duplicate of the mold.
  28. A highly entertaining adaptation of French dandy Jules-Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly's mid-19th-century novel Une vieille maîtresse.
  29. Exquisitely sad, idiosyncratic film à clef about an aging gay gigolo grasping at the embers of memory before they--and he--turn to ash.
  30. Generally grim, occasionally startling, and altogether enthralling sixth chapter in a movie franchise that keeps managing to surprise just when one would expect it to be puttering along on auto-broomstick.
  31. Allen has crafted a wry and thoughtful film about the peculiar stirrings of the heart that is certainly his most accomplished piece of work since 2005's "Match Point" and arguably his funniest in the eight years since "Small Time Crooks."
  32. A mischievously hedonistic, Chaplinesque farce, the film buoyantly but seriously traverses the horrors of World War II with a subtlety and sophistication that most American comedies cannot grasp.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The conflicts, truths, and, ultimately, grace and dignity that bind these three together are brought to authentic life, without Hollywood-style exaggeration, through the quiet little miracles of performance that Hammer coaxes from his non-actors, especially the heartrending Riggs.
  33. An almost ridiculously ebullient Bollywood-meets-Hollywood concoction--and one of the rare "feel-good" movies that actually makes you feel good, as opposed to merely jerked around.
  34. A heady plum pudding of a movie--studded with outsized performances and drenched in cinematic brio. The concoction is over-rich, yet irresistible.
  35. Trembling throughout on the verge of a tearful breakdown, but far too dignified to allow her character to choke up, Williams delivers a sensationally nuanced performance that, were it not so resolutely undramatic, would constitute an aria of stoical misery.
  36. Above all, it feels like a summation of everything he (Eastwood) represents as a filmmaker and a movie star, and perhaps also a farewell.
  37. For anyone who loves language, this cut-and-thrust is a heady delight, so rich and free-flowing in its rhythms that it's hard to decide whether what we're seeing is a vérité-style documentary or a realist drama.
  38. The results are extraordinary. As understated as it is, the movie is both deeply absurd and powerfully affecting.
  39. Serbis may be a raunch-fest, but it's also a mind-trip--a raunch-fest with ideas.
  40. Comedy seems to have liberated Gilroy, who directs Duplicity with the high gloss and fleet-footed hustle of a golden-age Hollywood craftsman.
  41. 12
    Miklahkov keeps 12 tops spinning at all times in the school gymnasium that serves as their deliberation room, and though the speech/conversion pattern grows a little pat, the movement toward consensus raises the further, richly complicated question of how to decide not only what is right, but what is best.
  42. Bahrani possesses a disciplined sense of composition and form, a vision of the world that extends beyond the boundaries of his own navel, and the understanding that it is possible to make films about class and race in this country without pandering to the audience.
  43. I've seen Mottola's movie twice, and both times, it has inspired feelings of joy, sadness, and a profound yearning for the unrecoverable past.
  44. Treeless Mountain is skillfully unsentimental--because of, but also despite, the presence of two irresistible, unself-conscious performers in virtually every scene.
  45. Tyson is more like a particularly riveting therapy session, with Tyson as both analyst and patient.
  46. I hurt myself laughing at this amazingly inventive mockumentary, and because it's so good, I refuse to give away much more than an insistent recommendation.
  47. District 9 whizzes by with a resourcefulness and mordant wit nearly worthy of its obvious influences: "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," "Dawn of the Dead," and "Starship Troopers."
  48. Mann's exhilarating movie exists in a state of perpetual forward motion.
  49. There was no happy ending, but if Burma VJ's account of the efficacy of dictatorship threatens to crush you, the sight of a sturdy young back disappearing into the mountains, returning from a Thailand hideout for another round of bearing witness, should make your heart burst.
  50. Boys is first-rate cinema archaeology. What pushes it beyond that is the brutal honesty with which the sibling rivalry between the elder Shermans is depicted; theirs is a palpable mixture of love and disdain that led to the men not socializing with each other for more than 40 years.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Expertly crafted documentary.
  51. Energetic, inventive, swaggering fun, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds is a consummate Hollywood entertainment--rich in fantasy and blithely amoral.
  52. It's Page, a joyful instructor and natural storyteller, who steals the spotlight (Robert who? More, please.) Only real complaint: The movie's not loud enough. They should have turned that f***er up to 11.
  53. Not to detract from the pleasure of watching the consistently excellent actors, who enhance the dialogue's bite with their body language, but the script of In the Loop is so rich that it could work as a radio play.
  54. The Cove is properly enchanting, horrifying, and rousing, but it comes dangerously close to making the narcissistic case that dolphins deserve to be saved because they're cute and breathe air like we do.
  55. Passing Strange conjures a rare kind of theatrical magic with its emotionally raw, frequently euphoric portrait of the artist as a young man.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    By turns stupendously beautiful and grimly terrifying, and best appreciated in a movie theater.
  56. Remarkable documentary.
  57. 35 Shots is Denis's warmest, most radiant work, honoring a family of two's extreme closeness while suggesting its potential for suffocation.
  58. In a remarkable performance that won her a special award from the world cinema jury at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Chilean television vet Saavedra goes through one of the most uncanny psychophysical transformations I've ever seen in a movie without the benefit of obvious makeup or other prosthetics.
  59. The filmmaker uncovers a foul, lurid, corrupt, and perversely compelling conspiracy--which is to say, he successfully turns The Night Watch into a Peter Greenaway film.
  60. Though he successfully humanizes Hirohito, who is shown happily shedding his divinity, Sokurov doesn't entirely exonerate him. He contrives a shock ending that, as measured as everything else in this engrossing, supremely assured movie, acknowledges one last blood sacrifice on the emperor's altar.
  61. It's merely a well-done, adult American movie--that is to say, a rarity.
  62. Paley's beguiling, consistently inventive visuals and sly yet melancholy tone are about as warm and winning as heartbreak-fueled empowerment gets.
  63. Gorgeously mounted tale of enlightenment through art and courage.
  64. Removing even stage banter, the focus is entirely on performance, save for a few "candid backstage" bits--Young getting a cracked nail filed down, etc. Devotees will thrill to rarities like "Kansas" and "Mexico."
  65. Like nearly every other Kiarostami film, Close-Up takes questions about movies and makes them feel like questions of life and death.
  66. A triumph of maximalist filmmaking. And you won't look at your watch once.
  67. Océans is a jaw-dropper as a visual travelogue--even its anthropomorphic indulgences (an ocean floor is turned into a rough neighborhood, complete with trespassers and shy weirdos) are winning.
  68. The Duel is the most successful literary adaptation I've seen since Pascal Ferran's 2006 "Lady Chatterley."
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Indispensable viewing.
  69. Excavated from the deep '50s, Michelangelo Antonioni's Le amiche (known in English as "The Girlfriends") is an unexpected treasure.
  70. The movie's ending may be less satisfying than that of "Slumdog Millionaire"--a film you can love for its infectiously wishful exuberance, but never fully believe in--but Kisses is truer to the tragedy of a generation of children whom we have utterly failed. If they're anything like Kylie and Dylan, they'll be back to let us know.
  71. As he did in "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz", Wright immerses his heroes in pop culture's detritus and diversions, but doesn't drown them in it. You don't have to be dazzled or tickled by the movie, or get every joke, to be touched by it, too.
  72. The artificial look of the added footage, counterpointed by the commentary of inmates and survivors, only underscores the unending shock of the film's unadulterated images, even though we have seen them in other Shoah documentaries.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Up to now, writer-director Neil Marshall has specialized in horror movies (Dog Soldiers, The Descent), but here, he imagines and communicates a remote world with terrific energy and a passion for detail.
  73. Exactly the sort of mysterious and almost holy experience you hope to get from documentaries and rarely do, Jeff Malmberg's Marwencol is something like a homegrown slice of Herzog oddness, complete with true-crime backfill and juicy metafictive upshot.
  74. Boxing Gym is a companion piece of sorts to "La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet," Wiseman's previous doc that played Film Forum last fall. It's not simply that boxing and ballet are understood as kindred activities. Boxing Gym is itself a dance movie-which is to say, a highly formalized exercise in choreographed activity.
  75. The pleasures of this gorgeous, clever, and visceral film are almost exclusively aesthetic. Those unmoved or alienated by the porn of pain may be left flopping as nervelessly as one of the movie's severed limbs.
  76. Nothing tops ILYPM's Jim Carrey ... in the most gloriously raunchy, unrepentant moment in the an(n)als of Hollywood A-listers doing gay-for-pay.

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