Village Voice's Scores

For 10,032 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 39% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 57% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Princess
Lowest review score: 0 The Killing Jar
Score distribution:
10032 movie reviews
  1. Granik, director of Winter's Bone, captures scenes of rare power.
  2. What's perhaps most moving in Waiting for August, a quiet film of weight and joy, is its sense of desperate normalcy.
  3. So far the funniest, headiest, most playfully eccentric American indie of the year, Bujalski's perceptive avant-garde comedy...teases out unanswered existential and behavioral questions about mankind's curious obsession with artificial intelligence and automation.
  4. It's fitting that this film of people making do with what they have should itself look somewhat humble, without lyricism, a work not of beauty but of work-which is the thing that makes it beautiful, no matter who directed it.
  5. Jack and Miles are male archetypes, as well as the two most fully realized comic creations in recent American movies.
  6. 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.
  7. It's rare that a film this outraged is also this calm.
  8. It's an ominous, claustrophobic, unhappily sapphic work whose thunderclap of a climax instills terror and awe of the fates' petty, whimsical cruelties.
  9. Guy and Madeline is at once self-conscious and breezy, clumsy and deft, diffident and sweet, annoying and ecstatic. It's amateurish in the best sense, and it radiates cinephilia. No movie I've seen this year has given me more joy.
  10. Sweetgrass reminds us of the stupefying magnificence of its setting—beautiful for spacious skies and mountain majesties—while never letting us forget its formidable perils.
  11. Drug War might arguably be [To's] best film for this reason—it doesn't attempt to raise the stakes on its genre, but instead fully exploits what's there, piecing together an elaborate narc campaign tale out of classic clichés and tight-knot plotting, and letting the disaster of balls-out crime make its own statement.
  12. From first shot to last, Dworkin's movie is a continuously absorbing, sometimes revelatory, frequently moving experience; as documentary filmmaking it's not only amazingly intimate but also characterized by an unexpected lyricism.
  13. 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.
  14. Quite possibly the only film ever made focused on the centuries-long enslavement of the Romani in Eastern Europe, Aferim! plays like a sleight of hand, amusing us at a distance with vulgarisms and entrancing us with countryside while the bloody work of civilization grinds on out of the corner of our eye.
  15. The new film from Spanish writer-director Pablo Berger is a silent, black-and-white film so witty, riveting, and drop-dead gorgeous that moviegoers may forget to notice that they can't hear the dialogue.
  16. A brilliant appreciation of the last great Soviet director, Andrei Tarkovsky.
  17. Ten
    Conceptually rigorous, splendidly economical, and radically Bazinian.
  18. 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.
  19. Funny (sometimes caustically so), rueful, and bracingly honest, Happy Hour is also a movie defined by an unshakeable belief that any encounter holds the promise of magic.
  20. There's something wonderful in how these scenes, so breezy and funny, reveal so much.
  21. This is a Macbeth to sink into and shrink from, not one to parse.
  22. At once subtle and visceral, the film never succumbs to the trap of the maudlin or tearful, offering instead with its unflinching gaze a measure of faith in the future.
  23. In the highly imperfect world of contemporary romantic comedies, What If is as close to perfect as anything we've got, not least for the way it captures the abject hopefulness of young people who'd like to be in love but don't know how to go about it.
  24. As ethereal, moving, and uncompromising as its subject.
    • 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.
  25. The best film ever made about competitive surfing in Papua New Guinea (and Best Documentary of the year as per Surfer Magazine).
  26. Wise, warm, funny, open, and more interested in life as it's actually lived than any other to debut this summer.
  27. The greatest of all pulp fantasies.
  28. A doc as vibrant as its auteur's mind, even as his body is rendered immobile.
  29. Like all good documentaries, Iris is about much more than what we see on the surface, no matter how dazzling that surface may be.
  30. In watching Soul, it helps to be a Spandau fan, of course, but the smart, layered contextualizing and historicizing of the group within the film makes it a gift for any pop-culture aficionado.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Devastating, artful, and intelligent documentary.
  31. Housebound is a tad long, and its murder mystery a bit of a muddle, but that doesn’t matter. The final third is virtuoso.
  32. It seems like a more witty, wise, and succinct "Magnolia."
    • 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!
  33. A heady plum pudding of a movie--studded with outsized performances and drenched in cinematic brio. The concoction is over-rich, yet irresistible.
  34. Redoubtably hilarious as always, Zahn also lends his character unpredictable flashes of anger, pathos, and faint psychosis, even when the movie jumps the median from ticklishly discomfiting black comedy into by-the-numbers horror jolts.
  35. A 45-minute proto-hip-hop bliss-out, a masterpiece of train- and tag-spotting dedicated to memorializing the extravagant graffiti on its era's MTA trains and how those trains rumbled across Brooklyn and the Bronx, bearing not just exhausted New Yorkers but gifted artists' urgent personal expression.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Let's Get Lost stands as a gorgeous gravestone for the Beat Generation's legacy of beautiful-loser chic.
  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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A dreamlike travelogue that transforms a mundane world into something strange and new.
  37. The world needs to see this spare, revelatory film and hear these girls' pained and sometimes proud confessions.
  38. Mommy is first and foremost a mother-and-son story, but it's also a surprisingly delicate exploration of lonely lives, and the temporary islands of companionship that make them bearable.
  39. [Winocour] elevates the action hero beyond his physical assets, drilling through his psyche to offer a rare and welcome lens into a type of man usually reduced to stoicism or sulking, hiding behind a rubber mask.
  40. Accomplishes the nearly impossible trick of updating viewers on the prevalence of genocide in the 20th and 21st centuries without rubbing our noses in our failure to stop it.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Tabu manages to be both classical and modern, ironic and heartbreaking.
    • 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.
  41. May not be the movie of the year, but it is a seasonal gift to us all. Sweet and funny, doggedly oddball if bordering precious.
  42. Nebraska is the antidote to other family charmers about goofballs in matching sweaters.
  43. Grand Budapest is Anderson's most mature film, and his most visually witty, too. It's playful without being self-congratulatory, and somehow lush without being cloying.
  44. Even if the theories don't persuade you, the film fascinates. It's revelatory about the nature of spectatorship in an era when technology allows audiences to watch films frame by frame.
  45. Time Out of Mind is an experiment in empathy, an examination of bureaucracy and streetlife mundanity, and a movie that many will find a tough sit.
  46. This film is raw in the truest sense, yet refined in its sympathy and scope.
    • 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.
  47. This is a real-life horror story, raw and galling — but not surprising. The fact that viewers, like the Fergusons, can muster only bittersweet relief at Ryan's release from prison is the film's whole point: The legal system itself is so damningly captured.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. A movie of elegant understatement and considerable formal intelligence.
  52. When the movie just sits with the characters on front porches or in backyards, Mackenzie's generous, hands-off approach with his actors — most of the conversation scenes play out in long takes with minimal camera movement — yields poignant rewards.
  53. 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.
  54. Israel's willingness to honor Frank's own vision powers the film.
  55. Urgent, deeply painful yet lovely in its aesthetics.
  56. This doc is a tearjerker, but it's also enraging.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Kid With a Bike seems to unfold in a different world than that of previous Dardenne joints, one with a wider range of spiritual and practical possibilities.
  57. Enriches a deceptively anecdotal plot with a combination of observational camerawork, strong narrative rhythms, and deft characterization.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    A horror story, told with Dickensian compassion, permeating outrage, and little hope.
  58. Despite the claustrophobic setting and Tsangari's observational style, Chevalier doesn't register as hermetic or coolly condescending; the film feels loose and agile even amid so much capricious rule-making.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Leonard Retel Helmrich's third documentary about the same Indonesian family is a dazzler in at least a couple ways.
    • 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.
  59. Crewdson and others (including Russell Banks and Laurie Simmons) speak eloquently about his project, but it's the on-set agonies - to achieve the fleeting expression here, dark kiss of light there, and the peculiar relief they bring our maestro - that fascinate.
  60. It stuns, and what's missing doesn't compare to what it shares.
  61. 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.
  62. Marquise is almost ironically uninflected, like a tense game of chess. But soon the no-nonsense two-shots and scarlet-satin self-consciousness let the story build to genuine fireworks. No costume-drama escapism here, just distilled social warfare.
  63. 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.
  64. Throughout Butterfly Girl, Abbie jokes, rolls her eyes, and pushes herself to take chances despite the pain she always faces.
  65. Coming Home obviously has historical and political significance for Chinese who lived through the Cultural Revolution, and for families that were torn apart by it. But Zhang tells this particular story in a deeply personal way — the time and place of its setting have a specific meaning, but its emotional contours spread out into something bigger.
  66. Miss Violence honors the thoroughly creepy work of Avranas's countrymen, but in his turn of the screw, Avranas marshals the abstract qualities of art cinema to comment upon concrete horror.
  67. The Belgian Roskam, making only his second feature film, and his first in English, displays remarkable assurance, with both the actors and the film’s very American setting. He creates an escalating sense of dread, tinged with Lehane’s brand of mordant humor.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. 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.
  71. Firmly rooted in everyday particulars — primarily the transactions (business, emotional, or otherwise) facilitated by the time- and space-obliterating devices to which we are constantly tethered — Ferran's movie dares to venture, for much of its second half, into fantasy.
    • 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.
  72. Yes, this film is important for its insistence that we see these boys as capable of rehabilitation in the right environment. But it’s the movie’s daring structure and humanity that make it worthy of the Lear name.
  73. Münch's characters are given to a certain rapt, unwieldy thoughtfulness, and accordingly, his films cultivate a mood of almost trancelike introspection.
  74. 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.
  75. Exquisitely sad, idiosyncratic film à clef about an aging gay gigolo grasping at the embers of memory before they--and he--turn to ash.
  76. For all the full-throttle dazzle of Furious 7, the best scenes are the quietest ones, in which these characters make observations about love, life, and family that would seem overcooked in any other movie.
  77. [Wiig's] great, but the film's in the pocket of Powley's rib-high corduroys from the second she struts onscreen — and long after she takes them off.
  78. Despite the high stakes, Command and Control is morbidly fun to watch, in the manner of good suspense thrillers and disaster films.
  79. What's singular here isn't that the stars are playing brother and sister, or that they stir such sublime and anxious joy from each other. It's that the real love story isn't even between the damaged-but-lovable characters. It's between two profoundly depressed people and life itself.
  80. Adaptation's success in engaging the audience in the travails of creating a screenplay is extraordinary.
  81. Hockney is a little work of art of its own, even if it's so very nice and happy about everything.
  82. Archambault is fluent in small, self-contained moments. Even as their guardians are forced into difficult conversations, Gabrielle and Martin's private exchanges ring true.
  83. Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery makes us question not only art, but the experts who claim to understand it best.
  84. He may not be likable, but he remains fascinating. The film is on firm ground when examining Knievel's actual measurable impact: the action/extreme sports that have flourished since his retirement.
  85. While Hall and Shepard nail their parts, Don Johnson, still magnetic after all these years, steals the film as a sardonic private eye with a vintage cherry-red convertible.
  86. Dencik’s gorgeous, surprising, meditative film opens up one of the world’s last unknown places, and it will also make you want to befriend every Dane you can.
  87. 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.

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