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 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Lowest review score: 0 The Sweetest Thing
Score distribution:
8,143 movie reviews
  1. Ultimately, The Woodmans is a haunting study in family dynamics.
  2. A work of unostentatious beauty and uncloying sweetness, at once sophisticated and artless, mysterious and matter-of-fact, cosmic and humble, it asks only a measure of Boonmeevian acceptance: The movie doesn't mean anything-it simply is.
  3. Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy is exactly that: The Iranian modernist's first feature to be shot in the West is a flawless riff on our indigenous art cinema.
    • Village Voice
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Fukunaga has made his Jane Eyre an intimate, thoughtful epic, anchored by strong lead performances and the gorgeous, moody 100-shades-of-gray cinematography of Adriano Goldman.
  4. It's a must-see for anyone interested in art.
  5. Road movies don't get any purer.
  6. The finest Western you'll see this year is set in aristocratic 16th-century France, in the heat of Counter-Reformation.
  7. Takes us through reams of fascinating drama, from the first heroic forest-saving protests to the reactive police violence and resulting dead-of-night firebombs to the core group's implosion after the FBI tightens the net.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Despite the passive-aggressive bickering, Beats, Rhymes & Life is not, thankfully, hip-hop's "Some Kind of Monster."
  8. The smartest, funniest cheap monster-movie import this side of June's "Trollhunter," Attack the Block is a near-perfectly balanced seasonal trifle: Anchored in social realism yet determinedly goofy, it's neither too eager for laughs nor overtly preachy.
  9. Baroquely sinister and grotesquely funny, the latest overstimulated bout of dark comic mayhem from writer-director Álex de la Iglesia (Common Wealth, The Day of the Beast) is a stunning funhouse-mirror allegory of Franco-era Spain that makes "Pan's Labyrinth" look like "Sesame Street."
  10. Unadulterated labor is the focus of this blistering, beautifully modulated documentary from Mexican auteur Eugenio Polgovsky.
  11. A simple, powerful act of bearing witness, We Were Here is a sober reminder of the not-too-distant past, when gays were focused not on honeymoon plans but on keeping people alive.
    • 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.
  12. An extraordinary example of both art-historical interpretation and CGI as passport to unknown lands, The Mill and the Cross, based on a book by Michael Francis Gibson, is a moving-image tribute to the still image, with its ability to "wrestle the senseless moment to the ground."
  13. It really happened, it's really corny, and it's really great.
  14. But real-life hard-knock plot twists, as well as some tweaking of form (there's no narrator or voiceover of any kind; the film's subjects outline their grim realities largely through their rhythmically upbeat songs) make the film absolutely riveting, as does the fiercely rousing music.
  15. Despite a few missteps, Take Shelter powerfully lays bare our national anxiety disorder - a pervasive dread that Curtis can define only as "something that's not right."
  16. At the film's center is Emily Watson's pitch-perfect performance as Margaret Humphreys, the real-life social worker who in 1986 stumbled over the hidden practice.
  17. Plenty of moments in Melancholia are painfully funny. Some moments are even painful to watch, but there was never a moment when I thought about the time or my next movie or did not care about the characters or had anything less than complete interest in what was happening on the screen.
  18. A rigorous, agile, scathingly funny reckoning with a city and society in the last stages of decline.
  19. The best film ever made about competitive surfing in Papua New Guinea (and Best Documentary of the year as per Surfer Magazine).
  20. Cast with both professional and novice actors (which results in uneven performances), the beautifully shot film is filled with exquisite moments.
    • 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.
  21. Nélisse, with her tough, Courtney Love puss, and Néron's portrayal of a boy's well-defended torment are extraordinary, as is the film's realization of the small, temporary world that surrounds them. Hitting upon that kind of specificity - of a moment and its emotion - makes for strong memories and a really great movie.
  22. Thoroughly researched and packed with phenomenal archival footage, it's a rousing tribute to a mesmerizing performer that forgoes blind hero worship.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Shot on Super 16mm, the visible grain giving each image a wonderfully tactile depth and life, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom is, in a lot of ways, the ur–Wes Anderson film.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    [Fukasaku's] genius is finding the overlap between teenage dreams and nightmares, between the intensity of first love and the terror of extinction.
  23. It remains a rousing portrait of creative renewal and, specifically, the way in which - by attempting something daring and new in the face of an opera culture deeply invested in tradition - Lepage proves that classic art can survive and flourish in a marriage with modern technology and imagination.
  24. A hideously funny tabloid noir.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With its naked but never self-indulgent depictions of sex and all manner of addiction, Keep the Lights On is disarmingly, at times exhilaratingly, human.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's a film of breathtaking cinematic romanticism and near-complete denial of conventional catharsis. You might wish it gave you more in terms of comfort food pleasure, but that's not Anderson's problem.
  25. Millions of lives have been saved - and extended - as the result of a tireless cadre of advocates who, as Eigo states, "put their bodies on the line."
  26. As Cash might say, it has the heart, and it has the blood, and by the time childhood chatter is played back again, feeling is soaked through it like the sweat in Cash's guitar strap.
  27. Remember the shitty crime comedies every Hollywood brat tried to make after "Pulp Fiction"? It took an Irish playwright to get it right. See it with an audience.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A slow-motion-enhanced kiss scene, with Corinealdi in top I-don't-give-a-f--- strut, is a startling example of DuVernay's ability to conjure drama that at once takes place in a character's head and in a recognizable real world. It's beautifully nuanced and confidently ambiguous - and so is the movie.
  28. Movies about drugs and alcohol might be a dime (bag) a dozen, but James Ponsoldt's Smashed is so beautifully shot and well acted as to transcend the genre.
  29. In families, this fascinating film suggests, acknowledging or denying the darker truths of one's legacy is a choice that must be made again and again, each and every day.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A "gritty" historical drama overwhelmed by its love of Hollywood as an inventor of imaginary narratives with real consequences, a great generator of American bedtime stories whose magic works on suburban kids and foreign enemies alike.
  30. 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.
  31. This Lincoln, stunningly portrayed by Spielberg and Day-Lewis, is real and relatable and so, so cool.
  32. Bill and Turner Ross - the directors, producers, camera operators, and troublemakers behind Tchoupitoulas - could do posterity a service if they simply resigned themselves to replicating this one-night-in–New Orleans documentary for each of the world's great cities.
  33. Like all of the best pop art, Tarantino's film is both seriously entertaining and seriously thoughtful, rattling the cage of race in America on-screen and off.
  34. A transfixing Cold War thriller set in the East Germany of 1980, Christian Petzold's superb Barbara is made even more vivid by its subtle overlay of the golden-era "woman's picture," the woman in question being Dr. Barbara Wolff, brilliantly played by Nina Hoss in her fifth film with the writer-director.
  35. It's a small gem with a killer rock soundtrack, well worth seeking out amid all the awards-season Sturm und Drang.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Tabu manages to be both classical and modern, ironic and heartbreaking.
  36. 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.
  37. The existence of The Gatekeepers is its own chief statement. You don't get the sense that it's any easier for these men to question Israel's leadership from the safety of retirement.
  38. One marvel of the film is how it conveys so much information so quickly, and with such accessibility.
  39. Perverse, funny, and ultimately profound.
  40. The haunting final image suggests how quickly such stories can be lost...which makes Beyond the Hills, above all else, a powerful and necessary act of reclamation.
  41. It’s a classic espionage plot shot through with a typically heady mix of art and literary references: Klee and Velázquez, Bach and Haydn, Bernanos and Musil.
  42. The directors plant a camera in front of Roth and get him talking. To smooth over edits, they show us book covers and old photos—Roth was dashing, charming, a little dangerous, one of his college friends tells us, but she doesn't need to say it. It's manifest, and it's still true. The film is especially recommended to anyone who thinks they hate him.
  43. Garrone's film grows in your head afterward, making royal hash out of a cultural paradigm we'll be loath to remember years from now—if, by then, everything hasn't become "reality."
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. If Simon Killer's tragic drift is predictable, the seedy particulars still engross. And the storytelling is first-rate.
  47. Here's a movie with magic.
  48. In the House is a mystery, but it investigates a far tougher riddle than what makes Claude tick—it's trying to figure out why, exactly, voyeurism and mystery delight us so. In the process, it delights us.
  49. The roles of affect and artifice in mediating the realities of racism, homophobia, and poverty are perhaps the true subjects of Shirley Clarke's landmark doc.
  50. Haunted by death-obsessed men of action, Un Flic (A Cop) is a fitting final act for noir master Jean-Pierre Melville
  51. What saves the film—and grandly—is Nance’s wildly ambitious visual imagination. Teetering somewhere between film school precocity and impressively assured audaciousness...It’s almost hypnotic in its style and genre promiscuity.
  52. With extraordinary access, Pahuja illuminates extraordinary conflicts and contradictions facing modern girls in a country even less ready for them than ours.
  53. As unhinged as it is hilarious.
  54. With striking visuals reminiscent of Matisse and Chagall and a refreshingly (for domestic animation audiences) grown-up storyline, The Painting is almost reminiscent of, well, a work of art.
  55. Frances Ha is a patchwork of details that constitute a sort of dating manual—not one that tells you how to meet hot guys, but one that fortifies you against all the crap you have to deal with as a young person in love with a city that doesn't always love you back.
  56. A spare and ravishing doc.
  57. Old Dog has the look and feel of a documentary, which adds senses of urgency and immediacy to a tale that moves at a languid, but never boring, pace.
  58. The retro photos and footage are also bountiful and, natch, jazzily edited enough that the standard talking-head techniques are instantly forgivable.
  59. A marvelous film, stripped of false urgency.
  60. What makes Kuchu work as taut agitprop, and ultimately to devastating emotional effect, is that Wright and Zouhali-Worrall allow the enormity of the film's political concerns to be telegraphed through the stories, experiences, and astute analysis of ordinary queer folk and their hetero allies.
  61. The Attack is most avowedly "about" terrorism. But that's a subject, not the subject. The film, an arresting and upsetting one, is also about love, trauma, and trust, both within one particular marriage and within entire cultures.
  62. It's a smart, funny, tough-minded film crammed with data and personal anecdotes, each illuminating the other, each sketching in the staggering costs—and not just financial—of the ways authorities in this country have shaped the drug issue. It's far from glib.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A beautiful tale of life, love, music, and family, of things not working out but also working out just as predicted.
  63. 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.
  64. [A] pitch-perfect, deeply affecting film.
  65. The movie is revealing, wrenching, and important, a reminder that what feels wrong in our gut—the effort to turn free-roaming and unknowable beasts into caged vaudevillians—is always worth investigating.
  66. 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.
  67. Mixing techniques as surely as it mixes class (graceful dolly shots are placed side by side with the handheld photography), the picture's clever formalist juxtapositions evoke the hysterical confusion of a culture in upheaval.
  68. 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.
  69. Wise, warm, funny, open, and more interested in life as it's actually lived than any other to debut this summer.
  70. Director James Ponsoldt gives us long, loose, single-shot courtship scenes, each a marvel of staging and performance.
  71. Rising from Ashes is not just about a cycling team; it's a testament to what happens when human beings care for one another.
  72. Prince Avalanche reconciles Green's twin modes into a whole no other director could have, deeply felt and light as laughter.
  73. Lowery isn't a Malick and he's certainly no Kazan, but he's his own man, and a filmmaker to watch.
  74. With an intimacy and empathy that's all the more powerful for its modesty, the film investigates the complicated feelings of resentment and affection between wife and husband.
  75. The final, moving, nerve-wracking reels are all sea, sky, and desperation.
  76. We the Parents is a must-see civics lesson, an example of the power of grassroots organizing and of having a good lawyer, and of how seemingly small ideas can make big waves.
  77. 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.
  78. While it's hardly a joy to watch, Fire in the Blood is artful in nearly every frame, perhaps so we don't avert our eyes.
  79. Scherson, adapting Roberto Bolaño's novel, incorporates surrealistic, hyper-expressive visual techniques, resulting in a film that is excitingly unclassifiable.
  80. The key question is whether this procedural—as in, here we watch killers proceed—contributes to any greater understanding. I believe it does.
  81. A film that's in perfect sync with its subject.
  82. It's an absorbing document of an extraordinary act of generosity.
  83. Informant is riveting as it slowly assembles a damning profile of its subject. It's also timely.
  84. As Adenike, Gurira is wonderful: Her face is equally radiant whether she's channeling anguish or joy, and she captures the ways in which this woman, so old-country dutiful, also longs to join the modern world.
  85. A simple, solid, deeply affecting film.
  86. It's both a perceptive dual character study and, that rarity of rarities, a large-scale action movie for grown-ups, one worth leaving the house for.
  87. Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini are lovely together, though her character is the sharper-edged of the two. It's Gandolfini's Albert, soft-hearted and soft-bellied, who suffers more. Gandolfini takes the movie's small, offhand jokes and intensifies them.
  88. As a whole, Martha Shane and Lana Wilson's wrenching, humane film is as convincing a brief as I can imagine in favor of that most controversial of all pregnancy-terminating procedures.

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