Village Voice's Scores

For 8,600 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 6.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 Festival Express
Lowest review score: 0 Followers
Score distribution:
8,600 movie reviews
  1. 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Nicholas Jarecki's The Outsider is among the great docs about moviemaking.
  2. At once robust and ethereal, this is an existential ghost story, with fresh blood pulsing through its veins.
  3. Medalia, as an Israeli, knows this bumpy territory well and serves up her story sensitively, but with its difficulties unvarnished and unsolved. She focuses on a few children whom we get to know well enough to care very much about their progress.
  4. Goldfine and Geller pace and structure The Galapagos Affair like the true-crime tale that it is, its mysteries rich and involving, its characters enduring in the imagination long after the film has ended.
  5. Unstintingly funny -- far more so than the wince-worthy trailer -- owing to Chan's pairing with droll indie eccentric Owen Wilson, as his would-be gunslinger sidekick.
  6. A dead-eyed, lyrical art film that kicks you in the throat.
  7. This lusty, heartfelt movie has a near Brueghelian visual energy and a humanist passion as contagious as its music.
  8. 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.
  9. Like all of Branagh's films, even some of the bad ones, Cinderella is practically Wagnerian in its ambitions — it's so swaggering in its confidence that at times it almost commands us to like it. But it's also unexpectedly delicate in all the right ways, and uncompromisingly beautiful to look at.
  10. A film that's in perfect sync with its subject.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. As mystical as it is gritty, as despairing as it is detached.
  14. 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.
  15. The 7Up series is thus one of the rare documentaries to have had a positive practical effect on the life of at least one of its subjects.
  16. Just in time for Thanksgiving, it's your yearly "hell is family members" film. However, The Sleepwalker distinguishes itself from most entries in this angst-ridden genre by way of superb writing, smoldering performances, and hauntingly beautiful imagery from first-time director Mona Fastvold.
  17. Karine Vanasse, as the protagonist Hanna, is perfectly cast because she has the body of a woman and the sweet, sexless face of a child.
  18. This has to be the most richly entertaining movie anyone has ever made on the subject of female genital mutilation.
  19. 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.
  20. Liv & Ingmar is an anecdotal treasure chest for cinephiles, but more than that, it's a beautifully told love story.
  21. It's a baroque and intermittently brilliant brain twister so convoluted that it inevitably deposits the viewer in an alternate universe.
  22. 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.
  23. A smart, realist drama -- I wouldn't be surprised if this one winds up on my 10-best list for '99.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Despite the film's leisurely pace, nothing is wasted -- no word, no image, no sound. Every element is blended together to create individual scenes that come to feel like stand-alone photographs, leaving viewers both captivated and even ultimately feeling compassion for the anti-hero.
  24. Van Warmerdam keeps such a calm, firm hold on the material that he practically hypnotizes you into following along to the end. The craftsmanship is precise; the result is enigmatic.
  25. Practically guaranteed to elicit tears within its first five minutes, Alive Inside... is nonetheless more than just a tearjerker.
  26. The movie's packed with minor incidents, all fresh, compelling, and funny. It also boasts two lengthy scenes that are touched with something greater.
  27. A movie of cutting humor, near-constant talk, and one show-stopping dance routine.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Both riveting and disturbing.
  28. An explicit ode to mortality, not without a certain grim humor.
  29. Although dense with incident and motif, the movie has an effortless flow.
  30. A quietly impassioned, genuinely stirring indie rarity.
  31. Lowery isn't a Malick and he's certainly no Kazan, but he's his own man, and a filmmaker to watch.
  32. It's an absorbing document of an extraordinary act of generosity.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. Unadulterated labor is the focus of this blistering, beautifully modulated documentary from Mexican auteur Eugenio Polgovsky.
  36. Ultimately, The Woodmans is a haunting study in family dynamics.
  37. To muddle through confusion, boredom, vaguely formed interest, brief elation, and confusion again is to experience the work as its creator intended.
  38. The Rover might not be about anything at all, but the dust it stirs up sticks to you after you leave the theater.
  39. A wondrously perverse movie that not only evokes a lost moment in time but circles around an unrepresentable subject. Mood is the operative word. A love story far more cerebral than it is emotional.
    • 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.
  40. Informant is riveting as it slowly assembles a damning profile of its subject. It's also timely.
    • 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.
  41. 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.
  42. As smooth and powerfully packed as its protagonist.
  43. 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.
  44. Sutton's Memphis framed in fascinating layers -- leaves and tree limbs, wig shops and overgrown gravel roads. It's a movie of a place and a character rather than about them.
    • 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.
  45. Both the material and the setting seem to have shaken something loose in Witherspoon (who is also one of the movie's producers): She's moved further away from those uptight, humorless romantic-comedy cuties she played in the mid 2000s and more toward the breezy, blunt, self- determined characters of her early career.
  46. As bittersweet a brief encounter as any in American movies since Richard Linklater's equally romantic "Before Sunrise."
  47. 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.
  48. Diliberto has managed to make a political comedy that seems at once tremendously funny and intensely serious — a provocative, and perhaps even important, combination.
  49. It's merely a well-done, adult American movie--that is to say, a rarity.
  50. Zero Motivation opens as bleak, rebellious comedy but grows into a smart and moving story of entering adulthood.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. What could have been an impossibly bleak viewing is actually made more unnerving through DeFriest's droll humor and acceptance of his fate — rather than being Zen-like, he's prickly and dark, with such dazzlingly high native intelligence that you mourn for potential needlessly wasted.
  54. 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.
  55. Probably more terse than it needs to be, but the dramatic line has an elegance and drive that reinforces the unexpected turns of the story.
  56. Provost's film, like its heroine, is full of active, sparking nerves.
  57. Possibly the Iranian new wave's last meta-man, Panahi is in an ideal position to make the unique methodology of his filmmaking merge with its substance. But he's always been fascinated by how a film's bell-jar bubble can be punctured, leaving a viscous interface between real and cinematic.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. A marvelous film, stripped of false urgency.
  61. The film's ephemeral, semi-evasive lyricism ultimately works as a modest frame for Bardem's tender, deft portrait, which is in turn suitably expansive and rooted in the most concrete details -- Arenas's pride and anger, his unsentimental wit and defiant vitality.
  62. A hideously funny tabloid noir.
  63. Ordinary life comes to look like a humiliation in the late reels of Lenny Cooke, yet another heartbreaker of a doc in which a compelling basketball story powers a discomfiting examination of a crisis facing young American men.
  64. 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.
  65. A supremely intelligent pastiche.
    • 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.
  66. Gorgeously mounted tale of enlightenment through art and courage.
  67. Inherent Vice isn't the towering masterpiece that those who admired There Will Be Blood and The Master were probably hoping for, and thank God for that. It's loose and free, like a sketchbook, though there's also something somber and wistful about it — it feels like less of a psychedelic scramble than the novel it's based on.
  68. Blind Shaft means to leave the viewer dazed, and it does.
  69. Tobia approaches comedy in the same way that John Cassavetes did, which is to say that he embraces the absurdity of human behavior at the same time that he recoils from it.
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. A Most Wanted Man is simply a complex tale superbly told, with time for nuance and to soak in its mysteries.
  73. Demme, following in the footsteps of the late Louis Malle, takes a spare, direct approach to the material -- his economy pays off in quiet eloquence.
    • 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.
  74. 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.
  75. What saves this deeply affecting film from being merely a collection of wrenching cases is Corcuera's attention to detail.
  76. A fairy tale that presents love as a case of mutual enchantment, Two Family House is not only uniformly well acted, superbly designed, lovingly lit, and sensitively scored, it's as romantic as it is funny.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Devos's performance is an expert workshop of internalized emotions and silent forbearance.
  77. The quick-witted malcontent, a Morristown, New Jersey, refugee who arrived at Port Authority in 1969, is the best kind of New Yorker: one with a long memory who's averse to nostalgia.
  78. 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.
  79. As chilly a spectacle as you're likely to see. It's like watching a comeback in an empty stadium.
  80. Obvious Child is perfect for those who want more honesty in fiction.
  81. Rosewater is an earnest picture, but it's also got some juice — there's vitality and feeling in it, the secret ingredients so often missing from even the most well-intentioned first features.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Seen as his final monologue, the film is both an invaluable portfolio of his talent, and a tribute rendered in the style of its subject.
  82. 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.
  83. 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."
  84. Holmes and Dale are ideal together, turning a polite courtship and charged relationship (including a sex scene that's both giddy and profound) into a twisted, compelling expression of unconditional love.
  85. Mann's exhilarating movie exists in a state of perpetual forward motion.
  86. As fascinating as it is discomfiting and as intelligent as it is primal. From first shot to last, France's foremost bad girl has made an extremely good movie -- and maybe even a great one.
  87. No matter what your opinion of McNamara, The Fog of War is a chastening experience.
  88. 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
  89. Not only Mike Leigh's strongest film since "Naked" but a true show-making epic.
  90. A triumph of documentary activism nine years in the making.

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