Village Voice's Scores

For 9,976 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 Top Five
Lowest review score: 0 A Journey to Planet Sanity
Score distribution:
9976 movie reviews
  1. If Simon Killer's tragic drift is predictable, the seedy particulars still engross. And the storytelling is first-rate.
  2. Downey, who radiates more energy doing nothing discernible than most other actors do when they let it all hang out, takes the film to another level.
  3. What's the opposite of a jump scare? Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa has mastered it in the superb Creepy, revealing the upsetting details with such slow-build subtlety that you don't notice your skin crawling until it's halfway out the door.
  4. A scrupulous and impeccably acted account of the fallout from a family secret.
  5. Don't Think I've Forgotten is a testament to how much a song can mean: You can destroy the vinyl it's been recorded on, but the sound itself, and all it stands for, is indestructible. Groove is in the heart.
  6. 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.
  7. In the early minutes you might not be sure what you're watching. Tangerine's a comedy, of course, laced with rambunctious, exuberantly ragged dialogue. But by the end, Baker and his actors have led us to a place beyond comedy — you may still be laughing, but your breath catches a little on the way out.
  8. 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.
    • 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."
  9. The movie Wenders and Juliano have made is a tribute that feels both grand and modest in scale: Just as Salgado's photographs do, it extends the notion of friends and family to include every citizen of the world.
  10. 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.
  11. The key question is whether this procedural—as in, here we watch killers proceed—contributes to any greater understanding. I believe it does.
  12. 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.
  13. What's left to be said about Marcel Carné's towering intimate epic of early 19th-century love and the lives of performers, often heralded as the greatest French film of all time?
  14. Ronit's remarkable sensitivity makes Gett a tough but essential melodrama.
  15. [A] gorgeous and unsettling documentary.
  16. Adult World captures beautifully, and with a great deal of self-deprecating humor, what it's like to feel trapped in a place you think is too small to hold you.
  17. 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.
  18. James — the director of Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters — gives us a sense of Ebert as a man who kept reinventing life as he went along — out of necessity, sure, though he also took some pleasure in adapting. It couldn't always have been easy, but that, too, is part of the story.
  19. Schwarz's juxtaposition of the human cost of the drug war alongside the glamorization of its henchmen and their brutality is sobering, even depressing.
  20. A masterpiece of poetic horror and tactful, tactile brutality.
  21. 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.
  22. 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."
  23. The documentary is stellar, despite some vague visual-metaphor stuff involving dioramas in an attic. Bring something you can punch, as you will be furious.
  24. As unhinged as it is hilarious.
  25. Nothing in this film (and little in any other movie this year) compares to the scenes of Sandusky's adopted son, Matt, recounting his realization that the charges of pedophilia against Sandusky squared with the ways Sandusky had treated him, too — treatment he'd never been brave enough to admit.
  26. There may not be much behind the sparkling tinsel curtain of David O. Russell's extraordinarily entertaining American Hustle. But what a curtain!
  27. First-time writer-director Bi Gan and cinematographer Wang Tianxing infuse the imagery with a feeling at once otherworldly and familiar — the kind of thing you can't put a name to but would swear you've already experienced.
  28. 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.
  29. At once robust and ethereal, this is an existential ghost story, with fresh blood pulsing through its veins.
  30. 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.
  31. The film is a wonder of desert skies, slick tunnels, bumptious fence- and wall-climbing, and occasional staged reveries.
  32. 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.
  33. Garbus's film is a portrait of a soul torn apart by forces beyond it and within it.
  34. 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.
  35. A dead-eyed, lyrical art film that kicks you in the throat.
  36. This lusty, heartfelt movie has a near Brueghelian visual energy and a humanist passion as contagious as its music.
  37. 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.
  38. In the thinly veiled version of her life that appears onscreen, the actress unforgettably shows the deadening toll of always being on the move, only to return to the exact same place.
  39. 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.
  40. A film that's in perfect sync with its subject.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. As mystical as it is gritty, as despairing as it is detached.
  44. 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.
  45. The performances are strong, the imaginary visions are suggestive and fleeting, and the film as a whole is swoony, tender, skittish, a little scary — in short, this is what young love feels like. More Meyerhoff, please!
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. This has to be the most richly entertaining movie anyone has ever made on the subject of female genital mutilation.
  50. 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.
  51. Liv & Ingmar is an anecdotal treasure chest for cinephiles, but more than that, it's a beautifully told love story.
  52. It's a baroque and intermittently brilliant brain twister so convoluted that it inevitably deposits the viewer in an alternate universe.
  53. The slow build of the action is deceptive, as at first the martial arts are all in the editing.
  54. 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.
  55. If it's a far less flashy film than The Act of Killing, it's also a better and possibly more honest one.
  56. 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.
  57. Its central journey lives up to the title: Maclean finds time to savor rivers and starscapes and layers of light and mountainous land. The dialogue is flighty yet weighty, each line like some delicate woodcut.
  58. 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.
  59. Practically guaranteed to elicit tears within its first five minutes, Alive Inside... is nonetheless more than just a tearjerker.
  60. The movie's packed with minor incidents, all fresh, compelling, and funny. It also boasts two lengthy scenes that are touched with something greater.
  61. A movie of cutting humor, near-constant talk, and one show-stopping dance routine.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Both riveting and disturbing.
  62. An explicit ode to mortality, not without a certain grim humor.
  63. Although dense with incident and motif, the movie has an effortless flow.
  64. A quietly impassioned, genuinely stirring indie rarity.
  65. Lowery isn't a Malick and he's certainly no Kazan, but he's his own man, and a filmmaker to watch.
  66. It's an absorbing document of an extraordinary act of generosity.
  67. 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.
  68. 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.
  69. Unadulterated labor is the focus of this blistering, beautifully modulated documentary from Mexican auteur Eugenio Polgovsky.
  70. Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room is an impeccably crafted cinematic torture machine — in the best possible way.
  71. Ultimately, The Woodmans is a haunting study in family dynamics.
  72. To muddle through confusion, boredom, vaguely formed interest, brief elation, and confusion again is to experience the work as its creator intended.
  73. The Rover might not be about anything at all, but the dust it stirs up sticks to you after you leave the theater.
  74. One of the most sincere and funny portraits of family life to come along in a while.
  75. 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.
  76. Informant is riveting as it slowly assembles a damning profile of its subject. It's also timely.
  77. The Wonders has an intimate, subtly buzzing power.
    • 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.
  78. Les Hautes Solitudes is both ravishing portraiture and wordless biography, a life and aura distilled to glances and gestures.
  79. The Phenom unfolds as a series of quiet, incisive conversations that showcase subtle, insightful performances.
  80. 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.
  81. As smooth and powerfully packed as its protagonist.
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. Daughters of the Dust abounds with stunning motifs and tableaux, the iconography seemingly sourced from dreams as much as from history and folklore. But however seductive and trance-inducing, the visual splendor of Dash's film is never vaporous.
    • 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.
  85. 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.
  86. As bittersweet a brief encounter as any in American movies since Richard Linklater's equally romantic "Before Sunrise."
  87. It proves to be not just interesting in how it foreshadows the filmmaker's more mature works, but also a gripping piece of storytelling in its own right.
  88. Approaching the Unknown is the best science fiction movie since Gravity, and certainly the most melancholy since Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 Solaris.
  89. 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.
  90. Anna Biller's ripe, vibrant The Love Witch is an act of reclamation — and love.
  91. Diliberto has managed to make a political comedy that seems at once tremendously funny and intensely serious — a provocative, and perhaps even important, combination.
  92. It's merely a well-done, adult American movie--that is to say, a rarity.
  93. For all the film's aestheticism, there's a clarity to this child's dilemma — conveyed ably by Hightower, who is a unique kind of actress.

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