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 Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Lowest review score: 0 Saving Lincoln
Score distribution:
8,143 movie reviews
  1. Even if you know this history already, A.K.A. Doc Pomus is vital and endearing, a celebration of a great artist, a great character, and the universality of great pop.
  2. Without forcing the material into facile uplift, Bloodworth-Thomason still edges it into the realm of inspirational, never overplaying the anguish or soft-pedaling the bigotry at the heart of the story.
  3. Through photos and family lore, but mostly through Dayton's own eloquence, Mitchell assembles a biographical portrait that's inspiring in the best possible way.
  4. The comic scenes arc into bleakness, and the bleak ones often collapse back into comedy.
  5. A love letter to that singular intersection of artistic innovation, cultural legacy, community pride, and family-sustaining (or -straining) commerce known as the restaurant.
  6. It stuns, and what's missing doesn't compare to what it shares.
  7. The film ends on up notes, but its strength is that it's not really a feel-good movie, instead shining a light on both how far we have come in terms of race in America and how very far we still have to go.
  8. In essence, the film is a lecture, but Zizek's associative thinking and understanding of the applicability of psychoanalysis makes it a lecture like no other.
  9. It's utterly rousing watching the women master their instruments and then push past the birth pains of their new business enterprise, and it's completely wrenching as their individual backstories unfold.
  10. To use a phrase from the film, The Armstrong Lie is a "myth-buster." It's wholly necessary, brilliantly executed, and a complete bummer.
  11. Tender, humane, and searing, How I Live Now stands as something all too rare: a movie about young people that young people may love — but not one that lies to them, and not one built for them alone.
  12. Caucus is a lively, hilarious, upsetting crash-course in recent history. It's also revelatory at times, especially as it reframes infamous sound bites in their of-the-moment context.
  13. Nebraska is the antidote to other family charmers about goofballs in matching sweaters.
  14. Michael Winterbottom's wise and involving Everyday specializes in unscripted-feeling moments that ache of life.
  15. Schwarz's juxtaposition of the human cost of the drug war alongside the glamorization of its henchmen and their brutality is sobering, even depressing.
  16. It's impossible to watch The Punk Singer and not ask if feminism is dead. That's a fair starting question. But a better one is what if it isn't — what if we've just stopped recognizing it?
  17. 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.
  18. If White Reindeer's satirical elements feel off the rack, that's because what they're satirizing in our real lives is, too.
  19. There may not be much behind the sparkling tinsel curtain of David O. Russell's extraordinarily entertaining American Hustle. But what a curtain!
  20. Liv & Ingmar is an anecdotal treasure chest for cinephiles, but more than that, it's a beautifully told love story.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Let's Get Lost stands as a gorgeous gravestone for the Beat Generation's legacy of beautiful-loser chic.
  21. The Invisible Woman finds Ralph Fiennes proving as adept behind the camera as he is in front of it.
  22. Yet another first-rate film from a Middle East rich with them.
  23. Lord and Miller do great work within constraints, taking pre-made pieces and fashioning them into feats worthy of applause. It's no wonder they made a Lego movie — and it's no wonder it's so good.
  24. It's sweaty, disorienting, thrilling. Rarely has a narrative feature so marvelously integrated a sequence of experimental filmmaking, and that sequence alone guarantees A Field in England should thrive on the midnight circuit.
  25. It's an ominous, claustrophobic, unhappily sapphic work whose thunderclap of a climax instills terror and awe of the fates' petty, whimsical cruelties.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. Denis Villeneuve's shared dream of a film takes the simple premise of a man glimpsing his doppelganger while watching a movie and mines every bit of tension and oddity from it — there's hardly a scene that doesn't exude menace.
  30. The story matters only in that it creates opportunities for heaps of ridiculousness, and writer-director James Bobin (who also directed The Muppets), along with co-writer Nicholas Stoller, mines them skillfully and breezily.
  31. At least we have this gem, the rare tease of what could have been that actually proves satisfying enough on its own.
  32. This film is one of our best documents of the civil rights era, but it is also a portrait of someone with a singular perspective, a big mind, and a joyous aptitude for conversation.
  33. Schimberg, in this debut, demonstrates rare assuredness in shooting and staging scenes, coaxing unexpected but true-feeling flourishes from his cast of mostly amateurs blessed with extraordinary faces.
  34. Nymphomaniac is a jigsaw opus, an extended and generally exquisitely crafted riff. Story, theme, and character (despite Gainsbourg's captivations) bow to von Trier's gamesmanship, which makes his own promiscuities the film's true subject.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. Replete with superb performances led by a paranoid Sackhoff and unhinged Cochrane, it's the rare horror film to know how to tease malevolent mysteries and deliver satisfyingly unexpected, unsettling payoffs.
  39. Weaving numerous influences into a rich emotional tapestry, Alain Guiraudie's The King of Escape skillfully absorbs and updates its assertive cinematic forebears.
  40. With each of these movies, Klapisch reiterates a core sentiment behind all the romantic comedy: that lives are continuously pieced together, broken, and rearranged in different settings. All that screwing and screwing up in between? Totally necessary.
  41. Ida
    Ida unfolds partly as chamber play and partly as road movie, following the two women on a search for their dead beloveds' anonymous graves.
  42. Nicholas Stoller's hilarious Neighbors splashes into summer with the satisfying swish-plop-hooray of a winning beer pong serve.
  43. 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.
  44. The Dance of Reality may be Alejandro Jodorowsky's best film, and certainly, in a filmography top-heavy with freak-show hyperbole and symbology stew, the one most invested in narrative meaning.
  45. It's an admittedly hagiographic film, an unabashed celebration of the man and his work and worldview. The few mild naysayers are largely set up to be knocked down, but as such the film is invigorating.
  46. It's part caper comedy, part revenge tale, and part glorious whopper.
  47. 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.
  48. Obvious Child is perfect for those who want more honesty in fiction.
  49. The horror's a long time coming, but Goldthwait and company make the waiting worth it.
  50. A dead-eyed, lyrical art film that kicks you in the throat.
  51. The Rover might not be about anything at all, but the dust it stirs up sticks to you after you leave the theater.
  52. Provost's film, like its heroine, is full of active, sparking nerves.
  53. Norte tells a big story on a grand scale, but its emphasis, moment by moment, is on the quotidian. It's simplicity that resonates most deeply of all.
  54. Polanski orchestrates this cat-and-mouse game with devilish delight, dancing around Ives's play as if it were a pagan bonfire, jabbing at it with his figurative pitchfork.
  55. Brian Knappenberger's The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz connects the dots of Swartz's past, assembling a vivid portrait of a sensitive genius with a strong moral sense.
  56. They Came Together is one joke repeated until you're broken down by the giggles. It shouldn't work as well as it does, and wouldn't if it weren't perfectly cast with America's Comedy Sweethearts.
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. Practically guaranteed to elicit tears within its first five minutes, Alive Inside... is nonetheless more than just a tearjerker.
  61. A Most Wanted Man is simply a complex tale superbly told, with time for nuance and to soak in its mysteries.
  62. 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
    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.
  63. The movie's packed with minor incidents, all fresh, compelling, and funny. It also boasts two lengthy scenes that are touched with something greater.
  64. Get On Up isn't a perfect-picture; there are moments of awkwardness, little gambles that don't quite pay off. But it's one of those experiments that's both flawed and amazing, a mainstream movie (with Mick Jagger as one of its producers) that fulfills old-fashioned, entertainment-value requirements, even as it throws off flashes of insight.
  65. Gleeson is one of the finest actors we have, and in casting him as the lead, McDonagh stacks the deck so that regardless of our own religious reservations, we're forced to care about Father James as a man.
  66. The lovely ball-&-socket meeting of the two artists' sensibilities is what makes the doc sing, even if it is a chronicle of a death foretold.
  67. 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.
  68. Breillat's impressive film is a study of bodies and how we carry them, and it explores the manner in which weakness seeks out strength on an almost primal level, bypassing the higher modes of human thought.
  69. The masterstroke of Frank, the film ex-Sidebottom collaborator Jon Ronson has now co-written, is that this time the man in the mask is a modern Mozart. And, unsparingly, Ronson has written himself as the jealous goober who risks everything, with the delusion that he's the smart one.
  70. Vital and vigorous even when its characters feel scraped of vigor/vitality, Philippe Garrel's latest finds boho Parisians facing the ends of marriages, affairs, and the feasibility of bohemian existence itself.
  71. We Are Mari Pepa is a sweaty, urgent, beautifully honest bliss out.
  72. 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.
  73. It's Kline who anchors the movie, swan-diving into Flynn's complexities without making excuses for him.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. Without condescension, Debrauwer offers comic glimpses into their separate dreams of grandeur, but he lets Pauline's touching simplicity unite them.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    As rich in incidental detail as it is narratively diffuse.
  79. The movie is ultimately about the philosopher's personality -- if you loved "Lingua Franca" (and what lumpen academoid did not?), you'll certainly dig Derrida.
  80. A minor triumph of atmosphere and nightmare imaginings.
  81. The patient camera leans in closely on the three lead actresses -- extraordinary first-timers all.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sven Nykvist's golden-hued cinematography perfectly suits Hesse's mind-expanding narrative of Buddhist enlightenment.
  82. Pays off in laugh-out-loud lines, adorably ditsy but heartfelt performances, and sparkling, bittersweet dialogue that cuts to the chase of the modern girl's dilemma.
  83. A near-irresistible button-pusher that's agile enough to hold a mirror to its own aspirations: The Sundance prize-winning filmmaker and her prize discovery, Michelle Rodriguez, merge in the image of a self-invented amateur boxer.
  84. A superbly crafted science-fiction fairy tale that's both Grimm and grim.
  85. A small-screen aesthetic is evident in the abundant close-ups and tight framing, but Holland makes it work for her.
  86. A linguistic stew with a zesty, homemade flavor that belies its carefully researched preparation.
  87. It's at once brilliant and inept.
  88. It may not be particularly innovative, but the film's crisp, unaffected style and air of gentle longing make it unexpectedly rewarding.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In a meticulous style that often appears offhanded, the directors chronicle Boyd's journey step-by-step, pausing to eavesdrop on the teacher talking to herself.
  89. The most progressive, good-hearted studio film of the summer.
  90. Boldly facetious and monstrously clever.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Flawlessly acted, Strange Fits of Passion could be a female equivalent of "The Year My Voice Broke," only in contemporary gear.
  91. You can see the strenuously grand conclusion of Alex Winter's clammy psychological thriller, Fever, coming a mile off, but the director's impeccably chic expressionism and Henry Thomas's persuasive, dread-soaked performance make the wait a painless one.
  92. A remarkably vivid portrait of a teeming third-world metropolis
  93. Eccentric and thoroughly winning.
  94. One of the refreshing aspects of the slight, flawed Tumbleweeds is that it creates a world inhabited by recognizable people.

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