Village Voice's Scores

For 10,046 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 Cartel Land
Lowest review score: 0 Welcome to the Jungle
Score distribution:
10046 movie reviews
  1. It's merely a well-done, adult American movie--that is to say, a rarity.
  2. 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.
  3. Zero Motivation opens as bleak, rebellious comedy but grows into a smart and moving story of entering adulthood.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Reichardt pays clear homage to Breathless and Badlands, but her movie, the title of which is a local name for the Everglades, operates in its own ecosystem, teeming with the droll, shrewd observations about downwardly mobile life explored more solemnly in Reichardt's next two films, Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy.
  9. The film is brisk, brief, well acted, smartly crafted, and shrewdly judged.
  10. Xu (The Sword Identity) may not be a household name, but The Final Master proves that he's the next big thing in martial-arts cinema.
  11. 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.
  12. Provost's film, like its heroine, is full of active, sparking nerves.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. There is serious pain in this movie — pain that endures throughout the years — but also a sincere love for life lived, and life remembered.
  16. 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.
  17. A marvelous film, stripped of false urgency.
  18. 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.
  19. A hideously funny tabloid noir.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. A supremely intelligent pastiche.
  23. The makers of Black Souls, a superior Italian gangster movie, deserve praise for executing with atypical sensitivity a generic times-are-changing/nostalgia-for-an-imaginary-chivalrous-yesteryear scenario.
    • 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.
  24. Gorgeously mounted tale of enlightenment through art and courage.
  25. This superb, suspenseful film, completed in 2009, opens as a playful comedy of vacationing couples and awkward romance, one that might be set in the French countryside, but by the end has become a moral drama likely to corrode your certainties.
  26. 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.
  27. Blind Shaft means to leave the viewer dazed, and it does.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. A Most Wanted Man is simply a complex tale superbly told, with time for nuance and to soak in its mysteries.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. What saves this deeply affecting film from being merely a collection of wrenching cases is Corcuera's attention to detail.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. Yang's anti-nostalgic slice of 1960s Taipei life suggests a Tolstoy-size expansion of the ballads from Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town.
  39. Dior and I is a great fashion movie, but it's also a superb picture about the art of management, applicable to any field.
  40. As chilly a spectacle as you're likely to see. It's like watching a comeback in an empty stadium.
  41. Obvious Child is perfect for those who want more honesty in fiction.
  42. 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.
  43. What surprises (a little) and fascinates (a lot) are the town-to-town commonalities Counting invites you to appraise.
  44. 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.
  45. Bykov's moral tale is clear-eyed and callused over, worrying not over individual lives but over a nation's soul.
  46. 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."
  47. 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.
  48. Mann's exhilarating movie exists in a state of perpetual forward motion.
  49. 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.
  50. No matter what your opinion of McNamara, The Fog of War is a chastening experience.
  51. 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
  52. Not only Mike Leigh's strongest film since "Naked" but a true show-making epic.
  53. A triumph of documentary activism nine years in the making.
  54. This isn't a film about the Civil War; it's about the minds of white folks so removed from plantation life that they feel they have no stake in it at all. It's not about back then — it's about being.
  55. This is the Julia Roberts performance her fans have been waiting for.
  56. The Visit, M. Night Shyamalan's witty, crowd-jolting spook-house of an eleventh feature, is its writer-director's best movie since the tail-end of the last Clinton era. And it's the best studio horror flick in recent years, combining the but-what's-in-those-shadows? immersion of The Conjuring, James Wan's basement-wandering simulator, with the crack scripting and meta-cinematic surprises of Shyamalan's best early films.
  57. Without deploying reductive backstory or simplistic psychology, this fearless movie -- easily the year's best debut feature -- illuminates Esther's pathology as an extreme response to the mind-body split.
  58. There's nothing quite like it in the world of Hollywood documentaries, though Riley's presentation of this rich material is at times a little discomfiting.
  59. Our glimpses of what's already occurred and what will soon come are vivid and impressionistic, prophetic warnings about which everyone seems powerless to do anything other than silently observe.
  60. If White Reindeer's satirical elements feel off the rack, that's because what they're satirizing in our real lives is, too.
  61. Monk With a Camera hints at answers, but imposes nothing. Like a good photograph, or a wise abbot, it only presents the evidence and allows us to arrive at truth.
  62. Drawing on interviews with SLA co-founder Russ Little and amazing TV news footage, Robert Stone illuminates this fantastic narrative as vividly as it has ever been.
  63. The horror's a long time coming, but Goldthwait and company make the waiting worth it.
  64. Herzog smartly takes a broad, bird's-eye perspective of our early techno-evolution.
  65. The lovability quotient is as high as the altitude.
  66. Those more devoted to the genre can debate whether Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman is the best comic-book movie of the last few years. What's beyond argument, however, is that Vaughn has whipped up the most interesting one, the only to make ferocious, unsettling art out of the great contradiction of superheroic fantasy: jolly do-goodism and its brutalizing sadism.
  67. What a relief to watch this small, expert film — a pane of glass in a concrete wall — that whispers, that dares to stand still and witness ordinary human pain.
  68. Even as it verges on melodrama, Ixcanul remains fascinated by its people's practical thinking, by how their contemporary circumstances — and occasionally premodern beliefs — lead to actions both relatable and achingly, disastrously not.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Two hours fly by -- opera's a pleasure when you don't have to endure intermissions -- and even a novice to the form comes away exhilarated.
  69. In Songs From the North, the South Korean–born, U.S.-based filmmaker Soon-Mi Yoo takes her camera to North Korea and, through a purposeful mix of on-location footage, poetic intertitles ("Is North Korea the loneliest place on Earth?"), and archival media, creates an empathetic snapshot of a country that is almost never depicted in such an accessible light.
  70. The Invisible Woman finds Ralph Fiennes proving as adept behind the camera as he is in front of it.
  71. There have been upbeat coming-out films (But I'm a Cheerleader) and tragic, infuriating ones (Boys Don't Cry, Brokeback Mountain). Andrew Ahn's Spa Night is executed on a significantly smaller scale, a deliberately anticlimactic one, which makes it all the more doleful.
  72. The director invites us in, to play and dream.
  73. A very nutty fruitcake, Spirited Away is characterized by wonderfully detailed animation, packed with incident and populated by all manner of comic creatures.
  74. Innocence is not merely the year's best first film, but one of the great statements on the politics of being 'tween.
  75. Thrilling and ludicrous. The movie feels entirely instinctual. The rest is silencio.
  76. Grounded in Fessenden's handheld camera, stuttering montage rhythms, and time-lapse photography, the engagingly primitive animated special effects contribute to a mood that's sustained through the surprisingly somber conclusion.
  77. 12
    Miklahkov keeps 12 tops spinning at all times in the school gymnasium that serves as their deliberation room, and though the speech/conversion pattern grows a little pat, the movement toward consensus raises the further, richly complicated question of how to decide not only what is right, but what is best.
  78. Claire Denis's strongest movie in the decade since "Beau Travail," her tense, convulsive White Material is a portrait of change and a thing of terrible beauty.
  79. Passing Strange conjures a rare kind of theatrical magic with its emotionally raw, frequently euphoric portrait of the artist as a young man.
  80. There are many reasons to see this very difficult film, not least to face the grim realities in Liberia, and to wonder what more could be done to save lives and preserve the human spirit when it is so clearly yearning to burn bright given any small small chance.
  81. In effect, [Guerín] seems to be making Pinto's case — the intellectual necessity of passion and Muse-force, in order to compel men toward Art — while utterly enjoying the messy, unpredictable, real-world tumult the women make of it.
  82. Kasper Collin's melancholy, beautiful feature debut does more than just chronicle this undervalued musician; it brings Ayler and his message of spiritual unity back to life.
  83. 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.
  84. I can't remember a teenage romance this engagingly offbeat since "Lord Love a Duck."
  85. Oasis is utterly beguiling because Lee, like many other percipient Asian filmmakers, is simply more attentive to his characters' emotional tumult than the audience's.
  86. 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.
  87. A prototype of news-footage realism, the film makes shrewd use of handheld sloppiness, misjudged focus, overexposure, and you-are-there camera upset; the payoff is the scent of authentic panic.
  88. Tsai isn't without mischief — one key to this film's hypnotic power is humor so subtle it's practically subliminal — but his preferred takeaway is the pathos, the still-universal frustration, of an unanswered ringtone.
  89. 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.
  90. 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.
  91. The film's chatty, ingratiating, and then howlingly mean.
  92. Here's a movie with magic.
  93. 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.
  94. 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.
  95. The movie is itself a rat-maze of one-sided mirrors, windows upon windows, anonymous hallways, compartmentalized instances of watching, being watched, seeing and not-seeing.

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