Village Voice's Scores

For 8,878 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 38% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 58% 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 Ain't in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm
Lowest review score: 0 HellBent
Score distribution:
8,878 movie reviews
  1. Calling the movie simply Buddhist, in form as well as context, might be just another way of saying it's awesome, as in it inspires legitimate awe.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Unlike American counterparts "Kids" or "Dangerous Minds," this highly intelligent comedy (which cleaned up at this year's Césars) doesn't seek to shock or inspire, but merely documents teen moodiness in all its tedious unpredictability.
  2. I've seen only a few films in my lifetime that so potently express the golden hopes of childhood and parenthood, as well as the inevitable decimation of that hopefulness -- that forward-looking bliss -- at the hands of catastrophe, or merely age, spite, and exhaustion. Or, as for the Friedmans, all of the above.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Despite the passive-aggressive bickering, Beats, Rhymes & Life is not, thankfully, hip-hop's "Some Kind of Monster."
  3. Scherson, adapting Roberto Bolaño's novel, incorporates surrealistic, hyper-expressive visual techniques, resulting in a film that is excitingly unclassifiable.
  4. It's precisely Malle's omnivorous appetite that makes his first feature, adapted from a policier, so delectable, one stuffed with many sumptuous sights and sounds.
  5. The pleasures of this gorgeous, clever, and visceral film are almost exclusively aesthetic. Those unmoved or alienated by the porn of pain may be left flopping as nervelessly as one of the movie's severed limbs.
  6. Paley's beguiling, consistently inventive visuals and sly yet melancholy tone are about as warm and winning as heartbreak-fueled empowerment gets.
  7. The heartfelt use of extrasensory events as metaphors for a child's grasp of adult mysteries has a poetry to it, and the unblinking sympathy for kids struggling with evil and with the strange frequencies of prepubescent passion can, if your defenses are down, lay you out.
  8. It's a movie for anyone who, like Miyazaki himself, can still happily commune with his inner five-year-old.
  9. Can a film that holds no surprises be of value? In the case of Our Children, which masterfully plays with stylistic conventions and all-too-common instances of real-life matricide, the answer is decidedly yes.
  10. Meta-documentary to the end, Empathy takes its leave by pretending to spy on one patient with his ear to the closed door, eavesdropping on another patient. How did watching the movie make me feel? Interested, amused, and um, empathetic.
  11. Gripping, strangely beautiful, and poignant.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In its ability to transform the drably mundane into something otherworldly, Marathon offers one of the most inventive reimaginings of the MTA since D.A. Pennebaker's 1953 cine-poem "Daybreak Express."
  12. Filled with purposeful, if absurd, activity rendered gravely hilarious through Tsai's deadpan, distanced representation of extreme behavior.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Spread the word: This delirious import is the most (maybe the only) fun action movie of the summer.
  13. Gently persistent in its ironies, "Funny Ha Ha" managed to be both charmingly lackadaisical and annoyingly smug; Mutual Appreciation, which Bujalski shot in grainy black-and-white in hipster Brooklyn (and is self-distributing), is even more so.
  14. A British variation on Hollywood nonsense, and as such it's a little gloomier, a little coarser, and a lot more cerebral--oh, and funnier than all the "Reno 911!" boxed sets combined.
  15. Interweaving interviews and footage of Rainer Hess's first trip to Auschwitz, Hitler's Children is a powerful and well-judged presentation of the stories and their impossibilities.
  16. A freakishly engrossing black comedy about excessively mothered men and the women who enable them.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Subtle, elegant documentary.
  17. If the carefully planted romantic intrigue is serenely slow to ripen, the process is never less than intriguing.
  18. The slippages and contradictions between who people are, imagine themselves to be, and present themselves as being inform the structure of Machine, a kind of loose container into which people step and out of which they extract more ideal selves.
  19. The entire unwieldy contraption rests on the shoulders of erstwhile "Queer as Folk" jailbait Hunnam: Bleached and bland, earnest and wooden, he's exactly what the film asks him to be.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Authentic as all this feels (and smells, and tastes), Chop Shop gives off a heightened sense of reality, a faintly idealized atmosphere akin to the Lower East Side milieu of "Raising Victor Vargas," a close relative in the New York branch of neo-neorealism.
  20. A minor triumph of atmosphere and nightmare imaginings.
  21. Projects a confessional frankness about human relationships that has the messy feel of truth.
  22. Unpretentiously poetic and casually stylish, yet perversely precise. Reconstructing the past, Carri seems to suggest, is akin to grabbing the water in a flowing stream.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There's enough wisdom in this appropriately compact film to suggest avenues of further, though likely not as wondrous, inquiry.
  23. In A Touch of Sin, Jia is attuned to, and saddened by, the violence he sees creeping through his country, caused at least partly by the ever-widening disparity between rich and poor. He ends on a note that's more haunting than hopeful.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This entertaining, provocative film raises pointed issues about con artists and their sometimes-culpable "victims," and also speaks to the elusive pursuit of documentary truth.
  24. A small-screen aesthetic is evident in the abundant close-ups and tight framing, but Holland makes it work for her.
  25. At barely over an hour, the film still overflows with musical charm, nostalgic wonder, and visual wit (characters literally interact with the words on Milne's pages). This one will make you feel eight years old again.
  26. As botched-drug-deal tales go, Pusher digs surprisingly deep— its surface clichés give way to an existential despair that finally swallows the movie whole.
  27. Continues Disney's trend of crafting animated movies as much for adult viewers as for their pre-adolescent progeny.
  28. The early scenes, of the couple falling for each other, offer more inspired gorgeous wonder than late Malick films, and the emotions are more piercing.
  29. Black Book, which takes its title from a secret list of Dutch collaborators, is an impressively old-fashioned yet fashionably embittered movie.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    "Amores Perros" is a yappy whelp compared to this striking degrees-of-separation drama by Mexican writer-director Gerardo Naranjo.
  30. What a world we'd live in if Argento's Hollywood counterparts -- say, Sarah Michelle Gellar, or even Christina Ricci -- had this much imagination and nerve. Few of them, at any rate, have Argento's reserves of lonesome passion and unspigoted woe.
  31. The fierce rigor of María Galiana's performance keeps this film from ever falling into sentimentality.
  32. Remains Chaplin's most sustained burlesque of authority.
  33. Buirski clearly shows that the spark that made her great couldn't be snuffed out so easily.
  34. While the astonishing street footage of "l'affaire Langlois"--perhaps more familiar to the French than to us--is where this exhaustive talking-heads portrait becomes beautifully, bafflingly surreal, the whole project, however conventional, has the allure of a communal embrace, a home movie of a motherland left irrevocably in the past.
  35. Takes its shape from (Viard's) performance, which is as big as life.
  36. Rogosin was showing a vital culture on the brink, at the moment when it was calcifying into the form it would hold for more than three decades to come.
  37. It is an essay in film form with near-universal interest and a remarkable degree of synthesis.
  38. It's at once brilliant and inept.
  39. Kosashvili's camera is restrained, the better to render Late Marriage superbly brash, raunchy, and confrontational.
  40. For the most part, the narrative here feels generational, representative, rather than invested in the specific incidents of specific lives.
  41. Accurate enough as history to provide a potent reminder that black independent cinema did not end with Oscar Micheaux or begin with Spike Lee.
  42. Like many cult films, it is also less than the sum of its parts.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The sequel trumps its predecessor for sustained doomsday gloom and suggests this might be the man to adapt Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic novel The Road.
  43. Crouching Tiger's dramatic line is so blurry that the central character is only a bystander to the climactic fight between forces of good and evil.
  44. Damon and Kinnear are both pitch-perfect, inhabiting their ingenuous, codependent little universe together with the commitment of eight-year-old best friends. True to form, the Farrellys toss sophomoric spitballs at us, but nothing stems the rise of big-hearted generosity.
  45. From cinematographer Corey Rich's beautifully framed footage, Wampler's wife, Elizabeth, making her directorial debut, has assembled a stirring film that's part documentary, and part promotional tool.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite cloying narration, Fitzgerald's footage and interviews are fantastic.
  46. Postman Pat: The Movie is one of the best family films to come down the pike this year.
  47. This odd little wonder captures the delicate textures and shadowy half-secrets of family life, mapping them out in a mosaic of fragmented dialogue and half-poetic, half-prosaic images.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Murphy has never been a typical rock star, and Shut Up is by no means a conventional rock documentary.
  48. The film is riveting from the start, with its ragtag multiculti heroines and heroes meshing multiple identity markers (activist, academic, refurbished hippie), often within individual selves.
  49. By journey's end, Yung has found, in the Yangtze, a brilliant natural metaphor for upward mobility in modern China: Whether they hail from the lowlands or the urban centers, everyone here is scrambling to reach higher ground.
  50. A 157-minute police procedural at once sensuous and cerebral, profane and metaphysical, "empty" and abundant, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is closer to the Antonioni of "L'Avventura," and it elevates the 52-year-old director to a new level of achievement.
  51. Not to wax too serious here (since this is, after all, a movie in which two nearly middle-aged men beat each other over the heads with blunt instruments on their front lawn), but ticking away just beneath Step Brothers' freely associative surface is a fairly astute commentary on how we define such abstract concepts as "growing up" and "making something of yourself."
  52. Jia Zhangke is one of the world's preeminent filmmakers, an essentially contemplative director whose considerable talent is further amplified by the significance of his material--namely, everyday life in the most dynamic economy on earth.
  53. Chaiken ably balances real-time rhythms with propulsive incident -- she catches subtler interior strains, too.
  54. "A very odd thriller" is how Italian director Marco Bellocchio describes My Mother's Smile, his uncannily beautiful and deeply humanist exploration of the nightmares that resurface from a Roman atheist's Catholic childhood.
  55. As tight as the parallel homo sapiens storylines are lax, Caesar's prison conversion to charismatic pan-ape revolutionist is near-silent filmmaking, with simple and precise images illustrating Caesar's General-like divining of personalities and his organization of a group from chaos to order. All of this is shown in absorbing, propulsive style, as Caesar broodingly bides his time like a king in disguise awaiting restoration.
  56. Spare yet tactile, a mysterious mixture of lightness and gravity, Alexander Sokurov's Alexandra is founded on contradiction. Musing on war in general and the Russian occupation of Chechnya in particular, this is a movie in which combat is never shown.
  57. Increasingly violent (although always distanced), The Outskirts is at once appalling and bleakly humorous.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Centipede plays on the notion that the only thing more frightening than death is a state bridging life and death, in which, though one's body is no longer his own to control, the mind remains conscious.
  58. Michael Glawogger's rather majestic Workingman's Death takes a symphonic structure to document some of the ugliest and most dangerous shit work on the globe.
  59. You're Next streamlines the gory stuff for something truly shocking: good characters. Not deep, mind you. But characters who are crayoned in bright enough that they're interesting even while alive.
  60. Scenes from a marriage unfolding at the limits of love and personality.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Kuenne lovingly assembles home-movie footage and new interviews, while deftly borrowing a narrative trick from fiction--the plot twist--to create a true-crime story so gripping, devastating, and ultimately unforgettable that it easily trumps any thriller Hollywood has to offer this year.
  61. Exquisitely understated.
  62. We see Phil's sons honoring him while going their own ways in a years-long effort to find the right pitch.
  63. A shaggy, appealing parable involving two lovers, some gorgeous heifers, gentle Maori gangster-golfers, and a dilapidated suitcase packed with used baby shoes, The Price of Milk throws itself onto the magic-realist sword with aplomb.
  64. Lee Isaac Chung's modern-day retelling of a Korean fairy tale is an experiment in space, narrative and physical.
  65. Resuscitates the filmgoing summer with a vital jolt of pure piss and vinegar.
  66. Lee seems less interested in capturing how people of color talk than in capturing how people talk. He coaxes us to step in and listen, and the very casualness of his invitation is the key to the joyousness of The Best Man Holiday, flaws be damned.
  67. Every shot and edit in Wiseman's film also suggests without over-explaining, allowing a viewer to lose herself in pleasure.
  68. The force of the acting alone almost compensates for some of the more difficult (and realistic) questions about not giving birth that García willfully sidesteps.
  69. An austere and fascinating documentary.
  70. A dark and unsparing study of female masochism and a brittle sex comedy of manners, Romance is unsettled in tone, to say the least.
  71. The World's End is a big, shaggy dog of a thing, a free-spirited ramble held together by off-kilter asides, clever-dumb puns, and seemingly random bits of dialogue that could almost become catchphrases in spite of themselves.
  72. Not only a nifty late noir but a model of economical filmmaking--well-sketched atmosphere, deft characterizations, and a 78-minute running time.
  73. The Double, with its inviting alienation, nails a curious mood that's been too long absent from contemporary film: the anxious admission that the world might be weighted against the plucky individual, and that prickling you feel just before such thoughts make a sweat break out.
  74. The film's sweetness, its story line, and the script's cartoony characters recall Raising Arizona, though Gone Doggy Gone isn't as tightly structured. But, being looser, it has a little more room to breathe.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    More than a vibrant experiment in ethnomusical cross-pollination, it's just great fun.
  75. [A] powerful, exacting depiction of Egypt's struggle for meaningful change.
  76. Forget "Irreversible," this is the season's most piercingly feel-bad movie.
  77. Full of observed life, the movie is also a bit of a vacuum, and once we register our admiration for Lopez, we can hardly help contemplating the cold equations of the students' futures, their uneducated families, and the rapturously desolate farmland around them.
  78. This poignant, acutely observed movie is eloquent and suggestive in dramatizing a particular trauma in the context of an ordinary Haifa family.
  79. Chéreau's film is an unsentimental, almost uninflected, account of a preparation for death, told with a painful clarity that eventually bleeds into compassion.
  80. The film is often beautiful and appealingly light. Every clear-eyed insight into why pushy people insist on pushing is matched by loose ensemble humor and lyric reveries.
  81. Buoyant with quiet smiles and unpretentious fondness.
  82. He (Wolens) captures Crayola-vivid images of both the unspoiled forest canopy and denuded expanses of slash-and-burned landscape -- a bleak summation, perhaps, of the area's past and future.
  83. It's an often gut-wrenching viewing experience in which the triumphs of the hero are hard won.
  84. Like everything Jarmusch, The Limits of Control is calibrated for cool.
  85. Pacific Rim is big and dumb in a smart way.

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