Village Voice's Scores

For 10,034 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 Spotlight
Lowest review score: 0 Mr. Deeds
Score distribution:
10034 movie reviews
  1. Genuinely unnerving movie.
  2. As with Téchiné's best work, Strayed is a peculiar, lingering blend of robustness and delicacy--a movie with hardly a single wasted frame, incongruous word, or false gesture.
  3. Part of what makes writer-director Rick Famuyiwa's Dope so fresh and joyous is that in many key ways it's not new at all.
  4. Director James Ponsoldt gives us long, loose, single-shot courtship scenes, each a marvel of staging and performance.
  5. Ratatouille is as much a feast for the senses as it is food for thought.
  6. Yamada shoots his movie with a grandfatherly expertise, never squeezing the drama for juice or distancing us too far from the characters -- it's a pleasure to see a movie that makes every shot count, narratively and emotively.
  7. The directors plant a camera in front of Roth and get him talking. To smooth over edits, they show us book covers and old photos—Roth was dashing, charming, a little dangerous, one of his college friends tells us, but she doesn't need to say it. It's manifest, and it's still true. The film is especially recommended to anyone who thinks they hate him.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    [Fukasaku's] genius is finding the overlap between teenage dreams and nightmares, between the intensity of first love and the terror of extinction.
  8. It seems easily the most valuable piece of film to emerge about the war in all of its three-plus years.
  9. Though it's made with lots of modern tricks and technology, it's old-fashioned in the best sense, and not just because it's set in the Sixties.
  10. It’s funny, joyful, and sweet, and yet down below, running beneath everything, is a sad counter-narrative about how the world always throws obstacles in your way, and how you could just turn your back and retreat.
  11. But real-life hard-knock plot twists, as well as some tweaking of form (there's no narrator or voiceover of any kind; the film's subjects outline their grim realities largely through their rhythmically upbeat songs) make the film absolutely riveting, as does the fiercely rousing music.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A slow-motion-enhanced kiss scene, with Corinealdi in top I-don't-give-a-f--- strut, is a startling example of DuVernay's ability to conjure drama that at once takes place in a character's head and in a recognizable real world. It's beautifully nuanced and confidently ambiguous - and so is the movie.
  12. His interviews are informative and captivating, but the film’s gut-punch immediacy comes from the astounding visuals caught by participants on digital cameras and cellphones, including shocking images of Assad’s torturers at work.
  13. District 9 whizzes by with a resourcefulness and mordant wit nearly worthy of its obvious influences: "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," "Dawn of the Dead," and "Starship Troopers."
  14. One marvel of the film is how it conveys so much information so quickly, and with such accessibility.
  15. An impressively coordinated enterprise that lasts three hours, manages a large cast, and covers a period of 30-odd years while successfully unfolding as a series of scenes from the life of a single character.
  16. To use a phrase from the film, The Armstrong Lie is a "myth-buster." It's wholly necessary, brilliantly executed, and a complete bummer.
  17. The Wolfpack is more like a diorama of the Angulos' unusual childhood than an explanatory documentary.
  18. It's both an important part of Ghibli's history and a gem in its own right.
  19. His gift-and the film's-is to transform the seemingly banal relationship between pet and owner into something singular, inimitable, sacred.
  20. A sustained immersion in gorgeously austere street photography and casual portraiture, the images punctuated by bits of black leader and gnomic intertitles, the action propelled by sweetly pulverized music and an effortlessly layered soundtrack of enigmatic conversations. Poetry is really the only word for it.
  21. What anchors Two Days, One Night, and eases its gaps, is Cotillard's extraordinary performance.
  22. A mischievously hedonistic, Chaplinesque farce, the film buoyantly but seriously traverses the horrors of World War II with a subtlety and sophistication that most American comedies cannot grasp.
  23. With striking visuals reminiscent of Matisse and Chagall and a refreshingly (for domestic animation audiences) grown-up storyline, The Painting is almost reminiscent of, well, a work of art.
  24. 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Indispensable viewing.
  25. The film works on its own terms, capturing, at least, the mournful vibe of O'Brien's book. What's more, Zobel's revision opens up plenty of space for the three actors who inhabit this circumscribed little world, all of whom are terrific.
  26. Movies about drugs and alcohol might be a dime (bag) a dozen, but James Ponsoldt's Smashed is so beautifully shot and well acted as to transcend the genre.
  27. This is a dense, multilayered picture, one firmly rooted in a specific landscape, a dramatic coastal spot dotted with the carcasses of decrepit fishing boats, as well as the magnificent skeleton of one long-dead whale.
  28. In families, this fascinating film suggests, acknowledging or denying the darker truths of one's legacy is a choice that must be made again and again, each and every day.
  29. 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.
  30. Mood is everything, trumped up by a score so rich with pop songs, bossa nova drama, and symphonic mournfulness it's almost a movie on its own. 2046 may be a Chinese box of style geysers and earnest meta-irony, but that should not suggest there aren't bleeding humans at the center of it.
  31. Suzuki has made the ultimate meta-movie, a self-parodying, surrealist gangster daydream as intoxicating and insubstantial as an absinthe swoon.
  32. 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The visual style has an expressionistic undertow, rich in shadowy chiaroscuro compositions.
  33. 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.
  34. Manically imaginative and very funny.
  35. Removing even stage banter, the focus is entirely on performance, save for a few "candid backstage" bits--Young getting a cracked nail filed down, etc. Devotees will thrill to rarities like "Kansas" and "Mexico."
  36. For all of its wise, welcome focus on the libidinal, Summertime additionally succeeds in presenting the liberationist fervor of the time without devolving into school-play pageantry.
  37. It's an altogether remarkable piece of work, deepening the genre while whipping its skin off, satirizing an entire nation's nearsighted apathy as it wonders, almost aloud, about the nature of truth, evidence, and social belonging.
  38. It's a tough film to shake, a slice-of-life that slices, knifelike. It's a funny drama of brothers that first makes you hate its prickly leads but then, after steeping you in their bottomed-out day-to-day, might inspire you to hope for them.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With a minimum of dialogue and backstory, the lead actresses (winners of a single special prize at Cannes 2010) movingly portray the depth of these colleagues' compassion, and their struggle to maintain a front of data-gathering objectivity. Unfolding in a remarkably organic fashion, The Lips pays plaintive tribute to the work.
  39. It's a smart, funny, tough-minded film crammed with data and personal anecdotes, each illuminating the other, each sketching in the staggering costs—and not just financial—of the ways authorities in this country have shaped the drug issue. It's far from glib.
  40. [A] superb coming-of-age drama.
  41. Indeed, the man who invented Borat is a masterful improviser, brilliant comedian, courageous political satirist, and genuinely experimental film artist. Borat makes you laugh but Baron Cohen forces you to think.
  42. Despite a few missteps, Take Shelter powerfully lays bare our national anxiety disorder - a pervasive dread that Curtis can define only as "something that's not right."
  43. Not to detract from the pleasure of watching the consistently excellent actors, who enhance the dialogue's bite with their body language, but the script of In the Loop is so rich that it could work as a radio play.
  44. Always Shine is a potent psychological thriller, all right. But it's also a powerful statement on the very industry that produced it.
  45. A film of rare tenderness and mystery.
  46. While it's hardly a joy to watch, Fire in the Blood is artful in nearly every frame, perhaps so we don't avert our eyes.
  47. Like nearly every other Kiarostami film, Close-Up takes questions about movies and makes them feel like questions of life and death.
  48. It's a precociously assured and mature work, at once humble and bold, that keeps faith with Munro's precise, graceful prose while tailoring its linear progression into shapely cinematic form.
  49. Serbis may be a raunch-fest, but it's also a mind-trip--a raunch-fest with ideas.
  50. 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.
  51. 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."
  52. The breach between these two worlds is part of Rosi’s formal and moral gambit.
  53. Scherson, adapting Roberto Bolaño's novel, incorporates surrealistic, hyper-expressive visual techniques, resulting in a film that is excitingly unclassifiable.
  54. 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.
  55. This is a film about the devastation of Inner Mongolia and the systematic annihilation of its migrant workers, but it is no mere coup d'œil of righteous advocacy. It is a work of film art.
  56. 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.
  57. Wry and self-aware but never finger-wagging, Office looks back on an economic precipice and finds more humor and spirit than any other depiction yet made about it.
  58. Paley's beguiling, consistently inventive visuals and sly yet melancholy tone are about as warm and winning as heartbreak-fueled empowerment gets.
  59. It's the closest most of us will get to spending time with fellow humans who have extraordinary perspectives on ordinary things — and ordinary perspectives, too.
  60. 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.
  61. It's a movie for anyone who, like Miyazaki himself, can still happily commune with his inner five-year-old.
  62. It's a wonder of photography, animation, and sound, and it's a testament to its editors that the many interviews with activists and scientists are compelling and informative, sometimes even poetic.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. Skipping across ages and genres, this cine-essay beguilement from Russian Ark director Alexander Sokurov considers the Louvre — and the miracle of the transmission of art and culture across its history.
  66. 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."
  67. 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.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. 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.
  71. A freakishly engrossing black comedy about excessively mothered men and the women who enable them.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Subtle, elegant documentary.
  72. It’s a potent psychodrama, pitting Marianne’s reality against the one Fassaert is documenting
  73. If the carefully planted romantic intrigue is serenely slow to ripen, the process is never less than intriguing.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. A minor triumph of atmosphere and nightmare imaginings.
  77. Projects a confessional frankness about human relationships that has the messy feel of truth.
  78. Allah, a street photographer of deserved renown, has achieved something here beyond the familiar documentary impulse to show us the people who live on the streets. His immersive, unsettling techniques dig at a sense of what it might feel like to be among them.
  79. For the vast majority of its running time, The Big Sick astutely pulls you between the twin poles of agony and glee.
  80. 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.
  81. 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.
  82. A small-screen aesthetic is evident in the abundant close-ups and tight framing, but Holland makes it work for her.
  83. 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.
  84. 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.
  85. Continues Disney's trend of crafting animated movies as much for adult viewers as for their pre-adolescent progeny.
  86. 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.
  87. Black Book, which takes its title from a secret list of Dutch collaborators, is an impressively old-fashioned yet fashionably embittered movie.

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