Village Voice's Scores

For 9,164 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 6.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 Match
Lowest review score: 0 Saving Lincoln
Score distribution:
9,164 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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."
  4. 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.
  5. Chaiken ably balances real-time rhythms with propulsive incident -- she catches subtler interior strains, too.
  6. "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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Exquisitely understated.
  14. We see Phil's sons honoring him while going their own ways in a years-long effort to find the right pitch.
  15. 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.
  16. Lee Isaac Chung's modern-day retelling of a Korean fairy tale is an experiment in space, narrative and physical.
  17. Resuscitates the filmgoing summer with a vital jolt of pure piss and vinegar.
  18. 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.
  19. Every shot and edit in Wiseman's film also suggests without over-explaining, allowing a viewer to lose herself in pleasure.
  20. 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.
  21. An austere and fascinating documentary.
  22. A dark and unsparing study of female masochism and a brittle sex comedy of manners, Romance is unsettled in tone, to say the least.
  23. 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.
  24. Not only a nifty late noir but a model of economical filmmaking--well-sketched atmosphere, deft characterizations, and a 78-minute running time.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. [A] powerful, exacting depiction of Egypt's struggle for meaningful change.
  28. Forget "Irreversible," this is the season's most piercingly feel-bad movie.
  29. 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.
  30. This poignant, acutely observed movie is eloquent and suggestive in dramatizing a particular trauma in the context of an ordinary Haifa family.
  31. Chéreau's film is an unsentimental, almost uninflected, account of a preparation for death, told with a painful clarity that eventually bleeds into compassion.
  32. 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.
  33. Buoyant with quiet smiles and unpretentious fondness.
  34. 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.
  35. It's an often gut-wrenching viewing experience in which the triumphs of the hero are hard won.
  36. Like everything Jarmusch, The Limits of Control is calibrated for cool.
  37. Pacific Rim is big and dumb in a smart way.
  38. Respectful, loving, but never lionizing, Carl's thorough investigation transcends his personal catharsis to become an enduring treatise on how character flaws affect policy.
  39. Contemporary audiences may not see why, even in its toned-down simplification of the novel, From Here to Eternity was the most daring movie of 1953, but it remains an acting bonanza.
  40. Jerichow forgoes the prolonged double-crosses of "The Postman Always Rings Twice," its simpler ending made all the more powerful--and a little heartbreaking.
  41. There are so many ways Despicable Me 2 could have gone wrong, and so many things it does right.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Under Ted Demme's accomplished direction, the film unfolds with a kind of ruthless simplicity, observing, rather than stating, the neighborhood's intricate social connections.
  42. It's a remarkably assured and humane feature debut.
  43. Brahmin Bulls focuses on the individual choices made by Ashok and Sid, but just as Gingger Shankar subtly weaves traditional Indian instrumentation throughout her lovely score, Pailoor touches upon how cultural expectations inform their relationship.
  44. The most audacious debut feature of the year.
  45. It's immediate and vital, and it doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve got all the right answers.
  46. Although le Carré's story may seem predictable and unduly focused on the plight of a pale, wealthy Old Worlder adrift in a sea of needy East Africans, the movie's human material is masterfully manipulated.
  47. Kaufman's earnestly overblown celebration of the Marquis de Sade.
  48. Happily, beneath the film's nostalgic veneer and tooth-rattling visual and aural effects lies a mature ambiguity that's unusual for a holiday blockbuster -- and all but unheard of in a Tony Scott movie.
  49. You Don't Like the Truth focuses on the pathetic manipulations of Canadian intelligence officers as they interrogate Toronto-born Omar Khadr, the youngest prisoner held in Guantánamo Bay.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Resnais is now 84 years old; perhaps it takes eight decades of living to make a movie this compassionate, this confident--and this young.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Because the filmmakers were unable to enlist anyone from the NYPD or the DA's office to participate, we are left with the sense that mistakes of this magnitude require those in error to hide from them.
  50. A highly entertaining evisceration and celebration of the milieu. It's also a fascinating, probably one-sided view of the artist herself.
  51. Revived (with vastly improved subtitles) some 14 years after it first stunned Hong Kong critics, Days of Being Wild is a sort of meta-reverie populated by a cast of beautiful young pop icons.
    • Village Voice
  52. Unabashedly personal and uncool...but between you and me, dear reader, I love it to death.
  53. Moments of pain and revelation keep coming, all varied and surprising. These accrete into a mountain of evidence for Sauper's thesis: South Sudan might be new, but the forces shaping it are the same that have damned Africans for centuries — the rest of the world's lust for resources and conversions. That everything is beautiful just makes it hurt all the more.
  54. Footage of the now-wealthy Smiths being deposed is damning, the brothers' legal jiujitsu is appalling, and the stories of deaths are heartbreaking.
  55. Highly audacious, hugely enjoyable, exceptionally well-written, brilliantly edited, and exuberantly actor-driven extravaganza.
  56. Faust is not your great-granddaddy's selling-your-soul fable, but something new, a dreamy immersion into the messiness of myth, where hubris and desire can get lost in the chaos of time and retelling.
  57. On one hand a seat-o'-pants digital-video quickie designed for blunt trauma, and on the other a veritable index of classic genre-stuff, Boyle's film creates an acute sense of movie-viewing danger.
  58. The line between creative ambition and risky obsession is sharply drawn—or rather, carved out of New Mexico sandstone—in the life and work of wholly motivated artist Ra Paulette.
  59. If Gabriel Clarke and John McKenna's exhilarating documentary, Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans, were merely a testament to McQueen's stubbornness and irascibility, it would still be a damned entertaining portrait.
  60. The patient camera leans in closely on the three lead actresses -- extraordinary first-timers all.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This was basically the best idea ever. The setting brims over with the same wicked froth of danger, exoticism, and passion that 19th-century Seville must have had before it got stylized into oblivion.
  61. Hawkes and Hunt nobly tackle the physical demands their roles require.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    About a Son is essentially a dead rock star talking about his life for an hour and a half, and—here, jacket-blurbers!—it's deeply moving.
  62. Nolan, withholding master of disorientation in his previous non-linear films, allows far too easy access into the psychic tumult of Al Pacino's cop and Robin Williams's prime suspect.
  63. The images of the style as it evolves, and especially those that fill the last 15 minutes of "Tattoo", are so beautiful and often majestic that they overshadow the film's small shortcomings.
  64. The kitsch is back in full bloom.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For his part, Jack works it out onstage, in some of the most subtly shot and well-recorded concert footage ever from a band not named the Rolling Stones.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Confident and brash, Lagaan may be high-concept New Bollywood, but it plays like well-crafted Old Hollywood.
  65. Sorrentino's languorous photography, understated humor, and quiet but profound dramatic reveals coil together into something organic, whole, and achingly sweet.
  66. At once monumental and ghostly.
  67. Far from a maxim-expounding sermon, the film is a fresh spring of irrational visual pleasure.
  68. For the most part, the Coens' is a highly enjoyable yarn, stocked with pungent bushwa and a full panoply of frontier bozos.
  69. Like all good documentaries, Iris is about much more than what we see on the surface, no matter how dazzling that surface may be.
  70. For all the distractions and gags, Inside Out argues a more complex idea: that sometimes, Sadness deserves to steer, and that as we age, our happy memories deepen when tinted a wistful blue.
    • 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.
  71. Cure has a generic resemblance to "Seven," but it's far more oblique, and that much more troubling.
  72. The movie's best moments evoke the thrill of doing something new. Pollock convincingly retails the beauty and originality of the painter's best work -- it may not be an intellectual adventure, but it does represent one.
  73. Possibly the most Rorschachian film of all time, a symbol-only text that effortlessly conforms to any political present, and finds a foothold in your social sphere whether you're a free radical or reactionary wing nut.
  74. For its 80 minutes, the movie creates the illusion that not just Tati but his form of cerebral slapstick lives.
  75. Director Levan Gabriadze is adept at the sinking something's not right creepiness too few horror films dig into. His techniques are certain to be copy-pasted by imitators.
  76. A work of leisurely development and tragic inevitability.
  77. Change may be elusive, Optimists confirms, but the will to make it blazes.
  78. Those who groan that the writer-director has made another indulgent film about the obscenely privileged have overlooked Coppola's redoubtable gifts at capturing milieu, languor, and exacting details.
  79. Richard Linklater's Bernie is the rarest of rarities: a truly unexpected film. It might be classified as a black comedy, for it deals with the murder of an 81-year-old woman in a fashion that is not exactly tragic.
  80. It's a small, unassuming movie grasping at whole-hog homo psychopathicus, with its feet planted squarely in Texan grave dirt and its head lost in the ether of Christian derangement.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is Iron Curtain porn at its most shameless--a rousing industrial rock song plays in the background every time Schlöndorff wants to invoke the Spirit of Labor--but Thalbach's Agnieszka is irresistible.
  81. Séraphine's dependence on her patron--a cultivated but emotionally detached homosexual, who knew a fellow outsider when he saw one but came and went in her life without warning--is almost as unbearably moving as her inevitable unraveling--when money and fame cut the artist off from her creative wellsprings and drove her over the edge.
  82. Racing handheld camerawork and a pulsing rock score energize Roque's bargaining and bribing for the sake of changing an institution's antiquated customs.
  83. Extremely violent guilty pleasure of a thriller.
  84. With Hadewijch, he (Dumont) endorses something like the Dardenne brothers' rugged, squalid secular humanism, offering the barrier-breaking embrace as vague alternative to Despair, Church, or Capital.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The terrific documentary 12th & Delaware gets its name from a volatile intersection in a small Florida town: On one side of the street is an abortion clinic, while on the other sits a pro-life facility that counsels pregnant women to keep their unborn children while encouraging protesters to harass the neighbor's business.
  85. Without condescension, Debrauwer offers comic glimpses into their separate dreams of grandeur, but he lets Pauline's touching simplicity unite them.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There is magic in these intimate passion plays, which are filled with sloppy, loving detail and are mounted without a hint of pretension. Each banal moment becomes achingly gorgeous, not least because of Spiteri's disarmingly straightforward performance.
  86. Takes us inside the consciousness and the coded masculine world of a single character.

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