Village Voice's Scores

For 7,714 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 6.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 54
Highest review score: 100 The Dark Knight
Lowest review score: 0 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Score distribution:
7,714 movie reviews
  1. "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.
  2. A work of great charm and bold aesthetic impurity, Agnès Varda's Cinévardaphoto is a suite of documentary shorts.
  3. Amid the muddy scrubbery of the camp and its hinterland surroundings, Ghobadi catches some striking compositions.
  4. The movie has the addictive episodic intimacy of great TV.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a perfectly realized grace note whose lack of any obvious message only reinforces the movie's abundant wisdom and patient humanism.
  5. The film is a model of precision and economy, from the scrupulous framing and editing to the dryly note-perfect performances.
  6. Steamboy doesn't have the deep melancholia or the visionary élan of last year's Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Consistent in its graphic invention from first to last, however, it's a sensationally designed piece of work. (The retro stylistics are comparable to Brazil, David Lynch's Dune, and The Iron Giant.)
  7. Chow manages to have his cake and eat it too: Kung Fu Hustle is a kung fu parody that's also a terrific kung fu movie.
  8. This delightfully sensual documentary gets inside the artist's creative process while also treating viewers to glorious music by the likes of Wagner and Satie.
  9. Chilling and thoroughly engrossing documentary.
  10. Soberly entertaining documentary.
  11. The final scene is as close to perfection as any Amerindie has come in recent memory--in a single reaction of Marnie's, we see a small but definite shift in perspective; abruptly, Bujalski stops the film, as if there's nothing more to say. It's a wonderful parting shot for a movie that locates the momentous in the mundane.
  12. Not the least remarkable thing about this deadpan, deceptively haphazard ensemble comedy, a movie as much choreographed as directed, is the way that--at the final moment--the mist simply evaporates.
  13. With remarkable directness and composure, it shatters the myth of childhood innocence and the deathless taboo of prepubescent sexuality.
  14. Its title an acknowledgment of the reality of evil, Shake Hands With the Devil touches on the unanswerable hows and whys, but its ultimate subject is the terrible burden of command.
  15. An all-access fan's valentine as artfully scrappy and likably wide-eyed as its subjects.
  16. Having emerged from his new German cinema heyday as one of the world's most guileless and original documentary filmmakers, Herzog has slowly been crafting a four-dimensional fresco of the planet, its most human-resistant landscapes, and our dubious dramas in confronting the chaos.
  17. Pitch-perfect performances and a light-handed but razor-sharp script keep this satire brisk and biting.
  18. Exquisitely understated.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Weisberg, whose stripped-down style seems refreshing amid the current spate of super-produced docs, gives you what you want, if what you want are dismally deferred American Dreams and harsh economic realities. And you should.
  19. Like "Blissfully Yours" and Apichatpong's first feature, the exquisite-corpse road movie "Mysterious Object at Noon" (2000), Tropical Malady promotes new ways of seeing.
  20. On a first viewing, the movie seemed a dilution of the formal strategies Jia had perfected-at once less dispassionate and less empathetic. After a repeat viewing, it still strikes me as Jia's fourth-best film (that it's one of the year's best says plenty about the level at which he's working), but it's more apparent that The Worl d's muffled emotional impact should be understood as a function of its setting.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a stunning sight inside this notorious jail compound, which is better known for violence and corruption.
  21. It's an exhilaratingly decentered tale, with the perspective shifting around so there's no character with whom we totally identify throughout.
  22. Broad and pleasantly idealistic, and the evident ardor for 150-year-old graphics (especially Dore's Ancient Mariner masterstrokes) is hard to argue with. But is it a movie or the best-designed episode of "Nova" ever?
  23. An engrossing quartet of hour-long films by British documentarian Adam Curtis, doesn't so much challenge Freud's theories of the unconscious as shadow them through the corridors of corporate and political power. What emerges is nothing less than a history of 20th-century social control.
  24. Just as fabulously cartoon-Gothic as "Sleepy Hollow."
  25. 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Subtle, elegant documentary.
  26. It's rare that a documentary conveys an artist's worldview so compellingly, but then Glennie is no ordinary musician.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A love letter to New Orleans, Make It Funky! reminds us of what has been lost in the flood, and of an artistic spirit that will never dissipate.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Akira Kurosawa once said that Toshiro Mifune could give him in three feet of film the emotion any other actor would take 10 to deliver, but in a single flash of Fonda's electric turquoise orbs, Leone (Kurosawa's first and sincerest flatterer-imitator) managed to say as much about John Ford, the devil, and the corruptions of the Way Out Western world as the genre ever would.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Wolfe's anecdotal musicology succeeds precisely because of its bare-bones, bawdy yet beautiful approach--just like the music Vargas makes.
  27. Tender, cruel, and very funny, Baumbach's fourth feature turns family history into a sort of urban myth.
  28. Good Night, and Good Luck's primary handicap is history itself -- the toe-to-toe televised dialogue between McCarthy and Murrow was, however arguably vital to the Wisconsin senator's eventual retreat, brief and less than epochal. Even so, the wonderfully mustered context wins out.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    This latest and biggest installment is a whimsical success of a very high order: The pace never lags, the invention is incessant, and it makes you want to have a bite of cheese afterward.
  29. 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.
  30. The Passenger is a relic of that moment in international co-production when famous European auteurs hitched their wagons to hip and eager Hollywood stars.
  31. A black-blooded hoot.
  32. From the cast and location to the attitude and premise, many things in The Ice Harvest are inescapably reminiscent of the Coen brothers. But as a director, Ramis is far less flashy and not nearly as pleased with himself. This is one of the most sustained movies of the year, as classic in its structure as "Double Indemnity" or "No Exit."
  33. Given the large cast, the international hopscotch, and the tantalizing illusion of depth, the movie's tone is "Frontline" meets John le Carré. Compared to the complacence of something like "The Interpreter," it's a regular brain tickler.
  34. The Power of Nightmares is essentially polemical. As partisan filmmaking it is often brilliant and sometimes hilarious-a superior version of "Syriana" (which also prudently subtracts Israel and the Palestinians from the Middle East equation).
  35. This evocative film is a poignant testament to the twin forces of love (however blighted) and the unconscious.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    At times, the film plays like an extended infomercial for John's new company, Angelic Organics, but the agrarian fantasy is so compelling here that the revitalization of the American family farm begins to seem not just possible, but probable.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Recaps and effectively mythologizes this nugget of modern folklore in brief interviews with Young and a band of old reliables, including Spooner Oldham, Grant Boatwright, and Ben Keith.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A multi-perspectival film vastly superior to "Crash," Vladan Nikolic's dynamic thriller Love reinvigorates a stale cinematic format and imparts a compelling message all without a single head-on collision.
  36. Promiscuously inhabiting several planes at once, Reygadas's restless inquisition may already be this year's movie to beat.
  37. A life so tragically and quickly extinguished presents maudlin temptations, but director Marc Rothemund ably resists them. His gripping, moving film focuses on a breathtakingly brief five-day period.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While Little Fish takes a turn for the generic in its final act, solid acting, an atmospheric soundtrack, and flare-filled cinematography more beautiful than an Apple screensaver are enough to keep the film afloat.
  38. 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This picture remains faithful to the underlying affability of both Chappelle and Gondry, orchestrating a feel-good homestyle vibe that, while peppered with moments of sly political commentary, never harshes its own, slightly bittersweet mellow.
  39. Our Brand Is Crisis manages to be remarkably suspenseful.
    • 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.
  40. While the acting ensemble is crucial, it's not the only asset here.
  41. Above all, this is an action film--or, better, a transaction film. It's not just that the Dardennes orchestrate an exciting motor scooter purse-snatching and a prolonged hot pursuit. L'Enfant is an action film because every act that happens is shown to have a consequence.
  42. Jeff Feuerzeig's tremendous documentary runs on the motive force of intelligent fandom and radiates an ineffable grace.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Caveh Zahedi's one-of-a-kind movie--a funny, inventive, ground-shifting hybrid of essay film, mea culpa, and pathological real-life romantic farce--aims for truth by wrecking its own verisimilitude.
  43. It seems almost incontestably...the most gorgeously photographed film ever made. [23 March 1999]
  44. Best understood as a memorial…Like most memorials, it is respectful, premised on competing obligations to the dead and the living, and eager to stress that the deaths were not in vain. It not only tells us we should never forget but also illustrates how we should remember.
  45. The climactic Christmas Day dinner of dreadful retribution is a terrifying prospect, but for anyone with a yen for our great lost genre, it's also some sort of gift.
  46. A successful novelist and restrained actor's director, Carrére makes the transformation of a silly marital argument into a cosmic upheaval look easy, and profound as well.
  47. Cavite is such a shrewd melding of form and content that any seeming contradictions and shortcomings end up working to the film's advantage.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Spread the word: This delirious import is the most (maybe the only) fun action movie of the summer.
    • 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.
  48. Yamada's decidedly undazzling yet expressive filmmaking approaches classicism, from a sensei training session captured in one lengthy shot to the final showdown, seen with shifting points of view that suggest a relativist unease with the cut-and-dried judgments of war culture.
  49. The movie may not be a single-bound building-leaper but Bryan Singer reconfigures the daddy of all comic-book sagas into something knowing, witty, and even sensitive.
  50. Eschewing the jock-like aversion to "artiness" inherent in most sports docs, John Hyams's contemplative snapshot of professional bull riding, Rank, ups the ante for the form.
  51. Downey, who, having grasped that he's playing a cartoon character, delivers the most animated performance. (Midway through 2006, this supporting turn is the performance to beat in what seems the year's American movie to beat.)
  52. Cahiers-savvy cinephiles will recognize Fanfan as the type of handsome prestige production that the French New Wave overthrew in the early '60s, but this example of the "cinéma de qualité" is hardly a musty artifact, with its compact editing, its breezy and mischievous tone, and, in a country not yet a decade removed from the Nazi occupation, its acrid anti-militarism, clear from the ash-dry narration of the opening battle sequences onward.
  53. Lassie puts its trust in kids to be grown up, and appeals honestly (minus the usual knowing winks) to grown-ups by returning them to a state of childlike wonderment.
  54. 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 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The story of American punk rock (1980–1986) isn't a lot easier to summarize than that of any other major war, but it's quite a bit funnier, as this belated documentary overview--based on Steven Blush's like-titled tome--proves in each of its 90 exuberantly irritable minutes.
  55. If Old Joy is more laid-back and contemplative than "Mutual Appreciation," it's because the characters are more weathered. Open-ended as it may appear, it has a crushing finality. For all the wool-gathering and guitar-noodling, this road movie is at least as tender as it is ironic.
  56. Sweet, crazy, and tinged with sadness, Michel Gondry's new feature The Science of Sleep is a wondrous concoction.
  57. More fun than any movie about the violent death of a 36-year-old woman has a right to be. It's also as exotic an English-language picture as the season is likely to bring.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    No mere Western-guilt-inducing harangue, this highly informative documentary by British brothers Marc and Nick Francis is a model of patient storytelling.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The film is no maudlin pity-fest: It's an absorbing account of fraternal love and obsession, as Stephen's brother assembles a "guerrilla science" foundation to find a cure when no one else will.
  58. Berg by no means excuses Father O'Grady, but she offers evidence of a devastating childhood that explains his pathology. For the ambitious creeps who allowed him to indulge it, and who still sit in office, there's no excuse.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    These are men who know of what they speak; they're also eloquent, erudite, and funny as hell.
  59. [Goldthwait] handles it beautifully, crafting from such rough stuff something astoundingly sweet and sharply funny about forgiveness, unconditional love, tenderness, and the things we hide just to get ourselves from one day to the next.
  60. Nelson has fashioned a compelling movie around an unfathomable mystery. To see Jones's face, eyes hidden behind trademark aviator shades, is to experience the last shock in Psycho. His is the blank stare of living death.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sandra Hüller, a young German stage actress making a harrowing feature debut, invests Michaela's terrified, possibly schizophrenic outbursts with unholy conviction.
  61. A terrific movie in the Antonioni tradition, Climates confirms 47-year-old Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan as one of the world's most accomplished filmmakers--handling the end of a relationship and the cloud of human confusion rising from its wreckage as if the subject had never before been attempted.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The real value of this film is its treasure trove of archival footage, rare clips that document this genius of an artist as a young man.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Following a hardworking, goodhearted man as life beats the hell out of him, this documentary is moving almost to the point of exploitation.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The film version of The History Boys is a lesser thing, more fixed in space and time and rendered almost unbearably "cinematic" in patches by Hytner's gymnastic camerawork. Yet the ideas and feelings of the piece remain so rich that it almost doesn't matter.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Waters's best bits are nostalgic, as he remembers his late friend and frequent collaborator Divine. Part memoir, part lecture, This Filthy World reaffirms what most of us already know from "The Wire": In a town full of delightful misfits, Waters may be Baltimore's sanest citizen.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Condon grasps what has eluded most of his contemporaries: Anyone can give us the old razzle-dazzle, but what makes a movie musical soar is nothing more or less than the quiet exhilaration of two individuals on the screen, enraptured by song.
  62. Like his equally father-fixated, and equally wonderful, 2003 film "Lost Embrace," Burman's beguiling tribute to his Jewish father -- or, for all I know, the one he wishes he had -- is warm and deep enough to give humanism a good name.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Maurice, the protagonist of Venus, is a suit lovingly tailored to O'Toole's ravaged but commanding frame.
  63. Notes on a Scandal, brilliantly adapted by Patrick Marber from the darkly comic Zo Heller novel, is a grim piece of work -- "Fatal Attraction" for the art-house crowd, shorn of its predecessor's fearful misogyny.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The effect is not unlike a Terrence Malick "Real Sex" episode -- only Bruno thwarts any viewer who craves titillation in a plain brown wrapper of moral outrage.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Nothing is too crazed, corny, or freakishly florid for Tears of the Black Tiger. The debut of writer-director Wisit Sasanatieng is a delightfully unabashed affair, conceived in such good, giddy spirits it might have been called "Blissfully Yours."
  64. Alberto Lattuada's tricky-to-parse Mafioso dates from 1962 but, with its abrupt tonal shifts and disturbing existential premise, this nearly forgotten dark comedy could be the most modern (or at least modernist) movie in town.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If the film shows that few men are as unreasonable as Ralph Nader, it also shows that few have so succeeded in shaping their world: His legacy of progressive legislation will affect generations to come.
  65. This is a spy movie bereft of the genre's usual, casual kicks. It's not interested in cheap thrills or playing gotcha with the audience. (Which isn't to say parts of it aren't exhilarating.)
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Like Jean-Pierre Melville's recently rediscovered "Army of Shadows," The Wind That Shakes the Barley possesses the soul of an anti-war movie and the style of a thriller.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Shooter is a generically titled studio action picture that turns out to be a surprisingly deft satire about Americans' loss of faith in their government following the 2000 election, the 9/11 attacks, and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    My long strums are pretty f---ing tight," gushes one faux-ax-stroker in this slick, hilarious, and at times even suspenseful ode to competitive mock-rock and/or the further decline of Western civ.

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