Village Voice's Scores

For 10,570 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 40% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 56% 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: 57
Highest review score: 100 Little Fugitive (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 How to Rob a Bank
Score distribution:
10570 movie reviews
  1. Haneke remains, by his rules, infallible. So what? A movie in which incident is as spare as it is in Amour can certainly be great; a movie in which ideas and feelings are so sparse cannot.
  2. Far too often, though, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly feels grotesquely calculated, especially the more Schnabel ratchets up the inspirational platitudes of exactly the sort that Bauby--who maintained an acerbic sense of humor about his situation until the very end--would have despised.
  3. It's too bad that the film is sporadically crude (a moment of suicidal angst is illustrated with a shove-zoom to the pavement), prone to mega-Italian extroversion, and far too in love with stupid pet tricks.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Viewers must get in touch with their inner child to fall for Belle's eventual love for Beast. The film seems somewhat aware of this, casting an ambiguous hue on its happily-ever-after conclusion.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    E.T. is a dog movie. Genre-wise, I mean. It's about a boy meeting a dog, naming it, taming it, learning from it, and growing up. Of course, the genre is superficially disguised as science fiction, as was the fashion at the time. [2002 re-release]
  4. Her
    Instead of just being desperately heartfelt, Her keeps reminding us — through cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema's somber-droll camera work, through Phoenix's artfully slumped shoulders — how desperately heartfelt it is.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz proves Andrew's point by gathering so much talent into one theater that the stage buckles and the subject drops out of sight.
  5. McDormand could have carried this film all the way through a minefield of touchy topics, singed but with all parts in the right place, primed for a painful laugh. But goddamnit if the cops in this story didn’t ruin all the fun.
  6. A combination of "Barnyard Follies" and "Schindler's List."
  7. It soon becomes evident just how inane a film this is.
  8. For better or worse, the movie does for Chauvet what Baudrillard complained an on-site replica did for Lascaux-render the real thing false.
  9. Increasingly unconvincing, In the Bedroom turns genteel rabble-rouser. Field's leisurely buildup forestalls but doesn't prevent his movie's mutation into a granola "Death Wish."
  10. Initial strangeness inexorably gives way to rote sentimentality and mystical tenderness becomes narrative expedience.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Facile pop psychology is the real tragedy here, a double disappointment given the film's smart take on pop culture.
  11. Bland and nasty, American Beauty has the slightly stale feel of a family sitcom conceived under the spell of "Married . . . With Children."
  12. There's never enough information.
  13. Watching The Salesman, I can’t help but feel that this is the first time Farhadi’s mastery of the particular is undercut by the artificiality with which he’s treated the general. He remains one of the world’s foremost filmmakers, but this time around, his expertise and artistry are undone by phoniness.
  14. Seems like a TV movie. A well-written, sympathetically acted TV movie, to be sure, but so timid and clumsy in its deployment of picture, sound, and editing that you have to wonder if executive producer Martin Scorsese bothered to give notes.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    Still enigmatic is the figure of Shackleton himself. The film conveys his remarkable leadership without explaining (beyond a because-it's-there romanticism) what would compel such a journey in the first place.
  15. Neither a debacle nor a bore, The Departed works but only up to a point, and never emotionally--even if the director does contrive to supply his version of a happy ending.
  16. Begs the question: Did the lads from Squatney trail the zeitgeist at every turn, or were cobandleaders David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel simply in touch with their past and ahead of their time?
  17. It's this strategy (however unconscious), and not simply a lack of directing talent, that makes Hedwig so relentlessly assaultive, heavy-handed, and emotionally monochromatic.
  18. Elaborate exercise in frustration.
  19. Her documentary sporadically locates profound truth amid its myriad musings about the momentous and the everyday. Often, however, Anderson's hushed-tone articulations of her thoughts on these subjects prove affected, and her stream-of-consciousness style, though acutely constructed, is more alienating than inviting.
  20. Desperately avoiding the risk of even a half-second of boredom, the movie is wall-to-window-to-door noise, babbling, and jokes.
  21. “Every love story is a ghost story,” David Foster Wallace wrote more than once. That evocative observation is probed in David Lowery’s A Ghost Story, a film that occasionally reaches a similar level of eloquence.
  22. It left me cold. The pathos is as unearned as the protagonist's privilege.
  23. Even as dystopian dramas go, the picture is arid and lusterless in its more serious moments and unpleasantly kitschy when it tries to soar over the top.
  24. Visconti's film remains a Euro-culture touchstone, though not nearly as convincing or visually stunning as its reputation insists.
  25. Undeniably high-powered. At 153 minutes, it's also punishingly overlong.
  26. The Witch purports, at times, to confront ignorance and hysteria, but in the end, for horror thrills, Eggers's film sides with the preachers and executioners. It literalizes the fevered terrors of our God-mad ancestors — and then brags that it's all steeped in research.
  27. As much as I enjoy Spidey's high-flying Cheez-Doodle swoops through the skyscraper canyons of a digitally rearranged midtown Manhattan, I get no kick from his angst, especially since in this incarnation, as opposed to the '60s comic book version, he's more innocuously depressed than defensively paranoid.
  28. Despite the movie's title and Bening's central role, women are oddly peripheral.
  29. Michôd wants a Greek epic but doesn't have the material. Animal Kingdom is a work of obvious ambition, and seeing a debut filmmaker swing for the fences like this is its own kind of moviehead satisfaction.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Perfunctorily mounted as a children's adventure, Hugo is weirdly staid in its pacing, and the screenplay, by Scorsese's "Aviator" collaborator John Logan, is full of groaners. The movie is far more successful as a barely veiled issue flick.
  30. Up in the Air goes down like a sedative. This is a movie that's easy to like--and to dislike as well.
  31. Mitchell's unwillingness to define the parameters of the specter haunting Jay leads to a finale that's muddled and confusing, and definitely not scary.
  32. The film never finds a confident tone: it's pitched as a satire, but seems to have no real targets.
  33. Creed wants all of the Rocky drama but invests in none of the smarts.
  34. This is powerful reportage, beautifully shot and gracefully laid out; too bad that Kendall ties it all up with more deep thoughts from the bus itself, thoughts that sound like outtakes from a TED Talk on the interconnectedness of all living things.
  35. [The] conversation peters out as the film grinds on, the men getting competitive and the camera nosing into their faces. Everyone involved sifts the material a little too hard for clues to Wallace's eventual suicide.
  36. Duma turns out to be surprisingly flat, with little of the child's-eye imagery that gave "The Black Stallion" its poetic thrust and too much of the narrative gear-grinding that grounded stretches of "Fly Away Home."
  37. Downfall may be grimly self-important and inescapably trivializing. But we should be grateful that German cinema is more inclined to normalize the nation's history than rewrite it.
  38. Increasingly muddled, cumulatively monotonous, would-be heartwarming, Three Kings becomes its own entertainment allegory -- searching, Hollywood style, for the point at which blatant self-interest can turn humanitarian, while still remaining profitable.
  39. A middlebrow domestic drama beating its wings against an experimental frame.
  40. It's hard not to wish that Chicago had taken place inside a more imaginative head.
  41. Waking Life doesn't leave you in a dream, specifically the dream of Linklater's previous films, so much as it traps you in an endless bull session.
  42. Villeneuve's proven he's got a strong punch. The trouble is, he barely aims.
  43. The film's length may well be intended to mirror the 72-day ordeal, but it's relentlessly wearing and lacking in nutritive fiber.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Even when transparently plumbing for depth, Cianfrance's film is frustratingly surface-bound in ways that reflect, if not out-and-out misogyny, then at least a lack of interest in imbuing his female character with the rich interior life and complicated morality he gives his male lead.
  44. This is an exercise in civility -- a tasteful "Boy's Life" adventure with plenty of boys aboard to express their appreciation.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Shallow, very officially sanctioned, and overly compressed, The Power of Song plays like a PBS infomercial for the inevitable DVD box set, which will surely include even more archival footage.
  45. What director Knight excels at is continually inventive framing and composition, at suggesting, through layers of window and reflected traffic, the mental state of Locke, the hero.
  46. Undeniably long, Panavision-wide, but of questionable depth.
  47. Haimes seems less interested in examining this unfamiliar world and the people involved than in shoving them into feel-good platitudes about following your dreams.
  48. Juliet is never less than eye-catching, but is rarely more.
  49. Jarvis gives a ferociously persuasive performance in an otherwise routine tale of domestic disaster.
  50. Terence Davies revisits his youth to decidedly mixed effect.
  51. Consuming Spirits is overlong. A dystopian T.S. Eliot once said, "Humankind cannot bear too much reality," maybe even in a cartoon.
  52. To be bewildered by Upstream Color is to be human; the story is obtuse by design, though the filmmaking is X-Acto precise. But it's a bloodless movie, and its ideas aren't as tricky or complex as Carruth's arch, mannered approach might suggest.
  53. The General is a refined, traditional movie about a character who is never more traditional than when he imagines himself outside the law. It’s a great paradox, but it barely comes alive on the screen.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    To this viewer and reader, the decade-old juggernaut is as deeply felt as it is flawed, dense and illogical and laudably "weird."
  54. The movie is visually flat: not pasty and garish in the Waters signature style, but merely serviceable and competent in the worst tradition of Hollywood "professionalism."
  55. The time-outs from wisecracking -- invariably, to impart a simplistic self-esteem lesson or two -- feature the most awkward silences you're likely to endure in a comedy routine.
  56. For King Kong is an accountant's movie at heart. Given the excessive length and bombastic F/X, there's too much action and precious little poetry.
  57. Unrelentingly mundane, as if made with the sole purpose of draining the topic of adultery of any prurient interest.
  58. When they devote most of their film to the horrors wrought by humanity and barely ten minutes to their solutions, and when those solutions are all about mitigating problems, it's hard to feel anything but despondent.
  59. In the end, Right Now, Wrong Then is a two-piece puzzle that's less than the sum of its parts.
  60. There's something dull and evasive at the film's center--for one thing, contrary to its festival buzz, Bad Education tiptoes around the issue of priesthood pedophilia; lovelorn gazes are as desperate as it gets.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Manic as it might be stylistically, emotionally Silver Linings Playbook maintains too even of a keel. It's a film about the alienated that makes sure to alienate no one, a movie depicting wild mood extremes that never rises or falls above a dull hum of diversion, never exploding into riotous comedy or daring to be devastatingly sad.
  61. Guggenheim's insistence on not engaging with the injustices that children of certain races and classes face outside of school makes his reiteration of the obvious-that "past all the noise and the debate, nothing will change without great teachers"-seem all the more willfully naïve.
  62. The Martian is only partly a story about a man in peril; it's mostly a story about men (and a few women) taking control of the uncontrollable. It's confident, swaggering sci-fi, not the despairing kind. That may be why, as elaborate and expensive-looking as The Martian is, it's almost totally lacking in poetry.
  63. The movie satisfies for an hour, but never quite persuades that its subject is worth two.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    I've seen The Queen of Versailles twice, and both times the audience laughed frequently at the Siegel family's sheer tackiness.
  64. Nawal's travails are more in the vein of a Latin American soap opera than Greek tragedy, and Jeanne and Simon's climactic, genuinely god-awful discovery plays like artistic sleight-of-hand rather than the profoundly tautological revelation it aspires to be.
  65. Has a customarily jovial air but a deficit of flim-flam inventiveness.
  66. In yet another roundelay that, like "Crash" and "Heights," follows the "Short Cuts" template of cosmic interconnection.
  67. The plot has many twists, few surprises, and one gaping hole, which becomes apparent only after you walk out of the theater and have a chance to think. But pure popcorn like this is hardly worthy of serious analysis...Fortunately, the stars have not lost their charm and authority.
  68. Like the film, Pai's character is muddily conceived and ill-focused, but the coltish, tremulously delicate Castle-Hughes is a hypnotic camera subject.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Co-directors Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell have done a commendable job of making Deep Water . . . well, not boring.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Like the shambling VW van its hapless characters steer from Albuquerque to Redondo Beach, Little Miss Sunshine is a rickety vehicle that travels mostly downhill.
  69. Miscast, misguided, and often nonsensical, Minority Report is nevertheless the most entertaining, least pretentious genre movie Steven Spielberg has made in the decade since "Jurassic Park."
  70. The Central Park Zoo is cheaper, you can walk away from the penguins after 10 minutes, and it has snow monkeys and beer.
  71. It may seem perverse to fault a movie for being too accurate, but when surface accuracy is coupled with tunnel vision about self and society the result is a wee bit irritating.
  72. Grand in its aims but tepid in its conclusions, A Most Violent Year burns slow and gives off very little heat. It's not really that violent. But it sure feels like a year.
  73. It's a powerful idea in the abstract, the culmination of three acts that cover a 25-year catastrophe with a time-lapse breathlessness. It just never leaves the abstract and becomes flesh.
  74. Christmas, Again is a low hum of a downer, but maybe that's appropriate.
  75. A modestly satisfying tale of sisterly love weighed down by a history of family betrayal and mendacity.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The director is at his best portraying the dingy dorms and vivid idealism of college life; his film stalls when it meanders away from these particulars toward a sweeping but empty attempt at the epic.
  76. It plays as a "Rocky"-fied fairy tale for our time: Consigned to Palookaville, a sweet, unassuming boxer with more heart than brains steps up-all the way to the top of the world.
  77. Anyone expecting the decorous serenity of the Ang Lee film should be aware that Iron Monkey strives for no more or less than comic-strip thwack and thump.
  78. McCarthy unquestionably means well, but he's made one of those incredibly naïve movies that gives liberals a bad name, and which does more to regress the sociopolitical discourse than advance it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Visually rich yet numbingly formulaic.
  79. The majority of American Honey has Arnold working overtime to make her movie seem important or scandalous.
  80. Life of Pi manages occasional spiritual wonder through its 3-D visuals but otherwise sinks like a stone.
  81. There's a human tragedy somewhere here-but aggrandized puppy-love romance and stylish revenge fantasy is all that lingers.
  82. Dialectical and precise to the point of exhaustion, The Law in These Parts applies a cold anger to one of the geopolitical world's most passionate discords.
  83. Not to discredit its wild artistry by saying the gimmick's the prize, but . . . the gimmick's the prize. Without all the hoopla, there simply isn't enough variation to this stylized fever-dream to justify its fatiguing running time, nor to call it anything less than predictably Maddin–esque.
  84. But Monsters, Inc. -- directed by Pixar soldier Pete Docter, not by master digital comic John Lasseter -- turns out to be stingy on context, commentary, and the prism-ing view of pop culture that made the earlier films mint.
  85. Hilary and Jackie tries far too hard to dictate emotional involvement right out of the gate, and you're left counting off the doom-laden cues for things that are sure to return full circle.

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