Village Voice's Scores

For 8,278 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 37% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 59% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 7.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 Holy Motors
Lowest review score: 0 And Now a Word from Our Sponsor
Score distribution:
8,278 movie reviews
  1. To cut to the chase, Robert Bresson's heart-breaking and magnificent Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) -- the story of a donkey's life and death in rural France -- is the supreme masterpiece by one of the greatest of 20th-century filmmakers.
  2. Extraordinary, groundbreaking documentary.
  3. Voyage to Italy is close to watching actual strangers suffer loneliness despite being together. It can leave an aching bruise, but only if you're paying attention.
  4. If Secret can leave the viewer despairing, it's also hugely inspiring, thanks to Mino. She's one of the cinematic heroines of the year.
  5. The Leopard is the greatest film of its kind made since World War II—its only rivals are Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" and Visconti's own "Senso."
  6. Bertolucci's masterpiece--made when he was all of 29--will be the most revelatory experience a fortunate pilgrim will have in a theater this year is a foregone conclusion.
  7. Boyhood had the curious effect of making me feel lost, uneasy, a little alone in the inexorable march forward — and also totally, emphatically alive.
  8. Bergman locates a generosity and élan that make F&A feel like his youngest film.
  9. Laughton understood Agee's proximity to Grimm vaudeville, and fashioned the most intensely expressionistic movie of its day.
  10. Rich in detail, vivid in characterization, leisurely in exposition, this 207-minute epic is bravura filmmaking -- a brilliant yet facile synthesis of Hollywood pictorialism, Soviet montage, and Japanese theatricality that could be a B western transposed to Mars.
    • Village Voice
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It has come to serve as a solemn metaphor for remembrance, as well as for butt-numbing endurance.
  11. It's here that Melville fully achieved his notion of the sublime, applying "Le Samouraï's" "empty" compositions and near theatrical blocking, as well as its methodical suspense, cosmic fatalism, and sense of grim solitude, to a subject far closer to his heart, namely his own World War II experiences.
  12. Casually racist and inordinately sexist, Pépé le Moko is best enjoyed for its offhand surrealism.
  13. Literally and figuratively marvelous, a rich, daring mix of fantasy and politics.
  14. The greatest of all pulp fantasies.
  15. It’s a classic espionage plot shot through with a typically heady mix of art and literary references: Klee and Velázquez, Bach and Haydn, Bernanos and Musil.
  16. A vivid exercise in hokum that more or less invented the idea of French film noir...and not just for Americans.
  17. Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu's brilliantly discomfiting second feature is one long premonition of disaster.
  18. 12 Years a Slave works so hard to be noble, but it doesn't have to: Ejiofor is there to do all the heavy lifting.
  19. However familiar, it delivers like a shorted slot machine.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Robin Hood is movie pageantry at its best, done in the grand manner of silent spectacles, brimming over with the sort of primitive energy that drew people to the movies in the first place.
  20. 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
  21. The hard-charging originality of the screenplay—the equivalent of turning "The Hot Zone" into a Farrelly comedy—suggests a deficient legacy of credit to Terry Southern's corner.
  22. Ratatouille is as much a feast for the senses as it is food for thought.
  23. No previous rocksploitation film had ever done so splendid a job of selling its performers.
  24. Gravity is harrowing and comforting, intimate and glorious, the kind of movie that makes you feel more connected to the world rather than less.
  25. Remains Chaplin's most sustained burlesque of authority.
  26. Like nearly every other Kiarostami film, Close-Up takes questions about movies and makes them feel like questions of life and death.
  27. Corny as that is, the film's nadir comes when Zuckerberg's pretty young lawyer comforts him (or us) with the mealy-mouthed observation, "You're not an asshole, Mark. You're just trying so hard to be one."
  28. It's a sensational performance by Chastain...She's a most unlikely leading lady, pale and slight of stature, with a raging mane of strawberry blond hair, but she holds the screen with a feral intensity, an obsessive's self-possession.
  29. What's fascinating is how the various issues - religious or practical - are played out in these two quite different families, yet always come down to irreconcilable differences between rebellious women and their stiff-necked, controlling men.
  30. Before Midnight—visually stunning, in a late-summer way—is more vital and cutting than another recent marriage picture, Michael Haneke's old-folks-together death march Amour; it has none of Amour's tasteful restraint, and in the end, it says more about the nature of long-term love.
  31. A very nutty fruitcake, Spirited Away is characterized by wonderfully detailed animation, packed with incident and populated by all manner of comic creatures.
    • 94 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.
  32. Killer of Sheep is an urban pastoral--an episodic series of scenes that are sweet, sardonic, deeply sad, and very funny.
  33. A full-throttle body shock of a movie. It gets inside you like a virus, puts your nerves in a blender, and twists your guts into a Gordian knot.
  34. Paley's beguiling, consistently inventive visuals and sly yet melancholy tone are about as warm and winning as heartbreak-fueled empowerment gets.
  35. A film that's both breathtakingly majestic and heartbreakingly intimate.
  36. A prototype of news-footage realism, the film makes shrewd use of handheld sloppiness, misjudged focus, overexposure, and you-are-there camera upset; the payoff is the scent of authentic panic.
  37. 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.
  38. Jack and Miles are male archetypes, as well as the two most fully realized comic creations in recent American movies.
  39. A simple, powerful act of bearing witness, We Were Here is a sober reminder of the not-too-distant past, when gays were focused not on honeymoon plans but on keeping people alive.
  40. In short, this Krakatoa is at once exhausting and riveting. It's a technological marvel, and for those not with the program, a bit of a bore.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Carlos is nevertheless a movie that one can somehow remember vividly for months. Much of this power is due to the whiplash widescreen cinematography (oft-mistaken for DV), the hopped-up editing, and, not least, Ramirez's aptly arrogant, fully transfixing, Method-style turn.
  41. 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.
  42. One of the best titles in movie history and a cast to match.
  43. Mixing techniques as surely as it mixes class (graceful dolly shots are placed side by side with the handheld photography), the picture's clever formalist juxtapositions evoke the hysterical confusion of a culture in upheaval.
  44. 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.
  45. In one movie, at least, the ethical baseline (heisted, you could argue, from "Sweet Smell of Success") gave Fellini's roaming, cluttered mise-en-scène a chilling gravity he could never genuinely locate again.
  46. You either love it or you love it; in any case, Martin Scorsese's history-making scald is truly a phenomenon from another day and age.
  47. Porter's film is dramatic, unsettling, despairing, and in the end thrilling -- at some point, it grows from a portrait of this country's problems into a celebration of a possible solution.
  48. It seems almost incontestably...the most gorgeously photographed film ever made. [23 March 1999]
  49. Although the Coens are consummate craftsmen, they don't always show the lightness of touch or the depth of feeling they do here.
  50. Although dense with incident and motif, the movie has an effortless flow.
  51. 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.
  52. For anyone who loves language, this cut-and-thrust is a heady delight, so rich and free-flowing in its rhythms that it's hard to decide whether what we're seeing is a vérité-style documentary or a realist drama.
  53. What's most stunning about Raging Bull is the tension between 19th-century melodrama and 20th-century psychodrama, the narrative form brought into being by the conjunction of Freudian theory and the mechanics of the movie camera.
  54. 35 Shots is Denis's warmest, most radiant work, honoring a family of two's extreme closeness while suggesting its potential for suffocation.
  55. 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.
  56. Directed by anyone else, Masculine Feminine--one of three movies that Godard made in his peak year, 1966--would be a masterpiece. For the young JLG it's business as usual.
  57. One of the year's most hypnotic and fascinating films.
  58. This is truly a work of symphonic aspirations and masterful execution.
    • 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.
  59. 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.
  60. Jackson's adaptation is certainly successful on its own terms.
  61. A work of bravura filmmaking.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    TS3, like its predecessors, is a clever, engrossing adventure.
  62. This has to be the most richly entertaining movie anyone has ever made on the subject of female genital mutilation.
  63. The Rohmer touch consists of nonchalance and effortless sensuality, not just in the people, but also in the landscape, somehow even in the air.
  64. So elemental in its means yet so cosmic in its drama, it could herald a rebirth of cinema.
  65. The year's most ingenious and original animated feature.
  66. A work of leisurely development and tragic inevitability.
  67. 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.
  68. The movie's shake-and-bake mix of "reality" and crumbling subjectivity is too deliberate to be about character--it is, rather, a game of movieness, a masquerade of Grand Guignol–as-psyche, virtually a parody of the surrealist's notion of consciousness bagged and tagged on celluloid.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Based on an autobiographical novella by Portland "street poet" Walt Curtis, Mala Noche (1985) was the 33-year-old Van Sant's debut feature. Shot on 16mm for $25,000, it was the first of his bittersweet odes to tender outcasts and remains the simplest and least burdened.
  69. The film retains a measure of tempered hope, born not simply from the father's command-cum-wish to his slumbering offspring ("Don't become a miserable apple-polisher like me, boys"), but also from a final act of youthful compassion that binds Ozu's intensely human characters in glass-half-full solidarity.
  70. This wondrous, absorbing little picture covers a great deal of winding meta-territory, reflecting on the ways in which a single family's story can be told—or maybe, more accurately, examining the idea that there's no such thing as a "single story."
  71. A movie so tactile in its cinematography, inventive in its camera placement, and sensuous in its editing that the purposefully oblique and languid narrative is all but eclipsed.
  72. Ari Folman's broodingly original Waltz With Bashir -- one of the highlights of the last New York Film Festival -- is a documentary that seems only possible, not to mention bearable, as an animated feature.
  73. The most measured, classical film of their (Coen Brothers) 23-year career, and maybe the best.
  74. The existence of The Gatekeepers is its own chief statement. You don't get the sense that it's any easier for these men to question Israel's leadership from the safety of retirement.
  75. The film's genius is how completely it tunes in to his 
experience, delicately outlining Joey's private moments of shame, elation, despondency, and pride.
  76. The retro photos and footage are also bountiful and, natch, jazzily edited enough that the standard talking-head techniques are instantly forgivable.
  77. A magisterial film, but not quite a great one.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Sold to the global arthouse market as the "French Scorsese," Audiard does know his genre. A Prophet, the director has said, is the "anti-Scarface."
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In the end, the most interesting aspect of this quiet, sometimes frustrating, sometimes thrilling film is the way it teases out the intricate power structures that flourish even in as godforsaken (and lovely) a place as the Ozarks.
  78. Nothing can redeem the movie's final 40 minutes. That may not be an ultimate horror, but it is a real one.
  79. Bloody Sunday doesn't surrender its grip on the viewer even after the action shifts from the streets of Bogside to a local hospital where the weeping masses are still under the guns of the war-painted British soldiers.
  80. All told, and in giant widescreen, it's only blood-red adolescent fun, but it blooms like Douglas Sirk with a Gatling gun compared to the teenage demographic's current fare. Matrix, schmatrix: This is the season's supreme party movie.
  81. 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.
  82. The most pop film the great Russian filmmaker ever made.
  83. Watkins restages history in its own ruins, uses the media as a frame, and even so, manages to imbue his narrative with amazing presence. No less than the event it chronicles, La Commune is a triumph of spontaneous action.
  84. The subjects, plainspoken and insightful, attempt to extract the objective lessons of the political past from their subjective fortunes. This struggling to untie the personal-political knot makes for compelling oral history.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    Stuffed to the gills with surprises.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's a political statement, an act of defiance, a master class in one auteur's body of work and process, and a document of a life unseen. But above all, it's a gripping entertainment.
  85. Not only Mike Leigh's strongest film since "Naked" but a true show-making epic.
  86. The most offbeat studio comedy since "Rushmore."
  87. Summer sequelitis is upon us, but the season is unlikely to bring anything more remarkable than Richard Linklater's sweet, smart, and deeply romantic Before Sunset.
  88. Unfortunately, the delicious snatches of reflexive wit function as mere intermissions between the distended action sequences and Michael Bay–style megatonnage, which have earned Pixar its first ever PG rating.
  89. Panoramic yet cozy, enthusiastically glib.

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