Village Voice's Scores

For 8,727 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 6.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 Brazil
Lowest review score: 0 Followers
Score distribution:
8,727 movie reviews
  1. Present in every scene, if not each shot, Rourke gives a tremendously physical performance that The Wrestler essentially exists to document.
  2. The pacing and performances are more organic than in most horror.
  3. Bill and Turner Ross - the directors, producers, camera operators, and troublemakers behind Tchoupitoulas - could do posterity a service if they simply resigned themselves to replicating this one-night-in–New Orleans documentary for each of the world's great cities.
  4. Thoroughly transporting, the peacefulness and clarity of Cousin Jules can't help but reveal, by contrast, the restlessness and agitation too common to life today.
  5. Sometimes you just can't fight the funk; as much as you might resist the film's more maudlin scenes, not succumbing to the band's signature tune, "Head Wiggle," is impossible.
  6. Terence Davies revisits his youth to decidedly mixed effect.
  7. Consuming Spirits is overlong. A dystopian T.S. Eliot once said, "Humankind cannot bear too much reality," maybe even in a cartoon.
  8. 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The documentary Ballets Russes enacts its drama with a light editorial hand and unavoidable sentimentality, rather like a roll call of the NBA's "50 Greatest Players."
    • 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."
  9. Working alone with a camera and his ingenuity, Dennis captured the surreality of firefights with an invisible enemy and the frustration of displaced civilians.
  10. 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."
  11. Boldly facetious and monstrously clever.
  12. 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.
  13. Paranoid, hysterical, and programmatically subjective, the movie is in every sense a psychological thriller. Although the payoff is ambiguous, the experience remains in the mind. It's an absolutely restrained and truly frightening movie.
  14. 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.
  15. A deceptively simple film, gingerly peels layer after layer of sharp insights into the dynamics of familial love, using compassion and droll humor as its tools. Its strength is that it manages to tap genuine emotion without succumbing to sentimentality.
    • 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.
  16. Craig, excellent in both art house endeavors (The Mother, Enduring Love) and blockbuster think pieces (Munich), has both a nasty streak and a soft side never before seen in the series; Fleming would recognize him as most like his literary creation: damaged goods in a tailored tux.
  17. Inherent Vice isn't the towering masterpiece that those who admired There Will Be Blood and The Master were probably hoping for, and thank God for that. It's loose and free, like a sketchbook, though there's also something somber and wistful about it — it feels like less of a psychedelic scramble than the novel it's based on.
  18. This is an unsparing picture, one whose violence, though deftly handled, is bone-crunchingly rough. Yet its emotional contours are surprisingly delicate, thanks, in large part to O’Connell’s performance.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The latest in a long line of actors playing a "Woody Allen type" in a Woody Allen film, Wilson bends his own recognizably nasal Texan drawl into an exaggerated pattern of staccatos and glissandos that's obviously modeled on the writer/director's near-musical verbal cadences.
  19. In every way a sunny film. Supremely affirmative, it ends with the funniest, sexiest close-up of the year.
  20. Fast-paced feminist thriller and witty black comedy.
  21. Iranian director Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold is an anti-blockbuster--a deceptively modest undertaking that brilliantly combines unpretentious humanism and impeccable formal values.
  22. Beyond its rare visions of remote vistas, Camel's great charm lies in its seeming simplicity. The camera records the events of the day -- from a little girl's tears to an afternoon sandstorm -- with a childlike clarity and curiosity.
  23. Unrelentingly mundane, as if made with the sole purpose of draining the topic of adultery of any prurient interest.
  24. 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.
  25. 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."
  26. 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Paprika, based on a serialized novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, isn't a movie that's meant to be understood so much as simply experienced--or maybe dreamed.
  27. 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.
  28. You, the Living flips through 50-some single-panel vignettes, many very funny.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Feels like a timeless blast from the past.
  29. Norte tells a big story on a grand scale, but its emphasis, moment by moment, is on the quotidian. It's simplicity that resonates most deeply of all.
  30. The kind of movie fans will be quoting for the rest of their lives, Shoot Me, from director-producer Chiemi Karasawa, is as much a playdate as portrait, a jumble of salty highlights attesting to the pleasure of her company.
  31. 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.
  32. Perhaps because Herzog is approaching old-master status, Encounters at the End of the World skews toward the observational. As in "Grizzly Man," his 2005 portrait of a deranged bear lover, Herzog seems at least as fascinated with other people's obsessions as his own.
  33. Weaving numerous influences into a rich emotional tapestry, Alain Guiraudie's The King of Escape skillfully absorbs and updates its assertive cinematic forebears.
  34. 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.
  35. It's an often gut-wrenching viewing experience in which the triumphs of the hero are hard won.
  36. Appears strangely dated, and its unspecified location seems existentially hokey.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Burstein and Morgen take all this in from an unobtrusive middle distance, letting the subjects themselves slowly complicate the profusion of athletic and ghetto-real clichés that fly scattershot in the early going.
  37. Moormann's film transcends A&E hagiography, and Dowd's spry egoism and science-hipster joie de vivre provide piquant icing. Recalling trends, technical advances, artists, and landmark sessions (one where he suggests the rhythm for "Sunshine of Your Love"), Dowd conjures the excitement that helped coax so many iconic performances.
  38. Trembling throughout on the verge of a tearful breakdown, but far too dignified to allow her character to choke up, Williams delivers a sensationally nuanced performance that, were it not so resolutely undramatic, would constitute an aria of stoical misery.
  39. It's an exhilaratingly decentered tale, with the perspective shifting around so there's no character with whom we totally identify throughout.
  40. Exquisitely understated.
  41. An earnest, roughshod document, it serves as a workable primer for the region's recent history, and would make a terrific 10th-grade learning tool.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Expertly crafted documentary.
  42. My first impression of Three Times was that it was high middling Hou--conceptually bold but unevenly executed. The movie's implicit themes of time travel, eternal recurrence, and the transmigration of souls seemed as muddied by the director's devotion to Shu as they were dissipated in the confusion of the final present-day section. But Three Times improves on a second viewing.
  43. Oneiric as it is, though, Tony Takitani conveys a powerfully tangible sense of loss and loneliness. In both concrete and existential terms, it's a film that dwells on what the dead leave behind and how the living carry on.
  44. The movie satisfies for an hour, but never quite persuades that its subject is worth two.
  45. It's pure magic.
  46. Plenty of moments in Melancholia are painfully funny. Some moments are even painful to watch, but there was never a moment when I thought about the time or my next movie or did not care about the characters or had anything less than complete interest in what was happening on the screen.
  47. A triumph of documentary activism nine years in the making.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    Several sharp jolts give the doc its dramatic shape, and one episode in particular, caught with a neighbor's lens, will make you gasp with grief.
  48. Like a Hollywood dolt, Majidi strives to overwhelm us with emphasis, but it's the reality he was savvy to load his movie with that's touching.
  49. Has a customarily jovial air but a deficit of flim-flam inventiveness.
  50. An experience comparable to starting down the road with an empty sack then, over the course of the journey, having it weighed down steadily with rocks until you can't go on. But this backbreaking effect cannot be called an artistic failure. It is exactly what Tarr sets out to achieve.
  51. One of the year's best films, Mary Dore's She's Beautiful When She's Angry is an urgent, illuminating dive into the headwaters of second-wave feminism, the movement that — no matter what its detractors insist — has given us the world in which we live.
  52. A commanding indictment of the exploitative nature of geopolitics, and of Europe's and the U.S.'s abuse of native peoples around the world.
  53. This odd little wonder captures the delicate textures and shadowy half-secrets of family life, mapping them out in a mosaic of fragmented dialogue and half-poetic, half-prosaic images.
  54. Saraband doesn't ask to be considered prime-cut Bergman, and it isn't, although its slightness may not matter to the art-film starving class.
  55. A pop culture document for a mass audience.
  56. The hyperbole can be predictable and the clichés earnest, but by and large, Charlie is a serious, often illuminating, and unavoidably entertaining account of the creature Downey calls "the most endearing superhero you might ever want to watch."
  57. In yet another roundelay that, like "Crash" and "Heights," follows the "Short Cuts" template of cosmic interconnection.
  58. As the miners make clear, workers have no rights in this democracy that they don't fight like dogs for, and the film has no conclusion--the combat will always continue.
  59. Story of My Death is a singular work, and its originality is apparent in every frame.
  60. Tsai isn't without mischief — one key to this film's hypnotic power is humor so subtle it's practically subliminal — but his preferred takeaway is the pathos, the still-universal frustration, of an unanswered ringtone.
  61. For the most part, the Coens' is a highly enjoyable yarn, stocked with pungent bushwa and a full panoply of frontier bozos.
  62. Scrappy, remarkably expansive, crazily watchable.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    I Wish makes us feel like we are watching these kids discover each new sensory pleasure of youth for the first time, or that we're experiencing it ourselves.
  63. The film feel[s] like a Bergman homage without earning the clunky label "Bergmanesque."
  64. A brilliant appreciation of the last great Soviet director, Andrei Tarkovsky.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    In their randomness, the bee words take on an oracular quality--shades of kabbalistic gematria, or the "Sortes Vergilanae," the supernatural attributed to symbols on paper.
  65. Based on a memoir by a grown daughter of the eldest girl and rarely digressing from the journey itself, the movie is a dusty, calloused, primal Odyssey, as forceful and single-minded as a bullet train.
  66. His gift-and the film's-is to transform the seemingly banal relationship between pet and owner into something singular, inimitable, sacred.
  67. When the violence gets unbearable, take comfort in the troop of trainers on the sidelines who prove that, for now, man and beast still make a good team.
  68. 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.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A mildly saccharine but kind-hearted movie.
  69. An extraordinary example of both art-historical interpretation and CGI as passport to unknown lands, The Mill and the Cross, based on a book by Michael Francis Gibson, is a moving-image tribute to the still image, with its ability to "wrestle the senseless moment to the ground."
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The character is intentionally lightly drawn: Laura's suffering is symbolic, a surrogate for the suffering of a society helplessly caught in the crossfire.
  70. An organic, childlike wonder, fabulously unpredictable and seethingly inventive.
  71. Karine Vanasse, as the protagonist Hanna, is perfectly cast because she has the body of a woman and the sweet, sexless face of a child.
  72. As news, it smokes CNN.
  73. Peralta has become a more relaxed filmmaker, and when he trusts the haunting sight of a giant wave breaking to speak for itself, the movie reaches the sublime heights of its subject.
  74. Even if the theories don't persuade you, the film fascinates. It's revelatory about the nature of spectatorship in an era when technology allows audiences to watch films frame by frame.
  75. This is not so much a love story (and even less a story about love) than it is a movie of passionate loveliness.
  76. What makes Kuchu work as taut agitprop, and ultimately to devastating emotional effect, is that Wright and Zouhali-Worrall allow the enormity of the film's political concerns to be telegraphed through the stories, experiences, and astute analysis of ordinary queer folk and their hetero allies.
  77. Coraline Jones isn't the pluckiest or most ingratiating sprite ever to take center stage in a children's film, and her (mis)adventures aren't especially novel, but Coraline is still a consistent splendor to behold.
  78. Annotating excerpts from the movies with oral history, Kudlacek's film is a well-wrought introduction not just to Deren but an under-leveraged chunk of the art world.
  79. Berberian may sound like it's more fun to pick over afterward than watch, but it's also masterfully crafted.
  80. Kurosawa's abiding concern has always been the alienation of modern living, which he here merely transplants into a more recognizable domestic milieu, where subtle fissures in society's apparent order threaten to short-circuit people instead of their beloved technology.
  81. Scherson, adapting Roberto Bolaño's novel, incorporates surrealistic, hyper-expressive visual techniques, resulting in a film that is excitingly unclassifiable.
  82. For all the on-set antics, appropriated Fellini music, and throwaway gags, the movie is most successful when Coogan is pulling faces for the mirror, aimlessly trading Pacino imitations with his sidekick Brydon, or riffing on the color of the latter's teeth.
  83. 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Co-directors Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell have done a commendable job of making Deep Water . . . well, not boring.

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