Village Voice's Scores

For 7,731 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 Masculine Feminine (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 88 Minutes
Score distribution:
7,731 movie reviews
  1. This absorbing, significant, and shamelessly entertaining movie not only goes through the looking glass but, no less significantly, turns the mirror back on us.
  2. The results are extraordinary. As understated as it is, the movie is both deeply absurd and powerfully affecting.
  3. Here's a movie with magic.
    • 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.
  4. Bell captures the insularity of certain professional pockets of Hollywood, with all their petty rivalries and backstabbing. But she's sharpest in her exploration of what makes women desire success, and what prevents them from getting it.
  5. Much of what Faithless contains happens off-screen, told and retold as stories within stories, and so the actors typically work like oxen.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's worth shelling out to see this doc on a theater screen: The enthralling archival footage of Germany in the 1930s is rare stuff indeed, of superb photographic quality.
  6. Projects a confessional frankness about human relationships that has the messy feel of truth.
  7. As chilly a spectacle as you're likely to see. It's like watching a comeback in an empty stadium.
  8. The Piano Teacher's study in lurid sexual pathology occasions a tour de force by Isabelle Huppert as the title character.
  9. That unexpected rage is the movie's most powerful emotional truth.
  10. Life of Pi manages occasional spiritual wonder through its 3-D visuals but otherwise sinks like a stone.
  11. There's a human tragedy somewhere here-but aggrandized puppy-love romance and stylish revenge fantasy is all that lingers.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Costa's grainy footage looks amateurish at times—at one point, she runs out of battery and the screen goes dark—but her rule-breaking is bold.
  12. Approaching 85, cine-essayist Chris Marker remains as lively, engaged, and provocative as ever--and no less fond of indirection.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Kimball's bird footage is attractive on its own, but the way he positions his birders in conversation with one another is why Birders soars.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With its naked but never self-indulgent depictions of sex and all manner of addiction, Keep the Lights On is disarmingly, at times exhilaratingly, human.
  13. Burshtein's lush visual sensibility, and the subtle performances of the excellent cast, create an aching portrayal of longing and interdependence that transcends the boundaries of the family's small world.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Temple's engrossing portrait of the Clash's late frontman uses endlessly suggestive montage to show how he kept punk's precepts alive, even after he left the music and eventually the earth itself.
  14. When Guadagnino focuses solely on the primal, the effect is spellbinding. Only the words get in the way.
  15. Fluid, open-ended documentaries that demand more of an audience than foregone assent or fleeting bouts of passive outrage are rare these days, which is what makes Malik Bendjelloul's Searching for Sugar Man such a gift.
  16. Keane is a painfully specific figure but at the same time a totem, lean and frightening, for a morass of modern anxieties. That might be this phenomenal film's emergent achievement: Its raw hopelessness is its universality.
  17. It remains one of the most wrenching films about adolescent angst, thanks largely to the performance of Phil Daniels.
  18. Va Savoir has its own unhurried pace and unpredictable humor. This is the sort of comedy Robert Altman could only dream about.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Nothing illustrates the monstrosity of globalized commerce more vividly than the lateral tracking shot that opens Jennifer Baichwal's mesmerizing documentary Manufactured Landscapes.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Can a film that holds no surprises be of value? In the case of Our Children, which masterfully plays with stylistic conventions and all-too-common instances of real-life matricide, the answer is decidedly yes.
  19. A near-irresistible exercise in bravura absurdity, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan deserves to become a minor classic of heterosexual camp-at the very least, it's the most risible and riotous backstage movie since "Showgirls."
  20. Despite the efforts of many interviewees to seem broad-minded, Nicoara has a knack for ferreting out moments that reveal actual Romanian attitudes.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Basically, Drive is a song of courtly love and devotion among the automatons. It's a machine, but it works.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If the characterizations are fleeting, the recessive mood is not: Hong's signature observational style is at once offhanded and astute, romantic and lightly chilled.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The sequel trumps its predecessor for sustained doomsday gloom and suggests this might be the man to adapt Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic novel The Road.
  24. Leisurely yet streamlined film, brilliantly adapted by British filmmaker Terence Davies from Edith Wharton's most powerful novel.
  25. A film of rare tenderness and mystery.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Single motherhood has seldom looked as daunting and enervating as it does in this unsentimental documentary.
  26. As crass as it is visionary, Godzilla belongs with--and might well trump--the art films "Hiroshima Mon Amour" and "Dr. Strangelove" as a daring attempt to fashion a terrible poetry from the mind-melting horror of atomic warfare.
  27. 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.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Despite excellent performances from Samantha Morton, Craig Parkinson, and the radiant Toby Kebbell, along with a noble effort from pretty newcomer Sam Riley as Curtis himself, Control is like a wake where the guests forgot to bring the booze and, for the most part, have nothing very nice or even particularly interesting to say about the deceased.
  28. Boys is first-rate cinema archaeology. What pushes it beyond that is the brutal honesty with which the sibling rivalry between the elder Shermans is depicted; theirs is a palpable mixture of love and disdain that led to the men not socializing with each other for more than 40 years.
  29. This wise, observant, and exquisitely tacit chamber piece complicates every May-December, academic-novel cliché in the book.
  30. Head-On loses its merry mojo once events turn irrevocable and the action switches from Hamburg to Istanbul.
  31. Offers a bumper crop of tasty bits.
  32. There are no simple denials, nor anything simple at all in Last of the Unjust. Only stories, recovered and retold, of a reality beyond their reach.
  33. Swinton provides her own brand of incandescence, doubling as the film's aching heart and its center of gravity.
  34. A pleasant time-passer.
  35. The movie is as eloquently uninflected and filled with quirks as its star.
  36. Norway's hallucinatory, edge-of-the-world beauty imbues the story with a woozy, alcoholic haze and a sense of the marginal spaces into which the messiest aspects of private life are shoved.
  37. In spite of Bulger's errors of tone, the movie stands as an engaging tussle with the question of what is permissible with the excuse of art. One former collaborator of Baker's, John Lydon (a/k/a Rotten), comes up with the most eloquent absolution: "I cannot question anyone with end results that perfect."
  38. In the Fog has the inevitability of an avalanche, and only our overfamilarity with Nazi-tribulation scenarios, and perhaps its excessively punctuated ending, could slow it down. A better anti-summer blockbuster is hard to imagine.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    African director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's austere, hypnotic third feature explores the legacy of Chad's decades-long civil war.
  39. The Soft Skin is a movie about the agony and ecstasy of an extramarital affair. Truffaut treats it like a crime film-low-key yet tense, filled with carefully planted potential "clues" and an undercurrent of anxiety.
  40. My Joy is a maddening vision and one of the year's must-see provocations.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If the structure sometimes disrupts the story of his life, the strong lines and melancholy sensibility of the illustration form an anchor that keep the power of Tatsumi's work firmly in view.
  41. 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Exquisitely sad, idiosyncratic film à clef about an aging gay gigolo grasping at the embers of memory before they--and he--turn to ash.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Natural light is used to euphoric effect, inevitably summoning the old masters, and Gröning's frames are balanced and symmetrical, in Renaissance-ready emulation of God's perfection.
  42. Blue Jasmine is so relentlessly clueless about the ways real human beings live, and so eager to make the same points about human nature that Allen has made dozens of times before, that it seems like a movie beamed from another planet.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    No less than for the black inner-city teens of "Hoop Dreams," cash is the name of the game in Curry's fascinating doc, even as the kids' motivation remains a pure love of the sport.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite the rosary beads Red wraps around his wrist, Hellboy II doesn't have much on its mind, but few will care since del Toro and his stellar "Pan's Labyrinth" team, including Oscar-winning cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, stage one virtuoso set-piece after another.
  43. It is, for the most part, witty and engrossing.
  44. A disappointment after the droll, breezy suggestiveness of Fontaine's equally Freudian "Dry Cleaning," How I Killed My Father is rather less than the sum of its underventilated père-fils confrontations.
  45. As cliché-rich as it is compelling.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    Succeeds as the rehumanizing of a near mythical figure.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Tabu manages to be both classical and modern, ironic and heartbreaking.
  46. Almost inevitably for a documentary of this stripe, it risks aestheticizing poverty--but here it's usually the kids themselves who compose the most arresting images.
  47. Porterfield intersperses these delicately underplayed scenes with doc-style question-and-answer exchanges that, while initially jarring, achieve maximum cumulative impact.
  48. Foreign Parts engages in sociological inquiry without narration or contextual handholding, utilizing incisive, striking aesthetics (a panorama of hanging side mirrors, worn shoes trudging through grimy puddles) to elicit potent subcultural immersion.
  49. What makes 5 Broken Cameras stand out is its insistence on nuance and its refusal to get caught up in the self-defeating war of words over who is the bigger victim.
  50. Absorbing documentary portrait.
  51. Slick and sober, fiercely contemporary, and rigged by a fail-safe three-act structure, Dirty Pretty Things nimbly straddles the line between realism and popcorn pop, but it knows which side its bread is buttered on.
  52. As mystical as it is gritty, as despairing as it is detached.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Hirsch edits segments together to merge disparate voices, showing how for this movement, music was no universal language -- it was specific, pointed, and almost paranormal in its power.
  53. As elegantly crafted as it often is, Anderson's movie is essentially a one-trick pony that, hampered by an undeveloped script, ultimately pulls up lame.
  54. At least we have this gem, the rare tease of what could have been that actually proves satisfying enough on its own.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The movie, on its own modest terms, satisfies greatly.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It stuns, and what's missing doesn't compare to what it shares.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Reticker offers perhaps a too-narrow focus on this historical moment, but Pray the Devil remembers the golden rule of moviemaking--rather than tell, it shows, and what it shows is quietly affecting.
  55. At its best--and queasiest--The Counterfeiters asks disturbing questions more commonly found in the survivor literature of Primo Levi or Bruno Bettelheim than at the movies.
  56. Lively, exasperating documentary.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    What happens after the wedding comprises a full three-quarters of Bier's epic, whose near-Biblical twists and turns--I wouldn't think of giving them away--are enough to fill four weepies.
  57. The Dark Knight Rises is a shallow repository of ideas, but as a work of sheer sensation, it has something to recommend.
  58. The movie is an expert, sunlit chiller audaciously predicated on an unquiet historical memory: "What is a ghost?"
  59. Single-minded, sometimes harrowing.
  60. The real star of this film is the crowded, neon-lit byways of the city itself.
  61. Eads's wit, generosity, insight, and courage are irresistible.
  62. Blind Shaft means to leave the viewer dazed, and it does.
  63. One senses that The Guard is McDonagh's eulogy for the brusque, warts-and-all character of a passing generation of tough, working-class Irishmen, much as Clint Eastwood's "Gran Torino" was for vintage Americanism.
  64. The first punk tragicomedy, a chain-whipped cartoon meditation on Good, Evil, and Free Will that is as seductive as it is tasteless. That Kubrick misjudged the distance between comedy and cruelty seems to be unarguable.
  65. Frank De Felitta's guilt over having aired the footage is moving, yet it's ultimately countered by this piercing film's stance - promoted by the subject's proud children and grandchildren - that Wright's statements, far from a slip of the tongue, were an intentional act of courageous defiance.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Generally grim, occasionally startling, and altogether enthralling sixth chapter in a movie franchise that keeps managing to surprise just when one would expect it to be puttering along on auto-broomstick.
  66. Restrained, tough, and subtle enough to be as engrossing on the second viewing as it was on the first.
  67. Best in Show succeeds only insofar as you're willing to laugh at a bunch of sad freaks.
  68. Without the intrusion of voice-overs or interviews, Mylan and Shenk attained a remarkable intimacy with the strapping, earnest, startlingly beautiful teenagers.
  69. Innocence is not merely the year's best first film, but one of the great statements on the politics of being 'tween.
  70. If anything, Na's film is too much of a good thing, exceeding credibility too often (the punching-bag hero is far too lucky - good and bad - and absorbs a hilarious amount of punishment) in its pursuit of despairing violence. But that's the Korean way, and Na nails down the bottom feeder realism while slouching toward video-game hyperbole.

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