Village Voice's Scores

For 10,375 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 39% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 57% 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 Flags of Our Fathers
Lowest review score: 0 A Hole in My Heart
Score distribution:
10375 movie reviews
  1. [A] superb coming-of-age drama.
  2. While never less than fascinating, Katyn alternates between scenes of tremendous power and sequences most kindly described as dutiful. It's as if the artist is never certain whether he is making this movie for himself, his father, or the entire nation.
  3. Coming Home obviously has historical and political significance for Chinese who lived through the Cultural Revolution, and for families that were torn apart by it. But Zhang tells this particular story in a deeply personal way — the time and place of its setting have a specific meaning, but its emotional contours spread out into something bigger.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There isn't a false note in either the dialogue or the performances. The characters as written and played have such intricate backstories, such complicated mixtures of motive, that their evening grows uniquely, movingly suspenseful.
  4. 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.
  5. What Spielberg seems to want most from this respectable lark is for audiences to notice the parallels between the 1950s and today.
  6. Like a great amusement park ride, Shaun the Sheep Movie is consistently enjoyable.
  7. Claire Denis's strongest movie in the decade since "Beau Travail," her tense, convulsive White Material is a portrait of change and a thing of terrible beauty.
  8. Manages to explore the darker facets of friendship without being dark.
  9. Foxcatcher is merely a very, very good character study with acting so fine that it's frustrating it's not in the service of a real, emotional wallop.
  10. If the carefully planted romantic intrigue is serenely slow to ripen, the process is never less than intriguing.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Bamako brings relief from the latest round of Africa chic in the media, reversing "the flood of information that flows one way." It colors the Africa Problem from the inside out.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    So Beginners might sound insufferable, but it isn't - or at least not completely. Mills's second feature (after Thumbsucker) has way too many quirks for its own good, although it also flaunts a rare freedom to jump back and forth in time.
  11. Twinsters is a heartwarming true story that might not have happened without social media, so score one for modern technology.
  12. The stories have an almost dreamlike sweep and imaginative energy, and the film never exhausts that exuberance. More extraordinary still is its emotional depth.
  13. It's more conventionally romantic than wildly Romantic--but no less touching for that.
  14. As dense and fluid as Martel's movie is, the viewer--like the protagonist--is compelled to live in the moment. And a rich moment it is.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Naturalistic without being ineloquent, heartfelt yet unsentimental, Weekend is the rarest of birds: a movie romance that rings true.
  15. Raw
    Raw isn’t derivative — it’s fresh, funny, and grounded in reality. Underneath all the blood and guts, this is the story of a woman whose body demands love in extremity and the only person who’ll ever understand her fully: her sister.
  16. Undeniably long, Panavision-wide, but of questionable depth.
  17. 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.
  18. Ignacio Ferreras's traditionally animated Wrinkles is a beautiful, subtle horror movie about the rigors of old age, made all the more horrifying because it will happen to all of us fortunate enough to live a long life.
  19. Juliet is never less than eye-catching, but is rarely more.
  20. Il Divo plays like an elegantly ritualized black comedy.
  21. Plunging viewers into the thick of chaos, Leviathan explodes the antiquated paradigm of the documentary or ethnographic film, whose mission has traditionally been to educate or elucidate, to create something that seizes us, never letting us forget just how disordered the world is. This may be the greatest lesson any nonfiction film can teach us.
  22. Jarvis gives a ferociously persuasive performance in an otherwise routine tale of domestic disaster.
  23. No
    No uses the actual commercial material the opposition created for its anti-Pinochet campaign and—re-creating the behind-the-scenes filming—deftly appropriates mediated history for fiction.
  24. Sondheim, Prince, and Furth discuss their creative processes and why they think the show failed. These stories make up the bulk of this film, which is sure to satisfy theater wonks, Sondheim fans, curious moviegoers and lovers of Broadway. All others need not apply.
  25. Every scene is visceral. Every note played tells a story.
  26. An inspired homage to his father's work, and a bracing, bittersweet testament of filial love mixed with pain and compassion.
  27. A British variation on Hollywood nonsense, and as such it's a little gloomier, a little coarser, and a lot more cerebral--oh, and funnier than all the "Reno 911!" boxed sets combined.
  28. Police, Adjective is a deadly serious as well as dryly humorous analysis of bureaucratic procedure and, particularly, the tyranny of language. Images may record reality, but words define it.
  29. Greene may intend Kati's story as a quiet tragedy, but the native feeling of that's-just-the-way-it-is lethargy ("Only in Alabama can you be a home-school drop-out") is rather convincing.
  30. Writer/director Ursula Meier uses a stripped-down, naturalistic aesthetic full of well-organized compositions that pay close attention to shifts in character mood, comportment, and behavior.
  31. Like all of the best pop art, Tarantino's film is both seriously entertaining and seriously thoughtful, rattling the cage of race in America on-screen and off.
  32. It's the rare contemporary film that's as majestically and gruelingly rigorous in its form as in its thematic interrogations.
  33. In the end, this morphing of ideas and styles is more deadpan romantic than sociocritical, and sweeter for it.
  34. More impressionistic than analytical, A Grin Without a Cat is a grand immersion.
  35. If Hollywood were truly devoted to telling it like it is, Baker would win a special Oscar. To add to the creepiness, Solondz is (as he made clear in Dollhouse) an extremely sensitive director of kids.
  36. Not only documents the soul-titan concert held at L.A. Coliseum seven years after Watts burned, but illuminates the rue and kinesis of a city in full Black Power flower.
  37. It's an astonishing Kidman who contributes the film's -- and maybe the year's -- most inspired turn.
  38. McKay's bumptious movie awkwardly combines fourth-wall-breaking gimmickry and flaccid indignation with the goofball energy that defines his comedies.
  39. Camus's film remains a revivifying experience - and a mid-winter oasis. Born and bred in France, Camus made other films, and lots of French TV, but Black Orpheus may still be the greatest one-hit-wonder import we've ever seen.
  40. Perhaps little more than an object lesson in the end, the movie's nevertheless a sobering day trip, more for its hints of a forgotten history of culture collision than its sensible but rote socioeconomic sympathies.
  41. Possibly the Iranian new wave's last meta-man, Panahi is in an ideal position to make the unique methodology of his filmmaking merge with its substance. But he's always been fascinated by how a film's bell-jar bubble can be punctured, leaving a viscous interface between real and cinematic.
  42. It’s funny, joyful, and sweet, and yet down below, running beneath everything, is a sad counter-narrative about how the world always throws obstacles in your way, and how you could just turn your back and retreat.
  43. Some critics find Andersson's latest redundant, arguing that its sketches lack the freshness of those in Songs From the Second Floor. I found it the fullest flowering yet of his approach, with Andersson orchestrating his finest dada — and even risking tenderness and horror.
  44. That the film has so many partial reference points only makes the ultimate amalgamation stranger, as the chimeric whole can't be fully explained by its parts. The Wailing enters the world malformed and screaming, as powerless to stop itself as we are.
  45. With his elegant cadence, crisp comedic timing, and witty flipping of homophobic stereotypes--in his very choice and use of language--Bachardy is that story come to life: the student who eventually mirrored his teacher, the molded who became a duplicate of the mold.
  46. Full of long takes and matter-of-fact performances, melancholy low-contrast cinematography and desolate vistas suffused with acute loneliness, The Empty Hours captures the feeling of idling away the time, waiting for something to arrive.
  47. As usual, Jia's people tend toward the opaque--one of the movie's most enthusiastic conversations is conducted with ringtones. But his compositions have their own eloquence. Everything's despoiled and yet--as rendered in cinematographer Yu Lik-wai's rich, impossibly crisp HD images--everything is beautiful.
  48. Leon’s grungy resume indie is a conscientiously modest deal in the end, with a sweet, mumblecoresque ending, but it glows with unmistakable star power.
  49. Present in every scene, if not each shot, Rourke gives a tremendously physical performance that The Wrestler essentially exists to document.
  50. The pacing and performances are more organic than in most horror.
  51. 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.
  52. Boldly facetious and monstrously clever.
  53. 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    As much as it's open about its paranoia of the new, Skyfall's fatal misstep is its slavish hewing to event-movie trends. Like this summer's Spider-Man, Batman, and Avengers movies, Skyfall seems to exist primarily to set up the events of subsequent films.
  54. 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.
  55. Terence Davies revisits his youth to decidedly mixed effect.
  56. Consuming Spirits is overlong. A dystopian T.S. Eliot once said, "Humankind cannot bear too much reality," maybe even in a cartoon.
  57. 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.
  58. One of the most sincere and funny portraits of family life to come along in a while.
    • 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."
  59. 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.
  60. Directors Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young reverse the usual act of border-crossing, and they do not differentiate between Arabic and Hebrew, allowing their subjects to switch between the two and subtitling both in English, signaling that the film is a space for listening, for trying to understand.
    • 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."
  61. Working alone with a camera and his ingenuity, Dennis captured the surreality of firefights with an invisible enemy and the frustration of displaced civilians.
  62. It's a work of community portraiture that slowly develops into collective drama
  63. 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."
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. A doc as vibrant as its auteur's mind, even as his body is rendered immobile.
  68. Daughters of the Dust abounds with stunning motifs and tableaux, the iconography seemingly sourced from dreams as much as from history and folklore. But however seductive and trance-inducing, the visual splendor of Dash's film is never vaporous.
    • 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.
  69. Goodnight Mommy is a well-crafted cheat with a killer punch.
  70. Extraordinary ordinariness is Two Step's saving grace.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Weinstein, who is neither a member of a Haredi community nor a speaker of Yiddish (on set, he used a translator), has created a work of interest partially because he is aware of his own distance from his subject matter.
  73. Perhaps the best film yet set against the mess of the ongoing Middle Eastern wars, Tobias Lindholm's latest is a scrupulous, unglamorized examination of battlefield decision-making — and its potentially devastating impacts, both there and back home.
  74. In every way a sunny film. Supremely affirmative, it ends with the funniest, sexiest close-up of the year.
  75. Fast-paced feminist thriller and witty black comedy.
  76. Iranian director Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold is an anti-blockbuster--a deceptively modest undertaking that brilliantly combines unpretentious humanism and impeccable formal values.
  77. 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.
  78. Unrelentingly mundane, as if made with the sole purpose of draining the topic of adultery of any prurient interest.
  79. 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.
  80. With sleek and informative onscreen graphics and thrilling slow-motion demonstrations of game technique, Top Spin packs a lot of information into its 80-minute running time, arguing that a great table tennis player is one part boxer, one part chess master.
  81. 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.
  82. Star Wars: The Force Awakens steers the franchise back to its popcorn origins. It's not a Bible; it's a bantamweight blast. And that's just as it should be: a good movie, nothing more.
  83. 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."
  84. 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.
  85. In the end, Right Now, Wrong Then is a two-piece puzzle that's less than the sum of its parts.
  86. 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.
  87. 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.

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