Village Voice's Scores

For 10,431 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 6.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 Manuscripts Don't Burn
Lowest review score: 0 Black Christmas
Score distribution:
10431 movie reviews
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Directing with a light comic touch and a palpable affection for the characters, Selim draws pitch-perfect acting from a large cast and achieves breathtaking levels of color and clarity from old-fashioned 35mm.
  1. Crewdson and others (including Russell Banks and Laurie Simmons) speak eloquently about his project, but it's the on-set agonies - to achieve the fleeting expression here, dark kiss of light there, and the peculiar relief they bring our maestro - that fascinate.
  2. It stuns, and what's missing doesn't compare to what it shares.
  3. Saleem, a Paris-based Kurd, displays the visual confidence and subtle screwball rhythms of a master, exploiting offscreen space, deadpan compositions, and deft visual backbeats, as well as attaining a breathtaking fidelity to real light and landscape.
  4. Marquise is almost ironically uninflected, like a tense game of chess. But soon the no-nonsense two-shots and scarlet-satin self-consciousness let the story build to genuine fireworks. No costume-drama escapism here, just distilled social warfare.
  5. If Binder has a considerably heavier hand when it comes to metaphor, his movie nevertheless remains buoyant because the feelings in it are immutable, and because Sandler has never before held the screen with greater intensity.
  6. Throughout Butterfly Girl, Abbie jokes, rolls her eyes, and pushes herself to take chances despite the pain she always faces.
  7. 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.
  8. Miss Violence honors the thoroughly creepy work of Avranas's countrymen, but in his turn of the screw, Avranas marshals the abstract qualities of art cinema to comment upon concrete horror.
  9. Transparently a movie about a group of filmmakers who attempt to possess a particular location, Our Beloved Month relaxes into a meditation on the mysteries of place, personality, and process.
  10. American Made is his first effort in a long while that feels like an honest-to-god Tom Cruise movie; suddenly, his smile means something again. But there’s one huge, beautiful catch: Doug Liman’s electric film is clear-eyed about the cynicism and corruption beneath its hero’s anxious grin. It voraciously breaks down both the star and the country he has symbolized for so much of his career.
  11. The Belgian Roskam, making only his second feature film, and his first in English, displays remarkable assurance, with both the actors and the film’s very American setting. He creates an escalating sense of dread, tinged with Lehane’s brand of mordant humor.
  12. As he did in "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz", Wright immerses his heroes in pop culture's detritus and diversions, but doesn't drown them in it. You don't have to be dazzled or tickled by the movie, or get every joke, to be touched by it, too.
  13. The film is restrained and observational, its impact cumulative.
  14. In a remarkable performance that won her a special award from the world cinema jury at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Chilean television vet Saavedra goes through one of the most uncanny psychophysical transformations I've ever seen in a movie without the benefit of obvious makeup or other prosthetics.
  15. Robust, engrossing, and surprisingly restrained in saving most of its effects for the grand finale, the first Chronicles of Narnia installment eschews Harry Potter's satanic subtext and "The Lord of the Rings'" Wagnerian cosmology. It may be as close to adult-friendly kid fare as Hollywood will ever get.
  16. Firmly rooted in everyday particulars — primarily the transactions (business, emotional, or otherwise) facilitated by the time- and space-obliterating devices to which we are constantly tethered — Ferran's movie dares to venture, for much of its second half, into fantasy.
    • 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.
  17. Yes, this film is important for its insistence that we see these boys as capable of rehabilitation in the right environment. But it’s the movie’s daring structure and humanity that make it worthy of the Lear name.
  18. Münch's characters are given to a certain rapt, unwieldy thoughtfulness, and accordingly, his films cultivate a mood of almost trancelike introspection.
  19. It could be described as the most gripping political thriller to hit the big screen in many years, although given the events it depicts through interviews, photographs, and news footage, the words "gripping" and "thriller" have inappropriately frivolous and commercial associations.
  20. Exquisitely sad, idiosyncratic film à clef about an aging gay gigolo grasping at the embers of memory before they--and he--turn to ash.
  21. For all the full-throttle dazzle of Furious 7, the best scenes are the quietest ones, in which these characters make observations about love, life, and family that would seem overcooked in any other movie.
  22. [Wiig's] great, but the film's in the pocket of Powley's rib-high corduroys from the second she struts onscreen — and long after she takes them off.
  23. Despite the high stakes, Command and Control is morbidly fun to watch, in the manner of good suspense thrillers and disaster films.
  24. What's singular here isn't that the stars are playing brother and sister, or that they stir such sublime and anxious joy from each other. It's that the real love story isn't even between the damaged-but-lovable characters. It's between two profoundly depressed people and life itself.
  25. Adaptation's success in engaging the audience in the travails of creating a screenplay is extraordinary.
  26. Hockney is a little work of art of its own, even if it's so very nice and happy about everything.
  27. Archambault is fluent in small, self-contained moments. Even as their guardians are forced into difficult conversations, Gabrielle and Martin's private exchanges ring true.
  28. Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery makes us question not only art, but the experts who claim to understand it best.
  29. He may not be likable, but he remains fascinating. The film is on firm ground when examining Knievel's actual measurable impact: the action/extreme sports that have flourished since his retirement.
  30. While Hall and Shepard nail their parts, Don Johnson, still magnetic after all these years, steals the film as a sardonic private eye with a vintage cherry-red convertible.
  31. Dencik’s gorgeous, surprising, meditative film opens up one of the world’s last unknown places, and it will also make you want to befriend every Dane you can.
  32. 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.
  33. Iron Man, too, is something that people will see regardless of the reviews, but here is the point: Where Michael Bay (Transformers) has mastered a kind of sensory-assaulting pop art, Favreau is a born storyteller who engages the audience's imagination rather than crushing it in a tsunami of digital noise.
  34. A triumph of maximalist filmmaking. And you won't look at your watch once.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Keillor's modest subservience to Altman's group dynamic feels downright gallant, and in the context of the veteran director's most humanistic movie by a wide margin, it certainly has its rewards.
  35. The Boxtrolls is a kiddie charmer that makes you laugh, cower, and think of Hitler. That’s an unusual trifecta, but then again, this is an unusual film.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A "gritty" historical drama overwhelmed by its love of Hollywood as an inventor of imaginary narratives with real consequences, a great generator of American bedtime stories whose magic works on suburban kids and foreign enemies alike.
  36. The Dance of Reality may be Alejandro Jodorowsky's best film, and certainly, in a filmography top-heavy with freak-show hyperbole and symbology stew, the one most invested in narrative meaning.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A beautiful tale of life, love, music, and family, of things not working out but also working out just as predicted.
  37. 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.
  38. The complexity of feminism for young girls today is displayed with rare hilarity and insight.
  39. A riot of technical tricks, Daisies shifts between color, black-and-white, and tinted images and includes a scene in which the two Maries, wielding scissors, essentially turn themselves into paper dolls.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Beautifully acted and handsomely mounted, this gorgeous period piece is an intelligent and intriguing exploration of "the dark arts" -- less dependent on mere hocus-pocus than on the convincing journey of the soul undertaken by its hero.
  40. There are big crowd scenes, intimate close-ups, and lots of bug’s-eye point-of-view shots. Call me gullible: I believed every second of it.
  41. Replete with superb performances led by a paranoid Sackhoff and unhinged Cochrane, it's the rare horror film to know how to tease malevolent mysteries and deliver satisfyingly unexpected, unsettling payoffs.
  42. 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.
  43. The film's messages are cleverly wrapped in Smoczynska's entertaining, original vision. It's sexy, fearless, fun, and unrepentantly nasty.
  44. It gradually settles and deepens into something nuanced and moving, a character study that's not so much about aging, specifically, as it is about the great and awful process of getting to know yourself.
  45. 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."
  46. A fierce dance of destruction. Its flame-like, roiling black-and-white inspires trembling and gratitude.
  47. Caucus is a lively, hilarious, upsetting crash-course in recent history. It's also revelatory at times, especially as it reframes infamous sound bites in their of-the-moment context.
  48. Michael Winterbottom's wise and involving Everyday specializes in unscripted-feeling moments that ache of life.
  49. Wong is sensationally expressive and projects a modern, coolly appraising sexuality. Visually eloquent and often dazzling, the movie is no less terrific. Piccadilly is both evidence of silent cinema at its rudely aborted peak and Wong's frustrated potential to have been among its greatest stars.
  50. It's an admittedly hagiographic film, an unabashed celebration of the man and his work and worldview. The few mild naysayers are largely set up to be knocked down, but as such the film is invigorating.
  51. The sense of continuing life is quietly remarkable.
  52. The final, moving, nerve-wracking reels are all sea, sky, and desperation.
  53. Brian Knappenberger's The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz connects the dots of Swartz's past, assembling a vivid portrait of a sensitive genius with a strong moral sense.
  54. It's always political when regular people speak plainly about their circumstances — here, it's also moving, revelatory, and often funny, offering plenty to mull over during the long shots of train workers trundling their food carts.
  55. It's both a perceptive dual character study and, that rarity of rarities, a large-scale action movie for grown-ups, one worth leaving the house for.
  56. Gordon-Levitt's worth the admission all by his lonesome. He's that good--the proverbial young man with an old soul who brings unexpected depth, complexity, and sincerity to what could have been just another damaged-guy role. He's the one to look out for.
  57. It's a work of community portraiture that slowly develops into collective drama
  58. Tale of Tales is the most faithful and creatively rendered fairytale onscreen to date, bizarrely satisfying and totally worth a patient, focused viewing.
  59. Bird layers on plenty of dazzle... But his heart is what keeps the story motoring and the ending is perfectly engineered, including a coda that encourages all of us to try harder.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The result is a film of startling insight and grace.
  60. Cooper's interest is in the collaboration between the talent and its managers, in the way the duo urged their charges to begin to conceive of their sound, look, marketing, and live performances as all expressive of a singular vision.
  61. Whiskery and restless, grooving and grotesque, the documentarian Les Blank's long-suppressed film A Poem Is a Naked Person plays like your memories of some mad, stoned last-century summer.
  62. A must-see for opera lovers and a snappy diversion for cinephiles.
  63. A tender and hilarious vision of female adolescence.
  64. Cutting between present, childhood, and recent past, Bispuri constructs a subtle, richly emotional collage.
  65. Ida
    Ida unfolds partly as chamber play and partly as road movie, following the two women on a search for their dead beloveds' anonymous graves.
  66. The film is fascinating, even if you're resistant to this dark star's gravity.
  67. An awkward, frequently transcendent document whose sense of rhythm, purpose, and narrative is as unlikely as it is ultimately persuasive, and whose fascination with moments of haunted impermanence signals, perhaps more than anything else, the mark of its maker.
  68. It's Kline who anchors the movie, swan-diving into Flynn's complexities without making excuses for him.
  69. The film ends on up notes, but its strength is that it's not really a feel-good movie, instead shining a light on both how far we have come in terms of race in America and how very far we still have to go.
  70. It's a film, a rather gorgeous one, of glances and ephemera and delicate metaphors.
  71. Lanthimos's consistently hilarious, borderline anti-humor slowly gives way to a romantic streak of surprising warmth.
  72. Funny and smart, full of biting humor and astute observations about identity and history, Cheryl Dunye's audacious, joyous debut feature captures the process of falling hopelessly in love with the movies.
  73. 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.
  74. This film is a wakeup call in the best sense: urgent, clear, understated.
  75. A work of unostentatious beauty and uncloying sweetness, at once sophisticated and artless, mysterious and matter-of-fact, cosmic and humble, it asks only a measure of Boonmeevian acceptance: The movie doesn't mean anything-it simply is.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Almodóvar isn't what he used to be (who is?), but he's a master of the medium nevertheless, deploying color and light and shadow not merely to express emotions but to tap into ours, directing the blood flow of the audience as much as he directs the movie.
  76. Darwin's Nightmare strings together cruel ironies into a work of harrowing lucidity. It illuminates the sinister logic of a new world order that depends on corrupt globalization to put an acceptable face on age-old colonialism.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Among the many pleasures are the lively intelligence of the artists and their perceptiveness about their own situations.
  77. Hartley's humor and intellectual musings are, as always, fully present, but by anchoring them to a genuinely compelling story of familial retribution, he's made his best film in years.
  78. Frances Ha is a patchwork of details that constitute a sort of dating manual—not one that tells you how to meet hot guys, but one that fortifies you against all the crap you have to deal with as a young person in love with a city that doesn't always love you back.
  79. The artificial look of the added footage, counterpointed by the commentary of inmates and survivors, only underscores the unending shock of the film's unadulterated images, even though we have seen them in other Shoah documentaries.
  80. The haunting final image suggests how quickly such stories can be lost...which makes Beyond the Hills, above all else, a powerful and necessary act of reclamation.
  81. Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini are lovely together, though her character is the sharper-edged of the two. It's Gandolfini's Albert, soft-hearted and soft-bellied, who suffers more. Gandolfini takes the movie's small, offhand jokes and intensifies them.
  82. The Cove is properly enchanting, horrifying, and rousing, but it comes dangerously close to making the narcissistic case that dolphins deserve to be saved because they're cute and breathe air like we do.
  83. Gibney dissects Jobs's image with the calm curiosity of a coroner.
  84. Big Trouble in Little China is a far more enjoyable mash-up of classic Westerns, Saturday-morning serials, and Chinese wu xia than any of the Indiana Jones movies, with Kurt Russell in full bloom as Carpenter’s de rigueur hard-drinkin’, hard-gamblin’, wise-crackin’ loner hero—a bowling-alley John Wayne.
  85. A spare and ravishing doc.
  86. Baroquely sinister and grotesquely funny, the latest overstimulated bout of dark comic mayhem from writer-director Álex de la Iglesia (Common Wealth, The Day of the Beast) is a stunning funhouse-mirror allegory of Franco-era Spain that makes "Pan's Labyrinth" look like "Sesame Street."
  87. Ballet 422 is more visually sumptuous than most narratives you're likely to see this year, featuring careful compositions that make watching the film an aesthetic experience as much as an intellectual one.
  88. Weaving numerous influences into a rich emotional tapestry, Alain Guiraudie's The King of Escape skillfully absorbs and updates its assertive cinematic forebears.
  89. Thoroughly researched and packed with phenomenal archival footage, it's a rousing tribute to a mesmerizing performer that forgoes blind hero worship.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The result is an intellectual history of Warhol, bucking the trend toward the star-studded VH1-ization of biodocs and constructed with a mission to dispel the artist's own self-created image as high-fashion hobnobber in favor of a more profound depiction. Burns argues for a cogitating, agitating Warhol: deep thinker, cultural barometer, and world changer.
  90. 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.

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