Village Voice's Scores

For 10,034 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: 56
Highest review score: 100 Last Days
Lowest review score: 0 Boat Trip
Score distribution:
10034 movie reviews
  1. The movie's bold visual and psychological patterns, as well as its heavy immersion in the natural world, imbue Malli's journey with a folktale quality.
  2. Spear's portrait of unpaid, passionate fastpitchers could give filmmakers of all budgets a notion of how real Americans speak.
  3. Despite the soft-spoken Smith, a type-A British liaison self-named the Turbocharger, and the apparent involvement of the IRA, the doc prioritizes flash over facts, leaving you pining for the New Yorker exposé it could've been.
  4. A decently acted, often drolly funny, tautly directed thriller that proves to be a Russian doll of motivations, coincidences, and plot-twists; it would have been more satisfying if it weren't so unnecessarily convoluted.
  5. On the evidence of the first half of Baskin alone, Evrenol seems to be a filmmaker who understands character, tension, and terror. Now all he needs is some follow-through.
  6. Merendino's most innovative directorial strategy is to collapse present and past by having Lillard shout Stevo's reflections about his youthful rebellion directly at the camera, while the scene he's describing in the past tense takes place behind him. I know it sounds like a Brechtian affectation, but it works.
  7. The film is not without its trenchant moments, most rooted not in peace but in science.
  8. Watching The Salesman, I can’t help but feel that this is the first time Farhadi’s mastery of the particular is undercut by the artificiality with which he’s treated the general. He remains one of the world’s foremost filmmakers, but this time around, his expertise and artistry are undone by phoniness.
  9. As Mom, Allison Janney easily dominates every scene she graces, as does Morning Zoo jock papa Peter Gallagher.
  10. Every character gets to learn a lesson, and while the humor is nothing new, the situations are.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Viewers may not be surprised to learn of Wal-Mart's horrific track record, but they can't deny Greenwald's airtight advocacy.
  11. A jaggedly impressionistic reverie.
    • 91 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. [2002 re-release]
  12. Although a marked improvement over Algrant's nightmarishly whimsical debut, "Naked in New York," People I Know is perfumed less by the sweet smell of success than the musty aroma of the Miramax vault.
  13. Berkeley includes some of the writer's unpleasant moments on the tour. But what Harmon wants, as any Community fan knows, is real connection with other human beings.
  14. Some of the buckshot hits its target: Shrek's second sidekick, assassin-turned-comrade Puss in Boots, is voiced by Antonio Banderas as an outrageously mock-dramatic Spaniard with most of the pig-pile screenplay's best toss-offs.
  15. Cheeky and elusive, Last Life in the Universe inhabits a high-lonesome world unto itself, a bright daydream that dissipates in the aching gap of a missed connection.
  16. Either way, Kim's rather clumsily acted film remains monstrously effective ookiness, with crepuscular cinematography (by the Hollywood-destined Kim Byeong-il) that suggests a nightmare endured from inside a suffocating velvet pillowcase.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    However sick this tabloid star may be, Crazy Love is a celebrity doc by definition, with all its attendant trade-offs, and even the director admits that his access wasn't free.
  17. The sublime beauty of her subject cannot fail to move; less steady is this presentation of their plight.
  18. The film is admirably committed to simulating the messy experience of life as a real Maisie might live it. But sometimes, as she's tuckered out on her exquisite linens beneath gorgeous exposed brick and shelves of handcrafted toys, Maisie's world feels easier to admire than it is to worry over.
  19. Pleasant and undemanding, all the more so whenever Tom Wilkinson's on-screen as a possible Erlynne suitor, the movie miscasts Hunt as the pragmatic seductress.
  20. The Summit is at its most powerful when the filmmakers simply tell the tale, which gradually develops the unsettling suspense of a horror movie, with K2 cast as the implacable killer.
  21. Acting is the strongest element in Stephen Frears's Liam.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Ultimately sacrifices nuance to tidy epiphanies about personal growth.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Fast, lazy, and out of control in a manner that's basically commendable.
  22. Loosely based on writer-director Adam Sherman's similar cult upbringing and disillusionment, the film builds on a fascinating cautionary tale, but doesn't develop its characters past whatever movie-of-the-week crisis each suffers from.
  23. The Aristocrats is a veritable talent show itself, albeit one that feels inescapably slight. To rejigger another ancient joke: The food at this place isn't terrible. But the portions are really small.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Perfunctorily mounted as a children's adventure, Hugo is weirdly staid in its pacing, and the screenplay, by Scorsese's "Aviator" collaborator John Logan, is full of groaners. The movie is far more successful as a barely veiled issue flick.
  24. Bloody and gory, but in a friendly way, this is a movie for old-school horror fans who understand that, sometimes, bad is good.
  25. Steadily building in intensity from sluggish interest to mild excitement, Cold Weather is a slight movie with a long, circuitous fuse-and that's the point.
  26. A few striking performances - Ritter, Preston, and Canterbury are especially great - smooth out what might have been a much bumpier ride.
  27. Cudlitz gives a haunted performance as a weathered, misogynistic, homophobic, blue-collar man roiling with demons, and Griffith can break your heart as a good woman staggering under the weight of life.
  28. Tokyo Tribe is Sono cackling hysterically while smashing a keytar. Sure, there are a few sour notes, but he's made a great blast of noise.
  29. Mabius is understated and sympathetic as a guy who makes some dickish choices, and Susan, played by anyone else, might be a completely unrelatable force of nature. Although Posey renders Susan's instability and dominance with gusto, the character's vulnerability and pain are manifest.
  30. A cut above the average Quad-bound video agit-prop doc, Michael Skolnik's Without the King succeeds mostly through negative virtues.
  31. Single-dad sitcom is not Sir Ridley's forte but, anachronistically evoking the ring-a-ding-ding ambience of "Auto Focus" and "Catch Me If You Can," his mise-en-scène is as impeccable as Roy's pad.
  32. An effectively involving journalism-cum-conspiracy yarn with a bang-bang opening and a frantic closer.
  33. The film articulates this dimension of the story, regrettably, in little more than biopic platitudes and daddy-issue clichés...But it's not all bad. Badgley delivers a nuanced performance of such ferocity he almost singlehandedly makes a conventional film seem loose and improvisatory.
  34. A movie of many stupid pet tricks and one basic joke: As in the original, Elle's intelligence is consistently -- if understandably -- underestimated.
  35. Dig Two Graves isn't the most original horror film, nor is it the scariest, but most of its short runtime offers passable suspense and an engaging protagonist.
  36. While his obsessiveness seems neurotic, and watching this film is not always comfortable, it also seems to be all part of the process.
  37. An unenlightening recitation of lay science and salad bar spirituality that could only resonate with those audiences who last year actually flocked to a movie called "What the Bleep Do We Know!?"
  38. Punctuating views of the bucolic countryside and sky attest to nature or God's indifference to human suffering, but such formalist touches don't overwhelm the responsive ensemble work in this resourceful, taboo-prodding sickie.
  39. Despite its cheesy blood and thunder and ludicrous "Sunshine Makers" metaphysics, this is the funniest apocalypse I've seen since George Romero's "Land of the Dead."
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    De Aranoa never condescends to his subjects, and Caye's mixture of aggression and tenderness is appealingly authentic.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Writer-director Bose shows depth when he deals directly with Xen's loneliness. The scenes that show him after-hours, as he gazes yearningly at the nightclub patrons across the street, are especially moving.
  40. Lemelson's interviews can be repetitive in their direct staging, but there's inspiration in his conceit of using a shadow-puppet performance set to gamelan music as interludes.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    History and politics are present in this film, but over at the kids table.
  41. Yet another documentary paean to an unsung musical act whose fringe staying power is as remarkable as its lack of mainstream coverage.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The high-sheen Australian drama Burning Man leans heavily on a scrambled chronology, and likewise feels tonally mixed up, but it certainly does keep you guessing.
  42. Vincent Guastini's makeup effects are the star here, a refreshing change from the inky CGI morphing of too much modern horror.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Combining the common-sense lucidity of Klein's "No Logo" with an undertone of melancholy doggedness, The Take follows its characters through a national election that feels like an antipodean doppelgänger of our own.
  43. She's trying to access a shared humanity, to foster an unusual intimacy with viewers - to strip herself, often literally, to a naked and undeniable truth.
  44. Writer-director Scott Schirmer eschews the ironic approach, thankfully, and instead works to pull genuine tension from his material. He does that quite well, and any unintentional laughs (or eye rolls) are icing.
  45. La Maison de la Radio is the kind of film that divides its audience into two camps: those happy to observe and those impatient to be told a story.
  46. The 33, directed by Patricia Riggen, makes a valiant effort to tell this harrowing story onscreen, and there are moments when every shifting plate clicks right into place. In the end, though, the picture stumbles, and it may not completely be the fault of the filmmakers.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    This delirious spaghetti eastern could only have come from the boiling brain of Takashi Miike, the prolific Japanese auteur whose spectacularly uneven films account for the lion's share of the past decade's most utterly batshit movie moments.
  47. Though these mismatched cops bounce well off each other, Tatum, in his first comedic lead role, is the better performer, both more riotous and affecting.
  48. Salvation Boulevard isn't groundbreaking or even consistently funny, but it is mildly inventive and the absurdities of its characters are tender and recognizably human. Best of all, we're encouraged to laugh with them rather than at them.
    • 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.
  49. About halfway through I began to imagine it as it might have been directed by Douglas Sirk as a vehicle for Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson.
  50. Beneath may be an earnest goof, but any intended irony is so spiked with rainy-day-matinee movie love that the result is an oddly guileless horror exercise, unscary but rather adorable.
  51. This kaleidoscopic meticulousness proves comprehensive without ever feeling tedious, an especially impressive feat considering how quickly it becomes message-oriented.
  52. A movie as laconic as its hero, Ghost Dog is nonetheless diminished by its most un-Zen-like attachment to this underlying sentimentality.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Rocky Balboa, effortlessly reflexive and patently, even proudly, absurd, is a tough movie to dislike -- and believe me, I've tried.
  53. Chernick's film traces the creation of Barney's "narrative sculpture" with open curiosity and an alert, amiable eye.
  54. In its closing minutes Potter restores the calmer observational tone and mood that distinguish much of Ginger & Rosa, providing a lovely summation of its main character's age-appropriate contradictions.
  55. The omnibus film usually saves its home run for the climax, but Eros begins with the best third, Wong Kar-wai's "The Hand."
  56. Atmosphere trumps plot throughout, enabling the movie to survive an unfortunate, if inevitable, final-act turn.
  57. Once it gets going, it's fine, a somewhat scattered précis of the life and accomplishment of one of the 20th century's towering musicians, activists, and curiosities.
  58. For much of its running time, Camp X-Ray stands as the fullest on-screen imaginative treatment of two of the defining developments of the last 15 years of American life: the deployment of women in our volunteer army, and the indefinite detention of men we think, but can't quite prove, deserve it.
  59. The humor doesn't only target south of the border. Like any good genre product, Casa also smuggles in rude social criticism.
  60. Not without its loopy charms. Indeed, the film is most buoyant when most over-the-top.
  61. What can a movie tell us about the painter that the paintings do not? The effort has done no favors for Picasso or Rivera or Bacon.
  62. The First Basket is more than a triumphalist screw-you to those who think Jews don't play sports.
  63. Despite occasional lapses into showy expressionistic slo-mo, Guerrero's direction demonstrates a patience and attention to emotional detail that allows the two young leads' performances to develop naturally.
  64. Rich Hill does not add up to more than a series of vignettes. What it offers is a compassionate look at the intricacies of American poverty, where joblessness is only one factor.
  65. It's doubly frustrating that after flirting with (and even upending) biopic conventions for much of its length, A Beautiful Mind finally gives in to them so readily.
  66. Totally convincing in a physically demanding role, Collette carries the movie on her shoulders -- and that weight is what it's all about.
  67. What's remarkable is that despite the sweaty overdetermination of the film's dude-bro interactions and the whole prefabricated concept of performance air sex, the love story has actual depth and sadness.
  68. Visually more coherent than "American Beauty," but despite the burnished mahogany of Conrad Hall's cinematography, Mendes still doesn't quite know how to fill a frame. Like the Hanks character, he's a slow study: The action is stilted and the tabloid energy embalmed.
  69. Gass-Donnelly (The Last Exorcism Part II) blends supernatural elements into a psychological thriller for a kind of spectral therapy, but his experimentation ultimately conforms to genre conventions.
  70. A young boy's nonchalant attitude toward having a friend stick a loaded gun in his mouth as well as a man's numerous knife scars courtesy of his beloved wife definitely cut through the clichés about "thug life" to capture how violence is an integral, corrosive part of inner-city life.
  71. Although not as radically defamiliarizing as Jim Jarmusch's avant-western "Dead Man," Jesse James has the feel of an attic ransacked for abandoned knickknacks.
  72. The film is sometimes too sentimental, too predictable in its drift, but electric in individual moments.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Created by an artist soon to enter his eighth decade, finds a secret paradise in the rich harvests of a lifetime's memories.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Despite a handful of legit creepy moments, the film's concern with superficial realism prevents it from really hitting home; its fuzzy, fractured depiction of disaster never comes close to conjuring the "holy shit it could happen here don't touch that doorknob" real-world paranoia of last year's artfully Hollywood-ized disaster film, "Contagion."
  73. Using cinema as self-therapy might be a selfish way to treat audiences, but Harden and Scheel's chemistry makes the mother-daughter dynamic universal.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Fortunately, Leonor Watling (who spent most of "Talk to Her" in a coma) plays the spectacularly neurotic middle daughter with dizzying abandon and single-handedly saves the day.
  74. Like every Eastwood production, Invictus is stately, handsomely mounted, attentive to detail right down to the Marmite adorning the team's breakfast buffet, and relentlessly conventional. As a portrait of a hero, the movie effortlessly brings a lump to the throat (Freeman gives a subtly crafted performance that blends Mandela's physical frailty with his easy charm and cerebral wit); as history, it is borderline daft and selective to the point of distortion.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    More courageous than Spielberg in its depiction of Nazi brutality, Perlasca occasionally feels like the made-for-Italian-TV film that it is.
  75. To his credit, even as his material begins spiraling into less amusing territory, Lund alleviates the growing gloom with goofball levity.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Those who loved the original Auberge will likely be eager to book rooms once again.
  76. Seems like a TV movie. A well-written, sympathetically acted TV movie, to be sure, but so timid and clumsy in its deployment of picture, sound, and editing that you have to wonder if executive producer Martin Scorsese bothered to give notes.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Though occasionally striking, the footage doesn't pack the evocative punch Herzog intends, and segments that should be lyrical mind trips only result in overstretched longueurs.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The movie's message is clear: Freud's greatest contribution to society was not the idea that all little boys long to sleep with their mothers--rather, it's the concept of the unconscious, a hidden place where our secret desires yearn to be free.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    Family goes easy on the schmaltz, and the catastrophes have the puncturing feel of real life.
  77. The scenes that work just make me ache for more of them, signaling that if Craig finds her groove, she’ll be a force to reckon with.
  78. A film of considerable ambition and period piquance.

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