Village Voice's Scores

For 7,732 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 6.9 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:
7,732 movie reviews
  1. Laughton understood Agee's proximity to Grimm vaudeville, and fashioned the most intensely expressionistic movie of its day.
  2. To my mind, the greatest film by Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami.
  3. So elemental in its means yet so cosmic in its drama, it could herald a rebirth of cinema.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Robin Hood is movie pageantry at its best, done in the grand manner of silent spectacles, brimming over with the sort of primitive energy that drew people to the movies in the first place.
  4. Nonchalantly freaky and uncommonly pleasurable, Warm Water may well be the year's best and most unpredictable comedy.
  5. Safe Conduct -- a rangy, irreverent, episodic odyssey through French filmmaking during the Occupation -- is one of the very best movies ever made about the life of moviemaking.
  6. It remains one of the most wrenching films about adolescent angst, thanks largely to the performance of Phil Daniels.
  7. Achieves an abrading, intimate, primal force his later films only hint at. It's difficult to imagine the Euripides original ever being more eloquently adapted.
  8. A movie so tactile in its cinematography, inventive in its camera placement, and sensuous in its editing that the purposefully oblique and languid narrative is all but eclipsed.
  9. Watkins restages history in its own ruins, uses the media as a frame, and even so, manages to imbue his narrative with amazing presence. No less than the event it chronicles, La Commune is a triumph of spontaneous action.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The last real earthquake to hit cinema was David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" -- I'm sure directors throughout the film world felt the earth move beneath their feet and couldn't sleep the night of their first encounter with it back in 1986. (Review of 20th Anniversary Re-Release)
  10. Solaris achieves an almost perfect balance of poetry and pulp. This is as elegant, moody, intelligent, sensuous, and sustained a studio movie as we are likely to see this season -- and in its intrinsic nuttiness, perhaps the least compromised.
  11. The hard-charging originality of the screenplay—the equivalent of turning "The Hot Zone" into a Farrelly comedy—suggests a deficient legacy of credit to Terry Southern's corner.
  12. One of the richest films of the past decade.
  13. Spider lasts in the mind and it's built to last -- this is a movie that invites and repays repeated viewings.
  14. Another unforetold career acme: Christopher Guest's seductive and brilliantly modulatory A Mighty Wind, which trains its laser-sight on the decaying legacy of Peter, Paul and Mary-style pop-folk.
  15. It remains a stunning achievement, if nearly as exhausting and frustrating as the Tex Avery bureaucracy it roasts, but Gilliam's stylistic dysfunctionalities, art-directed out of junkyards, are what still percolate in the forebrain.
  16. Tense, engrossing, and superbly structured, Bus 174 is not just unforgettable drama but a skillfully developed argument.
  17. To cut to the chase, Robert Bresson's heart-breaking and magnificent Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) -- the story of a donkey's life and death in rural France -- is the supreme masterpiece by one of the greatest of 20th-century filmmakers.
  18. The year's most ingenious and original animated feature.
  19. Iranian director Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold is an anti-blockbuster--a deceptively modest undertaking that brilliantly combines unpretentious humanism and impeccable formal values.
  20. For passion, originality, and sustained chutzpah, this austere allegory of failed Christian charity and Old Testament payback is von Trier's strongest movie--a masterpiece, in fact.
  21. Tian's movie seems to be among the finest expressions of the Chinese new wave.
  22. In today's digital bog of empty light and marketing deceptions, this is what early-millennium Euro art-film masterpieces feel like--lean, qualmish, abstracted to the point of parable but as grounded as a gravedigging.
  23. Summer sequelitis is upon us, but the season is unlikely to bring anything more remarkable than Richard Linklater's sweet, smart, and deeply romantic Before Sunset.
  24. Ultimate geezerfest and rock-doc holy grail.
  25. What's truly extraordinary about this movie--which strikes me on two viewings as Maddin's masterpiece--is that it not only plays like a dream but feels like one.
  26. The Leopard is the greatest film of its kind made since World War II—its only rivals are Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" and Visconti's own "Senso."
  27. Obsessives will be familiar with the "new" material (almost all available on the original DVD), which elaborates on the time-travel metaphysics and tightens the emotional screws. Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) shares one additional tender exchange with each family member
  28. You can call me fanboy, but this is the best anime I've ever seen.
  29. A tale of sadness and hysteria so raw that it bleeds.
  30. Primer unites physics and metaphysics in an ingenious guerrilla reinvention of cinematic science fiction.
  31. Vera Drake puts the passion in compassion. Building up to a shattering conclusion, Leigh's movie is both outrageously schematic and powerfully humanist.
  32. The Canadian painter-photographer-filmmaker-musician gives full vent to his genius in this exhilarating perceptual vaudeville, titled for the "central region" of tissue that acts as a conduit between the brain's two hemispheres.
  33. You either love it or you love it; in any case, Martin Scorsese's history-making scald is truly a phenomenon from another day and age.
  34. Directed by anyone else, Masculine Feminine--one of three movies that Godard made in his peak year, 1966--would be a masterpiece. For the young JLG it's business as usual.
  35. An organic, childlike wonder, fabulously unpredictable and seethingly inventive.
  36. The brilliant concluding chapter in the death trilogy that inspired Gus Van Sant's artistic rebirth.
  37. Bertolucci's masterpiece--made when he was all of 29--will be the most revelatory experience a fortunate pilgrim will have in a theater this year is a foregone conclusion.
  38. The Intruder, is a decisive breakthrough--her (Claire Denis) most poetic and primal film to date, as thrilling as it is initially baffling.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This work of gorgeous fury, about the virtual imprisonment of millions of Hindu widows in the years before independence, transforms Mehta's feminist rage into an eloquent testament to the hunger for freedom.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    To an extent, Flags of Our Fathers is to the WWII movie what Eastwood's Unforgiven was to the western -- a stripping-away of mythology until only a harsher, uncomfortable reality remains.
  39. Literally and figuratively marvelous, a rich, daring mix of fantasy and politics.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Zodiac exhausts more than one genre. Termite art par excellence, it burrows for the sake of burrowing, as fascinated by its own nooks and crannies as "Inland Empire."
  40. Killer of Sheep is an urban pastoral--an episodic series of scenes that are sweet, sardonic, deeply sad, and very funny.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This monumentally pointless movie is best summarized by a line from Planet Terror: "At some point in your life, you find a use for every useless talent you have." Rodriguez, Tarantino, and Co. aim for nothing more noble than to freak the funk, and it's about godd--- time. Go wasted, go stoned, go without your parents' permission. In paying homage to an obsolete form of movie culture, Grindhouse delivers a dropkick to ours.
  41. Ultimately, what makes Knocked Up a terrific film--one of the year's best, easily--is its relaxed, shaggy vibe; if it feels improvised in places, that's because Apatow trusts his actors enough to let them make it up as they go, like the people they're playing.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    To watch this movie (shot in breathtaking widescreen by cinematographer Ian Jones) is to enter into a whole new language of symbols and meaning, the likes of which I have rarely encountered in cinema outside of the African tribal films of Ousmane Sembene.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In narrative terms, not that much happens, but as for Harry's emotional journey--well, that's nearly epic.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Bravura doesn't begin to describe Greengrass's skill in mounting these complex sequences...This is, simply put, some of the most accomplished filmmaking being done anywhere for any purpose.
  42. It's all true--every magical, exhilarating, infuriating, dumbfounding, jaw-dropping second of Gordon's miniature masterpiece.
  43. The movie grabs hold and runs you through the wringer.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The most measured, classical film of their (Coen Brothers) 23-year career, and maybe the best.
  44. I'm Not There is the movie of the year.
  45. This is truly a work of symphonic aspirations and masterful execution.
  46. Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu's brilliantly discomfiting second feature is one long premonition of disaster.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The performances, culled from seven shows on the “Vertigo” tour from Mexico City to Buenos Aires, burn with the old unforgettable fire.
  47. The pleasing circularity of Gus Van Sant's masterful Paranoid Park is not only a function of the film's narrative structure but reflects the arc of its maker's career. Few directors have revisited their earliest concerns with such vigor.
  48. Flight of the Red Balloon is in a class by itself. In its unexpected rhythms and visual surprises, its structural innovations and experimental perfs, its creative misunderstandings and its outré syntheses, this is a movie of genius.
  49. A film that's both breathtakingly majestic and heartbreakingly intimate.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Dark Knight will give your adrenal glands their desired workout, but it will occupy your mind, too, and even lead it down some dim alleyways where most Hollywood movies fear to tread.
  50. One of the sweetest, saddest stories Franz Kafka never wrote.
  51. A superbly balanced piece of work, addressing the passion of Irish Republican martyr Bobby Sands.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One cannot recommend this film strongly enough.
  52. Up
    The first 10 minutes of Up are flawless; the final 80 minutes, close enough. (Though, note this: Do not see Up in 3-D. It's inessential to the tale and altogether distracting.)
  53. This may or may not be the greatest instance of college football ever played, but "Brian's Song," J"erry Maguire," and "The Longest Yard" notwithstanding, Rafferty's no-frills annotated replay is the best football movie I've ever seen: A particular day in history becomes a moment out of time.
  54. In every respect, this unclassifiable movie is an amazing accomplishment.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A full-throttle body shock of a movie. It gets inside you like a virus, puts your nerves in a blender, and twists your guts into a Gordian knot.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For the reportedly painstaking labor it took to create, the film is a marvel to behold--with wonderful shifts in perspective, an intensely tactile design, and an intentional herky-jerkiness of motion that only enriches the make-believe atmosphere.
  55. Detailed yet oblique, leisurely but compelling, perfectly cast and irreproachably acted, the movie has a seductively novelistic texture complete with a less-than-omniscient narrator.
  56. 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.
  57. Extraordinary, groundbreaking documentary.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Vincere, though, is the veteran director's stylistic knockout, a movie whose audacious editing fully captures the hot and heavy relationships between past and present, sex and politics, reality and, yes, cinema.
  58. When Guadagnino focuses solely on the primal, the effect is spellbinding. Only the words get in the way.
  59. Not only does this Star Trek proffer smart thrills and slick kicks, but it builds upon the original's history–from its very first pilot episode to Robert Wise's 1979 "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and beyond–while creating an entirely new future.
  60. Not just the year's most impressive first feature but also the strongest new movie of any kind I've seen in 2010.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Carlos is nevertheless a movie that one can somehow remember vividly for months. Much of this power is due to the whiplash widescreen cinematography (oft-mistaken for DV), the hopped-up editing, and, not least, Ramirez's aptly arrogant, fully transfixing, Method-style turn.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It has come to serve as a solemn metaphor for remembrance, as well as for butt-numbing endurance.
  61. One of the year's best films.
  62. A perfectly paced and performed character study of a woman raising a child on her own who must contend with a heinous act of violence.
  63. Grave, beautiful, austerely comic, and casually metempsychotic, Michelangelo Frammartino's Le Quattro Volte is one of the wiggiest nature documentaries-or almost-documentaries-ever made.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An essay on storytelling and spectatorship within When Inanimate Objects Attack schlock - one infused with the haunting aura and disillusionment of a post–"Easy Rider" road movie - Rubber is some kind of miracle.
  64. Better than a masterpiece - whatever that is - The Tree of Life is an eruption of a movie, something to live with, think, and talk about afterward.
  65. Leisurely and digressive, this generally exhilarating saga ("a storm of misadventures" per Ruiz) variously suggests Victor Hugo, Stendhal, and (thanks in part to the unnatural, emphatic yet uninflected, acting) Mexican telenovelas. The score is richly romantic; the period locations are impeccable.
  66. Cronenberg's film is at once a lucid movie of ideas, a compelling narrative, and a splendidly acted love story.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's a political statement, an act of defiance, a master class in one auteur's body of work and process, and a document of a life unseen. But above all, it's a gripping entertainment.
  67. Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai is more than just another bid for respectability, like "13 Assassins" -it may well be Miike's best film, a patient, ominous piece of epic storytelling that conscientiously rips the scabs off the honorable samurai mythology.
  68. One of the year's most hypnotic and fascinating films.
  69. Unclassifiable, expansive, and breathtaking.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's a sensational performance by Chastain...She's a most unlikely leading lady, pale and slight of stature, with a raging mane of strawberry blond hair, but she holds the screen with a feral intensity, an obsessive's self-possession.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    That makes this the most rare of films: one that indisputably matters. And one that stuns.
  70. The film's genius is how completely it tunes in to his 
experience, delicately outlining Joey's private moments of shame, elation, despondency, and pride.
  71. Landes's tone is never salacious or exploitative, nor for that matter pandering or sentimental. This is a sui generis work—warm, sporadically funny, deeply human, and altogether beguiling.
  72. The movie's sense of immutable desire resonates well after the lights have come up.
  73. 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.
  74. Spring Breakers seems to be holding a funhouse mirror up to the face of youth-driven pop culture, leaving us uncertain whether to laugh, recoil in horror, or marvel at its strange beauty. All I knew is I couldn't wait to see it a second time.
  75. Thanks to Lynch's expert pacing and modulation of narrative tension, even viewers who already know the outcome of the film's central incident will likely be pulled to the edges of their seats.
  76. This Ain't California is a masterful lie that illuminates a little-known reality.
  77. The story's outline may be familiar, but its emphasis and quality are not.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is one of the most fully rounded, unsentimental portraits of an artist you'll ever see on film.

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