Village Voice's Scores

For 10,522 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 40% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 56% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 Stranger by the Lake
Lowest review score: 0 The Prince
Score distribution:
10522 movie reviews
  1. Usually an enervating process to witness onscreen, Steen's subtle calibrations of self-hatred and raging narcissism exhilarate.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It plays like an extended auction catalog with commentary. Thematically recalling Olivier Assayas's "Summer Hours"-another film dealing with objects in a French art collection as receptacles for memory and personal biography-it sorely lacks that drama's tension between insular nostalgia and the wider, rapidly evolving outside world.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Taissa Farmiga (sister of Vera) is a marvel in the title role.
  2. Despite Wilson’s early control and aesthetic confidence, there isn’t a single scripted idea of weight or emotionality that pays off.
  3. If you don't know who to vote for by now, whatever you do, don't see this movie. It's only going to tell you bad things. We're having fun here, right?
  4. The longer versions of all Jackson's Middle-earth films have played better (and made more sense) than their theatrical cuts, but this time he's trimmed out something absolutely vital, the one element that, besides his mad gore-minded grandiloquence, has kept everything together five films running: an attention to the emotional lives of his hobbits.
  5. Blue Car gets so much of the hard stuff (including Meg's Plath-via-Tori poetry) that it assumes the easy stuff will take care of itself. It doesn't.
  6. Cheers to lower expectations, then, because The Incredible Hulk is The Pretty Good Hulk. All things considered, of course.
  7. While films like “The Band's Visit,” “Jellyfish,” and “Waltz With Bashir” suggest a subtler, more psychologically directed path for Israeli film, Dror Zahavi's For My Father is old-school social melodrama (plus bombs), all the way.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The use of stock footage eventually approaches overkill in the montage-heavy climax. Much more impressive is the way Ferrara uses his own "documentary" footage of the city.
  8. Infectious city symphony.
  9. The idea isn't as odd as it might first appear, since running a salon is one of the few socially acceptable means for a woman in Afghanistan to earn an income. The execution, however, evokes a particularly outlandish Christopher Guest mockumentary.
  10. Murray's performance is successfully skewed, but in the De Niro oeuvre, Mad Dog is one more doughy characterization flecked with raisins. [16 Mar 1993]
    • Village Voice
  11. Director Jordan Rubin and the cast know the material is ridiculous, but calibrate the tone so that the dangers still feel dangerous.
  12. This comic noir is best when it's more comic, in both senses of the word.
  13. More often than not, these musical interludes are more like distractions aimed only to entice younger audiences (not a terrible thing).
  14. Moscow Never Sleeps is ambitious to a fault. While O’Reilly flexes an ability to tie together several narratives, he introduces so many characters that some of their stories must fall by the wayside. It’s a shame, because that muddles the more interesting vignettes.
  15. Yes
    Potter's anachronistic rhyme schemes tumble forth with an out-damned-spot verve that rages against irrelevance.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    A Decent Factory is just as much about the motives of the people asking the questions as those of the people avoiding the answers.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Expected ironies about homeland security, racial profiling, and fears of the Other land like a rain of anvils, and director Renfroe matches Krause's worked-up performance with a jiggly, flashy approximation of off-brand Tony Scott.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Primo Levi's Journey is almost willfully opaque about the actual circumstances of Primo Levi's journey. Who exactly was this man we're meant to be paying homage to, and why did it take him so long to get home?
  16. A cute and mildly clever fantasy.
  17. Our Little Sister often vibrates with such tenderness of feeling that it’s difficult to dismiss outright. The excellent performances from the four lead actresses help offset the occasional heavy-handedness of the script, with Kore-eda alive to their distinctive tics and gestures.
  18. Nolan and his co-screenwriter David Goyer can only press the big buttons so hard—it's still an old-school superhero summer movie, the plotting tortuous, the characters relegated to one-scene-one-emotion simplicity, the digitized action a never ending club mix of chases and mano a manos.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Wisely eschews standard anti-corporate bombast for measured tones.
  19. 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.
  20. Commercial filmmaking still fumbles interiority and moral complexity. So it’s fortunate for the filmmakers that Brierley's book also is thick with the kinds of things that crowdpleasers ace.
  21. The movie, directed by Charles Stone III — who gave us 2002's likable Drumline — runs hot and cold, suspenseful and well observed, well acted and often affecting, but somewhat tiresome and implausible by the end.
  22. The film is saved by its illuminating — if heartbreaking — examination of isolated locales rarely seen on film.
  23. The film is earnest and nobly intentioned, though its execution doesn't measure up.
  24. Adults will be thrilled to see Anna Faris as nature documentarian Rachel. Greeting Yogi by speaking in "brown bear," the actress never fails to be seriously goofy.
  25. [Webber's] performance is crazy good, and so emotionally charged that viewers may be forgiving of a finale overloaded with silly twists.
  26. Under the Electric Sky manages to be amusing even while it’s annoying you.
  27. The fact that Cronenberg directed almost works against Maps to the Stars: We expect greatness from him, not just proficiency, and he doesn't exactly have a gift for comedy, not even the black kind. But the movie still has the darkly glittering Cronenberg touch, even if it's just a light brushing.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The tiredness of its conceit aside, the film manages to ingratiate thanks to a script that pleasantly ping-pongs from one digressive dialogue to another and a persuasive performance by Hall.
  28. It's a staggering film, but not a brilliant one — a superior version would have played more with the gulf between our senses and theirs.
  29. Filled with bird sounds, Vertical Ray is almost surreal in its paradise imagery -- the movie is a sultry, harmoniously expressionistic riot of pale greens and deep yellows.
  30. All Governments Lie is worthy testimony that many journalists are in it for the truth.
  31. Cannily timed by lefty distributor Cinema Libre Studio to coincide with the release of Edward Zwick's Blood Diamond, Philippe Diaz's documentary claims to present Sierra Leone's civil war in a radically different light. More accurately, it shifts the emphasis and fills out the picture.
  32. Although Tracktown presents itself as adorably, harmlessly twee, I wished Pappas had tapped deeper into the dark side she hints at — the side that makes her protagonist more concerned about being a winner than about being a person.
  33. Although it's grotesque to see pre-teens stomping in underground warehouse-battle settings, at least Battlefield America's racial politics are interesting.
  34. Her documentary sporadically locates profound truth amid its myriad musings about the momentous and the everyday. Often, however, Anderson's hushed-tone articulations of her thoughts on these subjects prove affected, and her stream-of-consciousness style, though acutely constructed, is more alienating than inviting.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The latest Star Trek flick, Insurrection, is the 9th, and although it doesn't suck as completely as some ignoble odd-numbered low points, it doesn't exactly boldly go where no one has gone before.
  35. Despite Herrington's skill at capturing the physicality of the game, Stroke is strictly for golf nuts and masochists--assuming there's a difference.
  36. Well-written and inoffensively directed by Jeff Grace, the film suffers from an overall brown color.
  37. The film is entertaining but hardly penetrating.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The film is marred by a reliance on cheap DV effects, but authenticity strains through in the performances.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    For all its ambitions, Illuminata sheds only murky light on what separates theater from life.
  38. In between Storks' bumptious best and worst are its uncertain quiet patches.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    For those who have let the war drift into the background noise of talking heads, Iraq for Sale is a much needed reminder of the criminal negligence of those who led the troops into this mess and those who have gotten rich off of it.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There is a lot of electricity running in these cables, and directors Chris and Paul Weitz, responsible for "American Pie," know how to tap enough of it that almost every minute of Down to Earth is entertaining. But not quite surprising.
  39. As documentary filmmaking, it's cheap and suspect. As advocacy, it's necessary.
  40. A decent little exercise in nativist outrage, Rolf de Heer's The Tracker, with its dynamic between indigene and colonial oppressor, could've easily been a western.
  41. The film suffers from a series of unsatisfying endings, but it's nonetheless refreshing to see a zombie movie with brains behind the camera instead of on the menu.
  42. It's no surprise to anyone who's seen his Robert Rodriguez films that Banderas works well with kids. But it may surprise those who saw "Evita" that he can make a music-and-dance movie that doesn't suck.
  43. On occasion, director Degan attempts to capture the plant's power via psychedelic montage, layering colors over jungle footage and Freeman's home movies, but more fascinating are the details of the rituals, the river-trek photography, Freeman's frankness about his struggles with depression, and Degan's quick portraits of the people Freeman meets along his way — none of whom gets enough screen time.
  44. Broomfield's investigatory technique remains a frustrating pileup of unfocused Q&As and misplaced credulity. But when Broomfield travels to her Michigan hometown, he pieces together a life blighted at breech-birth: a grotesque of abandonment, incest, physical and sexual abuse, pregnancy at 13, and homelessness.
  45. Tilda Swinton doesn't merely act the title role in French director Erick Zonca's Julia--she devours it, spits it back up, dances giddily upon it, twirls it in the air.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Despite its chic pedigree, the film projects a shy modesty, a virtue largely attributable to Emile Hirsch's unflashy performance.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Indeed, three decades into his career as a name-brand fashioner of zesty soapers, Spanish cinema's most beloved export could direct un film de Almodóvar with his eyes shut and still get a rise out of his fans. So who could blame the matador for letting the bull run the show this time?
  46. A lo-fi feature blend of "True West Hollywood Story" and a gay fairy tale.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Thankfully, the kids' complicated impulses resist such packaging, whether they're catcalling head-scarved co-eds outside the local gas station or channeling racial resentments into extra hard hits.
  47. Consistently wacky and sometimes nearly surreal.
  48. An enjoyably glib and refreshingly terse exercise in big beat and constant motion.
  49. Cooper may have gone overboard in delineating the hardships of blue-collar life in Out of the Furnace. But he has a gift for getting actors to put some muscle into their work, and enough finesse to make sure the sweat doesn't show.
  50. The writing hits the weeds on occasion, but Pavone evokes with feeling adolescence as a series of outlandish physical punishments and sweetly remembered firsts.
  51. The fights are quick and brutal and bloodless, with too much slo-mo and sped-up stuff, and some clever camera angles that get cut from before you can work out what you're looking at.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Instinct moves along at a competent clip, but it's mostly a tease.
  52. Alterman's camerawork, panning and zooming about Christiaan's ants, rabbits, birds, and other assorted mecha creatures, conveys a sense of ominous religious awe.
  53. Waters's far-from-phallocratic sexual democracy is not so much hilarious as goofy and more rousing than arousing.
  54. The movie has its moments, but the bloat and the blandness take their toll.
  55. The awesome shit's awesome; the ponderous is ponderous; and the bloody corpses are arranged as artfully as wedding bouquets.
  56. The couplings have an artful intensity lacking in pornography, which favors athleticism and disconnectedness, and the lighting — well, the best thing in the movie is the look of it all, which in a tony sex-flick counts for a lot.
  57. Too artfully made for camp status but populated by characters too one-dimensional to stand alongside the likes of Once Upon a Time in China, Chow Hin Yeung's martial-arts epic, set in the late nineteenth century, is marked by blue-gray hues and some genuinely striking camerawork.
  58. Best is Linney, conquering scenes as the acrid and touching Caroline, her regal bitterness a shield against nostalgia, dressed Park Avenue posh to drink alone.
  59. This is powerful reportage, beautifully shot and gracefully laid out; too bad that Kendall ties it all up with more deep thoughts from the bus itself, thoughts that sound like outtakes from a TED Talk on the interconnectedness of all living things.
  60. A competent, earnest ethnographic video doc that never quite rises above its own best intentions.
  61. Now, we have Jeremy Renner as another Treadstone mega man (there were nine, apparently), and though he is a likable enough pug-nosed action figure, the Damonlessness is sorely felt.
  62. Fun and smart, but undeniably thin, the first installment of Tarantino's action epic is a fanboy fever dream. The clichés are out in maximum force, tempting any critic fool enough to go one-on-one with the master. (The prize: a Ph.D. in Tarantinology.)
  63. While overstuffed and scattershot, this episodic documentary makes a vital argument: That American popular music, especially the blues and rock ’n’ roll, owe much more to Native Americans than has been commonly credited.
  64. Director Pedro Morelli's neon-and-grime aesthetic and a solid cast of mostly Canadian character actors (including a campy, animated Don McKellar and a creepy Michael Eklund) are the grounding factors.
  65. It is, for a contemporary CGI-fraught fantasy-slash-living-video-game, not at all bad, dotted with moments of Bosch and steady on its storytelling feet.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Wang's vision is preferable to the esoteric chic of "Khadak," but the Chinese director still maintains an emotional remove from his subject.
  66. Forsman — whose loose inspiration was Snowblind, a 1976 memoir by his retired drug-smuggler father — brings a refreshing crispness to the foot chases and fights, and there's a fun cameo that supports the retro-'80s vibe nicely.
  67. Despite a strong sense of its characters, however, Kelly rarely generates much melodramatic or amusing momentum.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    With commendable sincerity but also an unfortunate Hollywood veneer, Nomad is a poor man's "Gladiator."
  68. The final result of all this, if a mixed bag, is still a more accurate rendering of the books' spirit than Oz the Great and Powerful.
  69. Seinfeld's cool professionalism is almost cruelly juxtaposed with the tortured narcissism of heel-nipping tyro Orny Adams, who illustrates the mirror-image view from below. Comedy is pain, whether you're top- or underdog.
  70. Like its central not-couple, two women tongue-tied about their desire for each other, So Yong Kim's Lovesong frustrates with its lack of articulation.
  71. Israel's one-man new wave, Amos Gitai, surveys his nation's hardscrabble quotidian in Alila, which dallies with both Kiarostamian spirit and Altman-esque fabric, examining the intersecting lives of a dozen or so Tel Aviv residents.
  72. Equally lionizing but richer in detail than the recent Michael Peña-led biopic César Chávez, this occasionally stirring doc portrait of the late Latino labor organizer and civil rights icon frames his legacy around a single act of protest.
  73. New York onscreen is often a fantasy of hustlers, hardened cops, and the spoiled urban yuppies of the Baumbach and Dunham universes. In that sense, writer-director Keith Miller's modest drama Five Star is the kind of depiction the city sorely needs.
  74. Smitten by the symmetry of his parable, director Roger Michell crosscuts emphatically between the preening leads -- a strategy that only draws attention to the numerous lapses in logic and unpersuasive changes of heart while sidelining the lively supporting cast
  75. At first, the movie is over-anxious--trying too hard to squeeze out the laughs, pump up the soundtrack, ingratiate itself with the audience--and the straining is abrasive. But once Talbert gets distracted by keeping the plot clunking along, the comedy eases into relaxed sideline banter.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The interviews occasionally veer into it-seemed-like-a-dream cliché, and the eerie soundtrack doesn't help. But at times the unpolished approach earns a rare complexity.
  76. Harmless and affectionate, The Dish gives its clichés breathing room, and so a few are pleasantly surprising.
  77. Shapiro seems far more invested than his subject in telling the story, which sometimes makes the film feel a bit underhanded.
  78. Kim Seong-hun's riveting if empty-headed A Hard Day will be remembered for its increasingly ominous jump-cuts to mobiles ringing, vibrating, and flashing profane messages.
  79. Una
    There’s nothing wrong with stylization and opening things up (usually, these are good things), and Andrews has impressive command of his frame. But here, the extra-cinematic adornments seem somewhat unnecessary, as Una’s chief power lies in its two striking lead performances.
  80. Aurora Borealisulth -- yes, that title eventually comes home to roost -- doesn't offend in any way, but it's so self-consciously quaint, so unwaveringly "nice," that you nearly wish it did.

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