Village Voice's Scores

For 10,314 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 Lebanon
Lowest review score: 0 Black Christmas
Score distribution:
10314 movie reviews
  1. It's clear that Straight Outta Compton is at once too padded and too thin. It's as if the story of these real-life legends was so unruly and dangerous that the filmmakers became the cops, forcing it into submission.
  2. The characterizations never comfortably accommodate Haroun's pat metaphor, though his stoic visual storytelling has an oblique gravity.
  3. The Island President also shows how the most high-minded idealists inevitably become deal-makers: The toothless agreement eventually ratified in Copenhagen - which calls for but doesn't require CO2 reductions - is lauded by Nasheed as "a very good, planet-saving document."
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A horror comedy with a structural twist intended to emit an air of being something more, Cabin has an off-putting vibe of cocky self-confidence, a "don't you get it" conviction that it's something special. As with people, it's not a charming quality in a movie.
  4. Mesrine's promised end in November 1979 arrives as history recorded it, but, by that time, you're hoping the next vogue in biopics is the short film.
  5. Plenty of twisty scripting makes the queasy damage seem conceptually neat and tidy, as if that's a good idea, but what we need here is a little more meat.
  6. It's poorly structured, a half-hour too long, and devotedly fixated on the filmmaker's persona.
  7. Circumspect documentary.
  8. Though more cathartic than redemptive, this sob-racked confession is the payoff for two hours of low-grade misery.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Potash's first feature-length documentary otherwise does justice to its subject's wrenching story.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    A borderline lazy but nonetheless compelling documentary co-produced by National Geographic.
  9. Ace in the Hole is a movie about the fascination of disaster that is itself a fascinating disaster.
  10. Relies on the hefty talents of its two leading ladies.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    A flawed, but intriguing work, it offers, here and there, proof of Pontecorvo's gift for ecstatic epic filmmaking.
  11. [A] densely packed but occasionally facile documentary.
  12. [Nicholson's] clear affection for the sights and personalities that make Coney Island what it is gets in the way of a hard-hitting investigation of why it hasn't maintained its luster.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Blindsight works best when it casts off the constraints of the adventure tale it wasn't meant to be and settles into a deft and humanistic treatment of blindness in Tibet.
  13. Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain's alarming Tony Manero--named not for its protagonist, but rather his ego-ideal, John Travolta's character in "Saturday Night Fever"--is another study of a cinema-struck, solitary daydreamer, albeit a particularly stunted member of the genus.
  14. Breezy, superficial documentary.
  15. Aiming to be a seriocomic movie of ideas but desperate not to offend or challenge, Let It Rain soon settles for being another smug comedy of bourgeois manners.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Director Roland Suso Richter skillfully wields the wall as a metaphor for isolation, but his pacing needs work: He cuts from an emotional death to a rowdy scene of sex on a kitchen table. Well, that's one way to mourn.
  16. Most of The Search for General Tso is a breezy survey of the history of Chinese-American cuisine.
  17. Now 79, the man with the snow-white ponytail in the radio booth hasn't flagged; as one of Fass's contemporaries says, "He can let someone go on and on and on."
  18. The brothers' latest also has a certain buoyancy...The fizziness, though, proves fleeting, and Hail, Caesar! too often goes flat.
  19. Mistaken for Strangers doesn't reveal anything about Tom but his own insecurity.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    Culkin broods and freaks out ably, but Igby's snotty, dysfunction-derived malaise remains off-putting, mostly because his lines aren't half as clever or empathic as Steers would believe.
  20. By the end of Christine — and of Christine — the reporter is at once burdened with too many signifiers (is Chubbuck a tragic heroine of second-wave feminism? of our current macabre newsscape? of untreated depression?) and a cipher. As with most biopics that resort to maximalism, more is less.
  21. Observing the close relationships they develop with clients, the openly gay Heymann becomes, both hilariously and wistfully, part of a community that possesses in spades what's missing in his own life--the gift of happiness and living well in unfriendly surroundings.
  22. Unfortunately, given both its content and the media's collective failure to fully report the (ongoing) story, the film only intermittently has a pulse.
  23. The moment-to-moment inventions are great fun, but the larger narrative inventions are less inspired.
  24. After establishing a central parent-child relationship rife with wacko biblical undertones, the director finds nowhere to take his story except into standard vengeance territory.
  25. The sort of movie that believes coolness is next to godliness, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang trades heavily and successfully on Downey's unflappable likability.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    In the end, Glodell's bona fide B-movie is monumentally dumb but damn near undeniable - although perhaps only a midnight drive-in screening in rural Texas, beat-up Chevys dripping muffler fluid and steam hissing from hot gravel, could do it proper.
  26. The film is undeniably compelling, and the fury and protest with which women across India responded to Singh's murder was explosive.... Yet there's something worrisome in the sensationalist tone.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Although it veers maudlin in its final act - 50/50 mostly succeeds as a movie about a young man fighting cancer that doesn't give in to sap or sentiment.
  27. Set off by sprightly graphics and shimmering with over-bright colors, Full Battle Rattle has a fake transparency. The movie arouses, without gratifying, a desire to see the camera.
  28. Since he's (Spielberg) a director largely incapable of understatement, War Horse is served up with a self-aggrandizing, distracting surplus of Norman Rockwell backlighting, aerial landscape shots designed to out-swoop David Lean's, and an aggravated sense of doggone wonderment amplified by the director's dependence on John Williams's bombastic score.
  29. 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.
  30. As far as teen comedies informed by 10th-grade English syllabi go, Easy A, partly inspired by "The Scarlet Letter," is remedial ed compared with "Clueless" and "10 Things I Hate About You."
  31. An intelligent, perceptive film. It's good enough to make you wish Chen hadn't sacrificed emotional complexity for a last-minute surprise.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Just as nasty as the titular mode of transport is the script's wanton declaration of theme and a cynical and fashionable belief in moral grayness that may complement the frosty setting but nonetheless feels easy.
  32. As with its narrative, Wreck-It Ralph's themes don't develop by branching out in wild, unpredictable ways; instead, they simply become narrower and more monotonous.
  33. The result is a film that eschews in-depth insight in favor of easily digestible who's-going-to-win suspense, a tack that's aided by Kargman's rather poignant (and visually graceful) evocation of pre-performance anxiety but ultimately leaves the material feeling deflated once the winners emerge.
  34. Cost well over $100 million, and the money is up there for the gawking. Illuminated by the orange flames of hell, the vast New York City set looks great. The least engaging aspect of the movie is its script -- which passed through the hands of three separate writers and perhaps even producer Harvey Weinstein.
  35. An unusually rich music doc.
  36. 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.
  37. A straightforward epic, almost alarmingly quaint in the telling.
  38. 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.
  39. Ron Howard's documentary often plays as an advertorial gunning for maximum intergenerational appeal.
  40. As Alex Ross Perry's "The Color Wheel" - another micro-budgeted sibling story - shows, a film about relentlessly repellent characters is much more fascinating, if not courageous, than one that tries to explain, redeem, or forgive them so easily.
  41. Inland Empire is Lynch's most experimental film since "Eraserhead." But unlike that brilliant debut (or its two masterful successors, "Blue Velvet" and "Mulholland Dr."), it lacks concentration. It's a miasma. Cheap DV technology has opened Lynch's mental floodgates.
  42. Another creature of need, if the temperamental opposite of self-contained Brandon, Sissy is equally prepared to push her way into his life or push herself in front of a subway. She's also a performer - and Mulligan's blowsy desperation makes for the movie's best turn.
  43. If it sounds all so pale and predictable, it is.
  44. An electrifying community meeting finds Harlem Success president Eva Moskowitz both vilified and heralded as "our Obama" by local parents, as the unions depend on such poorly understood class and neighborhood tensions to maintain the status quo.
  45. Tumbles happily into every pitfall that lines its well-trodden path.
  46. Handsomely shot, German filmmaker Sandra Nettelbeck's third feature suffers from a certain romantic predictability.
  47. In no way obsessive, Walk the Line is more sincerely--which is to say, more boringly--sincere. It doesn't leave you with much to think about, except maybe the empty vibrato of effective ventriloquism.
  48. Bulcsú never surfaces from the underworld. Neither does the movie-literally or figuratively.
  49. Obit rarely strays from the anodyne tone of the advertorial.
  50. 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.
  51. A modest and mildly pretentious mediocrity in the Woodman canon.
  52. More an intriguing premise than a successful film, the Malmö-set Sound of Noise, about a group of "musical terrorists," quickly loses its novelty and becomes about as bold as a Swedish production of "Stomp."
  53. Whether you call this a Rousseau-ian paradise or "Capturing the Friedmans" by the Sea will depend on where you stand on hippie living--up to a point.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Like many late-franchise attempts, it stretches its material thin and grasps at novelty, overstaying its welcome despite a handful of requisite dude-that-is-so-fucking-cool moments.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Engaged but measured hagiography.
  54. Strouse drops the ball with this meandering, flat film that shows few signs that he effectively coached his actors, as they rush to recite their dialogue.
  55. The Double Hour sustains a minimum of attention thanks to the naturally beguiling presence of long-stemmed Rappoport-but what might've a less cautious director done with the material?
    • 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.
  56. Honestly, Courtney and his crew all seem like nice people, but if there's an unironic audience for this kind of romantic jock-cup fondling, I'm not interested in knowing it.
  57. A deglamorized couple-on-the-run story, Warwick Thornton's Samson & Delilah doubles as a portrait of a tiny Australian aboriginal community.
  58. Today, the movie doesn't portend Altman's subsequent tailspin into irrelevance as much as it suggests a restlessness with the comic realism he had mastered.
  59. Goodman's movie tends to limp along.
  60. The raw ingredients of Raid 2 are superb. But the overall effect is gluttonous and queasy.
  61. Romero's fourth-grade dialogue doesn't help matters, but anyone seeking out the latest achievements in cranial ruptures, spewing-blood gouts, and ground-beef spillage need look no further.
  62. Constance Marks's documentary on Kevin Clash, the kind, gentle man who created the Muppet beloved by every single child in the world, rushes through the intriguing points its interviewees bring up to devote more time to banalities.
    • 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.
  63. This earnest love story is borderline insufferable, and yet there are moments that, in their bold incoherence, have a startling emotional truth.
  64. Man Push Cart is a diminutive film, finally--vying for a neorealist vibe, it lacks the Italian history makers' narrative urgency, and the sociopolitical conflict at the heart of the immigration "issue" is hardly engaged.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The film eventually becomes one long therapy session for the German nation as it struggles to understand how its brave and good soldiers could have done such bad, bad things. We, the viewers, are forced to take on the uncomfortable role of therapist.
  65. Instead of hitting the gas and allowing the scenario to rock 'n' roll with g-forces, Reitman keeps his movie small, unvaried, slack, and deliberately and oddly, completely smoke-free.
  66. May be the ultimate paradigm of self-reflexive cinema, eating Godard's tail for him and one-upping the classic anti-cartoon Duck Amuck by submitting to a cunning entropy and a self-inquiry so relentless the movie never moves from square one.
  67. Never hits a note of high hilarity.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A bland chamber drama for those who like their French cinema tame, talky, and just a little titillating.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    None of it goes anywhere. It's just stylized alcoholism with a tired wink.
  68. That's the thing about satire: It doesn't play past its expiration date. And everything about Tropic Thunder already feels antiquated.
  69. 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Battle for Brooklyn provides a useful primer on the opposition to Atlantic Yards, but figures who might have made more compelling documentary subjects than the always on-message Goldstein crowd the sidelines.
  70. 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
  71. Decaying and illiterate, with a mouthful of metal teeth, Dresnok himself belies his advertisements for the greatness of North Korea.
  72. Dolls risks the bank on symbology as gaudy as teen anime and as heavy as a stone temple.
  73. It's a TV show and a facile one at that.
  74. The growing disgust of both his family and business associates, all hazily drawn, may knock the magnate down, but it's a limp substitute for the public fury that still burns after the fall of 2008.
  75. Those looking for a refresher course on the workings of the food chain should be in heaven. All others may yearn for a sushi break.
  76. Beauvois, who co-wrote, seems hellbent on making the most realistic cop film of all time, shruggingly consumed with downtime, small talk, minor incident, and dead ends, and he's succeeded--the narrative wouldn't have cut it in a Kojak story meeting.
  77. The performances are strong and the scenecraft absorbing.
  78. Perhaps awed by the congress of Method men, director Frank Oz stands back as his actors phone it in.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Reviewed by
      Ed Park
    The film stakes out a self-affirming Atkins-free zone that seems unobjectionable in theory, but its speechifying tendencies and familiar familial tensions overwhelm the more delicate scenes.
  79. The Road Home is foremost enthralled, however, with its lead actress -- wide-eyed and pigtailed, revered in close-up after stunned close-up.
  80. 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.
  81. Crayton Robey's documentary on this queer cultural touchstone admirably presents both sides of the divide.

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