Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,329 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 56% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Father of My Children
Lowest review score: 0 Olympus Has Fallen
Score distribution:
2,329 movie reviews
  1. Hoffman and Beatty are so tone-deaf they don't even know how to play the songs for deadpan humor. They seem old, white, and without shtick. [14 May 1987, p.26(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. Can't hold a candle to Robert Altman's 1992 comedy "The Player." Both films present themselves as knowing views of the movie business, but Mr. Altman and his writer, Michael Tolkin, really knew.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. Unfortunately, the movie could use a bit of pachyderm memory, given its habit of flashing back to Tien's childhood with exactly the same footage used in previous flashbacks. Instead of the narrative being deepened, it keeps getting shallowed.
  4. None of the film's tropes — fancy camera angles, dark streets, persistent rain, psycho killers in doomy settings, Scudder trudging around the city on their trail — can hide the essential hollowness of a not-very-interesting revenge tale that takes a not-at-all-welcome turn into grisly, ugly horror.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Jean's material is so flat-out awful it's amazing she gets hired at all, let alone that she once supposedly had headliner potential. It's a discrepancy that Introducing the Dwights never addresses.
  5. Fabrice Luchini is thwarted by an unwieldy plot.
  6. If this adds up to a full-fledged feature film, I'm a monkey's uncle.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. Amusing, in fits and spurts, and sure to make tons of money, but terribly familiar and fatigued.
  8. The narrative lacks a strong heartbeat; you keep wondering why the spectacle isn't as affecting as it is picturesque.
  9. Ms. Scott Thomas is as intelligent and attractive as ever, but the synthetic world her character inhabits can't compete with a harrowing past that depicts French complicity in Nazi atrocities.
  10. The pretext of the movie, which was directed in broadbrush-cartoon style by Anne Fletcher from a coarse-textured script by Dan Fogelman, is a road trip taken by mother, Joyce, and son, Andrew.
  11. Once Captain America goes off to war in his endearingly silly suit, however, the movie starts to lose its vibe.
  12. The script's foolish contrivances crush its content.
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. Not even she (Patricia Clarkson), however, can save a movie that suffers from terminal self-enchantment.
  14. If you're able to take The Missing seriously, as I was not, you'll be impressed by its sweep and ambition. The most lasting impression it made on me was one of absurd overreaching.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. The production feels tentative and underpopulated: I thought not only of Katniss Everdeen but of the marvelous pandemonium in Danny Boyle's zombie epic "28 Days Later."
  16. Mr. Crystal underplays his role wisely and well, while Mr. De Niro parodies -- maybe the better word is pillages -- himself and his career with scary gusto.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. Qualifies as top-grade catnip for connoisseurs of trashy camp.
    • Wall Street Journal
  18. In this frustrating fizzle, the friendship does keep struggling to change into a love affair. But year after year, July 15 after July 15, it's the same old same old - two increasingly tedious people talking self-conscious talk.
  19. Had anyone recognized the signs and done something about them, the picturesque fable would have gone up in smoke, or snow, and Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter would have become a different picture. I’d prefer that one, though, sight unseen. This one is a closed system about a closed system.
  20. The result is lots of gunplay and explosions governed by little logic.
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. Enjoyable enough for what it is, a clever idea developed by fits and starts.
  22. The only rewards, and they are real albeit insufficient, involve watching Jane Fonda in full cry and Catherine Keener in a quieter fullness of feeling.
  23. I was put off by the acting, or more properly by the spectacle of good actors dutifully following leaden direction, and equally by the writing, which is as thin as the veneer of civilization it purports to peel back.
  24. It's as if the filmmakers, having committed themselves to the book, fled from its essence, which is wildness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. Now the two men are back, along with Irene. But she vanishes all too soon in this overproduced, self-enchanted sequel, and so does the spirit of bright invention that made the previous film such a pleasant surprise.
  26. It's overextended and exhaustingly comic.
  27. The director, Steven Soderbergh, and his large, cheerful cast have managed to make the least possible movie that still resembles a movie.
  28. Nothing if not ambitious, yet at war with itself stylistically.
  29. Punishes the audience with a flat starring performance; Mr. Jane finds few sparks of life in a hero who wasn't all that lively to begin with.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. Goes by pleasantly enough as you come to understand where it’s headed, but this romantic comedy, directed by Isabel Coixet from a screenplay by Sarah Kernochan, wears out its welcome, and energy, through unswerving conformity to its dramatic scheme.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Higher Learning put me in mind of a long lecture by a well-meaning but dull professor. What he has to say may be worthwhile, but it's delivered with plodding predictability. [12 Jan 1995, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. As a first-time feature director, though, he (Ball) seldom lets the material speak for itself. Every shot is a statement, every scene sells an attitude.
  32. When does banter turn to blather? In the case of this action adventure, which was directed by Baltasar Kormákur, it's when you realize that keeping track of the barely fathomable plot isn't worth the bother.
  33. Dumbfoundingly erratic, for the most part, but smart and funny from time to time.
  34. Jim Carrey is the prime offender here. He's such an unseemly showoff that the movie keeps stopping in its tracks.
    • Wall Street Journal
  35. Reasonably entertaining time-travel romance.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. Here's one more studio extravaganza brought down by numbing action and an addiction to generic digital effects.
  37. Going on too long seems to be the disease of the week; it's certainly what brings this movie down, though the going on here stems from a surfeit of implausible plot that suffocates the main characters and the excellent actors who play them.
  38. The story refuses to combust; it's a strangely unsatisfying combination of bloodless observations and unresolved sexuality.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Exemplifies Hollywood's standard practice of stomping a brilliant concept beyond recognition.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The movie moves at such an agonizingly stately pace that by the end, side effects be damned, Henry's time-traveling gene starts to look mighty appealing.
  39. Ted
    Ted is often hilarious, sometimes sweet and, in the spirit of "Family Guy," consistently raunchy. Yet it's seriously overextended and, as the premise wears ever thinner, frantically overproduced.
  40. There's no scarier myth for males, and Mr. Lichtenstein turns various images of emasculation into a black comedy that flirts, fairly tediously, with pornography.
  41. Be warned: Although it was filmed on the North Shore of Hawaii's Oahu island, this is a surf movie, not a surfing movie. As for the empowered-girl premise -- well, the kids may not notice, but Blue Crush is about as progressive as a Virginia Slims commercial.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. It's ended up a weak imitation of the original. [09 Aug 1990]
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. The biggest battle in Monsters vs. Aliens is banality vs. originality, and banality carries the day.
  44. Remember "The Flight of the Phoenix," the movie about the misshapen plane, built from scavenged parts, that flies its builders to safety? Music and Lyrics is like that plane, up to a point. The plot is misshapen, the pieces are scavenged and nothing quite fits. The film does manage to take off, albeit barely, then flits around cheerfully in search of coherence, but finally crashes and fizzles.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. The story wanders unconvincingly and tediously into corporate law offices and big, splashy nightclubs. Still, Mr. Hackford has the documentary maker's eye for realistic detail, so it all looks right. [01 Mar 1984]
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. The movie's real locus of anger must have been the director, Ang Lee, once he realized what an epic clod his computer wizards had wrought.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. I'm sorry to report that Biyi Bandele's would-be saga, based on the celebrated novel by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, is disappointing, a romance pastiche that muddles the politics of the period beyond comprehension.
  48. Nolan’s 168-minute odyssey through the space-time continuum is stuffed with stuff of bewildering wrongness. Eager for grandeur, I went in hoping for the very best from a filmmaker with his own vision of the theatrical medium’s potential. The last thing I expected was a space adventure burdened by turgid discussions of abstruse physics, a wavering tone, visual effects of variable quality and a time-traveling structure that turns on bloodless abstractions.
  49. It's a movie at war with itself. The first half, more or less, is witty about California culture, or the lack of it, in a "Clueless" kind of way, which is a very good way.
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. This new feature, though, sets up a dialectic between reason and faith and argues it insistently, with eye-rolling earnestness.
  51. The result is heavy and humorless, despite a smart, skillful performance by Brooke Smith.
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. This is filmmaking by the numbers meant to succeed by the numbers.
  53. In contrast to the series, which was quick-witted, fast-paced and self-ironic -- oh, and sexy -- the movie is earnest, often aimless (couldn't anyone cook up a plot?), visually bland (except for the fashion shows) and, at two minutes short of 2½ hours, a decreasingly amiable meander.
  54. The island locale rings with reggae music regardless of its proximity to Jamaica, and any action sequence is rendered in painfully deliberate slo-mo.
  55. What's not fine is the dead zone occupied by the monster of the piece, Tom Cruise's veteran rocker, Stacee Jaxx.
  56. For all its seriousness, though, Levity struck me as pretentious and intractably lifeless.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. The essence of Youth Without Youth, which was shot -- luminously -- in Romania, lies in its solemn speculations about aging, time and consciousness. Mr. Coppola is one of the cinema's peerless masters, and I would have enjoyed nothing more than a chance to celebrate his new film. I'm truly sorry to say, then, that I found it impenetrable.
  58. If this death-obsessed drama is a classic, then give me potboiling life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. Ms. Berry works hard in her role, generating some excitement in the course of her distress. But the story's convolutions can't cover a deficit of substance, or sense.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. The only thing Mr. Tarantino spells out is the violence. I have seen much more blood spilled, yet I felt sickened by the coldness of this picture's visual cruelty. [29 Oct 1992, p.A11(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. Feelings play second fiddle to stylized attitudes in Spartan, and fancy style can't conceal the film's clumsiness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Mr. Braff's idea of self-discovery is my idea of narcissism.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. This is an odd and ultimately dispiriting film, despite some intriguing ideas about brute force vs. moral authority, the elaborately staged uprising -- and impressive actors in the cast. That is to say, they've been impressive elsewhere.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. Little more than a showcase for Owen Wilson's amiable shtick, and a showcase in the merchandising sense of the term.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. The situation in The Situation is grimly photogenic, yet persistently opaque.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. Like many dreams that enliven filmmakers' nights, this one derives from other, better films, though it does have a few clever twists.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. Spontaneity has been banished by rigid stylization, and the net effect is as lifeless as a severed head that turns up in a basement freezer.
  68. This time, though, the happy ending plays out in real life, while the screen version falls afoul of a laggardly pace, an earnest tone and a surfeit of domesticity.
  69. This latest iteration of the Tolstoy classic was clearly the product of audacious thinking, stylishly applied. Still, the thinking was as wrongheaded as it was hollow-hearted. Yet another elaborate production chases its audience away.
  70. The movie commits the sin of boredom, partly because Ms. Martin is exceedingly inexpressive.
  71. I've enjoyed Ms. Leoni's comic gifts in the past, and I'll enjoy them again, but Spanglish asks her to play crazed, and she delivers with a performance of unremitting, crazymaking shrillness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. The movie is pleasant enough, in its studied way, and Mr. Hopkins does as well as anyone could in the role of a wise man with vaguely supernatural powers. Still, it's awfully amorphous and pokey.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. Any movie that gives Helen Mirren a chance to shoot really big guns, wear an ermine astrakhan and channel Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth can't be all bad, and Red 2 isn't, though it comes close.
  74. A remarkably ill-advised remake.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. The only reason to see it is Riz Ahmed's performance as Omar, the supposed brains of the operation. Mr. Ahmed reminded me a bit of Robert Carlyle. He's dynamic, quick-tongued and intense. And much too classy for this tatty room.
  76. Depressed and depressing drama.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. Men, Women & Children touches many nerves, but then pinches and twists them with its ham-handed approach to social commentary. I worry about Mr. Reitman, a filmmaker of consequence who is still too young to be so cosmic. Time to lighten up and come back down to Earth.
  78. The denizens of Judd Apatow’s Funny People have been pulled every which way to fit a misshapen concept, yet they remain painfully unfunny, and consistently off-putting.
  79. The basic problem is the script, which is credited to three writers plus the director - seldom a good sign. Never mind that it's a retread of "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" minus the trains, and minus John Candy.
  80. Not a pretty sight, any of it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. If you go to see this sloppy sitcom, in which Mr. Martin plays a divorced, repressed lawyer named Peter Sanderson, do expect to be surprised, seduced and entertained by Queen Latifah.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. What do the Coen brothers want of us? More specifically, what do they want us to think of the repellent people in this pitilessly bleak movie?
  83. Mr. Statham, the specialist in English tough guys who was so affecting in "The Bank Job," has more to offer than The Mechanic has the grace to receive.
  84. Ms. Wynter's performance is only one of many failings in a heavily accented costume drama that Bruce Beresford has directed turgidly from Marilyn Levy's amateurish script.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. The video-game sequences are impressive, but you know that a 'toon is in big trouble when its most powerful theme is planned obsolescence.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. You're tempted to keep watching, even though the running time is a bloated 154 minutes, to see if anyone, or the movie itself, turns remotely likable. The answer to that, alas, is no.
  87. The movie on the whole is joyless. Whatever Works doesn’t.
  88. In a movie that rings false at every turn, Ms. Redgrave's Elizabeth is truly and infallibly regal.
  89. I feel for the marketing person charged with devising a tagline for Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, a fantasy whose turgid pretensions defy the very notion of marketing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. Nothing stands up to scrutiny -- least of all the lethargic acting and the clumsy script. I was hot to trot for the exit halfway through, but a dogged sense of duty kept me stuck in an endless present.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. Basic Instinct 2 is pretty awful. Rarely has a meaningless thriller had so many meaningful glances, or such arch acting by good actors who know better.
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. Operates in a dead zone roughly equidistant between parody and idiocy. You do get the connection between tongue and cheek, but much of the humor still goes thud.
  93. Joyless and largely witless sci-fi fantasy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  94. A guaranteed downer that's devoid of any upside, and free of dangerously entertaining side effects.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. A slow and lugubrious film about the impact of adoption on the lives of three women.
  96. Country Strong comes to spontaneous life from time to time, despite maudlin devices and manipulative set pieces.

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