Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,091 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 57% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Meek's Cutoff
Lowest review score: 0 A Guy Thing
Score distribution:
2,091 movie reviews
  1. In addition to all else, and it's a lot, The Losers wastes the riches of Hollywood technology in hot pursuit of nothing.
  2. The lesson here is simple: In the digital realm, the bigger the worse. What looks distinctive and believable in short takes and small doses can turn blatantly phony and deadly familiar when the scale is pumped up. Prince of Persia pumps itself up to the bursting point, and bursts.
  3. (It doesn't hurt that Ms. Redgrave gets to play opposite Franco Nero, who was once the love of her life and is the father of her son.) Not even she can transform lines like "Destiny wanted us to meet again."
  4. A slow and lugubrious film about the impact of adoption on the lives of three women.
  5. Pathetically unfunny most of the time.
  6. Still, Eat Pray Love preaches a sermon it doesn't practice-the need to open one's self to the world. In a pictorial sense this is exactly what Liz does; she vacuums up the transformative essence of three continents. Yet the world gets weirdly short shrift because this transcendently narcissistic movie is, in a narrative sense, almost entirely about Liz and the movie star who plays her.
  7. This children's entertainment-grownups beware!-is preoccupied by squishy stuff that includes mud and poop, as well as by syrup that oozes from cabinet drawers.
  8. Secretariat stumbles along beneath the weight of leaden life lessons. They're dispensed at frequent intervals by Diane Lane, who does better than anyone had a right to expect, since she is saddled with dialogue of exceptional dreadfulness.
  9. Either you buy their Vaseline-lensed visions of the hereafter, or you watch in stony silence, as I did, wondering why there's no one to care about.
  10. This dreary drama telegraphs every punch, emotion and plot point with a dedication that would have done the old Western Union proud.
  11. What's worse, some mysterious movie curse has turned the three once-lively adventurers into wood.
  12. The result is a queasy combination of speculation and dramatic invention with the ring of half-truth, though the co-stars, Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, add as much color as they can - not much - to a monochromatic script.
  13. 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.
  14. This production is a mess for many reasons, most of them having to do with its frantic efforts to be funny.
  15. 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.
  16. It's dispiriting to see how little attention the filmmakers have paid to the dramatic - read human - possibilities of the original, or how much they've been overwhelmed by technology's demands. It's as though rogue programs took over the production.
  17. Country Strong comes to spontaneous life from time to time, despite maudlin devices and manipulative set pieces.
  18. 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.
  19. All of the nonsense piled on nonsense does provide some measure of pleasure. Unknown gets better by getting worse.
  20. There's nothing to be said in favor of sitting through garbage, and this movie is awash in the stuff, both figuratively and literally: One of its main locales is a vast garbage dump.
  21. The IMAX print I saw was so murky as to make you give thanks for the few scenes shot in simple sunlight, the 3-D wasn't worth the bother, and never before have I wanted to chloroform an entire orchestra.
  22. Green Lantern was meant to be a sci-fi adventure, but it proves to be a genuine mystery. How could its megamoola budget have yielded a production that looks almost as tacky as "Flash Gordon" (which had the good grace to deprecate itself at every turn)?
  23. Horrible Bosses has preposterousness to burn, but no finesse and no interest in having any.
  24. The movie transforms a dim idea - "Elmer Gantry" lite - into comedy that's dead in the water and as dull as it is broad.
  25. Cowboys versus aliens is a concept that may make you smile in anticipation, but wipe that smile off your face before buying your ticket.
  26. Ms. Weisz is always a strong presence, but her talents are wasted here on a naive heroine - the fictional Kathy is exceedingly slow to grasp the extent of the corruption - and a narrative style that turns the horror of the prostitutes' plight into harrowing melodrama.
  27. Long after lice from her children's school infested Kate's scalp, I was scratching my head about why a 91-minute movie seemed so long. The answer came from reframing the question. Why was a string of sitcom problems stretched to 91 minutes?
  28. The failure lies not with the film's director, Marc Forster, nor with its impressive star, Gerard Butler, but with Jason Keller's dreadfully earnest script, which charts the hero's spiritual journey, and his Rambo-esque exploits, without offering a scintilla of mature perspective on his state of mind.
  29. In a movie that rings false at every turn, Ms. Redgrave's Elizabeth is truly and infallibly regal.
  30. Despite all the nervous tension, the central drama is flawed - Jonathan isn't trying to find a killer. He is the killer. Something is lacking in the dramatic equation.
  31. When bad movies happen to good people, the first place to look for an explanation is the basic idea. That certainly applies to My Week With Marilyn, a dubious idea done in by Adrian Hodges's shallow script and Simon Curtis's clumsy direction.
  32. Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher is the main reason to see The Iron Lady, which was directed by Phyllida Lloyd - not just the main reason but the raison d'être of an otherwise misconceived movie.
  33. As an experiment in Academy Award psychology, Albert Nobbs is fascinating. As drama? It is, forgive us, a drag.
  34. In The Hunger Games it's both a feast of cheesy spectacle and a famine of genuine feeling, except for the powerful - and touchingly vulnerable - presence of Jennifer Lawrence.
  35. The remake has no grace notes, or grace, no nuance, no humanity, no character quirks, no surprises in the dialogue and no humor.
  36. 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.
  37. Mr. Beall, a former LAPD cop, has written a script so devoid of feeling that the cartoons blur into thin line drawings, while what's been done with the marvelous Ms. Stone - i.e. next to nothing - is downright criminal.
  38. The only reason to see this dreary parade of deception and venality is Mark Wahlberg's performance as a disgraced ex-cop caught up in the thick of menacing events he can't understand. It's striking how this tightly focused actor can find his own firmly grounded reality in the falsest of surroundings.
  39. The essence of this grindingly violent movie can be summed up by what Parker says of his handgun to a terrified clerk at a check-cashing service: "It's small, but it hurts."
  40. It's long on Viagra jokes and whorehouse scenes, and comes up short on plausibility.
  41. What a peculiar production this is. Up to a certain point, it really does promise to be romantic.
  42. Oz the Great and Powerful, like so many products of movie studios that have lost their way, is a Tin Man of epic proportions — bright and shiny, with no heart.
  43. Nobody doesn't like Tina Fey, and anyone aware of her starring role in Admission will be wishing her well. But wishing won't make this dramedy any less dreary than it is.
  44. I won't pretend that I had a great time watching G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
  45. The story is rooted in a political past that never comes to life, and its structure is so cockeyed that we don't even get to see Nick's reaction to a climactic surprise that takes place off-screen. The film was shot by an excellent cinematographer, Adriano Goldman, though you'd never know it from the lighting, which is as flat as the writing.
  46. The movie's failures are all the more unfortunate because they detract from its central and conspicuous success, the performance of Riz Ahmed in the title role. Mr. Ahmed turns the quicksilver quality of the book's internal monologue into a tour de force of his own creation. He's a bright star in a dim constellation.
  47. What's intractably wrong with the film is that there's no reality to heighten; it's a spectacle in search of a soul.
  48. Mr. Emmerich, who has often conjured with cosmic themes, sometimes wittily, achieves something new this time around — a level of indifference to the genre and its fans that amounts to a cosmic shrug. What does it matter if the absurdity is slovenly, the whimsy leaden, the extravagance squalid?
  49. Johnny Depp's Tonto wears a dead crow on his head in The Lone Ranger. The star himself carries a dead movie on his shoulders.
  50. The larger problem, transcending all realms, is that this action-adventure sequel from Marvel soon turns so dumb and 3-D-murky that it hurts.
  51. Labor Day, adapted from a novel by Joyce Maynard, is the kind of movie that turns clarity into stultification; everything is perfectly clear and almost everything — pie-making excepted — is perfectly lifeless.
  52. Mr. Goldsman, a first-time director though a veteran screenwriter, has been done in by the source material. Either he climbed aboard a horse that was too much for him, or the universe gave him a bum steer.
  53. For precursors of Guy's perversity, one would have to go back to W.C. Fields, who made antic art out of his characters' abhorrence of children.
  54. The best thing to be said for this lumbering comedy is that it offers a chance to see Vanessa Paradis, the singularly alluring French singer, actress and model, play Avigal, a melancholy Hasidic widow in Brooklyn, N.Y., and play the role with exceptional delicacy. Otherwise, arrgh!
  55. Most of the prime goofiness is given over to Vassili and Konig sharpshooting at each other while the battle rages. The movie's a red elephant.
  56. It may be lulling to know, almost from the outset, where the plot is going, but thrilling -- or even psychological -- it is not.
  57. Only Le Carre fans with tin ears and clouded eyes will fail to note the film's sour tone, crude performances and drab look.
  58. The last thing we need is entertainment that evokes the horror and then trivializes it with cheesy heroics. Never has a movie taken on a subject of greater immediacy, or handled it more ineptly.
  59. The Navajos must have sent much more crucial messages at much higher levels during the war, but you'd never know it from this movie. Windtalkers is practically all action and no talk.
  60. Everything that was modest, soundly grounded and therefore horrifying about the 1971 rodentarama that starred Bruce Davison is now insistent, Grand-Guignol-intense and therefore shrug-offable when it isn't downright awful.
  61. An ugly exercise in big-budget carnage.
  62. After missing the film on the small screen the first time around, I recently watched it on video, and can only conclude that my screen wasn't small enough.
  63. A generally mirthless comedy of manners.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    The distance between tawdry and tedious can be amazingly short. It is traveled with Concorde speed in the arch Party Monster.
  64. The best thing about a movie as silly as this is that it makes such modest demands on your attention. As the story unfolded with all the energy of California in a Stage 3 alert, I staved off brain death by trying to imagine an alternate version.
  65. J.Lo should sue her handlers for damages.
  66. Mr. Rock's opening scene is very funny. After that it's a steep downhill slide.
  67. Relevance can't rescue this would-be epic from the swamps of inertia, absurdity and sentimentality.
  68. I wish I'd brought a pair of peas to the screening. Then I could have taken in the glorious scenery without the dumb dialogue, which is delivered in a jangle of accents that makes a mockery of ethnicity.
  69. The remake stumbles from a ragged start into a child's garden of worses -- worse than the original in more ways than you could imagine.
  70. A movie's script is its fate, which means this one is doomed.
  71. This ripoff, directed by Jerry Zucker, has a few funny moments, but it's a sad sad sad sad example of what Hollywood is currently serving up -- and what audiences are swallowing -- as summer entertainment.
  72. The script is woefully inept, with plot twists that wouldn't pass muster in a high-school drama class.
  73. Manages to make its live actors sound -- and even sometimes look -- computer generated. This wan, sluggish comedy wouldn't pass muster as a premium-cable original, but here it is on the big screen.
  74. In a truly terrible action adventure called The Tuxedo, a high-tech monkey suit turns Jackie Chan into an all-powerful cyborg, and will turn you into a boredborg.
  75. Rarely has a major motion picture -- and this one is major by virtue of its misplaced ambition as well as its budget -- been afflicted by such flagrant dissonance between subject and style.
  76. Remarkably joyless, even though Ms. Jolie is a formidable presence with the potential for becoming a witty one.
  77. Young audiences may welcome this movie, but girls, and boys, should want more.
  78. A gothic thriller called Cold Creek Manor extrudes an 80-minute idea -- I may be overgenerous here -- into 118 minutes that feel like an eternity.
  79. A sudsless soap opera with human misery as a backdrop for romantic banality.
  80. Smith is only a rogue computer program, but this morbidly dispiriting movie makes him sound like a prophet.
  81. Gets to be dislikable in its glib feelgoodness. The movie's many excellent actors do too much acting with too little conviction in scenes that rush through perfunctory setups to deliver pat payoffs.
  82. The only entertaining member of the cast is Terence Stamp.
  83. Adam Sandler's 50 First Dates isn't just slovenly and smarmy but creepy.
  84. Choose to pass this one up.
  85. Eye-blowing and mind-numbing.
  86. A limited movie that can't animate its subject amid all the tricks and glitz. De-Lovely is devoid of life.
  87. It's bad enough to make parable a four-letter word.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    Well, incredibly stupid is certainly what is delivered to audiences.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    Built on such a goofy premise that your average soap-opera scriptwriter would laugh it out of a story meeting.
  88. Mr. Sayle's portrait is painfully unfunny, and the movie as a whole is a plodding polemic.
  89. Might have qualified as dumb fun if they hadn't left out the fun.
  90. Disney's National Treasure is supposed to be family-friendly, a PG-rated action adventure free of hard violence and bad language. That's admirable, to be sure, but with a friend like this a family doesn't need sleeping pills.
  91. Bad can't begin to describe Christmas With the Kranks. It's sub-humbug.
  92. These people -- the filmmakers as well as the cast -- have brought a rare sense of camaraderie to their work. Unfortunately, they forgot to bring a script. They even forgot, in the midst of their joyous self-involvement, to take good pictures of the places they visited.
  93. Must be seen to be believed, though I'm not suggesting you actually see it.
  94. Guess Who is, impurely and simply, a comic premise borrowed, turned around and dumbed down to the level of sketch or sub-sketch humor.
  95. The movie itself is grotesque, and may drive you nuts as it makes you laugh, mostly at the stupidity of the thing.
  96. Why is the movie such a mess? Will Ferrell plays a washed-up actor who's supposed to be a hopeless mess, but even his character makes little sense. Is it all supposed to be postmodern? No, it's post-postmortem, the dead spirit of a dearly departed show.
  97. The movie's smugness is insufferable.

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