Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,244 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 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Pan's Labyrinth
Lowest review score: 0 Flipped
Score distribution:
2,244 movie reviews
  1. No cues are needed to understand the plot, which feels computer-generated and barely serves to sustain an hour and a half running time.
  2. Costner has never been further from the lively, engaging actor he can be, or at least once was.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. 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.
  4. Some of it sputters, settling for smiles instead of laughs, and much of it flounders while the slapdash script searches, at exhausting length, for ever more common denominators in toilet humor.
  5. 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.
  6. The worst part of Ms. Zellweger's plight is that she, along with others in the cast, has fallen victim to a first-time feature director whose vocabulary doesn't seem to include the word "simplicity."
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. There's no transcending a prosaic plot and several flat performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. If glum were good and bleak were best, Hart's War would be a standout.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. Comes on like an overproduced coma, and leaves you comatose by the end. In between are 127 minutes of intermittent chaos that feel like a lifetime.
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. A rube's-eye view of Hollywood, but the rube is weary, and those around him seem to be suffering from terminal torpor.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. 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?
  12. The production renders totally irrelevant all hopes for a well-made movie. It's one of those ragged, pandemonious studio comedies that hammers at plot points in every contrived scene.
  13. Stinker doesn't begin to describe this movie's character -- both frenzied and dispiriting.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. J. Michael Straczynski's disjointed script manages to ring false at almost every significant turn (Collins' psychiatric-hospital stay has grown into a latter-day version of "The Snake Pit") and Clint Eastwood's ponderous direction -- a disheartening departure from his sure touch in "Letters From Iwo Jima" and "The Bridges of Madison County" -- magnifies the flaws.
  15. 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.
  16. There's no zest to the general depravity, no coherence to the script or the spectacle -- clarity is missing in some of the camera work -- and, most important, no character to give a Greek fig about.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. The movie transforms a dim idea - "Elmer Gantry" lite - into comedy that's dead in the water and as dull as it is broad.
  18. The performances, under Mike Newell's direction, range from conventional (Ms. Roberts) to dreadful, and the script is as shallow as an old Cosmo cover story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. Mr. Li is a master not only of martial arts, but of composure; no one does nothing better. The film itself is no great shakes.
    • Wall Street Journal
  20. Pathetically unfunny most of the time.
  21. This new Alfie is earnest -- irony is so last century -- and not angry at all, since working-class anger would mean nothing here, because class means nothing here. Nothing means anything here.
    • Wall Street Journal
  22. I can't find much slack to cut the film, except to say that it's a potboiler cooked in an upscale Teflon pot.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. Starts well with the stirring spectacle of young men and women, members of a National Guard unit stationed south of Baghdad, struggling to do their duty in an alien land of unfathomable danger. Once they return, however, wounded physically or shattered spiritually, the film turns didactic, contrived and occasionally ludicrous.
    • Wall Street Journal
  24. Ordinary moviegoers, on the other hand, may wonder what they're supposed to feel, apart from bored.
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. 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.
  26. Constantine is yet another studio extravaganza that's all aswirl with atmospherics, though empty at its center. The invasion of the soul snatchers proceeds apace.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. I won't pretend that I had a great time watching G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
  28. The makers of Return to Oz say that their rather bleak, nonmusical fantasy is more faithful to Mr. Baum's vision than "The Wizard of Oz" was. What's appropriate, however, isn't always what's right. All Ms. Balk can do is look earnest and young; Ms. Garland opened her mouth and out came Dorothy's soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. The Terminal is a terminally fraudulent and all-but-interminable comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. (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."
  31. A snapshot, to be sure, but scattershot as well.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Clone Wars will appeal only to the most tolerant, galactically minded children and their parents.
  32. Despite all of its failures of wit, sense, and pace, the film does most effectively flaunt the millions spent on it. The inane action takes place in splendiferous settings. [23 May 1991]
    • Wall Street Journal
  33. Comes briefly to life, after many longeurs -- many large longeurs in IMAX -- with the discombobulated entrance of B.E.N., a dysfunctional, hyperverbal robot voiced by Martin Short.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. Mr. Osunsanmi's chutzpah exceeds his skill.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    "Working Girl," is also heard in Little Black Book; it serves only to remind audiences of that far more winning story of triumph in the office. But there are many reminders of what a tiresome effort this is.
    • Wall Street Journal
  35. Since Mary rarely gets to see any of the good stuff, neither do we; Dr. Jekyll hides most of his switcheroos behind closed doors. [23 Feb 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill inflicts intolerable cruelty on its characters, and on its audience -- though I'd like to believe that there is no mainstream audience for what has already been described, quite correctly, as the most violent movie ever released by an American studio.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Although packaged as a movie, is in reality a clever 106-minute promo for Sony's PlayStation II games.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. In the spirit of that world, I cannot tell a lie: The Invention of Lying, which the English comedian both directed and wrote with Matthew Robinson, soon loses altitude and eventually falls flat.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    The inert License to Wed shambles along one lame scene after another.
  38. What a peculiar production this is. Up to a certain point, it really does promise to be romantic.
  39. This is one of those overworked and generally airless comedies with a sitcom premise that can't sustain life.
  40. Palindromes finds him (Solondz) stuck with his single theme inside a sealed dollhouse of his own construction. He has gifts to give a larger audience, if ever he breaks out.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. Goes down fighting, but it goes down just the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. Rather than the laugh a minute promised by old comedies, Get Smart generates approximately one laugh per hour, and I can't remember either one.
  43. The failures of White Squall are dismaying as well as perplexing. Director Ridley Scott serves up some ravishing images along the way: the stark geometry of the ship's riggings against an azure sky, crew kids scampering along a verdant ridge toward a volcano's silvery crater lake. But the script is a shambles. [06 Feb 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. 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.
  45. Unforeseeably bad things can happen to good performers.
  46. The blithely dishonest script would have us believe that the real Napoleon can't prove his identity when the fake Napoleon refuses to come clean. Not only is that patent nonsense, it's cockeyed dramaturgy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. The crucial evidence has to do with rigor mortis. The movie's a stiff too.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. N'ever was an apostrophe so misplaced, n'ever was the prospect of good cheer so perversely defeated.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. 300
    300 presents a dual clash of civilizations. An action adventure that pits thousands of Persians against 300 brave Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, it also pits millions of fans of brainless violence against a gallant band, or so I choose to think of us, who still expect movies to contain detectable traces of humanity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. For all its video-game bedazzlements, Attack of the Clones suffers from severe digital glut, periodically relieved, if you can call it that, by amateur theatrics.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    So tightly constructed of clichés, stereotypes and chick-lit tropes that it's inert; no fresh air can blow in.
  51. What's missing is an emotional center. This Sinbad, with its flying ship and becalmed script, seems destined to be DreamWorks's version of Disney's "Treasure Planet."
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. 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.
  53. Mr. Samuell's stylistic revelries are meant as comments on the conventions and excesses of movie romance, but his approach is glib and self-congratulatory. No feelings dwell beneath the layers upon layers of faux-naïve artifice. I dare you to sit through this movie and not wish you were somewhere else.
    • Wall Street Journal
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. Knows that it's junk and tries feebly to rejoice in its junkiness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. 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.
  58. Why is she (Bullock) demeaning herself with such shoddy goods? She’s a talented woman with a faithful following. She has made formula films of varying quality before, and her fans may well swallow this one, but it’s a formula for disappointment laced with dismay.
  59. 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.
  60. A grim disappointment for grown-ups, and far too violent for young kids. I found it to be clumsy, misanthropic and intractably lifeless.
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. The story line, a sequence of very loosely connected events, sustains a state of almost pure brainlessness with its indifference to dramatic development and the dictates of logic, even the fantasy logic of cartoons. It’s as if most of the script had been generated by algorithms.
  62. Its tone is unquenchably pretentious, and its scale is overblown.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. A few clumps of very funny stuff (including a quick tonsorial reference to "Mary") can't hide all the spots that are bald instead of bold.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. This is little more than a big-budget sitcom, with a guest appearance by Mike Ditka, who plays an unfunny version of himself as Phil's assistant coach.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. There's no maybe about its standing as romantic comedy -- definitely bad.
  66. 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.
  67. For all the preposterous clichés of the plot, which clanks as loudly as Laz's chain, and for all the inertness of Justin Timberlake's performance as Rae's brooding squeeze, Black Snake Moan finds unchained energy in its foolishness, and gives Mr. Jackson a chance to pluck a guitar and sing. He's really good at it, too. The music almost redeems the movie.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. What's intractably wrong with the film is that there's no reality to heighten; it's a spectacle in search of a soul.
  69. 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.
  70. Far from rising to the level of truthiness, let alone truth, True Story rings false from start to finish.
  71. Instead of soft core, Sex Tape offers no core. No narrative core, just a not-bad notion executed execrably; no core of conviction, just two stars trudging joylessly through swamps of mediocrity.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Shakespeare has been quoted many, many times over the past 400 or so years, but never to such empty purpose as in the inchoate, self-indulgent musical drama Idlewild, a star vehicle for the wildly popular hip-hop duo OutKast.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. Never mind the awfulness of the three madwomen being relentlessly mad, or the silliness of their journey’s logistics; not for a moment do you believe that this grievously afflicted trio actually inhabits what amounts to a small, rickety and unadorned paddy wagon. What’s definitively awful is the spectacle of unrestrained vanity.
  73. Long on cutlery and décor (including, of course, the marvelously decorative Ms. Garner, of the TV series "Alias") and woefully short on narrative.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. The result is a movie groping for a comic tone while its FX machinery spews vast clouds of visual gibberish.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. 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?
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. Bleak, remarkably turgid, tediously violent, devoid of drama, deprived of magic, stripped of romance and, except for one of the oddest boy-meets-girl scenes in movie history, a befuddled and befuddling excuse for entertainment.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. 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.
  78. 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)?
  79. Before Firewall crumbles into foolishness, Harrison Ford and Paul Bettany make an oft-recycled plot look like a stylish model that just rolled out of a showroom.
    • Wall Street Journal
  80. 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!
  81. Brought down by repeated bursts of high absurdity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. The fault is not in the co-stars; they've been brilliant before and will be brilliant again. It's in the laggardly pace, pedestrian writing and murky viewpoint of Ned Benson's feature.
  83. The movie as a whole is nonsensical. And long. And slow. And head-poundingly loud as it culminates in slavering horror.
    • Wall Street Journal
  84. I didn't mind the preposterousness of the premise nearly so much as the general ineptness with which it's presented. After all, good trash has its place. [8 Dec 1994, p.A16]
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. But clever casting, and inspirational dieting, can't make up for this poor little rich girl's shortcomings as a comedienne. Under Mr. Benjamin's vulgar tutelage, she portrays Connie's coarseness coarsely, with an accent that seems to have come from Ida Lupino by way of Madonna. [19 Apr 1996, p.A11]
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. A bizarre, overcooked broth that combines a broad sitcom style (the banter goes rat-tat-tat like a steam drill) with a preposterous succession of plot complications, plus solemn questions of identity, adoption and the nature of happiness.
  87. If claustrophobia's your style, The Jacket is a perfect fit.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. Has many more downs than ups, but this ragged action comedy, with Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn as mismatched buddies, rings some outrageously funny changes on a deadly serious genre of amateur video that began with Rodney King.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 29 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    The movie is juvenile on many levels, and it's downright creepy to watch an hour and a half of dramatized neoteny -- a state defined by American Heritage as "the attainment of sexual maturity by an organism still in its larval stage."
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. The Shaggy Dog is paint, or more appropriately here, pant by the numbers. It also manages a one-two punch -- it will upset small children and bore their parents. There's just no other way to say this: Disney, that movie of yours is a dog.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. You'd have to be made of granite to resist all the charms of a free-spirited, 100-pound Lab. Yet the production manages, against heavy odds, to make its canine star an incorrigible bore.
  91. The movie itself is grotesque, and may drive you nuts as it makes you laugh, mostly at the stupidity of the thing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. A bizarre conflation of chick flick and "A Christmas Carol."
  93. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal

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