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 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 IMAX: Hubble 3D
Lowest review score: 0 Funny Games (2008)
Score distribution:
2,091 movie reviews
  1. Spellbinding on its own terms, a modernist fable with a madly romantic soul.
  2. Readily accessible, slyly subversive and perfectly delightful film.
  3. A surprising, entirely beguiling little film.
  4. Lee's journey of the body and soul is something else. Maggie Gyllenhaal makes it strangely touching, a revelation.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mr. Shyamalan is a new national treasure, as attuned to our sensibilities and everyday life as Steven Spielberg.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    xXx
    To top it all off, no matter where you sit in the theater, no matter how far you arch back in your seat, there's no escaping the sensation that all the action on the screen is taking place about three feet from your face. I loved it.
  5. Has its flaws, but it's better, as well as darker, than the first. It's also longer, by nine minutes, but hold that protest to the Kidney Foundation; the time flies, albeit in fits and starts, like players on a Quidditch field.
  6. Mr. Pandya tells a story of conflicted assimilation that's been told before, but he and his exuberant cast invest it with fresh energy and winning humor.
  7. Fresh and flip and enjoyable, it's a sci-fi-tinged romantic comedy that I urge you to seek out.
  8. Why, in our drum-thumping, ritually trumpeting time, did so little fanfare precede the opening of a movie with so much to recommend it? This is grand entertainment.
  9. Training Day can be simplistic, formulaic and absurdly melodramatic -- but Mr. Washington is flat-out great.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Thanks to Ms. Witherspoon's artful portrayal of a winning, if beachless, Gidget, I found Legally Blonde very enjoyable.
  10. Appeal lies on the bright, shiny surface of its ostensibly simple plot, and in its rat-a-tat-tat language, which often sounds like Mamet-visits-Spyne.
  11. It's very funny, terrifically lively and, considering how awful it might have been, surprisingly tender in its portrait of a young guy who learns sensitivity the hard way.
  12. A harrowing lesson in unintended -- and intended -- consequences.
  13. The outcome is distinctive and entertaining. There's no way you'd mistake this for James Bond, and no reason you would want to.
  14. The best car commercial ever, an absolute triumph of product placement, and great fun as a movie in the bargain.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a simple story, exposing the beauty that lives inside difficult relationships, and it leaves you feeling quietly exalted without ever seeming to try.
  15. More to the point of this marvelous film, who knew there were kids as heroic, in their various ways, as these valiant super-spellers?
  16. Serendipity is "Sliding Doors" with no alternate versions; it's willed enchantment all the way.
  17. Unexpectedly thoughtful, as well as touching.
  18. Every action adventure needs a memorable villain, but no movie needs the strident intensity of Mr. Dafoe, who either has no interest in, or no grasp of, the sort of charmingly malign wit that Gene Hackman brought to "Superman," or Jack Nicholson to "Batman."
  19. Difficult too, and certainly problematic, but it's sometimes quite wonderful. Do see it if you're curious about one-of-a-kind films, and if you care about the ever-evolving career of one of our most gifted filmmakers.
  20. An exciting caper, though sometimes a trying one, with great dollops of self-parodying dialogue that will test your loyalty to Mr. Mamet's way with words.
  21. Adaptation, like "Being John Malkovich" before it, is far from a well-made film, even on its own flaky terms. But it's a brave, sometimes brilliant one, with a phantasmagoric ending, full of love and hope, that defeats prose description. Never was an adaptation more original.
  22. Breathes new life into a familiar story: coming of age in high school.
  23. An accomplished and enjoyable Spanish-language debut feature by Fabían Bielinsky.
  24. I'm still smiling as I recall Jess, the soccer star-to-be, standing behind her straitlaced mother in the kitchen and casually bouncing a head of lettuce on her knee.
  25. Throbs with an ambition that sends it soaring, then brings it down.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Succeeds the same way the original comic books did: by making the conflicts and dilemmas basic enough for a five-year-old, while giving the heroes and villains glamorous outfits and layers of complexity, to thicken the broth.
  26. For the most part, though, Ms. Moncrieff has given us a portrait of a young woman with a luminous soul.
  27. Provides a reminder of the power of unadorned drama and language -- whole torrents of eloquent words -- in the service of a nifty idea.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The movie is, at times, funny enough to make you cry, and, when it's not, it moves nicely as a parody.
  28. You can't take your eyes off Ms. Kidman; she has never played a role with more focused energy.
  29. I laughed myself silly through most of A Mighty Wind, and was pleasantly surprised when it took a turn toward genuine feeling near the end.
  30. Mr. Franklin has always been easy with quicksilver moods -- and Mr. Washington is terrifically appealing as a fool for love who loses his cool as he learns about fear.
  31. A droll and affecting debut feature by Tom McCarthy.
  32. None of this would work, of course, without stylish performances in the leads and Mr. Clooney and Ms. Zeta-Jones do themselves and their dubious characters proud.
  33. A smart, suspenseful drama, starring Hayden Christensen, that honors its own factual roots as no movie about journalists has done since "All the President's Men."
  34. The film grows on you too, a later-stage version of "The Big Chill" that starts schematically and ends as a stirring celebration.
  35. A single seeing isn't enough to take in the eccentric marvels of The Triplets of Belleville, an animated feature by Sylvain Chomet that creates a visual language all its own.
  36. Diane Keaton has the crucial role, and she makes the most of it.
  37. Haunting, troubling documentary.
  38. Clearly Mr. Altman was enthralled by the company's work process, an alchemy through which sweat and muscularity on the rehearsal-room floor become exquisite abstractions on stage. His pleasure is infectious.
  39. Recreates the Taliban era with chilling details and startling beauty, and follows its terrified heroine on a journey that no child should have to take.
  40. A singularly strange and affecting comedy.
  41. Some comedies make you laugh out loud. This one makes you smile inwardly, but often.
  42. Given the white-on-white color scheme, I didn't expect so many shades of feeling.
  43. Before and after plot mechanics, a drama of family tension and warmth.
  44. News management is the main issue. Control Room shows how coverage is tailored to fit the audience, both by al-Jazeera and its Western counterparts.
  45. It's a great accomplishment and, at a time when satire is in short supply, a terrific surprise.
  46. More than a deadpan comedy about oddball losers. This dork has his day, and this story has its touching subtext -- growing pains relieved by unlikely hope.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Set ablaze by a startling performance by Laura Dern, it's a stark, often disturbing look at the ramifications of betrayal.
  47. A sports movie with a quick wit, uncommon grace and a romantic soul.
  48. A convincing, entertaining portrait of the revolutionist as a young man.
  49. His story is instructive, as well as chilling and occasionally hilarious -- a brief, probably foredoomed career during which a would-be Orson Welles, playing shamelessly to the camera, draws from a bottomless cesspool of hubris, bile and rage.
  50. Why, then, should we be eager to see a story of such incomplete inspiration? Because it's thrilling, and stirring. And because it is truth.
  51. Has its share of contrivances, some more successful than others, but center stage is occupied by truth, and austere beauty.
  52. Hotel Rwanda isn't impersonal, even though it only hints at the story's full horror. It's stunning.
  53. That Mr. Rohmer is an octogenarian just beginning to play with digital technology makes the venture even more intriguing.
  54. Mr. Stettner has a serious subject here -- how the hurts that women suffer at the hands of men can be internalized more deeply than the victims know -- and his film is graced with a stunning performance by Ms. Channing.
  55. Tender, funny and smart, Machuca is that rare discovery, an incisive political parable that also succeeds as a drama of sharply drawn individuals.
  56. Fatih Akin is a filmmaker to be reckoned with. His characters grow and change in a stunning film that pulses with life.
  57. Strong stuff, and all the stronger for having taken itself so comically.
  58. Intriguing and affecting documentary.
  59. Immensely likable, and allows Mr. Smith to fulfill his manifest destiny -- as an urbane comedian who is also, shades of Cary Grant, a romantic hero.
  60. A cry of anguish for the youngest victims of every war.
  61. The movie's sense of place is hypnotic, but there's more to it than gorgeous images -- Campbell Scott's astute direction; Joan Allen's beautifully laconic performance; a sense of lively, if occasionally pretentious, inquiry into the wellsprings of art.
  62. Full of entertaining vignettes that eventually make a happy mockery, as they're meant to do, of the tragedy vs. comedy dialectic.
  63. His film is not for the weak of stomach or heart, but it's a stunner all the same.
  64. Make what you will of the story and its symbolism, but Mr. Antal has made a remarkable feature debut with this visionary film, chockablock with memorable images.
  65. The latest in a series of stiletto-sharp social comedies by the French filmmakers Jean-Pierre Bacri and Agn├Ęs Jaoui.
  66. Gives us the same sort of perverse pleasure that's been a staple of "60 Minutes" over the years -- watching world-class crooks tell world-class lies.
  67. Don't miss an opportunity to see Mad Hot Ballroom, though. It will sweep you off your feet.
  68. Ron Howard's Depression-era movie also works from the inside out, building a classic underdog drama from depth of character, rich texture, vivid detail and stirring performances.
  69. The distinction of this lovely, if slightly tentative, debut feature is its willingness to set forth mysteries of the human heart without solving them; everyone's fate stays unsealed.
  70. Watch them march to the very extremes of extremis, though, and it's easy to feel awe.
  71. Head, shoulders, funny bone and brain above the competition. It's the best comedy I've seen this year.
  72. I found Hustle & Flow hard to get into at first, if only for its dialogue. But DJay's turf turns out to be everyone's turf -- a jagged landscape of hopes, disappointments, folly and fulfillment.
  73. Uncommonly smart and interesting.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Jarmusch's uncharacteristically mainstream -- wonderful -- road trip movie.
  74. Duma is not a masterpiece, but its deficits recede into insignificance once you open yourself to the movie's mystery and visual splendor.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A wildly wondrous reinvention of the story of the chroniclers of dark, occasionally horrific, child-pleasing fairy tales.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This award-winning picture from Belgium is the kind Hollywood seems no longer interested in making: a sophisticated drama that presumes a level of insight and maturity in an audience that doesn't need winks and arrows to understand what's going on.
  75. The celebrated percussionist Evelyn Glennie is the subject of a wonderful documentary called Touch the Sound, although calling her a percussionist is like calling Brancusi a demolitionist.
  76. The intricacies here are moral and ethical, and they're fascinating.
  77. Many movies these days are too long; this one, at 90 minutes, feels too short. That's because its purpose is so sharply defined: a tight close-up, in black and white, of a single, seminal moment -- a black and white moment -- in American history, and American journalism.
  78. The illusion is seamless and the pleasure is boundless.
  79. Manipulative, but confidently so, and improbably but consistently affecting.
  80. This is a special film whose delicate tone ranges from tender to astringent, with occasional side trips into sweet.
  81. Amazingly and incessantly funny, a free-form riff on Hollywood shenanigans, the film noir genre and film in general.
  82. Still, the cynosure of all eyes is honest, articulate Elizabeth, her own woman in an era when women belonged to men, and at the same time full of love. Lizzie is the best, and Keira Knightley does right by her.
  83. This debut feature left me in a state of movie euphoria. Who could have guessed that such a discomfiting premise would blossom into a deadpan-hilarious and yet deeply affecting story about a singular glitch in the human condition?
  84. One of the wittiest comedies to come our way in a very long time.
  85. Demanding, quietly breathtaking film.
  86. The result is a movie more concerned with movie-making than with the stuff of Sterne's great book, but a movie that's good for lots of laughs if you share its fondness for actors and for fatuous actors' banter, which I do.
  87. A mismatched-buddy movie that's endearing, funny and affecting in equal measure.
  88. I have minor misgivings about the use of a few Disney-esque sound effects, as well as some conventionally garish voicings in the score by Danny Elfman, Hollywood's current master of the macabre. But none of that diminishes the educational value of Deep Sea 3-D, which was directed by Howard Hall, or the sometimes ethereal, sometimes fearsome beauty of its cast of trillions.
  89. Boils with humor, surprise and dramatic energy.
  90. Richly detailed -- and improbably entertaining.

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