Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,229 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 2.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Lars and the Real Girl
Lowest review score: 0 Because I Said So
Score distribution:
2,229 movie reviews
  1. JFK
    It's powerful film making that at the very least accomplishes what Mr. Stone said he set out to do - to offer the world an alternate myth. [20 Dec 1991]
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. Growth is the film's subtext, and finally its subject. Never has a line of dialogue been more freighted with symbolism, or more grounded in literal reality, than when Barbu says, ever so quietly, "Mother, please unlock me."
  3. What's exceptional is the orchestration of color, form, light and dark (lots of dark), 3-D technology and digital effects into a look that amounts to a vision.
  4. With someone else in the central role, Gloria might have been cloyingly sentimental or downright maudlin. With Ms. García on hand, it's a mostly convincing celebration of unquenchable energy.
  5. "Just One More Chance," Billie Holiday implores on the soundtrack. The nice paradox of Arbitrage is that we're interested to see whether Robert gets one, even though he's the villain-in-chief of a suspense thriller whose plot turns on generalized scurrilousness. That's a tribute to Mr. Jarecki's smart writing, and to the take-no-prisoners performance of Mr. Gere.
  6. A fine, heartfelt film, sometimes harrowing in its violence but blessedly free of pretension or bombast, even though it aspires to -- and achieves -- the stature of a classic Western.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. Clark Terry the teacher sometimes talks like a trumpet, even though he's dealing with a pianist—"daddle-leedle-daddle-loodle" is how he wants Justin to play one phrase. Clark Terry the man personifies generosity, and it's lovely to behold.
    • 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. Quietly affecting and surprisingly dramatic, so long as you're willing to watch it unfold at its own deliberate pace.
  9. 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.
  10. Pride may not be a model of impeccable craftsmanship, but it's a fine example of turning a terrific subject into a gleeful event. It's also an example of the power of entertainment — of entertainment within entertainment.
  11. An exhilarating examination of a leading Iranian criminal enterprise--music: More than 2,000 bands are said to operate clandestinely in the capital of Tehran, risking prison to play together in basements, bedrooms and rooftops.
  12. Like Father, Like Son has still more on its mind — a vision of a Japan in which work will be balanced with leisure and love.
  13. A harrowing lesson in unintended -- and intended -- consequences.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. It's tempting to see Beyond the Hills solely as an indictment of religion, but the film is more ambitious than that. Ignorance and superstition aren't confined to the convent; people in town, including the cops, drop casual references to witchcraft as if it were part of everyday life. The broader subject is possession by primitive ideas.
  15. Long and winding though it may be, Road to Perdition gets to places that are well worth the trip.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. The movie is serious, intelligent, intentionally claustrophobic and awfully somber -- you remember it in black and white, though it was shot (by the masterful Tak Fujimoto) in color. But you'll remember Mr. Cooper's performance for exactly what it is, an uncompromising study in the gradual decay of a soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. Training Day can be simplistic, formulaic and absurdly melodramatic -- but Mr. Washington is flat-out great.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    After 18 seasons and some 400 episodes of their Fox TV series, the family created by Matt Groening, the family that put the dys in dysfunctional, makes a seamless transition from the shag carpet to the red carpet in the long-awaited Simpsons Movie.
  18. What's on screen is a gorgeous grab bag of notions: ardent love, a salute to Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain," a bit of "Camille" and a lot — I mean a lot — of nuts-and-bolts stuff about nuts and bolts.
  19. Ms. Israel's movie proves, once again, that the best nonfiction cinema possesses the same attributes as good fiction: Strong characters, conflict, story arc, visual style.
  20. Mr. Scorsese has created a Judea that is dusty and harsh, where visions in the middle of a night seem like. Some of the visual compositions are dizzyingly beautiful; the Crucifixion scene couldn't be more masterful, or heartbreaking. [11Aug 1988, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. The film's point of view is inevitably that of an outsider, which Danny Pearl was, and menace is the essence of this shattering story, which has been told with skill and urgent conviction. A Mighty Heart makes the terms of the terrorist threat palpable.
  22. The film grows on you too, a later-stage version of "The Big Chill" that starts schematically and ends as a stirring celebration.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. Doubt leaves none in one respect: John Patrick Shanley was the right person to direct this fascinating screen version of his celebrated play.
  24. A genuinely eccentric comedy that explodes with funny ideas and expresses most of them in wildly original animation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. Blink your eyes and you've lost track of them, but one of the interesting things about the experience is that you don't want to lose track; though the film moves as slowly as its hikers, it demands, and deserves, to be watched closely. (The cinematographer was Inti Briones.)
  26. For him (Schneebaum) it's a journey of stunning rediscovery. For us it's the discovery of a brave soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. Black Book is its own kind of thriller. The film is filled with the genre's conventions -- suspense, betrayal, melodrama, violence, music -- and it's hugely enjoyable from start to finish.
    • Wall Street Journal
  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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. The director, Kevin Macdonald, searches for clarity amid the contradictions of Marley's life and reaches no conclusions, but that's a tribute to his subject's complexity in a film of fascinating too-muchness.
  31. A surprising, entirely beguiling little film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  32. Period pieces can be marvelous or musty, depending on the period, as well as the piece. Soul Power is marvelous.
  33. Like Crazy develops slowly, and threatens at first to be just another movie about beautiful young people in the Age of Fraught Relationships. It's much more than that, though. Without belaboring any issues, it speaks volumes about fear of commitment.
  34. The picture sets up high expectations for itself with its wonderful casting, and the actors don't disappoint. [1 Aug 1989, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  35. What’s admirable about Pioneer is its succession of interesting environments, both below and above the water’s surface, and the quietly appealing figure at the center of the international intrigue.
  36. For all its awkward structure, the film is heartfelt and deeply affecting.
  37. The performances are nothing less than astonishing. It's easy to understand why the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival went to both actresses, though not easy for me to see why the movie itself was included in the unprecedented joint award.
  38. Uncommonly smart and interesting.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. One of the wittiest comedies to come our way in a very long time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. Any movie with these two comics is a trip and a half. How about France for the next one? A perfect way to revisit Michael Caine.
  41. A surprisingly agile and delightfully warm romantic comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. Wonderfully fresh and affecting fable from India.
  43. Director, Darren Aronofsky, and the writer, Robert D. Siegel, have turned the story of this washed-up faux gladiator into a film of authentic beauty and commanding consequence.
  44. It's a fleeting but memorable image in a film that defines Leonard Cohen largely through the admiration of fellow artists, who performed his songs at a tribute concert last year at the opera house in Sydney, Australia. Their admiration borders on the reverential, but reverence doesn't get in the way of their performances, which are varied, impassioned and thrilling.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. The violence is graphic, the dialogue can be awfully arch and the style is often mannered, but this long, dense adventure takes surprising side trips into thoughtfulness, ruefulness, whimsy and romance. It's high-grade entertainment sustained by a buoyant spirit.
  46. Unexpectedly thoughtful, as well as touching.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. A win-win situation in which a mainstream feature works equally well as stirring entertainment and a history lesson about a remarkable convergence of sports and statesmanship.
  48. Talladega Nights may be brash, unbridled, even unhinged, but its cornpone humor is rich in parody, and its craftsmanship is superb -- smart writing, shrewd direction, precisely calibrated performances (whether the calibration calls for delicacy or broad-gauge burlesque), inventive language, inspired silliness and all-but-flawless timing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. Besides engineering top-notch performances from his actors, Mr. Demme also put together a soundtrack that enhances the movie's marvelous, quirky rhythms. He keeps you hooked into this unpredictable, pleasurable picture right through the closing credits. [6 Nov 1986]
    • Wall Street Journal
  51. One of the film's best moments of deliciousness comes with the revelation that Yoshikazu, rather than his father, made the sushi that won the Michelin inspectors over; so much for working humbly in the old man's shadow.
  52. This is not a drama of shadings, but of ever-increasing intensity.
  53. The big difference between Mr. Romero's film and Mr. Eisner's--which is so intelligent you fear the fanboys will scatter--is that Mr. Eisner never gives us the military's point of view. All we know is what David and Judy and Russell know, which for a long time isn't much. And The Crazies is all the scarier for it.
  54. What makes "The Winter Soldier" so enjoyable, though, and what will make it so profitable, is its emotional bandwidth — all the vivid, nuanced life lived by its characters in between their frenzied escapades.
  55. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  56. His is a special kind of courage, and it impels him to act with special agility in a brave new world of his own making, where little tweets can challenge big lies and a blog post can echo like thunder.
  57. His (Takeshi) sense of style is very much in evidence here, and so is his sense of humor.
  58. Given the white-on-white color scheme, I didn't expect so many shades of feeling.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. This film, which might have been called "The Fog of Words," isn't haunting, but dismaying. Mr. Rumsfeld is, as always, articulate, energetic and self-confident. Yet his words suggest a paradox — a restless mind with no discernible gift for self-reflection.
  60. Lovely & Amazing goes to the heart -- and face, and skin -- of a subject that's sure to ring true with women, and may even educate men.
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. In an industry afflicted by sequelitis, it has taken John Boorman almost three decades to make the sequel to his much-cherished “Hope and Glory,” but Queen and Country turns out to be well worth the wait.
  62. A drama that transcends cleverness. This beautiful film, directed with subtlety and grace by Juan José Campanella, really is about moving from fear to love.
  63. The Rover, is anything but lively, though it's long on menace, often violent and consistently fascinating.
  64. A mismatched-buddy movie that's endearing, funny and affecting in equal measure.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. This unique enterprise, which began as a documentary experiment almost a half century ago, has grown into an inspiring testimonial to the unpredictability of the human spirit.
  66. Provides a reminder of the power of unadorned drama and language -- whole torrents of eloquent words -- in the service of a nifty idea.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. It's a meditation, as affecting as it is entertaining, on the limits of violence and the power of unchained empathy.
  68. Richly detailed -- and improbably entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Rough around the edges, it's humor decidedly sophomoric in parts. But that's part of its charm. [19 Jan 1995, p.A16(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. Looks like Weimar decadence and feels like down-home friendship.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. One of the many stylistic distinctions of this outwardly modest production is the complex voice that the filmmaker has found for his young hero.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. Martius comes to a bad end, while Mr. Fiennes achieves a great beginning. As a director, his grasp exceeds his daring reach, and his performance stands as a chilling exemplar of psychomartial ferocity.
  72. The source of all this information was a real-life KGB agent, Vladimir Vetrov, code named Farewell, and with the usual adjustments for drama his story gets a respectable retelling in this nervy French production.
  73. Conventional it is not. Engrossing it is.
  74. Value has been added as well -- the most thrilling car chase ever committed to film, a sequence that also shows, by cutting to the psychosexual chase, why fans embraced the tawdry genre in the first place.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. If you lop off the closing credits of Fred Cavayé's preposterously exciting - and pleasingly preposterous - French-language thriller, the running time is a mere 80 minutes. Not since "Run Lola Run" has the term been used more aptly.
  76. Ms. Stone is entrancing, whether Sophie is in or out of her trance state, and so is the movie as a whole.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In the ultimate test, Kirby submits this very documentary to the tender mercies of the MPAA. It gets slapped with an NC-17 for graphic content. He appeals. He loses -- ten votes to zip.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. No beauty contest has ever been more bizarre than the one in Gerardo Naranjo's shockingly powerful thriller.
  78. Between the two performances there's not a false note. Between the father and son there's an unbreakable bond. Though civilization has ended, love and parental duty shape the course of this fable, which is otherwise as heartwarming as a Beckett play shorn of humor.
  79. Seldom has a film explored such exotica as Valentino's world -- the gowns, the galas, the villas, the private jets -- with such a sense of momentous drama behind the glitz.
  80. The movie also fights for what it wants - to touch us in the course of entertaining us - and it succeeds, with its zinger-studded script that transcends clumsy mechanics and a spirited cast that includes Marisa Tomei as a nymphomaniacal middle-school teacher, and Jonah Bobo as a lovesick eighth-grader.
  81. The latest in a series of stiletto-sharp social comedies by the French filmmakers Jean-Pierre Bacri and Agnès Jaoui.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. This ostensibly simple film evokes whole lives in 96 minutes, and does so with sparse dialogue.
  83. The situation is fascinating, and given an illuminating investigation here.
  84. A cry of anguish for the youngest victims of every war.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. The main reason to see Bandits is celebrity actors riffing with each other. That's not a bad reason, though. These two actors are also skillful comedians.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. There's no deeper meaning to Steven Soderbergh's thriller than what meets the eye, yet its lustrous surfaces offer great and guilt-free pleasure.
  87. The most intriguing question it raises is whether our feelings about Vermeer may be changed by the likelihood of him having used optics of one sort or another. The answer is yes, unavoidably, but not necessarily for the worse.
  88. A visionary tale -- bleak but visionary all the same -- of a fragile civilizing impulse crushed by family loyalty and a lust for revenge in the vast Outback of the late 19th century.
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. Coco is played by Audrey Tautou, and she's phenomenal--self-contained, tightly focused, sparing with her smiles, miserly with her joy, often guarded to the point of severity, yet giving off a grave radiance at every moment she's in front of the camera.
  90. It's a trip into a primordial world and primeval sensibilities, and if you're looking to shake off the mall-movie blahs, there are few better places to look.
  91. The Trip is probably too long, but I have to say "probably" because I would have been happy with an additional half-hour of Steve and Rob doing more impressions.
  92. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. Don't miss an opportunity to see Mad Hot Ballroom, though. It will sweep you off your feet.
    • Wall Street Journal
  94. Elegant and sometimes inscrutable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. Lost in La Mancha, a documentary about a movie that never got made, is more involving -- and heartbreaking -- than many movies that do get made.
    • Wall Street Journal
  96. I can't begin to count the ways in which The Savages pleased me, but the very best of them is the way Tamara Jenkins's comedy stays tough while sneakily turning tender.

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