Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,413 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 2.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Mad Max: Fury Road
Lowest review score: 0 Entourage
Score distribution:
2413 movie reviews
  1. The film is neither kind nor cruel, but wise, great-spirited and wonderfully enjoyable. It’s an addled dream of beauty unlike any other.
  2. Z for Zachariah asks us to suspend a good deal of disbelief. Ann is absurdly beautiful, and Ms. Robbie emerges as a full-fledged star, even though her performance is precise and understated.
  3. 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.
  4. Unexpectedly thoughtful, as well as touching.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. 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.
  6. The film, directed with exceptional flair and elegant concision by Scott Cooper, even comes from Warner Bros., the studio that specialized in psychopathic monsters played by such stars as James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson during Hollywood’s golden age.
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. This is not a drama of shadings, but of ever-increasing intensity.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. The worst thing I can say about Rosenwald, a wonderful documentary by Aviva Kempner, is that it tends to ramble. I say it, though, in the spirit of the joyous New Orleans funeral march “Oh! Didn’t He Ramble.” How could Ms. Kempner’s narrative follow anything like a straight line when her subject is so rich and varied?
  16. I can tell you that Ms. Laurent’s direction is astute and economical, that both of the film’s young stars give fine performances, and that Breathe is a very good title for a film that ever so gradually takes your breath away.
  17. Has its share of misfired jokes and pseudo-mythic sequences that semi-fizzle. All in all, though, it’s majestical nonsense that is anything but nonsensical.
  18. 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.
  19. His (Takeshi) sense of style is very much in evidence here, and so is his sense of humor.
  20. Given the white-on-white color scheme, I didn't expect so many shades of feeling.
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. 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.
  22. In a movie devoted mainly to making you laugh, it’s a plea for tolerance that takes your breath away.
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. The Rover, is anything but lively, though it's long on menace, often violent and consistently fascinating.
  27. A mismatched-buddy movie that's endearing, funny and affecting in equal measure.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. 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.
  29. 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
  30. It's a meditation, as affecting as it is entertaining, on the limits of violence and the power of unchained empathy.
  31. The Witness is remarkable for its emotional impact, and its clarity. The picture that emerges isn’t perfectly clear; the whole truth will never be known, Bill Genovese says. What he has made known, though, is valuable.
  32. 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
  33. Looks like Weimar decadence and feels like down-home friendship.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. 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
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. Conventional it is not. Engrossing it is.
  38. 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
  39. 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.
  40. 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
  41. No beauty contest has ever been more bizarre than the one in Gerardo Naranjo's shockingly powerful thriller.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. The latest in a series of stiletto-sharp social comedies by the French filmmakers Jean-Pierre Bacri and Agnès Jaoui.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. This ostensibly simple film evokes whole lives in 96 minutes, and does so with sparse dialogue.
  47. The situation is fascinating, and given an illuminating investigation here.
  48. A cry of anguish for the youngest victims of every war.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. 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
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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
  57. Don't miss an opportunity to see Mad Hot Ballroom, though. It will sweep you off your feet.
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. Elegant and sometimes inscrutable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. 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
  60. 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.
  61. The sparkle is what's been missing in the star's (Cage) recent performances. What's not to love in a movie that transmutes Terence's moral squalor, and the squalid state of post-Katrina New Orleans, into darkly comic gold?
  62. On screen it looks crazed, but the comic energy is huge, if indiscriminate, and Mr. Sandler's performance -- think Topol doing Charles Boyer -- can be as delicate as it is gleefully vulgar or grotesque.
  63. The images captured by the film - dancers in theatrical sets, dancers in surreal exterior settings - are deeply scary for their loneliness and pain, and crazily thrilling for the intensity of their joy.
  64. Boils with humor, surprise and dramatic energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. The film is picture-book pretty and fairly conventional, except for the 3-D, which is emerging as a convention in its own right. Still, the prettiness comes with brains, and the whole production, like those newly eye-catching models of American-made cars, bespeaks resurgent confidence.
  67. The film as a whole measures up to Forest Whitaker's performance...one of the great performances of modern movie history.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. Mr. Spielmann's film is full of surprises and, in its distinctive way, full of life.
  69. Hotel Rwanda isn't impersonal, even though it only hints at the story's full horror. It's stunning.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. 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?
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. One of those movies that arrives every now and then with no fanfare but a canny sense of how to grab our attention and hold it in a tightening grip.
  72. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. With an edgy, intelligent script by playwright Tom Stoppard, Mr. Spielberg has made an extraordinary film out of Mr. Ballard's extraordinary war experience. [09 Dec 1987]
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. Stylistic debts abound: the Coen brothers, Roger Deakins, the bleak, gothic landscapes of Terrence Malick's "Badlands" and Richard Brooks's "In Cold Blood." Through it all, though, is the original and memorable spectacle of violence expressed and repressed by the desperate hero.
  75. Ambitious, visually stunning and hugely accomplished.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. Visualizations are Mr. Jung's province, and they're what make his movie so deeply moving, as well as literally illuminating.
  77. Ms. Clarkson's performance as Juliette, the fashion-writer wife of a United Nations functionary, is the film's reason for being. She makes yearning palpable. She turns mysterious silences into a language of love.
  78. At Berkeley is more than the sum of its minutes. Narration-free and artfully discursive, it's a one-of-a-kind mosaic portrait of a great institution struggling, under dire stress, to retain its essential character at a time of declining support for public education.
  79. Spellbinding on its own terms, a modernist fable with a madly romantic soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  80. We saw what Mr. Gordon-Levitt could do in such diverse films as "Mysterious Skin" and "Brick," and in the TV sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun." But this performance is something else. It's unforgettable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. Earth eloquently shows the struggle, life doing what it must to sustain life. The spectacle is stirring.
  82. Morgan Neville’s documentary is a joyous revelation, a group portrait of superb musicians from all over the world offering music as an emblem of what people can do in these fractious times when they live in concert with one another.
  83. Amazingly and incessantly funny, a free-form riff on Hollywood shenanigans, the film noir genre and film in general.
    • Wall Street Journal
  84. This clever thriller has the juiced-up, hyperactive feel of a rock video. [07 Mar 1995]
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. 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."
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. Suffice it to say that the film is a must-see for fans of the man (who, like many of his gifted colleagues, has given up on what’s left of the Hollywood studio system) and a should-see for anyone who cares about how movies are made, as well as how, in certain near-miraculous cases, really good movies get made.
  87. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. All four performances are first-rate, and the action is staged with shattering intensity.
  89. The Invisible Woman gives us a plausible image of the great man in the fullness of his celebrity, and an affecting portrait of the woman who lived much of her life in his shadow.
  90. Challenging and fascinating -- everything you didn't know you didn't know about Derrida's life and work.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. Family dysfunction has seldom been as flamboyant—or notable for its performances and flow of language—as it is in this screen version of the Tracy Letts play.
  92. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. It's hard to say if Volver is a great film -- hard because every woman and girl in it is so damned endearing (the men are either impediments or bystanders to the real business of life) -- but safe to say it's right up there with Mr. Almodóvar's best.
    • Wall Street Journal
  94. The strangest thing about his latest picture, Hairspray, is how very sweet and cheerful it is. In his own weird way, Mr. Waters has captured the gleeful garishness of the early '60s, when high-school girls wore demure bows in their ratted hair and deadened their lips with palest pink lip gloss -- and believed that racial harmony was inevitable if teens of all flavors could dance together on TV. [25 Feb 1988, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. It's not fair to say that Ms. Davis steals scenes - one of the movie's strengths is its ensemble cast - but she supercharges every scene she's in.
  96. A small independent feature that's everything an independent feature -- small or big -- should be.
    • Wall Street Journal
  97. As director, Mr. Branagh and his cameraman have chosen to shoot his film tight and drab, a style that allows the actors to speak the poetry without affect. Nothing's prettified. [09 Nov 1989]
    • Wall Street Journal

Top Trailers