Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,255 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 Mother
Lowest review score: 0 Henry Fool
Score distribution:
2,255 movie reviews
  1. Some comedies make you laugh out loud. This one makes you smile inwardly, but often.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. Tender, funny and smart, Machuca is that rare discovery, an incisive political parable that also succeeds as a drama of sharply drawn individuals.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. Who knew this German-born Turkish filmmaker could perpetrate a delirious farce-in German and Greek with good English subtitles-that doesn't flag for a single one of its 99 minutes?
  4. As a director, working with actors, she may have drawn on her own experience acting in features and TV; whatever her method, she has come up with a matched pair of terrific performances.
  5. The World's End stands on its own as hilarious high-end nonsense.
  6. A daring feature debut by Evan Glodell, Bellflower looks like it was shot with the digital equivalent of a Brownie box camera, and generates an almost palpable aura of anxiety.
  7. This fourth iteration of a series that first burst upon the world in 1988 turns out to be terrific entertainment, and startlingly shrewd in the bargain, a combination of minimalist performances -- interestingly minimalist -- and maximalist stunts that make you laugh, as you gape, at their thunderous extravagance.
  8. What she thinks of herself, though, seems perfectly, if improbably, reasonable--a queen of comedy who won't and shouldn't abdicate.
  9. Foxcatcher is a radical departure from Mr. Miller’s previous feature, the smart and entertaining “Moneyball.” It isn’t meant as conventional entertainment, but it’s fascinating to watch from start to finish.
  10. Mr. Cuarón directs with a hand that's as sure as it is deft. The music is terrific, though I can't say the same for the fusty subtitles, and Adam Kimmel's cinematography bathes the movie's cheerful absurdities in a beautiful glow.
  11. Daniel Craig isn't merely acceptable, but formidable. His Bond is at least the equal of the best ones before him, and beats all of them in sheer intensity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. A fascinating procedural with a fitting climax.
  13. James Marsh’s movie, which co-stars Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking, the celebrated physicist’s wife, is a biographical love story that doesn’t depend on science to shape the plot — it’s rich in emotional intelligence.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The cheap perfume of sentimentality wafts through the closing moments of Flags of Our Fathers. It's all the more noticeable for having been avoided so well and so long. Mr. Eastwood knows that sort of thing doesn't mix with the stench of war.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. With Mr. Harrelson, Mr. Moverman has created an antihero of epic proportions and indiscretions.
  15. Ms. Coppola, who is Francis Coppola's granddaughter, has made a coming-of-age film about a culture in which few people — adults included — ever grow up. It's essentially plotless and slowly paced, much like the recent work of her aunt, Sofia Coppola, but astutely observed, full of fine performances and ever so guardedly hopeful about April and the boy who adores her.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Jarmusch's uncharacteristically mainstream -- wonderful -- road trip movie.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. Yet the heart of the film lies in what it manages to say, without boldface or italics, about how hard it is for Donna, like so many of her anxious cohort, to make genuine connections, to break free of narcissistic constraints and become a stand-up grown-up.
  18. Chiemi Karasawa's unblinking documentary feature watches Elaine Stritch struggle with the toughest role of her life—being old, and in constantly uncertain health.
  19. Eureka demands active attention, but rewards it with emotional resonance, thematic complexity and a succession of images that take up permanent residence in our brains.
  20. The screen, like the stage, can barely contain this marvelous play of intelligence.
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. Serendipity is "Sliding Doors" with no alternate versions; it's willed enchantment all the way.
    • Wall Street Journal
  22. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. A convincing, entertaining portrait of the revolutionist as a young man.
    • Wall Street Journal
  24. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. What makes this nominee for the best-foreign-film Oscar singular among Holocaust movies is the way it characterizes the banality of life underground.
  26. Koch the film makes the point without belaboring it — a mayor and a metropolis linked by tumultuous events in the worst and best of times.
  27. When the time comes for suffering, the pain of watching her is mingled with the pleasure of a performance that transcends contrivance. This young actress is the real, heart-piercing thing.
  28. Pathos isn't Ms. Dunham's bag. What makes her film fascinating is the delicate mood it sustains.
  29. Boy
    Mr. Waititi, a popular standup comic in New Zealand, is wonderfully droll and entertaining in this acting role, which isn't all that far, geography and culture notwithstanding, from Steve Zahn at his stoner best.
  30. Words of wisdom keep popping up in My Dog Tulip with gratifying regularity. They're more likely to gratify dog lovers than anyone else, but that's a large group to which I belong.
  31. Here's a case of images in the service of important ideas, rather than entertainment, yet they could hardly be more powerful, from roaring torrents released by a dam in China to a lyrical helicopter shot of a glistening river in British Columbia.
  32. [Sordi] lifts buffoonery to the level of high art.
    • Wall Street Journal
  33. The entire film is a seduction, one that draws us into a vanished world where Count Leo Tolstoy and his wife of 48 years, Countess Sofya, come to joyous, tempestuous life in a matched pair of magnificent performances by Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren.
  34. A daring and unstable mélange of styles--working-class realism, deadpan fantasy, shameless buffoonery. At times it falls flat, or fails to rise. More often than not, though, it's a heartbreaker.
  35. 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. More persuasively still, Blackfish — an Indian name for orcas — argues against the very concept of quasiamusement parks like SeaWorld that turn giant creatures meant for the wild into hemmed-in, penned-up entertainers.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mason and Odgers are charming young performers with cheeks that shade of pink generally found only in picture books or among English school children. That color goes perfectly here. There is an unabashed old-fashioned quality to the story-telling, not quaint, not fusty, but very much of another era -- and what a relief that is.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. An endearing film, and a fascinating one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  38. An accomplished and enjoyable Spanish-language debut feature by Fabían Bielinsky.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. Head, shoulders, funny bone and brain above the competition. It's the best comedy I've seen this year.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. In a literal sense this delightful film, in Norwegian with English subtitles, is about retirement and the prospect of loss. But Mr. Hamer, a poet of the droll and askew, sends the aptly named Odd--it's also a common Norwegian name--on a cockeyed journey from regret through comic confusion to a lovely eagerness for new adventures.
  41. The results are startlingly original, if occasionally overambitious. This is "Tsotsi" without the feel-good glow, a tale of entrepreneurship's perils and boundless pleasures.
  42. Heathers gave me the creeps but it also made me laugh. This bizarre variation on that Hollywood staple, the teen movie, is one weird original. [30 Mar 1989 p.A12(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. There's a near-sacred history in Hollywood of non-U.S.- born directors providing fresh perspectives on America. Miloš Forman. Alfred Hitchcock. Ang Lee. Ernst Lubitsch. Billy Wilder. For Prisoners, a stress-inducing trip into child abduction, the director is Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, who gives us an American "hero" guaranteed to push many buttons, many times, and who might not have been allowed to be quite so awful, under a different director's lens.
  44. CQ
    Exceptionally likable and affecting as well as entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. This is a special film whose delicate tone ranges from tender to astringent, with occasional side trips into sweet.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. Readily accessible, slyly subversive and perfectly delightful film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. "Witty and brisk" is not the name of a French breakfast cereal, but it does describe a certain brand of French film, the type that coquettishly flirts with comedy while sprinting in the direction of dry, sophisticated charm. Such is Haute Cuisine.
  48. Fatih Akin is a filmmaker to be reckoned with. His characters grow and change in a stunning film that pulses with life.
  49. Now, thanks to this last film, in 3-D, the pleasure is intense, and mixed with awe. There is majesty here, and not just because we’re in the presence of magnificently regal madness.
  50. A feature film that's often astringent on the surface, yet deeply and memorably stirring.
    • 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.
    • Wall Street Journal
  51. The movie's main appeal is its special comic flavor -- a zesty fusion of picaresque adventure, absurdist whimsy and Chaplinesque grace.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A wildly wondrous reinvention of the story of the chroniclers of dark, occasionally horrific, child-pleasing fairy tales.
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. An expertly developed farce that's very funny and surprisingly affecting in the bargain.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. A severe and eerily beautiful German-language drama.
  54. The essence of this inventive though erratic animated feature is joyous music and eye-popping motion.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. Along the way Dori Berinstein's cameras catch gallant theater people doing what they've done since Sophocles was a pup: rehearsing, revising, worrying, learning, stretching, struggling to bump things up from good to wonderful and constantly, fervently hoping.
  56. Howard, and the screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman, have used the book as nothing more than their jumping-off point for an erratic work of fiction that's part mystery thriller and part Hollywood schmaltz.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. An overlong adventure enlivened by wonders.
  58. This enjoyable shambles of a sci-fi thriller, directed by Marc Forster in impressive 3-D, stands on its own as a powerful vision of planetary chaos.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It’s the hilarious tumble of words--the sly cultural references, astonishingly creative invective, the veritable arias of profanity--that gives the film an unexpected heft.
  59. These young men and women aren't in it for the money, or the glory; they only want to save lives and heal wounds. That's another kind of glory.
  60. Ms. Englert's performance isn't as interesting as it might have been if the writing hadn't favored Ginger. But Ms. Fanning, a young actress of seemingly unerring instincts, is a wonder.
  61. Cadillac Records may be a mess dramatically, but it's a wonderful mess, and not just because of the great music. The people who made it must have harbored the notion, almost subversive in a season of so many depressing films, that going out to the movies should be fun.
  62. Seldom has a film presented such a richly ambiguous juxtaposition of modernity (among the toys showered on the boy is a really cool radio-controlled helicopter), ancient mindset and, to be sure, possible miraculousness.
  63. The whole thing comes together surprisingly well, as a celebration of its own milieu, and of a tender teen's transformation into a strong young woman.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. This isn't a great film, but it's a surprisingly good and confident one, with a minimum of the showboating that often substitutes, in the feelgood genre, for simple feelings.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Ms. Armstrong's Little Women, which has enough sugar to make your teeth sing, if not your heart. [29 Dec 1994]
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. I regretted it most when the temporal hopscotching took me away from Ms. Winslet's portrait of the writer as a young sensualist, madly smitten by words and life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. Considering the star power -- and talent -- of the cast around her, it would have been impressive if Alison Lohman had simply held her own as Astrid, the young heroine of White Oleander. Instead, she owns the movie.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. Reconstruction means to be confusing, and is. It also means to intrigue us, and does.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. What's troubling about the film's technique is its lack of context; we must take Yuris, who speaks serviceable English, pretty much at his word. What's troubling about his story is its ring of truth.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. Despite the righteous indignation that is so clearly fueling the film--much of its $8 million budget was raised from off-island Taiwanese--the movie is a sturdy entry in the paranoid-thriller genre, and raises some interesting issues about our relationship with the country we used to call China.
  70. Real-life events have overtaken District B13, and they give this feverish, yet oddly flat French action adventure a whiff of substance to go along with its spectacular stunts.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. The movie blurs into a continuum of cars pounding one another and closeups of faces showing disgust, happiness, fear and outrage. It's the kind of shorthand imagery that works best in brief spurts, say, the amount of time it takes for a television commercial to implant a spark-plug brand into your brain. [5 Jul 1990, p.A9]
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. Who Killed the Electric Car?, a fascinating feature-length documentary by Chris Paine, opens with a mock funeral, then follows the structure of a mock trial in which multiple suspects are found guilty.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. Combines silly stuff about life in Los Angeles with buoyant energy, a couple of chases worthy of the Keystone Kops and quick-witted actors playing droll characters with obvious affection.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. To do rough justice to this special treat in not much space, let me first stipulate that it evokes any number of Woody Allen films, thanks to its therapy-centric characters and its Upper West Side milieu.
  75. Crude as its build-up may be, the movie pays off with unexpected delicacy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. At a time when so many movies look alike, and studio productions sometimes look aggressively ugly, here's a quirky vision at the intersection of sci-fi and romance. Upside Down can be beguiling if you're willing to invert disbelief.
  77. When a feelgood formula is fleshed out artfully, going along with it can feel very good indeed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. Pays off in surprising ways, when love of music, and fame, plays second fiddle to love of family.
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. I’ll See You In My Dreams, has its shortcomings as drama, but she’s (Danner) the heroine, Carol Petersen, and she takes advantage of every resonant moment the role offers her.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The jokes fly fast and sometimes very funny. They are, more often, crude and homophobic. Still, a genuine sweetness lurks.
    • Wall Street Journal
  80. It is fun: Watching Ms. Jolie do her own acrobatics, under the direction of her longtime stunt coordinator Simon Crane, is a kick, especially in an era when our knowledge of special effects have so diluted the vicarious thrills of high-wire moviemaking.
  81. This screen adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s autobiographical best-seller is burdened, out of fidelity to the book, with life lessons and unneeded explanations that it dispenses, like CliffsNotes, at every opportunity.
  82. Beowulf deserves to be taken semiseriously; its eye candy is mixed with narrative fiber and dramatic protein. But it begs to be taken frivolously. Effects have grown so exciting in the realm of the third dimension that you just sit there all agog behind your polarizing glasses.
  83. Pulls us along in a state of pleasant expectation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  84. The movie, with some of the trappings of a murder mystery, makes its points with blunt force. Fun seldom figures in this adaptation, which is overlong and mysteriously unaffecting. Still, Mr. Fincher's film has many fascinations.
  85. The language of its narrative, like that of its characters, may be elevated -- a literary Western version of Damon Runyon -- but the words are intriguing, challenging and, occasionally, very funny.
  86. Its terrific cast kept making me laugh out loud.
    • Wall Street Journal
  87. Ms. Bening is the only reason to see the movie, but a compelling reason. Just like Julia, she prevails over lesser mortals with unfailing zest.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. With a refreshing absence of earnestness, the movie mainly spins out many variations on a theme: Easy Street begins and ends on Capitol Hill. [03 Dec 1992]
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. Ambitious and uneven.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. The children's real world, or what passes for real in a fantasy, could hardly be more inviting, for reasons that are hardly mysterious: the strong performances, under Mark Waters's accomplished direction; the smart, bright language, much of it taken from the books; the stylish cinematography, by Caleb Deschanel.
  91. Once the plotters plunge into action, though, Valkyrie becomes both an exciting thriller and a useful history lesson.

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