Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,329 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 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Father of My Children
Lowest review score: 0 Olympus Has Fallen
Score distribution:
2,329 movie reviews
  1. Bears no resemblance to the smarmy fraud that Roberto Benigni perpetrated in "Life Is Beautiful."
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. Isn't the best romantic comedy one might wish for, but it's more than good enough.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. This is a movie about longing, desire, desperation and the abandonment of principle - quite a collection of themes, all universal.
  4. The Man Nobody Knew is packed with knowledge of another sort. It amounts to an absorbing, sometimes appalling course in how U.S. foreign policy evolved and functioned following World War II.
  5. The film is almost distractingly beautiful to look at, something that accentuates the tension between the film's conflicting quantities, i.e., the glories of the physical world, and the corrupted humanity it hosts.
  6. Nothing to write home about, though nothing to stay home about either, especially if you're a dyed-in-the-polyester Powers fan.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. Tetro turns out to be not one movie but, at the very least, two--a Fellini-esque (or Coppola-esque) concatenation of drama, dance and opera (with a nod to Alphonse Daudet), and a modest, appealing coming-of-age story that involves Maribel Verdú (from “Y Tu Mamá También”) as Tetro’s girlfriend.
  8. A solid success, primarily though not entirely because of Jeremy Renner. He's a star worthy of the term as Aaron Cross, another haunted operative who, like Jason Bourne, is as much a victim of the government's dirty deeds as a covert super-agent. But the production is impressive too.
  9. Goofily funny, and silly, and in many ways follows the currents of contemporary comedy into the gulf stream of inanity. And yet Ned turns out to be a strangely moving figure, a comic foil worthy of affection, perhaps even respect.
  10. The movie perseveres with affecting, sometimes startling candor, and eventually delivers on its promise by confronting the dark fears and furtive hopes of a couple no longer young.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It's important to keep in mind that little in The Illusionist is quite what it seems. That goes for the movie itself, fashioned from smoke, mirrors and, fortunately, Mr. Norton's magical performance.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. Before Wanted reaches the end of its wild course, the violence that's been nothing but oppressive becomes genuinely if perversely impressive; the ritual carnage becomes balletic carnage (railroad cars included); the Walter Mitty-esque hero, Wesley, played by James McAvoy becomes a formidable enforcer of summary justice, and Mr. McAvoy, most memorably the young doctor in "The Last King of Scotland," becomes a certified star.
  12. This is a film with a positive message that's delivered eloquently, and who's to say that joyous purpose doesn't have its place?
  13. The cleverness gives considerable pleasure until the story grows absurd and the story within the story turns unpleasant, like the creepily precocious young man who tells it.
  14. That's not to say that this first visit to a live-action Narnia on screen isn't enjoyable, or promising for the future of what will surely be a successful franchise. But there's not a lot of humor along the way, and the epic struggle between good and evil plays out in battles more impressive than thrilling.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. Déjà Vu is pretty dazzling, as action adventures go, even when it's wildly, almost defiantly, implausible. Movies can make us semi-believe the damnedest things.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. Katniss has remained, in Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal, a vividly vulnerable creature of flesh and blood surrounded by sci-fi extravagance of variable quality.
  17. For the most part, though, the real people - the movers and shakers of Nim's world - are there to speak for themselves in the present as well as the past, and the main ones are, with a conspicuous exception, a sorry, self-serving lot.
  18. It's loud, raunchy, semicoherent and stuffed to the bursting point with heavy weaponry and car chases, most of which involve a red, cocaine-covered Prius that's been pressed into service as a police car. But Adam McKay's comedy of chaos, which he wrote with Chris Henchy, can also be very funny.
  19. I found the film borderline bleak, and borderline predictable, at least in its resolution, yet admirable as well. Winter Passing almost always operates on the right side of the border, the full-of-life side where compelling characters live with urgency and intensity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  20. A fine Argentinean film with English subtitles.
  21. A surprise and a not-so-guilty pleasure.
    • Wall Street Journal
  22. This sneaky shocker of a debut feature —sneaky because it’s so good at depicting the sisters’ joyousness before, and even after, darkness descends — was directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven from a script she wrote with Alice Winocour.
  23. In the end, though, it's all about seeing Clint Eastwood; it always was about Clint and always will be. To his fans, he's cool in every role (except, possibly, for that movie with the monkey). He can't help it. We can't help watching.
    • Wall Street Journal
  24. By the end, though, the production is engulfed by barely controlled frenzy -- all decor and no air, music as lo-cal ear candy, scenes as merchandise to be sold, people as two-dimensional props.
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. Didn't see through it, though I had a rough sense of what was coming, and didn't have all that much fun. I did enjoy the movie's cheerful preoccupation with style.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. It's a powerful polemic in its own right, despite some maddeningly glib generalizations, a documentary that functions as a 2½-hour provocation in the ongoing debate about corporate conduct and governance.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. The film makes its case graphically, to say the least, yet muddies its bloody waters with an excess of artifice and a dearth of facts.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Ultimately, Crash succeeds in spite of itself. Its color war starts to feel obvious and schematic. Its coincidences and clichés become like a pileup on the 405 freeway, but there it is -- you find yourself rubbernecking and can't manage to look away.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. Yes, of course this is fairly old-fashioned entertainment, but it's really, really entertaining.
  29. Soon I realized that the real subject of this film, with its philosophical voice-overs by the filmmaker and its haunting shots of decayed American downtowns, is the passage of time and the toll it takes. The effect of the Super 8 is to give present moments historical weight by making them look primitive; it's a kind of instant oldening that seems to pause time if not to stop it. It's About You is an odd and touching little film. I'm glad I stuck it out.
  30. For all its energy, fine performances and dramatic confrontations, Friday Night Lights substitutes intensity for insight, dodging the book's harsher findings like a dazzling broken-field runner.
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. It’s amazing, and genuinely touching. At the age of 53 Mr. Cruise continues to give his all to these films, and his all in this latest episode is more than enough.
  32. Merchants of Doubt, a provocative and improbably entertaining documentary by Robert Kenner, means to make people angry, and to make them think. It will surely do the former. I’d like to think it will do the latter.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Rich in motion -- the very clothes of the characters seem under a choreographer's direction -- as well as imagery.
    • Wall Street Journal
  33. Clouds Of Sils Maria. swirls with provocative ideas, but they’re talked about more than dramatized
  34. Silverado looks great and moves fast. Mr. Kasdan has packed his action well against the fearsomely long, dusty stretches of Western plain. [11 Jul 1985, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  35. I found this film deeply affecting as well. It has a gravity that's independent of technique, and an engaging spirit that's enhanced by flashes of comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. The film deserves to be seen, and admired, for its own revelations, and for its unlikely, yet deeply affecting, transformation into a story of abiding love that, in its own turn, involves a deception. At the age of 86, Mr. Randi is a small, gnomish figure who walks with a cane. What seems entirely undiminished, though, is the power of his mind, driven more than ever by the dictates of his heart.
  37. An evil spell nearly does Snow White in, but it's lifted in the nick of time. The strangest spell afflicts Kristen Stewart; she can't seem to imbue Snow White with anything more than a semblance of feeling. That spell never lifts, but it doesn't make much difference in the end because the forces of good manage to work around it.
  38. The film celebrates artistic freedom without preaching a sermon, and often flies when Mr. Chi is on screen. When he is on stage, spinning and leaping to the strains of magnificent music, the film soars.
  39. A thoroughly serious film, full of vivid details, but also a relentlessly serious one that requires Mr. Wilson to spend a great deal of time looking disconsolate.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. The script — by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul — is erratic, to put it generously. Yet the 3-D animation is so stylish and, from time to time, so downright beautiful, that you hardly notice when the storytelling loses track of itself.
  41. Since Mr. Stone is a prisoner of his penchant for pop-psychologizing on a cosmic scale, his movie has the astounding effect of absolving President Nixon of personal guilt for his crimes and misdeeds without bothering to explain what he did wrong. [21 Dec 1995, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. Movies often turn on slender notions worked up to look like full-fledged ideas. Once in a while, though, a notion will be fertile to begin with, a self-renewing source of delight. That's the case with Luc Besson's Angel-A.
  43. At its best, Ava DuVernay’s biographical film honors Dr. King’s legacy by dramatizing the racist brutality that spurred him and his colleagues to action. The director and her screenwriter, Paul Webb, are less successful — sometimes much less so — at breathing life into the private moments that define King as an inspirational figure with human flaws, and a political as well as spiritual force.
  44. The brute force of Terminator 3 is relieved, I'm happy to say, by Claire Danes's winning performance as John Connor's reluctant accomplice (whom the production notes describe, not inaccurately, as an "unsuspecting veterinarian"); by many of the special effects, which don't seem obsolete at all, and, yes, by the sinister trix of the Terminatrix.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. Mr. Carnahan has till now been pigeonholed, and rightly, by comedy shoot-'em-ups like "Smokin' Aces" and "The A-Team." But here he is with The Grey - certainly an adventure film but one with a spiritual ingredient that is both surprising and fiercely resonant.
  46. An improbably delicious comedy.
  47. I floated in and out of states that included suspense, surprise, delight and shock, all of them adding up to steady-state enjoyment.
  48. Too often the film languishes as Mr. Kasdan poses Big Questions and then has his characters answer them in conversations that are so casual they seem improvised. [26 Dec 1991]
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. If you're looking for an action thriller, this isn't it. The pace is deliberate, the tone is pensive, albeit punctuated by occasional violence, and the style is exceedingly lean; characters reveal themselves mainly through moral choices.
  50. The vision of office work that's offered up by Haiku Tunnel is as chilling as it is funny.
    • Wall Street Journal
  51. The script, adapted by Matt Greenhalgh from a memoir by Lennon's half-sister, Julia Baird, is flagrantly Oedipal; almost every scene between John and his mother is sexually charged. The curse is taken off most of these encounters by Anne-Marie Duff's eloquent work in the mother's role.
  52. Presley Chweneyagae's Tsotsi makes his presence deeply felt. In a world of heedless children wielding guns, his tale is a heartening one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. Kristin Scott Thomas is the best though not the only reason to see Leaving.
  54. Munich is a Spielberg film for better and worse, a vivid, sometimes simplistic thriller in which action speaks louder than ideas.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. [(Cher's) never been better. [5 Jan 1988, p.22(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  56. The film succeeds on the strength of the boy, and the remarkable young actor who plays him, Kodi Smit-McPhee.
  57. The pace is deliberate, verging on slow — Australian filmmakers aren't keen on short takes or quick cuts — but the content is constantly surprising.
  58. The Counterfeiters is inevitably serious, even austere, and full of chilling, ironic details.
  59. For all its pictorial splendor and carefully calculated drama, this film misses greatness by a country mile.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. [Luhrmann's] movie is all over the map. But what a gorgeous map it is. The too-muchness, like the too-longness, befits the Northern Territory's vastness. In its heart of hearts Australia is an old-fashioned Western -- a Northern, if you will -- and all the more enjoyable for it.
  61. RED
    The best part of Red is the spectacle of terrific actors being terrific in novel ways.
  62. An unusual amalgam of formulaic feel-goodism and shocking tough-mindedness, a movie that allows us to decode the inner life of its hero while he's decoding the world around him.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. A valuable film, provided one doesn't ask too much of it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. What the film does best is document the lengths to which people are going to protect themselves -- subcutaneous microchips for identification, ever-heavier armor for fancy cars.
  65. What's remarkable, though, is how Ms. Bier's film, in Danish and English, finds beauty in its quiet moments, which are many and close between.
  66. Disney’s new live-action version is for the most part beguilingly good, even though it’s no replacement for the studio’s 1950 animated classic.
  67. May be something of a stunt, but it's a fascinating stunt that holds your attention from the start to shortly before the finish.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. The story's literary underpinnings are hilariously represented by the denizens of a seedy writers' retreat situated near Tamara's old house, which she has come back to reclaim after her mother's death.
  69. It's all rather amusing, but after awhile you tire of all the perfect little nuances about characters who seem like prototypes for a certain type of Victorian novel. [6 Mar 1986, p.23(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Feast for Rolling Stones fans.
  70. A seasoned director might have known when to ask Ms. Theron to do less, or nothing at all; as things stand, she acts at every single moment. But what brave and ferocious acting she does.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. You'll miss out on some really great stuff if you don't see this surprising movie.
  72. This ambitious, entertaining movie, which showed at film festivals earlier this year, has been hailed in some quarters as a masterpiece worthy of Arthur Miller's Willy Loman or Sinclair Lewis's George Babbitt. Yet its social comments are stained by condescension, and its uplift is sustained by sentimentality that Mr. Nicholson's prickly Everyman can't conceal.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. Finally seems like a bit of a con in its own right, but a marvelously smooth one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. Jon Shenk's fascinating documentary feature The Island President personalizes the threat of global warming, and nationalizes it too, by focusing on Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives.
  75. By turns repellent, powerful and ludicrous, Antichrist piles horror on horror with pitiless passion.
  76. Like Kong himself, it's imposing, sometimes endearing, and very rough around the edges.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. Mad Dog and Glory also seems like two movies at once, only in this case the split comes off like a case of Siamese twins. Actually, it's girls on one side and boys on the other, and the boys get all the breaks. [4 Mar 1993, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. George Clooney's film noir sensibility in the title role feels authentic, and admirably solid.
  79. The film itself is fairly slight: I'm not sure what it adds up to. Still, I enjoyed every moment of its beguiling saga of a depressed teen named Craig.
  80. A movie you can't readily get out of your head.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. Mr. Murphy rises to every occasion, not only with the crisp wit that has long been his hallmark, but with restraint and tenderness that serve him well.
  82. I felt much the same way as I sat goggle-eyed through this endless extravaganza of visual abracadabra. It seemed entirely possible that I might die of the fidgets or old age while waiting for Baron Munchausen to kill the Turks. And yet I found myself wanting to see the end of the movie before I expired. [9 Mar 1989, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. Youth in Revolt is basically an absurdist ramble, but a terrifically likable ramble.
  84. A likable lightweight, though it's heavy enough on cosmic combat and dazzling effects.
  85. Mr. Washington is splendid, as always. So is Forest Whitaker as James Farmer, Sr.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    For almost two hours of car chases and car wrecks and extraordinary animated transformation sequences that meld fluidly with live action, the welcome mat is out for Michael Bay's cheerfully dopey saga.
  86. What the movie lacks in coherence it makes up for in zest, well-founded self-delight and a sharpshooter's eye for the absurdities of reality TV.
    • Wall Street Journal
  87. The film fulfills its feel-good promise, as long as it's seen as the fairy tale it was meant to be.
  88. Full of life -- which is a very good thing to say about a story that turns on death -- wonderfully odd, and a gallery of perfect performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. This adroit and understated coming-of-age film reminded me of the New Wave of Czech films in the 1960s, but with a distinctive poignancy that translates to wisdom.
  90. Green Card is quite pleasant to watch mainly because Mr. Weir hasn't disturbed its simple virtues with undue portent. Sometimes a plate of spaghetti with a simple tomato sauce is just the thing, and this is the movie equivalent of that. [10 Jan 1991, p A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. Supremacy certainly works on its own terms, but those terms are limiting. It's an entertainment machine about a killing machine.
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. This story of 12 manipulable -- or manipulative -- men and women rarely fails to hold your interest, even though much of it doesn't hold water.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. This is a modest film, and an affecting one.
  94. Deliver Us From Evil has its flaws. Certain passages are diffuse, others are argumentative, and there's a discomfiting staginess to the climax... Yet the film's concern for the victims, and their families, is one of its strengths.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. Likely to create considerable nervous tension among viewers who think they've seen this all before. They haven't.

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