Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,277 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 Amores Perros
Lowest review score: 0 Henry Fool
Score distribution:
2,277 movie reviews
  1. It's powerful entertainment. [22 Sept 1992, p.A16(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. Spectacular for its humanity, austere beauty and heart-stopping urgency.
  3. The level of invention is so high, and the density of detail is so great, that it’s impossible to absorb everything in a single viewing.
  4. Here's an iffy proposition. If A Hijacking was in English, or if U.S. audiences weren't finicky about reading subtitles, or if life was fair, this brilliant thriller, by the Danish filmmaker Tobias Lindholm, would be playing on multiplex screens throughout the country.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. Ida
    Pawel Pawlikowski's Ida, a compact masterpiece set in Poland in the early 1960s, gets to the heart of its matter with startling swiftness.
  6. A dulcetly crazy, certifiably hilarious and eerily mysterious little comedy.
  7. The third film of the trilogy turns out to be gorgeously joyous and deeply felt.
  8. The loveliest part of Mad Max: Fury Road is its grungy, quasi-Gothic imagery — the production was designed by Colin Gibson and photographed by John Seale. And the fullest flowering of its images can be found in its muscle cars, muscle trucks, muscle trailers and muscle buggies.
  9. Stunning and, in the aggregate, almost overwhelming. This is not a feel-good travelogue, and Mr. Salgado has never pretended to be a cockeyed optimist.
  10. Movie audiences have never been presented with anything quite like the intertwined beauty and savagery of 12 Years a Slave.
  11. Slumdog Millionaire is the film world's first globalized masterpiece.
  12. It's a meditation on mortality, with remarkable resemblances to "Gravity," not to mention echoes of "The Old Man and the Sea." It's admirably crafted, with a wealth of detail that illustrates the sailor's resourcefulness.
  13. Through it all -- the free-form conversations, the brilliant set pieces, the preposterous gross-outs, the flawless performances -- Kristen Wiig's forlorn maid of honor, Annie, seeks her own destiny with a wrenchingly cockeyed passion.
  14. Extraordinary...The movie has the intensity of an epic, only its subject matter is everyday life. [19 Oct 1993, p.A18(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. Sideways makes you glad about America, about movies, about life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. An absolutely phenomenal film by the Korean director Bong Joon-ho.
  17. Exquisite images, poignant humor, echoes of cinema history and a sense of having watched genuine magic.
  18. A splendid war movie. The combat sequences are harrowing -- all the more so for the director's spare, sharp-eyed style -- and the performances are phenomenally fine.
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. Rather than dwell on the darkness and squalor, von Donnersmarck has fashioned a genuinely thrilling tale, leavened with sly humor, that works ingenious variations on the theme of cat and mouse, speaks to current concerns about personal privacy and illuminates the timeless conflict between totalitarianism and art.
    • Wall Street Journal
  20. The film forges ahead, in vivid 3-D, with such energy, expertise and thunderous conviction that you readily accept its basic premise — the pell-mell emergence of great intelligence, plus moral awareness, in primitive bodies — and find yourself exactly where the filmmakers want you to be, swinging giddily between sympathy for the apes and the humans in what threatens to become all-out war.
  21. Against all odds in an era of machine-made spectaculars, Mr. Jackson and his collaborators have created a film epic that lives and breathes.
    • Wall Street Journal
  22. On rare occasions a movie seems to channel the flow of real life. Boyhood is one of those occasions. In its ambition, which is matched by its execution, Richard Linklater's endearing epic is not only rare but unique.
  23. I thought "Topsy-Turvy" was perfection, a spirited evocation of the partnership of Gilbert and Sullivan, plus a blithely definitive depiction of the artistic process. Happy-Go-Lucky is perfection too, assuming you go along with its leisurely pace, which I did quite happily.
  24. Gleeful and smart, funny and serious, this sequel surpasses the endearing original with gorgeous animation — a dragon Eden, a dragon scourge, an infinitude of dragons — and one stirring human encounter after another.
  25. The Israeli journalist Dror Moreh has hit a documentarian's trifecta with The Gatekeepers. It's an exemplary piece of enterprise journalism, a vivid history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a polemic that's all the more remarkable for the shared experience of the polemicists.
  26. It isn't saying too much, though, to call Mia Hansen-Løve's French-language drama beautiful, profound and, given the gathering tensions of its story, phenomenally full of life.
  27. Foreign films can be as enchanting as ever, and perspective-expanding too. The latest proof is Up and Down, a wonderfully funny, giddily intricate Czech comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. The screenplay, by William Monahan, is simply sensational. Scenes play brilliantly. Feelings flow like molten lava. The dialogue overflows with edgy wit and acidulous arias of imprecation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. The kind of movie they don't make any more -- a seriously beautiful, deliberately paced drama that meanders for a while at the pace of a summer romance, then explodes with phenomenal force.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. High-energy comedy comes naturally to the filmmaker. He exults in free association, emotional riffs, in the craziness that underlies ostensibly rational behavior. The crosscurrents have crosscurrents in his films, but the current that carries everything along here is announced by the first strains of music from the screen: Duke Ellington's "Jeep's Blues," with one of the most exuberant passages in all of jazz. David O. Russell does buoyancy better than anyone.
  31. The Class is clearly a microcosm of contemporary France, beset by social and economic tensions. More than that, though, it's a saga of education's struggles in many parts of the modern world. If only the film were pure fiction.
  32. A first-rate action thriller, a vivid evocation of urban warfare in Iraq, a penetrating study of heroism and a showcase for austere technique, terse writing and a trio of brilliant performances. Most of all, though, it’s an instant classic that demonstrates, in a brutally hot and dusty laboratory setting, how the drug of war hooks its victims and why they can’t kick the habit.
  33. Right makes might in Takashi Miike's excellent-and exceedingly violent-remake of a 1966 Japanese classic by Eiichi Kudo.
  34. Shall We Kiss? gives us storytelling as art. Emmanuel Mouret's romantic drama, in French with English subtitles, is expert, intricate, ineffably droll, ultimately provocative and entirely enchanting.
  35. Cate Blanchett tops anything she's done in the past with her portrait of a fallen woman who's a hoot, a horror, a heartbreaker and a wonder. The mystery of the movie as a whole is that it depicts a bleak world of pervasive rapacity, deceit and self-delusion, yet keeps us rapt with delight.
  36. Never before, not even in the claustrophobic submarine epic "Das Boot," has a physical point of view so completely dictated a philosophical point of view.
  37. This feature-length documentary, currently entering national release, may be one of the most horrifying films you'll ever see, and one of the most edifying.
  38. A phenomenal debut feature with a terrific title, David Michôd's Animal Kingdom is both a study in Darwinian survival-in this case survival of the shrewdest-and a group portrait of ruthless predators in the underworld of Melbourne, Australia.
  39. Goes from good to great in 90 minutes, and then it's over, except that it's really not, because this small masterwork grows even deeper and more affecting as it takes up permanent residence in your memory.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. Never before, though, have statistics added up to such electrifying entertainment. After the mostly minor-league productions of recent months, this movie, which was directed by Bennett Miller, renews your belief in the power of movies.
  41. An absolute stunner, a feature-length animated documentary, from Israel, in which the force of moving drawings amplifies eerily powerful accounts of war, shaky remembrance and rock-solid repression.
  42. Genuinely and irresistibly inspirational.
  43. Quite remarkably, though, its clear-eyed view of an unprecedented American tragedy leaves us with emotions that audiences of those earlier days would readily recognize -- love of country, bottomless grief, an appreciation of life's preciousness and fragility. A film that can do this and also teach is to be cherished. And seen. It's time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. The results are nothing less than sensational.
  45. The movie has its own genuine charm and one hilarious high: Billy Crystal & Carol Kane are simply wonderful. [24 Sept 1987, p.24(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. Bergman's Saraband is sublime.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. With its breathtaking visual style and careful attention to sound and movement, the movie provokes contemplation about the ways people communicate – through words, through music, through sex, and, most significantly, through touch. [14 Dec 1993, p.A14(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. This tale of forbidden friendship between a bear and a mouse is so winning that audiences will cherish it as the classic it's sure to become.
  49. The gadgetry is absolutely dazzling, the action is mostly exhilarating, the comedy is scintillating and the whole enormous enterprise, spawned by Marvel comics, throbs with dramatic energy because the man inside the shiny red robotic rig is a daring choice for an action hero, and an inspired one.
  50. Rarely has a contemporary movie taken in so much life and revealed it with such depth of feeling.
  51. What's extraordinary is what happens at the intersection of Mr. Payne's impeccable direction and Mr. Nelson's brilliant script. The odyssey combines, quite effortlessly, prickly combat between father and son.
  52. Mr. Gyllenhaal’s startling portrayal is far from the only distinction in this impeccably crafted feature film. Mr. Gilroy’s directorial debut connects its hero’s tacit madness to the larger craziness of a broadcast medium that teaches vast numbers of viewers to live with a false sense of insecurity.
  53. Here's an entertainment to warm the heart of anyone who grew up (or failed to) on the formative joys of action movies.
    • Wall Street Journal
  54. Sizzlingly smart and agreeably sententious, Mr. Garland’s film transcends some all-too-human imperfections with gorgeous images, astute writing and memorably strong performances.
  55. A work of huge, if unobtrusive, ambition -- a vision of modern life, appropriate for sophisticated adults as well as for kids, that is both satirical and, of all things, inspirational. It's a great film about the possibility of greatness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  56. No screen portrait of a king has ever been more stirring-heartbreaking at first, then stirring. That's partly due to the screenplay, which contains two of the best-written roles in recent memory, and to Mr. Hooper's superb direction.
  57. Denis Villeneuve's screen adaptation of a play by the Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad tells a story-masterfully-of courage, cruelty, family mysteries and a chain of anger that can only be broken by love.
  58. This tale of an English schoolgirl's hard-won wisdom is thrilling --for the radiance of Carey Mulligan's Jenny, who's wonderfully smart and perilously tender; for the grace of Lone Scherfig's direction, and the brilliance of Nick Hornby's screenplay.
  59. It's a joyous movie, the best one I've seen in a very long time.
  60. Kelly Reichardt's marvelous, minimalist epic, amounts to a master class in the power of observation.
  61. Beautiful (sometimes sublimely so), daring (sometimes outrageously so), seriously crazed and terrifically funny.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. The story demanded — and deserves — the services of a singular actress. Ms. Cotillard’s international stardom doesn’t hurt, of course, but the invaluable gift she brings to the production is her ability to play a working woman in naturalistic style while giving a transcendent performance.
  63. The invisible wizard Peter Jackson makes use of every scene to show us the meaning of magnificence. Never has a filmmaker aimed higher, or achieved more.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. The movie has done what those who've cherished the book might have thought impossible -- intensified its singular beauty by roving as free and fearlessly as Bauby's mind did.
  65. This gorgeous film, always tender and sometimes dark, is a deeply resonant comic drama that's concerned with nothing less than life, death, love, sex, guilt and the urban logic of mortality.
  66. Mud
    Jeff Nichols's third feature traffics unerringly in truth, delicious surprise, unadorned beauty and unforced wisdom.
  67. A magnificent movie. [19 Oct 1993, p.A18(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. Mr. Moodysson's film is little only in physical and financial scale. When measured by the pleasure it confers, We Are the Best! is a big deal that will be winning hearts — and even grownup minds — for a long time to come.
  69. At the age of 27 Mr. Coogler seems to have it all, and have it firmly in place a clearsighted take on his subject (no airbrushing of flaws or foibles here, just confident brush strokes by a mature artist); a spare, spontaneous style that can go beyond naturalism into a state of poetic grace, and a gift for getting, or allowing, superb actors to give flawless performances.
  70. If watching movie violence is cathartic, then this film amounts to heavy therapy. It's much more than that, however. This is the best film the Coen brothers have done since their glory days of "Fargo" and "The Big Lebowski," maybe the best they've done, period.
  71. Inside Job has the added value, as well as the cold comfort, of being furiously interesting and hugely infuriating. It's a scathing examination of the global economic meltdown that began more than two years ago and continues to affect our lives.
  72. More than a musical offering, it’s a study in boundless passion, plus a wellspring of wisdom about art and life from a man who sees no dividing line between the one and the other.
  73. One of the high points of last month's Telluride Film Festival was, as I wrote at the time, spending 5½ hours in a darkened theater-with one short break around the four-hour mark-to watch Olivier Assayas's shocking and edifying epic.
  74. Few actors working today could make emotional sense of such a protean character, but Ryan Gosling does so with calm authority. He's a formidable presence in a film that grabs your gaze and won't let go except for moments when you can't help but look away.
  75. This account of Facebook's founder, and of the website's explosive growth, quickly lifts you to a state of exhilaration, and pretty much keeps you there for two hours.
  76. This joyous farce is a big, big deal, and Jack Black is nothing less than majestic as a scruffy, irreverent rocker passing himself off as a pedagogue in a private school.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. Essentially a coming-of-age story set in working-class North Carolina in the 1970s. But it's so startlingly original that it transcends the genre. This is a wonderful film, from puckish start to momentous finish.
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. The most imaginative movie to come along in ages. [18 Oct 1994, p.A14(W)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. As wish-fulfillments go, this is a movie lover's dream.
  80. A drama of rare distinction, and wonderfully funny in the bargain.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. This movie will stir your heart and open your mind. It's a group portrait of practicing patriots.
  82. The Ghost Writer is so rich you may feel you paid too little for your ticket when the whole thing meets its very Polanski-ish climax. Please don't tell anyone.
  83. James Marsh's documentary raises the bar for the genre to skyscraper height.
  84. One of those rare and complex dramas that you can enter, not simply watch.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. A magnificent documentary.
  86. Excites us with words not spoken, passions not played out. A mood story more than a love story, it's all about sustaining a state of exquisite melancholy in the face of desire.
    • Wall Street Journal
  87. Felix (Duvall) simply wants to host his own goodbye, maybe have a band, and the reasons why are the reasons Get Low is essential viewing. That, and the acting.
  88. One of those rare collaborations that artists dream of, and that film lovers crave.
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. Once proves to be as smart and funny as it is sweet; it swirls with ambiguity and conflict beneath a simple surface. In all of 88 minutes, Mr. Carney's singular fable follows its guy and girl through a week of musical and emotional growth that could suffice for a lifetime.
  90. There are not a lot of moments in documentary cinema that equal Citizenfour. Ms. Poitras was already at work on a film about government surveillance when Mr. Snowden presented himself, and she’s something of a lightning rod, too, one with little evident sympathy for Obama administration data mining.
  91. The film doesn't play it safe, so neither will I. Instead, I'll say that it finds Mr. Tarantino perched improbably but securely on the top of a production that's wildly extravagant, ferociously violent, ludicrously lurid and outrageously entertaining, yet also, remarkably, very much about the pernicious lunacy of racism and, yes, slavery's singular horrors.
  92. The members of the cast represent ensemble, naturalistic acting at its finest.
  93. Against all odds, an unquenchable artist has made yet another piece of powerful art.
  94. Giddily funny in a singularly American idiom, and shot, by Lance Acord, with an eagle eye for cultural absurdities, Ms. Coppola's film is also a meditation on love and longing, shot through with a sensibility that's all the more surprising for being so unfashionably tender.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. The pulp-fictional hero is inhabited by the charismatic Andy Lau who, together with Chinese stars Bingbing Li, Ms. Lau and Tony Leung Ka-fai, makes Detective Dee the most purely entertaining film of our vanishing summer.
  96. Mr. Day-Lewis works famously, and phenomenally, from the inside out. The mystery at the core of his gorgeous performance, which is enhanced by Mr. Kushner's script, has to do with his masterly grasp of Lincoln's quicksilver spirit.
  97. Transcends its star's controversial career and, in the bargain, stands head, shoulders and heart above every other Hollywood movie that we've seen so far this year.
    • Wall Street Journal
  98. One of the great films of our time, or any other.
    • Wall Street Journal
  99. The best part of Tracks — aside from the spectacular images, the succinct dialogue, the elegant filmmaking and the mysterious beauty of Mia Wasikowska's performance — is what's left unsaid.
  100. Judged solely as a film, a partially fictionalized account of the decade-long search for bin Laden, it's superbly crafted and relentlessly dramatic. More than that, though, Zero Dark Thirty is a shock to the system, one that's bound to incite discussion of profoundly troubling issues.

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