Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,520 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 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Django Unchained
Lowest review score: 0 Metroland
Score distribution:
2520 movie reviews
  1. In a film that's carefully crafted but also airless and overcalculated, Mos Def walks away with every scene he's in because we're never sure what his character is up to, and we're never told.
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. Mr. McKay is in his mid-30s, and doesn't conceal it, so what's the point? By taking the KIND out of WUNERKIND, the movie also removes the WUNDER.
  3. Less magical is the blind adherence to formula evident in most of Taken 2. As they might say in the advertising department, it's an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride. But it could have been much more.
  4. The Lego Film has a specialness all its own. There's never been a hodgepodge quite like it.
  5. Has the inherent limits of all movies that feed on movies, rather than life -- it's original, yet it's not.
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. Needlessly long, visually drab and not just a foreign-language film, with English subtitles, but a film that's ostensibly foreign to our experience. That said, there are compelling reasons to see it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. If the screenplay to Kill the Messenger were a news story, any capable copydesk would have kicked it back to the reporter — not for a shortage of facts, but a lack of dramatic soul.
  8. It is Mr. Kinnear's slippery charm that keeps Thin Ice from sinking into the frosty Wisconsin slush toward which it seems to be heading from the start.
  9. Writer-director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, who in his feature debut has lashed together a sturdy vehicle for unadorned morality and pragmatic justice.
  10. Thanks to the redundancy, though, Blood Diamond is dramatically diffuse, and at least 30 minutes too long. Thanks to Mr. DiCaprio's raffishly dashing soldier of fortune, the movie is worth watching all the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. I wanted to believe in Bad Santa. At least half of the time I did.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. Eye caviar that doesn't pretend to be much else.
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. Merits admiration as an ambitious debut feature, though the impact of its splendid cast is blunted by the awkward structure of its screenplay.
  14. What Mr. Parker has committed to the screen is a righteously indignant, kinetic and well-acted film — Mr. Parker, as Turner, delivers a fierce, complex performance. At the same time, his film is remarkably conventional. The framing and the camera movements are all very routine, even dated; one would have said it looks like television, before television gained its current lustre.
  15. It's a movie devoted to showing it, shaking it and selling it with huge zest and self-delight, a movie that raises MTV-style dada to the status of superheated mama, even though, toward the end, it wears awfully thin rather than svelte.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. Lethal Weapon is vulgar, violent and predictable. Yet, in some outbreak of id, I got caught up in the shenanigans of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson as a mismatched cop team. Mr. Glover is more than solid and Mr. Gibson has added a kind of raw humor to his repertoire that is extremely sexy. [5 Mar 1987, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. It shouldn’t seem shocking, but the most interesting thing about this second Cruise-fired action film based on author Lee Child’s nomadic, ex-military hero is its action.
  18. Glorifies its subject without quite knowing what to make of her. There's no question, though, about Ms. Blanchett in the title role. When she's on screen, the Fourth Estate flourishes.
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. The result is a film that may stay in the mind's eye longer than it lingers in the heart.
  20. Who knew that one of Billie Holiday's most haunting songs was written in Budapest in the 1930s? I didn't until I saw Gloomy Sunday, a German film, shot in Hungary and directed by Rolf Schubel, that I enjoyed quite a lot, even though it's all over the map in more ways than one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. A curious combination of strident preachment and smartly farcical thriller; it's heavy-handed and light-footed at the same time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  22. Adult Beginners presents itself less as humor than as a study in Gen-X sociology and psychology. What happens when people raised in relative ease and who expect to live an even better life than their parents are left emotionally unequipped for reality? It might be touching. It might even be important. But it’s not exactly a lot of laughs.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It lacks the redeeming warmth of a character the audience can identify with. But longtime fans of Mr. Williams will enjoy it as an example of the creepiness we always knew he was capable of.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. Like the "girls," the movie is flamboyant in almost every respect - the costumes, the humor and the sentimentality. [1 Sep 1994]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Sympathetic, engaging documentary.
    • Wall Street Journal
  24. What may feel like Mr. Sfar's indulgences are sometimes just that, but one could hardly make an honest movie about Gainsbourg that wasn't as recklessly ambitious as this.
  25. Although mood often substitutes for momentum in Ms. Kalem's film, both of her stars give affecting performances, and there's growth on both sides of the unlikely romance.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. The movie finally comes together into something that is genuinely -- and almost quietly -- stirring.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. Any shortfalls in Home on the Range a conventional but perfectly pleasant entertainment, have more to do with the ABC's of storytelling than with the D's of animation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. Mr. Ritchie is back with more of the same in his second feature, a comedy called "Snatch" that's a sort of lethal pinball machine in which even more picturesque characters bounce from pillage to post.
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. An attractive, intelligent film that's intractably at odds with itself.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Notwithstanding a thin script and a color-by-numbers ending, the movie is redeemed by its solid performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. At its best, Fahrenheit 9/11 is an impressionist burlesque of contemporary American politics that culminates in a somber lament for lives lost in Iraq. But the good stuff -- and there's some extremely good stuff -- keeps getting tainted by Mr. Moore's poison-camera penchant for drawing dark inferences from dubious evidence.
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. Entertaining when it's really lurid, and Gerard Depardieu is something to behold as the proprietor of a broken-down hotel. He's a spectacular ruin in his own right.
    • Wall Street Journal
  32. If Ice Age lacks the fit and finish of top-of-the-line films from Pixar, DreamWorks or Disney, it's still an impressive piece of work for a new feature animation group, and a harbinger of cool cartoons to come.
    • Wall Street Journal
  33. Thus does a book of literary distinction become not-so-grand-Guignol.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. At many points along the way I wanted to wash my hands of Scotland, PA., but then this sly, silly comedy got me smiling again.
    • Wall Street Journal
  35. The cast is superb: especially Kate Winslet, who transcends, by far, the limits of her character's narrow soul. Yet The Reader remains schematic, and ultimately reductive.
  36. It’s a reasonably clever contrivance built around a pair of droll, skin-deep performances that are smart and entertaining, yet oddly lacking in intensity.
  37. Endearing, though sometimes belabored.
  38. So many movies these days are overworked or overblown: The Hammer feels genuinely tossed-off. It isn't a great movie, or even a consistently good one. Yet it gets to elusive feelings about failure and success, hope and mortality (and reveals a quietly subversive attitude toward the boxing-movie genre).
  39. Mr. Maquiling's gotta learn more about dramatic arcs, but he has an infectious interest in how the world looks and works, and he can make you laugh unexpectedly. I look forward to his next film.
  40. Despite the numerous predictable jokes about geriatric sex, the movie is very appealing for numerous surprising reasons. Many of them have to do with ice fishing in Minnesota. [9 Dec 1993, p.A14]
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. The film contends admiringly, and convincingly, that Ralph Nader's authentic sense of outrage is the reason he persists when he can't prevail.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. Watching this surrealist silliness, I would have welcomed the sight of a geezer on a riding mower.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. Surprising as it may be, given an unpromising trailer, the 3D update of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth turns out to be perfectly charming as well as predictably eye-popping.
  44. This is silliness of such a special grade, performed with such zest, that it makes you forgive and even forget the movie's foolishness and borderline incoherence.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. For those more concerned with what “The Avengers” movies do best — outsize spectacle and wry comedy — Age of Ultron has to be declared a victory.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. Grungily stylish and often funny, at least for a while, though all of the caveats and contradictions that apply to Tarantino films apply here: One man's--or boy's--stylization is another's profane, unrelenting and tedious brutality.
  47. Camp X-Ray isn’t anti-American, despite much of Ali’s rhetoric. It is about the evils of ignorance, wherever it rears its ugly head.
  48. Silly is endangered these days, and normal has come under withering fire from stupendous, yet tedious, visual effects. Busting ghosts used to be a lot more fun.
  49. The butler, Cecil Gaines, is a fictional creation, an African-American Forrest Gump who bears special witness to the civil-rights movement while serving on the White House staff under seven presidents. The contrivance is stretched to its breaking point over a running time of 132 minutes; some of the episodes cross a different line from almost plausible to downright silly. That's not the whole story, though.
  50. This is less a film in the lustrous Pixar tradition than a Disney fairy tale told with Pixar's virtuosity. As such, it's enjoyable, consistently beautiful, fairly conventional, occasionally surprising and ultimately disappointing.
  51. With all its flaws, though, The Grey Zone deserves to be respected, and to be seen.
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. Affecting but formulaic.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. Mama itself is above average as a piece of filmmaking, even if its scare quotient is middling or below. That's OK with me. I was content to be impressed by the skill of the first-time director, Andrés Muschietti; absorbed by the performances and smitten by some startling images.
  54. Ms. Kawase’s sweet, slow film — very slow, I’m obliged to say — becomes a meditation on solitary lives lived at the margins of society; on old age, and on the urgency of telling our stories, which may sometimes include recipes.
  55. Mike Leigh's latest film preserves the mystery of why another marriage has flourished over decades. That's not the stated subject of Another Year, but it's at the center of this enjoyable though insistently schematic comedy.
  56. Eventually, though, Ghost Town buckles beneath the weight of contrivance -- so many ghosts to dispel, so many lessons to learn.
  57. The tone is earnest, with dialogue that sometimes plods when you want it to fly — a running time of 127 minutes doesn’t help the pacing — and a couple of pieces of casting are infelicitous: Jim Parsons gives a flat performance as the fictional Paul Stafford, NASA’s lead engineer, and Glen Powell is years too young to play John Glenn, who looks like a gung-ho frat boy.
  58. A smart entertainment that trades on Mr. Jackson's forceful presence, a cast of extremely likable young actors and lots of basketball action.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. The new version is out of scale with the basic premise -- too much rain, too much water, too much doom, gloom and intricate eccentricity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. This English heart-warmer isn't all that kinky. It's actually quite sweet-spirited, as well as unswervingly formulaic.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 37 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Directed by E. Elias Merhige, the film is never less than entertaining, but Sir Ben's portrayal of a sympathetic psychopath gives it a special zing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. It's a diverting mess, sometimes even a delightful mess.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Its ironic complexities tease the brain without pleasing the heart.
  63. Will the extremely extravagant special effects prove sufficient to sustain the picture? Surely they will, this time. Still, there's a sense of fatigue in the scenes that don't involve high-tensile webs and high-tension suspense.
  64. It’s a marvelous story about science and humanity, plus a great performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, plus first-rate filmmaking and cinematography, minus a script that muddles its source material to the point of betraying it. Those strengths make the movie worth seeing, but the writing keeps eating away at the narrative’s clarity — and integrity — until it’s impossible to separate the glib fictions from the remarkable facts.
  65. At the center of this swirl of events, poignant recollections and utter pandemonium, Ms. Portman’s Jackie is a mesmerizing presence.
  66. The problem isn't a lack of substance, and certainly not a dearth of talent, but a shortage of fun.
  67. They have also stripped out almost all complexity, reducing the drama to a familiar match between good and evil. You've heard all the speeches before; only the nouns have been changed. [23 Dec 1993, p.A9]
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. Though Hannibal the movie is unresolved in ways the book is not, that isn't Mr. Hopkins's fault. He's still a star for all seasons, and seasonings.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. I know this sounds like great fun, and some of it is, but there's nowhere near enough good stuff to fill the 114-minute running time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. A movie you want to like, and a movie you can enjoy if you cut its slackness some slack.
  71. The movie is a pleaser, for the most part, even though the attitude it takes toward its subject is often problematic.
  72. This Flubbery fantasy won't win any prizes for elegant craftsmanship or originality, but it's entertaining, good-natured and a slam dunk to be a hit with young kids.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. Mr. Del Toro is a fearless actor, and his Jerry, a heroin addict lurching toward redemption, is the heart and soul, as well as the haunted, rubbery visage, of a story of grief and loss that would be fairly lifeless without him.
  74. By all that's unholy, this third edition of the high-emission franchise should have been at least as awful as the second one was. (The first one was good fun.) Yet it's surprisingly entertaining in its deafening fashion, despite the absence of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, the co-stars of parts one and two.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. A brilliant mess, I suppose, in the way that seriously disturbed people can sometimes deliver a briefly mesmerizing vision of the universe while babbling. If nothing else, Natural Born Killers is the most in-your-face movie ever released by a major Hollywood studio. [25 Aug 1994, p.A10]
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. It's a deafening, sometimes boring, occasionally startling and ultimately impressive war movie with a concern for what it is that makes us human.
  77. Anger is the rocket fuel of drama. Of the four women in Nicole Holofcener's Friends With Money, only Frances McDormand's Jane is flamingly angry, and she's the most vivid character in the group.
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. Trumbo doesn't pretend to be tough-minded about its subject, and its failure to date the letters is an annoyance. But the substance of those letters, along with documentary footage and a touching appearance by Kirk Douglas, throws a baleful light on a bleak chapter of American history.
  79. In the wake of Walker’s death, it constitutes a farewell of fitting elegance.
  80. A little humanity can go a long way to make up for a movie's shortcomings, and there's more than a little in Ladder 49, a surprisingly stirring celebration of heroic firefighters.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. Mr. Ayoade's new film, adapted from Dostoyevsky's novella "The Double," is at least as startling as "Submarine" in its visual design, eerie environments and unusual premise. But it's lifeless, for the most part, a drama suffocated by its schematic style.
  82. Much of the action is interesting, and surprisingly well grounded in science...Yet the script works few variations on its basic idea until the climax, which is crazily out of scale -- the urban-traffic equivalent of a nuclear holocaust.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. The scenery, effects and balletic, iconic combats are perfectly wonderful, but there's an emotional black hole where the hero should be.
    • Wall Street Journal
  84. The film as a whole has the gravitas of a really thoughtful rock video.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. There weren't any surprises and that's what made it all so comforting. The bad guys got blown away, no questions asked, the snoopy journalists got their comeuppance. When Clint spends the night with his latest girl, you know it only because he wears the same suit the next morning. [21 Jul 1988, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. This cheerfully chaotic, gleefully vulgar action-comedy retread of the old television series has box-office success written all over it, and where's the harm? It's irresistibly funny until it isn't.
  87. Surprisingly, though, most of the material avoids the treacle zone, while Jason Segel, as the man-child in residence, gives a performance that I can only describe as gravely affecting.
  88. My heart was warmed by gratuitous moments when Mr. Carrey clowns for clowning's sake - in the best of them, he makes a slo-mo entrance to a press conference, even though the camera is running at normal speed.
  89. What's on screen, though, is a cautious approach to cinema wizardry -- broad, colorful strokes and flash-bang effects that turn J.K. Rowling's words into a long, cheerful spectacle with a Muggle soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. But even as the film's weaknesses make themselves more and more apparent, so does Mr. Turturro's virtuosity. [15 Aug 1991, p.A10(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. This, too, is a mood piece, sometimes surreal and dominated by Chow's lovelorn sadness. But it's hard to find an emotional or narrative handle to hang on to, since the filmmaker keeps reaching for dramatic energy that keeps eluding him.
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. It’s a win for Mr. Gyllenhaal, while the movie loses out to its clichés.
  93. For all its rich trappings, A Little Princess is impoverished at the core. [18 May 1995, p.A14]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 92 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Rendering all of its materials with a self-protective tongue-in-cheek tone, Star Wars is fun. But if the movie appeals to the child in all of us, it also may seem to the adult within a good deal less delightful. There's something depressing about seeing all these impressive cinematic gifts and all this extraordinary technological skills lavished on such puerile materials.
  94. It's a little precious and a little boring, but he has brought out an interesting performance from Adrienne Shelly, who convincingly pulls off a transformation from aimless pregnant teenager to purposeful young woman. [05 Sep 1991]
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. For its delicate tone, provocative themes, impeccable craftsmanship and superb performances-by Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley-Never Let Me Go earned my great admiration. I wish I'd been affected in equal measure, but I wasn't, and it's not the sort of film you can will yourself to enjoy.

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