Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,512 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: 60
Highest review score: 100 Argo
Lowest review score: 0 Perfect Stranger
Score distribution:
2512 movie reviews
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The film's examination of confused sexuality, psychic scars and unsupportive parents never moves a step beyond cliche.
    • Wall Street Journal
  1. It doesn't make Cars a bad picture -- the visual inventions are worth the price of admission -- but it constitutes conduct unbecoming to a maker of magic.
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. This is Coupland's first screenplay, and it shows -- in a cheerfully discursive quality, but also in a reliance on gestures, contrivance and dialectic speeches rather than dramatic development and conflict.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. The movie is a relentlessly intense, grotesquely overblown and numbingly long account of extraordinary heroism on the part of six American security operators in the midst of horrific chaos.
  4. Monster House benefits from strong graphic design and lovely lighting, but the script is nothing to write home about.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. A textbook case of a film that's befuddled by its subject.
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. It’s ultimately a genre film with all that implies, meaning omissions, simplifications, conventional heroics, dramatic banalities and, given the narrative’s limited scope, little sense of the event’s complex causes or its environmental cost.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    There's a jaunty score by Randy Newman, and Clooney, as always, has charm to burn, but here, he's off his game.
  7. The psychology of The Club is warped and gnarled, the thinking of its members less-than-jesuitical.
  8. In spite of the film's surface allure -- no, not the leather, the period evocation -- and a fine performance by Gretchen Mol in the title role, Bettie is in bondage to a shallow, black-and-white script.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. The more elaborate the plot becomes, the sillier it gets.
  10. The sweet spirit that made last year's "Elf" such a success has curdled considerably.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. The movie wears thin as its style turns from light parody into affectation, and the plot, which certainly generates lots of anxiety, eventually settles for facile irony.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. Matching Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger is an amusing conceit played out in an entirely predictable fashion. It certainly isn't harmful, and Mr. Schwarzenegger is kind of cute when he smiles. [8 Dec 1988, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. James Caviezel makes us care more about that innocent romantic, Edmond Dantes, than we may care to care about the rest of the picture, which entertains in fits and starts, with startling ruptures in tone.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. Mr. Fuqua, who did such a fine job directing Mr. Washington and Ethan Hawke in "Training Day," loses control of an increasingly slapdash script, and the whole movie turns into a slaughterhouse. The question isn't who wants it — box office action is assured — but who needs it?
  15. All the pieces would seem to be in place for an effective film, but the direction is zestless, the pace is more often laggardly than leisurely, and the lead performances are surprisingly lifeless, although Mr. Isaac manages to make a virtue of his scammer's deliberate vagueness.
  16. This would-be epic is beautifully photographed, elegantly crafted and adventurously cast. Unfortunately, though, it plays like a gargantuan trailer for a movie still to be made.
  17. What’s unusual, and admirable, about the film is its close concern with colonialist machinations that make Seretse and Ruth the pawns of implacable power. What’s unfortunate is that Ms. Asante’s direction and Mr. Hibbert’s script aren’t up to the dramatic task; the pace grows slower as the couple’s plight deepens.
  18. Ms. Stone is a consistent delight, whether thanks to or in spite of the script’s flirtations with self-parody. But Irrational Man isn’t funny either. It’s a Woody Allen film that the next one will make us forget.
  19. Mr. Field is a filmmaker with an exceptional gift for directing actors -- he's an actor himself -- and an eye for telling detail. (His cinematographer here, as in the previous film, is Antonio Calvache, and again the images are quietly sumptuous.) Yet I was put off by Little Children's satiric tone.
    • Wall Street Journal
  20. Andrew Niccol's In Time looks great, sounds stilted and plays like a clever videogame with too many rules.
  21. My First Mister, which was written by Jill Franklyn, watches Jennifer with lively interest, but rarely pierces the mysteries of her soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  22. His (Eddie Murphy's) performance in Daddy Day Care isn't bad. He's restrained, and even tender in some of the scenes he plays with the kids. But restraint is the last thing we want from a comic of his caliber. It's no fun at all.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. The movie comes on like a put-on--next to nothing happens for an excruciatingly long time--and ends as a fascinating dialectic between following one's conscience or following the law.
  24. You could also say it's like they're likable tourists on a quest to plunder an endearing movie that didn't need this mediocre remake.
  25. Ask the Dust is beautifully shot -- sepia becomes the ravishing, affecting Ms. Hayek. Unfortunately the images of the heaving waves of the Pacific in the moonlight, of mountains rising over scrub and cactus in the sunlight here, serve only to emphasize the emptiness of the drama unfolding in the foreground.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. Looks magical, seethes with elusive profundities and makes remarkably little sense, though the murkiness makes perfect sense on a shallower level.
  27. To the Arctic 3-D is an impassioned plea for action on global warming, and the passion is intensified by the music.
  28. From time to time the movie grabs you (though the music keeps repelling you). Taking stock and letting go-of superfluous things, of worn-out love-is a strong theme. But the progression of the script is like Nick's self-help program. We're familiar with the steps.
  29. What's on screen, though, is a peculiar clutter of gentle sentiment, awkward dialogue, shaky contrivance — especially the resolution of Joey's feelings — and monotonous performances from a supporting cast that includes Marisa Tomei and Darren Burrows.
  30. It's sometimes exciting but rarely thrilling, a victory of formula over finesse.
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. Whatever the cause, the movie turns sour when the singers aren't singing. And the first-person accounts don't work at all, even though much of their substance comes from the show.
  32. Weaves a sensual spell of extraordinary delicacy, then sustains it -- up to a point.
    • Wall Street Journal
  33. Doesn't measure up to the depth of detail, let alone the drama, of "Unzipped," the 1995 documentary about Isaac Mizrahi. Still, this new documentary conveys an ample sense of the process.
  34. Much of the fun is awfully silly. The story strains logic, as well as credulity. It's been cobbled together, often crudely, from pieces of classic predecessors. (Here snippets of Hitchcock, there stretches of "Speed," with wings on the bus.) Yet the silliness parades itself in a spirit of cheerful self-awareness, while Liam Neeson fills the thrill quotient impressively as an air marshal.
  35. Terrific actors give glum performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. Takes liberties with its hero, which is hardly a crime (the real-life Barrie was extremely childlike), but the movie chases after magic with overproduced fantasy sequences, and a feel-good, literalist climax that betrays the very notion of imagination as a force superior to reality.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. Two dramatic problems beset Roman Polanski's darkly handsome new film of the Dickens novel. The boy is as passive as ever, and bleak in the bargain -- instead of glowing like the Oliver of the musical, he takes light in -- while Ben Kingsley's Fagin and Jamie Foreman's Bill Sikes manage to make villainy a bit of a bore.
    • Wall Street Journal
  38. Remaking a cherished movie is not, to borrow a fancy phrase from the dialogue, malum in se - wrong in itself - but there are always losses along with the changes and gains.
  39. A small story, a monodrama with a hero but no antagonists.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. Once again, Queen Latifah survives some remarkably clumsy filmmaking. More than survives; she manages to prevail.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. All of it amounts to a been-there-done-that-better recapitulation of Mr. Spielberg's career.
  42. The whole dumb movie is a baloney cake, but the enticing icing on it is Reese Witherspoon, who manages to have a few moments of spontaneous fun in this half-baked store-bought comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. A mixed bag of a thriller that exploits two primal fears—of artificial intelligence, and precocious children.
  44. The folk-wisdom level is tolerable, just as the clichés and manipulations are palatable, because the story is full of life, and free of ironic additives.
  45. Though the first-time director, Gabor Csupo, has achieved distinction as an animation artist, he lacks experience directing actors. The best adult performance in the film is that of Zooey Deschanel; she comes off -- again, agreeably -- as self-directed.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Alternately precious and vapid, the movie attempts to wrest metaphors from a jar of house keys, and eternal verities from pastry. Slice the pie how you will, it's still half-baked.
  46. It's a cheerful trifle tossed off by the Coen brothers in their self-enchanted mode, an approach to comedy that shrugs off comedy's cardinal rule -- Don't Act Funny.
  47. The action looks impressive, even when nothing much is happening beyond local explosions or shattering glass, and the drama turns, affectingly, on a mysterious female sniper with a partitioned soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. What's good in the film, which was shot superbly by Matthew Libatique, is so good - so exuberant and touching and sweet - that you want the whole thing to be perfect, but Ruby Sparks is a closed system that gradually turns in on itself. There isn't enough of someone else.
  49. The medium really is the message here, and it steals what there is of the show.
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. Skips from episode to episode without illuminating the essence of the woman or her art.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Squanders endless opportunities for sharp satire, keeping to a steady course of tame, toothless comedy, and wrapping things up with the kind of vapid ending "The Brady Bunch" would be proud to call its own.
    • Wall Street Journal
  51. Mr. Doremus is an exceptional director of actors; almost every scene in Breathe In comes alive, with or without the help of music. But the film needs more help than it gets from the script, which turns on facile coincidence and dwindles in originality as it moves toward its climax. Next time around, let's hope this gifted filmmaker hangs his characters' lives on stronger dramatic bones.
  52. What we see, though, is the same old same old - beautiful faces turning gaunt and haunted, strung-out hero and heroine, stupid parents, de-tox worse than tox, descent to and return from the depths. Candy could be seen, I suppose, as a cautionary tale; take this as a cautionary review.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. Both Mr. Dano and Mr. Cusack, by contrast, find as many notes as they can in portraying their troubled character, though they’re clearly limited by the schematic writing and insistent direction.
  54. So the awful truth about The Truth About Charlie is that it needed two movie stars and got one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. Oversweetened or not, "Mary Poppins" remains a deservedly beloved work of art. Nanny McPhee is an overproduced industrial enterprise.
    • Wall Street Journal
  56. Igby has his own prickly charisma and bleak humor; he's a character you'd like very much to embrace. But he's surrounded by insufferable fools in the airless Manhattan universe of a film that's as offputtingly precocious as its preppy hero.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. A sentimental -- and modestly enjoyable -- fantasy of mutual need.
  58. Deeply felt convictions and first-rate craftsmanship-craftswomanship, in the case of the Spanish director, Icíar Bollaín-win out over contrivance in this parallel drama of exploitation in the New World discovered by Columbus, and in the Bolivia of 2000.
  59. The plot really is basic, so the bafflement of the movie lies in its combination of visual riches and dramatic -- as well as thematic -- impoverishment.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. The production certainly looks sumptuous, and certifies Mr. Hartnett as a mainstream movie star. But the script is frequently impenetrable, the pacing is ponderous, and the film noir style can't conceal a crucial piece of misconceived casting.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Viewed through a contemporary lens and set mostly to a score of '80s pop tunes, this highly stylized, self-conscious enterprise -- really, a music video -- posits the misunderstood and vilified Marie, née Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna, as a figure in the mold of Diana, Princess of Wales.
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. Everyone's work is heartfelt, heaven knows, but the script, by Mr. Hoffman's brother, Gordy Hoffman, gives the movie's star little but lugubriousness to play...eventually the whole thing seems to be running on fumes.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    In the end, The Constant Gardener is hardly more than yet another study of white, upper-middle-class martyrdom rather than the hard look at third-world suffering it might've been.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Jindabyne started with a bad idea and the finished film doesn't do well by it.
  63. Takes a sharp turn for the better when Ronnie and a poor big rich boy played by Liam Hemsworth fall in love.
  64. What's so unfunny about peace, love and understanding? Plenty, it turns out. But for much of the movie, viewers will be asking themselves where the conflict is. And, by extension, the drama.
  65. The movie has its own deficits - a lack of variety, originality, subtlety, clarity and plain old charm.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The characters are so sketchily drawn that it's hard to keep them straight, let alone get worked up about their survival.
  66. Despite a synthetic optimism in the script, the movie's pervasive bleakness is relieved only by some bright performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. Once Nacho gets the wrestling bug, though, it's all about Jack Black the irrepressible clown, and the comedy dies a slow death for lack of fresh ideas.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. I can't pretend that the third episode instilled a fever in my blood, but it didn't leave me cold. For the first time in the series I felt I'd seen a real movie.
  69. Does it all have to be so tedious? To the movie's credit, many of the inside jokes are pretty funny, and Mr. Lundgren is close to hilarious as a dissipated Swede named Gunner.
  70. Through it all, though, Kurt Russell gives Dark Blue a bleak integrity -- funny word, given the circumstances -- that almost serves as its redemption.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. Why are certain films less than the sum of their appealing parts?
  72. In fairness, the movie is good for more than a few laughs, but little substance lurks beneath the antic poses and frantic shenanigans in this remake of the classic 1955 English comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    21
    Very little adds up in 21.
  73. I can't say I was scared, but I wasn't bored. By way of full disclosure, Warner Bros. provided free popcorn at the screening. I gobbled up every greasy morsel.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    My problem is that the lack of narrative structure deprives the film of any suspense, and without suspense the film eventually collapses from its own heat like a soufflé that has been in the oven just a few minutes too long.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. More unfortunately still, the elements of the story fit poorly, like a Tucker decked out as a sexmobile.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. Stylish, highly accomplished and, thanks to its severely restrained palette, mostly off-putting.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. Up
    I'm still left, though, with an unshakable sense of Up being rushed and sketchy, a collection of lovely storyboards that coalesced incompletely or not at all.
  77. This is not a simple picture. It's serious, disarmingly funny at times and certainly ambitious, yet diminished by some of the traits that have made the standard Sandler characters so popular.
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. Although The Good Girl is peppered with amusing small-town eccentrics in refreshingly original guises, it gets off to a long, slow start.
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. It's basically a cheerful slob job, one of those slapped-together features so often embraced by teenagers with more disposable income than discernible taste.
  80. The only parts of the film that ring true -- and they sometimes ring touchingly true -- are the ones that give Mr. Allen simple human themes to work with.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. A brilliant but completely muddled concoction about the relationship between fantasy and reality. [16 Jul 1992]
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. Todd Graff's would-be inspirational film lift their voices in song that makes you smile, and squander their voices on dialogue that makes you cringe (but also smile in oddly pleasurable disbelief).
  83. Another is how the film manages, in the absence of a coherent plot, to be so funny and engaging until, somewhere around the midpoint, it goes as flat as a stepped-on creepy-crawly.
  84. The movie's real star is the cinematographer, Elliot Davis -- his images carry more emotional freight than all the performances put together.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. It's thanks to her (Leoni) that we stay tuned to Mr. Allen's comic premise long after it has gone from delightfully outrageous to off-puttingly preposterous.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. Mr. Nixey is doing an Alfred Hitchcock homage within a movie lacking anything as subversive, or skilled, as Hitchcock.
  87. It’s billionaire-glossy, as much an ode to consumerism as a study in sadomasochism; intermittingly titillating, with fugitive flashes of droll; and, bondage apart, a dutifully romantic tale of an old-fashioned girl who takes a particularly roundabout route to true love.
  88. In case you were holding your breath, Renée Zellweger's Bridget Jones is still sweetly earnest, chronically overweight and swinging once again from lovestruck to lovelorn.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Despite being a pretty film with some good performances, it's hard to sympathize with a character that won't help herself. More proof, if we need it, that mixing sex and politics only leads to trouble.
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. World Trade Center shows us many things we already know, though with impressive flair, then plunges underground for an unconvincing drama based on a multitude of facts. It's upbeat, all right, but badly off kilter.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. Very funny and surprisingly likable until it goes Hollywood.
    • Wall Street Journal

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