Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,294 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 House of Flying Daggers
Lowest review score: 0 Gigli
Score distribution:
2,294 movie reviews
  1. Any meaningful perspective on the greedfest of the period is obscured by the gleefulness of the depiction.
  2. The technology is seamless, the movements are eloquent and the problem may be my own misprogramming, but the robot still looked to me like a man in a robot suit.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    At least the film has a sense of humor and a degree of energy... [but the] film never carries any of its characters or situations much beyond weary cliche. [10 Sept 1982, p.29(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. It's formula stuff, to be sure, but full of feeling for the sweep of the past as well as for the unsettled, yearning present.
    • Wall Street Journal
  4. Visually Hugo is a marvel, but dramatically it's a clockwork lemon.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    "Wrong" is the operative word with Death at a Funeral, which in the first very funny 30 minutes shows its hand and then, unfortunately, continues to wave that hand frantically for the next hour.
  5. Eloquent acting -- in fits and starts -- can't make up for the movie's glib, off-putting calculations.
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. The kind of inspirational movie that Hollywood made about the Army, Navy and Marines during World War II. Now, with inspiration in short supply, it's the Coast Guard's turn.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. Mark Andrus's script is built on soggy sandstone, and Irwin Winkler's bulldozer direction keeps unearthing toxic epiphanies. That's not to say the movie isn't occasionally moving, as well as exasperating.
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. Alice and John are good company — especially Alice, thanks to Ms. Temple's buoyant humor and lovely poignancy. The problem comes when the couple gets greedy, the gods grow angry and the tone turns dark. It doesn't stay dark, but getting back to the brightness is a painful process.
  9. Actually, maybe the movie is better than it seems to be -- I just couldn't understand what anyone was saying. The dialogue came across as clear as schoolyard chatter during recess -- and just about as pleasant to listen to. There is a water slide, a pirate ship and an amusing little chubbikins (Jeff Cohen) who squirts Reddi Wip directly into his mouth. [20 Jun 1985, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. The show is redeemed by its co-stars, up to a point. They struggle womanfully, and sometimes successfully, to find truth in the script's silly symphony of false notes.
  11. The title isn’t “Broken,” so there’s not much doubt of the outcome. But it’s certainly regrettable, because this long and increasingly sluggish film version of the Laura Hillenbrand book celebrates an American life of singular heroism.
  12. The Clearing has been directed by a successful producer. In this case it's Pieter Jan Brugge, who brings seriousness and intelligence to his newly chosen craft, but little verve.
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. The deeper problem with Rock Star is its insistence on turning a heavy-metal fairy tale into a morality tale that's as heavy as lead.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. Ali
    Ali nails its subject's anger and courage, but not his lilt; his swaggering boasts but not his sly self-irony; his power but not his grace; and his inner turmoil but not the outward joyousness that has made us come to love him.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Nothing about the emotionally unmoored Inglourious Basterds adds up. Whether it's parody, farce or a fever dream is anyone's guess.
  15. Before long, though, things take a turn from simplicity to sententiousness, then to surreal silliness, and finally to a mano-à-mano contest, on a parched desert floor, over which man gets the best close-ups.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. Affecting, even touching, provided you can put up with its sclerotic pace.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. The film, for all its visual felicities, comes to life only sporadically.
  18. A 3-D fantasy that's lovely to look at but less than delightful to know.
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. Storytelling problems surface toward the overwrought climax, but the worst problem is the unrelenting grimness. It's hard to like a movie that leaves you with no hope.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The gentle, ambling Ang Lee comedy that's a few tokes short of groovy.
  20. Under the Same Moon comes most vividly to life when Adrian Alonso is on the screen.
  21. The movie lacks a resonant center. The script seems to have been written by committee, with members lobbying for each major character, and the action, set in vast environments all over the map, spreads itself so thin that a surfeit of motion vitiates emotion.
  22. Mr. McCanlies's style lurches between the lyrical, the fantastical (flashbacks to the uncles' youth) and the clumsily antic, and Mr. Osment's performance is woefully stiff and inexpressive.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. The third iteration of a franchise that began so well becomes a hollow hymn to martial gadgetry. The suits and story clank in unison.
  24. If you're looking for logic or finesse, The A-Team can be numbing. If you're looking for good cheer, hold out for egg nog at Christmas. But if you're a fan of causeless effects, consequence-free causes and digital Dada, let the silly times roll.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Austen comes off here more as stenographer than writer. Worse, the movie has Tom Lefroy as her condescending guide.
  25. Plays like "Norma Rae" on blood thinners. The movie is by no means bloodless; every once in a while a stirring scene comes along, though it's seldom a scene labeled as stirring by William Ivory's formulaic script and Nigel Cole's insistent direction.
  26. Scurlock's documentary serves up cautionary tales of epic abuse, though the overall tone is faux cheerful and sometimes genuinely entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. Devolves from an electrifying character study into a disappointing tale of trackdown and revenge.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Ultimately, Traitor is a movie at war with itself.
  28. "Could be worse" isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of Pacific Rim, but my head is still ringing, and hurting, from long stretches of this aliens vs. robots extravaganza that are no better than the worst brain-pounders of the genre.
  29. The story is a shallow-draft bark with flat characters on board: Josh, in particular, is de-energized to the point of entropy. Night Moves suffers from a lack of mystery and a deficit of motion.
  30. The director Penny Marshall has a gently persuasive touch that keeps the movie's most brazen manipulations from being too offensive. [02 Jun 1994]
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. This latest iteration of DreamWorks's money machine has its ups and downs, its longueurs along with its felicities, plus an abiding preoccupation with poop.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Bobs and weaves between gross-out comedy and violent psychosexual drama, ultimately sliding into parody.
  32. Qualifies as a pleasant time-killer, but it's 20,000 leagues beneath what it might have been.
    • Wall Street Journal
  33. The film feels self-obsessed, an intriguing drama that slowly devolves into a bleak meditation on the absence of dramatics.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. The script is dreadful and everything else suffers from its impoverishment. Yet Kevin Costner, wily veteran that he is, makes the tale affecting, if not inspiring.
  35. This pretty slip of a film, in French and occasionally English, draws boldface parallels to Emma Bovary and the Flaubert novel to no particular purpose, though it sometimes gives the impression of being profound.
  36. You never lose interest for a moment, and the images are often striking: Javier Julia did the stylish cinematography. Yet there’s little lift from the carryings-on, not much buoyancy in the misanthropy.
  37. One difficulty with this film is that Doug is the least vital of the three main characters; he has mastered mildness as a second language. Another is the zone in which the film operates, equidistant between droll and dull. If that's a comfort zone for you, Cold Weather may be worth a look-see.
  38. So absurdly overproduced that there's even a surfeit of cherry blossoms. By the end they look like litter.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. These fraternal film makers have a lot of imagination and sense of fun - and, most of all, a terrific sense of how to manipulate imagery... But sometimes they seem to be getting too big a kick out of their own shenanigans. By the end, the fun feels a little forced. [26 Mar 1987, p.34(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. The younger man's personality is all the more startling for the skill and generosity with which Mr. Brolin creates a persuasively vital K while foreshadowing the grump to come. The script explains the change in elaborate detail, but the performance defies explanation; it's mysteriously marvelous.
  41. Bloated adaptation of P.D. James's thoughtful, compact novel.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. After listening to Jane and Jake talk it out in the interminable process of working it out—they explore their relationship as exhaustively, and exhaustingly, as any kids on Facebook—I found myself wishing for more shallows and fewer depths.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Like our two loose cannons with badges, the movie misses its target at least as often as it hits it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. One of the reasons documentaries often take so long to make is the filmmakers' need to keep their subject from giving a performance. They want something genuine, something that materializes only when the camera disappears. Nothing Mr. Courtney is says is inaccurate or, God knows, dishonest. But it isn't quite true either.
  44. Once again, though, the film is defined by the strengths and weaknesses of the source material. While Bruce is working on anger management, you may find yourself working on boredom management, and matching his rate of success.
  45. While the action flashes back and forth in increments of centuries, years or months, we're adrift in the here and now, trying to get a grip on the characters and their relationships, yet finding it loosened with every new dislocation.
  46. The best way to see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow -- if you see it at all -- is as an interesting experiment that failed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. This teenage interracial romance runs hot and cold, sweet and silly, with many more fits than starts.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. This drama, directed by Pablo Trapero, is violent, and unconcerned with easy redemption. That makes it hard to watch, though fascinating for its performances, and the bottomless corruption it portrays.
  49. The film succeeds to the degree that it does -- partially, but honorably and sometimes affectingly -- because it was made as well as it was.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    For a movie that celebrates the power of speech, Talk to Me is oddly tongue tied. Its dialogue, equal parts uptight honky and jumping jive seems, particularly in the early stretches, to have been generated by a computer.
  50. The problem for Mr. Krieger is that his film has been trying to dazzle us with all manner of sleight of hand and hokum and now undertakes the construction of a conventional romance. The movie starts spinning its wheels.
  51. The movie's emotional content was manifest as an absence. What stayed with me most memorably was the father's insufferable bombast and the son's sad passivity.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    But for what it is, the film supplies enough laughs to bury most nagging existential questions.
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. Most of those hardships are familiar to movie lovers; that's a reductionist view of a serious and ambitious production, but it is, after all, a movie on a screen. (And a movie with a dreadfully clumsy ending.)
  53. There's also reason to worry when a simplistic movie like this one takes on an issue of overarching importance to the nation's future. The challenges presented by fracking are immense, and Capra-esque nostalgia isn't helpful.
  54. The story requires a greater leap of faith than I was willing or able to muster, since Eli is also a saintly pilgrim on a God-given mission to save a ruined world.
  55. There aren't many bright spots in Lovelace, although one is Amanda Seyfried's intoxicating smile, and another is the retinal insult delivered by a 16mm projector flaring out at the audience during the movie's opening moments, and which feels like an accusation. It's the odd film that indicts you just for watching. But Lovelace is an eccentric piece of cinema, made by unlikely people.
  56. An odd little thriller that celebrates, in order of importance, Mr. Duvall, tango and his real-life significant other, Luciana Pedraza, who makes her attractive debut as a screen actress and, yes, tango dancer.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. There's a lot to appreciate here, especially Mr. Murray's variations on the sad but hopeful soul he played in "Rushmore" (and in "Lost In Translation"). Yet meanings get lost in a clutter of cleverness.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A very goofy movie that makes sense only to the screenwriter and his next of kin.
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. Any self-respecting period piece, historical drama or even caper movie - and The Debt is all three - balances issues of global significance with interpersonal drama. The problem here is that the personal eclipses the global. The stakes are too low.
  59. This coming-of-age movie, is a clumsy contraption, but it's nice to see Rupert Grint coming out from under that colorful thatch, and coming, not a moment too soon, into an appealing pre-maturity.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Swamped by clichés, continuity problems, stock characters and very good intentions.
  60. An exercise in inertia about an exercise in futility.
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. These are very small pleasures, indeed, that can be taken as gasps of air in a movie that unwinds for what seems like forever in a complete vacuum. [23 Jun 1994, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. The star, as solo practitioner, does a terrific job of holding our attention when we're not taking in surreal vistas of a deserted Manhattan that are fascinating in their own right. Still, zombies are zombies, and this nasty lot, mostly digital creations of variable quality, keep draining the distinction that the movie seeks and occasionally finds.
  63. Beware of idiocy's charms.
  64. Good fun -- more fun than in the original -- punctuated by some lines of admirable awfulness.
  65. Mistrustful of its audience, it's full of actors -- apart from Streep -- playing broad attitudes rather than characters. Crafted like a high end TV show, it's a sort of video Vogue -- lite, brite and trite.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. A machine for killing time, and it does so fairly painlessly.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. The special effects are variable, but even when they're good they don't have much impact because Evolution, with its self-trashing spirit, turns moviegoers into bemused bysitters.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. This feelbad movie makes you glad when it's over.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. Short on dramatic energy, Must Love Dogs settles for a cheerful drone.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. Snow Dogs isn't subtle, to say the least, but it's a serviceable city-slicker-in-the-frozen-sticks comedy for kids and undemanding adults.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. Most of the scenes depicting the couple's domestic life are borderline-banal, and they miniaturize the political drama that plays out partly in public, partly in the shadows but almost always in a middle distance just beyond emotional reach.
  72. An absurdist fantasy on a solemn theme, Where Do We Go Now? suffers from a serious clash of styles, but it's also brave and startlingly funny - at one point verging on "Mamma Mia!" - when it isn't bleak or shocking.
  73. By convoluting the various planes of experience, by overlapping and obscuring ostensible realities and ostensible dreams, Mr. Nolan deprives us the opportunity of investing emotionally in any of it.
  74. The strengths of the first "3:10 To Yuma" were enhanced by its proportionality -- an intimate story told in 92 minutes. The story is no bigger in the new version, which goes on for 117 minutes. And it's certainly not better.
  75. Ms. Blanchett can do no wrong, and does none here, though the movie around her, a popcorn-worthy sequel to the 1998 "Elizabeth," often lapses into opacity or grandiosity.
  76. The Armstrong Lie wears thin before it's over; the wafer-thin nature of the cyclist's personality can't sustain a two-hour running time.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Ok, so maybe you don't absolutely have to have a Y chromosome and be 14 years old (or have the mind of a 14-year-old) to appreciate the freshmanic humor that is Beerfest. But, oh, does it help.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. Wall Street is a silly, pretentious melodrama that panders to the current fascination with insider trading. [10 Dec 1987, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. Secret Window has an ending that lets one of our most reliably interesting actors pull out all the stops. But getting there from a good beginning followed by a slow, repetitive middle is a test of resourcefulness for him and a test of patience for us.
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. The type of film with which Mr. Ratner has claimed to be infatuated is itself like a caper - it requires precise execution. Tower Heist is more like that 10-story Snoopy, as he drunkenly bobs along Central Park West.
  80. With a running time of 147 minutes, the film not only runs low on energy toward the end — internecine battles can’t compete with the early excitement of gifted young kids making it big on a national stage — but turns ploddingly sentimental in its sudden focus on Eazy-E’s painful decline, and death, from AIDS.
  81. It's admirable and even memorable, in its moody fashion, thanks to Roman Vasyanov's richly textured cinematography — he's a shooter to keep our eyes on — and three affecting performances.
  82. Intimacy has vanished from the relationship between Tony and Pepper, and grace has been stricken from the movie as a whole.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Ms. Bening takes her part and acts it all over the place, while Ms. Paltrow and Ms. Wood do their best theater of the absurd. It is left to Ms. Clayburgh, in a performance free of vanity and artifice, to find the movie's heart.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. As a metaphysical exploration of otherworldliness, Jacob's Ladder has a kind of morbid intensity, for those who like that sort of thing. The picture flounders, however, with its insistence on injecting a little politics into the paranormal brew. [1Nov 1990, p.A20]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Despite the curry flavoring Ms. Nair has seen fit to add, this is a Vanity Fair without spice.
    • Wall Street Journal
  84. For the most part Mr. Maher is an equal-opportunity denigrator, but it's worth noting that humor fails him when the subject is Muslim fundamentalism. It's hard to make light of what frightens us.
  85. I wish I could be more enthusiastic about Prince Caspian, an honorable and attractive adventure for children and families. But scenic beauty and spirited action can't conceal its dramatic defects.

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