Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,523 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 The Way, Way Back
Lowest review score: 0 Premonition
Score distribution:
2523 movie reviews
  1. Very funny and surprisingly likable until it goes Hollywood.
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. The violence wears you down. Like one of its nutso characters, Seven Psychopaths has a death wish.
  3. Mr. Firth gives his all, and then some. He’s very funny, even touching, when the material allows him to be. Yet the production, directed by Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass,” “X-Men: First Class”) from a screenplay he wrote with Jane Goldman, can’t contain its centrifugal force.
  4. Pleasing moments don't add up to a feature film, even though this one strives desperately for substance and coherence by slathering its slender story with treacly family values.
  5. Mr. Coogan, lavishly talented as a comic, and a comic actor, is fairly monotonous in the mostly serious role he wrote for himself. That leaves Ms. Dench to carry the picture, which she does, up to a point, with her usual delicacy and grace.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Like a dinner whose hors d'oeuvres are far more satisfying and well-composed than the slightly warmed-over main course. Among them are the inspired mock movie trailers and the fake ad that precede "Thunder's" opening credits.
  6. Like "Transformers," which it rivals in relentlessness, Battleship comes with its own force field, a furious energy that renders criticism irrelevant.
  7. The main — and for my money only — attraction in Le Week-End, which was directed by Roger Michell, is the marvelous Scottish actress Lindsay Duncan. She is witty, fiercely intelligent and intensely sexy in the role of Meg, a woman stuck in a failing marriage.
  8. The film is enjoyable enough, at least for young children.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. Declarative sentences are as scarce as detectable feelings in this stylish, emptyish thriller -- it's Tarantino with the vital juices left out.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A scattershot, repetitive documentary about the creative minds ­behind some of the most arresting ad campaigns of the past 40 years.
  10. Fur starts stylishly, and confidently, but the film dwindles down to a chamber piece in a claustrophobic chamber. Enter at your own risk.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. The star of this fantasy adventure for young audiences is a charmer from the moment she is hatched (from a huge blue egg that starts to rock like a Mexican jumping bean). Her name is Saphira, she speaks with the voice of Rachel Weisz, and it doesn't matter that she's too young to breathe fire -- at first -- or that she waddles a bit on the ground, because she lives and breathes the joy of flight, which is exactly what was missing from most of Harry Potter's solos on a broom.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Both in its content and production values, Interview has the feel of an undergraduate project -- all intensity, no never mind. Pierre is such a weasel, Katya is such a narcissist and the outcome seems so pre-determined, it's hard to care whose belt gets the notch. The adroit performances of Buscemi and Miller almost make it matter.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Ms. Wood, who made a potent impression two years ago as a naïve adolescent led astray by a sophisticated and psychotic classmate in "Thirteen," has the whip hand this time around -- and she's wonderfully persuasive. She needs a movie to match.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. After two flat-out triumphs in a row, "All About My Mother" in 1999 and last year's breathtaking "Talk To Her," Pedro Almodóvar hasn't done it again. Yet lesser Almodóvar -- in this instance "Bad Education" -- is better than most of the movies we see.
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. If only the showmanship were equal to the scholarship. As beautiful as the film is (despite notable variations in the quality of the cinematography), it is also sluggish, underdramatized after that initial suspense, and for the most part emotionally remote.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. It's a lovely pretext for dazzling visuals, yet the production is diminished by the clumsiness of an 8-bit script.
  15. Pretty bad, and pretty funny.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. The narrative engine leaves the rails when Irving, like Hughes, plunges into paranoia (though Irving actually is the object of a high-level plot) and the style turns to the sort of intensely manipulated surrealism that Charlie Kaufman practiced, not successfully, in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Without Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush, who play two rival pirate captains, "Pirates" might have gone straight to video. The two are a pleasure to watch, rescuing an otherwise forgettable film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. Impressive landscapes, plus Kristen Wiig's appealing Cheryl, the fellow worker who inflames Walter's passion, make the movie enjoyable enough. Yet its style is a constant bafflement.
  18. One unwelcome surprise is how shopworn the story's components prove to be. Still, they're enhanced if not redeemed by Mr. Washington's stirring portrait of a skillful, prideful pilot hitting bottom.
  19. Any meaningful perspective on the greedfest of the period is obscured by the gleefulness of the depiction.
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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.
  23. The drama is almost stillborn, thanks to a slow, deadly dull romantic preface, and it’s subverted by incessant switching between spectacular struggles on the Atlantic and generic anxieties on shore.
  24. Eloquent acting -- in fits and starts -- can't make up for the movie's glib, off-putting calculations.
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. In Hollywood’s franchise game, sequels are seldom the best they can be. This one isn’t, but it’s pretty, perfectly pleasant and good enough.
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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.
  29. 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
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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.
  35. 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
  36. Affecting, even touching, provided you can put up with its sclerotic pace.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. The film, for all its visual felicities, comes to life only sporadically.
  38. A 3-D fantasy that's lovely to look at but less than delightful to know.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. 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.
  40. Under the Same Moon comes most vividly to life when Adrian Alonso is on the screen.
  41. 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.
  42. 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
  43. The third iteration of a franchise that began so well becomes a hollow hymn to martial gadgetry. The suits and story clank in unison.
  44. 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.
  45. As for Ms. Fey, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot doesn’t serve her fully, but this is her best work yet on the feature screen.
  46. 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.
  47. Scurlock's documentary serves up cautionary tales of epic abuse, though the overall tone is faux cheerful and sometimes genuinely entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. Devolves from an electrifying character study into a disappointing tale of trackdown and revenge.
  49. [Barry's] search for an identity is the ignition and combustion of the film. The exhaust, however, comes courtesy of Philip Morris. And the odor, like that surrounding the film itself, is of provocation in service of no cogent point.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Ultimately, Traitor is a movie at war with itself.
  50. "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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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
  53. 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. To those who, like me, are ever so slightly beyond the young-adult cohort, it may seem silly and derivative but sometimes affecting as well, a high-school pageant version of “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Bobs and weaves between gross-out comedy and violent psychosexual drama, ultimately sliding into parody.
  55. Qualifies as a pleasant time-killer, but it's 20,000 leagues beneath what it might have been.
    • Wall Street Journal
  56. We can all use more magic in our lives, and that promise is fulfilled quite delightfully at first. But extravagant creatures of digital descent can’t sustain a story that does little more than set the scene for a long string of sequels.
  57. Little by little, though, unfunniness takes hold. Stephen’s training grows interminable. The mysticism turns deadly serious. The effects turn repetitious: Worst of all, the plot loses its way just as Stephen is coming into his own as a worthy antagonist of Kaecilius, a villain — or is he? — played with hollow-eyed intensity by Mads Mikkelsen.
  58. The film feels self-obsessed, an intriguing drama that slowly devolves into a bleak meditation on the absence of dramatics.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. So absurdly overproduced that there's even a surfeit of cherry blossoms. By the end they look like litter.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. 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
  65. 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.
  66. Bloated adaptation of P.D. James's thoughtful, compact novel.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. 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
  68. This is filmmaking as an act of devotion, and exploration — not just of the nature of faith but of faith’s obverse, abject doubt. The production is physically beautiful, and evokes the beauties of classic Japanese films, but the substance makes few concessions to conventional notions of entertainment.
  69. 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.
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. 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
  73. This teenage interracial romance runs hot and cold, sweet and silly, with many more fits than starts.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. 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.
  75. The film never quite succeeds, simply because the book’s core virtues do not lend themselves to cinema.
  76. The film’s energy can be relentless, but the feelings are real, and they’re wrapped in a dysfunctional-family package that’s so venerable and endearing as to seem a little bit new.
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. 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
  80. 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.)
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. 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
  85. For all its sporadic philosophizing and belated stabs at romance, Live by Night is cold and inert at its core. That’s really the long and short of it.

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