Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,533 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 A Hijacking
Lowest review score: 0 Bedtime Stories
Score distribution:
2533 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. An exercise in inertia about an exercise in futility.
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. Beware of idiocy's charms.
  9. Good fun -- more fun than in the original -- punctuated by some lines of admirable awfulness.
  10. 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
  11. A machine for killing time, and it does so fairly painlessly.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. 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
  13. This feelbad movie makes you glad when it's over.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. Short on dramatic energy, Must Love Dogs settles for a cheerful drone.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. Wall Street is a silly, pretentious melodrama that panders to the current fascination with insider trading. [10 Dec 1987, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Doesn't the reigning genius of the German language deserve his own "Shakespeare in Love"? Sure. But as Goethe scampers about Leipzig, comically failing his doctoral exam, spilling his books and looking bemused, young Johann might as well be auditioning for his own Disney Channel program.
  32. Hot Pursuit is about two women finding sisterly common ground despite ethnic, religious, philosophical, temperamental and/or phonetic differences. It also seems an inevitable stop on Hollywood’s perpetual recycling drive, which caters to an audience perfectly content with the creaky and familiar.
  33. The whole film is an argument about nothing less than the future — can we fix our troubled world or not? But for all of its vaulting ambition, its sumptuous eye-feasts and its leapings back and forth in space and time, Tomorrowland never comes together as coherent drama in the here and now.
  34. Prometheus, in efficient 3-D, places most of its bets on the wonders that today's visual artists and technicians can work with digital tools. This tale of an interstellar search asks cosmic questions about the meaning of life, but comes up with lame answers in a script that screams attention-deficit disorder.
  35. Thanks largely to Ms. Parker and to the delectable Zooey Deschanel as her anhedonic house-mate, the filmmakers still manage to squeeze some juice out.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. Madagascar 3 is all about exuberant motion, cute characters and gorgeous colors. It aims for the eyes, not the heart.
  37. Talented as they are, the wheelchair-bound stars of Rory O'Shea Was Here can't transcend a manipulative script.
    • Wall Street Journal
  38. The safe course is to recommend the film, which seems pitilessly long at 147 minutes, only for the transcendent quality of Javier Bardem's performance.
  39. The film, like its subject and everyone who talks about him, is frustratingly short on analysis or insight. It’s as if BASE jumping had been invented and psychology had not.
  40. Spasms of kung fu wire fighting, Spider-Man acrobatics, huge explosions and a lethal polo game can't replace the first film's beating heart and witty soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. Quid Pro Quo, a bizarre but audacious debut feature by Carlos Brooks.
  42. A model of mediocrity.
  43. The experience is interesting, in a flattened way.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. The intentional and unintentional absurdities of the plot do pay off, with a happy ending that's outlandish enough to be entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. The only reliable source of energy is Homayoun Ershadi, a powerful actor who plays Baba, Amir's Westernized father.
  46. Inside the mysterious factory, a psychedelic realm where Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka holds sway, pleasure gradually gives way to a peculiar state that I can only describe as engagement without enjoyment.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. Oh, what awful voices -- clumsy words as well as cheesy accents -- come out of the actors' mouths! Though I wanted to appreciate the human story, and the lavish spectacle, I couldn't get past the clangorous echoes of Charlie Chan.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. This attractive, superficial stab at biography, with Renée Zellweger in the title role, is more concerned with a lonely woman's quest for acceptance and love than with an author's worldly achievements.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. Five or 10 children might have led to comedy; 533 of them make for farce. All the same, Mr. Huard is endearing in the role of a perpetual adolescent who finally wants to stand up to his responsibilities, which include the one baby he has fathered the traditional way, and in his own name.
  50. Sanctum is far from a good movie, just as 3-D is far from the movie industry's savior. But it certainly looks good, and watching it through those plastic glasses reopens your eyes to the promise of the third dimension.
  51. The movie looks lovely, but it's luminous prose.
  52. Terrific performers doing what they're often forced to do, overcoming sorely flawed material.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. It grows repetitious, both in its account of Crane's ritual behavior and in clumsily written -- and stolidly directed -- scenes between Crane and Carpenter, two men acting out their own unacknowledged sexual drama.
    • Wall Street Journal
  54. Yet most of the film's energy is generated by flamboyant cinematography and music-video cutting, and much of that energy is false.
  55. A good chance to see two superb actors having their way with wafer-thin material.
  56. I might have liked About Adam more if its supposedly irresistible hero -- and the movie itself -- hadn''t been so smirky.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. "Another Earth" and "Moon" transcended their financial and physical limitations with mystery and ambiguity. Europa Report goes ploddingly where bolder films have gone before.
  58. The perverse fascination of Jet Lag is watching two superb actors struggle with material that doesn't suit them.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. What Minions does have is abundant if relentless cuteness, which audiences are sure to accept in lieu of content; people love these little guys.
  60. The great strength of Concussion is its star’s performance.
  61. The tone is that of a telenovela -- soap-operatic at heart -- even though the film was adapted from a 19th-century novel.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Strangely, though, there isn't enough for one movie, and the first clue to why lurks in the title's ampersand, a sort of linguistic duct tape holding together two stories that never really function as one.
  63. Mr. Douglas's performance in the sequel measures up to Gekko's rep, but the rest of the movie is pumped up to the bursting point with gasbag caricatures, overblown sermons and a semicoherent swirl of events surrounding the economy's recent meltdown.
  64. In the not-so-grand scheme of such things, Along Came Polly is certainly harmless, and occasionally very funny. It's just not clever enough to keep you engaged.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. Two movies for the price of one, though only one of them-a fragmented romance within a ponderous parable-qualifies as a bargain.
  66. That's one of the puzzles of this piece. You'd think a film with talent to burn - would provide some electrifying encounters at the very least. No such luck. Words fly, some of them medium-witty, but lightning doesn't strike.
  67. Fitfully amusing.
  68. Michael Winterbottom's films aren't always successful, but they're almost always interesting. And, in the case of this odd transplantation from Thomas Hardy's grim Wessex to the glare and blare of contemporary India, spectacular visually, though awfully somber dramatically.
  69. The Kingdom comes down to a police procedural, and one whose procedures prove none too interesting.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    For all its noble intentions, its striving for authenticity, its unblinking look at the savagery of war, The Great Raid is far more dutiful than dramatic.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. Lavishly produced -- overproduced, actually -- and persistently unexciting.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Except for one terrifically adroit sequence in a subway, there is nothing understated about The Invasion. With all the shoot-outs, the screaming, the chases, collisions and fireballs, there isn't much time for storytelling.
  71. As long as this deity remains childish, materialistic and narcissistic, Jim's in his heaven and all's right with the world. It's when the story reaches for maturity, spirituality and altruism that the divine spark of comedy sputters and nearly goes out.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. It's going to be a hit with libidinous boys, and their parents could do worse (see first review) than to watch the lavish, James Bondish gadgetry and cheerful anarchy of an action-adventure that's been made with all the finesse it needs, though not a jot more.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker have been through a lot together. To be exact, "Rush Hour" "Rush Hour 2" and now Rush Hour 3. Are they tired? Perhaps not, but their antics and action sequences certainly are.
  73. Earnest, mostly predictable and candidly didactic. That said, I'm glad it got made -- what's wrong with films that teach? -- and especially glad that a remarkably gifted newcomer named Nicole Beharie got to play the central role.
  74. Mr. Rourke's performance is quite phenomenal, a case of unquenchable talent bursting the bonds of dehumanized artifice.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It's beautiful to watch, but it doesn't cover very much ground. Sumptuously appointed, meticulously detailed, the film sallies forth - and sags. [06 Apr 1995]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The movie itself -- which deals (not very interestingly) with the issue of journalistic integrity and (very predictably) with father-son relationships -- doesn't pack much of a wallop.
  75. It's a purely sensory journey until the pictures start making editorial comments, in slaughterhouses and garbage dumps.
  76. For all his years doing "E.R." and other top-line TV series, Mr. Wells hasn't yet tailored his techniques to the big screen.
  77. When the film finally gets around to monsters on a rampage, you'll get both more and less than you bargained for.
  78. The movie is grimly efficient on its own terms, a string of ever more naked calculations. But it looks like a business school opened up and all the marketing grads were allowed to start their own studio.
  79. This peculiarly predictable picture has been calculated, or miscalculated, to set up certain expectations, fulfill them, and then do the same thing again, thereby giving us a chance to see what's coming and, at least in theory, be shocked when it actually comes.
    • Wall Street Journal
  80. The second film, in particular, grows tediously episodic, and the exploits become a blur. What never blurs is Mr. Cassel's presence. We're told that he bulked up for the part-though Mesrine was many things, lithe wasn't one of them-but it's his phenomenal zest for his checkered character that fills the screen.
  81. The motion-capture animation is spectacular..Yet the action grows wearisome as it grinds on, and the film becomes a succession of dazzling set pieces devoid of simple feelings.
  82. The material is hardly original, but the moment is affecting all the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. Impressive for Patrick Tatopoulos's production design but depressive for the juiceless story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  84. Against heavy odds, Mean Machine adds darker flavors to the plot without curdling it. Beneath the comic craziness is real craziness, and desperation. These goal-kicking, bone-crunching cons are both actors in and prisoners of their own horror show.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Its crackly sarcasm and smart talk turn out to be simply coating for a soft, icky, center.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It's plain old lousy timing, this chronicle of a dedicated, exacting chef being released in the wake of the kitchen-centered "Ratatouille" and "Waitress." Alongside those two charmers, which beautifully demonstrate the transformative powers of food and love, No Reservations is strictly cordon blah.
  85. The movie has a couple of problems. The lesser one arises from its opaqueness about the involvement of Mr. Stewart and “The Daily Show” in these events. The larger one lies in its narrative — enlivened from time to time by instructive absurdity, yet awfully familiar, overall, and padded with a notably clumsy dramatic contrivance.
  86. Safe House is a sturdy enough thriller, but one that consistently defaults to the less interesting of its two lead characters.
  87. The movie itself is neither a catastrophe nor major.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. For all of Ferris's desperate struggles, and for all the director's efforts to emulate the remarkable verisimilitude he achieved in "Black Hawk Down," his new film remains abstract and unaffecting. It's a study in semisimilitude, more Google-Earthly than grounded in feelings.

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