Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,255 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 57% 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: 59
Highest review score: 100 Mother
Lowest review score: 0 Henry Fool
Score distribution:
2,255 movie reviews
  1. Adaptation, like "Being John Malkovich" before it, is far from a well-made film, even on its own flaky terms. But it's a brave, sometimes brilliant one, with a phantasmagoric ending, full of love and hope, that defeats prose description. Never was an adaptation more original.
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. Don't miss an opportunity to see Mad Hot Ballroom, though. It will sweep you off your feet.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. Elegant and sometimes inscrutable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  4. Lost in La Mancha, a documentary about a movie that never got made, is more involving -- and heartbreaking -- than many movies that do get made.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. I can't begin to count the ways in which The Savages pleased me, but the very best of them is the way Tamara Jenkins's comedy stays tough while sneakily turning tender.
  6. The sparkle is what's been missing in the star's (Cage) recent performances. What's not to love in a movie that transmutes Terence's moral squalor, and the squalid state of post-Katrina New Orleans, into darkly comic gold?
  7. On screen it looks crazed, but the comic energy is huge, if indiscriminate, and Mr. Sandler's performance -- think Topol doing Charles Boyer -- can be as delicate as it is gleefully vulgar or grotesque.
  8. The images captured by the film - dancers in theatrical sets, dancers in surreal exterior settings - are deeply scary for their loneliness and pain, and crazily thrilling for the intensity of their joy.
  9. Boils with humor, surprise and dramatic energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a simple story, exposing the beauty that lives inside difficult relationships, and it leaves you feeling quietly exalted without ever seeming to try.
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. I'm still smiling as I recall Jess, the soccer star-to-be, standing behind her straitlaced mother in the kitchen and casually bouncing a head of lettuce on her knee.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. The film is picture-book pretty and fairly conventional, except for the 3-D, which is emerging as a convention in its own right. Still, the prettiness comes with brains, and the whole production, like those newly eye-catching models of American-made cars, bespeaks resurgent confidence.
  12. The film as a whole measures up to Forest Whitaker's performance...one of the great performances of modern movie history.
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. Mr. Spielmann's film is full of surprises and, in its distinctive way, full of life.
  14. Hotel Rwanda isn't impersonal, even though it only hints at the story's full horror. It's stunning.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. This debut feature left me in a state of movie euphoria. Who could have guessed that such a discomfiting premise would blossom into a deadpan-hilarious and yet deeply affecting story about a singular glitch in the human condition?
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. One of those movies that arrives every now and then with no fanfare but a canny sense of how to grab our attention and hold it in a tightening grip.
  17. Many movies these days are too long; this one, at 90 minutes, feels too short. That's because its purpose is so sharply defined: a tight close-up, in black and white, of a single, seminal moment -- a black and white moment -- in American history, and American journalism.
    • Wall Street Journal
  18. With an edgy, intelligent script by playwright Tom Stoppard, Mr. Spielberg has made an extraordinary film out of Mr. Ballard's extraordinary war experience. [09 Dec 1987]
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. Stylistic debts abound: the Coen brothers, Roger Deakins, the bleak, gothic landscapes of Terrence Malick's "Badlands" and Richard Brooks's "In Cold Blood." Through it all, though, is the original and memorable spectacle of violence expressed and repressed by the desperate hero.
  20. Ambitious, visually stunning and hugely accomplished.
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. Visualizations are Mr. Jung's province, and they're what make his movie so deeply moving, as well as literally illuminating.
  22. Ms. Clarkson's performance as Juliette, the fashion-writer wife of a United Nations functionary, is the film's reason for being. She makes yearning palpable. She turns mysterious silences into a language of love.
  23. At Berkeley is more than the sum of its minutes. Narration-free and artfully discursive, it's a one-of-a-kind mosaic portrait of a great institution struggling, under dire stress, to retain its essential character at a time of declining support for public education.
  24. Spellbinding on its own terms, a modernist fable with a madly romantic soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. We saw what Mr. Gordon-Levitt could do in such diverse films as "Mysterious Skin" and "Brick," and in the TV sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun." But this performance is something else. It's unforgettable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. Earth eloquently shows the struggle, life doing what it must to sustain life. The spectacle is stirring.
  27. Amazingly and incessantly funny, a free-form riff on Hollywood shenanigans, the film noir genre and film in general.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. This clever thriller has the juiced-up, hyperactive feel of a rock video. [07 Mar 1995]
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. Every action adventure needs a memorable villain, but no movie needs the strident intensity of Mr. Dafoe, who either has no interest in, or no grasp of, the sort of charmingly malign wit that Gene Hackman brought to "Superman," or Jack Nicholson to "Batman."
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. Recreates the Taliban era with chilling details and startling beauty, and follows its terrified heroine on a journey that no child should have to take.
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. All four performances are first-rate, and the action is staged with shattering intensity.
  32. The Invisible Woman gives us a plausible image of the great man in the fullness of his celebrity, and an affecting portrait of the woman who lived much of her life in his shadow.
  33. Challenging and fascinating -- everything you didn't know you didn't know about Derrida's life and work.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. Family dysfunction has seldom been as flamboyant—or notable for its performances and flow of language—as it is in this screen version of the Tracy Letts play.
  35. I found Hustle & Flow hard to get into at first, if only for its dialogue. But DJay's turf turns out to be everyone's turf -- a jagged landscape of hopes, disappointments, folly and fulfillment.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. It's hard to say if Volver is a great film -- hard because every woman and girl in it is so damned endearing (the men are either impediments or bystanders to the real business of life) -- but safe to say it's right up there with Mr. Almodóvar's best.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. The strangest thing about his latest picture, Hairspray, is how very sweet and cheerful it is. In his own weird way, Mr. Waters has captured the gleeful garishness of the early '60s, when high-school girls wore demure bows in their ratted hair and deadened their lips with palest pink lip gloss -- and believed that racial harmony was inevitable if teens of all flavors could dance together on TV. [25 Feb 1988, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  38. It's not fair to say that Ms. Davis steals scenes - one of the movie's strengths is its ensemble cast - but she supercharges every scene she's in.
  39. A small independent feature that's everything an independent feature -- small or big -- should be.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. As director, Mr. Branagh and his cameraman have chosen to shoot his film tight and drab, a style that allows the actors to speak the poetry without affect. Nothing's prettified. [09 Nov 1989]
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. Much of Summer Hours, which was shot by the excellent Eric Gautier, feels like a Chekhov play and resonates like a Schubert quartet; it’s a work of singular loveliness.
  42. Living in Emergency is anything but bleeding-heart propaganda.
  43. Full of entertaining vignettes that eventually make a happy mockery, as they're meant to do, of the tragedy vs. comedy dialectic.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. A single seeing isn't enough to take in the eccentric marvels of The Triplets of Belleville, an animated feature by Sylvain Chomet that creates a visual language all its own.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. What's so mesmerizing about this film is the sight, in an endless rush of color and images, of so much of his work in one place, including pieces we don't often see.
  46. Mr. Franklin has always been easy with quicksilver moods -- and Mr. Washington is terrifically appealing as a fool for love who loses his cool as he learns about fear.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. The celebrated percussionist Evelyn Glennie is the subject of a wonderful documentary called Touch the Sound, although calling her a percussionist is like calling Brancusi a demolitionist.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. The intricacies here are moral and ethical, and they're fascinating.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. Silence makes the film interesting by enticing us to concentrate in ways we're not used to, while artistry carries the day. The Artist may have started as a daring stunt, but it elevates itself to an endearing - and probably enduring - delight.
  50. As Crowhurst's situation grows desperate, the scope of the film expands -- from a good yarn to a haunting, complex tale of self-promotion, media madness, self-delusion and, finally, self-destruction.
  51. Represents a big growth spurt in Mr. Cronenberg's career. Its measured pace, along with a style that is sometimes austere (though sometimes anything but) repays close attention with excellent acting and a wealth of absorbing information.
  52. Difficult too, and certainly problematic, but it's sometimes quite wonderful. Do see it if you're curious about one-of-a-kind films, and if you care about the ever-evolving career of one of our most gifted filmmakers.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. As you watch Doc Paskowitz perform for Mr. Pray's camera, it's hard not to judge him harshly. His narcissism seems boundless, even when he cloaks it in self-deprecation.
  54. Duma is not a masterpiece, but its deficits recede into insignificance once you open yourself to the movie's mystery and visual splendor.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. You can't take your eyes off Ms. Kidman; she has never played a role with more focused energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  56. Morgan Spurlock has come up with a terrific idea-a movie about product placements that depends completely on product placements for its financing.
  57. I took it as a pretty piece of ephemera, and I must confess that I laughed a lot.
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. The daunting logistics of Superman Returns have obviously affected the director's work -- thus the hit-or-miss continuity of the narrative -- but Bryan Singer hasn't been defeated by them. While his movie can be cumbersome, it's consistently alive, and that is saying a lot when many such productions are dead in the water, on land or in the air. Also, how can you resist the charm of a fantasy in which everyone gets his news from newspapers?
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. It's hard to stop quoting from a movie this good.
  60. Some of Mr. Loach's earlier feature films have been easier to admire than to enjoy. This one, which won the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival, fairly vibrates with dramatic energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. Fresh and flip and enjoyable, it's a sci-fi-tinged romantic comedy that I urge you to seek out.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Noah can be silly or sublime, but it's never less than fascinating. I was on board from start to finish.
  63. The made movie — i.e. Mr. Pavich's documentary — makes for a great seminar on creativity. Its star is Mr. Jodorowsky, outrageously handsome and dynamic at the age of 84.
  64. A sports movie with a quick wit, uncommon grace and a romantic soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. All three performances are excellent, in their different ways.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. Mr. Lee's film is stronger as a visual experience - especially in 3-D - than an emotional one, but it has a final plot twist that may also change what you thought you knew about the ancient art of storytelling.
  67. It's a great accomplishment and, at a time when satire is in short supply, a terrific surprise.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. It's a different city today, in a country that sees its racial and social divides with more clarity than it did back then. But the most troubling question the film raises is how clearly we may see even now.
  69. None of this would work, of course, without stylish performances in the leads and Mr. Clooney and Ms. Zeta-Jones do themselves and their dubious characters proud.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. A singularly strange and affecting comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. An exciting caper, though sometimes a trying one, with great dollops of self-parodying dialogue that will test your loyalty to Mr. Mamet's way with words.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. Here's another film, along with "Mud," that's in the American grain, but a genetically conditioned grain of unforgiving fathers and overweening ambition. It's powerful stuff.
  73. The illusion is seamless and the pleasure is boundless.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. The energy in Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's — what a great title! — is genuine, infectious and superabundant.
  75. Sandra Goldbacher's gorgeous debut feature (shot by Ashley Rowe) stars Minnie Driver in a lovely performance as Rosina da Silva. [31 Jul 1998]
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. It's the set pieces that mark the film as something special: swirling crowds at a casino in the opening sequence, Trudy's ordeal by trailer trash, a climactic firefight that puts lightning in the shade. Very impure, and very impressive.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. Appeal lies on the bright, shiny surface of its ostensibly simple plot, and in its rat-a-tat-tat language, which often sounds like Mamet-visits-Spyne.
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. The heroes are two hit men, and the tone is often absurdist. But the film is also very funny and surprisingly affecting.
  79. The film's power is undercut by its narrow geographic focus, which seems to associate bullying with conservative or working-class areas in red states. The filmmakers could easily have found similar cases involving the children of urban sophisticates.
  80. After countless films in which immigration plays a central role -- one of the earliest was Charlie Chaplin's 1917 silent classic "The Immigrant" while one of the best, Jan Troell's "The Emigrants," has never migrated to DVD -- you'd think the canon was essentially complete. Yet this visionary work adds to it by combining harsh realities with magic-realist fantasies.
  81. Breathes new life into a familiar story: coming of age in high school.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. This is more than a respectful remake; Let Me In is quietly stylish and thoroughly chilling in its own right.
  83. What We Do in the Shadows has nonmedicinal virtues that many large-scale movies lack: unflagging energy, entertaining inventiveness, sustained ridiculousness and even, dare I say it, a spasm of eloquence in Deacon’s twisted tribute to the frailties of the human race.
  84. His story is instructive, as well as chilling and occasionally hilarious -- a brief, probably foredoomed career during which a would-be Orson Welles, playing shamelessly to the camera, draws from a bottomless cesspool of hubris, bile and rage.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. Apollo 11's mission was a singular chapter in the story of mankind; The Dish finds a whimsical, winning way of telling it anew.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. Herb and Dorothy, a documentary by Megumi Sasaki, grows on you just as its subjects do.
  87. Has its flaws, but it's better, as well as darker, than the first. It's also longer, by nine minutes, but hold that protest to the Kidney Foundation; the time flies, albeit in fits and starts, like players on a Quidditch field.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. This lively little film, a comic take on Shakespeare's tragedy, is really entertaining.
  89. All the more remarkably, then, this flawed but startling biopic stars another performer, Chadwick Boseman, who fills Brown's shoes with a dynamism that transcends imitation.
  90. The main thing about Cedar Rapids is that it makes you laugh-often and out loud.
  91. In the end, though, the success of American Gangster doesn't flow from the originality of its ideas, or its bid for epic status, as much as from its craftsmanship and confident professionalism. It's a great big gangster film, and a good one.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Calls to mind Lubitsch's "Trouble in Paradise" and beguiles all the way from the parade of umbrellas decorating the opening titles to the closing credits.
  92. It's spectacular, to be sure, but also remarkable for its all-encompassing gloom. No movie has ever administered more punishment, to its hero or its audience, in the name of mainstream entertainment.
  93. It's a film of modest means and great ambition, a darkly comic drama concerned with nothing less than the place of faith, and an embattled Church, in modern life.
  94. So much movie can be made with so little plot, given sufficient humanity and dramatic tension. That's the case with Andrew Haigh's eloquent chamber piece.
  95. Like earlier Dardenne films, Lorna’s Silence is naturalistic, yet this one, beautifully shot in 35 mm film by Alain Marcoen, achieves a poetry of bereftness.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The thriller aspect of this work, happily, doesn't overshadow its real beauty -- its stark portrayal of the nightmare despair of aliens, hunted, on edge, prepared to risk all for a new start.
    • Wall Street Journal
  96. This immensely pleasurable film is anything but dry. It's a saga of the immigrant experience that captures the snap, crackle and pop of American life, along with the pounding pulse, emotional reticence, volcanic colors and cherished rituals of Indian culture.
    • Wall Street Journal
  97. Overlord feels like a small but vivid tragedy inside an epic container.

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