Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,281 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 Schindler's List
Lowest review score: 0 Henry Fool
Score distribution:
2,281 movie reviews
  1. Youth may be wasted on the young in this muddled movie. But age is equally wasted on the aging.
  2. Mr. Rudd, whose overall performance as the former con-man Scott Lang is fairly pallid, confines himself to genial winks and nods in a film that will surely be popular, given Marvel’s marketing might, but one that’s woefully short on coherence and originality.
  3. The concept is schematic and predictable, and watching first-rate actors - the cast includes Susan Sarandon as a local librarian - doing third-rate material is a dubious pleasure.
  4. Suffers from a lifelessness that seems built into the terse, slightly detached style of the director, David Mackenzie, who also did the adaptation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. A slow start, a single star performance surrounded by indifferent acting and an onslaught of computer effects that range from seen-it-all-in-"Transformers" to a whole sky full of spectacular stuff in the midtown Manhattan climax.
  6. Mannered, episodic and slow.
  7. A shopworn studio contraption, slapped together from second-hand parts.
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. She's All That isn't mindless, just techniqueless...What's on the screen says they aren't yet up to speed on making feature films. Most of the actors mumble while the script lurches from one sketchy notion to the next. All the same, She's All That offers insights into life as it is lived, or at least filmed, in Southern California. [29 Jan 1999, p. W1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. The story leaves you snoozing with the fishes.
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. Mr. Hopkins gives the production what he was hired for. Whenever you wonder how much longer he can trade on Hannibal Lecter's special zest, the same answer comes up-a lot.
  11. Cold and clever to a fault, like the main character played by Liam Neeson, the movie is based on a fundamental miscalculation—that our desire to penetrate its mysteries will trump our need for people to care about.
  12. The Fifth Estate gives us an obsessive-compulsive messiah with a taste for martyrdom, and full-screen cascades of computer code in place of a coherent plot. Exhausting in a new way, the movie is a data dump devoid of drama.
  13. Depending on how you feel about Zac Efron, he is either a sensitive hunk or an inexpressive hunk, but definitely a hunk. Unable as I am to locate any feelings about him, I see Mr. Efron as a hunk with a problem delivering sustained dialogue in units of more than one or two sentences.
  14. Rather than a character rooted in some sort of reality-social, satirical, psychological, take your pick-Hesher is an abstract notion animated by false energy.
  15. There's simply too much stuff for a two-hour feature, and three writers, including Tony Gilroy, haven't figured out how to boil it down into a readily comprehensible narrative, or how to solve the problem of an ending that goes blah rather than bang.
  16. What I do know is that I was gripped for a while by the strength of Mr. Gibson's filmmaking, only to be repelled and eventually excluded by his literalist insistence on excruciation. There is watching in horror, and there is watching in horror.
  17. What happens when a genuinely dear John gets a Dear John? For the answer, just meander--no need for running or walking--to your local multiplex. That's where Dear John, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name, will be meandering on its downward path from sweetly tender to terminally turgid.
  18. The possibilities of the dating game are endless and the potential for pain is great, yet the permutations of the movie's plot are predictable and repetitive.
  19. The picture's blandness - and hollowness - is startling when you consider the collaborators. [26 Nov 1986]
    • Wall Street Journal
  20. Mr. Freeman, a superb actor, creates the illusion of drama even when there is none.
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. The production as a whole is awfully clumsy, and Ms. Moretz, who is only 17, needs more help than she gets from the first-time feature director, R.J. Cutler.
  22. What's strong and true in Harrison's Flowers -- the hideous chaos of war, the stirring heroism of photographers and journalists -- falls victim to what's familiar, melodramatic and false.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. Starts out stylishly, and promisingly, but then coarsens into a silly parody of film noir.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Amateur is curiously monotone: a pulp fiction with all the pulp strained out. [13 Apr 1995]
    • Wall Street Journal
  24. Every scene in this oppressive film has a theme or didactic purpose, but little life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. The revelations of The Invisible Circus don't justify the quest.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. Despite Mr. Howard's best efforts in the role, though, the film rarely realizes its subject's potential.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. The film suffers from a style that settles for pleasant or touching at the cost of spontaneous or impassioned. Too bad, because Ms. Garner is a genuinely pleasing presence.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. A remarkably dislikable film, long on atmosphere -- I admired Dion Beebe's brooding cinematography -- and desperately short on vitality.
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. Kevin Spacey's pinched portrayal of Quoyle as a scared palooka rarely transcends its own artifice.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. Ms. Robbie, on the other hand, aces her role from the start; she’s got an unerring gift for romantic comedy. Still, the film itself comes to feel like a con, thanks to a script that’s too clever by two-thirds, and butterfingered in the ways of portraying love.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    After the first bit of fish bait is consumed, actually even before, this one-trick movie is a tough slog.
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. A film that tries constantly to amuse, but succeeds only fitfully.
    • Wall Street Journal
  32. The result is fitfully interesting, and Mr. Kinnaman, best known for "The Killing" on television, compels our empathy with a kind of macho melancholia. Still, the whole thing comes down to an action adventure that's graphics-rich, logic-poor, coherence-challenged and pleasure-impaired.
  33. It's too much for a feature film, and too little, but it certainly isn't dull.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. No one ever stops talking. Twenty-somethings talk incessant small talk, or cute talk, or fatuous talk that's supposed to be clever.
  35. By the climax, the adult has finally become a responsible though still charming citizen; the child has become age appropriate and, yes, even cuter. Tsunami swell of music. Roll the credits. Minus the charm, that pretty much sums up Uptown Girls.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    While there's gore by the gallon, inventiveness is in short supply.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. As I watched the minimal plot unfold at a glacial pace in claustrophobic settings, I found myself wondering where the rest of the movie was.
  37. A long, slow slog through what could have been, and should have been, a more absorbing story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  38. To get to the beginning, one must first get through the end, which is almost literally unendurable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. The screenplay, by Antonio Macia, is earnest and unsurprising--not a good combination--and neither the director nor the star quite knows what to make of the quirky character inside the traditional garments that signal otherworldly innocence to customs agents.
  40. I say don't bite unless your taste runs to thin gruel, and grueling gruel at that.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. Having run its course in the third installment, the franchise jogs and lurches but mostly meanders through a story that tests the limits of true love (Shrek's, and ours).
  42. There's nothing wrong with beguiling star turns, but I wish this one had been surrounded by more of a movie. Birthday Girl is a harmless trifle that makes 93 minutes go by as if they were hardly more than an hour and a half.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. One could argue that the target audience - black teenagers, Mr. Lucas has said - might be most receptive to a film that conveys history through contemporary entertainment. But this isn't contemporary entertainment, it's antiquated kitsch reprocessed by the producer's nostalgia for the movies of his boyhood. The story has been stripped of historical context - don't black teenagers and everyone else deserve hard facts? - and internal logic.
  44. If the movie gets by, as it surely will during the current entertainment drought, most of the credit should go to a couple of performers (Latifah/Keaton) who come from different traditions, yet share a gift for breathing life into moribund material.
  45. The most surprising thing about Alice in Wonderland is its general lack of surprise.
  46. A deeper problem in The King Is Alive is an almost total absence of spontaneity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. The movie isn't terrible -- a few clever notions snap to life and pay off, at least modestly -- but it's dispirited and eventually dispiriting, a force-fed farce that falls far short of fascination.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. In their engaging, fast-paced and ultimately ludicrous combo of espionage and mayhem, the makers of The November Man give us a very Putin-like villain in Arkady Federov (veteran Serbian actor Lazar Ristovski).
  49. At least Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day has the good grace to go wrong quickly, you don't have to sit there squirming with doubt.
  50. Furiously raunchy, occasionally bright and eventually benumbing comedy.
  51. I wish I could say that the film gives a great actor a worthy role, but the truth is otherwise. The character is banal — Günther lavishes attention on remarkably uninteresting spycraft — and Mr. Hoffman, like everyone else, is stuck with the glum tone set by the director, Anton Corbijn ("Control," "The American").
  52. The book presented several special, perhaps even insuperable, problems for adaptation to the screen, and the movie, which was directed by Robert Benton from a screenplay by Nicholas Meyer, hasn't solved them.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. 42
    What's been carefully filtered out of the film as a whole is the tumult and passion of Robinson's life.
  54. Instead of scintillation, the movie gives us a succession of discrete set pieces, as if the action takes place in rooms but not in the halls connecting them.
  55. What brings Monsters down from its extremely low perch is a conspicuous lack of monstrosity.
  56. Certainly grows in its own right, into a coarse-grained summer vaudeville that could have been much smarter and sharper without losing its target audience.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. Having been deeply moved — though often exasperated — by Terrence Malick's previous film, "The Tree of Life," I don't have the heart to belabor the failings of his new one, which is depressed and deeply depressing. The only thing that's wonderful in To the Wonder is the imagery.
  58. After covering much of its ground at a stylish canter, The Other Boleyn Girl finishes at a plod.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The press notes boast that Mr. Cutler was given "unprecedented access" and the right of final cut; these advantages don't seem to have done much for this listless film.
  59. Jennifer Aniston brings a needed liveliness to Derailed, though not enough to go around.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. Why didn't Mr. Jordan spend more time grounding his self-enchanted script in some semblance of reality? Unlike "Splash," this film finally goes plop.
  61. This is moviemaking in a modular mode, an inspiration-free action adventure — with cheesy cinematography — that fills its modest running time by fitting together familiar elements into something reliably, even insistently, not new.
  62. A wispy, fundamentally sentimental tale about a nice girl who has to support herself by working as a phone-sex siren, Spike Lee's movie takes the better part of an hour to get started. Once it does it still can't dramatize the script's one good idea. [2 Apr 1996, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. Aspiring to pure action -- several very long passages are wordless -- the movie ends up teetering on the brink of self-parody.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. An exhaustive and exhausting dissection of a relationship that was never all that promising in the first place.
  65. In the end, the only question of consequence that the story poses is whether superior acting can prevail over inferior writing. The answer lies not in the stars.
  66. A ponderous pirate saga, 168 minutes long, with more doldrums than "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Those doldrums are relieved from time to time by spectacular effects.
  67. UHF
    UHF, a parody of trash television, is almost defiantly silly, but when it's funny it is very funny. This sloppy, good-natured satire certainly doesn't threaten "Network's" status as the classic decimation of the television business. [27 Jul 1989, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. This hugely elaborate production is supposed to be the reboot of a foundering franchise, but rebooting a computer wipes the silicon slate clean. In the movie, what's old is old again.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The best that can be said of it: inoffensive.
  69. The world didn't need a superficial big-screen adaptation of a rich, dense book that's about, among many other things, the passage of time. The perplexity is why the film is so lifeless and remote.
  70. Sacha Baron Cohen's tosses off some sensationally funny stuff before descending into a rat-a-tat rhythm of random insult and ritual vulgarity.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The ultimate poor judgment: the decision to put Babel before the camera. That defies comprehension in any language.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. The mystery posed by Oblivion as a whole is why its mysteries are posed so clumsily, and worked out so murkily.
  72. If Lords of Dogtown accomplishes nothing else, it shows how hard writing a fiction film can be, and what a vast artistic distance can stand between a bad fiction film and the first-rate documentary that inspired it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. It's a fascinating story, but Mr. Nichols and his actors never stop reminding us how fascinating it is. With the exception of Mr. Hoffman, a master of understatement, everyone acts up a storm, yet context is lacking.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 71 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Lacks a crucial element of the heist subgenre: ingenuity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. To enjoy what's enjoyable in The Fighting Temptations, you've got to take in the music and shut out the words -- not the lyrics of the wonderful songs, but the dialogue stuffed into actors' mouths.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. Movies like this have been around forever too. They're a normal condition of winter's doldrums, which, in the fullness of time, will pass.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. What's remarkable here is the consistency of the mediocrity.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    A great premise for a movie. Unfortunately, The War of the Roses is not clever, at least not very often. [14 Dec 1989, p.A20(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. I watched the film in an agitated space between engrossed and aghast.
  78. Even the Bollywood ending, a pleasant echo of “Slumdog Millionaire,” is intercut with darker reminders of dwindling days. Much of this sequel is clumsy, and awfully silly, but consistently shallow it is not.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Born on the Fourth of July would be merely a hilariously inept gathering of Vietnam War movie cliches. Instead it is an unrelenting series of dramatic blows; almost every scene packs violence, sleaze, screamed rage and an ear-splitting music with headbutt force. For someone who despises the military, Mr. Stone is quite bellicose. [21 Dec 1989, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. How bad must a movie be to be good fun? How dumb to be smart? (Or, in the case of "Dumb and Dumber," how pretend-dumb to be surpassingly smart?) Whatever the case, Hot Tub Time Machine doesn't make the cut.
  80. Angels & Demons is a serious slog. Still, it's an odd kind of a slog that manages to keep you partially engaged, even at its most esoteric or absurd.
  81. A not-bad idea lurks inside this insipid story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. A misshapen semi-spectacle that seems to be simulating an epic, and getting away with it only occasionally.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. Comes to the screen missing subtle cues and crucial connections.
    • Wall Street Journal
  84. This movie needs a star performance at its center, and the director, Joe Johnston, doesn't seem to know it. His closeups dote on Mr. Mortensen's striking face, and on the actor's interesting inwardness, but he doesn't ask for, or find, the sort of zest that could turn laconic into romantic.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. Seldom has grandeur struggled so mightily, and fruitlessly, with rampant goofiness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. Can't lift the double curse of too little genuine action, as opposed to quixotic events, and too many fancy words.
    • Wall Street Journal
  87. The shallow-seated problem with Murder by Numbers is that it's serious and doggedly intricate but not much fun.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. It’s easy to see why Mr. Burton, an influential imagist in his own right and a collector of Keane paintings, was attracted to this saga of contending Keanes, and the result, photographed by Bruno Delbonnel, is a study in yummy colors and period design. But I watched wide-eyed with dismay while the film turned as lifeless as the paintings.
  89. The result is a mess -- sometimes an entertaining mess, but mostly a movie that makes a perfunctory mockery of the mockery currently passing for political discourse.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. A visionary film with dramatic myopia.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. In what was clearly designed to be a chick flick, the on-screen chicks work hard at being endearing, while Jude Law, as Amanda's more than conversational partner, charms everyone effortlessly and gets the best lines.

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