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 Mud
Lowest review score: 0 Premonition
Score distribution:
2523 movie reviews
  1. If only there'd been a chance to contemplate the legend in blessed silence.
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. There's so much of so many flavors of cleverness — a surfeit of surfeits — that sensory overload causes aesthetic suffocation.
  3. The director, Arie Posin, and his co-writer, Matthew McDuffie, have tried to do with their film — fill a bare-bones version of the Hitchcock film with an illusion of life. They do succeed sporadically.
  4. I have an aversion to such intricately interlocked movies as "Babel" or "Crash" -- for all their pretensions and astral connections they're basically stunts -- and my feelings about Jellyfish are much the same. But this film is handsomely made, and I won't soon forget the almost Jungian image of a wide-eyed child -- emerging from the sea with a red and white lifesaver around her little belly.
  5. Of all the performances in a patchy production, only one achieves perfection. We get to see it through the modern medical miracle of ultrasound.
  6. It's just a little film that strives to be likable, and is less so than it might have been.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Earnest but deeply flawed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. This is all very strange and a little tedious. Yet there is something arresting and oddly poignant in Mr. Van Sant's playful vision of the road to nowhere. [3 Oct 1991, p.A14(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. The big difference is that "The Exorcist" took the nation by storm with fresh ideas and brilliant filmmaking. The Conjuring conjures with amped-up echoes of old ideas, and represents a bet that they still retain their creepy appeal for today's audience.
  9. The more I thought about it, the less I liked what it turned out to be -- a vague promise unkept.
  10. I like Mr. Gordon-Levitt a lot as an actor, and I wish him only the best in his future work as a filmmaker. There is, however, the matter of this particular movie, an overheated disquisition on the pleasures and limitations of masturbation.
  11. Jack's problem is that he's a commoner, but the movie's problem is that its script is commoner still, an enchantment-free pretext for animated action, straight-ahead storytelling and ersatz romance.
  12. W.
    In spite of Josh Brolin's heroic efforts, W. is a skin-deep biopic that revels in its antic shallowness.
  13. Coraline is distinguished, if you can call it that, by a creepiness so deep as to seem perverse, and the film finally succumbs to terminal deficits in dramatic energy, narrative coherence and plain old heart.
  14. Too many mind and the story grows tedious or absurd. No mind and the spectacle suffices.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. The movie doesn't shed much light on their famously contentious marriage. Instead, it spreads gloom all around.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. Trouble With the Curve finally finds its zone when Gus and Mickey find the young baseball prodigy they've been looking for. That doesn't happen until the narrative's last inning, though, too late to save the movie. I'd call it "Neanderthalball."
  17. For all its immersion in the roar, grease and danger of Formula One, the fact-based Rush — about the sport's great rivalry of the 1970s — is also more predictable than a pit stop, something well-suited to Mr. Howard. He's made perfectly palatable pictures, but never a truly great one, partly because he has such a weakness for the commercial and a consequent gift for the obvious.
  18. But Samba’s personality, intriguingly volatile for a while, turns unpredictable, with no coherent center, as suspicion grows that the film’s stylistic shifts — including a genial parody of a well-known Coke commercial — are little more than pretexts for showing what its multitalented star can do.
  19. Shallow down inside, End of Watch is a music-video Frappuccino of quick cuts, sparkling banter, serial crises, grisly violence and tongue-jerk profanity. But the film is exciting, in its manipulative way, and exhausting.
  20. It's sad to see a promising fantasy turn into yet another industrial-scale fantasy-delivery system that beats up on its audience with mindless intensity and undercuts its own humanity -- and caninity -- in the process.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    There's a wonderfully sly, farcical verve to these early moments, but it dissipates when the script, with its strains of "E.T." and "The Fly," moves into high sci-fi gear.
  21. Total fluff, though its totality is reasonably agreeable, and Pascal Chaumeil's comedy cum scenery-mainly Monte Carlo-gives the mercurial Romain Duris a chance to show his chops as an homme fatal.
  22. The movie isn't all bad, and it's sure to succeed with its target audience.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. For a while Green Zone generates genuine excitement, as well as plenty of provocation--a fatuous surrogate for Ahmed Chalabi, a pervasive scorn for American planning--but then goes off its own reservation into a won't-fly zone of awkward preachments and hapless absurdities.
  24. Steven Soderbergh's new film is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery inside a perversity. The puzzle is Mr. Soderbergh's approach to what might have been an intriguing experiment, rather than the off-putting one it turned out to be.
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. Like so many parties, this one goes on too long.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    This is slash and burn strictly by the numbers. There's never an ounce of doubt where the movie's going; the only suspense is how long it's going to take to get there and how high the body count is going to get.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. The point of the film is vacuous materialism, but the way these larcenous children return the camera's impassive gaze suggests that no one is home behind their beautiful faces and dead eyes.
  27. This gets to be exhausting, since there’s hardly a scene that isn’t manipulative or assaultive.
  28. This franchise needs more than a reset. It's ripe for retirement.
  29. A dispiritingly vitriolic, only sporadically funny satire of ’50s Hollywood, Hail, Caesar! verifies a suspicion long held here, that the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, really hate the movies.
  30. No one could save Is Anybody There? from its treacly self and Michael Caine doesn't, but he gives it a grand try.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    As in most movies of this sort from "Rebel Without a Cause" to "West Side Story" to last year's "Thirteen," adults are marginalized, clueless or absent. I'm with them.
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. Of the original and the remake, only one film feels authentic, and it's not The Good Thief.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Ms. Richardson and Mr. Csokas are sunk mainly by the script (it's the handiwork of "Closer" playwright Patrick Marber and Chrysanthy Balis) and by their complete lack of chemistry. Still, their performances do them no credit.
    • Wall Street Journal
  32. I wish I could report the arrival of an impressive movie, but this one, for all its ostensibly big ideas about mathematics and wounded minds, struck me as an elaborate pretext for a synthetic love story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  33. Does Meet the Fockers make you laugh? Sure it does, from time to time. Just lower your expectations to the altitude of the gag that's showcased in the trailer, the one in which Jinx the cat flushes a little dog named Moses down a toilet.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. Al Pacino is his own venue as yet another flamboyant, self-ironic, self-dramatizing, self-parodying, self-selfing quasi-Mephistopheles. His performance isn't very good, but it's big.
    • Wall Street Journal
  35. Youth may be wasted on the young in this muddled movie. But age is equally wasted on the aging.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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
  39. 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.
  40. Mannered, episodic and slow.
  41. A shopworn studio contraption, slapped together from second-hand parts.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. 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
  43. The story leaves you snoozing with the fishes.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. In the new film beauty is sought, and seldom found, in glitzy surfaces. Enchantment is chased, and never captured, in extravagant set pieces that owe less to fairy-tale tradition than to Cirque du Soleil grandiosity.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. The picture's blandness - and hollowness - is startling when you consider the collaborators. [26 Nov 1986]
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. Mr. Freeman, a superb actor, creates the illusion of drama even when there is none.
    • Wall Street Journal
  56. 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.
  57. 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
  58. 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
  59. I won’t make a case for No Escape being a good film; the first half is pretty good and the second half ranges from pretty bad to truly awful. Nor will I deny having enjoyed quite a bit of it as a zombie film, never mind that it’s supposed to be an international thriller with contemporary political significance.
  60. Every scene in this oppressive film has a theme or didactic purpose, but little life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. The revelations of The Invisible Circus don't justify the quest.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Despite Mr. Howard's best efforts in the role, though, the film rarely realizes its subject's potential.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. 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
  64. A remarkably dislikable film, long on atmosphere -- I admired Dion Beebe's brooding cinematography -- and desperately short on vitality.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. Kevin Spacey's pinched portrayal of Quoyle as a scared palooka rarely transcends its own artifice.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. I’ve gone on about the creatures because there’s so little to say about the humans, who, in their turn, have little to say about the creatures, because the writers haven’t written enough lively dialogue.
  67. 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
  68. A film that tries constantly to amuse, but succeeds only fitfully.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. 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.
  70. It's too much for a feature film, and too little, but it certainly isn't dull.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. Strong acting often lends authenticity to writing that lacks it, and Mr. McConaughey is, to be sure, an exceptionally strong actor. Yet this screenplay is so arid in its didacticism, so pallid in its would-be passion, that it defeats his efforts and our involvement.
  72. No one ever stops talking. Twenty-somethings talk incessant small talk, or cute talk, or fatuous talk that's supposed to be clever.
  73. 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
  74. 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.
  75. A long, slow slog through what could have been, and should have been, a more absorbing story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. To get to the beginning, one must first get through the end, which is almost literally unendurable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. There’s no secret life because there’s no life, only the promise of pets in perpetual motion.
  78. 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.
  79. I say don't bite unless your taste runs to thin gruel, and grueling gruel at that.
    • Wall Street Journal
  80. 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).
  81. 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
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. The most surprising thing about Alice in Wonderland is its general lack of surprise.
  85. A deeper problem in The King Is Alive is an almost total absence of spontaneity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. 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
  87. 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).
  88. For all the luster of its subject, though, this earnest biopic lacks the spark of life.
  89. 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.
  90. Furiously raunchy, occasionally bright and eventually benumbing comedy.
  91. 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").
  92. 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

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