Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,331 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 Father of My Children
Lowest review score: 0 Premonition
Score distribution:
2,331 movie reviews
  1. Can't lift the double curse of too little genuine action, as opposed to quixotic events, and too many fancy words.
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. The shallow-seated problem with Murder by Numbers is that it's serious and doggedly intricate but not much fun.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. A visionary film with dramatic myopia.
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. 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.
  7. The movie is counterfeit too, a coarse imitation of a stylish star vehicle for stars who deserve the real thing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. The more these two likable people rattled on, the more I found myself thinking about the elusive distinction between characters talking genuinely smart talk and simply chattering for the camera.
  9. You keep rooting for the child to get a new pair of lungs, but all of the beatings, betrayals and bitter ironies leave a bad taste in your head.
  10. The film's real shocker is its unpleasantness.
  11. He's (Crowe) thwarted by the production's almost total, and truly absurd, absence of fun.
  12. The absence of any nuance in the father's character bespeaks the filmmaker's unwillingness to trust his audience. Making the movie may have been therapeutic for him, but I can't say the same about watching it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. Ms. O'Hara, like almost everyone else, falls victim to a prevailing tone that's short on wit and long on self-congratulation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. None of it is enough, though, to save this glum drama from its schematic self.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Mr. Judge has done better...Here, by contrast, we're dealing with one-note characters, among them a sexy grifter (Mila Kunis) and a dim-witted gigolo (Dustin Milligan); situations that stretch all credibility; and jokes that are never more than sort of funny.
  15. It's so easy to be seduced by technique... What a disappointment, then, to find the technique pressed into the service of little substance and lots of fashionable cynicism.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. Jeff Cronenweth did the lovely cinematography. It's the only element that improves on the original material.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. This icon of witchcraft can't save a production that's suffocatingly elaborate yet insufficiently bewitching.
  18. It's just that the picture doesn't have a strong idea behind it, just a fog of many half-expressed ideas. [26 Feb 1987, p.20(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. Starts busily, and soon becomes a bafflement -- such an interesting cast, such technical excellence, so many intricate details and parallel plot threads, yet so little clarity or urgency.
    • Wall Street Journal
  20. The pursuit is manipulative and repetitive.
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. Seeking spontaneity and release for her character, Ms. Streep gets stuck in a laboriousness that I don’t want to belabor, since her efforts are gallant — she does her own singing and playing — and there are fleeting moments of real fun. Still, it’s hard not to wonder why so much in the movie went so wrong.
  22. Some of the action sequences, and a few of the performances, are enjoyable enough to make up for the dialogue, which has been upgraded to cheerfully absurd, and the plot, which has been simplified to the point of actual coherence.
  23. All three sides of the love triangle are appealing, and the movie as a whole might have been winning if it weren’t for the absurdist style that was clearly dear to the filmmaker’s heart. Sometimes Aloha reminded me of John Huston’s cheerfully unfathomable “Beat the Devil.” More often than not, though, it left me yearning for simplicity and sweet clarity.
  24. It's slapdash, crudely crafted and resolutely adolescent. And occasionally, though only occasionally, very funny.
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. The plot borrows as freely from Hitchcock and Henry James as from the Bard of Avon, and doesn't make scrupulous sense, though I'd have to see the film again, which I won't do, to make sure it doesn't cheat.
  26. Predictably dumber than its predecessors, though that shouldn't get in the way of its profitability.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. All the same, X2 and recent action adventures like it constitute a mutation in their own right: fast-paced, slow-witted movies in which the impact is the message; impersonal movies that deny any need for characterization; disjointed movies that make no apologies -- and pay no penalties -- for making no sense. Their special gift is giving little and getting a lot.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. Mr. Kinnear is fine; he's an actor we always like, and he gives a skillful, heartfelt performance. The problem is the material -- dramatic in the describing but painfully predictable in the telling.
  29. Functions mainly as an action extravaganza, and a numbingly depersonalized one at that.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. Malevolence is in generous supply throughout the film. Easy enjoyment is not.
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. The movie's tone is at war with its subject, and sometimes with its wavering self.
  32. This frenzied sequel has all of the clank but none of the swank of the previous version.
    • Wall Street Journal
  33. The film is beset by incoherence and implausibilities that are perplexing, given the close relationship between the Wachowskis and the director, Mr. McTeigue.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Does not bring a single fresh, inventive idea to the table.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. There’s also a sense of ineptness in a script that constantly reaches, with only modest success, for amusing things that the mammoths and their friends can do.
  35. It neglects, for one thing, to make any sense.
  36. What passes for the movie's reality is interlocking episodes of ersatz ecstasy and angst -- a Cupid-governed "Crash" -- plus snippets of wisdom dispensed by Mr. Freeman's character.
  37. The filmmakers can't keep the strands of their clumsy plot straight, but they create brilliant images and manipulate them with blithe abandon.
  38. The movie is stifling, all right, and depressing in the bargain.
  39. How you feel about Paul Haggis's new film may depend on your contrivance threshold.
  40. A provocative but eventually dislikable two-part film that dares us to dislike it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. Mr. Murray and his co-director, Howard Franklin, who adapted Jay Cronley's novel for the screen, succeed mainly in illuminating what made them want to direct the material. At least this picture struggles to emit a few gasps of fresh air as it goes down. [19 Jul 1990, p.A8]
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. I haven't seen the original, but I can vouch for the clumsiness of the new version. As usual, though, Queen Latifah is an indomitable, if sometimes undirectable, comic force.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. Sometimes comes on like a NASA commercial; those logos loom gigantic on the IMAX screen. More troublingly, the film fails to explain how computer animations were combined with actual imagery from the missions.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. This new Disney film, marked by myriad lapses and marketing follies, bears the woefully familiar earmarks of a big studio production that was pulled and hauled every which way until it lost all shape and flavor.
  45. In a film that has the courage of its absurdity but not much else, Mr. Pattinson gets the best of what passes for style.
  46. Tests your patience to the breaking point -- maybe beyond.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. Hoffman and Beatty are so tone-deaf they don't even know how to play the songs for deadpan humor. They seem old, white, and without shtick. [14 May 1987, p.26(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. Can't hold a candle to Robert Altman's 1992 comedy "The Player." Both films present themselves as knowing views of the movie business, but Mr. Altman and his writer, Michael Tolkin, really knew.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. Unfortunately, the movie could use a bit of pachyderm memory, given its habit of flashing back to Tien's childhood with exactly the same footage used in previous flashbacks. Instead of the narrative being deepened, it keeps getting shallowed.
  50. None of the film's tropes — fancy camera angles, dark streets, persistent rain, psycho killers in doomy settings, Scudder trudging around the city on their trail — can hide the essential hollowness of a not-very-interesting revenge tale that takes a not-at-all-welcome turn into grisly, ugly horror.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Jean's material is so flat-out awful it's amazing she gets hired at all, let alone that she once supposedly had headliner potential. It's a discrepancy that Introducing the Dwights never addresses.
  51. Fabrice Luchini is thwarted by an unwieldy plot.
  52. If this adds up to a full-fledged feature film, I'm a monkey's uncle.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. Amusing, in fits and spurts, and sure to make tons of money, but terribly familiar and fatigued.
  54. The narrative lacks a strong heartbeat; you keep wondering why the spectacle isn't as affecting as it is picturesque.
  55. Ms. Scott Thomas is as intelligent and attractive as ever, but the synthetic world her character inhabits can't compete with a harrowing past that depicts French complicity in Nazi atrocities.
  56. The pretext of the movie, which was directed in broadbrush-cartoon style by Anne Fletcher from a coarse-textured script by Dan Fogelman, is a road trip taken by mother, Joyce, and son, Andrew.
  57. Once Captain America goes off to war in his endearingly silly suit, however, the movie starts to lose its vibe.
  58. The script's foolish contrivances crush its content.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. Not even she (Patricia Clarkson), however, can save a movie that suffers from terminal self-enchantment.
  60. If you're able to take The Missing seriously, as I was not, you'll be impressed by its sweep and ambition. The most lasting impression it made on me was one of absurd overreaching.
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. The production feels tentative and underpopulated: I thought not only of Katniss Everdeen but of the marvelous pandemonium in Danny Boyle's zombie epic "28 Days Later."
  62. Mr. Crystal underplays his role wisely and well, while Mr. De Niro parodies -- maybe the better word is pillages -- himself and his career with scary gusto.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. Qualifies as top-grade catnip for connoisseurs of trashy camp.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. In this frustrating fizzle, the friendship does keep struggling to change into a love affair. But year after year, July 15 after July 15, it's the same old same old - two increasingly tedious people talking self-conscious talk.
  65. Had anyone recognized the signs and done something about them, the picturesque fable would have gone up in smoke, or snow, and Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter would have become a different picture. I’d prefer that one, though, sight unseen. This one is a closed system about a closed system.
  66. The result is lots of gunplay and explosions governed by little logic.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. Enjoyable enough for what it is, a clever idea developed by fits and starts.
  68. The only rewards, and they are real albeit insufficient, involve watching Jane Fonda in full cry and Catherine Keener in a quieter fullness of feeling.
  69. I was put off by the acting, or more properly by the spectacle of good actors dutifully following leaden direction, and equally by the writing, which is as thin as the veneer of civilization it purports to peel back.
  70. It's as if the filmmakers, having committed themselves to the book, fled from its essence, which is wildness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. Now the two men are back, along with Irene. But she vanishes all too soon in this overproduced, self-enchanted sequel, and so does the spirit of bright invention that made the previous film such a pleasant surprise.
  72. It's overextended and exhaustingly comic.
  73. The director, Steven Soderbergh, and his large, cheerful cast have managed to make the least possible movie that still resembles a movie.
  74. Nothing if not ambitious, yet at war with itself stylistically.
  75. Punishes the audience with a flat starring performance; Mr. Jane finds few sparks of life in a hero who wasn't all that lively to begin with.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. Goes by pleasantly enough as you come to understand where it’s headed, but this romantic comedy, directed by Isabel Coixet from a screenplay by Sarah Kernochan, wears out its welcome, and energy, through unswerving conformity to its dramatic scheme.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Higher Learning put me in mind of a long lecture by a well-meaning but dull professor. What he has to say may be worthwhile, but it's delivered with plodding predictability. [12 Jan 1995, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. As a first-time feature director, though, he (Ball) seldom lets the material speak for itself. Every shot is a statement, every scene sells an attitude.
  78. When does banter turn to blather? In the case of this action adventure, which was directed by Baltasar Kormákur, it's when you realize that keeping track of the barely fathomable plot isn't worth the bother.
  79. Dumbfoundingly erratic, for the most part, but smart and funny from time to time.
  80. Jim Carrey is the prime offender here. He's such an unseemly showoff that the movie keeps stopping in its tracks.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. Reasonably entertaining time-travel romance.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. Here's one more studio extravaganza brought down by numbing action and an addiction to generic digital effects.
  83. Going on too long seems to be the disease of the week; it's certainly what brings this movie down, though the going on here stems from a surfeit of implausible plot that suffocates the main characters and the excellent actors who play them.
  84. The story refuses to combust; it's a strangely unsatisfying combination of bloodless observations and unresolved sexuality.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Exemplifies Hollywood's standard practice of stomping a brilliant concept beyond recognition.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The movie moves at such an agonizingly stately pace that by the end, side effects be damned, Henry's time-traveling gene starts to look mighty appealing.
  85. Ted
    Ted is often hilarious, sometimes sweet and, in the spirit of "Family Guy," consistently raunchy. Yet it's seriously overextended and, as the premise wears ever thinner, frantically overproduced.
  86. There's no scarier myth for males, and Mr. Lichtenstein turns various images of emasculation into a black comedy that flirts, fairly tediously, with pornography.
  87. Be warned: Although it was filmed on the North Shore of Hawaii's Oahu island, this is a surf movie, not a surfing movie. As for the empowered-girl premise -- well, the kids may not notice, but Blue Crush is about as progressive as a Virginia Slims commercial.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. It's ended up a weak imitation of the original. [09 Aug 1990]
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. The biggest battle in Monsters vs. Aliens is banality vs. originality, and banality carries the day.
  90. Remember "The Flight of the Phoenix," the movie about the misshapen plane, built from scavenged parts, that flies its builders to safety? Music and Lyrics is like that plane, up to a point. The plot is misshapen, the pieces are scavenged and nothing quite fits. The film does manage to take off, albeit barely, then flits around cheerfully in search of coherence, but finally crashes and fizzles.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. The story wanders unconvincingly and tediously into corporate law offices and big, splashy nightclubs. Still, Mr. Hackford has the documentary maker's eye for realistic detail, so it all looks right. [01 Mar 1984]
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. The movie's real locus of anger must have been the director, Ang Lee, once he realized what an epic clod his computer wizards had wrought.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. I'm sorry to report that Biyi Bandele's would-be saga, based on the celebrated novel by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, is disappointing, a romance pastiche that muddles the politics of the period beyond comprehension.
  94. Nolan’s 168-minute odyssey through the space-time continuum is stuffed with stuff of bewildering wrongness. Eager for grandeur, I went in hoping for the very best from a filmmaker with his own vision of the theatrical medium’s potential. The last thing I expected was a space adventure burdened by turgid discussions of abstruse physics, a wavering tone, visual effects of variable quality and a time-traveling structure that turns on bloodless abstractions.

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