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 The Look of Silence
Lowest review score: 0 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
Score distribution:
2533 movie reviews
  1. 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").
  2. 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
  3. 42
    What's been carefully filtered out of the film as a whole is the tumult and passion of Robinson's life.
  4. 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.
  5. What brings Monsters down from its extremely low perch is a conspicuous lack of monstrosity.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Jennifer Aniston brings a needed liveliness to Derailed, though not enough to go around.
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. To fill the downtime between commercials, there's a fitfully entertaining adventure.
  14. Aspiring to pure action -- several very long passages are wordless -- the movie ends up teetering on the brink of self-parody.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. An exhaustive and exhausting dissection of a relationship that was never all that promising in the first place.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. The mystery posed by Oblivion as a whole is why its mysteries are posed so clumsily, and worked out so murkily.
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. I watched the film in an agitated space between engrossed and aghast.
  29. Bourne used to be an anguished amnesiac. Now he remembers who he is, but this fourth episode of the franchise forgot to make him human.
  30. 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
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. A not-bad idea lurks inside this insipid story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. A misshapen semi-spectacle that seems to be simulating an epic, and getting away with it only occasionally.
    • Wall Street Journal
  35. Comes to the screen missing subtle cues and crucial connections.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. 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
  37. Seldom has grandeur struggled so mightily, and fruitlessly, with rampant goofiness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  38. Can't lift the double curse of too little genuine action, as opposed to quixotic events, and too many fancy words.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. The shallow-seated problem with Murder by Numbers is that it's serious and doggedly intricate but not much fun.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. 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.
  41. 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
  42. A visionary film with dramatic myopia.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. 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.
  44. The movie is counterfeit too, a coarse imitation of a stylish star vehicle for stars who deserve the real thing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. The film's real shocker is its unpleasantness.
  48. He's (Crowe) thwarted by the production's almost total, and truly absurd, absence of fun.
  49. 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
  50. 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
  51. None of it is enough, though, to save this glum drama from its schematic self.
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. The good news is that Mia Wasikowska is back in the title role, bright-spirited and skillful as ever, but she’s burdened by the manic direction of James Bobin, working from a dramatically inert script by Ms. Woolverton.
    • 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.
  53. 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
  54. Jeff Cronenweth did the lovely cinematography. It's the only element that improves on the original material.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. This icon of witchcraft can't save a production that's suffocatingly elaborate yet insufficiently bewitching.
  56. 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
  57. 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
  58. The pursuit is manipulative and repetitive.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. It's slapdash, crudely crafted and resolutely adolescent. And occasionally, though only occasionally, very funny.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. 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.
  64. Predictably dumber than its predecessors, though that shouldn't get in the way of its profitability.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. 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
  66. 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.
  67. Functions mainly as an action extravaganza, and a numbingly depersonalized one at that.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. Malevolence is in generous supply throughout the film. Easy enjoyment is not.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. For all its flashy trappings, weighty ruminations and zero-gravity floatings aboard the International Space Station, Life turns out to be another variant of “Alien,” though without the grungy horror and grim fun. In space no one can hear you snore.
  70. The movie's tone is at war with its subject, and sometimes with its wavering self.
  71. This frenzied sequel has all of the clank but none of the swank of the previous version.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. 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
  73. 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.
  74. It neglects, for one thing, to make any sense.
  75. 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.
  76. The filmmakers can't keep the strands of their clumsy plot straight, but they create brilliant images and manipulate them with blithe abandon.
  77. The movie is stifling, all right, and depressing in the bargain.
  78. How you feel about Paul Haggis's new film may depend on your contrivance threshold.
  79. A provocative but eventually dislikable two-part film that dares us to dislike it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  80. 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
  81. 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
  82. 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
  83. 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.
  84. In a film that has the courage of its absurdity but not much else, Mr. Pattinson gets the best of what passes for style.
  85. Tests your patience to the breaking point -- maybe beyond.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. 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
  87. 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
  88. 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.
  89. The star shouldn’t be blamed, though, for the failings of the direction and script. Here’s a case of consistently miscalibrated tone, from the first clumsy stabs at humor to the hero’s default expression, which is painfully pained.
  90. 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.
  91. Susan Sarandon is Marnie Minervini, a recent widow and the meddlesome mother of The Meddler. Marnie is an Italian iteration of Molly Goldberg minus the charm. She might be charming if there were a full-fledged movie around her instead of a display case —Ms. Sarandon is, of course, a deft comedian.
    • 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.

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