Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,305 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 Moneyball
Lowest review score: 0 Legends of the Fall
Score distribution:
2,305 movie reviews
  1. The best part of Tracks — aside from the spectacular images, the succinct dialogue, the elegant filmmaking and the mysterious beauty of Mia Wasikowska's performance — is what's left unsaid.
  2. Judged solely as a film, a partially fictionalized account of the decade-long search for bin Laden, it's superbly crafted and relentlessly dramatic. More than that, though, Zero Dark Thirty is a shock to the system, one that's bound to incite discussion of profoundly troubling issues.
  3. Wonderfully funny and subversively affecting.
  4. Michael Haneke's French-language Amour, a perfect film about intertwined lives, proceeds at its own pace, and breathes so deeply that it takes your own breath away.
  5. Mr. Fukanaga's purpose is to evoke the immigrants' experience, which he does with such eloquence and power as to inspire awe.
  6. With a calmness that bespeaks confidence, this small, spellbinding second feature by Hilary Brougher brings together two women, trapped in separate states of denial and distress, who manage to end each other's entrapment.
  7. Give yourself away to this movie and you'll be glad you did.
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. It's a portrait, by turns chilling, thrilling, mysterious and terrifying, of a woman who refuses to be terrorized.
  9. What Mr. Hoffman has done here borders on the miraculous.
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. So what's left for the audience to hook into? Only pounding action, elegant style, steady-state suspense, marvelous acting and, despite that droll pooh-poohing every now and then, haunting explorations of youth, age and personal destiny. It's a lot to claim for a sci-fi thriller, but I was blown away by Rian Johnson's Looper.
  11. This pitch-dark comedy, which was directed, con brio, by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, sizzles as the camera circles, stalks and swoops. Emmanuel Lubezki’s friction-free cinematography constitutes a virtuoso turn in its own right in a production that’s strewn with superb performances, some of them loud and bold, others subtle and restrained.
  12. This unpredictable and hilarious paranoid fantasy is a contemporary, urban "Wizard of Oz," peopled by punk artists and Yuppie vigilantes instead of wicked witches and Munchkins. [5 Sep 1985, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. This brilliant satire, styled as a murder mystery, is the best insider's view of Hollywood since "Sunset Boulevard." [15 Dec 1992, p.A16(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. Zachary Heinzerling's feature-length documentary gathers force slowly, but with such wisdom and calm mastery that I found myself stunned, toward the end, by the beautiful vastness of it all.
  15. The wonder of the film is how good it makes us feel. Greenberg scintillates with intelligence, razor's-edge humor and austere empathy for its struggling lovers.
  16. An improbably bountiful subject -- kids on skateboards turning themselves into virtuoso artist-athletes -- has been brought to life in a wonderful, unpretentious documentary.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. It is plainly, though not simply, a masterpiece from an acknowledged master of contemporary animation, and a wonderfully welcoming work of art that's as funny and entertaining as it is brilliant, beautiful and deep.
    • Wall Street Journal
  18. Rapturously beautiful, startlingly audacious and often very funny, the film employs many of the techniques that were used so pleasingly in "Amélie."
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. Magnificent.
  20. It's one of the best surprises of the holiday season.
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. National Gallery isn’t just about a museum full of famous pictures. It’s about the nature of art, and art’s acolytes; about the mystery of what may lie beneath a particular painting’s visible surface; about the business of art at a time when money can be scarce and attention spans can be short.
  22. Astonishingly vivid. The illusion of reality is so nearly complete in this magnificent French-language film by the Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne that the screen becomes a perfectly transparent window on lives hanging in the balance.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. Pirandello didn't have a patch on its complexities. Here's a popular entertainment with an eclectic soundtrack raising penetrating questions of identity in astonishing sequences that interweave live action with comic-book art.
  24. This is a time when urgent issues are often explored in polemic documentaries, as well as a fateful moment when the future of public education is being debated with unprecedented intensity. Waiting for 'Superman' makes an invaluable addition to the debate.
  25. Mr. Frears is as good with the small touches as he is with the big ones – and that means they're great. [24 Jan 1991, p.A8(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. A movie that falls outside the ordinary, or even the extraordinary. There is enormous passion and artistic integrity throughout this film. [11 Jan 1994, p.A10(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. Uncompromising in its style, story and characterizations.
  28. What’s so fascinating about the film is that it truly turns on the solving of problems, and its chief solver, stuck on Mars, manages to be so funny, interesting and infallibly likable that you’re invested in his predicament at every moment.
  29. The view taken by Clint Eastwood, directing from Iris Yamashita's exemplary screenplay, is elegiac, but -- and this is remarkable, given the nature of the production and the sweep of his ambition -- not at all didactic. He lets the film speak for itself, and so it does -- of humanity as well as primitive rage and horror on both sides of the battle.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. Daniel Day-Lewis's portrayal is not just the performance of the year -- there will be injustice if he doesn't win an Oscar -- but a creation of awesome proportions.
  31. There's no trace of calculation, only artistic ambitions and hopes that have come to fruition in the year's finest film thus far.
  32. The writer-director Adrienne Shelly, who died in New York City late last year at the age of 40, took such perishable ingredients as wit, daring, poignancy, whimsy and romance, added passionate feelings plus the constant possibility of joy, decorated her one-of-a-kind production with pastel colors and created something close to perfection.
  33. If Timbuktu — a nominee for this year’s foreign-film Oscar — were politically astute and nothing more, it would still serve a valuable purpose. But the film throbs with humanity, and abounds in extraordinary images.
  34. An astonishing combination of spectacle, suspense, martial-arts flash, sublime silliness, anti-gravity action and passionate intensity -- before and after everything else, it's a grand love story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  35. Please see this movie, and take any kids old enough to read subtitles. It's one of a kind.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. Casts a spell and then some -- a ringing testament to the power of motion pictures.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. A thrillingly funny and casually profound film.
  38. Elegantly crafted and filled with flawless performances, this mysteriously charged drama comes alive in its very first frames.
  39. Tom Hardy, the actor who plays him, is by turns spellbinding, seductive, heartbreaking, explosive and flat-out thrilling. At a time when the studios are spending vast sums of money on a bigger-is-better aesthetic, here's a chamber piece with the impact of high drama.
  40. The result of the intricate interplay is a fairy tale for adults that is violent, sometimes shocking, yet utterly engrossing. And eerily instructive; it deepens our emotional understanding of fascism, and of rigid ideology's dire consequences.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. Computer travel may not be the real thing, but IMAX makes this an astonishing trip all the same.
  42. Her
    Mr. Jonze approaches perfection in the department of deadpan humor. In other hands, his premise could have been a clever gimmick and little more. But he draws us into Theodore's world, then develops it brilliantly, by playing everything scrupulously straight.
  43. This film is cunningly crafted in every detail--direction, script, performances, comic timing, special effects--from thunderous start to delicious finish.
  44. The whole production speaks well for the power of film; it’s a serious stunner.
  45. Once in a great while a film seems right in every detail. Andre Techine's Strayed ("Les Egares") is such a film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. Working on a scale that's minuscule by studio standards, the Dardenne brothers have made yet another movie that does what Hollywood used to do - keep us rapt, and leave us grateful.
  47. As a work of nonfiction, it deserves its own nomenclature. "Docu-poem" is too inelegant; "masterpiece" works, although it's been used before.
  48. It keeps you fascinated, even enthralled; elicits astonishment, even wonderment, and makes you grateful for the chance to meet someone remarkable.
  49. The characters are irresistible -- why would anyone want to resist a hero who so gallantly transcends his rattiness? -- the animation is astonishing and the film, a fantasy version of a foodie rhapsody, sustains a level of joyous invention that hasn't been seen in family entertainment since "The Incredibles."
  50. How long has it been since a movie left you literally speechless?
  51. It's nothing less than a miracle that the director, Craig Gillespie, and the writer, Nancy Oliver, have been able to make such an endearing, intelligent and tender comedy from a premise that, in other hands, might sustain a five-minute sketch on TV.
  52. Benjamin Button is all of a visionary piece, and it's a soul-filling vision.
  53. Who knew that Unstoppable would be sensational? Talk about well-kept- and welcome-surprises. Tony Scott's latest thriller turns out to be pure cinema in the classic sense of the term. It's a motion picture about motion, an action symphony that gives new meaning to the notion of a one-track mind.
  54. Everywhere in Nowhere in Africa, skill and art translate into vivid life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. In one form or another, motion pictures have been with us since the middle of the 19th century, but there's never been one like Gravity. What's new in Alfonso Cuarón's 3-D space adventure is the nature of the motion. It's as if the movie medium had been set free to dance in a bedazzling zero-gravity dream sequence.
  56. A singular achievement -- romantic, sensuous, intelligent and finally shattering in its sweep and thematic complexity.
  57. Just as Aubrey's authority springs from skill and knowledge, so does the film's power. They don't make movies like this any more because few people know how to make them.
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. An absolutely thrilling recreation, in documentary style, of a now-legendary story.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This extraordinary flight from the humdrum is not to be missed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. When we peruse this movie, we see a superb evocation of Turner’s latter years, during the first half of the 19th century, and a performance that’s symphonic in the sweep of its eccentricities, vivid in the spectrum of its passions.
  60. His film makes it clear that these monstrous humans are very much a part of our species. In a way, I wish I’d never seen The Look of Silence, because now I won’t be able to forget it. But that’s the point, and the film’s purpose—calling attention to the cost of staying silent, and willfully forgetful, in the face of implacable evil.
  61. Brokeback Mountain aspires to an epic sweep and achieves it, though with singular intimacy and grace.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Everything comes together brilliantly in Silver Linings Playbook - for the film's crazed but uncrazy lovers; for the filmmaker, David O. Russell, and best of all for lucky us.
  63. The first half hour of WALL-E is essentially wordless, and left me speechless. This magnificent animated feature from Pixar starts on such a high plane of aspiration, and achievement, that you wonder whether the wonder can be sustained. But yes, it can.
  64. More than anything, Of Gods and Men is a drama of character, and warm humanity.
  65. Elegantly crafted, brilliantly acted film.
  66. What's so remarkable about their decadeslong campaign, though, is how desperation led to inspiration - to the inspired notion that they, as nonscientists, could still take their fate in their own hands.
  67. Better than a feelgood movie, it's a feelgreat movie -- genuinely clever, affecting when you least expect it to be and funny from start to finish.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. Mr. Akin's film is so full of life that it leaves you breathless.
  69. Operates in an orbit somewhere between Oliver Sacks and Lewis Carroll. I can't remember when a movie has seemed so clever, strangely affecting and slyly funny at the very same time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. A huge delight.
  71. Mr. Luchini gives one of the best performances of the year, in one of the best movies of the year.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. As a piece of filmmaking, it's stunningly effective.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. Not since the halcyon days of Archie Bunker and "All in the Family" has so sharp a wit punctured so many balloons.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. The result is an enchanting story of love from an idealized past that endures in the mundane present.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. A lot of talent to lavish on a single movie, but the result is uncommonly smart for the genre, and not just smart but tremendously enjoyable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. A deeply serious and seriously hilarious fable of the lunacy of war.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. Paul Thomas Anderson's remarkable sixth feature addresses, by extension, the all-too-human process of eager seekers falling under the spell of charismatic authority figures, be they gurus, dictators or cult leaders. Or, in the case of this masterly production, a couple of spellbinding actors.
  78. Unstrung Heroes is a revelation. [15 Sep 1995]
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. Watching Ahlo mix his explosives is like watching a Cordon Bleu chef whipping up a stupendous soufflé.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    If the plot of Ponyo is small as a minnow, its themes--the relationship between parent and child, between the young and the elderly, between friends, between man and nature--are large and fully realized.
  80. In the entertainment culture that surrounds us, words like "harrowing," "anguishing," "unfathomable" or "horrifying" don't sell movie tickets. Capturing the Friedmans is all of these things and more.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. Pulls you in with smooth assurance, then holds you hostage to extremely creepy developments in the most awesome haunted house since "The Shining."
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. Rarely has so scary a thriller been so well made, and never has digital video -- by the English cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle -- been put to grittier use.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. The new film, shot in vivid hi-def video, is part documentary and part fiction based on interviews; it uses on-camera interviews with workers, some played by themselves and some played by actors, to evoke a past of unimaginable toil, and suffering, in the service of the Communist state.
  84. This stop-action animated feature is downright sweet and tender, as well as all the other things we've come to expect from him -- funny, bizarre, graphically stunning and blithely necrophilic.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. Like his (David Gordon Green's) debut feature of three years ago, the exquisite "George Washington," this new one has my heart, and I think it will have yours.
  86. There's no better fun for movie lovers than a small, unheralded film that turns out to be terrific -- unless it's a small, unheralded sequel that trumps the original.
  87. Ray
    At the center of it all is an incomparable singer brought to life by a sensational actor. With a huge soul to fill, Jamie Foxx has filled it to overflowing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. Much of the time, though, you're transfixed by the beauty of a spectacle that seems all of a piece. Special effects have been abolished, in effect, since the whole thing is so special.
  89. The actress gets immeasurable help from the writing: Lisbeth's anger is matched by her intelligence and her physical prowess, which enables her to administer as well as absorb pain in megadoses. But none of it would register without Ms. Rapace's singular combination of eerie beauty and feral intensity. She's a movie star unlike any other.
  90. There's an old-Hollywood feel to the movie's solid showmanship and unabashed sophistication. These days it's feature-length 'toons, sporting the newest-fangled technology, that take kids and adults alike back to the movies' good old days.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. The silliness of Jump Tomorrow takes your breath away, and I mean that as high praise.
  92. The director Penny Marshall has gone straight to the heart of this complex story and made a powerfully poignant and illuminating film. She doesn't hesitate to push for the grand sentimental moment, but balances the teary stuff with restraint and humor. To be sure, Awakenings seems calculated to induce weeping -- and it does, without making the weeper feel cheap. [20 Dec 1990, p.A14]
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. Joseph Levy's sneakily stirring documentary opens up feelings you would never have expected from the premise — a portrait of three American restaurants.
  94. With this genuinely big entertainment, powered by a beating heart, Steven Spielberg has put the summer back in summer movies.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. It is, simply and stirringly, a kind of beau ideal of education, a vision of how the process can work at its best.
    • Wall Street Journal
  96. A remarkable -- and harrowing -- debut feature that makes you think there's hope after all for the future of independent films.
    • Wall Street Journal
  97. Crumb pulls us in with rich detail, and with what it says, or suggests, about art, drugs, psychology and the subconscious.... Like last year's "Hoop Dreams," this documentary does justice to a great subject. [08 Jun 1995]
    • Wall Street Journal
  98. Now the movie can be seen for what it was all along, remarkable by any standards.
    • Wall Street Journal

Top Trailers