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. 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
  2. A huge delight.
  3. Mr. Luchini gives one of the best performances of the year, in one of the best movies of the year.
    • Wall Street Journal
  4. As a piece of filmmaking, it's stunningly effective.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. Weiner, an extraordinary documentary feature about the disgraced New York politician Anthony Weiner, has it all — the surreal spectacle of contemporary retail politics, the sizzle of media madness and the mysteries of psychodrama.
  6. 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
  7. Profoundly moving documentary.
  8. The result is an enchanting story of love from an idealized past that endures in the mundane present.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. 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
  10. A deeply serious and seriously hilarious fable of the lunacy of war.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. 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.
  12. Unstrung Heroes is a revelation. [15 Sep 1995]
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. A startlingly beautiful movie.
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. The silliness of Jump Tomorrow takes your breath away, and I mean that as high praise.
  27. 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
  28. Joseph Levy's sneakily stirring documentary opens up feelings you would never have expected from the premise — a portrait of three American restaurants.
  29. With this genuinely big entertainment, powered by a beating heart, Steven Spielberg has put the summer back in summer movies.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. 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
  31. A remarkable -- and harrowing -- debut feature that makes you think there's hope after all for the future of independent films.
    • Wall Street Journal
  32. 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
  33. Now the movie can be seen for what it was all along, remarkable by any standards.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. Get Out starts with a great title and a promising idea — a black man’s fear as he walks at night down a street in an affluent white suburb. Then it delivers on that promise with explosive brilliance.
  35. Clint Eastwood and his collaborators have made one of the best aviation movies ever, although “Apollo 13” — also starring Tom Hanks — comes very close.
  36. The new film may not qualify for masterpiece status, but it's an enthralling portrait of a man — an exceptionally brilliant and articulate man — who personified the courage, complexity and moral ambiguity of his tortured time.
  37. Directed with such a confident, delicate touch. Nothing is insisted on, yet whole lives are discovered and revealed in vignettes that seem as spontaneous as a laugh or a gasp.
    • Wall Street Journal
  38. Ben is the family’s rock, and Mr. Mortensen gives the story unshakable grounding. He’s a star who doesn’t act like a star, yet everyone in his orbit feels his power. He and this strong, adventurous film deserve each other.
  39. I was riveted by the performance of Paulina García, the great Chilean actress who plays Tony’s beleaguered mother. To watch her is to see exactly how less can be more. Instead of acting, she allows her character to reveal her thoughts in words that are all the more powerful for being few, far between and softly spoken.
  40. The film feels freshly minted because the man who made it has such a lively mind and fearless style. At a time when all too many movies are selling bleakness and dysfunction, it also feels like a revenant from Hollywood’s golden age, when an entertainment’s highest function was to entertain.
  41. As odd as it may sound, it's a remarkably beautiful movie.
  42. This beautiful -- and beautifully controlled -- film is also an object lesson in how to hypnotize an audience.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. A thriller with a quietly sensational performance by Tilda Swinton.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. Density of detail and intensity of experience are the twin distinctions of A Christmas Tale, a long, improbably funny and very beautiful film.
  45. Thanks to this new film, though, any questions about her potential have been dispelled. Alicia Vikander has fully and memorably arrived, a luminous presence with a gift for tenderness, an instinct for understatement and formidable reserves of passion—she not only rises to the challenge of Vera’s climactic speech, but elevates the pacifist rhetoric into furious poetry.
  46. The team's (Merchant-Ivory) best adaptation yet of a Henry James novel.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. Many of the boxing genre’s conventions are observed in the screenplay by Mr. Coogler and Aaron Covington, and the fight sequences are brutally effective.... But the film is full of life and loose humor...and Creed often transcends the genre by playing with movie mythology.
  48. '71
    Yann Demange’s ’71, with an astonishing performance by Jack O’Connell, is big-screen storytelling stripped to its dramatic and visual essentials, and the result is nothing less than shattering.
  49. The Tribe is one of the most disturbing films I’ve ever seen. It may also be among the most memorable — not only for its pitch-black view of human nature, but for the devilishly instructive way in which it turns the tables on us. As we watch in anxious confusion, it’s as if we are profoundly deaf, trying to understand what’s going on and striving to break out of isolation.
  50. Through exquisite details, evocative music and bold dramatic strokes -- including a tragedy that transcends the melodrama it might have been -- Rain renders this family's life in its full dimensions.
    • Wall Street Journal
  51. The filmmaking is fluid and electric; the acting, precise; the archetypal storytelling, seamless and brutal. What happens in “La Jaula de Oro” might enrage audiences, and probably for a variety of reasons. But there’s no getting away without it leaving a mark.
  52. Blissfully silly, triumphantly tasteless and improbably hilarious.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. Frank is a genuine original in a summer sea of sameness, and a darkly comedic manifesto against the cultural status quo.
  54. This beguiling fable, with its darkly distinctive look, does DreamWorks proud.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. I don't know the Mongolian word for panache, but Mongol's got plenty of it. The battle scenes are as notable for their clarity as their intensity; we can follow the strategies, get a sense of who's losing and who's winning. The physical production is sumptuous.
  56. Less is not only more in 45 Years, Andrew Haigh’s study of marriage and memory, it is eloquently and anguishingly more, and what’s unspoken is almost deafening.
  57. This screwball comedy about a scrappy Hawaiian kid and the rabidly destructive little alien she mistakes for a dog is powered by ferocious joy. And, remarkably, it manages to incorporate traditional Disney values, such as the sanctity of the family, in a visually bold, subversively witty package that's as far from corporate as mainstream movies get.
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. In another sense, though, everything is exactly what it seems, expertly crafted and cleverly compounded for high-dose entertainment.
  59. Every sport, and every sports film, must have its superman. The role is filled here by Laird Hamilton, who, we are told -- and, more astonishingly, shown -- took "the single most significant ride in surfing history." Seeing is believing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. It's gleefully bold, visually adventurous, often funny, strikingly concise — the whole heart-pounding tale is over in 90 minutes — and 100% entertaining.
  61. Go underground with magic glasses on your nose and you won't regret it.
  62. Ever since the movie made a brief appearance late last year to qualify for Oscar consideration, Mr. Caine's performance has been hailed as the best of his career, and surely that's true.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. The narrative jumps back and forth between the two time frames, rather than telling Karamakate’s story in linear fashion, and these juxtapositions deepen the film’s resonance.
  64. Director David Mackenzie's gripping, convincing and convincingly violent convict drama owes its authenticity largely to the experiences of ex-prison therapist Jonathan Asser, who wrote its screenplay. But the opening 10 minutes are a virtuosic example of virtually wordless filmmaking.
  65. This new film isn't perfect, and may not be a world-changer, but it's certainly a world-pleaser.
  66. A transgenre thriller that glides effortlessly from crisp social commentary through off-kilter comedy to paranoid terror, it's on my short list of the most enjoyable movies in recent memory.
  67. A documentary of stunning immediacy and marvelous images.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. The studio, like plucky Harry, passes with flying colors. The new one, directed by Mike Newell from another astute script by Mr. Kloves, is even richer and fuller, as well as dramatically darker. It's downright scary how good this movie is.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. In one sense, Neil Young: Heart of Gold is just a simple concert film -- no cutaways during the music for interviews, no cameras swooping and soaring on giant booms. But simplicity in this case also means no barrier between us and the people on stage, as they sing some of the most soul-stirring pop songs I've seen performed in a very long time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. Should be a delight for everyone. Bird watchers will find affirmation and even explanation for their avocation. People who can't tell a towhee from a titmouse will still wonder at the beauty of it all.
  71. Magic suffuses this film -- performances that approach perfection, or achieve it, moments of exceptional grace as a troubled family plays out a contemporary version of a classic immigration saga, healing itself in the process.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. The most striking thing about X-Men: Days of Future Past is its generosity. Huge franchise installments are rarely as enjoyable as this one. They aren't as inventive, richly detailed, surprisingly varied, elegantly crafted or improbably stirring.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Mr. Herzog's perspective is an invaluable balance to Mr. Treadwell's as the animal advocate approaches what seems like madness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. The immensity encompasses such variety, subtlety and intimacy that you may find yourself yearning for more.
  74. A feature-length documentary, by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller, of absolutely breathtaking sweep and joyous energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. The best of Up in the Air--meaning most of it--is right up there with the fresh and sophisticated comedies of Hollywood's golden age.
  76. There are remakes and there are remakes. I don't want to belabor the flaws and sexual excesses of the original; its great strength was its explosive energy. Still, this one investigates the unfulfilled potential of the first one so thoroughly, and develops it so audaciously, that it qualifies as a brilliant reinvention.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. Ultimately an original film that forces us, time and again, to reconsider what we think we've just seen, and what we're sure we feel - not only about mere appearance, or fateful gender, but about who, under our skin, we truly are.
  78. This hugely entertaining thriller is what's needed to banish a winter-long case of movie blues.
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. Despite its cargo of meaning, 3-Iron feels marvelously weightless, like the lovers as they stand on a scale that the hero has fixed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  80. Both magical and consistently joyous. The director, Robert Altman, and the writer, Garrison Keillor, have, against all odds, transmuted the fatigued public radio institution into a lovely fable about mortality, fleeting fame, fondness for the past and the ineffable beauty of life in the present.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. The near-miracle worked by Mr. Boyle, whose exuberant style brings several saints to scruffy life, is a movie that's joyously funny and hugely inventive -- occasionally to the point of preciousness -- yet true to the spirit of the saintly little kid at its center.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. Charlotte Rampling is the best reason, though far from the only one, to see Swimming Pool, a mesmerizing mystery, plus a wonderfully sensuous fantasy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. Loneliness and longing are at the center of these two women’s lives, at least for a while, and they’re expressed by nuance and implication in a pair of superb performances, and by a lovely evocation of the period.
  84. What makes this droll, darting story about a loose group of family and friends so moving? The answer lies partly in its tone. Mr. Mills seems to have thrown everything he could think of into the mix, dramatic unities be damned, but suffused it all with a poetic sense of life’s goofiness, solemnity and evanescence.
  85. Shrewdly reconceived, powerfully acted and hugely entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. Rousing, provocative film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  87. Catching Fire is exceptional entertainment, a spectacle with a good mind and a pounding heart.
  88. This version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy turns on the presence of Mr. Oldman, and he is an actor of great experience and accomplishment who has finally found a film that fully deserves him.
  89. A romantic comedy of grace notes and mini-epiphanies -- mini, that is, except for Ms. McDormand's Jane, who is memorable to the max.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. What makes it such a singular experience is the convergence of fine acting, moral urgency and a willingness to linger on moments of great intensity.
  91. Persistently upends expectations without insult, as it pulls you into a netherworld filled with yearning, whimsy, and danger. [15 Dec 1992, p.A16(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. A cockeyed comic triumph that flashes between bright and dark like a strobe light of the spirit. And Ms. Theron, as Mavis Gary, a self-styled author rather than a mere writer, succeeds sensationally at something much harder than playing ravaged.
  93. It's a new and inspired vision of a familiar state of being -- teenage anomie amidst the crumbling wreckage of a middle-class American family. In the space of 78 minutes, Mr. Van Sant and his cinematographer, the peerless Christopher Doyle, manage to suffuse that state with haunting sadness, ubiquitous danger, pulsing power and flickers of hope.
  94. This beautifully strange and affecting comedy, which Agnès Jaoui directed from a screenplay she wrote with her husband, Mr. Bacri, is about men who are weak and insecure, and one woman, Agathe, played superbly by Ms. Jaoui, coming to terms with the price of being strong.
  95. A wickedly astute and beautiful comedy of manners-cum-murder mystery, it's too dense, and occasionally confusing, to grasp fully the first time around. How lucky, then, that it's also too much fun to see just once.
    • Wall Street Journal
  96. While the film itself isn't perfect, who cares about perfection in the face of abundant life, authentic screwiness and lovely surprises by the busload?
  97. A movie of minimalist moments (Molly's tiniest gestures speak volumes) and lovely, almost holy tableaux.
    • Wall Street Journal
  98. Indignation is very much the sort of venture Mr. Schamus has often championed as a producer — ambitious and provocative, a must-see for anyone who cares about independent film.

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