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 Seymour: An Introduction
Lowest review score: 0 In the Heart of the Sea
Score distribution:
2533 movie reviews
  1. Untold billions are laundered in The Infiltrator, while Pablo Escobar’s Medellín cartel moves mountains of cocaine into U.S. markets. But the drug of choice here is acting, and the highs in this hurtling, often violent thriller are doubly intense, since two of its stars play flamboyant double roles.
  2. Here's one vote for the most affecting, anguishing, revealing and prophetic scene of the movie year-and yes, it's all of those things at once in a powerful film that alternates between moments of earlier happiness and later pain.
  3. Frances Ha also marks the rare instance in which an actress has the perfect role at the perfect time. Ms. Gerwig's work here is fragile, delicate, subject to bruising; something that could wither under too much attention. Perhaps Ms. Gerwig is the greatest actress alive. And maybe Frances Ha is just the ghost orchid of independent cinema.
  4. Mr. Quaid has long been a reliably likable actor, but this time he pitches a perfect performance -- no frills, no tricks, not a single false note -- in a film that's true to its stirring subject, and to the sweetest traditions of the game.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. Viggo Mortensen's performance is flat-out brilliant, and this relentlessly dramatic thriller represents a mid-life growth spurt for its director, David Cronenberg.
  6. Seduces us with its leisurely pace and felicitous details into believing that something miraculous is afoot in a mundane rural community.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. A smart, funny and strangely touching film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. This exquisite film by the Swedish master Jan Troell is about seeing clearly, and fearlessly. It's also about subdued passion, the birth of an artist and a woman's struggle to live her own life.
  9. Terrifically funny and remarkably wise, a comedy that speaks volumes, without a polemical word, about the tension between rigid politics of any stripe and the imperatives of life and love.
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. Shrewdly conceived, confidently executed and outrageously entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. Calmly, almost serenely, Mr. Van Sant and his superb cinematographer, Harris Savides, reveal a vision of contemporary American youth quite unlike any other.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. Thrillers aren't always so thrilling, but Tell No One is -- and absorbing, sometimes perplexing and often stirring as well.
  13. Smart, surpassingly odd, extremely funny and mysteriously endearing at the same time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. This classic tale of a little guy taking on giants benefits from being essentially true, and from accomplished filmmaking, but most of all from the beautiful vitality of Mr. McConaughey's performance.
  15. A glorious feature-length documentary -- This film will leave an indentment, and a deep one, on anyone who loves great, joyous music and cares about the people who make it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. This portrait of a failing marriage is one of the summer's great discoveries, and a marvel of mercurial intimacy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. This is a harrowing film to watch. In spite of the vibrant jungle greens and the searing sun, it’s as bleak a vision of modern warfare as has ever been put on screen.
  18. I also know The Assassin to be so ravishingly lovely that tracking the plot is far less important than luxuriating in the images.
  19. A movie of uns — unforced, unhurried, unpretentious. Though it's sometimes underdramatized, this story of adolescents on the brink of adulthood is refreshingly, and endearingly, unlike the overheated features that have come to define the genre.
  20. Beautiful moments abound. In Departures, the contemplation of death prepares the way for an appreciation of life.
  21. Almost everything about Cary Fukunaga's version of the Charlotte Brontë romance is understated yet transfixing, mainly-although far from exclusively-because of Mia Wasikowska's presence in the title role.
  22. What's most rewarding, though, is that Mr. Senna speaks extensively and eloquently for himself, and reveals himself to be an eminently human hero. He's thoughtful, even philosophical, about decisions that deprive him of seemingly well-earned victories.
  23. I can't pretend to understand the intricacies of the Buddhist belief system that informs the surreal story, or the fantasy system in which Boonmee, embodying Thailand, recalls his nation's history and shimmering myths. Yet no effort of understanding is needed to be moved by Boonmee's descent into a limestone cave shaped like a womb.
  24. This "Les Mis" does make you feel, intensely and sometimes thrillingly, by honoring the emotional core of its source material.
  25. The Grandmaster, may well be the definitive illustration of kung fu in all its arcane schools and intricate styles. There's never been anything like it — a seemingly endless flow of spectacular images in a story about Ip Man (Tony Leung), the legendary kung-fu master who trained Bruce Lee.
  26. What Mr. Hou has done is borrow power and some gentle intimations of a state of grace from one of the most enchanting images in movie history.
  27. This is a debut feature, though you'd never know it from the filmmaker's commandingly confident style, or from the heartbreaking beauty -- heartbreaking, then heartmending -- of Melissa Leo's performance as a poor single mother who's living her whole life on thin ice.
  28. Years after its initial release, Ornette: Made in America, part of Milestone's continuing "Project Shirley," still feels fresh - its moves always surprising, yet always somehow perfect.
  29. The links and resonances remain largely abstract -- to understand them isn't necessarily to be moved by them -- while the individual dramas of those three lives are often stirring, and the three starring performances are unforgettable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. A magnificent documentary that flies us along with migratory birds on their intercontinental travels, it's the polar opposite -- North Pole, South Pole and all latitudes in between -- of modern feature films that rely on special effects.
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. Short Term 12, a low-budget feature only 96 minutes long, is a big deal on a small scale: for what it reveals of Mr. Cretton as a filmmaker — especially as a storyteller, and a director of actors within tautly constructed scenes — and of Ms. Larson's abundant talent.
  32. Everything and everyone is observed sharply, succinctly and indelibly.
    • Wall Street Journal
  33. [Crowe] knows how to shape a scene and he's never cheap with characterization; adults are permitted to be as complex as their children; a rare event in pictures. [18 May 1989, p.A14(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. Where the film shines is in its vivid and affecting portrait of Tillman himself. Instead of the square-jawed hero memorialized by the army and lionized by the news media, we get to know a man of many gifts for many seasons.
  35. For a filmmaker who has made his reputation with such crime thrillers as "Little Odessa" and "The Yards," James Gray reveals an unexpected gift for the mysteries of romance.
  36. This remarkable piece of antiwar cinema honors its theme, and the movie medium.
  37. The movie's metaphorical dimensions rarely interfere with the concrete, quirky pleasures of its story. The Flower of My Secret is Mr. Almodovar's most entertaining work since his phenomenal "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown." [15 Mar 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
  38. What it's about is also what it requires for proper appreciation -- the ability of the human mind to hold, and even cherish, diametrically opposite thoughts.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. Toward the end of this loose-jointed and endearing new film, a freshman says to her boyfriend, “It’s kind of beautiful that we get to feel passion in this world—about anything.” She and he, and everyone around them, have passion to burn, and we get to feel great about them.
  40. This isn't entertainment in any conventional sense, but it's a mesmerizing film all the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. While the film handles itself well in the ring, it's brilliant in the arena of a blue-collar family that brutalizes its younger son and best hope for worldly success in the name of sustaining him.
  42. Meticulously crafted and beautifully performed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. In what I think may be the filmmaker’s plan, all that stuff — that maddeningly cacophonous Stuff — is what we’re meant to cut through and get past in order to become as alert and alive as the star of Mr. Godard’s movie. In this interpretation, it’s the pooch who points the way toward perceiving beauty by learning to live in the vibrant, fragrant present.
  44. A captivating entertainment for the holiday season and well beyond.
  45. A marvelous story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. The Dark Horse brings Cliff Curtis back home, and he gives a performance that’s transcendent in more ways than one.
  47. Judged, though, as the action extravaganza it means to be, Rise of the Planet of the Apes wins high marks for originality, and takes top honors for spectacle.
  48. The Past plays out within narrower bounds than "A Separation," and often at lower velocity — a few moments feel almost Chekhovian. Yet the film is commanding in its own right, another exploration of a volatile situation — an estranged husband returning from Iran when his wife requests a divorce — in which flashes of insight or understanding lead to new mysteries.
  49. It's been a good while since I've seen a movie whose most powerful sequence was both unforeseen and entirely unpredictable as it played out.
  50. A magnificent concert film of Latino jazz.
    • Wall Street Journal
  51. A spectacular record of rehearsals for a show that wasn't to be.
  52. Never lacks for extravagance — the film looks as striking as it sounds — and some of the tales certainly seem outlandish. Yet they’re part of a truly remarkable origin story that the film and its subjects explore with uncommon thoughtfulness and depth of feeling.
  53. This is only the second feature for the director: the first was "True Adolescents." But Mr. Johnson's work with his actors is impeccable, and his style is freewheeling.
  54. This is a first-rate squealer. [07 Aug 1986]
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. This magnificent documentary, directed by David Sington and presented by Ron Howard, rises to the occasion by interspersing its interviews with NASA footage that evokes the grandeur of the whole Apollo adventure.
  56. Real life is not the movie's concern. Mr. Anderson's lovely confection — that's a pastry metaphor — keeps us smiling, and sometimes laughing out loud. Yet acid lurks in the cake's lowest layers.
  57. Mr. Hardy's Brooklyn accent is not only flawless — a Londoner by birth, he's a vocal chameleon who played a Welshman in "Locke" — but tinged, I do believe, with a blithe, spot-on tribute to a blue-collar guy from another borough, Ernest Borgnine's immortal Marty. Here's a far-from-minor performance by a major star in the making.
  58. Deeply affecting.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. A thrillingly, thoroughly wonderful film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. This is hardly a film to recommend as entertainment. As an act of remembrance, though, it is singular and, in its way, soaring.
  61. Nair's movie, far from being paste, is a string of small, exquisite gems.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Blissfully funny, terrifically intelligent and tender when you least expect it to be.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. I can't say enough about the way Enough Said keeps its scintillating sense of humor as it grows deeper and more affecting.
  64. One of the best of the genre. If it doesn't serve oysters, per se, this submarine wonder offers marvels in abundance.
  65. What makes the film enthralling is the wisdom and grace with which it addresses the twin subjects of grief and healing, and the quiet beauty of Mohamed Fellag's performance in the title role.
  66. The energy is genuine, and the level of invention is remarkable, sustained as it is by Mr. Baseman's genially garish art, Timothy Bjoerklund's direction from a script by Bill and Cherie Steinkellner, and Nathan Lane's madly passionate performance as the canine who was famously born on the wrong end of a leash.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. Remarkably accomplished and self-confident. In dramatic terms The Attack borrows a page from Alfred Hitchcock's playbook — an innocent in a strange land, delving into dangerous matters he doesn't understand. In political terms, though, the script is unsparing and ultimately bleak. It doesn't justify terrorism, but it does dramatize the rage and despair that dominate life in the occupied territories.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. Why, then, am I so pleased with Easy A? Because the movie, despite a few flaws, seems to have been made by higher intelligence, and because it catapults Emma Stone into a higher place reserved for American actors who can handle elevated language with casually dazzling aplomb.
  69. These miniatures magnify their subjects, and ennoble them. The picture is anguishing to see, but it isn't missing anymore.
  70. As a thriller, The Town has what it takes and then some.
  71. Delightful and insightful romantic comedy.
  72. The movie's considerable emotional force springs from the splendor of its visual poetry. Mr. Bertolucci allows the sweep of 60 years of Chinese history to unfold around Pu Yi as background noise to his peculiar, poignant role in the emergence of modern China. [25 Nov 1987, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Thanks to Ms. Witherspoon's artful portrayal of a winning, if beachless, Gidget, I found Legally Blonde very enjoyable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. Diane Keaton has the crucial role, and she makes the most of it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. News management is the main issue. Control Room shows how coverage is tailored to fit the audience, both by al-Jazeera and its Western counterparts.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. JFK
    It's powerful film making that at the very least accomplishes what Mr. Stone said he set out to do - to offer the world an alternate myth. [20 Dec 1991]
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. Growth is the film's subtext, and finally its subject. Never has a line of dialogue been more freighted with symbolism, or more grounded in literal reality, than when Barbu says, ever so quietly, "Mother, please unlock me."
  77. What's exceptional is the orchestration of color, form, light and dark (lots of dark), 3-D technology and digital effects into a look that amounts to a vision.
  78. From start to almost finish, Man Up, directed by Ben Palmer from a terrific script by Tess Morris, sustains a remarkably high level of verbal invention. Mr. Pegg, a superb comic actor in his own right, serves as an endearingly frantic foil to Ms. Bell, whose lips, larynx, facial features and thought processes all move at Mach 2 speed.
  79. She is revealed in all her complexity by Mr. Björkman’s film, in which passages from his subject’s letters, notes and diaries are read by the fine young Swedish actress Alicia Vikander. “I don’t demand much,” the film quotes her as saying. “I just want everything.” She got a lot, and gave immeasurably more.
  80. With someone else in the central role, Gloria might have been cloyingly sentimental or downright maudlin. With Ms. García on hand, it's a mostly convincing celebration of unquenchable energy.
  81. "Just One More Chance," Billie Holiday implores on the soundtrack. The nice paradox of Arbitrage is that we're interested to see whether Robert gets one, even though he's the villain-in-chief of a suspense thriller whose plot turns on generalized scurrilousness. That's a tribute to Mr. Jarecki's smart writing, and to the take-no-prisoners performance of Mr. Gere.
  82. A fine, heartfelt film, sometimes harrowing in its violence but blessedly free of pretension or bombast, even though it aspires to -- and achieves -- the stature of a classic Western.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. Clark Terry the teacher sometimes talks like a trumpet, even though he's dealing with a pianist—"daddle-leedle-daddle-loodle" is how he wants Justin to play one phrase. Clark Terry the man personifies generosity, and it's lovely to behold.
  84. If Dope were as earnest as Malcolm seems to be, you might expect it to be a bit of a bore. No worries on that count, though. Mr. Famuyiwa has a sleeve full of aces.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Succeeds the same way the original comic books did: by making the conflicts and dilemmas basic enough for a five-year-old, while giving the heroes and villains glamorous outfits and layers of complexity, to thicken the broth.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. Few viewers anywhere will be immune to the movie’s charms, or the performances, notably that of Mr. Sigurjonsson, who makes Gummi a slightly mournful, enormously lovable and quixotically heroic figure.
  86. Mark Ruffalo is yet again a revelation in Infinitely Polar Bear, and he’s not the only one. This is a first feature by Maya Forbes, yet many of its accomplishments put far more experienced filmmakers in the shade.
  87. Quietly affecting and surprisingly dramatic, so long as you're willing to watch it unfold at its own deliberate pace.
  88. Mr. Pandya tells a story of conflicted assimilation that's been told before, but he and his exuberant cast invest it with fresh energy and winning humor.
  89. Pride may not be a model of impeccable craftsmanship, but it's a fine example of turning a terrific subject into a gleeful event. It's also an example of the power of entertainment — of entertainment within entertainment.
  90. The payoff is sneakily profound — sneakily because this small-scale drama grabs you when you least expect it, often with the help of the dog.
  91. An exhilarating examination of a leading Iranian criminal enterprise--music: More than 2,000 bands are said to operate clandestinely in the capital of Tehran, risking prison to play together in basements, bedrooms and rooftops.
  92. Ms. Miller proves to be an original, setting her comic characters in motion like mini-planets that spin in eccentric but overlapping orbits.
  93. It’s really funny, though, an animated sendup of comic-book epics that vanquishes solemnity with the power of supersilliness.
  94. Like Father, Like Son has still more on its mind — a vision of a Japan in which work will be balanced with leisure and love.
  95. A harrowing lesson in unintended -- and intended -- consequences.
    • Wall Street Journal
  96. It's tempting to see Beyond the Hills solely as an indictment of religion, but the film is more ambitious than that. Ignorance and superstition aren't confined to the convent; people in town, including the cops, drop casual references to witchcraft as if it were part of everyday life. The broader subject is possession by primitive ideas.
  97. Long and winding though it may be, Road to Perdition gets to places that are well worth the trip.
    • Wall Street Journal
  98. The movie is serious, intelligent, intentionally claustrophobic and awfully somber -- you remember it in black and white, though it was shot (by the masterful Tak Fujimoto) in color. But you'll remember Mr. Cooper's performance for exactly what it is, an uncompromising study in the gradual decay of a soul.
    • Wall Street Journal

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