Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,307 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 Boyhood
Lowest review score: 0 Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Score distribution:
2,307 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Deeply affecting.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. A thrillingly, thoroughly wonderful film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  4. This is hardly a film to recommend as entertainment. As an act of remembrance, though, it is singular and, in its way, soaring.
  5. Nair's movie, far from being paste, is a string of small, exquisite gems.
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. Blissfully funny, terrifically intelligent and tender when you least expect it to be.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. I can't say enough about the way Enough Said keeps its scintillating sense of humor as it grows deeper and more affecting.
  8. One of the best of the genre. If it doesn't serve oysters, per se, this submarine wonder offers marvels in abundance.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. These miniatures magnify their subjects, and ennoble them. The picture is anguishing to see, but it isn't missing anymore.
  14. As a thriller, The Town has what it takes and then some.
  15. Delightful and insightful romantic comedy.
  16. 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
  17. Diane Keaton has the crucial role, and she makes the most of it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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."
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. "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.
  24. 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
  25. 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.
  26. 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
  27. 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.
  28. Quietly affecting and surprisingly dramatic, so long as you're willing to watch it unfold at its own deliberate pace.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. A harrowing lesson in unintended -- and intended -- consequences.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. 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.
  35. Long and winding though it may be, Road to Perdition gets to places that are well worth the trip.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. 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
  37. Training Day can be simplistic, formulaic and absurdly melodramatic -- but Mr. Washington is flat-out great.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    After 18 seasons and some 400 episodes of their Fox TV series, the family created by Matt Groening, the family that put the dys in dysfunctional, makes a seamless transition from the shag carpet to the red carpet in the long-awaited Simpsons Movie.
  38. What's on screen is a gorgeous grab bag of notions: ardent love, a salute to Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain," a bit of "Camille" and a lot — I mean a lot — of nuts-and-bolts stuff about nuts and bolts.
  39. Ms. Israel's movie proves, once again, that the best nonfiction cinema possesses the same attributes as good fiction: Strong characters, conflict, story arc, visual style.
  40. Mr. Scorsese has created a Judea that is dusty and harsh, where visions in the middle of a night seem like. Some of the visual compositions are dizzyingly beautiful; the Crucifixion scene couldn't be more masterful, or heartbreaking. [11Aug 1988, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. The film's point of view is inevitably that of an outsider, which Danny Pearl was, and menace is the essence of this shattering story, which has been told with skill and urgent conviction. A Mighty Heart makes the terms of the terrorist threat palpable.
  42. The film grows on you too, a later-stage version of "The Big Chill" that starts schematically and ends as a stirring celebration.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. Doubt leaves none in one respect: John Patrick Shanley was the right person to direct this fascinating screen version of his celebrated play.
  44. A genuinely eccentric comedy that explodes with funny ideas and expresses most of them in wildly original animation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. Blink your eyes and you've lost track of them, but one of the interesting things about the experience is that you don't want to lose track; though the film moves as slowly as its hikers, it demands, and deserves, to be watched closely. (The cinematographer was Inti Briones.)
  46. For him (Schneebaum) it's a journey of stunning rediscovery. For us it's the discovery of a brave soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. Ron Howard's Depression-era movie also works from the inside out, building a classic underdog drama from depth of character, rich texture, vivid detail and stirring performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. Black Book is its own kind of thriller. The film is filled with the genre's conventions -- suspense, betrayal, melodrama, violence, music -- and it's hugely enjoyable from start to finish.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. I laughed myself silly through most of A Mighty Wind, and was pleasantly surprised when it took a turn toward genuine feeling near the end.
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. The director, Kevin Macdonald, searches for clarity amid the contradictions of Marley's life and reaches no conclusions, but that's a tribute to his subject's complexity in a film of fascinating too-muchness.
  51. A surprising, entirely beguiling little film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. Period pieces can be marvelous or musty, depending on the period, as well as the piece. Soul Power is marvelous.
  53. Like Crazy develops slowly, and threatens at first to be just another movie about beautiful young people in the Age of Fraught Relationships. It's much more than that, though. Without belaboring any issues, it speaks volumes about fear of commitment.
  54. The picture sets up high expectations for itself with its wonderful casting, and the actors don't disappoint. [1 Aug 1989, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. What’s admirable about Pioneer is its succession of interesting environments, both below and above the water’s surface, and the quietly appealing figure at the center of the international intrigue.
  56. For all its awkward structure, the film is heartfelt and deeply affecting.
  57. The performances are nothing less than astonishing. It's easy to understand why the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival went to both actresses, though not easy for me to see why the movie itself was included in the unprecedented joint award.
  58. Uncommonly smart and interesting.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. One of the wittiest comedies to come our way in a very long time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. Any movie with these two comics is a trip and a half. How about France for the next one? A perfect way to revisit Michael Caine.
  61. A surprisingly agile and delightfully warm romantic comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Wonderfully fresh and affecting fable from India.
  63. Director, Darren Aronofsky, and the writer, Robert D. Siegel, have turned the story of this washed-up faux gladiator into a film of authentic beauty and commanding consequence.
  64. It's a fleeting but memorable image in a film that defines Leonard Cohen largely through the admiration of fellow artists, who performed his songs at a tribute concert last year at the opera house in Sydney, Australia. Their admiration borders on the reverential, but reverence doesn't get in the way of their performances, which are varied, impassioned and thrilling.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. Z for Zachariah asks us to suspend a good deal of disbelief. Ann is absurdly beautiful, and Ms. Robbie emerges as a full-fledged star, even though her performance is precise and understated.
  66. The violence is graphic, the dialogue can be awfully arch and the style is often mannered, but this long, dense adventure takes surprising side trips into thoughtfulness, ruefulness, whimsy and romance. It's high-grade entertainment sustained by a buoyant spirit.
  67. Unexpectedly thoughtful, as well as touching.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. A win-win situation in which a mainstream feature works equally well as stirring entertainment and a history lesson about a remarkable convergence of sports and statesmanship.
  69. The film, directed with exceptional flair and elegant concision by Scott Cooper, even comes from Warner Bros., the studio that specialized in psychopathic monsters played by such stars as James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson during Hollywood’s golden age.
  70. Talladega Nights may be brash, unbridled, even unhinged, but its cornpone humor is rich in parody, and its craftsmanship is superb -- smart writing, shrewd direction, precisely calibrated performances (whether the calibration calls for delicacy or broad-gauge burlesque), inventive language, inspired silliness and all-but-flawless timing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. xXx
    To top it all off, no matter where you sit in the theater, no matter how far you arch back in your seat, there's no escaping the sensation that all the action on the screen is taking place about three feet from your face. I loved it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. Besides engineering top-notch performances from his actors, Mr. Demme also put together a soundtrack that enhances the movie's marvelous, quirky rhythms. He keeps you hooked into this unpredictable, pleasurable picture right through the closing credits. [6 Nov 1986]
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. One of the film's best moments of deliciousness comes with the revelation that Yoshikazu, rather than his father, made the sushi that won the Michelin inspectors over; so much for working humbly in the old man's shadow.
  74. This is not a drama of shadings, but of ever-increasing intensity.
  75. The big difference between Mr. Romero's film and Mr. Eisner's--which is so intelligent you fear the fanboys will scatter--is that Mr. Eisner never gives us the military's point of view. All we know is what David and Judy and Russell know, which for a long time isn't much. And The Crazies is all the scarier for it.
  76. What makes "The Winter Soldier" so enjoyable, though, and what will make it so profitable, is its emotional bandwidth — all the vivid, nuanced life lived by its characters in between their frenzied escapades.
  77. Make what you will of the story and its symbolism, but Mr. Antal has made a remarkable feature debut with this visionary film, chockablock with memorable images.
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. The worst thing I can say about Rosenwald, a wonderful documentary by Aviva Kempner, is that it tends to ramble. I say it, though, in the spirit of the joyous New Orleans funeral march “Oh! Didn’t He Ramble.” How could Ms. Kempner’s narrative follow anything like a straight line when her subject is so rich and varied?
  79. I can tell you that Ms. Laurent’s direction is astute and economical, that both of the film’s young stars give fine performances, and that Breathe is a very good title for a film that ever so gradually takes your breath away.
  80. His is a special kind of courage, and it impels him to act with special agility in a brave new world of his own making, where little tweets can challenge big lies and a blog post can echo like thunder.
  81. His (Takeshi) sense of style is very much in evidence here, and so is his sense of humor.
  82. Given the white-on-white color scheme, I didn't expect so many shades of feeling.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. This film, which might have been called "The Fog of Words," isn't haunting, but dismaying. Mr. Rumsfeld is, as always, articulate, energetic and self-confident. Yet his words suggest a paradox — a restless mind with no discernible gift for self-reflection.
  84. In a movie devoted mainly to making you laugh, it’s a plea for tolerance that takes your breath away.
  85. Lovely & Amazing goes to the heart -- and face, and skin -- of a subject that's sure to ring true with women, and may even educate men.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. In an industry afflicted by sequelitis, it has taken John Boorman almost three decades to make the sequel to his much-cherished “Hope and Glory,” but Queen and Country turns out to be well worth the wait.
  87. A drama that transcends cleverness. This beautiful film, directed with subtlety and grace by Juan José Campanella, really is about moving from fear to love.
  88. The Rover, is anything but lively, though it's long on menace, often violent and consistently fascinating.
  89. A mismatched-buddy movie that's endearing, funny and affecting in equal measure.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. This unique enterprise, which began as a documentary experiment almost a half century ago, has grown into an inspiring testimonial to the unpredictability of the human spirit.
  91. Provides a reminder of the power of unadorned drama and language -- whole torrents of eloquent words -- in the service of a nifty idea.
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. It's a meditation, as affecting as it is entertaining, on the limits of violence and the power of unchained empathy.
  93. Richly detailed -- and improbably entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Rough around the edges, it's humor decidedly sophomoric in parts. But that's part of its charm. [19 Jan 1995, p.A16(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  94. Looks like Weimar decadence and feels like down-home friendship.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. One of the many stylistic distinctions of this outwardly modest production is the complex voice that the filmmaker has found for his young hero.
    • Wall Street Journal
  96. Martius comes to a bad end, while Mr. Fiennes achieves a great beginning. As a director, his grasp exceeds his daring reach, and his performance stands as a chilling exemplar of psychomartial ferocity.

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