Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,425 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: 59
Highest review score: 100 White God
Lowest review score: 0 FeardotCom
Score distribution:
2425 movie reviews
  1. The strangest thing about his latest picture, Hairspray, is how very sweet and cheerful it is. In his own weird way, Mr. Waters has captured the gleeful garishness of the early '60s, when high-school girls wore demure bows in their ratted hair and deadened their lips with palest pink lip gloss -- and believed that racial harmony was inevitable if teens of all flavors could dance together on TV. [25 Feb 1988, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. It's not fair to say that Ms. Davis steals scenes - one of the movie's strengths is its ensemble cast - but she supercharges every scene she's in.
  3. A small independent feature that's everything an independent feature -- small or big -- should be.
    • Wall Street Journal
  4. As director, Mr. Branagh and his cameraman have chosen to shoot his film tight and drab, a style that allows the actors to speak the poetry without affect. Nothing's prettified. [09 Nov 1989]
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  5. Much of Summer Hours, which was shot by the excellent Eric Gautier, feels like a Chekhov play and resonates like a Schubert quartet; it’s a work of singular loveliness.
  6. Living in Emergency is anything but bleeding-heart propaganda.
  7. Full of entertaining vignettes that eventually make a happy mockery, as they're meant to do, of the tragedy vs. comedy dialectic.
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  8. A single seeing isn't enough to take in the eccentric marvels of The Triplets of Belleville, an animated feature by Sylvain Chomet that creates a visual language all its own.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. A must-view film for our media-besotted age.
  10. What's so mesmerizing about this film is the sight, in an endless rush of color and images, of so much of his work in one place, including pieces we don't often see.
  11. Mr. Franklin has always been easy with quicksilver moods -- and Mr. Washington is terrifically appealing as a fool for love who loses his cool as he learns about fear.
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  12. The celebrated percussionist Evelyn Glennie is the subject of a wonderful documentary called Touch the Sound, although calling her a percussionist is like calling Brancusi a demolitionist.
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  13. The intricacies here are moral and ethical, and they're fascinating.
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  14. Silence makes the film interesting by enticing us to concentrate in ways we're not used to, while artistry carries the day. The Artist may have started as a daring stunt, but it elevates itself to an endearing - and probably enduring - delight.
  15. As Crowhurst's situation grows desperate, the scope of the film expands -- from a good yarn to a haunting, complex tale of self-promotion, media madness, self-delusion and, finally, self-destruction.
  16. Represents a big growth spurt in Mr. Cronenberg's career. Its measured pace, along with a style that is sometimes austere (though sometimes anything but) repays close attention with excellent acting and a wealth of absorbing information.
  17. Difficult too, and certainly problematic, but it's sometimes quite wonderful. Do see it if you're curious about one-of-a-kind films, and if you care about the ever-evolving career of one of our most gifted filmmakers.
    • Wall Street Journal
  18. As you watch Doc Paskowitz perform for Mr. Pray's camera, it's hard not to judge him harshly. His narcissism seems boundless, even when he cloaks it in self-deprecation.
  19. A relatively small, tough-minded drama about pitiless people doing unprincipled things, proves to be one of the most interesting, elegantly crafted and — paradoxically, given the dark subject matter — elating films to come along in recent memory.
  20. Duma is not a masterpiece, but its deficits recede into insignificance once you open yourself to the movie's mystery and visual splendor.
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  21. You can't take your eyes off Ms. Kidman; she has never played a role with more focused energy.
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  22. Morgan Spurlock has come up with a terrific idea-a movie about product placements that depends completely on product placements for its financing.
  23. I took it as a pretty piece of ephemera, and I must confess that I laughed a lot.
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  24. The daunting logistics of Superman Returns have obviously affected the director's work -- thus the hit-or-miss continuity of the narrative -- but Bryan Singer hasn't been defeated by them. While his movie can be cumbersome, it's consistently alive, and that is saying a lot when many such productions are dead in the water, on land or in the air. Also, how can you resist the charm of a fantasy in which everyone gets his news from newspapers?
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  25. It's hard to stop quoting from a movie this good.
  26. As horror upon horror unfolds in Prophet’s Prey, Amy Berg’s shocking documentary about the mad polygamist Warren Jeffs and his followers, one may marvel, in horror, at the elaborate forms that deviancy can take.
  27. Some of Mr. Loach's earlier feature films have been easier to admire than to enjoy. This one, which won the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival, fairly vibrates with dramatic energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. Fresh and flip and enjoyable, it's a sci-fi-tinged romantic comedy that I urge you to seek out.
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. Noah can be silly or sublime, but it's never less than fascinating. I was on board from start to finish.
  30. The made movie — i.e. Mr. Pavich's documentary — makes for a great seminar on creativity. Its star is Mr. Jodorowsky, outrageously handsome and dynamic at the age of 84.
  31. A sports movie with a quick wit, uncommon grace and a romantic soul.
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  32. All three performances are excellent, in their different ways.
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  33. Mr. Lee's film is stronger as a visual experience - especially in 3-D - than an emotional one, but it has a final plot twist that may also change what you thought you knew about the ancient art of storytelling.
  34. It's a great accomplishment and, at a time when satire is in short supply, a terrific surprise.
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  35. It's a different city today, in a country that sees its racial and social divides with more clarity than it did back then. But the most troubling question the film raises is how clearly we may see even now.
  36. None of this would work, of course, without stylish performances in the leads and Mr. Clooney and Ms. Zeta-Jones do themselves and their dubious characters proud.
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  37. A singularly strange and affecting comedy.
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  38. An exciting caper, though sometimes a trying one, with great dollops of self-parodying dialogue that will test your loyalty to Mr. Mamet's way with words.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. Here's another film, along with "Mud," that's in the American grain, but a genetically conditioned grain of unforgiving fathers and overweening ambition. It's powerful stuff.
  40. The illusion is seamless and the pleasure is boundless.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. The energy in Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's — what a great title! — is genuine, infectious and superabundant.
  42. In a truly weird way Anomalisa provides an immersive experience that is no less compelling, though lots more authentic, than the one you get in a megahorror show like “The Revenant.” Once you’re in that puppet’s head it’s hard to get out.
  43. Sandra Goldbacher's gorgeous debut feature (shot by Ashley Rowe) stars Minnie Driver in a lovely performance as Rosina da Silva. [31 Jul 1998]
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. It's the set pieces that mark the film as something special: swirling crowds at a casino in the opening sequence, Trudy's ordeal by trailer trash, a climactic firefight that puts lightning in the shade. Very impure, and very impressive.
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  45. Appeal lies on the bright, shiny surface of its ostensibly simple plot, and in its rat-a-tat-tat language, which often sounds like Mamet-visits-Spyne.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. The heroes are two hit men, and the tone is often absurdist. But the film is also very funny and surprisingly affecting.
  47. Anyone who doesn’t have a grand time watching Shaun the Sheep Movie is suffering from a fractured funny bone that needs to be reset.
  48. The film's power is undercut by its narrow geographic focus, which seems to associate bullying with conservative or working-class areas in red states. The filmmakers could easily have found similar cases involving the children of urban sophisticates.
  49. Don’t Think Twice really shines as an improv procedural, a film that celebrates, in illuminating detail, the skills and anxieties of this showbiz subgenre.
  50. After countless films in which immigration plays a central role -- one of the earliest was Charlie Chaplin's 1917 silent classic "The Immigrant" while one of the best, Jan Troell's "The Emigrants," has never migrated to DVD -- you'd think the canon was essentially complete. Yet this visionary work adds to it by combining harsh realities with magic-realist fantasies.
  51. Breathes new life into a familiar story: coming of age in high school.
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  52. This is more than a respectful remake; Let Me In is quietly stylish and thoroughly chilling in its own right.
  53. What We Do in the Shadows has nonmedicinal virtues that many large-scale movies lack: unflagging energy, entertaining inventiveness, sustained ridiculousness and even, dare I say it, a spasm of eloquence in Deacon’s twisted tribute to the frailties of the human race.
  54. His story is instructive, as well as chilling and occasionally hilarious -- a brief, probably foredoomed career during which a would-be Orson Welles, playing shamelessly to the camera, draws from a bottomless cesspool of hubris, bile and rage.
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  55. Apollo 11's mission was a singular chapter in the story of mankind; The Dish finds a whimsical, winning way of telling it anew.
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  56. Herb and Dorothy, a documentary by Megumi Sasaki, grows on you just as its subjects do.
  57. Has its flaws, but it's better, as well as darker, than the first. It's also longer, by nine minutes, but hold that protest to the Kidney Foundation; the time flies, albeit in fits and starts, like players on a Quidditch field.
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  58. This lively little film, a comic take on Shakespeare's tragedy, is really entertaining.
  59. All the more remarkably, then, this flawed but startling biopic stars another performer, Chadwick Boseman, who fills Brown's shoes with a dynamism that transcends imitation.
  60. The main thing about Cedar Rapids is that it makes you laugh-often and out loud.
  61. In the end, though, the success of American Gangster doesn't flow from the originality of its ideas, or its bid for epic status, as much as from its craftsmanship and confident professionalism. It's a great big gangster film, and a good one.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Calls to mind Lubitsch's "Trouble in Paradise" and beguiles all the way from the parade of umbrellas decorating the opening titles to the closing credits.
  62. It's spectacular, to be sure, but also remarkable for its all-encompassing gloom. No movie has ever administered more punishment, to its hero or its audience, in the name of mainstream entertainment.
  63. It's a film of modest means and great ambition, a darkly comic drama concerned with nothing less than the place of faith, and an embattled Church, in modern life.
  64. So much movie can be made with so little plot, given sufficient humanity and dramatic tension. That's the case with Andrew Haigh's eloquent chamber piece.
  65. In many ways the film reflects its hero’s brilliance. It’s a scintillating construction, though one that sometimes feels like a product launch in its own right.
  66. Like earlier Dardenne films, Lorna’s Silence is naturalistic, yet this one, beautifully shot in 35 mm film by Alain Marcoen, achieves a poetry of bereftness.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The thriller aspect of this work, happily, doesn't overshadow its real beauty -- its stark portrayal of the nightmare despair of aliens, hunted, on edge, prepared to risk all for a new start.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. This immensely pleasurable film is anything but dry. It's a saga of the immigrant experience that captures the snap, crackle and pop of American life, along with the pounding pulse, emotional reticence, volcanic colors and cherished rituals of Indian culture.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. Overlord feels like a small but vivid tragedy inside an epic container.
  69. The scope of the subject is such that when Mr. Jarecki's voiceover cuts into the narrative, imposing a personal angle on the national story, it reduces the sense of significance its creator aimed for. But that's a fairly backhanded endorsement of a very potent movie.
  70. Mr. Shyamalan is a new national treasure, as attuned to our sensibilities and everyday life as Steven Spielberg.
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  71. For the most part, though, Ms. Moncrieff has given us a portrait of a young woman with a luminous soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. It also happens to feature a pair of performances that eclipse all else around them.
  73. The common problem of Solondz's characters is an inability to see the world in shades of grey, which is fitting in a film where color-garish, boring or just plain ugly-is so important, and the actors are working off palettes of such extreme emotions. A few of them-notably Ms. Rampling, Mr. Hinds and Ms. Sheedy-are as good here as they've ever been.
  74. Mr. Almodóvar's love of movies informs every frame of this beautiful film.
  75. Demanding, quietly breathtaking film.
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  76. More to the point of this marvelous film, who knew there were kids as heroic, in their various ways, as these valiant super-spellers?
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  77. For the director, Mr. Leconte, and for the usually volcanic Mr. Auteuil, the quiet, cumulative power of this film is a striking departure from the dazzling energy of their previous collaboration in "Girl on the Bridge."
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  78. Still, the cynosure of all eyes is honest, articulate Elizabeth, her own woman in an era when women belonged to men, and at the same time full of love. Lizzie is the best, and Keira Knightley does right by her.
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  79. Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows, is the best possible end for the series that began a decade ago.
  80. Mr. Ostlund positions his troubled characters in an environment of polished ash and Scandinavian spotlessness, under which there are dark mutterings — the constant creak of tow cables and un-oiled metal.
  81. A very entertaining black comedy for very mysterious reasons.
  82. His film is not for the weak of stomach or heart, but it's a stunner all the same.
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  83. “Montage” is about expression. As such, it’s a more honest tribute to Mr. Cobain than any conventional documentary could pretend to be.
  84. The distinction of this lovely, if slightly tentative, debut feature is its willingness to set forth mysteries of the human heart without solving them; everyone's fate stays unsealed.
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  85. Throbs with an ambition that sends it soaring, then brings it down.
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  86. A beautifully strange and stirring sci-fi adventure.
  87. The deliriously talented Lake Bell wrote, produced, directed and stars in this peculiar bit of comedy magic, set amid the cutthroat world of Hollywood voiceover artists.
  88. Laurent Cantet's fascinating, troubling drama has many meanings.
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  89. A smart, suspenseful drama, starring Hayden Christensen, that honors its own factual roots as no movie about journalists has done since "All the President's Men."
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. A stylish thriller with real complexity, people with interesting faces, a sensational actress cast as an ambisexual Goth hacker heroine--the news about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is nothing but good.
  91. Ivan Reitman directed, with great verve and unflagging finesse, from a terrifically funny script by Elizabeth Meriwether.
  92. Marvel’s new “Captain America” is anything but bleak — what’s so audacious about the film, and so pleasing, is its quicksilver mix of hardcore action and bright comedy.
  93. Lee's journey of the body and soul is something else. Maggie Gyllenhaal makes it strangely touching, a revelation.
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  94. Strong stuff, and all the stronger for having taken itself so comically.
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  95. Satoshi Kon, whose previous film was the remarkable "Tokyo Godfathers," uses the complex plot as a pretext for joyous psychedelia.
  96. A bright little screwball comedy that speaks for the vitality of new movies.
  97. The life that swirls around Kym before, during and after her sister's densely populated, wonderfully detailed wedding seems to have been caught on the fly in all its sweetness, sadness and joy. (In its free-form style the film constitutes an elaborate homage to Robert Altman.)
  98. Has its share of contrivances, some more successful than others, but center stage is occupied by truth, and austere beauty.
    • Wall Street Journal

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