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 Wish You Were Here
Lowest review score: 0 Because I Said So
Score distribution:
2,307 movie reviews
  1. Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. (What a terrific title!) This precocious, faux-primitive first feature, in Persian with English subtitles, and a sensationally eclectic score, was shot in wide-screen black-and-white, and frequently mimics the dreamlike rhythms of silent films.
  2. Big
    I am glad to be able to say that all these clever and talented people have actually come up with the goods. The biggest goodie is Tom Hanks as the little boy after his wish has been granted. Much of the comedy in this movie is physical. Without forcing the matter Mr. Hanks has a startling ability to take on the mannerisms and facial expressions of an adolescent. [2 Jun 1988, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. With his co-writer, Randy Sue Coburn, and composer Mark Isham, director Alan Rudolph has created a sense of time and place that authentically conveys what it might have been like when writers were celebrities and special effects came from words. [10 Jan 1995, p.A18]
    • Wall Street Journal
  4. Red Army is about many things — politics and sport, service and servitude, integrity trumped by money. Most memorably, though, it celebrates a good man living a great life by his own lights.
  5. Beautiful images can be a distraction in a serious documentary, but that's hardly the case here. They draw us in so we can better understand the hurtling changes that endanger the future of Cambodia and, by extension, much of the developing world.
  6. Nicole Kidman places the bereaved heroine of Rabbit Hole in a nether land between life and not-quite-life. Her beautiful performance transcends the specifics of the script, which David Lindsay-Abaire adapted from his play of the same name.
  7. Soko is terrific, but it is Mr. Lindon who delivers the performance of the film, his internalized consternation amounting to an eloquent dispatch from the war between the sexes.
  8. The best car commercial ever, an absolute triumph of product placement, and great fun as a movie in the bargain.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. A hoot, or at least a collection of delightful hootlets hung on a short, frayed line.
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. To their credit, and to the credit of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in the title roles of Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, the movie doesn't condescend to these relics of the recent past, but treats them with poignancy and humor. [21 Nov 1990]
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. It’s a paradox worth noting, and savoring, that the most dramatic movie of the week doesn’t have a script.
  12. What's an eight-letter word for a non-fiction feature that is witty, wise and wonderful? "Wordplay."
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. That Mr. Rohmer is an octogenarian just beginning to play with digital technology makes the venture even more intriguing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. The Square stands as a valuable document of a tormented time, an anatomy of a revolutionary movement doomed by a paucity of viable institutions, and by the movement's failure to advance a coherent agenda. (It's all the more heartbreaking when a speaker at one of the protests cries fervently, "We will fill the world with poetry.")
  15. Joe
    A beautiful film, shot by Tim Orr, that is elevated by Mr. Cage's stirring portrait of a violence-prone man who can't restrain himself from doing good.
  16. Le Havre stands on its own fragile but considerable merits.
  17. You don't have to be a fan of Mr. Jarmusch's special brand of indie spookiness to enjoy his new film. All that's required is patience with its languorous pace, plus a willingness to swing between amusement and delight, with periodic pauses at ennui.
  18. Why, in our drum-thumping, ritually trumpeting time, did so little fanfare precede the opening of a movie with so much to recommend it? This is grand entertainment.
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. It's a comedy of crisp, mordant wit and quietly radiating warmth, as well as a coming-of-age story with a lovely twist -- you can't always spot the best candidates for maturity.
  20. What's so affecting about him in the film, though, is that he doesn't seem monstrous at all. To the contrary, Iron Mike, having meted out epic suffering in the ring and other venues, seems to be a man who has suffered genuinely, even terribly, in the course of a life that he never believed would last 40 years.
  21. As such, it's chilling and enjoyable in unequal measure. Entertainment predominates, but entertainment with smarts, and a well-honed edge.
  22. The Sapphires isn't flawless, but who cares? It's a joyous affair that's distinguished by its music, and by the buoyant spirit of its stars.
  23. From seductive start to shattering finish, the film is as stirring, entertaining and steadfastly thrilling as it is beautiful.
  24. In a minimalist film of muted emotions, Michelle Williams gives as lovely a performance as a moviegoer could ask for.
  25. I've made a good case for seeing Rango, and why not; an eye feast is still a feast in this lean multiplex season. Be advised, though, of the film's peculiar deficits. The narrative isn't really dramatic, despite several send-up face-offs. It's more like a succession of picturesque notions that might have flowed from DreamWorks or Pixar while their story departments were out to lunch.
  26. It's a horror flick, and a creepily good one, that also functions as an allegory of the war that still haunts Spain seven decades later.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. A droll and affecting debut feature by Tom McCarthy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. A remarkably fine and genuinely frightening movie about a teenage vampire.
  29. Some comedies make you laugh out loud. This one makes you smile inwardly, but often.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Set ablaze by a startling performance by Laura Dern, it's a stark, often disturbing look at the ramifications of betrayal.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. Tender, funny and smart, Machuca is that rare discovery, an incisive political parable that also succeeds as a drama of sharply drawn individuals.
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. The film is clearly not for everyone; sometimes it wasn’t for me. But it’s steadfastly nonjudgmental and wonderfully tender toward two searchers for new versions of old-fashioned love.
  32. Who knew this German-born Turkish filmmaker could perpetrate a delirious farce-in German and Greek with good English subtitles-that doesn't flag for a single one of its 99 minutes?
  33. Even when the masks are dropped, though, it’s all but impossible to tell the good guys from the bad. Both sides are corrupt, both sides do terrible harm. Although the film has its shortcomings and simplifications, it’s a bleakly persuasive view of a decades-long combat that respects no boundaries, and seems to hold no prospect of surcease.
  34. As a director, working with actors, she may have drawn on her own experience acting in features and TV; whatever her method, she has come up with a matched pair of terrific performances.
  35. The World's End stands on its own as hilarious high-end nonsense.
  36. A daring feature debut by Evan Glodell, Bellflower looks like it was shot with the digital equivalent of a Brownie box camera, and generates an almost palpable aura of anxiety.
  37. This fourth iteration of a series that first burst upon the world in 1988 turns out to be terrific entertainment, and startlingly shrewd in the bargain, a combination of minimalist performances -- interestingly minimalist -- and maximalist stunts that make you laugh, as you gape, at their thunderous extravagance.
  38. What she thinks of herself, though, seems perfectly, if improbably, reasonable--a queen of comedy who won't and shouldn't abdicate.
  39. Foxcatcher is a radical departure from Mr. Miller’s previous feature, the smart and entertaining “Moneyball.” It isn’t meant as conventional entertainment, but it’s fascinating to watch from start to finish.
  40. Mr. Cuarón directs with a hand that's as sure as it is deft. The music is terrific, though I can't say the same for the fusty subtitles, and Adam Kimmel's cinematography bathes the movie's cheerful absurdities in a beautiful glow.
  41. Daniel Craig isn't merely acceptable, but formidable. His Bond is at least the equal of the best ones before him, and beats all of them in sheer intensity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. A fascinating procedural with a fitting climax.
  43. James Marsh’s movie, which co-stars Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking, the celebrated physicist’s wife, is a biographical love story that doesn’t depend on science to shape the plot — it’s rich in emotional intelligence.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The cheap perfume of sentimentality wafts through the closing moments of Flags of Our Fathers. It's all the more noticeable for having been avoided so well and so long. Mr. Eastwood knows that sort of thing doesn't mix with the stench of war.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. With Mr. Harrelson, Mr. Moverman has created an antihero of epic proportions and indiscretions.
  45. Ms. Coppola, who is Francis Coppola's granddaughter, has made a coming-of-age film about a culture in which few people — adults included — ever grow up. It's essentially plotless and slowly paced, much like the recent work of her aunt, Sofia Coppola, but astutely observed, full of fine performances and ever so guardedly hopeful about April and the boy who adores her.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Jarmusch's uncharacteristically mainstream -- wonderful -- road trip movie.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. The movie's sense of place is hypnotic, but there's more to it than gorgeous images -- Campbell Scott's astute direction; Joan Allen's beautifully laconic performance; a sense of lively, if occasionally pretentious, inquiry into the wellsprings of art.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. Yet the heart of the film lies in what it manages to say, without boldface or italics, about how hard it is for Donna, like so many of her anxious cohort, to make genuine connections, to break free of narcissistic constraints and become a stand-up grown-up.
  48. Chiemi Karasawa's unblinking documentary feature watches Elaine Stritch struggle with the toughest role of her life—being old, and in constantly uncertain health.
  49. Eureka demands active attention, but rewards it with emotional resonance, thematic complexity and a succession of images that take up permanent residence in our brains.
  50. The screen, like the stage, can barely contain this marvelous play of intelligence.
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  51. Serendipity is "Sliding Doors" with no alternate versions; it's willed enchantment all the way.
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. More than a deadpan comedy about oddball losers. This dork has his day, and this story has its touching subtext -- growing pains relieved by unlikely hope.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. A convincing, entertaining portrait of the revolutionist as a young man.
    • Wall Street Journal
  54. Clearly Mr. Altman was enthralled by the company's work process, an alchemy through which sweat and muscularity on the rehearsal-room floor become exquisite abstractions on stage. His pleasure is infectious.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. What makes this nominee for the best-foreign-film Oscar singular among Holocaust movies is the way it characterizes the banality of life underground.
  56. Koch the film makes the point without belaboring it — a mayor and a metropolis linked by tumultuous events in the worst and best of times.
  57. When the time comes for suffering, the pain of watching her is mingled with the pleasure of a performance that transcends contrivance. This young actress is the real, heart-piercing thing.
  58. Pathos isn't Ms. Dunham's bag. What makes her film fascinating is the delicate mood it sustains.
  59. Boy
    Mr. Waititi, a popular standup comic in New Zealand, is wonderfully droll and entertaining in this acting role, which isn't all that far, geography and culture notwithstanding, from Steve Zahn at his stoner best.
  60. Words of wisdom keep popping up in My Dog Tulip with gratifying regularity. They're more likely to gratify dog lovers than anyone else, but that's a large group to which I belong.
  61. Here's a case of images in the service of important ideas, rather than entertainment, yet they could hardly be more powerful, from roaring torrents released by a dam in China to a lyrical helicopter shot of a glistening river in British Columbia.
  62. [Sordi] lifts buffoonery to the level of high art.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. The entire film is a seduction, one that draws us into a vanished world where Count Leo Tolstoy and his wife of 48 years, Countess Sofya, come to joyous, tempestuous life in a matched pair of magnificent performances by Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren.
  64. A daring and unstable mélange of styles--working-class realism, deadpan fantasy, shameless buffoonery. At times it falls flat, or fails to rise. More often than not, though, it's a heartbreaker.
  65. Mr. Stettner has a serious subject here -- how the hurts that women suffer at the hands of men can be internalized more deeply than the victims know -- and his film is graced with a stunning performance by Ms. Channing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. More persuasively still, Blackfish — an Indian name for orcas — argues against the very concept of quasiamusement parks like SeaWorld that turn giant creatures meant for the wild into hemmed-in, penned-up entertainers.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mason and Odgers are charming young performers with cheeks that shade of pink generally found only in picture books or among English school children. That color goes perfectly here. There is an unabashed old-fashioned quality to the story-telling, not quaint, not fusty, but very much of another era -- and what a relief that is.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. An endearing film, and a fascinating one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. An accomplished and enjoyable Spanish-language debut feature by Fabían Bielinsky.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. Head, shoulders, funny bone and brain above the competition. It's the best comedy I've seen this year.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. In a literal sense this delightful film, in Norwegian with English subtitles, is about retirement and the prospect of loss. But Mr. Hamer, a poet of the droll and askew, sends the aptly named Odd--it's also a common Norwegian name--on a cockeyed journey from regret through comic confusion to a lovely eagerness for new adventures.
  71. The results are startlingly original, if occasionally overambitious. This is "Tsotsi" without the feel-good glow, a tale of entrepreneurship's perils and boundless pleasures.
  72. Heathers gave me the creeps but it also made me laugh. This bizarre variation on that Hollywood staple, the teen movie, is one weird original. [30 Mar 1989 p.A12(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. There's a near-sacred history in Hollywood of non-U.S.- born directors providing fresh perspectives on America. Miloš Forman. Alfred Hitchcock. Ang Lee. Ernst Lubitsch. Billy Wilder. For Prisoners, a stress-inducing trip into child abduction, the director is Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, who gives us an American "hero" guaranteed to push many buttons, many times, and who might not have been allowed to be quite so awful, under a different director's lens.
  74. CQ
    Exceptionally likable and affecting as well as entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. This is a special film whose delicate tone ranges from tender to astringent, with occasional side trips into sweet.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. Readily accessible, slyly subversive and perfectly delightful film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. "Witty and brisk" is not the name of a French breakfast cereal, but it does describe a certain brand of French film, the type that coquettishly flirts with comedy while sprinting in the direction of dry, sophisticated charm. Such is Haute Cuisine.
  78. Fatih Akin is a filmmaker to be reckoned with. His characters grow and change in a stunning film that pulses with life.
  79. Now, thanks to this last film, in 3-D, the pleasure is intense, and mixed with awe. There is majesty here, and not just because we’re in the presence of magnificently regal madness.
  80. A feature film that's often astringent on the surface, yet deeply and memorably stirring.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The movie is, at times, funny enough to make you cry, and, when it's not, it moves nicely as a parody.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. The movie's main appeal is its special comic flavor -- a zesty fusion of picaresque adventure, absurdist whimsy and Chaplinesque grace.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A wildly wondrous reinvention of the story of the chroniclers of dark, occasionally horrific, child-pleasing fairy tales.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. An expertly developed farce that's very funny and surprisingly affecting in the bargain.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. A severe and eerily beautiful German-language drama.
  84. The essence of this inventive though erratic animated feature is joyous music and eye-popping motion.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. Along the way Dori Berinstein's cameras catch gallant theater people doing what they've done since Sophocles was a pup: rehearsing, revising, worrying, learning, stretching, struggling to bump things up from good to wonderful and constantly, fervently hoping.
  86. Howard, and the screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman, have used the book as nothing more than their jumping-off point for an erratic work of fiction that's part mystery thriller and part Hollywood schmaltz.
    • Wall Street Journal
  87. An overlong adventure enlivened by wonders.
  88. This enjoyable shambles of a sci-fi thriller, directed by Marc Forster in impressive 3-D, stands on its own as a powerful vision of planetary chaos.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It’s the hilarious tumble of words--the sly cultural references, astonishingly creative invective, the veritable arias of profanity--that gives the film an unexpected heft.
  89. These young men and women aren't in it for the money, or the glory; they only want to save lives and heal wounds. That's another kind of glory.
  90. Ms. Englert's performance isn't as interesting as it might have been if the writing hadn't favored Ginger. But Ms. Fanning, a young actress of seemingly unerring instincts, is a wonder.
  91. Cadillac Records may be a mess dramatically, but it's a wonderful mess, and not just because of the great music. The people who made it must have harbored the notion, almost subversive in a season of so many depressing films, that going out to the movies should be fun.
  92. Seldom has a film presented such a richly ambiguous juxtaposition of modernity (among the toys showered on the boy is a really cool radio-controlled helicopter), ancient mindset and, to be sure, possible miraculousness.
  93. The whole thing comes together surprisingly well, as a celebration of its own milieu, and of a tender teen's transformation into a strong young woman.
    • Wall Street Journal

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