Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,523 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 Locke
Lowest review score: 0 Speed Racer
Score distribution:
2523 movie reviews
  1. None of this is uninteresting, and much of it is fascinating as the film gets up close and personal with the earth’s seething innards.
  2. The most remarkable thing about The Mermaid, though, is its clarity as a cautionary fable.
  3. I regretted it most when the temporal hopscotching took me away from Ms. Winslet's portrait of the writer as a young sensualist, madly smitten by words and life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  4. Considering the star power -- and talent -- of the cast around her, it would have been impressive if Alison Lohman had simply held her own as Astrid, the young heroine of White Oleander. Instead, she owns the movie.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. Reconstruction means to be confusing, and is. It also means to intrigue us, and does.
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. What's troubling about the film's technique is its lack of context; we must take Yuris, who speaks serviceable English, pretty much at his word. What's troubling about his story is its ring of truth.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. Despite the righteous indignation that is so clearly fueling the film--much of its $8 million budget was raised from off-island Taiwanese--the movie is a sturdy entry in the paranoid-thriller genre, and raises some interesting issues about our relationship with the country we used to call China.
  8. Real-life events have overtaken District B13, and they give this feverish, yet oddly flat French action adventure a whiff of substance to go along with its spectacular stunts.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. The movie blurs into a continuum of cars pounding one another and closeups of faces showing disgust, happiness, fear and outrage. It's the kind of shorthand imagery that works best in brief spurts, say, the amount of time it takes for a television commercial to implant a spark-plug brand into your brain. [5 Jul 1990, p.A9]
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. Who Killed the Electric Car?, a fascinating feature-length documentary by Chris Paine, opens with a mock funeral, then follows the structure of a mock trial in which multiple suspects are found guilty.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. Combines silly stuff about life in Los Angeles with buoyant energy, a couple of chases worthy of the Keystone Kops and quick-witted actors playing droll characters with obvious affection.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. To do rough justice to this special treat in not much space, let me first stipulate that it evokes any number of Woody Allen films, thanks to its therapy-centric characters and its Upper West Side milieu.
  13. Crude as its build-up may be, the movie pays off with unexpected delicacy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. The plot has an intriguing twist, and the production, in addition to Mr. McKellen’s commanding presence, has fine work by Laura Linney as Holmes’s housekeeper, Mrs. Munro, and by Milo Parker as Roger, Mrs. Munro’s son. The boy is vividly intelligent, ferociously angry and a force to be reckoned with.
  15. At a time when so many movies look alike, and studio productions sometimes look aggressively ugly, here's a quirky vision at the intersection of sci-fi and romance. Upside Down can be beguiling if you're willing to invert disbelief.
  16. When a feelgood formula is fleshed out artfully, going along with it can feel very good indeed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. Pays off in surprising ways, when love of music, and fame, plays second fiddle to love of family.
    • Wall Street Journal
  18. I’ll See You In My Dreams, has its shortcomings as drama, but she’s (Danner) the heroine, Carol Petersen, and she takes advantage of every resonant moment the role offers her.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The jokes fly fast and sometimes very funny. They are, more often, crude and homophobic. Still, a genuine sweetness lurks.
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. It is fun: Watching Ms. Jolie do her own acrobatics, under the direction of her longtime stunt coordinator Simon Crane, is a kick, especially in an era when our knowledge of special effects have so diluted the vicarious thrills of high-wire moviemaking.
  20. This screen adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s autobiographical best-seller is burdened, out of fidelity to the book, with life lessons and unneeded explanations that it dispenses, like CliffsNotes, at every opportunity.
  21. Beowulf deserves to be taken semiseriously; its eye candy is mixed with narrative fiber and dramatic protein. But it begs to be taken frivolously. Effects have grown so exciting in the realm of the third dimension that you just sit there all agog behind your polarizing glasses.
  22. Pulls us along in a state of pleasant expectation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. The movie, with some of the trappings of a murder mystery, makes its points with blunt force. Fun seldom figures in this adaptation, which is overlong and mysteriously unaffecting. Still, Mr. Fincher's film has many fascinations.
  24. The language of its narrative, like that of its characters, may be elevated -- a literary Western version of Damon Runyon -- but the words are intriguing, challenging and, occasionally, very funny.
  25. Its terrific cast kept making me laugh out loud.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. Ms. Bening is the only reason to see the movie, but a compelling reason. Just like Julia, she prevails over lesser mortals with unfailing zest.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. With a refreshing absence of earnestness, the movie mainly spins out many variations on a theme: Easy Street begins and ends on Capitol Hill. [03 Dec 1992]
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. Ambitious and uneven.
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. The children's real world, or what passes for real in a fantasy, could hardly be more inviting, for reasons that are hardly mysterious: the strong performances, under Mark Waters's accomplished direction; the smart, bright language, much of it taken from the books; the stylish cinematography, by Caleb Deschanel.
  30. Once the plotters plunge into action, though, Valkyrie becomes both an exciting thriller and a useful history lesson.
  31. It's easy to speculate that the loving Cleo and the frequently absent Johnny are stand-ins for Ms. Coppola and her own famous father, but Somewhere needn't be seen as a film à clef. The movie stands on its own terms as a slow-burning drama of life in a Hollywood purgatory where you can not only check out but leave.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Open Water, which was made for $130,000 -- and seemingly without special-effects assistance -- proves you don't have to have a big budget to have an audience on the edge of its seat.
    • Wall Street Journal
  32. Eye in the Sky is literally all over the map in its depiction of drone warfare, and right on target, if flagrantly contrived, in examining the ethics of killing by remote control.
  33. The film has a surprisingly sweet spirit, and its co-stars respect the human core in their garish material; Mr. Kinnear, especially, has never been more likable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. Plain-spoken and unpretentious, he’s a fount of surprising information and informed opinion.
  35. Everything in The Light Between Oceans is deeply felt and dramatically precise, in a way that seems destined to become profoundly personal for each and every viewer.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    An affecting story of punishment and crime, of betrayal and redemption marred by preachiness and a treacly ending, Catch a Fire is notable for its refusal to see things in terms of black and white.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. A freewheeling denunciation of the capitalist system that is often mordantly funny and, by lurching turns, scornful, rambling, repetitive, impassioned, mock-lofty, pseudo-lowbrow, faux-naïve, persuasive, tabloid-shameless and agit-prop-powerful.
  37. The essence of the film is slapsticky, chopsocky action, rendered with great verve and accompanied by bromides having to do with the need to believe.
  38. There's plenty of scary pleasure to be had from this clever, compact thriller.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. Several startling depictions of the artist at work make you forget, if only temporarily, the serious shortcomings of the script.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. This one is nowhere near as original -- it's a flawed remake of a fine first feature from Norway -- but "Insomnia" still stands on its own as a thriller with brains and scenic beauty.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. A series of picaresque adventures in a notably picturesque land. Is it enough to sustain anything resembling dramatic momentum? For a while it isn't, but then, unexpectedly, it is.
  42. There's the expected, though no less astounding, profusion of life forms on the way down — Mr. Cameron calls them "critters" when he isn't using their scientific names — but the essence of the drama is the explorer's deepening solitude.
  43. Horror and social value contend for equal honors in Must Read After My Death, a frightening -- and eerily edifying -- documentary that Morgan Dews created from a family trove of photos, Dictaphone letters, audiotapes, voluminous transcripts and home movies.
  44. The repetitions are meant as a sort of metajoke, and it works well enough, more often than not, though heightened levels of raunch and chaos seem not so much meta as frantic.
  45. Odd as it seems for a film built on such a grand scale, sweet is the operative word here, and that's not meant as an insult. [29 May 1992]
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. Much of this is fascinating, as far as it goes, but it wouldn't go as far as it does into drama were it not for Ms. Johansson's wonderfully strange performance.
  47. It’s a paradox, then, as well as a pity, that the film loses its way at precisely the point when the new story starts to merge with the old one, and the Little Girl meets a character called Mr. Prince.
  48. A romance, a detective story, a comedy and a fable. Such a mishmash prevents it from being a standout in any of those categories. -- It's lovely to look at, though, and it's ultimately carried to success on the back of a strong story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. Watching the actors and gorgeous trappings is an adventure in cognitive dissonance. I didn't believe a single minute in almost three hours, but enjoyed being there all the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. Mixes whiffs of Woody Allen and Federico Fellini with Mr. Farmanara's distinctive, mordant wit.
  51. A P.T. Anderson film is, by definition, an event, even if this one doesn’t measure up to such absurdist landmarks as Howard Hawks’s “The Big Sleep,” the Coen brothers’ “The Big Lebowski” and Robert Altman’s peerless “The Long Goodbye.”
  52. Joan Allen, for whom the role was written, combines severity, which she has often played before, with such levity and verve that she lifts the whole film on the wings of Terry's wrath.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. Max
    This fine and welcome piece of family entertainment, directed by Boaz Yakin from a script he wrote with Sheldon Lettich, gets to a sweet spot by way of a smart premise, patriotic undertones and a coming-of-age story that’s downright stirring.
  54. Roger Donaldson's film is endearing in its own right as a celebration of a strong-willed eccentric, and memorable as a showcase for a brilliant actor in a benign mode.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. Much of the film is banal or pretentious, or both - vacuous vignettes about emptiness. Occasionally, though, those vignettes burst into life and burn with consuming fire.
  56. It's a privilege to watch peerless actors at the peak of their powers.
  57. Here’s a nice surprise, a zestful, slightly autobiographical debut feature from Israel, written and directed by a woman, Talya Lavie, that takes satirical aim at the passions, frustrations and sexual politics of women in the army.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A loopy, endearing documentary.
  58. The music is shamelessly entertaining, and the warmth of Morgan Freeman's narration conveys the possibility that, for all the imminent peril, the lemurs of this enchanted forest still have a fighting chance.
  59. Looks splendid and commands respect, but leaves you wondering what essential something you missed. It's a worthy film at war with itself.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. The movie as a whole is clever, and conspicuously overwrought. But Mr. Downey's performance is elegantly wrought; he's as quick-witted as his legendary character, and blithely funny in the lovers' spats—all right, the mystery-lovers' spats—that Holmes keeps having with Jude Law's witty Dr. Watson.
  61. Bizarre and belabored, yet grimly fascinating.
  62. There are worlds within the startling world of Murderball.
  63. This modest little fable from Israel, in English, Hebrew and Arabic, has spellbinding resonances, yet never breaks the spell by blowing its own horn.
  64. My advice to "Hobbit" fans is not only to see this one, but to see it as I did, in 3-D projected at the normal rate of 24 frames per second. The film will also be shown in what's called High Frame Rate 3-D, at 48 frames a second, but that made the last installment look more like video than a regular movie. Smaug is scary enough without a turbo boost.
  65. Halle Berry is something else as Leticia Musgrove, the widow of an inmate who's just been executed by Hank and his crew, and that something else is commandingly passionate.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. If truth be told, the film is less than the sum of its parts; the main problem is the fragmented narrative structure, a legacy of the literary source. Still, it's a joy to see men and women with dense life stories played by powerful actors with long and distinguished careers.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. Guaranteed to fan antigovernment sentiments among its audiences, Dinosaur 13 is less about paleontology than it is about prosecutorial overreach, political gamesmanship, dinosaur swindlers and true crime — if in fact crimes were even committed, and/or committed by the people accused.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Audiences will be rooting for him all the way to the end zone.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. Mammoth manages to be as affecting as it is heartfelt.
  69. Mr. Van Sant and his star, Michael Pitt, together with the cinematographer Harris Savides, set out to do a somber, rigorously distanced study of a man drained of all resources, and slowly though inexorably approaching his end. That they have done exactly what they meant to do is notable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. The Visitor tells of renewal through love. Its song is tinged with sadness, but stirring all the same.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Shows how a dedicated man ensured that great music could always be heard at its best.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. When Kevin Spacey takes center stage, our planet really does seem bright.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. The buddies’ adventures are dramatized delightfully, but a case could be made for the movie’s real subject being scenery, and, particularly, water.
  73. Sharp-witted, sometimes surreal and largely autobiographical French-language comedy.
  74. The movie isn't deep, or particularly intricate; it doesn't play all that much with the potential for mistaken identities, and the cruelty it depicts becomes repetitive or, worse still, desensitizing. But The Devil's Double does give us indelible images of Uday's decadence - the filmmakers say they're understated - and a double dip of dazzling acting.
  75. Modest in scale but formidable in its impact.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. The film benefits enormously from having the luminous Rebecca Hall as its lead. It also gains an ominous gravity from the haunted, wounded and wobbly England in which it's set.
  77. Edges have been softened, harshness has been transformed into happiness sprinkled with eccentricity. And the paradox, of course, is that we're glad to be seduced. As Disney films go, this is a good one.
  78. The structure is sheer contrivance — three narratives intricately interlocked — while the plot amounts to a convenience store of variably credible, or borderline incredible, strands. Yet the film is impressive all the same.
  79. The film transcends its various borrowings and occasional stumblings with a modern, exuberant spirit that draws heat from Broadway-style musical numbers and, before and after everything else, from marvelous 3-D animation
  80. Gets lots of mileage from a combination of high spirits, scorn for the laws of physics, readily renewable energy and an emphasis on family values-not those of the nuclear family, but of hell-raising, drag-racing outlaws who genuinely care for one another.
  81. It's short, taut, nicely shot, well-acted, astutely directed, specific where it might have been generic, original enough to be engrossing and derivative enough to be amusing.
  82. A warm-heared picture with some hot dancing, some B movie class consciousness, lots of nostalgia and lots of cliches. [3 Sept 1987, p.17(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. Asked to define his job, Zappa gives a simple answer with convincing sincerity: “I’m an entertainer.” Simplicity gives way to intriguing complexity as the film covers other things Zappa was.
  84. Fascinating not only for its portrait of an emergent--and endearing--superstar, but for the evolution of three teammates the young LeBron came to love, and the hard-driving coach who evolved with them.
  85. Once Lisbeth has her day in court, though, the buildup pays off and then some.
  86. The taste with which one is left is not savory, exactly, but it certainly lingers.
  87. Where the movie is at its best is in the comically laconic, straight-to-the-camera remarks offered by Carthage's residents. (They're played by a mix of local actors and real townspeople doing partially scripted versions of themselves.)
  88. It's a genre film, not great art, though there's a good joke about art - a pricey piece of action painting, appropriately enough - but it's a thoroughly satisfying entertainment, and, in this season of lowered expectations, a nice surprise.
  89. Ken Loach better watch out. From the start of his illustrious career his name has been synonymous with left-wing politics expressed in remarkably fine, consistently serious social-realist dramas, most of them set in England or Scotland. Now he has gone and directed a comedy from a script by his longtime collaborator Paul Laverty, and it's so delightful that his fans will be clamoring for more.
  90. The film is thin and mannered, even though many of the mannerisms are intrinsic to its shrewd vision of cult behavior. There's no arguing, though - and who would want to? - Ms. Marling's extraordinary gift for taking the camera and weaving a spell.
  91. Bears no resemblance to the smarmy fraud that Roberto Benigni perpetrated in "Life Is Beautiful."
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. Isn't the best romantic comedy one might wish for, but it's more than good enough.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. This is a movie about longing, desire, desperation and the abandonment of principle - quite a collection of themes, all universal.
  94. The Man Nobody Knew is packed with knowledge of another sort. It amounts to an absorbing, sometimes appalling course in how U.S. foreign policy evolved and functioned following World War II.

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