Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,267 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 Lantana
Lowest review score: 0 Redacted
Score distribution:
2,267 movie reviews
  1. I found this film deeply affecting as well. It has a gravity that's independent of technique, and an engaging spirit that's enhanced by flashes of comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. The film deserves to be seen, and admired, for its own revelations, and for its unlikely, yet deeply affecting, transformation into a story of abiding love that, in its own turn, involves a deception. At the age of 86, Mr. Randi is a small, gnomish figure who walks with a cane. What seems entirely undiminished, though, is the power of his mind, driven more than ever by the dictates of his heart.
  3. An evil spell nearly does Snow White in, but it's lifted in the nick of time. The strangest spell afflicts Kristen Stewart; she can't seem to imbue Snow White with anything more than a semblance of feeling. That spell never lifts, but it doesn't make much difference in the end because the forces of good manage to work around it.
  4. The film celebrates artistic freedom without preaching a sermon, and often flies when Mr. Chi is on screen. When he is on stage, spinning and leaping to the strains of magnificent music, the film soars.
  5. A thoroughly serious film, full of vivid details, but also a relentlessly serious one that requires Mr. Wilson to spend a great deal of time looking disconsolate.
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. The script — by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul — is erratic, to put it generously. Yet the 3-D animation is so stylish and, from time to time, so downright beautiful, that you hardly notice when the storytelling loses track of itself.
  7. Since Mr. Stone is a prisoner of his penchant for pop-psychologizing on a cosmic scale, his movie has the astounding effect of absolving President Nixon of personal guilt for his crimes and misdeeds without bothering to explain what he did wrong. [21 Dec 1995, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. Movies often turn on slender notions worked up to look like full-fledged ideas. Once in a while, though, a notion will be fertile to begin with, a self-renewing source of delight. That's the case with Luc Besson's Angel-A.
  9. At its best, Ava DuVernay’s biographical film honors Dr. King’s legacy by dramatizing the racist brutality that spurred him and his colleagues to action. The director and her screenwriter, Paul Webb, are less successful — sometimes much less so — at breathing life into the private moments that define King as an inspirational figure with human flaws, and a political as well as spiritual force.
  10. The brute force of Terminator 3 is relieved, I'm happy to say, by Claire Danes's winning performance as John Connor's reluctant accomplice (whom the production notes describe, not inaccurately, as an "unsuspecting veterinarian"); by many of the special effects, which don't seem obsolete at all, and, yes, by the sinister trix of the Terminatrix.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. Mr. Carnahan has till now been pigeonholed, and rightly, by comedy shoot-'em-ups like "Smokin' Aces" and "The A-Team." But here he is with The Grey - certainly an adventure film but one with a spiritual ingredient that is both surprising and fiercely resonant.
  12. An improbably delicious comedy.
  13. I floated in and out of states that included suspense, surprise, delight and shock, all of them adding up to steady-state enjoyment.
  14. Too often the film languishes as Mr. Kasdan poses Big Questions and then has his characters answer them in conversations that are so casual they seem improvised. [26 Dec 1991]
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. If you're looking for an action thriller, this isn't it. The pace is deliberate, the tone is pensive, albeit punctuated by occasional violence, and the style is exceedingly lean; characters reveal themselves mainly through moral choices.
  16. The vision of office work that's offered up by Haiku Tunnel is as chilling as it is funny.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. The script, adapted by Matt Greenhalgh from a memoir by Lennon's half-sister, Julia Baird, is flagrantly Oedipal; almost every scene between John and his mother is sexually charged. The curse is taken off most of these encounters by Anne-Marie Duff's eloquent work in the mother's role.
  18. Presley Chweneyagae's Tsotsi makes his presence deeply felt. In a world of heedless children wielding guns, his tale is a heartening one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. Kristin Scott Thomas is the best though not the only reason to see Leaving.
  20. Munich is a Spielberg film for better and worse, a vivid, sometimes simplistic thriller in which action speaks louder than ideas.
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. [(Cher's) never been better. [5 Jan 1988, p.22(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  22. The film succeeds on the strength of the boy, and the remarkable young actor who plays him, Kodi Smit-McPhee.
  23. The pace is deliberate, verging on slow — Australian filmmakers aren't keen on short takes or quick cuts — but the content is constantly surprising.
  24. The Counterfeiters is inevitably serious, even austere, and full of chilling, ironic details.
  25. For all its pictorial splendor and carefully calculated drama, this film misses greatness by a country mile.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. [Luhrmann's] movie is all over the map. But what a gorgeous map it is. The too-muchness, like the too-longness, befits the Northern Territory's vastness. In its heart of hearts Australia is an old-fashioned Western -- a Northern, if you will -- and all the more enjoyable for it.
  27. RED
    The best part of Red is the spectacle of terrific actors being terrific in novel ways.
  28. An unusual amalgam of formulaic feel-goodism and shocking tough-mindedness, a movie that allows us to decode the inner life of its hero while he's decoding the world around him.
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. A valuable film, provided one doesn't ask too much of it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. What the film does best is document the lengths to which people are going to protect themselves -- subcutaneous microchips for identification, ever-heavier armor for fancy cars.
  31. What's remarkable, though, is how Ms. Bier's film, in Danish and English, finds beauty in its quiet moments, which are many and close between.
  32. Disney’s new live-action version is for the most part beguilingly good, even though it’s no replacement for the studio’s 1950 animated classic.
  33. May be something of a stunt, but it's a fascinating stunt that holds your attention from the start to shortly before the finish.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. The story's literary underpinnings are hilariously represented by the denizens of a seedy writers' retreat situated near Tamara's old house, which she has come back to reclaim after her mother's death.
  35. It's all rather amusing, but after awhile you tire of all the perfect little nuances about characters who seem like prototypes for a certain type of Victorian novel. [6 Mar 1986, p.23(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Feast for Rolling Stones fans.
  36. A seasoned director might have known when to ask Ms. Theron to do less, or nothing at all; as things stand, she acts at every single moment. But what brave and ferocious acting she does.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. You'll miss out on some really great stuff if you don't see this surprising movie.
  38. This ambitious, entertaining movie, which showed at film festivals earlier this year, has been hailed in some quarters as a masterpiece worthy of Arthur Miller's Willy Loman or Sinclair Lewis's George Babbitt. Yet its social comments are stained by condescension, and its uplift is sustained by sentimentality that Mr. Nicholson's prickly Everyman can't conceal.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. Finally seems like a bit of a con in its own right, but a marvelously smooth one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. Jon Shenk's fascinating documentary feature The Island President personalizes the threat of global warming, and nationalizes it too, by focusing on Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives.
  41. By turns repellent, powerful and ludicrous, Antichrist piles horror on horror with pitiless passion.
  42. Like Kong himself, it's imposing, sometimes endearing, and very rough around the edges.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. Mad Dog and Glory also seems like two movies at once, only in this case the split comes off like a case of Siamese twins. Actually, it's girls on one side and boys on the other, and the boys get all the breaks. [4 Mar 1993, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. George Clooney's film noir sensibility in the title role feels authentic, and admirably solid.
  45. The film itself is fairly slight: I'm not sure what it adds up to. Still, I enjoyed every moment of its beguiling saga of a depressed teen named Craig.
  46. A movie you can't readily get out of your head.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. Mr. Murphy rises to every occasion, not only with the crisp wit that has long been his hallmark, but with restraint and tenderness that serve him well.
  48. I felt much the same way as I sat goggle-eyed through this endless extravaganza of visual abracadabra. It seemed entirely possible that I might die of the fidgets or old age while waiting for Baron Munchausen to kill the Turks. And yet I found myself wanting to see the end of the movie before I expired. [9 Mar 1989, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. Youth in Revolt is basically an absurdist ramble, but a terrifically likable ramble.
  50. A likable lightweight, though it's heavy enough on cosmic combat and dazzling effects.
  51. Mr. Washington is splendid, as always. So is Forest Whitaker as James Farmer, Sr.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    For almost two hours of car chases and car wrecks and extraordinary animated transformation sequences that meld fluidly with live action, the welcome mat is out for Michael Bay's cheerfully dopey saga.
  52. What the movie lacks in coherence it makes up for in zest, well-founded self-delight and a sharpshooter's eye for the absurdities of reality TV.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. The film fulfills its feel-good promise, as long as it's seen as the fairy tale it was meant to be.
  54. Full of life -- which is a very good thing to say about a story that turns on death -- wonderfully odd, and a gallery of perfect performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. This adroit and understated coming-of-age film reminded me of the New Wave of Czech films in the 1960s, but with a distinctive poignancy that translates to wisdom.
  56. Green Card is quite pleasant to watch mainly because Mr. Weir hasn't disturbed its simple virtues with undue portent. Sometimes a plate of spaghetti with a simple tomato sauce is just the thing, and this is the movie equivalent of that. [10 Jan 1991, p A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. Supremacy certainly works on its own terms, but those terms are limiting. It's an entertainment machine about a killing machine.
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. This story of 12 manipulable -- or manipulative -- men and women rarely fails to hold your interest, even though much of it doesn't hold water.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. This is a modest film, and an affecting one.
  60. Deliver Us From Evil has its flaws. Certain passages are diffuse, others are argumentative, and there's a discomfiting staginess to the climax... Yet the film's concern for the victims, and their families, is one of its strengths.
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. Likely to create considerable nervous tension among viewers who think they've seen this all before. They haven't.
  62. Directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini show the same appreciation for eccentrics and humanity they brought to "American Splendor" and Mr. Dano's Louis is a delicately wrought wonder.
  63. The film grows increasingly mirthful as the characters come into focus, and the casting is the key: Ms. Garner, who also helped produce the film, has a gift for catty roles, and Ms. Wilde is so funny she should play hookers all the time.
  64. Naturally, Mr. Murray is a joy to watch. And he has brought so much joy to so many grumpy people he deserves whatever accolades he can accrue, even for a career-assessment comedy like St. Vincent.
  65. The film succeeds powerfully, even though it's short on practical solutions, makes some questionable statements of fact and, given Gore's current ambiguous position in public life, requires a tighter focus on the message than on the messenger.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. One-third wonderful, The Place Beyond the Pines weakens as it unfolds for lack of what makes the early part so good.
  67. Errol Morris's documentary was made, and scheduled for release, long before the News of the World story broke. The smart part is that the film dissects those excesses deftly with a quasitabloid style of its own.
  68. Though the picture by no means endorses drugs, and paints the junkie life as almost intolerably dull as well as destructive, it is a welcome relief from the mostly heavy-handed Hollywood pictures that tackle the subject. [05 Oct 1989]
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. There's no doubt, though, that The Rundown will be a crowd-pleaser, despite a forgettable title and lots of roughness around the production's edges. It's a comedy-adventure with a frivolous soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. Little by little, though, the cluelessness grew endearing, the cross-purpose conversations intricately funny, the gritty look appealing.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Especially well-rendered is the divide that occurred between the downtown and uptown worlds -- something that many who don't live in New York will grasp here for the first time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. Mr. Damon brings both a weary optimism and convincing physicality to Max, who is no revolutionary. He just wants to live, and is willing to don an exoskeletal combat suit and fight robots to do it.
  72. Renoir is so beautiful, and so intelligently conceived, that you keep waiting, in vain, for a bit of fire to break out in the narrative.
  73. The Man Without a Face is nothing if not respectable, and occasionally it is something more than that. [26 Aug 1993, p.A9]
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. White Bird in a Blizzard is an alibi for Mr. Araki to flex his considerable muscle as a visual artist, using a palette that ranges from the blissful to the grotesque, and an atmospheric score by those eminences of the ambient, Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie.
  75. Yet dramatic energy is in short supply. The actors move about this elaborate movie museum in a modified dream state, as if living in the present while rooted in the past. But the strategy doesn't work. It's an imitation of lifelessness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. Makes an eloquent case for John Kerry's courage, both during and immediately after his service in Vietnam.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. An odd but agreeable little comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. I won't pretend to understand the movie's deep meaning--if it has one--but I can say three things for sure: Mr. Rockwell gives a brilliant performance, the physical production is impressive and Moon made me think. Four things: It made me smile.
  79. Mr. Ejiofor gives a commanding performance, perfectly calibrated in what's withheld just as much as what's revealed.
  80. These talented, dedicated kids aren't making believe about anything - they're making art out of shimmering illusion, intricate manipulation and blithe misdirection. (In magic, as distinct from filmmaking, misdirection is a good thing.)
  81. Hardly a scene goes by that isn't visually striking or kinetically thrilling, and all of it enhanced by 3-D.
  82. The Sessions is admirable, and often enjoyable, yet self-limiting in concept. It's exactly about what it sets out to be about - no less but no more.
  83. Entertaining and improbably endearing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  84. It is thoughtful, unfashionable, measured, mostly honest, sometimes clumsy or remote, often exciting, occasionally moving and eventually surprising. It's correct.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. It's a fine film, full of small epiphanies.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Chief among the movie's charms are Ms. Zellweger, Mr. Rendall--whose would-be actor Robbie is a dab hand at ­embroidery and accessorizing his stepmother--and Mr. Lerman, who plays George as a bookish adolescent with dreams of becoming a writer.
  86. Batman Begins summons up moments of great eloquence and power. If only its cast of characters was as fully inhabited as its turbulent city.
    • Wall Street Journal
  87. By turns intriguing, boring, frustrating, amazing and stirring, this is a tour de force that, necessarily, lacks dramatic force, but one that creates a dream state of seemingly limitless dimensions.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. This fairy tale is a weirdly enchanting mixture of old-fashioned whimsy and up-to-the-minute special effects. It brings back the early excitement of reading as a child, when the act of turning pages took on a magical quality. [19 Jul 1984, pg.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Writer-director Cherien Dabis shot Amreeka in a gritty documentary style that reflects the often grim reality of the characters' situation. But he also knows how to mine the comic situations that are often part of the immigrant experience.
  89. This flamboyantly operatic anti-war film takes getting used to, though it leaves you with memorable images of madness, both poetic and military.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. Of all the funny things in Thank You for Smoking, and there are many, the most striking is Robert Duvall's absolutely mirthless laugh.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. A leisurely and quite lovely drama that honors the conventions of gothic ghost stories without the slightest stain of self-irony.
  92. I paid steadfast attention, both to the actress, a performer of unusual versatility, and to the character she plays, a caged -- and cagey -- bird who sings because she's too stubborn to cry.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. For a film filled with jagged shards of glass, and sometimes shot kaleidoscopically, through the windows of houses or cars, Bee Season is carefully, almost relentlessly, intended. That said, the script, by Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, touches on themes that rarely make it to the big screen.
    • Wall Street Journal
  94. Ms. Kunis, a petite brunette, plays Rachel, a hotel receptionist by day and a party girl by night (and day), with a sparkling smile, a seductive voice that can sharpen to a rasp and a quick wit that suggests withheld knowledge. Good for her in a sex farce that lets so much hang out.
  95. The film is long and sometimes harrowing, but also enthralling.

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