Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,194 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 57% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The Class
Lowest review score: 0 Funny Games (2008)
Score distribution:
2,194 movie reviews
  1. What do the Coen brothers want of us? More specifically, what do they want us to think of the repellent people in this pitilessly bleak movie?
  2. By most standards of conventional film narrative, this movie is a mess. [25 June, 1987, p.22(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. Ordinary moviegoers, on the other hand, may wonder what they're supposed to feel, apart from bored.
    • Wall Street Journal
  4. Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill inflicts intolerable cruelty on its characters, and on its audience -- though I'd like to believe that there is no mainstream audience for what has already been described, quite correctly, as the most violent movie ever released by an American studio.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. I found it insufferably fatuous and damned near interminable. [26 Jun 1998]
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. Never mind the awfulness of the three madwomen being relentlessly mad, or the silliness of their journey’s logistics; not for a moment do you believe that this grievously afflicted trio actually inhabits what amounts to a small, rickety and unadorned paddy wagon. What’s definitively awful is the spectacle of unrestrained vanity.
  7. This nasty little bottom-feeder of a film is too condescending to be trusted, too manipulative to be believed, too turgid to be enjoyed, too shameless to be endured and, before and after everything else, too inept to make its misanthropic case.
  8. Mr. Jarecki undercuts his own case -- not just undercuts but carpet-bombs it -- by using the same propaganda techniques he professes to abhor.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. The only reason to see it is Riz Ahmed's performance as Omar, the supposed brains of the operation. Mr. Ahmed reminded me a bit of Robert Carlyle. He's dynamic, quick-tongued and intense. And much too classy for this tatty room.
  10. In The Hunger Games it's both a feast of cheesy spectacle and a famine of genuine feeling, except for the powerful - and touchingly vulnerable - presence of Jennifer Lawrence.
  11. Only Le Carre fans with tin ears and clouded eyes will fail to note the film's sour tone, crude performances and drab look.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. The worst part of Ms. Zellweger's plight is that she, along with others in the cast, has fallen victim to a first-time feature director whose vocabulary doesn't seem to include the word "simplicity."
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. Bring Zoloft and a tank of oxygen to Closer, an airless, ultimately joyless drama of sexual politics.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. A grim disappointment for grown-ups, and far too violent for young kids. I found it to be clumsy, misanthropic and intractably lifeless.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. When bad movies happen to good people, the first place to look for an explanation is the basic idea. That certainly applies to My Week With Marilyn, a dubious idea done in by Adrian Hodges's shallow script and Simon Curtis's clumsy direction.
  16. What's worse, some mysterious movie curse has turned the three once-lively adventurers into wood.
  17. A slow and lugubrious film about the impact of adoption on the lives of three women.
  18. The video-game sequences are impressive, but you know that a 'toon is in big trouble when its most powerful theme is planned obsolescence.
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. A good subject has been ill-served by Ms. Greenwald's cliched script and clumsy direction.
    • Wall Street Journal
  20. J. Michael Straczynski's disjointed script manages to ring false at almost every significant turn (Collins' psychiatric-hospital stay has grown into a latter-day version of "The Snake Pit") and Clint Eastwood's ponderous direction -- a disheartening departure from his sure touch in "Letters From Iwo Jima" and "The Bridges of Madison County" -- magnifies the flaws.
  21. The script is dead in the water, and most of the misanthropic repartee rings resoundingly false.
    • Wall Street Journal
  22. Maybe the worst part (there's so much to choose from) is the sight of a good actor like Edward Herrmann parading around looking like a demented quarterback, the shoulders of his suit jacket grotesquely padded. Mr. Schumacher has dressed the adorable Corey Haim in even weirder getups, jackets with pastel stripes and little outfits that resemble dresses. The vampires aren't nearly as creepy as those clothes. [6 Aug 1987, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. A snapshot, to be sure, but scattershot as well.
    • Wall Street Journal
  24. Killer Joe is, at bottom - and I mean bottom - ugly and vile, not to mention dumb and clumsy.
  25. Sometime around what I guessed to be the one-hour mark in The Five-Year Engagement, I checked my watch and honestly thought the battery had given out. Five years doesn't begin to tell the interminable tale.
  26. A train wreck of mind-numbing proportions.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. Everything that was modest, soundly grounded and therefore horrifying about the 1971 rodentarama that starred Bruce Davison is now insistent, Grand-Guignol-intense and therefore shrug-offable when it isn't downright awful.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. A guaranteed downer that's devoid of any upside, and free of dangerously entertaining side effects.
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. Secretariat stumbles along beneath the weight of leaden life lessons. They're dispensed at frequent intervals by Diane Lane, who does better than anyone had a right to expect, since she is saddled with dialogue of exceptional dreadfulness.
  30. As juxtapositions go, regressed Goth rock star and Holocaust could hardly be more bizarre, and bizarre can be good when it's done deftly. In this case, however, it's done ponderously and sententiously.
  31. The denizens of Judd Apatow’s Funny People have been pulled every which way to fit a misshapen concept, yet they remain painfully unfunny, and consistently off-putting.
  32. The blithely dishonest script would have us believe that the real Napoleon can't prove his identity when the fake Napoleon refuses to come clean. Not only is that patent nonsense, it's cockeyed dramaturgy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  33. One of the least appealing movies I've seen in a while.... When a member of the audience belched loudly, that got the biggest laugh of the day. [17 June 1986, p.26(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. Grotesque doesn't begin to describe Ms. McCarthy's new character. Scarily insane comes closer; repulsive occasionally applies. Mullins's insanity can be extremely funny from time to time, but her anger grows as punishing for the audience as it does for the victims of her unrestrained police work.
  35. Comes briefly to life, after many longeurs -- many large longeurs in IMAX -- with the discombobulated entrance of B.E.N., a dysfunctional, hyperverbal robot voiced by Martin Short.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. Breakfast on Pluto, with an impressive cast that includes Liam Neeson and Brendan Gleeson, deploys its whimsy in many ways, all of them cloying.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. J. Edgar, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, is at war with itself, and everyone loses...Mr. Eastwood's ponderous direction, a clumsy script by Dustin Lance Black and ghastly slatherings of old-age makeup all conspire to put the story at an emotional and historical distance. It's a partially animated waxworks.
  38. Ms. Weisz is always a strong presence, but her talents are wasted here on a naive heroine - the fictional Kathy is exceedingly slow to grasp the extent of the corruption - and a narrative style that turns the horror of the prostitutes' plight into harrowing melodrama.
  39. There's no maybe about its standing as romantic comedy -- definitely bad.
  40. A symphony for tin ears, a sniggering assessment of human nature delivered with the faux-lofty tone of a Lexus commercial.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. I didn't mind the preposterousness of the premise nearly so much as the general ineptness with which it's presented. After all, good trash has its place. [8 Dec 1994, p.A16]
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. Rarely has a major motion picture -- and this one is major by virtue of its misplaced ambition as well as its budget -- been afflicted by such flagrant dissonance between subject and style.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 58 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Mr. Snipes and Mr. Rhames get credit at least for doing their own stunts. By the middle of the film, viewers will take a certain satisfaction in each punch that lands on either of them.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. Mr. Li is a master not only of martial arts, but of composure; no one does nothing better. The film itself is no great shakes.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. These people -- the filmmakers as well as the cast -- have brought a rare sense of camaraderie to their work. Unfortunately, they forgot to bring a script. They even forgot, in the midst of their joyous self-involvement, to take good pictures of the places they visited.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. The best thing to be said for this lumbering comedy is that it offers a chance to see Vanessa Paradis, the singularly alluring French singer, actress and model, play Avigal, a melancholy Hasidic widow in Brooklyn, N.Y., and play the role with exceptional delicacy. Otherwise, arrgh!
  46. In the spirit of that world, I cannot tell a lie: The Invention of Lying, which the English comedian both directed and wrote with Matthew Robinson, soon loses altitude and eventually falls flat.
  47. The result is a queasy combination of speculation and dramatic invention with the ring of half-truth, though the co-stars, Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, add as much color as they can - not much - to a monochromatic script.
  48. Won't kill you, but it could bore you half to death.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. The fault is not in the co-stars; they've been brilliant before and will be brilliant again. It's in the laggardly pace, pedestrian writing and murky viewpoint of Ned Benson's feature.
  50. Like Thor's hammer, this ersatz epic bludgeons its victims into submission. What's more, it requires them to stare at the source of their punishment through 3-D glasses.
  51. For precursors of Guy's perversity, one would have to go back to W.C. Fields, who made antic art out of his characters' abhorrence of children.
  52. As an experiment in Academy Award psychology, Albert Nobbs is fascinating. As drama? It is, forgive us, a drag.
  53. This production is a mess for many reasons, most of them having to do with its frantic efforts to be funny.
  54. Horrible Bosses has preposterousness to burn, but no finesse and no interest in having any.
  55. The story is rooted in a political past that never comes to life, and its structure is so cockeyed that we don't even get to see Nick's reaction to a climactic surprise that takes place off-screen. The film was shot by an excellent cinematographer, Adriano Goldman, though you'd never know it from the lighting, which is as flat as the writing.
  56. If only Brotherhood of the Wolf had the wit and grace to match its exceptional physical beauty.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. What's new here is a severe deficit of style, or even craftsmanship, both in the action sequences and what passes for human interludes.
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. Elegance isn't Zack Snyder's bag; a certain sort of impact is. Watchmen establishes him as Hollywood's reigning master of psychic suffocation.
  59. The drama is repetitive rather than resonant, an over-calculated, under-ventilated studio production -- even paranoid thrillers need to breathe -- whose plot machinery grinds grim and coarse.
  60. All of the nonsense piled on nonsense does provide some measure of pleasure. Unknown gets better by getting worse.
  61. Either you buy their Vaseline-lensed visions of the hereafter, or you watch in stony silence, as I did, wondering why there's no one to care about.
  62. In Troy, and in overreaching, underachieving productions like it, digital imagery is fast becoming both a Trojan horse and Achilles' heel.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. A bizarre, overcooked broth that combines a broad sitcom style (the banter goes rat-tat-tat like a steam drill) with a preposterous succession of plot complications, plus solemn questions of identity, adoption and the nature of happiness.
  64. Pathetically unfunny most of the time.
  65. It's really dumb, even though it starts promisingly and continues, in a self-infatuated way, to consider itself quite bright.
  66. Edge of Darkness was one of the most enthralling, intricate and genuinely thrilling productions in the history of the small screen. The big-screen version--directed by Martin Campbell, who did the original--offers an example of why the studios' numbers often add up, and why, at the same time, so many of today's Hollywood movies leave us cool if not downright cold.
  67. Ms. Macdonald works modest wonders within these constraints -- she's a lovely actress, and a skilled one -- but too much is asked of her; Kate's innocence finally wilts beneath the camera's fixed gaze.
  68. Doc says: "I can't believe this is happening." …That sentence may be the only one uttered in the entire film that contains an ounce of true feeling. Certainly that was the thought on my mind as I watched this depressing rehash of material that seemed original just five years ago, when it was. And "I can't believe this is happening" seemed to be what most of the actors were thinking as they gamely trudged through their paces yet again. [31 May 1990, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. The Terminal is a terminally fraudulent and all-but-interminable comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. It's shrill in tone, awash in unexamined narcissism - kids are just pretexts for laughs, rather than objects of love - and afflicted by explosive verbal diarrhea. There's simply no base line of normal human activity, let alone intimacy, until the anticouple finally re-examines their anticommitment credo. By then everyone has been so selfish and dislikable that our commitment to the film is lost.
  71. This sad excuse for family entertainment tries to enshrine a classic while defacing it.
  72. Hitchcock rings false from start to finish.
  73. Gets to be dislikable in its glib feelgoodness. The movie's many excellent actors do too much acting with too little conviction in scenes that rush through perfunctory setups to deliver pat payoffs.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. Huckabees is godawful, a mirthless, bilious bore in which the vividly focused fury of "Three Kings" has become free-floating anger at the follies of human existence.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Unfortunately, Ms. Faris has neither an adroit script -- House Bunny is a stale collection of dumb bunny jokes -- nor Ms. Witherspoon's wily charm. And the filmmakers do Ms. Faris no favors by inviting comparisons to Marilyn Monroe.
  75. Like most other members of an excellent cast that includes James McAvoy, Kevin Kline and Tom Wilkinson, she (Robin Wright) has come under the deadening directorial hand of Robert Redford.
  76. The oddest thing about this very odd movie is that it doesn't seem to know what to make of itself.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Shakespeare has been quoted many, many times over the past 400 or so years, but never to such empty purpose as in the inchoate, self-indulgent musical drama Idlewild, a star vehicle for the wildly popular hip-hop duo OutKast.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. Not to put too fine a point on it, Surviving Picasso is merely the worst movie ever made about a painter; worse movies have been made on other subjects, though none comes immediately to mind. [20 Sep 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. What's intractably wrong with the film is that there's no reality to heighten; it's a spectacle in search of a soul.
  79. You may wonder if this screen version of the book of the same name is as unfunny and strangely mushy as it seems, but trust your instincts.
  80. The movie's failures are all the more unfortunate because they detract from its central and conspicuous success, the performance of Riz Ahmed in the title role. Mr. Ahmed turns the quicksilver quality of the book's internal monologue into a tour de force of his own creation. He's a bright star in a dim constellation.
  81. For better or worse, Woody Allen turns out a movie every year. Last year's "Midnight in Paris" was better than better; that is to say, sublime. To Rome With Love is worse than worse, as inert as its predecessor was inspired.
  82. The larger problem, transcending all realms, is that this action-adventure sequel from Marvel soon turns so dumb and 3-D-murky that it hurts.
  83. Here’s the bad news: Brüno is no "Borat." Here’s the worse news: Brüno crosses the line, like a besotted sprinter, from hilariously to genuinely awful.
  84. Rather than the laugh a minute promised by old comedies, Get Smart generates approximately one laugh per hour, and I can't remember either one.
  85. Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher is the main reason to see The Iron Lady, which was directed by Phyllida Lloyd - not just the main reason but the raison d'être of an otherwise misconceived movie.
  86. Bee Movie isn't a B movie, it's a Z movie, as in dizmal.
  87. Not a pretty sight, any of it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. For all its video-game bedazzlements, Attack of the Clones suffers from severe digital glut, periodically relieved, if you can call it that, by amateur theatrics.
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. A limited movie that can't animate its subject amid all the tricks and glitz. De-Lovely is devoid of life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. Palindromes finds him (Solondz) stuck with his single theme inside a sealed dollhouse of his own construction. He has gifts to give a larger audience, if ever he breaks out.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. The story line, a sequence of very loosely connected events, sustains a state of almost pure brainlessness with its indifference to dramatic development and the dictates of logic, even the fantasy logic of cartoons. It’s as if most of the script had been generated by algorithms.
  92. Don't bother to see this film unless you expect to be tested in film class about the Coens' serial dissertation on American cinema. [10 Mar 1994, p.A16]
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. Most of the prime goofiness is given over to Vassili and Konig sharpshooting at each other while the battle rages. The movie's a red elephant.
    • Wall Street Journal
  94. Heart-breakingly awful -- slow, lugubrious, and misconceived to the point of baffling amateurism.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. So you think you've seen silly? And smarmy? And inept? Wait till you see Wanderlust, though that's just a figure of speech; I'm not suggesting that you actually lay eyes on this naked grab for box office bucks.
  96. The failures of White Squall are dismaying as well as perplexing. Director Ridley Scott serves up some ravishing images along the way: the stark geometry of the ship's riggings against an azure sky, crew kids scampering along a verdant ridge toward a volcano's silvery crater lake. But the script is a shambles. [06 Feb 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
  97. Metroland, which is adapted from a novel by Julian Barnes, is an oddly unpleasant variation on the theme of "The Way We Were." [09 Apr 1999]
    • Wall Street Journal

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