Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,294 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 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Lowest review score: 0 Glitter
Score distribution:
2,294 movie reviews
  1. It's "My Dinner With Andre" for the relationship generation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. Up
    I'm still left, though, with an unshakable sense of Up being rushed and sketchy, a collection of lovely storyboards that coalesced incompletely or not at all.
  3. Astonishing visually and problematic dramatically.
    • Wall Street Journal
  4. Bloated adaptation of P.D. James's thoughtful, compact novel.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. If this death-obsessed drama is a classic, then give me potboiling life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. Needlessly long, visually drab and not just a foreign-language film, with English subtitles, but a film that's ostensibly foreign to our experience. That said, there are compelling reasons to see it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. For all its rich trappings, A Little Princess is impoverished at the core. [18 May 1995, p.A14]
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. Visually Hugo is a marvel, but dramatically it's a clockwork lemon.
  9. The Lego Film has a specialness all its own. There's never been a hodgepodge quite like it.
  10. It Follows finally loses track of itself in a silly climax. All the same, it’s one more stylish reminder of how readily we the people can be creeped out.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    In the end, The Constant Gardener is hardly more than yet another study of white, upper-middle-class martyrdom rather than the hard look at third-world suffering it might've been.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. The absence of any nuance in the father's character bespeaks the filmmaker's unwillingness to trust his audience. Making the movie may have been therapeutic for him, but I can't say the same about watching it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. Christopher Nolan's latest exploration of the Batman mythology steeps its muddled plot in so much murk that the Joker's maniacal nihilism comes to seem like a recurrent grace note.
  13. What's on screen, though, is a peculiar clutter of gentle sentiment, awkward dialogue, shaky contrivance — especially the resolution of Joey's feelings — and monotonous performances from a supporting cast that includes Marisa Tomei and Darren Burrows.
  14. This peculiarly predictable picture has been calculated, or miscalculated, to set up certain expectations, fulfill them, and then do the same thing again, thereby giving us a chance to see what's coming and, at least in theory, be shocked when it actually comes.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. Watching this surrealist silliness, I would have welcomed the sight of a geezer on a riding mower.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. The movie comes on like a put-on--next to nothing happens for an excruciatingly long time--and ends as a fascinating dialectic between following one's conscience or following the law.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    There's a wonderfully sly, farcical verve to these early moments, but it dissipates when the script, with its strains of "E.T." and "The Fly," moves into high sci-fi gear.
  17. After two flat-out triumphs in a row, "All About My Mother" in 1999 and last year's breathtaking "Talk To Her," Pedro Almodóvar hasn't done it again. Yet lesser Almodóvar -- in this instance "Bad Education" -- is better than most of the movies we see.
    • Wall Street Journal
  18. Both Mr. Dano and Mr. Cusack, by contrast, find as many notes as they can in portraying their troubled character, though they’re clearly limited by the schematic writing and insistent direction.
  19. Remaking a cherished movie is not, to borrow a fancy phrase from the dialogue, malum in se - wrong in itself - but there are always losses along with the changes and gains.
  20. Coraline is distinguished, if you can call it that, by a creepiness so deep as to seem perverse, and the film finally succumbs to terminal deficits in dramatic energy, narrative coherence and plain old heart.
  21. Mike Leigh's latest film preserves the mystery of why another marriage has flourished over decades. That's not the stated subject of Another Year, but it's at the center of this enjoyable though insistently schematic comedy.
  22. Though his movie wraps challenging ideas and ingenious visual conceits in a futurist film-noir style, it's pretentious, didactic and intentionally but mercilessly bleak in ways that classic noir never was.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 79 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    A great premise for a movie. Unfortunately, The War of the Roses is not clever, at least not very often. [14 Dec 1989, p.A20(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. The only thing Mr. Tarantino spells out is the violence. I have seen much more blood spilled, yet I felt sickened by the coldness of this picture's visual cruelty. [29 Oct 1992, p.A11(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  24. For those who’ve lived with the series for more than a decade, this fateful pause may heighten the suspense. For a Muggle like me, the storm does gather slowly.
  25. The film feels self-obsessed, an intriguing drama that slowly devolves into a bleak meditation on the absence of dramatics.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. This, too, is a mood piece, sometimes surreal and dominated by Chow's lovelorn sadness. But it's hard to find an emotional or narrative handle to hang on to, since the filmmaker keeps reaching for dramatic energy that keeps eluding him.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. This is all very strange and a little tedious. Yet there is something arresting and oddly poignant in Mr. Van Sant's playful vision of the road to nowhere. [3 Oct 1991, p.A14(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Sympathetic, engaging documentary.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. You never lose interest for a moment, and the images are often striking: Javier Julia did the stylish cinematography. Yet there’s little lift from the carryings-on, not much buoyancy in the misanthropy.
  29. A powerful drama, albeit a flawed one with a clumsy, didactic script.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. There's no shortage of felicitous lines or interesting performances, yet the movie, like the amusement park of its title, feels constructed from familiar parts.
  31. Mr. Coogan, lavishly talented as a comic, and a comic actor, is fairly monotonous in the mostly serious role he wrote for himself. That leaves Ms. Dench to carry the picture, which she does, up to a point, with her usual delicacy and grace.
  32. The strengths of the first "3:10 To Yuma" were enhanced by its proportionality -- an intimate story told in 92 minutes. The story is no bigger in the new version, which goes on for 117 minutes. And it's certainly not better.
  33. One unwelcome surprise is how shopworn the story's components prove to be. Still, they're enhanced if not redeemed by Mr. Washington's stirring portrait of a skillful, prideful pilot hitting bottom.
  34. Youth may be wasted on the young in this muddled movie. But age is equally wasted on the aging.
  35. An exhaustive and exhausting dissection of a relationship that was never all that promising in the first place.
  36. For all its immersion in the roar, grease and danger of Formula One, the fact-based Rush — about the sport's great rivalry of the 1970s — is also more predictable than a pit stop, something well-suited to Mr. Howard. He's made perfectly palatable pictures, but never a truly great one, partly because he has such a weakness for the commercial and a consequent gift for the obvious.
  37. Absurdist, but also condescending and self-infatuated; The Royal Tenenbaums is at least three times too clever for its own good.
    • Wall Street Journal
  38. The film contends admiringly, and convincingly, that Ralph Nader's authentic sense of outrage is the reason he persists when he can't prevail.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. The story is a shallow-draft bark with flat characters on board: Josh, in particular, is de-energized to the point of entropy. Night Moves suffers from a lack of mystery and a deficit of motion.
  40. Mr. Field is a filmmaker with an exceptional gift for directing actors -- he's an actor himself -- and an eye for telling detail. (His cinematographer here, as in the previous film, is Antonio Calvache, and again the images are quietly sumptuous.) Yet I was put off by Little Children's satiric tone.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. Any meaningful perspective on the greedfest of the period is obscured by the gleefulness of the depiction.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Born on the Fourth of July would be merely a hilariously inept gathering of Vietnam War movie cliches. Instead it is an unrelenting series of dramatic blows; almost every scene packs violence, sleaze, screamed rage and an ear-splitting music with headbutt force. For someone who despises the military, Mr. Stone is quite bellicose. [21 Dec 1989, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. Amy the writer has tried to reconcile her gift for whip-smart, razor-sharp comedy sketches with the demands of a feature film. On the whole she hasn’t pulled it off — the movie veers sharply off track toward the end. Still, the sum of its most memorable parts is great fun.
  43. A brilliant mess, I suppose, in the way that seriously disturbed people can sometimes deliver a briefly mesmerizing vision of the universe while babbling. If nothing else, Natural Born Killers is the most in-your-face movie ever released by a major Hollywood studio. [25 Aug 1994, p.A10]
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. Functions mainly as an action extravaganza, and a numbingly depersonalized one at that.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. By convoluting the various planes of experience, by overlapping and obscuring ostensible realities and ostensible dreams, Mr. Nolan deprives us the opportunity of investing emotionally in any of it.
  46. You may see The Orphanage for what it is, an enjoyable contraption, without believing a bit of it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    As in most movies of this sort from "Rebel Without a Cause" to "West Side Story" to last year's "Thirteen," adults are marginalized, clueless or absent. I'm with them.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. Nolan’s 168-minute odyssey through the space-time continuum is stuffed with stuff of bewildering wrongness. Eager for grandeur, I went in hoping for the very best from a filmmaker with his own vision of the theatrical medium’s potential. The last thing I expected was a space adventure burdened by turgid discussions of abstruse physics, a wavering tone, visual effects of variable quality and a time-traveling structure that turns on bloodless abstractions.
  48. Though the first-time director, Gabor Csupo, has achieved distinction as an animation artist, he lacks experience directing actors. The best adult performance in the film is that of Zooey Deschanel; she comes off -- again, agreeably -- as self-directed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. Mr. Rourke's performance is quite phenomenal, a case of unquenchable talent bursting the bonds of dehumanized artifice.
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. Why are certain films less than the sum of their appealing parts?
  51. I wish I could say that the film gives a great actor a worthy role, but the truth is otherwise. The character is banal — Günther lavishes attention on remarkably uninteresting spycraft — and Mr. Hoffman, like everyone else, is stuck with the glum tone set by the director, Anton Corbijn ("Control," "The American").
  52. It’s a marvelous story about science and humanity, plus a great performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, plus first-rate filmmaking and cinematography, minus a script that muddles its source material to the point of betraying it. Those strengths make the movie worth seeing, but the writing keeps eating away at the narrative’s clarity — and integrity — until it’s impossible to separate the glib fictions from the remarkable facts.
  53. The main — and for my money only — attraction in Le Week-End, which was directed by Roger Michell, is the marvelous Scottish actress Lindsay Duncan. She is witty, fiercely intelligent and intensely sexy in the role of Meg, a woman stuck in a failing marriage.
  54. Mr. McKay is in his mid-30s, and doesn't conceal it, so what's the point? By taking the KIND out of WUNERKIND, the movie also removes the WUNDER.
  55. It doesn't make Cars a bad picture -- the visual inventions are worth the price of admission -- but it constitutes conduct unbecoming to a maker of magic.
    • Wall Street Journal
  56. Storytelling problems surface toward the overwrought climax, but the worst problem is the unrelenting grimness. It's hard to like a movie that leaves you with no hope.
  57. With a running time of 147 minutes, the film not only runs low on energy toward the end — internecine battles can’t compete with the early excitement of gifted young kids making it big on a national stage — but turns ploddingly sentimental in its sudden focus on Eazy-E’s painful decline, and death, from AIDS.
  58. The second film, in particular, grows tediously episodic, and the exploits become a blur. What never blurs is Mr. Cassel's presence. We're told that he bulked up for the part-though Mesrine was many things, lithe wasn't one of them-but it's his phenomenal zest for his checkered character that fills the screen.
  59. Inside the mysterious factory, a psychedelic realm where Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka holds sway, pleasure gradually gives way to a peculiar state that I can only describe as engagement without enjoyment.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. This feelbad movie makes you glad when it's over.
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. Eye caviar that doesn't pretend to be much else.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. This is a film that adds to our understanding of human nature. Yet its impact is lessened by a lack of factual context, and by an inspirational climax that may leave one feeling good and uneasy in equal measure.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. Igby has his own prickly charisma and bleak humor; he's a character you'd like very much to embrace. But he's surrounded by insufferable fools in the airless Manhattan universe of a film that's as offputtingly precocious as its preppy hero.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. The best parts are the in-between ones, neither laugh-out-loud funny nor overtly heart-wrenching.
  65. The result is a film that may stay in the mind's eye longer than it lingers in the heart.
  66. Your reaction to the film will depend on your tolerance for scatology -- some of this stuff is very funny, although most of it is grindingly, numbingly awful -- and your interest in standup comics.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. It's a lovely pretext for dazzling visuals, yet the production is diminished by the clumsiness of an 8-bit script.
  68. In a film that's carefully crafted but also airless and overcalculated, Mos Def walks away with every scene he's in because we're never sure what his character is up to, and we're never told.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. Has the inherent limits of all movies that feed on movies, rather than life -- it's original, yet it's not.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. Eventually, though, Ghost Town buckles beneath the weight of contrivance -- so many ghosts to dispel, so many lessons to learn.
  71. The movie wears thin as its style turns from light parody into affectation, and the plot, which certainly generates lots of anxiety, eventually settles for facile irony.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. Ms. Moore, for her part, doesn’t need fine writing to create marvelous moments; some of her most powerful scenes are wordless ones in which Alice is looking anxious, confused or utterly haunted. When the script provides exceptional material, however, this extraordinary actress takes it to a memorably high level.
  73. It looks so stylish that thinking about its plot is strictly optional.
  74. One of the reasons documentaries often take so long to make is the filmmakers' need to keep their subject from giving a performance. They want something genuine, something that materializes only when the camera disappears. Nothing Mr. Courtney is says is inaccurate or, God knows, dishonest. But it isn't quite true either.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Director David Yates, who is new to the Potter franchise, moves the story along briskly, at the expense of texture and nuance.
  75. Although The Good Girl is peppered with amusing small-town eccentrics in refreshingly original guises, it gets off to a long, slow start.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Like a dinner whose hors d'oeuvres are far more satisfying and well-composed than the slightly warmed-over main course. Among them are the inspired mock movie trailers and the fake ad that precede "Thunder's" opening credits.
  76. Trumbo doesn't pretend to be tough-minded about its subject, and its failure to date the letters is an annoyance. But the substance of those letters, along with documentary footage and a touching appearance by Kirk Douglas, throws a baleful light on a bleak chapter of American history.
  77. The movie looks lovely, but it's luminous prose.
  78. Mr. Nichols decided to preserve the jokiness of the original material, even while shifting the emphasis to the mother-daughter conflict. There may have been a way to do this and end up with a clever movie, but Mr. Nichols seems to have had an even cleverer idea: He decided to use this movie as a way to pay back social obligations. [13 Sep 1990, p.A14]
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. The problem isn't a lack of substance, and certainly not a dearth of talent, but a shortage of fun.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Lacks a crucial element of the heist subgenre: ingenuity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  80. Ms. Ferrera is an engaging performer; you find yourself rooting for Ana from the start, even though you know, from the predictable script by George LaVoo and Josefina Lopez, that rooting isn't required for a happy outcome.
  81. Endearing, though sometimes belabored.
  82. Walks a fine line between bold indie film, with the attendant in-your-face roughness, and sodden Lifetime Original Movie.
  83. The film, like its subject and everyone who talks about him, is frustratingly short on analysis or insight. It’s as if BASE jumping had been invented and psychology had not.
  84. The narrative engine leaves the rails when Irving, like Hughes, plunges into paranoia (though Irving actually is the object of a high-level plot) and the style turns to the sort of intensely manipulated surrealism that Charlie Kaufman practiced, not successfully, in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. I wanted to believe in Bad Santa. At least half of the time I did.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Nothing about the emotionally unmoored Inglourious Basterds adds up. Whether it's parody, farce or a fever dream is anyone's guess.
  86. For its delicate tone, provocative themes, impeccable craftsmanship and superb performances-by Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley-Never Let Me Go earned my great admiration. I wish I'd been affected in equal measure, but I wasn't, and it's not the sort of film you can will yourself to enjoy.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The ultimate poor judgment: the decision to put Babel before the camera. That defies comprehension in any language.
    • Wall Street Journal
  87. This is less a film in the lustrous Pixar tradition than a Disney fairy tale told with Pixar's virtuosity. As such, it's enjoyable, consistently beautiful, fairly conventional, occasionally surprising and ultimately disappointing.
  88. The movie is stifling, all right, and depressing in the bargain.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The press notes boast that Mr. Cutler was given "unprecedented access" and the right of final cut; these advantages don't seem to have done much for this listless film.

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