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 Kids Are All Right
Lowest review score: 0 Bedtime Stories
Score distribution:
2,194 movie reviews
  1. It's a bad idea done disastrously.
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. Stepping is everything in Stomp the Yard, and, dare I say it, a stepping stone to DJ's redemption. The movie itself is redeemed -- slightly -- by its almost touching devotion to the hoary Hollywood traditions of college movies with battling frats, as well as its earnest endorsement of education.
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  3. The movie as a whole is nonsensical. And long. And slow. And head-poundingly loud as it culminates in slavering horror.
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  4. The movie itself is neither a catastrophe nor major.
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  5. The director Penny Marshall has a gently persuasive touch that keeps the movie's most brazen manipulations from being too offensive. [02 Jun 1994]
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  6. Every scene in this oppressive film has a theme or didactic purpose, but little life.
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  7. In addition to being borderline unendurable, Funny Games is inexplicable, and I don't mean in any philosophical sense.
  8. This is silliness of such a special grade, performed with such zest, that it makes you forgive and even forget the movie's foolishness and borderline incoherence.
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  9. To give the film its full due, the people who made it — the writer, John Swetnam, and the director, Steven Quale — got wind of a genuine trend and ran with it. Everyone on screen is busy filming everyone else. It's a shakier-camera version of "The Blair Witch Project" in the era of YouTube.
  10. A wispy, fundamentally sentimental tale about a nice girl who has to support herself by working as a phone-sex siren, Spike Lee's movie takes the better part of an hour to get started. Once it does it still can't dramatize the script's one good idea. [2 Apr 1996, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. What was fresh and surprising in Las Vegas turns rancid and predictable in Bangkok.
  12. Since Mary rarely gets to see any of the good stuff, neither do we; Dr. Jekyll hides most of his switcheroos behind closed doors. [23 Feb 1996]
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  13. Somewhat sluggish but reasonably scary.
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  14. This is one of those overworked and generally airless comedies with a sitcom premise that can't sustain life.
  15. It's bad enough to make parable a four-letter word.
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  16. In case you were holding your breath, Renée Zellweger's Bridget Jones is still sweetly earnest, chronically overweight and swinging once again from lovestruck to lovelorn.
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  17. Fitfully amusing.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Its crackly sarcasm and smart talk turn out to be simply coating for a soft, icky, center.
  18. In addition to all else, and it's a lot, The Losers wastes the riches of Hollywood technology in hot pursuit of nothing.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Amusing enough, especially with its uniquely credible premise of a media fraud, to recommend.
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. In the not-so-grand scheme of such things, Along Came Polly is certainly harmless, and occasionally very funny. It's just not clever enough to keep you engaged.
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  20. The film suffers from a style that settles for pleasant or touching at the cost of spontaneous or impassioned. Too bad, because Ms. Garner is a genuinely pleasing presence.
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  21. If this adds up to a full-fledged feature film, I'm a monkey's uncle.
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  22. Can't lift the double curse of too little genuine action, as opposed to quixotic events, and too many fancy words.
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  23. The nadir of the movie -- or cheesy zenith -- is Ollie's sodden soliloquy, delivered in the presence of his baby, in which he laments the loss of her mother and his wife. All that's missing are the strains of Ravel's "Pavane For a Dead Princess."
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  24. The Shaggy Dog is paint, or more appropriately here, pant by the numbers. It also manages a one-two punch -- it will upset small children and bore their parents. There's just no other way to say this: Disney, that movie of yours is a dog.
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  25. Lacks both taste and flavor.
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  26. Too labored to be romantic and too derivative to be funny.
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  27. The remake has no grace notes, or grace, no nuance, no humanity, no character quirks, no surprises in the dialogue and no humor.
  28. This is an odd and ultimately dispiriting film, despite some intriguing ideas about brute force vs. moral authority, the elaborately staged uprising -- and impressive actors in the cast. That is to say, they've been impressive elsewhere.
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  29. It's as if the filmmakers, having committed themselves to the book, fled from its essence, which is wildness.
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  30. What happens when a genuinely dear John gets a Dear John? For the answer, just meander--no need for running or walking--to your local multiplex. That's where Dear John, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name, will be meandering on its downward path from sweetly tender to terminally turgid.
  31. The essence of Youth Without Youth, which was shot -- luminously -- in Romania, lies in its solemn speculations about aging, time and consciousness. Mr. Coppola is one of the cinema's peerless masters, and I would have enjoyed nothing more than a chance to celebrate his new film. I'm truly sorry to say, then, that I found it impenetrable.
  32. This time, though, the happy ending plays out in real life, while the screen version falls afoul of a laggardly pace, an earnest tone and a surfeit of domesticity.
  33. The production can best be described by several f-words. It is frenetic, frazzled and febrile. It is also feeble -- almost touchingly so, if you think of what bottomless insecurity must have prompted so much bombast.
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  34. Dumbfoundingly erratic, for the most part, but smart and funny from time to time.
  35. A gross-out saga that sentient adults should avoid like the plague.
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  36. Adam Green's Frozen explores a tiny idea exhaustively, and I mean exhaustively.
  37. The plot borrows as freely from Hitchcock and Henry James as from the Bard of Avon, and doesn't make scrupulous sense, though I'd have to see the film again, which I won't do, to make sure it doesn't cheat.
  38. The failure lies not with the film's director, Marc Forster, nor with its impressive star, Gerard Butler, but with Jason Keller's dreadfully earnest script, which charts the hero's spiritual journey, and his Rambo-esque exploits, without offering a scintilla of mature perspective on his state of mind.
  39. It's "The Sixth Sense" as nonsense, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" without the sunshine. Or the mind.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Does not bring a single fresh, inventive idea to the table.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. Whatever one may think of the overall style--I think it's ludicrous--Mr. Fuqua clearly wanted his film to be operatic, and so it is, in a tone-deaf way.
  41. A surprise and a not-so-guilty pleasure.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 43 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    As reassuring and soothing as a nursery story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. While the action flashes back and forth in increments of centuries, years or months, we're adrift in the here and now, trying to get a grip on the characters and their relationships, yet finding it loosened with every new dislocation.
  43. I watched the film in an agitated space between engrossed and aghast.
  44. Joyless and largely witless sci-fi fantasy.
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  45. Go in with lowered expectations, and expect to have them dashed.
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  46. Sanctum is far from a good movie, just as 3-D is far from the movie industry's savior. But it certainly looks good, and watching it through those plastic glasses reopens your eyes to the promise of the third dimension.
  47. Starts well with the stirring spectacle of young men and women, members of a National Guard unit stationed south of Baghdad, struggling to do their duty in an alien land of unfathomable danger. Once they return, however, wounded physically or shattered spiritually, the film turns didactic, contrived and occasionally ludicrous.
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  48. None of it is enough, though, to save this glum drama from its schematic self.
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  49. It isn't a great film, or even a greatly original one. Still, it has many grace notes, and interesting oddities.
  50. Ambitious to a fault, this cautionary fantasy about artificial intelligence has so much on its muddled mind, and so little sense of dramatic grounding, that it grows ever more preposterous before lurching to a climax that's utterly unfathomable.
  51. You need only watch the trailer to know that The Internship is a promo for Google; think Google for Dummies, as well as Summer Comedy for Dummies. It's as if the writers googled "how to write a script" and nothing came up, so they wrote this anyway.
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  52. Manages to make its live actors sound -- and even sometimes look -- computer generated. This wan, sluggish comedy wouldn't pass muster as a premium-cable original, but here it is on the big screen.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Exemplifies Hollywood's standard practice of stomping a brilliant concept beyond recognition.
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  53. The story wanders unconvincingly and tediously into corporate law offices and big, splashy nightclubs. Still, Mr. Hackford has the documentary maker's eye for realistic detail, so it all looks right. [01 Mar 1984]
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  54. The essence of this grindingly violent movie can be summed up by what Parker says of his handgun to a terrified clerk at a check-cashing service: "It's small, but it hurts."
  55. A pitiful shambles of a remake, The Stepford Wives might have qualified as a rethinking of the 1975 original if there were any trace of coherent thought in the finished product.
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  56. Still, the action is ponderous too. Mr. Morel is no Kubrick, or Tarantino, just as Mr. Travolta's caricature of John Travolta is no Travolta.
  57. Mr. Freeman, a superb actor, creates the illusion of drama even when there is none.
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  58. Beware of idiocy's charms.
  59. What I don't understand is why this extended piece of idiocy chose to sink its stinky teeth into our 16th president. If an axe-wielding hero was required, George Washington would have been the better choice, with the Redcoats as bloodsuckers.
  60. The Loss of Sexual Innocence is a work of intransigent anger and barely relieved depression. [28 May 1999]
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  61. The makers of Return to Oz say that their rather bleak, nonmusical fantasy is more faithful to Mr. Baum's vision than "The Wizard of Oz" was. What's appropriate, however, isn't always what's right. All Ms. Balk can do is look earnest and young; Ms. Garland opened her mouth and out came Dorothy's soul.
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  62. The island locale rings with reggae music regardless of its proximity to Jamaica, and any action sequence is rendered in painfully deliberate slo-mo.
  63. If the movie gets by, as it surely will during the current entertainment drought, most of the credit should go to a couple of performers (Latifah/Keaton) who come from different traditions, yet share a gift for breathing life into moribund material.
  64. I won't pretend that I had a great time watching G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
  65. Like "Transformers," which it rivals in relentlessness, Battleship comes with its own force field, a furious energy that renders criticism irrelevant.
  66. Young audiences may welcome this movie, but girls, and boys, should want more.
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  67. It's long on Viagra jokes and whorehouse scenes, and comes up short on plausibility.
  68. Ride Along, set in Atlanta, gives shoddiness a bad name.
  69. It's going to be a hit with libidinous boys, and their parents could do worse (see first review) than to watch the lavish, James Bondish gadgetry and cheerful anarchy of an action-adventure that's been made with all the finesse it needs, though not a jot more.
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  70. Does Meet the Fockers make you laugh? Sure it does, from time to time. Just lower your expectations to the altitude of the gag that's showcased in the trailer, the one in which Jinx the cat flushes a little dog named Moses down a toilet.
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  71. Olympus Has Fallen is no fun at all. To the contrary, it soon grows tedious, odious and oppressive.
  72. Jim Jarmusch's Dada meander, shot by Christopher Doyle, is empty and excruciating -- that's really all you need to know.
  73. Rowan Joffe directed from his own adaptation of a novel by S.J. Watson. If you’re thinking of seeing this turgid turkey, forget it.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    This is slash and burn strictly by the numbers. There's never an ounce of doubt where the movie's going; the only suspense is how long it's going to take to get there and how high the body count is going to get.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. Aspiring to pure action -- several very long passages are wordless -- the movie ends up teetering on the brink of self-parody.
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  75. The revelations of The Invisible Circus don't justify the quest.
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  76. Mr. Beall, a former LAPD cop, has written a script so devoid of feeling that the cartoons blur into thin line drawings, while what's been done with the marvelous Ms. Stone - i.e. next to nothing - is downright criminal.
  77. The special effects are variable, but even when they're good they don't have much impact because Evolution, with its self-trashing spirit, turns moviegoers into bemused bysitters.
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  78. Why, beating the audience about the ears, eyes and brain with essentially the same sequence of events from eight characters' points of view, none of which adds much more than deafening hysteria and identically dreadful music. The filmmakers seem to have missed the point that each re-enactment in "Rashomon" provides new and conflicting information. It makes you wonder if they studied the wrong movie. Maybe they rented "Rush Hour," or a video on Rosh Hashanah.
  79. Jennifer Aniston brings a needed liveliness to Derailed, though not enough to go around.
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  80. An experience best likened to being battered by hurricane-force winds generated by an organ with all stops pulled permanently out.
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  81. Adds up to one numbingly unfunny comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 40 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    Built on such a goofy premise that your average soap-opera scriptwriter would laugh it out of a story meeting.
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  82. The result is a movie groping for a comic tone while its FX machinery spews vast clouds of visual gibberish.
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  83. After missing the film on the small screen the first time around, I recently watched it on video, and can only conclude that my screen wasn't small enough.
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  84. Pretty bad, and pretty funny.
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  85. The ending, for instance, is so ridiculously tidy it squeaks. But en route to its kitchen-sink climax, "Man" manages to both amuse and provoke, to cleave to convention and promote ideas.
  86. What's never explained is why anyone would do such a dumb remake of Robert Wise's 1951 sci-fi classic.
  87. 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.
  88. The movie drills itself into our skulls, which are all too vulnerable to such an assault, though I must say my brain glazed over and my heart turned adamantine while the stupidities of this action thriller played themselves out.
  89. Green Lantern was meant to be a sci-fi adventure, but it proves to be a genuine mystery. How could its megamoola budget have yielded a production that looks almost as tacky as "Flash Gordon" (which had the good grace to deprecate itself at every turn)?
  90. You keep rooting for the child to get a new pair of lungs, but all of the beatings, betrayals and bitter ironies leave a bad taste in your head.
  91. Let's give this ghastly studio comedy a Truthiness in Advertising award, if nothing else.
  92. Mr. Carter's intelligent, straight-forward style and the good performances of the young actors prohibit hooting at the story's completely American approach to a German story. [11 Mar 1993]
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. What's wrong with this sad fiasco goes far beyond its visual deficits.

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