Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,594 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 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Slumdog Millionaire
Lowest review score: 0 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde
Score distribution:
2594 movie reviews
  1. This improbably magnificent film and Michael Giacchino’s majestic score are a perfect match.
  2. Duma is not a masterpiece, but its deficits recede into insignificance once you open yourself to the movie's mystery and visual splendor.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 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
  3. Short Term 12, a low-budget feature only 96 minutes long, is a big deal on a small scale: for what it reveals of Mr. Cretton as a filmmaker — especially as a storyteller, and a director of actors within tautly constructed scenes — and of Ms. Larson's abundant talent.
  4. The picture sets up high expectations for itself with its wonderful casting, and the actors don't disappoint. [1 Aug 1989, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. The price of the production's integrity is a leisurely pace -- but it's a worthwhile one. Though Sugar demands patience, it deserves attention.
  6. Some of Mr. Loach's earlier feature films have been easier to admire than to enjoy. This one, which won the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival, fairly vibrates with dramatic energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. Still, the cynosure of all eyes is honest, articulate Elizabeth, her own woman in an era when women belonged to men, and at the same time full of love. Lizzie is the best, and Keira Knightley does right by her.
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. A magnificent documentary that flies us along with migratory birds on their intercontinental travels, it's the polar opposite -- North Pole, South Pole and all latitudes in between -- of modern feature films that rely on special effects.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. 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
  10. This joyous farce is a big, big deal, and Jack Black is nothing less than majestic as a scruffy, irreverent rocker passing himself off as a pedagogue in a private school.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. Star Trek goes back to the legend's roots with a boldness that brings a fatigued franchise back to life.
  12. This immensely pleasurable film is anything but dry. It's a saga of the immigrant experience that captures the snap, crackle and pop of American life, along with the pounding pulse, emotional reticence, volcanic colors and cherished rituals of Indian culture.
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. Frances Ha also marks the rare instance in which an actress has the perfect role at the perfect time. Ms. Gerwig's work here is fragile, delicate, subject to bruising; something that could wither under too much attention. Perhaps Ms. Gerwig is the greatest actress alive. And maybe Frances Ha is just the ghost orchid of independent cinema.
  14. Here's an iffy proposition. If A Hijacking was in English, or if U.S. audiences weren't finicky about reading subtitles, or if life was fair, this brilliant thriller, by the Danish filmmaker Tobias Lindholm, would be playing on multiplex screens throughout the country.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A loopy, endearing documentary.
  15. The Trip is probably too long, but I have to say "probably" because I would have been happy with an additional half-hour of Steve and Rob doing more impressions.
  16. The right word for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is wondersful -- as in full of wonders, great and small.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. George Clooney's film noir sensibility in the title role feels authentic, and admirably solid.
  18. As a piece of filmmaking, it's stunningly effective.
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. A movie of uns — unforced, unhurried, unpretentious. Though it's sometimes underdramatized, this story of adolescents on the brink of adulthood is refreshingly, and endearingly, unlike the overheated features that have come to define the genre.
  20. A remarkably fine and genuinely frightening movie about a teenage vampire.
  21. Few viewers anywhere will be immune to the movie’s charms, or the performances, notably that of Mr. Sigurjonsson, who makes Gummi a slightly mournful, enormously lovable and quixotically heroic figure.
  22. Taxi to the Dark Side adds something new to our awareness -- interviews with soldiers who served as interrogators in Afghanistan, and in Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, and who, in some cases that ended in courts martial, served prison terms themselves.
  23. Footnote does function as a character study, an exceptionally rich one.
  24. In many ways the film reflects its hero’s brilliance. It’s a scintillating construction, though one that sometimes feels like a product launch in its own right.
  25. The director, Kevin Macdonald, searches for clarity amid the contradictions of Marley's life and reaches no conclusions, but that's a tribute to his subject's complexity in a film of fascinating too-muchness.
  26. A severe and eerily beautiful German-language drama.
  27. An absolutely thrilling recreation, in documentary style, of a now-legendary story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. The life that swirls around Kym before, during and after her sister's densely populated, wonderfully detailed wedding seems to have been caught on the fly in all its sweetness, sadness and joy. (In its free-form style the film constitutes an elaborate homage to Robert Altman.)
  29. The characters are really minimalist masterpieces, sculpted, polished and uncompromisingly female.
  30. Le Havre stands on its own fragile but considerable merits.
  31. By the end, though, the production is engulfed by barely controlled frenzy -- all decor and no air, music as lo-cal ear candy, scenes as merchandise to be sold, people as two-dimensional props.
    • Wall Street Journal
  32. The narrative jumps back and forth between the two time frames, rather than telling Karamakate’s story in linear fashion, and these juxtapositions deepen the film’s resonance.
  33. The situation is fascinating, and given an illuminating investigation here.
  34. A splendid war movie. The combat sequences are harrowing -- all the more so for the director's spare, sharp-eyed style -- and the performances are phenomenally fine.
    • Wall Street Journal
  35. Since you can't read my lips, read my words: See this movie.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. A film that asks its audience to invest serious thought, and in return, bestows serious pleasure.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. 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.
  38. This is a debut feature, though you'd never know it from the filmmaker's commandingly confident style, or from the heartbreaking beauty -- heartbreaking, then heartmending -- of Melissa Leo's performance as a poor single mother who's living her whole life on thin ice.
  39. 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
  40. 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.
  41. Deeply affecting.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. Fascinating — though overlong and sometimes slow.
  43. The silents, as this film suggests, achieved aesthetic marvels before sound came along to set things back for a while.
  44. Viggo Mortensen's performance is flat-out brilliant, and this relentlessly dramatic thriller represents a mid-life growth spurt for its director, David Cronenberg.
  45. At Berkeley is more than the sum of its minutes. Narration-free and artfully discursive, it's a one-of-a-kind mosaic portrait of a great institution struggling, under dire stress, to retain its essential character at a time of declining support for public education.
  46. What’s so memorable about Ms. Lipitz’s documentary, though, is its privileged view of not-privileged students trying to dance well, learn well and think well on the way to living well in the world beyond their nurturing school.
  47. 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
  48. I laughed myself silly through most of A Mighty Wind, and was pleasantly surprised when it took a turn toward genuine feeling near the end.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. What’s remarkable about Arrival is its contemplative core—and, of course, Ms. Adams’s star performance, which is no less impassioned for being self-effacing.
  50. It's a comedy of crisp, mordant wit and quietly radiating warmth, as well as a coming-of-age story with a lovely twist -- you can't always spot the best candidates for maturity.
  51. Here's one vote for the most affecting, anguishing, revealing and prophetic scene of the movie year-and yes, it's all of those things at once in a powerful film that alternates between moments of earlier happiness and later pain.
  52. The payoff is sneakily profound — sneakily because this small-scale drama grabs you when you least expect it, often with the help of the dog.
  53. Daring in its own right, this broodingly sumptuous saga explores the primacy of feelings, the nature of memories and the essence of being human, framed as the difference between being manufactured or born.
  54. Just as Aubrey's authority springs from skill and knowledge, so does the film's power. They don't make movies like this any more because few people know how to make them.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. This wonderfully strange and exquisite little feature was created, especially for young children, to celebrate the book through another kind of illumination that's been falling into disuse--hand-drawn animation.
  56. The film feels freshly minted because the man who made it has such a lively mind and fearless style. At a time when all too many movies are selling bleakness and dysfunction, it also feels like a revenant from Hollywood’s golden age, when an entertainment’s highest function was to entertain.
  57. Tom Hardy, the actor who plays him, is by turns spellbinding, seductive, heartbreaking, explosive and flat-out thrilling. At a time when the studios are spending vast sums of money on a bigger-is-better aesthetic, here's a chamber piece with the impact of high drama.
  58. Bridge of Spies isn’t conventionally exciting, and isn’t intended to be. Instead, it’s satisfying — thoroughly and pleasurably so.
  59. Anyone who doesn’t have a grand time watching Shaun the Sheep Movie is suffering from a fractured funny bone that needs to be reset.
  60. It's a portrait, by turns chilling, thrilling, mysterious and terrifying, of a woman who refuses to be terrorized.
  61. A droll and affecting debut feature by Tom McCarthy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Foxcatcher is a radical departure from Mr. Miller’s previous feature, the smart and entertaining “Moneyball.” It isn’t meant as conventional entertainment, but it’s fascinating to watch from start to finish.
  63. The film's special mixture of sadness, comedy and hope sneaks up on you and stays in your memory.
  64. Jane Campion has performed her own feat of romantic imagination.
  65. So much movie can be made with so little plot, given sufficient humanity and dramatic tension. That's the case with Andrew Haigh's eloquent chamber piece.
  66. Raw
    This French-language horror film is shockingly well made for a debut feature: Julia Ducournau, who wrote and directed it, really knows her stuff and is clearly bound for mainstream success, if that’s where her appetites take her.
  67. It's been a good while since I've seen a movie whose most powerful sequence was both unforeseen and entirely unpredictable as it played out.
  68. This musical about a plant that craves blood has a smart and snappy score -- and Steve Martin in a hilarious bit as a dentist who gives himself laughing gas as he treats his unanesthetized patients. [23 Dec 1986, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. No
    Like "Argo" or "Zero Dark Thirty," the film dramatizes a fertile subject — in this instance, the language of advertising in modern politics.
  70. At the center of this swirl of events, poignant recollections and utter pandemonium, Ms. Portman’s Jackie is a mesmerizing presence.
  71. 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.
  72. Likely to create considerable nervous tension among viewers who think they've seen this all before. They haven't.
  73. The film doesn't play it safe, so neither will I. Instead, I'll say that it finds Mr. Tarantino perched improbably but securely on the top of a production that's wildly extravagant, ferociously violent, ludicrously lurid and outrageously entertaining, yet also, remarkably, very much about the pernicious lunacy of racism and, yes, slavery's singular horrors.
  74. Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. (What a terrific title!) This precocious, faux-primitive first feature, in Persian with English subtitles, and a sensationally eclectic score, was shot in wide-screen black-and-white, and frequently mimics the dreamlike rhythms of silent films.
  75. The links and resonances remain largely abstract -- to understand them isn't necessarily to be moved by them -- while the individual dramas of those three lives are often stirring, and the three starring performances are unforgettable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. Only in America, though, could filmmakers illuminate such a dire subject, and the financial debacle that ensued, with the sort of scathing wit, joyous irreverence and brilliant boisterousness that make The Big Short an improbable triumph.
  77. So too much of a good thing really isn’t too much, and some of the exceptionally good things are the songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. But how will they do the water on Broadway?
  78. Little by little, though, the cluelessness grew endearing, the cross-purpose conversations intricately funny, the gritty look appealing.
  79. Director, Darren Aronofsky, and the writer, Robert D. Siegel, have turned the story of this washed-up faux gladiator into a film of authentic beauty and commanding consequence.
  80. We need 007, even after half a century of his ups and downs in various incarnations, to remind us how deeply pleasurable an action thriller can be. The latest addition to the Bond canon goes beyond thrilling into chilling and enthralling, plus a kind of stirring that has nothing to do with martinis.
  81. Has its share of misfired jokes and pseudo-mythic sequences that semi-fizzle. All in all, though, it’s majestical nonsense that is anything but nonsensical.
  82. A feature-length documentary, by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller, of absolutely breathtaking sweep and joyous energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. The studio, like plucky Harry, passes with flying colors. The new one, directed by Mike Newell from another astute script by Mr. Kloves, is even richer and fuller, as well as dramatically darker. It's downright scary how good this movie is.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    In the musical numbers, where by rights Mr. Travolta should shine, he's almost out-danced and certainly out-charmed by Edna's better half, Wilbur (Christopher Walken), who is one of the movie's great assets, an oasis of calm amid the twisting and shouting.
  84. Like Kong himself, it's imposing, sometimes endearing, and very rough around the edges.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. 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.”
  86. Director David Mackenzie's gripping, convincing and convincingly violent convict drama owes its authenticity largely to the experiences of ex-prison therapist Jonathan Asser, who wrote its screenplay. But the opening 10 minutes are a virtuosic example of virtually wordless filmmaking.
  87. In Woody Allen's beguiling and then bedazzling new comedy, nostalgia isn't at all what it used to be - it's smarter, sweeter, fizzier and ever so much funnier.
  88. One of the hallmarks of contemporary Danish filmmaking is a seemingly effortless naturalism that springs from superb acting and skillful direction.
  89. Please see this movie, and take any kids old enough to read subtitles. It's one of a kind.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. The World's End stands on its own as hilarious high-end nonsense.
  91. It’s a paradox worth noting, and savoring, that the most dramatic movie of the week doesn’t have a script.
  92. Rarely have age and shining youth been juxtaposed more affectingly, but that’s only one of many moments of grace in a movie that mines its resonant mythology while moving its story ever forward.
    • 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.
  93. It's a fine film, full of small epiphanies.
    • Wall Street Journal
  94. Satoshi Kon, whose previous film was the remarkable "Tokyo Godfathers," uses the complex plot as a pretext for joyous psychedelia.
  95. His is a special kind of courage, and it impels him to act with special agility in a brave new world of his own making, where little tweets can challenge big lies and a blog post can echo like thunder.
  96. 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

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