Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,149 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 Fruitvale Station
Lowest review score: 0 Jack Reacher
Score distribution:
2,149 movie reviews
  1. The World's End stands on its own as hilarious high-end nonsense.
    • 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.
  2. It's a fine film, full of small epiphanies.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. Satoshi Kon, whose previous film was the remarkable "Tokyo Godfathers," uses the complex plot as a pretext for joyous psychedelia.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. Everything comes together brilliantly in Silver Linings Playbook - for the film's crazed but uncrazy lovers; for the filmmaker, David O. Russell, and best of all for lucky us.
  7. Chiemi Karasawa's unblinking documentary feature watches Elaine Stritch struggle with the toughest role of her life—being old, and in constantly uncertain health.
  8. This is a time when urgent issues are often explored in polemic documentaries, as well as a fateful moment when the future of public education is being debated with unprecedented intensity. Waiting for 'Superman' makes an invaluable addition to the debate.
  9. Mr. Scorsese has created a Judea that is dusty and harsh, where visions in the middle of a night seem like. Some of the visual compositions are dizzyingly beautiful; the Crucifixion scene couldn't be more masterful, or heartbreaking. [11Aug 1988, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Shows how a dedicated man ensured that great music could always be heard at its best.
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. In a minimalist film of muted emotions, Michelle Williams gives as lovely a performance as a moviegoer could ask for.
  11. This exquisite film by the Swedish master Jan Troell is about seeing clearly, and fearlessly. It's also about subdued passion, the birth of an artist and a woman's struggle to live her own life.
  12. Its true subject is melancholia as a spiritual state, a destroyer of happiness that emerges from its hiding place behind the sun, just like the menacing planet, then holds the heroine, Justine, in its unyielding grip and gives Ms. Dunst the unlikely occasion for a dazzling performance.
  13. An accomplished and enjoyable Spanish-language debut feature by Fabían Bielinsky.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. Bergman's Saraband is sublime.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. 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.
  16. This wise and funny film, in Japanese with English subtitles, works small miracles in depicting the pivotal moment when kids turn from the wishfulness of childhood into shaping the world for themselves.
  17. 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
  18. More to the point of this marvelous film, who knew there were kids as heroic, in their various ways, as these valiant super-spellers?
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. A movie of minimalist moments (Molly's tiniest gestures speak volumes) and lovely, almost holy tableaux.
    • Wall Street Journal
  20. Words of wisdom keep popping up in My Dog Tulip with gratifying regularity. They're more likely to gratify dog lovers than anyone else, but that's a large group to which I belong.
  21. No beauty contest has ever been more bizarre than the one in Gerardo Naranjo's shockingly powerful thriller.
  22. A moveable feast of delights.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    After 18 seasons and some 400 episodes of their Fox TV series, the family created by Matt Groening, the family that put the dys in dysfunctional, makes a seamless transition from the shag carpet to the red carpet in the long-awaited Simpsons Movie.
  23. Every sport, and every sports film, must have its superman. The role is filled here by Laird Hamilton, who, we are told -- and, more astonishingly, shown -- took "the single most significant ride in surfing history." Seeing is believing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  24. Room 237, which goes into national distribution this weekend, may be the surpassingly eccentric — and enormously entertaining — film that Kubrick deserves.
  25. This modest little fable from Israel, in English, Hebrew and Arabic, has spellbinding resonances, yet never breaks the spell by blowing its own horn.
  26. 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.
  27. The result is a movie more concerned with movie-making than with the stuff of Sterne's great book, but a movie that's good for lots of laughs if you share its fondness for actors and for fatuous actors' banter, which I do.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. Many movies these days are too long; this one, at 90 minutes, feels too short. That's because its purpose is so sharply defined: a tight close-up, in black and white, of a single, seminal moment -- a black and white moment -- in American history, and American journalism.
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. As Crowhurst's situation grows desperate, the scope of the film expands -- from a good yarn to a haunting, complex tale of self-promotion, media madness, self-delusion and, finally, self-destruction.
  30. Like earlier Dardenne films, Lorna’s Silence is naturalistic, yet this one, beautifully shot in 35 mm film by Alain Marcoen, achieves a poetry of bereftness.
  31. Operates in an orbit somewhere between Oliver Sacks and Lewis Carroll. I can't remember when a movie has seemed so clever, strangely affecting and slyly funny at the very same time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  32. While the film itself isn't perfect, who cares about perfection in the face of abundant life, authentic screwiness and lovely surprises by the busload?
  33. 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.
  34. Ms. Berg's film, which she wrote with Billy McMillin, tells the story with unprecedented clarity. She has a dramatist's eye for what was irretrievably lost-the innocent lives of the children, plus 18 years of three other innocent lives.
  35. A huge delight.
  36. 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
  37. What Ron Howard gets, to a degree that's astonishing in a two-hour film, is the density and complexity, as well as the generous entertainment quotient, of Peter Morgan's screenplay.
  38. What's most rewarding, though, is that Mr. Senna speaks extensively and eloquently for himself, and reveals himself to be an eminently human hero. He's thoughtful, even philosophical, about decisions that deprive him of seemingly well-earned victories.
  39. It's tempting to see Beyond the Hills solely as an indictment of religion, but the film is more ambitious than that. Ignorance and superstition aren't confined to the convent; people in town, including the cops, drop casual references to witchcraft as if it were part of everyday life. The broader subject is possession by primitive ideas.
  40. 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.
  41. Watch them march to the very extremes of extremis, though, and it's easy to feel awe.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. Seduces us with its leisurely pace and felicitous details into believing that something miraculous is afoot in a mundane rural community.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. It's not fair to say that Ms. Davis steals scenes - one of the movie's strengths is its ensemble cast - but she supercharges every scene she's in.
  44. Genuinely and irresistibly inspirational.
  45. Hotel Rwanda isn't impersonal, even though it only hints at the story's full horror. It's stunning.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. What she thinks of herself, though, seems perfectly, if improbably, reasonable--a queen of comedy who won't and shouldn't abdicate.
  47. All the backing-and-forthing between olden and modern days intensifies the emotional impact of a compelling story, and underlines the enduring power of narrative itself.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. Extraordinary...The movie has the intensity of an epic, only its subject matter is everyday life. [19 Oct 1993, p.A18(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. This is a first-rate squealer. [07 Aug 1986]
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. Martius comes to a bad end, while Mr. Fiennes achieves a great beginning. As a director, his grasp exceeds his daring reach, and his performance stands as a chilling exemplar of psychomartial ferocity.
  51. It's a different city today, in a country that sees its racial and social divides with more clarity than it did back then. But the most troubling question the film raises is how clearly we may see even now.
  52. Liam Neeson has never had a richer character to play on screen -- including his landmark role in "Schindler's List" -- and has never displayed such formidable energy and virtuosity.
    • 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
  53. Appeal lies on the bright, shiny surface of its ostensibly simple plot, and in its rat-a-tat-tat language, which often sounds like Mamet-visits-Spyne.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Jarmusch's uncharacteristically mainstream -- wonderful -- road trip movie.
    • Wall Street Journal
  54. Philippe Claudel gives his heroine unusual depth, which Kristin Scott Thomas reveals with unusual passion.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The cheap perfume of sentimentality wafts through the closing moments of Flags of Our Fathers. It's all the more noticeable for having been avoided so well and so long. Mr. Eastwood knows that sort of thing doesn't mix with the stench of war.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. Anders Danielsen Lie, gives a performance that's as distinctive as any in recent memory -- casually witty, remarkably graceful and yet terrifying in its explosiveness.
  56. 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?
  57. The latest in a series of stiletto-sharp social comedies by the French filmmakers Jean-Pierre Bacri and Agnès Jaoui.
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. While the film handles itself well in the ring, it's brilliant in the arena of a blue-collar family that brutalizes its younger son and best hope for worldly success in the name of sustaining him.
  59. I can't say enough about the way Enough Said keeps its scintillating sense of humor as it grows deeper and more affecting.
  60. The made movie — i.e. Mr. Pavich's documentary — makes for a great seminar on creativity. Its star is Mr. Jodorowsky, outrageously handsome and dynamic at the age of 84.
  61. Now the movie can be seen for what it was all along, remarkable by any standards.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. The Visitor tells of renewal through love. Its song is tinged with sadness, but stirring all the same.
  63. An absolutely phenomenal film by the Korean director Bong Joon-ho.
  64. The gadgetry is absolutely dazzling, the action is mostly exhilarating, the comedy is scintillating and the whole enormous enterprise, spawned by Marvel comics, throbs with dramatic energy because the man inside the shiny red robotic rig is a daring choice for an action hero, and an inspired one.
  65. News management is the main issue. Control Room shows how coverage is tailored to fit the audience, both by al-Jazeera and its Western counterparts.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. The deliriously talented Lake Bell wrote, produced, directed and stars in this peculiar bit of comedy magic, set amid the cutthroat world of Hollywood voiceover artists.
  67. The film forges ahead, in vivid 3-D, with such energy, expertise and thunderous conviction that you readily accept its basic premise — the pell-mell emergence of great intelligence, plus moral awareness, in primitive bodies — and find yourself exactly where the filmmakers want you to be, swinging giddily between sympathy for the apes and the humans in what threatens to become all-out war.
  68. Computer travel may not be the real thing, but IMAX makes this an astonishing trip all the same.
  69. A stunning drama that's distinguished by a magnificent performance; the most powerful scenes are those that play, as recollection or confession, on Lena Endre's lovely face.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. Mr. Lee's film is stronger as a visual experience - especially in 3-D - than an emotional one, but it has a final plot twist that may also change what you thought you knew about the ancient art of storytelling.
  71. This is more than a respectful remake; Let Me In is quietly stylish and thoroughly chilling in its own right.
  72. Should be a delight for everyone. Bird watchers will find affirmation and even explanation for their avocation. People who can't tell a towhee from a titmouse will still wonder at the beauty of it all.
  73. This isn't entertainment in any conventional sense, but it's a mesmerizing film all the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. Readily accessible, slyly subversive and perfectly delightful film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. Aronofsky blurs the line between reality and fantasy, turning the film into a gothic horror show that is fascinating and disappointing in equal measure. What's resplendently real, though, is the beauty of Ms. Portman's performance. She makes the whole lurid tale worthwhile.
  76. Who doesn't need what this movie has to give?
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. Few actors working today could make emotional sense of such a protean character, but Ryan Gosling does so with calm authority. He's a formidable presence in a film that grabs your gaze and won't let go except for moments when you can't help but look away.
  78. There's no better fun for movie lovers than a small, unheralded film that turns out to be terrific -- unless it's a small, unheralded sequel that trumps the original.
  79. Eureka demands active attention, but rewards it with emotional resonance, thematic complexity and a succession of images that take up permanent residence in our brains.
  80. By turns chilling, mysterious and inspiring; sometimes it's all of those at once.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. I have minor misgivings about the use of a few Disney-esque sound effects, as well as some conventionally garish voicings in the score by Danny Elfman, Hollywood's current master of the macabre. But none of that diminishes the educational value of Deep Sea 3-D, which was directed by Howard Hall, or the sometimes ethereal, sometimes fearsome beauty of its cast of trillions.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. Fatih Akin is a filmmaker to be reckoned with. His characters grow and change in a stunning film that pulses with life.
  83. The new film may not qualify for masterpiece status, but it's an enthralling portrait of a man — an exceptionally brilliant and articulate man — who personified the courage, complexity and moral ambiguity of his tortured time.
  84. A thriller with a quietly sensational performance by Tilda Swinton.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. A wonderfully generous spirit. It's a film about cultural yearning and fearless love.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. Cate Blanchett tops anything she's done in the past with her portrait of a fallen woman who's a hoot, a horror, a heartbreaker and a wonder. The mystery of the movie as a whole is that it depicts a bleak world of pervasive rapacity, deceit and self-delusion, yet keeps us rapt with delight.
  87. Hugely inventive -- and smashingly beautiful.
  88. This gorgeous film, always tender and sometimes dark, is a deeply resonant comic drama that's concerned with nothing less than life, death, love, sex, guilt and the urban logic of mortality.
  89. By most standards of conventional film narrative, this movie is a mess. [25 June, 1987, p.22(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. Why, then, should we be eager to see a story of such incomplete inspiration? Because it's thrilling, and stirring. And because it is truth.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. 5 Broken Cameras is short on facts and, like the demonstrations themselves, provocative by nature. Still, it casts a baleful light on anguishing, seemingly incessant scenes of tear gas hurled, bullets fired, villagers fleeing for their lives and, on one shocking occasion, a life lost as the camera rolls. This is how the conflict looks from the other side of the barrier.
  92. 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
  93. This film is extraordinary on several counts: its knowledge of an arcane trade (Mr. Cohen ran his family's diamond business after his father died); its fondness for telling good life stories; and, above all, its superb starring performance.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The thriller aspect of this work, happily, doesn't overshadow its real beauty -- its stark portrayal of the nightmare despair of aliens, hunted, on edge, prepared to risk all for a new start.
    • Wall Street Journal

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