Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,425 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 2.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Animal Kingdom
Lowest review score: 0 Rock the Kasbah
Score distribution:
2425 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. A huge delight.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Watch them march to the very extremes of extremis, though, and it's easy to feel awe.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. Seduces us with its leisurely pace and felicitous details into believing that something miraculous is afoot in a mundane rural community.
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. 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.
  11. Pride may not be a model of impeccable craftsmanship, but it's a fine example of turning a terrific subject into a gleeful event. It's also an example of the power of entertainment — of entertainment within entertainment.
  12. Genuinely and irresistibly inspirational.
  13. Hotel Rwanda isn't impersonal, even though it only hints at the story's full horror. It's stunning.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. What she thinks of herself, though, seems perfectly, if improbably, reasonable--a queen of comedy who won't and shouldn't abdicate.
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. This is a first-rate squealer. [07 Aug 1986]
    • Wall Street Journal
  18. 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.
  19. The movie, with some of the trappings of a murder mystery, makes its points with blunt force. Fun seldom figures in this adaptation, which is overlong and mysteriously unaffecting. Still, Mr. Fincher's film has many fascinations.
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. Philippe Claudel gives his heroine unusual depth, which Kristin Scott Thomas reveals with unusual passion.
  24. This superb film, by Kent Jones, adds three more layers to the book’s alluvial wisdom: stunning clips from Hitchcock features, audio clips from the original conversations and fascinating comments by contemporary directors.
    • 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
  25. 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.
  26. 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?
  27. The latest in a series of stiletto-sharp social comedies by the French filmmakers Jean-Pierre Bacri and Agnès Jaoui.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. This is a harrowing film to watch. In spite of the vibrant jungle greens and the searing sun, it’s as bleak a vision of modern warfare as has ever been put on screen.
  31. Now the movie can be seen for what it was all along, remarkable by any standards.
    • Wall Street Journal
  32. The Visitor tells of renewal through love. Its song is tinged with sadness, but stirring all the same.
  33. 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.
  34. 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
  35. You don't have to be a fan of Mr. Jarmusch's special brand of indie spookiness to enjoy his new film. All that's required is patience with its languorous pace, plus a willingness to swing between amusement and delight, with periodic pauses at ennui.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. Computer travel may not be the real thing, but IMAX makes this an astonishing trip all the same.
  39. 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
  40. The whole film is unlikely, a joyous story of youth, innocence, sweet earnestness, charming ineptitude and a shaky but productive belief on the hero’s part that he can do anything he pleases.
  41. 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.
  42. This is more than a respectful remake; Let Me In is quietly stylish and thoroughly chilling in its own right.
  43. 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.
  44. An absolutely phenomenal film by the Korean director Bong Joon-ho.
  45. The Witness is remarkable for its emotional impact, and its clarity. The picture that emerges isn’t perfectly clear; the whole truth will never be known, Bill Genovese says. What he has made known, though, is valuable.
  46. This isn't entertainment in any conventional sense, but it's a mesmerizing film all the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. Readily accessible, slyly subversive and perfectly delightful film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. 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.
  49. Who doesn't need what this movie has to give?
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. 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.
  51. I can't say enough about the way Enough Said keeps its scintillating sense of humor as it grows deeper and more affecting.
  52. 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.
  53. Clouds Of Sils Maria. swirls with provocative ideas, but they’re talked about more than dramatized
  54. 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.
  55. By turns chilling, mysterious and inspiring; sometimes it's all of those at once.
    • Wall Street Journal
  56. 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
  57. Fatih Akin is a filmmaker to be reckoned with. His characters grow and change in a stunning film that pulses with life.
  58. A thriller with a quietly sensational performance by Tilda Swinton.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. A wonderfully generous spirit. It's a film about cultural yearning and fearless love.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. 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.
  61. Hugely inventive -- and smashingly beautiful.
  62. 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.
  63. By most standards of conventional film narrative, this movie is a mess. [25 June, 1987, p.22(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. 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
  65. I can tell you that Ms. Laurent’s direction is astute and economical, that both of the film’s young stars give fine performances, and that Breathe is a very good title for a film that ever so gradually takes your breath away.
  66. 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.
  67. 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
  68. 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
  69. Magnificent.
  70. Difficult too, and certainly problematic, but it's sometimes quite wonderful. Do see it if you're curious about one-of-a-kind films, and if you care about the ever-evolving career of one of our most gifted filmmakers.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. In a literal sense this delightful film, in Norwegian with English subtitles, is about retirement and the prospect of loss. But Mr. Hamer, a poet of the droll and askew, sends the aptly named Odd--it's also a common Norwegian name--on a cockeyed journey from regret through comic confusion to a lovely eagerness for new adventures.
  72. Much of this is fascinating, as far as it goes, but it wouldn't go as far as it does into drama were it not for Ms. Johansson's wonderfully strange performance.
  73. The Counterfeiters is inevitably serious, even austere, and full of chilling, ironic details.
  74. A thrilling -- and harrowing, and beautiful -- celebration of the unpredictability of life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. It's spectacular, to be sure, but also remarkable for its all-encompassing gloom. No movie has ever administered more punishment, to its hero or its audience, in the name of mainstream entertainment.
  76. It's a horror flick, and a creepily good one, that also functions as an allegory of the war that still haunts Spain seven decades later.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. You’ll want to see Zero Days — just not when you’re counting on a good night’s sleep a few hours later. Alex Gibney’s documentary about cyberwarfare is many things, none of them lulling: a thriller, a detective procedural, a startling chronicle of science fiction transformed into fact, and an urgent plea for public discussion of a new way of waging war that could wreak havoc on a scale akin to that of nuclear weapons.
  78. Sizzlingly smart and agreeably sententious, Mr. Garland’s film transcends some all-too-human imperfections with gorgeous images, astute writing and memorably strong performances.
  79. The Tribe is one of the most disturbing films I’ve ever seen. It may also be among the most memorable — not only for its pitch-black view of human nature, but for the devilishly instructive way in which it turns the tables on us. As we watch in anxious confusion, it’s as if we are profoundly deaf, trying to understand what’s going on and striving to break out of isolation.
  80. 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.
  81. Even if snorkeling wasn't a major sport in 16th-century Sicily, where the action was originally set, the joyous spirit of the play has been preserved in this modest, homegrown production.
  82. Foreign films can be as enchanting as ever, and perspective-expanding too. The latest proof is Up and Down, a wonderfully funny, giddily intricate Czech comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. Like the movie as a whole, she (Judy) is funny, sweet, sophisticated and adventurous.
  84. This one is nowhere near as original -- it's a flawed remake of a fine first feature from Norway -- but "Insomnia" still stands on its own as a thriller with brains and scenic beauty.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. A fine Argentinean film with English subtitles.
  86. The best part of Tracks — aside from the spectacular images, the succinct dialogue, the elegant filmmaking and the mysterious beauty of Mia Wasikowska's performance — is what's left unsaid.
  87. The film feels self-obsessed, an intriguing drama that slowly devolves into a bleak meditation on the absence of dramatics.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. If truth be told, the film is less than the sum of its parts; the main problem is the fragmented narrative structure, a legacy of the literary source. Still, it's a joy to see men and women with dense life stories played by powerful actors with long and distinguished careers.
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. (Morton's) character here is emotionally mute -- though Morvern speaks, she can't or won't reveal what's in her heart -- and her performance is brilliant from start to finish.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. 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
  91. 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
  92. A handsome, absorbing debut feature by the fiction and television writer Henry Bromell.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. The movie has its own genuine charm and one hilarious high: Billy Crystal & Carol Kane are simply wonderful. [24 Sept 1987, p.24(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  94. Watching the actors and gorgeous trappings is an adventure in cognitive dissonance. I didn't believe a single minute in almost three hours, but enjoyed being there all the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. Finding Dory can be touching, sweet and tender, but it’s compulsively, preposterously and steadfastly funny.
  96. The essence of this inventive though erratic animated feature is joyous music and eye-popping motion.
    • Wall Street Journal

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