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 Happy-Go-Lucky
Lowest review score: 0 The Last Airbender
Score distribution:
2,149 movie reviews
  1. Magnificent.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. The Counterfeiters is inevitably serious, even austere, and full of chilling, ironic details.
  6. A thrilling -- and harrowing, and beautiful -- celebration of the unpredictability of life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. A fine Argentinean film with English subtitles.
  14. The film feels self-obsessed, an intriguing drama that slowly devolves into a bleak meditation on the absence of dramatics.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. 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
  16. (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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. A handsome, absorbing debut feature by the fiction and television writer Henry Bromell.
    • Wall Street Journal
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. The essence of this inventive though erratic animated feature is joyous music and eye-popping motion.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. One of the film's best moments of deliciousness comes with the revelation that Yoshikazu, rather than his father, made the sushi that won the Michelin inspectors over; so much for working humbly in the old man's shadow.
  24. Directed with such a confident, delicate touch. Nothing is insisted on, yet whole lives are discovered and revealed in vignettes that seem as spontaneous as a laugh or a gasp.
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. Several startling depictions of the artist at work make you forget, if only temporarily, the serious shortcomings of the script.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. Beautiful images can be a distraction in a serious documentary, but that's hardly the case here. They draw us in so we can better understand the hurtling changes that endanger the future of Cambodia and, by extension, much of the developing world.
  27. The strangest thing about his latest picture, Hairspray, is how very sweet and cheerful it is. In his own weird way, Mr. Waters has captured the gleeful garishness of the early '60s, when high-school girls wore demure bows in their ratted hair and deadened their lips with palest pink lip gloss -- and believed that racial harmony was inevitable if teens of all flavors could dance together on TV. [25 Feb 1988, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. Straightforward in form but surprisingly intricate.
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. Transcends its star's controversial career and, in the bargain, stands head, shoulders and heart above every other Hollywood movie that we've seen so far this year.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. The Ghost Writer is so rich you may feel you paid too little for your ticket when the whole thing meets its very Polanski-ish climax. Please don't tell anyone.
  31. Growth is the film's subtext, and finally its subject. Never has a line of dialogue been more freighted with symbolism, or more grounded in literal reality, than when Barbu says, ever so quietly, "Mother, please unlock me."
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Sympathetic, engaging documentary.
    • Wall Street Journal
  32. Looks like Weimar decadence and feels like down-home friendship.
    • Wall Street Journal
  33. One of the best of the genre. If it doesn't serve oysters, per se, this submarine wonder offers marvels in abundance.
  34. 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.
  35. Mr. Fukanaga's purpose is to evoke the immigrants' experience, which he does with such eloquence and power as to inspire awe.
  36. It's a film of modest means and great ambition, a darkly comic drama concerned with nothing less than the place of faith, and an embattled Church, in modern life.
  37. Proves to be a remarkably lean and incisive film about the fateful power of sexuality.
    • Wall Street Journal
  38. Value has been added as well -- the most thrilling car chase ever committed to film, a sequence that also shows, by cutting to the psychosexual chase, why fans embraced the tawdry genre in the first place.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. What works best is what's readily accessible, the startling power of performers who understand the drama all too well.
  40. 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.
  41. The scope of the subject is such that when Mr. Jarecki's voiceover cuts into the narrative, imposing a personal angle on the national story, it reduces the sense of significance its creator aimed for. But that's a fairly backhanded endorsement of a very potent movie.
  42. Felix (Duvall) simply wants to host his own goodbye, maybe have a band, and the reasons why are the reasons Get Low is essential viewing. That, and the acting.
  43. I admired the leisure and intensity of this morality tale.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. With a calmness that bespeaks confidence, this small, spellbinding second feature by Hilary Brougher brings together two women, trapped in separate states of denial and distress, who manage to end each other's entrapment.
  45. A powerful drama, albeit a flawed one with a clumsy, didactic script.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. This is a woman's work in the best sense -- empathetic, inferentially erotic and delicately intuitive, as well as fiercely intelligent.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. Nair's movie, far from being paste, is a string of small, exquisite gems.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. Mr. Almodóvar's love of movies informs every frame of this beautiful film.
  49. 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.
  50. How long has it been since a movie left you literally speechless?
  51. The greatest fascination is watching these three people when they're planted firmly inside the frame, talking at cross-purposes while trying to perceive one another in the reflected light of their needs and risky assumptions.
  52. Boils with humor, surprise and dramatic energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. 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.
  54. Too bad it isn't more engaging — and dramatic — than it is, but this new film, in French with English subtitles, is still worth seeing for what it says of the turbulent state of France in the early 1970s, when Mr. Assayas was a high-school student in Paris, and of the zigzag pursuit—of painting, beautiful girls and independence from a demanding father—that finally culminated in his becoming the filmmaker he was meant to be.
  55. The pace is deliberate, verging on slow — Australian filmmakers aren't keen on short takes or quick cuts — but the content is constantly surprising.
  56. Magic suffuses this film -- performances that approach perfection, or achieve it, moments of exceptional grace as a troubled family plays out a contemporary version of a classic immigration saga, healing itself in the process.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. Tender, funny and smart, Machuca is that rare discovery, an incisive political parable that also succeeds as a drama of sharply drawn individuals.
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. 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.
  59. Almost everything about Cary Fukunaga's version of the Charlotte Brontë romance is understated yet transfixing, mainly-although far from exclusively-because of Mia Wasikowska's presence in the title role.
  60. It keeps you fascinated, even enthralled; elicits astonishment, even wonderment, and makes you grateful for the chance to meet someone remarkable.
  61. The film itself operates on shifting sands. Shot documentary-style, by Robert Elswit, and accompanied by a pounding soundtrack, Syriana makes high-octane melodrama look like revealed truth.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. She's (Jennifer Hudson) the best part of the show by far, but the writer-director Bill Condon, who wrote the screenplay for "Chicago" four years ago, has done the original "Dreamgirls" proud without solving its dramatic problems.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. An improbably bountiful subject -- kids on skateboards turning themselves into virtuoso artist-athletes -- has been brought to life in a wonderful, unpretentious documentary.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. 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.
  65. It isn't saying too much, though, to call Mia Hansen-Løve's French-language drama beautiful, profound and, given the gathering tensions of its story, phenomenally full of life.
  66. This is filmmaking of a high order, even though the production's scale is modest and the climax is not without its facile contrivances.
  67. For the most part, though, Ms. Moncrieff has given us a portrait of a young woman with a luminous soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. Rapturously beautiful, startlingly audacious and often very funny, the film employs many of the techniques that were used so pleasingly in "Amélie."
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Feast for Rolling Stones fans.
  69. Living in Emergency is anything but bleeding-heart propaganda.
  70. Period pieces can be marvelous or musty, depending on the period, as well as the piece. Soul Power is marvelous.
  71. Who knew this German-born Turkish filmmaker could perpetrate a delirious farce-in German and Greek with good English subtitles-that doesn't flag for a single one of its 99 minutes?
  72. A drama of uncommon moral complexity, unexpected humor, convincing transformations (for good and bad) and, best of all, vibrant, unpredictable energy. In a movie landscape littered with dead souls, here's a live one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. The entire film is a seduction, one that draws us into a vanished world where Count Leo Tolstoy and his wife of 48 years, Countess Sofya, come to joyous, tempestuous life in a matched pair of magnificent performances by Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren.
  74. As such, it's chilling and enjoyable in unequal measure. Entertainment predominates, but entertainment with smarts, and a well-honed edge.
  75. An exhaustive and exhausting dissection of a relationship that was never all that promising in the first place.
  76. Wonderfully fresh and affecting fable from India.
  77. The distinction of this lovely, if slightly tentative, debut feature is its willingness to set forth mysteries of the human heart without solving them; everyone's fate stays unsealed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. This portrait of a failing marriage is one of the summer's great discoveries, and a marvel of mercurial intimacy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. A survey of the week wouldn't be complete without a left-handed salute--not to be confused with a backhanded compliment--to the gleeful rubbish of Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!
  80. I regretted it most when the temporal hopscotching took me away from Ms. Winslet's portrait of the writer as a young sensualist, madly smitten by words and life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. A glorious feature-length documentary -- This film will leave an indentment, and a deep one, on anyone who loves great, joyous music and cares about the people who make it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. The most intriguing question it raises is whether our feelings about Vermeer may be changed by the likelihood of him having used optics of one sort or another. The answer is yes, unavoidably, but not necessarily for the worse.
  83. Gleeful and smart, funny and serious, this sequel surpasses the endearing original with gorgeous animation — a dragon Eden, a dragon scourge, an infinitude of dragons — and one stirring human encounter after another.
  84. A likable lightweight, though it's heavy enough on cosmic combat and dazzling effects.
  85. Blink your eyes and you've lost track of them, but one of the interesting things about the experience is that you don't want to lose track; though the film moves as slowly as its hikers, it demands, and deserves, to be watched closely. (The cinematographer was Inti Briones.)
  86. Represents a big growth spurt in Mr. Cronenberg's career. Its measured pace, along with a style that is sometimes austere (though sometimes anything but) repays close attention with excellent acting and a wealth of absorbing information.
  87. Nicole Kidman places the bereaved heroine of Rabbit Hole in a nether land between life and not-quite-life. Her beautiful performance transcends the specifics of the script, which David Lindsay-Abaire adapted from his play of the same name.
  88. In the end, though, the success of American Gangster doesn't flow from the originality of its ideas, or its bid for epic status, as much as from its craftsmanship and confident professionalism. It's a great big gangster film, and a good one.
  89. Mud
    Jeff Nichols's third feature traffics unerringly in truth, delicious surprise, unadorned beauty and unforced wisdom.
  90. The movie's considerable emotional force springs from the splendor of its visual poetry. Mr. Bertolucci allows the sweep of 60 years of Chinese history to unfold around Pu Yi as background noise to his peculiar, poignant role in the emergence of modern China. [25 Nov 1987, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. Wonderfully funny and subversively affecting.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What's most memorable, most striking about Superbad is the canny evocation of male friendship in all its richness and complexity.
  92. Modest in scale but formidable in its impact.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. Finally seems like a bit of a con in its own right, but a marvelously smooth one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  94. Shrewdly reconceived, powerfully acted and hugely entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. The wonder of the film is how good it makes us feel. Greenberg scintillates with intelligence, razor's-edge humor and austere empathy for its struggling lovers.
  96. A stylish thriller with real complexity, people with interesting faces, a sensational actress cast as an ambisexual Goth hacker heroine--the news about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is nothing but good.
  97. That's not to say that this first visit to a live-action Narnia on screen isn't enjoyable, or promising for the future of what will surely be a successful franchise. But there's not a lot of humor along the way, and the epic struggle between good and evil plays out in battles more impressive than thrilling.
    • Wall Street Journal

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