Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,186 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 White Material
Lowest review score: 0 Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Score distribution:
2,186 movie reviews
  1. A likable lightweight, though it's heavy enough on cosmic combat and dazzling effects.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Mud
    Jeff Nichols's third feature traffics unerringly in truth, delicious surprise, unadorned beauty and unforced wisdom.
  7. Mr. Gyllenhaal’s startling portrayal is far from the only distinction in this impeccably crafted feature film. Mr. Gilroy’s directorial debut connects its hero’s tacit madness to the larger craziness of a broadcast medium that teaches vast numbers of viewers to live with a false sense of insecurity.
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. Modest in scale but formidable in its impact.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. Finally seems like a bit of a con in its own right, but a marvelously smooth one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. Shrewdly reconceived, powerfully acted and hugely entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. I've made a good case for seeing Rango, and why not; an eye feast is still a feast in this lean multiplex season. Be advised, though, of the film's peculiar deficits. The narrative isn't really dramatic, despite several send-up face-offs. It's more like a succession of picturesque notions that might have flowed from DreamWorks or Pixar while their story departments were out to lunch.
  17. Frank is a genuine original in a summer sea of sameness, and a darkly comedic manifesto against the cultural status quo.
  18. JW is played brilliantly by Joel Kinnaman, who is familiar to American audiences of "The Killing" on AMC.
  19. What The Art of the Steal documents most dramatically is the irresistible pull of irreplaceable art.
  20. Goes from good to great in 90 minutes, and then it's over, except that it's really not, because this small masterwork grows even deeper and more affecting as it takes up permanent residence in your memory.
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. For all its immersion in the roar, grease and danger of Formula One, the fact-based Rush — about the sport's great rivalry of the 1970s — is also more predictable than a pit stop, something well-suited to Mr. Howard. He's made perfectly palatable pictures, but never a truly great one, partly because he has such a weakness for the commercial and a consequent gift for the obvious.
  22. Andrew Garfield's phenomenal performance makes room for the many and various pieces of Jack's personality, whether or not they're securely fastened together.
  23. Any movie with these two comics is a trip and a half. How about France for the next one? A perfect way to revisit Michael Caine.
  24. The movie's metaphorical dimensions rarely interfere with the concrete, quirky pleasures of its story. The Flower of My Secret is Mr. Almodovar's most entertaining work since his phenomenal "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown." [15 Mar 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
  25. Lovely & Amazing goes to the heart -- and face, and skin -- of a subject that's sure to ring true with women, and may even educate men.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. There's plenty of scary pleasure to be had from this clever, compact thriller.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. Major League Baseball has passed new rules for the Dominican system, according to the film's closing credits, rules that will limit signing bonuses. Yet the harvest will continue, and it's not a pretty sight.
  28. This screen adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s autobiographical best-seller is burdened, out of fidelity to the book, with life lessons and unneeded explanations that it dispenses, like CliffsNotes, at every opportunity.
  29. The celebrated percussionist Evelyn Glennie is the subject of a wonderful documentary called Touch the Sound, although calling her a percussionist is like calling Brancusi a demolitionist.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. Where the movie is at its best is in the comically laconic, straight-to-the-camera remarks offered by Carthage's residents. (They're played by a mix of local actors and real townspeople doing partially scripted versions of themselves.)
  31. Through it all -- the free-form conversations, the brilliant set pieces, the preposterous gross-outs, the flawless performances -- Kristen Wiig's forlorn maid of honor, Annie, seeks her own destiny with a wrenchingly cockeyed passion.
  32. The Invisible Woman gives us a plausible image of the great man in the fullness of his celebrity, and an affecting portrait of the woman who lived much of her life in his shadow.
  33. The film succeeds powerfully, even though it's short on practical solutions, makes some questionable statements of fact and, given Gore's current ambiguous position in public life, requires a tighter focus on the message than on the messenger.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. There are remakes and there are remakes. I don't want to belabor the flaws and sexual excesses of the original; its great strength was its explosive energy. Still, this one investigates the unfulfilled potential of the first one so thoroughly, and develops it so audaciously, that it qualifies as a brilliant reinvention.
    • Wall Street Journal
  35. Absurdist, but also condescending and self-infatuated; The Royal Tenenbaums is at least three times too clever for its own good.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. There's an old-Hollywood feel to the movie's solid showmanship and unabashed sophistication. These days it's feature-length 'toons, sporting the newest-fangled technology, that take kids and adults alike back to the movies' good old days.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. The pulp-fictional hero is inhabited by the charismatic Andy Lau who, together with Chinese stars Bingbing Li, Ms. Lau and Tony Leung Ka-fai, makes Detective Dee the most purely entertaining film of our vanishing summer.
  38. The film contends admiringly, and convincingly, that Ralph Nader's authentic sense of outrage is the reason he persists when he can't prevail.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. The new film, shot in vivid hi-def video, is part documentary and part fiction based on interviews; it uses on-camera interviews with workers, some played by themselves and some played by actors, to evoke a past of unimaginable toil, and suffering, in the service of the Communist state.
  40. The story is a shallow-draft bark with flat characters on board: Josh, in particular, is de-energized to the point of entropy. Night Moves suffers from a lack of mystery and a deficit of motion.
  41. A convincing, entertaining portrait of the revolutionist as a young man.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. Mr. Field is a filmmaker with an exceptional gift for directing actors -- he's an actor himself -- and an eye for telling detail. (His cinematographer here, as in the previous film, is Antonio Calvache, and again the images are quietly sumptuous.) Yet I was put off by Little Children's satiric tone.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. Catching Fire is exceptional entertainment, a spectacle with a good mind and a pounding heart.
  44. Any meaningful perspective on the greedfest of the period is obscured by the gleefulness of the depiction.
  45. I did enjoy the movie's mercurial moods -- anxiety, terror, whimsical horror -- and I welcomed its confirmation that the work of the devil includes SUVs.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. A thrillingly, thoroughly wonderful film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. All three performances are excellent, in their different ways.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. A smart, funny and strangely touching film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. Some comedies make you laugh out loud. This one makes you smile inwardly, but often.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 75 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Born on the Fourth of July would be merely a hilariously inept gathering of Vietnam War movie cliches. Instead it is an unrelenting series of dramatic blows; almost every scene packs violence, sleaze, screamed rage and an ear-splitting music with headbutt force. For someone who despises the military, Mr. Stone is quite bellicose. [21 Dec 1989, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. In another sense, though, everything is exactly what it seems, expertly crafted and cleverly compounded for high-dose entertainment.
  51. Both magical and consistently joyous. The director, Robert Altman, and the writer, Garrison Keillor, have, against all odds, transmuted the fatigued public radio institution into a lovely fable about mortality, fleeting fame, fondness for the past and the ineffable beauty of life in the present.
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. Horror and social value contend for equal honors in Must Read After My Death, a frightening -- and eerily edifying -- documentary that Morgan Dews created from a family trove of photos, Dictaphone letters, audiotapes, voluminous transcripts and home movies.
  53. Better than a feelgood movie, it's a feelgreat movie -- genuinely clever, affecting when you least expect it to be and funny from start to finish.
    • Wall Street Journal
  54. What it's about is also what it requires for proper appreciation -- the ability of the human mind to hold, and even cherish, diametrically opposite thoughts.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In the ultimate test, Kirby submits this very documentary to the tender mercies of the MPAA. It gets slapped with an NC-17 for graphic content. He appeals. He loses -- ten votes to zip.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. If you lop off the closing credits of Fred Cavayé's preposterously exciting - and pleasingly preposterous - French-language thriller, the running time is a mere 80 minutes. Not since "Run Lola Run" has the term been used more aptly.
  56. The writer-director Adrienne Shelly, who died in New York City late last year at the age of 40, took such perishable ingredients as wit, daring, poignancy, whimsy and romance, added passionate feelings plus the constant possibility of joy, decorated her one-of-a-kind production with pastel colors and created something close to perfection.
  57. A brilliant mess, I suppose, in the way that seriously disturbed people can sometimes deliver a briefly mesmerizing vision of the universe while babbling. If nothing else, Natural Born Killers is the most in-your-face movie ever released by a major Hollywood studio. [25 Aug 1994, p.A10]
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. Lots of Sicko stands as boffo political theater, but its major domo lost me by losing his sense of humor.
  59. A seasoned director might have known when to ask Ms. Theron to do less, or nothing at all; as things stand, she acts at every single moment. But what brave and ferocious acting she does.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. Errol Morris's documentary was made, and scheduled for release, long before the News of the World story broke. The smart part is that the film dissects those excesses deftly with a quasitabloid style of its own.
  61. Soko is terrific, but it is Mr. Lindon who delivers the performance of the film, his internalized consternation amounting to an eloquent dispatch from the war between the sexes.
  62. This is only the second feature for the director: the first was "True Adolescents." But Mr. Johnson's work with his actors is impeccable, and his style is freewheeling.
  63. Functions mainly as an action extravaganza, and a numbingly depersonalized one at that.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. Bursting with joy and throbbing with music, Rize has a tragic dimension too. When you see the clown cry, you'll be with him all the way.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. Richly detailed -- and improbably entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. The most striking thing about X-Men: Days of Future Past is its generosity. Huge franchise installments are rarely as enjoyable as this one. They aren't as inventive, richly detailed, surprisingly varied, elegantly crafted or improbably stirring.
  67. What makes it such a singular experience is the convergence of fine acting, moral urgency and a willingness to linger on moments of great intensity.
  68. Has its share of contrivances, some more successful than others, but center stage is occupied by truth, and austere beauty.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. You can't take your eyes off Ms. Kidman; she has never played a role with more focused energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. The director Penny Marshall has gone straight to the heart of this complex story and made a powerfully poignant and illuminating film. She doesn't hesitate to push for the grand sentimental moment, but balances the teary stuff with restraint and humor. To be sure, Awakenings seems calculated to induce weeping -- and it does, without making the weeper feel cheap. [20 Dec 1990, p.A14]
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. By convoluting the various planes of experience, by overlapping and obscuring ostensible realities and ostensible dreams, Mr. Nolan deprives us the opportunity of investing emotionally in any of it.
  72. The film as a whole measures up to Forest Whitaker's performance...one of the great performances of modern movie history.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. The source of all this information was a real-life KGB agent, Vladimir Vetrov, code named Farewell, and with the usual adjustments for drama his story gets a respectable retelling in this nervy French production.
  74. You may see The Orphanage for what it is, an enjoyable contraption, without believing a bit of it.
  75. Depends on comic timing so precise that it seems weightless and all but effortless. And it depends on performers, of course, who can do a comic turn just as readily as a deft writer can turn a phrase. In that department, Ocean's Eleven is at least 11 times blessed.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    As in most movies of this sort from "Rebel Without a Cause" to "West Side Story" to last year's "Thirteen," adults are marginalized, clueless or absent. I'm with them.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. The film's power is undercut by its narrow geographic focus, which seems to associate bullying with conservative or working-class areas in red states. The filmmakers could easily have found similar cases involving the children of urban sophisticates.
  77. I don't know the Mongolian word for panache, but Mongol's got plenty of it. The battle scenes are as notable for their clarity as their intensity; we can follow the strategies, get a sense of who's losing and who's winning. The physical production is sumptuous.
  78. Munich is a Spielberg film for better and worse, a vivid, sometimes simplistic thriller in which action speaks louder than ideas.
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. The near-miracle worked by Mr. Boyle, whose exuberant style brings several saints to scruffy life, is a movie that's joyously funny and hugely inventive -- occasionally to the point of preciousness -- yet true to the spirit of the saintly little kid at its center.
    • Wall Street Journal
  80. His film is not for the weak of stomach or heart, but it's a stunner all the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. After countless films in which immigration plays a central role -- one of the earliest was Charlie Chaplin's 1917 silent classic "The Immigrant" while one of the best, Jan Troell's "The Emigrants," has never migrated to DVD -- you'd think the canon was essentially complete. Yet this visionary work adds to it by combining harsh realities with magic-realist fantasies.
  82. The film transcends its various borrowings and occasional stumblings with a modern, exuberant spirit that draws heat from Broadway-style musical numbers and, before and after everything else, from marvelous 3-D animation
  83. As a thriller, The Town has what it takes and then some.
  84. It's a tone poem, really, less concerned with conventional action than with exploring themes of love and commitment through understated performances, sumptuous images (Bradford Young did the cinematography), lovely music (Daniel Hart composed the score) and very few words, intoned elegiacally.
  85. What makes this nominee for the best-foreign-film Oscar singular among Holocaust movies is the way it characterizes the banality of life underground.
  86. A dulcetly crazy, certifiably hilarious and eerily mysterious little comedy.
  87. Lost in La Mancha, a documentary about a movie that never got made, is more involving -- and heartbreaking -- than many movies that do get made.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. If you're looking for an action thriller, this isn't it. The pace is deliberate, the tone is pensive, albeit punctuated by occasional violence, and the style is exceedingly lean; characters reveal themselves mainly through moral choices.
  89. Nolan’s 168-minute odyssey through the space-time continuum is stuffed with stuff of bewildering wrongness. Eager for grandeur, I went in hoping for the very best from a filmmaker with his own vision of the theatrical medium’s potential. The last thing I expected was a space adventure burdened by turgid discussions of abstruse physics, a wavering tone, visual effects of variable quality and a time-traveling structure that turns on bloodless abstractions.
  90. Though the first-time director, Gabor Csupo, has achieved distinction as an animation artist, he lacks experience directing actors. The best adult performance in the film is that of Zooey Deschanel; she comes off -- again, agreeably -- as self-directed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. Remarkably accomplished and self-confident. In dramatic terms The Attack borrows a page from Alfred Hitchcock's playbook — an innocent in a strange land, delving into dangerous matters he doesn't understand. In political terms, though, the script is unsparing and ultimately bleak. It doesn't justify terrorism, but it does dramatize the rage and despair that dominate life in the occupied territories.
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. Apollo 11's mission was a singular chapter in the story of mankind; The Dish finds a whimsical, winning way of telling it anew.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. An unusual amalgam of formulaic feel-goodism and shocking tough-mindedness, a movie that allows us to decode the inner life of its hero while he's decoding the world around him.
    • Wall Street Journal
  94. The screen, like the stage, can barely contain this marvelous play of intelligence.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. The film's point of view is inevitably that of an outsider, which Danny Pearl was, and menace is the essence of this shattering story, which has been told with skill and urgent conviction. A Mighty Heart makes the terms of the terrorist threat palpable.
  96. A win-win situation in which a mainstream feature works equally well as stirring entertainment and a history lesson about a remarkable convergence of sports and statesmanship.

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