Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,297 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 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Capote
Lowest review score: 0 Pain & Gain
Score distribution:
2,297 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. This brilliantly funny, casually profound and deeply affecting coming-of-age chronicle, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon from a screenplay by Jesse Andrews, even manages to be life-enlightening—it’s a fresh take on contemporary adolescence as a journey from ironic detachment to openhearted feeling.
  4. Lots of Sicko stands as boffo political theater, but its major domo lost me by losing his sense of humor.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Functions mainly as an action extravaganza, and a numbingly depersonalized one at that.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. 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
  10. Richly detailed -- and improbably entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Has its share of contrivances, some more successful than others, but center stage is occupied by truth, and austere beauty.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. You can't take your eyes off Ms. Kidman; she has never played a role with more focused energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. The film as a whole measures up to Forest Whitaker's performance...one of the great performances of modern movie history.
    • Wall Street Journal
  18. 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.
  19. You may see The Orphanage for what it is, an enjoyable contraption, without believing a bit of it.
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Munich is a Spielberg film for better and worse, a vivid, sometimes simplistic thriller in which action speaks louder than ideas.
    • Wall Street Journal
  24. 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
  25. His film is not for the weak of stomach or heart, but it's a stunner all the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. 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.
  27. 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
  28. As a thriller, The Town has what it takes and then some.
  29. 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.
  30. What makes this nominee for the best-foreign-film Oscar singular among Holocaust movies is the way it characterizes the banality of life underground.
  31. A dulcetly crazy, certifiably hilarious and eerily mysterious little comedy.
  32. 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
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. The screen, like the stage, can barely contain this marvelous play of intelligence.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. Herb and Dorothy, a documentary by Megumi Sasaki, grows on you just as its subjects do.
  43. The film flirts frequently with sentimentality, falling for it heedlessly at a couple of crucial junctures. Still, the overall style is more astringent than moist, and the hero is a little toughie of endearing tenderness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. Mommy is certainly a showcase for powerful acting: Anne Dorval is the coarse but affecting Diane, Antoine-Olivier Pilon is terrifying as Diane’s teenage son, Steve.
  45. For a filmmaker who has made his reputation with such crime thrillers as "Little Odessa" and "The Yards," James Gray reveals an unexpected gift for the mysteries of romance.
  46. There's a near-sacred history in Hollywood of non-U.S.- born directors providing fresh perspectives on America. Miloš Forman. Alfred Hitchcock. Ang Lee. Ernst Lubitsch. Billy Wilder. For Prisoners, a stress-inducing trip into child abduction, the director is Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, who gives us an American "hero" guaranteed to push many buttons, many times, and who might not have been allowed to be quite so awful, under a different director's lens.
  47. Mr. Rourke's performance is quite phenomenal, a case of unquenchable talent bursting the bonds of dehumanized artifice.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Especially well-rendered is the divide that occurred between the downtown and uptown worlds -- something that many who don't live in New York will grasp here for the first time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. Joe
    A beautiful film, shot by Tim Orr, that is elevated by Mr. Cage's stirring portrait of a violence-prone man who can't restrain himself from doing good.
  49. The Song of Sparrows becomes a parable of corruption, catastrophe and eventual redemption. Mr. Majidi's tale wasn't meant to be timely, of course, but the shoe fits, and the film wears it well.
  50. The energy is genuine, and the level of invention is remarkable, sustained as it is by Mr. Baseman's genially garish art, Timothy Bjoerklund's direction from a script by Bill and Cherie Steinkellner, and Nathan Lane's madly passionate performance as the canine who was famously born on the wrong end of a leash.
    • Wall Street Journal
  51. The movie is serious, intelligent, intentionally claustrophobic and awfully somber -- you remember it in black and white, though it was shot (by the masterful Tak Fujimoto) in color. But you'll remember Mr. Cooper's performance for exactly what it is, an uncompromising study in the gradual decay of a soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. Rarely has so scary a thriller been so well made, and never has digital video -- by the English cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle -- been put to grittier use.
    • Wall Street Journal
  53. This remarkable piece of antiwar cinema honors its theme, and the movie medium.
  54. From seductive start to shattering finish, the film is as stirring, entertaining and steadfastly thrilling as it is beautiful.
  55. The immensity encompasses such variety, subtlety and intimacy that you may find yourself yearning for more.
  56. This screwball comedy about a scrappy Hawaiian kid and the rabidly destructive little alien she mistakes for a dog is powered by ferocious joy. And, remarkably, it manages to incorporate traditional Disney values, such as the sanctity of the family, in a visually bold, subversively witty package that's as far from corporate as mainstream movies get.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. A singularly strange and affecting comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. Why are certain films less than the sum of their appealing parts?
  59. What's an eight-letter word for a non-fiction feature that is witty, wise and wonderful? "Wordplay."
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. Like Father, Like Son has still more on its mind — a vision of a Japan in which work will be balanced with leisure and love.
  61. Challenging and fascinating -- everything you didn't know you didn't know about Derrida's life and work.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Ordinary moviegoers, on the other hand, may wonder what they're supposed to feel, apart from bored.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. Supremacy certainly works on its own terms, but those terms are limiting. It's an entertainment machine about a killing machine.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. A visionary tale -- bleak but visionary all the same -- of a fragile civilizing impulse crushed by family loyalty and a lust for revenge in the vast Outback of the late 19th century.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. I wish I could say that the film gives a great actor a worthy role, but the truth is otherwise. The character is banal — Günther lavishes attention on remarkably uninteresting spycraft — and Mr. Hoffman, like everyone else, is stuck with the glum tone set by the director, Anton Corbijn ("Control," "The American").
  66. "Just One More Chance," Billie Holiday implores on the soundtrack. The nice paradox of Arbitrage is that we're interested to see whether Robert gets one, even though he's the villain-in-chief of a suspense thriller whose plot turns on generalized scurrilousness. That's a tribute to Mr. Jarecki's smart writing, and to the take-no-prisoners performance of Mr. Gere.
  67. Ms. Shortland has announced her presence as a new filmmaker to be taken seriously, while her star, Abbie Cornish, gives a performance that starts impressively, and gets even better as it goes along.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. Besides engineering top-notch performances from his actors, Mr. Demme also put together a soundtrack that enhances the movie's marvelous, quirky rhythms. He keeps you hooked into this unpredictable, pleasurable picture right through the closing credits. [6 Nov 1986]
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. It’s a marvelous story about science and humanity, plus a great performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, plus first-rate filmmaking and cinematography, minus a script that muddles its source material to the point of betraying it. Those strengths make the movie worth seeing, but the writing keeps eating away at the narrative’s clarity — and integrity — until it’s impossible to separate the glib fictions from the remarkable facts.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This award-winning picture from Belgium is the kind Hollywood seems no longer interested in making: a sophisticated drama that presumes a level of insight and maturity in an audience that doesn't need winks and arrows to understand what's going on.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. Yet it's not just the visuals that make the movie what it is, a thrilling, if also punishing, tale of heroic endurance. The Impossible, based on a true story, derives most of its impressive power from two remarkable performances: Naomi Watts as Maria, and Tom Holland as Lucas.
  71. The fascination here is not so much the surface drama, though that is suspenseful and sometimes shocking, but Michele's inability to grasp the nature and extent of the evil that surrounds him.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. Laurent Cantet's fascinating, troubling drama has many meanings.
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. The main — and for my money only — attraction in Le Week-End, which was directed by Roger Michell, is the marvelous Scottish actress Lindsay Duncan. She is witty, fiercely intelligent and intensely sexy in the role of Meg, a woman stuck in a failing marriage.
  74. Looks splendid and commands respect, but leaves you wondering what essential something you missed. It's a worthy film at war with itself.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. The essence of the film is slapsticky, chopsocky action, rendered with great verve and accompanied by bromides having to do with the need to believe.
  76. Mr. McKay is in his mid-30s, and doesn't conceal it, so what's the point? By taking the KIND out of WUNERKIND, the movie also removes the WUNDER.
  77. Quietly affecting and surprisingly dramatic, so long as you're willing to watch it unfold at its own deliberate pace.
  78. It's a powerful polemic in its own right, despite some maddeningly glib generalizations, a documentary that functions as a 2½-hour provocation in the ongoing debate about corporate conduct and governance.
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. The Grandmaster, may well be the definitive illustration of kung fu in all its arcane schools and intricate styles. There's never been anything like it — a seemingly endless flow of spectacular images in a story about Ip Man (Tony Leung), the legendary kung-fu master who trained Bruce Lee.
  80. It doesn't make Cars a bad picture -- the visual inventions are worth the price of admission -- but it constitutes conduct unbecoming to a maker of magic.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. An improbably delicious comedy.
  82. I found this film deeply affecting as well. It has a gravity that's independent of technique, and an engaging spirit that's enhanced by flashes of comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. Mr. Miller tells several interlocking stories with such daring and intensity that you sense he could go on indefinitely, spinning one terrific yarn off another.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a simple story, exposing the beauty that lives inside difficult relationships, and it leaves you feeling quietly exalted without ever seeming to try.
    • Wall Street Journal
  84. We saw what Mr. Gordon-Levitt could do in such diverse films as "Mysterious Skin" and "Brick," and in the TV sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun." But this performance is something else. It's unforgettable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. It's not the generic plot that's so memorable, even though its convolutions are clever enough, or the cast of mostly interesting characters, but the surreal swirl of form and color that frequently fills the enormous screen.
  86. One of those movies that arrives every now and then with no fanfare but a canny sense of how to grab our attention and hold it in a tightening grip.
  87. Heathers gave me the creeps but it also made me laugh. This bizarre variation on that Hollywood staple, the teen movie, is one weird original. [30 Mar 1989 p.A12(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. Every action adventure needs a memorable villain, but no movie needs the strident intensity of Mr. Dafoe, who either has no interest in, or no grasp of, the sort of charmingly malign wit that Gene Hackman brought to "Superman," or Jack Nicholson to "Batman."
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. Clearly Mr. Altman was enthralled by the company's work process, an alchemy through which sweat and muscularity on the rehearsal-room floor become exquisite abstractions on stage. His pleasure is infectious.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. Ray
    At the center of it all is an incomparable singer brought to life by a sensational actor. With a huge soul to fill, Jamie Foxx has filled it to overflowing.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. To their credit, and to the credit of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in the title roles of Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, the movie doesn't condescend to these relics of the recent past, but treats them with poignancy and humor. [21 Nov 1990]
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. Mr. Singleton is a very good storyteller, but every once in a while he stops his story cold with speeches. You can feel the audience lost interest, as though a commercial has suddenly popped on screen. [18 July 1991, p.A9(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The jokes fly fast and sometimes very funny. They are, more often, crude and homophobic. Still, a genuine sweetness lurks.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. With its sumptuous settings, urgent romance and intellectual substance, A Royal Affair is a mind-opener crossed with a bodice-ripper.
  94. A smart, suspenseful drama, starring Hayden Christensen, that honors its own factual roots as no movie about journalists has done since "All the President's Men."
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. With this genuinely big entertainment, powered by a beating heart, Steven Spielberg has put the summer back in summer movies.
    • Wall Street Journal

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