Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,194 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 2.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The Class
Lowest review score: 0 Funny Games (2008)
Score distribution:
2,194 movie reviews
  1. The movie's main appeal is its special comic flavor -- a zesty fusion of picaresque adventure, absurdist whimsy and Chaplinesque grace.
  2. Throbs with an ambition that sends it soaring, then brings it down.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. Mr. Quaid has long been a reliably likable actor, but this time he pitches a perfect performance -- no frills, no tricks, not a single false note -- in a film that's true to its stirring subject, and to the sweetest traditions of the game.
    • Wall Street Journal
  4. Everywhere in Nowhere in Africa, skill and art translate into vivid life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. Howard, and the screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman, have used the book as nothing more than their jumping-off point for an erratic work of fiction that's part mystery thriller and part Hollywood schmaltz.
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. Lynn Shelton's lovely tale of swirling feelings was shot in a mere 12 days, on a budget that must have been minuscule. A couple of minutes after it's started, though, you know you're in the presence of people who will surprise and delight you.
  7. In a film that's carefully crafted but also airless and overcalculated, Mos Def walks away with every scene he's in because we're never sure what his character is up to, and we're never told.
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. Much of the film is banal or pretentious, or both - vacuous vignettes about emptiness. Occasionally, though, those vignettes burst into life and burn with consuming fire.
  9. Has the inherent limits of all movies that feed on movies, rather than life -- it's original, yet it's not.
    • Wall Street Journal
  10. Eventually, though, Ghost Town buckles beneath the weight of contrivance -- so many ghosts to dispel, so many lessons to learn.
  11. Pathos isn't Ms. Dunham's bag. What makes her film fascinating is the delicate mood it sustains.
  12. An expertly developed farce that's very funny and surprisingly affecting in the bargain.
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. Breaks through the conventions of its biopic form with a pair of brilliant performances and a whole lot more.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. Make what you will of the story and its symbolism, but Mr. Antal has made a remarkable feature debut with this visionary film, chockablock with memorable images.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. The movie wears thin as its style turns from light parody into affectation, and the plot, which certainly generates lots of anxiety, eventually settles for facile irony.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. Watching Ahlo mix his explosives is like watching a Cordon Bleu chef whipping up a stupendous soufflé.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. As you watch Doc Paskowitz perform for Mr. Pray's camera, it's hard not to judge him harshly. His narcissism seems boundless, even when he cloaks it in self-deprecation.
  18. For the director, Mr. Leconte, and for the usually volcanic Mr. Auteuil, the quiet, cumulative power of this film is a striking departure from the dazzling energy of their previous collaboration in "Girl on the Bridge."
    • Wall Street Journal
  19. It looks so stylish that thinking about its plot is strictly optional.
  20. James Marsh’s movie, which co-stars Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking, the celebrated physicist’s wife, is a biographical love story that doesn’t depend on science to shape the plot — it’s rich in emotional intelligence.
  21. One of the reasons documentaries often take so long to make is the filmmakers' need to keep their subject from giving a performance. They want something genuine, something that materializes only when the camera disappears. Nothing Mr. Courtney is says is inaccurate or, God knows, dishonest. But it isn't quite true either.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Director David Yates, who is new to the Potter franchise, moves the story along briskly, at the expense of texture and nuance.
  22. A valuable film, provided one doesn't ask too much of it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. It declines to take itself seriously, yet manages, sometimes simultaneously, to be exciting, instructive, cheerfully absurd and genuinely affecting.
    • Wall Street Journal
  24. Like his (David Gordon Green's) debut feature of three years ago, the exquisite "George Washington," this new one has my heart, and I think it will have yours.
  25. Of all the funny things in Thank You for Smoking, and there are many, the most striking is Robert Duvall's absolutely mirthless laugh.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. The repetitions are meant as a sort of metajoke, and it works well enough, more often than not, though heightened levels of raunch and chaos seem not so much meta as frantic.
  27. Although The Good Girl is peppered with amusing small-town eccentrics in refreshingly original guises, it gets off to a long, slow start.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. None of this would work, of course, without stylish performances in the leads and Mr. Clooney and Ms. Zeta-Jones do themselves and their dubious characters proud.
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. Mr. Luchini gives one of the best performances of the year, in one of the best movies of the year.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Like a dinner whose hors d'oeuvres are far more satisfying and well-composed than the slightly warmed-over main course. Among them are the inspired mock movie trailers and the fake ad that precede "Thunder's" opening credits.
  30. Nothing is simple in this film, which ramifies into parallel meditations on race, the transformation of racial politics and lessons to be learned from the lives of dogs.
  31. Koch the film makes the point without belaboring it — a mayor and a metropolis linked by tumultuous events in the worst and best of times.
  32. A work of fiction, Mr. Féret's film is ardent in its inventions, modest in scale, playful in its speculations about Nannerl's influence on her brother's music, and graced by the filmmaker's daughter, Marie Féret, in the title role.
  33. Mad Dog and Glory also seems like two movies at once, only in this case the split comes off like a case of Siamese twins. Actually, it's girls on one side and boys on the other, and the boys get all the breaks. [4 Mar 1993, p.A12]
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. Trumbo doesn't pretend to be tough-minded about its subject, and its failure to date the letters is an annoyance. But the substance of those letters, along with documentary footage and a touching appearance by Kirk Douglas, throws a baleful light on a bleak chapter of American history.
  35. The film is picture-book pretty and fairly conventional, except for the 3-D, which is emerging as a convention in its own right. Still, the prettiness comes with brains, and the whole production, like those newly eye-catching models of American-made cars, bespeaks resurgent confidence.
  36. They might also have called it "Groundhog Day 2," but that wouldn't have conveyed the film's martial frenzy, its fascinating intricacies or the special delights of its borderline-comic tone.
  37. The movie looks lovely, but it's luminous prose.
  38. A cockeyed comic triumph that flashes between bright and dark like a strobe light of the spirit. And Ms. Theron, as Mavis Gary, a self-styled author rather than a mere writer, succeeds sensationally at something much harder than playing ravaged.
  39. Mr. Nichols decided to preserve the jokiness of the original material, even while shifting the emphasis to the mother-daughter conflict. There may have been a way to do this and end up with a clever movie, but Mr. Nichols seems to have had an even cleverer idea: He decided to use this movie as a way to pay back social obligations. [13 Sep 1990, p.A14]
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. People might have laughed at the old Jack Rebney, but they were laughing at themselves as well. And counting their blessings. Everyone has a cranky side. Unlike Mr. Rebney's, it isn't usually gawked at by 20 million people.
  41. The problem isn't a lack of substance, and certainly not a dearth of talent, but a shortage of fun.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Lacks a crucial element of the heist subgenre: ingenuity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. Ms. Ferrera is an engaging performer; you find yourself rooting for Ana from the start, even though you know, from the predictable script by George LaVoo and Josefina Lopez, that rooting isn't required for a happy outcome.
  43. The result is an enchanting story of love from an idealized past that endures in the mundane present.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. The Man Nobody Knew is packed with knowledge of another sort. It amounts to an absorbing, sometimes appalling course in how U.S. foreign policy evolved and functioned following World War II.
  45. Don't miss an opportunity to see Mad Hot Ballroom, though. It will sweep you off your feet.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. Has much to recommend it - high-end craftsmanship, a singular heroine, a labyrinthine mystery, an intriguing milieu - yet lacks a vital spark.
  47. All the more remarkably, then, this flawed but startling biopic stars another performer, Chadwick Boseman, who fills Brown's shoes with a dynamism that transcends imitation.
  48. Endearing, though sometimes belabored.
  49. Intriguing and affecting documentary.
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. Sleepwalk With Me makes the subject palatable, funny and maybe even touching.
  51. The intricacies here are moral and ethical, and they're fascinating.
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. An exhilarating examination of a leading Iranian criminal enterprise--music: More than 2,000 bands are said to operate clandestinely in the capital of Tehran, risking prison to play together in basements, bedrooms and rooftops.
  53. As wish-fulfillments go, this is a movie lover's dream.
  54. If you're willing to go along with it, as I was, then being manipulated -- or at least actively misled -- becomes a pleasure.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Hugely entertaining thriller.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. Though the film is somber, it certainly commands one's attention, and for a while one's respect.
    • Wall Street Journal
  56. It's a stirring portrait of a singular artist, a gorgeously photographed album of his buildings, and, perhaps most importantly, a film that manages to demystify the way he works without diminishing it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. One would have to be totally tone-deaf not to notice that the director, Andrew Davis, has inflicted a broad cartoon style on adult performers who are distinctly uncomfortable with it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  58. Black Book is its own kind of thriller. The film is filled with the genre's conventions -- suspense, betrayal, melodrama, violence, music -- and it's hugely enjoyable from start to finish.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. Like Crazy develops slowly, and threatens at first to be just another movie about beautiful young people in the Age of Fraught Relationships. It's much more than that, though. Without belaboring any issues, it speaks volumes about fear of commitment.
  60. What the film does best is document the lengths to which people are going to protect themselves -- subcutaneous microchips for identification, ever-heavier armor for fancy cars.
  61. Through exquisite details, evocative music and bold dramatic strokes -- including a tragedy that transcends the melodrama it might have been -- Rain renders this family's life in its full dimensions.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. One of the wittiest comedies to come our way in a very long time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. Batman Begins summons up moments of great eloquence and power. If only its cast of characters was as fully inhabited as its turbulent city.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. The film grows on you too, a later-stage version of "The Big Chill" that starts schematically and ends as a stirring celebration.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. For all its energy, fine performances and dramatic confrontations, Friday Night Lights substitutes intensity for insight, dodging the book's harsher findings like a dazzling broken-field runner.
    • Wall Street Journal
  66. Charlotte Rampling is the best reason, though far from the only one, to see Swimming Pool, a mesmerizing mystery, plus a wonderfully sensuous fantasy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. What makes "The Winter Soldier" so enjoyable, though, and what will make it so profitable, is its emotional bandwidth — all the vivid, nuanced life lived by its characters in between their frenzied escapades.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The narration, aided by a terrific score, does streamline the storytelling, and adds to it a faintly sardonic top note.
  68. Marvelously detailed and meticulously crafted, an elegant evocation of Depression-era America and its fascination with crime. What the movie lacks is any sense of elation--it’s joyless by choice.
  69. Presley Chweneyagae's Tsotsi makes his presence deeply felt. In a world of heedless children wielding guns, his tale is a heartening one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. Strong stuff, and all the stronger for having taken itself so comically.
    • Wall Street Journal
  71. As odd as it may sound, it's a remarkably beautiful movie.
  72. Benjamin Button is all of a visionary piece, and it's a soul-filling vision.
  73. Unstrung Heroes is a revelation. [15 Sep 1995]
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. Here's a debut feature from Norway, a coming of age comedy so fresh and droll that the actors seem not to have been directed at all, but simply observed as they went about their odd lives.
  75. Walks a fine line between bold indie film, with the attendant in-your-face roughness, and sodden Lifetime Original Movie.
  76. Everything and everyone is observed sharply, succinctly and indelibly.
    • Wall Street Journal
  77. Delightful and insightful romantic comedy.
  78. Rousing, provocative film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. Ultimately an original film that forces us, time and again, to reconsider what we think we've just seen, and what we're sure we feel - not only about mere appearance, or fateful gender, but about who, under our skin, we truly are.
  80. Shall We Kiss? gives us storytelling as art. Emmanuel Mouret's romantic drama, in French with English subtitles, is expert, intricate, ineffably droll, ultimately provocative and entirely enchanting.
  81. Calmly, almost serenely, Mr. Van Sant and his superb cinematographer, Harris Savides, reveal a vision of contemporary American youth quite unlike any other.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. The narrative engine leaves the rails when Irving, like Hughes, plunges into paranoia (though Irving actually is the object of a high-level plot) and the style turns to the sort of intensely manipulated surrealism that Charlie Kaufman practiced, not successfully, in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. Who Killed the Electric Car?, a fascinating feature-length documentary by Chris Paine, opens with a mock funeral, then follows the structure of a mock trial in which multiple suspects are found guilty.
    • Wall Street Journal
  84. Makes an eloquent case for John Kerry's courage, both during and immediately after his service in Vietnam.
    • Wall Street Journal
  85. Winningly human, and wonderfully funny.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. Mr. Penn has been praised lavishly for his work in "Mystic River," in a role that was no reach for him at all, but this is one of the stand-out performances of his career, layered and exquisitely nuanced. And, remarkably, he's only one-third of a stellar ensemble.
    • Wall Street Journal
  87. All but one of the actresses in Caramel are nonprofessionals -- not unprofessional, just untrained in the craft -- and they are, to a woman, enchanting. So is this Lebanese comedy.
  88. With Mr. Harrelson, Mr. Moverman has created an antihero of epic proportions and indiscretions.
  89. Training Day can be simplistic, formulaic and absurdly melodramatic -- but Mr. Washington is flat-out great.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. Pieces of April would deserve your attention and respect even if all these colorful threads didn't come together into a luminous whole. But they do, beautifully and unaffectedly, because what's been on Mr. Hedges's mind is not just a comedy of alienation but a drama of acceptance and reconciliation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. I wanted to believe in Bad Santa. At least half of the time I did.
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. Real-life events have overtaken District B13, and they give this feverish, yet oddly flat French action adventure a whiff of substance to go along with its spectacular stunts.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. The main thing about Cedar Rapids is that it makes you laugh-often and out loud.
  94. Once in a great while a film seems right in every detail. Andre Techine's Strayed ("Les Egares") is such a film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. It's nothing less than a miracle that the director, Craig Gillespie, and the writer, Nancy Oliver, have been able to make such an endearing, intelligent and tender comedy from a premise that, in other hands, might sustain a five-minute sketch on TV.

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