Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,252 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 2.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The Ghost Writer
Lowest review score: 0 Jack Reacher
Score distribution:
2,252 movie reviews
  1. JFK
    It's powerful film making that at the very least accomplishes what Mr. Stone said he set out to do - to offer the world an alternate myth. [20 Dec 1991]
    • Wall Street Journal
  2. The cleverness gives considerable pleasure until the story grows absurd and the story within the story turns unpleasant, like the creepily precocious young man who tells it.
  3. It's a meditation, as affecting as it is entertaining, on the limits of violence and the power of unchained empathy.
  4. This adroit and understated coming-of-age film reminded me of the New Wave of Czech films in the 1960s, but with a distinctive poignancy that translates to wisdom.
  5. This is a film that adds to our understanding of human nature. Yet its impact is lessened by a lack of factual context, and by an inspirational climax that may leave one feeling good and uneasy in equal measure.
    • Wall Street Journal
  6. A small independent feature that's everything an independent feature -- small or big -- should be.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. For all its pictorial splendor and carefully calculated drama, this film misses greatness by a country mile.
    • Wall Street Journal
  8. Despite its cargo of meaning, 3-Iron feels marvelously weightless, like the lovers as they stand on a scale that the hero has fixed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  9. Earth eloquently shows the struggle, life doing what it must to sustain life. The spectacle is stirring.
  10. The daunting logistics of Superman Returns have obviously affected the director's work -- thus the hit-or-miss continuity of the narrative -- but Bryan Singer hasn't been defeated by them. While his movie can be cumbersome, it's consistently alive, and that is saying a lot when many such productions are dead in the water, on land or in the air. Also, how can you resist the charm of a fantasy in which everyone gets his news from newspapers?
    • Wall Street Journal
  11. This beautifully strange and affecting comedy, which Agnès Jaoui directed from a screenplay she wrote with her husband, Mr. Bacri, is about men who are weak and insecure, and one woman, Agathe, played superbly by Ms. Jaoui, coming to terms with the price of being strong.
  12. Watching Ahlo mix his explosives is like watching a Cordon Bleu chef whipping up a stupendous soufflé.
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. A perfect fit in the category of instant classic, and, not incidentally, fits the profile of super-profitability. Bursting the bonds of its genre, Hellboy fills the screen with gorgeous imagery, vertiginous action and a surprising depth of feeling.
    • Wall Street Journal
  14. Igby has his own prickly charisma and bleak humor; he's a character you'd like very much to embrace. But he's surrounded by insufferable fools in the airless Manhattan universe of a film that's as offputtingly precocious as its preppy hero.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. Noisy, frenetic, grandiose and essentially a soap opera, director J.J. Abrams's second contribution to the franchise has everything, including romance: Never before have Capt. James T. Kirk and his Vulcan antagonist, Mr. Spock, seemed so very much in love.
  16. Amazingly and incessantly funny, a free-form riff on Hollywood shenanigans, the film noir genre and film in general.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. A daring feature debut by Evan Glodell, Bellflower looks like it was shot with the digital equivalent of a Brownie box camera, and generates an almost palpable aura of anxiety.
  18. The best parts are the in-between ones, neither laugh-out-loud funny nor overtly heart-wrenching.
  19. This new film isn't perfect, and may not be a world-changer, but it's certainly a world-pleaser.
  20. The result is a film that may stay in the mind's eye longer than it lingers in the heart.
  21. Your reaction to the film will depend on your tolerance for scatology -- some of this stuff is very funny, although most of it is grindingly, numbingly awful -- and your interest in standup comics.
    • Wall Street Journal
  22. Why, then, am I so pleased with Easy A? Because the movie, despite a few flaws, seems to have been made by higher intelligence, and because it catapults Emma Stone into a higher place reserved for American actors who can handle elevated language with casually dazzling aplomb.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Calls to mind Lubitsch's "Trouble in Paradise" and beguiles all the way from the parade of umbrellas decorating the opening titles to the closing credits.
  23. It's a lovely pretext for dazzling visuals, yet the production is diminished by the clumsiness of an 8-bit script.
  24. The movie's main appeal is its special comic flavor -- a zesty fusion of picaresque adventure, absurdist whimsy and Chaplinesque grace.
  25. Throbs with an ambition that sends it soaring, then brings it down.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. 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
  27. Everywhere in Nowhere in Africa, skill and art translate into vivid life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. 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
  29. 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.
  30. 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
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. Has the inherent limits of all movies that feed on movies, rather than life -- it's original, yet it's not.
    • Wall Street Journal
  34. Eventually, though, Ghost Town buckles beneath the weight of contrivance -- so many ghosts to dispel, so many lessons to learn.
  35. Pathos isn't Ms. Dunham's bag. What makes her film fascinating is the delicate mood it sustains.
  36. An expertly developed farce that's very funny and surprisingly affecting in the bargain.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. Breaks through the conventions of its biopic form with a pair of brilliant performances and a whole lot more.
    • Wall Street Journal
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. Ms. Moore, for her part, doesn’t need fine writing to create marvelous moments; some of her most powerful scenes are wordless ones in which Alice is looking anxious, confused or utterly haunted. When the script provides exceptional material, however, this extraordinary actress takes it to a memorably high level.
  41. 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.
  42. 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
  43. It looks so stylish that thinking about its plot is strictly optional.
  44. 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.
  45. A valuable film, provided one doesn't ask too much of it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. It declines to take itself seriously, yet manages, sometimes simultaneously, to be exciting, instructive, cheerfully absurd and genuinely affecting.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. 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.
  48. 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
  49. 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.
  50. 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
  51. 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
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. The movie looks lovely, but it's luminous prose.
  61. 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.
  62. 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
  63. 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.
  64. 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
  65. 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.
  66. The result is an enchanting story of love from an idealized past that endures in the mundane present.
    • Wall Street Journal
  67. 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.
  68. Don't miss an opportunity to see Mad Hot Ballroom, though. It will sweep you off your feet.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. Has much to recommend it - high-end craftsmanship, a singular heroine, a labyrinthine mystery, an intriguing milieu - yet lacks a vital spark.
  70. Endearing, though sometimes belabored.
  71. Intriguing and affecting documentary.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. Sleepwalk With Me makes the subject palatable, funny and maybe even touching.
  73. The intricacies here are moral and ethical, and they're fascinating.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. 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.
  75. As wish-fulfillments go, this is a movie lover's dream.
  76. 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
  77. Though the film is somber, it certainly commands one's attention, and for a while one's respect.
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. 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
  79. 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
  80. 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
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. 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
  84. 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.
  85. One of the wittiest comedies to come our way in a very long time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. 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
  87. 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
  88. A fascinating procedural with a fitting climax.
  89. 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
  90. 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
  91. 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.
  92. 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.
  93. 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
  94. Strong stuff, and all the stronger for having taken itself so comically.
    • Wall Street Journal

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