Washington Post's Scores

For 8,357 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Ernest & Célestine
Lowest review score: 0 Zoolander 2
Score distribution:
8357 movie reviews
  1. The finished film remains a mess of tangled, turgid continuity and florid, mock-operatic style -- at best a collection of production numbers and set pieces waiting in rain for a story capable of accumulating suspense and meaning.
  2. A ruthlessly unsentimental portrait of a German war profiteer's epiphany that inspires neither sorrow nor pity, but a kind of emotional numbness.
  3. Days of Heaven leaves one wanting more: either a totally revolutionary approach to pictorial storytelling or traditional dramatic interest....It may be artistic suicide for Malick to continue his style of pictorial inflation without also enriching his scenarios. If he doesn't, he's likely to be remembered not for his undeniable pictorial talent but for his eccentricity. [5 Oct. 1978, p.B10]
    • Washington Post
  4. After slapstick farces as exuberant and hilarious as Sleeper and Love and Death, it comes as a soft, fuzzy, mildly diverting letdown.
  5. I appreciate No Country for Old Men for the skill in the film craft. I understand No Country for Old Men for its penetrating disquisition on narrative conventions and its heroic will in subverting them. I admire No Country for Old Men for the way it tightens its grip as it progresses, taking us deeper and deeper into a hellish world. I just don't like it very much.
  6. All foreplay and no climax.
  7. Superman II" gets off to a fast start (in part by recapitulating the plot of the original film in the credit sequence), only to evolve into a curiously absent-minded follow-up...What seems to have been lost is the straightforward heroic exuberance of the original film, despite Reeve's gallant and endearing efforts. [19 June 1981, p.C1]
    • Washington Post
  8. The writer in Soderbergh proves the ultimate weak link. In sex, lies' last third, he seems seized with a compulsion to make sense of it all, bring everything to bear, give everyone their moral comeuppance, their screenplay payoff.
  9. In the end, Like Water for Chocolate is an overwrought potboiler that punishes Tita for her sexual freedom.
  10. Scrappy and unsubtle where "We Were Here" is elegant and nuanced, How to Survive a Plague isn't nearly as formally beautiful as its predecessor.
  11. Short of good, better than awful, it opens brilliantly, then just goes on, toward self-negating absurdity.
  12. Unlike Hollywood's hygienic undersea dramas, Das Boot graphically depicts the nasty intimacy of a long mission.
  13. Maybe the best way to describe Beasts of the Southern Wild is faux-k art. Even Hushpuppy's name suggests an author more interested in the folk- and foodways of a culture-with-a-capital-C than the people who comprise it. Too often, she and her peers are presented as curios to be exhibited rather than as fully realized -- if resolutely un-mythic -- human beings.
  14. It's frenetic to the point of crazy while achieving a mark that barely exceeds mediocre.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Though lacking in any particular narrative surprise, the film nevertheless takes the viewer completely by surprise several times.
  15. If Eastwood had any emotional depth as an actor, the character's anguish might come through.
  16. Although Rohmer's adaptation, shot in German with a cast of actors drawn from the German stage, is pedantically faithful to the letter of the original - almost word-for-word as well as scene-for-scene - it substitutes a style that seems woefully wrong. Rohmer's approach is too static and repressed to release the comic ironies Kleist perceived in the very premise of an honorable man's lapse leading to an honorable woman's distress and built into his brilliantly objective story-telling style. [21 Jan 1977, p.B15]
    • Washington Post
  17. As far-fetched as it sounds, such torque-y plotting works, catching the audience off guard, even if the quasi-feminist payoff is less satisfying than it should be, thanks mostly to the film’s puerile fascination with girl-on-girl action.
  18. A well-mounted, macabre seriocomedy with passing punchlines. And for about half the movie, it's compelling stuff.
  19. Based on Gerry Conlon's own account of his arrest and subsequent incarceration, the film takes forever to do what "60 Minutes" does with the same meat in a single segment.
  20. The story, such as it is, follows Renton's inconsistent attempts to kick his habit.
  21. Shakespearean in tone, epic in scope, it seems more appropriate for grown-ups than for kids. If truth be told, even for adults it is downright strange.
  22. For all the When Irish Eyes Are Smiling's and Love Is a Many Splendored Thing's filling the soundtrack, Voices never engages more than your eyes and ears. It leaves you out in the cold and vaguely wondering, Is the entire British nation depressed?
  23. It's a depressing little kingdom, even when Gordon tries desperately to goose the drama with the requisite "Eye of the Tiger" riffs and some junior high-level palace intrigue.
  24. Reminded me somewhat of Archibald MacLeish's famous line that a poem "should not mean but be." That's the reality of The Apostle: It does not mean, it simply is.
  25. Mulholland Drive is an extended mood opera, if you want to put an arty label on incoherence.
  26. There’s nothing wrong with tackling romantic miscommunication, but Birbiglia’s script leaves little room for surprise or depth. Paradoxically, Don’t Think Twice feels both dramatically thin and overstuffed.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The trouble with this art movie is that it's more a movie than it's art.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The total effect is fast and attractive and occasionally amusing. Like a good hot dog, that's something of an achievement in a field where unpalatable junk is the rule.
  27. Put delicately, this is one long sit, made all the more so by a turgid story, a dour visual palette and uninspiring action.
  28. Intriguing, oddly banal and ultimately deflating.
  29. 11 minutes longer than the original, and 11 minutes worse. [2000 re-release]
  30. It's a cult movie in search of a cult. It'll probably find one. It certainly looks and feels like no other movie ever made.
  31. Suffers from what might be called colonitis. It comprises too many equal parts, and they tangle each other up. Everything is important, which comes to mean that nothing is important.
  32. Upon leaving The Big Short, audiences are likely to feel less enlightened than bludgeoned with a blunt instrument, albeit one wrapped in layers of eye-catching silks and spangles: You may be too old to cry, but it hurts too much to laugh.
  33. For all its virtues, Wendy and Lucy seems like the most overrated of art movies. Yes, it's obscure and distancing and makes you pay attention. Williams's performance is nuanced, moving and well worth any awards she gets. But Wendy is also anonymous.
  34. The first section of Three Times is fabulous; the second is fascinating if remote; and the third a jangly, modernist mess.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    You leave the theater feeling moved by a mother's courage, sickened by the crime and a little frustrated, wondering if this unquiet moment in our history will ever rest easy.
  35. Visually, the film is arresting; Robby Mueller's images have a low-energy vibrancy. But Jarmusch won't come out of himself. He's got juice, but only enough for doodling. He's too hip to live.
  36. What starts out as an invigorating odyssey winds up becoming an enervating series of postures.
  37. It's precisely Henry's coldblooded affectlessness that is meant to shock and disturb us. But "Henry" leaves us feeling more numbed than moved. Half art film, half schlock-horror cheapie, "Henry" isn't quite sure what it wants to be.
  38. It's hard not to feel a certain affection for a tale that is so unapologetic about just that: affection.
  39. For all its visual delights, however, Coraline remains more an engaging spectacle than a connective drama. That is chiefly because of the writing. Director-writer Henry Selick doesn't reach for the kind of universality that would enrich the movie.
  40. There is no evidence of life outside the immediate world of the movie.
  41. Lorenzo's Oil, which is further encumbered by its funereal pacing and woebegone score, is definitely a remarkable story, but as told by Miller it isn't really an uplifting one.
  42. The film, therefore, is like a child's view of these events, untroubled by complexity, hungry for myth and simplicity.
  43. The aim is oddball romantic comedy, with himself and Mia Farrow embodying a funny-grotesque mismatch; unfortunately, the obligatory demonstration of attraction and compatibility between these characters escapes Allen; the affair degenerates into a mawkish botch. [27 Jan 1984, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
  44. Beyond Thunderdome the film falters. The new, mild Max is banished to the desert, where he meets a tribe of feral children and leads them out of the desert like Moses. Naturally, it's a pleasure to watch Gibson, no matter what his mood. And as usual, the costumes and sets are imaginative and elaborate. But since "The Road Warrior," punks have adopted the style and none of it looks that original anymore. [12 July 1985, p.27]
    • Washington Post
  45. The Pearl Button may not answer all the questions it raises, yet it is an absorbing experience — at least for anyone with a taste for beauty over insight.
  46. Speaking of jail, "Shawshank"-the-movie seems to last about half a life sentence. The story, chiefly about the 20-year friendship between Freeman and Robbins, becomes incarcerated in its own labyrinthine sentimentality.
  47. Your Name is still highly watchable, even when this mystical Young Adult love story cloys — or confounds.
  48. The insecurities that seem to feed Rivers's often angry humor -- and that have left her face looking like a mask frozen in horror -- are left unexamined.
  49. Gone Girl may get the job done as a dutiful, deliberately paced procedural, but it never quite makes the splash it could have as a thoughtful, timely and thoroughly bracing plunge.
  50. For all its explosive material, this is a fairly straightforward telling.
  51. Other documentarians before Morris have smudged the distinction between fact and fiction. But here the smudging seems almost irresponsible, and you may feel yourself wanting to fight against the conclusions that Morris comes to, not because they're incorrect, but because there's the chance they were come to unfairly. [2 Sept 1988]
  52. While literate and coherent in digest-of-history terms, the chronicle of Gandhi's remarkable career as a mass political organizer and spiritual inspiration distilled from the biographical record by Attenborough and screenwriter John Briley remains grievously doting and squeamishly evasive.
  53. A ridiculously self-indulgent spree of satanic bogeymannerisms entitled Suspiria, virtually self-destructs in the opening sequence. Eager to menace the audience from every sensory direction, Argento doesn't so much create and sustain an illusion of terror as invite you to marvel at his garish ingenuity, at the spectacle of a filmmaker who can't resist overstylizing and upstaging his material.
  54. Aficionados of gore and guts may not mind the comfortably lived-in feel of this blood-spattered Green Room. But anyone looking for the ferocious originality, and unexpected humanity, of “Blue Ruin” will be disappointed by Saulnier’s uninspired cover version of a song we all know.
  55. It succeeds only fitfully. Toggling between Stark's impish goatee and Iron Man's full-metal body condom, and amid so many generic fireballs, kill shots and earsplitting thumps, bumps and crunches, the film finally collapses under its own weight.
  56. The real root of the movie's problems may lie in the fact that Mamet has identified with the men of principle and De Palma with the scoundrels -- in other words, with Capone instead of the eagle-scout Ness.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The daring mission by astronauts to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope in May 2009 is the perfect subject for a brilliant, thrilling 3-D Imax movie. Such a movie, alas, has yet to be made.
  57. Breaks no new ground.
  58. Let Me In wants to make your flesh crawl, and it probably will. But it's unlikely to ever get under anyone's skin, the way "Let the Right One In" did.
  59. Never lets viewers fully inside Erik and Paul's world, a reticence that isn't helped by the actors' fey, restrained-to-a-fault performances. That and a frustratingly episodic structure make what might have been a raw and inspiring portrait of commitment and boundaries a surprisingly uninvolving, arms-length enterprise. Keep the Lights On lets go just when it should be holding you tighter.
  60. It yields surprisingly unspectacular results.
  61. Marvels of animation abound in Monsters, Inc. -- when it comes to irreverent humor and real heart, Monsters doesn't quite measure up.
    • Washington Post
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    You'll leave Bird's smooth flow of nightclub images, dark motel rooms and recharged Parker tracks with new respect for Eastwood the Director. But you'll also leave none the wiser about Parker the Man.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The film's loveliness does much to modulate its often maddening pace.
  62. The movie isn't skillful enough to back up its satiric presumptions. Though it obviously aims to be sassy and uninhibited, Airplane! never approaches the comic heights achieved unwittingly by "Airport '75" and the peerless "Concorde -- Airport 1979." [3 July 1980, p.C11]
    • Washington Post
  63. The movie is visually stirring. And the locations, in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, imbue the story with eerie authenticity.
  64. Undeniably, the picture now and again supplies that edge-of-the-seat sensation; yet, by action-adventure standards, Speed is leaden and strangely poky. It never seems to shift into overdrive and let fly.
  65. Dern's dirtball performance gives After Dark, My Sweet a desperately needed quality of slugged-out authenticity -- he gives the movie its edge. If anything, though, Foley makes Thompson's killing universe too inviting, too sunny and comfortable. He's missed the essence of Thompson, but all in all, there are worse ways of failing.
  66. Too routinely formulaic to be anything more than modestly diverting. But as modest diversions go it cruises along at a reasonably brisk pace and, in the smaller details -- the off-in-the-margins doodling -- it has its rewards. [20 July 1988]
  67. The wacky incongruity works when debuting director Mamet has tongue in cheek. But all too often he's rechewing film noir, Hitchcock twists and MacGuffins, as well as the Freudian mumbo-jumbo already masticated tasteless by so many cine-kids.
  68. This very thinly sliced character study of beautiful if benighted adolescence is more a pre-coming-of-age tale, one that takes us close to, but not through, the transformative acquisition of good judgment.
  69. Ruthless People has an enchanting comic premise -- everyone in the film is either an S.O.B. or wants to become one. But ultimately, the black comedy is not pursued very far -- the movie's too good-natured for its own good. And the elaborately worked-out farce structure, involving a victim who may be either kidnaped or dead, is mostly wasted on a style of humor that, by comparison, makes Buddy Hackett seem the very soul of sophistication. [27 June 1986, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
  70. In this film, Nolan seems overwhelmed by the budget, the egos of the stars, the thinness of the script, and he doesn't impose much personality on the picture. It's all Pacino.
  71. You're left, as with certain vivid dreams, filled with memorable images but not completely able to account for what you just experienced.
  72. Why ... does it feel so lifeless?
    • Washington Post
  73. It's the most exaggerated example yet of the abiding imbalance in modernist filmmaking, where an abundance of texture fails to conceal a minimum of substance, although it frequently makes the act of concealment pictorially exciting. [27 Mar 1981, p.C1]
    • Washington Post
  74. That's exactly the problem with this movie: It's not about a killer, or his victims, or the manhunt or the cops. They're all in it, of course, more or less. But it's about a writer.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Though pleasant to watch, Torun’s feature debut feels more like a meandering montage than a structured narrative, and it could easily be half as long.
  75. As lighthearted, late-summer escapism goes, Logan Lucky is an amusing if convoluted and undisciplined bagatelle. As a hotly anticipated comeback, it feels like a slightly dippy, ultimately disposable warm-up of a director whose brains, chops and judicious taste we need more than ever.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    This is a movie with an admittedly leftist slant. Some of the scenes are gruesome and powerful. But its politics are distracting, making the film less an artistic undertaking and more a political statement. [12 Feb 1982, p.11]
    • Washington Post
  76. It takes what could be called the Chinese equivalent of chutzpah to make a movie with three of the world's most beautiful and talented women -- Gong Li, Maggie Cheung and Zhang Ziyi -- and to be more interested in the male character.
  77. We may enjoy watching the spectacles, but we don't much care for, or even have a feeling for, the guy in the cockpit.
  78. The film is ultimately too self-regarding, too smug to be transcendent itself.
  79. I sat through "Courage" with interest, but I wasn't particularly moved or riveted with suspense.
  80. Kind of like watching a John Waters film on fast forward with all the good parts cut out. It's empty of charm and meaning, but it certainly kills time, for those who wish it dead.
  81. Sunrise feels more like an absorbing experiment than a supple success.
  82. Nothing more than an over-designed lobster pot. After following the beckoning twists and turns, you're left trapped and more than a little disappointed for getting in so deep.
  83. It's an infusion of zip that's sorely needed, because the chief deficiency of A Bug's Life so far is its blandness….The film's other weakness is the low-octane vocal performances of its leading cast.
  84. Though 45 minutes longer than the original release, still feels thinner, less complex, more mythic and far less compelling.
  85. The kind of stunning and contentious work of art that will leave a lot of folks speechless.
  86. The films are bloody, stupid and buoyant in a kind of infantile way, celebrating mayhem, flesh and gore. Planet Terror is by far the livelier.
  87. Make no mistake: The War Tapes is not an overtly political film. It appears to grind no partisan ax nor score either red or blue points. Whether viewers support the war or not -- or find themselves somewhere in the mushy middle -- this documentary won't fit comfortably into the pigeonholes of their preconceptions.
  88. As pungent as McDonagh’s writing is, it may be his too-easy pessimism that makes Calvary engrossing and thought-provoking, but not great.
  89. A well-crafted story with a unique voice. But its literary gifts are outweighed by its pictorial prosaicness. Dimming the screen in every shot is the unmistakable shadow of the page.
  90. That's the problem with The Sure Thing. All the good lines are given to Cusack -- he's always "on," narrating his own life in the revved-up spiel of a sports announcer. For Cusack's Gib, life is performance -- his long quill of a nose even seems to look for his audience's ticklish spots. But why would he bother with Alison? Screenwriters Steven L. Bloom and Jonathan Roberts have sketched her as an annoying scold, leaving Zuniga little to do but bray disapproval at everything. [4 Mar 1985, p.B3]
    • Washington Post
  91. The only thing that is sustained in Sid and Nancy is a tone of clinical disinterest that leaves you asking why Cox would want to make a movie about them. By the end, you know more about Sid and Nancy than you care to, and about Alex Cox, quite a bit less than you'd like.

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