Washington Post's Scores

For 7,954 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The English Patient
Lowest review score: 0 Formula 51
Score distribution:
7954 movie reviews
  1. Unlike "Heathers," a satiric treatment of teen suicide, Pump Up the Volume is passionately caring. It's a howl from the heart, a relentlessly involving movie that gives a kid every reason to believe that he or she can come of age. It appreciates the pimples and pitfalls of this frightening passage, the transit commonly known as adolescence.
  2. Mostly, though, it's a film about that hollow feeling that hits you when the tears have all dried up and your face hurts way too much to even crack a smile.
  3. This rapturous romance is not only laugh-out-loud funny but demonstrates how little humankind has evolved in matters of the heart.
  4. Steers refreshingly clear of the usual cliches. Character takes the wheel and dictates the action, not the other way around.
  5. Turns out to be not just rude, crude and outrageously funny but a deceptively sophisticated meditation on moral agency -- with pot jokes!
  6. Written by former deejay Audrey Wells, the observant and funny script includes some wonderful scenes for the leading ladies.
  7. Mullan's movie is admiringly uncompromising. He refuses to augment the horrors with relief.
  8. Costner (with Michael Blake's screenplay) creates a vision so childlike, so willfully romantic, it's hard to put up a fight.
  9. The Gods Must Be Crazy is like nothing you've ever seen, a one-of-a-kind experience that's both strange and wonderful. It's most like an anthology of vintage Disney -- a wildlife narrative, a fairy tale with little people, and a love story suitable for general audiences. [02 Nov 1984, p.29]
    • Washington Post
  10. Merchant's attention to Trinidadian culture, locales and general atmosphere is inescapably alluring.
  11. It conforms to that twisted French genius's typical opus: grisly, ironic but minuscule and sordid.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The film has some clumsy scenes, and sometimes the director overcrowds his comedy. The remarkable thing, however, is that for a mere $100,000, Townsend and company have made a funny, poignant and technically proficient film -- one that should thoroughly embarrass those studios that routinely offer up badly made, multimillion-dollar disasters.
  12. This isn't a stand up and cheer flick; it's a sit down and ponder affair. And thanks to Kline's superbly nuanced performance, that pondering is highly pleasurable.
  13. The movie itself is a miracle: tough, smart, relentless, provocative and, above all, serious.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Terry Gilliam is the wit behind this lavish display of sieges, sea-creature tussles and trips to the moon. Adapting the handed-down stories of Baron Von Munchausen, an 18th-century spinner of tall tales, this modern maker of similar flights of fancy has created another brilliantly inventive epic of fantasy and satire.
  14. No matter how you come down on this movie politically, Dogville is a compelling chamber piece with constant cinematic surprises. And you remember that von Trier is, above everything else, a consummate filmmaker.
  15. The Sure Thing is fresh, funny, sure-fire stuff. And much of the credit for that goes to an energetic comic actor named John Cusack, who was only 17 when he made the film.
  16. Passionate, literally shimmering movie.
  17. This is a fully realized movie, whose intelligence -- despite its grim findings -- dwarfs any Hollywood production.
  18. Gromit's every facial move -- every grimace, scowl, eye-roll and glance askance -- is sublime.
    • Washington Post
  19. Few films are more assured in their storytelling or build more forcefully, irrevocably toward their resolution.
  20. With a cast of actors playing some of England's smartest people and with a crackling script by Stoppard -- no slouch in the brains department -- it pays to stay awake.
  21. There's nothing bogus about this locomotivated follow-up; it's a truly excellent adventure, hilariously inventive, greased-lightning paced and dumb-bunny brilliant.
  22. The disturbing ideas it plants in the soil of the soul need time and darkness ? not light ? to germinate.
  23. His story is sad, compelling and morbidly, tragically watchable.
  24. This uncommonly intelligent thriller evokes the great films of the 1970s ("All the President's Men," "Klute," "Three Days of the Condor") that managed to elicit gritty urban realism while maintaining a suave sense of style and moral complexity.
  25. Surprisingly powerful and universal: the search for meaning and small blessings in the face of life's utter randomness.
  26. Takes both its characters and the audience to the depths, but it's a journey Kidd redeems with wit and fluency and, ultimately, a deeply persistent humanism.
  27. It's his best work by far.
  28. As directed by Rob Reiner, Stand by Me has a quality of seriousness, and of relaxation, that you hardly ever see in movies made about kids. It's at its best when its characters are just hanging out, razzing each other, feeling the summertime -- when it's like "Diner" for 12-year-olds. [22 Aug 1986, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
  29. Part of the spell cast by this magical film is its ability to make an unvarnished political statement about economic reality and social alienation while, at the same time, seducing its audience into believing in the transformative power of love and the almost supernatural beauty of the everyday.
  30. A memorable and devastating indictment of the oppression facing many women in Iran.
  31. It has the aspirations of an epic of crime and punishment, a superb feel for time and milieu, and an almost subliminal feel for myth.
  32. A movie for almost everyone, from boomer parents (who remember their teens and twenties) to their teenage kids (who can't wait to get started with same). And if there's anyone who can bring so many into the same mosh pit, it's Black, who so occupies the role you can't believe he's acting.
  33. If Kelly felt it necessary to add the new material, that's all to the good. It just means there's more to love.
  34. Surprisingly smart, graphically faithful live-action adaptation of the Mike Mignola series
  35. The director isn't much on orgies; he's all talk. But that's good, not bad, because his talk is so brilliant. Stillman is the Balzac of the ironic class, the Dickens of people with too much inner life.
  36. A movie of technical skill and rare depth of intellect and feeling.
  37. May be a fish tale, but its story of the paradox of love -- knowing when to hold on means knowing when to let go -- is profoundly humane and human.
  38. Suddenly, you're looking at life in his (Thornton's) jaundiced way and laughing with a sense of vicarious liberation, even when he says the most outrageous things -- to children, no less. And I daresay you can still recover your holiday spirit when you're through laughing.
  39. A delectable reworking of the ultimate girl's myth, a corporate Cinderella story with shades of a self-made Pygmalion.
  40. One thoroughbred of a movie. Sleek, well-muscled and brisk, director Steven Soderbergh's newest offering delivers just about everything anyone could possibly want from filmed entertainment -- except deep thought.
  41. Gorgeously animated and stirringly told, Disney's Mulan is a timeless story that will delight kids and divert adults with its sweeping scope, emotional intimacy and screwball humor.
  42. Childishly simple, but extremely funny.
  43. Actress Rosanna Arquette and video vamp Madonna star in this wonderful new-wave mix-up, directed by the difficult but dynamic Susan Seidelman. Arquette is angelic as the outsider Roberta looking to get in, a quixotic New Jersey housewife kept in a yuppie palace by her husband, the hot tub man (Mark Blum).
    • Washington Post
  44. On one level, Yi Yi is classic soap opera, with a suicide attempt, a wedding ceremony, even a brutal 11 o'clock news murder, all in the mix. But Yang's direction is so admirably restrained, it lends rich heft to everything.
  45. When you're in the hands of the Coen brothers, you're in for sheer originality.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Anyone interested in serious film should absolutely not miss it.
  46. The best kind of genre filmmaking: It plays by the rules, obeys the traditions and is both familiar and fresh at once.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Sweet, strange and ultimately heartbreaking.
  47. One of the year's best films.
  48. Van Sant gives his material shape and an invigorating, syncopated style. It keeps coming at you in surprising, dazzling ways.
  49. Theron has rendered herself 100 percent unrecognizable. Not since Robert De Niro morphed into hulk dimensions to play heavyweight boxer Jake La Motta in "Raging Bull" has there been a transformation this powerful and effective.
  50. Thanks to an exceptionally deft touch, Mottola manages to capture the absurdity and anguish of young adulthood, while never sacrificing meaning on the altar of crude humor.
  51. From the first frames of The Color of Money, you feel, almost physically, the presence of a man singularly obsessed with the romance of movies. In this movie, Martin Scorsese enters a new period in an already extraordinary career. It would be hard to exaggerate the complex pleasure and wonderment that The Color of Money conveys.
  52. Rushmore is an almost indefinable genre of its own. A comedy with a menacing edge? An ironic romance? Hard to call.
  53. What's more, Bertolucci's voice is stronger, clearer and more effortlessly confident than it has been in years. He's stolen the beauty of Tuscany and his youthful star and transformed it into an exquisite work of movie art.
  54. Succeeds where 100 studio-generated teen romances -- starring the bland, the blunt or the blow-dried -- have failed.
  55. Spy movies just got thrilling again.
  56. As Morvern, Morton is disconcertingly enigmatic, often bordering on catatonic. But she carries the movie effortlessly. And even though we're on the outside looking in, she carries us along, too.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    After watching Gibson and Glover grow accustomed to each other, develop trust and confidence in each other and charge bullheadedly into dangerous situations, you can't help but hope there's a "Lethal Weapon II." It would be one of the few times a sequel would make sense and dollars.
  57. Raimi offers all the fantasy, camp and hardcore horror you devoured in the comics. You can feel the pen-and-ink drawings coming to life. Dipping wittily into myth, the macabre and the modern, it's an effervescent adventure that's as amusing as it is genuinely gripping. [19 Feb 1993, Weekend, p.n38]
    • Washington Post
  58. Sumptuous, warm, continually amazing, it's a completely enjoyable couple of hours at the flickers.
  59. A quirky, tender, splendidly acted fable.
  60. It's beautiful. I loved it. And it broke my heart.
  61. Extraordinary on many levels...because Mountain Patrol instead becomes what might be the first Chinese conservationist spaghetti western ever made.
  62. Pure energy, a perfect orchestration of heroism, villainy, suspense and comic relief.
  63. The fantastic and at times deliciously nihilistic world of X2 is fully, believably three-dimensional.
  64. As he has done in all his movies, from creature features such as "Mimic" to serious dramas such as "Pan's Labyrinth," del Toro creates unforgettable images, filled with color, texture, lyricism and horror.
  65. A darkly enjoyable roller-coaster ride -- Clooney and Kaufman deftly interweave the macabre with lightheartedness.
  66. Yes, it's that cheesy, but it's also surprisingly appealing. After all, the horse Seabiscuit really WAS that phenomenal.
  67. Ingenious, exhilarating, funny and profound.
  68. What the movie may lack in "Saving Private Ryan"-style gloss, it more than makes up for in authenticity, or, in other words, heart.
  69. Warmhearted, wonderfully witty.
  70. Yes
    For those who accept Potter's premise -- and why not embark on a challenging, enriching experience? -- this is a unique, bold adventure of the soul.
  71. The sexiest movie of the year.
  72. It's a kind of 18th-century "Dead Man Walking" but with that earlier film's foreground arguments against capital punishment pushed to the background here.
  73. This is about the rise of a pop star, plain and simple. The real deal –- and the movie's greatest fun –- is in the rap contests.
  74. A gift for those already in the fold, for those who get the joke and just want to savor it with other like-minded fans.
  75. He gives these characters the time to develop, to display their nuances, to establish their relationships with each other, to talk out their destinies.
  76. Just might be the most action-packed suspense thriller of the summer.
  77. A riot from start to finish, Carrey's first feature comedy is as cheerfully bawdy as it is idiotically inventive.
  78. Majidi has discovered a wonderful cast of players to bring this gentle allegory to life, especially Naji as the irascible but generous Memar, who displays nearly perfect comic timing.
  79. Though brilliant, Menace II Society is definitely a film to guard yourself against. There's not a trace of softness or sentimentality. At times, the picture takes on the scary you-are-there verisimilitude of a tabloid-TV show.
    • Washington Post
  80. Huge, sprawling, and utterly absorbing.
  81. If the scope of the film feels small, Girl With a Pearl Earring fills that scope to bursting with subtle glory. It takes things as far as they can -- and should -- go.
  82. Guilty, deftly orchestrated fun.
  83. Director Van Sant, who made the lyrical "Mala Noche," "Drugstore Cowboy" and "My Own Private Idaho," returns to his favorite hunting ground -- the subworlds of grimy, poetic lost boys -- and pulls us right in
  84. Reconfirms Tarantino's status as the master of pop cinema and puts a sense of excitement into the year. He has matched, if not eclipsed, the power and scope of 1994's "Pulp Fiction," though not its human charm.
    • Washington Post
  85. Three sterling performances from Moore, Haysbert and Quaid, all of whom grapple with psychic pain in different, touching ways.
  86. Psychological suspense at its finest.
  87. The kids in Nobody Knows are most decidedly not crazy, and we come to care for them to an almost excruciating degree.
  88. Batman Begins emerges from the darkness and leaves a powerful, lasting impression.
  89. Never has an actor embodied the passing down of violence and bitterness from father to son more powerfully.
  90. Scorsese creates a film so resonant that it is both a work of great art and an anthropological document.
  91. Genuine, amusing and, best of all, humanly scaled and humanely oriented.
  92. A chalice of unpretentious delight, flowing over with goodwill, a cheeky love for soccer and, uh, Buddhist humor.
  93. Laurent's crime is really the crime of being European and conquering people of color. That understood, Cache is brilliant.
  94. It gets at something exquisitely human, so human that even movie stars feel it.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There are some things the French do better than we do, and this small movie is one.

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