For 628 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Denby's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Ida
Lowest review score: 10 Wild Wild West
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 47 out of 628
628 movie reviews
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    The movie dramatizes the destruction of a society from within that society. Watching “Hell on Earth” is not an easy experience; I can’t recall another documentary with so many corpses. It’s a grief-struck history of cruelty, haplessness, and irresponsibility—a moral history as well as a history of events.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Some of the menacing atmosphere, and even a few scenes, descend from the first two “Godfather” movies. But, in fact, Chandor has done something startling: he has made an anti-“Godfather.”
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    An interminable, redundant, unnecessary epic devoted to suffering, suffering, suffering.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 David Denby
    Ida
    This compact masterpiece has the curt definition and the finality of a reckoning—a reckoning in which anger and mourning blend together.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Eastwood has become tauntingly tough-minded: “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” he seems to be saying. And, with the remorselessness of age, he follows Chris Kyle’s rehabilitation and redemption back home, all the way to their heartbreaking and inexplicable end.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    This is cinema, more rhetorical, spectacular, and stirring than cable-TV drama: again and again, DuVernay’s camera (Bradford Young did the cinematography) tracks behind characters as they march, or gentles toward them as they approach, receiving them with a friendly hand.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Mr. Turner is a harsh, strange, but stirring movie, no more a conventional artist’s bio-pic than Robert Altman’s wonderful, little-seen film about van Gogh and his brother, “Vincent and Theo.”
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The scenery, of course, could stop the heart of a mountain goat, and Wild has an admirable heroine, but the movie itself often feels literal-minded rather than poetic, busy rather than sublime, eager to communicate rather than easily splendid.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Happy Valley is a devastating portrait of a community — and, by extension, a nation — put under a spell, even reduced to grateful infantilism, by the game of football.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Stewart chose the great Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo to play Bahari’s mother, but, with her tragic face and her magnificent contralto voice, she plays a tiny role as if she were in an amphitheatre.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The Theory of Everything makes a pass at the complexities of love, but what’s onscreen requires a bit more investigation.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Black holes, relativity, singularity, the fifth dimension! The talk is grand. There’s a problem, however. Delivered in rushed colloquial style, much of this fabulous arcana, central to the plot, is hard to understand, and some of it is hard to hear. The composer Hans Zimmer produces monstrous swells of organ music that occasionally smother the words like lava. The actors seem overmatched by the production.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    The principal suspense in this fascinating movie is generated by the polite, and then not so polite, ferocity of the arguments between the two men.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Fury is literally visceral— a kind of war horror film, which is, of course, what good combat films should be.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Jeremy Renner is the main reason to see Kill the Messenger.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    Reitman is a witty filmmaker, but here he seems a little disconnected, too.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 David Denby
    The memoir is strongly written, and I wish that the movie, directed by John Curran (Marion Nelson did the adaptation), had more excitement to it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    Pride is brilliantly entertaining just as it is, so I trust that no one connected with the film will be insulted if I say that, despite the existence of shows with similarly stirring themes, like “Billy Elliot” and “Kinky Boots,” the story would make a terrific musical.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 David Denby
    “Them” — apart from a few affecting scenes — is a hollow, high-minded folly.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    At first, you may think, Oh, it’s that damn prison movie again, but Starred Up has a much more intimate texture of affection and disdain than most genre films. You’re held by every exchange, every fight.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    They also try to one-up each other as men, vying for professional success and for the attention of the invariably lovely women they meet. Sharks have duller teeth than Coogan and Brydon. Both movies, in fact, are about the impossibility — and the necessity — of male friendship.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 David Denby
    This movie will never need reviving. Brown’s innovative rhythms will always make his music sound contemporary.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    It's an accomplished, stately movie -- unimpassioned but pleasing. [28 July 2014, p.78]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    Still, it's le Carre's material; it was shot in dark, lurid, vital Hamburg; Hoffman is the star; and I was completely held. [28 July 2014, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    Sappy but engaging. [7 & 14 July 2014, p.95]
    • The New Yorker
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    If you don't mind the gore, you can enjoy Snowpiercer as a brutal and imaginative piece of science-fiction filmmaking. [7 & 14 July 2014, p.94]
    • The New Yorker
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The revelation is Wilde. A slender beauty with high cheekbones, she makes Anna a full-fledged neurotic, candid and demanding and changeable, shifting abruptly from snuggling happiness to angry defiance.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 David Denby
    22 Jump Street is hardly fresh, but the picture has enough energy to get by.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 David Denby
    What happens at the dam, filmed at night, with only shimmering light, is the most nerve-racking sequence in recent movies. Reichardt, despite the film’s absences, has achieved an impressive control over the medium.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 David Denby
    The movie, bad as it is, will do as a demonstration of a talented man’s freedom to choose different ways of being himself.

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