Slate's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,021 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Lowest review score: 0 I'm Still Here
Score distribution:
2021 movie reviews
  1. Fraser’s all-in commitment to playing Charlie—300-pound fatsuit and all—put me in mind of Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Joker, an act of faith so complete it managed to be the only transcendent element of a thuddingly bad movie. But Fraser’s beautifully judged performance isn’t enough to save this abject wallow through a mire of maudlin clichés about trauma and redemption.
  2. If there were an ensemble acting award at the Oscars, Glass Onion would be a lock for a nomination. The dialogue is fast-paced and verbally dense, and everyone in the cast volleys it back and forth with as much deftness as apparent pleasure.
  3. Embedded in this seeming valentine to the movies is something pricklier, sadder, and smarter.
  4. While it’s frequently moving and occasionally thrilling, the gears sometimes grind audibly on the shift in between.
  5. Though it wears out its welcome in one dreary stretch midway through, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (which premieres on the free, ad-supported streaming service the Roku Channel on Friday) is an appropriately goofy tribute to its subject and co-creator: a movie parody about the life of a parodist.
  6. As it moves toward an ambiguous and haunting finale, The Banshees of Inisherin has the fanciful yet gruesome quality of a folk tale or fairytale, a mood enhanced by Carter Burwell’s harp-and-flute-heavy score and Ben Davis’ painterly widescreen cinematography.
  7. Cate Blanchett’s titanic, almost fanatically well-researched performance—she switches effortlessly between English and German with a soupçon of French thrown in, does her own piano playing, and conducts a real orchestra with utter verisimilitude—thrillingly embodies both Tár’s intense charisma and her monstrous skill at manipulation.
  8. Barbarian doesn’t feel the need to signal that it’s better than genre clichés by constantly winking at them, nor does it deploy them with the punishing determination of David Gordon Green’s Halloween movies. But Cregger has thought about why they work, and he keeps paying them off in unexpected ways.
  9. Once again, in trying to find our way past the icon to the woman underneath, we have only pushed Norma Jeane further away.
  10. For the most part, Three Thousand Years of Longing reads not as an unintended allegory of contemporary race relations but as a thoughtful, melancholy, and sometimes mordantly funny celebration of the time-and-space-collapsing power of storytelling.
  11. Prey dispatches with a great deal of the previous Predators’ baggage, and tries to pare the fat.
  12. It’s Pitt’s wry presence, and his playful relationship to his own movie-star persona, that provides a still center amidst the CGI-smeared chaos and keeps this train from (metaphorically at least) going off the rails.
  13. Sharp Stick is less a movie than a symptom, a tangle of would-be feminist ideas that, let us hope, needed to be gotten out of its creator’s system so she could get back to making something good
  14. It’s such an original and idiosyncratic expression of its creator’s vision that sometimes the movie seems not to have yet made it all the way out of his head and onto the screen.
  15. It’s the (Russo) brothers’ touch with comedy (they collaborated on the wisecrack-rich script with their former Marvel co-writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) that sets this hyper-violent, stylishly shot thriller apart from your average espionage-themed bone-cruncher.
  16. Sadly Persuasion, not only the worst Austen adaptation but one of the worst movies in recent memory, delivers on all the agony and none of the hope.
  17. If this particular franchise’s material feels at times a bit thin to be spun out even to two hours, it may be simply that three solo movies per Avenger is more than enough. But this weekend, if the lure of an air-conditioned summer blockbuster summons you like a sacred Asgardian hammer, you could do worse than this Easter egg–colored, classic rock–scored frolic.
  18. Like the Maysles’ brothers documentaries about Christo and Jean-Claude, which followed the environmental artists and life partners over the course of several decades, Dosa’s movie makes the case that their private bond is inextricable from their public work, and it’s a toss-up as to which is the greater monument.
  19. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On struck me as an animated film like no other I can recall. It’s a story about the difficulty and necessity of making yourself vulnerable that is itself the product of an unusually intimate artistic collaboration, literally a couple’s shared in-joke that took on a life of its—or his—own.
  20. There’s a rueful irony to the fact that it’s this supposedly human inspiration for the beloved toy who feels more like a plastic action figure.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Obviously, one film cannot encompass everything, and as the filmmakers have themselves noted, RRR is sheer fantasy. I cannot fault viewers for enjoying RRR so much, whether they ironically lap up the superhuman stunts or get swept up in the thrilling anti-imperial action. I’m concerned more about the timing of it all, the global presence, the recipe for viral success that other filmmakers will be eyeing. It’s an ingenious form of soft-power propaganda, one that can be interpreted as positively asserting an otherwise-marginalized ideology.
  21. Now, nearly 50 years later, Americans’ reproductive choice is again in jeopardy, making The Janes not only a crucial part of the historical record but a searingly contemporary film about the power of mutual aid and collective action.
  22. At any rate, this movie’s insistent and unapologetic commitment to its own weirdness is evidence that the 79-year-old writer-director, like the ever-mutating human specimens he loves to imagine, is nowhere near done evolving.
  23. Even if you don’t harbor fond feelings for the 1986 Top Gun, a movie that upon its release was seen by many as a glamorized recruitment commercial for the Reagan-era military buildup, it’s hard not to appreciate the care that went into this lovingly tooled sequel—a far better film on the sheer level of craft than the original.
  24. It’s all a lot of poppycock, and yet! Despite all this carping, Downton Abbey: A New Era was as satisfying a filmgoing experience as I can remember. Perhaps the nonsensical narrative lowers viewers’ defenses so the emotional anvil can land all the harder.
  25. This film’s honesty and urgency feel both providential and grimly prophetic.
  26. For me the biggest disappointment of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent—a likeable if lightweight comedy that’s more than worth seeing for Cage’s and Pascal’s touching bromance and its Nick-confronts-Nicky fantasy sequences—was that it didn’t go even further with its central doppelgänger conceit.
  27. At 137 minutes, The Northman can feel ponderously crammed with both mystic visions (however hauntingly rendered) and Mel Gibson–grade sadistic gore. Somewhere around the two-hour point, the endless bone-crunching battle scenes—while impeccably choreographed and breathtakingly shot in fluid long takes—start to become existentially wearying and even morally suspect.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It’s not that I wish Aline took more advantage of its fictional liberties to mock or undermine Céline Dion. I just wish it had much more to say about something—such as child stardom, what it’s like to move from working-class margins to opulence, or the simultaneously reverent and condescending relationship that pop culture had with Dion at her 1990s peak
  28. Whether you find Deep Water deliciously preposterous or just … preposterous may depend on how much you miss that kind of movie. In my case, the answer is “a lot.”

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