Variety's Scores

For 12,116 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 44% 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: 61
Highest review score: 100 The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki
Lowest review score: 0 Cabin Boy
Score distribution:
12116 movie reviews
  1. Though its heart is in the right place when it comes to many of the boldly-portrayed sentiments, the indie melodrama plays like a hokey, weak after-school special rather than a powerful and alarming wake-up call.
  2. A film made by people who respect its genre too much to be condescendingly clever, but embrace it so heartily that they want you to know that, yes, they’ve seen the same movies you have, and enjoy them just as much as you do.
  3. It’s one thing to tell a traumatic story, and another to capture how that trauma impacts a life. What makes Alexandria Bombach’s On Her Shoulders so powerful — besides the profound dignity of its subject, Yazidi massacre survivor Nadia Murad — is the way she reveals Murad’s distress at having to take on the role of activist.
  4. How illuminating or challenging Caniba proves for viewers will depend on their amenability to Paravel and Castaing-Taylor’s amoral stance and literally up-in-your-face technique. Those who aren’t provoked by its ambiguous psychological inquiry, however, may wish for a bigger human picture from this relentlessly close-up exercise.
  5. Salmerón’s film, crammed as full of tchotchkes and knick-knacks and bibelots as one of his mother’s closets, refutes that, presenting an endearingly haphazard portrait of an extraordinary woman and the family she made — one that has discovered its own, completely unique way to be happy.
  6. Okoro has bent over backwards not to make the poverty-row version of a glib crime thriller, but he shouldn’t have bent so far.
  7. Short on thrills and energy despite its title, this slick yet sluggish feature often seems barely interested in the horror elements that are, after all, what will primarily lure viewers in.
  8. Without a compelling, coherent narrative drive, the film’s own spirit sags.
  9. Thanks to her smart narration — clear, impassioned but never polemical — and the astute way she allows exceptional footage to play out to its full extent, The Waldheim Waltz has a sense of urgency made more pressing given political developments not just in Austria but Poland and Hungary as well.
  10. The pace never flags, but some of its entertaining devices work against Ferguson’s insightfulness.
  11. Tantalizingly rich in atmosphere and altogether unhurried in revealing its secrets, the evocatively shot, ultra-widescreen Apostle will eventually veer into dark, mercilessly supernatural territory.
  12. Newcomers will find this adapted tale’s fantasy logic arbitrary, its plot convoluted, and the sum effect wildly unconvincing without being nearly so fun.
  13. The way a movie like “Goosebumps 2” works, even a weary adult will be grateful, by the time it finally kicks in, for all the brainless whirling distraction. I almost wrote fun, but that would be pushing it. To achieve that F-word, the film would have to ground its amusing effects in a story that was less skittery yet leaden.
  14. Dubbed “a documentary about a fairytale,” Manchevski’s film leaps around in time before eventually indulging in some magic realism, but it’s most compelling when simply fixating on Rashad, who makes Bikini at once wounded and tough, conniving and kind, desperate and volatile.
  15. It’s a simple but stirring tale, lent character by the boys’ endearingly eager telling and atmospheric texture by Coker’s inspired visual interpretation.
  16. The Price of Everything exalts in the spirt of art over commerce, yet what’s thrilling about the film — and what echoes in your mind after it’s over — is that it captures all the ways those two forces can’t be separated.
  17. Equal parts coming-of-age story and slow-burn thriller, writer-director Megan Griffiths’ quietly absorbing and methodically disquieting drama is a genuine rarity: a sympathetic portrait of a budding sociopath.
  18. The intense abuse captured in Marta Prus’s brilliant, diamond-hard documentary portrait of a Russian rhythmic gymnast’s punishing road to the 2016 Olympics is all too vividly real — just watching it induces veritable stomach cramps, though it’s impossible to turn away from the film’s whipcrack construction and expert manipulation of perspective.
  19. The film shows you the club from every angle, and seems to be gawking at every patron. It puts us right inside.
  20. Apart from the uncommon notion that these mysterious visitors may actually mean us well, the film seems a little too comfortable with clichés, right down to the men in black who show up mid-movie to ruin everybody’s fun.
  21. Despite all rough edges, you want to root for a project that’s so clearly homegrown. (It was shot in Philly’s First Corinthian Baptist Church, which filmmaker Frank’s family has attended for decades.) But The Church’s problem isn’t so much that it lacks polish or spectacle, or even that its special effects look like something a kid developed as an unenthusiastic school project.
  22. All three actors labor to make it work, demonstrating their professional skill sets (Thorne sings, Usher recites Shakespeare) to somewhat admirable effect — even if overall credibility and tension remain elusive.
  23. Nina’s confessional set takes the already-raw portrait to a whole other level. All About Nina is very funny, but with that scene, it breaks our hearts, forcing us to reevaluate Nina’s recklessness while reiterating the lesson of the last year: that we never know what someone has been through until that person chooses to share it, and that going public takes courage, as there’s no going back.
  24. Working from a smartly constructed script by Andrew Zilch, director Trevor White (“Jamesy Boy”) does an impressive job of propelling the narrative along parallel tracks of arrestingly suspenseful thriller and knowing media satire.
  25. A Private War manages to be simultaneously appalled by the humanitarian crises it depicts...and honest about the thrill that visiting such hot spots offered to someone who found it hard to readjust to her life in London between assignments.
  26. Åkerlund’s music videos established him as a whiz-bang technician, a skill he only unleashes in two terrifying montages. Lords of Chaos proves that he can also get great performances out of a young cast, especially Kilmer’s otherworldly Dead.
  27. Venom is a textbook case of a comic-book film that’s unexciting in its ho-hum competence, and even its visual-effects bravura.
  28. There are a minor handful of scenes in Johnny English Strikes Again that will make you laugh. A bit.
  29. Away from the baseball diamond, All Square effectively pivots to moments of surprisingly affecting drama.
  30. Eye candy without much to offer the brain or emotions, Hell Fest is a competently crafted slasher film rendered instantly forgettable by its disinterest in character, plot, and motivation, let alone original ideas.

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