Variety's Scores

For 12,326 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 Inside Out
Lowest review score: 0 Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?
Score distribution:
12326 movie reviews
  1. A wily left turn into narrative filmmaking for celebrated docmaker Mads Brügger (“The Red Chapel”), St. Bernard Syndicate deftly extends the dry satirical streak of his non-fiction work into a more heightened vein of farce; rarefied cult status awaits.
  2. The movie captivates and fascinates as a free-form dream constantly poised on a knife edge between roiling nightmare and reassuring resolution. The surprising yet satisfyingly ambiguous ending allows for either option.
  3. A vital and sobering documentary directed by Roberta Grossman, always knew that they were drafting the record of an existence whose memory — were it not for them — would be wiped away.
  4. If you’re among the heretofore uninitiated drawn to this new Dragon Ball extravaganza, which has been dubbed into English and booked into 1,440 North American theaters, you may often find yourself experiencing similar frustration as you struggle to make sense of a patchwork plot that seems derived from various strands of the ongoing mythos, and is filled with apparently major characters whose backstories are only fuzzily defined.
  5. Though this sweet, subtle, and sentimental work is a smidge too simplistic in narrative design, it wins over any resistance with its quiet refinement and heartrending insight.
  6. Fyre, in the end, understands that the McFarlands of the world, changing the culture online but also wreaking havoc in the very real world, are bound to affect us all.
  7. For the most part, the film is similarly content to repeat the past, all the way through to its predictable liberating-feel-good wrap-up.
  8. With its retro-video-game score and “Goonies”-style gang of misfit characters, the movie plays like a throwback to Spielberg-produced adventure films of the ’80s. And yet, the premise feels wobbly at best.
  9. How late can a thriller spring a plot twist that at least partially compensates for all the cavernous plot holes, risible dialogue, and ludicrously illogical behavior that precede it? Probably not nearly as late as the makers of Replicas wait before introducing a third-act reveal that brazenly acknowledges just how silly things have been up to that point.
  10. What might, in other hands, be melodramatic or emotionally manipulative remains resolutely unsentimental here.
  11. Released in Mexico late last year, Caro’s seriocomic adaptation alternates between a tense, well-acted chamber drama and an at times overly didactic parable, but its focus on our newfound willingness to collect all of our darkest secrets behind such an easily pierced veil – do we realize how precarious that tightrope we’re walking is? On some level, are we secretly hoping we might fall? – provides for plenty of squeamish entertainment.
  12. For every shameless trick the filmmakers employ to pluck our heartstrings, resonant chords are struck elsewhere, teaching audiences about family, the power of unconditional love, and the ripple effects of compassion.
  13. It’s good to see Shyamalan back (to a degree) in form, to the extent that he’s recovered his basic mojo as a yarn spinner. But Glass occupies us without haunting us; it’s more busy than it is stirring or exciting.
  14. Arriving at a moment when parenting and child development are being closely analyzed and discussed, West of Sunshine is a timely and intelligent essay on the eternal theme of how fathers can both inspire and alienate their sons.
  15. American Hangman belongs to that species of grade-Z movie that’s at once grisly and pretentious. It’s trash with a lot on its mind.
  16. Though inevitably derivative in some ways (it won’t be hard to spot the influence of “Shrek” and various Disney classics), Animal Crackers asserts its own identity, combining some of the most distinctive voices with an ensemble of personality-rich, sequel-ready characters.
  17. Falling between the stools of thriller and drama, this speculative tale grows steadily less satisfying, despite a handsome look and a strong cast.
  18. “Evil” is one of those tricky words usually best avoided, since its quasi-mythological sense of moral absolutism tends to downplay the human agency involved. Yet as Barbet Schroeder well knows, there are times when no other term properly conveys the insidious nature of intolerance and carnage robed in the trappings of power.
  19. While Communion holds tight to its own private mysteries, it scores a perfect 10 in drawing out viewer empathy, leaving us hoping anxiously that things will turn out all right for its protagonists.
  20. The first part of the film gets some airy momentum going. Then, however, we learn the secret of what the characters have in common, and it gives you that slightly sinking feeling of one contrivance too many.
  21. Here, the visuals outdo anything we’ve seen before, to such a degree that we might almost overlook the subtler innovations in the character animation: the nuances of expression on both the human and reptilian faces, and the wonderful nonverbal tactics these artists use to convey emotional intricacies neither Hiccup nor Toothless have had to communicate before, all of which pays off in an unforgettable final scene.
  22. Whereas a Hollywood director might use subjective framing or emotional soundtrack cues to nudge audiences’ reactions in a certain way, Esparza strips away nearly all those techniques to a pure, neorealist approach: life and nothing more.
  23. The movie has won year-end attention (it made this year’s Oscar documentary short list), and once you let yourself glide onto its wavelength, it’s got a cosmically becalmed addictive quality.
  24. All in all, this Eastern western is a jovial genre cocktail, but it’ll be more interesting to see if its director can bring greater nuance to whatever his next project turns out to be.
  25. The trouble is, Sherlock Holmes exists so large in audiences’ minds already that the pair’s uninspired take feels neither definitive nor an especially fresh take, but just an off-brand, garden-variety parody.
  26. A brash, busy and often bizarre genre mashup from South Korean blockbuster merchant Kang Hyeong-Cheol, this far-fetched tale of an African-American G.I. finding terpsichorean kinship with a group of Asian misfits in a POW camp brings a bit of “Footloose”-style pep to an otherwise bloodily solemn anti-war tragedy.
  27. While not particularly inspired, memorable or suspenseful, the action here is impressively scaled, from a tank plunging off a bridge to helicopter stunts and all that diving activity. It may have been a bad investment, but technically first-rate American Renegades does put its considerable budgetary resources right up there onscreen.
  28. The result is a revisionist fiasco, too dense with Shakespeare allusions for casual moviegoers, and too fast and loose with the facts for those who know a thing or two about the man. In short, All Is True takes the English language’s most gifted dramatist and reduces his sunset years to a sloppy soap opera.
  29. Even though Second Act shouldn’t work, it does (sort of). It’s got flow, a certain knowing ticky-tackiness about its own contrivances. You know you’re watching a connect-the-dots comedy, but the dots sparkle. And Lopez gives her first star performance in a while. Age has enriched her talent; she brings curlicues of experience to every scene.
  30. The film is far from incompetent, and it brims with ambition, but too much of the time what’s happening just sits there. It’s a lavishly odd concoction, like a feel-good movie for OCD miniature-world Barbie-doll fetishists.

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