Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,716 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 43% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 55% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Moneyball
Lowest review score: 0 Metroland
Score distribution:
2716 movie reviews
  1. The film is not only not unpleasant but a genuine, authentic and honest-to-goodness pleasure.
  2. An affecting coming-of-age drama based on a superb book and directed by an exceptional actor in his directorial debut.
  3. This fine debut feature by Elizabeth Chomko dramatizes well-worn themes — degenerative illness, family dysfunction, anguishing choices to be made in the face of implacable decline. Yet the cast is exceptional, the performances are extraordinary, the writing and direction are heartfelt, and the film is, consequently, stirring, frequently funny and consistently affecting.
  4. The root problem is repetitiveness, the seemingly endless cycle of progress and relapse that causes heartbreak in real life and induces déjà vu in audiences — even dejà déjà vu, since there’s repetition within the already familiar pattern. The mosaic structure is simply, though not successfully, an attempt to hold our attention.
  5. However inward the hero may be, the movie around him is thrillingly outward, not to mention poundingly onward and relentlessly upward.
  6. What Sadie brings most importantly to Private Life is the lovely, sometimes loopy and always infectious joy she takes in living. She’s a bright, welcome presence in a film that can be startlingly dark, even polemic, and she represents another side of Ms. Jenkins, whose previous films, “Slums of Beverly Hills” and “The Savages,” were overflowing with life.
  7. The simplest thing to say about A Star Is Born is that it’s all right. Not all right as in OK with a shrug, but thrillingly, almost miraculously right in all respects.
  8. Free Solo would be an exceptional piece of filmmaking if it confined itself to the physical poetry of Mr. Honnold’s achievements. But it gets at his inner life too, and goes a long way toward answering the unspoken question of what makes — or allows — him to do what he does.
  9. In a word, The Old Man & the Gun is enjoyable; that’s all it means to be and that’s what it is.
  10. It’s hard to overstate the pleasures of this film or, more precisely, this encounter with its subject.
  11. A two-hour documentary that feels like three, it certainly has a worthy subject, and a charismatic one; it commits a trove of valuable cultural lore to posterity. But it also commits a sin in never finding its rhythm, or a through-line on which to hang one of the great stories of American popular music.
  12. Colette is not really a coming-of-age story, except as regards France itself. It’s a liberation story, one witty enough to be worthy of its subject.
  13. Almost the entire movie is lifted from other sources, and then edited in a way that makes his enemies (do they know they’re his enemies?) look as foolish as possible. The punditry is trite. The snark is boring.
  14. Museo is in part a caper film, a heist film, and while it leans on such classics as “Topkapi” and “Rififi” the robbery has its own signature and is done in a visual style that’s hypnotic.
  15. The most serious flaw, and one that will irk a lot of Bel Canto enthusiasts, is the too-obvious lip-syncing of Ms. Moore to Ms. Fleming’s glorious singing. They simply don’t match up, and the music takes place at points in the film when viewers really don’t want to be thrown off. But thrown off they will be.
  16. That the circuitous international influence of the western should manifest itself in South Africa is no surprise. Neither is the fact that someone as charismatic as Mr. Dabula should be the star of such a story, which is ripe with indignation, injustice, righteous violence and, ultimately, a shootout of cosmic resonance.
  17. Making his film debut, Richie Merritt plays Rick as a sullen, evidently stupid and certainly uncharismatic schemer in possession of a modicum of animal cunning and perhaps a hint of personal insight. But there’s no life in his eyes. And little life in his acting. Which is too bad for Matthew McConaughey, who gives yet another terrific performance.
  18. It should be said right off that this provocative off-black comedy, starring the Gen-Xer’s dream cast of Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, is not for everyone. And the people it is for will have to be in the mood.
  19. A serviceable thriller, kind of an “Argo” in Argentina, replete with ornate preparations, plans gone awry and narrow escapes.
  20. The unlikely, bittersweet, bristling comedy Support the Girls is easily one of the best films of the year, and the most sympathetic to women, despite having been made by a man. How can this be? Luckily, Andrew Bujalski’s remarkable movie — with its killer performance by Regina Hall — is not just about women. It’s about men being idiots. And no one is arguing ownership of that narrative.
  21. Ms. Clarkson is always fascinating; only on second viewing did I notice how much Ms. Mortimer was doing while Mr. Nighy was stealing a scene. In the end, though, it’s his movie. And likely wasn’t supposed to be.
  22. Mr. Malek gives an eccentric performance, but he won’t make anyone forget Dustin Hoffman, whose original Dega was an endearing coward, a fatalist and a masterpiece.
  23. It has its moments, several of which are provided by Ms. Rudolph, putting a spin on the girl-friday role. She has one scene of utter hilarity that shouldn’t be spoiled, and can’t be printed anyway, but may lead to “pilafing” becoming the word of the year on Urban Dictionary.
  24. Every once in a while a movie grabs you, unsuspecting, and hustles its way into your heart. Jeremiah Zagar’s We the Animals does that. This exquisite debut feature, based on a poetic debut novel by Justin Torres, is a tumbling evocation of a volatile family, narrated by one of three young brothers living in upstate New York with their Puerto Rican father and white mother.
  25. Bright, buoyant and hilarious, though far from flawless, this romantic comedy, directed by Jon M. Chu and based on the popular novel by Kevin Kwan, is also a cultural milestone.
  26. Ms. Howard is nothing less than mesmerizing. She seems to be giving a master class in unswerving focus and absolute simplicity. It’s a superb piece of acting about acting, and a harbinger of great things to come in this young actor’s future.
  27. This freewheeling account of an African-American cop who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1970s is problematic as narrative drama, but stunning as provocation.
  28. Luckily, there are jokes, like little lifeboats, floating all around, rescuing “Like Father” from anything resembling gravity.
  29. It’s the work of a contemporary master who arrives at the philosophical by way of the playful, ironic and lyrical.
  30. The star of Susanna Nicchiarelli’s freely fictionalized biopic, Trine Dyrholm, finds fierce beauty in the woman Nico has become. I’ve never seen a performance quite like it — unsparingly harsh, but also graceful, droll and tender, a portrait of soul-weariness laced with a yearning for salvation.

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