Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,739 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 Gleason
Lowest review score: 0 Lethal Weapon 3
Score distribution:
2739 movie reviews
  1. The Mule is based on a true story, and a good one, but it’s weakened by a mediocre script.
  2. There’s never been anything like this animated exaltation of the Spider-Man canon. The animation is glorious, and more faithful to its comic-book roots than any big-screen graphics in the past. The story is deliciously witty and preposterously complex, but perfectly comprehensible, whether or not you have studied quantum physics. The scale feels vast, yet the spirit is joyous. It’s as if everyone had set out to make the best Spider-Man movie ever, which is exactly what they’ve done.
  3. We’re watching a period piece that feels beautifully and painfully present: beautifully because love stories are timeless, painfully because the spectacle of racial injustice feels up to date.
  4. Director Anne Fletcher (“The Proposal,” “Step Up”) aims for the tear ducts, directing for maximum anguish, righteousness and/or schmaltz, and much of the Dumplin’ message arrives with postage due.
  5. What’s mysterious about this film is why, with so much on its mind and such gifted stars to express it, the drama should be so unaffecting — even when the two women finally meet, as they neglected to do in the less shapely drama of real life.
  6. Beneath the glitzy surface of Vox Lux — the title of one of Celeste’s studio recordings — lie deeper superficialities, so many that I found myself admiring the movie’s wild ambition while grinding my teeth at its pretentiousness.
  7. Anna and the Apocalypse does have its singular moments. On the whole, though, I’d say don’t bite.
  8. But all of that — the visual style included — changes as the film develops an edge, then expands into a lyrical realm that is both very Japanese and entirely universal.
  9. The comedy is elegant, frequently dark and genuinely witty. The spectacle is gorgeous.
  10. Tolstoy got it wrong and Shoplifters gets it right. All happy families are not the same. Hirokazu Kore-eda’s enchanting, subversive masterpiece takes on family values and bourgeois pieties through a Japanese crime family that is not what it seems.
  11. There’s no other way to say it than to say it: Roma is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, and one of the most moving. If Norma Desmond had been able to see it she wouldn’t have worried about the pictures getting small.
  12. Green Book warms the heart, then numbs the mind. It’s a broad-brush lesson in racism, a sermon on the power of empathy, a user’s guide to tolerance packaged as a mismatched-buddies comedy.
  13. This clearly qualifies as a heist film, and a hugely entertaining one, notwithstanding a few plot perforations and a running time of two hours plus that might have been trimmed a bit.
  14. The production’s shrill insistence on scandal-mongering as the poison of our political process is trivializing, too. Given the profound currents and countercurrents that have transformed — and menaced — the news media in the last few years, this story plays like quaintly ancient history.
  15. The stars were misaligned from the start for this frantic, turgid thriller. That’s no knock on Ms. Foy, who might have surprised us if she’d had a different director working from a different script under a different set of studio imperatives that didn’t involve extracting blood from a very cold stone.
  16. The whole film feels magical in the way it gets at intangible, invisible, ineffable things without naming them, and tells a gripping story of obsession at a poet’s pace, without need of conventional explanations.
  17. The most compelling reason to see A Private War is Rosamund Pike’s stunning performance as Marie Colvin, the American war correspondent who died in a bombardment while covering the Syrian government’s 2012 siege of Homs.
  18. The film is all the more powerful for its grounding in fact. How powerful? Sufficiently, during most of its length, and extremely during several eruptions of searing drama.
  19. The good news is twofold. Ms. Foy, an accomplished performer, is appealing throughout. And Keira Knightley, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, gives the film several desperately needed jolts of edgy energy.
  20. The whole thing devolves into such highfalutin silliness that it’s impossible to care what happens to whom. In Mr. Guadagnino’s previous film, “Call Me By Your Name,” the tone was romantic, and sustained to the very end. In Suspiria, style stomps fun into submission.
  21. Border may not be everyone’s idea of a fun night out, but it takes you to places you won’t forget, and that’s nothing to sniff at.
  22. In the realm of documentary films, as in the news media, polemicists are ascendant, but Frederick Wiseman isn’t one of them. For the past half-century, since his first film, “Titicut Follies,” he’s been an observationist. Not an observer, which carries a passive connotation, but a filmmaker who’s made a distinguished career of observing in a particular way — closely, calmly, shrewdly and systematically, with an eye to the institutions and social structures that shape and reveal people’s lives.
  23. It’s full of music that makes the case for its subject’s pre-eminence—he played with the intensity of a highest-category hurricane—and has an interesting slant on the issue of cultural appropriation; Butterfield was white, and the blues he played were, and remain, indelibly black.
  24. The film is not only not unpleasant but a genuine, authentic and honest-to-goodness pleasure.
  25. An affecting coming-of-age drama based on a superb book and directed by an exceptional actor in his directorial debut.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. However inward the hero may be, the movie around him is thrillingly outward, not to mention poundingly onward and relentlessly upward.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.

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