Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,759 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 The Gatekeepers
Lowest review score: 0 The Comedian
Score distribution:
2759 movie reviews
  1. The film can be harrowing in its repetitive violence, but never less than fascinating as a piece of ethnology, with magic-realist dimensions, that amounts to an origin story of the Latin American drug trade.
  2. I loved watching this sci-fi spectacle’s moving parts. I just couldn’t get past its brain.
  3. The stupidity lacks smarts in the script department, and the joke, such as it is, wears thin, then turns sour.
  4. A hugely ambitious sequel, joyous and genuinely complex, that’s charged with dramatic and musical energy to the very last frame.
  5. Never Look Away makes an eloquent case for art as an expression of hope, a way of searching for meaning in chaos.
  6. Daughter of Mine is a triptych of vivid characters and superb performances (including that of young Sara Casu), a study in contrasting and competing passions.
  7. Arctic is a lesson in lessness, coolly observed and warmly felt.
  8. As entertainment, however, the film is calculation impure and simple. It’s a box-ticking exercise in female jeopardy, survival and empowerment, oppressively efficient in its relentless way but unrelieved by emotional resonance.
  9. Of the 7,000 Jews who resisted, about 1,700 survived. The stories of these four don’t constitute high drama; there’s none of the dramatic clarity of “Schindler’s List.” But they testify to that part of the human spirit concerned with ironic humor, improbable daring and unlikely generosity.
  10. Details like these are delightful. So is the notion of Stonehenge as a transport hub to another temporal plane, and the spectacle of Alex and his dauntless cohorts in tin armor they’ve bought in a souvenir shop. What’s destructive, and eventually benumbing, is the kitchen-sink clutter of fantasy, reality, wish-fulfillment and glib enchantment. To say that the film lacks simplicity would be an oversimplification.
  11. In Fyre, Mr. Smith tells a story of character, or lack thereof.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. Mr. Shyamalan’s movies have often been turgid in a distinctive way, with overtones of lofty sadness, and dramatized deliberately or violently, but seldom spontaneously. This one follows the pattern, for not so good and worse. It’s a lofty letdown.
  13. The film as a whole never takes flight, though not for lack of trying.
  14. The real head-scratcher is how such an endearingly modest, gentle film can say so much with such eloquence about a professional partnership that amounts to a love affair; about the mysterious business of being funny; and about the toll taken by the passage of time. (Messrs. Reilly and Coogan are both wonderful; so are Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda as, respectively, Ollie’s wife, Lucille, and Stan’s wife, Ida.)
  15. The good news about the production is that Ms. Kidman gives a formidable performance in what’s essentially a classic noir thriller reconceived, with a woman at its center, and Ms. Kusama’s direction is superb. (Julie Kirkwood did the stylish cinematography.) The bad news concerns tone, or emotional weather. The film is intentionally dark, but it’s also almost ceaselessly grim.
  16. Is the film worthy of her? Not really. It’s informative, in a didactic way, but basically an exercise in hagiography, a skin-deep celebration of someone who has never settled for superficiality in her life’s work.
  17. Exhilarating but ultimately off-putting.
  18. Like “Roma,” another glory of the current season, the film was shot in black-and-white; the shooter was Lukasz Zal, who was co-cinematographer, with Ryszard Lenczewski, on “Ida.” As in both of those films, the result here is mysteriously ravishing, so much so that you either forget it isn’t in color or take the rich blacks and radiant whites to be colors in their own right. Also, black is the color of the screen between the chapters of a story that takes bold narrative leaps off-screen; the impact of these ellipses is stunning.
  19. The results are mind-numbingly immense, joylessly violent and utterly lifeless.
  20. I found this sequel deeply slumping, not to mention unnecessary, unmagical and often unfunny. The misuse of talent is what slumped me the most.
  21. The Mule is based on a true story, and a good one, but it’s weakened by a mediocre script.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Anna and the Apocalypse does have its singular moments. On the whole, though, I’d say don’t bite.
  28. 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.
  29. The comedy is elegant, frequently dark and genuinely witty. The spectacle is gorgeous.
  30. 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.

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