Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,879 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 Amour
Lowest review score: 0 Pain & Gain
Score distribution:
2879 movie reviews
  1. Mr. Shinkai has marshaled more themes than he knows how to organize, but his film feels fresh and urgent. Star-crossed lovers are old news. Hodaka and Hina are cloud-and-rain-crossed, the hero and heroine of a tale of love in a time of climate change.
  2. Too much tumult and chaos, not enough dramatic focus; too many animals with clever names spouting glib one-liners, not enough simple human — or for that matter nonhuman — feeling. What a waste!
  3. The production is no masterpiece. Much of the physical action is ludicrous, or gratuitous; some of the heroes’ emotional baggage is excess. But an unexpected something sneaks up on us as the story unfolds. In between the volcanic eruptions of violence and mayhem, the film takes its buddies seriously — with such outsize sincerity that we can take them to our hearts.
  4. For all the devastation, the certain knowledge on the part of the resisters that they couldn’t hold out forever, they display a striking buoyancy, which the film captures in moving detail.
  5. It reminds us how long she had to wait for the recognition she so richly deserved, and what a distinctive, generous, funny, astute, self-doubting, unstoppable and formidable figure she was along the way.
  6. The film becomes an enthralling, edifying, terrifying, sometimes funny and improbably stirring portrait of a multiethnic, polycultural cauldron where fury against injustice and neglect hovers near the boiling point.
  7. Clemency is a meditation on capital punishment from a singular perspective. Call it Dead Warden Walking.
  8. Ms. Gerwig’s reimagining — and provocative restructuring — of the American classic is all ablaze with ferocious purpose, urgent passion, boisterous humor and the nourishing essence of family life in good times and bad.
  9. The pacing is good, the atmosphere authentic, and even the paperwork — which is where the real revolutions in law occur — has a certain kinetic quality to it. And while viewers might think they know where the film is going, and what the payoff is going to be, they’ll still be caught off guard emotionally.
  10. Still, one needn’t be British to feel the epic loss and grief of 1917, thanks to some very committed performances, the intimacy achieved by the movie’s style and camera — the cinematographer is the celebrated Roger Deakins — and Mr. Mendes’s obvious devotion to what he’s doing.
  11. Mostly, Cats is a confusing litter box of intentions, from its crushed-velour aesthetic to its strip-bar sensuality to its musical cluelessness.
  12. It’s impossible to imagine that “The Rise of Skywalker” won’t do huge business, even though it’s merely good, not great, and though there’s a growing sense around the galaxy that Star Wars fatigue has set in.
  13. Like Seberg, too, Ms. Stewart is able to distinguish herself when encumbered by fairly feeble material. That said, Seberg is a bit much to ask of anyone.
  14. Can a movie that generates steady-state anxiety also function as entertainment? Yes it can, and Adam Sandler is here to prove it in Uncut Gems, a hard-edged and hard-charging phenomenon directed by Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie from a screenplay the brothers wrote with Ronald Bronstein. Mr. Sandler is flat-out sensational as Howard Ratner.
  15. Richard Jewell has much to recommend it. The story is compelling — from hero to reviled heel in no time flat. In a jauntier time it might have been raw material for social satire; in our day it’s a cautionary tale about abuse of power by the press and government alike.
  16. With A Hidden Life and the story of Franz Jägerstätter, the director has found the ideal vehicle for his cosmic inquiries, and has created a film that is mournful, memorable and emotionally exhilarating.
  17. By all wrongs, though — beginning with a single-minded script and clumsy direction — a movie with a compelling story to tell turns into a blunt-force polemic that can’t stop hammering its message home.
  18. A heavier-than-air adventure, set in Victorian England, that seldom rises above the level of elegant hokum.
  19. The prime mover is sexual tension, which grows inexorably as the women learn the contours of each other’s lives. Portrait of a Lady on Fire — the fire is figurative, but also real — goes beyond painterly beauty. It sees into souls.
  20. In Queen’s case, this means a tiger-striped stripper dress and snake-print go-go boots, which she will wear for the rest of the movie. It makes for terrific visuals, but like the sex scene to come it’s not a dignified enough use of this actress, and makes a blaxploitation film out of something that seemed to harbor loftier ambitions.
  21. The film is a dramatic and visual feast, one that portrays its adversaries as passionate humans who move us and make us laugh while they’re having at each other in search of common theological ground.
  22. An entertainment that’s as smart, witty, stylish and exhilarating as any movie lover could wish for. It’s tempting to call it the sort of movie they don’t make any more, but they didn’t make all that many way back when, because it’s really hard to pull off a production of such startling quality. If there’s a false note from start to finish I must have been laughing or gasping when it sounded.
  23. As constructed, Citizen K serves as a briskly paced primer into all things Putin, Russian and, incidentally, Khodorkovskian.
  24. Mr. Haynes, a notable stylist whose work is sometimes tinged with surrealism, was an improbable choice to direct this material, though a fine one, as it turns out. Like Rob, the film isn’t flashy, but it is honorable, admirable and improbably stirring.
  25. Still — and with the full knowledge of committing an atrocious pun — the whole thing left me cold, partly because there’s no actual villain and thus very little concrete drama.
  26. Given the nature of the production — it was made for grownups, not children, in an era when life moves much faster than it did in Mr. Rogers’s day — sticky sweetness threatens at every turn, along with naked contrivance. Yet the movie bets on goodness, and wins.
  27. The calculation couldn’t be clearer. Put two superb performers together — they don’t get superber than Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen — and you’re on your way to making an exceptional movie. Not so fast, though. The Good Liar is calculation from arch start to hollow finish.
  28. It’s a new and emotionally complex model of an old-fashioned audience-pleaser, with wonderful performances by Christian Bale and Matt Damon and a resonant soul to go with its smarts.
  29. It’s a life-affirming, profoundly affecting classic.
  30. Before and after everything else, Honey Boy — James’s nickname for his son — is a movie worth seeing for its distinctive qualities, but it must also have been worth doing for its therapeutic effect. Filming well is the best revenge.

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