Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,202 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 Denial
Lowest review score: 0 Shut In
Score distribution:
1202 movie reviews
  1. This is a movie where the charming guys fire holes into the un-charming guys while blowing stuff up and telling mildly funny jokes. Its story is absurd, most of the dialogue not spoken by one of the two leads is laughable, and save for a draggy middle section when the plot mechanics keep the bad boys separated, it’s a lot of fun.
  2. Words are generally a problem for Dolittle—a fatal flaw when your picture is about talking animals. While the words are abundant, most are either perfunctory exposition or anachronistic jokes that fall flatter than the state of Nebraska.
  3. In a bargain-basement bomb called Inherit the Viper, three siblings survive one gruesome moment after another without any of them adding up to anything significant or life-affirming. Despite a running time of only 85 minutes, it feels like days of mean-spirited self-indulgence.
  4. The only reason I wanted to see it at all is Kristen Stewart, but she is so wasted that she should have stayed in bed.
  5. It’s a dull story that is still worth telling — but in a better film than Three Christs.
  6. A number of questions await anyone who lasts the full 88 minutes. What just happened? Was the suicidal composer a lunatic devil worshiper who planned for his daughter to follow in his footsteps? Will anyone else ever hear the sonata of the damned? Does anyone care?
  7. The beating heart of the film, this performance is further evidence of what a gift Foxx’s late career shift to supporting parts has been for filmgoers.
  8. It is rare that a movie finds its way into the hearts of a massive audience with both flair and sentimentality that made the 1949 "Little Women" so unique and unforgettable. The new one pretty much settles for sentimentality.
  9. The intensity is overwhelming. Every war is hell, no matter when it was fought, but 1917, which is about a war far removed from contemporary reality, turns out to the best war picture since "Saving Private Ryan."
  10. Yes, this is a great one, and a magnificent centerpiece performance by an unknown actor named Paul Walter Hauser in the title role is a major reason it is so unforgettable.
  11. Despite its desperate efforts to justify the homicides, there’s nothing remotely innovative or even goofily satirical about it. The lousy actors, incompetent writer and clueless director remain nameless. That’s my good-deed Christmas gift to all involved, and better luck next year.
  12. The result seems to tiptoe around the even juicier chance to tell the dirty behind the scenes stories that could have made this story a real bombshell indeed.
  13. Under the careful guidance of Australian director Benedict Andrews, Kristen Stewart’s Jean is a doomed star emerging in the center ring of her own drama, distinctive and refined, with an elegant mask that fails to cover the twitching nerve beneath the surface that feels like it’s always on the verge of exploding.
  14. The Safdies’ film is a cinematically expressive tightrope walk that seems designed to leave your blood pressure permanently spiked. It can be relentless and hard to take, but it is brimming with surprise and a vivacity that radiates off the screen.
  15. The dialogue is dull as dried glue, but the acting is fine, although the boundless range and skill of Redmayne is wasted, which might account for the reason he doesn’t appear to enjoy the ride as much as he could. Unfortunately, we’ve seen it all before with motorcycles, submarines, airplanes and ships at sea in peril instead of hot-air balloons.
  16. Helen Hunt is a good actress with an Oscar on her mantle and practically no ability to choose a decent movie script based on quality or entertainment value. She’s been absent from the screen far too long, so it’s a pleasure to welcome her back, but not in a labored, amateurish charade as bad as I See You.
  17. She (Watts) produced it to show off the range of her obvious talent, and deserves an A for effort in a vehicle that rates a D for dreary, desolate and depressing. The rest of The Wolf Hour deserves an F for forget it.
  18. It also happens to be the best ending of a movie this year and the work of a filmmaker completely attuned to both her craft and the inner lives of her characters. Moreover, the shot is the final act of passion and precision in a film that is teeming with both, a work of art whose flame will continue to smolder in your mind and heart well after you have left the theater.
  19. Gary Oldman, in the worst performance of his career, plays a one-eyed slum lord and master villain named Ezekiel Mannings.
  20. Intentional or not, this alleged thriller is more of a comedy, and maybe I’m just jaded, but to me, there isn’t a genuine thrill in sight.
  21. Riveting, responsible and deeply unsettling, a first-rate film like Dark Waters is a rare and welcome chapter in the dramatic fabric of how one unlikely person can make a big dent in the world of social injustice.
  22. Both the songs (once again written by two-time Oscar-winners Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez) and the relationships between the characters — strong points of the original film — register with less energy and originality this time around.
  23. Together, they redefine rapture.
  24. Waves is a demanding and absorbing family drama that unfolds in two parts without lines of division, yet both parts are distinctively and stylistically different. The film is too long, but I was impressed and riveted throughout.
  25. There’s nothing to make your hair stand on end in The Shed because it’s not convincing. Despite walk-ons by a pair of experienced professionals, Timothy Bottoms and Frank Whaley, the actors are unknown for a reason, and despite familiar weapons of self-defense such as fires, shotguns, hatchets and chainsaws, the plot is jokey and the action defies all logic.
  26. You can’t fault the actors, who play the sadism for tough, two-fisted realism, but Crown Vic (a title that makes no sense; there’s nobody named Vic in it) is still a cheap copy of Training Day and a crash course in lock-jawed cynicism 101. Not to mention the worst P.R. the city of Los Angeles has had since the Rodney King scandal.
  27. The divorce part fades in and out of focus while the marriage part unravels in flashbacks. Sometimes they drag on so long you can’t tell the difference. Still, it’s intelligent enough to like it a lot in retrospect.
  28. Honey Boy is a dolorous example of an alarming trend in modern movies — the miraculous ability of an infinitesimal talent to raise money for an obnoxious, self-indulgent film about his own life designed to appeal to absolutely nobody except the arrogant subject himself. In this instance, the jerky centerpiece in love with himself to the detriment of everyone in the audience is Shia LaBeouf.
  29. Recent complaints about action flicks with no action can be ameliorated by Primal, a white-knuckle thriller with a thrill a minute. Nicolas Cage delivers his best performance in years.
  30. This is a movie where the characters utter the word “weird” enough times to fill an Advent calendar; in truth, the only thing that’s actually weird about it is how middle-of-the-road and mild it is.

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