For 167 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 40% higher than the average critic
  • 8% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Aaron Hillis' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 The New World
Lowest review score: 0 Swearnet: The Movie
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 84 out of 167
  2. Negative: 47 out of 167
167 movie reviews
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Aaron Hillis
    Documentarian Liz Garbus masterfully turns her minimalist camera's eye on young girls institutionalized at the Waxter Juvenile Facility near Baltimore.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Aaron Hillis
    Fantastic news, true believers: Spider-Man 2 is smarter, hipper, faster, funnier, and flat-out more electrifying than the original, swinging to new summer-movie heights as the greatest comic-book adaptation yet made.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Aaron Hillis
    Land of the Dead is Romero's long-awaited masterpiece, a slyly suspenseful and droll thrill-ride that expounds on both the highbrow and the chewed-off-brow concepts of his previous trilogy, then flippantly dismisses the cheap scare tactics of the control-pad generation's gimmicky genre knockoffs.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Aaron Hillis
    Scene for radiant scene, shot for nary a wasted shot, The New World is the most artfully sculpted film in American cinema this year.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Aaron Hillis
    How 49 Up differs from its precursors for the better is that it's the first to have its participants interact with Apted the filmmaker, no longer a one-sided interviewer.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Aaron Hillis
    Inland Empire is interchangably terrifying, maddening, shockingly hilarious and perversely exciting, and that's just to those who end up disliking it.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Aaron Hillis
    The retro photos and footage are also bountiful and, natch, jazzily edited enough that the standard talking-head techniques are instantly forgivable.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Aaron Hillis
    So far the funniest, headiest, most playfully eccentric American indie of the year, Bujalski's perceptive avant-garde comedy...teases out unanswered existential and behavioral questions about mankind's curious obsession with artificial intelligence and automation.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    A truly remarkable and compassionate debut from a savvy, self-confident filmmaker. No bull.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    While Bartley and O'Briain flat-out lucked out with this felicitous endeavor, their fearlessness, unobtrusive narration, and lack of Michael Moore man-and-microphone pandering is to be saluted.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    At its most simplified, Sucker punches its way to the top of the Italian-western mountains, but never reaches the peak of its immortalized trilogy brethren.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    The mood never droops, however, saved by Mario’s well-studied ability to channel his father, a performance as delicately nuanced and polished as the film is frenetic and raw.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    Open Water may not be a pristine or complex suspense thriller, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anything else as terrifyingly potent in such a tiny package.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    Whatever you want to label this quick-paced crowd-pleaser, it is definitely one of the year's must-sees.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    Refusing to dumb down for a mass market, Primer is "Mullholland Dr." for math geeks, "Memento" for mad geniuses, or simply one of the most inventive films ever made for pennies on the Hollywood dollar.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    An enchantingly cryptic, ethereally photographed slice of somber surrealism that should definitely appeal to fans of David Lynch and Luis Buñuel.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    Preaches post-9/11 family values to conservatives while appeasing liberals with ideas of tolerance and social activism.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    The brilliant subtleties of this absorbing, must-see drama are best seen through Penn, who transforms a strongly nuanced script into the greatest performance of the year.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    A rough-and-tumble magnum opus of digital filmmaking that thrillingly basks in the sick, slick, sexy and quick-witted excesses of its imaginatively mutant stylizations.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    Guaranteed to deliver more innovative eye candy and smarter fun-per-second than most of this summer's fare, and that one-two punch ought to knock you off your seat.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    The Queen is a surprisingly compassionate portrait (excepting Blair's reactionary wife with the "shallow curtsy") of a rigid pragmatist in denial over the monarchy's out-of-touch dysfunction.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    A conventional but genuinely heartrending exposé of the Indiana boy who grew to be a powerful religious cult leader, director Stanley Nelson's thoroughly researched doc is not a posthumous character assassination, which would be all too easy and unnecessary.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    Under the clichéd spell of rock-and-roll promiscuity and pills popped, Seigner shows astonishing range as the detached superstar who still fixates on her ex-boyfriend and has mood swings like a manic-depressive on fast-forward.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    This critic found much to digest (pun barely intended), with thoughts of FDA politics and standard practices, the ritualism and sacrifice of our own species, why baby animals are considered protectable innocents (and inversely, grown steaks-to-be just a fact of life), plus, on a meta level, how people's dietary philosophies will inform their reactions to the work.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    Marker's even-handedness and playful spirit tries to show that innocent art and activist politics are two sides of the same culture, even if deviant government duplicity threatens the balance between them.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    Mafioso isn't a straight black satire of Sicilian culture so much as a suspenseful near-tragedy leavened by the zesty, irreverent wit that helped define the golden age of Italian comedies.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    Rock the Bells doesn't just delve behind the scenes; it makes a showstopping guest-MC out of each crazy new obstacle.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    Paprika ain't no kiddie 'toon, even if its thumpin' techno-pop and bubble-gum thrills have the same splashy palette as an episode of "Pokémon" or "Dragon Ball Z."
    • 60 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    Where Dans Paris truly pops, besides its spot-on leads or the slick curation of its fashions and locales, are in its mood-mixing musical moments.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Aaron Hillis
    A richly drawn, ambitious character piece both socially relevant and genuinely suspenseful.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Aaron Hillis
    The line between creative ambition and risky obsession is sharply drawn—or rather, carved out of New Mexico sandstone—in the life and work of wholly motivated artist Ra Paulette.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Aaron Hillis
    Watching the Vogels mull over art that they don't need to understand only makes their delight more infectious.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Aaron Hillis
    Amalric's impish dexterity and Del Toro's mild catatonia make for a memorable mismatch, but Jimmy P.'s profound slow burn might be too clinical for some to consider dramatic.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Aaron Hillis
    It's a tough, gripping watch made emotionally rewarding through trenchant plotting and Gosheva's tight-lipped expressiveness.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Aaron Hillis
    Elegantly shot to emphasize the suffocating atmosphere of its believably frightening scenario, the film speaks clearly about generational expectations and the disintegration of the middle class, even when the brothers communicate without using words.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    The true sensory delight is when the two men share screen time, and the palette is bombarded with their contrasting hues, the score (by Pascal Esteve) even meticulously interlacing their two musical personalities.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    A wildly creative amusement, thanks mostly to Campbell, whose weathered yet still-taking-care-of-business Elvis is alone worth the price of admission.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    What On the Run has going for it: solid acting, taut editing, smartly economical dialogue, an elevatingly reverberant score, and a rousing vitality that left me salivating for The Trilogy in full.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    An amply entertaining tale of survival terror, fully realizing the epicness of Romero's vision by infecting every wide-angled overhead shot with as many computer-generated cadavers as possible, and bridging tense moments with a laugh-aloud, plucky wit.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    Anchorman is the kind of wonderful, cotton-candy escapism that should leave you with the right kind of stomachache.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    Strikingly shot with some wicked hand-held virtuousity, Assault is rivetingly suspenseful in how it toys with the morals of good guys flip-flopping to the dark side (and vice versa).
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    Listen up, fanboys and enthusaiasts of sophisticated visual wizardry: this theological noir-horror actioner-a stand-alone, rapturous good time-craftily and accurately captures the straight-faced camp, wry wit and episodic structure of its source material.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    Though Steamboy could have been smarter and more dramatically engineered, this razzle-dazzle ride won't disappoint if you just need to blow off a little you-know-what.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    The film's ambitiously eye-opening hypothesis, colorful characters, genuine compassion, and unexpected humor will make for a great vintage in years to come.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    Perhaps with an open and willing mind, you'll also see the vast difference between this wily consciousness experiment and, say, Rob Zombie's new box of schlocks.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    The entertainingly unhinged Hostel reeks of kneeling reverence to the grisliest of psychotronica while simultaneously striving to out-gore and out-shock its predecessors.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    Marie Antoinette churns a symphony out of a single note, too light and hermetically sealed in the minds of Coppola and her queen to transcend its artfully cared-for fluffiness.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    A riveting urban drama that tackles a myriad of sociopolitical issues -- conflicts of race, sex, class, marriage and politics -- without spreading itself thin.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    Through a haze of opium smoke and Molotov cocktails igniting, Regular Lovers plays out like the heavier politicized and unsentimentalized counterpoint to Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Dreamers."
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    As The 11th Hour's message of Profound Importance warrants a four-star rating, the film itself does not.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Aaron Hillis
    The interpersonal dynamics haven't been scripted out very thoughtfully, so as the final 20 minutes wind down, it becomes increasingly tough for Penn and his talented cast to mine humor from a story that mandates they actually play elimination rounds of poker.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Aaron Hillis
    Youssef Delara and Michael D. Olmos's variation on the too-familiar subgenre (the rising inner-city superstar here is a Latina tomboy) is more heartfelt, humanistic, and entertaining than such a clichéd showbiz cautionary tale has any right to be.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Aaron Hillis
    A rich, artful quartet of shorts mirroring the diverse idiosyncrasies of four significant auteurs.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 70 Aaron Hillis
    Don't discount October Country filmmakers Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher's tragicomically beautiful art-doc, which sensitively favors unflinching testimonials and visually impressionistic observations over journalistic activism.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Aaron Hillis
    Too madcap or not self-serious enough to be called transgressive, Moritsugu's degenerate romp splits the tonal difference between Nick Zedd and John Waters.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Aaron Hillis
    Kazan holds together a decent coming-of-age script that's emotionally sincere if tonally unfocused.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Aaron Hillis
    Come for the cult of personality, stay for the nostalgia of a dirtier, dodgier, far cooler scene.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Aaron Hillis
    As the waves of this cinematic dream break, the profundities left behind come not from character arcs, but observed states of being that feel subjectively experienced.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Aaron Hillis
    The film's convoluted moral trajectory to hell may be as unoriginal as quoting Taxi Driver, and the pervasive violent menace can be needlessly punishing (including a drugged sexual assault), but as stylish, scorched-earth entertainment, it'll get you in its teeth.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    It may be a crowd-pleasing escapism, but it's that feel-good shmaltz that ultimately plays the film off-key.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    For such a pedestrian exercise in Spielbergian sentiment, the somewhat stale Seabiscuit dunks into some gravy moments; the always dependable William H. Macy is three honks and six rattles of comic relief as the sound effects–happy, kooky radio reporter Tick Tock McGlaughlin, and the racing scenes themselves are spectacular.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    It may not be saying much, but what keeps this movie afloat, aside from solid performances, is the nearly sophisticated dynamic of an otherwise redundant punchline.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Stylistically, Carandiru is definitely less monochromatic than an "Oz" rerun.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    The real top billing, what audience-goers are obviously shelling out to see, is the computer-generated chaos, and as they should: Digital technology has caught up with our collective imaginations Now More Than Ever.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Dullaghan's film is a bit too straightforward and introductory to be declared a definitive portraiture. The gold nuggets worth sifting for lie in the anecdotal minutiae.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    The film stubbornly refuses to fill empty space with dialogue or adhere to any structure other than its own downbeat atmosphere, forcing viewers to be intensely patient or squirm. It's the best film I’ve seen in a while that I wouldn't recommend to anyone.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Subtly gaining momentum as it dexterously glides through pages of good-time, snappy dialogue, Criminal offers no time to catch your breath, let alone enough to think through its reality-stretching story flaws and subtext-lacking motives.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    DiG! never delves deep enough to act as a true cautionary tale. It's an amusingly drunken PBS-worthy human-interest doc, unless you're too old or not cool enough to have played in the embarrassing hipster zoo, in which case DiG! may be the closest you'll ever get to the uncaged animals.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Wisely unbiased-but also unfocused, uneducated, and underachieving-which makes for an occasionally hilarious, frequently anemic parody that misses its opportunity to permanently document a scathing critique of current events.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Law owns every scene he’s in--which is literally all of them--plus a decent supporting cast and dapper dialogue truly make for a breezy good time.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    De Niro is constantly upstaged by the showstopping, sunburnt duo of Streisand and Hoffman, but even their material is so recycled (more Focker puns, etc.) that it doesn’t matter who steals the most chuckles.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    An enjoyable mess that aimlessly goofs like "Men in Black" when its script calls for "Black Adder."
    • 70 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Not bad for summer jollies, au contraire, but -- "Holy Raised Bar, Batman!" -- let's pray that the next installment measures up to the sequel summits of "Spider-Man 2" and "X2."
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Has masterfully polished mechanics, some of the most seamless CGI effects in recent memory, and the Wells veneration is admirable. However, the film takes far too many creative shortcuts, like bookended narration and aliens that make strategically humanlike mistakes, completely incongruous to their technological superiority.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Aesthetically wild and otherwise mild.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Van Sant has mastered this kind of driftingly contemplative imagery and his layered soundscapes would make Sonic Youth proud (of course, Kim Gordon makes an appearance), but the introduction of other characters fracture the film's greatest asset, its lonely first-person atmosphere.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    The Aristocrats lies halfway between two potentially great films: it's neither a smartly austere succession of jokesmiths with all the critique left to the audience, nor a deconstructionist essay on "crossing the line" and the language of comedy itself.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Looks, feels, and tastes like a more accessible evolution of "Cremaster," so try to gauge your own tolerance for indulgent eccentricity (at 135 minutes, it could stand to lose 20).
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Underscored by the fragility of a plinking piano and well-timed flourishes to uplift, this heroic heartstring-tugger is still frequently and unexpectedly affecting, so much that it's able to hide its true face as a glorified movie-of-the-week.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    Best appreciated as a rather amusing farce called The John Malkovich Show, the movie's every scene is anchored, then stolen, by the commanding thespian's Alan act.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    An unexpectedly retro throwback to '80s actioners and '90s hacker movies, totally preposterous in both its heroic near-death escapes and abstract tech-jargon explanations for how anyone with geeky inclinations can remotely override any computer system with a few easy keystrokes.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    It's an overall heady conceit about image and invention, clever and fun with compelling lead performances -- especially Reynolds, who finally gets to show some chops in a career littered with Van Wilder–grade junk.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 63 Aaron Hillis
    The Orphanage's joys come from the experiential: Bayona's cultured technical skills, including some phenomenal sound design, and sustained anxiety. It's about as healthy as junk food gets.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Aaron Hillis
    Vertigo this ain’t, but there’s some quasi-Gothic charm in the baroque premise and eccentric marginal details, including a mathematically gifted dwarf.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Aaron Hillis
    The film takes one entire act too long to shake its mopey fog and get crackling.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Aaron Hillis
    Equally lionizing but richer in detail than the recent Michael Peña-led biopic César Chávez, this occasionally stirring doc portrait of the late Latino labor organizer and civil rights icon frames his legacy around a single act of protest.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Aaron Hillis
    Despite Wilson’s early control and aesthetic confidence, there isn’t a single scripted idea of weight or emotionality that pays off.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Aaron Hillis
    All the secrets, lies, and consequences feel as authentic as the Appalachian milieu, but the film lacks the memorable idiosyncrasy of a River's Edge, or more fittingly, the myth-making lyricism of Matewan.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Aaron Hillis
    If the banality of life within the Bordeaux gentry is the point, then the ensuing oppressiveness is immaculately depicted through precise performances and camerawork—just don't call it emotionally engaging drama.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Aaron Hillis
    Mostly due to the assured polish of cinematographer Sean Stiegemeier, Chapman punches above its featherweight budget, but the punch is ultimately pulled as both strands of the narrative intersect with one last reveal of unresolved melodrama that feels coldly calculated in its cause and effect.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Aaron Hillis
    The film is undeniably elevated by its exotic milieu. It's a shame, then, that it's stuck with such a familiar coming-of-age call to adventure.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Aaron Hillis
    Director Teddy Chan's glossy thriller pays tribute to martial-arts cinema by casting enough Hong Kong industry legends to rival the cameo count of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. It's a pity, then, that it's an undeniably bland film in style and story, despite a few elaborately staged fight sequences.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Aaron Hillis
    Appropriately hunky but neutered of the brute sexuality he exhibited in Bullhead and Rust and Bone, Schoenaerts and his lack of bodice-busting tension with Winslet mirrors the film's transparent, often anachronistic inauthenticity.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Aaron Hillis
    Are these iconic, antihero relics smartly satirized in a post-slasher, or is FVJ just more dated, third-wave trash? Disappointingly, it's the latter.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Aaron Hillis
    The dubious whimsy, devoid of any directorial voice, plays more like a very special episode of Dawson’s Creek.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Aaron Hillis
    Favorably, Atkinson’s family-friendly, rubber-limbed professionalism can revitalize even the most vapid of material, which this certainly is. Anyone who has seen an episode of Black Adder can tell you that he’s leaps and bounds funnier than this sitcom-grade bauble.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Aaron Hillis
    Jersey Girl may have come from his soul, but it contradicts the charm of a Kevin Smith movie.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Aaron Hillis
    With his latest, the sci-fi–action–adventure The Chronicles of Riddick, Vin Diesel has established himself as the new face of morally ambiguous anti-heroes.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Aaron Hillis
    If you subtracted from the story and style components recycled from landmark sci-fi films of Hollywood past, you’d be left with Will Smith wisecracking over a box of unformatted floppies. I, Unimpressed.

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