M. E. Russell
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For 413 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 66% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 31% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

M. E. Russell's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Howl's Moving Castle
Lowest review score: 0 Underclassman
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 36 out of 413
413 movie reviews
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    In the year's least surprising news, Toy Story 3 continues Pixar's near-perfect streak.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    It's an ambitious, passionate, grief-stricken work of film art.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    In "Upside" Allen's marble face acts as the pressure-cooker lid on a hilarious hissy fit.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    The Boys of Baraka leaves you outraged in the way only the best documentaries can.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    Unpretentiously fantastic.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    If you enjoyed any of Frank's previous work, or thought "Brick" was the bomb, you'll love this.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    The writing, acting and filmmaking make Hustle & Flow nothing short of amazing.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    The Host isn't just a terrific monster movie. This South Korean box-office smash is also a laugh-out-loud comedy and a surprisingly angry political satire.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    This is one of Downey's most enjoyable performances, and one of Kilmer's funniest. It's a relationship comedy wrapped in sharp talk and gunplay, a triumphant comeback for Black, and one of the year's best movies.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    It's the best kind of complaint. You can see why the $50 million man refers to something he gave away as "the best single day of my career."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    By presenting murderers as actors and then filming those actors discussing their sins, the line between performance and soul-searching blurs in unnerving ways.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    The teachers have moxie. The students have courage. Mermin's warm, funny, beautiful and deeply humane documentary certainly honors the latter.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    As a study of a predator, "Evil" is fascinating and enraging.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    Nair takes mostly low-key material about a traditional Indian family raising kids in America and turns it into something sensual, funny and quietly devastating.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    Startling and amazing -- a cinematic hammer to the skull.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    It's one of the best and strangest films of Miyazaki's career.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    Intimate, funny, moving and incredibly rousing -- even if you're allergic to sports movies.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 100 M. E. Russell
    A gorgeous, life-affirming movie. On paper, it sounds lurid bordering on ridiculous.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    5x2
    A sort of anti-date movie, a smart but deeply cynical study in failure, with our sense of loss growing in direct proportion to the characters' romantic hopes.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    Monster House makes its intentions clear: It wants to wrap you in a thick, warm blanket of 1980s nostalgia.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    A bright, sexy, globe-trotting and very French romantic comedy.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    This meandering tale of a pack of ticket inspectors working the Hungarian subway system delights in misleading viewers.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    Nominated for an Oscar for best documentary feature, it's deeply humane and even more deeply unsettling, in a way that most documentaries about Iraq, which tend toward the polemic, never manage.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    Funny and weird and surprising and action-packed and genuinely beautiful.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    By an order of magnitude --- the strongest (or at least the most mature, subtle and emotional) entry in the series thus far.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    Isn't easy to watch, but it's beautifully written and acted, with a sharp eye for the small embarrassments of divorce.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    It's quietly brutal stuff, beautifully acted by Fanning, Englert, Christina Hendricks and a word-twisting Alessandro Nivola.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    It's a relentless finale to the "Bourne" movie trilogy that raises the stakes, pumps up the action and develops old characters while introducing new villains
    • 65 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    Weaver is hilarious and horrifying.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    A nasty little tube of frozen horror concentrate.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    A dry, vicious and deeply moving little comedy that sort of takes the structure of a teen sports movie, then undermines that structure at every turn.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    De la Iglesia is a mercilessly agile talent.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 M. E. Russell
    It's one of the great horror films of recent years -- and a welcome antidote to the in-your-face sonic assaults that all too often pass for genre fare.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Miller's global harmonizing never feels preachy -- he's too busy cramming Happy Feet with enough entertainment for three movies.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    The film is a minor Christmas miracle: It succeeds on its own terms, despite the gossip hounds' best blood-sniffing efforts, and dares to be an entertainment rather than a statement.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    A terrific midnight movie of the future -- a tough, funny, fast-moving and tightly constructed John Carpenter riff in which a bickering group fights a pack of space monsters in and around a single location.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    If you're an actual adult who likes old-school Westerns, this won't disappoint you.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Odd, beautiful and ambitious film.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Maybe the best thing about Stranger Than Fiction is the way it extracts unexpected work from underrated actors.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    The film continues the tone that "Half-Blood Prince" set: we're leaving childish things behind, and human and magical concerns are starting to mingle in a grown-up way. When "Part 2" hits theaters eight months from now, I suspect I'll appreciate the buildup to a (literally) explosive finale. It's going to be a long wait.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Other than flubbing the dismount, Stick It is smarter and funnier than it has any right to be.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    It's one of the few genuinely funny comedies in a dismal movie summer.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Submarine pulls off a nice little feat: It's a reference-heavy coming-of-age indie flick that feels fresh despite being, well, a reference-heavy coming-of-age indie flick.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    The Other Guys finds McKay back to trying something wildly ambitious with his comedy, and largely succeeding.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Daniel Day-Lewis may be one of our great actors, but he trips over a few Method-acting speed bumps in wife Rebecca Miller's third writer-director effort.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Despite dancing between a story and a story within a story, something seems simple and effortless about Ten Canoes. Director Rolf de Heer and his all-Yolngu cast offer a take on tribal life that's warm, funny and powerfully alive.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Sneaks up on you. At first, it plays like it might be another in a long line of dullish legal thrillers. But then, in its modest, grown-up way, it keeps getting better and better.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    The movie's as casual as its lead characters' approach to changing history; it's also lewdly and frequently laugh-out-loud hilarious -- especially if you wasted any of your youth watching a certain brand of '80s comedy schlock on HBO at 2 a.m.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Although the drama suffers from the episodic story structure, Zathura feels less like "Jumanji" and more like a really great episode of Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories" TV series.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Though it somehow manages to be a movie about inner peace with crazy, incredibly staged fight scenes every 10 minutes, it is, first and foremost, a movie about inner peace.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Fox uses her earth-tone-clad, Ivy-League-schooled characters the way Jane Austen used hers: taking their privileged, rigid social structures and building a stage to explore deeper human problems.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    One of the best movies playing in Portland is, I kid you not, a loopy dramatic thriller starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    O'Toole just keeps turning up the volume, and it's thrilling to watch.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    The movie's perfectly understated, warts-and-all sense of time and place will send any suburban Gen Xer in the audience flashing right back to their less-cautious days, when mix tapes did heavy lifting as calling cards.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    The funny and powerfully weird Rango is probably the closest I've seen a big-budget, computer-animated feature get to the comic vibe of my favorite Chuck Jones cartoons -- specifically, the Bugs/Porky Western spoof "Drip-Along Daffy."
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    The film is exquisite on every level, full of sadness and emotional surprise.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Hugely entertaining.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    The only scenes that felt "actorly" come when the pair drunkenly crash an ex-girlfriend's wedding party. Otherwise, The Messenger has a verisimilitude rare in films tackling this subject matter.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    The movie unfolds in the uplifting manner you'd expect, but its real pleasures lie in its terrific '60s pop-soul soundtrack and especially in its frequently funny performances.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Paul "Surfer Boy" Walker turns in a very credible action performance if you give him a Jersey accent, cover him in grime and beat the ever-loving tar out of him for two hours.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    In the parlance of the kids today, the movie totally goes there.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Lawrence steps up. And her character's fierce independence provides a welcome alternative to certain vampire-fixated young-adult heroines who define themselves entirely through the attention of much-much-older men.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Barrymore is terrific with her actors, finding moments for even the smallest supporting players.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    It's charming, funny, exceedingly well-made and features enough comically thrilling flying-lizard mayhem to cause your child's head to lightly explode.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Director Kim Ji-woon creates a funny, fast-moving pastiche of Spielberg, Woo, Leone and George Miller, but it's really a must-see for its three big action set pieces -- which go on for a million years each and become almost hallucinatory.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    A funny and sincere indie about what happens when an acerbic teen finds herself "in a fat suit I can't take off."
    • 51 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Watts is a champ for seeing this through now that she's actually famous.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Director Tony Scott's runaway-train action flick Unstoppable is semi-remarkable for what it doesn't contain.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    C.S.A. has a love-it-or-hate-it bite that probably will lead to a few passionate post-screening discussions.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Waitress is strange and sexy and personal and wonderful -- a weird little slice of pure feeling -- and it's horrible that Shelly never got the chance to see it delight a mass audience.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    A sweet, intelligent little movie.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Raimi as a filmmaker is clearly having more fun than he's had in years. So will his fans.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    Despite the hot-button pedophilic story hook (I'm surprised Jeff and Hayley didn't meet on MySpace.com), Hard Candy ultimately beats with the heart of a stagier, more complicated psychological revenge picture along the lines of Roman Polanski's "Death and the Maiden."
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 M. E. Russell
    One of this year's funniest movies -- and its most inspirational sports drama -- is a documentary.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    As horror movies go, The Conjuring is an extremely skillful, entertaining remix album. That's not an insult.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    Gosling is excellent playing a character who's fundamentally unknowable.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    It's better at being droll than laugh-out-loud funny.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    To my thinking, the grand simplicity of the metaphor is a big part of In Time's oddly retro sci-fi charm. Niccol is practicing the old-school craft of making a barn-broad alternate-reality that forces you to think about the way we all consensually agree to participate in systems -- even when those systems are hopelessly screwed up.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    This isn't a crime comedy, exactly. It's a slightly absurd, minimalist noir, in the ZIP code of "Blood Simple" and "Fargo."
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    It's hard to argue with the movie's big heart, solid craftsmanship, likable characters, decent acting, gorgeous scenery or the fact that it's going to leave its audience blubbering and smiling.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    I suspect audiences will divide sharply on the movie's wild tone shifts. I found them sort of fearless.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    There is something, well, awesome about watching these vivid young women realize that music isn't always made on computers as they give their bands cool names like the Ready and get onstage after five days and ferociously sing earnest lyrics they wrote themselves.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    The film's climax is a bit of a jumble, but by then Hillcoat has built his world so vibrantly that it hardly matters. And the hard-charging soundtrack -- featuring Cave, Warren Ellis, Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson -- is an absolute blast.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    A movie adapted from a novel inspired by a person who probably never existed.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    The movie is gorgeous to look at, the script has a killer twist and the cast is competent.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    The film suffers slightly from diminishing returns -- its first third is by far its scariest -- but it's still a bold, artful take on a popular horror idea.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    Ultimately, it's a formulaic sports movie for kids that hits the expected dramatic beats.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    Bridesmaids follows the lead of other Apatow productions and finds much of its comedy in pain, horrifying awkwardness and the difficult work that goes into building and maintaining relationships. If you liked this in "Knocked Up," you'll probably like it here.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    Mullan makes the journey more than worthwhile, but don't go in expecting profundity.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    One of those hard-to-pin-down movies where you're not quite sure which sort of story the filmmakers wanted to tell.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    The movie has "heart" in a way that doesn't feel cloying or dishonest. And the cast -- especially Janelle Schremmer -- just nails it.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    The movie's pretty good, occasionally very good. But I also kind of hope they don't make another one.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    If you can look beyond the simple-minded Socratic political discourse, The Edukators reveals itself as warm, humane and sad, a movie that genuinely wants you to think about how idealism eventually collides with human frailty, and about what upstarts and sell-outs might teach one another.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    It's a gorgeous, strange little piece -- but I did find myself wishing it poked fewer aces out its sleeve after urging us to pay such close attention.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    If you're inclined toward women of the smart/sly variety, you'll leave with a massive crush on Hall. You might remember her as Christian Bale's long-suffering wife in "The Prestige." Here, she comes off as a sort of college-aged, raven-tressed, human rights-obsessed Emma Thompson, only cooler.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    I'm pleased to report the new Land of the Lost movie keenly understands that what was once scary is now ridiculous.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    The movie is strongest when it stays with Bateman and Spacey, who play greatest-hits remixes of their best-loved performances.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    On balance, the filmmakers do a terrific job with one of the weaker stories. It's welcome news that Yates is coming back for one of the stronger ones; he's set to direct "Half-Blood Prince."
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    But as the story takes some surprising turns, it works like a slow infection: Patient audience members may find themselves awakening to the story in much the same way the characters awaken to their own capacities for tenderness.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 M. E. Russell
    Wants to be a sex farce, a sports film and a serious meditation on Catholicism. To its credit, it succeeds as all three.

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