For 98 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 9% same as the average critic
  • 35% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Sam Adams' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 64
Lowest review score: 16 The Magic of Belle Isle
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 98
  2. Negative: 6 out of 98
98 movie reviews
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Sam Adams
    Petzold handles personal, formal, and political concerns in such perfect balance, it's difficult, and not especially desirable, to separate one from the next. The movie is dense but never feels it, assembled with easy mastery and engrossing throughout.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Sam Adams
    Viewers may not realize how far they've been pulled in until the movie ends, and they might feel a sense of loss that it can't keep going just a little while longer.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Sam Adams
    The power of Middle Of Nowhere is cumulative, conveyed in sustained tone and deepening character rather than bravura sequences or explosive confrontations.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Sam Adams
    The heart of any concert movie is the concert itself, and in the case of Neil Young Journeys, it's a great one.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Sam Adams
    Keep The Lights On feels less like a memoir than a collage made from diary scraps, evocative but not prescriptive.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    If anyone's likely to have trouble with Carancho, it's fans of Trapero's previous films, who won't be able to help noticing the sizeable step he's taken toward conventionality.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    It's to the film's credit that its inescapable conclusion seems in doubt until the very end.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    While the back-and-forth between various parties grows tiresome through repetition, Rapt rallies with a lengthy epilogue in which the aftermath of Attal's ordeal proves more draining than the physical privation that preceded it.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    Perhaps it's a tribute to the breadth of Goodman's life that even after 90 minutes, it feels as if we've just scratched the surface.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    The fact that Last Days Here cares more about Liebling's personal redemption than his professional triumph is ultimately a saving grace, a telling demonstration of the film's well-ordered priorities.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    Headhunters' title rapidly turns literal, and what seemed like a lightweight heist thriller careens into a bloody-minded game of cat and mouse.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    While it's fascinating to observe the workings of the mammoth apparatus grafted onto an intensely personal decision, the movie's heart is the moments that take place in private (meaning, in this case, in front of only one camera).
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    Newcomer Følsgaard is the wild card, but he manages to make the king both villain and victim, sometimes a vindictive schemer, at others far-eyed and helpless, a puppet for the forces behind him.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    Yaron Zilberman's first feature has a solid structure, but as with a piece of music, the way it's played makes all the difference. His principal actors aren't great at faking their instrumental prowess, but they're perfectly in tune with each other, playing artists who've postponed life's decisions in the name of pursuing their craft.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    Shot with tiny digital cameras to minimize the sense of intrusion, The End Of Love sometimes feels like a home movie, but that’s also the source of its strength.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    Gavilán’s performance bears out Parra’s advice to “hate mathematics and embrace chaos,” and falls between private and public, assurance and self-doubt.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    It’s hard to imagine a more potent symbol of good intentions gone to seed than the decrepit Buenos Aires building that gives White Elephant its title.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    Twenty Feet From Stardom touches on fascinating issues, but too often it does no more than that.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    In spite of its attention-grabbing opening and provocative title, Free Angela And All Political Prisoners is less a work of agitprop than straightforward history, intriguing but never unsettling.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Sam Adams
    It’s a brief wisp of a movie, but one that’s not easy to shake.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    For Washington, the wounds of the past are just beneath the surface, as close as the bullet holes under her kitchen wallpaper.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    Zandvliet's direction lacks Steen's gradations. The handheld, rubbed-raw style wears thin after a while, growing monotonous and wearying.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    Chen can't seem to decide whether he's making a fable or something more down-to-earth, but Sacrifice works either way, if not both at once.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    Bal
    Bal mingles the bitter and the sweet, but it gets mired in its own stickiness.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    Perhaps Brannaman's art is too subtle and instinctive to be captured on camera, but it's a shame Meehl doesn't do a better job of capturing exactly what makes him, by all accounts, a miraculously successful trainer.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    The improvised dialogue takes hairpin turns, some less fruitful than others, holding onto just enough traces of structure to sustain the film's brief length.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    The movie fumbles badly when it's time to turn those actions toward resolution, forcing an ending that seems both arbitrary and cruel. At under 80 minutes, the movie is terse enough that it could do without trumped-up events.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    It's a tribute to Plaza and Duplass that they're able to make such slight material resonate at all, let alone with the poignancy they occasionally find.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    Moving fluidly between gory sight gags and implied, insinuating terror, The Road is a movie made to be seen after midnight, preferably in a mildly dilapidated theater with a full house.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    Portrait Of Wally tells a gripping story, but the filmmakers should have been more forthright about their own part in it.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    The movie's attempt to position Detroit as the canary in the coal mine - there but for the grace of God goes any other city - falls flat, but it isn't a fatal flaw. It might not happen in any city, but for it to happen to one is bad enough.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    Thomas, credited as writer, producer, and executive producer, is the obvious auteur, orchestrating a star vehicle she lacks the screen presence to anchor.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    Kon-Tiki, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s modern dramatization, while well-acted and smartly filmed, rarely musters any actual sense of excitement.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Sam Adams
    At its best, though not often enough, 100 Bloody Acres is as mercurial as its central character, breezily offbeat one moment, spattered in gonzo gore the next. It’s as if the filmmakers ground the bits of other movies fine enough that it made a rich foundation for their own.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Sam Adams
    What redeems the movie, and then some, is the soulful weariness of Clooney's performance, which is in some ways an earthier and less glib version of the go-go axeman from "Up In The Air."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    The movie's exterior is solid, but it's hollow inside, like a safe filled with air.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    Perhaps it's unfair to compare Circumstance to the very different "Persepolis," but it's hard not to drift off to Marjane Satrapi's more pungent and personally inflected evocation of the same terrain, in which the characters are as vivid as their surroundings.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    Like a well-crafted garment, it's seamless. There's plenty of amour, but not enough fou.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    A fine enough piece of work, but it's a shame Werner Herzog didn't get to Gunther Hauk first.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    There are many appalling moments witnessed and described in Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully: children beaten and humiliated, ostracized by their peers and misunderstood by their parents, left to face an apparently heartless world without a soul to turn to.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    The actors' charisma is a draw, but mostly, the movie relies on Pavlovian reaction to the genre: The audience has its designated place as surely as any element in Cavayé's relentless machine.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    Levinson stuffs the movie with so many emotional cross-currents and minor revelations that it's hard to keep them all straight, but the movie works the audience's nerves with enough determination to get under the skin and stay there, a sensation that comes awfully close to an earned emotional response.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    For all its untrammeled excesses - and Kaye has proved that he'd sooner torpedo his own career than accept a little constructive trammeling - Detachment is almost forcibly moving, body-slamming its audience into submission.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    Like its characters, who can't believe their stable nation could be threatened by ethnic unrest, Cirkus Columbia looks to the past, evoking the kind of unreal, vaguely politicized tales that were once the lifeblood of arthouse cinema.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    Without a source as rich as Jane Austen to draw on, Cheerful Weather feels incomplete, caroming off previous stories without forging its own way.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    The film makes a convincing argument that, in spite of some recent setbacks, movements for democratic change are alive and well, but it glosses over the problems that arise once the people have to implement the power they've seized.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    It’s a deeply confused movie, sometimes productively so.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    This might be the best week for The Reluctant Fundamentalist to open or the worst, but the timing doesn’t matter when the powder is damp.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    This story isn’t untold, just largely unknown. It’s a minor point, perhaps, but a sticky one, a needless elision that blurs the all-important question of how memories, and history, must be recounted to endure. One telling is not enough.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    If the idea is for the audience to feel similarly yanked around, then What Maisie Knew succeeds wildly, but it fails to bring much insight to what essentially amounts to a massive parental guilt trip.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    Though it might be unreasonable to expect Karel and Manera to succeed where others have failed, simply punting on the amount of autobiography in Roth’s novels seems like a cheat. Sticking to what’s on the page pays off, especially with regard to Roth’s undervalued late novels, but also means he has them just where he wants them.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 67 Sam Adams
    Once the battle is joined in earnest, what began as sharp-edged parody starts to feel more like a cheap imitation, even if it’s still shot through with a few priceless zingers. The tough thing about genre hybrids is that they have to fulfill both genres, and Grabbers only nails one of them.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Sam Adams
    Unfortunately, Kill Your Darlings doesn’t know what to do with Radcliffe and DeHaan, good as they are; there’s little sense of how they fit into a larger framework, or what bearing, if any, it might have on its more famous subjects’ later output.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Sam Adams
    The Cold Lands goes flat in this middle section. Gilroy’s visual style is strong, but he doesn’t frame the images to chart Atticus’ development, and Yelich, whose only previous screen experience is starring in the video Gilroy directed for R.E.M.’s “It Happened Today,” doesn’t suggest what’s going on beneath the layers of trauma and withdrawal.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    For the most part, Neshoba is content to treat progress as a matter of reconciling with the past rather than dealing with the present.
    • 22 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    During a dinner with Stephanie's colorfully ethnic family, including a squandered Debbie Reynolds, the reaction shots arrive with bludgeoning regularity, and the soundtrack's burbling organ serves as an incessant reminder not to take anything seriously. Fortunately, there's no danger of that.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    Not withstanding rich performances from Wilson and Lonsdale, the film never comes close to embodying that level of complexity.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    The character's miraculous gift never plays as more than a melodramatic contrivance-it's a gimmick, not an outgrowth of faith. The movie reaches for the heart, but only comes back with a balloon filled with fake blood and chicken livers.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    Continental Drift feels less like an extension of a theatrical franchise than an episode of a middling TV cartoon, lolling around on territory that's already been settled. Jokes are recycled so frequently, it's as if comedy writing was eating a hole in the ozone layer.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    The character-building is proffered in bad faith, like every scene in Safe that doesn't involve bloodshed. Statham can sell a punch, but not his own vulnerability.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    As an actor, Turturro brings wit and a healthy sense of absurdity to many of his roles, but his directorial efforts are notably lacking in self-awareness or restraint.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    The movie's gathering of third-rank action heroes provides sufficient brawn but precious little onscreen charisma, although Brian Cox's reliable bluster lights up his handful of scenes as a bellicose baron.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    The credibility Bowen and Amy Seimetz, as his fearful ex-girlfriend, bring to their roles nearly legitimizes the movie's underlying silliness.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    Chances are, Norman would have seemed like a retread whenever it came out, but it does the movie no favors to release it in the shadow of "Terri" and "Submarine," both far more compelling portraits of high-school loners, and both released to DVD in the last few weeks.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    Tran's visual precision is betrayed by his jumbled script, which fails to impose a cinematic structure on the source material.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    At least Black Butterflies gets the tortured-soul part right.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    Good For Nothing is billed as the first Western shot in New Zealand, but that tourist-brochure distinction pales besides its more pungent claim to fame as the first Western whose hero spends the entire film attempting to overcome a bout of erectile dysfunction.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    Entering the minor canon of movies named after sports regulations - move over, "Offside!" - Don Handfield's Touchback takes a handoff from "Peggy Sue Got Married" and "It's A Wonderful Life" and runs it up the middle for a modest gain.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    Sy and Cluzet give their parts more conviction than they deserve, even when the former is forced to re-enact the falsetto-singing-in-the-bubblebath bit from Pretty Woman. But even their energy can't revive a corpse this dead.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    It's true that Americans contribute disproportionately to the problem, but catering to the idea that we're separate from the rest of the world isn't part of the solution.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    Black seems to be aiming for some sort of loopy fantasia, a tragic fable about struggling with difference in the small-town South, but he's got more half-finished ideas than he can handle.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 58 Sam Adams
    Watching the movie is like riffling through an author’s index cards: It’s all detail and no big picture.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Sam Adams
    The subtitles and period setting conjure a smattering of respectability, but in essence, this is arthouse pap, particularly for older audiences, turning the past into a concatenation of worn-out tropes that comforts as it distorts. Think of it as instant mashed potatoes for the soul.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Sam Adams
    As Wesley Deeds - get it? - Perry is stripped of Madea's fat suit and fright wig, but his performance is so muted, he might as well be swaddled in cloth.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Sam Adams
    Trouble is, even a finely tailored suit needs a body to fill it, and A Man's Story never gets its man.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Sam Adams
    Hellbenders mostly feels like a doodle, an amiable lark that will amuse genrephiles and anyone else with their sights set appropriately low.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Sam Adams
    Perhaps Gurfinkel means to suggest a society off-course, but the game feels rigged, his conception of male and female roles so limited that the characters have little choice but to fall in line.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 42 Sam Adams
    Wexler breaks the cardinal rule of first-person documentaries: Don't make yourself the subject unless you're worth paying attention to.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 42 Sam Adams
    There's something grating about the way The Last Mountain keeps returning to picket-line confrontations between environmental activists.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 42 Sam Adams
    Growing up, Smith relates, he thought Halston - born Ray Halston Fenwick in Des Moines, Iowa - "was the coolest," which sets the tone for the movie's googly-eyed viewpoint.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 42 Sam Adams
    It's difficult to describe The Samaritan, in which Samuel L. Jackson plays an ex-con trying to return to the straight and narrow after 25 years inside, without overlapping a dozen other movies in his nigh-endless filmography, nor watch any scene without thinking of how many times he's drawn from the same bag of tricks.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 42 Sam Adams
    From its lone-wolf mythology to the high, pealing guitar wails in its score, The Sweeney plays like a forgotten ’80s action movie recently discovered in a dusty vault. A treat, perhaps, for those who prefer their cop thrillers pre-meta, but tiresomely plodding for everyone else.
    • 21 Metascore
    • 42 Sam Adams
    Like a Rand Paul rally rendered in the style of Grand Theft Auto, Silver Circle engineers the perfect marriage of sub-par animation and sloppy thinking.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 42 Sam Adams
    The movie is a character study in search of a character.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Sam Adams
    Putting Faulkner’s dialogue in actors’ mouths only underlines the fact that it was never meant to be read aloud, and simply cutting between one perspective and the next does nothing to evoke the rushing stream of collective consciousness that runs through Faulkner’s South.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Sam Adams
    Paris Countdown has style to burn, where “style” means “uses lots of lighting gels and some camera flourishes,” but it doesn’t have a coherent point of view or a solid take on the genre.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Sam Adams
    Perhaps fittingly, part of the problem with Everyday is that it’s too short, both in micro and macro terms. Ninety-odd minutes isn’t long enough to make the full weight of the elapsed time register.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 33 Sam Adams
    A toothless, insufferably smug satire using competitive butter-carving as a weak-tea stand-in for Midwestern politics, Butter is so contemptuous of its corn-fed rubes, it might as well be a Trojan horse crafted to prove the movie industry's liberal bias.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 33 Sam Adams
    Lagos draws strong performances from her young cast, as well as David Oyelowo, who plays Ross' uncle and guardian, but they don't have much to work with.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 33 Sam Adams
    Sherman's feature turns out to be enamored of the kind of reality that gets left out of movies not because it's provocative or controversial, but because it isn't particularly interesting.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 25 Sam Adams
    It's disheartening that a story with roots in autobiography, no matter how tentative, should end up as such an impersonal genre rehash.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 25 Sam Adams
    Part of Snoop’s protean quality comes from the fact that his rhymes only cut so far: He can pivot freely because he’s never dug in too deep.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 16 Sam Adams
    For a movie that spends so much time extolling the virtues of the imagination to show so little of its own is more than ironic - it's offensive.