For 1,562 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Scott Tobias' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Lake of Fire
Lowest review score: 0 Fireproof
Score distribution:
1,562 movie reviews
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Much like "School Of Rock," Bad Santa salvages a tired, paint-by-numbers formula by resisting it every step of the way, stubbornly refusing to stop its juvenile fun until the last possible moment.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Revisits the past with an eye on the present and future, hoping as McNamara does that his "lessons" are instructive and might keep history from repeating itself.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Provides one of the rare glimpses of the upper class to come out of recent Iranian cinema--the last one in memory was 1996's exquisite, Ibsen-esque melodrama "Leila"--and director Jafar Panahi (The Circle) captures it vividly through his hero's wounded obsession.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    A hilarious and unexpectedly profound comedy.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    A surprisingly bittersweet love story at heart, Eternal Sunshine values the sum of experience, which in this case means a thorns-and-all openness to romantic possibilities.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    In the spirit of the original, Linklater closes with one of the best endings of its kind since George Romero's "Martin."
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Dazzling cinema-essay.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Good comedies are rare, but rarer still are those that conflate laughter with intimacy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Tsai's latest, What Time Is It There?, runs his usual themes and obsessions through a whimsical premise worthy of Wong Kar-Wai, striking such an exquisite balance between humor and despair that the moods comfortably coexist, just as they do in real life.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    It takes enormous skill to pull off such a high-wire act without diminishing the gravity of the situation, but Bong and his first-rate cast are up to the task.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Breaking from the Spielberg oeuvre, Munich isn't a particularly hopeful movie, but it's a fair and morally dignified one.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Cianfrance and his actors, Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, have not made a cold or schematic film. They aim instead for raw emotional experience, one that's full of insight into the ways a relationship can go astray, but mostly feels like a slow-motion punch to the gut.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    The latest bloom from the flourishing garden that is Romanian cinema, Radu Muntean's Tuesday, After Christmas chronicles the emotional fallout from a classic love triangle, but it unfolds with the agonizing tension of a suspense film.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Replace the toy box with the arcade machine, and Wreck-It Ralph is basically a repurposed "Toy Story" movie, suffused with the same mix of adventure and nostalgia and themes of friendship and the existential crises that come with age. A cynic might dismiss the film as reheated leftovers. But that cynic would be wrong, because those leftovers are delicious.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Computer Chess may seem like a novelty item, but it’s that and more, accumulating insight and substance without ever losing the fun of being a lark.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    [McQueen's] film is a tough, soul-sickening, uncompromising work of art that makes certain that when viewers talk about the evils of slavery, they know its full dimension.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    It’s emotionally and sexually explicit, as raw as an exposed nerve at times, but Adèle and Emma have public lives as well as private ones, and the film’s great achievement is holding them in balance and observing how they relate to each other.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Nebraska is one of Payne’s best films, a near-perfect amalgam of the acrid humor, great local color, and stirring resonances that run through his work.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Farhadi isn’t interested in judging his characters so much as comprehending them in all their complexity, and registering the consequences of their actions, particularly on children.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Since Belfort and his crew are complete knuckleheads, every bit the low-class slobs who bray like animals on the trading floor, The Wolf Of Wall Street may be the funniest film of 2013, rife with gross misbehavior, pranks, and tomfoolery.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Even when the plot kicks in and the stakes get raised, there’s a casualness to Guiraudie’s approach that’s singular and admirably defiant of genre expectations. He’s setting a scene. Tension insinuates itself later.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Debut features are rarely this confident and accomplished, much less such a perfect blueprint of what to expect from a filmmaker down the line.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Fantastic Mr. Fox may be his most purely pleasurable film to date, evoking the Dahl books and Rankin-Bass productions that so transported him as a kid.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    There’s nothing lost in his continued refinement of style; if anything, it makes the pleasures of his work that much more acute.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    George Washington is a mood piece first, and its triumph is in bottling up the intense feeling of early adolescence, and watching how tragedy transforms it.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    This film confirms that Panh approaches the past not as a historian, but as an artist, and an exceptionally vital one at that.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Only Lovers Left Alive accomplishes the neat trick of reinventing a moribund genre as a distinctly Jarmuschian hangout movie.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    The simplified, handheld camerawork and the idea of “cutting for emotion” rather than continuity gets the most out of his actors, who are free to clash and improvise within a scene without worrying about hitting their marks.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    What really sets The Immigrant apart is how urgent it feels. Historical dramas often have a reserve that comes with perspective, but nearly a full century removed from this story, Gray seems, if anything, more emotionally invested here than in his contemporary dramas.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Stray Dogs evokes the whole of Tsai’s filmography, but also pays off his collaboration with Lee, who shows a side of himself that’s been hidden away for all these years.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Listen Up Philip doesn’t care to be liked. And in that, it deserves to be loved.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Östland writes the conflict between husband and wife beautifully, like a scab that gets picked at until it bleeds, and he does things cinematically, too, to suggest the growing distance between them—an already-cool visual palette broadens like a yawning chasm.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    This isn’t merely about the follies of a misanthrope, it’s an epic tragedy about life in the Ivory Tower and the inability to understand—much less empathize with—other human beings.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    DuVernay stages well-known public events like the “Bloody Sunday” march with scrupulousness, scope, and a gut-wrenching visceral power. But Selma’s true success is as a chamber piece, not a thundering historical epic.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    What makes The Duke Of Burgundy so affecting is how deftly Strickland and his remarkable actresses bring something as exotic as lesbian S&M into the realm of the ordinary and relatable. Viewers can see themselves in Cynthia and Evelyn, whether they’re hand-washing each other’s undergarments or not.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 85 Scott Tobias
    Greenfield's refusal to pass judgment on the Siegels lends her subjects and their marriage unexpected complexity and depth - especially Jackie, a true force of nature.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 85 Scott Tobias
    Leon isn't a flashy director, but he has an excellent sense of proportion. Gimme the Loot unfolds in a series of loose, funny, naturalistic scenes, but they never trail off into improvisational vapors.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    The Descent sustains a level of intensity that most horror films can barely muster for five minutes.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Mexican writer-director Fernando Eimbcke got his start in short films and documentaries, and his first feature reveals a gift for concision: It doesn't overexert itself trying to come to big conclusions about these characters, and even the comedic scenes settle for gentle quirks over broad guffaws.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Much like his father Ivan (Ghostbusters), first-time director Jason Reitman has a broad, anything-goes comedic sensibility that allows silly gags and incidental humor to sneak in alongside the satirical barbs.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    With juicy supporting roles for Chiwetel Ejiofor and Willem Dafoe as Washington's fellow officers, the film works best when the characters are just sitting back and shooting the breeze, which is what they're doing much of the time. Here, puzzling out a robbery is more fun than stopping it.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Though it occasionally dips too deep into a well of redneck humor, Slither cleverly exploits the nervous laughter that fills a theater whenever a horror movie gets too frightening to bear.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Zahedi isn't afraid to put himself out there, even when his thoughts and actions are profoundly unflattering; his self-effacement makes the film a reflection on narcissism and misogyny rather than an exercise in both.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Edmond would probably be completely unapproachable were it not spiked with so much dark wit, much of it coming from Macy's painful naïveté and cheapness, which comes through in negotiations with various women of the night.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    While it never approaches the richness and gravity of a great Mann film like "Heat," Miami Vice blurs the thin blue line to similar effect, and he features a couple of bravura setpieces, including a tense raid on an enemy hideout and a shootout with chaotic, you-are-there immediacy. If only all summer movies were this majestically slight.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    It thoroughly eviscerates the MPAA and makes a solid case that the culture has paid the price for its censorious practices. His (Dick's) attacks are the equivalent of shooting ducks in a barrel, but these ducks had it coming.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Though Climates lacks "Distant's" haunted, poetic melancholy, it has a vivid, sensual texture that's unmistakably Ceylan's. He's one of those rare directors who doesn't need a credit for identification.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    With a few self-conscious exceptions, Soderbergh makes an earnest attempt to return to that place and time in both history and American filmmaking, and his risk-taking pays fascinating dividends.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Most of all, The Host functions as a popcorn movie par excellence, loaded with the most familiar conventions, but shot through with such conviction and visual panache that even its clichés seem invigorating.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    The Lookout's thriller elements could stand to be more surprising, but they're ultimately in service of a better understanding of the characters. Usually, it's the other way around.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Meet The Robinsons takes a large step toward making 3D a sustainable format, the CinemaScope of tomorrow.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Resnais and Ayckbourn care primarily about observing these characters' private and public faces, who they are and who they present themselves as. To that end, they've achieved a mood of enchanting intimacy.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Under Fresnadillo's assured direction, 28 Weeks Later blurs the line between genre entertainment and a photojournalist's shots of the next urban catastrophe.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Like many French films of its kind, Private Property remains content to simply observe a situation without tidying up the narrative, which in this case leaves some big questions unanswered. But Lafosse knows that problems that beg for a resolution sometimes don't get one.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    It's a hilariously half-baked scheme, one that quickly turns them from hunters to hunted, but the strength of The Hunting Party is its shaggy-dog quality.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    The frequent outbursts of comedy help alleviate a tone that's appropriately muted and sad, and Jenkins should be credited for refusing to tack smiley-faces onto a tough, possibly lose-lose situation.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Margot has a kitchen-sink realism that's genuinely unsettling, like a John Cassavetes movie populated by the hyper-articulate. If nothing else, Baumbach deserves credit for refusing to cozy up to the audience.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    It comes off as calculatedly irreverent at times, and its Wes Anderson-isms are too precious by half, but its sweetness is genuine and next-to-impossible to resist.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Though Chop Shop is an American film, it feels more like an Iranian movie or the Dardenne Brothers’ "Rosetta"; Bahrani introduces something like a plot point in the late-going, but he mostly focuses, to riveting effect, on how his young hero hustles and claws through everyday life.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Shine A Light pays tribute to the band's essential agelessness.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Like many debut features, Reprise is a foremost a statement of purpose, and in that respect, at least, Trier shows limitless promise.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Operation Filmmaker takes a thrilling left turn from its original conceit, and Davenport does a nice job rolling with the punches.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Given their reputations as feminist provocateurs, the coming together of Breillat and Argento seems natural, even inevitable, and The Last Mistress gets a charge from their feisty, uncompromising spirit.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Though Anderson's storytelling gets murky at times, it's still a fine showcase for his versatility, adding to an impressive, under-the-radar résumé that includes the underrated science-fiction comedy "Happy Accidents" and the first-rate horror film "Session 9."
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Though it's compelling enough as soap opera, American Teen digs deeply into why kids grudgingly accept the roles they've been given and the brutal consequences that come with straying outside the lines.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Much of the fun of Baghead is that it's unclassifiable, by turns a movie-movie lark, an Eric Rohmer-like relationship comedy, and a surprisingly effective "Friday The 13th" kids-in-the-woods slasher film.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Through it all, Vicky Cristina Barcelona remains unaccountably romantic, a confirmation that love, elusive and painful as it can be, is still worth pursuing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    I Served The King Of England views diabolical events from the sidelines, something like "The Remains Of The Day" reworked as an absurdist comedy.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    It's a funny, sweet-natured humanist character piece.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    The film deftly sketches a sibling relationship complicated by obligation, guilt, mistrust, and, not least, an abiding love.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    For this master of mindfuckery, Synecdoche, New York probably qualifies as a magnum opus, since it essentially multiplies "Adaptation" by an exponential factor and thus grows into a snarling, ungainly beast of self-reflexive absurdities.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Doubt is a complex, thematically loaded piece of work, and though it isn't enhanced on film, it deserves the wider exposure.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    The Secret Of The Grain stretches out at the relaxed pace of a seven-course meal, but at the end of it, Kechiche has squeezed the most he can out of percolating dramas within the family and he lets the audience get to know its members without needing to throw them all a subplot.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    A caustic, witty, regretful elegy for a place so transformed that it's virtually unrecognizable.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    At its best, Serbis is a vibrant slice of life that establishes this theater as a living organism, nurturing a society of outcasts; it's like "Ship Of Fools" with blowjobs and boil-lancings.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Fighting doesn’t break new ground so much as animate B-movie types, but New York movies this gritty and flavorful don't come along very often.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    At a minimum, his new film, Adoration, marks a welcome return to the Egoyan of old, the one who could spin seductive mysteries out of disassembled parts and show how images can be manipulated into comforting lies.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    District 9 fuses science fiction mayhem and biting social commentary as well as any film since "Starship Troopers." It’s the rare alien invasion story that has the aliens running scared.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    The thinking behind Grey's casting, with its obvious sex-industry connections, lends the film a degree of verisimilitude, but it really pays off in a cameo by film critic Glenn Kenny, who brings a hilariously sleazy theatricality to the role of an "escort critic" who expects graft for his reviews.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Though Away We Go lacks the screwball unpredictability of something like "Flirting With Disaster," it compensates with a unexpected depth of feeling, a novelist’s (or memoirist’s) sense of detail, and a panoramic view of what home means.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Bujalski’s funny, diverting character piece has a lived-in quality that’s no small achievement.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Nobody is better at capturing the crushing banality of everyday life than Judge.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    The value of No Impact Man, a compelling and suitably exasperating documentary about one family’s attempt to not harm the environment for a year, is that it forces viewers to reflect on their own casual consumption and waste.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    It’s not always easy to sort out the legitimately inspired touches from the merely campy ones, but the film has a deranged, go-for-broke spirit that makes such distinctions irrelevant.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    A clever, exceedingly wonky procedural about a undercover cop (Dragos Bucur) who quietly refuses to do what he's told.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Given several years’ distance from the media blitz, Téchiné brings clarity, maturity, and perspective to the case while still subtly addressing all the thorny social issues the affair touched off.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    The Ghost Writer may not go down as one of Polanski’s masterpieces, but if it does end up being his swan song, it’s the ideal denouement to a life and career of unsettling resonance.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Gibney has enough material for a dozen movies here, but his attempt at an overview, however unwieldy, paints one hell of a nauseating picture.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Currently serving out a sentence that will likely consume the remainder of his life, Spector turns the interview into a trial on his own terms--one that's gripping, revelatory, and a little self-incriminating.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Great casting takes The Other Guys most of the way: Ferrell draws a wealth of good material from his character's oddball ineffectuality, and he partners perfectly with Wahlberg, who's always best at his most incredulous.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Soul Kitchen plays everything big and loud-and sometimes too doggedly conventional-but it's the rare example of a crowd-pleaser made without cynicism or calculation.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Enter The Void is a trance-like experience, feeding the shimmering neon of Tokyo at night into a spectacular hallucinogenic head-trip.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Though narrower in scope and lacking the first-person angle, Waste Land resembles Agnès Varda's great 2000 documentary "The Gleaners & I," particularly in its awe of tough, creative, hard-working people who live on the margins.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Ficarra and Requa are more comfortable being bad: The nastier the film gets, the better it is.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Bale's live-wire performance typifies the many major and minor elements that elevate The Fighter from the deeply conventional sports movie it might have been into the endearingly offbeat sports movie it turns out to be.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Denis brings it all together for a genuinely shocking finale, unexpected, yet in keeping with the film's consuming madness.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    When We Leave is a film without villains. Instead, it features a set of circumstances that inevitably and needlessly spin out of control.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Broadly speaking, Canner hails from the Michael Moore school of first-person editorializing, but Orgasm Inc. isn't given to vanity or cheap shots.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Far from being a liability, Dolan's youthfulness gives it unmistakable vibrancy: This is a love-crazy, movie-crazy affair, laying bare its emotions just as plainly as its influences.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    A mesmerizing study of the nature of evil itself.

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