For 1,698 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 45% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Scott Tobias' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Time Out
Lowest review score: 0 Officer Downe
Score distribution:
1698 movie reviews
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 87 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Though shorn of 20 minutes for its U.S. debut, the film's wry comic portrait of the Japanese Occupation during WWII hasn't lost any of its incendiary brilliance, both as a political provocation and as a brusquely humane take on the horrors and absurdity of war.
    • 88 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Seasoned with amusing bits of fantasy, like a pizza topping that briefly curls into a smile, Friday Night captures the city at its most inviting, alive with the feeling that wonderful things can happen to ordinary people.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    As the film takes shape, the form and the subject develop a fascinating symbiosis, with Derrida cast as an active participant in the deconstruction of his own documentary.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Listen Up Philip doesn’t care to be liked. And in that, it deserves to be loved.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Though Cartel Land isn’t interested in making fact-filled statements about the drug war, Heineman’s ingenious conceit gets at the difficulty ordinary people have in doing something about it.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Malick's powerful intermingling of brutality and beauty, his signature cutaways to indigenous flora and fauna, and the gentle lyricism of his disjunctive narration and painterly images are too rich to fully register in a single viewing.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Payne, the great satirist behind "Citizen Ruth" and "Election," loves to populate his films with throwaway details, which in About Schmidt accumulate into a portrait of Midwestern life that's almost chilling in its exactitude.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Summer Phoenix has a screen presence that's simultaneously distancing and transfixing, an inscrutability that makes her seem either mysterious or a complete blank.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Few directors are capable of marrying ideas and entertainment—one is often sacrificed for the other—but Spielberg peppers one gripping action setpiece after another with trenchant details about a near-future robbed of the most basic freedoms and privacy.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    With startling clarity and dreadful logic, Loach and Laverty make sense of every bad choice Compston makes until he runs out of options, locked into a destiny that he can't escape, mainly because his good intentions are clouded by tragic naivete.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    The 33-year-old Koreeda, who began his career in documentary, has a gift for observing life as it's lived, accumulating simple, seemingly banal scenes into an unforgettable reflection on the frustration and helplessness of trying to explain the ineffable.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    A viscerally punishing study of repression and masochism, carried out with the utmost discretion and chilling reserve.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Only Lovers Left Alive accomplishes the neat trick of reinventing a moribund genre as a distinctly Jarmuschian hangout movie.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Far from the solemn earnestness of most Holocaust documentaries, Fighter addresses the war and its oft-toxic reverberations with refreshing impudence and candor.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    A grand achievement in history and anthropology, supporting its ambition and scope with a sumptuous re-creation of the period and an immediacy that allows a forgotten past to barrel into the present.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Mitchell’s deft handling of the relationships in It Follows gets threaded into an ingenious and exceedingly skillful creepshow.
    • 96 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    If The Winslow Boy has a flaw, it's that Mamet's style is impeccable to a fault, too cool and remote to have much of an emotional payoff. But since few directors can even approach his level of precision, that's a very minor complaint.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Edited with an impeccable sense of timing and rhythm, with each new revelation and insight planted at just the right moment, Bus 174 examines an already gripping story from a moving and untold perspective.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Fast, exhilarating new comedy.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    A hilarious and unexpectedly profound comedy.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    On a production of this magnitude, few actors have the presence to assert themselves above the cacophony, but Crowe carries the film with the rare combination of charisma and brute masculinity that has made him a star.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Heaven Knows What isn’t interested in merely exploring the world of New York City addicts. It wants to make their experiences felt, with the dissonant, amp-cracking roar of a punk anthem.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    A superb portrait of a band and an industry in flux.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    An inspired, original, and gracefully integrated collaboration of theater and cinema that complements not only both forms, but also the seductive, dreamlike qualities of the source material.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    It’s a richly imagined drama that gives everyone involved a specific and understandable set of motives for acting the way they do.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Clouds Of Sils Maria is a great midlife crisis film, in other words, and, like Irma Vep, it’s also a great meta-commentary on contemporary moviemaking, with Assayas making keen observations about modern celebrity, screen-devouring blockbusters, Internet gossip culture, and the next generation of actresses, represented here by Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Through the ceaseless efforts of two dedicated pro bono lawyers-both with personal reasons to keep up the fight for five or six grueling years-director Yoav Potash follows every revelation and setback with an urgency most fiction films can't muster.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Taylor and Frankel go too broad when they try for comic relief - and the on-the-nose soundtrack is borderline criminal - but Hope Springs handles marriage and advanced-age sexuality with a refreshing, down-to-earth candor. In today's Hollywood, that counts as radical.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    It's no insult to say that the fine documentary Bill Cunningham New York resembles one of those minor profiles found in The New Yorker's "Talk Of The Town" section: a slight, glancing, yet subtly wrought slice of New York life. And it seems likely that the exceedingly modest Cunningham would want it that way.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Ficarra and Requa are more comfortable being bad: The nastier the film gets, the better it is.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    It's a funny, sweet-natured humanist character piece.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    It's the perfect material for Russell, who not only deals perceptively with the dizzying swings of manic depression, but makes it the fabric of a big, generous, happy-making ensemble comedy.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Like his underappreciated "Haywire," Side Effects screws around in its own thriller architecture, toying with feints of structure and clever bits of misdirection, and otherwise playing the audience like a fiddle. At this point in his career, Soderbergh pulls it off with the unpracticed ease of a maestro.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Like other great pastiche artists, Gomes has created a time machine to a cinematic era that never quite existed, so it feels simultaneously borrowed and new.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Chronicle becomes what "Hancock" wanted to be - a dark superhero story with firm footing in the everyday. Perhaps now the found-footage gimmick has been fully exploited; let us never speak of it again.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    Head Games is particularly devastating when it shifts from the NFL and NHL, where brutality and headshots are a given, to girls' soccer and under-14 football leagues, where still-developing young necks and skulls make kids perhaps more vulnerable to head trauma than their professional counterparts.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    It's a film where the feelings and experiences of young people are highly specific in detail, yet fundamentally universal and timeless.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Drawing on a wealth of footage from inside ACT UP meetings and protests, David France's powerful documentary How To Survive A Plague pays tribute to their courage and relentlessness, but it's even better as a record of the tactics of effective activism.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    The grand concept is really just a vehicle for a more intimate study of depression and its dangerous, shifting polarities.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    His film powerfully suggests that violent death of any kind, whether personal or state-mandated, transforms everyone in its vicinity.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Mara's Salander is the film's lifeblood, a shrewd yet vulnerable outsider whose resilience and pluck help Fincher elevate The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo above the standard procedural. But just barely.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Miller directs with intelligence, though not flair, but the script makes up for any flagging energy with crackling Sorkin dialogue and performances that sing with revolutionary fervor.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    His outrageous, self-destructive journey lands him in a place just as ironic as Rupert Pupkin’s in "The King Of Comedy," but it’s haunting and mysterious, too, reflecting the dream that consumes his life.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    A caustic, witty, regretful elegy for a place so transformed that it's virtually unrecognizable.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Over a difficult three-hour sprawl, Cristi Puiu's Aurora fully explores the time before and after a killer strikes, and it has the cumulative effect of making what passes for a "motive" seem absurdly simplistic.
    • 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.

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