For 1,660 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 0.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Scott Tobias' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Collapse
Lowest review score: 0 Date Movie
Score distribution:
1660 movie reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    Virtually every Super Technirama frame of Luchino Visconti's 1963 masterpiece The Leopard could be described as "painterly" in its ornate details and exquisitely balanced color compositions. (Review of DVD Release)
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    4 Months unfolds like one of those street-level Dardenne brothers movies (Rosetta, L'Enfant).
    • 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.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    Zero Dark Thirty stands to become the dominant narrative about this important historical event, no matter its distortions, composites, or other slippery feints of storytelling. In that, it wields a dangerous power.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    Beyond the impeccable performances and direction, it's foremost an exceptional piece of screenwriting, so finely wrought that the drama seems guided by an invisible hand.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    For the first hour or more, The Hurt Locker boldly forsakes any conventional narrative hook beyond the ongoing tensions between these men and the terrifying grind of defusing bombs day after day.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Good comedies are rare, but rarer still are those that conflate laughter with intimacy.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Carlos is mostly tense and thrilling, revealing the poisonous side of global citizenship.
    • 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.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    A director known for the icy classicism and genre subversion of films like "Funny Games" and "Caché," Haneke has a pitilessness that could not be more perfect for Amour, which would collapse at any whiff of sentimentality.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    The beauty of The Class is that it puts the lie to the one-teacher-can-make-a-difference myth propagated by so many other films.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    The film evolves into a simple, intimate, acutely emotional portrait of a family reaching a painful crossroads.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Timbuktu’s delicate tone is totally unexpected and specific to Sissako, who keeps finding notes of vulnerability.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Leviathan itself feels like a brave, lonely act of rebellion against the system, deeply pessimistic about the possibility of it ever working in the people’s favor. It advocates for a stiff drink.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    The six men have different personalities that suggest varying styles of leadership, but what's remarkable about The Gatekeepers is how they speak in one voice about the moral complexities of their former jobs and their extreme pessimism about the future.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Ida
    Ida’s piercing intimacy makes the deepest impression, but its vision is deceptively wide-reaching despite a scale that’s deliberately pared-down and small.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    After Hours is a caffeinated black comedy with an emphasis on speed. With a small crew and a tight shooting schedule, Scorsese transformed limited means into a staccato burst of creative energy, playing up the extreme paranoia and frustration of a data processor stranded in Soho.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    At its best, Bloody Sunday produces the same chilling illusion of history writ large, clearly detailing the strategies of both sides, then blankly observing the conflict through unadorned, newsreel camera stock and the precise orchestration of large-scale chaos.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    Her
    Her is a 21st-century love story that perfectly captures the mood of the times and finds new inroads into the exhilaration and heartbreak that have existed since the first “I love you.”
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Pleasing mainly just as a message-in-a-bottle from a restless, persecuted artist-that is, until the amazing closing shot, which brings the volatility of post-Green Revolution Iran home with unforgettable force.
    • 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."
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    The action sequences are choreographed with the crackerjack timing expected from Pixar, but the film's funniest and most affecting moments exploit the tension between a special family and a world that insists on dulling them down.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    With a lovably cantankerous sense of humor and an honest strain of hard realism and pathos, the film thrives on the tension that comes from an artist who devotes himself to the truth, but watches his image get away from him.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    There’s no other movie quite like it.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    First-time director Jarecki, better known as the co-founder of MovieFone, skillfully integrates the home-movie footage with his own thorough inquiry, weaving past and present into a patient, deeply engrossing piece of storytelling that's rich in ambiguities.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    A big, family-style Italian dinner, catered to the broadest tastes, yet satisfying all the same.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    The thrill of The Overnighters is in witnessing a heartrending payoff that could not be anticipated nor written—and, miraculously, closes the movie on a perfect irony.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Nemes does everything he can to connect the audience to Saul's numbness, shielding us as much as possible from the cacophony of human misery that rings in his ears. The chill seeps in regardless, as it should, and Nemes doesn't try to counter it with more than a tiny, stubborn flicker of hope.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    What distinguishes Goodbye Solo, beyond Savané’s larger-than-life personality bumping up against West’s intractable curmudgeon, is the continued particularity of Bahrani’s work.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    It helps that the actors' faces are so mesmerizing, particularly Manjinder Virk as Lorraine.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    In the wild and consistently surprising Y Tu Mamá También, anything isn't the half of it.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Poitras fashions Citizenfour into a spy thriller whose intrigues bleed into everyday life. She doesn’t want the audience to feel like Snowden’s revelations are limited to him and potential enemies of the state—or even to activist journalists like her and Greenwald. She makes the threat feel as pervasive as they believe it to be.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    Cantet's masterful study of a white-collar businessman in decline.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 30 Scott Tobias
    Alejandro González Iñárritu is a pretentious fraud, but it’s taken some time to understand the precise nature of his fraudulence.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Loosely structured around four seasons, Nobody Knows unfolds in a long series of episodes that slowly progress from lightly comic to bracingly sad as the situation deteriorates.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Gomorrah takes place in a world where decency can't take root and we can only watch in horror as crime overwhelms society's most vulnerable-- women, children, law-abiding citizens, and the conscientious few who want to get out of the game.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    It's an austere Russian drama with shades of Hitchcock.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    A moving, gently reassuring tale that softens the boundaries between humanity and nature, life and the afterlife.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    The second half of The Kid With A Bike diverges so much from the first that they seem like two different movies - the first a drama about an orphan's search for home, the second a moral thriller about the terrible things all people, no matter their social station, are willing to do in the interest of self-preservation. Both sections are riveting in their own way, and punctuated by startling shocks and bursts of emotion.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    As much as any documentary since Errol Morris’ A Brief History Of Time, Particle Fever excels at expressing advanced scientific theory through graphics that are simple, attractive, and utterly approachable.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Caouette's shattering Tarnation represents a landmark in personal filmmaking: It finally realizes the digital dream of a raw, unsanctioned glimpse into the soul.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    The great Kôji Yakusho stars as a revered samurai who decides that enough is enough, and sets about assembling the assassins of the title like a men-on-a-mission movie.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Ends with horrific revelations that are made all the more powerful by the lightness that precedes them. Simultaneously sad and hopeful, Ghobadi suggests the resiliency of a culture in which war is part of the fabric of everyday life.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    Spielberg balances terror on the water with a rich portrait of an island police chief (Roy Scheider) torn between public-safety concerns and a community that thrives on the tourist dollar.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Though it has the dramatic apparatus of fiction, the film unfolds with a documentary-like openness to the world around it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Fast, exhilarating new comedy.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Though conventional in many respects, it feels like no other boxing film ever made, due largely to Eastwood's unmistakable presence on both sides of the camera.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    It would be enough for The Babadook to get by on scares alone—the eponymous spook is eminiently franchise-able—but Kent doesn’t give the audience that kind of distance. Her agenda is more personal.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    In spite of some thoughtful-and occasionally just bizarre-rumination on what the marvels of Chaumet really signify, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams often feels as stifling as the place it explores, rather than the sensual odyssey its evocative title suggests.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    From his wonderfully idiosyncratic bits of silent comedy at a storefront window to a brilliant one-take of Malkovich watching a calamitous scene unfold, de Oliveira seems determined to exit on his own terms.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    When victims and their families talk about having their lives wrecked by a sexually abusive priest in the forceful documentary Deliver Us From Evil, that destruction is as much spiritual as psychological.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Little beyond Servillo’s presence gives the film any ballast, which is both asset and liability, freeing Sorrentino to pepper the screen with wild setpieces and fits of inspiration while encouraging a certain shapelessness.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    It's a feisty, contentious, deliberately misshapen film, designed to challenge and frustrate audiences looking for a clean resolution. Just because it's over doesn't mean it's settled.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Dazzling cinema-essay.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Has the suffocating intensity of great chamber drama.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    The Dardennes sustain that tension through a masterful closing drive that resembles the final third of "In The Bedroom," only without the same dreadful inevitability.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    When a director of Scorsese's caliber is working at the top of his game, it's a reminder of why we go to the movies in the first place.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Witnessing outreach workers intervening in these situations is inspiring enough, but their subtlety and nuance in neutralizing people of different backgrounds and temperaments is especially impressive.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Flight was commissioned by producers overseas, and it feels similarly, impeccably slight.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Damon's minimalist style is key to why the Bourne movies have become an oasis from other blockbuster action fare.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Through Brody's remarkably controlled, self-effacing performance, Polanski succeeds in making his hero an invisible man, but the sights he conjures are surprisingly artless and ordinary, familiar from a dozen other Holocaust dramas. Among the casualties in The Pianist is a great director's imagination.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    The film never feels entirely staid: Lu wriggles out of convention where he can, especially in the first half, and engages with history as an artist, not a hagiographer.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    The film's visceral assault extends to the sledgehammer script, an amassment of unsubtle ironies and war-is-hell clichés that often reduce it to an amateurish theatrical stunt.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    No one writes for ensembles better than Apatow, and his players are all skilled at giving his work a loose, improvisational feel.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Gosling excels at playing contradictory characters like this one, having kick-started his career as a Jewish neo-Nazi in "The Believer," but here, his inner turmoil rarely gets vocalized. It's a remarkably subtle performance.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Emerges as an improbably hopeful tribute to the human spirit.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Brilliant in flashes, thinned out as a whole, the film seems ideal for the DVD revolution, where the greatest hits can be compiled at the touch of a remote.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    In terms of scale, The Tree Of Life recalls the mammoth ambition of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," but it's also more intimate and personal than Malick's previous films, rooted in vivid memories of growing up in '50s Texas.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    Meticulous and immersive, Meek's Cutoff feels like history in three dimensions.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    A singularly beautiful nostalgia piece that radiates with love and sadness, and doesn’t extract one type of feeling from another. It’s a film of aching bittersweetness, impeccably realized, past perfect.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    Coogler isn’t exactly an invisible hand. He pokes and prods his audience at every turn: Neither the false moments nor the powerful ones leave much mystery about how we’re supposed to feel.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    It's the definition of a film meant to be admired more than loved, but Desplechin's fierce intelligence and uncompromising sense of character come through, as does some of the sharp wit and stylistic flourishes left over from his last film, 2004's "Kings And Queen."
    • 84 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    There's none of the poetry of "For All Mankind," just visual support for a meat-and-potatoes recap of events that have already been chewed over plenty.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Quietly asserts its eccentric romanticism with an assured, matter-of-fact blend of humor and pathos.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    Moonrise Kingdom is Anderson's most completely satisfying film since the one-two of "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums," in part because it's the perfect distillation of both.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    It's a little disappointing to see Van Sant dial back into mainstream respectability. Had he evoked Harvey Milk's life with the poetry that he did Kurt Cobain's, Milk might have been something special.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Trier doesn't allow the bleakness of the material to swamp the film in a miserablist tone, but he doesn't hold back, either, in revealing every hairline crack in Lie's fragile psyche.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Though frequently dazzling, Kings And Queen proves that a bunch of punchy singles don't necessarily make an album.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Old Joy doesn't try for too much, but its subtle victories leave plenty to savor.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Writer-director Charles Sturridge doesn't mess with the Lassie formula--he provides plenty of dog-porn shots of the collie bounding through scenery in slow motion--but the overqualified cast puts the film over the top.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Even as The Quiet American loses focus and urgency, Caine's performance keeps the doomed spirit of Greene's hero intact.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Bujalski's brand of stylized dialogue sounds genuinely fly-on-the-wall.

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