For 1,579 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 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Lowest review score: 0 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Score distribution:
1,579 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    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
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    Cantet's masterful study of a white-collar businessman in decline.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Fast, exhilarating new comedy.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Old Joy doesn't try for too much, but its subtle victories leave plenty to savor.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Bujalski's brand of stylized dialogue sounds genuinely fly-on-the-wall.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    Kaufman strikes just the right balance between playfulness and sincerity, leaping freely from one absurd situation to another before pulling back on the reins.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    To an equal extent, Project Nim shows the human capacity for cruelty and narcissism as well as compassion and selflessness.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    It's a complex fusion of film history and personal history, filled with dazzling embellishments and unabashed sentiment about the glories of cinema.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Raimi’s new film feels distinctly unburdened and fun, happily frolicking in its own pulp silliness.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    If nothing else, the film puts the lie to the notion that an abortion could ever be frivolous or lightly considered. On that point, everyone in Lake Of Fire agrees, whether they acknowledge the other side or not.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    There's a suffocating air to The Deep Blue Sea that makes it harder to access than other period romances of its kind, but Davies aligns himself wholly with Hester.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    It may be painful at times, but Rachel Getting Married sure is one heck of a party.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    The body means different things for each of them, and Ceylan's mesmerizing existential drama takes its time establishing the players and bringing their inner lives into focus. It's cinema as autopsy.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Doing some of his best work in years, Ewan McGregor plays Mills' alter ego as a prickly, not altogether noble loner in his late 30s who initially doesn't take the news of his father's coming-out well.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    A remarkably nuanced, ever-evolving performance (María Onetto).
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    In an unusually subtle performance by a child actor, Kacey Mottet Klein stars as a crafty ragamuffin.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    A caustic, witty, regretful elegy for a place so transformed that it's virtually unrecognizable.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    It might be fair to argue that the resonances of Upstream Color are too obscure and internal — many viewers have and will be baffled by it — but it’s the type of art that inspires curiosity and obsession, like some beautiful object whose meaning remains tantalizingly out of reach.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Having the dog around raises the emotional stakes tenfold, and develops a kinship with Vittorio De Sica's Italian neo-realist classic "Umberto D.," which also revealed societal ills through a poignant dog-owner relationship
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    The Turin Horse has a burnished beauty that's awe-inspiring, like a clear window into a faraway world as it dangles, and then falls, off the precipice.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Miss Bala toes a delicate line between exploitation movie and movie about exploitation, but that's part of what gives the film its charge - this isn't some flaccid docudrama about how the cartels are poisoning the country, it's a lively, white-knuckle thriller where any such proselytizing is reduced to implication.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 95 Scott Tobias
    There are times when the title is more a wish than an action - because just as cocaine addicts are forever chasing that first high, there's always the hunger to recapture a lost feeling again, even for those who have spent years in recovery. Pity those who fall off the wagon.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Beyond The Hills has a rich understanding of the appeals and perils of religious values that provide structure and meaning to some while seeming cruel and irrational to outsiders. It’s a world within a world, and Mungiu peers from a clear window.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    In Chéreau's hands, Gabrielle has an operatic quality that throws the repressive environment into sharp relief; the film works like a pressure cooker, seething with bottled passions that intermittently burst through with startling cruelty and violence.

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