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 Some Like It Hot
Lowest review score: 0 The Stepfather
Score distribution:
1698 movie reviews
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    With Scott playing the perfect foil to Leary's exasperated sage, the fantasy sequences are hilariously caustic, but as they accumulate more rapidly, the distinction between real and imagined situations becomes disturbingly vague.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    As a piece of filmmaking, Safe is brilliant for the way Haynes, in concert with cinematographer Alex Nepomniaschy and composer Ed Tomney, blankets the mundane in the eerie tone of science fiction and horror, especially in the first half.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Cheryl is a thoroughly realized, warts-and-all character, and the flashbacks contribute to that. But like their heroine, the filmmakers do some fumbling to get to their destination.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    What should be a momentous occasion instead gets anonymously processed through the Doc-U-Matic, with exhilarating live material cut into a sloppy assemblage of interviews, archival footage, and awkward reenactments.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    The film feels as beautifully calibrated as a great piece of short fiction, only with visual accents and emphases filling in for the prose. It's a relationship movie where the most important exchanges remain unspoken.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    There’s a scolding tone to Nightcrawler that runs counter to its pulp energy, as if Gilroy is telling the audience to be alarmed by the things that turn them on. But much as Gilroy tries to be his own killjoy, Gyllenhaal’s wickedness prevails.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    If Pistol Opera turns out to be Suzuki's swan song, instead of just an anticlimactic comeback, no one can claim he didn't go out on his own stubborn terms.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Adjusting to Martel's style requires patience, but her indirection pays dividends, culminating in an unforgettable final shot that flies in the face of narrative expectations.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    A damning example of justice bending toward those who can most afford to buy it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Though an assured and diverting piece of filmmaking, Man On The Train sags from complacency, rarely breaking its neat construction to animate the friendship with any real warmth and life.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    To its enormous credit, doesn't cast the conflict as cut-and-dried exploitation. It presents something altogether more complex--too complex, unfortunately, for an 85-minute documentary to elucidate perfectly.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Without soft-pedaling it in the least, Bonello nonetheless mourns the passing of a time where prostitutes didn't control their destinies, but at least had each other.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Scott Tobias
    Emerges as something rare, an issue movie that's so honest and keenly observed that it doesn't feel like one. It earns its thesis statement through minute details and a unique grasp of a commonplace problem.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Broken Wings doesn't stray far from the common melodrama in its setup and resolutions, but Bergman's uncommon sensitivity makes the film feel specific, intimate, and utterly plausible at every turn.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    ts small achievement is in trying to understand the life-and-death choices of two people who aren’t as certain about what they’re doing as they initially appear.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    All these characters make a beautiful mess together, even if McCarthy spends too much time tidying it up.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The film gets its distinction from the performances by Cheung and Nolte, whose scenes together are suffused with loss and unexpected mutual compassion.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Though the lightness of Bernie can get disconcerting at times, even cartoonish, Linklater approaches the story with a bemused curiosity that seems about right under the circumstances.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    It's no surprise that Bridemaids sputters, coughs, and lurches, but it's a winning shambles, buoyed by a sharp, balanced comedic ensemble and some truthful observations about how close friends adapt when their lives fall out of step.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Quite apart from its environmental agenda, the film is a reminder that there's no space for substance in political discourse: A 30-second soundbite on global warming could easily be brushed off as tree-hugging rhetoric, but after 100 minutes of level-headed elaboration, it's chillingly undeniable.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    This is grave business, and After Tiller registers the weight of it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Mostly, 24 City falls into the same Jia trap of inadvertently drawing the viewers' gaze past his human subjects and to the poetic images of a country in painful metamorphosis.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Night Moves is a film of deliberate, gnawing intensity and focus, built around a Jesse Eisenberg performance that doesn’t give much away, at least not easily.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Though Dick focuses heavily on just a few women, The Invisible War builds to a stunning montage of victim after victim telling their story to the camera without pseudonyms or silhouettes.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Short of putting Emmanuel Lubezki through astronaut training, it’s difficult to imagine more rapturously beautiful images of the Earth from orbit than those supplied by A Beautiful Planet, the latest collaboration between Imax and NASA.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Decades removed from his dreamy Kelly in the "Bad News Bears" movies, Haley pulls off the remarkable feat of bringing childlike vulnerability to his character while still suggesting ungodly menace.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Make no mistake: Rich Hill is a social document, and conclusions can and should be drawn from its beautiful, empathetic portrait of life on the fringes. But Tragos and Palermo content themselves with shining a light and leaving it at that.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    The question of whether Maier, a recluse, would have ever wanted someone like Maloof to bring her into the light is troubling, and perhaps impossible to resolve, but Maloof’s passion for her work and his boundless curiosity about her history certainly make for a riveting documentary.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Few scenarios are more cliched than the curmudgeonly father-figure who takes in the precocious imp -- irritation in the first two acts, love in the third -- but Hornby infuses it with warmth and honesty, not to mention his obvious gift for wry observation.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    If nothing else, The Believer trusts that faith can not only withstand a little skepticism, but also gather strength and meaning from it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Pleasing low-key comedy.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    A taut, diamond-cut piece of storytelling.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 30 Scott Tobias
    Gomez-Rejon has erected a gleaming shrine to adolescent narcissism.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The problem with Sicko--one endemic to Moore documentaries in general--is that it never confronts any challenges to its position, which can make it seem like the crudest sort of agitprop.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    McKinney may well be a madwoman, but Morris connects so deeply to her obsessions that the film's tone never seems exploitative or mocking.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Humpday carefully raises the stakes until it hits a finale loaded with humor, tenderness, and delicious ambiguity. It’s like "Old Joy" by way of Judd Apatow.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The best moments of Maïwenn's Polisse, about the dedicated members of a Child Protection Unit in northern Paris, have the same quality, a fly-on-the-wall docu-realism that feels eerily like the real thing.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    When pinned mostly in the man's bedroom, Amenábar's flashier instincts are stifled by a bolted camera and a procession of issue-of-the-week clichés.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    In spite of the uniformly strong performances, 13 Conversations largely factors out human nature, leaving a giant puzzle where each piece is pre-determined to fall into place. In the end, the Sprechers have a movie for people who brag about finishing the New York Times Sunday crossword in pen.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    The film is an imposing, prismatic achievement, and strongly resistant to an insta-reaction; when it’s over, Nolan still seems a few steps ahead of us.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Even without all the other complications, Doillon's handling of the language gap alone gives Raja a pungent dramatic edge.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    With ruthless efficiency and wit, Kahn ratchets up unbearable tension and releases it in startlingly visceral fashion, but his placid denouement is the most chilling scene of all.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    The result is a powerfully visceral experience that justifies itself almost entirely on surface chops, with striking color composition and a complex sound design that elevates the story to an operatic scale.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Davis and Heilbroner lean a bit too hard on the most outrageous forms of abuse in the pre-Stonewall era, as opposed to the everyday traumas of living in the closet, but Stonewall Uprising picks up momentum once it starts detailing the event itself, drawing on the vivid memories of the people who lived it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Rondón treats her characters with toughness and empathy, without devising easy outs or slipping into sentimentality.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    At once bitterly funny and devastating, Lost In La Mancha sides with Gilliam in form and spirit, piecing together the train wreck with snaky humor and interludes that cleverly mimic his Monty Python collage animations.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Beyond theme, however, these stories are united by the agonizing, low-level tension Östlund brings to bear on every scene, which vary in importance, but not in consequences for the characters involved.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The entertaining new documentary The Heart Of The Game at least acknowledges many of the same conflicts that arose in Hoop Dreams, even though it's really more about two outsized personalities and their infectious passion for the sport.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    At bottom, though, Happy People celebrates the hard-won freedoms that living in the Taiga offers those who are willing to confront its challenges. There are few places on the planet where the strictures of society don't apply, and the trade-off for fending off bears and minus-50-degree weather is the opportunity to lead a pure, solitary life.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Jolie simply exercises Mariane's persistent will, and honors her in the process.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Buoyed by Hong’s romantic optimism, the immensely satisfying conclusion hints at the possibility of love as a renewable resource, so long as both partners are flexible to different terms. Yourself and Yours asks the audience to take the same leap — best to keep an open mind and go with the flow.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Mommy puts all its personal baggage on the table like Ally Sheedy emptying her purse in The Breakfast Club, and Dolan is to be admired for sharing so much of himself, and doing it with such evident passion. But it isn’t enough for an artist simply to share—he has to shape, too.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Reserving the only trace of editorializing for the end credits, which list some sobering numbers on the occupation and this so-called successful election, Poitras mainly allows her subjects and the circumstances to speak for themselves.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    While Creep has the limited scope of DIY filmmaking at its most rudimentary, that contributes to a tone that’s unusually playful and entertaining without coming off as a lark.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Based on its thrillingly fractured first half - not to mention "Moon" in its entirety - Jones seems much smarter than he allows the film to be in the end. It wriggles out of its own intriguing puzzle.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Starlet shows enough of her unbalanced, unsustainable situation to make sense of her connection to Sadie, however frail a ballast her new friend might be. Their need for each other is disarmingly sweet, but far from sticky.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Builds to a key point about the consequences of democracies fighting terrorism by erasing its central tenets, but in doing so, it doesn't underplay the horrors wrought by Guzmán's organization.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Narco Cultura makes it abundantly, forcefully clear that the illicit business of narcocorridos thrives on the illicit business of cartels—and business is still booming.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The main problem with Breach is that the story is told through O'Neill, who's far less compelling, in part because Phillippe doesn't have the chops to draw out his own set of contradictions. By committing himself to O'Neill's perspective, Ray misses the opportunity to uncover more information about Hanssen's relationship with his wife and church, his aberrant sexuality, and his mysterious connection to the Russians.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    In its strongest moments, Tully has the quality of a good short story, in the way it details the underlying affection and resentment that creeps into the lives of its four main characters, played with great sensitivity by a cast of mostly unknowns.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Only half a great movie, because the other half follows a separate but related thread that isn't nearly as compelling.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    There's a bittersweet quality to McCandless' story that Penn captures intuitively.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    The film is both traditional and modern: austere in its engagement with history, and insistent in its showy action beats.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Drifting through time and space without firmly situating the viewer, Iwai's elliptical style requires patience, but also a willingness to be carried along by its gorgeous, dreamy lyricism.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Goes through its airport-thriller paces with dazzling kinetics and style.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Côté and Henriquez err in pressing their case too hard on occasion, especially when they cut to reaction shots of Khadr supporters watching footage of his agony; there's a line between providing context and manipulating the audience that they don't care to acknowledge. Then again, subtlety isn't likely the goal: You Don't Like The Truth beats the drum, and beats it loudly.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    To her credit, Hamilton lays out their story cleanly and with no small amount of tension, all while drawing strong connections to Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, and the Edward Snowden case.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Watching the Australian coming-of-age film Somersault is a little like watching a fluffy white bunny hop through a minefield, one tiny spring away from becoming tonight's rabbit stew.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    Finds connections deeply embedded in a soccer culture fueled by the country's thieving cocaine trade.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Adapted from a long-running stage play, The Dinner Game has been refined to peak comic efficiency, with every misunderstanding and hare-brained scheme neatly cascading into bigger and bigger catastrophes.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    The constant in The Imitation Game is Benedict Cumberbatch’s terrific performance as Turing, which has much in common with his delightfully mercurial Sherlock Holmes, but with an underpinning of repressed emotion and quiet despair.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Scott Tobias
    It's an exhilaratingly unpredictable experience, and not an easy one to shake.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Epperlein offers Karl Marx City as her own act of painful transparency, an essential warning about what happens to societies when ordinary citizens are being watched.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    No comic trope, however musty or studded with whiskers, is off limits, including bad puns, physical shtick, pie fights, goofy names and accents, song-and-dance numbers, Jewish Indians, or just having a bunch of cowpokes farting around the campfire. Some of the jokes drop like lead, but the film's anarchic spirit carries a lot of excitement, because Brooks' anything-goes philosophy means that no comedic possibilities go unconsidered.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Doesn't function nearly as well as a standalone piece, mainly because it's stuck with the thankless task of mopping up after the other two.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Though Law and Kidman spend much of the movie apart, Minghella and ace editor Walter Murch arrange their interweaving subplots like a running dialogue between two lovers, each compelled to survive on the thin hope that they'll be reunited.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Rocket Science doesn't go too far into Todd Solondz-style mockery, either; though painful to witness at times, Thompson's determination to face his fears--not just of speaking, but of girls, too--is heartbreakingly noble and courageous.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    There's no organizing principle in Ivanova's documentary, which unfolds in a ragged, seat-of-the-pants style that mirrors its subject's day-to-day life all too closely. Nenya's flock proves too big for the film to wrangle.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Just as Marston's scrupulous attention to local custom and devotion to social realism recall the work of John Sayles (Lone Star), his occasionally enervating style also recalls Sayles at his worst.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    The irony of Prince Avalanche is that its most conventional elements, the ones that wouldn’t be out of place in a Hollywood buddy comedy, are by far its most satisfying. It’s only when Green reaches for the old poetry that the film seems excessively precious and out of balance.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Sumptuously photographed in bright primary colors, with equally immaculate period clothing and design, Untold Scandal lacks some of the emotional and thematic depth of previous adaptations, but it has the refreshing candor and explicitness that marks the current wave of Korean cinema.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Despite a too-neat resolution, the characters in Results haven’t figured themselves out, much less their relationships, and Bujalski is perfectly comfortable sorting through their confusion.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Glawogger studiously avoids explicitness until he gets to Mexico, where he finally goes past the bartering stage and behind closed doors as business is conducted. Pleasure isn't part of the transaction.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Chabrol develops the inevitable confrontation between the two men like a car wreck in slow motion, and getting there takes a little more work than it should; the film takes the form of a thriller, but it doesn't have the pace of one.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Stripped of all its random weirdness, Attenberg has the premise of a classic Yasujiro Ozu drama like "Late Spring," with its relationship between a widower approaching death and a devoted daughter who needs to leave the nest before it's too late.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Shattered Glass simply sinks its teeth into a juicy story, never better than when Sarsgaard methodically paints the sniveling Christensen into a corner.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Millennium Mambo is a resolutely minor work, so enveloped in ennui that it never gets past the surface of things. But those surfaces are remarkable.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    In an unfortunate case of star casting, Cruise strains credibility as a hard-edged Jersey dockworker.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Knuckleball! looks and feels like a standard ESPN documentary, slickly packaged and a little bloodless, and Stern and Sundberg lean a little heavily on music to goose up the excitement.

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