For 1,541 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 0.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Scott Tobias' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Tree of Life
Lowest review score: 0 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Score distribution:
1,541 movie reviews
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    It's not the artistry of X-Men: First Class that's particularly striking; though it's finely crafted, the film feels less the product of a visionary director than of the Marvel movies machine working at maximum efficiency.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    It’s false as social document, often gripping as entertainment.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Does nothing to justify its own existence other than be consistently funny from start to finish.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Through The Fire posits Telfair's good fortune as the belated fulfillment of Jamal's dreams and his family's desire to leave the projects, but it rarely gives a thought to the many thousands of gifted inner-city ballers who devote their lives to a goal that never materializes.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Hill, dialing back on the pissy vulgarity of his supporting roles in "Knocked Up" and "Funny People," makes the perfect foil, as passive and impressionable as Brand is reckless and impulsive.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    The umpteenth variation on second-generation American immigrants bucking the traditions of their first-generation elders.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    For all their brutality, the fights are so seductive and exciting that their consequences - the physical and mental toll exacted from the men and their families - sometimes fail to register.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    It's the product of a great dreamer and aesthete, rather than an authentic emotional experience--a gorgeous, crystalline bauble that really catches the light.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    There are indications scattered throughout Coco Before Chanel of a major designer quietly and persistently honing her craft, but most of the film could exist without the Chanel name and still smell like the same perfume.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Medem turns screenwriting into a feng shui exercise, shifting story elements like pieces of furniture around a room, as if the best films are the ones that end up facing southeast.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Superficially exciting and handled with great aplomb. But the film is running to go nowhere.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Leaves all the real risks to the young warriors at Ia Drang and collects easy dividends on their bravery. In the end, it honors them by paying tribute to itself.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Not since Lukas Moodysson's "Together" has communal living been depicted with such warmth and feeling for the entire ensemble.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Modest, personal, and nicely proportioned, Red Flag resembles one of Hong Sang-soo’s self-reflexive doodles about relationships and filmmaking — "Oki’s Movie," in particular — and it wisely doesn’t take too big a bite.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    It's mysterious and bold at every turn, and refreshingly removed from the commonplace.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Bier allows her film to be buried by its own overwrought ambition.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    An awkward marriage of fairy-tale and social realism.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 55 Scott Tobias
    But a few mild misgivings aside, Spurlock has made, in essence, a 90-minute promo reel for the convention, a paean to fanboy (and fangirl) enthusiasm that could double as an orientation video, if such a thing were necessary. It's a brisk and cheery overview, sweet but superfluous.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 25 Scott Tobias
    The only rational explanation for how an abysmal no-budget film like Cavite could get released theatrically is that its makers, co-writer/directors Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana, have come up with a from-the-headlines hook too big to deny.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    The angrier the film gets, the less funny it becomes, squelched by heavy-handed polemics, a maddeningly repetitive musical score, and a running time that drags its overriding joke into the ground.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Intoxicates and overwhelms at the same time, giving off so much pleasure in a small space that the effect can be suffocating.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    At a minimum, his new film, Adoration, marks a welcome return to the Egoyan of old, the one who could spin seductive mysteries out of disassembled parts and show how images can be manipulated into comforting lies.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    A canny piece of autobiography that looks at the man behind the legend and the legend behind the man.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Elf
    The cast wrings laughs out of David Berenbaum's script as if it were a damp washcloth.
    • The A.V. Club
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Has a clean, antiseptic chilliness reminiscent of a Kubrick film. But too often, the director's stark visuals underline the naked simplicity of his story and make his picture of the suburbs seem hopelessly generic.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    May be Assayas' airiest work to date, an intriguing trifle that leaves its considerable pleasures to lounge around on the surface.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Less a story than a situation, the film contends with a difficult transitional period in the lives of its title characters, who face the growing necessity of getting some distance from each other.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Quartet falls into the common actor-turned-director trap of valuing the performances of fellow actors over all other aesthetic concerns.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    The story they get may be heartfelt and inspiring, but all that powerful sentiment doesn't make it any more complete.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Scott has made an art - or at least a career - out of playing the affable dimwit. And with Goon, a salty Canadian comedy about the rise of a minor league hockey enforcer, Scott finally has his Hamlet, a role that calls for every blank, uncomprehending look in his toolbox while accessing the cuddly puppy within.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Matt Wolf’s innovative documentary is a bracing reminder that the notion of adolescence as distinct from childhood and adulthood is a relatively modern phenomenon.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Keshales and Papushado have great filmmaking chops—as Israeli imports go, this is as far from the austere norm as it gets—but there’s a hollowness at the core of Big Bad Wolves, a creeping sense that they have no clear perspective on they mayhem they’re presenting.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    The film advances some harsh truths about the spoils of money-grubbing savagery. But Cheap Thrills doesn’t take a scolding tone: These lessons come in the form of a rowdy, midnight-movie entertainment that keeps its considerable ambition under wraps.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    The Pursuit Of Happyness represents a belated and calculated attempt to scrape off the glossy movie-star veneer and connect with the everyday struggles of living hand-to-mouth in the big city, but it's too late. Watching his (Smith's) performance here is a little like imagining an American version of "Rosetta" starring Julia Roberts.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    In the end, 1408 amounts to little more than a radical shock-therapy session for a man still finding his way after the loss of his daughter.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    Episodic and minimalist to a fault, Blackboards makes its ironic point about education, then makes it again a few times over for good measure, rarely expanding beyond its narrow seriocomic agenda.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    As in Hoop Dreams, troubles at home raise the stakes hugely on the court, though the dream here is far more modest: to slake their thirst for just one victory, and to know, for once, what winning feels like. Their pursuit of this elusive goal gives Medora a strong narrative through-line, but Cohn and Rothbart cling to it too fervently.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Posed somewhere between a fairy tale and harsh reality, the film pulls off a daring feat by turning Blancan into an almost abstract monster as a way of getting into the deeply unhealthy situation that created him.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Like many stylish, whipcrack American and British indies made in the wake of Quentin Tarantino and "Trainspotting," the film gets off on the same anything-can-happen storytelling brio, which at least keeps things lively. But without any resonant characters or ideas, it's all empty calories.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    LaGravenese lets real-life messiness keep it off a straight track, coming up with an unexpected and touching portrait of platonic friendship.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    For a genre film, Killing Them Softly goes to an awfully strange, none-too-subtle place, but the choice to move the '08 election from background to overlay is unusually bold and thought-provoking, too.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Though it doesn't rise above the cut-and-paste aesthetic of other making-of documentaries, The Siberian Mammoth assembles many members of the disparate Cuban cast and crew, and unearths some rare production photos and footage.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Aas grim as The Road gets, Hillcoat goes a little soft at the wrong time. Someone like Michael Haneke would have no trouble embracing this material’s uncompromising dreariness.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    AKA
    Divided into a triptych of images sprawled across a Cinemascope frame, AKA rarely uses the extra screens for information that couldn't be conveyed well enough in one.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Inside Deep Throat starts small and keeps expanding outward until there's seemingly no facet of American life the phenomenon hasn't touched.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    They never come up with a sufficient reason for crossing into Afghanistan. Their motives for heading straight into a war zone sound like something out of a stoner comedy: They went in search of "really big naan."
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    The overall mood of Conan O'Brien Can't Stop is curdled and sour. It leaves the feeling that the next chapter can't come soon enough.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The Last Rites Of Joe May succeeds in some of the smaller details and the soulful performances.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Mostly, Nothing But The Truth operates a lot like Billy Ray's "Shattered Glass" and "Breach," offering up the sort of no-nonsense, meat-and-potatoes docudrama that's in short supply these days.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Some of the jokes are about skating, others are about whatever random thing happened to pop into Ferrell's head with the cameras rolling, and just about all of it is funny.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Though solidly plotted and executed all around, the film, too, feels like a quaint relic from another era, aping the form of journalistic thrillers like "All The President’s Men" while missing much of their urgency.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    As loose and playful as major studio movies get.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    As with many other mediocre actor-directors, Harris' attention to the performances, including his own fine turn, has cost him in other areas.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Much like Zwick's "Glory" and "The Last Samurai," Blood Diamond strives to be an "important" film while stopping well short of being genuinely provocative and artistically chancy.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Great casting takes The Other Guys most of the way: Ferrell draws a wealth of good material from his character's oddball ineffectuality, and he partners perfectly with Wahlberg, who's always best at his most incredulous.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    But save for the mesmerizing final tracking shot, Bright Future just mopes around aimlessly, hoping that its vague themes will eventually congeal into something profound.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Hopkins' increasing disconnection with his fellow actors and the material nearly sabotages Proof, an otherwise-respectable adaptation of David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    The Mystic Masseur shows more signs of life than "Cotton Mary," but it's still a producer's movie: attractively mounted, dramatically inert.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Eastwood's down-the-middle police procedural Blood Work ranks as his least ambitious work in a decade, anonymous save for his iconic screen presence and a tasteful selection of jazz on the soundtrack.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Neeson brings gravitas to the table, acting as a legitimizing counterweight to the overwrought dialogue and flesh-tearing lupine hysteria. But in a scenario this persistently ludicrous, he can only do so much.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Less a movie than a political act, Fast Food Nation aims to disseminate its counter-propaganda to the widest possible audience, which is the only plausible reason why the book has been shoehorned into a narrative instead of a documentary.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    More of the same, only more. Yet here, “more” means a more needlessly convoluted plot, a more cartoonish parade of ethnic stereotypes, and more leaden political metaphor than viewers can digest.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    It's a chilling film about the routine business of unspeakable acts.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The entries aren't equally strong, of course, but each comes from a sharp outsider's perspective, approaching Tokyo as a strange, mysterious organism that infects the populace.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    When she (Breillat) succeeds, as she does in "Fat Girl" and in the final minutes of Sex Is Comedy, the impact can be overwhelming for filmmaker and audience alike.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    If anything, blame the kids: They’re all adorable, roly-poly delights, but the first year of life has its natural limitations.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Even if you know what’s coming, it’s a neat bit of meta-thriller filmmaking, as much about the mechanics of storytelling as a reasonably satisfying example of it.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    The lack of authenticity underlines the thinness of their conceit: Without a plausible backdrop, all that's left of Love Crime are the power games between two duplicitous women and the serpentine plotting that results. And even that, under the slightest scrutiny, frays like a thin layer of tissue paper.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Walk Hard offers a quantity of laughs that few comedies could match, yet it's likely to leave viewers vaguely unsatisfied, particularly when the closing minutes completely run out of steam. That's the danger of spoofs: You're only as good as your last laugh.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Ozon tosses an abundance of twisted psychology into the stew, but he leaves the audience to sort it out for themselves. Young & Beautiful has the detached air of other Ozon productions, and Vacth gives so little away as Isabelle that she’s eternally an unsolved problem.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Though Silverman's edginess never quite crosses into social consequence, she's a brilliant craftswoman on stage, blessed with crack timing and an ability to massage each line to maximum effect.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    The trouble with A Cat in Paris lies not in its orchestration, which is mostly impeccable, but with what little is being orchestrated. It's well plotted but a little rote, clever but a far cry from ingenious, attractive but not particularly evocative. When it ends, it leaves behind the faintest of paw prints.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    It's telling that this slice of milquetoast is the first to get picked up by a major studio boutique. Put in the most euphemistic terms possible, the film's banal premise contains "universal themes," meaning that its sentimental clichés translate readily to all continents and cultures.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Romantic comedies - and this is one, in spite of its phony irreverence - turn largely on star power, and theirs is transcendent, whether they're casually trading one-liners on the streets or doing running commentary on their sexual escapades. They'd have been better off staying in bed.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    In keeping with his concept that the mind and the body are inseparable, Sade builds to an extraordinarily powerful centerpiece when the two come together, fusing fear and desire, pleasure and pain, innocence and enlightenment.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The documentary dashes any lingering hope that Pixies would ever record a new album, even though it makes no definitive statement to that effect.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Epstein and Friedman's doc-like approach also results in a certain dramatic stasis; Howl is a film aimed more for the head than the gut.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    The tiger footage in Two Brothers would make for a solid nature documentary, but because the animals are shoehorned into a narrative, they've been anthropomorphized to death.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Though woefully oblique and underdeveloped, writer-director Tim McCann's Revolution #9 attempts the difficult task of burrowing into the fractured mind of a modern man who loses his grip on reality.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 65 Scott Tobias
    The film is frequently masterful, suggesting the turbulent inner state of an American sociopath who believes himself to be a good guy.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Watching Rocky Balboa go through the usual paces does trigger a few helpless waves of nostalgia, especially once Bill Conti's famed score kicks in and Stallone sticks it to a few sides of beef. But audiences needn't be responsible for helping an over-the-hill actor through his midlife crisis.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    For the first time in Greengrass' career, the politics too often get ahead of the action, so points that might have been subtly embedded in the story are instead laid out like a left-wing editorial.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Comparisons to "Taxi Driver" are unavoidable and mostly unflattering to Mueller's film, but Assassination engages more directly with the political fissures of the time, which deeply divided the nation.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    With Douglas, the film's shambling charms slowly catch hold, thanks mainly to his personal magnetism.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    For as studiously as Griffiths avoids cheap exploitation, the film has an overall structure that isn’t as far removed from a Roger Corman “women in prison” movie as it appears.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    In trying to recapture the spirit of classic '30s screwball comedies, the film too often mistakes manic energy for wit, and it ends on a note of gloppy sentimentality that wouldn't have held water in Old Hollywood.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    The overall effect is enervating, like a party that grinds on after most of the attendees have either left or passed out. And much like "Kids," the enfant terrible’s breakthrough screenplay, Korine’s film has an unintended moral hysteria, like a warning to parents of what their good girls are doing when they aren’t looking. The message: Keep them locked up. In their bikinis, if necessary.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Happy Times doesn't buck the clichés so much as infuse them with feeling, playing off the pleasant, unforced rhythm of two characters who pine for simple companionship.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 55 Scott Tobias
    Rio
    Name the first things that come to anyone's mind about Rio de Janeiro - samba, soccer, sunbathing, Carnival - and those are the building blocks of this movie. Expect the expected.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Based on true events, À Tout De Suite reveals the seductions of criminal life to be something like Stockholm Syndrome for Le Besco.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    The Mask Of Zorro is disarming for the same reasons, coasting on the charisma of its stars and a few exciting action setpieces.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    The film's outsized ambitions are deceptive: Everything here is less than meets the eye.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 42 Scott Tobias
    By the time it reaches an action-packed finale that's choreographed like an ancient Keystone Kops short, Kit Kittredge has cornered the market on bland.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Zero Charisma is a comedy by classification, but its cruelties have a way of turning it into a psychodrama inadvertently. The tone is often as abrasive as its hero.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Sure, the unlikely ascendance of 30-year-old Vince Papale from working-class suds-pumper to Philadelphia Eagles benchwarmer is a victory for the little guy, but it's still more of a personal victory, and that's what makes it touching.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    There’s a purpose to all this madness--though to talk about the primary reason the film succeeds would be giving the game away--but it should be appreciated first as a vivid, waking nightmare.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    ATL
    Ultimately, the film could stand to be more inconsequential, because whenever anything happens to move the story along, it immediately loses its laid-back Southern charm.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    The always-interesting Jane, a volatile and unpredictable character actor, fits the bill.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Severance still seems a few rewrites away from living up to its potential, but it's remarkable how much just a modicum of wit can spice up the standard backwoods slice-and-dice. Scaring people with a horror film is easy; entertaining them takes a little skill.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    42
    The Jackie Robinson biopic 42 operates in a box inside of a box—and not the batter’s box, either, because that would imply it has some freedom to swing away. It’s thoroughly embalmed in the glossy lacquer of conventional baseball movies, and limited further by trying to deal with the horrors of racism in that context.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    It's content enough just to drink in the regional flavor, appreciate the carefree heartiness of the locals, and allows these two eccentrics to have some good times before the carriage turns into a pumpkin. The film treads lightly, but leaves little impression.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Willow Creek does everything a little bit better than others of its kind. It’s a little wittier, a little more insightful, a little more imaginative, a little scarier.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    This is not some nostalgia-soaked throwback to the noir of old, but a rude, shit-kicking thriller that co-opts - and merrily defiles - a classic like "Double Indemnity." Whatever its shortcomings, at least they're never failures of nerve.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    With their fawning documentary Year Of The Yao, directors James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo unreflectively buy into the spin on charismatic 7'6" basketball center Yao Ming, but on a certain level, who can blame them?
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Lucas' beautiful script and a trio of first-rate performances carry the material with an intermittently breathtaking urgency.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    The problem with Tim Robbins' dreadful turn as a South African "anti-terrorist" official in Catch A Fire--and it was also a problem with his sniveling Bill Gates impersonation in "Antitrust"--is that he can't hide his distaste for his own character.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Higuchinsky turns the screen into another giant vortex, drawing the characters and the audience deeper into a dark, captivating spell.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Though never unpleasant, thanks largely to Cámara and Peña's warmly convincing performances, Torremolinos 73 only really takes off when it deals with the filmmaking process.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 20 Scott Tobias
    Directed without a shred of imagination by Denzel Washington -- Antwone Fisher masks a behind-the-scenes story that's far more inspiring than the phony uplift that makes it onto the screen.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Against all reason, this workingman's journey across the sea winds up seeming every bit as inspirational as the filmmakers intended, entirely because Mullan's grit validates every cornpone emotion. With a lesser actor, the movie would sink like a stone.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Dying to hear George Hamilton’s origin story? No? Well, too bad, because the mediocre, nostalgic-soaked comedy-drama My One And Only, loosely inspired by Hamilton’s childhood, has been produced with a few big stars attached.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    But de Heer's high-concept feminist tract loses some of its integrity over time, as it slowly devolves into a seedy, voyeuristic thriller that takes all too much pleasure in turning the screws.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Ferrara blows up the everyday threat of harassment and violence against women into a magnified force.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Documentaries like Stolen Childhoods present an uncomfortable dilemma for anyone who cares how movies are made: They have virtually no aesthetic value, but compensate with unimpeachable social worth.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    5x2
    Unlike "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind," which holds the memories of a doomed affair as precious, there's nothing bittersweet about Ozon's failed romance, but its problems are equally true.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Centurion offers little beyond viscera for its own sake, without anything like the bold abstraction of "Valhalla Rising."
    • 62 Metascore
    • 33 Scott Tobias
    The whole thing is rigged for crowd-pleasing payoffs - a bit about chocolate pie gets more mileage than a Prius - and those payoffs are about honoring white viewers for not being horrible racists. Kudos to them.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    A little less earnestness could have done this movie some good.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Though it's still too reliant on a sloppy, gag-a-second style, Stuck On You gets through the arid stretches by leaning on some winning performances, most notably from a hilarious Seymour Cassel.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Leitman gets some wonderful tall tales from her subjects, who open up like they've been waiting for years for someone to come along and ask, and she complements it with punishing footage of their exploits.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Even when caught in a rut, Anderson's obsessive vision still yields many exhilarating surprises.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Made with an intelligence and craft that's increasingly rare in Hollywood thrillers.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    He's (Corbijn) a patient, fastidious filmmaker with a great eye-ideal for his subject here-but his austerity doesn't entirely erase the suspicion that he doesn't have much on his mind. His film is a triumph, but it may be a triumph of style over substance.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Scott Tobias
    The impression left by Harmontown is that the podcast and the tour are feeding the beast, worsening a pathology that casts him as the “mayor” of whatever stage he happens to be occupying at the moment.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Until filmmakers get a little distance, maybe they'd be better off ignoring such projects.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Valhalla Rising has the misfortune of starting with its best chapter and steadily growing more ponderous from there, dragged down by a religious theme that's as thin as the filmmaking is relentlessly spare. Yet it's a beautiful head trip, too.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Meet The Robinsons takes a large step toward making 3D a sustainable format, the CinemaScope of tomorrow.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 91 Scott Tobias
    It's a righteously nasty piece of work, and a rare example of a movie that traffics in B-movie grime without a trace of "Grindhouse"-style self-consciousness.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    It's not often that good movies have a hole in the center, but Nina's Tragedies labors admirably to develop the strong feelings of longing and heartbreak that unite its damaged souls, however briefly.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Though it's a ramshackle piece of filmmaking, Best Worst Movie is an honest one, too, staying open to awkward, humbling moments while still making a solid case for the film's immortal badness.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    At once predatory and vulnerable, Jung has a primitive intensity that speaks louder than words, carrying an enigmatic and often maddeningly elusive film that's short on dialogue, rational behavior, and narrative logic.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    What's really missing from Conviction are the thorny questions it refuses to take up with any depth.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    At its heart a simple story about friendship and loss, carried over with enough genuine feeling to excuse its uncertain footing.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    There's nothing particularly distinctive or engaging about Wetzel's fly-on-the-wall style, which feels like second-hand Frederick Wiseman. But for hardcore foodies, El Bulli offers a clear, unvarnished look at the master at work.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Here's a man who's doing to environmental science what the Atkins Diet did to weight loss, and Timoner isn't looking for anyone to call his conclusions into question? Nonsense.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Much like his overrated 2000 opus "Platform," Unknown Pleasures spends more energy fussing over the backdrop than on the poor souls languishing in the fore, who have little to do but wander aimlessly and symbolically as life passes them by.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    White Oleander goes through the paces with a little more dignity than usual, which is a mark of either director Peter Kosminsky's refusal to overplay the melodrama, or his inability to wring it for all it's worth.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Save for two spectacularly impressionistic sequences, Taymor brings little of that imagination to Frida, a turgid and conventional biopic that skips through the major incidents in Kahlo's life without giving them any special resonance, or even much visual panache.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Because Quitting admits its basic falsehood up front, the film is never emotionally affecting, but Jia's participation in this confrontation of his past shows remarkable courage and honesty, especially when his behavior doesn't inspire much sympathy.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Ristovski wants the plight of a bullied moppet to serve as a sweeping metaphor for Macedonian struggle, but his miserablist excesses have the effect of converting realism into a graphic cartoon.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Rulfo's simple strategy of sticking close to his subjects and allowing them to wax philosophical about their lives and labors pays off.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Seidl could not be clearer in his associations between religion and sex, but in Paradise: Faith, he’s slightly less successful in mining them for greater insights.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Hideaway bottles up stormy feelings of grief, guilt, and desire so tightly that register only in a few sharp, impetuous bursts. The rest of the time, it's dull and inscrutable-a film of almost vaporous subtlety.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    The scenes between Cage and Caine are by far the film's most affecting. The two men don't seem to share the same gene pool, which only helps their dynamic.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Even without its bleak and affecting story, Beijing Bicycle would work beautifully as a travelogue alone.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Without any glimmers of depth or subtext.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    As Collyer risks caricature—if a caricature of Florida is even possible at this point—Watts and Dillon ease Sunlight Jr. back to more grounded, fundamental truths.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    It's glorious while it lasts, but then the film goes back to figuring out how to keep its oversized vessel from taking on water.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Nobody is better at capturing the crushing banality of everyday life than Judge.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    There's no subtext to The Jane Austen Book Club, just a skim across the books' surface that winds up re-shelving a great author into the self-help section.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    It's more about giving rich bullies the same comeuppance afforded to sneering wardens with bullwhips, and on those superficial grounds, it's reasonably gripping.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    The concept doesn't go much further than the wardrobe department--that is, until a deliriously over-the-top climax finally rouses the film from its "Evil Dead"-mimicking stupor.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Gilroy does the unforgivable by turning out a lean thriller at a fatty 135 minutes, mainly by making the conspiracy plot far more complicated than it needs to be.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    That the film works as well as it does--as an attractive, rousing time-passer for children--speaks more to the endurance of a good formula than its revitalization.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    It's rare for a comedy to be as fully worked-out and exquisitely timed as An Amazing Couple; just don't expect to warm to it.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    A joyously demented musical-comedy built on a macabre foundation, like "The Sound Of Music" with a kickline of corpses.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Holm carries Napoleon's regal bluster without edging into cartoonish folly, taking him seriously enough to make an absurd situation solemn, and keeping the film from winking too coyly at its audience.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    Though it's tempting to praise Verete for having the courage to show the worst of both worlds, only a propagandist could get away with being so reductive; an artist should be held to a higher standard.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 42 Scott Tobias
    The rigors of identifying and training companion dogs are fascinating, but they would fit more comfortably in a non-fiction format, where nobody has to play pretend. As it stands, the dog is the only creature who acts naturally.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Its insights are modest, but modesty is a virtue for a low-key comedy this doggedly unpretentious.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    The film doesn’t come to life until too late in the game.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    The film seems content with the more modest ambitions of a romantic comedy, albeit one with unusually potent wit and intricate construction. The old Ealing could never have afforded Parker's deluxe treatment of the material; the new Ealing seems to have forgotten the benefits of economy.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    Miles away from "Farewell, My Concubine" in form and function, with thinly defined characters and unreflective attitudes about urban values vs. country values, the film would be impossible to identify as Chen's if his name weren't in the opening credits.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The dramatic stakes are high in Fightville, and Epperlein and Tucker shine a little light on the margins of this marginalized sport.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    As a buddy-cop movie, The Heat seems almost deliberately generic, with boilerplate plotting carried across with zero panache. It wagers that McCarthy and Bullock’s comic energy will make all the difference—a smart bet, as it happens.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Its dense mysteries remain more tantalizing than distancing: No other director integrates the creepy with the cerebral quite like Cronenberg. (Review of DVD 9/13/04)
    • 60 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    It's often stylish and exciting, but the pile-up of cool kills, hot bodies, and other unprocessed bits of juvenilia doesn't add up to a good time.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    The connection between Hu and Liu seems more scripted than real, founded on musty allegorical clichés about innocent country folk and corrupt city slickers.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Farmiga and Garcia have a chemistry that’s unassuming and sneaky, and the pleasure they get from each other’s company ultimately proves infectious.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    As a lesson in how not to make a historical biopic, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom proves remarkably complete: It’s a dull, glossy, uncomplicated portrait of a man whose personal and political legacy is marked by serene idealism and shrewd calculation.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Smartly conceived and meticulously executed, if too slight and gimmicky to have much resonance.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Using simplicity as another form of deception, Mamet lays out a hand of three-card monte for the audience to see, then tricks it into guessing falsely. In this case, it's worth getting fooled out of a little cash.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    The only character who stands out is a relentlessly clowning man-child named Taloche (James Thierree), but only as a symbol for the irrepressible spirit of an entire people.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Honest and moving.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    A solid, middle-of-the-road Leonard adaptation that lacks the singularity to be something more.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Comes from a pure place. Or rather, it comes from a DESIRE for a pure place in a game poisoned by mercenary compromise.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Much like David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive," which it resembles in more ways than one, Femme Fatale makes a rich bouillabaisse out of De Palma's trademark themes and obsessions, stacking references to the heavens and operating with an internal logic that may take several viewings to fully unpack.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    The film falls apart once its mysteries dissipate. With them go all the dark ambiguities that colored the first hour.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Knightley is pure Manic Pixie Dream Girl fantasy, a vinyl-toting sparkplug who serves mostly to shake Carell from his dead-eyed stupor, but the relationship between the two becomes more touching as their wayward journey goes on.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Rarely have Bruckheimer and Scott been so upfront about insulting people's intelligence.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 30 Scott Tobias
    Between the loaded conversations and metaphors, and the phony overlay of a children's fairy tale, The Playroom can't stop telegraphing themes and interpreting itself. There's nothing left for the audience to do.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Whatever the case, We Own The Night plays like a masterpiece because it skillfully appropriates actual masterpieces, not because it earns the label on its own merits.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    For a big-budget Hollywood feature, the film places an unusually high amount of stock in the audience's imagination; not since "The Others" or "The Blair Witch Project" have so many shocks been indirect or kept teasingly out of view.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Hur invests the period setting with an eye-popping opulence that's meant to highlight the elite decadence that came before the fall, but his Dangerous Liaisons isn't particularly sophisticated on a political or historical level.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    A Molière this good deserves a more substantive portrait, but this one will do for now.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The Lie's payoff strikes an unexpected, refreshingly open note that makes this slight little indie more resonant than its scale suggests. The line this couple is about to cross is significant, and the film takes it seriously.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Confidence doesn't provide anything substantial to latch on to: Its twists and turns aren't founded on the trust needed to pull them off.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    The film's modest charms are ingratiating and sweet, thanks to Colm Meaney's hilariously salty lead performance and a soundtrack that channels the warm spirit of traditional Ceili music.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    It's a small victory for flash in its eternal war with substance, but in this case, the flash is enough.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    While it's admirably perverse for a "killer-tire movie" to be this snooty, it's about half as clever as it thinks it is.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Carries a potent statement about the superficialities of appearance, and how they're more meaningful to people than anyone likes to acknowledge. But when the players themselves are conceived this superficially, LaBute winds up invalidating his own point.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    A cluttered, awkward blockbuster that's just smart enough to get itself into trouble.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Belman doesn’t look into the bigger problems of James’ team jet-setting across the country during the school year, or the spectacle allowed to build up around him. He cares most about what happens on the court, which is diverting and fun as far as it goes, but not close to the whole story.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Paranormal Activity 3 has one new technical wrinkle, and it's brilliant: In addition to the cameras in the bedroom, Smith mounts a third to the base of a rotating electric fan, so it pans back and forth from the dining room to the kitchen and back again.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Put simply, the film excels most at not being awful.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    At a time when the once-dominant romantic comedy is an endangered species, What If proves the formulas can still work, under the right circumstances, and without really needing to tweak the recipe much.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    American Swing could use the flair of similar portraits of disco-era debauchery like "Boogie Nights" or "Inside Deep Throat," but it’s even-handed in capturing the operation’s ambition and hubris. Just don’t bring an appetite.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Calling it a mess would be both accurate and pointless, because a tidier comedy would squeeze the life out of this vital, generous blob of a film.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 55 Scott Tobias
    On a technical level, The Tree marks a significant advance over the humble utility of Bertuccelli's previous film, drinking in Australia's pastoral majesty with an abundant eye for beauty that falls just short of the intended poetry. Yet the characters aren't nearly as resonant.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    There are times when Nanny McPhee seems designed to drive all but the most sugar-crazed spazzes out of the theater: Colors that should never go together clash like a tempest, the camera whisks around in manic curlicues, and a musical score makes certain that nothing magical goes underemphasized.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    The incendiary Dogville confirms the director's sadistic knack for locating his characters' (and his audience's) soft spots and prodding them for a singular emotional experience.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    These may be the qualities of a great man, but they're not exactly the stuff of a great documentary subject, especially given how hard Carter works to defuse the emotions stirred up by his book.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 20 Scott Tobias
    Deeply personal and deeply silly.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    Still, there’s no doubt that To The Wonder is a fans-only proposition, continuing Malick’s evolution (or devolution, for some) from the narrative grounding of "Badlands" to much more abstract, poeticized notions of the human condition.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Zero Bridge is a rigorous piece of filmmaking, but it's played at too minor a key, honoring the neo-realist tradition so slavishly that it lacks an identity of its own.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 35 Scott Tobias
    Produced in partnership with YouTube and distributed by National Geographic Films, the documentary Life in a Day is offspring with the worst genetic traits of both: narcissism on a global scale, speckled with pretty pictures. In a world without books or magazines, this is the movie people would watch in the waiting room at the dentist's office.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Screenwriter William Broyles, Jr., a former Vietnam pilot and "Newsweek" editor, connects reasonably well with the material, but "American Beauty" director Sam Mendes has a tendency to smooth out the rough edges, and the film goes flat as month-old soda.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    Though it isn't explained until the closing minutes, the title Acts Of Worship says a lot about Rodriguez's terminal weakness for the overwrought and faux-poetic.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    For as long as Park and Wasikowska keep it burbling, it's an intoxicating brew.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 20 Scott Tobias
    Swarming with zombies on both sides of the camera, the film is unrelentingly relentless, leaving no room for original director George Romero's wry satire on consumerism or his slow-paced, creeping undead.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 42 Scott Tobias
    In spite of fine work from Bardem and Álvarez, Biutiful is an irritating, oppressive 150-minute dirge, not the step forward Iñárritu's dissolved partnership with Arriaga seemed to promise.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    The Dictator keeps the gags coming as fast as it can manage, sometimes in big gross-out setpieces like an impromptu baby delivery, but more often in the general fusillade of hit-or-miss jokes that hit at a better-than-average rate.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    What's surprising, and ultimately disappointing, about Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life is the degree to which Sfar allows biopic obligations to smother his more whimsical instincts.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    I Declare War holds off as long as it can before dumping its emotional payload. Until then, the film gets uncomfortable laughs from the games children play, and play for keeps.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Easy Virtue needs a strong center to justify its celebration of American effrontery, and Biel lacks that prideful edge.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Long on inspiration, short on specifics.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The mix of blunt sexual politics and dime-store-paperback luridness has the bracing quality of tub-brewed rotgut. It eats away at the stomach lining - that is, if it can be stomached at all.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    There's potential for a lot more excitement in Splinter, but Wilkins seems content just to bring it across the finish line.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    The three main characters aren’t cardboard-cutout poseurs, and for that alone, (Untitled) stands apart.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Sonnenfeld's best movies function like elaborate Rube Goldberg contraptions, with visual gags popping out on a precise calibration of gears and springs, and Cohen's script, however derivative, is a stable apparatus.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    The intrinsically powerful material occasionally pierces through.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Within its limited scope, the film celebrates Conti's peculiar dreams and earnest intensity without dipping into condescension.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    There’s a sense with Jimmy P. that Desplechin and his co-screenwriters, Julie Peyr and film critic Kent Jones, are doing everything they can to steer away from contrivance and stick as closely to Devereux’s recollection as possible. What they’re left with is a rigorous, keenly intelligent therapy session that’s largely absent of dramatic tension.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    The fact that the story makes sense at all remains Coppola and his butchers' sole achievement.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    For all the film's aggressive crosscutting, the individual stories would work just as well apart as together, because they pack less cumulative power when yoked awkwardly into one sweeping statement.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Ask The Dust may find Towne a little past his prime, but after so much time in the Hollywood wilderness, it's good to see him trying again.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    May
    May represents something rare and unfashionable-–a smart, twisted little slasher comedy that doesn't skimp on the gore.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 55 Scott Tobias
    Heartless seems eternally at war with its own genre, unwilling to succumb to bloody mayhem yet neither smart nor coherent enough to transcend horror convention.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Glory Road treats history as if it were a 7th-grade social-studies text laid out in a 16-point font, getting the basics right without trying to evoke any of the details that would make it memorable. In other words, it gets the Bruckheimer treatment.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    At its best, the film works as a morally freighted film noir, with Jovovich particularly good as a breathy femme fatale who seduces De Niro with a mere change in inflection.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Here's a story about a man who befriended and eventually killed a Texan while going incognito as an exceptionally frumpy woman, then was eventually nabbed shoplifting a chicken-salad sandwich while carrying more than $500 in his pocket. Why underplay that?
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Special recalls a minor-key "Donnie Darko," but its vision is much more limited, and it sinks into Indiewood cliché whenever it reaches for profundity.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Cross may not earn the broad recognition he deserves for his performance in It's a Disaster, a droll apocalypse comedy of exceedingly modest scale and even more modest commercial appeal. But it's still a master class in how to play the straight man right.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    From its title on down, Towelhead alarms and manipulates, and succeeds in goading the audience like a schoolyard bully, but apart from Bishil's harrowing attempts to find herself, the strings stay too visible.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    In spite of his considerable intelligence and cinematic gifts, Pawlikowski isn't Roman Polanski, so the delusions and psychosis of his put-upon lead character doesn't have the right intensity. Fifth feels like a literary bauble, chipped by imperfections.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Give Flicka credit for one thing: It stays on message. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of a Wyoming mountain range--a view this time unobstructed by the gay cowboys who so alarm family audiences--the film offers up fantasy footage for every strong-willed girl who ever straddled a saddle, and little more.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Heckerling also struggles woefully with special effects, but even then, she's capable of pulling off a beautiful sequence where Silverstone remembers a specific city block as it's evolved through the ages. Her shambling little comedy never finds a consistent groove, but it's eager to please, and has the ancient gags to do it.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    It's a brilliant concept for a horror movie, not least because the genre is usually so dedicated to male gratification, but the material requires a consistent tone, and first-time director Lichtenstein (son of pop artist Roy) can't quite get a handle on it.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    With just a couple of strong casting choices and a winsome tone, an old formula can still work, and The Grand Seduction comes out of the lab with a disarming readiness to please.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Shannon’s performance takes The Missing Person as far as it goes, but when a real-world tragedy commandeers the story, Buschel’s thin pastiche falls to pieces.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Sputtering along on Mac's sleepy improvisations, Mr. 3000 volleys between the dumb, frat-house wackiness of "Major League" and the "Wonder Bat" schmaltz of "The Natural" and "Field Of Dreams," chasing the gags with a lame baseball-as-life message about playing for the right reasons.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    The documentary Sushi: The Global Catch tries to be two things at once: an international survey of the way sushi is marketed, prepared, and consumed, and an argument for sustainability, particularly with regard to the bluefin tuna population. These threads are related, but one nonetheless takes away from the other.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Nearly everything good about Bad Words plays off the yin-and-yang dynamic between Guy and Chaitanya—one an endless wellspring of belligerence, the other grinning, excitable, and impossible to rattle.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Typical of bad improv, the inmates take over the asylum, leaving a movie that's little more than a loose, wildly uneven assemblage of individual comedic shtick.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    At best, The Forbidden Kingdom counts as an amiable time-waster for kids, but much more should be expected from the momentous union of two kung-fu titans.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Without Kaurismäki to introduce these lonely, forgotten souls to audiences, who's going to be his friend?
    • 57 Metascore
    • 42 Scott Tobias
    It isn't easy to insult the intelligence of preschoolers, but Chimpanzee's insistence on turning the two gangs into the Sharks and the Jets does the job long before Allen lapses into his Home Improvement grunting.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 83 Scott Tobias
    While Raimi’s Stooges aesthetic — which was really more prominently displayed in the sequels than in 1981’s The Evil Dead — isn’t played up here, there’s enough outrageous unreality to make the brutality go down a little easier. It isn’t quite a cartoon, but it’s close enough.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Amen should be a powderkeg of a movie, yet the urgency and force that defined Costa-Gavras' earlier work has been drained away, along with his invigorating newsreel craft.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Asks for sympathy for deplorable behavior.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Though Burmester and Elliott make able sparring partners, Red Betsy literally succumbs to an on-the-nose staging of Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol,” with the old man cast as the model for Scrooge in a school play.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Fantasy sequences in which Yu and his friends are thrown into the world of a '70s kung-fu film or melodrama seem like a clever way to evoke the period and bring their story to another plane, but they just end up looking cheesy, spoiled by half-executed effects. "Goodbye, Dragon Inn" this ain't.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Having a Rutgers psychology professor comment on Fischer's general symptoms is downright amateurish. In a documentary about a living subject, conclusions are better drawn through rigorous observation, not explained away in some tidy pop-psychological portraiture.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The big payoff, of course, is Neil Patrick Harris reprising his role as "Neil Patrick Harris."
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The primary challenge for all blockbuster franchises is to be big yet fleet. Iron Man is as good as model as any, thanks largely to Robert Downey Jr.’s flamboyantly narcissistic Tony Stark and filmmakers that valued pacing and character as much as superhero hardware.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    In spite of a subtle performance by Ulrich Tukur in the eponymous role, Gallenberger’s film feels labored and emotionally disengaged, an autumn-hued history lesson that’s as studiously reserved as its steel-spined subject.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Playing against rubber-faced type, cult icon Bruce Campbell grounds his Elvis in a wry, understated swagger that holds the film's wacky excesses in orbit and does more honor to the legend himself than a thousand Vegas lounge-show wannabes.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    Efron is the epitome of sexless Disney heartthrobs, but he's an electrifying song-and-dance man, so much so that his castmates (Bleu excepted) look like they have concrete shoes by comparison.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Patrick Wilson rounds out the cast as McAdams' love interest, but his presence seems necessary only to classify Morning Glory as a romantic comedy. The heart of the movie is really McAdams' wonderfully contentious relationship with Ford.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Less a fantasy than a somber, enveloping mood piece, which is a large part of what makes it so strangely, irrationally compelling.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Scott Tobias
    Flaws and all, Dark Blue has a combustible energy that's usually anathema to Hollywood, reopening an old wound that has festered too quietly for more than a decade.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    It’s Complicated is the sort of “mature” character piece the French do regularly and better (and without the need for quotation marks around “mature”), but the cast at least helps relieve some of the tidiness that belies the title.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    At best, it's a light, boisterous little confection, but hasn't Hugh Grant already starred in this film a few times?
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    The entire story hinges on a thinly calibrated twist ending that’s meant to provide emotional weight to Karpovsky’s actions, but instead clarifies them to the point of utter banality. There’s no mystery left to linger.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    Say this for The Equalizer: It gets the job done, and that job, to quote A Clockwork Orange, is delivering a little of the old ultra-violence.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Park’s pristine framing and yen for extreme violence give Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance the pop of a graphic novel, but there are times when his point about the poisonous nature of revenge is eclipsed by stylized torture and sadism for its own sake.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    The heroes of Peter Berg's gung-ho retribution tale are fighting the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here, but his film is indulging in a queasy brand of escapism. Winning imaginary wars isn't the same as winning real ones, but The Kingdom nonetheless smells like victory.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Scott Tobias
    Barrymore has rarely been so bright and effortlessly charming, but it's all lost on Fallon, who often resembles one of those unfortunate SNL guests who freeze up on live TV, completely out of their element. If Fallon wants a life after SNL, he might want to try another medium.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Chucks the laws of logic and physics out the passenger's-side window, and it's all the better for it.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    The only splash of cold water comes from Lake Bell as J.B.’s bohemian tenant, who pops his bubble of self-importance (and the film’s) whenever she gets the opportunity... her chemistry with Hamm, who gives his slickster all the dimension he can, offers a nice relief from the broad culture comedy and sentimental button-pushing.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    It’s hard not to get swept up by the film's progressive zeal, but Disney doesn’t allow for much grey area.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    The key point about God Bless America is that it's extreme but not exaggerated, a dark comedy that indulges - and questions - a violent, misanthropic fantasy about laying waste to the cultural landscape while staying grounded in a recognizable reality.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    Most of it falls on Bezucha, not just for devising these monstrously cruel characters, but for putting them in situations that are far too serious to be resolved by Christmas morning. When the melodrama gets too intense, the film collapses in slapstick.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    A refreshingly old-fashioned splatter movie.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    What's most striking about Eleven Minutes is the sheer amount of effort that goes into a show of that magnitude, quite apart from work involved in designing and executing a coherent, commercially viable line.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    The lone standout is Linney's performance as the deranged neighbor, whose erratic combination of sexual desperation and extreme vulnerability keeps the film on life support.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Too often, Saints And Soldiers confuses bravery for faith.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    Hits the sweet spot between stunning ineptitude, hilariously dated period touchstones, and a touching naïveté that gives it an odd distinction. As with the other so-bad-it's-good sensations that have toured the midnight circuit over the last few years - "The Room," "Birdemic," "Troll 2" - its awkwardness comes partly from a foreign-born auteur making an American film, and the culture clash plays out for all to see.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    Cacoyannis errs on the side of genteel respectability, sacrificing emotion and verve at the altar of good taste.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Neeson’s innate dignity can often serve as a gravitational force for movies this ludicrous, but in a cabin filled with so much flying debris, he is but an ineffectual paperweight.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Absent any qualities beyond the surface, like the history and politics that trouble Del Toro's best films, Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark is little better than a half-decent scare machine.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Though harmless and reasonably good-natured, Where's The Party Yaar? ("yaar" translates as "dude") doesn't add many novel touches to its predictable formula, except for a couple of limp nods to Bollywood song-and-dance numbers.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    In spite of Frieda Hughes' objections, a few snippets of Plath's poetry slip into Sylvia, but they don't do the movie any favors--they just add more weight to a story that already buckles at the knees.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    Real Steel falls somewhere near the intersection of elation and shame, essentially reworking the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling non-classic "Over The Top" for the equally ridiculous sport of android fisticuffs, and mostly getting away with it.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Tacked onto a perfectly respectable thriller, Unknown's mass of unlikely turns and implausible reveals make the whole film seem retroactively less sophisticated.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 67 Scott Tobias
    "Fear And Loathing" star Johnny Depp more or less reprises his role as Thompson's alter ego, once again playing a journalist whose yen for excess obscures the idealism at his core. But the film, despite its obvious intelligence and flashes of wit, doesn't bring that passion across.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Scott Tobias
    After being strapped down by a run of elegant, high-class literary adaptations--"The English Patient," "The Talented Mr. Ripley," and "Cold Mountain"--writer-director Anthony Minghella liberates himself in Breaking And Entering, his first wholly original screenplay since his piercing, minor-key debut feature "Truly, Madly, Deeply."
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Scott Tobias
    Schumacher choose to start the movie in outer space? The opening shot epitomizes everything wrong with Phone Booth: Given the chance to stage human drama on an intimate, suffocating scale, Schumacher begins in the endless expanse of the void, tricked out with gratuitous CGI effects.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Donaldson and his battery of screenwriters aim for nothing more than a coolly efficient thrill machine, but the mechanics break down in the end, foiled by a "whodunit" twist that's telegraphed early in the first reel. Careening forward without any real purpose, the film simply flies off the rails.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Scott Tobias
    W.
    Stone paddles down the giant river of Bush's life without exploring any of the tributaries; he passes by two or three dozen better movies along the way.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Scott Tobias
    Nakashima does his best to keep the flimsy enterprise afloat, mostly through whooshing camera movements and headlong dives into the grotesque extremes of Japanese kitsch. By the end, the effect is like eating a bellyache's worth of cotton candy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Scott Tobias
    Shepard’s image de-habilitation on Law smacks of gimmickry—and the world has no immediate need for another vulgar British crime picture—but the actor seems invigorated by the change, and the film matches his robustness to a fault.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 10 Scott Tobias
    Represents apple-pie mythmaking at its most insidiously thoughtless.

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