Steve Persall

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For 920 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 66% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 32% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 5.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Steve Persall's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Lowest review score: 0 The Change-Up
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 84 out of 920
920 movie reviews
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Stone is terrific, easy to cheer. She's feisty but a bit softer around the edges than King deserves. Another Oscar nomination is certain. Throw in Steve Carell's uncanny impersonation of Riggs and a stellar supporting cast and Battle of the Sexes has the makings of fine time capsule comedy, an extraordinary sports happening even by today's wired standards.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Nobody's Fool is an actors' showcase and a dramatist's doodle. But what an actor. Newman's eloquent, understated portrayal of a jovial heel ranks among his greatest. [13 Jan 1995, p.8]
    • Tampa Bay Times
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Kick-Ass is a rabid puppy of a movie, energetically bounding off the screen and into your lap, where it proceeds to chew off your face.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Except for slipping on a third-act soapbox, The Joneses is a deft allegory of the greed and coveting that led to the recession. At times, you wonder if something like this scam could really happen, or does.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's the nicest Mother's Day gift available at the movies this weekend.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Mother and Child is depressively interesting, with characters constantly ruining their best chances at happiness.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It can get a bit redundant but always remains interesting, as young lives take shape on an asphalt oval.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The movie is like an old vinyl LP; the best cuts are on the first side, there's a bangup finish and a lot of filler material in between.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    In the movie's best moments, Rivers is defiantly obnoxious and forthcoming about the fact that she'll do anything for money. At other times, the filmmakers attempt to make the wildcat warmer and fuzzier.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud craft a fun stretch run, wrapping the story with warm, fuzzy funnies and nothing to suggest a sequel, which is probably wise.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    What makes Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right remarkable also makes it a tad humdrum, which may be the filmmaker's point.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's a welcome chance to learn more about Lisbeth Salander, the kinky, punk hacker and pop culture phenom played by Noomi Rapace.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Eat Pray Love is like one of those rich dishes Liz consumes in Italy; robustly flavored and guiltily pleasurable.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Get Low is a pleasant yarn, well-acted and dutifully mounted with period designs. There isn't a false note among the actors.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Farewell is a solid telling of an obscure story and nothing more. The most effective scenes aren't cloak and dagger stuff but passages like Igor daydreaming of becoming a rock star like his idol Freddie Mercury of Queen.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The reclamation project that Ben Affleck calls a career continues with The Town, his second directing effort that would impress more if the first try weren't so terrific and visually similar.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Screenwriter Bert V. Royal takes the oldest adolescence hook in the book - losing one's virginity- and turns it inside out.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Whatever his motivations or deeds, Gordon Gekko is a classic screen character and Douglas is never better than when playing him.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Bran Nue Dae is a strange change from the usual multiplex fare, and that's nearly enough to make it wonderful.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The cast is delightful top to bottom, although Arterton's role is chiefly defined by seductive smiles and the rise of her cut-off shorts. Allam and Cooper are standouts, creating hormonally despicable characters getting more of Tamara's attention than they deserve.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Liman handles the spy stuff with Bourne-again flair, especially the opener when Valerie proves her mettle during an assignment to secure a snitch.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It will mightily preach to the choirs of concerned citizens, and be ignored by anyone else.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Black Swan is a stage door melodrama putting new spins on cliches as old as "All About Eve" (and maybe Adam). Setting them among ballerinas as opposed to showgirls or movie stars doesn't make them any less familiar.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    A boxing movie swinging in too many directions at once, as if someone sneaked a third clubber into the ring. All the emotional punches land solidly, to occasionally devastating effect, but at the conclusion you're not sure which competing cliche wins.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Doesn't revolutionize the romantic comedy like "(500) Days of Summer," or even match the Farrellys or Judd Apatow for clever smut. But it is cheerful raunch delivered by a solid cast.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    I'm not sure there's anything else to take away from this film besides Manville's performance and gratitude that we aren't these people.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Unknown is finely tuned pulp filmmaking, a dumb movie with a smart veneer, which is nothing to sneeze at.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    This is a solid, sincere affirmation of faith and forgiveness. Praise the Lord, and pass the popcorn.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    White-knuckle fun.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    A tidy terror flick, and refreshing with its intention to make viewers gasp rather than gag.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Reese Witherspoon can do a lot of things as an actor but playing a damaged-goods Depression era dame isn't one of them.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Nothing about Koolhoven's film is stunning, but it's a solid piece of work, occasionally feeling as tense as life-and-death situations with Nazis should be.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Fast Five is brawny dumb fun, nothing more but that's enough.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's a very good performance that isn't for the "Talladega Nights" crowd and indie audiences can appreciate that.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Bridesmaids is a bit of a groundbreaker... Not exactly a banner for feminism but equal time is overdue.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Depp and Cruz only occasionally strike the sparks expected from two of the world's most beautiful people.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Spurlock's meetings with skeptical corporate types are punctuated by comments from filmmakers about how product placement - or in Quentin Tarantino's case, being turned down by Denny's - influences creativity.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Anyone of any age can get a kick out of watching penguins slide down the spiraled interior of the Guggenheim Museum, or seeing how one of these flightless birds manages to buck nature.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Ponderous and perplexing, a somberly audacious film to make viewers swoon or snore, take your pick. It is defiantly opaque, a free-form meditation on nature and nurture across millennia with a tinge of biblical grace.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Not rocket science by a moonshot but sporadically dumb fun.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Sure, it's silly without shame, and predictably sentimental. But Zookeeper is the most thoroughly enjoyable movie for the entire family in theaters right now. I can't believe I just typed that about a Kevin James flick with talking animals.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The movie seldom bridges the gap between education and entertainment, a trait that made "March of the Penguins" a must-see multiplex experience.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Succeeds where "Thor" didn't and the "Incredible Hulk" hasn't, twice. Unlike those drags, director Joe Johnston keeps things relatively simple and pleasantly stupid.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's a movie of terrific performances and rousing comeuppances, with a side order of corn pone for the soul.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    For the most part, the performances can raise goosebumps, especially whenever Lea Michele, Amber Riley and Naya Rivera open their mouths.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The performances are spot-on, with former Tampa resident Morgan Simpson scripting a showcase for himself as Jefferson, and Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile) as the enigmatic stranger, proving again that he's more than just a not-so-pretty face atop an intimidating body.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Buckle up for a bumpy ride but one that a road warrior like McQueen would hitch in a heartbeat.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's a quiet story, without many emotional outbursts and no villains. Parts of Higher Ground are dull, honestly. But the movie always feels honest about its subject.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    To borrow just a few of Aleichem's words that are ingrained in Jewish culture: "It could be worse."
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Has something for everyone, if everyone is looking for young nuns taking showers, a department store Santa dealing weed, a coked-up infant crawling on the ceiling and Danny Trejo as the father-in-law-to-be from Hell. I didn't think I was looking for that but found it. And heaven help me, it wasn't bad.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    As far as sophisticated caper flicks go, Tower Heist is oceans away from George Clooney's crew. Compared to other recent comedies, it's pretty light on the laughs.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    In any language with anyone at the helm, Lisbeth is still a killer.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Thankfully, much of Red Tails is spent in the skies, where fighter planes swoop and zoom in thrilling dogfights with incendiary direct hits. Executive producer George Lucas apparently gave Hemingway the keys to his CGI kingdom, creating marvelously designed in-flight action and a sappy, snappy salute to the Tuskegee Airmen.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The performances are constantly spot-on, especially Scott during a wonderfully written rant during a group vacation.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's a movie that grows on you, after grating your nerves while viewing it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Bully is no more incisive than a Dateline NBC segment on the subject, although with a PG-13 rating it now can be a classroom tool for discussion.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The Farrellys affectionately structure their movie to resemble the Stooges' one-reelers from the 1930s, while the modern setting shows how timeless their rapid-fire puns, insults and pratfalls truly are. Silliness never goes out of style.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Romantic charm and racy humor in a neatly arranged package anyone can appreciate.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The movie's memorable moments involve a silently expressive dodo bird and "man-panzee," stealing the show from human caricatures acting silly.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Hysteria is a one-joke movie, but when a joke is told this well, it doesn't matter.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The Amazing Spider-Man is fun, as any summer movie amusement ride can be. But it left me feeling the same as Raimi's version; that groundwork has been dutifully laid for a winning franchise in need of a few surprises.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Gutt is a wonderful villain, something the franchise has lacked, and even performs an original musical number - an Ice Age first, if I'm not mistaken. Dinklage has a sinister voice, and a subtle way of expressing the character's sillier moments.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The Dark Knight Rises declares its importance with each scene but seldom backs up the claims. It is a climax more fitful than fulfilling, solemn to a fault and begging the Joker's question: "Why so serious?"
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    As Kay and Arnold lurch toward intimacy, the roles bring out a playful side seldom seen in Streep and practically never in Jones, his signature surliness melting into disarming smiles and tenderness.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The Campaign is below-the-Beltway humor, stretching obvious targets to raunchy extremes.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The globetrotting is reined in, the mayhem at each stop just as exciting. Renner is a sturdy action hero, with an interesting face that unlike Damon's appears to have taken a punch or two.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The movie's erratic pleasures are like its ghosts; now you see them, now you don't.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Kind of like Lawless, a movie about bootleggers more violently authentic than previous takes on the subject, from "Thunder Road" to the first half of "The Last American Hero." What Lawless has over those moonshine melodramas is a striking sense of period and setting.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Hotel Transylvania doesn't raise the bar for animation or comedy but it's fun, and nice for once to have a different reason to say "boo" after an Adam Sandler flick.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The Queen of Versailles leaves viewers with one feeling about the Siegels: Let them eat stale cake.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    This Must Be the Place is a movie existing in a zonked-out realm where reality smashes head-on with a train-wreck hero too strange to be real, unless you're the love child of Ozzy Osbourne and the Cure's Robert Smith.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Lincoln is like a thoroughly researched poli-sci term paper come to life, with interesting personal material about the participants relegated to footnotes.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Rise of the Guardians is an all-star addition to holiday movies lists but the real question is: Which holiday?
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's a familiar, straightforward story, carried from start to finish by Winstead, who makes Kate an interesting study in contradictions.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's an audacious mashup that Baz Luhrmann would approve, lending freshness to Tolstoy's too-often-told tale.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    A movie as fun as it is flawed.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Beautiful Creatures gives supernatural teenage romance a good name, or at least a better one than the entire "Twilight Saga" offered.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    21 and Over remains enjoyable for what it is and all it cares to be, which is nothing any respectable movie critic should recommend, and I'm down with that.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    No
    The movie needs one or two central characters directly affected by the dictatorship, in order to create more tension around a conclusion that's already known.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Wolverine is a solid start to the ever-lengthening summer movie season, when all that matters is the bang and the bucks paid for it.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    This franchise that won't die began in 2001 as The Fast and the Furious and has pretty much run through every title permutation, so the inevitable next chapter might be called only "The & The 7."
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Efron makes hay with his richest role post-High School Musical, making Dean a rural rake with conflicting charisma.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The humor is an underdog's fantasy, tapping the same vein Murray bled dry with self-important camp counselors and military officers; the less cool they are, the harder they'll fall.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The movie is mostly fun and ultimately disposable, which is a letdown after Pixar's previous greatness.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The Conjuring is a throwback to old-school spine tingling, although this movie is less Halloween theme ride and more 1970s post-"Exorcist" terror.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Anything men can do women can do dirtier, funnier, fresher, since distaff raunchiness shows no signs of going stale and isn't contained to Melissa McCarthy.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Elysium proves better at social polemics than escapism, a balancing act Blomkamp managed well in District 9, with its allegory of South Africa's apartheid era.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's rare to wish a movie were an hour or two longer, when it already feels an hour longer than it is.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Wan in particular is pacing today's movie horror by reverting to the past. There's a touch of Hammer Films in his haunted house atmospheres, and Roger Corman in his groaning comic relief from the dread.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The movie has its heart and humor in the right place, and there's no "Shame" in that.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    McKay and Ferrell keep the jokes naughty not dirty and flying for shrapnel accuracy; many miss, but when one hits it counts.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The most satisfying portions of Saving Mr. Banks occur when the movie adds pinches of salt to the spoonfuls of sugar making this medicine go down.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    For all of its carnal frivolity, The Wolf of Wall Street lacks passion and purpose, qualities Scorsese at his best has in abundance.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Conveying a visceral sense of warfare's terror is what Berg chiefly seeks, and on that level Lone Survivor handily succeeds.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's a capable Sunday school lesson with little for anyone to challenge and practically nothing that offends.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Non-Stop mostly works by being aware of what other jet-in-jeopardy flicks have done before, adding a spin here and there. Nothing Hitchcockian but more ambitious than a Neeson action flick needs to be.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    A sequel needs to hit the ground running faster than Divergent does. Find more notes for Woodley's elegantly plain face to express.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Muppets Most Wanted is pleasant enough to recommend as family entertainment. But the movie falls short of what immediately preceded it, musically and emotionally.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Bad Words isn't an entirely auspicious beginning to Bateman's career behind the camera, but a riotous performance suggests what a wonderful louse he can be.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's a heady blend, at times requiring more speechifying than throwaway pop deserves. But it keeps one guessing between ill-staged and frenetically edited fight scenes. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo handle vehicular mayhem better.

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