Steve Persall
Select another critic »
For 559 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 68% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 29% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 8.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Steve Persall's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Piranha 3-D
Lowest review score: 0 I'm Still Here
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 559
559 movie reviews
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Sounds depressing, although Rabbit Hole isn't, with David Lindsay-Abaire presenting a perceptive, subtly dark-humored adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    The movie has a caffeinated spirit worthy of its graveyard shift milieu, a darkness artfully breached by cinematographer Robert Elswit, who previously framed L.A.'s unstill life in Magnolia and Boogie Nights.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Nothing much happens in Greenberg, yet Stiller and co-star Greta Gerwig make inconsequence tolerable with solid performances.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    Rapace is a magnetic presence in a far-ranging mystery requiring such a solid character to orbit around.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Rango is wild, woolly and weird, and the first movie of 2011 that I must see again.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    The movie's finest performance is Daniel Bruhl's unapologetic bluntness as Lauda, and his subtle conveyance of jealousy the driver — whose resemblance to a rat is often noted — must have felt about Hunt's popularity and handsomeness.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    The standout in Win Win is Alex Shaffer, a former New Jersey state champion cast as Kyle.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Bridesmaids is a bit of a groundbreaker... Not exactly a banner for feminism but equal time is overdue.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Yes, Kermit does reprise The Rainbow Connection, surely one of the loveliest movie songs ever and, yes, it still brings tears to your eyes. Happy tears, realizing some marvelous things never change.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is movie escapism made with intelligence, and that doesn't come around often enough. As I sensed this movie ending I wished it wouldn't, and when it did I wanted the next one now. Take that, Bilbo.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Robespierre does a nice job of balancing the seriousness of this situation with the no-boundaries irreverence of Donna's comedy background.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Big Hero 6 is second-tier Disney/Marvel entertainment, fine for a day out with the children yet doesn't seem enough, after the creative advances of Wreck-It Ralph and the emotional heft of Frozen.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Frankenweenie is stitched together with love and a bit raggedy, like Sparky the dog in question.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    X-Men: Days of Future Past effectively passes the torch from one generation of socially segregated mutants to the next.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    A sensory and intellectual overload from start to finish, a brawny, brainy summer movie that may infuriate as many viewers as it enraptures.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Frozen impresses by conveying coldness in all its frostbitten beauty, from northern lights and blizzards, to ice magnifying, refracting and reflecting light. The movie is a lovely example for animation enthusiasts to study.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    At times the sewer dwellers don't appear worth saving, except for Socha's profiting. This can't be the filmmaker's intention but it's there.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    There's no way to make this a feel-good movie, and admirably the Duplass brothers don't try. Cyrus finds its humor in dark places, through characters bringing out the worst in each other.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Thankfully in space, no one can hear you yawn.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    There's much more to the adventure, a deft balance of fantasy and teen angst that never loses its contemporary sense of humor.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    It is well acted bunk, led by Hugh Jackman's righteous raging as the father of a missing girl, abducting a suspect (Paul Dano) to pummel and scald a confession from him. If only solving the case and ending this movie sooner was that simple.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    White-knuckle fun.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The strategy deserves to self-destruct in five seconds.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Corbijn keeps the intrigue uncluttered, guided by Andrew Bovell's economical adapted screenplay.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Arbitrage is a classy soap opera with a charismatic louse at its center, without "Margin Call" didactics, or the misplaced empathy of "The Company Men."
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Remember that ultra-violent scene in "Old Boy" when the dude plowed through a subway platform of bad guys and was the only one left standing? Multiply it by four or five and that's The Raid: Redemption.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Even when Magic Mike is skimpier than a g-string it soars on daring, as if Soderbergh asked himself who could possibly make a good movie from such offbeat material, answered "I can," and did.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    The Cabin in the Woods isn't merely another "Scream" exercise in self-awareness, or a "Scary Movie" spoof of the same. It's a wickedly smart hybrid mutation, biting the severed hand feeding the genre.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The movie's erratic pleasures are like its ghosts; now you see them, now you don't.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Yes, this one is even better: funnier, brawnier and ingeniously constructed for appeal to both devoted fans and reluctant converts.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Well-acted and lovingly designed, Marsh's movie falls far short of the genius it attempts to celebrate.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    It's irreverent about cancer and that could be inspirational. And it's surely one of the most enjoyable movies I've seen all year.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    A movie of here-and-now thrills, goosed by judicious CGI effects that never overpower the humanity of the situation.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    War Horse takes time reaching its full emotional gallop with a late sequence combining man, beast and barbed wire. Yet it remains a technically magnificent ride throughout, and a checklist of visual influences from "All Quiet on the Western Front" to "Gone with the Wind."
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    The movie's first half is its funniest, as Moore sets up this alternate low-resolution universe.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Shame smears the lines between daring and taunting, and art versus indulgence. When it ends there's the urge to take a shower, and not a cold one.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Like the genre's top filmmakers - the Coens, Polanski, Hitchcock - Capotondi builds dread with wicked winks at the audience, dropping subtle surprises along the way.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    22 Jump Street is a mixed bag of clever spoofery and miscalculated outrageousness. The unveiled homoeroticism of practically all interaction between Jenko and Schmidt is amusing to the point when it isn't.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    Tangled would be a satisfying adventure on plot and 3D sensations alone.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Edge of Tomorrow may be the best video game movie ever made. Which is strange since it isn't actually based on a video game.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    It's the most unsettling nice surprise of 2011.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    In any language with anyone at the helm, Lisbeth is still a killer.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Taylor's movie is overly episodic, but a number of those episodes are marvelous.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    Warrior is a surprising gut punch, a modern-day "Rocky" saga with two mixed martial arts pugs trying to beat, choke and kick the system.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    I've watched Sleepwalk With Me twice now, each time impressed with Birbiglia's confidence in revealing so much about his craft and himself, and the freely associated style with which he does it.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Almodóvar dives into perversity, practically daring the audience not to follow. The Skin I Live In is a mediocre addition to his resume, yet for fans, even bad Almodóvar is better than none at all.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    This movie embraces its inner yokel.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Imagine a stuffy Merchant Ivory production blended with muted Michael Crichton sci-fi and you have Never Let Me Go, at least as it plays on screen.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Unstoppable isn't unwatchable, but it is a letdown after "Speed" and some of the Speed-on-a-(fill in the blank with a vehicle) flicks that followed. Forget missing Hopper; even Keanu Reeves might make this movie more entertaining.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The stories might work better separately as uninterrupted short films. Combined, they lack cohesion but suggest that Coppola has a fine framing eye and ability to guide actors to good work.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    The Avengers is as brawny and lamebrainy as any comic book movie deserves to be, capped by a 40-minute assault pummeling senses as few action sequences ever have.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Chronicle is so clever about the absurd, and so much fun to watch, that I'm almost disappointed the ending doesn't leave room for a sequel.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    I expected, even wanted to cry at The Fault in Our Stars, or at least choke up a little. Yet the transparent eagerness of this movie to break hearts, through means not entirely justifying that end, always pulled me back.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    This movie embraces everything that should make it lousy, calling out itself for aping the source's bad ideas then flipping the script with meta precision.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Wright is an insanely funny filmmaker (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) yet only the front half of that description carries over to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The problem isn't entirely Lehane's script... It's the way Belgian director Michael R. Roskam, making his English language debut, is so visually uninspired by all this meanness.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    There are laughs that stick in your throat, when they aren't broad strokes shattering a forlorn mood that occasionally makes the movie feel like a companion piece to "Magnolia," or any film depicting downbeat people realizing they have more sorrow in common than expected.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 0 Steve Persall
    End of Watch is a repellent movie, first for its shaky-cam conceit rendering much of the action incomprehensible, and finally for seeking to entertain viewers through the thuggish execution of a police officer.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    The plot is a piffle but Ozon's presentation is gloriously romantic.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    In a movie year of more than two dozen animated films, this and "Rango" tower over all others. Welcome to America, Tintin. It's great getting to know you.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Next to Swinton's excellent portrayal of a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown, the movie belongs to the two Kevins, young actors with matching arched eyebrows and sullen expressions.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    The East is a crackling thriller and a political statement tough to peg.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    The jokes are often double-edged, the performances always spot-on. The Way, Way Back doesn't re-invent the teenage turning point genre, but Faxon and Rash offer a breezy new spin. You'll see more inventive movies this year but few more endearing.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Feels like half of a good movie, much of it revealed in admittedly thrilling trailers.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    It's a story languorously told in three chapters, the first two in the late 1980s and the third 15 years later. Each could be a movie unto themselves. Together they prove Cianfrance to be an effectively unobtrusive storyteller, crafting without artifice what book critics would call a page turner.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    There's a subtle wisdom to this screenplay that complements its exceedingly bad taste, small lessons among the laughs.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    Despite wild deviations in spiritual themes and execution, nothing in Noah approaches sacrilege or surrender, making this an acutely sensible biblical epic. It may simply be too strange for the masses to notice.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    Robot & Frank occasionally strains for emotion and stretches credulity, even for such fantasy circumstances. But it has two hearts - one human, one not - in the right place, and intelligence that is anything but artificial.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    There are no boundaries in this movie, so deal with it or leave.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Soderbergh doesn't always match his pacing to Mallory's fury.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Director Chad Stahelski — Reeves' stunt double for Point Break and The Matrix — aims only for a kinetic revenge yarn with wrinkles drive-in movie critic Joe Bob Briggs might appreciate, like martial arts moves at point blank bullet range; what he'd call gun fu.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    How many surprises and peaks can Walken possibly have left, after so many movies and memorable roles? Well, there's this one.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    Part two is even more gorgeous to behold, and deeper in substance.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    As a director, Clooney makes his most straightforward movie yet, although it's static at times due to the stage origins of Willimon's material.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Leaner than "Harry Potter's" adventures, meaner than the "Twilight" saga, The Hunger Games lives up to its source if not entirely the hype.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    I adore The Perks of Being a Wallflower for its honest, unsentimental feel, which gets stretched a bit in the revelatory finale, but by then I didn't mind.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    A feel-good movie in the most positive meaning of that term, thanks to the Motown music and O'Dowd's cheeky charm.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Giamatti is a superb expressionist of emotional flotsam, with a Golden Globe for his effort.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    With everything it's doing all over again, The Book of Life often finds fresh ways to do it. That's all it takes.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Fast Five is brawny dumb fun, nothing more but that's enough.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Writer-director Martin McDonagh's followup to his more cohesive "In Bruges" is a middle finger to cliches "Pulp Fiction" wrought, while garishly reveling in the same hyper-ironic, pop referenced ultraviolence it lampoons.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Coppola's movie has a sense of indie vitality, although the energy feels wasted by running in place.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Don Jon is so friskily risque, with teasing glimpses of what turns Jon on and frank dialogue to match, that you don't notice the movie is stuck in a rut until Julianne Moore shows up late, offering Jon an older, wiser perspective on sex and relationships.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.

Top Trailers