For 495 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 69% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 29% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 8.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Steve Persall's Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 I Love You Phillip Morris
Lowest review score: 0 For a Good Time, Call...
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 50 out of 495
495 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    This summer's funniest movie.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 25 Steve Persall
    Carnahan didn't make a movie unfit for mankind but it certainly isn't worth mankind's money.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's the nicest Mother's Day gift available at the movies this weekend.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    The next step in Matthew McConaughey's inevitable march to network television is The Lincoln Lawyer, a pilot disguised as a feature-length movie, with an entire season's arc crammed into two hours.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's an audacious mashup that Baz Luhrmann would approve, lending freshness to Tolstoy's too-often-told tale.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    It works because Timberlake and Kunis are totally in control of their damaged characters without winking at the audience, as if to say: "Aren't we cute, behaving so naughty?" Their sex is amusingly awkward, and their repressed longings more so. It's the kind of chemistry that comes along once in a generation.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Tampa Bay wears fringe nihilism well, including wet-fever dreams of trigger-happy angels floating on cannabis clouds and dusted with cocaine like beignets waiting to be licked clean. Or drug gangstas sporting cornrows and gold-grill teeth, living large and thinking three-ways. Film as a fetish tool, that's what Spring Breakers is all about, y'all.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Rio
    Bursting with color and rippling with samba rhythms, Rio makes you wonder why animated films haven't spent more time in Brazil.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    World War Z presents an abundance of relatively plausible action, smart solutions and one useful piece of information: When the zombiepocalypse comes, the undead are flying coach.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Megamind's Kryptonite is a common weakness for any comedy so fast out of the blocks: It simply runs out of surprises.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Iron Man 3 is missing that old Tony Stark spark. Not from Robert Downey Jr., who is still the best thing about this overblown show.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    42
    One of the all-time great sports movies — primarily because it's one of the all-time great sports stories.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    There's enough here for a nice little movie, anyway, even if Al Pacino didn't think so. He was hired to voice the movie's arch villain but dropped out due to "creative differences."
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Ted
    It's often convulsively funny.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Apatow hates leaving anything on the cutting room floor. You could excise entire chunks of The Five-Year Engagement - the donut experiments at college, a couple of wise soliloquies, most of the stuff involving Violet's sister (Alison Brie) - and never miss a beat.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    If this was December, Kevin Hart might be in the Oscar mix, he's that good in About Last Night. Explosively good, a comedy nova who won't shut up and never should.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    Quirky to the brink of exhaustion, the latest from Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a live-action Looney Tune complete with Acme contraptions and wily coyotes.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Director John Madden and an ensemble of polished actors in their second primes make this a constant amusement and a nice alternative at the movies.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Despite its haunted house setting, the movie's most visible cobwebs are found in Jane Goldman's screenplay, adapted from Susan Hill's novel.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    There are too many convenient romances, trumped-up crises and reversals of conscience to clear up while those poor whales suffer. Big Miracle isn't an entirely bad movie but a wholly misguided one.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Veronica Mars, the movie, plays like a two-parter without commercials. Its uninspired framing and static action suits a TV screen better than a multiplex's.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Imagination is the key element that Conviction lacks.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It will mightily preach to the choirs of concerned citizens, and be ignored by anyone else.
    • 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
    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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The actors are so good that you wish Collyer offered them a richer arc to play, rather than just a topic.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    It's Lane who's saddled with dragging this nag over the finish line, with her cliched portrayal of another single-minded woman beating men at their own game.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Carnage gives Polanski the best opportunity to express his devilish sense of humor in decades, proving again that comedy really is tragedy happening to someone else.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    What's fun is how the new Karate Kid embraces and vastly improves the cliches, keeping the plot cleverly updated for a generation that never heard of Ralph Macchio.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    For the initiated, however, Alfredson weaves a tidy web from loose ends left dangling.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    If comic book movies are the last place you look for a soulful, serious performance, The Wolverine should be your first.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Certainly amusing, but it never accelerates past one-note characters playing out separate personal crises in ways that aren't surprising.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It's a movie that grows on you, after grating your nerves while viewing it.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Efron makes hay with his richest role post-High School Musical, making Dean a rural rake with conflicting charisma.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    When director Paul Feig — who revitalized feminine comedy with "Bridesmaids" — allows McCarthy's improvisational instincts to take over because, honestly, nobody else in the cast can stand up to her. McCarthy is the best thing about The Heat.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    It's a valuable history lesson crammed into a creatively uninspired movie. Wiki-cinema, if you will.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    RED
    It's an amusing geriatric uprising that might just as well be titled "Gray."
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    The Beaver plays like a thickly veiled confessional and plea for forgiveness. It's too creepy for comfort.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    While the result isn't the greatest show on Earth, it certainly is a lot of fun.
    • 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.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    If you prefer hipster romantic comedies that are unromantic and not too funny, Lee Toland Krieger's movie may be your grande half-caf caramel mocha frappe.
    • 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.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    It's the only chance for small children to drag parents to the movies until November, so knock yourself out, kiddies.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    There might be a great movie about any of Hoover's triumphs and secrets, but not all at once.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    It's more amusing than you might expect, and ultimately more touching than an eroding society around them deserves.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 25 Steve Persall
    An amoral mosaic of carnage and carnality.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    For two hours it's a fun head trip.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    There's a pervasive cruelty, a condescension toward common folks like the Westons that's frequently off-putting, even as we're laughing.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Wormald won't make anyone forget Bacon, but he dances better, and without a stand-in. Hough's dance ability is well-known, but she also displays flashes of acting skill.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Stoker operates in a perpetual state of dread, a sophisticated Southern gothic that starts out confusing and winds up as a perversely humorous coming-of-age yarn.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Director Robert Lorenz makes a nondescript debut, after assisting Eastwood on several of his directing gigs. The student hasn't learned much from the teacher about economic storytelling or deflecting schmaltz.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    In telling someone else's story Crowe loses track of his own as a cultural definer, not a panderer. Mee bought a zoo; Crowe sells out.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    This movie is a last chance to save the series, which it does.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    This is such a generic endeavor — not a poor effort, just one that doesn't attempt to do anything besides splash a screen with color and movement.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    It's a one-note character that Bardem builds into a complex emotional chord, lessening the urge to dismiss Biutiful solely as an endurance test for viewers.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Even the smuttiest jokes about rape, torture and genitals have a more polished edge, sliding by without causing much offense. Watching actors portray alarm at Cohen's antics isn't as hilarious as civilians doing it for real.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    I honestly thought Eclipse would be different, after "New Moon" showed stirrings of cinematic life.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    If this movie truly cost $375 million to produce and market (as the L.A. Times reported), the biggest chunk isn't on the screen.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 25 Steve Persall
    If only one character in Stone reacted as someone in his position would to the preposterous situation at hand, the movie would be 15 minutes long.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    All that director Kenneth Branagh must do with Thor is not mess it up, and he succeeds. But that isn't enough. The results aren't as exhilarating as the first "Iron Man," but Downey can't play every superhero.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Close's performance is technically perfect and emotionally pinched, which is exactly what her role calls for, but it doesn't make a compelling movie.
    • 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?
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    I learned a total of two things from watching Evil Dead: No camping kit is complete without duct tape, and sometimes end credits are worth sitting through for a movie's best gag.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    It's as slick and fun as summertime entertainment should be. Downey is still an arresting presence, glib to the nth degree and supremely confident that he's smarter than anyone else.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    The redneck rust bucket is on screen so much that 3-D glasses should come with tetanus shots.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    I spent several minutes not caring what was happening with the story but just observing the patchwork illusion of oversized props, short stunt doubles and computer grafting of big faces on small bodies. Nice work.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Only a spunky cast prevents the film from being as tedious as a test pattern.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    The funniest comedy of degeneracy since "Bad Santa," and a career-changer for Aniston and Farrell if they'll only keep following their perverted muses. Horrible Bosses spins hostile work environments into a movie surpassing "9 to 5" and "Office Space" as the touchstone flick for disenchanted drones.
    • 56 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.
    • 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky is an elegant scandal almost devoid of true passion, no matter how many times the nude lovers artfully mingle.
    • 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Curled up at home with the lights off and DVD player running, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark might be passable fun. Spread over a movie screen, the film's modest ambition gets dwarfed by expectations, especially after paying for a ticket.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 42 Steve Persall
    Date Night is really just another example of what happens when funny sitcom stars are lumped together in a movie, believing that laughter exponentially increases with screen size.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Real Steel is sci-fi without the science, and the fiction is strictly 20th century, straight out of Rocky knockoffs.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Unknown is finely tuned pulp filmmaking, a dumb movie with a smart veneer, which is nothing to sneeze at.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    Thompson's fans will embrace its twisted verbal dexterity, romantically imagining the author feverishly pulling strings from the beyond.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Hereafter doesn't feel like a Clint Eastwood film; it's more like a very special edition of John Edward's psychic TV show.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Steve Carell's character in Dinner for Schmucks is almost too pitiful for the jokes launched against him to be funny. It is a terrific performance making everyone else's condescension sound harsher than the writers likely intended.
    • 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.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    The performances are constantly spot-on, especially Scott during a wonderfully written rant during a group vacation.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Man of Steel is more than just Avengers-sized escapism; it's an artistic introduction to a movie superhero we only thought we knew.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 0 Steve Persall
    Save the money you might spend for a ticket to see For a Good Time, Call... and just read a dive bar's restroom wall for free. That's the sub-level of comedy here, with a litany of crude sexual euphemisms and phallic images passed off as jokes.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Yes, The Eagle is as bad as it sounds but also entertaining, in a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" sort of way that Macdonald didn't intend.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    Jude Law's ferociously vulgar portrayal of a hard-luck safecracker carries the first hour of this amorality tale. Then writer-director Richard Shepard makes the creatively fatal mistake of making Dom Hemingway sympathetic, when irredeemable is much more fun.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 25 Steve Persall
    Cloud Atlas, surely the most incoherent waste of time and money on screen this year.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    A movie as fun as it is flawed.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    The movie finds its humor in the royals' shock at Hyde Park's lacking decorum, and a hint of FDR's political savvy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Dark Shadows manages in two hours what the TV show took six years to do: become irrelevant and remembered only for how sloppy it was.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 83 Steve Persall
    2 Guns is a movie based on smart callbacks and sly flip-flops of loyalty, regularly interrupted by spasms of well-staged violence.