Steve Persall

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For 639 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 7.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Steve Persall's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Blackfish
Lowest review score: 0 The Last Airbender
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 62 out of 639
639 movie reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    It is interesting even when nothing much happens, which is for most of its 3-hour running time.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Hoop Dreams is what sportwriters would call "the total package:" intimate and illuminating in its depiction of two Chicago high-school basketball players and their goals, while never allowing an audience to forget that these boys and the families who support their struggles are part of the American fabric which hasn't received its due. [13Jan 1995, p.6]
    • Tampa Bay Times
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    There has never been a movie like 12 Years a Slave, which is Hollywood's shame. Miss it, and that mistake is yours.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Gravity is a game-changer like "Avatar" in the realm of digital 3-D special effects, inventing trickeries to be applied by future filmmakers and possibly never improved upon. Yet its spirit is closer to Avatar's smarter descendants, "Hugo" and "Life of Pi," with the gimmicks embellishing, not driving, the material. Less Cameron, more Kubrick.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    This is a remarkable film for more reasons than its antihero, from the cyberspeed wisdom of Aaron Sorkin's screenplay to Jeff Cronenweth's camera prowling the excesses of youthful genius gone wild.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    The last thing we see in Zero Dark Thirty is Maya's face and it is also ours, silently crying tears of reflection.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    It's a mystery wrapped inside an enigmatic nation, flawlessly acted and difficult to predict. I'm always impressed when a movie informs about a foreign culture while it entertains, and this one is powerful art in that regard.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 67 Steve Persall
    The movie at times resembles a screenwriting workshop, with Delpy and Hawke trying to shoehorn every shade of this shifting relationship into a single scene. It doesn't feel genuine; certainly these two would know each other better by now.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    The surprises are plentiful and seamlessly connected.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    With Amour, it's the rare feeling of watching a masterpiece unfold.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    The Coens fashion an atmospheric descent for Llewyn, a meticulous re-creation of Greenwich Village's folk scene in 1961, around the time Bob Dylan hit town.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Toy Story 3 isn't merely the best movie of the summer -- even with summer just kicking in -- but an immediate candidate for best of the year.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    Plenty of secrets are uncovered before the fadeout, plus another nugget dropped midway through the end credits that may render nearly everything beforehand to be false. That's the nature of intimacies submerged so long then revealed.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Lawrence is in every scene of Winter's Bone, leaving her plenty of opportunity to make false moves. I dare you to find one, in a performance to be remembered during awards season.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Her
    So many things could go terribly wrong with Spike Jonze's Her, and it's a small cinematic miracle that nothing does.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Russell and co-writer Eric Warren Singer lay out these deceits and double-crosses with precision but American Hustle isn't merely a procedural. Defining these outsized personalities, tracing their unconventional connections and affections, is where Russell's movie finds its irreverent heartbeat.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Steve Persall
    Two Days, One Night is deceptively slight of drama; it's simply a procession of real moments encountered by a simple character deserving more happiness than life allows, fleshed out by an extraordinary actor.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    This is a modest film with towering potential to make a difference, looking back to move forward.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Hazanavicius crafted more than a replica of the silent era; this feels like a time capsule found 80 years later, right on time to be revolutionary in a louder world. Yet The Artist is a masterwork that likely won't be imitated. How many movies in 2011 can you say that about? Only the best one.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Steve Persall
    Mad Max: Fury Road is a relentless marvel of sense-pummeling stunts and gargoyle horror that needs to take a breather once in a while.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Teller plays notes all over the emotional chart, dovetailing into a divine riff on ambition. And he does nearly all of Andrew's drumming, aggressively and impressively so.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    The Grand Budapest Hotel is as artistically manicured as any of his seven previous movies, and richer comically and emotionally than most.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 50 Steve Persall
    Kechiche's doting on entwined limbs, thrusting pelvises and oral stimulation, all carefully posed and continued longer than necessary to get his point across, races beyond titillation to creepy voyeurism.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Like Bertie's struggle, there's so much wonderment to articulate about this film that being mistaken for a stammering idiot is a risk. See it, then say it for yourself: The King's Speech is the best movie of 2010.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Everything about Birdman is a bold cinematic stretch, from its snare-jazz soundtrack to a climax regrettably stretched too far. The line between Iñárritu's genius and Riggan's madness gets crossed once too many, but no matter. Birdman has 99 virtues and ignorance isn't one.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 58 Steve Persall
    Leigh's characters merely act in a goofy and irritating fashion until their dramatic pay-off scenes. This uneven style cheats fine actors out of the chance to shade their roles rather than rely upon black-and-white emotions. [6 Mar. 1992, p.10]
    • Tampa Bay Times
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Chandor and Redford make an illuminating procedural of Our Man's response to calamity... Our Man is everyman, revealed by beautifully filmed and edited action without exposition.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Considering Parts 1 and 2 of Deathly Hallows as a single enterprise, as they should be, this is a rare franchise that just kept getting better.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Steve Persall
    Life Itself impressively covers the elements of Ebert's memoir.
    • 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.

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