For 310 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 42% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Tom Russo's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 57
Highest review score: 88 Creed
Lowest review score: 25 Scary Movie 5
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 50 out of 310
310 movie reviews
    • 86 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    It’s clear To is striving to keep the action gripping and creative. Modestly inspired is more like it.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Director Tomm Moore (the 2009 Oscar contender “The Secret of Kells”) crafts a traditionally rendered feature whose doe-eyed characters faintly echo Miyazaki yet offer a beauty all their own.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Hawke delivers a strong melancholy variation on his familiar emotional cool as Reverend Toller.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Tom Russo
    After a long, long stretch in which the series’ attrition had come to feel like even more of a bummer than intended — no more Mickey, no Apollo, no Adrian — the franchise has welcome new life. But instead of going by Rocky, he goes by Creed.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to visit this corner of the world, you’ll instantly recognize the blissful natural grandeur that Moana captures, as well as the Pacific’s intimidating vastness.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Polished? Not exactly. Poignant? Definitely.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    Despite the material’s fit, the story’s relentlessly downbeat tone is challenging. Strong performances by Logan Lerman (“Fury”) and Sarah Gadon (Hulu’s “11.22.63”) can’t keep the film from feeling like exhaustingly slow going.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Judy and Nick’s unlikely-buddies routine is amusing, but their exploits and interplay occasionally neglect the youngest demographic.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Taking its title from the site where Christ was crucified, the controversy-courting film has a lot of Catholic church business (and doctrine) on its mind, and veers from poetically eloquent to jarringly blunt in hashing it all out.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    This is less a throwback to cutely misunderstood Molly Ringwald than to “My So-Called Life” — but with our high-school heroine stuck in a spiral like Claire Danes never knew.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Jackman and Stewart’s fond, easy dynamic helps to balance some very provocative brutality, as the movie pushes Wolverine’s berserk nature to graphic new extremes.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The motley crew’s repartee makes for comedy that’s surprisingly consistent, yet freewheeling and sharp enough to pinball from Kevin Bacon to Jackson Pollock and back.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    A Monster Calls is a portrait of coping that’s both fascinating and heartbreaking.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    How to Train Your Dragon 2 recaptures those lyrical highs. But returning writer-director Dean DeBlois also aims to layer on more poignancy for Baruchel and his castmates to play. At points, we’re left feeling a little detached.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    A story steeped in emotional remoteness manages to command our attention in Thoroughbreds, first-time filmmaker Cory Finley’s darkly satirical portrait of the young and disconnected in old-money Connecticut.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Spy
    The character is sweetly sympathetic — less “Tammy” than “Mike & Molly” — and the laughs and chaos are all the more infectious for it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    For audiences with an extremely high tolerance for brutally fetishized shootouts and bloodletting, this continuation of Reeves’s potential-filled reluctant hit man saga is electrifying, both visually and in its cracked narrative ambitions.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    In The Desert of Forbidden Art, documentarians Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev offer some background on the late Savitsky, a painter who initially collected ethnic folk art quashed by the Stalin regime.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The movie is sufficiently in touch with current comic books that it’s keen to explore Batman’s psychology — breezily, but still.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Zooey Deschanel shows off her singing on a couple of generically pleasant soundtrack ditties.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Frozen could also leave its mark as the next step in the Disney Princess feminist revisionism championed by last year’s “Brave.” Where that film staunchly pushed a men-don’t-define-me theme throughout, here it’s the requisite fairy tale ending that gets tweaked.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    A rousing movie that’s satisfyingly infused with traditional Disney sentiment.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Thor’s bloodsport detour diverts an inordinate amount of the filmmakers’ attention, and ours, from the whole end-of-days buildup. Hopkins gets short shrift, as does Idris Elba’s returning interdimensional gatekeeper, Heimdall.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    Unfortunately, as the story builds toward tenderness, it’s undercut with slathering tongues and bare-chested stud-muffin shots.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The movie could also teach something to the makers of "Pirates of the Caribbean" about delivering a story quirky enough to actually stick with you.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    The dialogue also reflects the material’s stage origins in ways that don’t always translate well.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    After all the mesmerizingly illicit buildup, the film’s willful lack of a payoff is almost as strange as one of those essays.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The film concerns itself more with beauty shots of the region’s rugged, intimidating vastness than with “Backdraft”-rivaling imagery of combustion as art.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The upshot: The movie develops a distinctively trippy identity.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    The film was technically astonishing and yet brazenly simple.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Lowery’s update turns out to be one of the summer’s best surprises, a gorgeous, magical reworking that deftly strikes that once-elusive balance between contemporary and quaint.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    An original thriller about a home-invasion robbery gone wrong. To clarify, that would be “wrong” as in “not according to plan” – but also “wrong” as in “so dementedly repugnant, it just isn’t right.”
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    Finnish filmmaker Jalmari Helander's dark-comic expansion on his cult Internet shorts, in which he crafts a back story for Santa that's as black as stocking coal.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    A narrative feature can do what the documentary couldn’t: re-create the tightrope act in full, glorious motion, rather than editing together surreptitiously snapped photos. These dizzying IMAX 3-D visuals truly are big-screen magic.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    Tucci can be so focused on Giacometti’s artistic process that he gives short shrift to the art itself.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    It
    Ultimately, cast and crew conjure up horror that’s more efficient than terrifying.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    As nifty as any of it is a witty, touching story thread about Adlon’s trepidatious geek wrestling with her sexual orientation even as she wrestles with peer pressure to hop into bed. And guess what? She and the movie make the smart call.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The film's indefatigable holiday spirit is infectious.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    In short, the film owns its immaturity. And the argument it appealingly offers in defense is that it’s healthy, even vital, to be able to laugh at scatological silliness, adults included.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    The role of investment banker Naomi Bishop seems right for Gunn, no question, and it’s one that she approaches with conviction. So why is it so hard to root for her, or for any of the characters here?
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    The film’s casting in general is a strength, however deep the resonance of what the actors are playing. Schreiber’s ex-girlfriend, Naomi Watts, is a brassy, savvy presence as Wepner’s bartender soulmate.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    As with all of Disneynature’s features, there’s astonishing documentary work on display in Bears — but a leaner, less conspicuously structured view of the wild might have had even greater impact.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    What’s most compelling is the near-documentary quality of Teller, Koale, and Bennett’s characters playing against a VA backdrop of prosthetic limbs and catheter bags, of desensitized clerks and overwhelmed therapists.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    The movie’s one big pitfall, really, is that Reeves’s character is so intently focused, he takes care of business a bit too quickly. Some final skirmishing and a tonally false sign-off feel like unconvincing bids to stretch the story to a more legit feature length.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Sincerity turns out to be the default tone for Brigsby Bear, making this indie’s odd concept of an accidental man-child wrapped up in a Teddy Ruxpin fantasy world feel odder still in the execution.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    The idea that documentarian Jeffrey Radice would make the episode both the hook and the opener for his film is to be expected — it’s an attention-grabbing story. But a hook is all it is.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Far from contrived, the triangle that “Zachariah” sketches among the last three folks on earth is all too human.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Finally, a movie with at least some coherence despite its sadly challenging circumstances.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Even with his glossy new look, Charlie Brown remains the Charlie Browniest.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    This time the not-so-idle talk is about taking a socially conscious stand against gang violence. And while some of this territory is covered too tritely and safely to have all the impact intended by director Malcolm D. Lee (“The Best Man Holiday”), the movie’s entreaties are compelling enough.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    A story that builds toward Po training an army of his panda brethren fails to deliver exponentially greater fun.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Our advice: Forgive any conflicting elements and just drink them right down. They might be a peculiar blend, but they’re well crafted, just as you’d expect from Loach.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    For all the energy that Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman, and their castmates pour into their gimmicky comedy, there’s too often a feeling that they’re straining to pump up flat material.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The animals are so magically entertaining to watch here (helped by some gently mischievous narrative assists), the educational treatment is a fun time in its own right.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    The movie’s best moments illustrate the lines that Mazur won’t cross, plus a few that he will.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The drama palpably, potently conveys the group’s misgivings, their jangling nerves, the foolhardy resignation pushing them on despite themselves.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    They even make the requisite cameo by Marvel founding father Stan Lee feel profanely inspired. Not your usual Marvel superhero scene? In this case, that’s a good thing.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    A lean indie horror flick that manages to creep us out even before getting to the part that’s meant to be truly unsettling.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 38 Tom Russo
    The movie grows easier to like in the later, straighter going, as it stops pushing so aggressively to be naughty and lets its characters try on some introspection.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    The movie's unlikely sincerity can't completely offset its ugliness for less bloodthirsty viewers, but it helps, and it does smooth over some narrative rough edges.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    This isn't just physical love, warts and all, but warts, liver spots, saggy parts, and all. Still, the thing that ultimately keeps your head turned is how persuasively filmmaker Andreas Dresen ("Summer in Berlin'') argues that desire can create just as much emotional tumult in golden years as in youth.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Director Baltasar Kormákur (“2 Guns”) and his cast craft a lean narrative tone that humanizes the action without an excess of gloss.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Hegedus and Pennebaker do solid work presenting Wise’s arguments. It’s a tricky narrative challenge to shift from inherently compelling wildlife scenes to abstract courtroom debate, but the film manages it capably, even spicing things up with one justice’s admonition that Wise needs to cut his slavery analogies.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    It’s simultaneously silly and progressive, a familiar movie moment reserved for the girl you’d least expect.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    The story and settings hold interest throughout, but at times the very lack of emotional connection that Yeshi laments in his father seems to hinder the film.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    First-time director Nick Ryan isn’t entirely up to the challenge in The Summit, but he does deliver some dramatic and visual highs in the attempt.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    The film is slow going with its mix of stilted political discourse and restless village folk just looking to celebrate life and dance. At times, it’s like “Footloose” gone didactic.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Lem’s story is merely a springboard for Folman’s wildly sprawling meditations on what the advent of virtual performance means — for artistic integrity, creative spirit, celebrity culture, human identity, even our hold on reality.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    It’s a movie eager to examine the stigma of mental illness and the dynamics of victimization, to a point. Past that, it’s just distressing, narratively convenient exploitation that gets by on the strength of McAvoy’s fearless, electrifyingly adaptive performance.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The scope of the ’toon espionage-adventure goings-on is surprisingly limited. But the filmmakers so clearly love working on these characters, their creative joy is infectious.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Veteran London theater director Dominic Cooke (the BBC’s “The Hollow Crown”) and acclaimed novelist Ian McEwan adapt the fractured-narrative feature from McEwan’s book, enhancing the elegant prose with additional bits of rich characterization and handsomely shot scenery.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    An uneven spectacle that can’t sustain its solid first-half character moments. But the movie can also flash a surprising, often clever sense of legacy, and is intermittently capable of thrilling us.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Scholey, Fothergill, and crew do impressive work, but we're also reminded that wild animals don't know from cues, marks, and scripts. That's part of what makes them so compelling.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Its animal spin on unlikely-buddies interplay is amusing enough, but hardly as inspired as the teaser promised.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    At more leisurely, less furious moments, meanwhile, the cast shows the easy chemistry that comes with having now done a couple of these all-hands-on-deck episodes.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The well-worn plot basics are dressed up nicely by the film’s consistently clever humor, as well as a celebrity cameo roster that’s stacked even by Muppet standards.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    The guys in Metallica are here to remind us that there’s a band behind the rage rock. The IMAX 3-D release Metallica Through the Never is all about reasserting their relevance, loudly.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    Jackman spends enough time compellingly playing stranger in a strange land that you’ll put up with a few unwanted doses of the old familiar.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    It’s also a movie that further establishes Vaughn as one of the edgier and more underrated genre voices of the moment, and that makes us wonder why Colin Firth hasn’t indulged in an action sideline all along.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Consistently intriguing as all the lit-process tidbits are, the film struggles to mesh footnotes and somber notes.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    It’s an engrossing portrait not only of government intrigue and crusading after the truth, but of media and their tangled motivations. Engrossing enough, in fact, that Cuesta needn’t try as hard as he occasionally does to heighten the drama and give it added flash.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    There aren’t sufficient words to describe the remarkable visual environment; suffice it to say that the production designers are the stars here as much as the cast. More so, really.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    Pretty clearly determined to deliver the antidote to Stallone's movie, the filmmakers take their cues from Christopher Nolan's Batman filmscape, dropping Dredd into a fictional concrete sprawl (actually South Africa) that's relentlessly grounded, visually and dramatically. In a generic way, the environment works.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 38 Tom Russo
    This chronicle of an ’80s high school cross country coach leading a team of Mexican farm laborers’ kids to competitive glory may be based on a true story, but the forced drama doesn’t help it to feel that way.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    This feature adaptation of kid-lit author R.L. Stine’s best-selling horror-comedy series is out to thrill fans with a story that’s just as obsessively invested as they are, right down to Black’s meta casting as Stine himself.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    You can picture the DreamWorks corporate confab: "OK, the kids respond to move-it, move-it repetition - give us something else repetitive, and let's get herding." It wasn't just desperate, it was insulting.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    You may find yourself wishing that Webb (“500 Days of Summer”) would just power through court. We’d gladly watch more of Grace and Evans silhouetted against the sunset, their connection evident in his indulgent posing as her makeshift jungle gym.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 38 Tom Russo
    The cast does capable work, but you’ll wish the movie concentrated more on the comedy, which has some zing, rather than the straighter elements, which quickly start to drag.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    If there’s one popcorn movie so far this summer that actually makes us fear for — and care for — its protagonist, this is it.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    It’s another brightly rendered effort, but, as the title indicates, a lot of the real creativity seems to have been used up the first time around.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    In the film’s sharpest visual sequence, they land in ancient Egypt, with the filmmakers entertainingly cribbing from “Indiana Jones” and “The Wizard of Oz” to get them out of tight spots.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The result is entertainment whose pace and sound, while dizzyingly brisk at points, still accommodates characters and a setting that are terrifically rich — a menagerie more fully, memorably realized than “Zootopia.”
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Russo
    The story loses its convincingly scaled sense of jeopardy in the late going, and it ultimately unravels.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    It’s comedy with a hint of honesty — but we’re fine with shallow and sparkly, dahling.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    The film comes across as an irksome contrivance. What’s meant to communicate the mysterious, even taboo allure of playing chameleon instead just leaves us scoffing.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Tom Russo
    The group’s thematically, comedically broad inversion of the source material is consistently entertaining, and squeezes in some nicely played character growth to boot.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    It says something about Deutch’s appeal that she does manage to pull the story from the vexing hole it digs itself into. She takes us on an absorbing journey through the various stages of Sam’s time-stalled predicament.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Macdonald knows plenty about crafting something evocative from unscripted material.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    Some angst away from the dolphin tank feels like padding, but there’s enough bona fide narrative to please tomorrow’s marine biologists and their parents.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 63 Tom Russo
    One of the best things about the movie, aside from its screwily positive message, is the blithely freewheeling yet clever way that Rogen and company assemble the story’s puzzle pieces.

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