Arizona Republic's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,291 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 64% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 33% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Argo
Lowest review score: 10 The Legend of Hercules
Score distribution:
1,291 movie reviews
  1. Boyhood is not just a great movie, it's a landmark achievement in film.
  2. It's one of the best movies of the year, one of the best entries ever in the Way We Live Now oeuvre.
  3. This is a wonderful movie.
  4. 50/50 is a tremendous movie. It's also a really funny one, which doesn't mean it won't make you cry.
  5. The resulting portrait is nothing short of a tiny filmmaking miracle. It’s guaranteed to make you feel something — hopeful, probably, for Grace and her wards. And maybe even for the future of indie filmmaking.
  6. A great movie, a look inside a world so foreign that it might as well be another planet, yet so universal that its observations are painfully familiar to anyone, anywhere.
  7. A genuine triumph, a great movie with astounding performances so natural, so genuine, that you forget it's a movie.
  8. What a great movie.
  9. The Artist is such an engaging, delightful film that, if you like movies, you will walk out of the theater with a smile. You just will; it's that inspired.
  10. A great movie, an astonishing achievement on nearly every level.
  11. The acting is outstanding, the direction assured if straightforward. 12 Years a Slave is a history lesson of the best type. It’s brilliant. But, more crucially, it’s important. It’s brutal truth that demands to be seen.
  12. It is a remarkable achievement.
  13. Her
    Her is an outstanding movie, in part because of its originality, but also because of its execution.
  14. Wreck-It Ralph is smart, funny, sweet and sassy. And that's just Sarah Silverman's character... The movie is a treat for kids and the parents they drag to see it. Or maybe it'll be the other way around. Either way. It doesn't matter how you get to it. Just get there.
    • Arizona Republic
  15. The visuals are stunning, perhaps the most fully realized of any film.
  16. It is particularly rewarding to see Clooney outside his comfort zone of self-composed cool in The Descendants, Alexander Payne's beautifully gentle, funny and moving film.
  17. Simply put, Argo is why we go to movies.
  18. Birdman is a treat. But it's also more than that. It's a full-fledged wonder.
  19. Though everyone is older this time around, and the themes are darker, harder to enjoy, the conversation is just as engrossing. So is the film.
  20. The Guilt Trip surprises by avoiding the obvious. It zigs when you expect it to zag. It's perceptive and thoughtful as it swerves around potholes that easily could have broken an axle.
  21. It makes you think. And that's invaluable.
  22. A comedy about an all-female collegiate a cappella group. And to paraphrase one of the characters in the movie, it's A-Ca-Awesome.
  23. What makes 56 Up, like the “Up” films before it, so remarkable is how it puts these stories together, giving us an ensemble of characters as interesting as any in a scripted drama.
  24. It's terrific. It's about many things, but dread infuses them all. You won't be grossed out. You'll be creeped out. And that's a lot more satisfying.
  25. The metaphor is plain yet elegant: Ai is the clever cat busily devising ways to push through the barriers physical, cultural, mental -- that make humans less than free. And in China, of course, the biggest of those barriers is the one-party state.
  26. Jean-Marc Vallee’s film is anything but standard, thanks to an astonishing performance by Matthew McConaughey.
  27. Take my word for it, or better yet go find out for yourself: Big Hero 6 is a treat.
  28. As with "The Central Park Five," you come away from the film impressed by the storytelling but enraged by the facts. It's outrageous that this kind of thing happens, but Berg does an outstanding job of showing us how it does.
  29. Scarier than anything you'll find in a horror movie this time of year.
  30. Gregg really reaches far, scattering in bits of magical realism and an art-house ending that is simultaneously wondrous and a trifle heavy-handed. The finale may be a bit much for some, but movie buffs will likely give Gregg the benefit of the doubt.
  31. It is not hyperbole to say Oyelowo is a revelation. The British actor brings phenomenal humanity, grace and torment to a historical figure who once seemed to loom too large a legend to make flesh on screen.
  32. At times hilarious but ultimately heartbreaking, Project Nim is a great chronicle of the 1970s and all the nutty ideas that implies; academia in particular comes in for a hard reckoning.
  33. This isn't a warts-and-all portrayal. More like a warts-and-little-else one. But it is an inspired film, a beautiful exploration of art and creation and difficulty, with Spall's brilliant performance at its center.
  34. A perverse delight, the rare film that makes you feel good about feeling bad (or at least watching others do so).
  35. Howard, whose first job as a director was the 1977 Roger Corman-produced “Grand Theft Auto,” has captured what is surely the greatest racing footage ever shot.
  36. The Secret in Their Eyes never lets you forget that you're watching a movie - and never lets you wish you were doing anything else.
  37. There is no particularly cathartic climax to Frances Ha. Instead there is a more realistic depiction of Frances’ growth. Like Gerwig’s performance, it’s natural, it’s realistic, perfectly believable.
  38. It isn’t just a terrific movie. It’s an important one.
  39. Riva, meanwhile, is astounding, not just in the way she portrays the physical manifestation of her decline, particularly later in the film, but also earlier, when she knows she is fading and does not wish to do so. The look in her eyes, the sadness in her face, is crushing.
  40. Once it's done, you feel terrible for these people, for their lives, for their daughter, especially. Is that entertainment? To each his own, but it is compelling and, yes, rewarding.
  41. It’s all a neat trick. Or exercise. Or brain-teaser. Whatever you want to call it, Upstream Color is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. But once you have seen it, once isn’t going to be enough
  42. The acting is uniformly terrific, just a marvel to watch.
  43. Some of the behavior of Uriel and Eliezer will make you squirm. But Ashkenazi and Bar-Aba are so compelling in their performances of difficult men that you'll gladly suffer.
  44. There are surprises and plenty of action. What's good about Snowpiercer is how they all blend together; each element informs the other.
  45. Farhadi again burrows deep into his characters to tell an achingly intimate story, spinning grand tragedies out of minor lives in which the past lingers in the air, a perfume that haunts long after its wearer has left the room.
  46. This is a challenging, brilliantly constructed film that, despite its patience and quiet tone, is engrossing from its first moments, especially an opening scene that encapsulates Jandal's poignant contradictions.
  47. And now with Tangled, a delightfully fresh spin on "Rapunzel," the entertainment powerhouse delivers its first classic-caliber computer animation outside the Pixar family.
  48. Frank is a true original, a film that heads in one direction only to veer off in another, yet never loses sight of where it's going.
  49. In addition to the performances — truly, everyone is good — what stands out is Sachs' direction. It's measured, patient. The scenes play out as one imagines the characters' lives would.
  50. Ultimately, think of the movie as a puzzle box in which all the pieces fit together wonderfully well. Once you step back and take a look at how it’s all put together, you have to marvel at how cleverly constructed the whole thing is.
  51. David O. Russell's film makes use of some terrific performances - Christian Bale is brilliant, as is Melissa Leo, even by their lofty standards.
  52. There is so much love and understanding of all the genres the film is skewering that What We Do in the Shadows transcends its lowbrow inspirations. It's a real treat.
  53. Olsen makes us understand, as best we can, Martha's plight. She has a tenuous grip on reality, and, thanks to Olsen's performance and Durkin's sure hand, by the film's end, so do we.
  54. This is one of the strangest yet most satisfying movie experiences of the year, one of those films in which you can’t really appreciate what you’ve seen until it’s over. You just have to trust that the trip is worth the trouble. And it is.
  55. A host of British acting royalty, meanwhile, roams around the film: Derek Jacobi as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Claire Bloom as Queen Mary, Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill and so on.
  56. This is the kind of movie about teenagers that an adult audience should embrace. It's simply that good, and Stone is nothing short of wonderful.
  57. Ida
    Spare, haunting and in its own way beautiful, Ida is an absorbing film about discovering the truth, and the attendant price we pay to learn it.
  58. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a terrific film, if you give yourself to it. You should, because, with Amirpour's blending of influences and pop culture, she has created a true original.
  59. A sense of dread hovers over all these characters, and, by extension, the audience. It's in the air of the place, like oxygen. And vodka. Lots of vodka. Yet Zvyagintsev's achievement, or one of them, is creating a film that is not one long downer. It's not exactly a laugh riot, but we do care about these people.
  60. It's all or nothing with Black Swan. Either you embrace its headlong descent into madness brought on by the pressures of artistic perfection, compounded by smothering anxiety, or you reject it. It's that simple.
  61. The catharsis found here is far quieter, and much more effective, whether it be the pain expressed in a student's essay or the honesty found in a simple gesture, one that ends the film in beautifully moving fashion.
  62. It is undeniably fun to see such a great movie sliced and diced and put back together in so many ways. Too often when we see a movie we like, we just say it’s good, recommend it to someone and leave it at that.
  63. The film is slow at times, despite bursts of action, and Chandor could have let it breathe a little more. The seriousness grows stuffy every now and then, but these are small quibbles. A Most Violent Year is an outstanding movie about business and marriage, not necessarily in that order.
  64. The film is not an epic. It's not a masterpiece. But it is an involving study of men searching, searching for answers, for belonging, for a foothold in life at a time when footholds were hard to find.
  65. Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is absurd, ridiculous, over the top, overindulgent, overlong, overstuffed, over-everythinged. And that is precisely the point.
  66. As its title suggests, This Is Not a Film may not be what we're used to in a movie, but in many ways it's much, much more.
  67. Chomet's defiantly two-dimensional artwork is warm, inviting, beautiful, establishing immediately a comfort level, at least for audiences of, ahem, a certain age.
  68. It’s fascinating and funny while forcing us to consider the line between technology and art.
  69. James Ponsoldt’s film, and its stars, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, continually take us in unexpected directions, giving the film an unexpected depth. It feels real, its emotions earned.
  70. It's Douglas' movie - and you've got a fine movie.
  71. The Cabin in the Woods is a fantastic poke in the eye of our horror-movie expectations.
  72. 127 Hours is based on Ralston's memoir, and it's a really good movie because director Danny Boyle is a genius.
  73. This isn't a movie for everyone, but for fans of quirky charm leavened occasionally by uncomfortable, realistic exchanges, it's a small delight.
  74. The movie’s best moments are the small ones.
  75. Please Give is an almost perfectly rendered slice of life, buoyant with wonderful performances.
  76. Frozen is a delightful animated musical, a return to form for Disney animation with an intriguing story and terrific songs.
  77. There isn't a false note among the performances. It's the first movie for Hayward and Gilman; whatever awkwardness they display is appropriate. Willis may never have been better. Norton is fantastic. Murray and McDormand are also ... well, you get the idea.
  78. It's feel-good, no question about it. But it's also absorbing, important and inspiring.
  79. For a movie that seems at times to have no idea what it's trying to do, 'Silver Linings Playbook' is compulsively watchable. ... Throwing together so many movie tropes and blending them is both a brilliant idea and a scary one, but one that Russell proves well capable of handling.
  80. The Lego Movie is a delight, a funny, fast-moving film that should satisfy adults and children alike.
  81. As in a Le Carré novel, we're given long doses of the private lives of the protagonists, and we learn their secrets, their insecurities and the toll taken by the necessity of constant lying.
  82. Melancholia is an intense, exhausting experience. That may not sound appealing, and for some, it won't be. But nor should it be off-putting. Proceed with caution, perhaps. But proceed nevertheless.
  83. For much of the movie Morris simply lets the loquacious McKinney talk, and she never, ever stops. And she never disappoints.
  84. The Act of Killing is a horrifying film, a surreal experience that explores the limits of human cruelty. It’s a film that is absolutely hard to watch. It’s also a film that absolutely should be seen.
  85. The whole film is an exercise in trust and the lack thereof. In the end, it’s a kind of horror film, really, a reminder that these sorts of things were endured by so many for so long, with hope an unlikely ally.
  86. A mixture of magical realism, Southern gothic, coming-of-age movie, star turn for first-timers, disaster story and out-and-out strangeness. It's unlike any film you've seen.
  87. Not just a fascinating character study but a kind of horror movie as well.
  88. If it sounds like so much backroom politicking, it is. But it's exceptionally interesting, entertaining backroom politicking.
  89. Clever and current without being cynical, smart without being condescending, funny without being exclusionary to grown-ups or to kids.
  90. A terrific piece of entertainment. The financial lingo will please money wonks. But the film as a whole focuses more on the people and personalities who went into such a catastrophic failure.
  91. Boasting terrific acting, a brilliant soundtrack, outrageous outfits and hair, and a kinda-sorta based-on-fact story of ambition and greed, it’s relentless, in the best possible way.
  92. Although it can be harrowing and disturbing, Joachim Trier's film -- and Lie's performance -- are so masterful that the movie seems more like a searing portrait of self-discovery and realization, with the understanding that not everything you learn about yourself will be pleasant.
  93. What Scorsese has really made is a beautifully crafted love letter to movies, the passion of his life. What sounded like an odd pairing winds up being a perfect fit.
  94. David Fincher's meticulous direction pays off in spades. From the way he expresses the book's construction — not quite he-said/she-said, but a version of that — to the way the film looks (cold and uncaring, like its characters) to his work with actors (go Tyler Perry!), Gone Girl delivers.
  95. A delightful film - gentle, playful, creative and ultimately happy - though it's a tricky journey.
  96. Bursts at the seams with wild creativity.
  97. To say that the film is uncomfortable to watch is an understatement. It's searing. Yet it's also invaluable.
  98. The great success for Mendes and Craig, however, is that while Skyfall obviously has a great fondness for the past, it's not trapped there. It also anticipates Bond's future. In this immensely satisfying movie, so do we.
  99. This is not an anti-religious polemic, though it easily could have gone that way. Instead it is a much more thoughtful film and in some ways more troubling. No one is trying to do the wrong thing here, but, as with most things in life, it becomes increasingly hard to know what the right thing might be.
  100. Star Trek Into Darkness is a giddy homage to what’s come before it, but it also at least tries to go boldly where ... well, you know.

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