Arizona Republic's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,479 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 63% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 33% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Artist
Lowest review score: 10 The Legend of Hercules
Score distribution:
1,479 movie reviews
  1. A movie that makes little sense, is dumb when it's not being stupid and yet is still at times laugh-out-loud funny.
  2. As a film, it’s like science fiction, a visit to Planet Obscenely Wealthy. It is weirdly compelling.
  3. A perfectly serviceable thriller, smarter than many, but it has too much of a reputation to live up to.
  4. Wolf Totem doesn’t feel so much like fully formed narrative film as it does a trumped up National Geographic special on Inner Mongolia eager to make use of shiny new IMAX cameras.
  5. Although the film features a powerhouse performance by Clarke Peters as Da Good Bishop Enouch Rouse, it's saddled with a sloppy story.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There are complex situations, well-acted characters and a central relationship that feels authentic and mature — and yet it's missing some element to bring it fully into focus.
  6. Does the movie have anything new to say, anything different from John G. Avildsen's 1984 original, with Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita? Not particularly.
  7. It almost works. Actually, it does work, hitting the requisite number of hip notes. It just doesn’t dazzle, and that’s kind of a surprise.
  8. Fichtner is always good; just trying to sort out his accent here is kind of fun. Plotnick is the key, however. He plays it straight, even as the world around him grows weirder by the minute. Often he seems confused by the proceedings, which is fitting: Join the club, pal. But we’re having a better time of it than he is.
  9. Jason Schwartzman has become, without question, the go-to actor when you want a character with off-putting, even annoying traits, yet need to have the audience side with him just enough not to want to strangle him.
  10. Clearly set up to be the first film in a franchise. It's not a bad movie, but I wouldn't hold my breath for that.
  11. Just Go with It provides not only the title of the film but a one-step instruction for how best to enjoy it.
  12. It just sort of chugs along in predictable fashion, bolstered by a couple of good performances here, thrown off-track every now and then by implausible or unearned developments there, but overall a decent effort.
  13. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a well-made movie, well-acted (Costner and Branagh seem to be having an especially good time) and a pleasant diversion. They’ll probably make several more. But it doesn’t exactly put the “thrill” in action thriller.
  14. Goosebumps,”Rob Letterman’s film based on the R.L. Stine books (pretty much all of them), is silly, goofy, a little scary, a little poignant and a lot of fun.
  15. To the film's credit, it knows it's ridiculous. It's aiming for ridiculous, and it hits the mark as precisely as the strippers groove half-naked to their beats.
  16. The script makes the characters a little too witty and spot-on with cultural references, but what makes it work, to the extent that it does, is the innate liability of Sudeikis and Brie.
  17. No one wants to live in the past, but in The Peanuts Movie, the old stuff still stands up, while the new story is just flimsy glue holding the classic bits in place.
  18. The story is good enough to tell itself, and the filmmakers should have let it.
  19. It’s an assured debut from a rising star that nails tone and pace. It would be a solid summer thriller were it not grossly undermined by its astonishingly regressive treatment of its leading lady.
  20. The intentions are solid here, but the execution is not... But the actors are compelling, and the issue is, of course, always worth discussion. It's not a great movie, but, if nothing else, Frontera is worthwhile on those fronts.
  21. Despite his roots as an over-the-top stand-up comedian, Williams long ago proved himself to be one of those rare actors who can truly inhabit a role, and “Boulevard” is no exception. But that’s not always enough to keep the viewer’s eyes glued to the screen.
  22. It's an interesting idea that loses steam as it gains gore. The development of the story is much better than the payoff. It's fun while it lasts.
  23. It offers Bratt maybe his best role ever as Che, a tough-guy neighborhood personality struggling to come to grips with his son's homosexuality.
  24. The film really pops to life only when it gets a little messy, and it's never messier than when it loses itself in family dynamics.
  25. Forget Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. I'm backing Team David, as in David Slade, the director who has finally managed to breathe some life into the "Twilight" series, heretofore a deadly dull undead undertaking.
  26. Once the twist becomes apparent, the film stops being scary and you stop caring about Sarah, despite Olsen's graceful performance. It's a shame. If the film stayed on track, it might have been come close to being a classic. As it is now, it's a huge missed opportunity.
  27. The Woman isn't simply a gore-fest. It's just mostly a gore-fest, with a little more going on, as well.
  28. It’s all very competent, containing all the separate components we ask of period pieces and literary adaptations: great actors, dramatic staging, lush scenery, elaborate costuming. It looks as pretty as a tightly cinched corset, and leaves just as little room to breathe.
  29. Pacino and his director don't get back to basics — given that Pacino plays the title character, an aging rock star who long ago sold out, that wouldn't make sense. But the actor brings such a charming attitude to the role that his performance feels far more genuine than the story itself.
  30. There's a welcome lack of pretension to the proceedings. Stalwarts like Hurt and Ian McShane are on hand to class up the joint — everyone's got a British accent except for Johnson — while the predictable story bludgeons its way towards an inevitable conclusion.
  31. Kidman and Firth both deliver compelling performances, although this kind of plot-driven fare is no real challenge to their considerable acting talents.
  32. The film is interesting and at times enlightening, but it's all over the map.
  33. A too-good Gru is a boring Gru. No matter how much you crank up the adorability factor or offer up the occasional laugh, there is no getting around that.
  34. This trip isn’t so notable. It’s not bad. Some bits are enjoyable. But ultimately, other than some genuinely impressive visuals, it never makes a compelling-enough case to justify its existence.
  35. Hafstrom creates a nice, creepy vibe, especially for the first part of the movie, which has a menacing atmosphere. Too bad he doesn't sustain it.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Despite the heavy themes, "100-Year-Old Man" keeps the tone light. It is a comedy, after all. The laugh-o-meter needle hovers fairly consistently on "amused grin."
  36. Director Mark Waters manages to wring some charm out of the film, and out of Carrey.
  37. The movie, like Jackie, loosens up a bit, and her relationship with Ian adds a nice bit of warmth. Hunt directs the film, and at times its tonal shifts are a bit jarring.
  38. Odd indeed. In a good way, mostly.
  39. Zwick can't seem to decide what the movie is - a refreshingly frank comedy about sex and commitment, or a more-serious look at illness and its effect on relationships.
  40. Newbie director Aleksander Bach handles the project with a competent precision. The film doesn’t rise above the genre and the plot is muddled, but he pulls off the basic elements with a distinctly chilly European style.
  41. The best of the lot. It's not great, but the mean-spiritedness that permeated the first film and stuck around a bit for the second is mostly gone.
  42. Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is a hit-and-miss affair, easy on the eyes but nothing to write home — or a term paper — about.
  43. Acting (and story) take a back seat to the visual display. Eubank shows confidence with each shot, whether it takes place in a desert vista or a clinical government slab. What's it all mean? It's unclear, except meaning that Eubank is a talent to watch.
  44. Thanks to a good cast and a willingness to stray fairly far afield from the source material, it’s better than you might think.
  45. The acting is good, the story of doomed lovers suitably tragic. But the film is never quite moving in the way one would hope.
  46. Vacth is good throughout. It's tough to make a disaffected character hold your interest, but she does.
  47. Interesting as it is, Narco Cultura aims to tell the story of what’s happened in Juarez and in Mexico (and, by virtue of its immense appetite for drugs, the U.S.). Instead, it feels more like a couple of intriguing chapters.
  48. There are few issues more bitterly divisive than abortion, with emotions and rhetoric running at fever pitch. October Baby is a faith-based movie that resides staunchly in the pro-life camp. Yet directors Andrew and Jon Erwin, who also contributed to the story, rarely let their film get didactic, instead going for a more low-key approach.
  49. None of the characters, save Ada, is interesting enough to sustain the creaky joints of the convention of the story mechanism.
  50. Despite the lethal force that inevitably gets applied to poor Lisbeth, we never really fear for her safety, but we do fear for her future happiness. That is where the real drama lies.
  51. Probably it's a combination of those and other elements that leads to Diaz's bad teacher not being as bad as she might have been and Bad Teacher not as good as it could have been.
  52. The film looks terrific, with a fantastical forest coming to 3-D life. Swooping birds, flying arrows and more make good use of the technology. But the best films use technology as a storytelling device, not as a substitute for story itself.
  53. While the good outweigh the bad, it's a close race. But what is good, particularly a heartbreaking performance by Allison Janney, is really good, enough so that Colfer emerges as a talent worth watching on the page, not just on the screen.
  54. The movie drags on way too long, but there are things to like.
  55. There's nothing bad about Skateland, in fact, particularly for those old enough to remember the clothes, the feathered hair and the soundtrack. There's just nothing new, or anything that hasn't been done before, and better.
  56. Although it brings nothing new to the con-artist fold, or even anything thrilling, Focus is a seductive enough rehash that benefits from the built-in pleasures of the trade.
  57. It’s easy to roll your eyes at what we see in “One Track Heart,” but harder to dismiss the happiness and peace on display here.
  58. Slow-moving and occasionally ponderous in tone, "Creation" nonetheless is an intriguing portrait of a man and a time that changed everything.
  59. It’s engaging at times and wonderful to look at, but feels like it’s on the cusp of something bigger. But whatever that bigger thing is, it never arrives.
  60. Delicacy is not a very good movie. But it is entertaining enough -- barely enough -- to make it worth seeing.
  61. From its bland title to its fair-to-middlin' story, mediocre is the word that fits How Do You Know perfectly.
  62. The filmmakers work at creating a new take on an old protagonist and then don’t really have much new to do with him once they’ve achieved that. It’s a good effort. Just not an entirely successful one.
  63. A lush but fumbling literary melodrama outfitted with an attractive, generations-spanning cast and a puzzle box of three competing narratives.
  64. [Pacino] and Green sometimes overplay their hand. That is, overplay the underplaying, which sounds patently ridiculous but is the exact description warranted here.
  65. It's easy to get sucked into Begin Again, to enjoy the friendly performances and the goes-down-easy songs, and to not even notice until it's over that the film is more a feel-good fairy tale than anything else. We might not have seen much that was truly meaningful in the end, but it was warm and fuzzy while it lasted.
  66. The overall feel is one of a generic, feel-good drama, albeit one with Harrison Ford stomping around most of the time as if someone kicked him in the shins. One suspects that this is a story that deserved better.
  67. After a predictable opening hour, Paradise Lost manages to deliver a surprise or two as it switches gears into a full-on thriller. But it never gets close to the epic heights to which it aspires.
  68. The jokes only make up for the pedestrian plot for so long. There was a time when animated fare with generic stories sufficed. But now we expect more from them, because they have, pardon the pun, evolved. The Croods, like its title family, hasn’t.
  69. Unfortunately, screenwriter Christopher Bertolini has given Eckhart and Liebesman a story so riddled with war-movie cliches that it contains almost nothing else.
  70. The problem with V/H/S, a compilation of sometimes scary horror shorts loosely bound by an overarching plot, is that, no matter how savage, evil or sadistic the killer, the victims almost always come off as bigger jerks.
    • Arizona Republic
  71. In Run All Night, Neeson gives us more of the same, although with Collet-Serra's assistance, it's dressed up in a more interesting package.
  72. The ambitious visual stylings don’t do enough to buoy a film that lacks a certain soaring spirit. If the adaptation is serviceable, it’s also dull — a disappointing fate for a story that’s anything but.
  73. There is a sweetness to Radnor's character and to his film. What there is not is a sense of urgency, of a desire to find out what happens next.
  74. Insidious: Chapter 3 is almost more a spoof of a classic like "The Exorcist" than it is an homage. It's not scary horror, it's silly horror, and the audience is in on the joke.
  75. "Southern fried" is as good a phrase as any to describe The Paperboy...It fits, really, because it causes the same reaction. You eat a mess of fried okra or tater tots, and it's tasty going down. It's only after you're done that you feel a little queasy. [18 Oct 2012]
    • Arizona Republic
  76. Our teenage years are so overwrought with emotion; not to put them in play at all makes Brandy feel like little more than a cipher for Plaza’s deadpan dark humor. And that’s pleasurable enough for a quick fling, but hardly the foundation of a lasting relationship.
  77. If you're willing to accept Killer Elite as a shoot-'em-up action movie with good actors taking the spots of the usual lunk heads (but spouting the usual nonsense), you'll be pleased with the film.
  78. A Madea Christmas, for all its narrative shortcomings, also has plenty of laughs.
  79. What you would expect from the third film in an unlikely franchise: less of the same.
  80. Subtlety may not be Watkins' strong suit, but he knows how to frame a scene for maximum tension and dread.
  81. At Middleton is an almost completely inauthentic little romance that is so genuinely pleasant you’ll enjoy it anyway.
  82. The film spends more time lingering on Emma's love affairs than it does in making sense of them; her declarations of passion and despair lack both.
  83. Attractively staged and spiced through with raunch, About Last Night is still a pleasant enough romp, even if you have no intention of returning its phone calls.
  84. "I didn't hate it" isn't a high watermark for praise, but when it comes to most Sparks adaptations, it's practically as good as winning an Oscar.
  85. Even though Five Armies is the shortest Hobbit movie, it also is the least thrilling as it chugs toward the finish line weighted down with all the added characters and confusing subplots that have been tacked on along the way.
  86. It comes down to a matter of tone, and Clooney can’t really settle on one. The Monuments Men is in no way a bad movie. Just, with this bunch, a disappointing one.
  87. There's nothing particularly earth-shattering here, but maybe that's appropriate for a film honoring food that aims to be mouthwatering but unpretentious.
  88. Quirky, funny and a little claustrophobic (by design), it’s confident enough in what it’s trying to accomplish to take the chance on the title. And what he’s trying to accomplish is ambitious.
  89. Too often Washington is made to simply sit and observe -- which is not a fatal mistake because he is such a good actor that even then he's worth watching. Worse, though, at times he's gone altogether. That's not the only flaw in the fairly straightforward thriller, but it's the biggest.
  90. Even as big-budget blockbusters go, this is a hard movie to connect with.
  91. Ultimately, Revenge of the Electric Car is like meeting with an overeager salesman. In real life, that's not necessarily an unpleasant experience, but it also doesn't last 90 minutes.
  92. What spares Learning to Drive is an awful lot of comedic talent and artistic good will. Clarkson and Kingsley imbue average material with easy charm and wit, clicking onscreen with the smooth platonic chemistry of old friends.
  93. You also aren't sure what the film is about or if it's about anything at all, except fluid filmmaking.
  94. The movie is never boring, but there may be some information overload for laymen in the audience.
  95. The good news is that it's better than the second "Men in Black." The bad news is: not all that much. There are a couple of clever ideas, a few funny moments, a wealth of computer-generated special effects. But it's hollow at its core, and the asides have lost some of their spark.
  96. The problem with Peyton Reed's film is that when he shrinks the always-affable Paul Rudd, he shrinks a big part of Rudd's charisma, too.
  97. The best thing about the film is neither the top-notch CGI nor the shallow moral lessons but the performance of Will Poulter ("Son of Rambow") as Lucy and Edmund's insufferable cousin Eustace Scrubb.
  98. This is an incredibly creative film, but, unlike other Gondry films such as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and the documentary "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?" it doesn't add up to much.

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