Arizona Republic's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,865 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 62% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 34% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 50/50
Lowest review score: 10 The Legend of Hercules
Score distribution:
1865 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. Marielle Heller’s debut directorial effort is incisive and universal, despite its very specific and detailed setting.
  4. Inside Out is terrific, a mind-bending concept turned into a brilliant film, a return to form for Pixar not just in terms of quality but in taking risks — risks that pay off.
  5. Gosling is terrific, playing hangdog and irritable yet still managing to be someone you root for (even if you want to smack him in the head every now and then). Stone is even better. It’s her best performance, and that’s saying something. Their relationship, their chemistry, everything about it, and everything about La La Land is, well, magic.
  6. Moonlight is a minor miracle, a movie that mines beauty out of the ugliest situations, and a glimmer of hope from heartbreak.
  7. This is a wonderful movie.
  8. 50/50 is a tremendous movie. It's also a really funny one, which doesn't mean it won't make you cry.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. A genuine triumph, a great movie with astounding performances so natural, so genuine, that you forget it's a movie.
  12. What a great movie.
  13. Thanks to the nicely layered characters and a near-perfect mix of action and merriment, the movie feels wonderfully vivid and alive.
  14. 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.
  15. The movie just hits the nail on the head: that sense that we're just going through life, trying to navigate it the best way we can in each moment. There are a lot of things to love about Truman — including the dog — but that could be one of its best and biggest attributes.
  16. Manchester by the Sea is a masterpiece in a minor key, an exploration of grief that never lets its characters — or its audience — off the hook. It manages this even when it’s funny, which is surprisingly often.
  17. Foster was born to this kind of role, rugged but soulful, and he’s outstanding. The surprise is Pine, giving by far his best performance.
  18. A great movie, an astonishing achievement on nearly every level.
  19. 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.
  20. It is a remarkable achievement.
  21. Her
    Her is an outstanding movie, in part because of its originality, but also because of its execution.
  22. 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
  23. The visuals are stunning, perhaps the most fully realized of any film.
  24. 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.
  25. Simply put, Argo is why we go to movies.
  26. McCarthy and his brilliant cast make hard work and truth-telling inspiring.
  27. Birdman is a treat. But it's also more than that. It's a full-fledged wonder.
  28. The Tribe is that rare breed of film so masterful in execution it requires watching once, yet so devastating you may never be able to stomach seeing it again.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. It makes you think. And that's invaluable.
  32. Once the movie is over and you realize how the filmmaker has turned the tables, you can't help but be amused — and amazed.
  33. People Places Things is filled with that kind of heart-piercing comedy that makes a viewer cringe and laugh at the same time.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. There was a cry from Wallace fans when Segel was cast (some are still up in arms), but he’s terrific. So is Eisenberg, in an even more difficult role.
  37. Carol is a simple story that sneaks up on you. Todd Haynes takes such care in the telling of it — and the gorgeous depiction of it — that it's impossible not to be moved.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. Jean-Marc Vallee’s film is anything but standard, thanks to an astonishing performance by Matthew McConaughey.
  41. Take my word for it, or better yet go find out for yourself: Big Hero 6 is a treat.
  42. 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.
  43. Scarier than anything you'll find in a horror movie this time of year.
  44. Maren Ade's film, an Oscar nominee for best foreign-language film, is almost painful to watch at times, but it's also funny and touching and reflective of the world, all courtesy of Ade and terrific performances by Peter Simonischek as a goofy father who refuses to act his age and Sandra Hüller as his daughter, as buttoned-up as her dad isn't.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. A perverse delight, the rare film that makes you feel good about feeling bad (or at least watching others do so).
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. The Handmaiden is everything, in that it is a mystery, a graphically erotic romance, a black comedy and a little bit of a horror story. And, of course, really good.
  54. It isn’t just a terrific movie. It’s an important one.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. 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
  58. The acting is uniformly terrific, just a marvel to watch.
  59. 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.
  60. There are surprises and plenty of action. What's good about Snowpiercer is how they all blend together; each element informs the other.
  61. The performances are remarkable. So is the way Farhadi tells the story.
  62. 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.
  63. It Comes at Night is soaked in uncertainty. It makes us uncomfortable because we want answers and can’t have them. And if there’s anyone who knows how to make an audience uncomfortable, it’s writer and director Trey Edward Shults.
  64. 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.
  65. And now with Tangled, a delightfully fresh spin on "Rapunzel," the entertainment powerhouse delivers its first classic-caliber computer animation outside the Pixar family.
  66. Throughout the film Famuyiwa, who also wrote the script, uses split screens and backs up the film and jumps around and freezes the action, but he's not showing off. He uses these techniques to tell his story, and doesn't overuse them to the point of annoyance.
  67. 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.
  68. It's a fine line between being gratingly self-conscious and really smart; more times than not, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl comes out on the winning side of that equation.
  69. 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.
  70. 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.
  71. David O. Russell's film makes use of some terrific performances - Christian Bale is brilliant, as is Melissa Leo, even by their lofty standards.
  72. 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.
  73. It's a joy to watch Beckinsale attack the material — Lady Susan is one of those people whose interest in themselves and their own well-being is so great that it becomes contagious.
  74. What Rukun wants, one suspects, is closure. What he gives the rest of us is a face in which to see the pain the butchers caused, a reminder that the architects of a massive tragedy remain present and unrepentant, the personification of the evil men do and a warning that it could happen again.
  75. 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.
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. It actually is quite funny. It is also warm and empathetic, though a viewer's reaction to the film might vary depending how they view the subject of assisted suicide.
  79. Director Craig Zobel (he made the creepily effective “Compliance”) lets the story unfold in wonderfully hushed fashion.
  80. Only Yesterday is a mature work of art, no matter what the genre, no matter what the format, no matter what.
  81. Kaufman and King somehow give felt puppets an independence they might otherwise have lacked. How? The magic of movies, I guess. Or, more likely, the magic of Kaufman’s mind.
  82. Its images are classic, its story immediate and urgent. That's a pretty vital combination.
  83. 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.
  84. 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.
  85. 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.
  86. The story is captivating from the very first moments.
  87. 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.
  88. 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.
  89. The most remarkable thing about Ira Sachs’ richly textured new film Little Men is how it manages to be about so much, and yet so little.
  90. 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.
  91. 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.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. 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.
  95. 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.
  96. Chomet's defiantly two-dimensional artwork is warm, inviting, beautiful, establishing immediately a comfort level, at least for audiences of, ahem, a certain age.
  97. The hidden magic in De Palma is Baumbach and Paltrow’s editing. The pacing is just right, and the stories flow, one from another. Sit back, relax, watch, listen and learn. It’s a good time at the movies.
  98. It’s fascinating and funny while forcing us to consider the line between technology and art.
  99. It's great when a movie messes with your head. And Ex Machina, screenwriter Alex Garland's directorial debut, does just that, pretty much from start to finish. The writer of "28 Days Later" and "Sunshine" purports to examine A.I., or artificial intelligence. What he's really after is something at once more exotic and more relatable — and infinitely less predictable: human nature.
  100. 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.

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