Arizona Republic's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 990 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 66% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 31% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Her
Lowest review score: 10 The Legend of Hercules
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 50 out of 990
990 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. It is a remarkable achievement.
  3. It's one of the best movies of the year, one of the best entries ever in the Way We Live Now oeuvre.
  4. A great movie, an astonishing achievement on nearly every level.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Toy Story 3 is very much a worthy entry in the series, a movie well worth making (and seeing). It continues the legacy. It just doesn't expand upon it.
  10. What a great movie.
  11. Using the interviews along with news footage and occasional re-enactments, Moreh conducts a kind of primer in the organization’s history, which is, in its own way, a history of modern Israel. It’s fascinating.
  12. A genuine triumph, a great movie with astounding performances so natural, so genuine, that you forget it's a movie.
  13. Her
    Her is an outstanding movie, in part because of its originality, but also because of its execution.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Chen captures with both humor and heartbreaking realism the complicated mechanics of the family dynamic and how outside forces work to shape it.
  18. Yun's performance is genuinely beautiful, a haunting expression of life, of its disappointments and its possibilities, rendered in a way that befits the title.
  19. 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.
  20. To say that the film is uncomfortable to watch is an understatement. It's searing. Yet it's also invaluable.
  21. Checking in at nearly three hours and so full of passions and appetites, it’s impossible for it not to exhaust you.
  22. Scarier than anything you'll find in a horror movie this time of year.
  23. 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.
  24. It's a movie that should be seen, a throwback to a looser, freer cinema. Wake in Fright has a tremendous '70s vibe to it, a "they-don't-make-them-like-this-anymore" feel that is as welcome as a cold beer in the Outback. [25 Oct 2012]
  25. It's a terrific movie.
  26. It's a sort of slow-boil Russian noir, if that genre exists, and if it doesn't, it does now. It's also a statement on class discrepancy in post-Soviet Russia. Arrogance, betrayal, crime and violence are all part of the story, directed and co-written by Andrei Zvyagintsev.
  27. It feels like a filmmaker’s exercise rather than an involving motion picture. Although you may never be bored with All Is Lost, you are rarely fully engaged.
  28. With shifting loyalties, unlikely heroes, truths revealed and a little help from friends, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 winds the series up in a most-satisfying fashion.
  29. Particle Fever does an excellent job of laying out what's at stake as it documents the creation and fine-tuning of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
  30. On some level Moneyball is about loyalty: loyalty to an idea, loyalty to a partnership forged by desperation, loyalty to the values you believe in. Whether that was Lewis' intention in the book, or Beane's intention in taking the risk, doesn't matter. It's the formula Miller came up with for the film, and with the team of Pitt and Hill, it's a winning one.
  31. Ernest & Celestine draws on plenty of classics, animated and otherwise, for inspiration, but the film manages to be delightful on its own offbeat terms.
  32. If it sounds like so much backroom politicking, it is. But it's exceptionally interesting, entertaining backroom politicking.
  33. Watching the film, emotions range from sadness, of course, to frustration to outright anger.
  34. Nebraska is as cold and unforgiving as its setting, yet just as stunning.
  35. Mark Ruffalo, in just the right amount of stubble, grease and leather, plays Paul, about as cool an instant dad as a SoCal kid named Laser could hope for.
  36. 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.
  37. It’s a Fellini-esque carnival of humanity on display, a more debauched phantasmagoria reminiscent of “La Dolce Vita.” But “La Dolce Vita” created the paparazzi; The Great Beauty takes place in a world where the paparazzi have existed for decades.
  38. Simply put, Argo is why we go to movies.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. A sparkling documentary in which we can't trust that anything in it is true. And yet you would never call it a hoax.
  42. It's just as accurately described as a bunch of British guys sitting around acting. But what actors! The cast includes Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Mark Strong,Ciarán Hinds and Toby Jones.
  43. Not just a fascinating character study but a kind of horror movie as well.
  44. It isn’t just a terrific movie. It’s an important one.
  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. Engagement with the enemy isn't a possibility here. It's a certainty. The unit will face fire daily, sometimes as often as four or five times. The stress is incredible, the courage displayed even more so.
  47. Beautiful, baffling, poetic, pretentious, it's one big ball of moviedom. Malick tackles the whole shooting match, pondering (and showing) the creation of the universe, life itself, death and the afterlife, and everything in between.
  48. Greenwood is fantastic; his Meek occasionally lets down his facade of omniscience - but only occasionally. And Williams gives Emily not dignity exactly, but a calm, steely insistence on survival.
  49. If you're willing to let a movie wash over you and work at what it might mean, you'll love "Holy Motors," Leos Carax's surreal ode to … identity? Movies? Performance?
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. Gordon-Levitt has been so terrific for a while now that he's become a magnetic presence; Willis is also on a nice streak, not as strong here as in "Moonrise Kingdom," but still quite good.
  53. 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.
  54. Jean-Marc Vallee’s film is anything but standard, thanks to an astonishing performance by Matthew McConaughey.
  55. Blackfish is a disturbing movie, one that will make you rethink parks like SeaWorld and their value.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. he beauty of The Wind Rises — and it really is gorgeous — does not mask the troublesome aspects of its story, or of human nature itself.
  59. 20 Feet From Stardom is frequently sad and frustrating. But while there’s heartbreak aplenty, the film doesn’t function as a pitying paean to unmined talent — it’s ultimately a celebration of the unsung.
  60. For anyone with an interest in dance, Pina is a must-see. For anyone not interested in contemporary dance, Pina is a should-see. It could change your mind.
  61. The naturalistic style Michod employs adds to the sense of dread.
  62. 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.
  63. Captain Phillips is a voyage well-worth taking.
  64. There are many remarkable things about Gloria, Sebastián Lelio’s film about a woman in her late 50s seeking love or something like it. Foremost is the performance by Paulina García in the title role.
  65. 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.
  66. The love the two have for each other, particularly she for him, is obvious and moving. So, too, is not just the desire to create, but the need to.
  67. It's this simple: If you like movies, you need to see Side by Side.
  68. 127 Hours is based on Ralston's memoir, and it's a really good movie because director Danny Boyle is a genius.
  69. Chomet's defiantly two-dimensional artwork is warm, inviting, beautiful, establishing immediately a comfort level, at least for audiences of, ahem, a certain age.
  70. Villeneuve's telling of her story - and of her children's - is painful, searing and something close to brilliant.
  71. The only flaw here is the score. It's beautiful but so obtrusive, particularly at the start, that it threatens to turn the proceedings into melodrama.
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. It is gripping from the start, not just because of the quality of the music, but because of Marley's magnetic, challenging personality, as well.
  77. Slow, stark and sometimes surreptitiously beautiful, Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon is as cold and clinical an examination of evil as you could imagine.
  78. Le Havre is a small bit of movie magic, a story that plays more as a fable even as it deals with something as topical as immigration.
  79. The Lego Movie is a delight, a funny, fast-moving film that should satisfy adults and children alike.
  80. The movie’s best moments are the small ones.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. A delightful film - gentle, playful, creative and ultimately happy - though it's a tricky journey.
  84. Whatever you like or hate, or like and hate, about Quentin Tarantino's movies, is in full display here. It's long (too long) and bloody, profane and gleeful, with movie-genre references stuffed so tightly into each scene they practically spill out onto the theater floor. Restraint is not his strong suit...Entertainment is, and Django has plenty of that.
  85. 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.
  86. 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
  87. A delicious trifle for anyone who has ever dreamt of bantering about the cinema with Luis Buñuel or lounging at the piano to hear Cole Porter sing "Let's Do It."
  88. A mix of comedy, science fiction, nostalgia, adolescent wish-fulfillment and beer, beer, beer, its parts shouldn’t fit together as neatly as they do. But somehow Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg have again managed to make a movie that is knowing, touching and hilarious.
  89. 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.
  90. 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.
  91. The film is nakedly candid, but Stritch is also a ham who is almost always aware of the camera.
  92. 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.
  93. The Queen of Versailles is funny, sad, infuriating, instructive. It's the American Dream inflated to ridiculous extremes, until it bursts.
  94. A gorgeously shot, well-acted Western that resonates more the more you let it settle.
  95. Along the way, Koichi and Ryunosuke grow up a little bit; Kore-eda isn't opposed to letting reality intrude on their lives. It's not sad, but more wistful -- the young actors make it so. They are delightful. So, too, is I Wish.
  96. 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.
  97. The acting is uniformly terrific, just a marvel to watch.
  98. 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.
  99. Kapadia does an outstanding job of getting at what Senna meant to Brazilians and to his sport. The man himself was a tougher nut to crack, but maybe that's best. A little mystery suits a good story, and Senna is definitely that.
  100. 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.

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