Baltimore Sun's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,998 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 42% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The Visitor
Lowest review score: 0 Deck the Halls
Score distribution:
1,998 movie reviews
  1. One happy surprise after another, even when the content is bittersweet or sad.
  2. A thriller from the inside out, a romance from the outside in: that's the double-edged brilliance of The Constant Gardener.
  3. Just when you might give up on young American film directors making art the way Bergman and Kurosawa did, along comes Bennett Miller's quiet, tumultuous Capote.
  4. You go to Good Night, and Good Luck expecting inspiration, and you get it. It's also unexpectedly subtle, tense, and challenging, complex both in its take on its subject and in its craftsmanship. So the movie brings you to your feet - and, at times, to tears.
  5. Park's imagination is as fecund as the bunnies that bob up and down from their rabbit holes in every corner of the Tottington garden.
  6. It gives you such an intense hit of creativity that afterward you may find yourself trying to jete out of the theater and into the street.
  7. What Phoenix and Witherspoon accomplish in this movie is transcendent. They act with every bone and inch of flesh and facial plane, and each tone and waver of their voice.
  8. Overflowing with comedy and drama, The Boys of Baraka unfolds on the mean streets of Baltimore and in the wide-open spaces of Kenya.
  9. Plunges into an imaginative landscape as large as all creation - and never slackens its barreling pace or shrinks its panoramic scope.
  10. It's a topical, iconoclastic documentary with the warmth and pace of a first-rate personal essay.
  11. The result is a performance film that conjures a vision of American life as moving, funny and rueful as John Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Almost everything that happens - and almost everything happens within Flama's apartment - is food for dry humor and very recognizable humanity.
  12. The offhand wit and casual self-revelation of Johnston's best words draw you deeper into the mysteries of his character. Feuerzeig is a music-lover to his bones.
  13. There's no cheap uplift to their victory, no pop catharsis. What's great about United 93 is that you never feel it's just a movie - even though, as a movie, it's terrific.
  14. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu runs the same 2 1/2 hours as "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," but what a difference a comic-dramatic purpose makes.
  15. A masterpiece.
  16. Lasseter's inclusive, utterly distinctive sensibility makes Cars all that it can be. His embrace of the comic-dramatic friction between innovation and tradition infiltrates every aspect of the movie - the look, the characters, the story.
  17. A down-home-exquisite musical dramedy.
  18. Its knockout success is a testament to Gore's eloquence and humanity and to the dexterity of his director, Davis Guggenheim.
  19. It's an experience that blows your mind, clears it and educates it.
  20. Heading South is a hydra-headed love story, as dangerous as it is heated and complex.
  21. You won't see a brighter, truer affirmation of the All-American messed-up improvisational family than Little Miss Sunshine.
  22. This movie is both sad and inspiring. It offers proof that Lennon's wit and art are everlasting.
  23. Mirren brings intellect, humor and romance to the role of Elizabeth II.
  24. Thelma Schoonmaker, a Scorsese collaborator for over a quarter-century, did the bull's-eye editing. The moviemaking throughout is swift, unaffected, masterly.
  25. Borat is a terrific, risky comic creation: a village idiot for the global village.
  26. The Dixie Chicks may never regain their prolonged eminence on the country charts. However, the art and entertainment value of this movie (and of their latest album) is off the charts in the best way.
  27. In The History Boys, as in all of Bennett's work, irony is what the characters live and breathe - and I mean irony in its truest sense, of using language to present opposite and often sly alternatives to accepted wisdom.
  28. This Filthy World does many things, including transform tabloid commentary into comic art. But at its best, it shows that the child is father to the wild man.
  29. The unique, serious fun of this movie - and forbidding reputation aside, it is exhilarating - lies in the way that Wiesler, Dreyman and Sieland end up collaborating unknowingly on their own Design for Living (for a while, it's like Noel Coward for moral cowards).
  30. The ovation that Hudson wins from the movie's audience is one of those miraculous moments when a performer's artistry breaks through the screen and makes you feel part of a live audience. I haven't experienced anything like it since Barbra Streisand sang "My Man" at the end of her astonishing debut in Funny Girl.
  31. The tough beauty of the picture is that it lets each viewer weigh the costs and benefits to Gardner. It's a genuinely transporting inspirational movie because it's also a cautionary tale. It doesn't downplay the hero's occasional clumsiness or pigheadedness.
  32. Venus is a magnificent tribute to actors by filmmakers who know they are the essential human material of theater and the screen.
  33. With a surgical saw instead of a hatchet, del Toro takes apart patriarchy and opportunistic religion as well as fascism.
  34. Takes a chaotic moment in the long history of "the Troubles" and turns it into a keening, air-clearing epic.
  35. Killer of Sheep is a miracle movie because it's receiving its first theatrical release 30 years after it was made and because, as a movie, it's miraculous.
  36. In less accomplished hands, Black Book could have been a hopeless mishmash. But Verhoeven proves a sure-handed storyteller, which might come as a surprise, as well as a terrific visual stylist, which shouldn't.
  37. The enthralling documentary Crazy Love is about how a high-flying lawyer's obsession with a young beauty blinded her, metaphorically and literally.
  38. Ratatouille is a sublime dish of a movie, and the company's piece de resistance.
  39. In its entirety, Hairspray has the funny tilt that only a director-choreographer like Shankman can give to a movie.
  40. If any movie can rid Americans of "Iraq war fatigue," it's Charles Ferguson's muscular documentary No End in Sight.
  41. Like "Hairspray," it's not just a spinoff but a wised-up family comedy that's spirited and inventive. It retains the farcical belligerence of the TV comedy but also heightens the series' oddball warmth and expands on its Hellzapoppin' slapstick.
  42. Deep Water is a movie that will connect to anyone whose private fantasies and creative plots have landed them in hot water.
  43. It's both irrefutably concrete and irresistibly uplifting.
  44. A genuine odyssey: a journey to self-knowledge.
  45. No Country for Old Men is about the kind of amoral madness that can sweep across a country and redefine a landscape. It's so admirably lean and sinewy that it deserves not merely a rave review but a Johnny Cash song about matter-of-fact killings in shady hotels and sun-scoured landscapes.
  46. A rapturous, ruefully funny flight of sympathetic imagination. Featuring the first movie role for Frank Langella that ranks with his best stage parts, it's a rare kind of American movie.
  47. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly provides an ecstatic lift for movielovers, despite the tragic subject.
  48. Through unexpected and cathartic twists, this movie leaves you with atonement and redemption.
  49. It is, at once, among the most riveting and hard-to-watch documentaries of recent years.
  50. Without a single gunshot (and just one flick of a switchblade), it turns into an existential suspense film with the highest stakes imaginable: the survival of the human spirit.
  51. As the film opens with, predictably, "Vertigo" and its "Hello, Hello" refrain, it's his steady presence and unforced charisma that anchors each performance, allowing Bono to emote for all he's worth.
  52. This movie has a tone, look and mood all its own - it's a joyously bittersweet piece of visual music about isolation, melancholy and everyone's yearning for transcendence, through love, art or both.
  53. The Counterfeiters is in its own smart, trim fashion "The Bridge on the River Kwai" of concentration-camp sagas. Also based (like Kwai) on a real-life story, this movie starts small but becomes a miniature epic of overreach and moral drift.
  54. As a writer-director, McCarthy, like the characters and the places that he suffuses with emotion, has poetry in him - and he knows how to let it out. He has a talent for demarcating those spaces in which characters can become whoever they want to be.
  55. A glorious medieval war movie. It's about war as the ultimate pitch of conflict that tries men's souls, and women's, too.
  56. Though I love McCarthy's movie, The Edge of Heaven - with its virtuoso narrative and frames packed to bursting with unruly life - has the potency of "The Visitor" squared.
  57. The movie does work, spectacularly.
  58. The documentary American Teen is the most realistic movie you will see all summer.
  59. One of the favorite sayings of journalists and politicians is "You don't want to see how the sausage is made." Marsh's movie says you do want to see how a miracle is made, even if the details can be just as unsavory.
  60. Enraging and inspiring. It boasts the miraculous quality of finding a letter in a bottle and discovering that its authors are alive.
  61. It's exhilarating in an authentic, pathos-streaked way to see Kearns, through Greg Kinnear's inspired characterization of a wary obsessive, representing himself during his trial against Ford Motor Co. for stealing his design.
  62. Hathaway carries you on an emotional whirligig that can be horrifying and funny, hopeful and devastating.
  63. British director Mike Leigh has made the first great comedy for our new depression.
  64. Slumdog Millionaire dives headfirst into something greater than a subculture - the enormous unchronicled culture of India's mega-slums - and achieves even more sweeping impact.
  65. At last, a great contemporary holiday movie that's strictly for grown-ups - a holiday movie that really is a moviegoer's holiday from desultory daily fare.
  66. Brad Pitt's sensitive performance helps make 'Benjamin Button' a timeless masterpiece.
  67. The Class ranks with the very best films ever made about teaching, and it's unlike any English or American film about teaching ever made.
  68. Views war from the inside out and the outside in. It carries the shock of full disclosure.
  69. Nothing is as it seems in State of Play, a crackerjack political thriller in which no individual, profession or institution gets away clean.
  70. Up
    Everything about Up is an up, in the most visceral and poetic ways.
  71. For Americans, Gomorrah will play like every other Mafia epic - and no other Mafia epic.
  72. As magical as it is realistic.
  73. Uproarious, moving and thrilling.
  74. What emerges is a fallen warrior's tale: the inside story of a man bloodied and bowed.
  75. The Hurt Locker redefines war-film electricity.
  76. A scary movie that's also funny, touching and good for you.
  77. Best of all, Ponyo never ceases to be a genuine odyssey in short pants.
  78. It's cathartic and exhilarating.
  79. You'll never see a more tactile expression of the intimacy between artists and their instruments than in Davis Guggenheim's elating It Might Get Loud.
  80. Great American movies are, these days especially, few and far between, so let's everybody take a deep breath and mark the moment: Hoop Dreams, all three hours' worth, is a great American movie. It's got the sting of drama and the ache of truth; it's even got the sting of truth and the ache of drama.
  81. Mirrormask is a gorgeous psychedelic cameo of a movie.
  82. Bitterly funny about divorce, it's even sharper and more original about intellectuals and their discontent.
  83. It's one nutty holiday fruitcake that is appetizing and tasty.
  84. A lovely, mischievous Casanova that will sweep you off your feet.
  85. Despite its haphazard rhythms and longueurs, The New World achieves an emotional payoff unlike anything else in Malick's work. It's all you think his movies are, and more.
  86. A masterpiece of psychological suspense.
  87. It's an authentic, harrowing tale of heroism.
  88. Ask the Dust is more than an amorous period piece. It's a strongly bitter, strongly sweet poem in prose and motion.
  89. Thanks to a combination of fluid camerawork and careful pacing, the Belgian writer-directors have produced a compelling narrative that sounds, if not a cautionary note, a worried one.
  90. A Big Sleep with underage bozos, a Maltese Falcon where the stuff that dreams are made of rests in the lockers of a well-worn high school, Brick is a remarkable oddity, audacious and engaging.
  91. The film stays true to its characters and keeps the laughs coming in what may be the closest thing in spirit to the old Warner Bros. Looney Tunes to hit the screen in years. And when it comes to animation designed primarily for laughs, praise doesn't come any higher than that.
  92. Russian Dolls never resorts to sitcom moments as it explores the transformation of friendship into love. All the characters here are believably appealing and refreshingly three-dimensional, and the situations they find themselves in have the ring of truth. You leave this film wanting to know these people, wanting the best for them.
  93. Near letter-perfect.
  94. The only thing that tops Cave here is Cohen himself at the end, singing "Tower of Song" with U2.
  95. Strangers With Candy -- a perfect title -- is filled with straight-faced loonies. It's a nutcake you actually want to eat.
  96. It sheds the series' famous and influential pastel look and plunges its cast of villains and warriors into the 21st century.
  97. The movie lives in its small details.
  98. Much of the film's virtue lies in its straight-ahead narrative and uncomplicated morality. That and the undeniable charisma and virtuosity of its star.
  99. A spare, trembling lyric poem of a movie that uses stillness and facial blips the way melodramas use showdowns and action films big bangs.

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