Baltimore Sun's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,001 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 43% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The Agronomist
Lowest review score: 0 Punisher: War Zone
Score distribution:
2,001 movie reviews
  1. It gets under your skin and into your head, and you don't want it to leave.
  2. A near-great British neo-noir, harsh yet hypnotic. Its psychological vortex can suck you in and leave you reeling.
  3. A thoughtful, engaging film.
  4. The movie's steady good humor and respect for character is pleasing - even energizing.
  5. If you have an ounce of romance in you, you'll sense your own inner Captain Blood emerge when Captain Shakespeare turns him into a dashing figure with a dangerous sword.
  6. The Breakfast Club meets Rear Window. The result should satisfy dating crowds from high school to night school.
  7. It's like a New York City equivalent of a Third World bazaar: It hums with nerviness and cunning. And this movie presents a tingling vision of a working neighborhood after hours. Night falls in Chop Shop like a comfort, a cloak or a shroud.
  8. A quiet, heartfelt story of love and loss.
  9. In every important way, Breach isn't just a solid thriller; it's also an ambitious and engrossing piece of narrative journalism.
  10. The whole film is about innocence and experience, and if it isn't a Blakean song, it is a sturdy and vibrant piece of prose.
  11. Who Killed the Electric Car? makes you feel that no good idea, let alone good deed, goes unpunished. Only the exuberance of the moviemaking keeps your spirits high.
  12. The stripped-down filmmaking preserves the abruptness and surprise of the happy (and unhappy) accidents Reverend Billy finds at every stop along the way, from Manhattan to Anaheim.
  13. Jacobson and his actors do so much with the characters that they leave an ambiguous residue of blood-streaked regrets and sadness.
  14. Despite the merry duo of Ford and Connery, The Last Crusade offered a familiar pursuit of the Holy Grail. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull makes a better move: It goes back to the future. Once again, the Indiana Jones series is the rare franchise that treasures knowledge and embraces the unknown.
  15. Both a condemnation of torture as a political tool and a tribute to the bravery that exists within everyone.
  16. No one has caught the pride, remorse and pain of an unloved and possibly unlovable husband better than Edward Norton in The Painted Veil.
  17. Both handmade and souped-up, it beautifully renders two types of camaraderie: the bonds among eccentrics and the fellowship of speed.
  18. Despite the movie's several shortcomings, it leaves us sated. That's because, unlike Oliver's workhouse, it does give "some more" - more emotional breadth, more hardscrabble farce, and more haunting drama.
  19. A humorous bounty of flesh and fantasy.
  20. Will Ferrell does chicken-fried comedy right: with crackpot discipline and stripped-to-the-beer-belly courage.
  21. As good as Willis is, he's no match for Mos Def.
  22. Jew or Gentile, a good story well told is a thing to be cherished.
  23. It's an unusual and engaging romantic comedy because it's mostly about how these women ready each other for real love.
  24. Fast Food Nation offers no easy answers, but plenty of food for thought.
  25. It twists in on itself mercilessly, rarely pausing to let the viewers catch up, but that's OK. A movie like this depends on staying at least a step ahead of its audience, and this one surely does.
  26. By turns grisly and hallucinatory, The Proposition is one of those grand, mythic Westerns, full of wide-open spaces and dank little hellholes, detestable bad guys and virginal women, laconic lawmen and wary natives.
  27. Only David Lynch could make the incomprehensible so compelling.
  28. Live-In Maid is a lived-in movie. Its cataclysms may be small in scale, but the movie brings us so far into these women's lives that a shattered cup creates an earthquake.
  29. What's bleakly hilarious about the whole movie is that Bekmambetov directs the nonaction scenes just as hyperbolically.
  30. In a society where athletic competitions are too often likened to war, the recognition that everyone's equal once they're off the playing field is a welcome reminder of that little thing called perspective, not to mention sportsmanship.
  31. Until it detours into dysfunctional-family comedy-drama, Transamerica rides cross-country without ever running low on bracing, cactus-spined surprises.
  32. Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the movie.
  33. Cool!
  34. Penelope Cruz is sensational in Volver - she's its lifeblood, its raison d'etre and its meaning.
  35. The Guardian is that rarest of cinematic commodities: an action movie displaying brains and heart and the opportunity for its stars to do something more than keep the narrative flowing between explosions.
  36. Some of the movie's sunniest moments arrive as Chappelle ambles through Ohio. He's an observational comic with a drawling syntax that's almost as sly as Mark Twain's.
  37. When it comes to what's great about King Kong, it's not the harum-scarum. It's the girl.
  38. Nolte brings this movie a piece of his heart, and grants us peace.
  39. In the strongest scenes, Ben Affleck gets his lead actors to extract the bitter juice from Lehane's wood-alcohol prose. The movie has its horrifying Gothic twists and turns, but it's never better than when it takes these two into places where the underclass goes to forget or be forgotten or get lost.
  40. The film marks Braff as a talent to watch, blessed with the sort of natural, everyman appeal that audiences eat up.
  41. With Joan Allen bringing a crisp intelligence to the sharp, unsentimental narration, it's both awful and fascinating to follow Hitler's warped growth from frustrated painter to self-appointed arbiter of Germanic art.
  42. Like Brian De Palma's 1981 masterpiece "Blow-Out," this movie contains cutting perceptions of obsession, institutional and professional myopia, misplaced loyalty in experts, misreadings of evidence and the kind of confusion that leads to conspiracy theories. But Fincher's movie falls short of masterpiece status.
  43. Kung fu purists may scoff, but escapists with a sense of humor should romp through The Forbidden Kingdom.
  44. Shortbus is nothing if not over-the-top, replete with consummated sex acts, both gay and straight.
  45. Tightly scripted and intricately plotted, the buddy film manages the neat two-step of being simultaneously profane and engaging.
  46. Kasi Lemmons' movie is called Talk to Me, but what it really does is sing to you, in the argot and cadences of soul, jazz, rock and rhythm and blues.
  47. The Wachowski Brothers once again they prove themselves our reigning masters of murk.
  48. Best of all is Jeff Bridges as the voice of Geek, a laid-back philosopher-penguin who becomes Cody's low-key guru, mentoring him in the ways of the wave.
  49. There are times when his message threatens to overwhelm his story line, and the last 15 minutes or so of Blood Diamond demonstrate what happens when sentimentality wins out over style and grit.
  50. The Duchess of Langeais is a romantic dance of death.
  51. This team has succeeded at making a film that opens a subculture without programming our responses to it.
  52. There's little time for nuance in Stop-Loss, and it doesn't deny any of the film's power to wish Peirce would occasionally slow things down enough to let her audience ponder what they're seeing.
  53. A movie like this could easy slide into Shirley Temple territory, showcasing a child actor so full of sweetness and light and good, old-fashioned spunk that audiences wince. But Palmer, whose enthusiasm and energy never seem forced, avoids all those traps; her Akeelah is never less than believable.
  54. The film's impact and poignancy are undeniable.
  55. The most exhilaratingly horrifying movie to come out in years.
  56. Cotillard brings honesty to histrionics. She makes Piaf - "the little sparrow" - soar.
  57. The triumph of American Hardcore is that it convinces general audiences that there were vast underground reservoirs of angst and anguish to be tapped.
  58. By far the most purely entertaining of all his films to reach these shores, Roman de Gare is the rare trick film in which all the tricks reveal something amusing, involving or poignant about its characters.
  59. This documentary (like the fact-based 2004 feature Miracle) demonstrates how powerful true sports stories can be when they delve into the mystery of leadership instead of falling back on nostalgia.
  60. The shows themselves are extraordinary, especially Japan's Ichigei group, which has the all-out fun and athleticism of a vitaminized Twyla Tharp troupe.
  61. The Last Mistress turns the melodramatic pieties of films like Fatal Attraction inside out. The anti-heroine acts like a vampire in reverse: Even when she drinks the anti-hero's blood, she makes him feel more alive.
  62. Bright semi-adult entertainment.
  63. Berg doesn't let up on the tension, even when the action is bloodless.
  64. The scenes between Dengler and Duane, between a force of nature and a force of reason, are the real heart of the film.
  65. This Christmas is the rare movie about a cozy household at holiday time that's as funny and dramatic and poignant as any seasonal family get-together should be.
  66. Vanya's journey to find his mom is not easy or picturesque or heartwarming. But it's also never without hope.
  67. The opening half-hour may prove to be a disreputable classic of pedal-to-the-metal filmmaking.
  68. What gives the film a haunting and sometimes droll poetic unity is the way co-directors Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen trace all their characters moving in a jellyfish-like fashion.
  69. It does offer that most pleasant and valuable of viewing experiences: A message movie in which story and character come first.
  70. Rambles and sometimes wobbles like a runaway movie. But Schreiber's instincts keep the film frolicsome and vital.
  71. Sarah Silverman says things you wouldn't expect a nice, attractive Jewish girl to say. But that's only half her appeal.
  72. The story seems fresh and alive. They also had the good sense to cast Dunst, at 19 already one of Hollywood's finest and most consistent actresses.
  73. The movie may be too precious for mass consumption, but its filmmakers' willingness to assume the best of their audience, combined with its Everyman origins, suggest a movie that deserves a chance.
  74. The movie then becomes a story of salvation: how Murphy's Marcus, through the love of a better woman (Halle Berry) manages to rediscover both his decency and his humanity. And yet, pretty much, it stays funny. [01 Jul 1992]
    • Baltimore Sun
  75. Elmo graciously shares the stage with a cast of players who will not only delight youngsters but will come as sweet relief to grown-ups.
    • Baltimore Sun
  76. Equal parts fantasy and cautionary tale, a film that manages to be uplifting and off-putting simultaneously -- fortunately, more the former than the latter.
  77. Gripping footage about the controversial Qatar-based Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, which transmits news to 40 million Arabs. But the movie offers neither lucid analyses of the channel nor probing portraits of its journalists.
  78. This film's playful visual language pulls you in rather than shuts you out; it isn't difficult to decipher, and it enables Coppola and his editor, Walter Murch, to navigate the story's many realms with a directness and dexterity that are refreshing.
  79. An opportunity to enjoy the pure adrenaline rush that has always been the hallmark of martial-arts cinema.
  80. You may find Va Savoir pleasant to sit through, but will it stay with you the next morning? Who knows?
  81. A wonderfully complex character at the center of a gratifyingly satisfying yarn.
  82. A more honest version of "Summer of '42."
    • Baltimore Sun
  83. A delightful and exuberant bit of romantic comedy and, as a bonus, it breathes new life into a pair of '70s musical chestnuts long off our culture's radar screens.
    • Baltimore Sun
  84. McConaughey and (especially) Hudson manage to make it all work, maintaining their likability even in situations where they inevitably end up acting like jerks.
  85. Darren Aronofsky labors awfully hard to get across a pretty simple message in The Fountain. But his efforts are so ethereal and extreme, it's almost impossible to turn away.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Ceaselessly amiable, moving whimsically toward an ending that, while predictable, is a rousing, unfettered joy.
    • Baltimore Sun
  86. Performances by Jim Caviezel and Richard Harris make this a great adventure.
    • Baltimore Sun
  87. Feisty and good-humored, and if it doesn't have deep characters, it is chock-full of personality.
  88. Martin's script offers plenty of opportunities, but Martin the actor never takes advantage of them.
  89. Soldini's consistently understated touch, and a poignant turn by Licia Maglietta as the confused and bemused main character, turns Bread and Tulips into a character study worth studying.
    • Baltimore Sun
  90. Has buoyancy to spare. It's filled with bumps and scratches. But in the manner of a nicked old LP, its gnarly surface and warps-and-all sound evokes real life.
  91. What's missing is what Pixar never fails to provide: The kind of storytelling heart that is inseparable from imagination.
  92. Aside from Lillard, the stand-out here is Cook, who plays a new breed of post-feminist Cinderella with a convincing mix of seriousness and vulnerability (although just once, it would be nice if Cinderella could keep her glasses on and still be beautiful). With her doe eyes and peaches-and-organic-yogurt complexion, Cook resembles a young Winona Ryder (if that's possible), right down to the appealing blend of sweetness and self-assurance. [29 Jan 1999: 1E]
    • Baltimore Sun
  93. Filled with so much heartbreaking beauty, Bringing Out the Dead might be best described as an artist's sketchbook, a series of tableaux and ideas that provide a telling glimpse of a director whose work is always evolving.
    • Baltimore Sun
  94. Quirky and enjoyable.
  95. Bottle Rocket's off-handed, anti-professional humor is extremely amusing and its ability to evoke the bittersweet pangs of love and friendship very poignant.
  96. The filmmakers capture kids and adolescents who haven't hardened their feelings into attitudes or molded their gestures into poses.
  97. Quinceanera may be the year's most nonjudgmental film, and therein lies both its greatest strength and most naggingly troublesome weakness.
  98. For better and worse, the entire film goes by like a theme-park cyclone ride. It makes as much sense as it needs to when you're on it. All it leaves in its wake is a residue of vertigo and speed.
  99. The movie is full of macabre surprises. As good as Hoskins is as the little sweat-manufacturer caught in everybody's pliers, far better is Robin Williams in an unbilled appearance as a nihilist dynamiter. [13 Dec 1996]
    • Baltimore Sun

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