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 1.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 In America
Lowest review score: 0 Be Cool
Score distribution:
1,998 movie reviews
  1. A first-person documentary with the subterranean pull of a superb confessional novel.
  2. It's not hard to imagine these characters in a straight-faced Hollywood blockbuster. And that's the source of Hot Fuzz's genius, pointing out the thin line that separates convention from farce when Hollywood starts throwing its special effects around.
  3. You have to grasp at straws to make even "poetic" sense of the narrative.
  4. This movie has an aura of forced tragedy, like a fourth-generation version of "Requiem for a Heavyweight."
  5. 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.
  6. Too bad the bulk of Rowling's humor goes down a black-magic drain.
  7. In its entirety, Hairspray has the funny tilt that only a director-choreographer like Shankman can give to a movie.
  8. Grisly, stylish and often weirdly funny, Blood Simple is a reminder of how rarely an original artistic sensibility is announced to the world and how much better movies are when that sensibility is allowed to keep going its own way.
  9. But there's a discomfiting side to her comic riffs, because in our all-too-concerned-with-image society, they ring far too true.
  10. When it comes to what's great about King Kong, it's not the harum-scarum. It's the girl.
  11. Casino Royale marks a shrewd relaunching of a franchise. But Campbell and company show too much of their sweat. If these movies continue to follow Fleming's profane pilgrim's progress, the next Bond movies should be more emotional and funny, with a bit of brass-knuckled charm.
  12. Chaos, in miring itself in the inequities (not to mention obscenities) of male-dominated culture, is after greater truths.
  13. There's a subtlety to Crimson Gold that deserves applause.
  14. It's a bad joke that District 9 will be hailed for its "originality."
  15. The movie gets as overblown and masochistic as the worst Joan Crawford vehicle. Its saving grace is that Bernal really does have his own deep-set, smoldering variation on Bette Davis eyes.
  16. Too often when actors portray complicated or enigmatic characters, they seem to be flirting with the audience, playing hard to get. Not Williams.
  17. One happy surprise after another, even when the content is bittersweet or sad.
  18. Promises may want to unite the audience in humanitarian emotions, but it's more useful as a prod to examine what these children are learning from their schools, their leaders, and their media.
  19. A scary movie that's also funny, touching and good for you.
  20. As magical as it is realistic.
  21. Beguiling, moving and just plain fun documentary.
  22. The movie may be Nine Queens, but it slakes your thirst for surprises and thrills because of its Nine Jokers.
  23. Bergman's creation of family banter that turns irredeemably cruel remains without peer.
  24. I love Rabbit-Proof Fence as drama, as protest, as moviemaking and as poetry.
  25. Howl's Moving Castle is one animated epic that has it all: poetic intensity, potent storytelling, vivid and surprising characters, and intoxicating powers of visual imagination.
  26. 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.
  27. The risks these guys take seem outlandish, their accomplishments otherworldly.
  28. Few films even try to render the full range of emotions and sensations in female sexuality as the aptly titled Lady Chatterley, directed and co-written by a Frenchwoman, Pascale Ferran.
  29. 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.
  30. The combination of 3-D photography and puppet-animation - centered on actual figures designed by hand and manipulated frame by frame - creates a world that's dense, active and fluid: a sensory Jacuzzi.
  31. 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.
  32. Deep Water is a movie that will connect to anyone whose private fantasies and creative plots have landed them in hot water.
  33. The dramatic content in Memento is as blank as Leonard's post-traumatic mental state.
  34. You won't see a brighter, truer affirmation of the All-American messed-up improvisational family than Little Miss Sunshine.
  35. Thanks to the wonderful performances from both Korzun and Considine, there isn't a forced or dishonest moment on-screen.
  36. We'll never know what might have been, as eye candy and food for thought replace real thrills in the cool but cold Minority Report.
  37. Ron Howard has made his best movie with Frost/Nixon, an electric political drama with a skin-prickling immediacy.
  38. The movie pays tribute to sexual equality and to each gender's agility and strength of character.
  39. Chilling doesn't begin to describe Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple...But the film never gets behind the chill.
  40. Well-acted, lovingly put together and heartbreakingly honest.
  41. A razzle-dazzle lower-depths melodrama.
  42. Whale Rider is one long, sensitive downer capped by an uplifting finale. A martyr fantasy that turns victorious -- it's a surefire recipe for arthouse crowd-pleasing.
  43. It's cathartic and exhilarating.
  44. Enraging and enthralling.
  45. The movie is, to borrow Rob's phrase, unassailably cool.
  46. The movie dramatizes a social-sexual sea change with an out-of-control blend of cartoon farce and melodrama and clinical, often ludicrous sex scenes.
  47. Kingsley gives the movie a jolt and blows the rest of it to pieces.
  48. Uproarious, moving and thrilling.
  49. It forces you to fill in the blanks, then refuses to judge whether you're right or wrong. It's almost like the audience writes its own script, and everybody appreciates his or her own work.
  50. This film teaches the rewards of patience for directors, for actors and for audiences, too. The compelling reality of Juliette's plight comes from how subtly and gradually she emerges from her carapace.
  51. Flags of Our Fathers fails as fact or legend. It's woefully incompetent as narrative moviemaking.
  52. The movie has been compared, with some reason, to the French New Wave. But it's like "Jules and Jim" or "Band of Outsiders" blended with "A Hard Day's Night."
  53. All the Coens come up with is a movie about bad things happening to limited people.
  54. Look at Me is a virtuoso exercise in domestic tension - with the emphasis on "exercise."
  55. Viewers impressed by the fairly standard martial-arts action of "Crouching Tiger" will really be wowed after seeing this film.
  56. 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.
  57. Downey and Favreau and the special-effects team transform the trying-out of the armor and its powers into slapstick cadenzas. But equally entertaining is Stark's and Potts' recognition that they share more than a mere working chemistry.
  58. 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.
  59. A marvelous picture and a highly unusual journey in and around the Holocaust.
  60. Affliction turns the sound on with sudden, crystalline clarity, and echoes with the haunting power of a suppressed truth that has finally been released.
  61. Isn't an act of expiation but a gift of understanding.
  62. You may find Va Savoir pleasant to sit through, but will it stay with you the next morning? Who knows?
  63. The movie may not be perfect, but it's jam-packed with goodies -- like a breakfast cereal fun-pack with a prize on every box-top.
  64. Doesn't match the impact of its predecessor, which both revived and reimagined the zombie-film genre.
  65. Anderson brings real gravitas to the unfortunate Lily Bart, in an Oscar-caliber performance that makes one wonder what Academy voters are looking for.
  66. Even if you have no interest in Joy Division, this picture is worth seeing for the unsentimental empathy and passion of the moviemaking.
  67. 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.
  68. The love that heals and the love that kills are one and the same in the exhilarating Head-On, Fatih Akin's overgrown dead-end-kid romance for live-wire adults.
  69. Lightning in a Bottle has breadth, both in its multitude of perspectives and its spectrum of performances.
  70. Its heart and head are in the right place, but its feet and hands aren't busy enough.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 25 Critic Score
    Try as I might, I could not love it, because as a piece of cinema, Into Great Silence would try the patience of a saint.
  71. Del Toro stuffs the film with wit and wonderments. Yet, coming out this superhero summer, it plays like a lovingly crafted synthesis of every fantasy saga we've seen in the past decade.
  72. Lumumba revives the tradition of Pontecorvo's "The Battle of Algiers" and Costa-Gavras' "Z" and "State of Siege." In substance and excitement, it joins their ranks.
  73. The title captures this film's harrowing qualities, but not its energy, its limpid beauty or its spiritual grace.
  74. This is Forster's show, and he doesn't disappoint.
  75. A crackerjack thriller, laced with labyrinthine mysteries, moral quandaries and unspeakable evil.
  76. The result is a treat for Sandler fans and a revelation for those of us who've spent the last decade wondering what on earth his appeal is.
  77. 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.
  78. Those willing to overlook its emotional grandstanding will find much to admire and even more to think about in this Oscar-nominated Danish drama.
  79. May be thin, but it's also sharp, like a stiletto.
  80. The real hero here is Ghobadi, whose love and respect for the culture in which he was raised shines through every frame.
  81. It flows like fast-moving lava to a climax filled with pyrotechnics. And for once in a summer blockbuster, the fireworks are both emotional and physical. The movie leaves you sated, yet wanting more -- just what you want from a series with two entries left to go.
  82. A working-class drama that has its heart in the right place but undercuts itself by stacking the deck, letting its main character off too lightly and being overly impressed with its own profundity.
  83. Reaches the highest comic heights when the show itself starts.
  84. 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.
  85. Nolan pushes the twilight-zone atmosphere so hard that it loses its capacity for mystery. When it's not assaulting us with jolting audiovisual expressions of fatigue, this movie plays like a pedestrian response to David Lynch's effortlessly eerie "Twin Peaks."
  86. The Saddest Music In the World may not be for all tastes, but maybe it should be.
  87. 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.
  88. 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.
  89. It's like Chekhov with a British accent.
  90. The film is the work of a visual genius who may have overextended his storytelling ability, but with fascinating results.
  91. Kung Fu Hustle is to "House of Flying Daggers" what "Blazing Saddles" is to "Unforgiven."
  92. In the full-house ensemble of Henry Bromell's Panic, Neve Campbell is the wild card.
  93. If you didn't know that Martin Scorsese made The Aviator, the enthralling new adventure-biography of Howard Hughes, you might think it was the calling card of a neophyte visual genius.
  94. The scenes between Dengler and Duane, between a force of nature and a force of reason, are the real heart of the film.
  95. Let's just say this is a perfect film for penguin lovers who also are devoted members of the Green party - and leave it at that.
  96. Offers a welcome perspective, reminding us that extremism in the name of a values system is nothing new -- not even on these shores.
  97. The movie's triumph is that we experience the ending, in which the three girls go mostly separate ways, not as a defeat but as a transition still open to possibilities.
  98. Truth is, one can probably tell as much about Jackson Pollock the man by looking at his paintings than by watching this movie.
  99. Let's get it out, loud and clear: Jerry Maguire is not a sports movie. It's a stealth chick movie, wrapped in a swaddling of jock stuff so that it gets through guy radar without setting off the missile defenses.

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