Baltimore Sun's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,993 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 1.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Felicia's Journey
Lowest review score: 0 High Tension
Score distribution:
1,993 movie reviews
  1. A star is born in 8 Mile, all right, but his name is Mekhi Phifer.
  2. 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.
  3. The Cockettes is a grand place to visit, even for those who wouldn't want to live there.
  4. Dense, ironic and thoroughly engrossing caper melodrama.
  5. 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.
  6. Like "Anais," the only surprises Breillat has in store for us are bad ones. In the willfully perverse final act, she delivers a sadistic blow to the audience -- with a sledgehammer.
  7. What's not to love?
  8. It's an experience that blows your mind, clears it and educates it.
  9. There is undeniable power in Magnolia, in which small moments of truth are given epic gravitas, not just by Anderson's adroit cinematic style (no one's camera is more restless or inquisitive), but by the wisdom and compassion of the characters he creates.
  10. The martial arts wizard shows a nice feel for the Butch and Sundance thing.
  11. Scratch will make even the uninitiated believe in the joy and propulsive power of hip-hop.
  12. It lacks even Tarantino-esque vitality. It moves more like a busted concertina.
  13. It's infuriating in more ways than one. Yet it's also somehow touching in its melange of melodrama and modernism.
  14. 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.
  15. Italian for Beginners, on its own small scale, is a one-of-a-kind movie: a baggy-pants spiritual comedy.
  16. The beauty, vibrancy and complexity of Indian culture is on addictive display in Monsoon Wedding. If only there were more to the film.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Some of the most affecting moments in the film show Bukowski walking the streets of his Los Angeles, a barren suburban hell, as he reads his poems and the words appear on and then fade from the screen.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The coincidences pile up in Career Girls, but by then Leigh has involved us so fully in the emotional lives of his characters that the contrivances are easily dismissed.
  17. What proves the validity of Kandahar is that, by the end, all these scenes are human ruins of the same nightmare world.
  18. A bittersweet joy. Its humor and romance are refreshing because the writer-director, Greg Mottola, realizes that maturity is a two-steps-forward, one-step-backward process.
  19. 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.
  20. Does it make it as a movie? Only in fits and starts.
  21. In America is the most unexpected and personal triumph yet from Jim Sheridan.
  22. The rousing new Western 3:10 to Yuma has the sweep of an epic and the economy of a stopwatch.
  23. The movie comes together like a nihilistic jigsaw puzzle - with a few pieces removed for that special, indefinable dash of pseudo-density.
  24. The result is an exciting, infuriating, combative experience.
  25. 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.
  26. There's great action moviemaking here: You learn what it means to "carve" a pool, as you learn what it means to "close off" the boxing ring in Ali.
  27. There are no surprise twists, no characters who rise above themselves, no cheap happy endings. There are just people struggling with emotions and situations they think are beyond their control.
  28. Unfolds amid the mechanized carnage of World War I. Yet everything in it is personal. That's why it's a masterpiece.
  29. Unlike other movies about unpleasant characters, "In the Company of Men," for example, Chuck & Buck doesn't have that sharp observational edge.
  30. Shine a Light has two maestros, Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, and once they begin to mesh, around the third or fourth song, they put on a display of showmanship that erases the line between art and entertainment.
  31. For a documentary about a music festival, Soul Power doesn't include nearly enough music.
  32. The whole movie aspires to set an Annie Hall vibe, especially when Tom keeps trying to re-create, first with her and then with someone else.
  33. Disturbing, maddening, often confusing, but also charming, engaging and challenging in all the best ways.
  34. Campbell Scott creates a new movie anti-hero -- the weak silent type -- and goes all the way with it in The Secret Lives of Dentists.
  35. It gets under your skin and into your head, and you don't want it to leave.
  36. Offers a welcome riff on a well-worn horror standard.
  37. The union of thought and feeling becomes flesh and blood thanks to four brilliant performers in Iris.
  38. These guys are funny.
  39. It's a documentary about acknowledging genius, about just desserts, about artistic muses that refuse to give up. It's about great camaraderie and great music.
  40. Misplaced hero-worship and glibness get in the way of its amazing true story.
  41. The movie is best when everything is up in the air.
  42. It's an authentic, harrowing tale of heroism.
  43. Spielberg's inchoate attempts at cultural observation stretch the movie out and dilute the giddiness instead of adding a pleasurable spike. When the movie doesn't feel inflated, it feels soggy.
  44. The only thing missing from this rich production is an emotional charge, which Highsmith could create on the page but which Minghella doesn't quite capture on screen.
  45. Washington is wisely cast as Marco; few actors command more instant respect, and the movie uses that to make his character both believable and sympathetic.
  46. Plunges into an imaginative landscape as large as all creation - and never slackens its barreling pace or shrinks its panoramic scope.
  47. Filled with delightful sequences.
  48. A snarling satire of Hollywood single-mindedness and its lack of any moral underpinning.
  49. Man on the Train may be a modest film, but it offers privileged glimpses of transcendence.
  50. The genius of Garfield's performance is that he fills him with equal amounts of terror and wonder.
  51. Holofcenere genuinely wants to make pictures that plug into an audience's need for intimate contemporary comedies. But she doesn't do enough to quench that thirst.
  52. The potential for action never lets up; you never know what's coming around the next corner.
  53. At its best, the movie combines the musical and psychological meanings of a fugue. Sons and daughters and mother take up themes of dislocation and identity loss, and deepen them at every turn.
  54. Once you get past the movie's needlessly fragmented framing device and its protracted introduction to a xenophobic rural Minnesota town, the core story gains some traction in your mind.
  55. Nolte brings this movie a piece of his heart, and grants us peace.
  56. A marvelously subversive, slyly manipulative effort.
  57. McTeer delivers a messily cheerful performance as a woman who thinks nothing of brushing her teeth with beer.
  58. The Cider House Rules is about many things -- chance, passivity, free will and self-invention -- but ultimately it comes back to Larch, who emerges as a toweringly noble figure even in his weakest moments.
  59. Romance, intrigue and old-fashioned movie glamour make a dazzling return in Girl on the Bridge, Patrice Leconte's sumptuous love story with a razor-sharp edge.
  60. A bit hard on the posterior, it is definitely easy on the eyes.
  61. Its knockout success is a testament to Gore's eloquence and humanity and to the dexterity of his director, Davis Guggenheim.
  62. Brilliant, brutally poignant.
  63. Isn't nearly the landmark comedy it thinks it is, but its quirkiness should appeal to the highbrow funny bone in all of us.
  64. There's no innocence left in Shrek 2. The helter-skelter story and throwaway gags emerge from a sensibility that confuses gossipy knowingness and jadedness with wit.
  65. It's a top-notch action film, albeit on the bloody side, complete with decisive action, mysterious characters and a nobility and sense of purpose that allows its excesses to be forgiven.
  66. The whole movie swings broadly from slapstick and mock suspense to song. But the film develops a strong amorous undertow; Kelly's script neatly allows for all the potential couples to get the fate or comeuppance they deserve.
  67. Lovely, heartfelt and unforced.
  68. Instead of being supple and expansive like the book, this Little Children is heavy-handed and snarky.
  69. Black and white has never looked more stark.
  70. Critically lacks Highsmith's sixth sense for drawing you into the heart and soul of sociopaths, then jolting you with the realization that things are much worse even than they seem.
  71. The giddy excitement of Startup.com comes from feeling as if you're inside the bubble as it soars into the stratosphere - and pops.
  72. Well worth the wait.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Ceaselessly amiable, moving whimsically toward an ending that, while predictable, is a rousing, unfettered joy.
  73. Experiencing this film is like hurtling down a verbal slalom.
  74. Fantasy, not honesty, is the point of The Kid Stays in the Picture.
  75. By the end, Hamer's crisp, prickly compositions go soft.
  76. A down-home-exquisite musical dramedy.
  77. Baadasssss is about feeling pain and frustration, about having a sense of purpose that overwhelms everything else, about great cost and great risk, the pain of isolation and the intoxicating effect of fighting against the odds.
  78. It's hard to stomp on a movie that pulls together a rich lay-about, hippies, a punk girl and an Amnesty International worker in a sort of Peaceable Kingdom, but About a Boy shows the limits of affability.
  79. Without proclaiming itself a wake-up call for the West, In This World cries out for some new method of achieving international trust.
  80. Guerrilla provides one huge compensation: the getting of historical wisdom.
  81. This Film Is Not Yet Rated performs a great service, though not especially well.
  82. Unsparing and uplifting - a wickedly difficult combination to pull off, but one that gives the film an emotional weight that's impossible to dismiss.
  83. The movie is an inspired comedy-drama about artistic temperament.
  84. Infuriating and funny, the film forges a disturbing diagram from the avarice and chaos of a slapdash, heartless system.
  85. Falls victim to flimsy characters and a love story that strains reality.
  86. Black Hawk Down, in the end, is a docudrama. But it's sensationally well done, and it opens up a battlefield that needed to be documented.
  87. It's the pushiest film around - "in your face" is still in-your-face, even if the dancers are in white-face.
  88. Humpday mixes hilarity with upset as the irresistible force of male pride meets the immovable object of sexual identity.
  89. The Sea Inside brings us outside and inside ourselves, and takes us to brave new aesthetic depths.
  90. The best sections of Flushed Away, those featuring a nefarious French operative known as Le Frog (a hilarious Jean Reno), are also the most peculiarly British; no one lampoons the French with a better mixture of hard-earned loathing and grudging respect than the Brits.
  91. Avoids pretension by never trying to be more than it is -- an acknowledgment that things frequently are not as bad as they seem. That's a concept that deserves a little spreading.
    • 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.
  92. Serenity may be short on exposition, but it's smart and fun.
  93. Jumping off from the brilliant novel by Giles Foden and changing a key character entirely, it dramatizes and wrings humor from the way a white Western renegade can view a self-made Third World despot like Amin as a superman blowing fresh air into a fetid atmosphere.
  94. As Laura, Rueda hits sublime notes of confusion, grief and wrath. She's sympathetic enough to make you root for her and complex enough to get you arguing afterward about whether Laura did anything to deserve all this.
  95. As they've proven before and doubtless will prove again, Soderbergh and his cast are capable of better, weightier, more substantial stuff. But for now, slumming has rarely seemed more appealing.
  96. Munich is so broad-stroke it cuts itself at every turn. It's also a thoroughly lifeless movie.

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