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 Black Book
Lowest review score: 0 Margot at the Wedding
Score distribution:
2,001 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. The astonishingly versatile Kinnear proves note-perfect as a huckster who slowly rids himself of slime.
  3. The movie's steady good humor and respect for character is pleasing - even energizing.
  4. The heartbreak comes not from watching her fail, but from realizing how easy it would be for her to succeed. If only she knew better how to try.
    • Baltimore Sun
  5. 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.
  6. Johansson bequeaths the welcome sight of a talent in full bloom to this wilted, dark whimsy of a movie.
  7. The movie has dual strengths that silence most objections. Even more than "X-2" or "American Splendor," it is, in a good way, the most comic-booky movie of the year. It's also the human Winged Migration.
  8. 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.
  9. Smith shows the grasp of character and offbeat humor that really registered in "Clerks," and a subtler mastery of film fluidity and professionalism than anything in the cheesy, amateurish "Mallrats."
    • Baltimore Sun
  10. Swimming is perceptive and, ultimately, embraceable. Like the adolescent it so lovingly depicts, this is a movie you want only the best for.
  11. While the film is obviously meant as a call to arms, the very single-mindedness of the approach could work against it.
  12. Winterbottom ("Welcome to Sarajevo," "Go Now") has filmed Wonderland with a hand-held 16 millimeter camera, lending the production an air of scrappy immediacy that is often arrestingly at odds with Michael Nyman's overheated musical score.
  13. The performers are tremendous, particularly Deschanel, who can travel to the end of an emotional tether and then suggest the mysteries of change and growth that lie beyond.
  14. The movie's not nearly as cool as the setup.
    • Baltimore Sun
  15. Has nearly perfect pitch.
  16. In some ways, Thank You for Smoking does not bemoan smoking as much as it bemoans people's willingness to be duped by smooth-tongued orators.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    As close to a perfect piece of satire as filmmakers have seen in quite some time.
    • Baltimore Sun
  17. It's a deft sleight-of-story Aniston, White and Arteta pull off, giving us a character who seems more than she is, but is really less than she appears.
    • Baltimore Sun
  18. The fault isn't Clooney's alone. The Coen brothers contrive a few spectacularly funny bits and pieces but rarely get into a flow. Too often they mistake facetiousness for slapstick invention or wit, and they don't follow through on their best ideas.
  19. The American writer and poet Charles Bukowski is certainly an acquired taste, and Factotum may be just the film for determining whether one wants to acquire it.
  20. At its best, Tropic Thunder wrings divine madness from wretched excess.
  21. Craven's films aren't showy, but that should never be held against them. In their streamlined construction and rock-solid simplicity lay their brilliance.
  22. The Crow, the death-haunted, mega-violent, pulpy, vigorous final film of Brandon Lee, may not qualify as much of a monument to a lost life -- what film could? -- but it's a hell of a movie.
  23. Playing a perpetual victim like Victor (Walken) might be easy, but making audiences want to watch him for 97 minutes isn't.
  24. There're some low New York laughs in Swingers and some nice clothes if you like bad taste, but on the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia. At least they know how to make a sandwich in that town!
  25. Deep Blue is pure bliss. This documentary about ocean life in all its forms achieves its own tidal pull with visual marvels that conjure a Darwinian delirium.
  26. Nicholson is terrific here, in a role that demands he act, rather than just be Jack.
    • Baltimore Sun
  27. What's fatal to the film is that De Niro's character, though compelling, is so temperate and wise he gives no indication of why he was drawn to a life of crime.
  28. Passionately acted and grittily convincing.
  29. It's the rare film that trusts both its audience's intelligence and its emotions.
    • Baltimore Sun
  30. Plummer's performance is a miracle: In a movie as flat as a tablecloth, he suggests dimensions as wide, deep and curved as Cinerama.
  31. No great shakes as a documentary, but there are great shakes in the sight of 10- and 11-year-olds learning ballroom dancing in the New York City public school system.
  32. Stays true to the spirit and characters of the book while embellishing it to overflowing.
  33. A thoughtful, engaging film.
  34. Fellowes sets the screen for a tale of subterfuge in the upper crust, a la Agatha Christie.
  35. Jonze lets the magic ebb away in a sorry mesh of strained relationships.
  36. 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.
  37. Paints a vivid and darkly humorous picture of a world where directors are all-powerful and vampires are real; whether you want to buy into either fantasy is up to you. I did, and had a grand old time.
  38. Surprisingly formulaic. So many scenes seem lifted from a 1950s melodrama, from Blake and Francis' repentent mother (Leslie Ann Warren) to the film's tearjerker of a final scene.
  39. If only all this wonderful talent wasn't in service to a story that pushes credulity beyond the breaking point, perilously close to the realm of farce. Too many coincidences, too much convenient timing, too little honest plot development.
  40. What makes the movie potent, though, has nothing to do with metaphor or parable. It's that the story provides Connelly, Kingsley and Shohreh Aghdashloo as Kingsley's wife with all the tools they need to resurrect, flesh out, revamp and criticize outmoded male and female roles.
  41. Despite its adrenalized actors, Tape is a tired return to the roots of the American indie movement's popular surge a dozen years ago. It could have been called "sex, lies and audiotape."
  42. Those who come to the movie cold will find it an exasperating assembly of brutal pedantry and whimsies, boasting far less charm or grace than even the first Harry Potter picture.
  43. 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.
  44. The most exhilaratingly horrifying movie to come out in years.
  45. The cast of Rain is first-rate, especially Wierzbicki and Peirse, whose tense relationship is as loving as it is competitive.
    • Baltimore Sun
  46. Overflowing with comedy and drama, The Boys of Baraka unfolds on the mean streets of Baltimore and in the wide-open spaces of Kenya.
  47. A humorous bounty of flesh and fantasy.
  48. White throws in a dog-in-peril shot to ensure the audience's sympathies. The ploy works, perhaps too well, turning Year of the Dog less into the askew character study it wants to be than a showcase of lovable-dog shots.
  49. A welcome anomaly - a shallow hero you root for.
  50. One gets the feeling Kaufman was so intent on putting fury and fanaticism on-screen, he forgot about having it serve any greater purpose. Which makes Quills the film equivalent of one of de Sade's novels: artifice, without art.
  51. Fairly bursts with the exuberance and youthful energy that must have attended its creation.
    • Baltimore Sun
  52. Almereyda has done a splendid job of rendering Hamlet as expressive visually as it is verbally.
    • Baltimore Sun
  53. Batman Begins is obvious from the get-go - and almost no fun.
  54. Standard Operating Procedure says that human nature abhors moral vacuums - but sometimes humans get sucked into them.
  55. This comedy of stereotypes pokes fun at poker buddies and coffee klatches only to make room for variations on more recent stereotypes. Some of the boldest 'types provide the funniest bits, such as Jon Favreau's embodiment of an upscale Stanley Kowalski who treats all-male card games as clan rites.
  56. Jew or Gentile, a good story well told is a thing to be cherished.
  57. Too much about the game and not enough about the town, the players and everything else.
  58. It's a clear-eyed, unsentimental portrait and indelible for that very reason.
    • Baltimore Sun
  59. 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
  60. Some might find the whole thing exhilarating, but exhausting is more the word that comes to this man's mind.
  61. A hollow excuse for an erotic mystery.
  62. (Penn)'s is a lovely, soulful performance in a movie that manages to imbue tragedy with just the right grace note of insouciance -- a movie worthy of Woody Allen himself.
  63. It's a summery idyll: his most entertaining picture since "Bullets Over Broadway" (1994) or maybe "Sweet and Lowdown" (1999).
  64. Without ever telling viewers what to think or how to feel, it raises more questions about the corruption of crime and crime fighting than any expose or thesis.
  65. Brad Pitt's sensitive performance helps make 'Benjamin Button' a timeless masterpiece.
  66. This may be the quietest addict ever to hit movie screens, as well the most disturbing.
  67. The conventional and the cliche are slam-dunked in favor of a fresh, authentic take on passion, ambition and coming of age.
  68. Siegel takes us to the brink of operatic melodrama, then lands us in a tragicomic spot: a psychological landscape of alternate life and make-believe death.
  69. A wonderfully understated work offering insights to a world where no emotion is simple.
  70. The movie doesn't complete itself, in the sense of filling in our knowledge of its people (who are more like passengers). It simply comes to a stop.
  71. Nobody does this stuff better than Disney, and there's plenty here to like.
    • Baltimore Sun
  72. Offers plenty of honest, good-natured laughs in the process. That's something young and old can appreciate equally.
  73. Although the acclaimed documentary Gunner Palace contains some electrifying vignettes of the Iraq war, its jaggedly elliptical and hopped-up style lands it in a limbo between ragged and slick.
  74. In Curse of the Golden Flower, Zhang Yimou tries to top the breathtaking poetic spectacle of his masterpiece, "House of Flying Daggers," and instead plummets into self-parody.
  75. A sensational date movie.
  76. Fails to go into the one realm that would make it worthwhile, which is Ed Wood's brain.
    • Baltimore Sun
  77. The film itself is an exercise in frustration.
  78. You have to identify pretty strongly with suffering artistes to find anything to root for in The Science of Sleep.
  79. Thanks to Hallstrom's slaphappy artistry and a sparkling ensemble, Hoax is a hoot.
  80. 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.
  81. This is a movie that's really about how much fun Glenn Milstead had being Divine, and how he — perhaps unexpectedly — found so many fans willing to go along for the ride. That's an American success story worth celebrating.
  82. Luckily, Penn, Watts and Leo carry more weight than that; they keep this movie's two hours and five minutes from seeming like lost time.
  83. Absorbing, artfully executed.
  84. Denzel Washington does a cocksure turn in Training Day -- That may be enough to transform a shallow picture with delusions of grandeur into a crowd-pleasing hit.
    • Baltimore Sun
  85. The highest compliment I can pay Pieces of April is that it brings to mind a Paul Simon lyric: "the mother and child reunion is only a motion away."
  86. Gloriously funky in the good old meaning of the term. Its vulgarity may be offensive, but it's also pungent and real, and it fuels some ferocious humor.
  87. 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.
  88. 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.
  89. 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.
  90. Although the movie is unabashedly alarming, it's also intelligent fun.
  91. Pucci pulls off Justin's transformation without resorting to histrionics; it's like a radio-station signal finally coming in clearly.
  92. The only hope for Inglourious Basterds is that audiences will embrace it the way the Broadway crowd did "Springtime for Hitler": because it's so bad they think it's good.
  93. Comes across as more willfully clever than profound, leaving us to applaud the message while pondering why the messenger had to strain so hard to get it across.
  94. New York critics have anointed Crash in advance as the Second Coming, but it's just another over-ambitious first movie.
  95. Akin to being force-fed sugary confections from a bottomless bowl. At first the idea seems just grand, but after a while, all you want to do is scream, "Enough!"
    • Baltimore Sun
  96. It has a premise that never stops percolating.
    • Baltimore Sun
  97. In an era of exploding documentary innovation, Girlhood simply follows unfamiliar characters down familiar paths. It's not a negligible experience, but it's not an eye-opener, either.
  98. Revolutionary Road isn't just a failed literary adaptation. It's a failure of the worst kind: It doesn't even make you want to read Richard Yates' deservedly legendary book.
  99. The film's action doesn't disappoint; if anything, it ups the adrenaline ante considerably.

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