Baltimore Sun's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,011 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 0.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 All or Nothing
Lowest review score: 0 Good Luck Chuck
Score distribution:
2011 movie reviews
  1. In the Valley of Elah is too inept and diffuse to be a howl against the war in Iraq. At best, it is a manly whimper.
  2. If only De Niro or screenwriter Eric Roth had the instinct to play some of this for laughs or even outrageous burlesque. Despite their conviction and intelligence and their game, amazing cast, all they do is eke out a series of straight-faced dramatic reversals and personal betrayals that leave the dramatis personae, and the audience, numb.
  3. As a narrative, it has serious problems -- holes so gaping that they're all but unavoidable.
  4. A Mighty Heart has the surface tension of a first-rate docudrama but neither the passion nor the vision to encompass its powerhouse subject.
  5. If you haven't had enough of Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan weepies like "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993) and "You've Got Mail" (1998), The Lake House gives us Mopey in Chicago and You've Got Snail Mail.
  6. Doesn't match the impact of its predecessor, which both revived and reimagined the zombie-film genre.
  7. Terrence Howard has stolen 50 Cent's thunder - and his lightning, and his storm clouds, too - twice in one year.
  8. See it with people who take it for the trash it is, and you can cheer the baroque killings and laugh fondly with Forest Whitaker as he tries too hard to create a domestic sociopath to match his role as "Idi Amin."
  9. Anderson sees her subject as little more than a game-show contestant. One suspects the real Evelyn Ryan deserved far better.
  10. In Stay, the director, Marc Forster, fresh from "Finding Neverland," turns Manhattan into a nightmarish dreamscape and his characters into self-destructive ghosts.
  11. As a tasteful take on a minor novel, Metroland is genteel enough, but it lacks the urgency and scope of a must-see movie. [07 May 1999]
    • Baltimore Sun
  12. The movie mostly proves that cutting-edge humiliations are best absorbed in 25-minute segments on HBO.
  13. A somewhat simple-minded, overwrought mock epic. [22 May 1992]
    • Baltimore Sun
  14. Scores some serious points for its dance moves but does a lousy job of remembering there's a lot more to this big old world than moving your feet.
  15. Whenever Just Friends threatens to become a total drag, Faris bops onscreen for some serious comic business - either saving the film, or making things worse by pointing out what could have been.
  16. Thanks to Suvari, audiences laugh nervously at the mortification of soul and flesh, but she doesn't really do them much of a favor. She simply keeps them watching as a would-be gross-out comedy turns into would-be gross-out tragedy.
  17. The saving grace in an exuberantly graceless movie is Clive Owen. This actor is bulletproof. Even in a sick-joke jamboree like Shoot 'Em Up, he mows down the competition and gets his laughs without losing his composure.
  18. Despite the dominant air of foolishness, the filmmaking is lush, lively and intelligent, but the gap between the direction and the script is appalling.
  19. Instead of heightening the intrigue in this psychological thriller, the labored twists and out-of-leftfield turns will leave audiences more weary than wary.
  20. The movie has its moments, and some are undeniably affecting. But even those seem artificial, relying far too much on our familiarity with and fondness for the film's stars.
  21. Nacho Libre enhances Hess' reputation as a gifted filmmaker and suggests there's more to Black than manic dementia. Both director and actor, however, need to find projects better-suited to their respective (and often impressive) talents.
  22. The pleasures of this slight caper film are strictly small-screen, as three talented actresses walk through quaint roles before they hurry on to the next project.
  23. With Tristan & Isolde, the core must be a passion that enlarges two outsize characters and seems as momentous as the rise and fall of a kingdom. Too bad this film's Achilles' heel is its heart.
  24. First-time director Swicord brews an atmosphere of geniality and warmth and brings a modicum of momentum to a happily discursive book.
  25. It's one big miss.
  26. It's seductive in its buildup but overall as subtle and, alas, as humorless as a hatchet to the brain.
  27. Intermittently fresh and amusing in a low-down yet schmaltzy way.
  28. Contains a dozen winning moments of humor, uplift or exhilaration. But are they enough to justify a 154-minute running time?
  29. The final resolution is silly by just about any standard. A little grounding in reality and a larger effort to avoid the trite could have made Everyone's Hero fun and inspirational for everybody, not just the very young.
  30. Garry Marshall, old pro that he is, couldn't be more endearing as the grandfather, struggling gamely to make things right.
  31. A strictly by-the-book sequel: It doesn't cheat series fans but it doesn't offer many thrills or surprises or lingering puzzles, either.
  32. To Pellington's credit, the performers eschew sentimentality.
  33. A film not nearly as intriguing as it should have been, centering on a death that isn't nearly as intricately fascinating as the filmmakers think. Exacerbating the problem is a cast of actors who seem too self-consciously playacting.
  34. Features lots of cool dialogue but doesn't provide much of a movie in which to showcase it.
  35. The movie lives and dies on the energy of stepping.
  36. It's Cheadle's rich emotionality and sense of humor that have gone seriously missing in Traitor.
  37. Cameron Crowe crams at least three movies' worth of plotlines into Elizabethtown, and gives short shrift to all of them.
  38. In "Jaws," you didn't know whether to laugh or to scream. In The Host, the yocks rarely mesh with the yucks.
  39. As social commentary, Fun With Dick and Jane wears Leno-thin. As a big-screen sitcom, it's a procession of hit-or-miss touches that cancel each other out.
  40. It's sad that with everything it has going for it, this movie plays like a tall tale -- something too good to be true.
  41. Besides offering the giddy pleasure of seeing Mia Farrow play a demonic nanny, there's not much to the film that a repeat viewing of its earlier incarnation couldn't provide.
  42. Even a superstar needs to surround himself with better material than this.
  43. Kate Beckinsale is too good for any of the guys in Snow Angels and too good for this movie. Her inventiveness exposes just how puny this movie is.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Critic Score
    The narrative is engrossing enough, but it diverts from what is strongest about Traveller, its title characters. [2 May 1997]
    • Baltimore Sun
  44. Misplaced hero-worship and glibness get in the way of its amazing true story.
  45. Disarming, discombobulating and disappointing.
  46. The Sentinel moves quickly and never becomes a bore. It does become something of a cartoon, though, which proves a major letdown for a movie that aims for something far more intelligent.
  47. As a documentary, the film is woefully underdeveloped.
  48. Cache is the feel-guilty movie of the new millennium.
  49. It's absolutely the classiest big-screen version of chick lit we're ever likely to see. But it still has all the lasting flavor of a Chiclet.
  50. The film ultimately is a letdown, leaving too many questions unanswered and ending in a gesture that doesn't really solve anything.
  51. Caught up in its own macho symbolism, Jarhead fights a losing battle to show the human cost of warfare.
  52. They put the material on lifts - and end up tripping into TV dramedy land.
  53. Other than portraying Mary as an overwhelmed teenager, mystified that God has chosen her to be the mother of his child, it doesn't offer anything that hasn't been playing out in grade-school pageants for decades.
  54. All this might be forgivable if Just My Luck had a little more substance, but it never moves beyond the single joke of its premise.
  55. Notes on a Scandal isn't humorous or witty enough to sustain black comedy, and it isn't insightful or deep enough to suggest a contemporary tragedy. All it does is put an eloquent veneer on petty meanness.
  56. It's like a breeze so slight it doesn't leave a tickle.
  57. You never get the sense that the director, Peter Segal, knows where the funny is, whether in his star or in the story.
  58. Unfortunately, the waste of artistic possibilities dwarfs the human wreckage - and the human salvage - in Freedomland.
  59. It lacks even Tarantino-esque vitality. It moves more like a busted concertina.
  60. The pleasures of Ocean's Thirteen are so slight as to be eminently forgettable. Most of the "twists" in the plot are of the ho-hum variety; it's not that one sees them coming, but that they don't amount to much when they show up.
  61. A low-level hoot.
  62. From the moment he enters the picture, Baldwin looks good and sick of the whole scene. Unless you're in the mood for dysfunctional-family vaudeville, it won't take long for you to catch up with him.
  63. Director Martin Campbell and a quartet of screenwriters dump in everything from the rise of the Confederacy to the development of Weapons of Mass Destruction. What escapes them is the cool, clear line of action that would enable Banderas and Zeta-Jones to flaunt their amorous charms without huffing and puffing and stretch their swashbuckling muscles with dash, not balderdash.
  64. The movie comes together like a nihilistic jigsaw puzzle - with a few pieces removed for that special, indefinable dash of pseudo-density.
  65. The sad truth is that the film squanders almost all of its inspiration in the first 20 minutes or so.
  66. The whole movie is too predictable, its conflicts either forced or simplistic.
  67. With Diary of the Dead, Romero goes back to the beginning, only this time the amateurish look is calculated and the resulting film far less effective - if only because a handful of filmmakers have beaten him to the punch.
  68. The movie has been hailed and marketed as this year's Little Miss Sunshine, but it has none of that movie's empathy and comic surprise. Too much of it is like a subpar episode of Freaks and Geeks, padded out to 92 minutes with pseudo-witty dialogue.
  69. Memoirs of a Geisha was never primed to be a film that burns down the house.
  70. There's a funny premise at the core of Are We Done Yet? Too bad the movie doesn't do much with it.
  71. The film is mostly forced and heavyhanded. Forman first thought of using Goya to tell a story about the Inquisition several decades ago. Yet this movie appears to be as much about American behavior post-Sept. 11 as it is about 18th-century Spain or the Communist Czechoslovakia of Forman's youth.
  72. Hartley is grasping at, and only fitfully achieving, an overall tone of mordancy - formally called "black humor" - rather than believability. [25 Oct 1990]
    • Baltimore Sun
  73. Heartstrings are pulled mercilessly in Dreamer.
  74. In the end, the movie proves to be, like Brosnan's character, a tarted-up cliche: a whoremonger with a heart of gold.
  75. Anderson creates a deluxe train set, for sure. All he neglects is building up an electric current or a head of steam.
  76. A History of Violence is a hollow story from an empty graphic novel.
  77. For most of its meandering running time Harsh Times is just a rough South Central L.A. buddy movie.
  78. The movie finally comes to life when Liu turns up.
  79. There's a self-loathing at the center of Friends with Money that makes it a tad unpalatable, as well as a sameness, a dependence on cliche, that makes it seem trite.
  80. JFK
    JFK is entertaining, if only because the cast of characters in the New Orleans underground is so bizarre. [20 Dec 1991]
    • Baltimore Sun
  81. Too bad it shortchanges the music and fails to provide much evidence for Wilson's appeal.
  82. Tang Wei brings a terrible and awe-inspiring purity to an impure character.
  83. It's doubly disappointing that all the subplots about Ace and Wallace and their fathers intertwine in increasingly predictable ways.
  84. It's easy to be offensive in a movie; it's much harder to be funny. Which is why Scary Movie emerges as such a waste; when you're so good at the latter, why keep falling back on the former?
  85. In The Last Samurai, the body count is almost as high as the dead-brain-cell count.
  86. The only gold in Sunshine State comes from its three female stars.
    • Baltimore Sun
  87. On screen, Road to Perdition becomes a lace-curtain shoot-'em-up about fathers and sons. The graphic novel is more kinetic and more powerful than the motion picture.
    • Baltimore Sun
  88. These actors have a firm playful grasp and a palpable affection for their characters' befuddled dignity and attraction. They understand what Wilde meant by the importance of being earnest.
  89. As the movie rambles along with its own brand of quasi-magical surrealism, the links to real experience grow scarcer and more frayed.
  90. 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.
  91. The whole enterprise suffers from tired blood.
  92. This whole movie has zero chemistry. Broderick and Hunt are a match made in hell; Firth and Hunt are a match made in limbo.
  93. A handsome, accomplished piece of work, but it drove me from absorption to excruciation within 20 minutes, and then it went on for two hours more.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Doesn't break any ground -- but it looks good in a tight sweater.
    • Baltimore Sun
  94. The lack of condescension is the movie's saving grace, if grace is the right word. There's no snobbery to the low-blow humor, or to Reynolds' low-key, genial comeback turn, or to Sandler's more-ingratiating-than-athletic lead performance.
  95. Neither Grimm comes across as especially interesting to watch, and neither does anything in the movie offer much to get excited about.
  96. As it is, Hoot doesn't accomplish anything a picture book of the Everglades and a few well-chosen Jimmy Buffett tunes wouldn't do better.
  97. With all the good will in the world, I couldn't warm up to Kit Kittredge. The movie is like a 1930s or 1940s short about Americans pulling together, stretched out to feature length.
  98. Just don't think about what's going on, and you should be OK.

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