Baltimore Sun's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,002 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 point higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The Pianist
Lowest review score: 0 Waist Deep
Score distribution:
2,002 movie reviews
  1. Anderson and Day-Lewis strip themselves of their natural talents for invention and poetry, as if any hint of romance, nobility or fun would soften the film.
  2. Wants to be a bittersweet comedy about erotic loss and memory loss. But it doesn't have the heart or brain.
  3. Even with the great Ken Watanabe lending command and compassion to the role of General Kuribayashi, it's a formless slog across a treacherous field.
  4. Romanticism fights stoicism to a draw, and the movie grows ever more static, too. Down to the quasi-ambiguous hate-crime finish, Brokeback Mountain comes as close to being a still life as you can get with human characters.
  5. In a boxing soap-opera way, Eastwood is trying to do for himself as a performer what Sergio Leone did for him in a spaghetti-western way: douse his rough-hewn banality with reflected emotional coloration.
  6. Starts out as a barbed, poignant little movie and turns into an excruciating slow-motion car wreck.
  7. In "Jaws," you didn't know whether to laugh or to scream. In The Host, the yocks rarely mesh with the yucks.
  8. Mystic River wants to be a Bruce Springsteen-like anthem of life and death in blue-collar America. It's no more than a doggerel rendition of poetic injustice.
  9. Spider as a character is a fantasizing detective, but the movie is no Singing Detective (the high-water mark of the sub-genre). This film rarely rises above a murmur.
  10. Cache is the feel-guilty movie of the new millennium.
  11. Strip away the portentous style and lush views of nature in The Return and all you've got is a slender nightmare of a family gone haywire in an outing that turns into survival camp.
  12. 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.
  13. Eastern Promises is intensely anti-dramatic.
  14. A History of Violence is a hollow story from an empty graphic novel.
  15. 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.
  16. You have to grasp at straws to make even "poetic" sense of the narrative.
  17. It's a bad joke that District 9 will be hailed for its "originality."
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Flags of Our Fathers fails as fact or legend. It's woefully incompetent as narrative moviemaking.
  22. All the Coens come up with is a movie about bad things happening to limited people.
  23. Doesn't match the impact of its predecessor, which both revived and reimagined the zombie-film genre.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. It lacks even Tarantino-esque vitality. It moves more like a busted concertina.
  27. Does it make it as a movie? Only in fits and starts.
  28. The movie comes together like a nihilistic jigsaw puzzle - with a few pieces removed for that special, indefinable dash of pseudo-density.
  29. Misplaced hero-worship and glibness get in the way of its amazing true story.
  30. 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.
  31. A bit hard on the posterior, it is definitely easy on the eyes.
    • Baltimore Sun
  32. 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.
  33. Instead of being supple and expansive like the book, this Little Children is heavy-handed and snarky.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    If you change the course of history, the world will experience a different kind of chaos. That's a time-honored movie cliche. Terminator 2: Judgment Day chooses to go against that philosophy, noisily and with some monotony.
  34. Falls victim to flimsy characters and a love story that strains reality.
  35. Munich is so broad-stroke it cuts itself at every turn. It's also a thoroughly lifeless movie.
  36. And the movie, likable for short stretches, ends up seeming worn and frayed, like Christmas decorations left hanging until spring.
  37. Unwisely bills itself as a comedy.
    • Baltimore Sun
  38. Despite its director's skill at staging trash with dash, Oldboy is too long and portentous to be an enjoyable B movie. The movie's self-seriousness short-circuits its sensationalism.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The performances of Bell, Walters and Lewis make this movie worth seeing - as long as you silence your cynical side and bring some Kleenex.
    • Baltimore Sun
  39. A Mighty Heart has the surface tension of a first-rate docudrama but neither the passion nor the vision to encompass its powerhouse subject.
  40. Sin City is a seedy tribute to rugged masculinity disguised as a rogue's gallery, all the better to please college boys who like their sentimentality slicked with grunge.
  41. If any man should be more than the sum of his parts, it's an artist. But Todd Haynes' I'm Not There makes Bob Dylan less than the sum of his parts. It's like a tony art-school parlor game.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Designed to shock and rock the viewer with disturbing imagery, the film misses the point once too often.
  42. The blend of chic histrionics and ultra-bright daylight imagery make much of the movie resemble a network soap opera with an on-location interlude. It looks as cheap as life is held in Medellin.
  43. 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.
  44. 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
  45. Shallow and one-sided.
  46. Webber's film offers painstaking reproductions of the town of Delft circa 1665 in all four seasons. That's just the problem: you feel every pain he took. Girl With a Pearl Earring is an art movie in the worst way.
  47. JFK
    JFK is entertaining, if only because the cast of characters in the New Orleans underground is so bizarre. [20 Dec 1991]
    • Baltimore Sun
  48. Contains a dozen winning moments of humor, uplift or exhilaration. But are they enough to justify a 154-minute running time?
  49. Johansson bequeaths the welcome sight of a talent in full bloom to this wilted, dark whimsy of a movie.
  50. The movie's not nearly as cool as the setup.
    • Baltimore Sun
  51. 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!
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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."
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. Batman Begins is obvious from the get-go - and almost no fun.
  59. Too much about the game and not enough about the town, the players and everything else.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. Fails to go into the one realm that would make it worthwhile, which is Ed Wood's brain.
    • Baltimore Sun
  64. 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.
  65. 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
  66. New York critics have anointed Crash in advance as the Second Coming, but it's just another over-ambitious first movie.
  67. What's frustrating is that the movie should be so much better, or at least more entertaining. With Baldwin, Macy and Bello, director Kramer is holding three of a kind.
  68. The only gold in Sunshine State comes from its three female stars.
    • Baltimore Sun
  69. Divided We Fall has a lot going for it, but its Places in the Heart ending, sentimental and incongruous, helps ensure that it will not find a place in a demanding audience's heart or mind.
  70. It bears roughly the same resemblance to the Bennett Miller-Dan Futterman-Philip Seymour Hoffman masterpiece as the now-forgotten "Valmont" did to "Dangerous Liaisons."
  71. The problem with Doubt is its dramatic certainty.
  72. But even those who succumb to his primitive, survivalist vision may resent the way he presents every kind of atrocity at least twice without illuminating any of the exotic details once.
  73. It's one of those movies whose appeal depends on the viewer's tolerance for watching French people suffer, smoke and sigh prettily.
    • Baltimore Sun
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. As the movie rambles along with its own brand of quasi-magical surrealism, the links to real experience grow scarcer and more frayed.
  77. Some dazzling in-camera special effects, especially the ingenious idea of filming the story's ghost at a slow speed, six frames per second, giving the being a strange, otherworldly way of moving.
  78. The problem is not merely that Moore preaches to the choir. It's that, at his worst, he's so bumptious and bullheaded that he helps keep that choir small and strident. In Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore is so anti-Bush that he becomes a Bizarro-world version of Bush himself: tone-deaf, spluttering, incapable of framing an intelligent debate.
  79. Anderson creates a deluxe train set, for sure. All he neglects is building up an electric current or a head of steam.
  80. So minimalist that you wouldn't miss much if you watched semi-awake and listened to a friend's running commentary.
  81. 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
  82. Has its heart in the right place, and could have been an insightful rumination on corporate shortsightedness and mid-life obsolescence. Instead, it's another one of those Hollywood films whose feel for the workingman's life seems to come exclusively from other movies.
  83. 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.
  84. Auto Focus is a gutless wonder.
  85. As a documentary, the film is woefully underdeveloped.
  86. Dubowski's movie is an act of hope that the basic human needs of the gay Orthodox will someday be reconciled with their faith.
  87. There's no character to root for in this movie, no potential triumphs or resounding failures, just the sense of people going through the motions because they can't bother to think of anything better to do. And that's not a lot to hang your moviegoing hat on.
  88. There are moments, heaven forgive me, that left me chuckling. Not to mention eternally grateful that it's these guys doing this stuff, and not me.
  89. It wants to be like no other movie you've ever seen. It's more like every movie you've ever seen.
    • Baltimore Sun
  90. In Spy Kids 2, Rodriguez tries to hold his family-spy saga together with the digital equal of rubber bands and chewing gum.
    • Baltimore Sun
  91. All Fey does is apply a smattering of wit to the story.
  92. The credits list a couple of dozen medical and scientific consultants. What this film really needed was a script doctor.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A misstep or two aside, you don't have to belong to Mensa to know kids will enjoy it.
    • Baltimore Sun
  93. The word "yuppie" has fallen out of favor from overuse, but Closer's young urban professionals are so vain and superficial they may bring it back as the ultimate putdown. This movie is a yuppie nightmare.
  94. 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.
  95. Despite the dominant air of foolishness, the filmmaking is lush, lively and intelligent, but the gap between the direction and the script is appalling.
  96. Read like a long, anguished prayer, but on screen it looks an awful lot like blasphemy.
    • Baltimore Sun

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