Boston Globe's Scores

For 5,303 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 0.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Citizenfour
Lowest review score: 0 Gigli
Score distribution:
5,303 movie reviews
  1. The achievement of this movie is that Kaurismäki manages the seemingly impossible task of making a farce about farces. In other words, this is a very good movie in quotation marks and a very good movie.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    What's most unusual about the original 24 years later, though, is its elegant minimalism.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    A much better movie than the one it honors.
  2. Quite apart from wringing the last molecule of vividness from his freewheeling roster of loose cannons, he brings to his direction of Martin a finesse shared by only a few of the directors who have worked with the comedian-actor.
    • Boston Globe
  3. Gray's haunted, obsessional riffs are absorbing theater. Because Demme had the good sense to lay back and not beat them over the head with his cameras, they're equally compelling on film. [27 Mar 1987]
    • Boston Globe
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    It’s a deceptively impersonal style, because Beyond the Hills seethes with astonishment and rage at a broken society marooned between the 21st century and the 16th.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    A broad, foursquare piece of populist filmmaking that happens to be tremendously moving.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Has the impact of a left-right combination to the chin.
  4. Alexandra is a pleasure to watch, but it's also one of those lovely, unclassifiable movies that flourishes better with repeated or prolonged exposures.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Black Book takes the conventions of the WWII epic -- the prison breaks, the interrogation scenes -- and undermines them with craft and muscle and the ripe lack of restraint we've come to expect from this director.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    In retrospect, it’s obvious why the film was never produced: The director was a lunatic.
  5. If there is any message in Tarkovsky's work, although as a poet he would never stoop to anything as banal as a message, it is that life is an internal affair, played out in one's soul, not in public.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The Aristocrats -- the movie, not the joke -- is a working demonstration of the pleasures of the profane.
  6. Burton, who directed the film with animator Mike Johnson, has rarely been in brisker, friskier form.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    If The Trip to Italy begins shakily, it ends with expansive bliss, a father and son reconnecting off the shores of Capri as Gustav Mahler’s art song “Ich Bin Der Welt Abhanden Gekommen (I Am Lost to the World)” sends everyone heart-stoppingly home.
  7. Nathaniel fares well with his father's fellow masters, although Frank Gehry seems evasive.
  8. His film aspires to a poetry about barbarism that will not let us forget.
  9. “The Fog of War” (2003), about McNamara, won Morris a best documentary feature Oscar. The Unknown Known takes its title from a favorite phrase of Rumsfeld. It also accurately describes its subject, whose smiling inscrutability makes him consistently fascinating and often maddening.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Like the best spiritual movies, of whatever faith, "Of Gods and Men" moves us toward a union with the infinite, and when we come to the monks' last supper, the moment is staggeringly powerful.
  10. Some might find the dual conclusions too blunt in their irony, but “Norte” does not try to be consoling. Crazy as Fabian’s ideas seem, they might be the ones that prevail.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Should you see it? Of course you should. Anything Miyazaki does is worth your time. But the movie’s a gorgeous, problematic anomaly in an illustrious career.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The thread that winds through their stories is love lost and connections found, but only the audience is able to weave it into something to keep.
  11. Smart, unpredictable, and alive with the energies of actors who clearly are enjoying being stretched by their material.
    • Boston Globe
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    This may not be the greatest movie version of the novel, but it's possibly the truest.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    This is music to gorge on, raw ethnic survival in the form of sound.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The deeper Tim’s Vermeer takes you, the peskier and more profound the questions get.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Ynever seen a documentary quite like this one, and aren't likely to again.
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The script is biting and timely.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The film's an even four-hander, with awful behavior spread evenly among the characters and spellbinding performances by the quartet of co-leads.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Watching Room 237 is like being stuck on an airplane next to a stranger hellbent on convincing you of his very detailed, very paranoid theory of the universe. Actually, it’s like being stuck on a plane full of those guys, each with a different yet compellingly insane take on reality. And the in-flight entertainment features only one movie: “The Shining.”
  12. In the absolutely moving new documentary Watermarks, seven women in their 80s return to the Vienna swimming pool of their youth.
  13. Anderson is the rare filmmaker who doesn't want to use the actress as an instrument or to exploit her independent-movie cachet. She has freed Moore to be what she hasn't been with many directors: credibly human.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    American Sniper may be the hardest, truest movie ever made about the experience of men in war. Why? Because there’s no glory in it.
  14. Melding history, science, and up-to-the-minute urgency, A Fierce Green Fire is a clarion call that’s passionate and provocative.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The Babadook remains a potent journey through the fears, anxieties, and repressed rages of motherhood. The ending, remarkably, gets to have it both ways, reminding us that some of the scariest monsters are the ones we learn to live with.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Lebanon gives us viscerally violent, intensely distressing glimpses into war's annihilation of people, places, and communities.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    So what is Hunger? Unexpectedly, a visually ravishing tour of hell and a meditation on freedom that at best is wordlessly profound and at worst interestingly obscure.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Australian rocker Nick Cave talks of how discovering Cohen during his small-town youth "just changed things." Bono calls the singer "our Shelley, our Byron."
  15. Like its subject, Pollock is a messy creation, but one whose depth of commitment and high attack keeps it on track.
    • Boston Globe
  16. Maybe not entirely depersonalized, however. Hogg has a point of view and a point to make, cryptic though they may be.
  17. Beyond its fresh twists on the cop and romance genres, Witness is, above all, an anti-consumption film. [08 Feb 1985]
    • Boston Globe
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    All Abrams wants to do is give us a great ride while holding firm to our longstanding emotional investment in these characters.
  18. Time of Favor, which boasts a haunting score, is an unflinching, complex portrait of a modern Israel that is rarely seen on-screen.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    If you've seen the Beatles documentary "Let It Be," you know what four men who are heartily sick of one another look like, and in 2001, Metallica had been recording twice as long as the Fab Four.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    As the title implies, though, Keep on Keepin’ On has more on its mind. The film’s as much about the young Kauflin’s struggles — as a 21st-century Asian-American naïf trying to succeed in a 20th-century art form created by African-Americans, as a blind man navigating the often callous New York jazz scene. It’s also about the ongoing health of jazz itself as the music recedes further from the mainstream into the protective world of festivals and small clubs.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    A bleakly funny character study of a very particular species of urban fauna - the sports radio call-in fanatic - Big Fan’ is compulsively watchable.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    You never know where Mother is going to go next. All you know is that you're in the hands of a master with an appreciably bent sense of humor.
  19. The characters look as if they’d be more comfortable with intertitles than spoken dialogue. And the faces — Marion Cotillard as Ewa, the beleaguered Polish immigrant of the title, holds a close-up as well as Lillian Gish or Louise Brooks.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    After 152 epic minutes, ‘Lake of Fire’ comes down to this: If you’re not living this woman’s life, maybe you shouldn’t tell her what to do.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The result is Grade-A agitpop, a mixture of archival footage and cheeky, creative animated reconstruction that's funny and frightening in equal measure.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Watching Gus Van Sant's Gerry is the cinematic equivalent of watching paint dry. I mean that as high praise.
  20. The cinematic equivalent of a high, arching rainbow of a three-pointer from midcourt.
  21. The miraculous thing about Let's Get Lost is that Weber has managed to create something that's both impossibly stylized and unmistakably moral (not judgmental, moral).
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Three quarters of Cold Mountain consist of some of the most masterful and absorbing filmmaking of the year. The final quarter is Hollywood business as usual.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The film is as spare and unvarnished as a wooden temple floating on a lake, but its reflections run deep, and it can ripple your thoughts for months.
  22. Hurtling from the screen with a vigor and importance that are all but absent from contemporary film, it's a deeply moving social drama, raw and gritty in style, shining with moral purpose as it delivers a scathing take-it-into-the-streets critique of feral capitalism and racism. [18 July 1997, p.D1]
    • Boston Globe
  23. A movingly acted, terrifically old-fashioned World War II picture rethought as a post-colonial rebuke.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Across the board, the performances testify, often hilariously, to the pain these characters feel and inflict but are incapable of expressing.
  24. The decadence is obvious. But true to the Valentino prerogative, it's beautiful - sad, too: a dream life moving into the unknown.
  25. At once riveting and heartbreaking. This youngest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy has the good sense — far rarer among documentarians than you’d like to think — not to get in the way of her material.
  26. Bug
    Engrossingly manic version of Tracy Letts's great stage play.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Wants to claim Bukowski (1920-1994) as a 20th-century West Coast Walt Whitman -- a people's poet of modern degradation. Through a selective presentation of his writing and a reverently crass treatment of his life, it makes a funny, often intensely moving case, and you're having such a good time that you're glad to let it.
  27. A witty yet fiery and, in the best sense, provocative play of ideas about freedom of expression.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    A movie called Snakes on a Plane had better be one of two things: So bad it's good or so good it's great. Darned if it isn't a little bit of both.
  28. Superior and original filmmaking. You won't be able to take your eyes off it.
    • Boston Globe
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    A delightfully deadpan comedy from Germany, is one of those movies where nothing whatsoever seems to happen until you look closely, at which point everything happens.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The Lives of Others has similarities to Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 classic "The Conversation" but with undercurrents that resound across an entire century of European political history.
  29. Signe Baumane opens her sardonically hilarious, sneakily moving, autobiographical animated feature, Rocks in My Pocket, with what looks like a darker version of one of those chipper psycho-pharmaceutical ads.
  30. Incisive, highly entertaining political farce.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Jason Schwartzman is a fine actor, but he has a knack for creating characters you want to punch in the face, and Philip, who has a second novel coming out and is intent on burning all his bridges, is almost marvelously obnoxious.
  31. Has a power that doesn't announce itself until it's over: You leave not wanting to give up on life, just resentful of the world we live in.
  32. In this engaging, understated comedy, it is the journey and not the destination that matters.
    • Boston Globe
  33. Add to those John Curran’s adaptation of Robyn Davidson’s autobiographical book “Tracks.” In it he presents a vision of nature that shimmers with uncanny beauty and eerie solitude, transcended by Mia Wasikowska in one of the best performances of the year.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Happy-Go-Lucky isn't one of Leigh's epic social canvases like "Secrets & Lies" or even "Topsy-Turvy"; rather, it's an edgy character study whose message only gradually emerges.
  34. What starts out as a beautifully depopulated filmic exercise - it's 14 minutes into the movie before Guzman introduces any people - becomes toward the end a nearly unbearable examination of good and bad in the human heart.
  35. Richly textured, beautifully acted.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A quirky, welcome addition to Disney's cavalcade of animated stars.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    An electrifying, at times heartbreaking documentary from the Egyptian-born, Harvard-educated documentarian Jehane Noujaim (“Control Room”).
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    What Moreau does with this role is as inscrutably moving as anything Séraphine Louis painted.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Anvil! is one of the sweetest, funniest films I've seen this year. Also the loudest and most foulmouthed.
  36. A perfect example of a small, well-made, and (in its central role) rivetingly acted film.
    • Boston Globe
  37. The movie has you from its nearly wordless opening sequence.
  38. The best movie Steven Seagal never made. Except that Statham, while just as marked for death, is harder to kill.
  39. Outrageous controversialist meets brilliant attorney, and fact intertwines with fiction.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    It's a small, profoundly satisfying movie that keeps echoing long after it's over.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Like Anderson, many directors claim to value local color, but few have gone as far, or achieved such impressive results, as has Chris Smith in The Pool.
  40. Judy Irving's terrific documentary 'The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is ostensibly about birds, but only in the way that a game of Scrabble is about tiles.
  41. It is an uncompromising family tale, one that's dark but lyrical and moving in its rendering of the ties that bind even the most dysfunctional families, despite valiant efforts to destroy them.
    • Boston Globe
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Tarantino and Rodriguez want you to cover your eyes in disbelief and get the unholy giggles at the same time. You do, but in two very different ways, and that's the movie's strength.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    I can't think of another movie this year that made me laugh or weep harder for the whole lumpy business of being - the compromises and connections that get us through the day and somehow add up to entire lives.
  42. Eerily tragic and chillingly hard to come to terms with.
  43. A rousing, sometimes funny, frequently depressing documentary.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Wake in Fright is a monster movie, and the monster is us.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Director Paul Greengrass creates an aura of urgency so compelling, so rooted in detail, that we temporarily forget what we know and hold our breaths for two-plus hours of tightening suspense.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Pacific Rim is, hands down, the blockbuster event of the summer — a titanic sci-fi action fantasy that has been invested, against all expectations, with a heart, a brain, and something approximating a soul.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Barry Levinson's Diner is an extremely clever, slick male fantasy that takes some time to work out its mood and tone but ultimately blossoms into a moving film. [16 Apr 1982]
    • Boston Globe
  44. It infuriated me. It broke my heart. It convinced me that Caro, who's from New Zealand, is a strong, clear-voiced filmmaker
  45. They may not be as cool as Bono's fly shades, but the plastic yellow glasses required for viewing U23D supply an amazing fly-on-the-amp view of the Irish rockers in their natural habitat.
  46. Bell is utterly persuasive as the boy literally yearning to leap beyond the oppressively apparent confines of his world.
    • Boston Globe
  47. Is The Story of Film worth 15 hours of your viewing life? Well, that's between you and your kino conscience. The first part certainly is. Cousins is extremely good at laying out the emergence of a film grammar. More important, he communicates the sense of wonder and excitement that characterized the emergence of so astonishing a medium.

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