Boston Globe's Scores

For 5,255 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: 62
Highest review score: 100 The Passenger (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 The Devil Inside
Score distribution:
5,255 movie reviews
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    They're both tales of growing up in the shadow of Islamic fundamentalism, but Persepolis is everything "The Kite Runner" is not. It's a personal memoir rather than fiction, coolly observant instead of melodramatic, female rather than male in sensibility and sense of humor - it has a sense of humor.
  1. The film quickly becomes one of the most powerful, carefully researched investigations of the moral-legal side effects of current American military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's terrifying in a way that sneaks up on you.
  2. 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    It's a small, profoundly satisfying movie that keeps echoing long after it's over.
  3. This is the epidemic from love's point of view, a story as much about how the disease can ravage the heart as it does the body. It is also Téchiné's best film since 1998's superb "Alice et Martin," and 1994's even better "Wild Reeds."
  4. It's refreshing to see Gondry's moviemaking still possessed by the community spirit he caught a few years ago with "Dave Chappelle's Block Party."
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Some movies rest on an actor's face, and The Counterfeiters has a great one.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Horror movie Rule #1: The only way to kill a zombie is to shoot it in the brain. George Romero himself laid this maxim down with his first film, the endlessly influential 1968 gutter classic "Night of the Living Dead." Forty years later, with George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead, the venerable filmmaker has done something almost as startling: He has put brains back into the zombie genre.
  5. Everything about Chop Shop is modest - the movie's scale, the characters' ambitions. Another director might have tried to nudge the film's grim detours toward tragedy. And that might have worked, too. But Bahrani is a refreshingly deceptive director in that sense.
    • 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.
  6. Alexandra is a pleasure to watch, but it's also one of those lovely, unclassifiable movies that flourishes better with repeated or prolonged exposures.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The subject is the privileged state of childhood itself - how we're all lucky to have had it and how it so easily floats away from our grasp.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Shine a Light did something I didn't think was possible. It got me caring about the Rolling Stones again.
  7. To say the least, the film is awkward, like a piece of badly assembled Ikea furniture. Still, editor Bernadine Colish weaves together all that C-SPAN footage into a disturbing procedural indictment. Legislators use the same language - often the president's - to justify the rush to war. The repetition is comical until it's scary: They're parroting.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Sloppily made at times and it comes close to wearing out its welcome, but you can't blame Walker for not wanting to let his subjects go. And as the movie progresses, a viewer begins to understand why: These people are literally singing for their lives.
  8. This is a film of our times - paranoid, heartbroken, disillusioned - and the rare recent American movie whose characters react the way actual people might.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    In Standard Operating Procedure, Errol Morris does something inconceivable and, at first glance, ill-advised. He gives the US soldiers of Abu Ghraib back their humanity.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    In many ways, Son of Rambow plays like a pint-size, even cheekier version of the recent Michel Gondry film "Be Kind Rewind." Both are stories about people making movies not because it's their job but because doing so brings a vast sense of play into their lives.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Reprise is exceptionally smart about the crushing expectations brought to the table by those who love us.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Does Antarctica attract dreamers or create them? It's a thread that runs throughout the film.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Maddin's Winnipeg is a rich, funky, funny stew of fears and desires, of mangled civic chronology mashed up with hothouse private emotions. This is a secret history, and it's a wonder.
  9. The movie takes the ABBA jukebox musical that ate London, and is still eating Broadway, and turns it into a surprisingly sensuous experience.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Does what too many independent American movies only pretend to do: Takes you to an unnoticed corner of our country and shows what it's like to actually live there.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Deeper, darker currents move through Momma's Man, eddying around fears of letting go on both sides of the generational divide.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Grueling yet ultimately exhilarating.
  10. The beauty of Let the Right One In resides in the way the horror remains grounded in a tragic kind of love.
  11. I can't pretend to know fully what Charlie Kaufman is up to in Synecdoche, New York, with all the doubled characters, dreamy reenactments, comical minutiae, and personal unhappiness. But I got a great deal of pleasure out of watching him mount his fantasia about an artist suffering not simply for his art, but because of it.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Self-consciously poetic and shot within a luscious inch of its life, the film's also an engrossing heartbreaker: a family saga that spans continents, political administrations, and decades of travail to arrive at a harder, wiser place.
    • 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.
  12. Wendy Carroll is a character we rarely see in movies anymore, a woman left alone with her thoughts. That a moviegoer would care what she's thinking testifies to the power in Williams's brand of solitude.
  13. Che
    The labor applied to Che is apparent, but it would be wrong to characterize the movie as laborious the way it was in, say, 2006's "The Good German," where Soderbergh took great pains to re-create 1940s Hollywood wartime glamour.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Waltz With Bashir not only breathes but it howls - and sobs and curses and croons and, in the end, when sound proves useless in the face of calamity, falls into awful silence.
  14. Merry, filthy, unstoppably hormonal, Serbis feels very much like the sort of movie that happens when no one is minding the store.
  15. Fighting has real grit and excellent acting. In other words, there is gold in that dirt.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    A history lesson for a country and a people forced to forget at gunpoint.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Quiet, observant, and intensely moving whenever Heiskanen is on screen, and it has a valedictory sweep that feels like a summing up.
  16. It sounds like the old unstoppable-force-meets-immovable-object trick. Ramin Bahrani's Goodbye Solo has the trappings of such a story, but, mercifully, none of the follow-through.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    In the tradition of ethnographic dramas from "Nanook of the North" to "The Fast Runner," Tulpan drops us in the middle of a godforsaken nowhere and marvels at the people who live there.
    • 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.
  17. The decadence is obvious. But true to the Valentino prerogative, it's beautiful - sad, too: a dream life moving into the unknown.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Feels both masterful and hesitant - it’s the work of a born filmmaker who’s still not quite sure what she wants to say.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Terrifically compelling and, more than that, unexpectedly moving.
  18. Revanche was a foreign-language Oscar nominee this year, and it's a better movie than most of the films in the main race. The word "revanche" means "revenge" in German, but "waiting" would have been just as good.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    O'Horten is a precise, deadpan drama of slapstick existentialism - a Bent Hamer movie, in other words.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Fair warning: I had to see The Girlfriend Experience twice before its pieces settled into coherent shape.
  19. In The Hurt Locker, the thrill is unexpectedly contagious. You don't realize how riveted you are until you're back on American soil observing James in civilian life.
  20. 9
    Any optimism in 9, which is bound to try the fortitude of meeker children, feels hard-won. It actually ends in a bittersweet mystery.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Burma VJ’ retorts that eyes and ears are everywhere in our ever-tightening global communications mesh. Voices, too, and they get heard. The generals and the ayatollahs have every right to be scared.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    What Moreau does with this role is as inscrutably moving as anything Séraphine Louis painted.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Somers Town, is a trifle: A short black-and-white lark with sharp edges and a soft center. It has its raptures, though, and then some. A disarmingly slight tale of adolescent friendship, Somers Town is one of those rare movies that seems to discover itself as you watch it.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    As a ranking cabinet minister in the brutally funny political satire In the Loop, actor Peter Capaldi unfurls dazzling verbal ribbons of the foulest language imaginable, thunderbolts of vulgarity that carry the force of precision carpet-bombing.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The Dardennes resist the expected cliches: The climactic scenes gather force and purpose and the movie seems headed for a breakthrough of some sort, but then it glides softly and unexpectedly to a halt.
  21. This is also the first of Martel’s films to build in a direction other than up. The film’s lateral movement continues a kind of class commentary.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    An entertainment to be not just seen but absorbed on a molecular level; it's as close to a full-body experience as we'll get until they invent the holo-suits. Cameron aims for sheer wonderment, and he delivers.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    By forgoing actual human beings, the director has made his most charming, least annoyingly fey film - a thing of lovely comic wisdom.
    • 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.
  22. I liked these characters, and suddenly not having them in my life anymore, simply because Denis has decided to start the closing credits, devastated me.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Bright Star is a thing of beauty and a joy for a movie season that needs it.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    It’s when Toy Story 3 becomes a jailbreak movie that it comes into its own.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Ends on a note of triumphant populism, but the film’s bitter aftertaste hints that when we ignore the details, we only ensure they’ll be repeated.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Like a nightmare you recall during waking hours, and then only in its vast outlines, Antichrist has the power to haunt beyond words. For better and for worse, it is exactly the movie von Trier wanted to make and a piece of staggeringly pure cinema.
  23. Frankly, the story isn’t remotely as interesting as Cage. Nothing is. In Ferrara’s movie, Keitel emptied himself out. But there’s a hellion’s joy in Cage’s cop.
  24. This emperor verges on dementia, having no apparent clue how to function.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The movie’s a chocolate box of nougaty performances, from Christopher Plummer’s delightful depiction of Tolstoy as a ribald old naïf to Paul Giamatti twirling his waxed mustache and playing to the gallery as Vladimir Chertkov.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    There’s a lot, in fact, that keeps this film from greatness. One performance alone recommends it. That’s enough.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    A proudly Calvinist work - I mean the comic strip character, not the philosopher - that understands the delights of deep play.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The music is terrific, as it should be in a movie where T Bone Burnett wrote the songs with Stephen Bruton.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The film, dazzling and poignant and five years in the making, retells the ancient Indian epic "The Ramayana" from a gentle but insistent feminist perspective.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    It’s much too easy to call Ajami an Arab-Israeli “Crash,’’ but it’s a pretty good place to start.
  25. It’s imperfect, but it’s daring, bold, and from a director who isn’t scared of anything.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    A visually overwhelming labor of love, a hand-drawn medieval adventure tale that seeks and finds cosmic connections.
  26. The movie is a perfect blend of calm execution and uninflected farce.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Whenever a band plays in “Persian Cats,’’ the director treats us to a fast, vibrant montage of Iranian faces and street scenes -- as if to say, look, this is who we REALLY are.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Please Give is a moral comedy that feels at times like one of the late Eric Rohmer’s deceptively breezy miniatures, or a mid-period Woody Allen movie minus the fussiness.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The hidden message of The Oath is so inescapable as to be Shakespearean: Character will out.
  27. A chillingly effective documentary.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A remarkable look at the people behind an organization that understands its limitations.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    One of the smarter, more unexpectedly touching documentaries of the year, and I recommend it to you whether you love Rivers or loathe the very thought of her.
  28. "This was the Rosa Parks moment,'' another participant says, "the time that gay people stood up and said, 'No.' ''
  29. Antal is a professional who respects your dollars. In a season where the blockbusters are as flat as month-old soda, that’s the most romantic gesture a commercial filmmaker can make.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    If you're not in the mood, the whole thing will probably seem pretty silly. But if you are -- oh, if you are -- I Am Love may be the richest, tastiest truffle you're likely to savor all summer.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The movie's an unexpected end-of-summer tonic: a trash guilty pleasure with a healthy (if really violent) sense of outrage. It's also Rodriguez's freest movie yet, and possibly his best.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    As taut and suspenseful as any fictional mystery.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Lebanon gives us viscerally violent, intensely distressing glimpses into war's annihilation of people, places, and communities.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    A miniature masterpiece of documentary observation.
  30. Grace is grace, and however it arrives, there's no denying its presence.
  31. What's astonishing is that the movie is not a half-baked production. The spectacle now LOOKS spectacular.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Carlos moves like a greyhound out of the gate, fleet and assured and focused on the business at hand. It's a subtle, ultimately staggering portrayal of a bloody-minded ideologue who convinced only himself.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The Fighter is this close to a triumph: a movie that steeps us in the grit of its time and place - Lowell, Mass., in the 1990s - and electrifyingly dramatizes Ward's battles with the family that almost loved him to death.
  32. Wiseman has made several films about both disability and dance, but this new one might be his most hypnotic, rhythmically assembled observation of corporeal expression.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    The scene appalls but doesn't offend; it's a "Worst-Case-Scenario Survival Handbook'' nightmare that resonates on the metaphysical level.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Rabbit Hole is a personal project for Kidman - she produced the film after falling in love with the play - and it seems to have revived the quickness in her. That ice-blue gaze has found its focus again, and it looks deep into the one thing none of us want to face.
  33. Like "Life Is Sweet," "Secrets & Lies," and yes, 1971's "Bleak Moments," to name but three of Leigh's 10 semi-improvised character studies, Another Year is another frowning comedy.
  34. The movie isn't a critique of zoo life. But it's possible we have on our hands, in Nénette's captivity, a microcosm of celebrity star-gazing.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 88 Reviewed by
      Ty Burr
    Why revisit Shoah 25 years after it was first released? Because it matters more a quarter century on, just as it will matter even more in a hundred years, and 200, and - if it and we survive - a thousand.
  35. "Angélica" feels most like the film that argues Oliveira is this close to the beyond without ever bothering to knock first at death's door.
  36. An ambitious mix of politics, religion, art, and human drama.

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