Charlotte Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,479 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 41% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Wind Rises
Lowest review score: 0 Little Nicky
Score distribution:
1,479 movie reviews
  1. Turn a potentially unforgettable movie into a broad crowd-pleaser that sustains itself on three acting performances.
  2. Yi Yi is an intimate movie, for all its length and complexity.
  3. Gone Baby Gone would be an accomplishment with anyone at the helm; from a first-timer, it's a revelation.
  4. Doesn't reveal all its layers until you've taken the last bite.
  5. The film moves slowly, yet at exactly the right pace. Long holds on faces let us ponder what’s said and look for visual clues that it may be a lie.
  6. Trumping its predecessor with a tauter plot, a lower body count and just as many edge-of-the-seat jolts.
  7. My sentimentality meter never went off, and Smith proved what people have forgotten since his breakthroughs in "Where the Day Takes You" and "Six Degrees of Separation" 13 years ago: He's a serious actor.
  8. The film moves swiftly and unerringly to its conclusion. Spielberg remains under Stanley Kubrick's directorial spell.
  9. Portman doesn't catch fire until the second half, then heaves herself into emotional action; this suits her initially passive, mostly unthinking character. Weaving, who acts entirely with his voice, is V's ideal embodiment: witty, rueful, pitiless, visionary and mad.
  10. Balances brains, brawn and heart in ideal proportions. The actors - some first-rate, all enjoyable - never get overshadowed by the special effects, which dazzle us without gory excess.
  11. The most thoughtfully satisfying of the first six books.
  12. The longer film makes Donnie's intentions clearer, explains the time-travel theme better and also leaves us in no doubt as to Frank's identity.
  13. It comes from Pixar, the animation studio that scored with the "Toy Story" series and "A Bug's Life," and it has more zip and a tad less soul than those predecessors.
  14. Whedon wants to make a Serenity trilogy, and I suspect the actors will grow on me if he does. In this case, familiarity would breed not contempt but comfort.
  15. Hank Greenberg was to Jews what Jackie Robinson was to African Americans: a great athlete, handsome and hard-working, who took the first line of abuse from bigots and proved that his people belonged at the highest level of professional sports.
  16. Anton has a sad, gentle detachment that allows him to turn the other cheek literally through a series of slaps.
  17. Despite Hunter's terrific acting, the mom seems too unaware.
  18. Careful casting adds to verisimilitude. Nobody carries off a chilly authority figure like Tilda Swinton, who represents the chemical company; Pollack, who has more or less stopped directing, now embodies urbane amorality as an actor; Wilkinson, whose career has mostly been devoted to repressed or depressed characters, enjoys his turn as a bright-eyed fanatic.
  19. It's obviously meant to help his presidential candidacy - why release it a month before the election, otherwise? - and for the first 7 minutes, it plays like a campaign commercial about young John's integrity, hard work and humble roots.
  20. If you're put off by deliberate filmmaking (or subtitles, though the movie doesn't have much dialogue), you're in the wrong spot. If not, you'll see why voters gave "Atanarjuat," as it's officially called, a 2002 Oscar nomination for best foreign film.
  21. Anderson tells this story slowly, inexorably, with a sense of control I've never felt from him before. This is the least violent of his five dramas, the first where nobody dies. It's also the bleakest.
  22. It depicts a world close enough to our own to be terrifying, yet different enough to rouse curiosity.
  23. A follow-up with as much artistic integrity, complexity, humor and well-designed action as the original.
  24. Markowitz, Daley and Goldstein sounds like a New York firm that delivers financial advice, but they're asking you to invest only $9 of your cash and 100 minutes of your time. They have written the funniest movie I've seen this year in Horrible Bosses.
  25. What director Jan Hrebejk and writer Petr Jarchovský are talking about is the Czech Republic, ravaged for decades by communism and then left to fend for itself in a world to which it can scarcely adjust.
  26. Rodriguez' inner peace wins us over. He seems to have enjoyed recording music, fathering kids, cleaning houses, playing sold-out gigs and simply strumming a guitar in his kitchen. Searching for Sugar Man reminds us that a wise man knows lasting riches are never the result of record sales.
  27. Though the writing isn't always specific, Williams is. He differentiates between the murderer in "Insomnia," who wants a cop to understand his motives, and Sy, who realizes no one ever could.
  28. Like a story-spinner from the "Tales of the Arabian Nights," Steven Spielberg begins by demanding we accept impossible things. If we do, his spell can enchant us; if not, it must vanish like colored smoke.
  29. The result owes a little to the 1927 "Metropolis," a little to film noir, a little to early depictions of H.G. Wells' science fiction -- notably the 1936 "Things to Come" -- and a little to lovably far-fetched sci-fi serials.
  30. Wallenda once said, "Life is being on the wire; everything else is just waiting." This film makes that motto ring true.

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