Charlotte Observer's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,600 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 40% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 The Prestige
Lowest review score: 0 Waist Deep
Score distribution:
1600 movie reviews
  1. You can get all of this free on television any week, so why pay for it?
  2. This film might have been daringly funny 10 years ago, even with its broadest elements intact. Now it's comfortable as old slippers and unthreatening as a sleeping kitten.
  3. The hot comic du jour wants to startle us but is merely startlingly dull.
  4. Passed as slowly as if I'd been sitting naked on an igloo, Formula 51 sank from quirky to jerky to utter turkey.
  5. The worst thing about the picture is that the people involved all seem to realize it's generic.
  6. We waited 10 years for a sequel to the movie version of "The X-Files" – and the best Chris Carter could do is The X-Files: I Want to Believe?
  7. Epps emerges mostly unscathed, and Dutton gives an excellent performance; he's as able before the camera as he is inept behind it.
  8. You cannot always judge movies by their titles, but you sometimes get good advice. The sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, supplies its own five-word review.
  9. Angelina Jolie is definitely worth her salt as an action hero, but Salt is never worth its Angelina Jolie.
  10. Director David Gordon Green steers a clumsy course between crass humor and sudden drama.
  11. See not only the original "Detective" but the Steve Martin-Bernadette Peters film "Pennies From Heaven." If you insist on giving Downey and company $8 instead, you'll be getting wooden nickels from Hell.
  12. No movie this year will better embody Macbeth's description of life itself: "a tale ... full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
  13. How bad, really, could it be? I couldn't have guessed.
  14. Martin, who plays Clouseau and wrote the script with Len Blum, has completely mishandled the character.
  15. Souza and Shelton throw in all kinds of ridiculous devices they learned in second-year screenwriting class.
  16. OK, so no plot, really.
  17. If you get past the preposterous hypothesis at the start of Return to Me, you'll find a passably pleasant, utterly bland romantic comedy without a surprise to its 110 minutes.
  18. You could dismiss it, as I do, as an impenetrable and insufferable ball of pseudo-philosophic twaddle.
  19. The Truth About Charlie...is that this "Charade" remake is a lumpen bore.
  20. What a riveting movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen might have been! And what a rickety mess it turned out to be when the people responsible lost faith in the origin of the material!
  21. The final sad joke is this: Weitz took a wonderful story about the danger of severing a soul from its otherwise empty body and did that very thing to his source.
  22. Visually compelling, relentlessly loud and so shallow you need just a fragment of your brain to follow it.
  23. Speaking of sounding Southern, I have to admit that the accents didn't match, and half the actors couldn't even do accents. But since we all sound alike down here, that's no big deal.
  24. Attaching Chris Rock to I Think I Love My Wife is like chaining a Kentucky Derby winner to the merry-go-round in a petting zoo. His humor is hobbled, his personality dulled, his energy depleted. Who's responsible for this lapse in judgment? Chris Rock.
  25. The special effects excite at first but wear out their welcome.
    • 23 Metascore
    • 38 Critic Score
    Heavy on cheap, dirty humor (Gordie and Sean clean septic tanks for a living, a fact that is milked frequently for laughs), but it's never substantial enough to truly offend or delight.
  26. The storytelling is inept and illogical.
  27. I hope his life was less dull than the movie he's made from it.
  28. De Niro wears a shamefaced look most of the time, as if doubly embarrassed: He agreed to a movie he knew was worthless, yet he's too lazy or indifferent to give us his best.
  29. I expected Get Rich or Die Tryin' to be gritty, scary, maybe disturbing or thought-provoking. What I didn't realize was that it would be so dull that any other effect it could have made was wiped away.
  30. Gosling's been better elsewhere but delivers an adequate performance. McGregor and Watts seem baffled most of the time, as well they might be. Forster keeps us from drifting off with inventive camerawork; in this case, that's like saying a hideous suit has well-stitched lapels.
  31. It's blah. Worse than blah, actually, because it's so stupid.
  32. Wilson brings low-wattage amiability to his part, as always. Hudson's mismatched with him but tries to set him afire.
  33. Plays like some uninformed seventh-grader's view of gay men.
  34. The movie is as padded as Allen's jelly belly.
  35. The filmmakers find "laughs" in sadistic violence.
  36. Yet even the language, finally, becomes as inauthentic as the accents.
  37. Dark Blue proves again what a remarkable actor Denzel Washington is. Too bad he's not in it.
  38. Utterly generic.
  39. Solaris is a film where people...often...speak... like... this, and the camera moves slowly across sterile interiors.
  40. Pan
    Writer Simon Fuchs begins with a reasonable idea – we’re all likely to be curious about the origins of Peter Pan – and does unreasonable things ever after.
  41. For all the talk about passion, the main feeling Youth conveys is self-pity.
  42. Long before this interminable film reaches its bogus finale, you'll realize that the people in it aren't real.
  43. Goes wrong in less than two minutes, which may be a world record for sequels to decent movies.
  44. Writer-director Coppola and her production team have gotten the look of the late 18th century right...But they've gotten almost everything else wrong.
  45. Interesting and idiotic elements almost exactly balance each other.
  46. Everything about the film seems to have been done on the cheap. The music sounds like it came from a high school band.
  47. The writers supply character traits that seem to point toward a pay-off but never reach one. People all end up as tight-lipped, indistinguishable automatons who plummet 50 feet down jagged rocks with scarcely a scratch.
  48. Repeated lapses in continuity and common sense.
  49. Though the writing doesn't work, you have to give Burns credit for shrewd direction. He gets the best performances I've seen from Graham and Murphy.
  50. It starts as enjoyable B-movie pulp, degenerates to camp, then turns into laughable lunacy.
  51. Sandler proves even a hardened Israeli secret service agent can be an imbecilic juvenile.
  52. It's theoretically possible to make a fascinating film about a thieving, self-indulgent, freebasing, treacherous scumbag who pimps his girlfriend to a gangster and contributes nothing to society. Wonderland isn't that film.
  53. If this project is some kind of huge in-joke, I’m willing to admit I didn’t get it. But if I did get it (and I’m afraid I did), it’s a huge disappointment.
  54. A frenzied, cacophonic cartoon.
  55. This picture has an ugly habit of humiliating Bridget, which "Diary" did not.
  56. Without a plausible script, crisp dialogue or rounded characters, the majority of the picture will sag gracelessly.
  57. ATL
    Director Chris Robinson moves his camera aimlessly, cutting in and out of speeches as if he were just as bored as I.
  58. Most painfully, the semi-alert Owen and the leaden Aniston go together like sausages and syrup.
  59. This stale, redundant story goes round in the same tight circles, revealing one piddling new secret and containing one unconvincing change of character.
  60. The truly appalling thing, though, is the stupidity of the screenplay by Richard Kelly.
  61. What's the message: that women must remain vigilant about poundage to keep husbands from chasing taut-thighed secretaries? That's a charitable Christmas thought.
  62. A fairy tale full of fascist, Bible-thumping straights, self-deluded and pathetic gay people who deny their impulses, and two honest lesbians who triumph.
  63. Better than you might expect, if you didn't expect it to be any good.
  64. There's nothing more painful than watching comics tank, and Looking for Comedy in a Muslim World is a 95-minute wince.
  65. Of COURSE it's bad. It was always going to be. But it's worse than necessary.
  66. There's one thing to be said for The Perfect Man: It confirms my belief that I'll never need to see another Hilary Duff movie until (1) she turns 30 or (2) she plays a crackhead in "Requiem for a Dream II."
  67. It's almost impossible for a movie to go irrevocably wrong during the opening credits, but the ceaselessly irritating The Jane Austen Book Club does just that.
  68. Hamlet has audacity, intelligence, a provocative visual and musical style, virtually no poetry, a garbled story line weakened by savage cutting of the play, and a great yawning hole where a Hamlet ought to be.
  69. The script by Kristofor Brown and Seth Rogen and the direction by Steven Brill have a careless, never-gave-a-damn feel that's as insulting to viewers as the film is dull.
  70. The film's filled with inconsequential scenes and supporting characters who add useless atmosphere or by-the-book diversity.
  71. The assault is against our ears, as the soundtrack pours forth a stream of thrash and Goth music.
  72. The opposite of memorable.
  73. Isn't satisfying or surprising. It doesn't even make sense from scene to scene.
  74. Sometimes seems longer than a rainy Super Bowl.
  75. You'll have to swallow this gooey confection whole or spit it out after the first couple of bites.
  76. A mind-numbing carnival of violence.
  77. He (Murphy) can't make chicken a la king from the chicken manure supplied by the writers.
  78. Is Josh Hartnett attracted to cinematic bombs, or do movies merely self-destruct once he signs on as the leading man?
  79. Far be it from me to spoil the secret, but I will say this: The last reel should've been sent straight to the city dump.
  80. It's neither dull nor stimulating, neither off-putting nor engaging.
  81. After five minutes, Christopher Walken vanishes. We wait vainly for the next 90 minutes for someone, anyone to bring that kind of danger, unpredictability and vitality to a story as drab as army fatigues.
  82. The Critic's Code of Honor forbids me from explaining in detail why the storytelling is so inept, because I'd have to spoil the silly surprises. So I'll say only this: You can interpret the climax two ways, and both will probably infuriate you.
  83. The only interesting character is the dragon, who grows from an adorably dependent baby to a protective, intelligent adult voiced by Rachel Weisz.
  84. A punch-drunk lightweight. Inside the ring, it lands some forceful punches. Outside the ring, it stumbles around, swinging wildly at nothing, until it collapses.
  85. Writer-director Barry Levinson leaned on Robin Williams the way a one-ring circus relies on its lone acrobat. So they're jointly responsible for the film's utter failure.
  86. Just a great, empty wind machine.
  87. A long, slow pity party full of characters who constantly bemoan their fate while telling other people not to pity themselves.
  88. The story's so sloppy that it contradicts itself constantly.
  89. Melvin Van Peebles wrote and directed the biting "Don't Play Us Cheap" 30 years ago to complain about racial stereotyping in films. But Hollywood never listened. It kept playing African -Americans cheap in mainstream comedies, whether the directors were white or black. Deliver Us From Eva -- is one of the worst recent offenders.
  90. Punch-Drunk Love buries a terrific performance by Adam Sandler under a heap of faux cleverness, meaningless symbolism and irritating mannerisms.
  91. Man on Fire is as ludicrous as "John Q," "Virtuosity" and "Out of Time," yet substantially more violent, artificial, self-conscious and dull.
  92. There's nothing wrong with Simpson's performance that a head transplant wouldn't cure, and the grinning Reynolds looks Botoxed into immobility.
  93. Errors in logic will delight the attentive.
  94. As Disney-fied as "Pinocchio," barely challenging the images Americans have treasured for 150 years.
  95. I think Baumbach and Gerwig mean Brooke to be a life-affirming free spirit who can’t find a place in our mercenary world. Instead, she comes off as selfish, rude, deluded, irresponsible and mean-spirited.
  96. Since there can be no suspense, the point is to enjoy the hewing of limbs and the severing of necks, to delight in chopped-off fingers and gouged-out eyes. The title characters are embodiments of utter evil, right?
  97. The movie that's meant to be his (Apatow) most personal turns out to be his most dully generic.
  98. Ronan, however, transcends the script. She's innocent yet wise, gentle yet forceful. She's the one thing in this picture that shows how great a movie The Lovely Bones might have been, had the people who made it believed in the book with all their hearts.
  99. I also wondered how the movie got the title Cradle 2 the Grave. Nobody used the phrase; it didn't apply to any characters; it didn't even turn up in a song. Maybe the filmmakers were saving "Rotten 2 the Core" for the sequel.

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