indieWIRE's Scores

  • Movies
For 535 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 77% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 21% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 15.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 77
Highest review score: 100 Zero Dark Thirty
Lowest review score: 0 In Secret
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 535
535 movie reviews
  1. More than a powerful elegy, 12 Years a Slave is a mesmerizing triumph of art and polemics: McQueen turns a topic rendered distant by history into an experience that, short of living through the terrible era it depicts, makes you feel as if you've been there.
  2. First Cousin Once Removed benefits from the clarity provided by Honig's published poetry, which surfaces in voiceover narration and words on the screen, rendering the undulations of his life in sweeping abstractions.
  3. Epic in scope yet unassuming throughout, Linklater's incredibly involving chronicle marks an unprecedented achievement in fictional storytelling.
  4. Gravity lets you visit space without sugarcoating its dangers. It's a brilliant portrait of technology gone wrong that uses it just right.
  5. Bigelow delivers an acute realization of the mission's execution that's eerily in sync with the way it played in the popular imagination. Visually, the events unfold as a mashup of shadowy movements with flashes of green night vision. It's simultaneously predictable and tense.
  6. It's a frantic microcosm of life itself.
  7. Before Midnight is the rare cinematic achievement that implicates alert viewers in its mission to understand the mysteries of intimate connections.
  8. At first galvanizing in its depiction of survival amid dire circumstances, "The Overnighters" transforms into a devastating portrait of communal unrest.
  9. Although not exactly heartwarming, Amour has a more contained vision of human relationships than Haneke's previous films without sacrificing its bleak foundation. It's his most conventional movie about death -- and the most poignant.
  10. An ode to art for art's sake, Inside Llewyn Davis is the most innocent movie of the Coens' career, which in their case is a downright radical achievement.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Even as it delivers an emotional wallop, not every moment of "Calvary" goes down smoothly, as comedic scenes transition somewhat abruptly to tragic moments and the final reveal never reaches the heights of its Hitchockian inspirations.
  11. Shot in gorgeously expressionistic black-and-white and fusing multiple genres into a thoroughly original whole, Amirpour has crafted a beguiling, cryptic and often surprisingly funny look at personal desire that creeps up on you with the nimble powers of its supernatural focus.
  12. Love Is Strange is a sophisticated take on contemporary urbanity infused with romantic ideals and the tragedy of their dissolution.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Like its central character, Listen Up Philip exudes a kind of highbrow affectation that charms more than it alienates.
  13. Stories We Tell marks the finest of Polley's filmmaking skills by blending intimacy and intrigue to remarkable effect.
  14. Her
    Certainly his most deeply felt achievement, Her is both distinctly Jonze-like and something altogether different, as if the filmmaker has gone through a software update not unlike his artificial character.
  15. Story comes second to Russell over the rhythms of well-timed bickering, which is a blessing and a curse in American Hustle.
  16. Playing make believe with murderers, Oppenheimer risks the possibility of empowering them. However, by humanizing psychopathic behavior, The Act of Killing is unparalleled in its unsettling perspective on the dementias associated with dictatorial extremes.
  17. It may go without saying that Poetry adopts a lyrical tone, but this forms the crux of its appeal. In this case, the title says it all.
  18. The Artist plays around with the distinction between silent and sound cinema, resulting in the superficial entertainment value of a high concept film school joke. But it's a charming and supremely gorgeous joke -- sometimes too clever for its own good, other times not clever enough, and always at least an attractive diversion.
  19. The cumulative impact of The Arbor is one of claustrophobia; at times, the endlessly downbeat adventures of Dunbar and her offspring grow almost unbearably morose.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The Babadook isn't a transcendent horror film. But its ability to handle and manipulate the conventional tropes apparent in so many of its peers makes it a satisfying ride.
  20. '71
    '71 constantly thrills without sensationalizing its surprises. The war-is-hell ethos drives it forward, so that the movie retains its suspense in conjunction with its dour outlook.
  21. Kechiche excels at capturing his protagonist's emergence in the world.
  22. While it has many familiar ingredients — from the atmosphere to the ensemble of Anderson regulars in nearly every role — in its allegiance to Anderson's vision, everything about The Grand Budapest Hotel is a welcome dose of originality.
  23. The visual collage retains a consistent melancholy, resulting in an experience that's both deeply affecting and-since José never actually appears on-camera-utterly detached.
  24. The movie is an impressively realized work of minimalist storytelling that foregrounds Redford's physicality more than any other role in his celebrated career. His performance defines the movie to an almost shockingly experimental degree.
  25. Striking a complex tone of tragedy and uplift at the same time, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter both celebrates the escapist power of personal fantasies and bears witness to their dangerous extremes. It's the rare case of a story that's inspirational and devastating at once.
  26. On the whole, Manakamana succeeds by creating the ongoing anticipation of something, anything to happen next, a wholly unique sensation specific to its inventive design.
  27. The magic of Uncle Boonmee is that it makes all viewers feel like the strange ones.
  28. Director Bennett Miller has produced a warm and generally agreeable character study about the pratfalls of athletic institutions and the willingness to think outside the box.
  29. At two and a half hours, Lincoln contains only a single battle scene in its opening seconds. The rest is pure talk, a keen dramatization of Doris Kearns Goodwin's tome "Team of Rivals," that delivers an overview of Lincoln's crowning achievement in chunks of strategy talk.
  30. It's a sad, thoughtful depiction of midwestern eccentrics regretting the past and growing bored of the present, ideas that Payne regards with gentle humor and pathos but also something of a shrug.
  31. Herzog naturally plays up the enigma at hand with epic grandeur, occasionally overdoing it but usually hitting the mark.
  32. The movie's stakes are alternately personal and political, but Petzold's skill truly comes into focus in the tense climax, when those two aims come together with a powerful act of defiance.
  33. Ignore the precise religious context and it stands perfectly well as a restrained look at personal convictions in the face of certain death.
  34. More traditional in terms of atmosphere and plot, Drug War nevertheless features a tense, unstoppable momentum, a morally ambiguous protagonist and hugely involving action scenes.
  35. Equally a slick political thriller, intelligent period piece and sly Hollywood satire, Ben Affleck's Argo maintains a careful balance between commentary and entertainment value.
  36. Steve James's The Interrupters runs long, but earns its heft.
  37. If nothing else, this memorable effort eloquently displays Hushpuppy's fragile understanding of her world, where the only certainty is that nothing lasts forever. That makes "Beasts" into a gigantic triumph even when it falls apart.
  38. I had to see the new version twice to realize that there's so much to appreciate about this multilayered production.
  39. As with "Shotgun Stories," Nichols assembles a tense portrait of blue-collar life, while deepening his thematic interests and working on a bigger scale. Burrowing into the subconscious of a damaged man, he delivers a modern American epic with extraordinary restraint.
  40. Fruitvale is largely sustained by Jordan's career-making performance and the way Coogler uses it to analyze his subject...It's a fascinating investigation into the contrast between media perception and intimate truths.
  41. Farhadi's new movie confirms his unique ability to explore how constant chatter and anguished outbursts obscure the capacity for honest communication.
  42. More meditation than movie, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life is bound to mystify, awe and exasperate in equal measures.
  43. Reichardt crafts a highly textured narrative that both invokes the mythology of the American frontier and cleverly transcends it.
  44. There's no doubting that Holy Motors is an ungodly mess of images and moments, some more alluring than others, but it sure leaves a mark.
  45. Even when that story drags, Moonrise Kingdom could be appreciated on mute.
  46. There's a adrenaline rush even in the problematic finish, an eagerness that drives the filmmaking so that Looper is thrilling to watch even when it falls apart.
  47. The Descendants constantly hovers on the brink of a dark comedy. But it never takes the big plug. By treading carefully, Payne has created his warmest, most earnest work, if not his best.
  48. The narrative only really stumbles because its tone never manages to convince on the level that McConaughey's performance eventually does. With its subdued approach, Dallas Buyers Club stops just short of an emotional payoff.
  49. With a keen eye for the capacity of fine art to address a complex range of attitudes and experiences, Museum Hours effectively applies Cohen's existing strengths to a familiar scenario and rejuvenates it by delivering a powerfully contemplative look at the transformative ability of all art.
  50. The movie makes a strong case against the captivity of killer whales under sub-circus conditions, but the stance is made even more horrifying because so little has changed in the history of the organization. Blackfish is less balanced investigation than full-on takedown of a broken system.
  51. The movie works best when probing the nature of human interactions with Nim: He appears to form a close friendship with the stoner psych major Bob Ingersoll, not only foraging for food with him but also sharing joints.
  52. Xavier Dolan's I Killed My Mother marks the emergence of an exciting new filmmaking talent. The Montreal actor, a mere 20 years old, displays a startlingly mature perspective on human behavior in his triple threat position as writer-director-star.
  53. The grim subtext of The Wind Rises goes largely unacknowledged, leading to a gaping hole in this otherwise beautifully realized narrative that celebrates the power of curiosity as a motivating force.
  54. Pina is a beautiful, heartfelt ode and a delicious feast for the eyes, but not an essential work of art on its own terms.
  55. It's hard to imagine Captain Phillips in the hands of any other filmmaker -- and Captain Phillips in the hands of Greengrass looks exactly like anyone familiar with his work would expect. It does justice to the material even while playing too conscientiously by the book.
  56. Maintains a funny and sad focus on its single petulant subject.
  57. Though slow-going for much of its running time, Arbor's delicate tale culminates with a frighteningly choreographed tragedy, but tacks on a beautifully evocative and mostly wordless epilogue that carries the semblance of progress.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Revealing both the dangers and payoffs of artistic ambition, Whiplash is sure to establish Chazelle as a directorial force to be reckoned with.
  58. Singled-handedly carrying the story to its inevitable conclusion, [Wasikowska] gives Tracks a level of depth that nothing else in the movie can provide.
  59. There are moments when Tragos and Palermo run the risk of transforming their subjects into tools exploited for the sake of the movie's artistic vision, but the best part of Rich Hill is that its participants rise above the limitations of the material.
  60. Heinzerling's beautifully shot, painfully intimate look at the aging couple's struggle to survive amid personal and financial strain is both heartbreaking and intricately profound. This is a story about creative desire so strong it hurts.
  61. Produced by Keanu Reeves, this talking heads survey of the transition from shooting on film to digital video is against all odds an imminently watchable overview, and not only because Reeves has decent interview skills.
  62. The climax is a little too clever and far-fetched-an unnecessarily neat finale for a movie that works fine when dealing in broad strokes, some of which are nothing short of masterful.
  63. Ornette isn't just a love letter to the liberty of jazz rhythms; it excels at expressing them.
  64. Taking its time to let the world take shape, Short Term 12 builds to an involving series of mini-climaxes without tidying up every loose end.
  65. At times, Frances Ha strains from emphasizing the characters' snarkiness and disregarding plot. By routinely going nowhere, however, the movie eventually finds a distinctive voice that carries it through.
  66. The central appeal of The Trip is that it's only a comedy in bits and pieces. Overall, however, Winterbottom constructs a thoughtful and generally sad portrait of Coogan's persona as a man unsure of his next move.
  67. Anchored by a funny and especially credible performance by newcomer Miles Teller, Ponsoldt's follow up to his alcoholism portrait "Smashed" has all the hallmarks of a bittersweet teen drama with flashes of realistic comedy on par with "Say Anything" and "The Breakfast Club."
  68. Big Words at times seems like it's heading towards a microbudget version of "Hustle and Flow," but Drumming aims for a much smarter and subdued look at the various regrets and hang-ups haunting men of a certain age. Their blackness is only one piece of the puzzle.
  69. A comedy of remarriage buried in intellectual abstraction and cinephilic obsessions, Certified Copy wanders a bit but never loses focus, with the only certainty being that its gimmick is genuine.
  70. No stranger to crafting excessive anticipation, Reichardt has funneled that skill into thriller clothing. However, like all of her output, nothing is as simple as it looks.
  71. With its bouncy soundtrack, deadpan humor and good-natured disposition, Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki's Le Havre is an endearing affair.
  72. A four-and-a-half hour period piece littered with interconnected events spread across many years, it moves forward with fits of intrigue, interspersed with casual developments that deaden its momentum and call into question its monumental running time.
  73. If nothing else, Blancanieves offers an excellent case for revisiting the early days of cinema -- and for recognizing how much has been lost in its absence. While "The Artist" recalled the silent film industry, Blancanieves solely pays tribute to the art.
  74. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's mesmerizing Once Upon a Time in Anatolia plays like "Zodiac" meets "Police, Adjective."
  75. Mills fashions the set-up for an overwrought, thoroughly depressing character study into an oddly charming comedy. It's a midlife crisis gently portrayed with sympathy rather than grief.
  76. Weekend builds into a powerful encapsulation of an identity crisis over the course of three passionate days.
  77. Greene's patient, understated portrait renders a universal rite of passage in strangely alluring, poetic terms.
  78. Sister may not arrive at a happy ending, but the lack of resolution -- capped off by the powerful last image --completes its journey to a place of rousing emotional clarity.
  79. At times more in line with "Blazing Saddles" than the grimly bawdy qualities that define many bonafide oaters, Django Unchained erupts with a conceptual brilliance from the outset that never fully meshes with its clumsy storyline. Nevertheless, it's a giddy ride.
  80. A stitched-together combo of outlaw energy and bittersweet romance that gives the impression of Little Rascals in the big city. Like the graffiti art it documents, it's a lovingly handmade affair.
  81. Whereas "45365" took the form of a scattered collage, with disconnected events and a vast ensemble of characters stitched together to represent a year of activity, Tchoupitalas brings greater clarity to a similarly diffuse canvas by situating it around a trio of innocent observers.
  82. Upstream Color is routinely confusing but not oppressively so; its final exquisite moments explain little yet still manage to invite you in.
  83. Possibly the best war movie of the year.
  84. Despite its shortcomings, The World's End glistens with a comedic energy not present in equivalent mainstream blockbusters.
  85. Recently released from jail, Ai's full story remains to be told, but Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry competently summarizes his lasting relevance, regardless of what may happen next.
  86. Incredibly heartfelt to a large degree because of its cast.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Wiseman takes it all in, but don’t fall victim to the common error of ascribing objectivity to the veteran docmaker. Wiseman is a radical shaper and editor of his subjects.
  87. The contrast between the movie’s traditional execution and Stritch’s domineering powers create the lingering sense that she may be the project’s true auteur.
  88. Melancholia hovers in ambiguity with riveting aesthetic prowess.
  89. Slickly made if not particularly stylish, the movie maintains its entertainment value for picking ideal models of American excess.
  90. I Wish embraces blissful ignorance, even celebrating its child characters' naivete.
  91. In each tense moment, Miss Bala has a lot to say in a few words.
  92. With the shift from conventional rock doc into something more sophisticated, As the Palaces Burn remains enthralling all the way through.
  93. Berberian Sound Studio constructs a perpetually strange, unseemly series of events overshadowed (and sometimes consumed by) the spooky movie-within-a-movie that hangs over every scene.
  94. Frammartino keeps the material engaging simply by aiming the camera at his subjects and letting the material organically emerge-rather than enforcing the supernatural element with overstatement.
  95. Mungiu's method creates the feeling of being submerged in a maze of confrontations and chatter, but the build-up gets so tiring that the concluding scenes come as a relief instead of a payoff.

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