McClatchy-Tribune News Service's Scores

  • Movies
For 601 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 60% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 12 Years a Slave
Lowest review score: 25 InAPPropriate Comedy
Score distribution:
601 movie reviews
  1. So while this Spider-Man is, if anything, more competent than the first film it’s still not one that demands that you stick around after the credits. There’s nothing there.
  2. Owen and Riseborough play their characters awfully close to the vest, not investing in anything that would allow this story to take the romantic or melodramatic turns we expect. But truthfully, that hamstrings the movie.
  3. What gives it’s juice is the supporting cast. John Bernthal (“The Walking Dead”) is credibly wary as the ex-con John begs to get him in the door of the drug world. And the terrific Michael Kenneth Williams is the first dealer he meets, a guy who pulls a gun on him just to test him.
  4. Mumford and O’Leary get beyond the cardboard character “types” and make these people more interesting and conflicted than they first seem. And the claustrophobic milieu, just two people staring at long range video, punching buttons, maneuvering their Reaper and trying to make snap decisions that won’t haunt them, serve the movie well.
  5. Oculus earns its frights the old fashioned way — with convincingly traumatized characters, with smoke and with mirrors.
  6. So it’s no “Starbuck,” which most people won’t mind because Americans don’t read subtitles. But even in this form, Delivery Man and the guy who plays him still deliver where it counts.
  7. Through it all, Washington’s stillness is emphasized, so much so that the film slows down just to make sure we appreciate the presence and the talent behind it.
  8. The design... is stunning, an improvement over 2006′s “300.” And the action never disappoints. It’s a pity this colorless cast doesn’t hold a candle to the Butler/Headey/Michael Fassbender/David Wenham crew of the original, that the writers couldn’t conjure up thrilling speeches to match the original.
  9. Divorce Corp is a lot pointed outrage that damning as its seems, feels suspect.
  10. There’s more than a hint of the ‘90s Roddy Doyle adaptation “The Commitments” in all this – people far removed from Memphis and Detroit connecting to soul music on a spiritual level.
  11. Coarse, crude but often cute, The Big Wedding serves up the spectacle of its title, and the bigger spectacle of four AARP-eligible Oscar winners cursing like sailors.
  12. What holds our interest and holds the story together is this winning cast in these familiar, lovable (somewhat) roles. A dozen years on and this exercise in globe-trotting, in “We’re growing older, but not up” reminds us that what’s true in life is just as true in casting movies — pick your friends carefully enough and they’ll entertain you for a lifetime.
  13. Manipulative, contrived, melodramatic — all labels we slap on that most perfectly titled movie genre, “the weeper.” All fit If I Stay like original packaging.
  14. A perfectly adequate superhero comic-book movie, all explosions, chases, gunfights, sword fights and blood feuds. There’s even a little humor in it.
  15. Cage, without having to play a ghostly motorcyclist or hot rod driver from Hell or sorcerer or sci-fi hero or kinky cop, reminds us that he used to know subtlety. So even if Frozen Ground breaks little new ground in the serial killer thriller genre, there’s hope Cage will leave the ham behind before Alaska freezes over.
  16. The setting and old fashioned structure of the story won’t be to every taste. But The Physician is quite good at recreating its era and reminding us that once, long ago, it was the West that was backward and always looking East for enlightenment, education and a way out of the Dark Ages.
  17. Fey plays this inner-outer conflict well. But at her most wide-eyed and vulnerable, she still has trouble making a romance credible, even with Rudd, edgy comedy’s puppy dog of a leading man.
  18. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints feels like a fresh and poetic treatment of a prosaic story that should be utterly worn out by now.
  19. Not every cute movie about the mentally ill is Oscar worthy, but this touching and riotous one from Down Under works well enough.
  20. Robert Redford delivers one last lecture on ’60s idealism and passes another baton to Shia LaBeouf in The Company You Keep, an engrossing thriller about the last anti-Vietnam War radicals still underground.
  21. If you liked “Scrubs,” and I did, for a few seasons, anyway, you’ll be happy Braff got to make his movie and happy that you got to see it.
  22. A clever and claustrophobic thriller that will trip you up and leave you with a wicked, blood-stained grin.
  23. An old fashioned romantic mystery that benefits from a wizened, much-honored cast and a still-exotic setting.
  24. Eisenberg, perfectly, pliably put upon, is the engine that drives this picture.
  25. Is this Evil Dead (no “The”) any good? Yes and no. It several genuinely hair-raising moments and presents, for your edification and enjoyment, some of the most graphic horror violence ever presented on the screen.
  26. An amusing, well-acted and sharply-timed holiday comedy, old friends getting together to prove that careers, families and kids aside, they’ve still got their R-rated edge, just as they did in college.
  27. Spring Break – it’s every bit as much fun as you think it is. Until it isn’t.
  28. It’s just too much — too much graphic violence, too many plot wrinkles, too much stupidity, too many supporting players to track...For a movie as physically fit as this one wants to be, Pain & Gain is carrying way too much extra weight.
  29. An engrossing but frustrating movie, so subtle in its depiction of a teenager struggling to come to terms with a world and worldview utterly upended that it almost trivializes the tragedy that Lore, we suspect, is just beginning to feel responsible for.
  30. As edgy female wish-fulfillment fantasy, showing that fantasy’s consequences, Adore engrosses and engages, never titillates and never betrays even the tiniest hint of revulsion.
  31. A cartoon with better animation and livelier action, if fewer jokes. If there’s one thing these sweet-message/great flying sequence movies don’t need is fewer jokes.
  32. Epic isn’t epic, but it isn’t half bad, either. It’s just that as high as the bar has been raised on this sort of animation, this is more evidence that a strong story is worth more than any next generation software.
  33. A darker-than-dark British comedy.
  34. So even though Signal isn’t great sci-fi, you’d never know it to look at it and listen to it.
  35. A genuine “bodice ripper” of a thriller, with the requisite heavy breathing that comes after said bodice is ripped. The sex isn’t explicit, but Olsen and Isaac suggest the heat that gives this doomed affair its momentum.
  36. The setting and various religious rifts are unfamiliar, if the domestic/romantic melodrama isn’t.
  37. The Conjuring is like a prequel to 40 years of demonic possession thrillers.
  38. “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner takes his act to the big screen with Are You Here, which turns out to be the most quotable Owen Wilson comedy since “Zoolander.”
  39. Red 2 goes down easily, from Marvin’s demented moments of relationship advice to Dame Helen’s tender and amusing “Hitchcock” reunion with Sir Anthony. There’s a knowing twinkle in their eyes, and in everybody else’s. “Yeah, we could’ve done a Bond film,” they seem to wink. “And it would’ve been a bloody fun one, at that.”
  40. It adds bubbles to the show, but doesn’t change the essentially deadpan, amusingly banal nature of this journey and the two charming old men who take it.
  41. It's all quite lovely, mesmerizing – and right on the edge of sleep-inducing.
  42. Thanks for Sharing is a bit of a head-snapper in its tone changes, stumbling into flippancy. The light moments are appreciated, but they do tend to undercut the sobriety of it all.
  43. In detail and combat spectacle, Stalingrad is hard to beat. And whatever its failings, one can’t help but be curious about a story as connected to national identity as this one, a film that like today’s Russia, feels more Soviet than Russian.
  44. A nail-biting thriller in the classic Hitchcock style.
  45. Writer-director John Carney re-plays his greatest hit with Begin Again, a semi-successful attempt to recreate the magic of the Oscar-winning musical “Once” in New York with a big name cast.
  46. The design is brighter and sharper, the jokes are broader and the villainy utterly generic in this by-the-(comic)-book adaptation.
  47. A fascinating documentary experiment in fathoming the heretofor “unfathomable” genius of Johannes Vermeer.
  48. Life of Crime is lesser-Leonard, an all-star kidnapping comedy that manages to “Be Cool” even if the filmmaker never quite finds the grim faced grins that the best Elmore noirs boast.
  49. The bad guys really stand out, with Mikkelsen pulling off something he never managed as a Bond villain. He’s genuinely frightening.
  50. Robert Stone directed the wonderful environmental movement history documentary “Earth Days,” and that earns him the benefit of the doubt for his latest, Pandora’s Promise. He needs that benefit, because what he sets out to do in 87 minutes is upend 50 years of green movement anti-nuclear power dogma.
  51. Try as she might, Collyer cannot help but judge these people, a not-quite-fatal flaw in a movie about the down and out.
  52. Collette always delivers fair value. Her Ellie is hard-drinking, high-mileage, slimmed down and flirting with Cougar-hood, a woman living in the trap of her world, her work and the love she lost.
  53. Writer-director Ted Koland can be a little obvious. It’s not a deep movie. But everybody, especially Ramsey, is dealing with something. And Timlin (TV’s “Zero Hour”) gives heart to this wonderful, nuanced character.
  54. Tommy Lee Jones gives us a saltier version of MacArthur than the image-conscious general ever let on to.
  55. Rust and Bone doesn't earn the ending it delivers.
  56. The bottom-line on this bottom-baring/bottom-branding farce is “Is it funny, on top of all the shocks?” And yes, it is. On a number of few occasions, all of them involving Jeff Chang.
  57. Del Toro’s robots have weight and mass, and their epic, Hong Kong-smashing fights with the four and six-legged, clawed and horned monsters are visually coherent, unlike the messy blur of the “Transformers” movies. There’s a light, humorous feel to “Pacific Rim” because the science is silly and logic takes a flying leap.
  58. Damon the Oscar-winning writer does something nobody else in Hollywood would – write a dumb character for Matt Damon to play.
  59. The venerable acting firm of Smith-Kline & Scott Thomas make certain that this Paris trip is anything but a waste.
  60. Maybe Jimi: All is By My Side is as good a Jimi Hendrix bio-pic as we’ll ever get, at least so long as there are legal entanglements strangling the late guitar god’s legacy.
  61. The performances are pretty sharp... But the situations feel contrived, the romantic pairings a bit arbitrary. Strip away the narration, and this would be more cinematic. Take away the setting and this is fairly routine stuff.
  62. The Notebook makes for a grim but utterly fascinating parable.
  63. The film stumbles into a cross-country odyssey that dominates its last third. That is fascinating, but not properly set up, much like the film itself. How I Live Now skips over the “How,” loses itself in the “I” and never lets the pathos of “Live Now” pay off.
  64. Catch Hell has physical torture and sexually explicit mind games. It has a star who seems resigned to his fate and willing to give up and savage bumpkins straight out of “Deliverance” ready to take out their hatred of Hollywood and Hollywood values on him. That description gives this simple, ferociously feral thriller more depth than it deserves.
  65. Yet another “Blade Runner” knock-off, a sci-fi dystopia about robots getting too smart for humanity’s own good on an already sun-cooked Earth.
  66. With this “Girl” and her bicycle, the cute bits, rare laugh out loud moments, occasionally zippy lines and limply obvious farcical predicaments are never more than instantly forgettable.
  67. Sure, it’s good-looking, cautionary and clever enough. But there’s not much in this “Game” that you’d call thrilling or fun.
  68. You’re Not You fails to bring us the fear or the tears that this story warrants. It sticks in the mind no longer than it takes you to change shirts after that ice bucket dunking.
  69. The ending of the movie is a real grabber, the sort of thing that lifts and improves a tediously long and otherwise mediocre film and tricks you into thinking it was better than it really was as you leave the theater.
  70. A slick, upbeat Church of Latter Day Saints-backed documentary that aims to answer the image of the church and its members “shaped by the media and popular culture.”
  71. Fletcher and his players never quite hit on a tone that works. Fantastical dream sequences and side trips to the store to get “more bullets” never quite rise to the level of wry commentary. This just isn’t as cute and funny as Fletcher seems to think it is.
  72. Sweet, cute to the point of cutesy.
  73. For all its filmmaking care and care-worn performances, is nothing more than a beach book, inconsequential and utterly out of place in January.
  74. The cloying narration and the inclusion of Fonda are just warnings for that moment, 70 minutes in, when this comic chemical train goes completely off the rails. Rockwell, Wilde, Monaghan are worth the price of admission, but “Better Living” would have been better off with more chemistry and less cutesy.
  75. Planes: Fire & Rescue is roughly twice as good as its predecessor, Planes, which was so story-and-laugh starved it would have given “direct-to-video” a bad name. Yes, there was nowhere to go but up.
  76. Divergent, the latest outcast-teen-battles-The-System thriller, is similar enough to “The Hunger Games” that hardcore Katniss fans may dismiss it. But it’s a more streamlined film, with a love story with genuine heat and deaths with genuine pathos.
  77. Barefoot is “Rainman” meets “Benny & Joon.”
  78. Gore Verbinski’s film is an overlong array of noisy, digitally-assisted chases, shootouts, crashes and explosions with the occasional flash of homage to the “real” Lone Ranger that suggests a better movie than the pricey, jumbled compromise Verbinski delivered.
  79. Unlike say, “Doogal” or “Hoodwinked 2,” at least you won’t want to gouge your eyes out after this one.
  80. It’s a epic tragedy, and summing it up in under two hours does nobody justice.
  81. If every generation gets the Superman it deserves, Man of Steel suggests we’ve earned one utterly without wit or charm.
  82. Deep thoughts about re-directing cynically manipulated celebrity, lump in the throat moments at people rising up against their oppressors, a couple of memorable deaths and attempts at sacrifice play as flat when there’s nothing around them to serve as contrast.
  83. So yes, even if you know how this story goes, there are moments that work wickedly well in between the needlessly drawn out ones, by which I mean the entire, predictable third act.
  84. As Jackass japes go, though, Bad Grandpa was better in concept and in its short, punchy TV commercials than it is as a feature.
  85. The cast doesn’t have the sassy swagger of the “Fast & Furious” crew. Paul, surrounded by co-stars of the same modest height, isn’t particularly charismatic in this setting. He’s not a natural “quiet tough guy.” But the actors are second bananas here — to the Koenigsegg Ageras, Saleens and Shelby Mustang that feed America’s Need for Speed, on screen and off. And the cars deliver.
  86. A soapy period piece that hits all the usual mileposts in filmed versions of such stories.
  87. Whatever the film’s other failings, it presents an incredible story with a credulous, approachable innocence that it to be envied, whether or not you believe a word of it.
  88. Hollywood will be hard pressed to top this lean Canadian indie picture that knows it’s just another dumb werewolf movie, but has fun with that knowledge.
  89. The younger sister of the formidable Vera Farmiga gives flat, rushed and unconvincing line readings, especially in her paragraph-long, exposition-packed monologues. Is that by design? Is this a clever teen “acting” to manipulate her memory detective? The actress should be better at masking that, if that’s the case. And if it isn’t, she should be just…better.
  90. A historically interesting story is painted in broad, colorless strokes, alternating as it does between soap opera and slapstick.
  91. Tedious as all this vampire exposition is (and there’s a LOT), the jokey tone here is much appreciated, with everyone “a few corpuscles shy of an artery” and the action as predictable as “a porcupine in a hot tub.”
  92. Costner and Garner are good and Langella properly menacing, but Leary has lost his fastball and seems to be holding something back in his quarrel scenes with Costner. Costner has to carry the film, which he does.
  93. "A Dame to Kill For” isn’t the shock to the system “Sin City” was. But whatever its plot repetition and warmed-over tough talk cost it, this is still a movie like few others you’ve ever seen, a 3D slice of Nihilistic noir that will have you narrating your own guts and guns story on the drive home, chewing on a toothpick as you do.
  94. “Eleven” turns out to be an overreach, with too many voices to be anything but superficial, too few (she skipped sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America) to be thorough.
  95. Rare is the thriller that goes as completely and utterly wrong as The Call does at almost precisely the one hour mark. Which is a crying shame, because for an hour, this is a riveting, by the book kidnapping.
  96. That makes Kick Ass 2 more sour than sweet, a movie that jokes about comic book fanboys but stops short of mocking them the way the first film did.
  97. It’s a live-action version of on an ’80s cartoon that was designed to sell toys. This is “Transformers” without the Bumblebee Camaro, a lot of action, a few one-liners, and a lot of gunplay.
  98. Jake Gyllenhaal does tour de force double duty in the intimate thriller Enemy, a cryptic essay on identity. He is terrific in both guises, but he is trapped in a frustrating puzzle without a solution.
  99. Robinson manages some suspense, but the thriller’s ticking clock is a weak one.
  100. As impressive as the effects can be, as effective as the blend of TV news helicopter POV shots, security camera footage, cell-phone video and storm chaser images mimicked here turn out, the human stories are given short shrift in this “spend our budget on effects” action picture.

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