McClatchy-Tribune News Service's Scores

  • Movies
For 601 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 61% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 37% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.1 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 Black Rock
Score distribution:
601 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Sure, it’s good-looking, cautionary and clever enough. But there’s not much in this “Game” that you’d call thrilling or fun.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.”
  8. 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.
  9. Sweet, cute to the point of cutesy.
  10. For all its filmmaking care and care-worn performances, is nothing more than a beach book, inconsequential and utterly out of place in January.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Barefoot is “Rainman” meets “Benny & Joon.”
  15. 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.
  16. Unlike say, “Doogal” or “Hoodwinked 2,” at least you won’t want to gouge your eyes out after this one.
  17. It’s a epic tragedy, and summing it up in under two hours does nobody justice.
  18. If every generation gets the Superman it deserves, Man of Steel suggests we’ve earned one utterly without wit or charm.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. As Jackass japes go, though, Bad Grandpa was better in concept and in its short, punchy TV commercials than it is as a feature.
  22. 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.
  23. A soapy period piece that hits all the usual mileposts in filmed versions of such stories.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. A historically interesting story is painted in broad, colorless strokes, alternating as it does between soap opera and slapstick.
  28. 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.”
  29. 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.
  30. "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.
  31. “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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. Robinson manages some suspense, but the thriller’s ticking clock is a weak one.
  37. 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.
  38. They waste this cast and these characters on a story so conventional, so neatly wrapped up in the finale, that the real mystery is how Gregorini and co-writer Sarah Thorpe didn’t see that.
  39. Manages a tear or two, and enough laughs to get by, even if from first scene to last the strain to stop just short of cloying shows.
  40. Among the cast, the Oscar winner Cotillard acquits herself the best, bleary-eyed and bitter.
  41. Scribbler is just daring and interesting enough that you can see why a fairly accomplished cast — from Cassidy to Dushku, Gershon to Campbell — was drawn to it, even if the execution underwhelms.
  42. It’s the sort of movie whose finale leaves you wondering, “Why do they always leave out what happens next?”
  43. The more correct title would have been “Retribution,” which could work for any number of Statham vehicles over the years. But Redemption is just different enough to make us remember “The Bank Job” or “Killer Elite” or that he’s about to give those fun-but-silly “Fast & Furious” movies a proper villain.
  44. The payoff isn’t nearly as interesting as the cryptic set-up and disquieting performances and scenes that precede it in The Wait.
  45. Your enjoyment of Horrible Bosses 2 is almost wholly dependent on your tolerance for clusters of funny actors, babbling, riffing — and in the case of Charlie Day, screeching — all at once.
  46. There are a TV season’s worth of soap opera betrayals, melodramatic traumas and blundering efforts to learn from and escape this media miasma.
  47. This dark comedy has a lot of promise for about half its length. Then, unfortunately, it settles into the mundane genre picture that it seems doomed to be.
  48. There’s nothing surprising about this late ’60s tale, including its connection to the modern ghost stories told in “The Amityville Horror” and “The Conjuring.” But what it lacks in originality it makes up with in hair-raising execution. You will scream like a teenage girl.
  49. Blame it on the weak chemistry of the stars, blame it on the way the script refuses to let them develop chemistry and the perfunctory way the story is dispensed with, but the sparks aren’t there.
  50. Sex Tape is not quite the train wreck its TV ads make it out to be.
  51. Robert Rodriguez is like that friend who loves to tell jokes, but always goes on and on, well past the punch line. Remember how he beat the living daylights out of his “Spy Kids” franchise? That’s what he’s working toward with Machete.
  52. Antonio Banderas pretty much steals The Expendables 3. But at this stage in that winded franchise, that amounts to petty theft.
  53. It’s disappointing that Spurlock didn’t have the access, the footage or the spine to depict any of the cynicism behind such creations.
  54. Here’s the sort of scruffy action comedy that suits the post-box office-draw careers of one-time hipster John Cusack and fading action star Thomas Jane. It covers the costs of a fun few weeks of working vacation in Australia and provides a few on-screen laughs along the way.
  55. So as much as every generation deserves it’s own Romeo & Juliet, this latest one does nothing to make anyone older than Hailee Steinfeld forget the heat of Baz Lurhmann’s far sexier, noisier and passionate modern dress version of 1996, where Claire Danes and Leo DiCaprio completely convinced us that they knew how to “play Satan’s game.” And how.
  56. As colorful as it and its people are, Cooper lets the brawling and the bigger-than-big performances get the better of him, and his story. Out of the Furnace feels undercooked, as a result.
  57. DePalma flirts with the lurid and tosses in some interesting third act surprises, but never finds his way back to the sexually charged tone and shocks of his earlier thrillers.
  58. Age of Extinction runs on and on, popcorn piffle without end.
  59. After Walking with the Enemy, two hours and four minutes of torture, rape and mass shootings, you’ll feel you’ve been tested, too.
  60. This is a good cast, but it’s all played at a rather shrill pitch that must work better on the stage. The intimacy of the screen makes it all uncomfortably in our face.
  61. Director Sebastian Cordero — he did the John Leguizamo journalism thriller “Chronicles” — serves up chilling and all-too-real ways to die in space and maintains tension even if suspense is in short supply in a tale told in flashback.
  62. It’s too bad the muted Home Run didn’t take its own advice about being daring and inventive.
  63. The culinary culture clash comedy The Hundred-Foot Journey dawdles, like a meal that drags on and on because the waiter is too busy texting to bother bringing you the check.
  64. The action beats are bigger and better than they’ve ever been in a Ninja Turtle film — brawls, shootouts, a snowy car-and-truck chase with big explosions and what not. But in between those scenes is an awful lot of chatter and exposition. For a film that aims younger (save for the die-hards who grew up with this franchise), that’s deadly dull.
  65. The quest, which takes our heroes to the Sea of Monsters, aka The Bermuda Triangle, is generic in the extreme. The fights/escapes all lack any sense of urgency and peril.
  66. Bloody, brutal and melodramatic.
  67. In a tale this timeworn and a film this devoid of humor, with only a few moments of humanity, with tension frittered away by the tedious repetition of the fights, anybody who has ever seen Godzilla in any incarnation can be forgiven for asking the obvious. “What else have you got?”
  68. It’s perfectly passable holiday entertainment for people who dated during the “Rocky” and “Raging Bull” era. Just don’t expect this Grudge Match to be much of a challenge.
  69. Aftershock then becomes a catalog of most every unpleasant way of dying you can imagine.
  70. Hallestrom and his screenwriters may be stuck with Sparks’ formula, but they take advantage of the geography, the leads and a couple of homespun supporting players – Robin Mullens is a wonderfully folksy owner of the seaside seafood shack.
  71. Convincing shaky cam or not, in the end all we’re left with is what we started with, just another bigfoot movie.
  72. If you love exposition and shapely if bland young actors in leather, skinny jeans, knee boots, Goth cocktail dresses and heavy eye makeup, this may be the movie for you.
  73. When the Game Stands Tall is a solid if unsurprising and uninspiring melodrama.
  74. While the filmmakers might have shot for "Midnight Run," but settled for "Due Date," they wound up only achieving "Guilt Trip." Identity Thief is sputtering long before that mid-movie moment when it turns all sentimental and goes off the rails.
  75. Dawdling along as it does, Million Dollar Arm rarely shows us the “juice,” a baseball comedy that is as tentative as a base on balls.
  76. It all adds up to perfectly banal kids’ entertainment, with just a single decent plot twist, a few cute lines and a tried and a couple of trite and true messages — “Trust yourself” and “stop polluting” stand out.
  77. The central premise is a half-hearted retread. And the gags come from a score of earlier films and sitcoms.
  78. This culture-clash/mother bonding story was never going to be “Frozen River,” but you do sense that a lot of potential was squandered in denying these mothers big moments of mourning, bigger confrontations with the fathers of their sons.
  79. Unwieldy, overlong and overly reliant on melodramatic coincidences, A Place in the Pines is still better than it has any right to be, thanks to its cast.
  80. For all its showmanship, Now You See Me has a lot less up its sleeve than it lets on.
  81. It’s a sentimental, sometimes moving affair... It is also at times a reminder of how hard it is to manage a decent Civil War movie on a limited budget, and how hard it is, even today, to tell a Civil War tale untainted by revisionism.
  82. It’s over familiar, a movie that plays like recycled, R-rated outtakes from “Rules of Engagement” or “How I Met Your Mother.”
  83. “The Raid” was a great action film in which the violence, excessive though it was, served as obstacles in the hero’s simple quest. In Raid 2 the violence is the movie, its excess used to cover for an inept story, thinly-drawn characters and dead spots.
  84. If this sequel proves anything, it’s that more is not always better.
  85. A mad, laugh-out-loud mashup of “The Little Mermaid,” “Harry Potter,” assorted vampire tales, “Pan’s Labyrinth,” the disaster epic “2012” and oh – “Pokemon” – just to impose the cinematic precedents on display here, Sorcerer is a Chinese twist on the reliable sword and sorcery genre which caused Hollywood to impose “Clash of the Titans” and “Immortals” on the undeserving.
  86. The one thing Coherence needs most is that word that gives it its title.
  87. Danish director Henrik Ruben Genz (“Terribly Happy”) can’t hide his cards and rarely even tries to. He’s stuck with a script that has “Promise you won’t kill us,” maybe the silliest line ever uttered to a murderer, but that features some dandy threats, some by the villain who doesn’t drive the Jaguar.
  88. For all the bursts of blood, the gunplay and execution-style head-shots that punctuate scores of deaths, it’s hard to see Olympus Has Fallen (Secret Service code) as much more than another movie manifestation of a first-person shooter video game.
  89. Savannah gets by on touches of grace and spirited performances, especially by Caviezel. After being so serious for so very long, it’s great fun to see him take on a “genuine character” with all the boozing, brawling and shooting that entails.
  90. An empty-headed nothing of a caper comedy.
  91. Impressive. And violent. Just not a lot of fun.
  92. Words and Pictures is the cloying title of a cloying little comedy made by talented people who, not that long ago, deserved better than this, and knew it.
  93. The script here is pretty stale stuff, with an under-developed side story of the cop (Karen Mok) on Donako’s trail and dialogue (in English and Chinese) that is often banal.
  94. Besson aims his movie at anyone who’s ever held a grudge at an ill-mannered French waiter or clerk (haughty, and by the way, they’d NEVER condescend to speak to you in English). If that includes you, The Family has serves up a little wish-fulfillment payback, with a baseball bat.
  95. Hector might have been better off staying at home and reading a book, which also pretty much applies to the audience, in this case.
  96. White House Down is a corker, real competition for “Fast & Furious 6″ as the dumbest fun you’ll have at the movies this summer.
  97. Needed more movie to go with its message.
  98. It’s an engaging yarn, set in a place, a time and among a people rarely represented on the big screen. But “Ultima” is a poetic novel that becomes prosaic on the screen.
  99. Non-Stop is a solid, workmanlike action picture that builds slowly, bends over backwards to over-explain itself and its villain, and delivers a lulu of an ending.
  100. It’s well-cast, but Tautou and Duris don’t set off the sparks and create the longing that would give this tragic romance some heft. Everybody else takes a back seat to the inspired visuals.
  101. Seeing these veteran players go through their paces, find their comic rhythms and probe for laughs where many a laugh has been found before is not a bad thing.
  102. The line between “cute” and “cutesy” is violated, repeatedly, in the sometimes funny, often cloying comedy The English Teacher.
  103. The players utterly inhabit their banal characters, but Hartigan only delivers a couple of scenes that merit all this attention to detail.
  104. Whatever their other gifts, they cannot find the fizz here and can never get Wiig to commit to the sort of film that she, even when she was making it, must have realized was beneath her in her post-”Bridesmaids” glory.
  105. The singer and tabloid darling Chris Brown more than holds his own with this crew, apparently not even needing a dance double.
  106. It’s a passably chilling bit of nonsense that builds on the past, the tropes of the genre, and relies on them for the odd jolt and the occasional ironic laugh.
  107. Film buffs will see Goodbye World as a sort of “Trigger Effect” meets “Return of the Secaucus Seven” — growing up, learning to look at the world through more jaded adult eyes as the world ends.
  108. Lee, in a sort of humorless send-up of Tarantino, substitutes kinky for mystery, explicit sex and violence for sex and violence with real shock value. When it comes to this remake, you plainly can’t teach an oldboy like Lee new tricks.
  109. Fading Gigolo is John Turturro’s idea of an old school Woody Allen comedy, so he wrote Allen into it.
  110. The performances are perfunctory and the scenario standard-issue even if the execution of this no-budget thriller is top drawer.
  111. Smith peoples the film with the same cast, including Kris Kristofferson as Hazel’s grandpa and Tom Nowicki as the aquarium’s benefactor. There just isn’t enough for them all to do. Freeman gets the few funny lines, which are all the same.
  112. It’s good to see Depardieu in an English-speaking role again, but he can only carry A Farewell to Fools so far by himself, especially when he never commits to “simple” heart and soul.
  113. It barely has a fright in it on its own, this bloody, Mexican-made supernatural thriller set in the hill country near Tijuana. But open it with a hot “Blue is the Warmest Color” sex scene, toss in a few other hot and heavy moments and a generous helping of nudity and you can be sure, at least, of getting a Hollywood studio’s attention.
  114. His comedy, whatever it was at an earlier age, is comfort food now.
  115. Just stumbles on and on, introducing new theories and facts and then explaining, explaining explaining them, right up to the closing credits.
  116. The tempered violence, the nature of the villains, the easy bonhomie of our leads and a cast peppered with great supporting players make Escape Plan go down easier than the other “Rambo/Last Man Standing/Expendables” pictures that brought these two aged action stars back from the dead.
  117. Though it is funnier and out-charms “Tio Papi,” it lacks the whimsy, magical realism and kid-friendly sentiment of the sleeper hit, “Instructions Not Included.”
  118. As "Hangovers" go, Part III isn't challenging or unpleasant, just instantly forgettable. It won't take much to sleep this one off.
  119. Bad movies are rarely as much fun as these “Fast and the Furious” pictures. And make no mistake about it — they’re bad.
  120. Greenwood and Richardson make a fine, discordant couple and the young leads have a certain chemistry. If only Feste had realized she’d stripped almost all the conflict out of the story.
  121. Winter’s Tale has no narrative drive and too little heart to come off.
  122. It’s not a bad film, this first-half of the concluding chapter of “The Hunger Games.” But it is, from first scene to last, just a tedious good-looking set-up for what one might hope would be a more lively, and perhaps better lit and ventilated finale.
  123. As exhausted as this series and the genre it comes from is, it still manages a few decent jolts thanks to that new approach and a pretty good cast’s reactions to what they, and we, see through the video camera’s viewfinder.
  124. If it’s not convincing as either a find-one’s-faith parable or clever spoof of pop Christianity, at least it’s relevant.
  125. Mansions is like “Vehicle 19″ or “Takers,” dumb, noisy junk.
  126. The sylvan setting and short bursts of dramatic interplay are more interesting than coherent in this brief, undeveloped adaptation.
  127. The saving grace of this more-rude-than-funny film are its cast. They’re just a quartet of Simi Valley “Woohooo” girls in the opening, but the players make each member of this motley crew distinct, human and out of her depth. And Janet (Flanagan)? You’ll want to party with her.
  128. There’s no humor and no pathos. The Cuckoo-Clock Heart, pretty as it is, lacks any heart at all.
  129. Charles Dance is the Nosferatu-garbed monster in the cave, a balding, toothy villain in the great tradition of British vampires — Christopher Lee, Gary Oldman, Michael Sheen and Kate Beckinsale among them. The moment he shows up, all shadowy menace and prophecy, “Dracula” gets interesting.
  130. The movie hinges on Murray's turn as FDR, and frankly, he comes up wanting.
  131. An instant midnight movie, a morbid mishmash of styles and filmmaking formats – 26 films, 26 filmmakers from the four corners of the horror globe, all making short films about death. It’s not for everyone.
  132. 'Twilight' of the Body Snatchers, without much urgency or sexual heat.
  133. The diminutive McAvoy, trying his hand at all manner of action, may be hoping to become the Scottish Tom Cruise. But Welcome to the Punch shows he’s still more of a Scottish Michael J. Fox, an actor better served by roles with more charm and less grimacing than this one.

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