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 1.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Whiplash
Lowest review score: 25 47 Ronin
Score distribution:
601 movie reviews
  1. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is an amazing achievement in telling an unremarkably remarkable life story.
  2. McQueen and his stellar cast take us on a difficult journey, an odyssey that will make you want to avert your eyes. It is to their great credit that we don’t.
  3. Bullock and Clooney make their peril our peril in this absolutely gorgeous, moving and sometimes exultant reminder that the real terrors of space are scary enough, without invented bug-eyed monsters thrown in.
  4. And as long as it is, it would be a pity to cut one moment of Spall’s immersive, utterly convincing portrait of this common man with an uncommon gift.
  5. The movie is so “interior,” it so zeroes in on Isaac and his baleful stare, that we’re relieved any time something overtly funny happens.
  6. It goes on too long, but this is personal essay filmmaking at its best, one that passes that ultimate test of such self-involved projects. It has a story worth telling.
  7. Using archival footage, inventive animated recreations of incidents and chilling aerial smart-bomb views of air strikes as they happen, Moreh creates a simple yet elegantly damning film.
  8. Her
    Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have logged on at all?
  9. The disco decadence, the seedy era before Times Square became a theme park, the lowered expectations of an endless recession, everything that was then and is now makes up American Hustle. And that’s what makes this the best movie of this holiday season.
  10. An old fashioned Japanese folk tale beautifully rendered in old-fashioned hand-drawn animation.
  11. The script and Simmons, known for TV’s “The Closer” and as tantrum-tossing editor J. Jonah Jameson in “Spider-Man,” make Fletcher a monster, and then look for ways of explaining him.
  12. We should all be so lucky as to live in a world designed, peopled and manipulated by Wes Anderson. His latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is a dark, daft and deft triumph of design details.
  13. Exarchopoulos is a revelation, wearing her neediness, vulnerability and arousal with every muscle in her face, her posture, even her hair. It’s an utterly naked performance, literally and figuratively.
  14. Serious and silly, self-aware and ironic, it’s the movie that questions stardom, fame and celebrity, built around a role Michael Keaton had to become a has-been to play.
  15. A scruffy, anarchic picture that gets better as it stumbles along.
  16. This solo ordeal won’t be to every taste, but All Is Lost is a grand vehicle for the actor and for that viewer ready to consider his or her own mortality, the problems, conflicts, strengths and shortcomings you’re sure you leave behind when you just sail away.
  17. Chilling, cruel and funny — in an icy, Swedish way.
  18. And Dern, a great character actor who made his mark opposite everyone from Redford and John Wayne to Jane Fonda, embraces the roll of a lifetime.
  19. Manages to pop the hairs on the back of your neck more than most repetitive, predictable and gory Hollywood horror films these days.
  20. Like the characters in this inter-connected world, you may feel the need to let go of The Past, only to realize, after the credits, the hold it still has on you.
  21. Michael B. Jordan (“Red Tails”) is never less than riveting as Oscar, and he has to be.
  22. It’s more an instant cult film than a picture with any prayer of reaching millions.
  23. Dallas Buyers Club is one of the best pictures of the year.
  24. This is as thorough a take-down of a business and its practices as you’re likely to ever see.
  25. The Wind Rises was a dream project for the great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, and this gorgeous film makes a fine capstone for his career.
  26. It’s still a welcome, entertaining and overdue delivery of credit where credit was and is due.
  27. The performances and Greengrass’s way with action immerse us and make Captain Phillips a tight, taut,edge of your seat thriller even if you remember the ending.
  28. The Lego Movie amuses and never fails to leave the viewer –especially adults — a little dazzled at the demented audacity of it all.
  29. Gloria has a palpable loneliness about it, and Garcia makes us feel that and fear the emptiness that is staring Gloria in the face. Not a lot happens in this closely-observed character study, but few recent movies have dared to show this stage of life, the creeping solitude that memories of your disco past cannot fend off.
  30. 56 Up feels like the most hopeful film of them all - amusing, entertaining, and touching.
  31. Frances Ha turns melancholy and almost painful to watch in its last act as she and we see the dead end dead ahead. And the film doesn’t seem to earn the finale the two of them cooked up for us.
  32. What we have here is a gripping story rather dryly told, a somewhat frustrating essay on Scandinavian passivity without the pathos of the similarly themed Oscar winning Danish film “In a Better World.” It’s the helplessness that gets to you.
  33. Witty, warm and wistful and in just the right proportions, Spectacular is the best-acted film of the summer.
  34. None of it adds up to much more than a chuckle or two, a smile or three and a lot of slow, poetically drawn-out moments of mild anguish or the simple delight of walking through Greenwich Village in the spring.
  35. Rock is more a genial presence here than an actor playing an addict tested by a bad day. He never lets us see the strain that could make him fall off the wagon. He scores laughs, but generously leaves the outrageous stuff to his legion of supporting players.
  36. Locke will hold your interest as it presents a side of the burly, bluff “Dark Knight” villain we have never seen before on screen.
  37. Carell, though, is the real shock to the system here. He is quirky, queer in the old fashioned sense, and pathetically funny.
  38. No
    Here’s a fascinating piece of history that escaped much of the world’s notice, when it happened back in 1988.
  39. Anderson loses his way, failing to thin out the novel and its overload of characters, piling scene upon scene that neither amusingly complicates the plot, nor advances it. Phoenix, however, is never less than fun.
  40. This is a movie that floats by on dazzlingly silly banter and well-slung slang.
  41. The documentary Room 237 is an ostensibly thoughtful deep reading, a deconstruction of Stanley Kubrick’s film of Stephen King’s 1980 novel “The Shining.” What it really is, is a bunch of obsessives obsessing about an obsessive movie maker’s obsessive movie.
  42. It's a fine summation of this complicated story, one that focuses heavily on Echols and his sweeping declarations about the state of justice in Arkansas and America.
  43. “Cheerful” and “triumphant” aren’t words that come to mind when you think of Alzheimer’s, the debilitating illness that destroys memory, mind and body. But darned if country star Glen Campbell doesn’t manage that in Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.
  44. It’s good, but we’ve come to expect more from the guy who gave us “Fight Club” and “The Social Network.” This is more on a par with “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” The calculated shocks feel like a movie we’ve seen before, though at least in this case, that’s not true.
  45. A mesmerizing movie, a history lesson about the pre-blockbuster era in science fiction movies.
  46. The lack of urgency may bore those unused to Jarmusch’s style and pacing. But his languor is his calling card. The deliberate pacing makes the offhand jokes and dry observations seem funnier than they are, at least in this case. This borders on being “cute.” And dull.
  47. An action-packed epic, a moving sci-fi allegory rendered in broad, lush strokes by the latest state of the computer animator’s art.
  48. Simien focuses too much on the character played by his star, Williams, which seems a mistake. Scenes are underscored with classical music chestnuts, a trite way of suggesting “academia.” And the ending is an eye-roller.
  49. Fill the Void’s greatest virtue is in the ways her characters take us beyond stereotypes even as she herself questions the value system of a culture that is so focused on religion, marriage and procreation that it holds few attractions to those not born into it.
  50. Apparently at Holofcener’s urging, Dreyfus just tends to overwhelm the movie with her regular, if charming, bag of tricks, as if that’s enough. And it isn’t.
  51. Take that sign at the entrance to his Tulbagh, South Africa compound seriously – "Beware of Mr. Baker."
  52. The reason to fall into Blue Jasmine is Blanchett’s cagey, broken turn.
  53. Under the Skin isn’t conventional, thrilling or particularly satisfying in a sci-fi aliens-are-hunting-us sense. But it manages something far more sinister and fascinating. It gets under your skin and imprints on your memory.
  54. A winking comedy with dark underpinnings and some of Shakespeare’s most wicked wordplay.
  55. Blue Ruin joins “Shotgun Stories” and “Joe” as vivid reminders that however homogenized American culture seems, there are still pockets that are distinct, with people who live by their own rules and their own bloody code.
  56. Calvary is a compact and biting tale of a righteous man being tested by his faith, his peers and his predicament.
  57. McGarry, with this slick, invigorating film, whose action is set to a pulsating James Lavino musical score, has broadened a national debate that anti-healthcare reform folks have narrowed via the courts and political demonization.
  58. Blue Caprice is a chilling portrait of motive, manipulation and mass murder.
  59. Most credit goes to Coogan for the success of this odd coupling.
  60. 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.
  61. It’s a pretty conventional “Lifetime Original Movie” sort of story. But co-writer/director Thomas Vinterberg (“Dear Wendy”) makes it work by building a sense of frustrating unease into it all.
  62. A clever and claustrophobic thriller that will trip you up and leave you with a wicked, blood-stained grin.
  63. It’s an intimate, quiet and slow-paced romance, a simple, richly rewarding movie in the classic style of India’s greatest filmmaker, the late Satyajit Ray.
  64. As he did with “The Dallas Buyers’ Club,” director Jean-Marc Vallée covers this inner and outer journey with a minimum of fuss. The flashbacks and their revelations, filling in the puzzle, are sparingly doled out. The stunning scenery Cheryl hikes through is barely noticed.
  65. A fascinating documentary experiment in fathoming the heretofor “unfathomable” genius of Johannes Vermeer.
  66. 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.
  67. Laugh-out-loud funny and production-designed to death, Guardians of the Galaxy pops off the screen.
  68. Mud
    It doesn’t trivialize Mud to label it Tennessee Williams lite — at least in its romantic notions. Nichols gets good performances out of one and all, but lets himself get so caught up in his sense of place that this potboiler hangs around more than a few minutes after that pot has come to a boil.
  69. Rene Russo is spot-on as Nina, an aging TV news director who is the only person Bloom will sell his footage to.
  70. It’s still a passion project, in all the best ways, a jaunty, juicy ramble through music history from Johnny Cash to Nine Inch Nails, Neil Young to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  71. Here’s an eccentric tragicomedy, with music, built to play like gangbusters at Austin’s South by Southwest music-movie fanboy/fangirl festival.
  72. A fine and fun film tribute to the milieu, the men, women and machines in a sport that was never deadlier or more glamorous than its Disco Decade incarnation.
  73. A leg up on the first “Trip,” an altogether more delightful vacation with two blokes who might wear us and each other out along the way. But then, that’s half the fun.
  74. To fans who know the tunes by heart, hearing their history is never less than thrilling. And if you’ve heard that line about “Swampers” and never new who they were, you should. They have been known to pick a song or two.
  75. Fiennes holds it all together by force of what he does show us about the man, his kindness tempered with cruelty, the charity he practiced and preached, the morality he could never live up to. It’s the visible great man who makes The Invisible Woman worth watching.
  76. Reichardt hangs her film on Eisenberg, who subtly suggests a loner whose primary gift for the cause is he whole in his soul where a longing or human contact should be. It’s a terrific performance and it holds the movie together even as Night Moves stumbles toward its foregone, and rather poorly handled, conclusion.
  77. The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness is a great name for a documentary about Hayao Miyazaki and his animation house, Japan’s Studio Ghibli.
  78. 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.
  79. Leonardo DiCaprio’s most charismatic performance ever anchors Martin Scorsese’s robust and raunchy lowlifes-of-high-finance comedy The Wolf of Wall Street.
  80. Steven Soderbergh, rightly considered one of Hollywood’s smartest movie makers, is at his cleverest in Side Effects, a canny, cunning big idea thriller in a minor key, an engrossing zeitgeist whodunit about Wall Street, Big Pharma, prescription drugs and the power we give psychiatry and psychologists.
  81. Skeleton Twins may not be a wholly fleshed-out character study, and nobody here takes a flying leap out of his or her comfort zone. But the timing of this tale of depression, suicide and how vulnerable we all are to our past, our demons and our shortcomings, is enough to recommend this engagingly melancholy comedy.
  82. Young Onata Aprile makes Maisie a passive wonder, a sweetly poker-faced, nonjudgmental and hopeful child, even as she’s being ditched at bars, forgotten at school or passed back and forth like a prize, or a bad penny.
  83. Days of Future Past is most everything we’d hoped the summer’s earlier popcorn pictures would be, most of all — fun.
  84. There’s wit and whimsy in this 53rd Disney cartoon, a distant cousin of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale, “The Snow Queen.”
  85. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints feels like a fresh and poetic treatment of a prosaic story that should be utterly worn out by now.
  86. Whatever its length and melodramatic third-act touches, Interstellar is a space opera truly deserving of that label, overreaching and thought-provoking, heart-tugging and pulse-pounding. It’s the sort of film that should send every other sci-fi filmmaker back to the drawing board, the way Stanley Kubrick did, a long time ago in a millennium far away.
  87. Doueiri has brilliantly and simply put a compassionate human face on a part of the world where ethnicity still trumps education, class and achievement, where even the successful face, at best, second-class citizenship in their own country.
  88. It’s manipulative and overlong, too loud and “Incredibles” action-packed for the very young. But the manipulation errs on the side of mercy, compassion, sacrifice and humanity.
  89. Prisoners is never less than engrossing. It’ll keep you guessing. It’s just too bad that the last thirty minutes make us feel like the prisoners, here.
  90. The fact that Bulger, at long last, is rotting in jail, is little consolation. Perhaps only a Hollywood version of this story, one starring Johnny Depp, can give it a satisfying conclusion.
  91. Joe
    Joe is the movie that will make you remember how good Nicolas Cage once was and can be again.
  92. Rust and Bone doesn't earn the ending it delivers.
  93. Hoffman is merely the first among equals in a stellar cast.
  94. It does a poor job of showing the tragedy of Turing’s hidden life but a better job at making a bigger case — unconventional people make unconventional thinkers.
  95. Like many such films, the subject seems more fascinating than the Far Out Isn’t Far Enough’s treatment of him.
  96. Beyond the Lights is another pain-behind-the-music romance. But it’s so well written, cast and played that we lose ourselves in the comfort food familiarity of it all.
  97. Goldblum is always best at being Jeff Goldblum, and his oily/silky charm tends to unbalance the neat, brittle little tragedy we’re watching.
  98. It’s a “Waiting for Godot” set in the solitary work and lives of two highway line-painters.
  99. A regal, majestic and downright arty take on this teacher, champion and philosopher whose life spanned much of the twentieth century.
  100. Berninger is hero and villain of this comic essay in ineptitude masquerading as a rock band on tour doc.

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