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 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Belle
Lowest review score: 25 Blended
Score distribution:
601 movie reviews
  1. What keeps us around until the closing credits, where Hart and Hall bust each other up, is the electrical charge between those two. They’re the Wimbledon Finals of sexy, sassy, drunken comic banter — two pros, evenly matched enough to put on a great show, even if they make us forget about the rest of the movie around them as they do.
  2. 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?”
  3. A nail-biting thriller in the classic Hitchcock style.
  4. A rough and rough around the edges tale of children growing up on the mean streets of the wrong side of Brooklyn. It’s a coming of age story of a self-absorbed, downtrodden punk with a dream who learns about the love that comes with responsibility.
  5. Besson’s script may let her (and Freeman) down in the third act, but the 89 minute long Lucy is so brisk it’ll give you whiplash. Even marginal thrillers benefit from a director and star who have a sense of urgency and are as hellbent as this on not overstaying their welcome.
  6. Start to finish, it’s a delight.
  7. 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.
  8. The buffoonery goes epic in this sillier than silly sequel, a broad, down and dirty comedy overfilled with funny people trying to one-up one another on the set in the classic “best line wins” school of comic improvisation.
  9. Oculus earns its frights the old fashioned way — with convincingly traumatized characters, with smoke and with mirrors.
  10. A summer movie that staggers down that fine line between sentimental and snarky, a tale of nature and nurture and first love that manages to charm more than any R-rated movie about horny teens has a right to.
  11. So many “lose my virginity over the summer” comedies, from “American Pie” to “Superbad,” “Can’t Hardly Wait” to “Girl Next Door.” But aside from the hilarious “Twilight Saga,” how many have told that torrid tale from the girl’s point of view? The To Do List is a summer romantic comedy dedicated to rectifying that imbalance in a single stroke.
  12. Try as she might, Collyer cannot help but judge these people, a not-quite-fatal flaw in a movie about the down and out.
  13. Bad movies are rarely as much fun as these “Fast and the Furious” pictures. And make no mistake about it — they’re bad.
  14. Funnier than the last Muppets movie, with far better songs (by Bret McKenzie), punnier puns and all manner of geo-political gags, cultural wisecracks and star cameos.
  15. There’s nothing deep in this script, and the delayed romance, between real-life lovers Roberts and Evan Peters (of “American Horror Story”) sets off no sparks. The characters are sort of a grab bag of “types.”
  16. Since the movie’s street side dream doesn’t add much more than a gimmicky “interpretation” of their sound, you’re left with a deafening dirge –well-played, but really, no improvement on your basic concert film.
  17. For all its plot trickery, mind science and relationship square dancing, Trance doesn’t have the emotional tug or technical pizzaz of Boyle’s best films – “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Trainspotting” or “127 Hours.”
  18. Beneath all the melodrama, beyond the fine performances, what sets At Any Price apart is the depiction of farming as it is today, the salesmanship, the traditions and ideals abandoned for greater profits and easier work and the ruthless world these patented “high yield” seeds have made.
  19. Appreciate Elysium for what it is, sci-fi that’s smarter, more topical and more invigorating than most of what passes through that genre these days, and another sign that its director is the most promising chap to enter the field since the inception of Christopher Nolan.
  20. We’re reminded not just of sacrifice, but of those to whom service is a genuine calling and what that bandied-about word “hero” really means.
  21. This Wolverine gets our hopes up, and falls short.
  22. Renner’s performance — beginning with bluster and descending into twitchy paranoia — sells it and makes us fret for every “messenger” suddenly the target of the spotlight himself.
  23. A romantic melodrama that’s so well-cast and acted and made with such loving care that you could almost forgive how long it takes to get to its obvious conclusion, how melodramatic the whole “sordid” affair is.
  24. So even though this isn’t the greatest of “Expectations” — David Lean’s black and white version in the ’40s will your heart — it’s still a pretty grand one.
  25. Workman’s film feels exploitative, and the filmmaker cannot help but make Carbee look a little creepy and a bit pathetic. The only thing that eases your conscience watching Magical Universe is the difficulty in deciding, “Who was using whom here?”
  26. Give it up for Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. You’ll never see them work harder at a comedy than in The Heat, a stumbling, aggressively loud and profane cop buddy picture where they struggle to wring “funny” out of a script that isn’t.
  27. It works, after a fashion — a romance that isn’t a romantic comedy. But Bier, a wonderful director, proves that “Love” isn’t all you need to make us swoon. You need a lighter touch.
  28. Deneuve suggests the self-absorption of the beautiful, coping with the petty insults of age, making Bettie a bundle of nerves wrestling with a complicated past and an increasingly frazzled present. See it for her performance, and a lovely slice of French scenery.
  29. Looming large above this “Long Walk” is Elba, in a mostly still performance, one of quietly compelling authority that dominates every moment.
  30. Poehler and Rudd riff and banter like old marrieds, and make even the cheesiest lines funny, make even the cliched dating montages set to syrupy pop music feel — if not fresh and new — at least funny enough to mock.
  31. The dialogue is hard-bitten and Mamet-sharp.
  32. The characters are only superficially sketched in, but we still fear for them, understand their code and above all else, appreciate the dirty, bloody, high-risk work these professionals do. That they go through all this and risk everything, by choice, is something Berg, to his credit, never lets us forget.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. For all its sure-handed sense of place, its occasional grace notes of loss, grief and misery, This is Where We Live fails to seize and break our hearts, keeping its glum characters at arm’s length and doling out “hope” in tiny, cloying teaspoon-size servings.
  37. It’s the best film of this trilogy, but truthfully, none of the “Hobbit” thirds have been any better than middling “Hunger Games” or “Harry Potter” installments. Considering the vaunted reputation J.R.R.Tolkien enjoys, this overdone “There and Back Again” never quite got us there.
  38. Things drag, here and there. But kids will dig the slapstick, the talking dog and giggle at what flies out of the Sphinx’s butt, or drops from the rear-end of the Trojan Horse. Adults will be tickled at the usual Dreamworks parade of one-liners, running gags and puns, and feel a little sentimental.
  39. More interesting as history, re-written, than as the moral parable this true story became.
  40. Jonathan "50/50" Levine has turned Isaac Marion's teen romance novel into an often amusing tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy - tongue in cheek, and brains in teeth. Chewy, tasty brains.
  41. Roberta Grossman’s cute documentary gives weight to the tune, tracing its lineage to a town – Sadagora, in the Ukraine – and the 19th century. It bubbled to life as a “Nigun,” a wordless hymn or prayer, more hummed than sung.
  42. Hemingway wins us over and, in the end, comes off as earnest in her desire to use her celebrity to help shine a light on the maladies that have shattered her family, time and again.
  43. Kazan, as she proved in “Ruby Sparks,” has a whimsical, quirky girl-next-door appeal. Radcliffe, wearing post-Harry Potter stubble and delivering toothy, jaw-jutting grins, makes it easy for us to believe he cannot get her out of his head.
  44. 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.
  45. Osage County does offer up one almost-heartbreaking moment. But it’s so icky that, like the rest of the film, you kind of want to wash it out of your mouth — with supermarket Merlot — rather than savor it.
  46. The Hollywood debut of Korean filmmaker Chan-Wook Park (“Oldboy”) is a vivid, short exercise in tone, a movie lacking shocks and huge surprises, but one that makes up for that by creeping us out, from start to finish.
  47. While small children may be enchanted by this little gastropod that could, adults will be more sorely tested. For all the horsepower Turbo boasts about, the movie tends toward the sluggish — as in slow as a slug.
  48. It’s engrossing, violent, frightening and funny in the ways it captures the way kids speak with no adults around, and the way kids act when society’s rules take a back seat in time of war.
  49. Fading Gigolo is John Turturro’s idea of an old school Woody Allen comedy, so he wrote Allen into it.
  50. A well-crafted documentary variation on "Defiance," Ukrainian Jews saving themselves by going underground -- literally.
  51. 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.”
  52. The thing that “Disappearance” does perfectly is, unfortunately, its most anti-cinematic trait. Grief and a romantic break-up have never been more deflatingly, depressingly captured.
  53. A slight and somewhat demure romantic comedy/friendship comedy built around two mildly interesting characters.
  54. The Notebook makes for a grim but utterly fascinating parable.
  55. Gleeson, Pinsent and Kitsch make this a diverting comic travelogue for anybody who misses “Northern Exposure” but has no intention of moving to Alaska, or in this case, Newfoundland.
  56. There’s nothing much new here, but the performances and the milieu make Filly Brown an entertaining, honorable installment in a story that is the American Dream incarnate, and has been ever since the first wannabe showed up on Tin Pan Alley at the beginning of the last century.
  57. 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.
  58. The film is full of sharp observations about academic contests today, with Tiger Moms and tough-love Dads browbeating the kids from the wings. The ending is kind of a tap-out, but Bateman keeps this clipping along, maintaining the mean streak and potty mouth that makes Bad Words the dirtiest and funniest comedy of the new year.
  59. 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.
  60. The resolution to this puzzle is so botched it’s insulting, as if they’re daring us to laugh at the notion that this is merely “the beginning.”
  61. A bloody, violent and yet grimly comic tale.
  62. Neeson is the rock anchoring all this, making the incredible at least passably credible as he lurches into the frame with his limping boxer’s gait. But you get the sense that he is no more “Taken” with this than we are.
  63. Horror is all about that short-circuit the screen's technical manipulations cause in our brain, so this isn't high art. But Mama is easily the most moving, most chilling ghost story since "Insidious," an emotional tale efficiently and affectingly told.
  64. 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.
  65. A true indie film roller-coaster ride, from moon-eyed romance to aching heartbreak, cerebral puzzle to incredibly moving, emotional resolution to that puzzle. In a season of the year where sci-fi is dumbed down and then dumbed some more for mass consumption, here’s a piece of speculative fiction that will stick with you long after the last Transformer’s battery has died.
  66. 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.
  67. 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.
  68. Branagh & Co. keep up appearances with a thriller that works mainly because all of its parts — locations, fights and plot twists — are well worn from all the thrillers they’ve been in before.
  69. The setting and various religious rifts are unfamiliar, if the domestic/romantic melodrama isn’t.
  70. The most valuable thing about the film, implied in the shared narration by Terrence Howard and director Martin Shore, is capturing these legends one more time before it’s too late.
  71. Concussion deserves more of an audience than just the film festival circuit. And it’s not just an introduction to a writer-director with talent, but to a slew of under-employed and superb actresses, and the hunky Tchaikovsky.
  72. 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.
  73. What’s fresh here is the tone – rude, blunt and bordering on shrill. This is a less in-your-face Michael Moore-style take on this subject.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. The film tells Annie Parker’s story with heart and wit, and finds a few funny insights into the stubborn, brusque woman, Dr. Mary-Claire King, whose lonely quest to find proof would bear fruit.
  77. A handsome production, its few settings (indoors and outdoors) painterly and period-perfect. It’s entirely too long for a filmed chamber drama of such limited stakes. But Ullmann’s adaptation reminds us that the gap between “those people,” now called “the one percent,” and the rest of the world will always be ripe for conflict, drama and tension, no matter how much we evolve.
  78. James McAvoy wallows in it in his new film, Filth. He embraces the sexual depravity, the drug and alcohol abuse, the bullying, vile language, racism and rank sexism of being a Scottish cop on the loose.
  79. Impressive. And violent. Just not a lot of fun.
  80. There’s no humor and no pathos. The Cuckoo-Clock Heart, pretty as it is, lacks any heart at all.
  81. His comedy, whatever it was at an earlier age, is comfort food now.
  82. Writer-director Richard Shepard did “”The Matador” and “The Hunting Party”, and he surrounds Law’s lunatic Dom with assorted underworld figures who have mellowed where Dom did not.
  83. 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.
  84. If every generation gets the Superman it deserves, Man of Steel suggests we’ve earned one utterly without wit or charm.
  85. The movie hinges on Murray's turn as FDR, and frankly, he comes up wanting.
  86. “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.
  87. I like the way writer-director Kat Candler, expanding a short film she made a few years back, doesn’t give away the whole back-story — what killed the mother, who might have been to blame.
  88. A most romantic way to spend your time at the movies this fall, a “date picture” about do over dates that works, this time around.
  89. 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.
  90. A mildly entertaining sermon about American “Cowboy Capitalism” as it rubs up against “The French Way.”
  91. Damon the Oscar-winning writer does something nobody else in Hollywood would – write a dumb character for Matt Damon to play.
  92. The first pleasant surprise of spring, a gorgeous kids’ cartoon with heart and wit, if not exactly a firm grasp of paleontology.
  93. In this not-even-faintly scary, rarely funny horror comedy, Smith is still sucking down big gulps of empty calories and hoping we’ll laugh at his belch.
  94. Walker has few “big” scenes, no memorable dialogue and plays up the exhaustion, which tamps down the emotions of his performance. So even an action packed finale can’t rescue this dramatically thin exercise in one-man showmanship.
  95. This movie hangs utterly on performance, and DiCaprio’s Gatsby is mesmerizing.
  96. “Magic” lacks too many things to rank among Allen’s better recent films — the come-uppance and zeitgeist currency of “Blue Jasmine,” the frivolity of that don’t-think-too-much-about-this lark “Midnight in Paris.” But the biggest shortcoming is right there in the title, a tease if ever there was one.
  97. It’s a charming, whimsical and ever-so-slight film, a bit of an over-reach but pleasant enough, even when it falls short.
  98. 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.
  99. The design is brighter and sharper, the jokes are broader and the villainy utterly generic in this by-the-(comic)-book adaptation.
  100. It's a junky, crowd-pleasing movie of sidekicks – Guzman and Knoxville – bad acting, over the top shootouts, and catch phrases.

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