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 Nebraska
Lowest review score: 25 Blended
Score distribution:
601 movie reviews
  1. Beautifully cast, touchingly played and handsomely mounted, Belle is as close to perfect as any costumed romance has a right to be.
  2. 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.
  3. Dallas Buyers Club is one of the best pictures of the year.
  4. 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.
  5. 56 Up feels like the most hopeful film of them all - amusing, entertaining, and touching.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is an amazing achievement in telling an unremarkably remarkable life story.
  9. Carell, though, is the real shock to the system here. He is quirky, queer in the old fashioned sense, and pathetically funny.
  10. Jones tells this story with care and a lack of hurry, a pace to fit an age when people traveled no faster than two mules pulling a wagon could carry them. It’s “True Grit” and “The African Queen” with a moment of “Lawrence of Arabia,” period-perfect and a total immersion in this world.
  11. 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.
  12. Joe
    Joe is the movie that will make you remember how good Nicolas Cage once was and can be again.
  13. The dialogue is hard-bitten and Mamet-sharp.
  14. 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.
  15. This is as thorough a take-down of a business and its practices as you’re likely to ever see.
  16. Ptacek, as she was in the short, makes a great foil. And the addition of Rossum and Perlman to the cast adds pathos and paranoia, guilt and menace.
  17. In a cinema recently overrun with combat documentaries, Marshall Curry’s Point and Shoot manages a first. Here’s a film that captures the romance of war amongst today’s young and testosterone-fueled. Want to know why young men from all over the world have flocked to fight for ISIS? Point and Shoot explains it.
  18. It’s more an instant cult film than a picture with any prayer of reaching millions.
  19. 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.
  20. Most credit goes to Coogan for the success of this odd coupling.
  21. We’re taken back to a naive era, when the boundaries of “smut” were narrower, when even the images of an unlikely “adult” star (she never did sex films or “real” porn) seem now like good, clean fun.
  22. Her
    Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have logged on at all?
  23. As with her best films, Coppola is utterly at ease in this milieu and it shows.
  24. 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.
  25. Witty, warm and wistful and in just the right proportions, Spectacular is the best-acted film of the summer.
  26. 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.
  27. Artistically, Get on Up rivals “Walk the Line,” with a lead performance on a par with the career-making turns of Angela Bassett (“What’s Love Got to Do With It?”) and Jamie Foxx (“Ray”). With this wonder of the summer, Boseman and Taylor deliver a piece of American cultural history every bit as important as the Jackie Robinson story, a story told with heart, humor, funk and soul.
  28. A Mexican-accented kids’ cartoon so colorful and unconventionally dazzling it almost reinvents the art form. As pretty as a just-punctured pinata, endlessly inventive, warm and traditional, it serves up Mexican culture in a riot of Mexican colors and mariachi-flavored music.
  29. 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.
  30. The Drop is a simmering thriller from the writer who gave us “Mystic River” and “Gone, Baby Gone,” a tale heavy with the weight of violence we know is coming.
  31. 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.
  32. Start to finish, it’s a delight.
  33. Michael B. Jordan (“Red Tails”) is never less than riveting as Oscar, and he has to be.
  34. 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.
  35. This delightful and inspiring drama succeeds the way Hawking has, even as he fails to deliver that “one theory” that explains “everything.” It’s reaching beyond your grasp, in life, in science and in film biographies, that achieves greatness.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. The funniest kids’ cartoon of the summer.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. Hoffman is merely the first among equals in a stellar cast.
  44. 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.
  45. It’s visually lovely, and the performances are subtle, sunny and sympathetic. Camara lends a playful touch to Antonio’s Beatle-mania.
  46. Calvary is a compact and biting tale of a righteous man being tested by his faith, his peers and his predicament.
  47. 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.
  48. It was never going to be “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Reserve that honor for the film that inspired it. But Saving Mr. Banks is still one of the best pictures of the year.
  49. 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.
  50. Locke will hold your interest as it presents a side of the burly, bluff “Dark Knight” villain we have never seen before on screen.
  51. 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.
  52. It’s still a welcome, entertaining and overdue delivery of credit where credit was and is due.
  53. Mark Jarrett’s amiable road picture has a morbid whimsy and a coming-of-age hook.
  54. An engaging take on a drifting character at an age when we’re all adrift.
  55. “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.
  56. Many moments will make you avert your eyes.
  57. In Spanish with English subtitles, has a lovely, big budget sheen (Shlomo Godder was the cinematographer) and a cast that plays this as documentary real.
  58. 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.
  59. The first 25 minutes or so of this “Contagion” meets “28 Days Later” thriller will leave you breathless. And the rest of it serves up novel and often entertaining solutions to the various “zombie problems” that this over-exposed genre presents.
  60. The cast, plainly packed with second or third choices, lets it down. Is there anything in James Franco’s past that suggests larger-than-life, a fast-talking, womanizing con-man? And the three witches – Theodora, Evanora and Glinda – are Bland, Blander and Blond Bland.
  61. Rene Russo is spot-on as Nina, an aging TV news director who is the only person Bloom will sell his footage to.
  62. It’s a charming, whimsical and ever-so-slight film, a bit of an over-reach but pleasant enough, even when it falls short.
  63. 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.
  64. It’s a blunt instrument of a movie, and often melodramatic. But it sometimes moves and often hits its target square on the nose.
  65. Chef is Favreau’s most personal film since “Swingers,” an overlong comedy full of his food, his taste in music, his favorite places and a boatload of his favorite actors.
  66. An often hilarious/generally irreverent comedy.
  67. Happy Christmas, which is set around Christmas, shares several plot and thematic points with “Neighbors,” but without the aggression or belly laughs.
  68. Leonardo DiCaprio’s most charismatic performance ever anchors Martin Scorsese’s robust and raunchy lowlifes-of-high-finance comedy The Wolf of Wall Street.
  69. This is more “Something Mild” than “Something Wild.” But Firth and Blunt handle their characters’ many revelations with care and play with layers of hurt and disappointment with great sympathy and pathos.
  70. The fact that Serena, ranked number one again this year — the oldest woman (31) ever so ranked — means that their story isn’t over, and that if a skeptic wants to finally appreciate their historic impact on the game, he or she still has time to come around.
  71. 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.
  72. For all its stunning and stark wilderness settings (Spain and the Canary Islands), its stunning effects, technical proficiency and scriptural cleverness, Exodus is a chilly affair... It’s still an exciting, entertaining epic.
  73. 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.
  74. A mesmerizing movie, a history lesson about the pre-blockbuster era in science fiction movies.
  75. 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.
  76. 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.
  77. Blue Caprice is a chilling portrait of motive, manipulation and mass murder.
  78. 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.
  79. 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.
  80. It’s a fanciful conceit and a well-animated parable about prejudice, standards of beauty and the shifting sands of the painters’ art.
  81. Moore makes us root for Alice, not for a cure, which still seems a reach, but for a completion of her life’s goals, a chance to control her fate as long as she has the wherewithal to do it.
  82. 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.
  83. It’s a “Waiting for Godot” set in the solitary work and lives of two highway line-painters.
  84. 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.
  85. Radice has delivered an engaging portrait of a loose cannon back when professional sports still produced such unfiltered creatures, a man who lived by his own rules, said what he thought and wore curlers to practice when he felt like it.
  86. Paris-Manhattan is an amusing little nothing of a movie built around the wit and wisdom of Woody Allen.
  87. Borgman is a chilling, cryptic film that commands your attention even as its writer-director devotes much of his attention to keeping you from figuring it out.
  88. For all its pleasures, as Germaine nudges Claude toward that “ideal” ending that will make the reader say “I never saw that coming” and “It could not have ended any other way” at the same time, one only wishes this absorbing but melodramatic film had taken that advice.
  89. Fort Bliss is a solid tough-adjustment-coming-home melodrama built around a superb performance by Michelle Monaghan.
  90. Interns Wilson and Vaughn swap lines like veteran jazz musicians who still have a sense of play about them — an endless supply of nicknames, high-and-low fives, dated slang and goodwill — theirs for each other, and ours for them.
  91. Writer-director Jaco Van Dormael (“Toto the Hero”) spins flashbacks and time-lapse photography, stunning montages, whirling, circling cameras and stunning underwater, deep space and Martian landscape photography into a film that is as intentionally opaque as it is overlong.
  92. In Don Jon Gordon-Levitt hasn’t made a great movie. But he has made a fun one, short and sweet, with a third act punch that is so to-the-point it’ll take your breath away.
  93. 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.
  94. It’s almost a hagiography, and Vidal would have demanded no less.
  95. Kon-Tiki is a grand old school yarn with enough drama and dramatic incidents to make even Indiana Jones envious at the adventure of it all.
  96. Look for Jackson’s cameo in the opening, which sets the tone. Call it another visual triumph for New Zealand’s vision of Middle Earth.
  97. A scruffy, anarchic picture that gets better as it stumbles along.
  98. A down-and-dirty genre picture that manages a couple of decent plot twists, a couple of passable car chases and two epic shoot-outs.
  99. 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.
  100. 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.

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