Movieline's Scores

  • Movies
For 692 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 70% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 28% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Somewhere
Lowest review score: 5 The Roommate
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 41 out of 692
692 movie reviews
  1. Fincher and his screenwriter, TV writer-god Aaron Sorkin, have made a seemingly modest picture that achieves something close to greatness the old-fashioned, slow-burning way: By telling a story with faces, dialogue and body language of all types, from awkward to swaggering.
  2. Zero Dark Thirty makes you feel every step of Maya's journey, but it's her impressive achievement and that of the film itself that we're left contemplating, not her humanity - a stunningly well-realized whole with few soft spots to latch onto.
  3. A Separation doesn't try to make easy sense of that world, or of this family's suffering. It's simply a quiet cry of anguish.
  4. It's a tricky feat, channeling the glamour of a famous international terrorist without glamorizing him. But damned if French filmmaker Olivier Assayas doesn't pull it off with Carlos.
  5. For all that it is, as promised, about love, it's also a subtly punishing affair that grinds you into the ground as you watch an elderly couple deal with one member's slow deterioration of health and sanity.
  6. A sequel made with care and integrity, Toy Story 3 is just moving enough: It winds its way gently toward its big themes instead of grabbing desperately at them, and because its plot is so beautifully worked out, getting there is almost all of the fun.
  7. Debra Granik's Winter's Bone is one of those movies -- like last year's inner-city down-a-thon, "Precious" -- that can't quite make a distinction between profundity and plain old bleakness.
  8. A small but extremely significant message in a bottle. That metaphor is almost literal: The picture made its way to Cannes via a USB drive -- which was smuggled in a cake.
  9. It's a picture that romances its audience into watching in a new way - by, paradoxically, asking us to watch in an old way. The Artist is perhaps the most modern movie imaginable right now.
  10. The imperatives of history are manifold, and this film is among the most urgent of them. You cannot look, and you must look: This happened. They were human beings. All of them.
  11. Even more than it wants to inform Inside Job seeks to enrage.
  12. A direct and heartfelt piece of work. It's conventional, maybe, in its sense of filmmaking decorum, but extraordinary in the way it cuts to the core of human frustration and feelings of inadequacy, reminding us how universal those feelings are.
  13. If anything, Joe's sense of dream logic is more naturalistic than Lynch's, more grounded in the knowable world - as much, that is, as we can know about nature - and the luminous Uncle Boonmee is no exception.
  14. The real strength of The Kid with a Bike is the cautious but generous warmth of its storytelling. Not much happens in The Kid with a Bike, but it leaves you grateful that the worst doesn't happen - with these characters, you might not be able to bear it.
  15. The movie's final moments are the equivalent of the half-jubilant, half-mournful thrill you get when you close the cover of a book you've savored.
  16. Now that Pitt no longer has brash youth on his side, he's digging deeper and doing more with less. It's the kind of acting - understated but woven with golden threads of movie-star style - that gives us more to look at rather than less.
  17. The picture does, in places, feel like an unspoken homage to Kurosawa, though it's certainly its own distinct creation. But I wonder if it more closely resembles another end-of-an-era picture, Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch."
  18. This is Day-Lewis' movie, and he does with the meditative inner stillness of his character a wonderful thing - he finds a type of heroism that runs counter to all of the usual showy movie signifiers of such a quality.
  19. The Tillman Story isn't designed to be a shockeroo exposé; it's more a slow, steady rumble of anger and dismay at what the U.S. military, and the government, can get away with in the name of public relations, as if PR - and not human lives - were the most important consideration during wartime.
  20. More universal than it is alternative, except in one sense: There's nothing else on the contemporary movie landscape like it.
  21. Cave of Forgotten Dreams is compelling, sometimes in a hypnotic, sleepy-bye way.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The normally sly Wilson - who was once in the running to play James Bond - was directed by Beauvois to surrender ego. Wilson accomplishes this with a minimum of fuss.
  22. The primary weakness of Affleck's film is the actor himself, who can't seem to find much in "exfiltration" specialist Tony aside from a dedication to his work and sorrow over the potential breakup of his family.
  23. What makes The Master such a singular experience, as dense as a mille-feuille, is that it is not Lancaster's story but Freddie's, and told as such, in layers that are sensorially rich but that do not always lead easily from one to another.
  24. The success of this exuberant, affecting debut feature from director Benh Zeitlin depends on his ability to universalize the particular, in this case by drawing us into the perspective of a six-year-old girl living in squalor and feeling and uncertainty in the Louisiana bayou, then telling our own story from behind it.
  25. The movie's intricacy, and the way it finds its way into the emotional lives of its characters via (and not in spite of) that intricacy, is what makes it extraordinary. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy challenges audiences to believe in craftsmanship again.
  26. The economics of star casting aside, what would Take Shelter have been like with James McAvoy or Mark Wahlberg or Jake Gyllenhaal at its center?
  27. The low-key quality of the filmmaking in Restrepo only intensifies the reality of how much these kids are risking.
  28. The Tree of Life is gorgeous to look at. It's also a gargantuan work of pretension and cleverly concealed self-absorption masquerading as spiritual exploration.
  29. Meek's Cutoff is an ambitious feat of visual storytelling that's alive to both its landscape and the actors who people it.
  30. So why can't I love Moonrise Kingdom? For all the movie's technical meticulousness, the storytelling still has a wiggly-waggly quality, like a dangly loose tooth.
  31. Looper may not have the bell-ringing resonance of Chris Marker's "La Jetée," one of its touchstones, but it's a jaunty match-up of genre and character drama that's far smarter and more finely wrought than almost anything else in the multiplexes.
  32. The Descendants is an ultra-polished picture in which every emotion we're supposed to feel has been cued up well in advance. There's nothing surprising or affecting about it. Not even Clooney, who works wonders with the occasional piece of dialogue, can save it.
  33. "A chimp could not have a better mother," Terrace declares of his decision. The people in this film say stuff like that a lot.
  34. What's remarkable about Pina is how democratic it is, how casual it is about opening up the world of modern dance to people who know, or perhaps care, little about it.
  35. Because Animal Kingdom is so richly suffused with atmosphere and style, you could almost float right past the deficiencies in its story in an admiring trance.
  36. Hugo states, in its adamant, straightforward poetry, that old things do matter.
  37. But damned if Boyle, with the help of his star, doesn't make the experience almost… cheerful.
  38. The animation itself is technically gorgeous, a class act all the way. But there's so little to be found in the faces of the characters, or even in the way their limbs move (much of it adopted, cleverly enough, from Tati's own physical style), that it's not clear what we're supposed to feel for them.
  39. There's such a thing as having too much reverence for your material, and although Davies is an extraordinarily gifted and principled director, The Deep Blue Sea may suffer for that reverence.
  40. In the early moments of The Trip, you wonder if either actor will survive the enterprise.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There's an enchanting, and very Western, musicality in Certified Copy, a mash-up that charms; Mad Decent - master masher, dj and producer Diplo's label - aptly describes it. (Diplo and Buñuel would've loved each other).
  41. What Cedar captures here is the way a father and son can be bound so tightly they almost choke the air out of one another. You can't exactly call it affection; it's that far more complicated thing we call kinship.
  42. By the end you feel you've learned something about the man, yet his mystique emerges intact.
  43. Le Havre proceeds from the usual Kaurismäkian premise: Things are only going to get worse, so why not just go with it?
  44. Tectonic pacing builds to a series of imperceptible and yet earth-moving moments in Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, a habeas corpus procedural stretched across two and a half discursive hours.
  45. The faces of these performers - particularly Williams' - are the key to Blue Valentine.
  46. With Huppert as her paradoxical lightning rod, Denis courts class and colonial tensions until they fly apart in the last moments of the film.
  47. Beginners is all about beginnings that begin with endings - the point, Mills seems to be saying, is that sometimes you need to say good-bye to make room for hello.
  48. The film also comes across like a rough cut that was never looked at as a coherent whole, and some segments that start off as promising become interminable while others feel entirely unnecessary. There's no pressure on or expectation for Tarantino to please anyone other than himself, and the film feels overstuffed with ideas that should have been pruned.
  49. Working with the great cinematographer Roger Deakins, Mendes also presents some stunning sequences of beauty in a film where you might not expect such a thing.
  50. The best Allen movie in 10 years, or maybe even close to 20 - is all about that idea: Reckoning with the past as a real place, but also worrying about the limits of nostalgia.
  51. The glorious mess that is Pat's family and community is the warmest, funniest aspect of Silver Linings Playbook.
  52. Waiting For Superman may rub a little raw here and there, but if it stirs that memory in enough voting and tax-paying Americans, it has at least begun to do its job.
  53. It's a matinee treat for the very little ones, after all.
  54. The actresses' performances intertwine beautifully, like twin climbing vines vying for the attention of the sun.
  55. There's a certain type of painful honesty that shines through in both their interviews toward the end and, particularly, in those with the staff.
  56. Mattie is a no-nonsense mite with a forthright manner and a mean head for figures; she wears her hair in two sturdy braids whose tips have never seen the inside of any inkwell, believe you me.
  57. An adaptation that wholly and faithfully captures the spirit and mood of the book it's based on, and an example of computer animation - the 2-D sort - that shows the human touch in every frame.
  58. Naranjo keeps the action tense but understated; instead of allowing explosions and shootouts to pile up, he rations them in taut doses.
  59. It's as subversive and penetrating a treatment of the British character as we get on the big screen, and it's why I don't mind that Leigh keeps them coming 'round with the reliability of the cocktail hour.
  60. Pariah wouldn't work without Oduye's luminous performance, capturing the emotional nuances of a character not prone to letting her emotions show.
  61. Rivers appears to have more energy than most 30-year-olds; she gets more done in a day that some of us could accomplish in a week.
  62. Fiennes works hard to keep the rhythm going: He stages hand-to-hand combat sequences and knife fights as if he were making a smart action movie, not adapting Shakespeare, which is precisely the point.
  63. The tragedy of The Fighter is that Wahlberg's performance suggests a character who wants more. And yet Russell barely seems to notice how much subtlety Wahlberg brings to his role, or to the movie at large.
  64. The story of Pi and Richard Parker already has the clean simplicity of a myth and really doesn't require significant elaboration, but following in the footsteps of the source material, the film provides elaboration anyway, demonstrating a condescension to the audience that dulls the spectacle it punctuates.
  65. Let Me In is a chilly little story set in a very cold place. But Reeves still knows when to go for the burn.
  66. Bold, weird, and a little stalkerish in its intensity, Luca Guadagnino's third feature is an open cinematic buffet, as ready to satisfy as it is to displease, depending on your taste and appetite.
  67. Sugar Man is most interesting when it touches on the conditions that combined to draw a cult hero out of some decent music and a generously enabled, imagination-firing mystique.
  68. Aronofsky isn't loose enough, or canny enough, to be in touch with its camp soul.
  69. Drive not only met my hopes; it charged way over the speed limit, partly because it's an unapologetically commercial picture that defies all the current trends in mainstream action filmmaking.
  70. Slick without feeling over-determined, Racing Dreams evokes -- just as, oddly enough, "Toy Story 3" does -- the more general feeling of childhood on the precipice.
  71. I suspect nearly everyone who sees the picture will have a loud opinion about this ending, which is just one way Holofcener works her stealth magic as a filmmaker and storyteller: She doesn’t close up shop on her movie until she’s made each of us an honorary New Yorker — in other words, a person with a strong stance and something to say.
  72. The Dark Knight aspires to the epic and reaches it on a number of impressive and less impressive levels. That it is a frequently, unnervingly glorious triumph of brawn over brains is not despite but in spite of Nolan's admirably stubborn - if persistently, risibly serious - insistence that the modern superhero can have it all.
  73. Like the recent "Perrier's Bounty," The Guard feels like it might play better at home than overseas.
  74. A dump is a dump, but it's immediately clear that these are working people who are making the best of their options and who have built a shared camaraderie out of that determination.
  75. At its simplest level, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a portrait of a master. In its deeper layers, it explores what drives us to make things: Beautiful, jewel-like things, or things that delight our palate – or, in this case, both.
  76. The pleasures Get Low offers lie in the process of simply getting there, in watching performers take material that has some limitations (the script, inspired by a true story, is by Chris Provenzano and C. Gaby Mitchell) and turn it into something that has the rough-hewn, no-nonsense veracity of folk music.
  77. What Press comes up with in the end isn't just a portrait of individual eccentricity. Its larger subject is the way one man, just by being alive to what's around him, has created a vast, detailed anthropological record of how New Yorkers present, and feel, about themselves.
  78. This is the kind of sophisticated storytelling you rarely get even in live-action movies any more, full of unexpected turns and unruly human complications.
  79. Sex is threatening, as Brontë knew, and Wasikowska and Fassbender make this particular dance look exceedingly dangerous.
  80. Soft-spoken and stoical, Brannaman is a firm but sensitive presence in front of the camera and facing down a spooked horse.
  81. Turns out to be a disappointingly standard addiction story in its second half also serves as a reminder that Hollywood tends to be more invested in these types of self-serious movies than most actual audiences.
  82. Hansen-Løve’s gifts for mood and eliciting controlled, empathetic performances are well-suited to her sensitive material, and ultimately overshadow the film’s difficult and uneven central characterization.
  83. This is a picture whose dance steps are determined by any number of mishaps and misfortunes; like the dance floor of a great club on a good night, it's gorgeous, unruly and exhilarating all at once.
  84. Olsen's performance is restrained but not tentative; you could say the same for the movie around it.
  85. Margin Call's strengths are of mood and the slick surfaces of things, and these elements are haunting long after the credits have rolled.
  86. One of the finest of the year, The Loneliest Planet is based on a short story by Tom Bissell that's itself inspired by a famous Hemingway work, "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber."
  87. In short, Cronenberg has made an elegant film, with spanking. There's some mildly kinky sex in A Dangerous Method, but Cronenberg makes it neither exploitive nor so tasteful that it loses its charge.
  88. Director John Cameron Mitchell - adapting David Lindsay-Abaire's play - has a surprisingly deft touch with this admittedly downbeat material; he builds dramatic intensity in subtle layers, rather than slapping it on with a trowel.
  89. Divided into three chapters in a largely unsuccessful attempt at structure, the voice and the style don't combine as explosively as they should to pick up the material's slack.
  90. To paraphrase something Quentin Tarantino once said about Sergio Corbucci, Verbinski loves the uglies. They return the favor by looking almost beautiful.
  91. The picture's finale isn't as smart as it ought to be. Cornish tries to make a damning social statement, but the only thing you take away from the movie is how cool it is to kick alien ass.
  92. Warmly observed and solicitous of its audience to the point of caress, Win Win is as comfortable an experience at the movies as you might have this year.
  93. It was a stroke of genius, at least a miniature one, to cast Black in this role – he's made to play the affable teddy bear who could snap at any moment.
  94. Bridesmaids is the Bride of Frankenstein of contemporary comedies, a movie stitched together crudely, and only semi-successfully, from random chick flick and bromance parts.
  95. The love Segel has for the Muppets is a genuine, perceivable and positive quality that suffuses this good-hearted revitalization of the franchise, and if some wish fulfillment sneaks in there too.
  96. An elegantly observed, sleekly packaged look at an artist whose career-long balance of enigma and self-exposure culminated in a 2010 retrospective at New York City's Museum of Modern Art.
  97. I've seen Detective Dee twice now, and I still don't think I've taken the full measure of the visual nuttiness, and lushness, Tsui has packed in there.
  98. The Invisible War might be best judged as a piece of activism, in which case it's already succeeding - after seeing the film in April, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta took the responsibility for sexual assault investigations away from commanding officers and put them in the hands of higher-ranking officials.

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