Movieline's Scores

  • Movies
For 693 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 69% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 29% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.2 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 693
693 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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Even more than it wants to inform Inside Job seeks to enrage.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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."
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. More universal than it is alternative, except in one sense: There's nothing else on the contemporary movie landscape like it.
  18. Cave of Forgotten Dreams is compelling, sometimes in a hypnotic, sleepy-bye way.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. The low-key quality of the filmmaking in Restrepo only intensifies the reality of how much these kids are risking.
  23. Meek's Cutoff is an ambitious feat of visual storytelling that's alive to both its landscape and the actors who people it.
  24. 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.
  25. "A chimp could not have a better mother," Terrace declares of his decision. The people in this film say stuff like that a lot.
  26. 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.
  27. Hugo states, in its adamant, straightforward poetry, that old things do matter.
  28. In the early moments of The Trip, you wonder if either actor will survive the enterprise.
  29. By the end you feel you've learned something about the man, yet his mystique emerges intact.
  30. Le Havre proceeds from the usual Kaurismäkian premise: Things are only going to get worse, so why not just go with it?
  31. 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.
  32. The faces of these performers - particularly Williams' - are the key to Blue Valentine.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. The actresses' performances intertwine beautifully, like twin climbing vines vying for the attention of the sun.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. Let Me In is a chilly little story set in a very cold place. But Reeves still knows when to go for the burn.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. Sex is threatening, as Brontë knew, and Wasikowska and Fassbender make this particular dance look exceedingly dangerous.
  49. 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.
  50. Olsen's performance is restrained but not tentative; you could say the same for the movie around it.
  51. 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."
  52. 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    It's probably too early to peg Frankenweenie as Burton's comeback vehicle, but it's certainly the director's best movie in twenty years.
  53. The effect recalls the beguiling lightness of the good old Disney, where clever visual and thematic feats are deftly interwoven and yet tossed off with an insouciance that favors playfulness above all.
  54. Into the Abyss, which bears the subtitle "A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life," reveals itself to be an outlandish, compassionate and, at times, improbably buoyant film about life's capacity for grief and horror and about how it bubbles on miraculously in the face of such things. It's the best thing Herzog's done in years.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Physically it is a kick in the teeth, a depiction of poverty, sex and violence which crosses most known codes of acceptability.
  55. It's the kind of movie that makes the world feel like a smaller place, suggesting that the similarities connecting us across continents and cultures are more resonant than the things that divide us.
  56. Cabin in the Woods does what "Scream" only halfway managed, which was to find something new by looking back at the familiar - and at least in Whedon's world, the geeky ones are never first on the chopping block.
  57. For all its borrowing from old Hollywood, I don't think War Horse is particularly nostalgic. The word I'd use is wistful. It's the largest, most lavish handful of wistfulness money can buy, and sometimes it's too much. Yet it's nice to know that even Steven Spielberg can still wish for something.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Judged on a curve, set by the testosterone-fueled raunch-a-thons that have dominated teen comedies from "American Pie" to "Superbad" and beyond, Easy A deserves an A+, with extra credit for lack of misogyny, c--- talk, or flatulence.
  58. Mulligan is terrific here, and restrained in a way that suggests an actorly generosity unusual for someone so young: Her scenes with Fassbender don't so much say "Look at me" as "Look at him."
  59. The picture is celebratory, in its own quiet way, as well as clear-eyed.
  60. The complementary tone of droll but freighted psychodrama she strikes in Tiny Furniture feels like a significant but precarious achievement. I feel a pinch of worry for her - as I did for Aura - looking into a future of Rudins and Apatows.
  61. To hell with that childlike sense-of-wonder crap: Despicable Me, instead of trying to return adults to a false state of innocence, reminds us that we all started out as ill-mannered little savages.
  62. To say too much about what actually happens would be to rob you of the film's risks and narrative ripostes. What should be noted is that Capotondi makes ambitious use of an unreliable narrator in a way that is rarely seen in modern films.
  63. Young Adult is the first of Reitman's films from which I haven't felt him choking out a message; ironically, its rawness yields the humanity that he thought he was wringing from "Up in the Air."
  64. Craig has one clear advantage over Michael Nyqvist, the actor who played the same character in the Swedish Girl movies: He has erotic charisma to spare, as opposed to Nyqvist's perfunctory, doughy sexuality.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    One of the most heart-wrenching and deeply felt films of the year.
  65. The way salty-sweet comedy Turn Me On, Dammit! treats the hormone-addled turmoil of its 15-year-old heroine Alma feels something close to revolutionary. I don't want to overburden this mild-mannered 76-minute Norwegian debut, but it's true.
  66. Contagion's restraint is marred by one element - Alan Krumwiede, the San Francisco-based activist blogger played by Jude Law, a conspiracy theorist who wields claims about uncovering the truth like a blunt instrument intended to menace.
  67. The thrill of Tony Scott's Unstoppable, in which a runaway freight train hurtles through rural - and toward not-so-rural - Pennsylvania, is that its setup asks us to believe only in human ineptitude.
  68. My heart belongs to Bear Elinor, whose movements and mannerisms are a tender echo of Human Elinor's – her character is designed and drawn just that carefully.
  69. Breillat manages to give us a lush, quiet spectacle with The Sleeping Beauty.
  70. Arthur Christmas is a Grinch-style story of rekindled Christmas spirit told from inside Santa's compound at the North Pole.
  71. The Company Men is infinitely more despairing and yet also, paradoxically, more hopeful. It suggests that work can actually mean something to people, beyond just giving them the means to afford a nice house or a fantastic car.
  72. While the media desk isn't the whole of the New York Times, it does give Rossi a solid perch from which to survey the paper's recent and ongoing struggle for both relevancy and revenues.
  73. That she makes it all look so effortless is part of the fun – as long as you're not unlucky enough to be the guy with his nut in the nutcracker.
  74. There's action here, too, and a great deal of vitality that feels true both to the spirit of Collins' book and to the idea of movie entertainment as it exists.
  75. Coppola is a filmmaker who fills up a big canvas with small moments: That's the opposite of working in miniature, even though she's attuned to the tiniest details.
  76. July is more of a presence than an actress, or even a believable persona.
  77. As a whole, however, Ruby Sparks lands like a punch. It's a smart counter-jab to the many movies out there that put forth the myth that the world is full of quirky angels in ballet flats who are just waiting for some morose protagonist to come along in need of their love.
  78. While skipping the more shocking turns of something like "Happiness," Dark Horse does feel like a return to the fearless darkness of those earlier films, a tale of a loser who's fully drawn but never allowed to be lovable.
  79. Heady, creaturely, and looking for trouble, Splice is also a sovereign creation: Conceived and midwived by Vincenzo Natali (Cube), it suggests the pure-bred Canadian love child of James Cameron and Margaret Atwood (I see David Cronenberg presiding over the baptism).
  80. Like its star, Salt is a spare and lean piece of work; it's everything a modern action movie should be, a picture made with confidence but not arrogance, one that believes so wholeheartedly in its outlandish plot twists that they come to make perfect alt-universe sense.
  81. Ondine suggests that coincidence and magic are often the same thing.
  82. O'Brien describes a number of those basic human feelings that drop-kick all of us from time to time, like being resentful of anyone and everyone who still has a job when we don't.
  83. The picture sparkles, but in the nighttime way - its charms have a noirish gleam.
  84. The "black maid" may be a cliché. But when was the last time we saw a story told from her point of view?
  85. Anton Corbijn's The American looks and feels like a movie made by a filmmaker who hasn't been to the movies since the '70s - and I mean that as the highest compliment.
  86. One of the most chilling things about Trust is how well it lays out the grooming strategies used by expert predators.
  87. Brewer, who spent most of his childhood in Memphis, is one of the few contemporary filmmakers I know of who can make movies about the South without sentimentalizing it, glorifying it or looking down on it.
  88. The Dictator, for all its liberal leanings, doesn't let anyone off the hook, not even well-intentioned liberals. Cohen comes right out and says things that most of us, in polite conversation, wouldn't dare. He knows it's the impolite conversation that really gets things moving.
  89. I never would have believed it, but Branagh gets the balance between pageantry and silliness just right.
  90. The Extra Man is something of a love letter to the marvelous weirdos of New York.
  91. In Time has so much style and energy that it comes across as an act of boldness rather than just a liberal-minded tract, though of course, it's that too. If there were ever a movie made for the 99 percent, this is it.
  92. One of those big, extravagant-looking romances that you might automatically deem "conventional" - except for the fact that almost nobody makes big, extravagant-looking romances anymore.
  93. The picture is rambunctiously affectionate; Guiterrez may go for the broad joke, but never the cheap one.
  94. Redgrave puts all she’s got into something other actors might just toss off or throw away. She’s present every moment; this is an actress who doesn’t have a second to waste.
  95. This is a straightforward family comedy-drama, a movie made for adults, and one that actually gives its actors – among them Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer and Philip Baker Hall – something to do. That's more of a rarity on today's landscape than it should be.
  96. Bad Teacher is hardly a perfect picture, but in the context of every other comedy on the summer movie landscape - from the faux empowerment of "Bridesmaids" to the neurotic frat-guy heteromania of "The Hangover Part II" - it feels revolutionary.

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