New Orleans Times-Picayune's Scores

  • Movies
For 706 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Wild
Lowest review score: 20 That's My Boy
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 46 out of 706
706 movie reviews
  1. The result is a ripped-from-the-Zeitgeist film that is razor-sharp, an astute and funny portrait of the early 2000s, with all its LOL's, its IMO's and its WTF's. Mostly its WTF's.
  2. Feels startlingly real and inherently relevant, a shining, sterling example of cinema at its most powerful and urgent.
  3. To his credit, however, the often-playful Blomkamp never bludgeons his audience with any specific message. He's too busy letting 'er rip with his edge-of-your-seat, and unapologetically violent, sci-fi adventure.
  4. Extraordinarily engaging but surprisingly sobering.
  5. A film that is beautiful, harrowing, heartbreaking -- and necessary.
  6. Positively soars.
  7. A dazzling, stirring capper to a once-in-a-generation movie franchise.
  8. A thoroughly endearing journey, and one of the most enjoyable and touching movies to land in theaters so far this year.
  9. After watching the bailouts, the bank foreclosures and the Bernie Madoffs of the world dominate headlines, Michael Moore is mad as hell, and he's going to try to make you mad as hell, too.
  10. From the first line of its deep, rapid-fire dialog all the way through to its trippy ending -- which is guaranteed prompt discussion on the drive home -- Inarritu has crafted a film that begs to be rewatched, with the promise of each repeated viewing bringing something new.
  11. It is beautiful, and it is difficult to watch. It is heartwarming, and it is heart-wrenching. It is absorbing, and it's unsettling.
  12. An entirely fitting Christmas Day release -- filled as it is with magic and talk of miracles -- and easily one of the best films of 2011.
  13. Up
    A thoroughly uplifting bit of cinema.
  14. The House I Live In is not a comfortable film to consider in any respect, but without discomfort it's hard to feel anger - and without anger, it's hard to imagine that anything will ever be done about it.
  15. A singularly enjoyable and moving film.
  16. Beasts of the Southern Wild is not only a wonderful story -- a portrait of intestinal fortitude in the face of enormous change -- but it's our story, forged in our own shared recent history and dripping with flood, sweat and tears.
  17. The greatest movies, the ones that stick with us, are those that hold up a mirror to the human condition and reflect something back at us that we too often manage to overlook. Boyhood is one of those movies, and with it Linklater proves he is among the best practitioners of that art.
  18. There are other movies out this year that are more technically ambitious than Wild (I'm thinking "Birdman.") There are others that are wider-reaching in scope and sheer audacity (the 12-years-in-the-making "Boyhood"). But there aren't any others that offer the power and profundity of Wild. This movie is a gift. It's also a journey.
  19. Not only does it deliver a powerful message, but it is wrapped in an immensely entertaining package.
  20. Gravity, it turns out, is a great film, a technical and storytelling masterpiece that is buoyed by stunning visuals and which functions both as a ripping, tension-filled yarn and as a profound and life-affirming work of art.
  21. 127 Hours -- just like "Slumdog Millionaire" -- is a masterful slice of four-star cinema, featuring an irresistible performance by James Franco, breathtaking cinematography, and the kind of deep, searching soul that is absent from so much of what comes out of Hollywood.
  22. His a wonderful, touching story, one that made me want to scoop up every kid I know who has a scrap of creative talent, and have them watch the film. Because Elmo's story is sweet -- but Clash's is nothing short of inspiring.
  23. The U.S. government did torture prisoners of war in the name of its so-called war on terror and, by extension, in the name of all Americans. What Bigelow and Boal seem to be arguing is that such actions take a deep cosmic toll on the people responsible -- whether directly, in the case of Chastain's character, or indirectly, in the case of you and me.
  24. There are moments of depth there as well, as Anderson touches on themes of friendship and loyalty. More than anything else, though, The Grand Budapest Hotel is just a fun ride -- a wild, wonderful ride seemingly plucked out of Anderson's dream journal.
  25. This kind of cinematic delight is a rarity, a warm and masterfully crafted reminder of why we love to go to the movies in the first place.
  26. If there's a complaint, it's that it flirts with rambling once the main case is solved -- nearly 20 minutes before the movie ends. But Fincher uses that remaining time to expand on Lisbeth's character, which is hard to hold against him.
  27. Whiplash is, at its core, about jazz -- that smoothest, mellowest of American art forms. But don't let that fool you. Writer-director Damien Chazelle's impressive sophomore effort is about as rock 'n' roll as a movie about jazz can possibly be.
  28. His (Jonze) obvious affection for, and veneration of, Maurice Sendak's 1963 Caldecott Medal-winning children's book is palpable in his near-perfect live-action adaptation, a dreamy -- and, like Sendak's book, faintly nightmarish -- exploration of one child's tantrum-y side.
  29. Like "The Hurt Locker," Winter's Bone is a spare but riveting drama with a female director. It is built around a raw, revelatory performance by a young, little-known lead actor.
  30. More than anything this is an intelligent film, a satisfying bit of old-school sci-fi suspense.
  31. This film is undoubtedly a piece of art, as much so as a Picasso painting, one that invites viewers to immerse themselves, scratch their heads and consider it.
  32. If nothing else, this is a cinematic high-wire act.
  33. A captivating portrait of the frailty and the failures of humanity.
  34. That's the kind of movie this is, the kind that sticks with you, that prods you to examine things. In the process, it reveals itself to be something of an emotional roller coaster -- but one well worth riding.
  35. It's one of the most engaging foreign films to come along since 'Tell No One' in 2008.
  36. The Help isn't intended to be so much a movie about the ugliness of the era than an optimistic tale of what can spring from that kind of ugliness, about the ability of people to love one another even when they're surrounded by hatred. And on that level, The Help succeeds wonderfully, a warm and sweet song of hope.
  37. It's a tremendously moving drama, filled with heartbreak, humor and, more importantly, humanity.
  38. What plays out is something like CSPAN 1865. That is, it's dense, talky stuff at times -- particularly at its start, as the film takes a good 15 minutes to gain traction -- but also highly rewarding and instructive.
  39. The result is a human drama that quietly argues that the gift of life isn't one to be taken lightly.
  40. Fruitvale Station is only the first in a string of civil-rights minded movies set to hit theaters this year -- contributing to what could be the most racially conscious award season in recent memory.
  41. Chaz Ebert says that Roger would have loved Life Itself. I'll take her word for it. She knew him far better than I did. Clearly. But I'll add this: I love it, too.
  42. More than anything else, however, director Jacques Audiard's gritty, grab-you-by-the-shirtfront film is a mob movie -- a really, really good mob movie. Think "GoodFellas," but with Gauloises and accent aigu instead of plates of spaghetti and accent Pesci.
  43. There's something Shakespearean about it. From the case of mistaken identity (though willfully mistaken) to the formal, old-fashioned language to the tragic tone in which it is all swaddled, this is Shakespeare by way of the Deep South.
  44. Not only is it a searing on-the-ground, in-the-fray portrait of the heart of Egypt's ongoing revolution, but it is also a stirring tribute to the indomitable spirit of those who are risking, and in many cases giving, their lives to keep it alive.
  45. All music docs are not created equal. Yes, some are formulaic. But some are beautiful, some are singular, some are marvels of storytelling. And some, like Searching for Sugar Man, are all three.
  46. Mud
    Watching Mud unfold, one suspects that the Arkansas-reared Nichols remembers exactly what it was like to be a boy of the Southern wilds.
  47. It is edifying, it is emotionally engaging, it is embraceable.
  48. As a result, Hereafter isn't so deep that it will change the way many people think about the afterlife. But it is heartfelt and thoughtful and, in a way, comforting.
  49. A story of hope amid the ruins -- one that everybody can appreciate, no matter their politics.
  50. With Knuckle, Palmer offers a thorough -- and extraordinarily compelling -- portrait of the Travellers.
  51. The result isn't just the best new romantic comedy released so far this year, but one of the best comedies, period.
  52. That character flaw makes for some great shock-fueled laughs in Lewis' film -- Giamatti does full-on comic rage as well as anyone.
  53. Boasting a rich look and an engrossing storyline, it's the rare "to-be-continued" film that doesn't leave its audience feeling cheated.
  54. Without subtitles this time, it also stands a very real chance of migrating out of America's art houses and into its multiplexes, where it can sink its teeth into a whole new audience.
  55. The only waste would be if people didn't go see it.
  56. This is a self-contained story that stands nicely on its own. How novel.
  57. Bong's film starts out as a comedy, transforms into a quirky Agatha Christie whodunnit and finishes with an unpredictable Hitchcockian flourish.
  58. The film -- lame of title but big on fun.
  59. A movie with a message, but the subtle kind; it's whispered wisdom, wrapped up in a story of mystery, of love, of regret, of repentance and redemption.
  60. As beautiful as the animation is, Zemeckis' real masterstroke is combining it with a loyalty to Dickens' story.
  61. One of the chief reasons that director Tom Hooper's richly produced film works so well is because it operates on so many different levels. The King's Speech is all about layers, and Hooper keeps it humming on several at once.
  62. An exceedingly well-assembled genre picture, a spell-binding, edge-of-your-seat thriller.
  63. A movie that charms its way to being a kind of well-crafted teen touchstone that very well could become to today's generation what "Ferris Bueller" was to teens of the '80s.
  64. You know how people say that they don't make romantic comedies like they used to? Turns out they do. At least, director Marc Webb does -- and has -- with his clever and sweet debut, 500 Days of Summer.
  65. Both taut and satisfyingly relevant, it presents a portrait of a compromised elections system -- one that should give the left wing, the right wing and the fringe-dwelling nutjobs something they can all agree on. Namely: We're in deep doo-doo.
  66. Local viewers will be tickled by the wealth of New Orleans details in the production. One of the best just might be in the film's music.
  67. It's a career-making performance that relies as much on charm as on acting ability -- and Mulligan has both.
  68. Built as it is around horrifying moments of intimate violence, the stark British drama Tyrannosaur can be a hard movie to watch. At the same time, though, it's hard to stop watching once it gets going.
  69. At times humorous, at times poignant, but always absorbing.
  70. A simple story about a difficult man, and it's an impressive debut from writer-director Scott Cooper.
  71. What Nolan has created with Inception is the rare movie that is bound to improve with repeated viewings, both as a means to drink in its brilliance one more time, and to see what sly clues might have flown under your radar the first time around.
  72. A lovely jaunt that ends up becoming one of Allen's most enjoyable films, start-to-finish, in years.
  73. Almost feels as if it is two different films. One is the opening 20 minutes or so, in which most of the screwball comedy takes place. The other comes when Yimou gets on with the real story. That's where the payoff comes in.
  74. It's a lovely bit of blood-pressure-lowering cinema that never betrays its simple conceit.
  75. Seeing Brannaman work in the warm, sun-dappled documentary Buck makes it clear why he was such a perfect fit for Redford's film: Few people can handle horses the way Brannaman does.
  76. A documentary that is equal parts sweet science, brutal art and masterful filmmaking.
  77. A surprisingly uplifting examination of life and loss.
  78. Songs such as "We Shall Overcome," "Wade in the Water" and "This Little Light of Mine" are powerful to begin with. Listening to them, music-video-style, over footage shot during the era, however, elevates them.
  79. A crowd-pleaser, through and through.
  80. Perhaps the best thing about The Five-Year Engagement is that it signals a touch of maturity creeping into the House of Apatow.
  81. In the end, Mr. Turner ends up being the best kind of period drama. That is, it is a transportive one, whisking audiences away to a distinct time and place, while also providing no small amount of insight about its subject.
  82. Filmmaking is a product of the heart and the head, at least when it's at its best.
  83. One heck of a fun film -- and the most enjoyable and rewarding superhero movie I've seen in a while.
  84. The magic is back at Pixar.
  85. Makes for riveting viewing. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is among the more brisk 2 hours and 10 minutes I've spent in a theater in some time -- and it's easily the most rewarding of this year's summer tentpole films.
  86. Sharp, brisk and highly entertaining.
  87. Perhaps the best thing about Seeking a Friend is that it never ceases to surprise, as Scafaria's script consistently defies Hollywood convention in the most congenial ways.
  88. Even if something feels crazy -- whether it's falling in with a self-taught time-traveler, or buying into a charming but faintly flawed movie premise -- if you listen to your gut, wonderful things can happen.
  89. The most impressive thing about Simien's film is his script, which he wrote. With multiple protagonists and multiple storylines to serve, he deftly manages to keep a number of balls in the air -- without losing sight of his film's purpose.
  90. This is an affecting and emotional drama about the strength of the human spirit.
  91. A great storyteller, however, is one who can entertain an audience in the moment -- but who also gives them something to think about, something for them to take home with them when the story ends, which is exactly what Polley does in Stories We Tell.
  92. Maybe it's a touch twee, but Curtis' film is far too uplifting, too life-affirming and too good-natured to do anything but embrace.
  93. It's the little moments in Farhadi's film that are its most important, speaking every bit as loudly as its big, narrative-driving moments.
  94. While Pariah starts out as a film with moments of predictability, it evolves into a smart, compelling -- and optimistic -- portrait of heartbreak and hope.
  95. Writer-director Markus Schleinzer's exceedingly dark drama -- guaranteed to make audiences squirm in their seats -- is emotionally unsettling.
  96. It's an engrossing film, rich with action and emotion.
  97. World War II dramas might be common enough, but, amid them all, Lore stands as an uncommon entry in the genre.
  98. This is the kind of movie that is so embraceable that it floats smoothly over those imperfections almost unnoticed.
  99. Speaking of good storytelling, Hancock knows a thing or two about that. Not only does the "Blind Side" director deftly navigate the double narrative of Saving Mr. Banks, but his film is also a visual treat.
  100. This is nothing if not an important film. It is important for the bullied to see, if for no other reason than to realize they aren't alone, and it is important for the bullies to see as well as for the parents of both groups so everyone can understand just how devastating the problem is.

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