NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,039 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 60% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 37% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 The King's Speech
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,039 movie reviews
  1. An entertaining concert film, but not an incisive character study.
  2. Oz the Great and Powerful tells the story of how the Wizard came to Oz, answering a question I suspect no one was asking, but with considerable digital wizardry.
  3. It's Liam Neeson at his Neesoniest, and yet another entry in his expanding late-career bloom into gruff and commanding action hero.
  4. Puzzle has some gentle fun with the clash of staid and hip.
  5. Ultimately, this intriguing but scattershot movie turns on the incompatibility of two worldviews - the corporate-financial vs. the environmental-spiritual.
  6. Long on hero worship and woefully short on insight, Lula: Son of Brazil oozes good intentions, but it wouldn't look out of place in a retrospective of early Soviet workerist cinema.
  7. The good news about Outrage, his grisly return to the genre, is that Kitano doesn't have to shake the rust off - his impeccable compositions and clean, minimalist sound design are still calibrated for maximum impact. Even as dozens of bodies pile up, each act of violence feels as bracing as the sound of a gunshot ripping through the night air.
  8. It was frantic sex that earned Shame an NC-17 rating, but this arty drama is mostly slow and methodical. And thoroughly unsexy.
  9. This China/Hong Kong co-production flips the formula: The fantastic images are solid, but the action is less substantial.
  10. German history and culture are among Sokurov's concerns in this visually compelling, intellectually scattershot movie.
  11. The documentary is at its best when it eases up on the adoration a little and turns to a serious discussion of the state of comics these days, what with newspapers on the decline and digital media scattering an art form that was once centralized on pages delivered to everyone's door.
  12. Behind the Burly Q traces that history all the way back to the early part of the 20th century, but doesn't really come into its own until Zemeckis can interview the stars themselves rather than their children.
  13. Best of all is the half-surreal, half-touching scene of the couple ordering Chinese delivery - needless to say, the tip is sizable - and inviting the courier to Skype his family one last time and share in a moment of common humanity.
  14. The effect is weirdly lulling. Viewers with a special connection to this story, or a weakness for little boys and single dads, may find The Boys Are Back moving. For everyone else, the movie is merely picturesque.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The moody picture even swings toward hopeful in its final minutes, as it tries to celebrate Charles as the man he is, faults and all. It's enough to leave you wondering whether even a glimpse inside this mind is too much.
  15. By concentrating so intently on the psychically unattached Joby, Kim hinders dramatic and character development. Her "Treeless Mountain," the Korea-set saga of two young sisters, was also quiet and open-ended. But the interplay between the two girls provided warmth and depth. For Ellen feels both colder and slighter.
  16. The Words founders on a spurious dichotomy between love and art. Which is a pity, because the movie is smart and persuasive on the casually incremental way in which plagiarism becomes an option for people like Rory - and perhaps for anyone.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Although parts of Spring Breakers are very funny, there's also something tsk-tsking and superior about it, as if Korine had thought a lot about young middle America's idea of midsemester fun and decided he doesn't like it one tiny bit.
  17. As "Blood Simple" fans should expect, Noodle Shop is a comedy of presumed deaths and unexpected revivals, with some victims flat out refusing to stay in their shallow graves.
  18. Despite some very welcome black comedy — Jimmi Simpson appears delightfully, but too briefly, as a passive-aggressive co-worker who threatens to unravel the cocoon of delusion in which Emanuel has wrapped herself — the movie, trapped in the weeds of self-pity and skin-deep badassery, never quite earns the sympathy it so strenuously solicits.
  19. It's well made, polished, and hits every mark — but is it crazy to want a futuristic sci-fi action flick about a motorcycle-riding metal supercop to be just a little more fun?
  20. An incestuous payoff might be expected, given the casting of Green; she first attracted widespread attention in Bertolucci's "The Dreamers," as a young woman who is unusually close to her brother. But whatever happens, Womb is more melancholy than erotic.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Don't expect more than a passing summer breeze.
  21. It's an inspiring story, if one that doesn't need quite as much poetic inspiration as Ed Zwick's movie insists on giving it, with dialogue that's too often ornate and parable-inflected.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Zombies are a versatile source for metaphor, whether they represent a deadened consumerist society, a victimized minority or a worldwide medical disaster. In The Returned, they serve best as an unseen peril, one that's growing inside Alex and threatening to undo his and Kate's enviable existence.
  22. The movie has more sensibility than sense, but it seems cunning next to such silly tough-girl fare as "Kick-Ass" and "Sucker Punch."
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    What it fails to supply much of — surprisingly, it must be said — is fun. This is serious business, Snyder seems always to be saying. This is badass. And given the sheer logistical size of the spectacle on display, it's a position that's hard to argue with.
  23. Winterbottom's 2004 film "9 Songs" is the most sexually explicit picture ever to get general release in Britain. Oddly, given its subject matter, The Look of Love turns out to be much tamer; as Raymond's shows and magazines become raunchier, the director sidesteps or actively censors the steamiest material.
  24. Circumstance is best during its simpler, more naturalistic moments. In one, Mehran rebuffs a junkie who stumbles into the mosque, only to see that an Islamic hardliner is more compassionate.
  25. In a rare bit of explication, the movie notes that "buffalo" has two connotations in Thailand. For rural folks, it refers to the strength and perseverance of the large animals, called "kwai" in Thai. To urbanites, however, a buffalo is a hick.

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