NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,031 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 Mr. Turner
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,031 movie reviews
  1. There's a better documentary to be carved out of Hit So Hard, but not necessarily a great one, because the gossip and drug-fueled capers offered up by Love are simply more compelling than the tremulous course of Schemel's life. Here, as then, Schemel plays backup to history.
  2. While Europa Report recalls such small-ensemble stuck-in-space flicks as "Moon" and "Sunshine," it's basically "The Blair Witch Project" relocated to the vicinity of Jupiter.
  3. Orchestra of Exiles will interest anyone who's concerned with European Jewry or classical music in the first half of the 20th century. But it provides mostly the facts of Huberman's legacy and little of the flavor.
  4. For those already somewhat familiar with the subject, the directors' distillation of these 40 hours of film will expand their knowledge - if not their consciousness. But other viewers may spend the whole movie wondering exactly when the merry magic is going to kick in.
  5. Shot in New Mexico on a limited budget, Boys of Abu Ghraib is a credible depiction of the tedium, frustration and humiliation of wartime service. (Jack gets coated in human excrement not once but twice.) Naturalistic scenes of boxing, bantering and masturbation, set to a rap and hard-rock score, emphasize that these boys are young American everymen.
  6. There's something centrally pat and predictable about the coincidence-laden story, and by the time they get to Vegas, The Lucky Ones has been all but done in by a surfeit of serendipity.
  7. An overwrought, undercooked tale of crazy love and crazier revenge.
  8. Even in a film that clocks in at a quasi-epic 2 hours and 40 minutes, that's just too much narrative. And matters aren't helped by the fact that Lee, who has never staged battle sequences before, hasn't quite got the rhythms or camera angles right.
  9. So the principal point of controversy involved here is not Jobs himself, but Ashton Kutcher, who plays him. The actor's approach is to ape Jobs' speech and movements, which he does quite well. Whether mimicry qualifies as characterization is a question for Jobs' viewers to answer for themselves.
  10. Many of the White House scenes are jarringly motley, as Whitaker maintains Gaines' dignity against a series of performances that range from bland (James Marsden's JFK) to cartoonish (Liev Schreiber's LBJ). It comes as a relief when Daniels reduces Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford to TV clips — though that strategy makes the film even more of a stylistic jumble.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 55 Critic Score
    By the end, Macy's presence is just one part of what makes A Single Shot recall the Coen brothers' "Fargo." That film's now-famous wood-chipper scene can seem strangely tame a decade and a half on, but it still has a lesson to teach: When you show violence in a story that's not really about violence, there'd better be more of a point than just making us squirm.
  11. Zaytoun is different: This time, the director allows his characters to cross the frontier. That makes for a story that's sweeter, but also less convincing.
  12. But a few mild misgivings aside, Spurlock has made, in essence, a 90-minute promo reel for the convention, a paean to fanboy (and fangirl) enthusiasm that could double as an orientation video, if such a thing were necessary. It's a brisk and cheery overview, sweet but superfluous.
  13. The City of Your Final Destination does eventually prove intelligent enough about how we all become prisoners of dependency and obsession. Yet for a movie that argues for free agency and following your bliss rather than your career, it's awfully torpid.
  14. J.H. Wyman's script is grim and fairly audacious, without anything so goofy as the silliest stuff in "Dragon Tattoo." The story involves some Grand Guignol violence, but its wildest notion is that a suicide-mission plot might somehow yield a happy ending.
  15. Nothing about it lingers, not even the sulfuric stench of a bum scene or a particularly hammy performance.
  16. The original was a little sharper, with actual satirical swipes at modern British life. The remake replaces some of that material with lazy pop-culture gags, most of them specifically African-American.
  17. If you're only going to see one film about the Battle of Stalingrad — and there are many — Stalingrad would be the wrong choice. Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk's treatment of the World War II turning point is shallow and contrived, if sometimes impressively staged.
  18. The comic relief, an attempt to buoy the sinking feeling of Dolly and Joseph's difficulties, steals away the emotional weight of their story. The dominance of the madcap side of the film's split personality lays an airy veneer over Dolly and Joseph's woes, making them seem inconsequential - as unsubstantial as an observation about wedding-day weather.
  19. The movie's violence, although gruesome, flirts with slapstick, and the story appears bound for domestic comedy when all the major characters sit down for Thanksgiving dinner at June and Chet's grand Victorian farmhouse. But the meal becomes more freak show than satire.
  20. The performances are nicely calibrated, even when the director isn't meshing them into a persuasive whole. Summer Bishil makes Jasira an appealing naif -- smart, precocious and curious, if too easily led by hormones.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 55 Critic Score
    Even though Hogan has some terrific actors to work with — Toni Collette and Liev Schreiber among them — it's never clear what he's trying to say or do with Mental.
  21. This all essentially serves to distract from the fact that all that really happens in the film is that the company manages to eventually reach the mountain.
  22. Brand's character, who combines Bono's moral sanctimony with Keith Richards' supernatural hedonism, ultimately doesn't add up.
  23. If The Counselor is a failure, it's at least a fascinating one. Much of the reason for that is time spent in the theater examining why the film isn't working.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 55 Critic Score
    Grassroots is a movie where bad ideas, because they're the ones championed by the "correct" side, are king. It never acknowledges that sometimes idealism is just another kind of manipulation.
  24. (Untitled) does have great moments, particularly in its technical execution -- the director began his career as a musician, and his command of sound design is particularly imaginative.
  25. Frothy, frantic and inescapably unromantic - the two leads have less chemistry than an American high-school curriculum - Heartbreaker marks the uneven feature debut of television director Pascal Chaumeil.
  26. After a while, you can see the setups happening -- and once you do, the careening gets predictable. Which gets old, really fast.
  27. So long as Exporting Raymond sticks to the headaches of adapting Everybody Loves Raymond into Everybody Loves Kostya, it's a funny and revealing look at the immense chasm between the two cultures.

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