NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,033 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 4.4 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:
1,033 movie reviews
  1. If Meek's Cutoff is every inch a Western, it's an art-film mutant of the genre, inching along with intensely naturalistic obsession for detail that courts tedium even as it dares us not to pay attention.
  2. Big Star was essentially Chris Bell's band, and emotionally, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is Bell's movie. Joining rock's dead-at-27 club via a 1978 car crash, he left behind a fine, then-unreleased album and two siblings who tell his story movingly. As they recount his final years, the sadness in Bell's songs comes to seem eerily prescient.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    About Time is ... about time: It asks us to reflect on how we all use that resource, how the hours and minutes that make up a day or a life align with our intentions and values.
  3. Director Dean DeBlois has been saying this installment is the middle movie in a How to Train Your Dragon trilogy. It's clear that he took inspiration from the first Star Wars trilogy — not a bad model for breathing new life, and yes, a bit of fire, into one of Hollywood's more nuanced animated franchises.
  4. The movie revisits the themes (and some of the same characters) of Amy Berg's chilling 2006 chronicle "Deliver Us from Evil." But it reaches further, expanding from one American diocese to Ireland, Italy, the Vatican and the career of the current pope.
  5. Filmmaker Francois Ozon is a young writer/director known for provocative work with mature stars — Kristin Scott Thomas was in his last picture, Catherine Deneuve in the one before that. And in Young and Beautiful, he establishes that you don't have to be young to be beautiful by having a still stunning Charlotte Rampling drop by to give his young star a life lesson. Or six.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Even as it depicts a forgotten way of life, Found Memories is already on its way to becoming a relic itself, its glacial, meditative style an anachronism in the 21st century.
  6. Running through the streets of New York for the sheer hell of it, Frances has the gift of joy to her very marrow. As for Greta Gerwig, I get the feeling she's just gearing up.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    The film takes a long road to spirituality, though, with plenty of stops for violence and perversion along the way. Like Abel Ferrara's "Bad Lieutenant," this story is determined to put core Christian principles to the harshest tests imaginable.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Lego Movie maybe be one giant advertisement, but all the way to its plastic-mat foundation, it's an earnest piece of work — a cash grab with a heart. Made for, with and about Legos, the movie is also made for, with and about imagination, and when that association seems completely natural, it's a win all around.
  7. The Kid With a Bike feels as vulnerable as Cyril's unformed character. Within its tight 87 minutes, not a lot happens, unless you count the saving of a life.
  8. Kendrick qualifies as the movie's secret weapon — actually not so secret now that she's charmed audiences in both Into the Woods and Pitch Perfect. She's so appealing here, in fact, that audience sympathies are likely to be less-than-evenly split between the two leads.
  9. "Liar Liar" meets Obi-Wan? Who'da thunk even fearless star power could make these two work as a romantic pair? But both stars prove to be enormous fun in a gay love story played straight in a thoroughly crooked context.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There's nothing particularly dynamic about Livia Manera and William Karel's documentary Philip Roth: Unmasked. For some 90 minutes, it's pretty much just one guy talking. But what a guy!
  10. The filmmakers -- mumblecore moguls, if such a thing can be said to exist -- prefer a squirmy kind of comedy that's all about the awkward situations real people find themselves in. And with these performers, the vibe stays down-to-earth and almost entirely unpredictable.
  11. More than anything, though, Another Earth is an impressive calling card for Brit Marling, who wrote and produced the movie with Cahill, a classmate from Georgetown University. Marling also steals the movie as Rhoda Williams.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A good-hearted, funny movie.
  12. All is Lost is as quiet as "Margin Call" was chatty; at a minimum, you might call this film a procedural. But like the best of the genre, its relentless focus on the material and the practical also gestures subtly at a life of the soul, however battered.
  13. They flail and they thrash, and Krokidas' film is just like them — as jazz-inflected and freewheeling as the Beat poetry these guys were about to unleash on the world.
  14. Like most second parts of trilogies, this movie is more or less all middle.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On their own, Crystal and Jamie might be two of the worst road-trip companions imaginable; when one gets going, it's easy to identify with the other's frustration. But together — fueled by drugs, forced to share a space, separated from what they take for granted — they reconsider how they value the people who are not ... them.
  15. There is something weird about the twins, something that will fuel a bar room brawl until it goes quite literally global, that will let director Wright take a leap into another genre entirely and that will allow The World's End to spin into ever grander comic mayhem, even as it becomes a surprisingly effecting look at the folly of trying to recapture one's youth.
  16. If The Lincoln Lawyer has nothing new of substance to offer in its tale of life on the judicial margins, it has relaxed L.A. atmosphere to burn.
  17. So relentlessly upbeat that it won't take long before you're wondering just how the director plans to wipe the smile off her face.
  18. As the comedy in 50/50 turns darker, Gordon-Levitt, who's maybe the most natural, least affected actor of his generation, makes prickly plenty engaging.
  19. It says something that 30 years after the events it depicts, Pride should feel so unexpectedly rousing. People cooperating across ideological lines? Finding common cause with folks they don't 100 percent agree with? What a concept.
  20. A Hijacking is mostly about the excruciating process of getting to "yes" when language is the least of the barriers between two very different mindsets.
  21. The crisply sweet banter and the halting intimacy that grows between two shy people with a common goal more than makes up for a wildly implausible plot.
  22. Writer-director Martin Provost tells much of Seraphine's true-life story without words, lingering here on the process by which she makes paints, there on the obsessive single-mindedness she brings to her art.
  23. Nash and Joel Edgerton, haven't exactly remade "Blood Simple," but they put a fresh spin on the classic Coen premise of amateurs in over their heads.

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