NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,019 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 4.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 12 Years a Slave
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,019 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. By the end of the film's scant 72 minutes, the conceit is on the verge of wearing out its welcome, but by then, it's created so much stomach-churning, quease-inducing, uproariously embarrassing humiliation for Trevor that it's become all but irresistible.
  3. Jack, as played by Andrew Garfield, comes across as agonized, desperately anxious to get things right -- something you might also say about the filmmakers, who have turned Boy A's very particular story into a scary, universal and wrenching social statement.
  4. A case is being made here that it wasn't really Frost who did Nixon in: It was Nixon's old nemesis, the TV camera.
  5. 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.
  6. Synecdoche, New York is one heck of a head-trip.
  7. Without their guns, the men prove surprisingly helpless. And when a representative of a larger pan-African community tells them that if they want the women to stop treating them like children, they must behave responsibly, you sense a corner has been turned.
  8. The filmmakers have mostly cast from Dominican playing fields rather than from acting studios -- Algenis Perez Soto, the accomplished first-time performer who plays Miguel Sugar Santos, was himself a teen ballplayer -- so game and practice sequences have an easy authenticity from the start.
  9. The result? A briskly self-aware, thoroughly stage-struck portrait of a theatrical portrait.
  10. The ascribing of emotions to these critters can get a little Lion King-ripe at times. But the filmmakers have filled in around their "family" narratives with footage that is breathtaking enough on a towering screen -- and you should find the biggest one possible -- that it is hard to object too strenuously.
  11. It will absolutely delight the art-house crowd. Multiplexes will be crowded with noisy summer films, after all, from which Departures will represent a sophisticated and elegant departure.
  12. 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.
  13. I'm guessing Humpday will make its natural, easygoing leading men -- Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard -- much sought after.
  14. John Malkovich has played some odd ducks in his career, but for sheer unsavoriness, few can match the blandly monstrous Cape Town poetry professor he brings to off-putting life in Disgrace.
  15. He's neither victim nor hero, but a man who, in every conceivable sense, belongs behind bars.
  16. A dramedy laying out the dueling coaching philosophies of guys who doubtless meant a great deal to fans, but of whom I'd been blissfully unaware for decades -- is enormously engaging. Enormously.
  17. The Safdies filmed with handheld cameras, an obvious affection for New York and its denizens, and a script that includes so much structured improvisation that it's hard to imagine any of the dialogue was actually written down. Not surprisingly, the result is a character study with an almost documentary feel to it.
  18. Breillat plumbs the power of fairy tales to enchant, disturb, warn and teach.
  19. What gives their story emotional heft has to do with a different kind of dimension: a depth of feeling surrounding the Black Stallion-style bonding of boy and beast.
  20. 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.
  21. If Ken Loach and Roberto Benigni went into a bar, drank themselves into a stupor and emerged the next morning with a screenplay, it might look a lot like The Misfortunates.
  22. 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.
  23. It's all thoroughly adorable, and with an overlay that's nearly as odd as Carell's accent.
  24. The director wants him to engage his "audience," but Rebney -- as misanthropic as one would expect of a man who lives alone in a remote rural cabin -- only wants to talk about politics.
  25. The documentary is powerful, as far as it goes, but would be stronger if the filmmakers had been able to follow the story further.
  26. If your sole image of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is that of a lanky, silk-jammied sybarite strolling the grounds of his mansion with a jiggling blond on either arm, Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel will knock your socks off.
  27. Handsomely and vividly mounted, in a palette of period chocolates and golds, Get Low opens with an image of a burning man running from a house on fire -- an enticing promise of Southern Gothic that the movie never quite fulfills.
  28. Like most second parts of trilogies, this movie is more or less all middle.
  29. A film that's sweet, inclusive and sunny, a charmer filled with people who seem every bit as surprised as we are when they manage to look past surface differences, and find reasons to bond.
  30. Ondine plumbs the country's most resonant fairy tale and plays impishly along the borders of postcard fantasies of Ireland.

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