NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,066 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 61% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 36% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 The Social Network
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1066 movie reviews
  1. Stoppard, remember, wrote the screenplay for the 1998 film "Shakespeare in Love," which brought wit and romance to this same period. Tulip Fever is not in that film's league, but it's lush and boisterous and crammed with the sort of arts gossip and commerce trivia that go nicely with gilded frames and talk of tulip futures.
  2. The plot doesn't quite sink Baywatch, but it sure slows it down.
  3. Jacobs argued that what looks to officialdom like disorder is actually what makes a crowded human landscape function — it's just a more complex order. This compelling documentary lets you see the beauty she found in that complexity.
  4. Taki and Mitsuha think they're dreaming, and after about the first 40 minutes of their shimmering film, you may think you are, too.
  5. God Knows Where I Am turns out to be every bit as much a story of panic as "All This Panic." But where teenagers flail, Linda is resigned ... her tragic story a study in stillness and, ultimately, in silence.
  6. The camera captures intimate moments with musing, chattering young women who, as All This Panic goes on, seem not so much consumed by panic as by motion — dancing in a club, running on a beach, hopping a subway or a cab, exploring ... trajectories.
  7. As a writer and a remarkably accomplished first-time director, Peele layers other notions on top as he's inverting those — about servitude, about social privilege, about law enforcement and "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" - style liberals.
  8. More than merely offering a backstage pass to history, Larraín draws us into the utter uniqueness of a situation where personal loss and national duty collided so violently.
  9. With all the aerial dogfights, armored combat vehicles, grenades, flame-throwers and snipers, Rogue One feels like a film for those who think that most Star Wars movies are insufficiently like World War II flicks. Or maybe that they should more closely resemble computer games.
  10. An action flick entertaining enough to justify the more than $100 million it took to make it come alive on-screen. And come alive, Deepwater Horizon does, in 107 minutes of terse, tight storytelling, a good 95 of which are white-knuckle tense.
  11. If body count is what you go to Westerns for, by all means drift into this one's corral. It's hardly magnificent, and apart from its casting it's not doing anything particularly original with its premise. But it's diverting in about the way you'd expect of a remake twice removed — call it a perfectly competent seven.
  12. Director Michael Grandage hails from the stage. So does screenwriter John Logan, so where films about writers are often filled with raised eyebrows rather than raised voices, these guys actively encourage grand gestures. Like the characters, they are intoxicated — not just by jazz or bootleg liquor, but by words.
  13. Robert Cenedella, the titular painter in the briskly entertaining new documentary Art Bastard, is a New York artist who has spent years battling the New York art establishment. To be clear, he is a bastard, in that he was born to parents who weren't married. But also in that he's an inveterate troublemaker — a mocker of other artists — who can be a thorn in the side of even people who are trying to help him.
  14. If weird is what you're looking for, The Lobster is, claws down, the rom-com of the year (though possibly not one you'd want to choose for a first date).
  15. All of which is to say that most of the real world challenges that Leo DiCaprio faced in "The Revenant," 10-year-old Neel Sethi faces plenty persuasively in The Jungle Book's digitized world.
  16. It's also violent to point of sadism, explicit both visually and in terms of language. A potty-mouthed splatterfest, in fact — but a funny one.
  17. What elevates this standard, if relentless, plot line is that The Revenant feels like high-wire work without a net.
  18. It's not an easy sit, but it is a riveting, effective one, and a genuine change from the familiar conventions of most holocaust dramas.
  19. All you really want to know is whether it's good, right? Well, in fact, it is better than it had to be.
  20. James White is never more moving than when the filmmaker shows his callow hero doing the best he can: when James helps his mom weather a particularly rough patch, for instance, with what amount to real-life bedtime stories. Imagining happy scenes he's pretty sure she'll never see — of James all grown up.
  21. It remains a decently robust and entertaining midlevel Bond movie — just one that's haunted by the specter of its predecessor.
  22. The film's tension comes partly from a raft of terrific performances — everyone's good, and Fassbender's stellar — and partly from juxtaposing Jobs' public and private personas. He could make cheering audiences believe he was changing the world, but backstage ... not so much.
  23. The rich, not-always-rule-following mosaic of Iranian life he's created in Taxi — at once inspired, and inspiring — is the portrait that the outside world will see of Iran.
  24. China's Cultural Revolution was a period of political turmoil, launched by Mao Zedong in 1966, a dark decade that many in Chinese society would prefer to forget. So it says something that Zhang Yimou's new drama Coming Home, which is set during those years, has been a big success in China.
  25. By the end, The Tribe has revealed itself as so original, and so chilling, it's likely to leave you speechless.
  26. In their no-budget-goofball way, these minifilma are genius. Sheer genius. This kid, you figure, is gonna grow up to be quite a storyteller. And in a sense, he did.
  27. Spy
    It is, in short, a generous, smart, sexy comedy, surrounding this generous, smart, sexy star. About time.
  28. Those pole riders swaying high above the action - hired from Cirque du Soleil, don't you know - there to help make "Fury Road" a gorgeous, scrap metal demolition derby of a popcorn picture.
  29. As captured by the Safdies, they are — one and all — persuasive, arresting and fiercely in the moment, whether scamming or shooting up or doing heaven knows what to get by.
  30. Tomorrowland is designed, just like its theme park namesake, to celebrate optimism.

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