NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,043 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 Tribe
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,043 movie reviews
  1. Enjoyable and forgettable in equal measure, the lovably cheesy Australian movie Bran Nue Dae is a must for children bitten by the musical-revival fever, for all who heart American Idol, and for anyone who came of age in the late 1960s - and is willing to hear the beloved pop standards of their youth massacred for a new age.
  2. Filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller (who are themselves impressive partners at this point) know enough not to mess with a successful formula.
  3. The Way, Way Back isn't exactly memorable, and strictly speaking it would do just fine on a small screen. But unlike the glib "The Descendants," which is also about, it's smart, funny and moving about human weakness.
  4. Iron Crows isn't the miserablist wallow you might expect. While director Park Bong-Nam observes the hazards of ship-breaking with a thoroughness that borders on fetishization, he also catches the humor and camaraderie of men in the trenches.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    If David O. Russell pulls anything off in Silver Linings Playbook - an almost-comedy about a bipolar high-school teacher who goes off the deep end and isn't sure how to climb back - it's this: He refuses to make mental illness adorable.
  5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey isn't "unexpected" at all, though between its lighter tone and a decade's worth of improvements in digital film techniques, there should be enough of a novelty factor to delight most fans.
  6. Another Year is a stacked deck of a movie that draws a harshly unforgiving, sometimes smug line between boomers who've made good and those who've fallen by the wayside.
  7. Nobody's idea of "Mr. Holland's Opus," but it winds up in a similar place, more or less.
  8. It's a fun fact that actor Forest Whitaker traces his roots to the Igbo tribe, but that belongs in another film. Re-emerging speaks for itself as an uplifting portrait of an exuberant subculture that doesn't just practice its faith — it revels in it.
  9. Style over substance? Well, yes, but Dolan's a precocious talent (a decent actor, to boot), and at the advanced age of 21, has all the time in the world to deal with weightier matters. Heartbeats, meanwhile, is fluff - engaging, moody, visually snappy fluff.
  10. The narrative trots all over the globe, including stops for labor exploitation in the Marianas Islands, dealings with Russian mobsters, ripping off Indian tribes in the desert southwest, and jetting to Scotland for rounds of golf with impressionable politicians.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 73 Critic Score
    There's a quiet audaciousness about it. Schepisi still seems to believe that if you tell a good story in an artful, straightforward way, people will come to it. He may be wrong, but thank goodness he's still in there pitching.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 72 Critic Score
    And yet: Thanks for Sharing is such a relaxed, good-humored movie that it's tough to complain about its tendency to ... well, overshare.
  11. Machete works because at no time does it ever ask the audience to take any of this too seriously, yet the nudges and winks are never so forceful that it feels like it's begging for your laughter.
  12. Ultimately, Winocour does stage an instance of what could be called love. It's unconvincing narratively, alas, and an odd disruption of the tone in a film that is otherwise bracingly clinical.
  13. Though cinematographer Flavio Labiano turns the city into an alien maze of steel and glass, his chilling work is undercut by a script with more logical craters than Martin's.
  14. A veteran film editor making her first feature, Israel emphasizes the area's low-key beauty.
  15. The movie is a sharply observed if formally bloated addition to the canon of visceral tales from the Baltimore city - if "tale" is the right word for a movie that puts so much energy into the avoidance of plot.
  16. Tabloid spins a heck of a yarn, while implicitly warning viewers not to be so entertained that they believe every gamy detail.
  17. The film's bluntness doesn't diminish the power of the nature-versus-nurture questions Eva's asking herself. Or of Swinton's harrowing portrait of parental guilt.
  18. This is a special Jersey Boys universe crafted specifically for fans — among whom you can pretty clearly count Clint Eastwood.
  19. Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin isn't exactly known for slapstick, so Soul Kitchen has the feel of a palate cleanser. After the hard-edged drama of "Head-On" and "The Edge of Heaven," this boisterous comedy milling with scruffy misfits goes down more easily than an oyster on the half shell.
  20. Klapisch is a master of the half-biting, half-soothing farce, and he usually keeps the divergent tones in harmony.
  21. Knuckleball! looks and feels like a standard ESPN documentary, slickly packaged and a little bloodless, and Stern and Sundberg lean a little heavily on music to goose up the excitement.
  22. Would be more satisfying if it were a more definitive look at Guantanamo's workings. All Cote and Henriquez can provide is some glimmers of insight about just one of the men held there. But that's enough to make their movie enlightening, compelling and, finally, heartbreaking.
  23. The Salt of Life is easygoing and naturalistic, but clearly a work of imagination.
  24. Quietly astonishing documentary.
  25. Kaboom's one-liners are snappy, knowing, and unexpected.
  26. The Big Picture has been compared to "The Talented Mr. Ripley," the twice-filmed Patricia Highsmith novel about a sociopath who kills and then impersonates a rich acquaintance. But in spirit it's closer to Michelangelo Antonioni's 1975 "The Passenger," with Jack Nicholson as an existential adventurer who poses as a dead stranger.
  27. The filmmakers wanted to broaden the formula a little, make it more inclusive, do something a little adventurous. Kinda like Earth to Echo's tween heroes.

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