NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,021 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 4.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Incendies
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,021 movie reviews
  1. The story is carefully constructed, with moments that seem offhand initially, but are later revealed as crucial.
  2. This mashup of genres and themes doesn't entirely succeed, but it is warm, funny and ably crafted.
  3. It's rare these days to see an old-fashioned, elegant chamber-piece movie about life and art - let alone one with Christopher Walken as, of all things, a steadying influence.
  4. Posey dominates Price Check, mostly for the better: Whatever observations Walker's film makes about the perils of ambition or women in the workplace register entirely through her. She's simply funnier and more interesting than anyone else, and Walker has written her a complex character whose immediate wants are clearer than her long-term ones.
  5. Even with its strong supporting cast, I doubt this small, finely observed movie would have seen the commercial light of day without Carlyle in the lead. Amid the deafening roar of big Oscar-bait pictures, I'm glad it's there.
  6. Dragon is partly an homage to "One Armed Swordsman," a 1967 kung fu classic whose star, Jimmy Wang Yu, plays the new movie's arch-villain. But there's much Western influence: Jinxi's plight recalls David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence," and Baijiu's cerebral and flashy style of detection - complete with animated glimpses of victims' innards - suggests Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes series. Dragon is also one of several recent Chinese crime movies that borrow from CSI-style TV dramas.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is extremely perceptive about certain angles on life in a big family.
  7. Personally, I'd show up for Maggie Smith's top-drawer basilisk stare if she were guesting on "Sesame Street."
  8. Calling it a mess would be both accurate and pointless, because a tidier comedy would squeeze the life out of this vital, generous blob of a film.
  9. It's also a testament to the strength of Claude-Michel Schonberg's music that everything after the show-stopping lament of Fantine's "I Dreamed a Dream" doesn't come across as so much padding.
  10. Strange and uncompromisingly personal. It's also vivid and unforgettable.
  11. The Pirogue spends only about an hour on open water, but that's enough to convey the risks that make the trip foolish, and the desperation that makes it inevitable.
  12. There's not a lot of gore - or even suspense - in Warm Bodies, and the script plays fast and loose with the zombie rules invented by "Night of the Living Dead" creator George Romero. But director Jonathan Levine's area of expertise is confused-young-men comedies like "The Wackness" and "50/50," so he really gets this hero's predicament.
  13. Grohl's jovial presence is the hook; playing interviewer and emcee as well as director, he's the catchy bit you welcome every time it returns. The star-studded interview list provides much of the personality and attitude, as does a fantastically tense behind-the-scenes video of Petty and his band laboring long hours to craft their breakthrough record.
  14. Inescapable is Nadda's first foray into thriller territory, and her inexperience shows in awkwardly mounted fight scenes and clumsy car chases, not to mention an almost fatally explanatory script.
  15. Ultimately, the bleak universe conjured by Beyond the Hills is more compelling than what happens in it.
  16. As family viewing, it's pleasant enough: primitive, yes, but in a digitally sophisticated way that's boisterous, funny and will no doubt sell a lot of toys.
  17. Shot entirely in Hackney — a mostly ungentrified London borough — My Brother the Devil has a strong odor of authenticity.
  18. Renoir doesn't present a particularly dynamic tale, and its attempts at stage-like drama — notably the sometimes epigrammatic dialogue — can seem overdone. But the performances are assured, the ambiance impeccable and the themes resonant.
  19. Effective scares, respectful nods to its inspiration and a few new twists make the question of whether this new Evil Dead succeeds in matching its inspiration superfluous. This is one remake that succeeds on its own blood-soaked terms.
  20. Before settling into such comfortable territory, however, the movie is propulsive and involving. If The Company You Keep is far from radical, it's pretty audacious by the standards of counterrevolutionary Hollywood.
  21. Me, I wanted to know what these two remarkable young women will obsess about once the whole world has stopped watching, whether they will always be together — and what it would really feel like to be one of their much less famous siblings. We'll probably never know, except in someone else's future fiction feature.
  22. 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.
  23. The film portrays Plimpton as someone devoted to illuminating how talent and creativity work — both for himself, and for the rest of us.
  24. The East makes for a passable thriller, as 1 percenters get theirs in satisfying, if incrementally implausible ways.
  25. The result is complex yet lighthearted, as diverting as it is meditative. Resnais uses contrapuntal editing — one of his trademarks — as well as artificial settings, special effects, split screens, cinematic references and anachronistic devices to keep viewers tipsily off-balance.
  26. The movie has made it to theaters not dead on arrival, but walking dead, running dead, and — when it's really working — swarming dead.
  27. Those who don't savor Cohen's leisurely rhythms will probably not respond to Museum Hours, and even the movie's admirers will admit that it could be a little tighter. One scene that might be trimmed is the one where museum-goers pose, naked as the people on the canvases around them. The interlude certainly isn't dull, but it is a little brazen for a film that encourages its viewers to find the beauty in more commonplace sights.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The film, it should be said, does not blame Tilikum for his actions. It posits instead that, like a disenfranchised youth driven to a life of crime, Tilikum is a product of his upbringing.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    If it aims to be an inside story of life in Georgia, a kind of people's history of Georgian youth, this documentary sometimes feels like scattershot vox-pop journalism. Its individual threads resonate strongly, but the larger pattern never comes together; the social tapestry meant to be on display seems, to the end, to have holes in it.

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