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 Boyhood
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,043 movie reviews
  1. The film portrays Plimpton as someone devoted to illuminating how talent and creativity work — both for himself, and for the rest of us.
  2. The movie evokes its time and place so potently that it almost doesn't matter that Hamilton's script proves unequal to her vision.
  3. Cairo Time is the kind of quietly romantic chamber piece one wants to speak up for, in part to support the small but growing band of Arab women making their mark on national cinemas both East and West.
  4. On balance, though, Turning Green is more fresh than stale. Gallery holds his own impressively with the better-known supporting players, and the script -- a Project Greenlight runner-up -- is solidly constructed.
  5. The movie ends powerfully, with a sudden pileup of fright, death and a disconcerting glimpse of beauty. If Lebanon's goal is to keep the viewer on edge and off balance, its final minutes are exemplary.
  6. 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.
  7. Just as Ulysses illustrates the reflective nature of his journey by constantly turning back the hands of the house's clocks, each film of Maddin's is a reset button for the past. The director operates like a ghost himself, going back over his personal history and the history of cinema in an endless loop until he gets them right.
  8. Succeeds as a character study, while gently raising questions about human use and misuse of animals.
  9. There's something pure about the crude pleasures of Hobo with a Shotgun, a pre-fab cult film that aspires to nothing more (or less) than the red-meat feeding of a feral midnight-movie audience.
  10. Ultimately, the bleak universe conjured by Beyond the Hills is more compelling than what happens in it.
  11. Sonnenfeld's best movies function like elaborate Rube Goldberg contraptions, with visual gags popping out on a precise calibration of gears and springs, and Cohen's script, however derivative, is a stable apparatus.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It's a highly imperfect movie - many of the gags are strained, a bit too pleased with their own finger-on-the-pulse zinginess - but it still represents a breakthrough of sorts, a way of looking at marriage that resists portraying a "failed" marriage as a failure.
  12. Leigh, a novelist making her cinematic debut here, directs with a cold and distancing eye. Sleeping Beauty has the deliberate grace of Kubrick, and while comparisons to the sex parties of "Eyes Wide Shut" are inevitable, Leigh's approach is even more sexless and sterile than the master's.
  13. Yet Elles has contemporary pertinence. As the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair showed, feminism hasn't significantly mellowed France's macho culture. And sexual predation on young women from Eastern Europe remains a timely topic.
  14. The movie falls somewhere between the austere and the playful.
  15. That the same performers keep returning in different roles, playing Peruvian and Japanese flyers as well as American ones, only adds to the sense of man as machine. Everything, and everyone, must run like clockwork. Yet no apparatus is foolproof.
  16. The kiddie set can chortle at Megamind's slapstick and its goofy one-upmanship while adults get a kick out of all the smart spatial tricks that highlight the 3-D effects.
  17. A Woman in Berlin doesn't justify retribution, but in such moments it does clarify the horrible logic of vengeance.
  18. The stories are horrific, if laced with Tarantino-style humor.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is extremely perceptive about certain angles on life in a big family.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Of course, there's no need to overthink it: If you just want to watch a baby respond to the arrival of a rooster in his bed with perfect comic timing, Babies is the movie to see.
  19. Personally, I'd show up for Maggie Smith's top-drawer basilisk stare if she were guesting on "Sesame Street."
    • 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.
  20. It's even harder being the semi-supportive wife, which is what generates most of the electricity in this slight but entertaining documentary.
  21. Lemmy gives the filmmakers enough time and candid access to create a profile of the man that goes deeper than just the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll - even though in Lemmy's case, there's enough of a surplus of all three to power multiple documentaries.
  22. Grant the filmmakers the efficiency of their plotting, even if it reduces characters to types. And credit them with having assembled a cast capable of making the film's craziness and stupidity appealing, even if hitching actors of the caliber of Moore and Gosling (and to a lesser extent Carell and Stone) to material this thin is a little like hitching a Saturn rocket to a go-cart.
  23. Over the nine months the movie chronicles, about half the refugees leave the school building. Many return to the Fukushima area, but none to Futaba, which is still radioactive and officially off-limits.
  24. The movie has made it to theaters not dead on arrival, but walking dead, running dead, and — when it's really working — swarming dead.
  25. 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.
  26. Tykwer being something of an architecture freak, controlling Third World debt also requires a trip to the rooftops of Istanbul, to Zaha Hadid's BMW factory, and to Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum in Berlin. All great fun in a story that's more kinetic than compelling.

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