NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,039 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 Stories We Tell
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,039 movie reviews
  1. Doing a whole movie this way isn't unprecedented, of course. Hitchcock's "Rope" did it without digital trickery more than half a century ago. Still, it's a great cinematic stunt, even when you think you've found the hidden edits. And it makes Birdman as exhilarating a flight of fantasy as you're likely to see anytime soon.
  2. Replace the toy box with the arcade machine, and Wreck-It Ralph is basically a repurposed "Toy Story" movie, suffused with the same mix of adventure and nostalgia and themes of friendship and the existential crises that come with age. A cynic might dismiss the film as reheated leftovers. But that cynic would be wrong, because those leftovers are delicious.
  3. Hanks and Abdi are so compellingly matched that unlike with most thrillers, it won't be the action climax in Captain Phillips that'll stick with you. It'll be that aftermath, which gets at the emotional toll of terrorism in a way few movies have.
  4. And at its loony best, Wiig and Mumolo's script hurls a torrent of bridesmaid-zilla set pieces at us, playing out like a "Sex and the City 3" read-through gone deliciously awry.
  5. Delpy and Hawke have never been more persuasive. Nor has the series.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    If The Heat is about more than being a well-oiled delivery system for impressive and effective comedy, it's in part about what it means to be a good cop — including the question of how gender does or doesn't factor into that.
  6. At his provocative best, though - in his brilliant, gorgeous 2009 film "The White Ribbon," a study of the roots of fascism in domestic tyranny, and now in Amour - Haneke implicates us in the full range of human capacity.
  7. It's hard to imagine anyone caring much why we're plunging ahead at warp speed, when the ride is so insanely satisfying.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's a movie that works its magic slowly, and on multiple levels; it's a historical drama, a mystery and a love story. And Hoss' performance is simply one of the finest of the year.
  8. The stars and the explosions are backed up by plenty of class - Ralph Fiennes as M's new boss, Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe as a couple of the requisite Bond beauties, and Judi Dench finally given the space to turn M into a full-bodied character.
  9. The latest bloom from the flourishing garden that is Romanian cinema, Radu Muntean's Tuesday, After Christmas chronicles the emotional fallout from a classic love triangle, but it unfolds with the agonizing tension of a suspense film.
  10. Tuschi has made a docu-thriller of enormous narrative flair and visual smarts. It's a perfect fit for the blend of Greek tragedy, spaghetti Western and judicial farce that defines business and politics in the New Russia.
  11. Intentionally or not, Searching for Sugar Man catches all that - the fleeting moments of triumph and the years of endurance, the accumulation of family and the unquenched dreams - and doesn't presume to sew it all up for us.
  12. What sets this film entertainingly apart from most civil-rights sagas, though, are a slew of relaxed, offhandedly persuasive performances, along with the flamboyance of hippie-era San Francisco.
  13. Judged by the ideological terms on which it was founded, you could say the kibbutz experiment has failed. I, for one, could never have made a permanent home there. Yet the sense of community was real, and those cavernous dining halls supply some of the happiest memories of my youth.
  14. Wild Grass is an elegant vessel for outlandish thoughts and troubling impulses. In his rejection of cinematic naturalism, Resnais has made a movie that's both utterly contrived and compellingly lifelike.
  15. The ghost of Federico Fellini hovers wickedly over The Great Beauty, a fantastic journey around contemporary Rome and a riot of lush imagery juggling past and present, sacred and profane, gorgeous and grotesque.
  16. The movie is anything but combative. Pariah is a tender, sporadically goofy, yet candid examination of emergent identity, a film whose lack of attitude sets it apart from much of the hard-bitten, thug-life storytelling that's dominated African-American cinema for decades.
  17. Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer is obviously treading on dicey moral ground here, empowering killers to tell their story when they've never been called to account for the barbarism that brought them to power.
  18. Boyega is absolutely riveting, leading with a stern glower, and constantly trying to prove himself. Yet Moses has a deep well of tenderness and honor beneath the façade, and Boyega almost single-handedly makes you care not just about his character, but about everyone in any gang that would align itself with him. He's that magnetic.
  19. Evil cannot triumph in a movie made in China, but Drug War's ultimate scene nonetheless manages to astonish, revealing both Choi's character and the nature of mainland justice. Rather than dodging the harshness of Chinese authority, To depicts it implacably. He does exactly what the censors want, and yet subverts their worldview.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There is much to observe, for Hugo (the film) is a marvel of spectacle, a sensory feast steeped in cinematic lore that proves pure joy is attainable in three dimensions.
  20. Greenberg is on every level the work of a more mature filmmaker, and quite possibly a happier man.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's hard not to be both heartened and a little wistful about the fact that The Muppets is probably as good a Muppet project as it's possible to make without Jim Henson.
  21. Any film about a flashy criminal threatens to glamorize its protagonist, but both Mesrine episodes are careful to detail the many goofs made by the crook and his accomplices.
  22. Scenes that are about to turn catastrophic for Kolya often begin with flat-out comedy.
  23. The awkwardness, the humiliation and the central unfairness of the position these folks have been put in is what filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne are exploring in Two Days, One Night — a slice of pressurized middle-class life they've made so real, it feels a bit like a documentary.
  24. Andrea Arnold has crafted a scene that approaches a literal embodiment of the term "kitchen-sink drama" here is most likely coincidence; nevertheless, her film is a bold new entry in that long-standing British tradition of disquieting social realism.
  25. 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.
  26. What follows is something rarely seen in American movies: a sincerely humane examination of what it means to experience a crisis of faith. Tender, bittersweet and often gently comedic, Corinne's 20-year journey toward (and around, and away from) her God has a loose, searching rhythm that's engrossingly unpredictable.

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