NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,030 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 Mr. Turner
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,030 movie reviews
  1. In most respects, On the Ice is the kind of straight-ahead, underprivileged-teen drama beloved of Sundance audiences.
  2. Scahill is right to focus on the price American security efforts have cost in human rights — and human life. Yet there are difficult questions hovering just outside the frame of Dirty Wars. Short of pacifism, and given that there is no such thing as a truly clean war, what would count as an "acceptable" level of collateral damage?
  3. The dialogue is merely functional, and not always delivered convincingly.
  4. After a few queasy moments at its midpoint, the trajectory of In a Better World becomes so relentlessly platitudinous that an audience that ought to feel seriously rattled will be settling back, feeling comfortably reassured.
  5. Ideally, The Taqwacores should be seen with "Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam," a new documentary that provides a better sense of the scene's aims and motivations. Zahra's jumpy feature film captures much of taqwacore's energy, but less of its meaning.
  6. Reportedly, the movie's humor relies heavily on Cantonese slang and profanity, which will be lost on most American viewers. But Quin's rapid-fire bilingualism gives some sense of the movie's verbal dexterity.
  7. But it does mean you're always aware that you're watching filmed theater - a scripted pressure-cooker where playability is being allowed to trump plausibility as theoretically cultivated adults morph into savages - going from civility to carnage in 80 minutes flat.
  8. The best scenes in Solitary Man find Douglas at his most charming, dispensing nuggets of wisdom to whomever will listen. His may not be an altogether honorable life, but it's a life in full.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 65 Critic Score
    In The Details' finest moments, writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes exerts a precise control over tone using sound and performance; in its worst moments, the score and actors overcompensate for weak material. Those elements let Estes get away with often-indulgent writing, throwing up whole scenes that don't add texture or conflict.
  9. Neither innovative nor profound, but it is kinetic, visceral and sometimes moving.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 65 Critic Score
    Focusing on this tumultuous period of adjustment, Run & Jump is uneven but admirably authentic in its observation of a family trying to retain something of their past lives while confronting an uncertain future.
  10. Perhaps the ending worked better in the book, Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which sold more than a million copies in France. Certainly this adaptation, Mona Achache's directorial debut, is a very bookish movie.
  11. An awkward jumble of half-assed thriller and lumbering romantic comedy, less competent by a wide margin than "The Lives of Others." It's also a whole lot sillier, though not in a good way.
  12. When it comes to the emotional state of those being laid off, of their families and even of those doing the laying off, it gets things right enough to make audiences squirm.
  13. The French Minister boasts robust pacing, screwball-comedy banter and an exuberant central performance. For most American viewers, though, the movie could use footnotes to go with its subtitles.
  14. It's all still pretty silly, though. So it makes sense that the director approaches the story through a period lens, encouraging his cast to behave as if they were in a frothy '70s confection like "Cousin Cousine" or "Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe."
    • 50 Metascore
    • 65 Critic Score
    The bigger problem is that Cruise, as Reacher, has no wit and no style, other than the studiously applied kind. He's so desperate to do everything right that nearly everything he does comes off all wrong.
  15. Starring flying debris and surging walls of water, The Impossible takes the template of the old-timey disaster movie, strips it to the bone and pumps what's left up to 11.
  16. A surpassingly silly monster movie with a side helping of satire, Trollhunter beckons mainly for its stunning Norwegian scenery and slyly effective government-bashing.
  17. Somber and insubstantial, October nevertheless suggests that the Vega brothers are developing a careful, painterly style. Whether they will be able to match it with narrative depth remains to be seen.
  18. Relocating Dangerous Liaisons, the 18th-century French erotic intrigue, to 1930s Shanghai is a bold move. And yet it's not especially surprising. In Chinese movies, that city in that decade frequently serves as shorthand for decadence.
  19. The actor proves capable of embodying all sorts of contradictory impulses as his character becomes tragically self-aware. But he can't overcome a plot that goes slack at precisely the moment it should be soaring, or a corporate-villainy premise that practically begs not to be looked at too closely.
  20. Perhaps because he's an actor, Rapaport prefers drama to analysis. And this story has plenty of conflict.
  21. The movie might not be a vengeance-driven wolf-man cage fight, but in subverting those escapist expectations, it sinks its teeth far deeper and more memorably.
  22. What emerges as the film goes on is that the things military service provided for many of these individuals - family, friends, camaraderie, a support network of other like-minded individuals willing to lay down their lives for them - is the exact thing that has been taken away by their injuries, leaving them feeling particularly isolated. The climb provides them with that sense of community once again.
  23. Though it's certainly moving, it suffers from a frantically overproduced desperation to hold what the filmmakers seem to fear will be our wavering attention.
  24. Deeply silly in a classic mode, The Fairy continues the French new wave of near-silent cinema.
  25. 360
    Meirelles, who made the exciting "City of God" and "The Constant Gardener," has visual flair to burn. But he's less comfortable with inner lives than he is with feverish physical motion, and though the film is meant as a meditation on love and the post-modern psyche, it's shot like a thriller.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 65 Critic Score
    The Global Catch may be one-sided in its argument, but it's a persuasive one - and the next time you eat sushi, you may think twice about ordering bluefin.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 65 Critic Score
    Yet as viewers, we may instinctively crave more than what Clayman alone can offer us. Segments where he cedes screen time to others, including the bipolar General Hospital actor and mental-health advocate Maurice Benard, are a relief.

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