NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,016 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 4.3 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:
1,016 movie reviews
  1. Laughs? Schmaltz? Life lessons? They're all there in Sean McGinly's pleasantly lackadaisical script, but not in such abundance that they seem reason enough to see the film.
  2. Taking Woodstock has a winning generosity of spirit, but even that serves chiefly to underline the film's curious inconsequentiality, as if it were a two-hour pilot for a show about a charmingly eccentric family and a rotating cast of colorful guest stars.
  3. The upside of a Coward-powered letdown is that I had plenty of time to contemplate one particularly improbable fact about Easy Virtue: that it had a previous incarnation on film. As, of all things, a silent picture.
  4. A theological trifle that ultimately twists itself into a romantic comedy.
  5. Gary Oldman pulls off his own hat trick, playing both noble Bob Cratchit and sickly Tiny Tim, as well as Scrooge's late partner, Marley, who haunts the miser in fluorescent green.
  6. If nothing else, while watching Ruppert, you'll believe he believes this stuff.
  7. Unfortunately, brutality is about all this update of 1941's The Wolf Man can do well. Mutilations, decapitations and disembowelments are handled with aplomb in the first R-rated film from director Joe Johnston (Jumanji, Jurassic Park III). But everything that doesn't involve gore feels like an afterthought.
  8. Mostly, though, 44 Inch Chest is complacently in love with the rhythmically profane talk that came so easily to writers Louis Mellis and David Scinto in "Sexy Beast."
  9. Despite the local color, the movie isn't especially globalized. The major characters all speak English, and the action sequences throb to the music of Lady Gaga, the Roots and Gorillaz.
  10. But c'mon! Erotic obsession, catfights, naked chicks making out -- at heart Chloe is a midnight movie, and all the Vivaldi in the world can't change that.
  11. The lesson at the core of Goethe's poem -- that powerful spirits are not to be taken lightly, and should only be conjured by those who can control them -- goes out the window, and the mentor-student relationship gets swallowed up in the action. Bruckheimer may be the dark lord of Tinseltown, but he's the Mickey Mouse of this scenario, and the mops and brooms get the best of him.
  12. Mirren cuts the figure of a bodice-ripping paperback heroine, a withering desert flower who blooms in the arms of a swarthy prizefighter roughly half her age. Mirren embodies the fantasy beautifully -- but Hackford's feature-length valentine to her all but sabotages the rest of the movie.
  13. The film is too frenetically paced and clean to quite recreate the magic of their source material, but it does often face these issues in the same admirably head-on fashion.
  14. A little focus might have helped. Or not: The Dry Land seems intent to tick off a checklist of PTSD symptoms without animating them with fresh details or creative life. It's cloaked in an earnestness that suffocates.
  15. La Soga isn't without redeeming qualities: Superfluous flashbacks aside, Crook keeps the action moving at a fast clip, cutting fluidly from the streets of Santiago to its criminal pipeline in Washington Heights, and he gets a sinister turn from Calderon, a veteran character actor who plays Rafa with a soulful swagger.
  16. Though Eat Pray Love never loses the sour whiff of unexamined first-world privilege, its heroine does at least immerse herself in different cultures rather than expecting them to adapt to her.
  17. Next to the hopelessly inexpressive Stallone and the English-impaired Li, Statham emerges as the movie's principal wit. But the script furnishes him with only a few deadpan quips. Besides, it's no great accomplishment to be the funniest guy in a Sylvester Stallone flick.
  18. Nanny McPhee, the homely yet exemplary governess, is back. Why? Hard to say, but one thing is certain: Writer-star Emma Thompson didn't do it for the kids.
  19. What's really missing from Conviction are the thorny questions it refuses to take up with any depth.
  20. Despite dramatic Hawaiian locations, up-to-date visual effects and a bit of nontraditional casting, the movie feels not especially brave and far from new.
  21. Shapeless and overlong, How Do You Know unfolds in a heap of unprocessed ideas and emotions, as if Brooks started production two or three drafts too early.
  22. However much Uxbal tries to help Barcelona's dispossessed, Biutiful doesn't really have anything to say about the modern world's economic migrants. Indeed, it could even be said that the movie exploits them.
  23. Miral stumbles, both thematically and stylistically. The two things that undermine the director's balance? Peace and love.
  24. A slideshow of actual photographs by the Bang Bang Club during the end credits packs more emotional punch than anything that precedes them, displaying in their still frames the singular focus that the movie lacks.
  25. It's Rush who makes these characters push one another toward healing, and that feels forced. There are moments of poignancy, but mostly the film feels inert and unremarkable, an off-the-shelf indie-spiration fable that employs a manipulatively cruel twist to move the story away from its inherent darkness and toward an uplifting climactic montage.
  26. The script groans beneath a mass of symbolic winking and declamatory exposition that has the unfortunate effect of turning the villagers into credulous simpletons, ready to blow with any wind that carries them.
  27. The lack of authenticity underlines the thinness of their conceit: Without a plausible backdrop, all that's left of Love Crime are the power games between two duplicitous women and the serpentine plotting that results. And even that, under the slightest scrutiny, frays like a thin layer of tissue paper.
  28. What's Your Number? trades in the sort of hard-R crudity that's become standard since "The Hangover," but the added explicitness doesn't make it any less artificial a contraption.
  29. Bottom line: Grant the film's big moments a kind of loopy majesty, and note that they're better acted than they deserve to be, not just by Ifans, Redgrave and Spall, but by David Thewlis and Edward Hogg as the villainous father-son team of William and Robert Cecil. It's a classy cast.
  30. There's plenty of material for a lively, profound documentary about Norman Foster. But How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? is, by design, lightweight.

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