NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,055 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 12 Years a Slave
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1055 movie reviews
  1. The film, though, is as sure-footed as their partnership is not - a nuanced portrait of emotional turmoil, persuasively acted, richly sensual one moment, wrenching the next, and unlike so many films centering on gay characters, not particularly concerned with things like coming out or HIV.
  2. The Empire State's eminent domain laws are unusually loose, but most of the rest of this story is pertinent far beyond New York. Change a few names and add the next credit bubble, and a Brooklyn-style Battle could be headed to a neighborhood near you.
  3. As you might expect from the creator of "Inception" and "Memento," there are surprises both in the story and in the storytelling. But the biggest surprise may just be how satisfying Nolan has made his farewell to a Dark Knight trilogy that many fans will wish he'd extend to a 10-part series, at least.
  4. Wadjda offers an interesting contrast to films made in Iran. Where the latter country has a long cinematic tradition, Mansour's is the first feature shot entirely in Saudi Arabia.
  5. Frequently moving and quietly enlightening, Last Train Home is about love and exploitation, sacrifice and endurance.
  6. Leon isn't a flashy director, but he has an excellent sense of proportion. Gimme the Loot unfolds in a series of loose, funny, naturalistic scenes, but they never trail off into improvisational vapors.
  7. Costa-Gavras' film excels as a meticulously researched procedural that goes deep into the grime of greed, deception and cynical exploitation. But it is also a wickedly clever character analysis of a man more divided against himself than his preternatural calm suggests.
  8. Kings of Pastry is about the craft, the teaching and learning, the collaborative work, the tedium, the heartbreak and emotional backbone it takes to make something lovely, even if that something is destined to disappear down a gullet in seconds - and even if the maker ends up a noble failure.
  9. Greenfield's refusal to pass judgment on the Siegels lends her subjects and their marriage unexpected complexity and depth - especially Jackie, a true force of nature.
  10. As the film demonstrates over the course of a full year with her, and not a great year by any stretch -- there is more to this particular hard-charging, egomaniacal, joke machine than gets revealed onstage.
  11. All I can add to the discussion is the fervent hope that any parents, teachers, administrators or students who see it will immediately start clamoring for it to be shown at their next PTA meeting.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    In the end, Looking For Eric is about nothing less than trying to do the right thing when life keeps doing you wrong.
  12. If Meek's Cutoff is every inch a Western, it's an art-film mutant of the genre, inching along with intensely naturalistic obsession for detail that courts tedium even as it dares us not to pay attention.
  13. Big Star was essentially Chris Bell's band, and emotionally, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is Bell's movie. Joining rock's dead-at-27 club via a 1978 car crash, he left behind a fine, then-unreleased album and two siblings who tell his story movingly. As they recount his final years, the sadness in Bell's songs comes to seem eerily prescient.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    About Time is ... about time: It asks us to reflect on how we all use that resource, how the hours and minutes that make up a day or a life align with our intentions and values.
  14. Director Dean DeBlois has been saying this installment is the middle movie in a How to Train Your Dragon trilogy. It's clear that he took inspiration from the first Star Wars trilogy — not a bad model for breathing new life, and yes, a bit of fire, into one of Hollywood's more nuanced animated franchises.
  15. The movie revisits the themes (and some of the same characters) of Amy Berg's chilling 2006 chronicle "Deliver Us from Evil." But it reaches further, expanding from one American diocese to Ireland, Italy, the Vatican and the career of the current pope.
  16. Filmmaker Francois Ozon is a young writer/director known for provocative work with mature stars — Kristin Scott Thomas was in his last picture, Catherine Deneuve in the one before that. And in Young and Beautiful, he establishes that you don't have to be young to be beautiful by having a still stunning Charlotte Rampling drop by to give his young star a life lesson. Or six.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Even as it depicts a forgotten way of life, Found Memories is already on its way to becoming a relic itself, its glacial, meditative style an anachronism in the 21st century.
  17. Running through the streets of New York for the sheer hell of it, Frances has the gift of joy to her very marrow. As for Greta Gerwig, I get the feeling she's just gearing up.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    The film takes a long road to spirituality, though, with plenty of stops for violence and perversion along the way. Like Abel Ferrara's "Bad Lieutenant," this story is determined to put core Christian principles to the harshest tests imaginable.
  18. Daniel Craig brings us a new James Bond in Casino Royale. He's not only rugged, fearless and — when the chips are down, as they often are in this poker-faced thriller — a lethal weapon. He's also vulnerable.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Lego Movie maybe be one giant advertisement, but all the way to its plastic-mat foundation, it's an earnest piece of work — a cash grab with a heart. Made for, with and about Legos, the movie is also made for, with and about imagination, and when that association seems completely natural, it's a win all around.
  19. The Kid With a Bike feels as vulnerable as Cyril's unformed character. Within its tight 87 minutes, not a lot happens, unless you count the saving of a life.
  20. Kendrick qualifies as the movie's secret weapon — actually not so secret now that she's charmed audiences in both Into the Woods and Pitch Perfect. She's so appealing here, in fact, that audience sympathies are likely to be less-than-evenly split between the two leads.
  21. "Liar Liar" meets Obi-Wan? Who'da thunk even fearless star power could make these two work as a romantic pair? But both stars prove to be enormous fun in a gay love story played straight in a thoroughly crooked context.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There's nothing particularly dynamic about Livia Manera and William Karel's documentary Philip Roth: Unmasked. For some 90 minutes, it's pretty much just one guy talking. But what a guy!
  22. The filmmakers -- mumblecore moguls, if such a thing can be said to exist -- prefer a squirmy kind of comedy that's all about the awkward situations real people find themselves in. And with these performers, the vibe stays down-to-earth and almost entirely unpredictable.
  23. More than anything, though, Another Earth is an impressive calling card for Brit Marling, who wrote and produced the movie with Cahill, a classmate from Georgetown University. Marling also steals the movie as Rhoda Williams.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A good-hearted, funny movie.

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