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 The Tree of Life
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,043 movie reviews
  1. Puzzle has some gentle fun with the clash of staid and hip.
  2. 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.
  3. Music drives the movie, and the producers popped for the real stuff: Robert Johnson, Moby Grape and - curiously - the Sex Pistols are all here. The soundtrack is so overstuffed that it relegates Beatles and Dylan tunes to the end credits.
  4. German history and culture are among Sokurov's concerns in this visually compelling, intellectually scattershot movie.
  5. Circumstance is best during its simpler, more naturalistic moments. In one, Mehran rebuffs a junkie who stumbles into the mosque, only to see that an Islamic hardliner is more compassionate.
  6. 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.
  7. At times Francine feels like a documentary as well, an intimate observational work in the mode of Frederick Wiseman or the Maysles brothers, where the omnipresence of the camera puts the characters so at ease that they reveal subtle moments of character that they might otherwise hide out of self-consciousness.
  8. A skilled cast is Blakeson's greatest asset in his attempt to elevate his material above its pulpy limitations. All three are better actors than this sort of movie might call for.
  9. Teresa's doggedness parallels the movie's own. Paradise: Love would be more compelling if it had a second act in which either its protagonist or one of her boy toys came to some sort of realization. Instead, Seidl's strategy is to reiterate and escalate, which is finally more exhausting than illuminating.
  10. Brand's character, who combines Bono's moral sanctimony with Keith Richards' supernatural hedonism, ultimately doesn't add up.
  11. For all their brutality, the fights are so seductive and exciting that their consequences - the physical and mental toll exacted from the men and their families - sometimes fail to register.
  12. The movie has more sensibility than sense, but it seems cunning next to such silly tough-girl fare as "Kick-Ass" and "Sucker Punch."
  13. But a few mild misgivings aside, Spurlock has made, in essence, a 90-minute promo reel for the convention, a paean to fanboy (and fangirl) enthusiasm that could double as an orientation video, if such a thing were necessary. It's a brisk and cheery overview, sweet but superfluous.
  14. The movie presents grim assessments from such experts as the Pacific Institute's Peter Gleick and professor and author Robert Glennon, yet it ends with a flurry of hopeful notes.
  15. It's hard to make a movie about a pederast without being exploitative, and Michael eventually comes to feel like an art house stunt.
  16. 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.
  17. The trouble with A Cat in Paris lies not in its orchestration, which is mostly impeccable, but with what little is being orchestrated. It's well plotted but a little rote, clever but a far cry from ingenious, attractive but not particularly evocative. When it ends, it leaves behind the faintest of paw prints.
  18. Cooper does slow the action and set it in the least glamorous of circumstances, which drains the pleasure from the thriller conventions. But just because Out of the Furnace isn't much fun doesn't make it profound.
  19. Watching these two actors move from being sweetly flirtatious to doing real emotional battle may not entirely compensate for the movie's other failings, but it goes a long way toward making amends.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Although parts of Spring Breakers are very funny, there's also something tsk-tsking and superior about it, as if Korine had thought a lot about young middle America's idea of midsemester fun and decided he doesn't like it one tiny bit.
  20. Rio
    Name the first things that come to anyone's mind about Rio de Janeiro - samba, soccer, sunbathing, Carnival - and those are the building blocks of this movie. Expect the expected.
  21. 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.
  22. Worst of all is the hitching of all this extravagant suffering to an inspirational ending filled with sweet regret, healing hope and some picturesque nestling in the titular oaks with the next generation.
  23. Director Saul Dibb, presumably knowing that this is pretty standard stuff for a costume epic, occupies us not just with the usual visuals -- of his star drifting through exquisitely furnished estates, draped in rich silks and brocades -- but also with some intriguingly offbeat sights.
  24. An entertaining concert film, but not an incisive character study.
  25. Spectacularly self-absorbed protagonists step on each other, jockeying first for position, and ultimately for survival.
  26. In a rare bit of explication, the movie notes that "buffalo" has two connotations in Thailand. For rural folks, it refers to the strength and perseverance of the large animals, called "kwai" in Thai. To urbanites, however, a buffalo is a hick.
  27. What's really missing from Conviction are the thorny questions it refuses to take up with any depth.
  28. DeChristopher's primary concern is climate change, which is no small issue. But Bidder 70 would be more compelling if it had used the U.S. government's assault on the ad hoc activist to also discuss threats to the American political environment.
  29. Like the recent "Mud," The Kings of Summer is a tale of feral adolescent pals in search of freedom and adventure. The movies even share essentially the same awkwardly contrived climax. But of the two films, The Kings of Summer is more of a comedy, with a depiction of the eternal war between teen and parent that's downright farcical.

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