NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,025 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 4.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Boyhood
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,025 movie reviews
  1. In the end what drives the movie is the hip young filmmaker's struggle with himself -- his showman's need to toy with our anxieties threatening to overwhelm his desire to make amends to all the servants he took for granted growing up.
  2. A dramedy laying out the dueling coaching philosophies of guys who doubtless meant a great deal to fans, but of whom I'd been blissfully unaware for decades -- is enormously engaging. Enormously.
  3. 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.
  4. The Secret in Their Eyes finds secrets everywhere -- even in what's driving Ben and Irene as they separately examine the decisions they made back in the 1970s. For both of them, as for their country, accurate remembrance of that period is crucial.
  5. Cianfrance and his actors, Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, have not made a cold or schematic film. They aim instead for raw emotional experience, one that's full of insight into the ways a relationship can go astray, but mostly feels like a slow-motion punch to the gut.
  6. There's something kind of captivating about a film that's been painstakingly drawn to glorify the craft of illustration, and that's comfortable using retro techniques. Because after all, what else makes sense for bringing to life the gold and scarlet ornamentation in ancient manuscripts?
  7. Yet in the end it's less the climactic madness and mayhem in White Material that sear the memory than it is the silent, balletic creep of child soldiers, grabbed out of school and sent with machetes and rifles through a forest to exact revenge for decades of repression.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The result is a self-conscious tone poem concocted from oblique camera angles, shots held longer than it takes a tadpole to reach maturity and nighttime images enhanced with a psychedelic glow. An alternate title for it might be "David Lynch, Gone Fishin'."
  8. 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.
  9. Police, Adjective has considerable power, and the issues it raises linger in the mind.
  10. Sister offers several reasons why the boy can't or won't return to ski-resort robbery next winter. But the movie also quietly suggests that, whatever he does, Simon will always be the boy from down below, boldly impersonating someone born to the heights.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Django Unchained is by turns exhilarating, hilarious, horrifying and poetic.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. In a story built on ugly secrets and lifetimes of terrible events, small moments of beauty and redemption sneak through - proving that sometimes utilizing those bitter remnants of charred memories can prove more fruitful than Earl Gray thought.
  14. But lo! Isn't that Owen Wilson, blond and goyische to the gills, yet faithfully replicating the put-upon slump of the Allen shoulders, the quavering stammers about art vs. success, literature vs. Hollywood?
  15. 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.
  16. There is something weird about the twins, something that will fuel a bar room brawl until it goes quite literally global, that will let director Wright take a leap into another genre entirely and that will allow The World's End to spin into ever grander comic mayhem, even as it becomes a surprisingly effecting look at the folly of trying to recapture one's youth.
  17. Director P.T. Anderson isn't generally a guy you go to if you're looking for answers. Questions are more his game, and that's as true here as it was in his far more serious pictures "The Master" and "There Will Be Blood." He is a terrific stylist, though, and the scattershot pleasures he's peddling in Inherent Vice may well satisfy those who like style more than substance, or maybe who like their style with substances.
  18. Grabs you by the eyeballs from the very first frame.
  19. Ai is a great movie subject for many reasons, but one is that he understands the power of appearing larger than life on the silver screen.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    If David O. Russell pulls anything off in Silver Linings Playbook - an almost-comedy about a bipolar high-school teacher who goes off the deep end and isn't sure how to climb back - it's this: He refuses to make mental illness adorable.
  20. The Secret World of Arrietty may be too gentle and meditative to be the studio's breakout hit in this country, but it's another sweet advance, and further evidence that the Ghibli secret must soon out.
  21. 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.
  22. The Turin Horse is an absolute vision, masterly and enveloping in a way that less personal, more conventional movies are not. The film doesn't seduce; it commands.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    When you're young, there's just so much to misunderstand about the world. And isn't that kind of what makes it such fun?
  23. After all, the documentary itself stands as a thrilling testament to the fact that art is — and should be — open to interpretation.
  24. Horrific and uplifting.
  25. Selick puts his real faith not in the gimmickry that Coraline's audiences will think they've shown up for, but in the stronger virtues that they'd likely view as old-fashioned: character, and story, and handmade figures, handmade milkshakes, handmade blades of grass, each one moving utterly persuasively as he and his animators tweak it, frame by frame.
  26. Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio is one horror film that opts to skip the usual frolic among those metaphorical monsters in favor of a deeply unsettling dive into the subconscious.

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