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 4.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 The Artist
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,016 movie reviews
  1. The truth may not be quite that simple, but Kapadia's slightly ecstatic version of it makes for gripping viewing.
  2. Ultimately, the bleak universe conjured by Beyond the Hills is more compelling than what happens in it.
  3. For once in an American movie, the uplift feels earned.
  4. The movie is anything but combative. Pariah is a tender, sporadically goofy, yet candid examination of emergent identity, a film whose lack of attitude sets it apart from much of the hard-bitten, thug-life storytelling that's dominated African-American cinema for decades.
  5. Its story ends up packing an emotional wallop as substantial as its title character.
  6. For all its obsession with the past, Photographic Memory ends in a simple, genuinely moving interaction between father and son that illustrates McElwee's discovery that memories are nice, but can't be touched and embraced as we can the present.
  7. 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.
  8. Its greatest advantage over the book is that this is a story well-documented in moving pictures. In addition to recent interviews with the five, the filmmakers deftly marshal news footage, clips from the supposed confessions, and trenchant analysis.
  9. At its best, The Fighter takes on the chasm between televised boxing and its mostly working-class, aspirational origins with grit and intelligence.
  10. If the sum of Enough Said is less than its parts — and really, the midlife challenges here are pretty small potatoes — the movie does have some lovely grace notes that add up to an astute observation of the symbiosis of single mothers and their daughters.
  11. For those with any interest in cult cinema or just the bizarre behind-the-scenes stories of any film production, Jodorowsky's Dune is a fascinating document of one of the most legendary films ever not made.
  12. After sitting at his elbow that day, I can tell you how he manages the tricks I saw really close-up. Not mysterious at all: It's magic, pure and simple.
  13. The script I did question; it takes awhile to get going, and it feels strangely flat at the very end. But in between, Lee is very skillfully employing cinema's most advanced digital techniques in the service of an adventure yarn that is gloriously old-fashioned - and often just glorious.
  14. The deliberate pace may suggest that the film is being thoughtful, but Let Me In is really just an exploitation movie with the confidence to take it slow.
  15. 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.
  16. Burshtein refuses to engage with the culture wars that flare fiercely between secular and religious types in Israel; in fact she's trying to avoid types of any kind, which may be why secular audiences and critics have embraced her rapturous depiction of a community living its life, more separate from than at odds with the society beyond.
  17. Despite the contrived climax, I Am Love has emotional power. The contrast between duty and passion is well-drawn, and Swinton's transition from winter matriarch to springtime lover is compelling, even if the circumstances are implausible.
  18. Intentionally or not, Searching for Sugar Man catches all that - the fleeting moments of triumph and the years of endurance, the accumulation of family and the unquenched dreams - and doesn't presume to sew it all up for us.
  19. For all its dazzling allure, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, a feverishly psycho thriller set in the hermetic world of classical ballet, proves a meaningless exercise in Grand Guignol exhibitionism.
  20. Murmelstein died in Rome in 1989, and having witnessed the terrible dilemmas he suffered and the mass rescues he pulled off, we can only be glad that he escaped the snap judgments of the social-media age.
  21. As written, Jasmine is a hopeless neurotic, trapped in a perpetual panic. As played, she has a wicked hint of Scarlett O'Hara.
  22. Like all her (Holofcener) movies, Please Give is multitonal, as tenderly sympathetic as it is tough toward all its tortured, even unlikable characters.
  23. In Tabu, Portuguese writer-director Miguel Gomes spins a two-part tale examining love, loneliness and the power of memory.
  24. The movie is a sharply observed if formally bloated addition to the canon of visceral tales from the Baltimore city - if "tale" is the right word for a movie that puts so much energy into the avoidance of plot.
  25. Without their guns, the men prove surprisingly helpless. And when a representative of a larger pan-African community tells them that if they want the women to stop treating them like children, they must behave responsibly, you sense a corner has been turned.
  26. 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.
  27. If the movie's mix of nihilistic violence and snarky attitude suggests "In Bruges," it's a family resemblance. The writer-director of that film, which also starred Gleeson, is Martin McDonagh, the younger brother of this one's. Despite the similarities, the older McDonagh has a lighter touch. Where "In Bruges" ultimately became a mechanical bloodbath, The Guard scampers quickly through the action scenes, delivering commentary on genre conventions as it goes.
  28. It's a more mature magic than in previous Potter movies.
  29. Using de Chabannes as the film's conscience and moral fulcrum, Tavernier - just as he did in his 1996 film "Captain Conan" - exposes the shame of a meaningless war and the psychological damage borne by those fighting it.
  30. Resolution is really a less self-conscious cousin to last year's "Cabin in the Woods"; both are hugely satisfying exercises in examining the way in which stories are told. Cabin succeeded by deconstructing horror without ever intending to be scary itself. Resolution takes the opposite path: When Benson and Moorhead voyeuristically suggest that someone or something is watching Mike and Chris, the chilling effect is marrow-deep.

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