NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,037 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 Tribe
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,037 movie reviews
  1. This plot is not being taken terribly seriously. It's mostly a pretext for songs that are mostly a pretext for acting silly.
  2. Whatever lizard-brain fun might have been had in watching Johnson do battle against a drug cartel is weakened by the occasional hard tug at the social conscience. The film winds up divided against itself.
  3. But the McManuses' skill with character detail does hold promise for future efforts. The boys in the film are on the verge of maturity; while there appears to be very little grace in their interactions with their church, they are just beginning to find some within their own characters. Perhaps that's appropriate for two directors who seem on the threshold of an artistic maturity hinted at by this first effort.
  4. By anyone's reckoning, Predators is a middling 1980s B movie; too bad this is 2010.
  5. The film is more appealing for its scenery, which is as breathtakingly blue as you'd expect, than for its drama.
  6. It may seem odd for a teen-focused action movie to feel so glum, but that's actually something that the director gets right, even if it threatens to make this a dull affair: Ender's Game is a dark story of a children's crusade built on the crushed psyches of damaged youths, and too much uplift would undermine it.
  7. It would be churlish to parse the logic of the underlying situation too closely when all the filmmakers are really after is a heartwarming little object lesson in tolerance.
  8. The shoddy attention to character, plausibility and detail is particularly surprising coming from Anderson, a director of smart indie thrillers like "The Machinist," "Session 9" and "Transsiberian." He's been a gifted filmmaker with a talent for creating chilling tension through meticulous control of just these elements.
  9. A 90-minute biography can't include everything, of course. But Lovelace comes on like an inquiry into the '70s zeitgeist, only to retreat into melodrama. Ultimately, the movie relies as heavily as any porn feature on its intrepid female lead. Rather than exploiting Seyfried, however, Lovelace just sort of wastes her.
  10. Awkward, incoherent and plodding.
  11. 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.
  12. A raucously funny comic romance that's deaf and blind to the blithe spirit of romantic comedy.
  13. Even as a fantasy about where a lack of transparency might go, left unchecked, it's storytelling informed by sloppy, absolutist thinking, and it lends one more uncritical voice to the many who seem unable to distinguish between kinds and degrees of evil.
  14. 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.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    It's all a little dumb, but the movie boasts several non-CG tricks and a few genuinely mesmerizing set pieces including a hand-to-hand-to-magic combat scene between Ruffalo and the spry Franco.
  15. What Newell can't seem to do is give Prince of Persia a unifying style, tone or purpose. The film moves well, but doesn't show any motivation other than getting to the next game level.
  16. Based on a graphic novel, Cowboys & Aliens never quite transcends the flat dimensions of its source material.
  17. Say this for Roland Emmerich's latest movie: It IS a disaster.
  18. Tron: Legacy revels in its over-the-top nature: the sharp contrast of inky blacks against vibrant neons, the bombastic clash of orchestral and synthetic elements in the soundtrack (by French electronic musicians Daft Punk), the trippy, sometimes incoherent ideas it presents.
  19. As an investigation into American municipal corruption, Broken City is, well, damaged. But as an opportunity for hard-boiled types to trade threats, blows and caustic banter, this modern-day noir works reasonably well.
  20. For a hymn to panic and hostility, the movie is curiously artful. But only the most sympathetic viewers will find that its poetry outweighs its belligerence.
  21. The comic relief, an attempt to buoy the sinking feeling of Dolly and Joseph's difficulties, steals away the emotional weight of their story. The dominance of the madcap side of the film's split personality lays an airy veneer over Dolly and Joseph's woes, making them seem inconsequential - as unsubstantial as an observation about wedding-day weather.
  22. But more often, the film jumps around in dizzying disorganization, illustrating the fact that part of what a director provides to a film is not just vision and leadership, but also, as the word suggests, a narrative direction.
  23. The title is drawn from a verse Hannah wrote just before she was captured -- and that impulse is enough to sustain audience interest.
  24. If you're only going to see one film about the Battle of Stalingrad — and there are many — Stalingrad would be the wrong choice. Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk's treatment of the World War II turning point is shallow and contrived, if sometimes impressively staged.
  25. This slackers-go-gangsta comedy demonstrates that less than 90 minutes can be a very long time.
  26. The movie is crisp and contemporary enough to inaugurate another franchise for Statham.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Though the film features Holmes' fiercest villain and a plot partially cribbed from "The Final Problem," one of Conan Doyle's most beloved stories, the sense of mystery has gone missing. A most heinous crime has taken place. The fun, too, is nowhere in evidence.
  27. Director Neil Burger, whose last divergent character was the smart-drugged protagonist of Limitless, allocates more than enough of this overlong movie to details of life and society in future-Chicagoland. But he fails to make any aspect of the premise persuasive.
  28. 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.

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