NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,017 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 Stories We Tell
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,017 movie reviews
  1. Everything that felt clumsy in The Hunger Games has been improved upon here. That's most apparent in the clarity of the action, but it also extends to how efficiently the film establishes so many new ensemble members.
  2. Nash and Joel Edgerton, haven't exactly remade "Blood Simple," but they put a fresh spin on the classic Coen premise of amateurs in over their heads.
  3. The movie maintains its sense of style throughout, but that hardly matters as the story just gets stupider and stupider.
  4. It's customary to describe this kind of thriller as "adrenaline-fueled," but this is the first time apart from "Pulp Fiction" I can recall there being an actual shot of adrenaline on screen. Samuel uses it to wake Hugo from his coma, then kind of wishes he hadn't.
  5. The resulting documentary, Finding Vivian Maier, might better have been titled Constructing Vivian Maier — not because the filmmakers came up empty-handed, but because what they found out sheds too neat and tidy a light on her unsparing, yet warmly sympathetic portraits of the denizens of Chicago's seamy underside.
  6. It's the sort of film that feels so authentic that even knowing it's a fiction, the morning after seeing it, I found myself scanning headlines to see if there were any new developments.
  7. The movie is a curiosity, of course. Both Marc and Kim have decidedly unusual life stories.
    • 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.
  8. The Safdies filmed with handheld cameras, an obvious affection for New York and its denizens, and a script that includes so much structured improvisation that it's hard to imagine any of the dialogue was actually written down. Not surprisingly, the result is a character study with an almost documentary feel to it.
  9. Tabloid spins a heck of a yarn, while implicitly warning viewers not to be so entertained that they believe every gamy detail.
  10. Ultimately, Winocour does stage an instance of what could be called love. It's unconvincing narratively, alas, and an odd disruption of the tone in a film that is otherwise bracingly clinical.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The picture is frustrating not because it's bad, but because of how almost-good it is.
  11. I'm guessing Humpday will make its natural, easygoing leading men -- Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard -- much sought after.
  12. As humane as it is disturbing.
  13. The beguiling Computer Chess is about the dawn — one of many, but that's another story — of the tech revolution. It's also a reminder that you don't need state-of-the-art toys to make a formally playful comedy about man versus machine.
  14. 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.
  15. A Woman in Berlin doesn't justify retribution, but in such moments it does clarify the horrible logic of vengeance.
  16. What follows is something rarely seen in American movies: a sincerely humane examination of what it means to experience a crisis of faith. Tender, bittersweet and often gently comedic, Corinne's 20-year journey toward (and around, and away from) her God has a loose, searching rhythm that's engrossingly unpredictable.
  17. With most of its voices hailing from Broadway, it's a good bet the composers have one eye fixed on a future stage incarnation; makes sense, then, that there'd be references to a couple of Disney's Broadway hits. The opening number sounds a lot like "The Lion King"; then there's a "Beauty and the Beast"-style tour of the town.
  18. An evocative overview of anti-gay hysteria in the 1960s, a period when homosexuality was illegal in every state except Illinois.
  19. The trick to enjoying The Town, Ben Affleck's follow-up to his impressive 2007 directing debut, "Gone, Baby, Gone," is to expect nothing but pulpy entertainment.
  20. The film portrays Plimpton as someone devoted to illuminating how talent and creativity work — both for himself, and for the rest of us.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Such an of-a-piece series of visual monuments in one year means that Ain't Them Bodies Saints has a pretty strong chance of striking some viewers as cliched or affected. Its golden-hour cinematography and persistent awe-and-wonder score sit precariously between stirring and obtrusive, inspiring and derivative.
  21. The elephant in the room of any discussion of Poland and the Jews is that country's less-than-glorious record of betrayal and collaboration with the Nazis. Holland, who is half-Jewish and whose mother was active in the Polish Resistance, doesn't shrink from that legacy.
  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. The movie's storytelling can be as old-fashioned as its appearance. Some sequences are quick and messy, but others are grand and theatrical.
  24. One thing Doueiri didn't get from Tarantino is smirky attitude; The Attack is sad and resigned, but also tender.
  25. At bottom, though, Happy People celebrates the hard-won freedoms that living in the Taiga offers those who are willing to confront its challenges. There are few places on the planet where the strictures of society don't apply, and the trade-off for fending off bears and minus-50-degree weather is the opportunity to lead a pure, solitary life.
  26. What gives their story emotional heft has to do with a different kind of dimension: a depth of feeling surrounding the Black Stallion-style bonding of boy and beast.
  27. Freeman's Mandela, however, is pretty marvelous -- so persuasive in gesture, in bearing, in that signature mix of gravitas and twinkle, even in accent -- that when a shot of the real Mandela appears over the final credits, it's momentarily jarring to realize you've been watching an impersonation.

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