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 12 Years a Slave
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,017 movie reviews
  1. The Pirogue spends only about an hour on open water, but that's enough to convey the risks that make the trip foolish, and the desperation that makes it inevitable.
  2. Loki is a skilled creation, but lacking that sense of why, it's hard not to think of him as an artistic construct rather than a character. The same goes for Prisoners, a work of impressive craftsmanship that winds up making us think too much about how it was fashioned rather than what it has to say.
  3. Based on its thrillingly fractured first half - not to mention "Moon" in its entirety - Jones seems much smarter than he allows the film to be in the end. It wriggles out of its own intriguing puzzle.
  4. Starlet shows enough of her unbalanced, unsustainable situation to make sense of her connection to Sadie, however frail a ballast her new friend might be. Their need for each other is disarmingly sweet, but far from sticky.
  5. Set to Jeremy Turner's spare and mournful score, Narco Cultura is ultimately more pensive than lurid.
  6. The filmmakers tried to get him to tell his side of the story, but he's unwilling to appear on camera. Which leaves them in documentary limbo, since they've gone to great lengths to raise questions in the audience's mind about the case. The answers they've found are questions, their conclusion, inconclusive.
  7. This film exists purely to dazzle and thrill, and by that measure, it delivers expertly, never lagging despite a lengthy 133-minute running time.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone is an unapologetic melodrama rendered in what you might call semi-stylized neo-expressionistic realism, and it works like gangbusters.
  8. Kore-eda is himself a father now, which may explain why his work has gotten sunnier.
  9. Would be more satisfying if it were a more definitive look at Guantanamo's workings. All Cote and Henriquez can provide is some glimmers of insight about just one of the men held there. But that's enough to make their movie enlightening, compelling and, finally, heartbreaking.
  10. Tuschi has made a docu-thriller of enormous narrative flair and visual smarts. It's a perfect fit for the blend of Greek tragedy, spaghetti Western and judicial farce that defines business and politics in the New Russia.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Laurence Anyways flows naturally, both thematically and stylistically, from Dolan's previous movies; here, though, he succeeds more than ever at incorporating his visual idiosyncrasies into the narrative. In "I Killed My Mother" and even more so in "Heartbeats," the director's long slow-motion sequences and overbearing, eclectic soundtracks could feel like crutches, overused particularly during characters' moments of vulnerability.
  11. Unfolding in somber tones and among hard surfaces, Arbitrage has the slickness of new bank notes and the confidence of expensive tailoring.
  12. Breillat plumbs the power of fairy tales to enchant, disturb, warn and teach.
  13. Arguably the most dynamic Asian action film since the 1990s peaks of John Woo and Tsui Hark, The Raid: Redemption works as sheer gladiatorial ballet.
  14. Starring flying debris and surging walls of water, The Impossible takes the template of the old-timey disaster movie, strips it to the bone and pumps what's left up to 11.
  15. Though the film's simple story is squarely aimed at tots, DreamWorks' digitizers have referenced Eastern visual styles -- everything from delicate Chinese screens to flashy Japanese anime -- to enliven the look of the film.
  16. Barely a moment goes by without a well-orchestrated joke (or three), and it's paced as briskly as a clipper in front of a stiff tailwind.
  17. Richly photographed by Rob Hardy (who gave Red Riding: 1974 its almost surreal bleakness), this meticulously researched story (Marston spent a month interviewing families trapped in these vendettas) reveals a culture dominated by male pride and patriarchal selfishness.
  18. Though it's certainly moving, it suffers from a frantically overproduced desperation to hold what the filmmakers seem to fear will be our wavering attention.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Prince Avalanche speaks insightfully to the joys and costs of being alone, and of the risk that comes with letting another person in. Bittersweet and deeply felt, it also shows with confidence the estimable and still surprising talents of its cast and director.
  19. Austrian documentarian Michael Glawogger's Whore's Glory is no "Pretty Woman." But neither does it qualify as an expose.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    More often Planet of Snail evokes, in radiant detail, the mutual reliance that makes good partnerships work.
  20. The movie revisits the themes (and some of the same characters) of Amy Berg's chilling 2006 chronicle "Deliver Us from Evil." But it reaches further, expanding from one American diocese to Ireland, Italy, the Vatican and the career of the current pope.
  21. While it's lavish and lush in all the expected costume-drama ways, A Royal Affair never bogs down in period detail. What drives the film, along with great acting, is the appetite of director Nikolaj Arcel and his boisterous co-writer Rasmus Heisterberg ("I want a fun queen!" wails Christian) for the queasy workings of political gamesmanship both above and below board.
  22. Herman's House would benefit from more background material on Wallace, notably about the alleged weakness of the murder rap against him. In the end, though, neither Sumell nor the film is concerned with that. Their goal is to make palpable — and palpably horrific — the fact of living 23 hours a day in caged isolation.
  23. Knuckleball! looks and feels like a standard ESPN documentary, slickly packaged and a little bloodless, and Stern and Sundberg lean a little heavily on music to goose up the excitement.
  24. Iron Crows isn't the miserablist wallow you might expect. While director Park Bong-Nam observes the hazards of ship-breaking with a thoroughness that borders on fetishization, he also catches the humor and camaraderie of men in the trenches.
  25. A horror-movie attic sale is, in essence, exactly what Cabin in the Woods is, an attempt to exorcise the genre of its formulaic possession by stuffing the movie full of its most overused and predictable elements - and then dumping them through clever skewering.
  26. Any film about a flashy criminal threatens to glamorize its protagonist, but both Mesrine episodes are careful to detail the many goofs made by the crook and his accomplices.

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