NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,064 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 61% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 36% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 The Past
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1064 movie reviews
  1. Big hair, fine period frocks and interior design lend The Help a pleasingly retro look. Yet for someone who grew up in Mississippi, the director has little sense of place.
  2. It's fair to say that men in general and ardent Catholics in particular don't come off well. Yet even they are humanized by the movie's merciful temper, and by a cast of damaged ancillary characters wearing eccentric goodwill on their sleeves.
  3. Dragon is partly an homage to "One Armed Swordsman," a 1967 kung fu classic whose star, Jimmy Wang Yu, plays the new movie's arch-villain. But there's much Western influence: Jinxi's plight recalls David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence," and Baijiu's cerebral and flashy style of detection - complete with animated glimpses of victims' innards - suggests Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes series. Dragon is also one of several recent Chinese crime movies that borrow from CSI-style TV dramas.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 65 Critic Score
    Where the film excels is in capturing the quiet revelations in Marie's life over the few days it chronicles — revelations that represent the aftermath of choices made years before, when expectations were higher.
  4. We're here to see the film's leading lizard, who is pretty gorgeously realized by an army of digitizers, even if he seems just a bit-player in his own movie for the first hour or so.
  5. It's a sweet-tempered folly in which all's well that ends well.
  6. A surpassingly silly monster movie with a side helping of satire, Trollhunter beckons mainly for its stunning Norwegian scenery and slyly effective government-bashing.
  7. Big Miracle is a family movie fitted with the usual appeals to multiple audiences, and though tots, teens and younger parents might find the action a little slow until the rescue pressure builds, the grandparents will enjoy it as a trip down media memory lane.
  8. In a rare bit of explication, the movie notes that "buffalo" has two connotations in Thailand. For rural folks, it refers to the strength and perseverance of the large animals, called "kwai" in Thai. To urbanites, however, a buffalo is a hick.
  9. Stuart Gordon's inventions -- vivid, gruesome and occasionally quite funny -- offer a just-deserts ending and make both characters surprisingly active participants in their fates.
  10. Celebrity's tough to let go of, apparently, even when you know it's undeserved. Best Worst Movie doesn't plumb that thought very deeply. It doesn't do anything very deeply, really -- it's content to skate across the surface of the so-bad-it's-good phenomenon that gave it birth. The filmmakers are too close perhaps; probably don't want to kill the troll that laid the golden egg.
  11. What's really missing from Conviction are the thorny questions it refuses to take up with any depth.
  12. It's impossible for all of them to work, but the sheer volume of material, delivered by a cast dedicated to the absolute absurdity of the setups — Fantana's new career as a kitten photographer, Kind's side business running a fast-food chain with a specialty in fried bat, Burgundy nursing and training a live shark while blind and living in a lighthouse — is a kind of comedy carpet-bombing. All it takes is a certain percentage of hits for things to detonate.
  13. DeChristopher's primary concern is climate change, which is no small issue. But Bidder 70 would be more compelling if it had used the U.S. government's assault on the ad hoc activist to also discuss threats to the American political environment.
  14. To devotees of Al Gore's prophecy of a soon-to-be-parboiled Earth, "Skeptical Environmentalist" author Bjorn Lomborg is the devil. So what does an ecologically incorrect demon look like? Like an aging Danish surfer dude, it turns out.
  15. Like the recent "Mud," The Kings of Summer is a tale of feral adolescent pals in search of freedom and adventure. The movies even share essentially the same awkwardly contrived climax. But of the two films, The Kings of Summer is more of a comedy, with a depiction of the eternal war between teen and parent that's downright farcical.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Like "Sherrybaby," Sunlight Jr. explores the troubling gap that can open up between a person's aspirations and his or her reality. But Collyer never looks down on her characters; instead, her films have the quality of a good Springsteen song.
  16. It's glorious while it lasts, but then the film goes back to figuring out how to keep its oversized vessel from taking on water.
  17. This mashup of genres and themes doesn't entirely succeed, but it is warm, funny and ably crafted.
  18. 17 Girls has a powerful and loving sense of place.
  19. By concentrating so intently on the psychically unattached Joby, Kim hinders dramatic and character development. Her "Treeless Mountain," the Korea-set saga of two young sisters, was also quiet and open-ended. But the interplay between the two girls provided warmth and depth. For Ellen feels both colder and slighter.
  20. What's refreshing, though, is Coffey's skeptical but affectionate feel for the tenacious strivers who cling like limpets to the margins of every arts scene, often for precious years of their impoverished lives.
  21. But it does mean you're always aware that you're watching filmed theater - a scripted pressure-cooker where playability is being allowed to trump plausibility as theoretically cultivated adults morph into savages - going from civility to carnage in 80 minutes flat.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Trance really belongs to Dawson and Cassel. When Dawson's Elizabeth steps onto the scene, you may be instantly convinced — without the aid of hypnosis, even — that she's surely the most effective hypnotist on the planet.
  22. Like television's "Breaking Bad," At Any Price is about the slow, insidious corruption of a regular guy, about the rot that grows around him and within him, allowing him to become complicit in a crime of biblical proportions.
  23. Despite the local color, the movie isn't especially globalized. The major characters all speak English, and the action sequences throb to the music of Lady Gaga, the Roots and Gorillaz.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The film presents a stark choice: seek escape in vengeance and blame, or gamble on the freedom gained by embracing a new world, however scarred it may be.
  24. I'd like to credit Mangold, along with writers Christopher McQuarrie, Mark Bomback and Scott Frank for their good intentions; the smaller scope and lighter tone of their film is a tonic after bloated doom and gloom of "Man of Steel."
  25. It remains a decently robust and entertaining midlevel Bond movie — just one that's haunted by the specter of its predecessor.
  26. The rhythms are gentle, the smiles plentiful, the chuckles frequent, with the overall effect about as pleasantly innocuous as the film's hero.

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