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 Tree of Life
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,037 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. The result? A briskly self-aware, thoroughly stage-struck portrait of a theatrical portrait.
  3. Written and directed by David Riker, who built his 1998 drama "La Ciudad" around immigrants in New York City, The Girl is stingy with backstory but rich with visual clues.
  4. Synecdoche, New York is one heck of a head-trip.
  5. The German Doctor is never showy or melodramatic — just a kind of true-life horror story about the helpful, soft-spoken monster in our midst.
  6. What makes you sit up straight is that The Oranges takes seriously everyone's unhappiness, including the home-wrecker's, without letting anyone off the hook of responsibility for their own becalmed misery.
  7. Turturro's direction owes a little something to Spike Lee, and a lot to Allen, who reportedly had a hand in helping refine the script — certainly his own lines sound as if he's simply riffing in character. Together they succeed in keeping the mood light, even as the filmmaker is gently tugging the plot in other directions — to look at loneliness, and longing, and heartbreak.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Whether or not you agree with its underlying critique of existing drug policy, How To Make Money Selling Drugs is an ambitious, creative attempt to talk in a single film about everything from the disparate treatment of black and white dealers to the influence of asset forfeiture on law-enforcement strategies to the devastation of Mexico's drug war.
  8. I'm guessing Humpday will make its natural, easygoing leading men -- Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard -- much sought after.
  9. By the end of Somewhere, all I could summon up was a fervent wish-you-well - not for him, but for his beguiling elf of a child.
  10. 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.
  11. In one of the film's most fascinating moments, Klosterman asks Murphy what his biggest failure was. After uncomfortably dodging the question at first, Murphy admits that the only thing he thinks he might regret is quitting.
  12. The film plays by genre rules - explicit gore included - even as it turns them on their severed head.
  13. Stylistically unremarkable, playing it safe with structure, the film is still quietly revelatory.
  14. Cloud 9 is most moving when it steps quietly into the gap between physical decline and the persistence, at full blast, of unfulfilled longing and desire.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Neil Barsky's documentary Koch captures the essence of this very big personality - though if the film were even two minutes longer, it might constitute Koch overload. Luckily, Barsky knows when enough is enough, even if his subject doesn't.
  15. An intriguingly complex portrait of both of its characters and of the time of flux they live in.
  16. But lo! Isn't that Owen Wilson, blond and goyische to the gills, yet faithfully replicating the put-upon slump of the Allen shoulders, the quavering stammers about art vs. success, literature vs. Hollywood?
  17. Both Jeff and the film have a way of sneaking up on you.
  18. The movie's principal liability is that most of the music is highly derivative. Ghobadi spends a lot of time on songs that are more interesting sociologically than musically.
  19. Like zombie auteur George Romero at his best, Grau locks his sights on his social commentary of choice and goes after it with the zeal of a 19-year-old cannibal girl sinking an ax into the skull of her next meal. The result is messy, but it makes more than a meal.
  20. Director P.T. Anderson isn't generally a guy you go to if you're looking for answers. Questions are more his game, and that's as true here as it was in his far more serious pictures "The Master" and "There Will Be Blood." He is a terrific stylist, though, and the scattershot pleasures he's peddling in Inherent Vice may well satisfy those who like style more than substance, or maybe who like their style with substances.
  21. The sexual tension in Venus in Fur acquires a few specifically Polanski-esque layers.
  22. So it makes sense that Young Adult feels at times like a mashup of styles and genres - part curdled rom-com, part psycho-prom-queen flick, with a little "Revenge of the Nerds" thrown in.
  23. Director Guillermo del Toro knows that the charm in the clash of scale - or armor-plated titans isn't necessarily tied to the low budgets and laughable production design of those guilty-pleasure TV shows. And with Pacific Rim, he cracks the code.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    A quietly appalled we-really-oughta-do something documentary in the mode of "Food, Inc." or "An Inconvenient Truth."
  24. 17 Girls has a powerful and loving sense of place.
  25. Likable as this full-hearted and uplifting movie is, though, I wish that Beresford had not fallen into the familiar trap of dividing Chinese characters into two roles: brutal, ideology-spouting apparatchiki; or parable-spouting, salt-of-the-earth proletarians, the better to show off by contrast the open society of the West.
  26. Not until the film's surprisingly touching finale do we learn the source of that friction, in a delicately handled sequence that retroactively floods the story with satisfying context.
  27. Police, Adjective has considerable power, and the issues it raises linger in the mind.

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