NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,029 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 4.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Mr. Turner
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,029 movie reviews
  1. By and large, the tone is gentle, the music French, and the food shot so delectably that you can all but smell the freshly baked bread.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    When you're young, there's just so much to misunderstand about the world. And isn't that kind of what makes it such fun?
  2. For Soldini, even bleakness has a poetic side, and his imagery is occasionally breathtaking here -- never more so than in the film's final tableau, which elegantly connects a Renaissance fresco Elsa had been working on before the couple's fall from grace with a strikingly similar real-life image suggesting the possibility of a renaissance in their marriage.
  3. The visual jokes -- one standout is an army of ogres condemned by the Pied Piper to perpetual line-dancing -- are pretty irresistible.
  4. Flashy and fun, and a nifty showcase for Yen.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    De Palma is such a dazzling stylist that for most of Passion, you'll find it perfectly acceptable to let the visuals wash over you, paying only passing attention to the plot.
  5. As a satire of the insurance industry, and more implicitly of religious hypocrisy, Cedar Rapids is mild stuff. But the movie has a nice lived-in feel, and a sense that its comedy has been earned.
  6. Unmade in China is nominally about filmmaking, but what Kofman and Barklow do well is to use their unusual position within the Chinese state machine to make a thinly veiled movie about politics.
  7. Disconnect is naturally gripping. Using unforgiving closeups, Rubin pokes into unexpected corners— not least the different ways in which men and women respond to calamity — and never forces his story's social-media scares to improbable heights.
    • 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.
  8. Using de Chabannes as the film's conscience and moral fulcrum, Tavernier - just as he did in his 1996 film "Captain Conan" - exposes the shame of a meaningless war and the psychological damage borne by those fighting it.
  9. After sitting at his elbow that day, I can tell you how he manages the tricks I saw really close-up. Not mysterious at all: It's magic, pure and simple.
  10. 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.
  11. At its best, The Punk Singer tells the story of one pivotal life in a whole movement. Both Anderson and Hanna are at pains to avoid giving the impression that one singer carried the movement single-handedly.
  12. Epstein and Friedman's doc-like approach also results in a certain dramatic stasis; Howl is a film aimed more for the head than the gut.
  13. Though most will visit R.J. Cutler's subtle, supple documentary hoping to peek beneath the formidable bangs of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, they will be disappointed: This is a movie whose ambitions range wider than the contents of her guarded psyche.
  14. Edwards is a wizard with his laptop's effects program. The squiddy things he conjures up look like the real deal - thoroughly creepy and a gazillion feet tall. Too bad his screenwriting software didn't have an equivalently impressive plot-twisting algorithm to get him to the final fade.
  15. Like many neglected offspring, Gregory comes across as an eternal child himself, hooked on his capacity to enchant but rarely able to listen to anyone other than the actors over whom he has such power.
  16. Illness, death, bad fathers and bad marriages, suppressed old loves — there's nothing new here, yet we are held by the way ordinary suffering has hardened into an emotional prison for three old friends.
  17. Berg is relentlessly unsparing.
  18. Leaving this improbably feel-good movie, you'll wish Robbie all the luck in the world, and the mentors to go with it.
  19. Jaoui's insights into the human struggle to find meaningful ways to live may not be especially profound, but she brings a warm particularity and a tough but tender compassion to her studies of congenital human discontent and the crazy, often self-defeating ways in which we strive to complete ourselves. If that's bourgeois, we might all plead guilty.
  20. Nair likes to have fun even when her material is somber, and for this movie she deploys a rich palette and a multi-culti but mostly kitsch-free score that fuses old and new with a lovely Sufi devotional piece, and is peppered with Pakistani pop.
  21. Sentimental? Certainly, but in a part of the world where hope and optimism haven't shown their faces in a long time, it's hard not to feel carried along by the generously conciliatory spirit that warms The Other Son, as it did "The Band's Visit." Movies have rarely been known to change the world, but you never know.
  22. 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.
  23. The cast is more than game. DeWitt's Abby is earnest and searching and a little bit nuts, but we're never encouraged to see her as dumb, credulous or pathetic.
  24. A film in which everyone is lusting after the wrong person, and consummating those desires tends to lead to awkward - but not funny, unlike Dunham's usual projects - disasters of various scales.
  25. Cross may not earn the broad recognition he deserves for his performance in It's a Disaster, a droll apocalypse comedy of exceedingly modest scale and even more modest commercial appeal. But it's still a master class in how to play the straight man right.
  26. There's no denying its status as a rousing and thoroughly enjoyable Old Hollywood-style adventure.
  27. The banter has zip, the effects are fun, the climactic battle is decently spectacular, and if the 3-D is mostly expendable, there are a few scenes where it adds a nice kick.

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