NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,016 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 4.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Incendies
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,016 movie reviews
  1. There are better special effects than last time, and Bella gets to be brave when it counts. All of which should be like a freshly opened vein for fans -- especially as it results in Eclipse ending up almost exactly where it started, with weddings still to come. Can you wait?
  2. Oddly, Countdown to Zero ends by suggesting that viewers get those nukes abolished by texting their disapproval to a phone number listed in the credits -- as if the governments of China or North Korea (or the United States, for that matter) are just waiting for a gentle rebuke from civic-minded documentary viewers.
  3. A skilled cast is Blakeson's greatest asset in his attempt to elevate his material above its pulpy limitations. All three are better actors than this sort of movie might call for.
  4. As "Blood Simple" fans should expect, Noodle Shop is a comedy of presumed deaths and unexpected revivals, with some victims flat out refusing to stay in their shallow graves.
  5. The deliberate pace may suggest that the film is being thoughtful, but Let Me In is really just an exploitation movie with the confidence to take it slow.
  6. Freakonomics' commercial success reflected the once-fashionable notion that economics could explain, well, everything.
  7. It's as if everyone involved in the film figured they could keep Hereafter from turning ghost-story hokey by making it grounded, beautiful and matter-of-fact. And it sort of works. There are no inadvertent giggles here; it just doesn't add up to enough, after.
  8. The movie is crisp and contemporary enough to inaugurate another franchise for Statham.
  9. The broad comedy clashes with the movie's final message: that 6,000 girls face genital mutilation every day.
  10. The only character who stands out is a relentlessly clowning man-child named Taloche (James Thierree), but only as a symbol for the irrepressible spirit of an entire people.
  11. 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.
  12. The movie has more sensibility than sense, but it seems cunning next to such silly tough-girl fare as "Kick-Ass" and "Sucker Punch."
  13. Historical records being what they are, the filmmakers are forced to speculate about certain things, but where facts are known they generally adhere to them.
  14. The dude with the blond mane and bulging biceps clearly owns that hammer. And when the screenplay gives him something besides arrogance to work with, he owns the movie too.
  15. An entertaining concert film, but not an incisive character study.
  16. Puzzle has some gentle fun with the clash of staid and hip.
  17. Evincing more visible intelligence than any of his human co-stars aside from Lithgow, Caesar is disquietingly lifelike.
  18. A documentary that focuses rigorously on process and atmosphere at the expense of context and engagement.
  19. One Day ends up fatally compromised by its glib recourse to death and cancer as moral wake-up calls.
  20. Circumstance is best during its simpler, more naturalistic moments. In one, Mehran rebuffs a junkie who stumbles into the mosque, only to see that an Islamic hardliner is more compassionate.
  21. The good news about Outrage, his grisly return to the genre, is that Kitano doesn't have to shake the rust off - his impeccable compositions and clean, minimalist sound design are still calibrated for maximum impact. Even as dozens of bodies pile up, each act of violence feels as bracing as the sound of a gunshot ripping through the night air.
  22. It was frantic sex that earned Shame an NC-17 rating, but this arty drama is mostly slow and methodical. And thoroughly unsexy.
  23. For all their brutality, the fights are so seductive and exciting that their consequences - the physical and mental toll exacted from the men and their families - sometimes fail to register.
  24. Long on hero worship and woefully short on insight, Lula: Son of Brazil oozes good intentions, but it wouldn't look out of place in a retrospective of early Soviet workerist cinema.
  25. Following up his acclaimed debut feature "Down Terrace," a gangster drama that also mixed genre shocks with dark comedy and explosive family spats, Wheatley gives Kill List a discordant tone that makes it feel like a horror film even when it isn't.
  26. Best of all is the half-surreal, half-touching scene of the couple ordering Chinese delivery - needless to say, the tip is sizable - and inviting the courier to Skype his family one last time and share in a moment of common humanity.
  27. An incestuous payoff might be expected, given the casting of Green; she first attracted widespread attention in Bertolucci's "The Dreamers," as a young woman who is unusually close to her brother. But whatever happens, Womb is more melancholy than erotic.
  28. After nearly 90 minutes of human folly, though, Surviving Progress can't very well conclude with a tribute to mankind. So, to end on a hopeful note, the movie turns to a chimp.
  29. The protagonists of Late Bloomers have a problem, but it's not that they're getting older. Their dilemma is that they're reacting so differently to aging.
  30. Ultimately, this intriguing but scattershot movie turns on the incompatibility of two worldviews - the corporate-financial vs. the environmental-spiritual.

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