NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,000 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 59% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 The Past
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,000 movie reviews
  1. The climax Shortland offers us is much harder to take than Seiffert's gentler vision, yet far more evocative of the bitter price paid by the children of the Third Reich for the sins of their parents.
  2. According to Hava Nagila: The Movie, an infectiously high-spirited new documentary by Roberta Grossman, the most cornball song in the Jewish repertoire has a colorful history that has carried Ashkenazi Jews through the joy and sorrow of 150 years of being thrown around the world.
  3. What you'll carry away is the film's austere sympathy for the struggles of its benighted characters and its bleak conviction that justice and resolution mostly happen in movies.
  4. Leon isn't a flashy director, but he has an excellent sense of proportion. Gimme the Loot unfolds in a series of loose, funny, naturalistic scenes, but they never trail off into improvisational vapors.
  5. Running through the streets of New York for the sheer hell of it, Frances has the gift of joy to her very marrow. As for Greta Gerwig, I get the feeling she's just gearing up.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    The film takes a long road to spirituality, though, with plenty of stops for violence and perversion along the way. Like Abel Ferrara's "Bad Lieutenant," this story is determined to put core Christian principles to the harshest tests imaginable.
  6. Even the movie's title, or rather the source of it, is a surprise. Not to spoil the fun, but it's neither Assange nor one of his allies who nonchalantly acknowledges that "we steal secrets."
  7. Burshtein refuses to engage with the culture wars that flare fiercely between secular and religious types in Israel; in fact she's trying to avoid types of any kind, which may be why secular audiences and critics have embraced her rapturous depiction of a community living its life, more separate from than at odds with the society beyond.
  8. One thing Doueiri didn't get from Tarantino is smirky attitude; The Attack is sad and resigned, but also tender.
  9. Big Star was essentially Chris Bell's band, and emotionally, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is Bell's movie. Joining rock's dead-at-27 club via a 1978 car crash, he left behind a fine, then-unreleased album and two siblings who tell his story movingly. As they recount his final years, the sadness in Bell's songs comes to seem eerily prescient.
  10. The director makes clear that everyone means well — the headmistress, protective of her students; the parents, trying to shield children from things they shouldn't know about just yet; the investigators asking questions carefully, trying to see their way through ambiguous answers.
  11. The beguiling Computer Chess is about the dawn — one of many, but that's another story — of the tech revolution. It's also a reminder that you don't need state-of-the-art toys to make a formally playful comedy about man versus machine.
  12. Crialese is a sentimentalist at heart, but a fine one, and his compassion for the wretched of the earth is thrillingly amped by the movie's ecstatic imagery.
    • 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.
  13. Wadjda offers an interesting contrast to films made in Iran. Where the latter country has a long cinematic tradition, Mansour's is the first feature shot entirely in Saudi Arabia.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    A swift-moving, character-rich biopic whose kinetic Grand Prix sequences are constantly being overshadowed by genuinely riveting scenes of ... people talking.
  14. Only the genre's most studious followers will be able to watch Muscle Shoals without being regularly astonished: Even if it sometimes gets lost in its byways, Greg "Freddy" Camalier's documentary tells an extraordinary story.
  15. Mickle and co-writer Nick Damici gutted Grau's story to the bone. And they not only built something entirely new on that skeleton — they managed to equal and in many ways surpass the dark, bloody beauty of their source material.
  16. Costa-Gavras' film excels as a meticulously researched procedural that goes deep into the grime of greed, deception and cynical exploitation. But it is also a wickedly clever character analysis of a man more divided against himself than his preternatural calm suggests.
  17. McConaughey's flirty drawl and rowdy energy have never been put to better dramatic use than they are in Dallas Buyers Club.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    About Time is ... about time: It asks us to reflect on how we all use that resource, how the hours and minutes that make up a day or a life align with our intentions and values.
  18. Stranger by the Lake has become a psychosexually intriguing blend of Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" and William Friedkin's "Cruising" — one in which sex gets intertwined with murder, fear battles desire, and the police discover that voyeurs don't necessarily make good witnesses if no one ever exchanges names or phone numbers.
  19. The film's director, Sebastian Lelio, is up to all kinds of mischief, the least of which is Gloria's abundant hairdo and outsized spectacles, which give her a slight but unmistakable resemblance to Dustin Hoffman in Sydney Pollack's beloved 1982 comedy, "Tootsie." The movie puts her through hell, but make no mistake: Gloria is a celebration.
  20. Nathan's film gets at a difficult and sobering fact: Pug's world is one that often rewards only hard detachment and distrust. That's a cultural tradition perhaps even more entrenched than the dirt bikes, and one from which it's more difficult to find release.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    It's jaw-droppingly cool stuff, explained with admirable clarity by an affable physicist tour-guide, David E. Kaplan, and wedded to the tale of a massive technological undertaking like nothing in history. ("The biggest machine ever built by human beings," as one scientist puts it.) And it's flat-out thrilling.
  21. By the end of the film's scant 72 minutes, the conceit is on the verge of wearing out its welcome, but by then, it's created so much stomach-churning, quease-inducing, uproariously embarrassing humiliation for Trevor that it's become all but irresistible.
  22. Jack, as played by Andrew Garfield, comes across as agonized, desperately anxious to get things right -- something you might also say about the filmmakers, who have turned Boy A's very particular story into a scary, universal and wrenching social statement.
  23. A case is being made here that it wasn't really Frost who did Nixon in: It was Nixon's old nemesis, the TV camera.
  24. So relentlessly upbeat that it won't take long before you're wondering just how the director plans to wipe the smile off her face.
  25. Synecdoche, New York is one heck of a head-trip.

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