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 Incendies
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1064 movie reviews
  1. The trick to enjoying The Town, Ben Affleck's follow-up to his impressive 2007 directing debut, "Gone, Baby, Gone," is to expect nothing but pulpy entertainment.
  2. What the women are there for in Listen Up Philip is to be truth-tellers to these childish novelists — especially Philip's eventually assertive girlfriend, who ends up using his books as coasters in a long (and welcome) mid-movie detour from the story of his self-involvement.
  3. It's not the artistry of X-Men: First Class that's particularly striking; though it's finely crafted, the film feels less the product of a visionary director than of the Marvel movies machine working at maximum efficiency.
  4. The script I did question; it takes awhile to get going, and it feels strangely flat at the very end. But in between, Lee is very skillfully employing cinema's most advanced digital techniques in the service of an adventure yarn that is gloriously old-fashioned - and often just glorious.
  5. Sleep Tight is a nifty little thriller that dances on the boundary between plausible and preposterous.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Killing Them Softly has more unruly energy, and less art-house pretension, than "The Assassination of Jesse James." Its disreputability does come with a faintly arty sheen sprayed on - the picture could be a little grubbier, but let's not split hairs, especially such nice, greasy ones.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Hide Your Smiling Faces is a striking companion piece to "It Felt Like Love," another recent coming-of-age story, this time about two young girls, from a first-time director. Hide Your Smiling Faces is not as dark as "It Felt Like Love," but like last year's "Sun Don't Shine," the films share a strong sense for the sinister, for how flirtations with new experiences, with excitement, carry a nerve-racking risk of disaster.
  6. 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.
  7. Douchebag has the intensity and taut circularity of a short story told with economy and style.
  8. For once in an American movie, the uplift feels earned.
  9. Writer-director Michael K. Roskam takes his time in revealing why Jacky needs to shoot up, but that LaMotta restlessness is unmistakable - this bull here can rage.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    One of the finest sequences is a "riff-off" between the boys and the girls, a West Side Story-style showdown that plays out with shards of songs instead of switchblades.
  10. As humane as it is disturbing.
  11. One of the big reasons Flight is so satisfying is that it moves with the no-frills, meat-and-potatoes conventions of a first-rate procedural while being awash in ambiguity.
  12. For as long as Park and Wasikowska keep it burbling, it's an intoxicating brew.
  13. Unfolding in somber tones and among hard surfaces, Arbitrage has the slickness of new bank notes and the confidence of expensive tailoring.
  14. The Safdies filmed with handheld cameras, an obvious affection for New York and its denizens, and a script that includes so much structured improvisation that it's hard to imagine any of the dialogue was actually written down. Not surprisingly, the result is a character study with an almost documentary feel to it.
  15. If Ken Loach and Roberto Benigni went into a bar, drank themselves into a stupor and emerged the next morning with a screenplay, it might look a lot like The Misfortunates.
  16. At its best, The Fighter takes on the chasm between televised boxing and its mostly working-class, aspirational origins with grit and intelligence.
  17. Resolutely descriptive, It Felt Like Love doesn't exactly have a plot, which feels absolutely right for a film whose elliptical yet intensely focused visual style seem to flow directly from Lila's consciousness.
  18. 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Such an of-a-piece series of visual monuments in one year means that Ain't Them Bodies Saints has a pretty strong chance of striking some viewers as cliched or affected. Its golden-hour cinematography and persistent awe-and-wonder score sit precariously between stirring and obtrusive, inspiring and derivative.
  19. The Taviani brothers, Paolo and Vittorio, have been blurring the line between reality and fiction in their films for six decades.
  20. 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.
  21. Promoting understanding and appreciation of the beauty of the bees and our intertwined relationship with them is also presented as a vital part of the equation.
  22. Even were it not so delightful, Damsels in Distress, set at a fictional upper-crust college, would deserve a watch for its dialogue alone.
  23. The film's timing, in short, could hardly be more resonant. And DuVernay's most remarkable accomplishment may be that with such passion inspiring material, she has made such a measured, resolute and levelheaded film.
  24. This Lincoln isn't an abstracted, infallible ideal, but rather a deeply conflicted, often lonely leader simply trying to do the right thing - even if that means few wrong things along on the way.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Hong's fast-and-loose narrative silliness does require a certain amount of patience from the viewer. Plot details conflict, and assumptions about a character's role and relationships will probably be upended - but all to fascinating or greatly comic effect.
  25. Robert Cenedella, the titular painter in the briskly entertaining new documentary Art Bastard, is a New York artist who has spent years battling the New York art establishment. To be clear, he is a bastard, in that he was born to parents who weren't married. But also in that he's an inveterate troublemaker — a mocker of other artists — who can be a thorn in the side of even people who are trying to help him.

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