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 4.3 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:
1,016 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On their own, Crystal and Jamie might be two of the worst road-trip companions imaginable; when one gets going, it's easy to identify with the other's frustration. But together — fueled by drugs, forced to share a space, separated from what they take for granted — they reconsider how they value the people who are not ... them.
  1. Marc Guggenheim's script is capable and funny, but the film's finest wit is vehicular.
    • 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.
  2. There is something weird about the twins, something that will fuel a bar room brawl until it goes quite literally global, that will let director Wright take a leap into another genre entirely and that will allow The World's End to spin into ever grander comic mayhem, even as it becomes a surprisingly effecting look at the folly of trying to recapture one's youth.
  3. Moors' film is at its best when it worries at notions of how evil is born, fostered and brought to bloom.
  4. Among other things, this powerfully confused man is a study in American extremity.
  5. All is Lost is as quiet as "Margin Call" was chatty; at a minimum, you might call this film a procedural. But like the best of the genre, its relentless focus on the material and the practical also gestures subtly at a life of the soul, however battered.
  6. They flail and they thrash, and Krokidas' film is just like them — as jazz-inflected and freewheeling as the Beat poetry these guys were about to unleash on the world.
  7. Director Stephen Frears, working from a book by the real Martin Sixsmith, isn't about to let the Irish church off the hook for a monstrous (and well-documented) chapter in its history. In flashbacks, he pictures the young Philomena as a sort of proto-Katniss, doing battle with a tyranny of nuns.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    More directly, In Bloom follows on 2012's "The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear," a documentary by Tinatin Gurchiani that offered bleak vignettes about the lives of young Georgians.
  8. Generation War holds the line admirably in showing how totalitarianism corrupts almost everything in its path, individual responsibility included, and creates an appalling space where sadists and conformists alike can flourish and break every rule of war at will.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Lego Movie maybe be one giant advertisement, but all the way to its plastic-mat foundation, it's an earnest piece of work — a cash grab with a heart. Made for, with and about Legos, the movie is also made for, with and about imagination, and when that association seems completely natural, it's a win all around.
  9. 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.
  10. The Lunchbox is a first feature for director Ritesh Batra, but it nicely captures the almost overwhelming crush and noise of contemporary India, and it plays cleverly and delicately with the tension of whether its two correspondents might eventually meet. Theirs is one "virtual" romance that has nothing to do with social media.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ernest & Celestine is a tale of found family, sweetly realized and supported by clever writing and talented voice work, but it's the animation that really makes this Academy Award-nominated movie
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Robert May, a producer on "The Station Agent" and "The Fog of War," makes his directing debut with a carefully measured, admirably precise account of this sordid business.
  11. 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.
    • 70 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. The filmmakers have been telling interviewers they have sufficient additional material for a whole other movie. And The Dog is eye-opening enough to make you kind of hope that's true.
  15. What's not fictional in their Trip to Italy is the gorgeous Italian coastline director Michael Winterbottom has them romping through, or the food they barely notice (though it'll have you famished by film's end), or the yacht they commandeer, bellowing all the while ...
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. The film plays by genre rules - explicit gore included - even as it turns them on their severed head.
  20. Stylistically unremarkable, playing it safe with structure, the film is still quietly revelatory.
  21. 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.
  22. Probably the most artful of the Apatow Factory comedies so far, but that's not to suggest it doesn't take being sweetly dumb just as seriously as the rest.

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