NPR's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,025 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 Boyhood
Lowest review score: 0 This Means War
Score distribution:
1,025 movie reviews
  1. It seems almost odd to talk of performances when they're as natural and unforced as they are in Boyhood, but they're fascinating, with the adults nearly as physically altered by time as the kids.
  2. It is Ejiofor — bewildered, sorely tested, morally towering — whose staggered dignity anchors the film.
  3. Cuaron and his son Jonas have felt the need not just to come up with ways to keep the characters talking — there's even a mildly sneery reference to NPR at one point — but to brush in backstory and motivation, quite as if the peril of being isolated in space with a limited supply of oxygen weren't sufficient rationale for the characters' actions.
  4. Terrific entertainment - an unlikely thriller that makes business ethics, class distinctions and intellectual-property arguments sexy, that zips through two hours quicker than you can say "relationship status," and that'll likely fascinate pretty much anyone not named Zuckerberg.
  5. Was the death of Osama bin Laden worth the moral price, the compromised ideals? The filmmakers could hardly avoid raising those questions, but they pointedly leave them for the audience to answer. This is not a triumphant story in their telling, but it is one uncommonly freighted with the weight of history.
  6. A film that captures the drama and suspense of real life as urgently as any picture released this year.
  7. Turner's painting of the scene, The Fighting Temeraire will, in fact, become his masterpiece. As Mr. Turner is Mike Leigh's — a growling, snuffling, earthy work of art, every frame worthy of framing.
  8. Delpy and Hawke have never been more persuasive. Nor has the series.
  9. The adrenaline rush of war has been largely missing from Hollywood's Iraq, but it's certainly front and center in The Hurt Locker, the first war movie in a while that feels as if it could have starred John Wayne.
  10. The first hour of Wall-E is a crazily inventive, deliriously engaging and almost wordless silent comedy of the sort that Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton used to make.
  11. Most of the dialogue is invented, but the sweep of events is genuine.
  12. At his provocative best, though - in his brilliant, gorgeous 2009 film "The White Ribbon," a study of the roots of fascism in domestic tyranny, and now in Amour - Haneke implicates us in the full range of human capacity.
  13. In a movie set up to trap us within Llewyn's repetitive loop of failure, baiting us with hope before quashing it with quiet desperation again and again, something more than comic relief is needed to soften the blow a little, and the film's musical interludes are that pillow.
  14. Seriously, one of the most jaw-dropping revelations occurs halfway through the final credits. All of which makes the stories Sarah Polley tells in Stories We Tell an enormously intriguing lot.
  15. 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.
  16. On its face, Winter's Bone, like "Down to the Bone," is a bleakly realist drama about a community decimated by poverty and hopelessness, yet bound together by deep ties of class, gender and blood.
  17. If you pay close attention, there's also an exhilarating evocation of how art is stubbornly made, and arbitrary authority put in its place, under the most confining conditions. Rene Magritte, whose famous pipe painting is slyly honored in the movie's title, would be jazzed.
  18. Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer is obviously treading on dicey moral ground here, empowering killers to tell their story when they've never been called to account for the barbarism that brought them to power.
  19. Quite aside from Shinto transformation parables or Buddhist reincarnation teachings, the final scene shows how family wisdom is conserved and recycled. It's a moment that might elicit a smile or a tear, or perhaps both.
  20. Doing a whole movie this way isn't unprecedented, of course. Hitchcock's "Rope" did it without digital trickery more than half a century ago. Still, it's a great cinematic stunt, even when you think you've found the hidden edits. And it makes Birdman as exhilarating a flight of fantasy as you're likely to see anytime soon.
  21. The delighted gasps in the theater will make you glad you took a chance on The Artist. Silent black-and-white movies are not coming back, but this one is such a rewarding labor of love by all of the artists involved that it just might make you wish they could.
  22. It's the relationship between the two men that makes the film work: Geoffrey Rush's teacher cracking the quip, and Colin Firth so persuasive as the panicky king that by the time he gets to his crucial speech about going to war, you'll be panicking right along with him.
  23. As odd as it sounds, director Ruben Ostlund manages to make Tomas's crisis of masculinity — his not having lived up to expectations that even he shares — as funny as it is appalling.
  24. Beneath the noirish topicality of Elena, which won a special jury prize at Cannes last year, lies a bone-deep existential unease and spiritual alienation, a preoccupation with sin that is at once quintessentially Russian and wholly archaic.
  25. 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.
  26. You don't have to believe in the transmigration of souls to fall languorously in love with the Thai film that won the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival.
  27. The Kid With a Bike feels as vulnerable as Cyril's unformed character. Within its tight 87 minutes, not a lot happens, unless you count the saving of a life.
    • 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.
  28. There's nothing unexpected in this well-made picture, aside from the name of the director: Takeshi Miike.
  29. 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.

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