Philadelphia Daily News' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 148 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 After Auschwitz
Lowest review score: 25 The Snowman
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 148
148 movie reviews
  1. Suffice it to say, there is a good deal for Buckley to do, and she does it. In a year of memorable and unnerving female characters, she makes Moll stand out.
  2. A Man of His not a lecture. It conveys the pope’s concerns, certainly, but it also conveys his charm — his gentle, personal manner, his sense of humor (he quotes from the St. Thomas More joke book), his “charisma.”
  3. There are also Photoshopped aggregations of Bergen, Fonda, Keaton and Steenburgen, and though they were never actually grouped together when young, they register reasonably well here as lifelong friends. The movie rides entirely on their charm, not so much on the strength of the writing or the jokes.
  4. Here, Leitch uses brevity to do for witty action what it famously does for wit alone.
  5. Half the movie has a game McCarthy starring in scenes that live up to the promise of the movie’s title (’80s dance off! Bust a move!), and yet there are major plot points built around this same woman’s fear of public speaking. It has you longing for the narrative consistency of Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School.
  6. While the movie serves as a pleasant piece of nostalgia, it’s not very deeply felt, and mostly serves to remind us of other, better movies that have covered similar territory, like Adventureland.
  7. RBG
    Brisk and informative.
  8. The doggedly serious Disobedience might have been a more engaging movie if it had allowed itself to be governed by its own melodramatic passions.
  9. It’s barbed, bighearted, and brave.
  10. It all adds up to a bicultural comedy that is good-natured if not especially or consistently well-written. The movie takes too long to get moving, stays a tad too long, and efforts to retrofit the movie as a vehicle for Derbez come at the expense of Faris, a talented comedian who has very little to do here.
  11. The Endless works on its own modest spooky-kooky terms, and also as a rumination on life’s ruts and patterns, best considered over a couple of beers.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    The movie clocks in at just under two hours and feels considerably longer. As it ticks on, it achieves an unlikely and perhaps not entirely unintentional feat: It makes Grace Jones kind of boring.
  12. The movie is mostly gore free and tame by the standards of modern horror movies, and some of the familiar visual touches borrow greedily from the James Wan school. But it’s smartly written and well-acted.
  13. It all adds up to a handsome, engrossing slice-of-life movie with the feel of a Western, inventive and unique. The Rider desegregates a genre that typically presents cowboys and Indians as separate and opposing forces – archetypes unified here in one remarkable individual.
  14. Kean inherited these subjects from his earlier documentary Swimming in Auschwitz, and has said that gender informs the film – the women are particularly attuned to the emotional nuance of the survival story, which comes through beautifully.
  15. Characters overflow on the screen, crowding out emotional investment, and there is a severely misplaced emphasis on the power of special effects — many characters appear to be entirely digitized, and none has much screen impact.
  16. The problem isn’t that the humor is inappropriate, it’s that after almost two decades, it isn’t as funny.
  17. Lean on Pete is life affirming in that it affirms life is hard and unforgiving.
  18. There are a few moments wherein Schumer has a chance to successfully deploy the brash, take-me-as-I-am persona she has cultivated on stage and in her starring debut, Trainwreck, but mostly the script shows signs of having been awkwardly retrofitted to accommodate the star and her brand.
  19. It’s not very deeply felt. Phoenix gives his all, but Ramsay plops us down in the middle of Joe’s breakdown, before we can get our emotional bearings. We figure out who he was — abused child, traumatized soldier – before we get a sense of who he is.
  20. In its last moments...Aardvark finds a groove.
  21. The internal logic of the movie is complex, confusing, and as a result the movie is not very much fun.
  22. Hamm is in his sweet spot here as a former hotshot now emptied of ideals and passion. Pike plays a woman who trades on being underestimated by men, and supporting pros like Whigham and Norris obviously enjoy working with better-than-average dialogue.
  23. Director Ferenc Török departs from the High Noon arc, and finds a way to end the movie with an invocation of violence, rather than an eruption of it. His final image, gruesome and evocative, is unforgettable.
  24. The ability of political power to impose narratives, says Chappaquiddick, has always been conditional on our willingness to believe them.
  25. Mostly what lurks around the edge of the action isn’t danger, but affection.
  26. Krasinski makes suspension of disbelief easy, and the movie mostly works — I can’t remember the last time I was in a movie theater so quiet.
  27. When the creatively blocked Giacometti stares at his canvas, cursing. He is literally watching paint dry, and so are we.
  28. At first the flippant tone of some of these scenes seems a bit off, but the movie (full of narrative curves) eventually makes tonal sense. The movie’s epilogue sends us out on a flat note, but Kirke, and her character, make an impression.
  29. Journey’s End makes no attempt to disguise the stage origins of the script. Instead, director Saul Dibb shows the physical dimension of the situation in a new way — much of the action occurs in the tunnels — it’s shot imaginatively in extreme low light,.
  30. Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One is competent, occasionally rousing entertainment that nonetheless left me a little bummed.
  31. The chief pleasure of Isle of Dogs is admiring its lovably tactile stop-motion creatures (more than 1,000 rendered characters, a stop-motion record) and meticulous backdrops, giving the movie a deep-focus depth of field uncommon to animation.
  32. The movie has metaphors to burn, and those looking for provocative commentary will surely find it. Foxtrot, though, is a slippery thing that resists easy categorization, and will reward viewers who wait until all of its secrets have been revealed.
  33. For Iannucci, who loves to mock the craven, unprincipled pursuit of power, the scenario is an antic delight and plays to his talent for hectic plot turns and (pardon the expression) rapid-fire dialogue.
  34. Foy is quite good in this role.
  35. As we watch this safely-under-the-speed-limit parade of lumpen suburban regularness, though, we begin to wonder if director Greg Berlanti (TV’s Arrow and Riverdale) has emphasized sexuality at the expense of personality. This kid makes Ferris Bueller look like a dangerous radical.
  36. Leisure Seeker leans heavily on the charm of its two veteran leads. Sutherland and Mirren work hard to establish John and Ella as a couple worth pulling for, even as we begin to suspect that what they want is to go out on their own terms.
  37. Like the personality-devoid video-game version of Croft, Vikander’s take is bland. Like the game, the movie develops her skills and stamina more than her personality, leaving Croft to be a kind of blank slate so viewers can attach their own identity. While that works in games because characters are avatars for players, Uthaug’s apparent use of a similar technique here is tedious.
  38. The actress had legendary power to charm men and women, and we suspect one of them may be Bombshell director Alexandra Dean. Early on, we hear biographers and fans tell us about something that “probably” happened, or that “may be apocryphal,” but it all becomes part of Bombshell‘s print-the-legend approach.
  39. Finley ends with a poetic epilogue that draws themes into focus, and gives voice to them. I’m not sure the movie fully earns it, but it does grab and hold your attention, thanks to the frighteningly good rapport between Taylor-Joy and Cooke.
  40. It’s a tough two hours, but director Zvyagintsev invites engagement by giving us more than a chronicle of dysfunction — he’s searching for its source.
  41. A wishy-washy exploitation movie, which doesn’t show any real verve until the climax.
  42. The movie is swimming with ideas, but it values concept over character to a problematic degree. The Cured maps out an increasingly elaborate set of internal rules that govern its characters without defining or deepening them.
  43. The movie’s distinguishing feature is its inclination to lurid violence. Every so often, a depraved Russian hit man shows up to murder and torture one of the characters, mostly to allow director Francis Lawrence to show yet another naked and brutalized woman splayed on a shower floor, or in a bathtub red with blood.
  44. Game Night is not the greatest comedy in the world, but it has a great grasp of the ingredient that makes comedy work, identified centuries ago as brevity.
  45. Graham has crafted some decent monologues for her characters.... But, even at a hair over an hour and a half, the movie would benefit from a good trim, one that might give the movie’s parallel romantic stories more shape and snap.
  46. Potter has assembled a good cast that gives the claustrophobic material some air — the theatrical drama is set in just a few cramped rooms, including the loo. Potter also chooses black and white, suggesting stark contrasts that blend, like the viewpoints of the characters, into shades of gray.
  47. Garland’s alien biodome is a trippy mixture of tactile old school hardware and computer-generated images. It combines to give his brightly ominous new world a sinister sheen, especially when showing how it has consumed/subsumed the old seaside community it has displaced.
  48. Black Panther sticks to Marvel orthodoxy, and yet does so with a nearly all black cast (Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis have small roles), and with strikingly Afro-centric production design. In the process it freshens and enlivens the Marvel brand.
  49. Stories about the way men and women negotiate sex, power, money, work and relationships — Anastasia ends up working for a company Christian owns — should make the Fifty Shades trilogy relevant and exciting. They are, somewhat mysteriously, the opposite of that.
  50. The movie is often whimsical, a tone augmented by clever use of special effects and sudden flourishes of animation. Offbeat soundtrack selections and effective music by composer Andrew Harris help set the mood — ultimately genial and hopeful, and the movie is short and sweet.
  51. The incident on the train accounts for just a few minutes of screen time — for another 90 minutes they’re in a flatlined buddy movie, without much help from Eastwood (he insisted they not train as actors) or the screenplay.
  52. What Kruger does is remarkable — showing Katja paralyzed with grief, but doing so in a way that does not paralyze the story.
  53. The animators have figured out horses and falcons and snakes, but human body movements are stiff, awkward, and mechanical.
  54. There is enough space for Bell and Bening to do some good work, particularly Bell, who has more to chew on here than anything he’s done since Billy Elliot.
  55. Director Wes Ball allows nearly every scene to overstay its welcome.
  56. Gudegast is using the Heat homage the way a magician uses a flourish — to distract you from the other story he’s telling. I confess to getting a kick out of watching it play out.
  57. In essence, it shows that what the “horse soldiers” did was pretty remarkable — efficient, daring, effective.
  58. The movie also trumpets hometown values, and makes fun of the way Liam’s wealth and fame have insulated him from simple pleasures of small-town life (underlined by director Bethany Ashton Wolf’s cozy visual presentation). The movie pokes fun at his materialism, when it’s not indulging in it.
  59. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread is a cockeyed love story that starts as weirdly as it ends.
  60. Spielberg and Co. are obviously excited to be making The Post, and that palpable enthusiasm makes the movie feel so unusually lively for a big-studio movie. It’s nimble, crisp, passionate, full of verve and invention.
  61. What is Cooper after here? He seems to want us to gasp at the naturalistic horror of it all, drawn from history and accompanied with the sober denunciation of actual frontier massacres (Blocker is a veteran of Wounded Knee), but the parade of grotesque violence (murders, rapes, suicides) suggests something more surreal, less literal.
  62. Aaron Sorkin’s entertaining new film is a tough, smart look at the way some Hollywood heavyweights treat women. Spoiler: not well. But it’s also more than that – it touches on broader legal and labor issues and systems that disadvantage women everywhere, in different ways.
  63. Williams and Plummer are fine, yet for all their efforts the movie endures a strangely listless first hour. The kidnapping and subsequent investigation feel under-plotted, highlighting Wahlberg’s curiously inert presence in the movie.
  64. Chalamet and Hammer map this progression expertly.
  65. The movie is a pitch-black comedy, told with a wink and a smirk by unreliable narrators, who include Harding, her mother, and her husband — all presenting self-serving versions of the truth, often standing in arch contrast to the images we are shown.
  66. Although the sci-fi trappings of Downsizing make it seem like a big departure from Payne’s previous work — The Descendants, Sideways, About Schmidt — it is the same in important ways. It’s a movie about a man suddenly separated from people he’s loved, trying to learn how to live again.
  67. The Jumanji reboot Welcome to the Jungle is a happy surprise — a movie that turns out to be good (almost clean) fun, and is much more interested in character and comedy than special effects.
  68. As the movie explores Nye’s family history, we do see just how intertwined the threads of thinking and emotion can be.
  69. Churchill, by way of Darkest Hour, hands the actor some of the best speeches of his career, and Oldman brings them vividly to life.
  70. Del Toro somehow manages to keep the deeply weird mash-up of ideas and images coherent, unified by style and mood.
  71. These sequels trade directly on the emotional legacy of the originals (The Last Jedi makes some leaps into sentimental hyperspace, particularly in the way that it handles Fisher on-screen), and the more of the aged Luke and Leia we see, the more we chip away at the mythic power of characters as Lucas left them: Young, strong, immortal.
  72. A very sloppy piece of work, apart from the cinematography, which is pretty, and the Mills Brothers songs, which are fantastic.
  73. The Disaster Artist really hangs on James Franco’s performance. He’s an uncanny mimic of Wiseau’s legendary accent and mannerisms, but what he really nails is Wiseau’s complete lack of self-awareness.
  74. A movie that could have been about loss and defeat becomes something else — a testament to spiritual stamina, to the power of family bonds and their importance to homes, to streets, to neighborhoods and to cities.
  75. What does work is Washington’s subtle, authentic, meticulous work as a walled-off, neurodiverse man.
  76. The movie is antic, bouncing frantically from one story element to another, and poor Stevens, looking electrocuted and sleep-deprived, plays Dickens like the Man Who Invented Meth.
  77. It’s a remarkable performance by McDormand, matched by Rockwell.
  78. In general, Coco is the kind of first-rate technical production you expect from Pixar. On the other hand, it often feels more frantic than exciting, and it counts on moments of humor that often do not materialize.
  79. Cowriter and director Dee Rees (Pariah, Bessie) does a skillful job making us feel these inequities as they take place over time and become the fabric of lives, the basis of the assumptions people make about race and culture — the way things are.
  80. Last Flag Flying lacks the casual, lived-in realism you usually find in a Linklater film. You don’t buy the men as long-separated pals, and so you don’t really buy the premise — the connection that caused Doc to seek out these men is not visible on screen.
  81. There are a few fearful moments when you think the movie will be a collection of affectations. But the characters are too real, Gerwig’s eye for the adolescent lives of young women too keen.
  82. A movie that succeeds as a tearjerker, if you can withstand those pushy moments (and there are a few) when it kind of makes you want to hate kindness.
  83. Flash provides some comic relief...Aquaman some terse tough guy laughs, but the jokes land stiffly, and Wonder Woman, recently the star of her own blockbuster movie, is back to being part of a superhero tag-team, taking turns in the end at beating on Steppenwolf.
  84. It is, in some spots, an emotional film thanks to the intimacy it shows between Gottfried and his family, but avoids being too saccharine. Thankfully, the comedian’s foul mouth probably helps the film from going too far into weepy territory.
  85. Cathleen’s arc, initially front and center, starts to feel outweighed by the all-in performance of Oscar-winner Leo.
  86. Branagh the actor finds a nice balance between Poirot’s colorful flourishes and his moral seriousness. Branagh the director gives the movie the same balance, and wants the audience to have as much fun as the actors, which is true more often than not.
  87. The movie also runs 2 hours, 20 minutes, which is a lot of dead samurai. The violence is often numbing, and the translations — the movie is subtitled — are sometimes as deadly as the swordsmanship. On the other hand, Blade of the Immortal is flat-out gorgeous. Widescreen, lush, beautiful.
  88. Lanthimos is not Euripides, and not capable of — or interested in — staging a tragedy. And his aim to make something horrifying or at least excruciating out of this scenario gets lost in the iciness of the presentation.
  89. Fans can best enjoy the movie the way the bad moms make the best of the holiday: lots of alcohol, lots of forgiveness.
  90. It’s a good, quiet performance by Teller, and also by Bennett — her Saskia is welcoming but wary.
  91. Wonderstruck, for all of it’s child-in-danger plotting, has a warmth that points (along with the title) to a safe and sentimental conclusion.... When it arrives, though, it lands with a curious lack of emotional impact — perhaps inevitable, given the nature of a story that seeks to connect characters who are rarely and sometimes never on screen together.
  92. It all feels flat-footed and pretentious.
  93. Forster does some interesting visual work here to suggest the perspective of a person who is (legally) blind, but in general, when your thriller requires the heroic intervention of an ophthalmologist, you’re in trouble.
  94. A few actors with limited range are asked to do too much. Still, it doesn’t stop the momentum of this engaging, humane little movie, which builds the moment when its internal worlds finally collide — Moonee’s self-willed magic kingdom, her mother’s less hopeful reality.
  95. The Snowman is reminder that movies are hard to make, highly collaborative, often chaotic, and hundreds of things can go wrong. Here, everything did.
  96. I give Goodbye Christopher Robin credit for presenting audiences with a Pooh origins story they might not want to see, but having settled on this subject, the movie seems uncertain how to proceed.
  97. Only the Brave has a respectful and heartfelt regard for its characters, and something more — an unusual sense of their spiritual lives, abetted by the movie’s impressive visual presentation.
  98. The movie works reasonably well as a thriller but falls apart in other areas.
  99. Marshall overcomes some early stiffness and flat-footed storytelling and evolves into an engaging courtroom drama, where witness-stand theatrics and Perry Mason flourishes give the movie needed narrative momentum.
  100. As usual, Hall is awesome. She has an effortless way of projecting ferocious female intellect, and we see why her character captivates Byrne. When Hall is on screen, the movie works.
  101. One of the movie’s goals is to grant neurodiverse subjects their full measure of humanity, and to that end, Dina is candid on the subject of sex, where the movie also finds its loose narrative arc.
  102. The actors make the most of Baumbach’s lively script.
  103. While the movie initially adheres to the Chan brand — emphasizing athleticism over violence — it turns grisly and vicious in the closing scenes.
  104. Lucky, written as a tribute to Harry Dean Stanton, ends up being a fitting cinematic eulogy to the late actor, who died last month.
  105. The chemistry between these two attractive people and fine actors is unaccountably bad.
  106. It is often a captivating visual marvel, using newfangled special effects in ways that aspire more to the poetic than the kinetic.
  107. Victoria & Abdul, though, is Dench’s show. She wrings dignity and humanity (and a good deal of comedy) from Lee Hall’s broadly drawn scenario, much as she did in this movie’s cross-cultural bookend, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."
  108. Seal, though, makes for a poor fall guy. Liman had it right in that first scene: The turbulence in Seal’s life was of his own making.
  109. The movie is often clumsily scripted, and given to caricature, which Carell and Stone manage to transcend. The best, most telling dialogue seems to be archival — snippets of Gollum-like broadcaster Howard Cosell, his arm around his female co-commentator, oafishly telling her how pretty she is.
  110. The movie needs an editor, or a bartender, to remind the director when he’s hit the two-hour mark: Last orders, Mr. Vaughn.
  111. Maslany is first-rate in this role.
  112. For a movie that presents itself as formally inventive, developments in Brad’s Status are a little too easy to guess.
  113. If nothing else, Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, mother!, will get you talking. Part psychological thriller, part anarchic horror flick, it is one of the strangest movies to come from a major studio in recent years — and Aronofsky seems to revel in that confusion.
  114. Meyers-Shyer loves movies as much as the young men in Home Again and the best scenes reflect that.
  115. It
    You almost wish the movie had jettisoned the horror elements entirely, and converted It into what it feels like it wants to be — something more like King’s Stand By Me, with a teen girl in the mix.
  116. It’s a quietly inspiring portrait of selflessness, although not always a stirring one. The movie has a muted tone that tamps down emotions, and the acting is intentionally low-key throughout.
  117. The movies may be frivolous (and stitched together from British TV shows), but they are unique — they have an astute understanding of mature male friendship that is rare, even in a male-dominated industry.
  118. The movie is an inventive and shrewd satire of the way social media can be used to describe and distort the lives of users.
  119. The movie pitches Connie’s behavior as the spur-of-the-moment improvisations of a hustler out to save his brother, often played for laughs, but a ruthlessness shows through. This adds a toxic tone to scenes that involve immigrants and minorities, though this is probably unintended.
  120. Patti Cake$, in the end, is a little pat, but it doesn’t take its underdog, band-of-misfits formula too far, and Macdonald’s infectious grit carries the day.
  121. The movie was (apparently) shot guerrilla style by director Weinstein, though the filmmakers have been coy as to which scenes were captured stealthily and which are dramatized. This leads to questions about tact and voyeurism that go unanswered and frankly made me a little queasy.
  122. It’s an obvious formula, but when the movie sticks to it, it works well enough; Reynolds and Jackson have pretty decent chemistry.
  123. The movie has things on its mind, like the expendability of labor in the modern workplace.
  124. Suffice it to say that as James is pushed into the real world, the real world is more than willing to meet him halfway, in a way that is touching and charming, and at the same time plausible.
  125. It’s here that Sheridan’s genre instincts get the best of him, and Wind River gives way to lurid exploitation.
  126. The Glass Castle is an unfortunately flat and messy adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ best-selling memoir about growing up with extreme poverty and with parents who both inspired and damaged her.
  127. What stands out, though, is the dynamic between Dana and Ali. It’s been some time since I’ve seen sisters drawn this well and this convincingly.
  128. Gore is his own form of renewable energy. He is tireless, never wavers in his devotion to his crusade — an apt term in “Truth to Power,” which invokes Pope Francis and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The movie’s money line has Gore (he repeats it in virtually every interview) invoking the Book of Revelation.
  129. I give Elba enormous credit for maintaining a straight face — he and Taylor account for the movie’s few good moments — but the silly script seems to have awakened the dormant ham in McConaughey.
  130. When we finally leave the hotel, the movie’s energy is spent.
  131. Lady Macbeth is a mash-up of a different sort — it’s not strictly Shakespeare, but based on a Nikolai Leskov novel that transplanted elements of the play to 1865 Russia. Like "Shanghai Knights," this film adaptation is a period drama, but the actions of the woman are faintly anachronistic — modern attitudes transplanted into 19th-century characters.
  132. Atomic Blonde is what fans of the Clash used to call a poser.
  133. It’s possible, even given Lee’s jaunty structure, that he could have given Girls Trip a more disciplined edit — the movie runs more than two hours, devotes generous time to less interesting characters, and makes room for the movie’s long roster of performance cameos — in addition to Hart, there’s P. Diddy, Common, Ne-Yo, Mariah Carey, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, and many others.
  134. The story is ridiculous, the digressions many, but it’s all intended to be part of the fun. Like Besson’s "The Fifth Element," we’re mainly meant to enjoy the sensation of watching wacky green-screen worlds unfold before us.
  135. Well, the movie is trippy and almost willfully opaque — all I can say for sure is I left A Ghost Story feeling full.
  136. Nolan fractures the narrative so that it loops back on itself — we see the events from the perspective of different characters and from different chronological vantage points, though the story coheres by movie’s end.
  137. The contributions of the actors now blend more seamlessly with the animation to create digital characters, and the characters are being integrated more successfully and believably into the landscape — director Matt Reeves works on a big widescreen canvas of sweeping, picturesque exteriors.
  138. The Big Sick is romantic and funny, but the movie is way too sprawling and ambitious to be contained by the words romantic comedy.
  139. Courtney and James have good chemistry, and the sexual candor of their scenes together comes as a bit of a surprise, given the costume-drama, art-house tone of the production, though perhaps this is just the residue of James’ "Downton Abbey" days.
  140. The movie is as bubbly and eager as Peter himself, but a little more efficient. It designs its actions sequences around character and story and — a rare thing in comic-book blockbusters — lets the actors act during the climactic action piece.
  141. What keeps the movie watchable, for the most part, are the one-off flourishes built around incidental characters.
  142. Dunst is playing it straight here, but there is enough arch in Kidman’s eyebrow to signal that Coppola is having fun around the edges of this Southern gothic, with its formal compositions and deliberate pacing (as usual, a little too deliberate for my taste).
  143. Hawkins — small and mighty as usual — draws her energy from the quiet courage in Maud’s drive to create, to modify and adorn her bleak world with the images that express the contentment she knew as a child.
  144. Some are born great, others achieve greatness, and in the documentary Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, we meet a musician who falls squarely in the latter camp.
  145. The movie is a little too postured.... Even Baby’s busy backstory threatens to make him a collection of quirky details. But all of that artifice is probably part of the point, best appreciated by generation Ear Bud and its preference for curated experiences.
  146. Bay makes a lot of familiar moves here.
  147. One of the best of the 16 Bond films, thanks to Dalton's athletic, tough and deadly new 007.

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