Philadelphia Daily News' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 69 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 57% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Lady Bird
Lowest review score: 25 The Snowman
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 69
  2. Negative: 5 out of 69
69 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The Big Sick is romantic and funny, but the movie is way too sprawling and ambitious to be contained by the words romantic comedy.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Well, the movie is trippy and almost willfully opaque — all I can say for sure is I left A Ghost Story feeling full.
  8. 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.
  9. It is often a captivating visual marvel, using newfangled special effects in ways that aspire more to the poetic than the kinetic.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. The actors make the most of Baumbach’s lively script.
  13. Lucky, written as a tribute to Harry Dean Stanton, ends up being a fitting cinematic eulogy to the late actor, who died last month.
  14. When we finally leave the hotel, the movie’s energy is spent.
  15. The movie has things on its mind, like the expendability of labor in the modern workplace.
  16. 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).
  17. 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.
  18. Maslany is first-rate in this role.
  19. 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    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.
  20. Cathleen’s arc, initially front and center, starts to feel outweighed by the all-in performance of Oscar-winner Leo.
  21. It’s here that Sheridan’s genre instincts get the best of him, and Wind River gives way to lurid exploitation.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. For a movie that presents itself as formally inventive, developments in Brad’s Status are a little too easy to guess.
  28. The movie is an inventive and shrewd satire of the way social media can be used to describe and distort the lives of users.
  29. 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. It’s a good, quiet performance by Teller, and also by Bennett — her Saskia is welcoming but wary.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. Atomic Blonde is what fans of the Clash used to call a poser.
  47. 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.
  48. One of the best of the 16 Bond films, thanks to Dalton's athletic, tough and deadly new 007.
  49. 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."
  50. 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.
  51. While the movie initially adheres to the Chan brand — emphasizing athleticism over violence — it turns grisly and vicious in the closing scenes.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. The movie works reasonably well as a thriller but falls apart in other areas.
  56. What keeps the movie watchable, for the most part, are the one-off flourishes built around incidental characters.
  57. The chemistry between these two attractive people and fine actors is unaccountably bad.
  58. It’s an obvious formula, but when the movie sticks to it, it works well enough; Reynolds and Jackson have pretty decent chemistry.
  59. 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.
  60. The movie needs an editor, or a bartender, to remind the director when he’s hit the two-hour mark: Last orders, Mr. Vaughn.
  61. 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.
  62. It all feels flat-footed and pretentious.
  63. Fans can best enjoy the movie the way the bad moms make the best of the holiday: lots of alcohol, lots of forgiveness.
  64. Meyers-Shyer loves movies as much as the young men in Home Again and the best scenes reflect that.
  65. 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.
  66. Bay makes a lot of familiar moves here.
  67. The Snowman is reminder that movies are hard to make, highly collaborative, often chaotic, and hundreds of things can go wrong. Here, everything did.

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