Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,949 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 70% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 27% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 The Madness of King George
Lowest review score: 0 Isn't She Great
Score distribution:
3949 movie reviews
  1. If the arrival of The Crow - a visually dazzling and hyperkinetic action movie - is an occasion to mourn the loss of Lee, it is also ample reason to celebrate the protean gifts of its director, Alex Proyas.
  2. In effect, The Client is a clever and pliant variation on the classic Hitchcock situation that puts a kid, instead of an adult, between the authorities and villainous criminals.
  3. Forget the end and there is much to enjoy here.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  4. The raw emotions on display need no translation. David Mackenzie directs the film in a piercingly realistic style. His ingenious decision to forgo a score makes Starred Up even more immersive, because all you hear is the dehumanizing din of prison.
  5. A challenging film populated with characters who are depressed, on antidepressants, or strung out on mood-altering drugs, The Dead Girl is a downer with resonance.
  6. Populaire plays like a musical - you expect anyone, at any time, to break into song.
  7. Mild but engaging romance.
  8. Buoyed by the appealing Hart and Grenier.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  9. A conventional, button-pushing but emotionally affecting tale.
  10. A satisfyingly screwy New York story.
  11. At times soppy, sentimental and shamelessly romantic, at other moments bursting with clever barbs -- and now and then zooming in on something telling and poignant -- Love Actually is just about impossible to dislike.
  12. Silva expertly maintains the tension, asking the audience to interpret Raquel's bizarro behavior. His diagnosis is a pleasant surprise.
  13. Closer, in the end, lacks a certain heft. The language and the actions of the characters are brutal and devastating. The movie itself, a little too nice.
  14. Jurassic World, like its genomed nemesis, is bigger, and it is pretty scary. But it's not nearly as cool, or as smart, as "Jurassic Park."
  15. Hate, love, bigotry, empathy and chance are the uninvited guests at Monster's Ball.
  16. Digging for Fire, like last year's "Happy Christmas" (also with Kendrick) and 2013's "Drinking Buddies" (with Johnson and Kendrick), is not a film for fans of taut, crafted dialogue and definitive endings. Conversations drift and weave, as do the people having them. Narcissistic melancholy dukes it out with beer-and-pot-stoked merriment. There is longing. There is foolhardiness.
  17. A perfectly lovely, if uninspired, movie that suffers from following on the trotters of "Babe," the one about the piglet advocate of barnyard brotherhood.
  18. With its icy symphonic score (courtesy of Iceland’s Johan Johansson) and a palette of rainy-day colors, Arrival is at once majestic and melancholy. It’s a grand endeavor, and Adams, at the center of it all, brings pluck and smarts and a deep-seated sorrow to her role. This is her movie, no doubt.
  19. By turns rowdy and rueful, The Switch is a comedy with serious ramifications, not least of which is the question, what makes a family?
  20. Bayona's moves are deft, the atmosphere oozes with anxiety and grief, but the big payoff - like the big payoff in The Sixth Sense, another film The Orphanage has more than a bit in common with - never comes.
  21. I was with the movie until its head-scratcher of an ending, too oblique for its own good.
  22. While the characters are B-movie thin, the dialogue standard-issue, and the CG and matte effects only passable at best, it's undeniable fun to behold the likes of serious thespians Hawke and Dafoe slumming around in this cheeseball stuff.
  23. Fans of Brooks and his wry, dry neuroticism will not be disappointed as he whines and whimpers around New Delhi.
  24. All of the elements that made The Matrix a mass-cult phenom -- breathtaking physical gymnastics wedded to the brain-cramping mental and spiritual kind -- resurface in Reloaded.
  25. At its best, Nanny McPhee Returns has the playful surrealism of "Babe," if "Babe" had been directed by Terry Gilliam.
  26. The story hooks us because stars Helen Mirren and Julie Walters look as fetching in woolens and Wellingtons as they do in the altogether. But it reels us in because it is about people who for so long have paid lip service to making a difference that they are profoundly altered when they actually do.
  27. All Muppet capers, whether they involve low comedy or high seas, require the romantic conflict of Kermit and Piggy. Fortunately, the frog and the pig are worth waiting for. And like all great thespians, they leave you wanting more. [16 Feb 1996, p.3]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  28. A crowd-pleaser of immense proportions.
  29. Hysteria is a romantic comedy, not an erotic one.
  30. Beautifully photographed by Crystel Fournier, Sciamma's film has a floaty weightlessness (as opposed to the heavyosity of "Boys Don't Cry") that neither judges nor pathologizes Laure.
  31. Sure, there are holes in The Manchurian Candidate, and tenuous coincidences and too-convenient plot devices. But Washington, Schreiber, Streep and company - and Demme - have managed to make all the malevolent machinations seem relevant again.
  32. A gut-punch of a movie, a potent, mesmerizing drama.
  33. The real reason to see this slight but interesting documentary is to watch and listen to the radiant Aury.
  34. A little gem that's everything a fine independent film used to be.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  35. A jubilee for McDormand and jolly good fun for most everyone else.
  36. The film is plush and passionate and graced with elegant performances. Best is that of Emma Thompson as Brideshead's matriarch, Lady Marchmain, who resembles a cross between Helen Mirren's Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict.
  37. If all this sounds like too much whimsy to bear, be forwarned. There is whimsy everywhere.
  38. One of those movies where it's impossible not to find yourself cheering for the scruffy underdog hero.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  39. A chick movie? Well, yes, but it's a whole lot cooler than that one with the "Ya-Ya's" in the title.
  40. Frozen establishes a strong, confident tone: Cool mythology, rich, vivid animation, and 3-D effects that are actually worth seeing, not just migraine-inducing distractions.
  41. This furry family comedy about a boy and his border terrier is irresistible, if not exactly in the league of "Babe."
  42. Despite its title, The Exploding Girl is an oddly tranquil experience.
  43. Fascinating and strangely involving piece.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  44. Ranging in age from 30 to 96, the Berlevag men clearly enjoy being on camera and are unusually candid about their various pasts as Casanovas and hashish addicts.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  45. Fast Food Nation picks up, and drops off, various members of its cast, sometimes without a satisfying resolution. But its final scenes, inside a real working meatpacking plant, on the killing floor, are brutally to the point.
  46. At its best it is one of the most dynamic movies from a most dynamic filmmaker, now 76.
  47. But the ending, at once ambiguous and obvious, is a letdown -- a frustratingly literal-minded, or literary-minded, conceit.
  48. Maybe it's just the subtitles, but it would seem that Fontaine has a keener eye for the elements that made Chanel's style than she has an ear for dialogue. But she gets a splendid performance from Tautou.
  49. Morel and his crew certainly know how to stage action: the fight scenes and shootouts, the stairwell pursuits and motorway mayhem, are as good, if not better, than anything to come out of Hong Kong in a long time.
  50. Quite literally the blockbuster of the year.
  51. Jolie's Maleficent is magnificent.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Heartbreaking and sometimes dazzlingly effective, the film still has flaws -- most of them in a too-often-maudlin script.
  52. A pink-collar "Sex and the City" made urgent by the performance of Nathalie Baye.
  53. Irreverent, provocative and provoking.
  54. Einsteinian, Kubrickian, Malickian, Steinbeckian - Interstellar, Christopher Nolan's epically ambitious space opera, is all that. And more. And, alas, less.
  55. A remarkably weird and wonderful exercise in psychological terror featuring a virtuoso performance by Scottish actor James McAvoy.
  56. This unassuming and unexpectedly moving picture set in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood is a sugarplum-and-sofrito affair centering on the Rodriguez household.
  57. Push has a cool, sinewy style, energy to burn.
  58. Handles the strained daddy/daughter bond with sufficient lightness and laughs so that fathers won't mind accompanying their spawn.
  59. Compulsively entertaining documentary.
  60. Michael Keaton has this incredible, I’m-at-the-edge-of-the-abyss look that should be taught as "the hangdog" in drama school.
  61. Graced with unusually expressive and seamless voice work by Drew Barrymore and George Lopez, the best of its kind since "Babe."
  62. Pulp fiction doesn't come much better than Cold in July, a gritty, grisly - and perversely giddy - crime yarn directed by Pottstown-born indie-film provocateur Jim Mickle.
  63. As directed by the stupendously talented and aggressively eccentric George Miller (creator of Mad Max and producer of the first Babe), Pig in the City is far busier and faster than the original, which was directed by Chris Noonan. This has some benefits. [25 Nov 1998, p.D1]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  64. While I much liked The Duchess, this portrait feels unfinished.
  65. A running joke about hipster clichés is tiresome, and the movie's plot threads are uneven. But watching Field work her magic is so delightful.
  66. They're not exactly Richard Linklater's "Before" trilogy, but French filmmaker Cédric Klapisch's "Spanish Apartment" movies - 2002's "L'Auberge Espagnole," 2005's "Russian Dolls," and now, Chinese Puzzle - have their devotees, too.
  67. With its clever structure and pacing, its range of emotional notes, and its remarkable use of magic realism, The 9th Life of Louis Drax makes for an absorbing and memorable mystery.
  68. Betrayal is at the heart of this story, but also dreams of liberty and a life where all people are treated with respect.
  69. A triumph for Cheadle and Sandler, whose performances strew the seeds of regeneration.
  70. An edgy, disturbing drama.
  71. A gloriously tacky horror movie with an inclination toward the occult, The Mother of Tears hails from the Italian schlockmeister Dario Argento, who photographs his Euro movie star daughter, Asia Argento, with something more than paternal pride.
  72. You go to a Daniels movie not to be entertained, but edified. While not everyone goes to the movies for self-improvement, you will leave this one having witnessed phenomenal acting.
  73. Is Steve Jobs a great film? I don't think so. It's an achievement, certainly, full of Sorkin flourishes, breathtaking and brilliant one-liners that reveal a lot about the characters who deliver them.
  74. Filmmaker Kormákur orchestrates all this with broad strokes and winking intrigue, although the line between hambone melodrama and irony-tinged satire gets walked across a few too many times.
  75. The film delivers what it promises - an education and a thrill.
  76. A one-of-a-kind experience that boasts a twice-in-a-lifetime performance from Nicolas Cage. The actor has not gone this deep into the abyss since "Vampire's Kiss" (1989).
  77. Throughout, Bergsholm's poker-faced performance creates the effect that we are watching the misadventures of an actual teenager. It may be a slight comedy but Turn Me On, Dammit! is enormously entertaining.
  78. The 85-year-old Chilean-born auteur returns this week with his latest directorial attempt, The Dance of Reality, an intensely personal, deeply felt, if at times solipsistic autobiographical work about his childhood in Tocopilla, a seaside town at the edge of the Chilean desert.
  79. Great as Whitaker is in this juicy slab of Oscar bait, Macdonald's movie doesn't have much to offer beyond a pair of stunning performances, propulsive editing, fantastic scenery and the heartbeat rhythms of African music.
  80. It's a bloodsucker's paradise.
  81. Kill Your Darlings is a tale of inspiration, then, but also a tale of jealousy, obsession, homophobia, and homicide. It's a whirlwind. Even if it doesn't all hang together, it's worth the ride.
  82. A spare document featuring one talking head. But what a talking head and what a story!
  83. This peripatetic farce practically propels itself.
  84. Though I liked Love's unhurried pace and oddball digressions, its obligatory romantic-comedy resolution seemed too schematic for what had preceded it.
  85. Ripe with homoeroticism, but also with what the director — who made the film after recovering from a stroke a few years back — calls "the scent of murder."
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  86. It's got one of the best kisses in movie history: Spidey, hanging upside down, delivers an open-mouth smooch to Mary Jane, a lip-lock for the ages.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It's a compelling piece of propaganda that argues for Shakur, whose 1996 murder in Las Vegas at age 25 remains unsolved, as a complicated individual, ambitious artist and magnetic personality by using the most persuasive weapons at its command: Tupac himself.
  87. Sunshine Superman, named for the Donovan song, is about more than just Boenish. It's about the power of the image, something that Strauch uses to great effect.
  88. Her (Chadha) film tastily demonstrates that variety is the spice of not only American life, but of American cuisine.
  89. As a director, Cassavetes is a keen observer of character and social interaction but not yet much of a visual stylist (which might also describe the improvisational dramas made by her actor/director father, John).
  90. Sure, it's a skewed view through adolescent eyes, but it's one that still speaks to the aspirations, agendas, image-making and spin control behind a real, grown-up political election.
  91. The result is visually inventive, narratively edgy, and unlike anything else.
  92. An undeniable and, indeed, unprecedented technical feat that's a feast for the eye, Dinosaur is less easy on the ear.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  93. A weird fusion of blaxploitation and American indie, built on a template of old-style, follow-your-dream Hollywood drama. But it works - sometimes magnificently.
  94. A charming, warm-hearted Swedish dramedy about the redemptive power of neighborly love.
  95. Much as I enjoyed this diversion, I couldn't help but think that The Princess and the Frog had better songs and (hand-painted) animation, and that Mulan was a ripping adventure that didn't need tweaking to qualify as an action flick.
  96. Has a glorious good time satirizing the extravagant lengths to which the military and intelligence establishments will go if they think there's a payoff at the other end.
  97. Alvarez triumphs because he made one crucial decision: Avoid digital animation and use only practical in-camera special effects. He uses every trick from classic Hollywood and invents a few of his own.
  98. Director John Crowley trots his crew around London, working up a suitable amount of suspense. And paranoia.

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