Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,403 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 5.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Up
Lowest review score: 0 Rambo
Score distribution:
3,403 movie reviews
  1. It's hard to know whether this is a function of the sympathetic screenplay or of Krieger's sympathetic direction - or both - but Celeste and Jesse are endearing even when they do unsympathetic things.
  2. A taut, understated minimalist masterwork.
  3. Beloved spans 45 years, shifting from Paris to Prague to London to Montreal, and it boasts an especially strong performance by Paul Schneider.
  4. David Ayer, the writer of "Training Day," director of "Street Kings," writer/director of "Harsh Times," does not make movies about princesses with witchy curses, about yuppie commitment-phobes, about talking plush toys. His territory is narrow, but he owns it: cops, in Los Angeles.
  5. Late in Looper, when a highly telekinetic kid starts levitating things, it really does look like Christopher Nolan had wandered onto the set and taken over.
  6. Argo's white-knuckle nail-biter of a climax takes liberties with how events played out in real life. But while Affleck and screenwriter Chris Terrio have opted to go Hollywood, it's high-class Hollywood, not the low-rent and exploitative route that the make-believe movie at the heart of this tale would have taken.
  7. DuVernay, a low-key director sparing in her use of emotion and music, has made an existential drama that is European in its feel.
  8. It can feel inchoate, dropping the viewer in the middle of events without much context, and it exacts an emotional toll. But its raw quality also makes it compelling viewing.
  9. Her life, and her work, transcended what we think of as "fashion."
  10. Flight is neither a simple story of heroism, nor one of a fallen hero. Things are more complex than that - and it is its complexities that make the film all the more rewarding an experience.
  11. Haunting and sad. And absolutely worth seeing.
  12. Never mind a few misguided casting choices; Lincoln is exceptionally good, elevated by a preternatural star turn, and by the energy and invention its director displays in telling a story that doesn't rely on action and special effects.
  13. Wake in Fright is essential viewing for anyone interested in the roots of male violence.
  14. Historical drama of the highest order - teeming with big ideas, and anchored by the nicely nuanced performances of Vikander and Mikkelsen.
  15. The shaggy, whimsical characters have a primal familiarity, as though they were developed by a tag team of Maurice Sendak and Walt Disney.
  16. Jolting, suspenseful, full of twisted sympathy for its goons' row of characters, and wickedly amusing to boot, Killing Them Softly summons up the ghosts of "Goodfellas" and a whole nasty tradition of crime pics. And then it lets its ghosts go, whacking and thwacking away.
  17. Murray and Linney are terrific together (and apart), their notes pitch perfect, and the supporting cast is good all around.
  18. Watts is extraordinary - she manages both the physical and emotional demands of the role, with soul-deep conviction.
  19. Side Effects, chilly and noirish, and boasting a wily performance from Catherine Zeta-Jones as a therapist who worked with Emily earlier in her adulthood, is, Soderbergh says, his swan song.
  20. With an attention to the telling detail that one finds in a great short story, Kiarostami guides Takanashi and Okuno - and then Kase - through the mischievous and melancholy tale. It is quiet. It is lovely. And it will stay with you for a long time.
  21. By the end of their arduous journey, Lore and her siblings are changed. But it's the kind of change that will take years, perhaps generations, to understand, to heal.
  22. No
    A political drama, a personal drama, a sharp-eyed study of how the media manipulate us from all sides, No reels and ricochets with emotional force.
  23. This is a story about legacy, the sins of the father, the restlessness in our souls. It's powerful, it's bold, it hits you hard.
  24. Dense, richly textured, and emotionally fraught - uplifting and devastating in equal parts - Shane Carruth's masterful sophomore effort is an abstract, elusive, but emotionally engaging love story that's more tone poem than drama.
  25. The action is exhilarating, the visual effects spectacular - and spectacularly realized.
  26. La Promesse is a compelling look at issues that - in a world where ethnic frictions grow more tense, even as national boundaries disappear - really are universal.
  27. Career Girls doesn't have the sweep of Secrets & Lies, nor the venom of Naked (which also featured the riveting Cartlidge). But in the small world it keenly describes, the film packs an emotional punch - silly voices and all.
  28. It's complicated. And it's fascinating.
  29. The result is a film that deeply engages us on multiple levels. Not only do we wonder what Maisie knows and how she knows it, we want to get this seedling to a place where she won't have to be transplanted every day.
  30. Burshtein keeps the camera tight on the faces of her actors in a way that succeeds at making visible the invisible heat between the characters. The film's chaste eroticism and the community's deep respect for Shira's emotional and spiritual growth keep the audience in thrall.
  31. Andre Techine creates living characters instead of sociopolitical symbols.
  32. Very few of us would like to think about the physical and emotional toll that life in captivity takes on these magnificent creatures. Gabriela Cowperthwaite's powerful, heartbreaking, and beautifully crafted documentary, Blackfish, forces us to do just that.
  33. Still Mine resonates in all the right ways.
  34. Drug War is a deeply intelligent, exhilarating and eminently satisfying adult crime story, one of the best thrillers you're likely to see this year.
  35. Rush, which marks a return to form (and more so) for Howard after plodding through adultery buddy movie comedies (The Dilemma) and Dan Brown sequeldom (Angels & Demons), is almost primal.
  36. Wadjda is a movie about freedom - and nothing represents freedom with the metaphoric simplicity and symmetry of a bicycle.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Muscle Shoals isn't perfect. Neither Bono nor Alicia Keyes has any business being in the movie, though Bono does wax poetic about the genius of the music recorded there, and Keyes teams with the Swampers for a strong performance of Dylan's "Pressing On."
  37. Marwencol is about Hogancamp and his miniature alter-ego, about his photographs and his creative process. But it is also, on a deeper level, about how we process our experiences - good and bad, violent and mysterious - and how we try to build safe places in our lives.
  38. How I Live Now takes some frightening, gruesome turns. In tone and terror, it comes close to matching the jumpy dread of Danny Boyle's British Isles virus thriller "28 Days Later."
  39. Rare, too, is the way The Broken Circle Breakdown incorporates music into its narrative. The songs - traditional bluegrass and country, and a clutch of new ones rooted in same - are as integral to the characters and their relationships as the dialogue.
  40. McConaughey's performance isn't just about the weight loss. It's about gaining compassion, even wisdom, and it's awesome.
  41. The Catholic Church does not come off well in Philomena, but then, what else is new? And the film isn't so much an indictment of institutional unkindness as it is a story of resilience, resolution - and human kindness.
  42. Baker's life, like his music, was as sad as it was beautiful. And Weber's movie - obsessed with Baker's image as much as with his songs - hits all the right notes.
  43. It is a yarn. But it's so full of passion, poetry, and humor that it becomes, for the time, quite real.
  44. Gloria, spare and keenly observed, plays like a short story - there is no sweeping narrative arc, no momentous triumph or calamity. But there is a bit of justice meted out, and the act of its meting brings a slow, small smile to Gloria's face.
  45. Kids for Cash is no-nonsense, no-stone-unturned filmmaking.
  46. This is a movie about friendship, about foolhardy endeavors that get your adrenaline going and make you feel life buzzing in your toes. Written with wit and concision and remarkable confidence, Bottle Rocket is a joyride worth taking.
  47. A deeply creepy and mysterious noir.
  48. "You have to be like a poet," Jodorowsky says at one point. "Your movie must be just as you think of it. . . . The movie has to be just like I dream it." What an extraordinary dream it could have been.
  49. This story of two very old souls who suck on O negative Popsicles is, in many ways, more about the life-sustaining force of music than any hankering for blood.
  50. The lack of any readily identifiable star - no Cage, no McConaughey - makes Blue Ruin feel even more authentic, more rooted in this frightening world.
  51. A dazzling documentary.
  52. Marion Cotillard has made her share of unremarkable, if not remarkably bad, films. But when the French star, who won the Academy Award for her unearthly reincarnation of Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose", gets it right, the result is magic.
  53. One of this year's true surprises, the superior animated sequel not only is infused with the same independent spirit and off-kilter aesthetic that enriched the original, it also deepens the first film's major themes.
  54. Funny, passionate, full of compassion for its just-pubescent protagonists, We Are the Best! is a total charmer.
  55. A remarkable, thoroughly disturbing creepshow that burrows deep under your skin and refuses to let go.
  56. Supermensch is one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tales.
  57. Swinton is delightful in a twisted turn as Wilford's enforcer, a Margaret Thatcherian dragon lady who adores watching her men torture miscreants who have defied the train's No. 1 rule: Know your place.
  58. A Most Wanted Man's cast - a mix of Germans speaking English, Americans speaking English with German accents, Russians, and men and women from the Middle East - is uniformly stellar.
  59. The Killer Inside Me is tough, disturbing stuff: We're tagging along with a sociopath as he explains himself, reveals himself, works things out inside his head.
  60. Code Black is sobering stuff. The American health system, McGarry's film argues, is broken. But the film is undeniably inspiring, too: Despite everything that is wrong, there are nurses and doctors and technicians determined to do things right.
  61. Their film would be even more compelling if it followed up with further reports, perhaps a few years apart, charting the three boys' fates.
  62. A delightful, oddball surprise.
  63. Wetlands is one of the most daring, visually arresting, innovative, and imaginative examples of filmmaking to come out of Europe in recent memory.
  64. Love Is Strange has a gentleness about it, and an empathy, that inspire.
  65. The Green Prince is an extraordinary achievement. It has all the suspense of a great espionage yarn, but it's also a powerful moral document that calls into question the tactics of terrorism.
  66. Even with a voice-over narration, and conversations with her dog, Robyn's nomadic quest is full of grand silences, all the better to take in the sky, the rocks, the world spinning underfoot. Wasikowska plays this wordless wanderer just right. That is, she makes her real.
  67. This is Highsmith, and so things do not go as planned for her protagonists. The Two Faces of January - drop-dead gorgeous to behold - is not a merry tale, but a murderous one. Murderously good.
  68. Hong, who makes his feature debut here, has a masterful command of rhythm, beautifully weaving each strand of the narrative around that momentous opening scene.
  69. Monaghan is stronger still. This is a performance that deserves to be noticed. She is crushingly good.
  70. Simple, poignant and leavened with humor, it's a film that affirms the nourishing aspects of love and companionship.
  71. Sweet. The pun is unavoidable. It's the only adjective that fully captures the flavor of the romantic comedy Brown Sugar.
  72. 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
  73. While the impulse for his concert may have been confession and atonement, the cumulative effect is one of a guy struggling mightily to reconcile his divided self.
  74. A witty, winning inversion of the famous Arthur Miller play.
  75. It's hard not to get caught up in this improbable but true follow-your-dream tale.
  76. The plot is canny, but it would be little more than an ingenious springloaded device were it not for the performances by Howard and Iures.
  77. Too long (and it sure ain't taut), but it brims with passion.
  78. Croupier, immersed in a world of gambling, gamesmanship and crime, is a solid, seductive entertainment.
  79. It is understatement to say that Nicholson does some of the finest work of his career here, easily equaling "The Shining" for gargoyle monstrousness and "As Good as It Gets" for tortured humanism.
  80. A snappily fun Mantrap Movie, as films about husband-hunting gals are known, is that rare hybrid of romantic comedy and Super Bowl.
  81. An undeniable and, indeed, unprecedented technical feat that's a feast for the eye, Dinosaur is less easy on the ear.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  82. A muscular, no-nonsense genre pic (well, two genres: prisons and boxing), Undisputed isn't going to score points for originality, and the climactic bout is a bit of a letdown. But Rhames, as the cocksure millionaire pugilist, seethes brute force.
  83. Tunney, brimming with coltish, neurotic energy, holds the screen like a true star. She brings the role, and the movie, to life.
  84. The performances in Girl, Interrupted resonate, but the movie does not.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  85. A disconcerting experience.
  86. CQ
    CQ is a movie for movie-lovers, by a movie-lover: Roman Coppola, son of Francis Ford and a successful commercial and video director in his own right, making a witty, whimsical feature debut.
  87. The movie's combination of unabashedly fun carnage, cool special effects, and tongue-in-cheek dialogue keeps the ball rolling (albeit at reduced speed), until the last of the titular terrors has bit the dust.
  88. Shaft is still enormously involving. It's popcorn, but very fresh.
  89. When Dizdar hits, he hits big.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  90. Hate, love, bigotry, empathy and chance are the uninvited guests at Monster's Ball.
  91. Rodriguez is riveting, with a drop-dead cynical charm.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  92. Rings true for the most part, and explores human nature - leashed and unleashed - in ways that resonate.
  93. There is one scene in The Legend of 1900 that is easily worth the price of admission. It finds the ship heeling in an Atlantic storm. In the ballroom Roth plays the piano as it moves and slides in an eerie waltz around the floor.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  94. Ali
    While Smith gets into Ali's head and under his skin, the movie around him has more footwork than punch.
  95. Amusing, compelling and technologically fascinating tale.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  96. Winterbottom also has the insight to share the novelist's suggestion that landscape can reflect and, to a degree, even shape character.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  97. Although rough, it's a gem.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  98. A turbocharged and pungently enjoyable take on the sport so many observers see - Stone, of course, included - as a reflection of the darker side of American life.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  99. A story with a beginning and end but without a middle. Two slices of bread without the sandwich meat, I wrote in my notes.

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