Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,692 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: 68
Highest review score: 100 Lost in Translation
Lowest review score: 0 Surviving Christmas
Score distribution:
3692 movie reviews
  1. The result is more exciting than the last four ST pictures put together, more fun than a barrel of Tribbles, and the most satisfying action-adventure since last year's "Iron Man."
  2. It's a tearjerker, sometimes, and sweetly funny at other moments. It's near perfect.
  3. Hunger is daunting and powerful work.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    For Kudlow, for whom "music lives forever" - it's never over. And the opportunity to seize the day continues to present itself in this deeply human documentary.
  4. It's a relentless and relentlessly funny game of one-upmanship as the two men, playing somewhat exaggerated versions of themselves, roam the hills and dales, posh inns and poetic ruins of England's Lake District.
  5. In the end, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban offers what neither of its predecessors, for all their wand-waving and witch-brooms, had: real magic.
  6. 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.
  7. After Clooney, who gives a sterling performance as a tarnished figure, the standout performance belongs to Wilkinson, a geyser of manic eloquence. Also quite fine are Swinton and Sydney Pollack.
  8. Has the arc of a Shakespearean tragedy, and all the essential components therein: loyalty and betrayal, conspiracy and delusion, self-destruction.
  9. The Spectacular Now feels genuine in almost every respect, from the unflashy cinematography and the sparingly deployed music cues to the natural, unhurried performances of its two stars. They will get to you, truly.
  10. Funny, fear-inducing, with periods of voyeuristic gore and an undercurrent of anxiety and dread, Let the Right One In is up there with the bloodsucking classics.
  11. That this purposefully twisting exercise takes place amid the sun-burnished cypresses and towns of Tuscany - where ancient statuary is as commonplace as pasta and wine - only makes this playfully enigmatic meditation the more pleasing.
  12. So disturbing, on so many levels.
  13. 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.
  14. Marley celebrates the fact that its subject is still among us in the way that perhaps matters most: His music not only survives, it thrives.
  15. Unlike "Caché" and "Code: Unknown," where Haneke's investigations into societal and spiritual despair resonated with poetic force, The White Ribbon doesn't resonate at all.
  16. Exhilarating, alternately funny and horrific film.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Touching the Void is, indeed, about living, but not the exhilarating kind. It's about survival -- raw, real, by force of will.
  17. Jonathan Demme's superb rule-bending, heartrending and family-mending drama - ends with a wedding, it resists conventions as brazenly as does the bride's sister.
  18. An exquisite exploration into the realms of seduction, obsession, deception and disillusionment.
  19. This is the kind of unusual but involving picture that's ripe for a Hollywood remake - but while you're waiting for the Sandra Bullock-Ethan Hawke edition (it's a good post-movie game: coming up with your own casting ideas), Read My Lips is well worth checking out.
  20. Terrific filmmaking, but it's hard to leave Moodysson's picture without feeling much of anything except hopelessness. Utterly.
  21. Shakespearean but overlong, The Dark Knight is two hours of heady, involving action that devolves into a mind-numbing 32-minute epilogue.
  22. There is nothing sentimental or picturesque about the performances or imagery. The word that best describes both is elemental.
  23. Love Is Strange has a gentleness about it, and an empathy, that inspire.
  24. A smart, sensuous and sensory mind trip that caroms around a universe of thought.
  25. Macdonald's film brilliantly telescopes the '70s, an era when every physical action had its equal and opposite political reaction.
  26. Throw bouquets at Marshall, who instead of dissecting it to death, neatly resurrects the Hollywood musical.
  27. Silva expertly maintains the tension, asking the audience to interpret Raquel's bizarro behavior. His diagnosis is a pleasant surprise.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    This time around, Julien Temple gets it right.
  28. The violence here is never in the service of spectacle, always of the story.
  29. Although rough, it's a gem.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  30. Eden is the kind of movie that hits you when you least expect it. Just when I thought it was a mess, its aimlessness began to make complete sense.
  31. A tale of horror, heroism, unimaginable physical challenges, and, yes, cannibalism, Stranded offers the kind of real-life drama that can't help but bring up notions of God, fate, and nature's imposing will.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Remarkable documentary.
  32. Cronenberg's movie is eerily compelling and darkly humorous. And chilling - to the bone.
  33. It's a lush, lovely dreamscape of a movie, steeped in familiar vernacular (film noir), yet capable of shooting off in totally unfamiliar, surreal directions.
  34. Funnier than his criticism of egos on the rampage is Guest's rare talent for double-edged satire that tweaks one convention by means of another.
  35. A pitch-perfect portrait of a man full of inspiration and ambition - and full of himself.
  36. Like its heroine, the film's glib - and sometimes sidesplittingly funny - patter at first diverts viewers from its poignant insights. Happily, as Juno grows in experience and maturity, so does the film.
  37. Wadjda is a movie about freedom - and nothing represents freedom with the metaphoric simplicity and symmetry of a bicycle.
  38. There's a loose, vérité vibe here, and times when both Williams and Gosling root down deep to deliver something resonant and true. But this modern-day kitchen sink drama is ultimately too painful, too labored, to care much about at all.
  39. An intimate epic of infinite grace.
  40. Gorgeous work, and its imagery and themes dovetail perfectly: a story about creating art, artfully created.
  41. A truly refreshing break from the Hollywood humdrum, the film is a perfect vehicle for Rock's range of talents, giving him plenty of breathing space to launch into his trademark stand-up riffs while grounding him in a story as moving as it is funny.
  42. That is the sum of writer/director Steven Knight's movie: a man, a car, a hands-free mobile device. And it is extraordinary.
  43. Using a screenplay polished and honed by the Coen Brothers, Spielberg dips into John le Carré territory (you can't help but think of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold when Donovan looks onto the newly erected Berlin Wall, in the searchlights, in the snow).
  44. While White Material is very much the story of this one woman, it is also a story of postcolonial Africa, a place where Europeans staked their claim, and where disorder and destruction upended everything. A mournful, frightening, powerful film.
  45. It's the old cliche, but (like most cliches) it's true: It's impossible to imagine this picture without this actor.
  46. Foxcatcher is a story of wealth and the lack of it, of family connection and disconnection. But more than anything, it is a story of a mind unraveling. The result is devastating drama for those of us looking on.
  47. With deft and subtle performances and an uncomplicated but savvy script, Autumn Tale gets to the inner lives of its characters.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  48. Never mind Hollywood's big-star, big-budget hand-wringing about Africa - Bamako is the real thing.
  49. What's refreshing about Beginners is its sympathy for all of its characters, which translates into the characters' sympathy for each other.
  50. Intimate as a whisper, immediate as a blush, and universal as first love, the PG-rated film positively palpitates with the sensual and spiritual.
  51. All in all, this phenomenal film illustrates Alexis de Tocqueville's observation that "The people get the government they deserve." In both meanings of the word, Il Divo is sensational.
  52. It's oppressive and claustrophobic, confused and scary in there. But it's also compellingly real.
  53. I'm not sure if leavening is the right word, but Brolin, as an enigmatic U.S. agent with a world-weary cynicism and a black-ops vibe, provides at least a dose of (very) dark humor to the proceedings.
  54. 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.
  55. Not only is it the best documentary in a vintage season for nonfiction films (see "American Splendor," "Capturing the Friedmans," and "Spellbound"), it's also one of the best films of the year. It's as lyrical about the particulars of Kahn as it is about the universals of fathers and sons.
  56. It's bloody carnage - or it's ketchup, or bolognese sauce, at the very least.
  57. This cunning and provocative Romanian film requires patience, but its rewards are many: It's hard to imagine how a scene in which a police captain barks an order to bring him a dictionary can be loaded with suspense, but, really, it is.
  58. Haunting and sad. And absolutely worth seeing.
  59. Is Django Unchained about race and power and the ugly side of history? Only as much as "Inglourious Basterds" was about race and power and the ugly side of history. It's a live-action, heads-exploding, shoot-'em-up cartoon. Sometimes it crackles, and sometimes it merely cracks.
  60. Amirpour clearly studied their films and listened to some Sergio Leone spaghetti Western scores while she was at it. The music in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night pulses with a late-night Persian vibe, reverby and twanging, soulful, hypnotic.
  61. Though Daldry elicits brilliant performances, particularly from Meryl Streep and Claire Danes, on balance The Hours is more pretentious than penetrating about existential despair.
  62. In part, the documentary answers the question of why some couples flourish and others flounder.
  63. The pair are scrappy and smart and riff off each other like a no-budget, indie version of Tracy and Hepburn. It's impossible not to like them, and there's absolutely no reason not to.
  64. It's a haunting, scary, funny, sad portrayal from Rourke.
  65. Skyfall is certainly the most cultured Bond film to come along in some time. It's also the first of the three Craig endeavors to seriously (and wittily) acknowledge its pedigree.
  66. 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.
  67. Goblet of Fire, fourth in the fantasy franchise, is the most fun and the most fraught with conflict.
  68. A superb, violent, jarring and daring documentary.
  69. A rocking, rollicking crowd-pleaser.
  70. It is an exploitation picture disguised as a hipster comedy.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  71. (Director Lionel Coleman) wisely opts for a straightforward approach with long takes that capture Cho's kinetic rhythm and rely on her talent and honed timing to carry the evening.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  72. The $200 million result is an irresistibly entertaining, if grandiose, saga of doomed love and directorial hubris.
  73. Tonally askew (Altman-esque one minute, Austin Powers-esque the next), Inherent Vice is a sun-glared, neon-limned muddle of noir plotline and potheaded jokery that not only doesn't make sense, but actually seems to try hard not to.
  74. 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.
  75. Midnight in Paris is not a perfect movie - as in "Julie & Julia" one senses its creator's impatience to leave the bleached-out present for the colorful past. But it is warm and effortless, qualities that make it embraceable.
  76. While it's too slight a movie for overpraise, there are such a serenity of vision and clarity of purpose to these characters that we easily are caught up in the boys' struggle to reunite mother and child.
  77. Smart, funny, and gross (often at the same time).
  78. There is a lot of shield-your-eyes ickiness in District 9, a lot of violence and gore. What there is not a lot of, however, is humanity - even in the film's depiction of the inhumanity humans are capable of.
  79. While I liked the film's aesthetics and its futurist imaginings, its most important attraction is how it engages. Some movies massage you; others tickle you. This one jacks you into cyberspace, involving you psychically and physically.
  80. Ai Weiwei comes off as a man on a singular mission: to record the life around him before it is erased or distorted by a repressive government terrified by the smallest sign of nonconformity. His primary weapons: video cameras and Twitter.
  81. A masterful epic charting love's labyrinths.
  82. It is, without doubt, a transcendent endeavor, from its exhilaratingly smart screenplay - director David O. Russell's adaptation of the novel by former South Jersey teacher Matthew Quick - to the unexpected and moving turns of its two leads.
  83. The most challenging obstacle encountered by reformers like Canada and Michelle Rhee, the embattled chancellor of education for Washington, D.C., are the unions extending tenure protection to teachers who underperform.
  84. The Force Awakens is half reboot, half remake, and all fun.
  85. Through Herzog's eyes it is a desolate, strangely beautiful frozen Edenish hell where the planet, having shaken out its pockets, lets the loners, fanatics and cosmologist-crackpots fall to bottom.
  86. The Martian is never less than engaging, and often much more than that.
  87. Wendy and Lucy is modest, minimalist. But it nonetheless reverberates like a sonic boom.
  88. Brilliantly detailed, richly painted portrait.
  89. It's not a pretty picture. But Food, Inc. is an essential one.
  90. Tony Takitani, fablelike and beautiful, requires a certain amount of patience, but its small, peculiar charms work their way into your soul.
  91. A movie like Everlasting Moments comes along maybe once in a decade.
  92. As lovingly written as it is beautifully rendered.
  93. Melancholia is a remarkable mood piece with visuals to die for (excuse the pun), and a performance from Dunst that runs the color spectrum of emotions.
  94. The heroine of this story is the eloquent Mamie Till-Mobley, Emmett's mother, who recalls her fight to have an open-casket funeral for her son.
  95. The Queen of Versailles combines the voyeuristic thrills of reality TV with the soul-revealing artistry of great portraiture and the head-shaking revelations of solid investigative reporting.
  96. A loving, dopey documentary about the bird man of a place with a view of Alcatraz.

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