Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,538 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 5.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Ida
Lowest review score: 0 Isn't She Great
Score distribution:
3,538 movie reviews
  1. Shakespearean but overlong, The Dark Knight is two hours of heady, involving action that devolves into a mind-numbing 32-minute epilogue.
  2. There is nothing sentimental or picturesque about the performances or imagery. The word that best describes both is elemental.
  3. Love Is Strange has a gentleness about it, and an empathy, that inspire.
  4. A smart, sensuous and sensory mind trip that caroms around a universe of thought.
  5. Macdonald's film brilliantly telescopes the '70s, an era when every physical action had its equal and opposite political reaction.
  6. Throw bouquets at Marshall, who instead of dissecting it to death, neatly resurrects the Hollywood musical.
  7. 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.
  8. The violence here is never in the service of spectacle, always of the story.
  9. Although rough, it's a gem.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  10. 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.
  11. Cronenberg's movie is eerily compelling and darkly humorous. And chilling - to the bone.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. A pitch-perfect portrait of a man full of inspiration and ambition - and full of himself.
  15. 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.
  16. Wadjda is a movie about freedom - and nothing represents freedom with the metaphoric simplicity and symmetry of a bicycle.
  17. Although The Secret in Their Eyes has neither the power, the artistry, nor the electric energy of its fellow Oscar nominee, France's "A Prophet," the Argentine film nonetheless engages with style, suspense, and seriousness of intent. Criminal intent and otherwise.
  18. 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.
  19. An intimate epic of infinite grace.
  20. Gorgeous work, and its imagery and themes dovetail perfectly: a story about creating art, artfully created.
  21. 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.
  22. That is the sum of writer/director Steven Knight's movie: a man, a car, a hands-free mobile device. And it is extraordinary.
  23. 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.
  24. It's the old cliche, but (like most cliches) it's true: It's impossible to imagine this picture without this actor.
  25. 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.
  26. With deft and subtle performances and an uncomplicated but savvy script, Autumn Tale gets to the inner lives of its characters.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  27. Never mind Hollywood's big-star, big-budget hand-wringing about Africa - Bamako is the real thing.
  28. What's refreshing about Beginners is its sympathy for all of its characters, which translates into the characters' sympathy for each other.
  29. Intimate as a whisper, immediate as a blush, and universal as first love, the PG-rated film positively palpitates with the sensual and spiritual.
  30. 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.
  31. It's oppressive and claustrophobic, confused and scary in there. But it's also compellingly real.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. It's bloody carnage - or it's ketchup, or bolognese sauce, at the very least.
  35. 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.
  36. Haunting and sad. And absolutely worth seeing.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. Though Daldry elicits brilliant performances, particularly from Meryl Streep and Claire Danes, on balance The Hours is more pretentious than penetrating about existential despair.
  41. In part, the documentary answers the question of why some couples flourish and others flounder.
  42. 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.
  43. It's a haunting, scary, funny, sad portrayal from Rourke.
  44. 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.
  45. Goblet of Fire, fourth in the fantasy franchise, is the most fun and the most fraught with conflict.
  46. A superb, violent, jarring and daring documentary.
  47. A rocking, rollicking crowd-pleaser.
  48. It is an exploitation picture disguised as a hipster comedy.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  49. (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
  50. The $200 million result is an irresistibly entertaining, if grandiose, saga of doomed love and directorial hubris.
  51. Like Connery - but in different proportions - Craig is earthy and erotic, holding himself like a smoking gun.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. Smart, funny, and gross (often at the same time).
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. A masterful epic charting love's labyrinths.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. Wendy and Lucy is modest, minimalist. But it nonetheless reverberates like a sonic boom.
  65. Brilliantly detailed, richly painted portrait.
  66. It's not a pretty picture. But Food, Inc. is an essential one.
  67. Tony Takitani, fablelike and beautiful, requires a certain amount of patience, but its small, peculiar charms work their way into your soul.
  68. A movie like Everlasting Moments comes along maybe once in a decade.
  69. As lovingly written as it is beautifully rendered.
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. A loving, dopey documentary about the bird man of a place with a view of Alcatraz.
  74. The film's climax involves a father and son reunion that is tense, tragic and, finally, as transcendent as Mohammad himself.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  75. Bielinsky's movie builds like a poker game in which the players, having invested everything, cannot afford to fold.
  76. A superbly researched and edited documentary about the women's movement in the 1960s.
  77. Saraband, flat and static both visually and thematically, doesn't begin to approximate the austere beauty of the director's art-house classics.
  78. In refusing to pigeonhole its characters, Nine Lives is less like those L.A. road-rage melodramas "Short Cuts" and "Crash" than those all-of-us-are-interconnected dramas "Amores Perros" and "21 Grams."
  79. Andre Techine creates living characters instead of sociopolitical symbols.
  80. True Grit is probably the least ironic picture in the Coen Brothers' worthy canon, but that doesn't mean it's devoid of their signature oddities, that it doesn't take a few dark, strange turns.
  81. Kore-eda, deploying a Western pop score by the Japanese indie-rock band Quruli, just lets these kids be kids.
  82. I love this movie, and I love the pride, spirit and sportsmanship of the kids who represent the best of American pluck and luck.
  83. OK, first off, anyone who shares his or her life with a dog, or has done so in the past, go see My Dog Tulip.
  84. White God offers a dark - very dark - take on the way humans exert authority, and superiority, over our fellow creatures.
  85. There are no good guys in Miss Bala, just bad guys of different stripes.
  86. It is almost inevitable that Miyazaki, often compared to C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling, should have found in Diana Wynne Jones a kindred spirit.
  87. The Simpsons Movie is finally here. And guess what? It's funny. But not that funny.
  88. Stands apart from the trite conventions of most coming-of-age drama chiefly through the originality of Pool's approach and the honesty and conviction of Karine Vanasse's portrait of Hanna.
  89. For those dazed and dazzled by surf anarchists Noll and Clark, Hamilton comes off as the sport's technocrat, but he boldly goes where no surfer has gone before.
  90. A heartbreaking story of true love.
  91. First-time filmmaker Kolirin paces his can-we-all-just-get-along? parable as if it were a silent comedy, which for long stretches it is. This movie about musicians has no soundtrack. Its musical moments are few, but potent.
  92. A macabre mystery for children and a cautionary tale for their folks, Coraline is a yarn - twisty, knotty, taut - about a perennially bored girl whose parents are too preoccupied with work to pay her much mind.
  93. An extraordinary work in three movements about the Sasakis, a seemingly ordinary family. In this unpredictable work, the clan implodes, explodes, and glues itself back together.
  94. If that sounds highbrow and pretentious, it's not. The neat trick of Tristram Shandy is that the whole thing comes off as a lark.
  95. Urgent and stunning movie.
  96. The story of Donald Crowhurst is not one of remarkable courage or remarkable endurance. But it is remarkable.
  97. On a deeper level, the Dardennes' film offers a portrait of a fragile yet determined woman set on making a home for herself in the world, even as that world unravels before her eyes.
  98. There's a fine line between bag lady and belle of the ball, and Apfel instinctively knows it. Her sense of style is uncanny.

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