Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,951 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 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Room
Lowest review score: 0 Rambo
Score distribution:
3951 movie reviews
  1. It is a difficult and demanding movie, one that rewards the persevering moviegoer just as Pollock's difficult and demanding paintings ultimately reward the steadfast.
  2. Madly entertaining and just plain mad.
  3. Best of Enemies offers a bracing view of a pivotal time in our recent history, as Vietnam and race riots scarred a nation's soul, and as the Establishment and the Counter Culture exchanged epithets and blows.
  4. In-your-face polemic, with nowhere to go once the point has been made. Repeatedly.
  5. Bier knows what she's doing, and the performances are expert and affecting. But this meditation on love -- and love's bad timing -- is also improbably accommodating to its characters' respective longings.
  6. The real drama -- and poetry -- in 8 Mile are in those fiery face-offs, the hip-hop battles, as Jimmy rat-tat-tats his rap in deft flashes of spontaneous combustion.
  7. Loaded with Hitchcockian hugger-mugger, this is a genre Polanski clearly revels in.
  8. It's the living jungle of Kipling's stories that we could once see only in our minds.
  9. That one sentiment repeats throughout: No matter how horrible the assaults, the schools' treatment of the women afterward was worse.
  10. Baumbach, whose films include the searingly funny, autobiographical "The Squid and the Whale" and the brilliantly uncomfortable "Margot at the Wedding," writes wry, sharp, poignant stuff.
  11. Like a piece of music, Godard structures his film in three movements.
  12. Gripping, hair-raising documentary.
  13. A Single Man is like a big coffee table book on grief, loneliness, and loss - and mid-20th-century home design.
  14. For all the film's gritty verisimilitude, The Messenger is not the great Iraq War movie that Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" is.
  15. The footage is spectacular, the colors electric, the life aquatic trippier than anything you'll see in even the most wildly imaginative animated fare.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    There are frightening moments, as when he attacks an elderly woman he thinks is possessed by devils. And revelatory, heartbreaking ones, which can make you think that maybe he is a genius, after all.
  16. Forceful, heart-wrenching stuff.
  17. Mountain Patrol is breathtakingly beautiful, breathtakingly brutal and simply breathtaking.
  18. There are some terrifically strong scenes and terrific actors contributing to them.
  19. While Dumont's movie has its striking scenes, it is doomed to a sense of lethargy and inertia by the kind of people it ponders and the context in which they are placed.
  20. A spare document featuring one talking head. But what a talking head and what a story!
  21. Their exhaustive tribute to hungry zombies, fast girls and faster cars is . . . exhausting, if intermittently entertaining.
  22. Must-see stuff.
  23. Anderson, 29, does so much in Magnolia, with such nerve, with wily humor and out-of-the-blue bravado, that the film's flaws and lapses don't really matter. It ain't perfect, but it's awe-inspiring.
  24. Calvary is also just jaw-droppingly beautiful. McDonagh and cinematographer Larry Smith capture the four-seasons-in-one-day miracle that is Ireland, with its jagged stonescapes, roiling surf, fairie towns, and bracing skies.
  25. The Hunt offers a powerful, provocative study of mob mentality and the fabric of trust.
  26. As irresistible as Chan is irrepressible. In a movie season in which, it seems, all the blockbusters boast wheels, it's a treat to see a movie that has legs.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Filled with wildly inventive sound, as records are cut up and recombined on the spot.
  27. 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.
  28. The period details - the cars, the clothes, the old storefronts along Main Street - are attentively described. But it's Duvall, spooky, sly, and sad, who makes all the props and the plot twists seem real.
  29. 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.
  30. Wily, sad, funny, and full of life.
  31. The Edge of Seventeen is funny and tragic, but most of all it feels real in the same way John Hughes movies felt real. It's not a candy-coated version of teenagedom. It's harsh, and awkward, and funny, just like being a teenager.
  32. Profound, passionate and overflowing with incomparable beauty, Water, like the prior two films in director Deepa Mehta's "Elements" trilogy, celebrates the lives of women who resist marginalization by Indian society.
  33. Throughout the film its makers pose the question of whether saving a work of art is as important as saving a human life. The question is not answered, and perhaps ultimately unanswerable. Yet Europa movingly shows how for many, art and artifacts are living things.
  34. A feast for the eyes and ears as its story is a banquet for the heart.
  35. The Big Easy is an extremely enjoyable (and well-lubricated) vehicle for two actors who aren't quite yet stars, but should be.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. The final third of Audiard's drama falls into crime-drama mode. It is tense and violent. But even if it feels true, given Dheepan's history with the Tamil Tigers, it also feels a little beside the point.
  39. An elegant survey of the origins of the information revolution and a shrewd analysis of how the internet has reshaped the world. It's one of the director's best docs.
  40. A melodrama painted in the saffron-and-turmeric hues of a Bollywood musical, Broken Embraces is the Spanish filmmaker's homage to Hitchcock's "Vertigo," that moody account of obsessional love and double lives.
  41. Pazira, whose sapphire eyes blaze through the lattice of her slate-gray burqa, isn't much of an actress, as her singsong narration attests. But when not speaking, she has a commanding presence and is an effective witness to the ravages of war.
  42. Mixes the intimate, indie vibe of "Daytrippers" with the absurdist screwball streak of "Superbad," to winning effect.
  43. Do you need to have seen A Chorus Line to understand or enjoy Every Little Step? I think not. This companion piece to one of America's most beloved musicals is about human longings and shortfalls.
  44. 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.
  45. Lee transforms a generic cops-crooks-and-hostages scenario into a smart, sharp heist movie by the sheer force of his love for, and knowledge of, the city where he lives.
  46. 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.
  47. Floats before your eyes like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The surprise is that, fitted together, these pieces make a completed picture.
  48. In theme and technique, it pushes the boundaries of animation and opens up new and imaginative possibilities.
  49. Wondrously emotional film, one that sneakily dismantles your defenses and purges grief you didn't realize you had.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Sweet, poignant, and winningly evocative of the period, though occasionally dogged by predictable scenarios and caricatures.
  50. A riveting remake of a pretty terrific 1957 western about manhood, fatherhood and honor.
  51. A seven-word review: Very good performances. Much too much weather.
  52. A Monster Calls is an engrossing tragic fantasy, sustained by genuine sentiment.
  53. Brannaman is a fascinating character, but Buck is so tightly focused that only avid horse lovers will find it appealing.
  54. For two hours I felt like a kitten chasing an elusive ball of catnip that remained just beyond my paw.
  55. The gadgetry and fight scenes are nicely rendered. The aeronautical battles, though, fall well short of state-of-the-art. Maybe they're collateral damage to the film's goofy style.
  56. If Edel's Oscar-nominated film drags in its final 40 minutes, it's a function of the director's fidelity to the facts - and the fact that the founding trio (and the film's stars) have become prisoners of the state, confined and confused.
  57. Bill Condon's screen adaptation of the 1981 Broadway sensation is, if possible, as dazzling and energizing as its source.
  58. Exhilarating, breathless, must-see chronicle of the skateboarder revolution and evolution.
  59. 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.
  60. The talented Hansen-Love, with clarity and economy, manages to avoid the maudlin.
  61. Not an easy movie to watch.
  62. Ramsay's child actors are nonprofessionals who can only express what they feel — which gives her film an unusual degree of emotional authenticity.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  63. A Very Long Engagement is "Cold Mountain" with French people.
  64. Despite Scorsese's efforts to pump up some drama - the director, with his signature glasses and Groucho brows, gets huffy about not receiving a set list - drama is sorely lacking. This is just a concert film.
  65. Gripping, sobering, inspiring stuff.
  66. Cartel Land offers a chilling glimpse into a world of violence and vigilantism.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Explosively exciting film.
  67. The real joy of Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein's documentary is not the copious amount of file footage - such as clips from The Tonight Show when Johnny Carson could still smoke at his desk on camera - or Randi's inherent charisma, or even his acts of escape and magic. No, it's his relationship with his partner of 25 years, Jose Alvarez.
  68. There's real joy in O'Day's eyes - and larynx - as she bobs and weaves through an amazing songbook.
  69. Zany screwball farce.
  70. It's complicated. And it's fascinating.
  71. How the film plays out, and what happens to the boy and the adults in his company, may prove a revelation, or a disappointment, or something in between. But getting there is thrilling and wondrously strange.
  72. It's fun, exciting, freakish filmmaking.
  73. Brothers is about how people change, how they can rise to an occasion, or sink to one. It's a tale of love and allegiance, of truth and the cruelties that men can bring to bear on one another.
  74. Set exactly a century ago, The Last Station is a droll tragicomedy starring those battling Tolstoys, whose family is unhappy in its own way.
  75. The filmmakers don't bother hammering home a backstory or explaining why David is crazy. They just throw us in the deep end and dazzle us with a series of violent encounters that ends with a deadly chase in a surreal fun house maze of mirrors.
  76. It's hard to feel compassion for these Masters of the Universe. I'm not even sure Chandor wants us to, but if he doesn't, then what's the point?
  77. Deschanel does what she does seemingly without effort, managing to convey Summer's mixed-up messed-upness.
  78. Although Me and You and Everyone We Know requires patience on the part of the viewer - to get past the faux naivete of its grown-up characters, to get past its deadpan arty tone - Miranda July's feature debut is worth the time.
  79. Scott and Davis bring heart-rending sadness and telling detail to their roles, and imbue Secret Lives with something real and true.
  80. The Revenant is exhilarating cinema.
  81. A profound and deeply moving exploration of facing death with dignity.
  82. A small, beautiful film exploding with big ideas.
  83. There's a melancholy sweetness here, a gentle humor that speaks to the angst and awkwardness of girls turning into women, and the awe of boys watching the transformation from afar.
  84. This gory horror romp is a goofball medley of "Dawn of the Dead," "28 Days Later" . . . , and Monty Python-style severed-limbs/blood-spurting sicko comedy.
  85. Safe, disturbing and edgy and grounded by Moore's riveting performance, resonates with uncertainty.
  86. Something about the way the film has been assembled doesn't feel altogether organic.
  87. 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.
  88. A story with a beginning and end but without a middle. Two slices of bread without the sandwich meat, I wrote in my notes.
  89. Side-splitting concert film.
  90. Ain't no mountain high enough to keep the Funk Brothers from getting to you.
  91. 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.
  92. A somber piece of film poetry about men so invested in a rigid notion of honor and revenge they become trapped in an endless loop of violence.
  93. The vampires in What We Do in the Shadows are symbolic of something else altogether: epic unkemptness.
  94. Wickedly clever nightmare entertainment.
  95. There's an icy chill, a detachment, to A Dangerous Method, too. Of course, there are no talking cockroaches (Naked Lunch), no naked steambath knife fights (Eastern Promises), and that may have something to do with why this all feels so un-Cronenbergian.
  96. The movie trades in familiar virtual realities. Yet as realized by the gifted director Mamoru Oshii, who imagines cityscapes melting into circuit boards, Ghost in the Shell is where virtual reality meets superrealism. [9 May 1996, p.C4]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer

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