Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,563 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 Black Souls
Lowest review score: 0 Rambo
Score distribution:
3,563 movie reviews
  1. The film's recurring image is that of a butterfly fluttering around a flower, a lovely symbol of the reader drawn to a novel's nectar.
  2. At once noble and naive, earnest and a tad obnoxious.
  3. Greenberg, with Stiller's sad and self-mocking portrait at its core, is well worth getting to know.
  4. Lucid, concise and devastating account of what went wrong in Iraq, patiently counts those 500 ways.
  5. There's a loneliness at the heart of this world, and Ghost World, that's really touching -- and a bit scary, too.
  6. Merchants of Doubt shouldn't be a hard sell. The fact that it is should make you very mad.
  7. The beautiful misery of The Deep Blue Sea - Terence Davies' crushing adaptation of Terence Rattigan's 1952 play - is almost too much.
  8. So disturbing, on so many levels.
  9. A terrific mystery, equal parts haunting love story and nimble thriller.
  10. A superb, violent, jarring and daring documentary.
  11. The Last Mountain, more than anything, asks us to consider where our energy comes from, and how we can bring about changes that benefit all of us and the planet we live on.
  12. A feverishly imaginative Freudian vampire film from Guy Maddin, is like a silent-movie serial by Louis Feuillade or an improbable collaboration between writer Oscar Wilde and photographer Man Ray.
  13. The lack of any readily identifiable star - no Cage, no McConaughey - makes Blue Ruin feel even more authentic, more rooted in this frightening world.
  14. Exhilarating and, ultimately, filled with a sense of existential dread.
  15. A classic of subversive surrealism.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  16. Whatever our misfortune, The Kite Runner says, sometimes we are fortunate enough to get a second chance to make amends for a first mistake.
  17. In the end, this earnest, inquisitive film leaves the viewer longing for some sanity, and some hope, in a world that appears to be seriously lacking in both.
  18. The Hedgehog is full of heart, passion, and human longing - but also a good dose of existentialism. Think of it as Sartre's "Being and Nothingness"-meets-Dr. Seuss.
  19. Smoking, shouting, practically shooting off sparks, Cruz spreads a wildfire sexuality across Allen's sunny tableau of Catalan country picnics and scenic Barcelona ramblings.
  20. The result is a movie about the many forms of social and sexual abuse that does not make the abusee a victim but victor.
  21. Pray the Devil Back to Hell is at once inspiring and horrific.
  22. Even if you don't give a shiitake mushroom about food, there's much to savor in this lively comedy with dramatic aftertastes.
  23. Exhilarating, exuberant and drolly funny.
  24. Client 9 speaks plenty of truth - about politics, power, human nature - even if you don't buy into the hit-job hypothesis.
  25. Elkabetz, alternately resigned and raging, stoic and sad, bitter humor in her eyes, is riveting. Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem takes its time to unfold, but like its star, the film presents its case in powerful, persuasive ways.
  26. Redmayne should be getting a lot of notice for his performance; it's palpable, it's poignant. Jones, too, is terrific. And Marsh, who won the documentary Academy Award for his Philippe Petit Twin Towers caper Man on Wire, brings a keen artistry to The Theory of Everything.
  27. L'Enfant begins with the birth of a child, but its real concern is the moral rebirth of a man.
  28. Cronenberg's movie is eerily compelling and darkly humorous. And chilling - to the bone.
  29. Bale is extraordinary, grinning like a kid, displaying wily intelligence, sinewy resolve and spirit - and a bit of craziness, too.
  30. 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.
  31. There's no quick fix for a culture "addicted to debt," as one wag puts it in the film. But watching I.O.U.S.A. is a good place to start.
  32. Paddington is perfect for today's audiences, so long overfed on comic-book fodder. The bear's impeccable manners, perfect diction, and earnestness make him the ultimate anti-Bart Simpson.
  33. A likably energetic star vehicle for English sports god Vinnie Jones.
  34. 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.
  35. A meditation on art, life, loneliness and the links between friends and strangers, the movie has a grace and humor that's wonderfully inviting.
  36. Whether or not Street Fight wins the Academy Award Sunday night, Curry's picture is must-see fare for any and every observer of the curious world of American politics.
  37. It's the old cliche, but (like most cliches) it's true: It's impossible to imagine this picture without this actor.
  38. In the end, The Last Kiss holds less a cynical view of the matrimonial state than one of considered irony.
  39. McConaughey's performance isn't just about the weight loss. It's about gaining compassion, even wisdom, and it's awesome.
  40. It's more of a character study, insightful and nuanced, about a man grappling with a profound sense of inadequacy, questioning himself. In many ways, We Have a Pope recalls last year's Oscar winner, "The King's Speech": Someone who doesn't feel up to the job fate has handed him, and then struggling to come to terms with it.
  41. 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.
  42. Thoughtfulness and artistry ...raise this small, quiet picture to moments of pure epiphany.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  43. Wake in Fright is essential viewing for anyone interested in the roots of male violence.
  44. They are the only misstep in Penn's otherwise sure-footed journey to what he reveals as the heart of lightness.
  45. Its daring dive into the mind of Brian Wilson feels right. God only knows (to borrow a Pet Sound song title or two), but you still believe in . . . Brian.
  46. The film has the dog-eared look of a homemade valentine and the improvised sound of '60s jazz, courtesy of a score by Mark Suozzo and a spirited soundtrack including Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar," which might be the film's anthem.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Julian Temple, the British music-documentary director who helmed the 2000 Pistols' flick "The Filth and the Fury," has done such cinematic justice to the punk humanist born John Graham Mellor, who died of a congenital heart defect in 2002.
  47. Just a few barrels short of being a masterpiece.
  48. 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.
    • 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."
  49. Historical drama of the highest order - teeming with big ideas, and anchored by the nicely nuanced performances of Vikander and Mikkelsen.
  50. Amelie is utterly charming. And so, too, is the film.
  51. Spy
    Feig, who wrote the Spy screenplay, encouraging his actors to improvise along the way, has his own stealth mission. For all the over-the-top comedy, zigzagging chases, and choreographed fight scenes, Spy is very much a tale of female empowerment.
  52. Opens the window on a pivotal time in 1960s (and early 1970s) pop culture.
  53. Devilishly delightful.
  54. Add Mostly Martha to the list of great mouth-watering food flicks - "Eat Drink Man Woman," "Big Night," "Babette's Feast" -- but don't stop there. Add it to another list: movies that get at the heart of what family, and love, is all about.
  55. 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.
  56. A fascinating, suspenseful story about obsessive love, money, the Mafia, and murder.
  57. In this, Alfred Hitchcock's centenary year, Felicia's Journey so startlingly channels the obsessions of the late director that it might be the greatest Hitchcock movie the master of suspense never made.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Tells Wilco's story so well that you'll leave the theater thinking the album is a work of genius.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A heady stew of psychological disorders and classic tragedies, borrowing from Shakespeare, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and the Greeks.
  58. Bill Condon's screen adaptation of the 1981 Broadway sensation is, if possible, as dazzling and energizing as its source.
  59. A wise, wistful study of hope and dread.
  60. 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.
  61. Paolo Virzi's film looks at school as the microcosm of society and at fathers too self-absorbed to be there for their daughters. He combines the themes played in "Mean Girls" and "Look at Me" and makes them vibrant.
  62. Never mind Hollywood's big-star, big-budget hand-wringing about Africa - Bamako is the real thing.
  63. At once a deeply personal film and an important historical document, The Man Nobody Knew leaves us with an incomplete portrait of a man. Did Colby have a moral core? Did he know what was truth, and what was a lie? Did he sanction assassination plots? Did he love his family? Was he even capable of love?
  64. Andre Techine creates living characters instead of sociopolitical symbols.
  65. Bold, ambitious -- and ambiguous.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  66. 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.
  67. This beautifully taut and terrifying thriller is faithful to its source in just about every way that matters.
  68. 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.
  69. Vibrates with exuberance and erudition.
  70. There's a fine line between bag lady and belle of the ball, and Apfel instinctively knows it. Her sense of style is uncanny.
  71. We know how the story ends: Nordling persuades Choltitz to back down. Yet, the film somehow maintains a razor-sharp sense of suspense throughout. And it ends with a delicious plot twist that makes one rethink Nordling's moral superiority.
  72. Bielinsky's movie builds like a poker game in which the players, having invested everything, cannot afford to fold.
  73. A love song to the new Europe (Klapisch's original title: Euro Pudding) and a snapshot of a polyglot gang on the cusp of kind-of-reckless youth and responsibility-burdened adulthood.
  74. It's oppressive and claustrophobic, confused and scary in there. But it's also compellingly real.
  75. A beautifully strange movie.
  76. A pepperpot bubbling with pungent insights and sharp wit, Spanglish is about how people, like cultures, are more alike than not.
  77. Holofcener writes with an ear for the rhythms and ridiculousness of real life, and her cast - to a man, and woman - embraces her words with subtlety and certitude. Friends With Money is gimmickless, and great.
  78. Refreshingly gritty and hard-nosed.
  79. An intimate epic of infinite grace.
  80. This small story that tells the much bigger story of the New Economy's bubble and burst is less a documentary than it is breaking news.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  81. Here are five gifted actors at the top of their games as five characters in search of what makes a family.
  82. So jaw-droppingly out there, so bracingly bizarre, and, much of the time, so fall-over-funny that even its flaws don't matter. Easily the oddest movie of the year, it is also one of the best.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
    • 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.
  83. It's the stuff of soap opera, infused with a nonchalant, David Lynch-like surrealism and a nutball Canadian humor. Beer - because of the baroness, and because this is Canada - flows freely.
  84. Although its tone is generally genial and jovial, Good Hair touches on some tricky issues, at times complicitly.
  85. Set exactly a century ago, The Last Station is a droll tragicomedy starring those battling Tolstoys, whose family is unhappy in its own way.
  86. Remy, the little rat who stars in the big, beautiful, funny Ratatouille, isn't gross at all. In fact, he's adorable.
  87. A movie every American should see, although parts of it are close to unwatchable - notably an operating room sequence in which a pair of surgeons performs a gastric bypass, or "obesity surgery," as they like to call it, on a dangerously overweight patient.
  88. 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    If you're a fan of the indomitable Canadian rocker - high-pitched voice, proto-grunge guitar, total immersion in the music - then you want to see Neil Young Trunk Show on the big screen, for sure.
  89. An ingenious blend of sci-fi and mystery.
  90. 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.
  91. A rich, beautifully detailed espionage thriller that captures the bygone days of Shanghai - and 1940s Hollywood noirs' romantic evocations of same - Lust, Caution is also one of those rare movie experiences: Its scenes of the trysts between Yee and Mak, from their rough-stuff first encounter to the long, tangled love-making sessions of subsequent meetings, are truly erotic.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. Enchanted and thrilling film.

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