Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,959 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 4.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lowest review score: 0 Rambo
Score distribution:
3959 movie reviews
  1. One of the rare rock films that produces the effect of a live concert: After each number, the audience erupts into applause.
  2. There's a loneliness at the heart of this world, and Ghost World, that's really touching -- and a bit scary, too.
  3. That rare thing, a Hollywood teen flick transfigured into something like pubescent scripture: In the beginning, there was lust; in the end, there is knowledge.
  4. Miller and Futterman tell their story with plain, uninflected film language, permitting the ambiguities to surface. Theirs is not the anti-capital-punishment tract of Richard Brooks' excellent 1967 film "In Cold Blood." It is a story about an accomplice to crime who lived to tell the story.
  5. Whiplash is writer/director Damien Chazelle's hyperventilated nightmare about artistic struggle, artistic ambition. It's as much a horror movie as it is a keenly realized indie about jazz, about art, about what it takes to claim greatness.
  6. A profoundly unnerving historical document.
  7. At its satirical best, Things to Come takes aim at some of the sacred cows of French academia, showing how the posturing of today’s radical kids seems to repeat the attitudes their parents had in the '60s.
  8. Sustaining illusion with marvelous grace is, in a nutshell, exactly what Anderson is all about.
  9. Blue Is the Warmest Color explores a life with a depth and force that would be scary - if it weren't so scarily good.
  10. This is a complicated story, but it's efficiently laid out by Poitras in this smartly edited project. She has posed Citizenfour as the final piece of a post-9/11 trilogy that began with "My Country, My Country" (about the 2006 elections in Iran) and "The Oath" (about Guantanamo).
  11. This is a documentarylike film about a man who creates a castle in the air and then moves right in, the "Harold and the Purple Crayon" of the workplace.
  12. A heartbreaking elegy to mature love that honors the lovers and the long, neurodegenerative tango that is their last.
  13. The matchless Alberto Sordi - a contemporary of Peters Sellers and a progenitor of Steve Martin - stars as the buffoon Everyman, Antonio Badalamenti, a perfectly poised figure destined for the pratfall.
  14. It is a damning indictment of the individuals and institutions who made money while customers lost their shirts.
  15. It's aimed at adults as much as children, with jokes that work on multiple levels, and contraptions.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  16. Under Hooper's deft direction, it packs the suspense of a thriller.
  17. And Bridges? What's there to say about a man who makes it look so easy, and who - in one breathless, pivotal scene - runs through a range of emotion like a wild pony running across the land. Genius, any way you look at it.
  18. Up
    The exhilarating film pays tribute to Buster Keaton's "The Balloonatic" by way of its slapstick, and to Hayao Miyazaki's "Howl's Moving Castle" by way of its watercolor palette and traveling domicile.
  19. Wake in Fright is essential viewing for anyone interested in the roots of male violence.
  20. Singular and stunning.
  21. Toy Story 2, like its forebear, will stand the test of time.
  22. With its improvisatory score (drummer Antonio Sanchez provides a hustling backbeat throughout), its seamless shots, its leaps into the surreal, and then back again into the excruciating, embarrassing real, Birdman ascends to the greatest of heights.
  23. It's a quietly powerful work, pulsing with gentle humor and a gripping sense of imminent calamity and dread.
  24. Jackson's superior sequel to last year's first installment in his Rings cycle - resurrects the beloved Gandalf (majestic Ian McKellen) and rejuvenates the audience, too.
  25. L'Enfant begins with the birth of a child, but its real concern is the moral rebirth of a man.
  26. Yun's performance is remarkable. The journey Mija takes is painful and hard and - for us, watching - sublime.
  27. In his own profound and ingenious way, Panh has brought the pictures and the thoughts together again.
  28. A frightening portrait of corruption, cynicism, intimidation, greed and violence, Gomorrah is tough stuff.
  29. Brooklyn is that rare period drama that doesn't lose itself in its dogged re-creation of another time.
  30. Always, murmuring just beneath the surface, there's a political undercurrent to Farhadi's films, a gentle whisper of a critique aimed at the weight of Iran's combined cultural and political intransigence.
  31. The dialogue and action in One False Move seems instinctive and unforced. There isn't an iota of caricature, there isn't an affectation of "style," there isn't a false note sounded.
  32. Funny, passionate, full of compassion for its just-pubescent protagonists, We Are the Best! is a total charmer.
  33. The delightful G-rated film has a story line simple enough for pre-schoolers to follow and comic sensibility complex enough for adults to savor, with an emphasis on howlingly bad (by which I mean good) puns.
  34. An honest and personal and unblurred examination (even through that druggy blur) of a tricky voyage into womanhood.
  35. There is incredible tension in this ordeal, this effort to survive, to find rescue, and Redford - an icon of the American film experience for more than half a century now - makes that tension deeply palpable.
  36. Riley's film brings the American icon's career back into sharp focus.
  37. Moreno, with her wide, watchful eyes, owns the camera - and the film. Her performance is perfectly natural and profoundly moving. Maria Full of Grace is a remarkable picture, full of suspense and discovery.
  38. McNamara, a robust conversationalist, is so lively that he bursts out of what is essentially a talking-head documentary.
  39. While Gyllenhaal has playful puppy eyes and energy, his performance as Jack is a blur of mustaches, sideburns and spurs that never achieves the weight of Ledger's.
  40. It's the powerful emotional punch their films deliver - and this one is no exception - that elevate the game, that make them so satisfying, so worthwhile. The Kid With a Bike grabs at the heart.
  41. Although not blessed with a cinematic eye, Yates, a sensitive director of actors, structures his movie like the final movement of a symphony. He reprises themes and characters from the previous films that swell in the epochal siege of Hogwarts and ends his films with an almost wordless coda that will wring tears even from Harry haters.
  42. Caouette's fractured history is imbued with heart-crushing sincerity.
  43. Werner Herzog's magnificent tragedy, Grizzly Man, a Shakespearean character study that packs the sheer terror of "The Blair Witch Project."
  44. This is more than a movie: It's Almodovar's design for living.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  45. Funny, furious, and full of front-office drama.
  46. What's up in The Duke of Burgundy is a straight-faced homage to 1970s European erotica, full of soft-focus nudity and soft-core kink.
  47. Wonderfully evocative, funny, sad, complex, and essential passages from a man's childhood and adolescence.
  48. One of the things that distinguishes Love & Friendship from the multitude of Austen adaptations - the worthy and the less so - is its heroine. Lady Susan Vernon, a widow of devilish charms, is as frank and fearless a character as Austen ever imagined.
  49. It's a cinematic feat, an art lover's dream, but as a moviegoing experience, Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark is something of a letdown.
  50. 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.
  51. If you've had enough of the loony tunes coming from Florida, this piece of absurdist serio-comedy is the perfect picture.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  52. Bar-Lev tells Tillman's story "Rashomon"-style, incorporating multiple perspectives on Tillman's politics (left-liberal), religion (atheist), and personal relations (he married Marie, his first and only girlfriend). Still, it is a documentary with more details of how he died than how he lived.
  53. Amazingly - and this movie is amazing - Room is a story of hope, of possibility. Sure, your stomach will be in knots, your fingers clenched, your heart racing. But it will also fill that heart with a sense of the goodness, the courage, the enduring love that is out there to be discovered - and to be held onto with the fierceness of life itself.
  54. Nebraska is not a breakneck, screwball farce - although it has its moments, like the comical heist of an air compressor from a farmer's barn. Payne's film is loping. It's deadpan, poignant, absurd.
  55. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, look out: a movie that rocks and rolls, that transports, startles, delights, shocks, seduces. A movie that is, quite simply, great.
  56. A beautiful, appropriately loping little gem about growing older, daring to take risks and follow your heart. That probably sounds corny, and The Straight Story is.
  57. One of the great things about this unpredictable, exhilaratingly goofy fable is how it shows that even the clueless - and the tragically morose - have a shot at redemption.
  58. This heartbreaking film, with its rich performances and simple eloquence, lays claim to greatness.
  59. Disarming, alarming, and more than a little impressive, Shults' movie was shot in his mother's Texas home, and the thing plays like a cross between Eugene O'Neill and a slasher pic. (It's cut like one; the soundtrack makes you feel jumpy like one.)
  60. The Babadook, then, is a study in madness that lurks beneath the surface. But it is also very much (and amusingly) a look at the trials of parenting, especially single-parenting: those days when you just want to, well, get your child out of the picture somehow. Of course, you don't act on those impulses. That's what the movies are for.
  61. You know how some kids just connect? Jake and Tony connect. And the adults in their lives, without really meaning to do so, make it difficult for that connection to hold. It is a measure of Sachs' talent and skills that such a seemingly small story can resonate in such big ways.
  62. Here are five gifted actors at the top of their games as five characters in search of what makes a family.
  63. To say this bone-chilling, gut-turning feature is "The Crying Game"-meets-"In Cold Blood." But this is a film - writer/director Peirce's first - that matches those pictures in power, in surprise, and in unnerving drama.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  64. And how can you not reflect about time, and change, and physical and spiritual being, when confronted with such a stunning visual record of human existence?
  65. The story is simple, illogical, mysterious, strange, and, of course, very, very sparse.
  66. 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.
  67. Director Manoel de Oliveira's minimalist, incomparably moving I'm Going Home ranks with John Huston's "The Dead" as one of the great works by a director at his twilight.
  68. When it comes to the realistic portrayal of the complex process of grief, most actresses are at a loss. Sissy Spacek is decidedly not most actresses.
  69. It's an observation of crushing truth.
  70. Nobody's Fool boasts the kind of low-key realism on which Newman made his reputation but that, in these days of high-decibel, high-concept fantasy, has become a lost art. [13 Jan 1995, p.3]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  71. A captivating cine-memoir, impressionistic and surrealistic, surveying Varda's formidable career as a still photographer, filmmaker, documentarian, and life force.
  72. Courageous, shattering and exceptional documentary.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. Ozon has crafted a near-perfect film, a mournful, moving kind of cinema poetry.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  76. A flat-out electrifying experience.
  77. Almodóvar has made a powerfully moving film about men who think they want to lose themselves in their women, then are startled to realize that they're the ones who have been comatose.
  78. Phoenix's performance is one of such wild, intense abandon that it is not to be believed, and this, in fact, was my problem as The Master sailed into its momentum-less second hour.
  79. By recording this all too commonplace and dehumanizing process, Puiu's film shows the sick old man and the strangers who deal with him to be all too human - extraordinarily so.
  80. It's a beautiful, grim tale.
  81. You watch a Miyazaki film with the pie-eyed, gape-mouthed awe of a child being read the most fantastic story and suddenly transported to places previously beyond the limits of imagination. It's quite a trip.
  82. Mendes nonetheless works this screenplay like a jazz virtuoso plays with a familiar theme such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  83. Let the Fire Burn does not glorify MOVE. What it does do is force us to consider why and how this surreal event - a city bombing its own citizens, leaving innocent children dead - occurred. And ask, could something like it ever happen again?
  84. Fan's fly-on-the-wall perspective enables the viewer to empathize with all the players in the family drama, unlikely to have a happy ending.
  85. Beasts of the Southern Wild transports us to places that are peculiar and dangerous and magical, and makes us feel weirdly at home.
  86. A meditation on art, life, loneliness and the links between friends and strangers, the movie has a grace and humor that's wonderfully inviting.
  87. This is a sad, passionate, beautifully wrought story, and Bardem's portrait of Arenas is at once daring and deeply moving.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  88. Unstoppable fun.
  89. Take Shelter, which, it should be said, boasts haunting but seamless visual effects, is a movie for this moment in time, this moment in our lives.
  90. A small but moving film that gets the details right (life in a sleepy burg, sidewalk chats between old high school pals) and gets at the heart of human longing for family, for love.
  91. To the extent that movies bear the residue of their filmmakers' autobiographies, I found The Pianist particularly compelling.
  92. Chuan's unsettlingly beautiful black-and-white, wide-screen account of those nightmare six weeks, re-creates that horror in ways that are at once allusive and lucid, mixing cinematic impressionism with documentary-like detail.
  93. A transcendent work from Ireland's Cartoon Saloon studio that's almost wasted on kids.
  94. Amy
    Asif Kapadia's extraordinary documentary, Amy, is filled with similarly soul-stirring, heartbreaking moments.
  95. The movie is near-perfect, suspenseful, heart-breaking, profound.
  96. A movie of absurdist humor, brutal realism and dementia.
  97. Offers a view of war that is anything but epic. Instead of sweeping battles and swooping fighter planes, in Lebanon we are brought into the impossibly claustrophobic world of a lone tank crew.
  98. Makes for the most thrilling action movie of the year.
  99. Baker gets great, sly, unforced performances from his two leads, but it's not all a rollicking good time: There are moments of quietude, inquietude, moments when a sense of wariness and loneliness settles over the women.
  100. A beguiling and subversively funny entertainment that considers art's worth from many angles, including that of guerrilla painters, gallerists, and seasoned collectors.

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