Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,662 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 Foxcatcher
Lowest review score: 0 A Little Bit of Heaven
Score distribution:
3,662 movie reviews
  1. It shows us the everyday pressures and problems, the joys and pleasures, experienced by someone moving through life. And then that BART train pulls into Fruitvale, and the rest is history.
  2. Quiet, rageful indictment of a two-tiered Islamic society.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  3. At turns funny, sweet, sad, trenchant and telling. It's a gem.
  4. Roiling with laughter, tears, drunken confessions, revelatory soliloquies, pain, sorrow, hospital visits, and various kinds of love, A Christmas Tale is a smart, sprawling, and sublimely entertaining feast.
  5. Quite simply, a revelation.
  6. A chase movie, a spy movie, a futuristic thriller full of colorfully bizarre characters and deftly choreographed stunt work, Children of Men works on multiple levels - as action and allegory.
  7. A slow-burning, character-rich study in desperation, grief, vengeance, loyalty, and love. It's the sort of arthouse entry - in German, mostly - that gets you thinking about an English-language remake.
  8. It's never entirely clear whether Borchardt is also an object of ridicule for documentarian Chris Smith.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  9. A dour-faced but sublime comedy about the kindness of strangers -- and about the strangeness of people who find themselves in oddball moments of grace.
  10. The usual complaints and caveats about Anderson - he's precious, his characters have no grounding in the real world - can be made about Moonrise Kingdom, but so what? This is his seventh feature, he has been working with a gang of collaborators in front of the camera and behind, and his worldview gets richer, and more revealing, even as the view from his lens gets smaller, closer, almost two-dimensional in its oddball tableaux.
  11. Trueba's movie is nearly undone by its shapelessness. Because the filmmaker imposes little in the way of form (or drama) on his subject, his film is a good listen without being a particularly good watch.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  12. Steeped in quiet despair, Lantana is a psychological thriller that emphasizes the psychology over the thrills. It's a smart, heart-twisting picture.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  13. The rare movie that manages to convey the inner soul of an artist.
  14. Like Johnny's rants, Naked is a revelation, a parable of spiritual homelessness and the terror it engenders.
  15. For its mesmerizing first two-thirds, Van Sant keeps the film tightly focused on his subject, superbly played by Penn and intimately shot, home-movie style, by Harris Savides. But when the director pulls back to detail Harvey Milk's fight against gay backlash, Milk gets derailed. And - dare I say it? - didactic.
  16. Like this diabolically designed weapon of war, Tanovic's film is coil-sprung to explode on the unsuspecting.
  17. The movie is, start to finish, candy-colored angst.
  18. Ann Savage, the femme fatale from a slew of old Hollywood noirs, is savagely funny as Maddin's beauty-parlor proprietress mom.
  19. So incrementally does Eastwood's film build toward what seems like an inevitable resolution that when it concludes, you're sucker-punched. You haven't been watching a police procedural, but a Greek tragedy. You haven't been watching a drama about the catharsis of vigilantism, but sitting vigil for a community diminished, and permanently damaged, by violence.
  20. Quietly and keenly observed, Summer Hours nods to Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" (a country estate, a family reunion, an impending sale). Assayas displays a lucid sense of how personal history and family identity are inextricably linked to a physical place - here, to a house that is still busy accumulating its memories.
  21. Late in Looper, when a highly telekinetic kid starts levitating things, it really does look like Christopher Nolan had wandered onto the set and taken over.
  22. 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.
  23. The humor of the script constantly confounds expectations, and yet Shrek still manages to say all the right things to children.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  24. Kings and Queen, full of passion and humor, madness and grief, is close to a masterpiece. It's like life: messy, impossible, elating, unavoidable.
  25. Insightful and involving.
  26. What this unclassifiable story may lack in decibels, it has in emotional depth. At once a mystery, a family drama, a snapshot of children at risk, Ballast is an unusually perceptive character study more eloquent in action than in dialogue.
  27. Funny as it is fierce, breathtaking as it is life-affirming.
  28. Few American directors drive this wedge between mind and gut as masterfully as Michael Mann.
  29. Clooney has never been better, subtler, more deeply rooted in a performance than he is in The Descendants. And he's funny, too.
  30. A wicked deconstruction of a dysfunctional clan: brothers at each other's throats; a father whose legacy is anger and betrayal; an unfaithful wife; a history of deceit. It's a horror show of hatred and festering psychic wounds.
  31. Swinton is delightful in a twisted turn as Wilford's enforcer, a Margaret Thatcherian dragon lady who adores watching her men torture miscreants who have defied the train's No. 1 rule: Know your place.
  32. Stays with you like great movies tend to do. It asks you to examine the inner mechanisms of human beings, cheerful and miserable alike. It's not about looking at a glass half empty or a glass half full. It's about drinking down what's in that glass and letting it fill your soul.
  33. Ain't nothin' but a party, y'all.
  34. Underlines the nightmare of entrapment so vividly captured in The Day I Became a Woman.
  35. A film full of a sense of impending danger, betrayal, seduction and destruction. Quite simply, it's great stuff.
  36. McConaughey's performance isn't just about the weight loss. It's about gaining compassion, even wisdom, and it's awesome.
  37. An eco-mentary that's as passionate and persuasive an argument for change as "An Inconvenient Truth."
  38. A mordantly funny, clear-eyed view of an extended family's mounting dysfunction in a changing society.
  39. Crazy Heart is the real thing, and a real gem.
  40. The film speaks to fundamental issues of history, truth, and the philosophical conflicts of humankind.
  41. It's a testament to Cage's canny performance and Jonze's seamless use of special effects that you believe Charlie and Donald are two entirely different people.
  42. Avatar delivers. Combining beyond-state-of-the-art moviemaking with a tried-and-true storyline and a gamer-geek sensibility - not to mention a love angle, an otherworldly bestiary, and an arsenal of 22d-century weaponry - the movie quite simply rocks.
  43. Witty and wonderful, Fantastic Mr. Fox is the perfect Thanksgiving entertainment.
  44. A scabrously funny look at the cutthroat game of statecraft.
  45. At once guileless and profound.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  46. An overpowering and original piece of bravura filmmaking that constitutes one of the most breathtaking and impressive directing debuts in years.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  47. It's a feminist nightmare, the world brought to life -- in hard-hitting documentary style.
  48. The Salt of the Earth, has the power to draw you into its world, transfix, and perhaps eventually transform you.
  49. 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."
  50. Ghosts haunt Heart of a Dog - but so, too, does love.
  51. Beautifully observed, and beautifully acted by the novice thespian Polanco (culled from a New York City public school), Chop Shop is at once a heartbreaker and a story of hope and the American Dream.
  52. '71
    1971 is a testament to a generation's idealism, heroism, foolhardiness, fearlessness.
  53. Very few of us would like to think about the physical and emotional toll that life in captivity takes on these magnificent creatures. Gabriela Cowperthwaite's powerful, heartbreaking, and beautifully crafted documentary, Blackfish, forces us to do just that.
  54. Easily the best stop-motion animated necrophiliac musical romantic comedy of all time. It is also just simply, wonderful: a morbid, merry tale of true love that dazzles the eyes and delights the soul.
  55. Nim is as unforgettable as the treatment of him is unspeakable.
    • 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.
  56. Marwencol is about Hogancamp and his miniature alter-ego, about his photographs and his creative process. But it is also, on a deeper level, about how we process our experiences - good and bad, violent and mysterious - and how we try to build safe places in our lives.
  57. I also like that when Our Hero starts swinging from skyscrapers, he's not just emulating Tarzan, but is working out the Newtonian physics of action and reaction.
  58. The fluid film cinematography of Christopher Doyle and Rain Kathy Li, intercut with grainy Super-8 shots of park regulars, tracks the skaters in their free-flying, free-styling and free-falling grace. In these privileged moments, the film is close to transcendence, defying time, space and gravity.
  59. The real 3-D experience of the season is Pina, Wim Wenders' shockingly beautiful and moving tribute to the late German choreographer Pina Bausch.
  60. Like "The Square," the startling Down Under noir released a few months ago, Animal Kingdom explores the down and dirty side of human nature, fraught with greed, suspicion, and betrayal.
  61. What about the kids and families who have no connection to Méliès, little familiarity with Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton? Will Hugo keep them in their seats? I'm not sure.
  62. Captain Phillips is harrowing, inspiring, a must-see piece of moviemaking.
  63. Gloria, spare and keenly observed, plays like a short story - there is no sweeping narrative arc, no momentous triumph or calamity. But there is a bit of justice meted out, and the act of its meting brings a slow, small smile to Gloria's face.
  64. Spider is a difficult film, but an inspired one, the movie equivalent of eating a meal of artfully prepared eel or sea urchin. It's for those with adventurous tastes and no fear of squishy textures.
  65. A Raimi-esque mix of gross-out madness and sick laughs.
  66. The polar opposite of the J.K. Simmons character in "Whiplash."
  67. Ryan may not be admirable, but Clooney makes him relatable. It's his deepest and nakedest performance.
  68. It is the more satisfying of the two installments - less over-the-top, arterial-gushing violence and more investigation into character, motives, back-story.
  69. It does a masterful job of capturing a specific time and place while reminding us how timeless the abortion dialogue is.
  70. Like Hitchcock, only creepier, Haneke slowly cranks up the suspense.
  71. It's a story of global consequences and historic proportions, and of astounding athleticism and synchronicity - and filmmaker Polsky ices it.
  72. A film of haunting eloquence and justifiable fury.
  73. A masterfully creepy and beautifully turned variation on the teen horror formula.
  74. With Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Tim Burton gives new meaning to the term "director's cut."
  75. It's a wondrous mix of the momentous and mundane, the profound and the perverse, with Cave blues-talking his way through the goofy juxtapositions, the darkness, and the light.
  76. The great thing about Venus - apart from its sharp eye for the daily routines and drab details of senior citizenry in a buzzing metropolis - is that it isn't soppy, or sentimental.
  77. The Second Mother is an interesting look at generational and class divides in Brazil, without the feel of a lecture or lesson.
  78. Ajami brings its audience into a world where the cultural conflict is fierce, emotions run high, yet the hopeful vision of peaceful coexistence shines through the cracks.
  79. It's a coming-of-age story - blunt, mythic, gut-wrenching.
  80. A terrific mystery, equal parts haunting love story and nimble thriller.
  81. Gorgeous, and full of bittersweet whimsy.
  82. Reverberates with the power and passion of Greek tragedy.
  83. The beautiful misery of The Deep Blue Sea - Terence Davies' crushing adaptation of Terence Rattigan's 1952 play - is almost too much.
  84. We're in the company of a great character here, with a lot on his mind, a lot to say.
  85. With no-nonsense narration by Peter Coyote and a soundtrack that's at once apt, ironic and really, really good, The Smartest Guys in the Room is anything but a dry dissection of a major Wall Street debacle.
  86. Simply the best adaptation of any John le Carré thriller to make it to the screen.
  87. A baseball movie, a stranger-in-a-strange-land movie, a movie about real people facing real challenges in the real world, Sugar is all that and more.
  88. Gripping, powerful, heart-breaking.
  89. Whatever number it is chronologically on the P&P parade, Wright's film ranks first in verve. Quite simply, it is the essential P&P.
  90. Suffice it to say I prefer the original conclusion, and I think most Exorcist fans will agree
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  91. The results are exhilarating, thrilling, and extend the wingspan.
  92. Insightful, funny-sad memoir of divorce, intellectual style and emotional rebirth.
  93. A breathtaking, disturbing look at urban angst and the emptiness of youth culture.
  94. It's one of the great have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too performances of the year.
  95. It's a tearjerker, sometimes, and sweetly funny at other moments. It's near perfect.
  96. 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.
  97. 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.
  98. 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.

Top Trailers