Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,949 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 Illusionist
Lowest review score: 0 Isn't She Great
Score distribution:
3949 movie reviews
  1. A feast for the eyes and succor for the soul.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  2. Baker's life, like his music, was as sad as it was beautiful. And Weber's movie - obsessed with Baker's image as much as with his songs - hits all the right notes.
  3. Exhilarating, exuberant and drolly funny.
  4. Heigl, a double-dip of praline with caramel, is so beautiful that initially you don't notice her comic chops.
  5. Offers a sometimes lyrical, sometimes gut-turning portrait of war seen through the eyes of children.
  6. It's a movie with a pulse. Sometimes, it flies off the chart.
  7. Proves that the most local story is sometimes the most universal, the simplest tale sometimes the most complex.
  8. Both a concert film and a more intimate thing: a fascinating, fly-on-the-wall (or fly-in-the-dining-car) glimpse of some clearly blotto rock legends talking, singing, hanging out. The fact that a good number of them are now dead makes it doubly memorable.
  9. The animated French family film April and the Extraordinary World will have your imagination doing somersaults and cartwheels.
  10. Disarming and unexpectedly poignant, An Education contrasts the knowledge learned in school with that learned from life.
  11. Even if you get lost - in the spyspeak, in the codes, in the comings and goings of grim-faced men with satchels full of documents they should not have - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is worth getting lost in.
  12. It's a performance that will make you cringe - with despair, with empathy - as Gosling's Dan takes one self-destructive step after another.
  13. A gorgeous operatic tale of obsession and madness.
  14. 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.
  15. A quiet, heart-rending masterpiece, one with an actor's turn that people will remember, and rediscover, eons into the future.
  16. Its stars - especially the photogenic Leung and Cheung, fresh from Wong Kar Wai's jazzy romance In the Mood for Love - are wonderfully charismatic. And wonderfully athletic.
  17. At the film's intimate best, it gives a guitar's perspective of the troubadour. He plucks his instrument as he plays our heartstrings. It's movie and music bliss.
  18. This drag-queen melodrama, like its star, perseveres.
  19. Hopped-up and electrifying. The soundtrack is wall-to-wall and propulsive.
  20. In the end, Atonement sorts truth from fiction as it delivers a shattering kick to the solar plexus.
  21. Still, somehow, The Tree of Life - impressionistic, revelatory, elliptical - works.
  22. Alexandra never depicts the soldiers in combat, but Sokurov nonetheless shows how war can break down the social structure, break down family, break the human soul.
  23. A wonderful, witty mix of horror and social satire, The Host takes its simple, time-tested premise - menacing creature terrorizes the populace - and runs with it.
  24. 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.
  25. According to this courageous, you-are-there documentary, the platoon took enemy fire almost every day, perhaps the longest exposure to combat the U.S. has engaged in since World War II.
  26. I wanted to like Meek's Cutoff more than I did. Reichardt and her writer, Jonathan Raymond, bring a quiet, watchful sensibility to their work, allowing the actors room to reflect and riff. But the stilted language and rectitude of the times don't always mesh with the acting.
  27. 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.
  28. Quiet, rageful indictment of a two-tiered Islamic society.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  29. At turns funny, sweet, sad, trenchant and telling. It's a gem.
  30. 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.
  31. Quite simply, a revelation.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. It's never entirely clear whether Borchardt is also an object of ridicule for documentarian Chris Smith.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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
  38. Far too good to be watched in one sitting.
  39. 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
  40. The rare movie that manages to convey the inner soul of an artist.
  41. Like Johnny's rants, Naked is a revelation, a parable of spiritual homelessness and the terror it engenders.
  42. 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.
  43. Like this diabolically designed weapon of war, Tanovic's film is coil-sprung to explode on the unsuspecting.
  44. The movie is, start to finish, candy-colored angst.
  45. Ghosts haunt Heart of a Dog - but so, too, does love.
  46. Ann Savage, the femme fatale from a slew of old Hollywood noirs, is savagely funny as Maddin's beauty-parlor proprietress mom.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. If you want to expose your children to a work of art with real soul, you could do a lot worse than Kubo and the Two Strings.
  50. The humor of the script constantly confounds expectations, and yet Shrek still manages to say all the right things to children.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  51. Kings and Queen, full of passion and humor, madness and grief, is close to a masterpiece. It's like life: messy, impossible, elating, unavoidable.
  52. Insightful and involving.
  53. 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.
  54. Funny as it is fierce, breathtaking as it is life-affirming.
  55. Few American directors drive this wedge between mind and gut as masterfully as Michael Mann.
  56. Clooney has never been better, subtler, more deeply rooted in a performance than he is in The Descendants. And he's funny, too.
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. Ain't nothin' but a party, y'all.
  61. Underlines the nightmare of entrapment so vividly captured in The Day I Became a Woman.
  62. A film full of a sense of impending danger, betrayal, seduction and destruction. Quite simply, it's great stuff.
  63. McConaughey's performance isn't just about the weight loss. It's about gaining compassion, even wisdom, and it's awesome.
  64. An eco-mentary that's as passionate and persuasive an argument for change as "An Inconvenient Truth."
  65. A mordantly funny, clear-eyed view of an extended family's mounting dysfunction in a changing society.
  66. 13 Assassins is, at turns, thrilling and funny, visually exquisite and emotionally charged.
  67. Crazy Heart is the real thing, and a real gem.
  68. Linklater, drawing from his own experiences as a baseball player at Sam Houston State University, looks back with affection, a knowing wink, and maybe the beginnings of an apologetic shrug at the jerk behavior, the locker-room pranks. These guys smell freedom in the air - and maybe some pot smoke, too.
  69. It's great to hear a director talking candidly about the actors he's worked with, dishing out good, juicy stuff.
  70. The film speaks to fundamental issues of history, truth, and the philosophical conflicts of humankind.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. Witty and wonderful, Fantastic Mr. Fox is the perfect Thanksgiving entertainment.
  74. A scabrously funny look at the cutthroat game of statecraft.
  75. At once guileless and profound.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  76. An overpowering and original piece of bravura filmmaking that constitutes one of the most breathtaking and impressive directing debuts in years.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  77. It's a feminist nightmare, the world brought to life -- in hard-hitting documentary style.
  78. The Salt of the Earth, has the power to draw you into its world, transfix, and perhaps eventually transform you.
  79. 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.
  80. '71
    1971 is a testament to a generation's idealism, heroism, foolhardiness, fearlessness.
  81. 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.
  82. The Witch is a stressful movie to watch, and that's meant as the highest praise.
  83. 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.
  84. 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.
  85. 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.
  86. 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.
  87. 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.
  88. The real 3-D experience of the season is Pina, Wim Wenders' shockingly beautiful and moving tribute to the late German choreographer Pina Bausch.
  89. 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.
  90. 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.
  91. Captain Phillips is harrowing, inspiring, a must-see piece of moviemaking.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. A Raimi-esque mix of gross-out madness and sick laughs.
  95. The polar opposite of the J.K. Simmons character in "Whiplash."
  96. Ryan may not be admirable, but Clooney makes him relatable. It's his deepest and nakedest performance.
  97. It is the more satisfying of the two installments - less over-the-top, arterial-gushing violence and more investigation into character, motives, back-story.
  98. It does a masterful job of capturing a specific time and place while reminding us how timeless the abortion dialogue is.
  99. Like Hitchcock, only creepier, Haneke slowly cranks up the suspense.

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