Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,475 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 6.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Inside Llewyn Davis
Lowest review score: 0 Surviving Christmas
Score distribution:
3,475 movie reviews
  1. An epic docudrama - electric and raw.
  2. The rhythms of Whale Rider are hypnotic as the ebb tide, haunting as the song of the humpback sea mammal, bracing as the ocean spray. It's a movie that rewards the patient viewer.
  3. Rees tells Alike's story in vignettes that are sometimes slapstick, sometimes heartbreaking, always tender.
  4. British screen stalwarts Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton appear as locals - he twitchy and reticent, she chatty and full of cheer, both with their hearts in the right place.
  5. You go to a Daniels movie not to be entertained, but edified. While not everyone goes to the movies for self-improvement, you will leave this one having witnessed phenomenal acting.
  6. A gut-punch of a drama.
  7. Stern and Sundberg, best known for their Darfur documentary "The Devil Came on Horseback," did not shrink from the atrocities in Sudan; nor do they shrink from the fame-hungry excesses here.
  8. Chunhyang is a movie — and a heroine — for all times.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  9. With its knowing take on men, messed-up romance and music, is like one long, hook-filled pop song for the eyes.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  10. Brian Cox is especially good, and slippery, as Menenius, a Roman senator.
  11. Gritty, suspenseful and almost poetic in its depiction of an unforgiving town, A Most Violent Year is just shy of being great.
  12. Compared to "Ray," which takes Ray Charles' unique life story and manages to make it feel like a cliche, Kinsey is total sophistication and nuance.
  13. When Dizdar hits, he hits big.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  14. Glazer has a daring sense of story structure that ratchets up the suspense, and his sense for sardonic black comedy is unerring.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  15. Not just a great sports movie, Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 captures a pivotal moment in recent history.
  16. For actresses of a certain age, Jarmusch's film amounts to a full-employment act...Best are Stone, transparent in her desire, and Conroy, completely opaque.
  17. This is a picture of quiet observation, contained emotion, the hush before the cathartic scream.
  18. In the film, the music, beginning with a muted a cappella ballad, is from Eastwood himself.
  19. It's a gently provocative film diary about tobacco and its mixed legacy.
  20. While its careful pace and seemingly opaque story may not satisfy every moviegoer's appetite, the film's final scene is soaringly, transparently moving.
  21. This unsettling, shaggy, surrealistic pillow of a movie - a mixed bag more funny-strange than ha-ha.
  22. Brilliant, blistering account of the many ways fame deforms a star, his family and his fans.
  23. The Fighter is funny, ferocious, sad, sweet, pulpy, and violent. Sometimes, all in the same minute.
  24. "You have to be like a poet," Jodorowsky says at one point. "Your movie must be just as you think of it. . . . The movie has to be just like I dream it." What an extraordinary dream it could have been.
  25. It's indescribable fun.
  26. At first glance Walter isn't a guy you want to spend two hours with. But by the end of the film, you don't want to see him go. Jenkins is like that: He sneaks up on you and steals your heart with light-fingered skill.
  27. Until a final conflict that more resembles a monster-truck jam than a superhero showdown, Iron Man is solid gold.
  28. It's strong stuff.
  29. This story of two very old souls who suck on O negative Popsicles is, in many ways, more about the life-sustaining force of music than any hankering for blood.
  30. At a certain point in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, you expect Caesar to say, "Et tu, Koba?" Maybe a bit obvious, but it would have shown some wit.
  31. Apart from Connery, the star of the film is Mamet's deadpan script, which obviously inspired one of the movie's baldest old-movie tributes.
  32. The movie may be the meditation of an old man, but rarely has a supreme artist's twilight been so richly illuminating. Faithless makes other films on the same subject seem clueless.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  33. A powerful and moving contribution to the cinema of the Holocaust.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  34. Nolte, reinforced by the bleak discretion of Schrader's direction and a wonderful supporting cast, makes the most of the opportunity.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  35. A squirmingly strange and brutal study of sexual power, masochism and mother-daughter madness.
  36. Riveting and heartstoppingly fine documentary.
  37. Much as I was moved by the film, I have one reservation and one warning. The framing device of the older Pi recounting his story to the author (which worked so well in Martel's novel) is intrusive and significantly detracts from the story.
  38. It's a heartbreaker of a coming-of-age tale, even if there's a string of exsanguinated corpses to be accounted for.
  39. Burshtein keeps the camera tight on the faces of her actors in a way that succeeds at making visible the invisible heat between the characters. The film's chaste eroticism and the community's deep respect for Shira's emotional and spiritual growth keep the audience in thrall.
    • 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.
  40. It is not to everyone's taste. But if you like the lush film operas of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Douglas Sirk, or Luchino Visconti, this one's for you.
  41. On a Paris rooftop about an hour into this 2-hour film, the tone shifts and the atmosphere lightens into giddy farce.
  42. 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.
  43. Wild and woolly, the movie is a breathtaking head trip that hails from a long tradition of backstage melodramas: "42nd Street," "A Star Is Born," "All About Eve," and, yes, that kitschy '90s relic, "Showgirls."
  44. "Shrek" is a scintilla funnier, "Toy Story 2" a hair's breadth more poignant, but "MI" is every bit as imaginative and lovable as these other contemporary animation classics.
  45. Plays like an exalted episode of "Miami Vice" or a stealth version of "Shane."
  46. The first date that James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus embark on in Enough Said - has to be one of the great getting-to-know-you encounters in movie history.
  47. Holds the audience captive and unusually vulnerable to psycho- and viscero-terror.
  48. This is very much Anderson's film. The publication of the novel made Wharton's reputation. The release of The House of Mirth should do the same for Anderson.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  49. A work that demands patience, and it will easily exasperate some moviegoers.
  50. Half a century after its release, Godzilla couldn't be more current.
  51. Control doesn't claim to know the reasons Curtis killed himself. The act of suicide poses the question why, but rarely answers it, leaving the living to wonder, and to grieve. And there's certainly grief to be had in Control, but also joy. Really.
  52. A "small" movie. But in its keenly observed examination of strangers who become intimates - and of family members who remain, in part, strangers - it has big things to say.
  53. Despite all its roiling melodrama, Head-On has its moments of sharply observed humor.
  54. Remains rooted in the real world, which makes its story all the more satisfying -- and chilling.
  55. For everyone who has ever asked, "What on earth do they see in each other?"
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  56. This beautiful, unfolding film is an antidote to the high-velocity, maximum-volume world most of us find ourselves immersed in, offering a glimpse into a rigorously spiritual alternative. Its calmness, its reflection, is full of allure.
  57. The scene when she's (Blanchette) babysitting Ginger's boys and takes them to a diner - and confides about her electric shock treatments ("Edison's medicine"), her breakdowns, about the side effects of Prozac and Lithium . . .. it's genius.
  58. Goes somewhere the first "Hellboy" never ventured: into the Realms of Tedium.
  59. A movie as generous, stingy, and biting - and memorable - as its six main characters.
  60. Betrayal is at the heart of this story, but also dreams of liberty and a life where all people are treated with respect.
  61. It shows how the energy, and innocence, of children can be found - and fostered - in even the bleakest spots on earth.
  62. A witty, winning inversion of the famous Arthur Miller play.
  63. Finally, a real movie!
  64. It's quite a celebration.
  65. With its feverish, percussive soundtrack and bravura cinematography, is like a bolt from the blue, chock-full of unexpected delight.
  66. A deadpan delight.
  67. Pray the Devil Back to Hell is at once inspiring and horrific.
  68. A deeply creepy and mysterious noir.
  69. Quiet, watchful, out for himself, Sorowitsch is a complicated figure - neither hero nor villain, and certainly no fool. The Austrian actor Markovics is riveting in the role; he is wiry, anticipatory, his eyes darting with intelligence and worry.
  70. Bier primes us for a catfight, but she gives something tastier: a feast of reconciliation and love.
  71. If you just give yourself over to Nolan's sweeping, symphonic Cowled Crusader saga, The Dark Knight Rises is, well, a blast.
  72. Creepy and compelling and beautifully shot, The Devil's Backbone is a tale of the supernatural that feels completely natural. Its realness is what makes it so scary.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  73. A disturbing and forceful drama.
  74. The dialogue is smart, screwball, sublime.
  75. Slower and talkier than the five Potters that came before - but not necessarily in a bad way - Half-Blood Prince is a bubbling cauldron of hormonal angst, rife with romance and heartbreak, jealousy and longing.
  76. A fresh, striking and rewarding piece of work.
  77. A droll piece of deadpan played with mostly unerring pitch by a talented cast.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  78. The plain, reportorial style of Lost Boys -- which simply records its subjects in various settings and situations -- results in a film that doesn't preach, doesn't politicize.
  79. A bruising, dark comedy.
  80. Lush. Debauched. Ravishing. And did I mention sexy?
  81. With Insomnia, his third feature, Nolan, 32, has proven himself a precocious master of the thriller, unsettling the audience with a brief image of blood seeping through fabric.
  82. 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.
  83. Even with a voice-over narration, and conversations with her dog, Robyn's nomadic quest is full of grand silences, all the better to take in the sky, the rocks, the world spinning underfoot. Wasikowska plays this wordless wanderer just right. That is, she makes her real.
  84. Tavernier pulls all this off with elegance and style; his battle scenes are tough and bloody, his châteaus grand.
  85. Zodiac is a reproach both to those dedicated to unscrambling "The Da Vinci Code" and to those hooked on forensic crime shows where all the evidence leads to a tidy conclusion. That Zodiac's manhunt is inconclusive makes it all the more haunting.
  86. It's not a very good title, Waste Land - this isn't a bleak film, at all - but just about everything else in Lucy Walker's documentary works, and illuminates.
  87. A superb film that begins with death, ends in renewal, and finds almost as much to laugh about as to cry for.
  88. A gossamer tale about a heavy subject -- a passive creature who slowly emerges as the active author of her own life.
  89. Director Jean-Pierre Denis doesn't explore psychological motives, which are, finally, unknowable. What he accomplishes in his chilling, unnerving film is a double portrait of two young women whose lives were as claustrophic, suffocating and chilly as the attics to which they were inevitably consigned.
  90. Nat King Cole croons a Christmas chestnut, an opera wafts into the ether, Latin jazz sways. It's all terribly atmospheric, and if you're in the mood for atmosphere, 2046 delivers.
  91. The upside: Chow has energy and invention to burn. The downside: He doesn't know when he blisters his audience.
  92. A defiantly offbeat and accomplished piece with a dream ensemble acting out one man's nightmare, it deserves not to fall through the cracks.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  93. Scorsese's most accomplished, most disciplined movie since GoodFellas. His most gorgeous, too, with the peaches'n'strawberries'n'cream palette of early Technicolor films.
  94. A beautiful eyeful of puckish whimsy and dark-humored mystery, Hukkle (it means hiccup in Hungarian) is a little gem in which nature and humankind commingle, where coincidence and causality collide in a chain of odd, even murderous, events.
  95. Bale is extraordinary, grinning like a kid, displaying wily intelligence, sinewy resolve and spirit - and a bit of craziness, too.
  96. Offers dazzling cinematic family fun, and a mad medley of tunes.
  97. Featuring seasoned warriors reflecting on whether we can best fight violence with violence is enormously compelling.
  98. David Gelb's thoughtful and wonderful documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, explores the dedication of this humble, bespectacled man, and the Zen-like focus he has for his work - or, as many would claim, for his art.
  99. 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.

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