Portland Oregonian's Scores

  • Movies
For 3,088 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 64% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 33% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 The City of Lost Children
Lowest review score: 0 Cop Out
Score distribution:
3,088 movie reviews
  1. Thirty-five years since its debut, The Conformist is still a stunning, challenging, transporting film.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The revelation is Arquette. While the focus is on Coltrane and how he grew up onscreen, it's Arquette that's at the center of this incredible journey. She puts herself out there year after year, getting knocked down and getting up stronger. Her final scenes have the power and heartbreak every parent knows -- it's all about holding a child's hand, then letting it go.
  2. Can a film so expertly capture the odious and bitter that it becomes deliciously, disgustingly beautiful? Yes, if that film is 1957's Sweet Smell of Success.
  3. The protagonists have subsumed their identities to the collective, and they rise and fall in their hearts as the collective prospers or suffers. Their effort is absurd, but their intent is pure. Watching it evokes a combination of pity for their naive idealism and awe at Melville's uncanny brilliance.
  4. Del Toro presents one dazzling visual spectacle after another.
  5. But the human elements -- jealousy, anger, weakness, fortitude, loyalty, vengeance and honor, all acted out by a resolutely realistic cast -- make the movie extraordinary.
  6. A grueling film in both technique and subject matter.
  7. Is it a silly movie? At times, yes. Is it creaky and blatant and obvious? Quite often, absolutely. But should you miss it in this splendidly colorful restoration? Not on your life.
  8. Hilarious. And more proof that Pixar is in a class of its own.
  9. Gravity isn’t as ambitious as “2001,” but then, what is? It is, however, absolutely a worthy successor, a masterpiece of hard science fiction, and the movie to beat at this point for next year’s cinematography and visual effects Oscars.
  10. Shot to shot, scene to scene, The Social Network nearly never puts a foot wrong or, really, does anything to make you feel less than compelled.
  11. Viewers looking for a propagandistic take will be disappointed, but even those who doubt the overall framework and existence of the so-called War on Terror should appreciate this thrilling tale of the hunt for the world's most wanted man.
  12. It happens to be splendidly acted and to be poised, as a narrative, on a knife's edge (the final shot, at a great moment of indecision, is utterly haunting). But, chiefly, it's a portrait of an essential and sympathetic human dilemma, and in that it's both real and timeless in ways that transcend borders, cultures and languages.
  13. Miyazaki is a genius, and this film is a masterpiece; go see it.
    • Portland Oregonian
  14. It's a fascinating look into what Spielberg truly loves, but it's not so much a masterpiece as a nice milestone.
    • Portland Oregonian
  15. Having heard tell of its wonders for decades, I found the actual movie less transporting than I'd been led to expect. It's clearly a brilliant debut.
  16. Episodic and, at times, overwrought. And occasionally its deliberate opacity becomes too cloudy. But the things that shine through are remarkable. War is indeed Hell, it tells us, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing if you're filled with demons.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Paley's production shines with brilliance and great humor.
  17. It's a justifiably G-rated film, but parents may have some 'splainin' to do.
  18. Gets under your skin without you quite being able to say when or how. It has the tact to let you draw yourself in to it.
  19. It's a horrific tale, filled with fear, confusion, anger, disfigurement, and loss. Weissman and Weber don't milk the pathos and they don't have to. Their interview subjects are brilliantly chosen, not only for their specific vantage points on the events but for their eloquence and depth of feeling. Time and again, the spoken and visual record of what happened overwhelms you.
  20. From the acting to the special effects to the landscapes to the cinematography, editing and music, to the details of decor, wardrobe and armaments, we never once feel that we are in anything but the hands of an absolute master of the medium.
  21. While what's on screen is unsparing and clinically presented, the underlying, almost invisible humanity and artistry of the film inspire rather than depress.
  22. A spell-binding, engaging and often breathtaking work in which exquisite sets, costumes, photography and music combine with top-notch acting and out-of-this-world fighting scenes.
    • Portland Oregonian
  23. Films don't get more essential than this.
  24. The big-screen reissue offers a rare chance to admire the marvelous production details.
  25. As flawless as any film this year and rock-solid confirmation that Joel and Ethan Coen are the greatest filmmakers working in America (and perhaps anywhere else) today.
  26. Mathieu Amalric, best known as an arms dealer in "Munich." In a role that strips him entirely of vanity and denies him virtually every expressive tool, Amalric makes a genuinely touching impression.
  27. A modestly scaled, sharply observed film.
  28. One of the most alluring and bizarre shapes that Godard's itchy search for truth and meaning took in those heady long-ago days. In comparison, most Hollywood movies are like tiddlywinks.
  29. It's first-rank filmmaking, through and through, even if it struggles to find closure.
  30. One of the great marvels of the medium, a film that you cannot miss if you hope to be literate in cinema -- or, indeed, if you seek acquaintance with the great works of modern times.
  31. Malle, only 25 when the film was released, bounces confidently among several threads -- classic French policier, juvenile delinquent film, doomy tale of tragic love, clock-ticking thriller.
  32. In the year's least surprising news, Toy Story 3 continues Pixar's near-perfect streak.
  33. Brilliantly colored and passionately acted, Moolaade teems with incidents, personalities and drama and is never less than vivid.
  34. A gorgeous, engrossing, utterly alien and fresh movie that has the human truth and impact of classic Greek myth and the overwhelming beauty and mastery of the greatest epic films.
    • Portland Oregonian
  35. It is a pure, streamlined delight, the advent of a talent with no exact equal in modern film.
  36. The Queen is all-together remarkable not only for what it is but for what it isn't.
  37. When a film like Stories We Tell comes along, you're reminded how powerful and universal even the most intimate and individual lives can be when captured with intelligence and perspective.
  38. It easily is the most beautiful picture released in America so far this year, perhaps one of the most beautiful films ever made.
    • Portland Oregonian
  39. The film ends on an absolutely sick-making note, with live-action footage of the massacre and its aftermath.
  40. In the main this is a muscular, exact and thrillingly cool movie.
  41. For a film that consists largely of a series of talking-head interviews, The Gatekeepers is a riveting a documentary.
  42. The adaptation of "King Lear" to feudal Japan is an extraordinary spectacle.
    • Portland Oregonian
  43. One of the best films ever made in this country, filled with our proudest national virtues, cognizant of our deeply rooted human weaknesses and frighteningly able to evoke emotions.
  44. Long and sometimes grueling, but it never feels indulgent or excessive. In order to be subtle about the horrifying transformation he records, Audiard needs to let it unfold slowly, so that only when we reach the end can we see Malik as a new man who has come unimaginably -- and terribly -- far.
  45. With a level-gazed approach to its milieu, empathetic but clear-eyed, Winter's Bone practically makes up for 40 years of "Deliverance"-style hillbilly cartoons.
  46. No matter how many times you've seen it, you marvel at how terrifying, gorgeous and surreal the jungle, the yellow napalm and, finally, the disturbed face of Martin Sheen lying under a swirling fan appear on the large screen. This is indeed, a dream.
  47. It's raw, visceral stuff that precious few movies are capable of equaling.
  48. Her
    As the relationship between Theodore and Samantha evolves, it hews too closely to the expected arc of a romantic drama. In a desire to show how such a pairing could produce the same joys, sorrows, jealousies and insecurities as a human-to-human one, the movie edges close to parody, which it doesn't want to be.
  49. It's as full a movie as you can imagine -- exhausting and exhilarating and continually fascinating.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Hawke is not a brilliant actor, but here he rises to the occasion: Every inch of him registers the weight of this moment.
  50. It's hilarious, thrilling and filled with "life-truth" -- but it also conceals its effort under a layer of great writing and subtle craftsmanship.
  51. One lucky guy, on a roll with rock.
    • Portland Oregonian
  52. Thoroughly unique work of art.
  53. I am here to tell you that Greengrass has fashioned one of the most powerful films I have ever seen, and that watching it makes you value your loved ones and your privileges more, perhaps, than you ever have. He has made a film that makes you feel, makes you think and makes you want to connect. And that, finally, might be the greatest thing that art can do.
  54. More than just a good crime story about the guilt or innocence of Arnold and Jesse Friedman. It's also a fascinating portrait of a seemingly normal middle-class family crumbling before our eyes.
  55. There’s plenty of fun to be had, but in the long term, American Hustle may be remembered more for its superficial pleasures than the depth of its impact. Kind of like the 1970s.
  56. It's refreshing that something once considered terribly new and modern can still feel contemporary three decades later.
  57. You can learn about the grand shifts of history from Persepolis, but you learn about a handful of lives as well.
  58. The Act of Killing is exemplary as a history lesson, a character study and a powerful argument for confronting the past.
  59. It's a bento box of shifts, feints, hints and small, sharp insights, built around a surprisingly deep core of feeling. And it confirms Coppola as an artist to watch and relish.
  60. In exchange for a small piece of your life, you receive an infinity.
  61. It's so full-blooded, smart, sexy, tense and absorbing, so cleverly written and shot and cut, so filled with superb acting and music, so perfect in its closing moment, that it surely ranks with the most impressive debuts in world cinema.
  62. The second action melodrama released in the United States this year by director Zhang Yimou, and if I prefer the previous one, "Hero," it's partly a matter of degrees.
  63. Takes on the air of a heist film as the preparations proceed, and even knowing the outcome, tension still remains.
  64. Ida
    Just as austere and demanding as you'd expect a black-and-white film about a Polish nun to be. Don't let that scare you, though.
  65. As slapstick, as satire, as sheer gut-busting comedy, Borat is top notch.
  66. The first to take a big-picture view of just how the plans for postwar occupation went so far off track.
  67. The acting is flawless, the world feels utterly real, and the finale accomplishes the miracle of finding in the everyday world something profound.
  68. It's a bit precious, yes, but its earnestness and joy carry you along, and its climax simply delights.
  69. Adventuresome, melancholy and exhilarating.
  70. Letters isn't a fun night at the picture show. It's slow and gloomy and achingly tragic. But it's a truly impressive achievement both in moviemaking and in its understanding of history.
  71. Music aside, what finally puts Once over and makes it a film you can watch more than once is its slight but thoroughly credible realism.
  72. Teems with pot smoke, body parts and profane outbursts -- you ride a giggly wave throughout, jokes and turn-ons and shocking sights alternating in buoyant fashion.
    • Portland Oregonian
  73. This is an awesome performance in an outstanding film, a film worthy, if you can imagine, of the book at its heart.
  74. Sergei Dvortsevoy's unclassifiable, verite-style film (shaky-cam alert!) is an endearing mix of intimacy, attention to detail and decidedly local humor.
  75. If it can seem like there's no end of films about the Holocaust, it might be because there is no bottom to the well of crime, inhumanity and evil described by that ghastly event.
  76. Recoing's performance is chillingly low-key -- sometimes you can swear that he believes his own fictions -- and Livrozet, making his film debut, has a perfect long-in-the-tooth charm.
    • Portland Oregonian
  77. The actors are all perfect and yet not. Christie, most obviously, is simply too gorgeous, even when she's meant to be rattled and lost; Pinsent is too credibly stolid; Dukakis never vanquishes an impression of sourness. These may be quibbles, but they add up.
  78. The film combines farcical and sinister tones, as well as textures of high polish and captured-in-the-raw neorealism, and it simply brims with energy and surprises.
  79. The result is a gripping film which, despite the annoying rugrat, demonstrates how part of leaving childhood behind is learning how and when to lie, and to do it well.
  80. As a film, Inside Job is polished enough, and fueled by piquant indignation, but it's also often scattershot and meandering.
  81. You will be heartened by the amazing sensation of watching one of the greatest works in the history of the medium unfold in front of you, piece by piece, year by year.
  82. It's a purely winning film.
    • Portland Oregonian
  83. Longer cut's slapdash additions make a cool, ambiguous film more literal; original 2001 version is far better.
  84. It's a fine, absorbing work, built with brilliance and without excessive showiness or flash. It feels, in fact, like a classic virtually upon its arrival.
  85. Up
    Is Up top-shelf Pixar? No. But is it quality summer movie entertainment? Absolutely. Even when the folks at Pixar aim to keep their feet solidly on the ground, they can't help but soar.
  86. The Grand Budapest Hotel shows Anderson engaging with the world outside his meticulously composed frames like never before.
  87. As unpleasant as so many of its going-on are, Wake in Fright works both as an early instance of "Ozploitation" cinema and as a harsh critique of Australian colonialism and the absurdity of trying to bring so-called civilization to this vast arid wilderness.
  88. The animation is even more mind-blowing, if that's possible. The characters and objects seem even more palpable and real than last time. There's a thickness to bodies of the human characters and an amazing attention to detail throughout.
  89. Moves at a stately pace; it's a long film, to boot. But there's real drama and pathos in the story, in the blend of matter-of-factness and potential catastrophe, in the depiction of innocence imperiled.
  90. The plot's very sparsity gives "Life" its own special suspense. It is rarely possible to guess where the film will be in the next 10 minutes, yet nothing in it is improbable. That is another reason why the upbeat finale works. For all of the film's quirks and absurdity, it never strains credulity. [27 Dec. 1991, p.13]
    • Portland Oregonian
  91. What makes the Dardennes' films so powerful is their refusal to judge, positively or negatively, their characters.
  92. It's a celebration of American female screen acting, it's a study of early feminism that feels relevant today, it's a carefully mounted exercise in period filmmaking and it's a beloved novel come to life for the fourth time. [23 Dec 1994]
    • Portland Oregonian
  93. Like "Amadeus," Shakespeare in Love works splendidly as an appreciation of an artist in the heat of creation, and it breathes life into "Romeo and Juliet."
  94. The Missing Picture feels akin to last year's great documentary, "The Act of Killing."
  95. The sense of inescapability, the mood of capitulation and resignation, becomes the story. What is being made clear is the thoroughgoing rot of a civilization; there is literally no place to find peace, solace or consolation.
  96. Anyone who shares Ebert's love of movies and who followed his career will be exceptionally moved by Life Itself, but anyone who appreciates a well-lived life should be touched as well.
  97. It has the feel of something slaved over lovingly in merry isolation, and it is virtually the only thing I've seen this year that conveys in the viewing the obvious enjoyment its makers had in whipping it up.

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