Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,749 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 65% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 32% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Cars
Lowest review score: 0 Domino
Score distribution:
2749 movie reviews
  1. Makhmalbaf's astounding and haunting imagery tells a story of devastation, desperation and poverty.
  2. Free of the ghetto clichés that fill the movies made by people who have never lived in one, Killer of Sheep is a strongly individual portrait of black, working-class America.
  3. Tommy Lee Jones steps behind the camera to direct himself in the most impressive directorial debut the American cinema has seen in some time, a contemporary western both rough and poetic, laconic and passionate.
  4. So magnificent in so many ways that, for the first time, it seems to raise the docudrama to high art.
  5. The granddaddy of all caper/heist movies. The work that defined the genre for the subsequent four decades of filmmakers, none of whom was able to surpass it for style or suspense.
  6. While the significance of the imagery, including the slow disintegration of an immense piece of sculpted petroleum, is elusive, the strangeness of Barney's visual sense never fails to stimulate the senses.
  7. A tasteful, richly textured, exquisitely nostalgic drama that carries with it an enormous emotional punch. [09 Oct 1992]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  8. Above all, the film is a classic of "poetic realism," that distinct brand of pessimistic '30s French urban drama that gave lyrical, sometimes even surrealistic, interpretations to working-class romances and underworld characters, settings and dramas.
  9. It's not only the most gentle and effortlessly funny movie so far this year, it's a film with a style and sensibility that wonderfully harkens back to Hollywood's golden age of sophisticated comedy, and in particular to the masterpieces of Crowe's filmmaking idol, Billy Wilder.
  10. It's a rich work, lush and lovely and bustling with activity but paced at a contemplative stroll, like a time lapse recording in first gear.
  11. Like the schoolkids in this adventure, from the opening images to the closing credits, I do, I do, I do believe in fairy tales.
  12. It's a tender, tough, uncompromising film, photographed with a disarming directness and seeming simplicity that looks almost naked next to the dramatic constructions of most films. It just makes her precariousness all the more real.
  13. For all the ephemeral pleasure of the company of old friends, there is a chasm between them and the dynamics shift from moment to moment. The beauty of the film is how director Kelly Reichardt brilliantly captures those moments with lucid simplicity.
  14. A masterpiece.
  15. Hou's first film made outside of Asia is his most emotionally turbulent, yet he remains, like the balloon, outside looking in, a compassionate but distant observer capturing it all with a graceful restraint and floating beauty that ultimately carried me away with it.
  16. This bracing portrait of a woman who painfully accepts her responsibility as a citizen is a revelation.
  17. Even knowing the happy outcome, Butler masterfully keeps us on the edge of our seats, and communicates the full horror and seeming hopelessness of the crew's situation every step of the way.
  18. No one does this genre better than actor-writer-director Christopher Guest.
  19. Penn's direction is amazingly sharp and intuitive, full of masterful touches that give an epic dimension and scope to the parable.
  20. An unusual, visually hypnotic, American Gothic historical epic that traces the rise and tragic fall of a Western mining magnate of the Gilded Age.
  21. Morris challenges us to understand what the pictures show and what they don't show, and to see them in context. And he confronts us with the most important question surrounding them: Do they reveal a crime, an aberration in the system or standard operating procedure?
  22. The movie grabs us from its heart-pounding opening sequence and pulls us inexorably along its trajectory with the grip of the last gruesome act of a Greek tragedy. Its fascination is not what happens but HOW it happens.
  23. The plot is often bewilderingly complex and the dense layers of subterfuge hard to follow, but by the climax the fairy tale has been twisted into a fascist fable of realpolitik mercenary opportunism.
  24. There are two kinds of people, my friend. Those who love Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and those who resist the machismo and gallows humor of what is arguably the definitive spaghetti western.
  25. The final scene of Balthazar's demise is one of cinema's most moving and haunting moments.
  26. Actors Laia Marull and Luis Tosar explore the intricate details of a relationship based on the laws of attraction and repulsion, in which the intellect is repeatedly devastated by primal passion.
  27. It's an immensely successful movie - and far and away the most emotionally charged, psychologically uneasy and diabolically suspenseful thriller Polanski's made since his heyday. [27 Jan 1995, p. 26]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  28. Think of easy jazz or soft soul, with Rudolph's cinematic improvisations soaring and circling the melody while adding quirky variations.
  29. A brilliantly conceived, boldly executed, cumulatively thrilling fantasy epic that expands the art of film and is sure to be the middle link of one of the movies' greatest trilogies.
  30. A classic fairy tale with a contemporary sensibility and a spooky horror under the candy-house fantasy.
  31. An excessive, expressionistic, agreeably nonjudgmental period biography that carries with it an enormous emotional wallop. [01 Mar 1991]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  32. What's most devastating in Capturing the Friedmans is how Jarecki puts the sureness of justice into doubt as he shows Truth (with a capital T) at the mercy of perspective and perception, context and emotion.
  33. Aoyama's monochrome images are filled with a simple shadowy beauty and his scenes are rich in tender sensitivity and empathy.
  34. When Riyadh's family jokes about the purple stain that marks them as resistance targets after they vote, the black humor speaks volumes about them as individuals, as Sunnis and as Iraqis with a dream of a better way.
  35. Inspiring without sinking into sentimentality or cliche, Hearts of Atlantis is intelligent, heartfelt and genuine, a rare story of childhood for adults.
  36. Hilarious, near-flawless.
  37. Like the folk tales from centuries past, Pan's Labyrinth is a dark odyssey with nightmarish visions and cruel threats, but coming through the sacrifice and suffering is the childlike belief in magic and imagination that for Del Toro represents the hope and optimism of a happily ever after in this cruel world.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It rolls in waves over the sedentary crowd until there's not a single soul left who's not keeping the beat.
  38. With The Dark Knight, the cinematic superhero spectacle comes closest to becoming modern myth, a pulp tragedy with costumed players and elevated stakes and terrible sacrifices. It's the new gold standard for superhero noir.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Although obviously a stretched and lightly drawn caricature -- the cerebral writer is obsessed with his work, has metaphorical skin problems, can't have sex without weeping, etc. -- Cotard is real. Or as real a representation of an artist as we're likely to get in this biopic age.
  39. The movie is never mechanical or emotionally contrived, and at its heart is a guileless, enchanting performance by Tautou.
  40. The most imaginative and delightful computer-animated movie of recent years outside of the Pixar brand, Monster House is a Halloween ghost story by way of monster-movie adventure.
  41. Daring, gorgeous.
  42. The story plays out in the sensuous textures and hypnotic rhythms as the rebellious youth Torres embodies eases into a serenity and acceptance that Montenegro brings so gently to her performance.
  43. It's by far the most uncompromising and unapologetic gay-themed drama ever made for a wide release by a major Hollywood studio with name stars.
  44. It's almost too devastating for words, yet never less than compelling and heartbreakingly affecting.
  45. It's great to see action stars cast for their moves -- their grace in motion is thrilling -- but they also have the charisma to pull off the characters.
  46. It's a bracing reminder that before Hitler took power, it was handed to him. The lesson resonates long after the credits roll.
  47. It lives up to the hype. Gladiator has its creaky moments, but it delivers a particular kind of visceral historical spectacle that movie audiences haven't seen in decades.
  48. It's an eye-filling, sumptuously detailed historical epic that grandly re-creates the bloody gladiatorial spectacles and smoke-filled, spit-flying, claustrophobically crowded arenas of its bygone era.
  49. An unpredictable, unusual, consistently engrossing drama of a kind that has almost disappeared from Hollywood.
  50. Lee's control and storytelling flair have never seemed more assured and there are moments so powerful and thrilling we feel we're in the hands of a master filmmaker at the peak of his powers.
  51. One terrific comedy that doesn't let up for an instant... a total hoot.
  52. Ten
    There's no doubt that Kiarostami is giving us a lesson in social politics, but the education lies in the mosaic pieced together from conversations and situations.
  53. The movie works like a clock. A few minor quibbles aside (the casting of Hitler, for instance), Valkyrie is a highly intelligent and deeply engrossing historical drama and, frame for frame, the year's most suspenseful nail-biter.
  54. A film that takes you by surprise, refusing to relinquish its grim, fascinating hold. Better yet, it has crept up on us without much advance promotional fanfare. The less known about its twists, the better.
  55. It's a gorgeously atmospheric, perfectly cast, beautifully crafted oater of the old school, made with heaps of integrity, no gimmicks and few concessions to the box office. Its only real flaw is that it strains a bit too hard to be a "classic" western.
  56. An extraordinarily exciting, absorbing and satisfying movie. Not quite "Seabiscuit," but comfortably close.
  57. A highly original and progressively riveting personal adventure.
  58. One more good thing is that the movie doesn't overstay its welcome. At 76-minutes, it's wisely calculated to give us as much of its ghoulish whimsy as we can take in one sitting, and not a second more.
  59. The journey comes together to be one of the very best of the "in search of" documentaries: open-minded, informative, immaculately crafted, full of moving and highly privileged moments of discovery.
  60. Shines with the kind of honesty that's very scarce in today's ultra-manipulative cinema.
  61. A drama that embraces the ambiguities and contradictions of family ties and human nature in all its irrational glory.
  62. The cast is good, the score is sublime, the visuals are sumptuous and it speeds along with a delirious romantic power that, if you let it, can sweep you away.
  63. Works best of all as an epic. It wonderfully creates a world of fractured deco elegance and endless human duplicity in which everyone is on the run -- exactly the kind of incisive, seemingly effortless historical spectacle that the French have learned to do so much better than Hollywood.
  64. Susan Sarandon has never been more outrageously appealing. Natalie Portman is simply exquisite.
  65. A landmark film, the unnecessary tinkering has not perceptibly harmed its overall effectiveness and it's a special Halloween treat to see it digitally spruced up and on the big screen for the first time in 25 years.
  66. This is Boyle's fullest, most satisfying work and an audience-pleaser that deserves to be a big hit.
  67. The film is an extraordinarily complex, well-rounded and multileveled portrait of how Crumb got to be the way he is, as well as a tribute to how he was miraculously able to rise above his dysfunctional roots by putting his demons into his art. [16 Jun 1995]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  68. It's as absorbing as a train wreck, and its brand of heavy drama is so rare in movies these days that everything about it seems amazingly fresh.
  69. It's crammed full of the dash, filmmaking flair, swashbuckling magic, impossible stunts and tongue-in-cheek humor that made the series such a phenomenon of its time, and -- for those versed in its traditions -- almost every frame is enjoyable on some level.
  70. The film's single downside is a certain nagging sense of deja vu: the fact that so many of the elements of the story -- the dark force, the all-empowering object, etc. -- have been usurped over the years (by "Star Wars" and others) that you feel as if you've been down this road many, many times before.
  71. Pitt won the Best Actor award at Venice for his Jesse...Yet it's Affleck who impresses most as the wary, skittish Bob.
  72. Harris genuinely seems to be at one with the character, and his movie is eerily alive.
  73. An exhilarating piece of epic filmmaking that it pulls you in, sweeps you up and works very much as its own thing.
  74. It's a real pleasure to find a movie as calm, measured and dead-on in its impact as Finding Neverland.
  75. The Divine Intervention of the title lies somewhere between hope and fantasy. In a world in which Santa Claus is assaulted in Nazareth, what do you have left?
  76. A deliciously vivid adventure fantasy.
  77. It's a low-key, subtly inspirational drama that builds its charm slowly but surely.
  78. The movie is basically a piece of fluff, not always coherently directed and almost too consistently somber for a movie that wants to be a romantic comedy. Still, it comes together with considerable emotional impact, mainly on the strength of the stars. [24 May 1991, p.14]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  79. For three-fourths of its journey, Adaptation is, for my money, the movie of the year: an incredibly audacious and original exercise that challenges the conventions of moviemaking and stretches the boundaries of fiction -- almost, but not quite, to the breaking point.
  80. Tells a light-hearted fictional story and creates a maze of imaginative animation and special effects to illustrate how the heavier thoughts of the science apply to the everyday world.
  81. When it was released in the United States more than 30 years ago, its distributor hacked away 40 minutes of its precise structure. This rerelease restores every meticulous second of Melville's cinematic fantasy.
  82. It's not his (Scorsese) best film, but it's his most accessible and most thoroughly entertaining.
  83. Whatever it is, the film is the first major release of the fall worth talking about: a fast-paced, visually slick, psychologically fascinating Boston-set cops-and-crooks saga.
  84. May well be the most thrilling and educational surfing movie ever.
  85. It works on several levels, and stands out as a wistful meditation on the psychological cost of 9/11.
  86. In a time when even the best of big Hollywood movies all seem to be mired in a certain nagging, unimaginative visual sameness, this one dares to take us to a place we haven't been before.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's a special, strangely soothing movie experience that wonderfully celebrates the intricate diversity of life on Earth and the profound emotional bond that can exist between man and beast.
  87. Columbus is a member of the '80s generation and he gives the play authenticity, the respect of a classic, an epic visual scope and a sensibility that's blissfully free of any generational self-pity. It seems to be the movie he was born to make, and he serves it well.
  88. Harry IV is an intelligent, visually seductive and mostly very satisfying fantasy epic of the first order.
  89. Energetic and inventive, it's a satirical, smart, grown-up thriller.
  90. A bare outline of the plot reads like a space-adventure thriller with end-of-the-world stakes and a hint of celestial spirituality, and the haunted spaceship twist in the third act is pure B-movie madness.
  91. He (LaBute) pulls the farce and the violence and the fantasies together with a deft touch and a sweetness rare in American films -- especially his.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    What a rare pleasure to see a classic book adapted for the screen and walk out feeling neither bored, offended nor outraged.
  92. Cements director's place as mob-movie master.
  93. A respectful, accomplished, non-exploitative piece of historical filmmaking and -- for audiences -- a gripping white-knuckle ride all the way.
  94. In the end, this is a film about retribution and justice within unjust circumstances. Each character has a personal code of honor -- Arthur, Charlie and Capt. Stanley are all given their dignity -- and it's that code that sets the film apart.
  95. Yimou plays his images like a visual symphony, and turns a potential costume pageant into an exhilarating national myth.
  96. Terrifically fun entertainment; wonderfully shot and acted, instilled with spirit and life and able to woo us with its exhuberant freshness.

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