St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Scores

  • Movies
For 900 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 63% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 34% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 A Prophet
Lowest review score: 25 A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 64 out of 900
900 movie reviews
  1. The simmering rivalry between Di and Fiamma, inflamed by the kind of glimpsed indiscretion that makes adolescent melodramas tick, explodes in a thriller ending that turns an observant coming-of-age story into something resembling "The Lord of the Flies."
  2. The Beaver isn't a perfect film, but it's challenging and original.
  3. Although there are gentle detour discussions about advertising in classrooms and school buses, Spurlock's ironic approach can't convince us that ads are toxic. Indeed, when he visits sprawling Sao Paolo, Brazil, where all outdoor advertising has been banned, it seems as sterile as Stalingrad.
  4. This well-executed sequel is sneaky. While it distracts us with Chinese backdrops and buffoonish humor, it sucker punches us with a message about belonging.
  5. Such a disarming homage to the cinema of the Reagan era that even grouchy gremlins might feel like it's morning in America. But be forewarned that if this movie is exposed to sunlight, you'll notice the puppet strings.
  6. A fanciful French cousin to Allen's "Zelig" and "The Purple Rose of Cairo," yet the fulfilled wish for a better life is high-concept absurdity without high-anxiety guffaws.
  7. Brazenly funny in its own right - until it turns into a goody two-shoes.
  8. It's simply an opportunity to spend time with characters who may lack depth but are fun to watch.
  9. Given the turbulent water of world affairs and sea changes in the media, a follow-up a year from now might be titled "Gray Lady Down" if the Times does not chart a new course.
  10. As a critic who complains about painless and brainless action movies, I hoist a glass of mead to the men and maidens of Ironclad.
  11. If you require a plot, look elsewhere.
  12. Smith turns in a subtly layered performance that suggests the hurt behind Kathy's callousness. And O'Donnell gets to the heart of a man who realizes too late that he's made unfortunate choices.
  13. It's faint praise to say that this is the best of the "Planet of the Apes" movies, because the evolution of special effects and makeup was predictable. But the unexpected strength of the film is its heart.
  14. There are three sides to most love stories: his, hers and the truth. But on London's Fleet Street, the three sides are his, hers and the tabloids'.
  15. Despite accusations of nearly succumbing to spotlighting beefs over beats, the film comes off as an honest representation of a great group that's not to be forgotten.
  16. In such a bleak story, the redemptive ending seems rushed and unconvincing, but director Oliver Schmitz has sent us a timely dispatch from a forgotten corner of the world that is honest above all.
  17. It honors the original throughout, including a memorable nightclub scene and a surprise cameo that's a huge crowd-pleaser, while at the same time giving updates to make it fresher and better than ever.
  18. Like its neo-noir kin across the pond, The Guard is violent, profane and funny. But McDonagh is interested in more than mockery.
  19. Neither as magic nor as trippy as the culture quake that it documents, but it's a valuable flashback and a pleasurable contact high.
  20. The Debt eventually settles into a predictable groove that slightly undercuts its impact. Still, it's a film of ambition and substance.
  21. The Tree might have suffered from too much symbolism if not for writer-director Julie Bertuccelli's deft touch and Gainsbourg's appealing performance.
  22. Doesn't rise to classic status, but it's an intriguing mood piece.
  23. As Refn is riffing on thriller cliches, he gets solid support from the ensemble. Brooks, a comedic standout since the '70s, makes a sympathetic villain, and Gosling stokes the young-Brando comparisons - instead of settling for Richard Gere.
  24. This film might easily have settled for mocking religion. Instead, it's a fascinating glimpse into a culture that forces some people to choose between fitting in and opting out.
  25. Offers an inside look at Iran in all its cultural complexity.
  26. This affable comedy is a healthy alternative to tearjerkers.
  27. If you want to see a great movie about a political campaign, starring the smartest heartthrob of his era, rent "The Candidate." If you want see a very good one, buy a ticket for The Ides of March.
  28. Pleasant, well-acted but somewhat overlong, The Way was written and directed by Estevez, who's perhaps best known for his acting career ("The Breakfast Club").
  29. The larger-than-life actor is as emblematic of his country as Tom Hanks is of ours, and My Afternoons With Margueritte is his "Forrest Gump." Only better.
  30. Margin Call has a spectacular cast, and the 24-hour cycle of events gives the movie the compressed dramatic effect of a fine play.
  31. In place of a rousing adventure, Blackthorn is a haunting ode.
  32. Even if they don't provide much lift, these boots were made for amusement.
  33. Depp shows again that he truly understands Thompson by delivering a nuanced performance that is remarkably different, but subliminally similar, from the wonderfully outrageous turn he provided in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."
  34. In recording the timeless traditions of Jewry, he created a new one: the identity crisis that rides on the back of laughter.
  35. Perhaps the spookiest thing in this slyly scary movie is the word-for-word way that Patrick's followers regurgitate his pablum.
  36. The Women on the 6th Floor shouldn't work, but this efficient flick whisks away our cynicism.
  37. The troupe's first film in more than a decade, is a more aggressively absurd antidote to what it calls "a hard, cynical world." Happily, it works.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Arthur Christmas stays sweet without becoming overly sentimental and is filled with sly details and smart action sequences.
  38. Lacks the urgency of "Who Killed the Electric Car?" But Paine's thorough knowledge of his subject, and engaging way with an interview, make the follow-up film a fun ride.
  39. While Banderas' dark intensity overshadows the potential poignancy of the story, Almodovar is such a skilled surgeon that he extracts a juicy nugget of pleasure from a purely distasteful premise.
  40. The most mesmerizing parts of the movie make up a tutorial about how the Muppets are made and moved.
  41. Turturro, who previously directed a musical called "Romance and Cigarettes," lingers on the sensual movements of the performers and the character faces of the onlookers.
  42. It's a comedic dramatization with a looming shadow of the surreal.
  43. The world-class mechanic is Brad Bird, who applies the pacing and spatial freedom of a 'toon to a live-action thriller.
  44. As a tale of a boy, his dog and their battles with bad guys, it's a treasure.
  45. As a man committed to reinventing himself, Damon is terrific. And Johansson brings to Kelly just the right blend of spunkiness and hard-won maturity.
  46. While the PG-13 approach to the most brutally sustained war the world has ever known makes it suitable for mature children, some cynical adults may resent the tug of the reins. Me, I cried like a grandmother.
  47. As biopics go, The Iron Lady is among the more intriguing ones.
  48. When a man whose wife was killed by cultists invites us to laugh at life's absurdities, the particulars are almost incidental.
  49. Like psychoanalysis, A Dangerous Method takes its time as it circles an opening to unexplored depths. To reward our patience, Cronenberg gives us some honey-hued eye candy and rich dialogue, but if you're seeking instant gratification, I prescribe "Shame."
  50. Overreaching fits of melodrama, occasionally stilted dialogue, and performances by Gooding Jr. and Howard that are mostly a series of serious faces can't keep the shiny Red Tails from taking flight.
  51. Although Tomboy is as tightly constructed as a short story and as seemingly straightforward as a documentary, the parable about a small fib that grows out of control is so rooted in the rich soil of sexual identity that it entangles us.
  52. Rounded, redemptive and refreshingly free of cynicism.
  53. Stölzl blends romance and melancholy in fine style.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    So many of today's children's movies are loud. Loud explosions, loud colors, loud soundtracks, loud humor. The animated The Secret World of Arrietty is the antidote to those films.
  54. Thin Ice resides just slightly south of "Fargo."
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    While the movie is funnier than the book, the drawback of this modernized version is that it loses the timeless quality of the story on the page.
  55. He's not in Mark Wahlberg's league, and 21 Jump Street isn't quite as funny as "The Other Guys," but by lampooning himself here, Tatum has bought himself a grace period to grow in.
  56. As opposed to the "gentlemen's clubs" in sinful cities like Las Vegas, the Crazy Horse attracts couples.
  57. A high-wire act that could crash if the actors were out of sync, but under this big top, the never-better Segel keeps everyone aloft.
  58. He might be guilty of showboating, but De Niro's knockout performance is a declaration that the star of "Raging Bull" isn't ready to hang up his gloves.
  59. While it's satisfying to see fat cats tamed by science and an enraged public, the movie misses the opportunity to sustain the pressure.
  60. Isn't as memorable or provocative as it might have been. But it's an engaging love story that should appeal to moviegoers with a flair for the offbeat.
  61. What's lacking is a galvanizing performance comparable to that of the Oscar-nominated Catalina Sandino Moreno in "Maria Full of Grace." Still, The Forgiveness of Blood is a memorable portrait of a society and the demands it makes on those caught up in it.
  62. Unlike the benchmark sports documentary "Hoop Dreams," Undefeated doesn't have a deep penetration of poverty and race in its playbook, but it does have enough heart to make substantial forward progress.
  63. Moviegoers looking for a thrill should go into The Cabin in the Woods knowing as little as possible about the film.
  64. Footnote is faintly comic, and director Joseph Cedar mines dark humor from the humiliations of identity checks and pecking orders.
  65. Despite the crass book promotion, the overlong film is harmless romantic fun that's well played.
  66. Marley is thus a valuable history project but not a definitive or analytical one. For that, we await a film that's less "One Love" and more "Stir It Up."
  67. Like a Fishbone show or an LA weather forecast, the dark curtain rises, and there's a promise of more sunshine.
  68. 96 Minutes is a mere introduction to Sociology 101, but it's brisk enough to rustle the reading list and keep the conversation alive.
  69. May be too light for vampire purists or fans of the original show, but fresh blood is just what the doctor ordered.
  70. Lacking beef or sufficient spice, it's nonetheless colorful comfort food.
  71. This is rich material that Moretti mines for both superficial absurdity and deep pathos.
  72. Too short and undisciplined to be a world-class comedy, but its chutzpah deserves respect.
  73. This thriller is both skillfully familiar and chillingly strange.
  74. Goodbye First Love is like a postcard from a lost Eden, a painfully pure oasis where we're not allowed to linger.
  75. It's the kind of movie that inspires word-of-mouth recommendations by speaking the international language of culture clash.
  76. Denham impressively captures Peter's flintiness, rendering him sympathetic yet not quite likable, and Vicius is just right as the wary Lorna.
  77. The real stars here are Scott's behind-the-curtain crew, who fill every frame with tech-savvy details and take the sets to another dimension with immersive 3-D imagery.
  78. Mostly the movie is about process and perspective. Through the documentary lens, Richter's enigmatic paintings speak to us.
  79. Ice-T delivers a love letter to hip-hop with Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap.
  80. Like "Gone, Baby, Gone," the French film Polisse succeeds by shifting the focus from the victims to the vigilant protectors.
  81. Just misses living up to its name.
  82. With elements of a musical, a melodrama and a multicultural romance, Where Do We Go Now? is as hard to define as the crossroads region where it's set. But even without a clear signal, it sometimes seems miraculous.
  83. Like a train, I Wish is slow to build momentum, then it carries us away in a wondrous rush.
  84. It's guilty of some sleight-of-hand hokum, but in pulling the rug from under the norm, Magic Mike turns a trick.
  85. Although there's a skeletal story, A Cat in Paris evokes a mood instead of a moral. Like a cat nap, it gives us a brief, refreshing dream with little to remember.
  86. Perry manages to pull it off here, coming off completely likable and real, never insufferable and fake.
  87. Alma is at once a charmer and a contrarian, and Bergsholm achieves that balance with seeming effortlessness. At times, she's more than a bit reminiscent of the young Jodie Foster.
  88. It bodes well for the future of the franchise that Renner and Weisz share not only a gripping predicament but something more important: chemistry.
  89. The Well-Digger's Daughter is perhaps a bit too sentimental. But the performances are so heartfelt that its occasional excesses are easily forgiven. In a movie summer too often obsessed with things that go boom, this film is all about romance.
  90. To its credit, Celeste and Jesse Forever wants to be more than a formulaic farce. It succeeds to the extent that the neighbors keep up with Jones.
  91. Arbitrage is never the nail-biting thriller that it could have been.
  92. Notwithstanding its storytelling stumbles, Sleepwalk With Me points in a positive direction for this likable comedian's career.
  93. While Looper lacks the heft of a classic, this wayback machine is worth taking for a spin.
  94. The campus comedy Pitch Perfect harmonizes high-end performance with low-brow spoofery. It's like a National Lampoon parody where the targets write the jokes.
  95. Sticks to the syllabus of a decidedly minor movie, but its humanities faculty is first-rate.
  96. While the big-headed, spindly puppets don't evoke enough emotion to make the movie a must-see, Burton's 3-D design team pours its heart into the monochrome surroundings, from the suburban décor to Victor's laboratory to the carnival midway.
  97. It comes together with a gruesome though excellent ending that some will find difficult to shake.

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