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 The Impossible
Lowest review score: 25 A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 64 out of 900
900 movie reviews
  1. You might expect a cartoon about a man and his dog to be strictly for kids, but My Dog Tulip, based on a memoir by J.R. Ackerley, has a psychological richness and anatomical explicitness that is very grown-up.
  2. To ensure customer loyalty, Hollywood should promote more movies about workaday life in the provinces, but until there's a new wave of midcoast comedies, Cedar Rapids is the big kahuna.
  3. Rango is iconic like a spaghetti Western, smart like a '70s conspiracy thriller and lively like a Coen brothers comedy.
  4. A terrific but uncompromising film that's definitely not for everyone.
  5. As the highly focused Hanna, Ronan - who had a breakout role in "Atonement" - is simply brilliant.
  6. It's an original that plays as if it were based on a novel.
  7. Builds beautifully from a farcical premise that requires a suspension of disbelief to a musical climax that washes away our cynicism in a wave of honest tears.
  8. Imagine an opulent movie palace that was 30,000 years old, with posters preserved on the curving walls and the bones of the Stone Age patrons peacefully sleeping in the fairy dust. That's essentially what archeologists found in a French canyon in 1994 and what Werner Herzog brings back to life in the extraordinary documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
  9. Ferrell's dryly understated performance is a shorthand for an alcoholic's denial and repressed rage, and as Nick grows increasingly desperate for a drink, he keeps his anger stashed like a last beer for emergencies.
  10. Kristen Wiig is the best sketch comic alive, and Bridesmaids should finally make her a movie star.
  11. Notwithstanding exquisite images that evoke Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven," city-slicker audiences may find themselves getting saddle sore. But those with the courage to explore uncharted territory will be rewarded with a rough gem of a movie.
  12. An artfully observant and unexpectedly moving documentary.
  13. As an homage to an influential director, Submarine blows "Super 8" out of the water.
  14. Bonnaire, whose films include "Vagabond" and "Monsieur Hire," gets Helene just right, registering her joys and disappointments with finesse.
  15. Beautifully but simply wrought by director Cindy Meehl, this deft documentary is a poignant reappraisal of what it means to be human.
  16. When the two men compare impersonations of Michael Caine or Sean Connery, Brydon's version is always slightly better - and Coogan knows it.
  17. Both arduous and artful, City of Life and Death is the best imaginable movie about the genocidal siege that's now called the Rape of Nanking. Anything more explicit would be unwatchable; anything more contemplative would be a betrayal of the sustained suffering.
  18. Like the previous seven movies, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 obliviates the line between art and craft, but the witchcraft conjured for this satisfying finale is uniquely generous.
  19. The best kind of comic-book movie. It's stylish and spectacular, yet it's rooted in history and human emotions. It's smart yet it's funny. It's wise yet it kicks ass when it has to. Just like the U.S. of A.
  20. Wysocki is perfectly cast as a teen who's at odds with both his environment and himself. It's a terrific performance. And as the empathetic Fitzgerald, Reilly is at his quirky best.
  21. There's so much higher intelligence in Project Nim that simply digesting it feels like evolutionary progress.
  22. Put aside any hang-ups you may have about subtitles. As action flicks go, Point Blank is right on target.
  23. Our Idiot Brother is smart entertainment.
  24. Starts out so promisingly that it's a huge disappointment when it ultimately becomes way too predictable - and unbelievable. It's as if "Raging Bull" suddenly morphed into "Rocky."
  25. Although you don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy it, Moneyball is one of the best baseball movies imaginable.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The film catches the Mozarts' true personalities in a way that Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus" never approaches. In one scene, the siblings playfully improvise musical variations, and then joyfully rush to the clavier to write them down: There is the essence of Mozart.
  26. The Hedgehog sneaks up on you with its heartfelt storytelling and sophisticated wit.
  27. An art-history lesson and a spiritual exercise disguised as a movie.
  28. Shannon's powerfully imploded performance ignites one of the best films of the year.
  29. A beautifully realized drama that gets to the essence of what it's like to be young, confused and in love.
  30. An Oscar-ready collaboration between a great director and a star at the peak of his powers, but at its heart is a message in a bottle reading: "Trapped in paradise. Please send help."
  31. For cinematic sojourners, Hugo is a trip to the moon.
  32. The performance is both an eerie imitation and a touching revelation. Oscar voters who overlooked Williams for her camouflage roles in "Brokeback Mountain," "Wendy and Lucy" and "Blue Valentine" should now throw diamonds at her feet.
  33. Clear-eyed, fearless and ferociously funny, Young Adult is mature filmmaking.
  34. The film isn't quite as edgy as Fincher's best work - "Seven," "Fight Club" and "Zodiac" are masterpieces of modern angst. But the director brings a fresh eye to what might easily have been an unnecessary rehash of the 2009 Swedish adaptation.
  35. May be too cute to qualify as high art, but it's highly entertaining.
  36. Yes, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is often hard to follow, perhaps overestimating the audience's ability to keep track of what's going on and why. But it's a well-crafted film that wears its old-fashionedness with pride.
  37. Like Elizabeth Olsen in "Martha Marcy May Marlene," Oduye brilliantly slips inside the skin of a sensitive young woman who's having trouble finding her place in the world.
  38. The action is contained within a coherent dramatic structure and the puzzle-box paranoia of spy-agency protocol.
  39. Although it's slow to unfold, this courtroom drama is so timelessly humane and even-handed it feels like it came from the dockets of Solomon - by way of Sidney Lumet.
  40. The tonal shifts, the "Amelie"-style voiceover and the punk-retro soundtrack may jar some viewers who expect uninterrupted violins, but Declaration of War is alternative therapy that really works.
  41. Refusing to hold our hands, director Lynne Ramsay ("Morvern Callar") pushes far beyond the boundaries of topical drama into the realm of the surreal.
  42. When a place and its people are this stylish, we can't help but be drawn to them.
  43. This is a film that's not always easy to watch, but just about impossible to forget.
  44. An eye-opening primer in cross-species similarity. We learn that apes are violent and territorial but also that they are capable of creativity and tenderness.
  45. To keep serious cinema from going extinct, this could be sold as "The Hunger Games" cross-bred with "The Lorax," but it's better and more mature than either of those hit movies.
  46. Do yourself and your kids a favor. On the way to multiplex to see "The Avengers," tell them The Fairy is about an all-powerful superheroine. Someday, they'll find the words to thank you.
  47. Bernie could easily have gone horribly wrong. But Black and Linklater finesse this tricky material with as much virtuosity as Bernie brings to that broccoli.
  48. Among recent documentaries, First Position soars to the head of the class.
  49. Until a devastatingly effective finale, Monsieur Lazhar is an exercise in delicacy, carried by Fallag's gentle performance and a fine cast of kid actors.
  50. A blast, the best action movie of the summer.
  51. This is a smart, moving film that's also very, very funny.
  52. At the confluence of altered states and state-sanctioned violence, this drug-fueled thriller is Stone's most successfully provocative picture since "JFK."
  53. As memorable as it is insightful, Take This Waltz is one of the best films of the year.
  54. The richly constructed first hour is so superior to any feat of sci-fi speculation since "Minority Report" that the bland aftertaste of the chase finale is quickly forgotten.
  55. Particularly memorable are scenes in which Calvin loses his cool as Ruby holds onto her calm. It all adds up to a movie that's sparklingly entertaining.
  56. Richly photographed and featuring an attractive cast, Farewell, My Queen is a layer cake of royal pleasures, rote protocols and revolutionary politics. For skeptics who thought this story had grown stale, let them eat their words.
  57. It's not warm and fuzzy, but for kids who comprehended "Coraline" and babysitters who savored "The Corpse Bride," this stop-motion marvel from some of the same animators is like an early Halloween treat.
  58. Energetic, colorful and packed with strong performances and musical numbers good enough to get by, Sparkle beams brightly.
  59. Although it's a guilty pleasure, The Queen of Versailles is artful enough that both the prosecution and the defense could invoke it when the peasants cry "Off with their heads!"
  60. Zobel's unsparing approach is justified. This film should be hard to watch - and it is. But it's also hard to forget.
  61. Before it turns into a great escape flick, Argo is an amusing spoof of the movie biz.
  62. The performances are first-rate, with Lindhardt particularly moving as a guy who's in deep denial about just how much he can expect from a relationship with an addict.
  63. Although the story is mournful, the movie is buoyed by a heaven-scented surrealism.
  64. Superior filmmaking. Yes, it runs almost three hours - but you've probably seen 90-minute films that felt a lot longer.
  65. We can quibble about the punitive punchline of John Gatins' script, but keeping complexity aloft for so long makes Flight a miraculous feat.
  66. Ultimately Skyfall is rooted in tradition - and in British soil. A pastoral drive to Bond's boyhood home (in a kind of car that will delight purists) opens the gates to some psychological background, and given the true-love subtext of "Casino Royale," it's not surprising that there's an emotional payoff here.
  67. As enchanting as it is ambitious.
  68. A film that's all the more intriguing for being virtually impossible to categorize.
  69. Although the brazen lovers, bellicose ministers and backstabbing handmaidens are familiar elements, the film is so handsomely mounted that we happily endure the ride until the turning of the screws in the tragic last act.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    They have the perfect supporting cast, made up of a group of exceptional real-life musicians: retired members of orchestras and opera companies, and a pianist bristling with the suppressed impatience of the longtime accompanist. (To see who they are, stick around for the credits.)
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    There are no false Hollywood dramatics, no musical cues telling us how we should feel about this boy's battle for dignity and a place in the world. The director lets complex emotions flow naturally out of believable action and dialogue in this very faithful adaptation of a fascinating memoir. [20 August 1993, p.3F]
    • 55 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    'Back to the Future Part III is somewhat overlong and a little slow in getting started, but on the whole it provides an entertaining and emotionally satisfying conclusion to a memorable series. [25 May 1990, p.3F]
  70. Although The Gatekeepers lacks the stylistic inventiveness of “Fog,” it is nonetheless a compelling account of what can go wrong when power is unrestrained.
  71. The film is so masterfully controlled, we feel like we’ve eavesdropped on something like life.
  72. Notwithstanding the characters’ spiritual camaraderie, Salles’ emphasizes the hard physical labor and loneliness in Sal’s story, including the jittery rigors of the writing process. When he reaches a crossroads choice between down-and-out Dean and his own rising career, Sal senses that except for the words on a typewritten scroll, his life on the road is gone, real gone.
  73. It’s ultimately everything a modern horror movie should be.
  74. No
    The Oscar-nominated No has the gritty feel of a foreign film from the 1970s. As such, it may take a few minutes for most moviegoers to adjust to its rhythms. Ironically for a film about advertising, there’s nothing slick about it — and therein lies much of its greatness.
  75. Mud
    A provocative mood piece. Nichols, who had an art-house hit in 2011 with “Take Shelter,” has a gift for creating characters of unusual depth, and for eliciting performances of emotional resonance. With Mud, he seems to be edging closer to the mainstream, but his skills are as sharp as ever.
  76. Star Trek Into Darkness offers much of what the fans expect and not much of what they don't. This character-driven vehicle is a supercharged example of cinematic craftsmanship.
  77. A one-joke movie, but it’s a joke whose recurring rimshots grow as loud as our laughter.
  78. Director Lindholm is a graduate of the Dogma school, and he is able to maintain tension with a documentary camera technique, virtually no music and minimal on-screen theatrics.
  79. It’s not only a fresh and funny spoof of the movie business, it represents a real-life triumph within it.
  80. Even as it looks to the heavens, Gravity is bound to earth, where the beauty is in the details.
  81. Despite the obvious mismatches involved, this isn’t a simplistic smackdown. Freighted with weighty issues, Captain Phillips is a film worth debating.
  82. Long before the blood starts spilling, it’s clear the new team has mostly nailed it. The reboot is as good a Carrie remake as possible, though it’s not truly a scary movie; the film takes its time living up to its R rating.
  83. In its cross-cultural breadth, director Ridley Scott’s smart and violent film merits comparison to Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic,” but the dialogue delivered by the stellar cast is incomparably McCarthy’s.
  84. Iowa-native Gurira has had roles in TV’s “Treme” and “The Walking Dead,” but Mother of George should be the birth of a brilliant film career.
  85. I’m pretty sure it would still be one of the best films of the year if the explicit lesbian sex scenes were censored, but it wouldn’t earn a penny in Peoria.
  86. At once a fascinating character study and a scathing indictment of the role of the medical-pharmaceutical complex in exacerbating the AIDS crisis, the fact-based Dallas Buyers Club is one of the best films of the year.
  87. A co-star deserving special mention is Nebraska itself, which Payne films in black-and-white to mirror the austerity of life on the de-populated prairie. These corners of the Cornhusker State are as empty as the promise of a sweepstakes prize. In this land of ghosts, one old pioneer tries to grab his stake before he becomes another windblown husk.
  88. The most exhilarating film of the year is also the most exhausting.
  89. For those who appreciate fiery dialogue delivered by fine actors, August: Osage County is heaven-sent.
  90. Garcia’s performance, which won the best actress award at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival, is a marvel of self-effacing artistry.
  91. A marvelous piece of work.
  92. It's zippy, and the movie version has both a computerized sheen and handcrafted detailing. Because the details are cribbed from classics, parents can enjoy this 'toon as much as their kids.
  93. Unexpectedly poignant.
  94. Streep is astonishing, conveying Child's gusto, her quavering voice, even her height.
  95. Taiwanese director Ang Lee sees the '60s through a rose-colored telephoto lens, but his sympathetic spirit extends the generous message of the hippie era like a passed joint.
  96. The sharpest parts of the movie hack through the Hollywood jungle with an insider's certitude. But Apatow is so grounded in the comedy circuit that he can't quite capture the emotional wavelength of the life-and-death drama.

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