St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,065 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 5.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 The Imposter
Lowest review score: 0 The Divergent Series: Insurgent
Score distribution:
1,065 movie reviews
  1. This is epic cinema that begs to be compared to "2001: A Space Odyssey." But unlike Stanley Kubrick's psychedelic joyride, this journey is powered by a human heart.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. With Top Five, Rock has finally made the transition to true movie stardom.
  5. Refusing to hold our hands, director Lynne Ramsay ("Morvern Callar") pushes far beyond the boundaries of topical drama into the realm of the surreal.
  6. 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.
  7. A brainy bio that exerts a gravitational pull on the heartstrings.
  8. Before it turns into a great escape flick, Argo is an amusing spoof of the movie biz.
  9. A beautifully realized drama that gets to the essence of what it's like to be young, confused and in love.
  10. 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.
  11. It sustains a palpable fatalism in such recurring details as a whirring buzz saw and the cry of a loon, while the static camera and lack of musical cues enable some unforeseeable plot twists.
  12. Although Precious is based on a novel, it's an act of truth-telling on behalf of a character in hellish enslavement.
  13. 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.
  14. When the two men compare impersonations of Michael Caine or Sean Connery, Brydon's version is always slightly better - and Coogan knows it.
  15. An art-history lesson and a spiritual exercise disguised as a movie.
  16. If you don’t know the true story, we won’t spoil it for you except to say that it’s not the expected outcome. But if you’re willing to be thrown for a loop, you’re in good hands with this medal-worthy cast and crew.
  17. An artfully observant and unexpectedly moving documentary.
  18. With a stellar cast and seductive look, Ex Machina is a sleek contraption for capturing our imagination.
  19. A movie that will be discovered, embraced and shared with friends like a favorite record album.
  20. The Illusionist has surprises up its sleeve that are unusually nuanced for an animated movie.
  21. There's a running joke that this epic of also-ran heroism is set in eternally modest Toronto; but its real locale is an alternate universe without parents or the unhip.
  22. Unhurried in its storytelling but unshakable in its impact.
  23. This humane movie is an ode to joy, albeit of the mature sort.
  24. It's a wholly successful sequel - audacious, entertaining and bracingly pertinent.
  25. With its exploded notions of heroism, torture-rack dramatics and kamikaze gusto, it's a fiendishly entertaining flick.
  26. It’s a party where we want to stay, until we’re dragged out kicking and screaming.
  27. 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.
  28. With a mad captain at the helm, this documentary version of Jodorowsky’s “Dune” is probably more entertaining than what Hollywood would have done to it, with a clearer message: Our lives are like sands though an hourglass, so dream the impossible dream.
  29. Kristen Wiig is the best sketch comic alive, and Bridesmaids should finally make her a movie star.
  30. As an homage to an influential director, Submarine blows "Super 8" out of the water.
  31. The virtue of Inherent Vice is that we can stop chasing the tale and just enjoy the sunset of the ’60s dream.
  32. Bonnaire, whose films include "Vagabond" and "Monsieur Hire," gets Helene just right, registering her joys and disappointments with finesse.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. Rango is iconic like a spaghetti Western, smart like a '70s conspiracy thriller and lively like a Coen brothers comedy.
  36. Has been criticized as endorsing or condoning violence, but that assessment is unfair and inaccurate. If terrorism is to be eliminated, it must be understood, not oversimplified.
  37. Zobel's unsparing approach is justified. This film should be hard to watch - and it is. But it's also hard to forget.
  38. Black Swan is ridiculously over the top, but in a way that makes it fascinating to watch.
  39. Whether true or a hoax, I'm Still Here represents real risk-taking that I can only applaud.
  40. One part personal mystery and one part art-appreciation class.
  41. A charming throwback filled with authentic characters.
  42. It’s ultimately everything a modern horror movie should be.
  43. Although Lebanon is to be congratulated for its bold visual strategy and strong antiwar stance, the film becomes claustrophobic after a while.
  44. A film that's all the more intriguing for being virtually impossible to categorize.
  45. 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.
  46. Put aside any hang-ups you may have about subtitles. As action flicks go, Point Blank is right on target.
  47. The funniest movie of the year.
  48. At the confluence of altered states and state-sanctioned violence, this drug-fueled thriller is Stone's most successfully provocative picture since "JFK."
  49. Although it alludes to romantic conventions, with overt references to Hollywood history and an overemphatic jazz soundtrack, Wild Grass is neither poignant nor zany. It's an exercise in artifice, not unlike David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" set in the City of Lights. I'm sure the French have a word for it, but je ne sais quoi it is.
  50. If you're looking for a political message, either for or against U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, this is not your movie. The directors were satisfied with telling us about a group of courageous, honorable young soldiers - a salute these men richly deserve.
  51. Anyone suggesting that an Italian film could rival the style and grandeur of "The Godfather" might end up sleeping with the fishes. But Il Divo delivers.
  52. 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.
  53. An evolutionary leap forward, a visually exquisite film that doesn't ignore the truths of pollution and predatory survival.
  54. Although The Gatekeepers lacks the stylistic inventiveness of “Fog,” it is nonetheless a compelling account of what can go wrong when power is unrestrained.
  55. The film is so masterfully controlled, we feel like we’ve eavesdropped on something like life.
  56. A marvelous piece of work.
  57. 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.
  58. A blast, the best action movie of the summer.
  59. Fury is a guided tour through a manmade hell.
  60. For a nation at war with its own values, Fair Game is a compelling, pertinent and scrupulously true political thriller in the honorable tradition of "All the President's Men."
  61. This is analog filmmaking at its most daring.
  62. Co-directors Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos let the painful stories emerge naturally, without prodding questions or talking-head experts who place the boys’ grim lives in the larger context of the post-industrial economy.
  63. Shannon's powerfully imploded performance ignites one of the best films of the year.
  64. When a place and its people are this stylish, we can't help but be drawn to them.
  65. Clear-eyed, fearless and ferociously funny, Young Adult is mature filmmaking.
  66. 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.
  67. For the many mavens who aren't familiar with Varda, this autobiographical documentary will be puzzling, in the best and most literal sense.
  68. One of the best films of the year, Gett: the Trial of Viviane Amsalem is bound to be compared to the Oscar-winning Iranian drama “A Separation”; but if anything, Gett is an even more artful evocation of a bureaucratic nightmare.
  69. The Hedgehog sneaks up on you with its heartfelt storytelling and sophisticated wit.
  70. Davis Guggenheim, the St. Louis director who won an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth," mines less controversial material this time around.
  71. We can quibble about the punitive punchline of John Gatins' script, but keeping complexity aloft for so long makes Flight a miraculous feat.
  72. As the highly focused Hanna, Ronan - who had a breakout role in "Atonement" - is simply brilliant.
  73. As memorable as it is insightful, Take This Waltz is one of the best films of the year.
  74. The action is contained within a coherent dramatic structure and the puzzle-box paranoia of spy-agency protocol.
  75. An enthralling lament for an era in which beauty is in danger of becoming extinct.
  76. 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."
  77. It's one of the funniest and most perceptive films of the year.
  78. 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.
  79. For cinematic sojourners, Hugo is a trip to the moon.
  80. Maybe I enjoyed the similarly themed Kick-Ass because it took me back to that innocent time. Or maybe it's because this is the most brazenly funny bloodbath unleashed on the public since "Pulp Fiction."
  81. 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.
  82. An action comedy that works. But it’s also a surprisingly poignant romance. This is the summer flick you’ve been waiting for.
  83. This is a smart, moving film that's also very, very funny.
  84. Best of all is Favreau. Instead of mass-producing another superhero epic, he has given the overfed public a dish of right-sized comfort food.
  85. It's an original that plays as if it were based on a novel.
  86. A terrific but uncompromising film that's definitely not for everyone.
  87. 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.
  88. The storytelling is solid, propelled by characters that you come to care about.
  89. Energetic, colorful and packed with strong performances and musical numbers good enough to get by, Sparkle beams brightly.
  90. 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.
  91. 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!"
  92. Despite the obvious mismatches involved, this isn’t a simplistic smackdown. Freighted with weighty issues, Captain Phillips is a film worth debating.
  93. Gilchrist ("United States of Tara") is immensely appealing as a kid who's just a bit too wrapped up in himself to grasp that perhaps his problems aren't insurmountable.
  94. May be too sterile and stylized to elicit real tears, but it's got brains and heart to spare.
  95. If you can take it, Unbroken will lift you like the classics of adventure cinema.
  96. By turning a whistle-blower into a tragicomic figure, Soderbergh sustains our interest in a complicated financial scheme and rewards it with a kickback of ghastly laughs.
  97. 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.
  98. Many of the people reading this review are doing it on a computer. And all of them are reading it in English. It’s not much of stretch to say that you could credit both of those things to a man named Alan Turing.
  99. 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.
  100. 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.

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