St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,031 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 6.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Moonrise Kingdom
Lowest review score: 25 After Earth
Score distribution:
1,031 movie reviews
  1. Her
    Her may be the most technologically astute movie since Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: a Space Odyssey.” And as the friendly ghost in the machine, Samantha is a more inviting companion for the great leap forward than HAL9000 could ever dream of being.
  2. Winter's Bone is the best film of the year.
  3. A stark, contemplative and hauntingly brilliant film.
  4. A comedy of discomfort -- and one of their (Coen brothers) best, most insightful and most provocative films.
  5. Cotillard gets so persuasively inside Sandra’s skin that it’s not at all surprising that this performance has earned her another Oscar nomination. And she does so without resorting to shameless, award-baiting grandstanding.
  6. Fruitvale Station has all the impact of a thoroughly researched, well-argued documentary. But Coogler made the right choice in going with drama.
  7. With such supercharged material under the hood, a magnetic man behind the wheel and a nimble director manning the pits, Senna is simply the greatest sports film I have ever seen.
  8. Ultimately hopeful, but uncompromising in its commitment to exposing a tragic chapter in history.
  9. When films are good, actors and directors get a lot of the credit that should go to the screenwriters. In the case of Silver Linings Playbook, which is one of the best films of the year, there is a popcorn bowl of glory to go around.
  10. The best film of the year and perhaps the purest love story in cinematic history.
  11. A film that's at once timely and timeless.
  12. Lots of films claim to be different. Birdman is.
  13. At once an unforgettable war film and a brilliant character study.
  14. In a stunning performance, Teller resists the impulse to sugarcoat Andrew’s egocentricity. Simmons is equally impressive, lending Fletcher just enough humanity to render his monstrousness all the more shocking.
  15. Up in the Air may not end up as the best picture -- that will be decided by the Academy -- but it has landed in the middle of the discussion because it's laser-focused and right on time.
  16. Shot mostly in black and white and imbued with a romanticism that's at once nostalgic and exhilarating, Tetro sneaks up on you. What threatens to be a mere exercise in style proves to be as involving as it is inventive.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Die Hard 2, which is far and away the best of the big summer action pictures, is an almost perfect blend of suspense, thrills, human drama and, perhaps most important, comedy. [6 July 1990, p.3F]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  17. Oyelowo takes full advantage of his close physical resemblance to King, but he wisely avoids mere impersonation, delivering a performance that’s as sensitive as it is spellbinding.
  18. An exhilarating balancing act, at once a science-fiction romp, a paranoid thriller and a philosophical treatise.
  19. The film would be incalculably different if the lead role had been divided between two or three young actors for a conventional shoot. But Linklater’s patience allows us to see a thoughtful personality being formed both on and off the screen.
  20. Involves the gradual revelation of the hopes, fears and insecurities of well-observed characters.
  21. Nev and the filmmakers prove to be charismatic, and at times hilarious, investigators of the unfolding mystery.
  22. The combination of a literate script, an adroit cast and an economical style is simple addition that achieves an alchemical feat: the best film of the year.
  23. Bursting with smart dialogue, surprising situations and humor that springs from richly imagined characters.
  24. The conclusion of Christopher Nolan's superhero trilogy is a hugely ambitious mix of eye candy and brain food. If it doesn't have the haunting aftertaste of the previous serving, that's only because Nolan couldn't clone Heath Ledger. But beefy substitute Tom Hardy is a hell of a villain.
  25. Surrender, earthlings. It’s the Guardians’ world and you’ll be happy to live in it.
  26. Sophisticated comedies have gone out of fashion, largely because Hollywood finds it easier and more profitable to simply gross out moviegoers. But Please Give has real class -- and for that it deserves our gratitude.
  27. It starts as a bittersweet parable about the cruelty of commerce, but the wonder of Searching for Sugar Man will not soon slip away.
  28. As much as anything, the wildly entertaining ’70s flashback American Hustle is a triumph of style.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is Daisy's story, and Hoke's story. It's a beautiful story, filled with warmth and compassion. It was a glorious evening of theater when I saw it, and it's just as glorious on the screen. [12 Jan. 1990, p.3F]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  29. What Inside Llewyn Davis is all about: the passion, and the pain, of being an artist.
  30. An exciting cloak-and-dagger thriller.
  31. Perilous incidents have riveted audiences since Pauline was tied to the railroad tracks, but in the hundred-year history of cinema, few thrillers have been as emotionally compelling as The Impossible.
  32. A cinematic miracle, a film that carves out a vivid space that has nothing to do with wizards or extraterrestrials, but quite a lot to say about the fantastical creatures that roam through the humanity in us all.
  33. A far more interesting film than its title implies. And a film you’ve never seen before.
  34. After feeding on this sweet buffet, sated cinephiles will want to call the front desk to extend their stay.
  35. Into the Abyss makes a strong case for the inhumanity of capital punishment, regardless of the crime or the criminal.
  36. The result, Pina, is the most spirited and spectacular film about dance since Robert Altman's "The Company."
  37. The Master is not a schematic attack on a particular religion. It is a brilliantly conceived and powerfully realized work of art, with complex characters, exquisite images and ambiguously big ideas.
  38. The Tree of Life is a religious experience. Overtly. Audaciously. Unashamedly. No film has ever reached as high toward the face of God and, in our commodified future, few are likely to try.
  39. Beauty comes to us unexpectedly. That's the message of Poetry, a Korean movie about an aging housemaid that turns out to be one of the best films of the year.
  40. One of the best films of the year.
  41. Not just a reboot - it's a rejuvenation. From the first image of sensory awakening to the final acceptance of adult responsibility, it pulses with the warm blood of a very human hero.
  42. The film is a raw, unsparing look at the downside of humanity.
  43. With a title taken from an American Indian word for "life out of balance," Godfrey Reggio's wordless documentary lured dreamers into the sacred cave of cinema, where they ingested the serial music of Philip Glass and the time-lapse imagery of cinematographer Ron Fricke.
  44. The story is so masterfully told that one can't help but be enthralled.
  45. The success of the three, separately screened films -- the first set in 1974, the second in 1980 and the concluding segment in 1983 -- depends not on their specifics, but on their ability to sustain an atmosphere that's appropriate to the dark but haunting story.
  46. Unlike too many films these days, Zero Dark Thirty dares to embrace complexity. And that makes it not just state-of-the-art entertainment, but a great film.
  47. The message of the movie is as clear as Siberian ice: Whether you’re a Tea Partier, an Occupier or just an ordinary Joe, you might be the next citizen who’s stranded in limbo.
  48. The Kids Are All Right probably could have used a few more scenes to come to an even more satisfying conclusion. But it's a terrific film anyway.
  49. Essential viewing for art-film buffs and crime-flick fans, but also for anyone who's looking for a great story, terrific acting and masterful filmmaking.
  50. A lovably quirky comedy-drama with a rhythm all its own.
  51. With a fearless director and his mighty pen freeing a talented cast to attack a vital theme, Django Unchained is damnation unleashed.
  52. That action is bloody, but Fiennes' choices as director are unassailably apt and artful. Coriolanus is a triumph.
  53. This is the kind of film that benefits from being experienced with as little prior knowledge as possible. As one watches it, certain questions may arise. But don’t worry — the answers are fascinating.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    All of the performances are skilled, and yet it's Weaver (a veteran screen, television and stage actress in Australia) who, in a smaller role, creates the character who stays with you.
  54. Traditional in the best sense.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. For those who appreciate fiery dialogue delivered by fine actors, August: Osage County is heaven-sent.
  58. Garcia’s performance, which won the best actress award at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival, is a marvel of self-effacing artistry.
  59. Superior filmmaking. Yes, it runs almost three hours - but you've probably seen 90-minute films that felt a lot longer.
  60. Ajami is neither a puzzle nor a polemic. It's an admirably even-handed portrait of life in an occupied ghetto that is bounded by checkpoints. Everyone we meet is a more or less honorably motivated victim of circumstance. That the circumstances were inscribed centuries ago makes Ajami a tragedy of biblical proportions.
  61. This is a film that's not always easy to watch, but just about impossible to forget.
  62. 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.
  63. Director David O. Russell ("Three Kings") delivers a film of staggering impact.
    • 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.
    • 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]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  64. A miniaturist's masterpiece, the ebb and flow of familial love distilled to its essence.
  65. Although the story is mournful, the movie is buoyed by a heaven-scented surrealism.
  66. 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.
  67. As enchanting as it is ambitious.
  68. Hogancamp's alliance with director Jeff Malmberg in this artful and poignant film marks a victory in the war against the self.
  69. 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.
  70. True Grit is just a couple bloody gunfights removed from an old-fashioned Disney yarn. Yet it's still unmistakably a Coen brothers movie, from the stray weirdness of a bearskin-clad dentist to the bulls-eye delights of the dialogue.
  71. 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.
  72. What makes it special is Eastwood's ability to artfully and concisely tell a story, and Morgan Freeman's wonderfully understated turn as South African President Nelson Mandela.
  73. The rare film that will remain on your mind long after you’ve left the theater.
  74. Soul Power is both a funk-tastic time capsule and a timeless celebration of the human spirit.
  75. Our Idiot Brother is smart entertainment.
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. Although it's sly and sardonic, Police, Adjective is as rigorous as a tea ceremony -- or a Stalinist re-education camp.
  79. 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.
  80. 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.
  81. Near the two-minute warning, Big Fan becomes chillingly unpredictable.
  82. There's so much higher intelligence in Project Nim that simply digesting it feels like evolutionary progress.
  83. It's true that the movie is both emotionally violent and sexually explicit. Yet these scenes from a marriage are crafted with such attention to detail and overarching honesty that Blue Valentine touches the heart.
  84. 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.
  85. With exquisitely simple images and minimal dialogue, Seraphine is both haunting and humane.
  86. Might be mistaken for a mere soap opera. But it's actually an emotional symphony.
  87. A distinctly European exercise in observational nuance and tonal restraint in which Coppola stretches static images to the breaking point.
  88. 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.
  89. 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.
  90. Vincere, which translates as the battle cry "Win!" is like invisible ink on the ledger of war, a secret record of love and loss.
  91. Even as it looks to the heavens, Gravity is bound to earth, where the beauty is in the details.
  92. The King's Speech is the epitome of prestige cinema, an impeccably crafted and emotionally compelling drama that deserves the many laurels it surely will receive.
  93. 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.
  94. 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.
  95. 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.

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