St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Scores

  • Movies
For 946 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 6.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Amour
Lowest review score: 25 New Year's Eve
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 68 out of 946
946 movie reviews
  1. At once an unforgettable war film and a brilliant character study.
  2. 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.
  3. A comedy of discomfort -- and one of their (Coen brothers) best, most insightful and most provocative films.
  4. Involves the gradual revelation of the hopes, fears and insecurities of well-observed characters.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. An exciting cloak-and-dagger thriller.
  8. A stark, contemplative and hauntingly brilliant film.
  9. Bursting with smart dialogue, surprising situations and humor that springs from richly imagined characters.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Winter's Bone is the best film of the year.
  14. 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.
  15. Nev and the filmmakers prove to be charismatic, and at times hilarious, investigators of the unfolding mystery.
  16. A film that's at once timely and timeless.
  17. An exhilarating balancing act, at once a science-fiction romp, a paranoid thriller and a philosophical treatise.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. A lovably quirky comedy-drama with a rhythm all its own.
  21. 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.
  22. Into the Abyss makes a strong case for the inhumanity of capital punishment, regardless of the crime or the criminal.
  23. The film is a raw, unsparing look at the downside of humanity.
  24. The result, Pina, is the most spirited and spectacular film about dance since Robert Altman's "The Company."
  25. That action is bloody, but Fiennes' choices as director are unassailably apt and artful. Coriolanus is a triumph.
  26. The best film of the year and perhaps the purest love story in cinematic history.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. One of the best films of the year.
  31. 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.
  32. It starts as a bittersweet parable about the cruelty of commerce, but the wonder of Searching for Sugar Man will not soon slip away.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. With a fearless director and his mighty pen freeing a talented cast to attack a vital theme, Django Unchained is damnation unleashed.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. The story is so masterfully told that one can't help but be enthralled.
    • 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]
    • 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]
  39. 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.
  40. Fruitvale Station has all the impact of a thoroughly researched, well-argued documentary. But Coogler made the right choice in going with drama.
  41. Ultimately hopeful, but uncompromising in its commitment to exposing a tragic chapter in history.
  42. As much as anything, the wildly entertaining ’70s flashback American Hustle is a triumph of style.
  43. What Inside Llewyn Davis is all about: the passion, and the pain, of being an artist.
  44. 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.
  45. After feeding on this sweet buffet, sated cinephiles will want to call the front desk to extend their stay.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. The reason District 9 reverberates so loudly is because its moral indignation is cranked to 11.
  49. A movie that will be discovered, embraced and shared with friends like a favorite record album.
  50. With exquisitely simple images and minimal dialogue, Seraphine is both haunting and humane.
  51. For the many mavens who aren't familiar with Varda, this autobiographical documentary will be puzzling, in the best and most literal sense.
  52. Soul Power is both a funk-tastic time capsule and a timeless celebration of the human spirit.
  53. 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.
  54. Traditional in the best sense.
  55. With its exploded notions of heroism, torture-rack dramatics and kamikaze gusto, it's a fiendishly entertaining flick.
  56. Although Precious is based on a novel, it's an act of truth-telling on behalf of a character in hellish enslavement.
  57. Davis Guggenheim, the St. Louis director who won an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth," mines less controversial material this time around.
  58. 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.
  59. A miniaturist's masterpiece, the ebb and flow of familial love distilled to its essence.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Most of all, it’s a magical feat, one that turns puppets into personalities and an English meadow into Anderson’s world.
  60. Near the two-minute warning, Big Fan becomes chillingly unpredictable.
  61. It's one of the funniest and most perceptive films of the year.
  62. This is a kaleidoscopic valentine to a great city from a director who knows and loves his subject.
  63. It's a well-earned curtain call for some of the most beloved characters in one of the best-sustained feats of recent cinema.
  64. 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.
  65. As they build up steam, two powerful actors keep us wondering whether this train is bound for war or peace.
  66. Although it's sly and sardonic, Police, Adjective is as rigorous as a tea ceremony -- or a Stalinist re-education camp.
  67. 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.
  68. A charming throwback filled with authentic characters.
  69. Vincere, which translates as the battle cry "Win!" is like invisible ink on the ledger of war, a secret record of love and loss.
  70. 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."
  71. For a public that's been bullied by the tastemakers, the mystery is a gift. Once we exit this fun house, the only giant left to obey is ourselves.
  72. An evolutionary leap forward, a visually exquisite film that doesn't ignore the truths of pollution and predatory survival.
  73. An action comedy that works. But it’s also a surprisingly poignant romance. This is the summer flick you’ve been waiting for.
  74. The funniest movie of the year.
  75. 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.
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
    • 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.
  78. Whether true or a hoax, I'm Still Here represents real risk-taking that I can only applaud.
  79. It's a wholly successful sequel - audacious, entertaining and bracingly pertinent.
  80. Although Lebanon is to be congratulated for its bold visual strategy and strong antiwar stance, the film becomes claustrophobic after a while.
  81. 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.
  82. May be too sterile and stylized to elicit real tears, but it's got brains and heart to spare.
  83. Nowhere Boy is too astutely written and directed to go to predictably melodramatic extremes.
  84. Allen has been criticized for leaving some of the plot lines up in the air and several characters in the lurch. But he seems to be making a point: Neat Hollywood endings are as phony and dangerous as Cristal's ramblings.
  85. 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."
  86. Black Swan is ridiculously over the top, but in a way that makes it fascinating to watch.
  87. Director David O. Russell ("Three Kings") delivers a film of staggering impact.
  88. Hogancamp's alliance with director Jeff Malmberg in this artful and poignant film marks a victory in the war against the self.
  89. 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.
  90. 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.
  91. 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.
  92. Might be mistaken for a mere soap opera. But it's actually an emotional symphony.
  93. A distinctly European exercise in observational nuance and tonal restraint in which Coppola stretches static images to the breaking point.
  94. The Illusionist has surprises up its sleeve that are unusually nuanced for an animated movie.
  95. Unhurried in its storytelling but unshakable in its impact.
  96. This humane movie is an ode to joy, albeit of the mature sort.

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