St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Scores

  • Movies
For 980 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 Please Give
Lowest review score: 25 After Earth
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 72 out of 980
980 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Ultimately hopeful, but uncompromising in its commitment to exposing a tragic chapter in history.
  3. Even as it looks to the heavens, Gravity is bound to earth, where the beauty is in the details.
  4. A film that's at once timely and timeless.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. At once an unforgettable war film and a brilliant character study.
  8. The story is so masterfully told that one can't help but be enthralled.
  9. What Inside Llewyn Davis is all about: the passion, and the pain, of being an artist.
  10. Involves the gradual revelation of the hopes, fears and insecurities of well-observed characters.
  11. It's a well-earned curtain call for some of the most beloved characters in one of the best-sustained feats of recent cinema.
  12. 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.
  13. Although The Gatekeepers lacks the stylistic inventiveness of “Fog,” it is nonetheless a compelling account of what can go wrong when power is unrestrained.
  14. 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.
  15. Winter's Bone is the best film of the year.
  16. 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.
  17. As much as anything, the wildly entertaining ’70s flashback American Hustle is a triumph of style.
  18. A miniaturist's masterpiece, the ebb and flow of familial love distilled to its essence.
  19. 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.
  20. May be too cute to qualify as high art, but it's highly entertaining.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. After feeding on this sweet buffet, sated cinephiles will want to call the front desk to extend their stay.
  24. Directed by Steve James, whose “Hoop Dreams” Ebert hailed as the best film of the 1990s, it’s the kind of documentary the dying man wanted — honest, humane and inclusive.
  25. This very male and methodical movie is like the anti-“Gravity,” as the un-moored hero is quietly in control of his options and at peace with his possible failure.
  26. This is a film that's not always easy to watch, but just about impossible to forget.
  27. 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.
  28. Although you don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy it, Moneyball is one of the best baseball movies imaginable.
  29. For his complex portrayal, Day-Lewis is likely to have roses thrown at his feet, but for the dreadful film in which he's enslaved, emancipated onlookers will reach for the grapes of wrath.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
    • 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]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  33. For the many mavens who aren't familiar with Varda, this autobiographical documentary will be puzzling, in the best and most literal sense.
  34. Before it turns into a great escape flick, Argo is an amusing spoof of the movie biz.
  35. 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.
  36. Traditional in the best sense.
  37. This hand-drawn French import is fresh evidence that you don’t need computers and singing princesses to make a charming animated movie.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. Although Lebanon is to be congratulated for its bold visual strategy and strong antiwar stance, the film becomes claustrophobic after a while.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. Vincere, which translates as the battle cry "Win!" is like invisible ink on the ledger of war, a secret record of love and loss.
  45. Shannon's powerfully imploded performance ignites one of the best films of the year.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. Fruitvale Station has all the impact of a thoroughly researched, well-argued documentary. But Coogler made the right choice in going with drama.
  50. There are a few beguiling moments in Holy Motors, particularly a martial-arts sequence and an erotic dance while Mr. Oscar is dressed in a motion-capture body suit, but the road between those moments is so strewn with stalled ideas that audiences who care about character and plot are liable to take the exit to a movie that makes sense.
  51. 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.
  52. The best film of the year and perhaps the purest love story in cinematic history.
  53. With exquisitely simple images and minimal dialogue, Seraphine is both haunting and humane.
  54. While Looper lacks the heft of a classic, this wayback machine is worth taking for a spin.
  55. 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."
  56. 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.
  57. What makes this low-key movie memorable are the pitch-perfect performances.
  58. Titanic technical achievement.
    • 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.
  59. It's often obscenely funny, but it tickles more than it stings.
  60. 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.
  61. There's so much higher intelligence in Project Nim that simply digesting it feels like evolutionary progress.
  62. Typically lovely to look at, with big-eyed young people espousing high ideals amid natural splendor. But outside of their bubble, a prickly history looms, and Miyazaki’s dubious attitude toward the wartime role of his hero makes the movie a mixed blessing.
  63. For better or worse, this is a straightforward performance film.
  64. Hogancamp's alliance with director Jeff Malmberg in this artful and poignant film marks a victory in the war against the self.
  65. The result, Pina, is the most spirited and spectacular film about dance since Robert Altman's "The Company."
    • 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.
  66. For cinematic sojourners, Hugo is a trip to the moon.
  67. Despite the obvious mismatches involved, this isn’t a simplistic smackdown. Freighted with weighty issues, Captain Phillips is a film worth debating.
  68. Garcia’s performance, which won the best actress award at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival, is a marvel of self-effacing artistry.
  69. 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.
  70. The Holocaust must never be forgotten, but like many well-intentioned documentaries, The Flat derives more power from the implicit strength of the subject than from the explicit choices of the director.
  71. What makes Love Is Strange so special is that the challenges the couple face are more mundane than menacing.
  72. 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.
  73. The Illusionist has surprises up its sleeve that are unusually nuanced for an animated movie.
  74. Canadian director Denis Villaneuve knows how to stoke a hot debate about the legacy of violence. But in this case, where there's smoke, there's not enough air.
  75. Because Short Term 12 is a small movie about a challenging subject, you may have to accept my word that actress Brie Larson and director Destin Cretton are bright discoveries, but it shouldn’t be long before the wider world can see these talents with the naked eye.
  76. A marvelous piece of work.
  77. Gerwig makes us want to believe that in a city where anything is possible, Francis Ha has the last laugh.
  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. When the two men compare impersonations of Michael Caine or Sean Connery, Brydon's version is always slightly better - and Coogan knows it.
  80. There’s much to appreciate here. Like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which had a stronger sense of its place in the world, this coming-of-age movie should appeal to smart, sensitive young people who haven’t been exposed to the better examples of the genre.
  81. Although the film has elements of a puzzler by Michelangelo Antonioni and a psychodrama by Ingmar Bergman, it never becomes compellingly intellectual or unnervingly emotional.
  82. Footnote is faintly comic, and director Joseph Cedar mines dark humor from the humiliations of identity checks and pecking orders.
  83. 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."
  84. A stark, contemplative and hauntingly brilliant film.
  85. The kind of working-class, character-driven drama that few American directors would dare to make. It's tough and unsentimental, with a documentary aesthetic that belies the craft of the calibrated tension.
  86. Two things that the British know that most Americans don't: Michael Sheen is the best actor in the English-speaking world; and soccer is the only football that matters.
  87. Although it has some memorably disquieting scenes, this story of long-delayed justice is sustained by its melancholy more than its thrills.
  88. 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.
  89. Unhurried in its storytelling but unshakable in its impact.
  90. A lovably quirky comedy-drama with a rhythm all its own.
  91. What animates this dramatically constrained film are the lively words and the vitality of nature. An image of butterflies blooming in a bedroom is Keats' worldview in miniature.
  92. 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.
  93. Fortunately, Fish Tank feeds us more than crumbs and leaves us feeling like we've come up for air.
  94. 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.
  95. Although it's sly and sardonic, Police, Adjective is as rigorous as a tea ceremony -- or a Stalinist re-education camp.
  96. With a fearless director and his mighty pen freeing a talented cast to attack a vital theme, Django Unchained is damnation unleashed.
  97. 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.

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