Tampa Bay Times' Scores

  • Movies
For 700 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 67% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 30% 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 Monsieur Lazhar
Lowest review score: 0 I'm Still Here
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 64 out of 700
700 movie reviews
  1. Succeeds where "Thor" didn't and the "Incredible Hulk" hasn't, twice. Unlike those drags, director Joe Johnston keeps things relatively simple and pleasantly stupid.
  2. It is interesting even when nothing much happens, which is for most of its 3-hour running time.
  3. 22 Jump Street is a mixed bag of clever spoofery and miscalculated outrageousness. The unveiled homoeroticism of practically all interaction between Jenko and Schmidt is amusing to the point when it isn't.
  4. For all of its carnal frivolity, The Wolf of Wall Street lacks passion and purpose, qualities Scorsese at his best has in abundance.
  5. The humor is an underdog's fantasy, tapping the same vein Murray bled dry with self-important camp counselors and military officers; the less cool they are, the harder they'll fall.
  6. Bully is no more incisive than a Dateline NBC segment on the subject, although with a PG-13 rating it now can be a classroom tool for discussion.
  7. The cast is delightful top to bottom, although Arterton's role is chiefly defined by seductive smiles and the rise of her cut-off shorts. Allam and Cooper are standouts, creating hormonally despicable characters getting more of Tamara's attention than they deserve.
  8. Hysteria is a one-joke movie, but when a joke is told this well, it doesn't matter.
  9. It's a movie that grows on you, after grating your nerves while viewing it.
  10. Bridesmaids is a bit of a groundbreaker... Not exactly a banner for feminism but equal time is overdue.
  11. Fast Five is brawny dumb fun, nothing more but that's enough.
  12. It's a capable Sunday school lesson with little for anyone to challenge and practically nothing that offends.
  13. Elysium proves better at social polemics than escapism, a balancing act Blomkamp managed well in District 9, with its allegory of South Africa's apartheid era.
  14. It's a quiet story, without many emotional outbursts and no villains. Parts of Higher Ground are dull, honestly. But the movie always feels honest about its subject.
  15. Anyone of any age can get a kick out of watching penguins slide down the spiraled interior of the Guggenheim Museum, or seeing how one of these flightless birds manages to buck nature.
  16. Conveying a visceral sense of warfare's terror is what Berg chiefly seeks, and on that level Lone Survivor handily succeeds.
  17. This Must Be the Place is a movie existing in a zonked-out realm where reality smashes head-on with a train-wreck hero too strange to be real, unless you're the love child of Ozzy Osbourne and the Cure's Robert Smith.
  18. Wan in particular is pacing today's movie horror by reverting to the past. There's a touch of Hammer Films in his haunted house atmospheres, and Roger Corman in his groaning comic relief from the dread.
  19. Lincoln is like a thoroughly researched poli-sci term paper come to life, with interesting personal material about the participants relegated to footnotes.
  20. A movie as fun as it is flawed.
  21. The IMF workings are still complex, but without Brian DePalma's artistic indulgences (Part 1) and John Woo's poetic distractions (Part 2). Abrams cuts to the chase whenever the option arises, and the results don't leave much time to question logic or motive. [4 May 2006, p.6W]
    • Tampa Bay Times
  22. For the most part, however, Southpaw is a terrific boxing movie, with choreographed violence emphasizing the sport's speed rather than its poetry in slow motion.
  23. McKay and Ferrell keep the jokes naughty not dirty and flying for shrapnel accuracy; many miss, but when one hits it counts.
  24. Liman handles the spy stuff with Bourne-again flair, especially the opener when Valerie proves her mettle during an assignment to secure a snitch.
  25. Buckle up for a bumpy ride but one that a road warrior like McQueen would hitch in a heartbeat.
  26. There's a surprising number of salient, even revolutionary notions about human nature and intelligence throughout, none fully explored but enough to make the running time at least 20 minutes too long.
  27. Kick-Ass is a rabid puppy of a movie, energetically bounding off the screen and into your lap, where it proceeds to chew off your face.
  28. Sure, it's silly without shame, and predictably sentimental. But Zookeeper is the most thoroughly enjoyable movie for the entire family in theaters right now. I can't believe I just typed that about a Kevin James flick with talking animals.
  29. Danny Boyle's movie is meticulously crafted to artful specifications, written in Aaron Sorkin's torrential style and acted to perfection by a superb ensemble. Yet like Jobs' NeXT Cube in 1988, there's one obvious question that isn't satisfactorily answered: What does it do?
  30. Whatever his motivations or deeds, Gordon Gekko is a classic screen character and Douglas is never better than when playing him.
  31. Penguins of Madagascar is fun while it lasts, and then mostly forgettable except for whatever shake-your-head lunacy sticks.
  32. In any language with anyone at the helm, Lisbeth is still a killer.
  33. Bran Nue Dae is a strange change from the usual multiplex fare, and that's nearly enough to make it wonderful.
  34. The movie is like an old vinyl LP; the best cuts are on the first side, there's a bangup finish and a lot of filler material in between.
  35. It's the nicest Mother's Day gift available at the movies this weekend.
  36. This is a solid, sincere affirmation of faith and forgiveness. Praise the Lord, and pass the popcorn.
  37. In spite of its incessant piling on of double-crosses and triple dog dares, Focus is a pleasant change from Academy Award seriousness. It's reassuring to see Smith resurrect the charisma that After Earth stripped away, and nice to see Robbie do anything, anytime.
  38. For those viewers who've watched Stewart's recent progression in offbeat films like Camp X-Ray and Still Alice — when she held her own opposite Academy Award winner Julianne Moore — it shouldn't be a surprise. Clouds of Sils Maria matches Stewart with another Oscar honoree, Juliette Binoche, with equally impressive results.
  39. The stories might work better separately as uninterrupted short films. Combined, they lack cohesion but suggest that Coppola has a fine framing eye and ability to guide actors to good work.
  40. It's a familiar, straightforward story, carried from start to finish by Winstead, who makes Kate an interesting study in contradictions.
  41. Reese Witherspoon can do a lot of things as an actor but playing a damaged-goods Depression era dame isn't one of them.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Before getting sucked into a what-the-wormhole ending that will scramble young brains, time-travel romp Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a fast, fun 3-D getaway.
  42. Gutt is a wonderful villain, something the franchise has lacked, and even performs an original musical number - an Ice Age first, if I'm not mistaken. Dinklage has a sinister voice, and a subtle way of expressing the character's sillier moments.
  43. The movie seldom bridges the gap between education and entertainment, a trait that made "March of the Penguins" a must-see multiplex experience.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Never mind the dwarves and elves and wizards — maybe even the hobbit. The star of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the dragon.
  44. White-knuckle fun.
  45. A tidy terror flick, and refreshing with its intention to make viewers gasp rather than gag.
  46. As Kay and Arnold lurch toward intimacy, the roles bring out a playful side seldom seen in Streep and practically never in Jones, his signature surliness melting into disarming smiles and tenderness.
  47. The Conjuring is a throwback to old-school spine tingling, although this movie is less Halloween theme ride and more 1970s post-"Exorcist" terror.
  48. It's a very good performance that isn't for the "Talladega Nights" crowd and indie audiences can appreciate that.
  49. A marvelous technical achievement when the director finally gets around to it.
  50. The movie's memorable moments involve a silently expressive dodo bird and "man-panzee," stealing the show from human caricatures acting silly.
  51. The stop-motion technique never ceases to fascinate, but the episodic structure of Shaun the Sheep Movie hinders any true emotional buildup and payoff.
  52. Get Low is a pleasant yarn, well-acted and dutifully mounted with period designs. There isn't a false note among the actors.
  53. Except for slipping on a third-act soapbox, The Joneses is a deft allegory of the greed and coveting that led to the recession. At times, you wonder if something like this scam could really happen, or does.
  54. Even in strained moments, there is a sincerity to Dolphin Tale 2, an ambition to be more than an easy sequel, making it satisfying.
  55. Farewell is a solid telling of an obscure story and nothing more. The most effective scenes aren't cloak and dagger stuff but passages like Igor daydreaming of becoming a rock star like his idol Freddie Mercury of Queen.
  56. It's an audacious mashup that Baz Luhrmann would approve, lending freshness to Tolstoy's too-often-told tale.
  57. In the movie's best moments, Rivers is defiantly obnoxious and forthcoming about the fact that she'll do anything for money. At other times, the filmmakers attempt to make the wildcat warmer and fuzzier.
  58. Mad Max: Fury Road is a relentless marvel of sense-pummeling stunts and gargoyle horror that needs to take a breather once in a while.
  59. This is first and foremost Murray's show, and the shortcomings in Melfi's script and direction are strangely appreciated. They give this singular comedian, who doesn't do it often enough these days, the room to let his buffalo heart roam.
  60. I'm not sure there's anything else to take away from this film besides Manville's performance and gratitude that we aren't these people.
  61. Nothing about Koolhoven's film is stunning, but it's a solid piece of work, occasionally feeling as tense as life-and-death situations with Nazis should be.
  62. This franchise that won't die began in 2001 as The Fast and the Furious and has pretty much run through every title permutation, so the inevitable next chapter might be called only "The & The 7."
  63. No
    The movie needs one or two central characters directly affected by the dictatorship, in order to create more tension around a conclusion that's already known.
  64. Efron makes hay with his richest role post-High School Musical, making Dean a rural rake with conflicting charisma.
  65. Thankfully, much of Red Tails is spent in the skies, where fighter planes swoop and zoom in thrilling dogfights with incendiary direct hits. Executive producer George Lucas apparently gave Hemingway the keys to his CGI kingdom, creating marvelously designed in-flight action and a sappy, snappy salute to the Tuskegee Airmen.
  66. Has something for everyone, if everyone is looking for young nuns taking showers, a department store Santa dealing weed, a coked-up infant crawling on the ceiling and Danny Trejo as the father-in-law-to-be from Hell. I didn't think I was looking for that but found it. And heaven help me, it wasn't bad.
  67. Robespierre does a nice job of balancing the seriousness of this situation with the no-boundaries irreverence of Donna's comedy background.
  68. Casino Royale mostly succeeds as an introduction to a badder Bond than ever.
  69. What makes Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right remarkable also makes it a tad humdrum, which may be the filmmaker's point.
  70. The performances are spot-on, with former Tampa resident Morgan Simpson scripting a showcase for himself as Jefferson, and Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile) as the enigmatic stranger, proving again that he's more than just a not-so-pretty face atop an intimidating body.
  71. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids pulls some familiar plot - and emotional strings. It's a tad too predictable. But it's resourceful and well-crafted. It's the type of movie that works on one level for parents and another for kids. Both will be pleased. [23 June 1989, p.12]
    • Tampa Bay Times
  72. Carpenter returns to his roots, which is to say he's gouging eyes and summoning demons. He's doing it in a wonderfully rough-hewn, low-budget style that fondly recalls Halloween, the granddaddy of slasher movies. [24 Oct 1987, p.1D]
    • Tampa Bay Times
  73. It's rambunctiously amusing but the laughs clot in your throat. There's a meaner streak this time to Kick-Ass and Hit Girl's exploits, or maybe Carrey's sensitivity is justified. Either way, the third act of Kick-Ass 2 is a visceral beatdown.
  74. Anthony Hopkins, new to the franchise, is introduced in a prison cell, in stir-crazy shades of Hannibal Lecter. At 53, Catherine Zeta-Jones is nearly too young for this stuff.
  75. Steve Carell's character in Dinner for Schmucks is almost too pitiful for the jokes launched against him to be funny. It is a terrific performance making everyone else's condescension sound harsher than the writers likely intended.
  76. Iron Man 3 is missing that old Tony Stark spark. Not from Robert Downey Jr., who is still the best thing about this overblown show.
  77. When director Paul Feig — who revitalized feminine comedy with "Bridesmaids" — allows McCarthy's improvisational instincts to take over because, honestly, nobody else in the cast can stand up to her. McCarthy is the best thing about The Heat.
  78. Joyful Noise is a good movie when it lifts up its heart and lets people sing.
  79. Even as Touching Home finds those moments, it's easier to appreciate the stars' dedication to a grass roots project than the project itself.
  80. It's a nice movie, and can certainly be inspirational for the proper audiences.
  81. Don Jon is so friskily risque, with teasing glimpses of what turns Jon on and frank dialogue to match, that you don't notice the movie is stuck in a rut until Julianne Moore shows up late, offering Jon an older, wiser perspective on sex and relationships.
  82. Maleficent feels spit-balled into more directions than barely 90 minutes of story time can adequately cover. It's once upon a time, happily ever after and a lot of undeveloped drama in between.
  83. This Is Where I Leave You is packed with familiar regrets and lost-time makeups but these actors make every recycled moment count for something.
  84. Burlesque is what happens when an irresistible sex object like Aguilera meets Cher's immovable upper lip. It isn't always pretty but on occasion it's guiltily pleasurable.
  85. Nobody can disagree that Waiting for Superman deals with a subject demanding attention. But it paints the engulfing problems of U.S. education with a brush too broad and samples too small to be definitive.
  86. Part 1 of Harry Potter's long goodbye is technically impressive as usual, especially an animated shadow play explaining the whole Deathly Hallows myth.
  87. Only a spunky cast prevents the film from being as tedious as a test pattern.
  88. Sparkle may wind up as Ejogo's breakthrough but will forever be remembered as Houston's swan song, and a glimpse of what her next life chapter might have been. What a talent. What a waste.
  89. The most succinct evidence that Shakespeare was a fraud is offered by Derek Jacobi in prologue and epilogue, alone on a Broadway stage before a rapt audience. As usual in matters of the Bard, the play's the thing.
  90. Giamatti is a superb expressionist of emotional flotsam, with a Golden Globe for his effort.
  91. Well-acted and lovingly designed, Marsh's movie falls far short of the genius it attempts to celebrate.
  92. It's the only chance for small children to drag parents to the movies until November, so knock yourself out, kiddies.
  93. Even the smuttiest jokes about rape, torture and genitals have a more polished edge, sliding by without causing much offense. Watching actors portray alarm at Cohen's antics isn't as hilarious as civilians doing it for real.
  94. Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky is an elegant scandal almost devoid of true passion, no matter how many times the nude lovers artfully mingle.
  95. A fitfully entertaining movie in an awkward position; too arty for the action crowd yet too unsubtle for more refined tastes.
  96. The sermons are subtle, raising the film's chances of crossing over to secular audiences. Soul Surfer is so clean that it squeaks, but sometimes that's a nice change of pace.
  97. Will they, won't they? A bolder movie wouldn't settle for maybe.
  98. The standout in Win Win is Alex Shaffer, a former New Jersey state champion cast as Kyle.

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