Tampa Bay Times' Scores

  • Movies
For 991 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 65% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 33% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 The End of the Tour
Lowest review score: 0 End of Watch
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 91 out of 991
991 movie reviews
  1. It is interesting even when nothing much happens, which is for most of its 3-hour running time.
  2. Moonlight is a modest masterpiece, and quite possibly the best film of 2016.
  3. Hoop Dreams is what sportwriters would call "the total package:" intimate and illuminating in its depiction of two Chicago high-school basketball players and their goals, while never allowing an audience to forget that these boys and the families who support their struggles are part of the American fabric which hasn't received its due. [13Jan 1995, p.6]
    • Tampa Bay Times
  4. There has never been a movie like 12 Years a Slave, which is Hollywood's shame. Miss it, and that mistake is yours.
  5. Manchester by the Sea is a gracefully coarse ode to lives knocked down and if not bouncing back at least not splatting at rock bottom. There are also glimmers of humor shining all the brighter because of the darkness they cut through.
  6. Gravity is a game-changer like "Avatar" in the realm of digital 3-D special effects, inventing trickeries to be applied by future filmmakers and possibly never improved upon. Yet its spirit is closer to Avatar's smarter descendants, "Hugo" and "Life of Pi," with the gimmicks embellishing, not driving, the material. Less Cameron, more Kubrick.
  7. Beauty and the Beast flows effortlessly, its images sweeping past with unprecedented fluidity. [22 Nov 1991, p.6]
    • Tampa Bay Times
  8. Haynes designs a perfectly nostalgic sensory experience — something like a Manhattan department store window — needing a suppler story to sell.
  9. Toy Story fully understands the limitless potential of childish fantasy, and the computer animation style fashions dreams into a glossy, fantastic reality. [24 nov 1995, p.3]
    • Tampa Bay Times
  10. This is a remarkable film for more reasons than its antihero, from the cyberspeed wisdom of Aaron Sorkin's screenplay to Jeff Cronenweth's camera prowling the excesses of youthful genius gone wild.
  11. The last thing we see in Zero Dark Thirty is Maya's face and it is also ours, silently crying tears of reflection.
  12. It's a mystery wrapped inside an enigmatic nation, flawlessly acted and difficult to predict. I'm always impressed when a movie informs about a foreign culture while it entertains, and this one is powerful art in that regard.
  13. The movie at times resembles a screenwriting workshop, with Delpy and Hawke trying to shoehorn every shade of this shifting relationship into a single scene. It doesn't feel genuine; certainly these two would know each other better by now.
  14. Dunkirk is a staggering feat of filmmaking, as Nolan's fans are accustomed. Van Hoytema's cinematography conveys death trap closeness even with IMAX cameras on a vast beach. Hans Zimmer again proves himself a masterfully dramatic composer, turning violins into the sound of spiraling aircraft. The performances are solid as such Nolan's vision requires, including pop star Harry Styles briefly.
  15. The surprises are plentiful and seamlessly connected.
  16. With Amour, it's the rare feeling of watching a masterpiece unfold.
  17. Spotlight is a rare movie about the profession — and just enough about people in it — that simply feels right, speaking from the inside.
  18. La La Land is a trove of references to musical milestones, not derivative but truly inspired. A more joyful movie for grown-ups can't be found this season.
  19. The Coens fashion an atmospheric descent for Llewyn, a meticulous re-creation of Greenwich Village's folk scene in 1961, around the time Bob Dylan hit town.
  20. Oliver Stone's Platoon is the most sobering Vietnam War epic ever made. It is an unqualified triumph for its honesty, its artistry, its brutality and its frank portrayal of a nation - our nation - divided by ideology, poverty, racism and drugs. [25 Jan 1987, p.1E]
    • Tampa Bay Times
  21. Toy Story 3 isn't merely the best movie of the summer -- even with summer just kicking in -- but an immediate candidate for best of the year.
  22. Plenty of secrets are uncovered before the fadeout, plus another nugget dropped midway through the end credits that may render nearly everything beforehand to be false. That's the nature of intimacies submerged so long then revealed.
  23. Lawrence is in every scene of Winter's Bone, leaving her plenty of opportunity to make false moves. I dare you to find one, in a performance to be remembered during awards season.
  24. Her
    So many things could go terribly wrong with Spike Jonze's Her, and it's a small cinematic miracle that nothing does.
  25. 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.
  26. Russell and co-writer Eric Warren Singer lay out these deceits and double-crosses with precision but American Hustle isn't merely a procedural. Defining these outsized personalities, tracing their unconventional connections and affections, is where Russell's movie finds its irreverent heartbeat.
  27. Two Days, One Night is deceptively slight of drama; it's simply a procession of real moments encountered by a simple character deserving more happiness than life allows, fleshed out by an extraordinary actor.
  28. This is a modest film with towering potential to make a difference, looking back to move forward.
  29. Hazanavicius crafted more than a replica of the silent era; this feels like a time capsule found 80 years later, right on time to be revolutionary in a louder world. Yet The Artist is a masterwork that likely won't be imitated. How many movies in 2011 can you say that about? Only the best one.
  30. Teller plays notes all over the emotional chart, dovetailing into a divine riff on ambition. And he does nearly all of Andrew's drumming, aggressively and impressively so.
  31. The Grand Budapest Hotel is as artistically manicured as any of his seven previous movies, and richer comically and emotionally than most.
  32. Like Bertie's struggle, there's so much wonderment to articulate about this film that being mistaken for a stammering idiot is a risk. See it, then say it for yourself: The King's Speech is the best movie of 2010.
  33. Hell or High Water is a terrific piece of entertainment.... It isn't a highbrow indie but a gritty work of art. Mackenzie's movie thrills for all the right reasons and will be fondly remembered at year's end.
  34. Anomalisa ends with a major decision and a minor triumph, the result of a one-night stand in Cincinnati. Sad, desperate? Maybe. But in the hands of Kaufman and Johnson, an extraordinary movie.
  35. Everything about Birdman is a bold cinematic stretch, from its snare-jazz soundtrack to a climax regrettably stretched too far. The line between Iñárritu's genius and Riggan's madness gets crossed once too many, but no matter. Birdman has 99 virtues and ignorance isn't one.
  36. Ronan is Brooklyn's linchpin, and its saving grace.
  37. Chandor and Redford make an illuminating procedural of Our Man's response to calamity... Our Man is everyman, revealed by beautifully filmed and edited action without exposition.
  38. Considering Parts 1 and 2 of Deathly Hallows as a single enterprise, as they should be, this is a rare franchise that just kept getting better.
  39. Life Itself impressively covers the elements of Ebert's memoir.
  40. Lincoln is like a thoroughly researched poli-sci term paper come to life, with interesting personal material about the participants relegated to footnotes.
  41. One of the year's best documentaries.
  42. Room is a startling movie experience, peculiar in setting and profoundly simple. It's a story of love born out of unseen horror, of nurture conquering nature. Room must be felt to be believed.
  43. Not much happens to Woody in Payne's movie, compared to modern penchants for rushed narratives and easily defined characters. Yet patience pays off, with a suitably minor triumph for such an unassuming man. And a major acting triumph for Dern.
  44. What makes Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right remarkable also makes it a tad humdrum, which may be the filmmaker's point.
  45. The pointlessness of Jep's journey is Sorrentino's point, richly made.
  46. This movie doesn't play any of its themes cheaply.
  47. Argo works superbly on two levels, first as a white-knuckle re-enactment of events in Iran and scrambling strategies in Washington.
  48. This is a rapturous cinematic experience, a spellbinding expression of shrouded ideas and exposed talent, top to bottom.
  49. Style is the substance of Edgar Wright's inventive heist flick, a fresh, masterful synching of music and getaway mayhem, as if La La Land's traffic jam was moving, armed and dangerous.
  50. Hushpuppy carries a lot of emotional weight on her slender shoulders, and Wallis makes one wish to climb into the screen to lighten the load with an embrace. Do not miss this performance, or this quietly astonishing, life-affirming masterpiece.
  51. Shannon is perfectly cast, a creepily magnetic actor with an otherworldly calm, tight jaw and piercing, set-apart eyes. The performance and movie stick with you, with masterful construction and muted psychological horror.
  52. Amy
    In some moments, Amy feels like another intrusion on the singer's privacy, like the gossip vultures circling her drug and alcohol binges, awaiting her 2011 death. Those uncomfortable moments are far outweighed by sympathetic ones.
  53. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is boldly dull in protest to modern movie tastes, and that alone may earn it more praise than it deserves.
  54. With The Past, Farhadi again displays a gift for poking into corners of nondescript lives and discovering unique drama.
  55. Ponderous and perplexing, a somberly audacious film to make viewers swoon or snore, take your pick. It is defiantly opaque, a free-form meditation on nature and nurture across millennia with a tinge of biblical grace.
  56. Restrepo is about soldiers, not politics. The question of whether U.S. troops belong there isn't posed. Their devotion to duty and each other is unquestioned.
  57. A movie as direct and devastating as a point-blank bullet to the back, like the one that killed Oscar Grant on the first morning of a new year, 2009.
  58. These characters don't realize they're funny, and the actors are determined not to push it. Willis fares best, playing against in-control type; Murray fans expecting a comedy explosion won't find it here.
  59. Johnson keeps it simple, yet never stupid. Looper is a puzzle engaging your brain, rather than frying it, as one character describes the process. Obviously he has seen enough movies on the subject by 2024 to know how frustrating that is. This one plays fair with the fantasy.
  60. David Lowery's A Ghost Story is a different sort of haunting, a quiet reverie of never letting go of people, places, anything. Some viewers may think it silly, others profound, but there's no other movie quite like it.
  61. The Descendants would still be a splendid movie without him; with Clooney, it's one of 2011's very best.
  62. Get Out loses its nerve winding down but it's a rare horror flick not wasting all its brains on splatter.
  63. Director Jean-Marc Vallee dutifully progresses from one obvious scene to the next. Solid work but unspectacular, perhaps figuring the boldness of his characters' words and actions can be artistic enough. And it is, in the hands of a temporarily reformed sex symbol and his unexpected leading lady.
  64. Everybody Wants Some!! is as playfully raunchy as any sex comedy doubling down on exclamation points can be.
  65. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite creates a fascinating character study of Tilikum, part of a revered species without a single confirmed kill of a human in the wild. Captivity is where Blackfish's evidence continually points the blame for Tilikum's deadly behavior.
  66. Distant Voices, Still Lives is both a personal and social portrait. It often flows without dialogue, eloquently relating a tragic story that words could not describe. [10 Nov 1989, p.13]
    • Tampa Bay Times
  67. Eggers' chilling debut is a small masterpiece of atmosphere.
  68. This is a gorgeous production, even by Miyazaki's standards.
  69. The choicest performance in Animal Kingdom is Weaver's sing-song sinister matriarch of the Cody clan, a cheery sort with the benign nickname "Mama Smurf."
  70. Hugo is Scorsese's most personal film, from the standpoint of both an artist and a grandfather. He is as interested in Melies' posterity as in making a movie that his descendants can see before they're adults.
  71. At this point in his celebrated career, there shouldn't be much new that Hanks can show us. But there is, as the actor reaches deep inside to express the relief of dodging death as I've never seen it played before. He's in shock; we're awed.
  72. The jokes fly at a pace demanding viewers to either refrain from laughing (highly unlikely) or see The Lego Movie again to catch all the wondrous sights and amiable wit sliding by the first time.
  73. Gabe Polsky's movie about the dynastic Soviet Union hockey team is surprisingly light on its skates, despite being a Cold War history lesson and conventional sports documentary.
  74. It Follows has an impressively sustained sense of dread, less explicit gore than measured tension. Mitchell slyly inverts the conventions of dead-meat teenager flicks, although not with wink-wink comedy like the Scream series. This movie is serious about creeping out viewers, and Mitchell is just artistic enough about it to create a minor masterpiece.
  75. Creed proceeds to hit the same beats as six Rocky movies preceding it, all the way to the Big Fight. But there's a difference here. This is the first Rocky movie Stallone didn't write, enabling Coogler and co-writer Aaron Covington to bring new perspective and respect.
  76. Monsieur Lazhar becomes a deeply affecting film not for pathos but for the way sadness is conveyed so subtly. It's a small triumph of restrained compassion, coaxing throat lumps rather than jerking tears.
  77. It's gory and gut-wrenching but strangely life-affirming.
  78. The soundtrack is a small marvel of music hall tunes and dialogue that is mostly garbled, allowing expressions and body language to be interpreted.
  79. The End of the Tour asks viewers to lean in, listen well and be rewarded with an uncommonly intelligent and relatable movie experience.
  80. War for the Planet of the Apes seals Caesar's place in the pantheon of movie messiahs and the trilogy's place among the finest ever.
  81. The Lobster remains strangely romantic throughout, an absurdist take on the notion that great love stories — Casablanca, The Way We Were, Gone With the Wind — don't always end tidily.
  82. The new, vastly improved Star Trek moves at warp speed through a marvelously reinvented sci-fi franchise, reverent to the past and firmly entrenched in the now.
  83. Baumbach keeps everything dialed down to medium cool, with occasional flashes of exuberance like Frances dancing down a street to the beat of David Bowie's Modern Love.
  84. As a wisely devised teenage drama, The Spectacular Now treats kids and adults respectfully, even their foolish weaknesses. That respect extends to the audience.
  85. 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?
  86. Sicario is a tentacled drug cartel thriller grabbing viewers by the throat and squeezing for two hours. This movie continually defies the conventions of its genre, from its hero's gender to the vagueness of its morality.
  87. The easiest way for filmmakers to show injustice in the world is through the eyes of a child. In the case of Haifaa al-Mansour's movie, the injustice is Saudi Arabia's male-centric culture, and the child is a preteen girl named Wadjda.
  88. It's one of a handful of movies that have legitimately fooled me; not with an abrupt twist but a dawning awareness of where it's going thematically, how deeply and how distanced from sci-fi as usual.
  89. Sounds depressing, but Blue Valentine is a reminder that well-measured and expertly acted pain is as thrilling to watch as 3-D spectacle.
  90. Villeneuve crafts a movie both cerebral and sensuous, as puzzling and visually striking as its predecessor. The experience should be likewise revered by next generations.
  91. Top Five is the funniest movie I've seen this year, and the calendar's running out. No matter whose movie Rock's resembles, it is completely his, and a brash start to being taken seriously as an artist.
  92. Bridge of Spies is solid work but feels like Spielberg's best intentions as a filmmaker and world conscience on cruise control.
  93. The stop-motion technique never ceases to fascinate, but the episodic structure of Shaun the Sheep Movie hinders any true emotional buildup and payoff.
  94. Miller unravels this story with the grim inevitability of a death row vigil, but not without flashes of sly humor.
  95. 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.
  96. Anchored by Natalie Portman's uncanny impersonation — wispy voice, aristocratic posture — Jackie fascinates and frustrates, sometimes at once. We can't be certain any of her actions here are true. Some don't seem likely.
  97. We can now agree that Johnson is not only the Sexiest Man Alive but also our strongest, lifting Moana on his character's beefy shoulders, carrying it like other hits before. No movie left behind.
  98. The movie's assured direction by Sam Mendes can't be underestimated.
  99. Allen eventually gets to the heart of this matter: the allure and danger of nostalgia.
  100. What "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" did for zombie and cop flicks The World's End does for sci-fi fatalism, respecting its doomsday tropes while presenting them with cheeky wit and a refreshing strategy of sensory underload.

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