The Playlist's Scores

  • Movies
For 2,139 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 42% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Smashed
Lowest review score: 0 Dumb and Dumber To
Score distribution:
2139 movie reviews
  1. Featuring two exceptional lead performances from these two boys, first rate beauty-in-ugliness photography and an unusually extraordinary command of tone, Carbone’s picture skillfully articulates the inexpressible.
  2. In the end, it doesn't matter if you believe Alexandrovich's story that a $7 billion weapons system was ultimately the cause of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown; what matters is that Alexandrovich believes it so completely. And through his eyes (which seem to bug out outside of his skull), the entire Russia/Ukraine relationship takes on a vivid, personal immediacy.
  3. La La Land is a film you simply never want to stop watching. It has wisdom and joy and sadness and such magic, from the evocative power of music to the transportative power of movies.
  4. After Tiller is not an important film just because of its political and cultural relevance, but because of its humane and compassionate approach to telling the stories of these doctors, their work and the women that they seek to help.
  5. This is a brilliantly constructed, whip-smart, and laugh-out-loud-funny romp from a filmmaker whose precision and craft is nearly unparalleled. It’s hard to think of a movie this year that has been as singularly delightful, one that, with each passing moment, reveals something charming or odd or real.
  6. Mostly this is a thrillingly compassionate, deceptively simple, and wholly invested look at a capable older woman with a lively mind coping with a series of common misfortunes. Where that could be depressing, or at least overridingly melancholy, here it is strangely hopeful.
  7. Sister is as bleak and as beautiful as its snowy, mountainous setting.
  8. The Lego Movie is an absolute blast—a whip-smart, surprisingly emotional family film where the toy property is seen less as a concrete template than a tool for seemingly limitless potential.
  9. Sightseers homicidal holiday isn't just a pitch-black comedy made with skill, will and brains; it's also another demonstration that Wheatley is, to use an all-too-appropriate phrase, going places.
  10. Wuthering Heights is a model of how to bring a classic novel kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.
  11. The movie is zippy and funny...and more emotional than the man himself would ever allow himself to be. It’s a triumph.
  12. By the time the curtains draw to a bittersweet close, you’ll walk out feeling rejuvenated, satisfied, well replenished in humor and culture, and already planning your own trip to Italy.
  13. You may not be able to figure it out, but that's part of the point of this sensually-directed, sensory-laden experiential (and experimental) piece of art that washes over you like a sonorous bath of beguiling visuals, ambient sounds and corporeal textures.
  14. This terrific and sublime experience, and strikingly original film, is mandatory watching for the adventurous viewer.
  15. It is so lived-in and authentic in its real-world detail, and so enigmatic and mysterious in its diversions and sidelong glances, that it's difficult not to see it as overridingly personal, not just to the director but to the viewer. It's a true act of the most optimistic communication and communion.
  16. Simply put, Samsara tells the story of our world, but onscreen, it is so much more than that.
  17. Though it’s dealing with difficult subject matter, the film teems with life throughout every funny, bittersweet, and wild moment, slapping a smile on your face that won’t go away and you don’t know why.
  18. There have been countless films this summer that have engaged in endless spectacle but Dunkirk is the rare blockbuster that will leave a bruise.
  19. This film is an important historical record, and an important reminder of an event in American history that could have changed everything, that should have changed everything. There’s no reason why it still can’t. Newtown is a crucial reminder of that.
  20. It’s bold, beautifully told, and surprisingly funny.
  21. Alps has proven Lanthimos to be one of the most fascinating filmmakers anywhere right now.
  22. It's a state-of-the-nation masterwork, a vitally important piece of work, and should be seen by as many people as possible.
  23. Out 1 isn’t just exploratory in its filmmaking methods; exploration is its dramatic essence.
  24. Charming, witty, beautifully shot and inexplicably captivating.
  25. A stunner of a directorial debut.
  26. We’re left with a prickly kind of harmony that blends mundanity with profundity. There’s no more perfect a note for a film as intelligent, compassionate, and complex as “My Happy Family” to end on than that.
  27. Gravity is about as visceral an experience as you can have in a cinema, it’s a technical marvel, and it’s a blockbuster with heart and soul in spades.
  28. A work of immense and intense emotional vigor, sprinkled with fun-loving traits and intellectually stimulating prowess, The Duke of Burgundy is the stuff dreams are made of.
  29. Holy Motors keeps kicking into a different gear, much like an eternally waking dream.
  30. A heartbreaking and poignant story about choices, country, commitments, sacrifice, and love, Brooklyn is a superb, luminous, and bittersweet portrayal of who we are, where we’ve come from, where we’re going, and the places we call home.
  31. What makes Joe Berlinger’s riveting new true crime doc Whitey: The United States vs. James J. Bulger such an eye-opener is that it isn’t just about a bad guy who did bad things, but the layers of corruption and moral ambiguity that stacked up on both side of the law.
  32. Everything matters in Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, but not everything is necessarily the same as DeLillo's book. And that makes the film, as a series of discussions about inter-related money-minded contradictions, insanely rich and maddeningly complex. We can't wait to rewatch it.
  33. Collette delivers one of the best performances of her already impressive career in Glassland.
  34. It’s a searing series of accounts from dignified patriots, weary politicians, and desperate civilians stuck in a frantic situation, and a remarkable piece of work that should be seen by everyone who thinks they know everything about the Vietnam War.
  35. A deeply impressive first film by director Robert Eggers, “The Witch” is immaculately constructed, evinces an exquisitely ominous tone, and is unequivocally haunting. It’s exacting look at the dissonance of human nature is terrifying.
  36. The film does not stab as deeply in laying bare the schizoid moral hypocrisy of the perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide as its peerless predecessor, but instead offers an extraordinarily poignant, desperately upsetting meditation on the legacy of those killings, and on the bravery required to seek any kind of truth about them.
  37. Focusing on the indigenous community of the Pine Ridge reservation, Zhao reimagines the entrenched masculine persona of the cowboy. The result is an entrancing, deeply moving effort, one that is certain to steal the hearts of audiences on its wider release.
  38. This beautifully structured fable may be focused on the specific pain, of a specific child, during a specific moment in time, but it blows up every fragment of its premise into heart-stirring universal appeal.
  39. Matching Fukunaga's proven storytelling grace with a story truly worth the telling, the result is explosively authentic and yet lyrical, making an utterly inhumane and alien situation both completely real and completely abstract.
  40. Immersive and committed to its austere form, the solemn, often-dialogue free Dark Night never spoon feeds and always allows the viewer to draw their own conclusions.
  41. The endlessly surprising, often riotously funny Computer Chess basks in the details of a group of men who, at a key point in history, are asking themselves not only if they can accomplish something, but why, and what it means to their current generation.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The broad-spectrum approach of LA 92 resists easy answers while still holding a strong editorial viewpoint about the overlapping institutional defects that led to the riots.
  42. Like Brokeback Mountain a decade ago, Moonlight is a piece of art that will transform lives long after it leaves theaters.
  43. Ponsoldt, Paul and Winstead make a remarkably effective team for this film's points and purposes, and Smashed burns long after it goes down smoothly.
  44. The picture is a triumph: it's arguably Garland’s tightest and most fascinating screenplay to date, brought to life with meticulous filmmaking and sensational performances. It's the first great film of 2015.
  45. The film is borderline installation-worthy, and would probably work just as well if the scenes were drastically re-arranged.
  46. Drive works as a great demonstration of how, when there's true talent behind the camera, entertainment and art are not enemies but allies.
  47. Short Term 12 is a roller coaster of every emotion, managing to be both heartwarming and heartrending at once.
  48. Selma is vital correspondence, filmmaking lived on the streets where brutal facts were ignored then reported, and now snatched back from history to sustain a spirit few films can or will possess. It is stunning humanistic cinema on a mainstream scale... It has inventiveness, urgency, humor, and most of all emotion that draws effortless parallels rather than leaving its lesson up on the screen.
  49. The Kill Team doesn't saint Winfield at all, instead, smartly casting responsible, impartial questions as to what his options could have been.
  50. An enormously entertaining, crowd-pleasing winner from the director whose comedic edge has never been sharper.
  51. A visionary, thrilling work.
  52. A Most Violent Year asks you to watch and listen and pay close attention; it also rewards that investment with subtle, real pleasures and provocations. Set in that messy place where crime, business, law and politics intersect — which is to say, the real world — A Most Violent Year is a slow-burn drama about what kinds of compromises you'll make in order to tell yourself you haven't compromised.
  53. ParaNorman is a micro-sized masterpiece that wears its heart (and its half-eaten brains) on its sleeve.
  54. Made of crystal and suppressed tears, shot eternally through windows and mirrors and half-closed doors, Todd Haynes' Carol is a love story that starts at a trickle, swells gradually to a torrent, and finally bursts the banks of your heart. A beautiful film in every way, immaculately made, and featuring two pristine actresses glowing across rooms and tousled bedclothes at each other like beacons of tentative, unspoken hope.
  55. Inside Llewyn Davis isn't about someone trying to make it big, but someone just trying to make it, and the Coens celebrate the hard road that can inspire great art.
  56. Potash marks time by the year until the last 30 minutes of the film, when the clock intertitles speed up with the many advancements in her situation, building to a breathless finish that will leave the viewer emotionally crushed and yet also hopeful and joyous.
  57. An honest and sharply drawn account of the eternal questions of ego, friendship, and sacrifice in the comedy world.
  58. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is Lanthimos with the gloves off, and it makes the absurd, amazing “The Lobster” seem like a warm and cuddly experience by comparison.
  59. In Chow’s hands, the lens becomes an elastic guidance tool for comic energy: fixate on a single image, pull back the band, let go, and snap, his story and characters launch forward in a blur of madcap amusement.
  60. This is a movie primarily concerned with numbers and the way that information is fed, processed, and acted upon. But it plays like the greatest paranoid thriller since "All the President's Men."
  61. It's an absorbing, even thrilling head trip. It is a Heart-of-Darkness voyage of discovery. It is a lament for all the lost plants and peoples of the world.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    James tells this unapologetic story with little sympathy, as per Ebert’s wishes, and a lot of passion—he wants the audience to really know who Roger Ebert was, and understand the importance of his work.
  62. A wholly illuminating look at Muhammad Ali in all his complexity, providing a surprisingly fresh and vivid portrait of a man who played rope-a-dope with history, religion and sport and emerged from the ring as an inspiring, and flawed icon.
  63. Outside of a few short moments in Ismail Merchant and James Ivory’s “Maurice,” and Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” the love and intimacy between two male characters has never truly felt this real or emotionally heartbreaking in a theatrical context. It’s almost revolutionary. It’s cinematic art.
  64. Filled with imagery both moving and mordant... 12:08 East Of Bucharest doesn't pretend to have a position on the fallout of the Romanian Revolution. Instead it contends that different questions need to be asked and considered about post-Communist life, about the blame about the current state of the country, and where the future lies for Romania's youth.
  65. Heineman has a unique ability to condense and explain complicated information and political events without straying from the deeply personal journeys of his subjects or relying on talking heads or text.
  66. This is the downer as an art form, a feelbad film of gargantuan reach and effect, and a brave, horrified commentary on a whole nation.
  67. There are ups and downs and soapish highs and lows, but what stops this from ever becoming a telenovela is the riveting wonder of the performances and the sheer brio of the filmmaking.
  68. Hirokazu has crafted a warm and lovely film that suggests the easiest thing about raising a child is embracing how complicated it can be.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A marvelous experience for any devoted cinephile.
  69. One of the best films of the year.
  70. The combination of compelling subject with an exciting and expert approach to documentary form achieves that transcendence you hope for in this genre: a melding of subject and text that is its own beast but also perfectly reflect each other.
  71. This is a virtuosic piece of filmmaking art that also happens to be almost unbearably moving. Actually, there is no “almost.”
  72. The infectious joy of a long childhood summer is brilliantly and boldly brought to life, unfolding, like Baker’s vital last film “Tangerine,” in a vivid present tense.
  73. If there was ever any doubt as to Zvyagintsev's position as one of world cinema's foremost auteurs, it's put to rest here. His filmmaking has always been superb, but he's never taken on the state of his nation in the way he does here. And that makes "Leviathan" not just masterful but also hugely important.
  74. Tipping’s bold and meditative drama with its reflective moods and streetwise grime has delivered one of the best feature-length debuts of 2016 and one of the best films of the year, period.
  75. A brilliant, towering picture, The Place Beyond The Pines is a cinematic accomplishment of extraordinary grace and insight.
  76. As an austere and darkly comic family drama, and a scathing commentary about the kind of world our children are living in, Happy End is stunning cinema
  77. A gentle but sharply defined story, brimming with grace, compassion and performances of perfect naturalism, it is unashamedly intellectual yet deeply human.
  78. In the end, all the strangeness adds up towards something genuinely significant: an atypically rich and substantial comedy that's stuffed with great scenes and performances even before you start to chew on its bigger questions.
  79. If it presents an accurate picture of this reality, then it feels like it’s a reality that is unstable, so far cut off from the mainstream of life that it has begun to fray into the surreal and the magic at the edges.
  80. A bold, blunt, yet clinically intelligent film that provokes as much for its dark humor as for its righteous outrage, it's all at once a gripping thriller, an incendiary social critique and a mordant moral fable.
  81. This is a gorgeously realized popcorn movie of the most satisfying, comforting, restorative kind: full as its heart is, it has a lot on its mind, yet you’d also quite like to curl up on its belly and doze in the sun.
  82. Humanity permeates Cameraperson, thanks to Johnson’s presence, so as experimental as it is, it’s also stirring and poignant, with a tangible sense of empathy intact in every frame.
  83. Presenting a terrifying view of a hidden holocaust and a moral apocalypse in which the most basic humanities have become twisted beyond recognition, The Act of Killing is a towering achievement in filmmaking, documentary or otherwise.
  84. One of the best documentaries, and best films, of the year, it is required viewing for anyone with a desire for making their own world a better place, inspiring you to act up and fight back.
  85. It’s borderline miraculous.
  86. Inspirational, entertaining, and absolutely awards-caliber (from first-time director Karasawa), Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me offers up an indelible and rare experience in cinematic form—it’s simply an absolute treat to be able to spend this much intimate time with such a legendary lady.
  87. The entire, whippet-lean film feels like an experiment in impressionist condensation, as though Ramsay is testing the limits of how little she can give us, and how weird it can be, while still delivering a recognisable revenge thriller.
  88. As a documentary and a love story, Cutie and the Boxer is nothing short of breathtaking.
  89. The film isn’t a white knuckle ride, and the pacing can be slow at times, but this is one of those cases where that’s sort of the point, and you certainly don’t begrudge it. A Hijacking is an absorbing, highly moving film.
  90. A movie so simple, so elegant, and yet so devouringly empathetic that you might not notice its full magic until a few hours later.
  91. Lafleur maintains a bouncy, consistently funny tone that you'd describe as featherlight, were there not real weight grounding it all. It's a near-miraculous trick, and evidence of the immense talent on display here: he has a real talent for making comedy work visually, and as you might expect from a former editor, a sense not just for landing a joke, but for creating a unique and distinctive rhythm.
  92. Unique and at times profound, it's a reminder of how much Kubrick left for us to appreciate in his work, and how the greatest films always leave something more to be discovered with each viewing.
  93. Blue is the Warmest Color is a masterpiece of human warmth, empathy and generosity, because in a mere three hours, it gives you a whole new life to have lived.
  94. The actions and events are naked to our eyes, not couched in reasons and justifications, not softened by explanations, by words.
  95. As far as animated movies go, it doesn't get that much better than Frozen. It's a new Disney classic.
  96. Uncompromising and uncommercial, divisive and brave, Killing Them Softly bitterly boils at the state of the nation.
  97. perhaps the greatest achievement is in how brilliantly the film balances the trademark Dardennes social conscience with a conceit that plays out almost like a ticking-clock thriller, as well as being a deeply felt character study.

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