The Playlist's Scores

  • Movies
For 1,752 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 1.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Almayer's Folly
Lowest review score: 0 The Campaign
Score distribution:
1752 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. 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.
  4. Sister is as bleak and as beautiful as its snowy, mountainous setting.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Wuthering Heights is a model of how to bring a classic novel kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.
  8. The movie is zippy and funny...and more emotional than the man himself would ever allow himself to be. It’s a triumph.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. This terrific and sublime experience, and strikingly original film, is mandatory watching for the adventurous viewer.
  12. 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.
  13. Simply put, Samsara tells the story of our world, but onscreen, it is so much more than that.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. It’s bold, beautifully told, and surprisingly funny.
  17. Alps has proven Lanthimos to be one of the most fascinating filmmakers anywhere right now.
  18. It's a state-of-the-nation masterwork, a vitally important piece of work, and should be seen by as many people as possible.
  19. Out 1 isn’t just exploratory in its filmmaking methods; exploration is its dramatic essence.
  20. Charming, witty, beautifully shot and inexplicably captivating.
  21. A stunner of a directorial debut.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Holy Motors keeps kicking into a different gear, much like an eternally waking dream.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Collette delivers one of the best performances of her already impressive career in Glassland.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. The film is borderline installation-worthy, and would probably work just as well if the scenes were drastically re-arranged.
  38. Drive works as a great demonstration of how, when there's true talent behind the camera, entertainment and art are not enemies but allies.
  39. Short Term 12 is a roller coaster of every emotion, managing to be both heartwarming and heartrending at once.
  40. 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.
  41. The Kill Team doesn't saint Winfield at all, instead, smartly casting responsible, impartial questions as to what his options could have been.
  42. An enormously entertaining, crowd-pleasing winner from the director whose comedic edge has never been sharper.
  43. A visionary, thrilling work.
  44. 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.
  45. ParaNorman is a micro-sized masterpiece that wears its heart (and its half-eaten brains) on its sleeve.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. An honest and sharply drawn account of the eternal questions of ego, friendship, and sacrifice in the comedy world.
  50. 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.
  51. 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."
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. One of the best films of the year.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. A brilliant, towering picture, The Place Beyond The Pines is a cinematic accomplishment of extraordinary grace and insight.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. It’s borderline miraculous.
  67. 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.
  68. As a documentary and a love story, Cutie and the Boxer is nothing short of breathtaking.
  69. 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.
  70. A movie so simple, so elegant, and yet so devouringly empathetic that you might not notice its full magic until a few hours later.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. The actions and events are naked to our eyes, not couched in reasons and justifications, not softened by explanations, by words.
  75. As far as animated movies go, it doesn't get that much better than Frozen. It's a new Disney classic.
  76. Uncompromising and uncommercial, divisive and brave, Killing Them Softly bitterly boils at the state of the nation.
  77. 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.
  78. Enemy is a transfixing grand slam that certifies Villeneuve as the real deal and one of the most exciting new voices in cinema today.
  79. It’s a breathlessly told movie; both meticulous and frenetic, sweat-soaked and methodical. It will take hold and won’t let you go, and it’s one of the most engaging movies of the year.
  80. A cinematic, cultural and personal triumph, The Dark Knight Rises is emotionally inspiring, aesthetically significant and critically important for America itself – as a mirror of both sober reflection and resilient hope.
  81. With Foxcatcher, [Miller] has outdone himself, turning his uniquely meticulous eye to a tiny story in a totally rarefied, specific environment and through whatever alchemy he has perfected, created something so universal and resonant that it feels epic, sprawling, almost ancient in its mythic overtones. Foxcatcher is an enormous film.
  82. Anxious and tightly-wound like “Citizenfour,” with similarly shocking and disturbing content, (T)error is a gripping parallel investigation of illegitimate counter-terrorist stratagems that not only considers the moral consequences of informing, and the wider troubling landscape around it, but does so from a deeply intimate and remarkable perspective.
  83. It’s as successful as it is ambitious.
  84. For all the film’s politics, Arabian Nights can also be whimsical, swooningly romantic, inspiring, fascinating, or deeply sad.
  85. Fans of Polley’s work to date will be delighted by a documentary that serves simultaneously as a gripping mystery, a moving record of a family and a fascinating investigation into the nature of truth, memory, and the documentary form itself.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Its off-the-cuff nature makes for a film that is not flawless – the music is a bit daft, and some of the acting a little too “large” for the intimate setting – but is, from beginning to end, delightful.
  86. Gimme The Loot involves drug-dealing, constant foul language and vandalism, but Hickson and Washington, both attractive and charismatic enough to be stars, carry the film with an air of lightweight pleasure, keeping it light and bouncy.
  87. Vaughn and his collaborators have taken a crude and disposable property and turned it into something more – a thoughtful, exciting, whip-smart spy adventure that doesn't let its smart-ass post-modernism overwhelm its playfulness or its heart.
  88. Young Bodies Heal Quickly is a haunting film, mostly because the title remains forever in doubt.
  89. The supporting cast all do excellent work too, but this is Eric’s story, and so it’s O’Connell’s film. His performance is a revelation.
  90. Hong’s two-part structure in Right Now, Wrong Then, instead of just being a cute formal trick, reveals a character’s troubled inner life in fiendishly clever ways.
  91. If there’s any criticism to be levied, it’s just that we wanted to see more dance, which can’t quite be fully captured on film, only in person. Still, capturing Streb’s artistry, inspiration and thought processes behind her work makes it more than worthwhile.
  92. Michell’s handling of the relationship between the two is touching in how little judgment he passes.
  93. Deeply resonant and soulful, Life Of Pi, is a harrowing journey of survival, self-discovery and connection that both inspires and awes in equal measure.
  94. With its rock doc trappings, it’s impossible to ignore that Mistaken For Strangers delivers on that front, with thrilling and candid on-stage footage that allows the band’s music to come alive: if you weren’t a fan before, you will be after the film.
  95. Junun is Paul Thomas Anderson at his most laid back. Not bothering with instructive context, the picture finds him absorbing the energy of the musicians through their instruments and personas. A scrappy film that never feels precious about itself or its subject matter.
  96. The Salt of The Earth is a mesmeric and unforgettable look at the world and it sufferings through the eyes of a remarkably insightful and honorable artist.
  97. An excoriating, gripping, intricately plotted morality play, Mungiu’s film is less linear, more circular or spiral-shaped than his previous Cannes titles...but it is no less rigorous and possibly even more eviscerating and critical of Romanian society, because it offers its critique across such a broad canvas.

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