The Playlist's Scores

  • Movies
For 779 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 1.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
Lowest review score: 0 The Campaign
Score distribution:
779 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Alps has proven Lanthimos to be one of the most fascinating filmmakers anywhere right now.
  3. ParaNorman is a micro-sized masterpiece that wears its heart (and its half-eaten brains) on its sleeve.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A marvelous experience for any devoted cinephile.
  4. 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.
  5. Simply put, Samsara tells the story of our world, but onscreen, it is so much more than that.
  6. Uncompromising and uncommercial, divisive and brave, Killing Them Softly bitterly boils at the state of the nation.
  7. An enormously entertaining, crowd-pleasing winner from the director whose comedic edge has never been sharper.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Sister is as bleak and as beautiful as its snowy, mountainous setting.
  10. Wuthering Heights is a model of how to bring a classic novel kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.
  11. Holy Motors keeps kicking into a different gear, much like an eternally waking dream.
  12. 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Charming, witty, beautifully shot and inexplicably captivating.
  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. 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.
  15. A brilliant, towering picture, The Place Beyond The Pines is a cinematic accomplishment of extraordinary grace and insight.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Short Term 12 is a roller coaster of every emotion, managing to be both heartwarming and heartrending at once.
  20. As a documentary and a love story, Cutie and the Boxer is nothing short of breathtaking.
  21. 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.
  22. Hirokazu has crafted a warm and lovely film that suggests the easiest thing about raising a child is embracing how complicated it can be.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Drive works as a great demonstration of how, when there's true talent behind the camera, entertainment and art are not enemies but allies.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. One of the best films of the year.
  29. 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.
  30. Enemy is a transfixing grand slam that certifies Villeneuve as the real deal and one of the most exciting new voices in cinema today.
  31. 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.
  32. It's a state-of-the-nation masterwork, a vitally important piece of work, and should be seen by as many people as possible.
  33. The movie is zippy and funny...and more emotional than the man himself would ever allow himself to be. It’s a triumph.
  34. As far as animated movies go, it doesn't get that much better than Frozen. It's a new Disney classic.
  35. 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.
  36. It’s bold, beautifully told, and surprisingly funny.
  37. This terrific and sublime experience, and strikingly original film, is mandatory watching for the adventurous viewer.
    • 89 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. The film is borderline installation-worthy, and would probably work just as well if the scenes were drastically re-arranged.
  42. 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.
  43. Ruby Sparks hits that sweet emotional spot much in the same way "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" does. While you are at once charmed by the whimsy and romance, there's still a gut punch of emotional rawness just waiting to be delivered.
  44. 'Never Sorry' feels borderline unfinished, as it never draws that line between Ai Weiwei and the generation of successors to his throne that he has inspired. Perhaps it doesn't have to. Perhaps you're already one of them.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It sounds pretty dull as a logline, but stacked with gossipy, informal anecdotes and opinions from many of the most respected directors, cinematographers, editors, execs, VFX artists and digital wizards in the industry, it proves instead to be highly entertaining and informative, and by its close has presented a thoroughly diverting overview of the debate.
  45. Made with a chip on its shoulder and a generational insight that would put most Oscar bait to shame, this completely daft film deserves to be seen by anyone who remotely supports the potential of the horror genre, to frighten, to disgust and to anger.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It deserves to be shown to teenagers, not necessarily as a warning, but at least as an eye-opener: This is how it works, kids. And it ain't pretty.
  46. Extraordinarily suspenseful, extremely well-told and effortless in its complex tonal balance.
  47. Touching and brimming with the energy, enthusiasm and tides of teenage love and life, 'Perks' could very well be the next classic of the genre.
  48. It says something, then, that Burton's best, most enjoyable, and most emotionally resonate film in years is actually an adaptation of one of his very first projects: Frankenweenie.
  49. 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.
  50. It's a meaty film, filled with ideas unobscured by any generic narrative string, a move that shows not only the confidence of the director but his respect of the audience. This is one that'll have people talking.
  51. By the picture's knotty finale, in which Audiard navigates a late-stage twist with ease and emotion, you know you are in the hands of a master who is directing with the confidence and command that few possess.
  52. It may very well be the best action movie of the year.
  53. A vibrant and vital tribute to a piece of recording and rock history that could have been lost to the ether, and Grohl packages the story of this little studio with a detailed celebration of the craft and skill necessary to this kind of recording, all with a killer soundtrack (which should go without saying).
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Blending a surrealist perspective of battle-tinged faith with the harrowing tale of one girl's resilience, the film is a laser-focused fable threatened occasionally by its drifts into character shorthand, but equaled by a wrenching lead performance by Rachel Mwanza that results in one of the finest of the year.
  54. The experience of Leviathan is wholly singular, without context, enveloping and immersive. In some ways, it might very well be the most terrifying picture of the year.
  55. A beautiful, hearfelt and raw piece of work.
  56. Lowery is the real deal and understands filmmaking, and this is abundantly clear in this searing, romantic crime drama and love story.
  57. 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.
  58. The results are a disturbing mixture of paranormal ghost story and psychological unease.
  59. 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.
  60. The film's not merely content with being a twisty psycho-thriller. Boyle and Hodge expertly tweak and tinker with your sympathies, and the characters you initially peg as heroes and villains may not be in the same place by the time things wrap up.
  61. Eden may be unpleasant, but it's not as grim as you'd imagine, and always compulsively watchable. If only all issue movies were this entertaining.
  62. On both a political and a personal level, the film is pessimistic, yes, but it feels truthful, and never lapses into easy cynicism.
  63. A wonderfully eccentric examination of unlikely friendships that illuminates the absurd and lovely corners of life, Prince Avalanche is a deeply enjoyable, wondrous delight.
  64. While the film is hysterical, its real strength lies in the way it is able to deal with an issue like sexism in the industry and work it out in a funny, honest and very real way.
  65. Strickland' command of tone, aided by Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" editor Chris Dickens and, of course, sonic wizards Joakim Sundstrom and Steve Haywood, is masterful, jarring and discombobulating the viewer as Gilderoy's mind unravels.
  66. Despite a lack of access to Manning and Assange, We Steal Secrets is a vital document of a pivotal moment in world history that we’re still experiencing as we speak.
  67. Nancy, Please begins as a deadpan slacker comedy with existentialist undertones, and Will Rogers' Paul is a ball of unsettled twentysomething nerves. It's a subtle shift in Semans' first feature, both in tempo and in Rogers' performance, that we don't realize the film taking on a slightly more diabolical undertone.
  68. With pitch-perfect performances across the board, and boasting crisp photography and editing, the film never ceases to twist, turn and surprise, taking wicked joy in constantly switching us back on ourselves and our expectations of the characters.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    A testament to [Resnais'] positive outlook on not only the possibility of cinema, but the possibilities of life.
  69. It’s easily the most enjoyable animated film so far this year, one that is visually stunning, wickedly subversive, incredibly funny (Day's character is a hoot), and (at times) lump-in-your-throat emotional.
  70. A welcome change of pace and a truly hilarious, heartfelt experience.
  71. For anyone with even a halfway developed sense of justice The Hunt may prove stressful, frustrating, even enraging, but it’s also an unbelievably effective watch, that, if nothing else signals an undeniable return to form for Vinterberg, and yet another blistering performance from Mikkelsen. See it, if only for the debates it will cause afterward.
  72. An illuminating and often hilarious portrayal of the man and his myth, and those who surrounded him.
  73. There’s a youthful energy running through Una Noche that threatens to overwhelm, from it’s sun-kissed first image to its final moments on the sands of the beach.
  74. The picture is often graphic and pulls no punches in its disturbing violence, but its unflinching nature gives it a memorable sear that won't soon be forgotten.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    This revolving door of graphically rendered brutalities might feel like its own punishment if not for an array of astonishing performances that’s practically a one-stop Oscar-nomination shopping spree.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    I Am Breathing is not a documentary intended to induce sobbing. It is, instead, a film about dying that is stunningly alive, wildly optimistic, and always insightful and entertaining.
  75. It might not be the director's most immediately accessible films, but it's among his most fascinating and beguiling.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Benson’s multi-layered, organically paced, delicate and quite often hilarious screenplay holds it all together with wit and brio.
  76. Totally bonkers, hilarious and wickedly clever, The Double is special and singular filmmaking at its best.
  77. Eisenberg does an enormous amount with what he has, proving to be sinister and vulnerable virtually within the same breath, and expertly putting across the torment he’s going through.
  78. The filmmaking here is almost impossibly well-realized, right down to the evocative sound design, adding up to an fairly unforgettable experience.
  79. Avranas makes a claim to be considered among the top ranks of international filmmakers.
  80. Michell’s handling of the relationship between the two is touching in how little judgment he passes.
  81. It's one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable cinematic experiences of the year, even if you couldn't pick a Metallica track out of some hypothetical never-ending playlist.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The most visually arresting drama of 2013, and certainly one of the year’s best films.
  82. That a documentary about economics could be so personally emotional and affecting is remarkable. And to learn from Reich in this film, as his students at Berkeley do, is a treat and a privilege.
  83. Her
    It’s an incredibly melancholy, intimate and yet often hilarious look at relationships and connection that provides a surprisingly great deal of insight into the human condition. It’s both sweet and considered, as well as observant about our fears, masks and growing alienation.
  84. Gloria is an endlessly watchable creation—a wonderful example of an actress melting into a role, and a co-writer/director with almost superhuman levels of sensitivity and empathy for his characters.
  85. Our Day Will Come is the kind of polarizing, in-your-face movie that we too rarely see in cinema these days.
  86. Takes the standard gangster movie template and blasts it out of the water.
  87. LaBute has consistently made intriguing, often idiosyncratic films in his career, but he hasn't made anything this unsettling and unforgettable in a very long time.

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