The Telegraph's Scores

  • Movies
For 649 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 49% 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 Frances Ha
Lowest review score: 0 May I Kill U?
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 649
649 movie reviews
  1. The world of Mad Max has always been welded together from bits of whatever was lying around, and the films’ brilliance has always been in their welding – the ingenious ways in which their scrap-metal parts were combined to create something unthinkable, hilarious or obscene, and often all three.
  2. It’s a weighty technical accomplishment – the extraordinary detailed motion-capture technology alone, which stretches Rylance’s human performance to giant-sized proportions, is river-straddling bounds beyond anything you’ve seen before.
  3. Interstellar is Nolan’s best and most brazenly ambitious film to date.
  4. Despite its well-worn ideas and themes, Gary Ross’s provocative, pulse-surgingly tense adaptation couldn’t feel fresher, or timelier.
  5. In emulating the two-strip Technicolor process, it creates a look that’s scratchy and primitive, but also, through the peculiar alchemy of Maddin’s craft, eerily rich and dreamlike, with the depth of an oceanic abyss.
  6. It’s extremely moving in the gentlest, most linear way, and the other performances are sterling, too.
  7. Joy
    Since Joy is a David O. Russell film, the presence of a) Lawrence and b) bizarre, fizz-popping explosions of catharsis are to be expected. But the ringmaster of The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle seems to have mellowed a little, which means fewer outright belly laughs, but a more layered and involving emotional landscape.
  8. This is a masterpiece of serious cinema; long, slow and grave as the grave.
  9. You could also argue that this almost intentionally exhausting film is too much of a good thing. But there’s amazingly little of it you'd want to live without.
  10. If films were gestures, this one would be a perfectly timed shrug, with the smile to match.
  11. It’s flat-out hilarious – find me a funnier screen stab at Austen, and I’m tempted to offer your money back personally. Gliding through its compact 92 minutes with alert photography and not a single scene wasted, it’s also Stillman on the form of his life.
  12. Kore-eda has crafted a piercing, tender poem about the bittersweet ebb and flow of paternal love, and his status as Ozu's heir becomes ever more assured.
  13. It’s an astonishing achievement. Linklater and his cast, who helped refine the director’s script, perfectly execute how long it takes us to become the lead characters in our own lives, and how fumblingly the role is first assumed.
  14. At the root of that is Civil War’s greatest strength – and the reason it makes all thought of the recent Batman v Superman debacle evaporate on contact. The Russos’ film has an unshakeable faith in these decades-old characters: they’re not wrangled into standing for anything other than who they are, with no gloss or reinterpretation or reach for epic significance required. This is the cinematic superhero showdown you’ve dreamt of since childhood, precisely because that’s everything – and all – it wants to be.
  15. Strickland has made something uniquely sexy and strange, built on two tremendous central performances and a bone-deep understanding of cinema’s magic and mechanisms.
  16. A science-fiction thriller of rare and diamond-hard brilliance.
  17. It’s beautifully organised, and there’s no way you could possibly watch it without learning all kinds of stuff.
  18. Kaufman and Johnson tease out the possible causes and effects of Michael’s crisis with great imagination, tilting your sympathies so subtly as they do so that you don’t even feel it going on.
  19. Justin Kurzel’s blistering, blood-sticky new screen version of Macbeth unseams the famous Shakespearean tragedy open from the nave to the chops, letting its insides spill out across the rock underfoot.
  20. You just have to watch it, then grab a net and try to coax your soul back down from the ceiling.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The terror, panic and small town politics are all brilliantly done but this is also a film about bravery and friendship and the scenes in which the trio bond as they sit out at sea waiting to fight death itself are moving and witty.
  21. At first, watching Pacific Rim feels like rediscovering a favourite childhood cartoon – but del Toro has flooded the project with such affection and artistry that, rather than smiling nostalgically, you find yourself enchanted all over again.
  22. Though it delves into the worst extremes of human ugliness, German’s film is exhilarating, moving, funny, beautiful and unshakeable – a danse macabre that whirls you round and round until the bitter end.
  23. The film is stupendous: as antic as Boogie Nights and Punch-Drunk Love, but with The Master and There Will Be Blood’s uncanny feel for the swell and ebb of history.
  24. Braga has been presented with an uncommonly dense and multi-faceted role here, and she plunges into it with a kind of glossy-maned, leonine majesty, investing the character with a hard-won dignity that often has you stifling a cheer, but also exploring her flaws in gripping fashion.
  25. It radiates a candour, immediacy and tongue-scalding sex appeal that a bigger budget would have only smothered.
  26. The demented brilliance of Miike’s film lies in the director’s ability to craft ideas that are simultaneously sublime and ridiculous.
  27. It’s wonderful.
  28. Hyper-violent it may be but there is beauty in its brutality.
  29. Silk curtains flutter and fall, candles glow, fires crackle softly in the grate. Every scene, every shot, has been composed with total, Kubrickian precision, and calibrated for maximum, breath-quickening impact.
  30. Like Someone in Love, is another miracle at close quarters. Its subject is the impossibility of intimacy in the modern world: chewy stuff, to be sure, but Kiarostami explores it with a depth and delicacy that recalls the Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu.
  31. Every shot of Stray Dogs has been built with utter formal mastery; every sequence exerts an almost telepathic grip.
  32. Where we might have expected a gentle or rueful coda, we get a battle of the sexes as blistering as the best of Tracy/Hepburn, and infinitely more frank.
  33. Despite borrowing cleverly from the best, It Follows still manages to feel like no other example in recent years - tender, remarkably ingenious and scalp-pricklingly scary.
  34. The Hateful Eight is a parlour-room epic, an entire nation in a single room, a film steeped in its own filminess but at the same time vital, riveting and real.
  35. Carol is gorgeous, gently groundbreaking, and might be the saddest thing you’ll ever see. More than hugely accomplished cinema, it’s an exquisite work of American art, rippling with a very specific mid-century melancholy, understanding love as the riskiest but most necessary gamble in anyone’s experience.
  36. As hot and wet as freshly butchered meat: every second, every frame of its three-hour running time is virile with a lifetime’s accumulated genius.
  37. The characters often come across as immature dolts, but the film’s humane enough to recognise that’s all part of being 18.
  38. A shimmering coup de cinema to make your heart burst, your mind swim and your soul roar.
  39. Elicits from McQueen a directing job that's compellingly humble but also majestic, because his radical showmanship is turned to such precise, human purposes.
  40. This is instant A-list Coens; enigmatic, exhilarating, irresistible.
  41. The film comes and goes without commotion, but its magic settles on you as softly and as steadily as dust.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What makes the film so special is that Ford and Tommy Lee Jones (as his chief pursuer, US Marshal Samuel Gerard) are such beautifully matched adversaries.
  42. Glazer’s astonishing film takes you to a place where the everyday becomes suddenly strange, and fear and seduction become one and the same.
  43. The movie is hauntingly romantic at heart, in the best spirit of a Gothic fairytale, but without the harsh shadows or hard edges.
  44. The film’s sweetness and bitterness are held so perfectly in balance, and realised with such sinew-stiffening intensity, that watching it feels like a three-hour sports massage for your heart and soul.
  45. It’s a feat of pure cinematic necromancy.
  46. This story is about whether secrets can be survived, whether the knowing or not knowing is more injurious. Haigh’s very fine, classically modulated film keeps these questions alive until literally its last shot, and lets them jangle their way through you for days afterwards.
  47. It is one of the year’s very best films, a great, rumbling thunderclap of genius.
  48. Mikkelsen, who is not given to sympathetic roles, has never been better. This is cinema that sinks its claws into your back.
  49. It tests our presumptions, makes us squirm.
  50. Beyond the troughful of fun tics, Spall makes Turner tenderly and totally human — the effect of which is to make his artistic talents seem even more extraordinary still.
  51. How Jarmusch takes this match-stick house of nothings and fills it with such calm and wisdom is a mystery with only one real answer: he’s an artist.
  52. It’s a stunningly confident piece of filmmaking, which holds on to vital clues about how much time has elapsed, and what’s happened, then springs them on us. The performances slay you.
  53. So hauntingly perfect is Barnard’s film, and so skin-pricklingly alive does it make you feel to watch it, that at first you can hardly believe the sum of what you have seen.
  54. There’s so much in this seething cauldron of a film, so many film-industry neuroses exposed and horrors nested within horrors, that one viewing is too much, and not nearly enough. Cronenberg has made a film that you want to unsee – and then see and unsee again.
  55. David Oyelowo has never given a better performance. He seems to penetrate into King’s soul and camps out there for two hours. He’s tremendous, of course, when electrifying his congregation at the podium, but a sense of fatigue is even more paramount.
  56. Spectacular, star-powered cinema that makes us ask anew what cinema is for. Call it a "Dark Knight" of the soul.
  57. Emotions and moods are anchored to specific moments of stillness, and we feel them all the more intensely because of it.
  58. From the off, JJ Abrams’s film sets out to shake Star Wars from its slumber, and reconnect the series with its much-pined-for past. That it achieves this both immediately and joyously is perhaps the single greatest relief of the movie-going year.
  59. It is an extraordinary, prolonged popping-candy explosion of pleasure, sadness, anger, lust and hope.
  60. It’s really a radical experiment in non-fiction cinema – not seeking to enlighten or inform, but to disorientate us, practically to drown us, in a nightmare vision of the ocean’s power.
  61. Zemeckis turns the event into a kind of blockbuster Cinéma Pur – an almost avant-garde game of composition, movement and perspective, exhilaratingly attuned to form and space. ("Mad Max": Fury Road did the same.) The camerawork is subtle and meticulous, the 3D head-spinningly well-applied.
  62. This is a humane and heart-wrenchingly beautiful film from Docter; even measured alongside Pixar’s numerous great pictures, it stands out as one of the studio’s very best.
  63. The network of links he builds, and the film’s ever-deepening empathy for those whose search can’t be satisfied, are persuasive enough to banish doubt, leaving you humbled, shocked and moved.
  64. Perry somehow allows his cast enough space in this meticulously authored environment to work creative wonders of their own.
  65. Miller finds grand, America-describing themes in the interactions between these three men: the extraordinary influence of inherited wealth, the hunkered-down ambition of working-class athletes, the equation of material success with honour and moral rectitude.
  66. Wheatley’s extraordinary film shakes you back and forth with a rare ferocity, but the net result is stillness.
  67. However genius may flourish, you know it when you see it, and Whiplash is it.
  68. When the film reaches its logical end point, Refn just keeps pushing, and eventually lands on a sequence so jaw-dropping...that all you can do is howl or cheer.
  69. You emerge from this brutally unsentimental education with your chest pounding and your ears ringing – its radical empathy extends to putting us in not just the same room as its subjects, but the same helpless, despairing position. Some films are made to leave you speechless; for some experiences, there can be no words.
  70. Call it a landlocked variant on Robinson Crusoe, but it’s a hypnotic one, with a sense of mystery and interior life that are all its own.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Pitch Perfect 2 is a joyous harmony of bawdy humour, campus high jinks and crisp musical performances.
  71. Flies buzz, sweat trickles, negotiations continue, and you feel your breath dry up.
  72. There's evident patience and intelligence to the filmmaking all over, as well as an engagement with genuine ideas about diplomacy, deterrence, law and leadership. However often it risks monkey-mad silliness, it's impressively un-stupid.
  73. The fun of it – and Guardians of the Galaxy specialises in fun, served by the sugar-sprinkled ice-cream-scoopload – is in seeing this odd quintet bluster through space battles and alien brawls that would have defeated anyone smarter and better-equipped. Just as the team makes do with the junk they find around them, the film feels like a mound of gems culled from decades of pop-culture scavenging.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s funny and touching, but feels like a missed opportunity.
  74. Grimsby doesn’t ever wound quite as devastatingly as Borat or Brüno, but it’s a vital, lavish, venomously profane two fingers up at Benefits Street pity porn and the social division it fosters. I laughed, winced, gagged, then laughed even more.
  75. Loving is short on grandstanding and hindsight, long on tenderness and honour, and sticks carefully to the historical record. It also features two central performances of serious delicacy and depth.
  76. Egoyan, working from a script by first-time screenwriter Benjamin August, works hard to steer the premise away from crassness – and in Plummer, he’s blessed with a lead actor who can express Zev’s interior struggle with delicacy and dignified understatement.
  77. It makes you wince at the fragility of life while simultaneously welling up at the wonder of it – and that unexpected mixing of the sentimental and the existential left me feeling what can only be described as aww-struck.
  78. You’ve never seen a documentary like The Act of Killing. If you saw too many like it, your hold on sanity might fray, which is not so much the film’s fault as that of its bloodcurdling subject. This movie is essential.
  79. This is in no way the remorselessly grim film its subject matter might lead you to expect – it’s full of life, irony, poetry and bitter unfairness. It demands respect, but it also earns it.
  80. Young women have desires too, and the unsinkable, uninhibited Minnie finds that a little self-belief can make up for a lot of bad decisions.
  81. Abi Morgan's script – better, for my money, than her work on either Shameor The Iron Lady – elegantly straddles two timelines to illuminate a deliberately obscured life
  82. Elle forces you to critically confront every myth it indulges, every cliché it embraces and subverts.
  83. No director working today can carry out this kind of heavyweight emotional excavation with such feather-light flicks of his trowel. That’s Hong’s gift, as counterintuitive as it is unique: he makes molehills out of mountains.
  84. Sophisticated, sharp and funny, Le Week-End achieves an unusual coup: it’s a film about two older characters that is neither deeply gloomy (like, say, Amour) nor twinkly and cheerily upbeat.
  85. Just squeezably lovely.
  86. In lesser hands, Elysium might have played like a Lib Dem manifesto with extra spaceships, but the South African filmmaker wants to explore ideas, not wave placards, and whether or not you agree with the film’s politics, the fire in its belly is catching.
  87. Director Joe (Gremlins) Dante delivers some terrific spine-tingling chills on the way towards a disappointingly overblown climax.
  88. This is a grand success – perhaps a new populist benchmark in what to do with a flagging franchise, and a witty, light-on-its-feet prequel.
  89. It’s the blockbuster of the summer.
  90. A good cop/bad cop action comedy with the funniest two-women-above-the-title pairing in memory.
  91. Goro Miyazaki’s film is about the point at which we decide not what we want to be when we grow up, but who, and the way the tiniest moments in our lives often have the most far-reaching effect.
  92. For all The Falling’s period trimmings, its uncanny power resides in these ellipses and blackouts – in elements that cannot be easily rationalised.
  93. Off-beat and punk-spirited.
  94. Think of The Nice Guys as candy noir: all the key ingredients from mysteries such as Chinatown and The Long Goodbye poured into a tall glass, then topped up with sugar syrup, a spritz of club soda, a sprig of mint and an ironic paper parasol.
  95. Two decades after dinosaurs ruled the Earth’s cinemas, are we still capable of putting our phones away for two hours and being honestly amazed by them, without a glaze of cynicism or irony to keep us stuck? Trevorrow, his cast and crew would clearly like to think so. And in light of their efforts, you’d have to grinningly agree.
  96. Farhadi’s films are like moral whodunits, and as Sepideh and her friends gradually unearth the truth, he expertly buffets our sympathies in all directions until the very last shot.

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