Washington Post's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 6,537 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 Mr. Nobody
Lowest review score: 0 Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000
Score distribution:
6,537 movie reviews
  1. Van Sant's sensibility is wholly original, wholly fresh. "My Own Private Idaho" adds a new ingredient: a kind of boho sweetness. I loved it.
  2. With the exception of the opening scene -- whose purpose is chiefly comic -- the movie is one, extended climax. Even with flashbacks and other time jumps, it never lets up. You have to go back to Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1952 "The Wages of Fear" to recall suspense this relentless.
  3. Genuine, amusing and, best of all, humanly scaled and humanely oriented.
  4. It's an astonishing movie, with a real-life feel.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Is "The Last Waltz" the greatest rock movie of all time? It makes its case persuasively in a restoration overseen by director Martin Scorsese and producer Robbie Robertson that's been released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the concert it made famous.
  5. An extraordinarily riveting drama.
  6. The best heist flick since "The Usual Suspects," a perfect 10 of a movie.
  7. The list of great moments is virtually endless.
  8. A brilliant film--vivid, haunting, intelligent and in good taste, wonderfully acted, wonderfully written and directed.
  9. It's a celebration of young American women, finding them smarter, tougher, shrewder, more rigorous, more persistent and more honest than any movie in many a moon.
  10. With elegant, clockwork construction, Smith has transplanted his novel of greed, betrayal and getting what you deserve to the screen, where it is told by director Sam Raimi with a spareness befitting the whiteness of its snowed-in setting.
  11. More like a waking nightmare than a docudrama. A true story of murder and justice evidently miscarried, wrapped in the fictional haze of a surrealistic whodunit, it will leave you in a trance for days. [2 Sept 1988]
  12. More than just one of the best movies so far this year, it is a revolution in young-adult entertainment.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Hackman anchors the movie with a performance of remarkable control. You see his hurt in his glances at his shoes, his little phony chuckle; you can feel him carrying his secret -- it's a rage held together with rubber bands. This is the Hackman of "The Conversation," not "The French Connection." [27 Feb 1987, Style, p.c1]
  13. There's no doubt about the film's sheer power and taut originality.
  14. A humanistic gem of a movie, with unforgettable performances from Linney and Ruffalo.
  15. Hopkins and Thompson's downright marvelous duet is supported by a host of deft players, and the detailed re-creation of this small universe is in all ways remarkable.
  16. Superbly conceived anti-biopic.
  17. The Piano is dark, sublime music, and after it's over, you won't be able to get it out of your head.
  18. Not since the 1972 'Cabaret' has there been a movie musical this stirring, intelligent and exciting.
  19. Simple, yet quietly astonishing film.
  20. Has to be one of the must-see films for any student of Hollywood fame and infamy.
  21. Dramatically, this is something of a waking dream.
  22. Seems less like a fictional story than a tour through Freud's forgotten files.
  23. A wonderful, piercing and hilarious examination of high school politics and how bitter and ruinous it can become.
  24. Gripping, whole and nourishing. Certainly of the fantasy film series currently in American theaters -– I include "Harry Potter and the Secret Toity" and "Star Trek: Halitosis" -– The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the best, and not by just a little.
  25. It doesn't matter how many times you see these images. They're always exciting.
  26. Instead of "Masterpiece Theatre"-style fawning, [Scorsese] fills this movie with visual flow, masterful cinematography and assured direction. There's an alert, thinking presence behind the camera.
  27. An instant slapstick classic from Disney and Steven Spielberg. Already, it's a hare's breadth away from legend. [22 June 1988]
  28. A magnificent melodrama that draws both tears and laughter from the everyday give-and-take of seemingly ordinary souls.
  29. A movie for aesthetically hungry moviegoers: wildly amusing, sometimes sardonic and always touching. There's so much here, and all of it delightful.
  30. A beautiful story, told in measured cadences by a master of old-timey narrative compression and expression.
  31. A sophisticatedly sappy masterpiece that bucked the prevailing Hollywood vision of aliens as nasty invaders and recast them as friendly collectibles for children.
  32. The visual comedy is brilliant.
  33. A sequel that eclipses the original. The toys are back with even more hilarious vengeance. The story's twice as inventive as its predecessor.
  34. As quintessential a story of American ambition as Welles' own "Citizen Kane."
  35. Paltrow and Fiennes are so good and the script, referencing not only "Romeo and Juliet" but "Twelfth Night," is so consistently intelligent that seduction is inevitable.
  36. For those who enjoy cinematic visits to other, darker worlds, this blood's for you. Watching Ringers is not unlike watching a critical operation -- unnerving but also enthralling. [23 Sept 1988]
  37. There are so many good things to say about this film it's hard to find a statement that really nails it. Perhaps we can leave at this: Y Tu Mama Tambien is originality writ large.
  38. What gives About Schmidt its ultimate boost, what pushes it into the stirring heavens is Nicholson, who produces the most understated -– and one of the most powerful –- performances of his career.
  39. Hilarious…The joy of Beetlejuice is its completely bizarre -- but perfectly realized -- view of the world, a la Gary Larson's "The Far Side," or "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." [1 Apr 1988]
  40. Fabulously kinetic.
  41. The film's not only funny and weird, it's oddly poignant. I miss Hedwig already.
  42. That rare romantic comedy that dares to choose messiness over closure, prickly independence over fetishized coupledom, and honesty over typical Hollywood endings.
  43. From the performances by Rea, Davidson and Whitaker, to Jordan's endlessly original script, to Anne Dudley's melancholy score, and Lyle Lovett's closing rendition of "Stand by Your Man," The Crying Game enthralls and amazes us. It deserves to be called great.
  44. It's brilliantly acted. But best of all, it's brilliantly made.
  45. A gigantic achievement, an endowment of riches.
  46. A delectably naughty experience. This sort of wit and immediacy is extraordinarily rare in a period film.
  47. A guaranteed pleasure for anyone who ever loved pop music, owned a record collection or suffered in love
  48. If you don't fall in love with it, you've probably never fallen in love with a movie, and never will.
  49. The movie fixes you in its gravitational pull. It's an enveloping, walk-in vision... As rich and satisfying a movie as you're likely to see all year.
  50. A tour de force so haunting that other films can't exorcise the memory of its radiant cast, exquisite craftsmanship or complex system of metaphors. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a movie.
  51. It's a great pleasure that -- we get to ponder one of the most involving psychological mysteries in recent memory.
  52. An extraordinary film ... that's impossible to dismiss or leave unmoved.
  53. One of the smartest, most inventive movies in memory, it manages to be as endearing as it is provocative.
  54. A great American picture, full of incredible images and lasting moments.
  55. Jarecki has created a tour de force of narrative ambiguity, and in doing so has made one of the most honest reality shows ever.
  56. The film, which begins with a single, gorgeously sustained eight-minute camera move, is blissfully out of touch with contemporary trends in moviemaking...surprising, both in style and narrative.
  57. The narrative is lean, the supporting performances are solid, and, perhaps most crucially, the emotional tone of the piece is spot-on.
  58. Brilliant and brutal, funny and exhilarating, jaw-droppingly cruel and disarmingly sweet...To watch this movie (whose 2 1/2 hours speed by unnoticed) is to experience a near-assault of creativity.
  59. With its spectacular scenery, stupefying effects and epic scope, is a dream come true.
  60. One of the most startling, grittily brilliant films in recent years.
  61. Something to treasure: a thriller whose style, structure and rhythms are so integrated with the story, you cannot separate them.
  62. Grand enough in scale to carry its many Biblical and mythological references, Blade Runner never feels heavy or pretentious -- only more and more engrossing with each viewing. It helps, too, that it works as pure entertainment.
  63. The most eloquent and exacting vision of the war to date... Inspired with technique rather than overblown with it, Kubrick, the filmmaker's filmmaker, lays one on you.
  64. A movie that appeals to the eye, mind, heart and funny bone; that's a pretty good quadruple for any movie.
  65. Searing, heartbreaking, so intense it turns your body into a single tube of clenched muscle, this is simply the greatest war movie ever made, and one of the great American movies.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What the bright minds of Walt Disney have produced here is a must-see movie. Must-see, must-talk-about, must-plan-to-see-again.
  66. Through this miasma of pain and suffering, love may not flicker more strongly than a dim lamp. But it's the only beacon to consider. Can Barry find his? Thanks to Anderson's assured picture, a symphony of cinematic textures, that disarmingly simple question becomes incredibly compelling.
  67. May not be the first movie to examine the creative process. But it's the most playfully brilliant.
  68. With its deft intercutting of place and time, the film creates a powerful sense of mysticism and fate.
  69. Doesn't need the passage of time to become a classic. It's one already.
  70. The great joy of watching a Pixar production is how it rewards not only younger viewers but their older companions as well.
  71. One of the best performances -- and movies -- of the year so far.
  72. Hypnotically absorbing film.
  73. An exuberant, raucous and thoroughly endearing comedy
  74. Eastwood's elegantly directed Mystic River, a deeply textured drama in which the sins (or perceived sins) of the past weigh heavily on the present.
  75. Delivered with such high panache and brio, it's mesmerizing.
  76. The results are as riveting as any action movie ever made.
  77. Isn't just a fabulous seagoing spectacle. It's one for the ages.
  78. An extraordinary and brilliant (and almost wordless) film that takes us above ground and below it, up in the air and deep below water, to follow its conundrum of a story.
  79. This movie is not only a thrilling experience, it closes the book on a truly satisfying trilogy.
  80. It's funny, it's heartbreaking, it's scary, it's exhilarating. It's got love stuff and lots of laughs and cool gunfights. It's really long and it feels like it's over in 15 minutes. It does something so few movies do these days: It satisfies.
  81. It is sheer brilliance and testament to the vitality of an old master.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The aerial dogfight Dykstra and Stears have helped Lucas perfect as his climactic piece de resistance looks more exciting than its antecedents in live-action war movies. It’s the most gorgeous stylized combat sequence since the underwater battle at the end of "Thunderball," a project that won an Oscar for Stears.
  82. You emerge from this experience rather like a returning U-boat crewman -- drained, blinking in the light, but oddly triumphant. [Director's cut]
  83. Misanthropic, cruel, hostile, corrupt, blasphemous and basically pretty evil. I loved it.
  84. If you want to sample the sheer bouquet of great acting, you could get drunk on this movie.
  85. It's a comic book at heart, albeit a thoroughly, grandly romantic one in the end.
  86. This is an absolutely brilliant film but in a quiet way.
  87. A terrific piece of filmmaking. It's taut, believable as it unspools. It's charismatic, with a slow buildup of tension in near-real time that finally explodes into a blast of violence.
  88. Sure, the animation work is great, but it's the actors and their subtle, complex vocal performances that make us care about these fairy-tale characters. Shrek 2 is all about fantasy, but its characters are rousingly, affectingly real -- not to mention real, real funny.
  89. Manchurian, with its fatalistic, dreamlike quality, comprises two of [Frankenheimer's] finest hours. [Re-release]
  90. An exhilarating, often mind-blowing history of surfing.
  91. A story that rips fleshy holes through your heart.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Most of Festival Express resonates with the power and passion, even the innocence, of the era.
  92. Watching this masterwork allows you to return to the filmmaking sensibility of the 1960s, when epics looked like epics.
  93. Few movies have evoked the happiness of a good, strong family as genuinely as this one. And this affecting atmosphere makes the eventual outcome resonate with great power.
  94. Wickedly funny and devilishly subversive. It is satire at its most fearless.
  95. Moolaade, in short, is a movie to rock the soul.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There's not a false note here, and the entire supporting cast -- is uniformly excellent.
  96. To watch Bad Education is to revel, along with Almodovar, in the power of cinema to take us on journeys of breathtaking mystery and dimension and beauty.
  97. Its themes of passion, heartbreak and the inexorable passage of time are eternal.
  98. The sheer joy of letting go as a tale overwhelms your senses and drives the known world away -- that's the story.
  99. It's easily the best and brightest family-friendly movie of the year.
  100. Exquisitely textured film.
  101. Maintains its artistic magnificence after more than 30 years.
  102. In some ways Soderbergh does a much better job than Tarantino. He handles the time shifts more adroitly, always keeping us on track; he goes easy on the violence, and when he does unleash it, it's short, fast and ugly.
  103. It's a terrific movie.
  104. Kidman grabs center stage and never relinquishes the position. Playing mercilessly against her pinup girl image, she's an unforgettable, comic archetype—a more slapsticky corollary to William Hurt's bumbling, handsome newscaster in "Broadcast News."
  105. It hasn't aged so much as triumphantly metastasized. (Review twenty years after release).
  106. [The children's] remarkable lack of self-consciousness ... and Kore-eda's quasi-documentary style give this movie a stunning credibility.
  107. It's a soaring achievement, without ever leaving the ground.
  108. Two hours and six minutes has never seemed so much like two and six-tenths seconds. It's pure pulp metafiction.
  109. A movie with the visual expanse of a John Ford western and the ensemble grandeur and long takes of a Robert Altman picture. The movie is definitely Chinese in content, but it exudes American style and spirit.
  110. It's the best sports documentary since "Hoop Dreams," a great piece of work."
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It would be difficult to identify a single frame in Saraband that is not a distinguished composition in itself; Bergman has the eye of a latter-day Vermeer.
  111. Wings is a soaring vision that appeals to the senses and the spirit. (Review of Original Release)
  112. A small masterpiece of a documentary that takes us into the heart of a complex darkness.
  113. The genius of the film, besides Hoffman's stunning performance, is that it knows exactly how much is enough. It never overplays, lingers or punches up.
  114. Even if it weren't in pristine shape for its current re-release, it would still qualify as one of only a handful of films made in the past 30 years that truly deserve to be called great. (Review of 1994 Release)
  115. Jackson's big monkey picture show is certainly the best popular entertainment of the year. The film is a wondrous blend of then and now: It honors its mythic predecessor of 1933 while using sophisticated movie technology to seamlessly manipulate the fantastic.
  116. This is an example of a writer and director working in perfect harness, with Reed smoothly ratcheting up the story's suspense and Greene speculating on his cardinal theme of moral ambiguity. They don't make movies like The Fallen Idol anymore, all the more reason to see it now while you can.
  117. A riotous, rapturous explosion of sound and color, Black Orpheus is less about Orpheus's doomed love for Eurydice than about Camus's love for cinema at its most gestural and kinetic.
  118. It's a strange enough film, yet weirdly great. No movie has quite gotten the clammy weight of fear, the sense of hopelessness that would necessarily haunt underground workers. To see it is to sweat through your underclothes. It'll melt the pep out of your weekend.
  119. Coppola brilliantly conjures the young queen's insular world, in which she was both isolated and claustrophobically scrutinized.
  120. Stands with the best movies of this young century and the old one that preceded it: It's passionate, honest, unflinching, gripping, and it pays respects. The flag raising on Iwo might have indeed become a pseudo-event as it was processed for goals, but there was nothing pseudo about the courage of the men who did it.
  121. The result is a perfect combination of slapstick and satire, a Platonic ideal of high-and lowbrow that manages to appeal to our basest common denominators while brilliantly skewering racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and that peculiarly American affliction: we're-number-one-ism.
  122. To watch "Lives" is not just to enjoy a fabulously constructed timepiece; it's to appreciate a deft cautionary tale.
  123. Working with his longtime cinematographer Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki, Cuaron creates the most deeply imagined and fully realized world to be seen on screen this year, not to mention bravura sequences that bring to mind names like Orson Welles and Stanley Kubrick.
  124. With this film, del Toro seems to have created his manifesto, a tour de force of cautionary zeal, humanism and magic. At this writing, Pan's Labyrinth is the best-reviewed film of 2006 listed on the movie review Web site Metacritic.com, and for a reason: It's just that great.
  125. See Killer of Sheep, and see it again and again. It's one of those truly rare movies that just get better and better.
  126. Rarely has love at any age been depicted so honestly on screen. For such a fully realized portrait to be created by a 28-year-old first-time director is even more remarkable.
  127. As viscerally compelling as smash-mouth filmmaking gets.
  128. Its mixture of wisdom and whimsy -- exemplified by the movie's unnamed and occasionally cheeky narrator -- makes this Australian movie feel as timeless as it is timely. And instead of feeling dutifully cultural as we immerse ourselves in this story, we're genuinely intrigued, touched and even amused.
  129. Tequila Sunrise succeeds in both its larger strokes and its smaller ones-as both a romance and a thriller. It has a sense of comedy audacious enough to stage a bust that is delayed by a seduction and the sophistication to know that, for some people, to be called "slick" is the cruelest of insults. Tequila Sunrise has a deep-down glamor that borrows not from movies, but from life. It's knowing, but the last thing you'd call it is slick. [2 Dec 1988, p.b1]
  130. The genius is in the writing and in keeping all gambits created by the individual writers in sync, so the piece has a tonal consistency and a narrative flow. A lost art in Hollywood? It's really one of the best movies of the year.
  131. In addition to being a study in great acting, this is a study in great directing.
  132. Thanks to Bauby's courageous and honest writing, and Schnabel's poetic interpretation, what could have been a portrait of impotence and suffering becomes a lively exploration of consciousness and a soaring ode to liberation.
  133. Nothing comes easily in Atonement, especially its ending, which, both happy and tragic, is as wrenching as it is genuinely satisfying. How fitting, somehow, that a novel so devoted to the precision and passionate love of language be captured in a film that is simply too exquisite for words.
  134. A searing, apocalyptic and finally breathtaking drama.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Admirers of Stephen Sondheim who have wondered whether a riveting movie would ever be made from one of his stage musicals can put aside their doubts and worries: Tim Burton has finally accomplished it in his ravishing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
  135. Morgen plunges viewers completely into the anarchic, exhilarating, finally ambiguous world of 1968 America; his final stroke of genius is his choice of music, which includes a breathtaking use of Eminem's "Mosh."
  136. Because it's one of the most beautiful films ever. Because it's a work of art on the order of a poem by Yeats or a painting by Rothko.
  137. Oropelled by memorable performances by mostly unknown actors. The most famous of the ensemble, Hanna Schygulla, delivers a by turns serene and shattering performance as a mother struggling with loss, conscience and the first glimmers of unexpected connection. She's only one essential and unforgettable part of a flawless whole.
  138. The idea that a company in the business of mainstream entertainment would make something as creative, substantial and cautionary as WALL-E has to raise your hopes for humanity.
  139. A celebration -- of love, commitment and devotion until the bitter end. Gay and straight viewers alike are sure to be inspired by this lyrical testament to a corollary of Tolstoy's famous dictum: Every unhappy family might be unhappy in its own way, but every genuinely happy family is a triumph.
  140. Thanks to Marsh's sensitive storytelling, Man on Wire manages to put Petit's performance into another, more ineffable realm: What began as a caper turned into poetry, and poetry became a prayer.
  141. Won't break your heart -- it will make it soar.
  142. In the basest of terms, a horror flick. But it's also a spectacularly moving and elegant movie, and to dismiss it into genre-hood, to mentally stuff it into the horror pigeonhole, is to overlook a remarkable film.
  143. What makes Milk extraordinary isn't just that it's a nuanced, stirring portrait of one of the 20th century's most pivotal figures, but that it's also a nuanced, stirring portrait of the thousands of people he energized.
  144. McQueen has taken the raw materials of filmmaking and committed an act of great art.
  145. The Class is not just the best film released thus far this year. It may be the most gripping.
  146. A thinking person's horror movie, about real horror and horrifying echoes: The parallels between the Holocaust and the massacres are pronounced.
  147. 2012 takes the disaster movie -- once content simply to threaten the Earth with a comet, or blow up the White House -- to its natural conclusion, the literal end of the world.
  148. Up
    The result is a soaring, touching, funny and altogether buoyant movie that lives up to its title in spirit and in form.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This vibrantly disorienting cinematic import reinvents the vocabulary of the crime drama with a painterly eye and a feverish documentary style.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An elegant, heartbreaking fable, equal parts Shakespearean tragedy, neo-Western and mob movie but without the pretension of those genres.
  149. Goodbye Solo is visually simple and stunning, especially the haunting nightscapes of Solo's perambulations. But more important, Goodbye Solo is driven by deep feeling and sensitivity. Don't miss it.
  150. A film of rare intelligence, beauty and compassion.
  151. A sci-fi-fueled indictment of man's inhumanity to man -- and the non-human -- District 9 is all horribly familiar, and transfixing.
  152. When viewers are ultimately released from The Hurt Locker's exhilarating vice grip, they'll find themselves shaken, energized and, more than likely, eager to see it again.
  153. In elaborating on the original book so boldly, and repopulating it so richly, Jonze has protected Where the Wild Things Are as an inviolable literary work. In preserving its darkest spirit, he's created a potent, fully realized variation on its most highly charged themes.
  154. As in the best horror movies, Drag Me to Hell keeps the audience on the edge of hysteria throughout, so that every thump sets the heart racing and every joke earns a slightly out-of-control laugh.
  155. For filmgoers determined to see cinema not just as mass entertainment but as an art form, The Beaches of Agnes arrives like an exhilarating call to arms.
  156. Qualifies as the most painful, poetic and improbably beautiful film of the year.
  157. The Princess and the Frog invite viewers to see the world as a lively, mixed-up, even confounding place, to recognize essential parts of ourselves in what we see, and to say: This is what we look like.
  158. A smart, alert, supremely entertaining movie.
  159. It's more than a detailed account of one man's petty vindictiveness in a bygone era. It's about how our hatred can consume us so deeply that we lose sight of everything.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As played by the captivating Mariana Loyola, Lucy is a life force, cut from similar cloth as the perky schoolteacher of Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky": unsinkable, unswervable and more than a little irreverent.
  160. As disturbing and densely beautiful as its opening image, a lofty forest that dwarfs the gangsters as they laugh over their kill.
  161. This engrossing mystery-comedy peeks through the keyholes of the rich and infamous in a manner both droll and delicious.
  162. Merchant and Ivory have regathered many of the cast and crew from their earlier films to work on this reproduction to exquisite effect.
  163. Enormously entertaining and surprisingly touching.
  164. Like the eloquent, darkly funny dialogue, the film's characters, setting and cadences draw us into its world, with all its terrors and tenderness. What emerges is a masterpiece of Southern storytelling that draws a sharp line between good and evil.
  165. It is a wacky, happy, daring, darkly comic tale of parenting outside the law. It celebrates the middle-of-the-road dreams of decidedly off-center folks. It's a bundle of joy.
  166. Delicious with foreboding, a masterly suspense thriller that toys with our anticipation like a well-fed cat.
  167. What "Raising Arizona" was to baby lust, "Barton Fink" is to writer's block -- a rapturously funny, strangely bittersweet, moderately horrifying and, yes, truly apt description of the condition and its symptoms.
  168. A great big beautiful valentine of a movie, an intoxicating romantic comedy set beneath the biggest, brightest Christmas moon you ever saw. It's a monster moon, a Moby Dick of a moon, whose radiance fills the winter sky and every cranny of this joyous love story.
  169. The Little Shop of Horrors is a thoroughly original adaptation, if that's possible. With its toe-tapping cadences, its class cast and its king-sized cabbage, it's destined to become a classic of camp comedy. It's vege-magic.
  170. This installment has achieved a nearly impossible hat trick. It's a movie that is exegetically correct enough to appease the most hard-core buffs, while opening up the final frontier to a whole new generation of fans who have yet to appreciate Star Trek's ineffable combination of sci-fi action, campy humor and yin-yang philosophical tussle between logic and emotion.
  171. The Social Network has understandably been compared to "Citizen Kane" in its depiction of a man who changes society through bending an emergent technology to his will.
  172. This is the rare American film really about something, and almost all the performances are riveting.
  173. In spirit, and sheer joie de vivre, it's everything the movie business should aspire to. Win Win exemplifies movies the way they oughtta be.
  174. A mesmerizing cinematic journey that is often as arduous and spare as the lives of its hard-bitten protagonists.
  175. It knocks you off your feet and leaves you shaken.
  176. You know you're in the hands of a superbly gifted filmmaker when he can pull off a talking dog.
  177. Low-key, sleek and sophisticated, Drive provides the visceral pleasures of pulp without sacrificing art. It's cool and smart. Some critics might even call it European.
  178. Like a cold beer under a bluebird sky; like a flawless line drive on a warm summer's day; like a long, languorous seventh-inning stretch - Moneyball satisfies.
  179. Taut, unsettling, haunting and powerful.
  180. A pitch-perfect movie that threads a microscopically tiny needle between high comedy and devastating drama.
  181. Le Havre is a playful parable that conveys profound truths about compassion, humility and sacrifice. It offers proof that miracles do happen - especially in Kaurismaki's lyrically hardscrabble neighborhood.
  182. This invigoratingly fresh, optimistic film - which features the breathtaking debuts of director Dee Rees and leading lady Adepero Oduye - plunges the audience into a world that's both tough and tender, vivid and grim, drenched in poetry and music and pain and discovery.
  183. Leery filmgoers can exhale: The Kid With a Bike may hew faithfully to the Dardennes' house style of spare, lucid storytelling. But without giving anything away, let's just say that with this simple, deeply affecting tale, they never set out to break your heart.
  184. Ambitious, affecting, unwieldy and haunting, it's an eccentric, densely atmospheric, morally hyper-aware masterpiece that refuses to follow the strictures of conventional cinematic structure, instead leading the audience on a circuitous journey down the myriad rabbit holes that comprise modern-day Manhattan.
  185. Monsieur Lazhar resembles a clear, clean glass of water: transparent, utterly devoid of gratuitous flavorings or frou-frou, and all the more bracing and essential for it.
  186. The vignettes are linked as much by theme as story, yet they're carefully structured and delicately balanced.
  187. The Queen of Versailles turns out to be a portrait -- appalling, absorbing and improbably affecting -- of how, even within a system seemingly designed to ensure that the rich get richer, sometimes the rich get poorer.
  188. Instead of a grand tableau vivant that lays out the great man and his great deeds like so many too-perfect pieces of waxed fruit, Spielberg brings the leader and viewers down to ground level.
  189. An electrifying, confounding, what-the-hell-just-happened exercise in unbounded imagination, unapologetic theatricality, bravura acting and head-over-heels movie-love.
  190. Sean Penn makes a striking screen presence in This Must Be the Place, a smart, funny and original road movie by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino ("Il Divo").
  191. While Wright's self-conscious theatricality and dollhouse aesthetic conjure comparisons to Baz Luhrmann and Wes Anderson, he outstrips both those filmmakers in moral seriousness and maturity.
  192. With grace, discretion and supreme tact, Nicks sweeps viewers to a climactic montage that wordlessly honors the best ways we care for one another. The Waiting Room bears poetic witness to an overlooked fact: America's health care system may be broken, but its people are anything but.
  193. Turns out to be one of the most transportingly romantic movies of the year, one that finds the most stirring emotion in struggle rather than in ginned-up melodrama or easy resolution.
  194. By and large, Zero Dark Thirty dispenses with sentimentality and speculation, portraying the final mission not with triumphalist zeal or rank emotionalism but with a reserved, even mournful sense of ambivalence.
  195. Amour is a must-see film that not everyone must see, at least right now.
  196. With its ingenious structure, seamless visual conceits and mordant humor, Stories We Tell is a masterful film on technical and aesthetic values alone. But because of the wisdom and compassion of its maker, it rises to another level entirely.
  197. The writing is so musical, so attuned to human frailty and aspiration, that I defy anyone to watch the movie without smiling — with amusement one minute, rueful recognition the next, but probably always with some measure of simple, undiluted delight.
  198. Leigh has fashioned a limber style of political commentary that is part documentary, part cartoon and wholly novel in the movies.
  199. Leigh hasn't the affect of a poet, but he's a poet nonetheless. This movie captures the smallish details in life that perhaps you've felt before, but have never before seen on screen. He has a genius for the commonplace. It is truly sweet stuff.
  200. Vincent & Theo is more than art appreciation, it is a treasure in its own right, unframed and arcing in the projector's light.
  201. What makes it a must see is its timelessness.
  202. The Act of Killing is a must-see.
  203. Museum Hours is every bit as masterfully conceived and executed as the art works that serve as the film’s lively cast of supporting characters.
  204. Feisty, funny, fizzy and deeply wise, Enough Said sparkles within and without, just like the rare gem that it is.
  205. Thanks to Cuarón’s prodigious gifts, Gravity succeeds simultaneously as a simple classic shipwreck narrative (albeit at zero-gravity), and as an utterly breathtaking restoration of size and occasion to the movies themselves.
  206. Captain Phillips is such an impressive dramatic achievement that it comes as a shock when it gets even better, during a devastating final scene in which Hanks single-handedly dismantles Hollywood notions of macho heroism in one shattering, virtually wordless sequence.
  207. Intense, unflinching, bold in its simplicity and radical in its use of image, sound and staging, 12 Years a Slave in many ways is the defining epic so many have longed for to examine — if not cauterize — America’s primal wound.
  208. Chandor’s attention to detail, and the expressiveness and utter believability with which Redford goes about the anything-but-mundane business of surviving, make All Is Lost a technically dazzling, emotionally absorbing, often unexpectedly beautiful experience.
  209. Hours, even days later, they may find themselves thinking of Adèle and wondering how she’s doing — only then realizing how completely this fictional but very real creation has winnowed her way into their hearts and minds. That’s great acting. It’s great art. And that’s why Blue Is the Warmest Color is a great movie.
  210. Van Dormael has crafted a saga that, even at two-plus hours, is endlessly, enormously watchable.
  211. Vallée, working with a lean, lively script by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, neatly avoids excess, letting Woodroof’s terrific yarn stand on its own and getting out of the way of his extraordinary actors, who channel the story without condescension or manipulative cheats.
  212. Directed with rigor and sensitivity by Jason Osder, this is the kind of nonfiction film that proves how powerful simple storytelling and a compelling through line can be.
  213. Only someone with intimate knowledge of the Midwest’s singular cadences, social codes and confounding emotional stew (er, covered hot dish) of aggression and politesse could pull off something as masterful, meaningful and poetic as Nebraska.
  214. This soulful, unabashedly lyrical film is best enjoyed by sinking into it like a sweet, sad dream. When you wake up, a mythical place and time will have disappeared forever. But you’ll know that attention — briefly, beautifully — has been paid.
  215. Her
    What’s surprising is that Jonze has taken what could easily have been a glib screwball comedy and infused it instead with wry, observant tenderness and deep feeling.
  216. Many thematic ingredients come together in Farhadi’s rich stew of a story: jealousy, resentment, betrayal, forgiveness, healing. The filmmaker stirs them, with the touch of a master, into a dish that both stimulates and nourishes.
  217. In this vibrant, lyrical, graphic, sobering and finally soaring testament to aesthetic and political expression, Noujaim consistently provides light where once there was heat.
  218. For those willing to join Reggio in his extended meditation, Visitors offers a sublime, even spiritual experience, as well as a bracing reminder of cinema’s power to create a transformative occasion.
  219. Its charms, and they are both subtle and many, emanate like perfume.
  220. As haunting as it is haunted, The Missing Picture leaves viewers’ heads rattling with ghosts.
  221. Joe
    Nicolas Cage delivers what may his best, most nuanced performance yet in the gritty, hypnotic and deeply moving Joe.
  222. Locke is so distilled, such a pure example of cinematic storytelling, that it almost feels abstract.
  223. Hoop Dreams is the most powerful movie about sports ever made.
  224. It’s a richly engrossing drama, so long as you understand that it’s aiming for the head, not the gut.
  225. As a film that dares to honor small moments and the life they add up to, Boyhood isn’t just a masterpiece. It’s a miracle.
  226. Although the cast is uniformly fine, Hoffman shines in a role that demands not showmanship, but a kind of complexity and contradiction that can be rendered only through the kind of dull character details that he excelled in, accumulating them from the inside out.
  227. In this good-natured film, even the smallest efforts at kindness yield positive results.
  228. It's hard to remember a recent love story -- maybe "Moonstruck" -- that's as involving as this one. This is not to suggest that the two movies are in the same league, but this is a teen movie that transcends its teen limitations.
  229. All about undertones, obliqueness and expectancy, about the scent, if you will, of something no one can stop
  230. Barry Sonnenfeld's irresistibly charming lampoon of Hollywood.
  231. So unassuming and pure of heart, you can't help but warmly extend your arms and yell "Safe!"
  232. The director isn't much on orgies; he's all talk. But that's good, not bad, because his talk is so brilliant. Stillman is the Balzac of the ironic class, the Dickens of people with too much inner life.
  233. It's funny and human and really pretty damned wonderful, all at once.
  234. With a cast of actors playing some of England's smartest people and with a crackling script by Stoppard -- no slouch in the brains department -- it pays to stay awake.
  235. The movie's stroke of sheer genius is its wondrous ending.
  236. The scenes unfold with such unhurried delicacy, and the characters are so intriguing, you can ignore the editorial bluntness and savor the smaller, sweeter details.
  237. Holofcener is honest enough to present human foibles, not just as weaknesses but as unexpected sources of humor and strength.
  238. A 160 minute work of sustained brilliance and delicacy.
  239. Childishly simple, but extremely funny.
  240. Not just a fitting document of a life brilliantly lived but a vibrant, almost palpitating piece of cinema.
  241. I love the unsettling details.
  242. Wise, funny, sweet, sexy and kind.
  243. Has a refreshingly keen ability to see everything from multiple angles.
  244. The sexiest movie of the year.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There are some things the French do better than we do, and this small movie is one.
  245. So elegantly layered and emotionally restrained, it makes the horror at its center all the more disturbing.
  246. Brilliantly played by Denzel Washington
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Anyone interested in serious film should absolutely not miss it.
  247. Profane, sacrilegious, pornographic, sadistic and Sade-istic, titillating and the most honorable movie of the year.

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