For 93 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 72% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 27% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 14.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Gene Siskel's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 74
Highest review score: 100 Back to the Future
Lowest review score: 0 UHF
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 93
  2. Negative: 13 out of 93
93 movie reviews
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    One of those rare films that communicates the exquisite joy of the moviemaking process. [7 October 1994, Friday, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    This is a sumptuous work, from its unconventional title sequence of a woman dancing hard in the streets to its provocative ending with conflicting quotes from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr .[30 June 1989, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    There is only one problem with the excitement generated by this film. After it is over, you will walk out of the theater and, as I did, curse the tedium of your own life. I kept looking for someone who I could throw up against a wall. [8 November 1971]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    The fans of their best work -- "Blood Simple, "Raising Arizona," "Barton Fink" -- now can add Fargo to the list, pushing the Coens to the first rank of contemporary American filmmakers. [8 March 1996, Friday, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    Sarandon delivers one of her very best performances; her shock at encountering the wrath of the victim's family is registered beautifully. And Sean Penn, who for too long has suffered with the label of being a "bad boy," gives an Oscar-caliber performance.[12 January 1996, Friday, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    More than a great love story. It's both a lighthearted and deeply impassioned inspirational lesson about life. [4 April 1986]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 62 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    A shockingly powerful screed against racism that also manages to be so well performed and directed that it is entertaining as well. [30 October 1998, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    All of the performances are first-rate; Pesci stands out, though, with his seemingly unscripted manner. GoodFellas is easily one of the year's best films. [21 September 1990, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    A joy to behold, a complex film that never loses either its sense of purpose or sense of humor. [7 February 1986, Friday, p.33]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    What "M.A.S.H." did to service comedies, what "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" did to westerns, what "The Long Goodbye" did to detective pictures, The Player does the to Hollywood success story. [24 April 1992]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    Sold as a romance, but actually is one of the funniest pictures to come out in quite some time. [15 Jan 1988]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    Kubrick's contributions are his wit and his eye. The wit, too much at times, is as biting as in "Dr. Strangelove," and the production, while of another order, is as spectacular as in "2001." [11 Feb 1972]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    What is surprising is how well Spielberg captures the horror, moving his camera with the fury of a combat photographer on the run. [17 Dec 1993]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    Filmed in black-and-white and shockingly well acted by De Niro, Raging Bull suggests that if you are looking for the source of evil in the world, you don't have to look any further than yourself. It's inside you or it isn't. And it comes out or it doesn't. [19 Dec 1980]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    What distinguishes The Deer Hunter most is its many rich characters and the size of its vision. This is a big film, dealing with big issues, made on a grand scale. Much of it, including some casting decisions, suggest inspiration by "The Godfather." [9 Mar 1979]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    An adventure film that plays like an old-time 12-part serial that you see all at once, instead of Saturday-to-Saturday. It's a modern "Thief of Baghdad." It's the kind of movie that first got you excited about movies when you were a kid. (Translation for today's children: It's better than anything on TV.) [12 June 1981]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    It balances bloodshed with charm, spectacle with childlike glee. It's a near flawless movie of its kind.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    It's a superb, thoughtful drama that doesn't claim to be a documentary and shouldn't be judged as such. [22 Dec 1995, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    A cornball adventure film about a dashing young explorer mixing with New York cafe society types. What a delightfully complicated fantasy film this is. What Woody Allen has done with The Purple Rose of Cairo is create a classic film about our love affair with fantasy. [28 Jun 1985, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    So what we have in the middle of Back to the Future, this seeming kids' movie full of screeching cars, special effects and lightning storms, is nothing less than an adult reverie. And if families could be persuaded to see this film together, it might touch off a long night of sharing between parents and children. [03 July 1985]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Gene Siskel
    What's so funny about Down and Out In Beverly Hills is not its moral imperative to appreciate life's simple, enduring pleasures. True, we get that message, and we appreciate it, but we already know that motto even if we don't live by it. No, what's funny is director Mazursky's extraordinarily fine eye and ear for capturing the way the wealthy residents of Beverly Hills walk, talk, dress and think.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Griffith gives the fullest performance of her career; Weaver, the most likable, even though she's the villain of the piece. Michael Nichols directs his best film in years. [23 Dec 1988, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    One minute into Saturday Night Fever you know this picture is onto something, that it knows what it's talking about. [15 Oct 1999, Siskel Years, p.6]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    William L. Petersen (''To Live and Die in L.A.”) gives another mesmerizing, seeming nonperformance as the brilliant agent on the trail of a serial killer who has murdered families in the South. [29 Aug 1986]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    A three-hour delight… The movie generates much of its power by being so life-affirming at a time when people feel nervous about the future. [9 Nov 1990, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Huston gives one of her very best performances as a strong lady who can con almost everyone but herself. Her manner on the screen in this picture and in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors'' marks Huston as the one contemporary actress who comes closest to having the power of classic female dramatic stars of years past. [25 Jan 1991]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    One powerful, mesmerizing thriller, a masterful exercise in controlling an audience's attention. [19 September 1986, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    A better film about love delayed than "Sleepless in Seattle." It's funnier, more credible, more bittersweet and the characters are a whole lot brighter. Naturally, it won't be as big a hit. [18 March 1994, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Don't see "Halloween" in an empty theater on a weekday afternoon. See it on a weekend night in a packed house. "Halloween" is a film to be enjoyed with a boisterous crowd; it's an "audience picture," a film designed to get specific reactions from an audience at specific moments. With "Halloween," the most often desired reaction is screaming. It's a beautifully made thriller -- more shocking than bloody -- that will have you screaming with regularity. "Halloween" was directed by John Carpenter, 30, a natural filmmaker and a name worth remembering. [22 Nov 1978]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Star Wars is not a great movie in the sense that it describes the human condition. It simply is a fun picture that will appeal to those who enjoy Buck Rogers-style adventures. What places it a sizable cut about the routine is its spectacular visual effects, the best since Stanley Kubrick's "2001." [27 May 1977]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    A smart, funny and hip adventure film in a summer of car wrecks and explosions. [4 July 1997]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Witness" is both exciting and thoughtful.... And just as important to moviegoers, Witness is a genuinely gripping thriller. [08 Feb 1985]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Dafoe manages to draw us into the mystery, anguish and joy of the holy life. This is anything but another one of those boring biblical costume epics. There is genuine challenge and hope in this movie. [12 Aug 1988, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Mad Dog and Glory was directed by John McNaughton, who wisely lets many scenes run to the point of being uncomfortable, just like his characters are with each other. Everything about this movie seems fresh. [5 Mar 1993, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Natural Born Killers is visually complex and thematically simple. Mixing film and video, black-and-white and color, morphing and animation, Stone breaks visual ground here for a major studio release. [26 Aug 1994, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 56 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Jack Nicholson's impressive, convoluted and moody sequel to Chinatown. [10 Aug 1990]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    JFK
    Does JFK capture the truth? Possibly, in a poetic sense. Is it a compelling film? Most assuredly. [20 Dec 1991]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 48 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    It's a sweet, oft-told story, and Murphy and Hall add a number of very sharp supporting roles-hidden by makeup-to add spice to the general level of gentleness. [1 Jul 1988, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Ron Howard's first-rate dramatic comedy Parenthood, with Steve Martin headlining a first-rate cast in a most clever script about the joy and pain of being both a parent and a child. [4 Aug 1989, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 46 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Where the previous sequels have been mostly dour gun blasts, The Dead Pool is a thriller with wit and humor and tension. [15 Jul 1988, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Greenaway is a unique filmmaker in that he layers images upon one another in a single frame and doesn't require dialogue to make his films arresting. [18 Jul 1997]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    The songs are joyful, and the plant is a foul-mouthed wonder when it begins to talk. Director Frank Oz deserves credit for staging a musical in classic form, creating nothing less than one of the year's most entertaining films. [19 Dec 1986, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    The film's strength is director Jim McBride's seemingly easy way of presenting us with a New Orleans that is more malevolent and intoxicating than the tourist trap that some think it to be.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Gene Siskel
    Ethics aside, the filmmaking by DePalma is stylish and alternates between shocking surprise and hold-your-breath quiet.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    A slightly more light-hearted version of the "Shine" story. [4 December 1998, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 26 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    Not as worthless as you may have heard. [10 Sept 1993]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 40 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    More of a physical achievement in moviemaking than a piece of storytelling, but I do recommend it on that basis. [15 January 1999, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    A refreshing if obvious drama. [9 June 1989, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    For a while, I resented the sexist, cruel behavior in the film, much of it revolving around the hazing of underclassmen. But gradually, I saw the movie turn into a brash expose of stupid adolescent traditions. [24 Sept 1993]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    What this movie is about, and where it succeeds best, is the primordial level of fear. The characters, for the most part, and the non-fish elements in the story, are comparatively weak and not believable. [20 June 1975]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    The movie does command our attention because Hines and Baryshnikov, through their dancing, manage to create very real and living and hurting characters. [22 Nov 1985]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    This film works so well simply because every moment of it is suffused with the joy a new baby brings into the world. Save for a needlessly mean comic shot at an Arab businessman, it couldn't be more appropriate for family viewing. [8 Dec 1995, p.D]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    Far and Away, a mildly old-fashioned romantic melodrama that has as many charming moments as embarrassing ones. Much of the charm is supplied by the earnest performances of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. [22 May 1992]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    What is undeniably good about Rocky V is that our working-class hero returns to the grimy neighborhood from which he sprang. Seeing a more slender, "street" Rocky is a refreshing change of pace from the muscle-bound champ of Parts 3 and 4. [16 Nov 1990, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    Days of Thunder, the latest Tom Cruise movie, which is a flimsy but nonetheless compelling story of a hot-shot amateur race car driver who wants to make it in the big-time world of championship stock car racing. Good writing by Robert Towne and a host of strong supporting performances complement the on-the-track visuals of director Tony Scott in giving us a sense of the leap of faith that is required by drivers at this level. [29 Jun 1990, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 38 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    The film works very well, providing lots of laughs, in its first half, setting up the Bill Murray character and his callousness. For a Christmas Eve special he wants to staple antlers on a mouse. [25 Nov 1988, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    As entertaining as The Goonies finally becomes--and its last hour is mostly one pleasure after another--it's a shame that Spielberg, writer Chris Columbus and director Richard Donner felt the need to take the low road in terms of language. [7 Jun 1985, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    Pump Up the Volume, an exceedingly well-written teenager-full-of-angst melodrama about a high school student who operates a pirate radio broadcast that criticizes parents and teachers while revealing the turmoil of adolescence.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    A classic play has been reduced a decent movie. It's a shame it couldn't be as good as the play; it's a small pleasure that it's as entertaining as it is. [20 Dec 1985]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    Part III has the more adult emotions of the original, and with the presence of Steenburgen it recalls the quality of her other fine time-travel romance, "Time After Time." [25 May 1990, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    Rachael Leigh Cook, as Laney, the plain Jane object of the makeover, is forced to demonstrate the biggest emotional range as a character, and she is equal to the assignment. I look forward to seeing her in her next picture. [29 Jan 1999, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    What no plot summary of Darkman can provide is how much director Raimi ("The Evil Dead") brings to the party. In addition to giving us a conflicted hero - more disturbed than Batman - Raimi fills every action sequence and even routine plot scenes with fresh images that reflect his Darkman's rage. [24 Aug. 1990]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    The film would be funnier and more provocative if it took a stronger stand on one side or the other, but Howard chooses to hedge his bets, selecting an ending that celebrates brotherhood more than the strongly hinted- at notion that American workers would do well to get off their featherbedding backs.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Gene Siskel
    F/X
    F/X turns into a dazzling series of deceptions that border on being so topsy-turvy that one almost becomes frustrated with being fooled. But the script of Robert T. Megginson and Gregory Fleeman managed to stay on the right side of credibility and good humor enough of the time so that some rather obvious plot holes can be forgiven.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 63 Gene Siskel
    Tarantino's debut directing job acknowledges the sloppiness and silences that are typically squeezed out of most crime films, but we get the point early on and the remainder is macho posturing. [23 Oct 1992]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 86 Metascore
    • 63 Gene Siskel
    As much as I admire the work of both (Roman) Polanski and (Jack) Nicholson, I found Chinatown tedious from beginning to just before the end. [15 July 1974]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 57 Metascore
    • 63 Gene Siskel
    Coppola has raised the stakes, promising the definitive version of the vampire story. What he has created, however, is fresh and original yet boring, an exercise more in art direction than storytelling. [13 Nov 1992, p. C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 64 Metascore
    • 63 Gene Siskel
    Silverado is a completely successful physical attempt at reviving the western, but its script would need a complete rewrite for it to become more than just a small step in a full-scale western revival. [10 Jul 1985, p.5]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 44 Metascore
    • 63 Gene Siskel
    The stunt work and special effects are top flight; Schwarzenegger and the kid are just fine, but we can't help but want this film to stop kidding around and thrill us. [18 Jun 1993, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 62 Metascore
    • 63 Gene Siskel
    The story is full of good feelings, but as one sits there it all seems so predictable that you can't help but ask the point of it all. [27 Aug 1993, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 44 Metascore
    • 63 Gene Siskel
    We know exactly where this picture is going at all times. Holding our attention, however, is a cast of fresh talent among the trainees. [03 Jun 1994]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 12 Metascore
    • 63 Gene Siskel
    Tom Cruise does with bartending pretty much what he did with a pool cue in "The Color of Money." In other words, he shows skill at a con game while being less successful with the woman in his life. [29 Jul 1988, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 36 Metascore
    • 63 Gene Siskel
    There's a movie here, and there's a gimmick. The gimmick undermines the movie and the gimmick is attached to the wrong part of the movie. Other than that, Clue offers a few big laughs early on followed by a lot of characters running around on a treadmill to nowhere. [13 Dec 1985, p.38]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Gene Siskel
    That the film doesn't live up to our anticipation of a rolicking good time is only part of its disappointment. [11 June 1986]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 84 Metascore
    • 50 Gene Siskel
    Billed as one of the most frightening, depraved films ever made. Would that it were so. Instead, this is a case of much ado about nothing. [15 February 1991, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 16 Metascore
    • 50 Gene Siskel
    The film's big lap-dance sequence is impressive, however, if only for the sheer athleticism of Elizabeth Berkley's contortion. Later, when she pulls the same stunt in a swimming pool, we recognize the show for what it is--a male fantasy film in which the women are little more than rag dolls. [22 Sept 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Gene Siskel
    John Singleton stumbles badly with a terribly awkward but well-intentioned drama about political correctness and race at a contemporary university. [13 Jan 1995, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Gene Siskel
    Disclosure is pure and simple trash masquerading as significance. [9 Dec 1994, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Gene Siskel
    Yet another disappointing summer sequel, Lethal Weapon 2, with Danny Glover and Mel Gibson reprising their cop-buddy roles in pursuit of South African drug lords. [7 Jul 1989, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Gene Siskel
    Van Damme is compelling only when he takes his clothes off, which he doesn't do often enough here.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 38 Gene Siskel
    What we have here is a much less radical movie than writer Hughes probably believes he has created. Yes, he's given us an individualistic girl, but she swoons like a robot after the first reasonably human WASP or WASC asks her for a date. [2 Feb 1986]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 56 Metascore
    • 38 Gene Siskel
    Falling Down is an intellectually sloppy, rebellious working-man adventure film that is little more than a set piece for Michael Douglas playing out a revenge-of-the-nerds fantasy. [26 Feb 1993, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 23 Metascore
    • 38 Gene Siskel
    This is a generic action picture. What also is missing are scenes in which Nolte and Murphy could relate to each other quietly and with some wit. [8 Jun 1990, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 42 Metascore
    • 38 Gene Siskel
    The Nome King looks like a moveable Mt. St. Helens and he alone is magical. In fact, he blows Dorothy and her tacky-looking friends off the screen. So we end up liking the Nome King and hating Dorothy and her crowd, which I doubt was the intention of the L. Frank Baum series. [21 Jun 1985, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 24 Metascore
    • 38 Gene Siskel
    About halfway through the violent, fantasy adventure Highlander, one character talks about how it was the custom during ancient times to throw babies into a pit of hungry dogs. Well, there were more than a few times during this hyperviolent film in which I felt as if I were a baby being thrown to a dog of a movie.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 38 Gene Siskel
    What a disappointment Weird Science is! A wonderful writer-director has taken a cute idea about two teenage Dr. Frankensteins creating a perfect woman by computer and turned it into a vulgar, mindless, special-effects-cluttered wasteland.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 25 Gene Siskel
    A stupid, stylized road picture. [10 Sept 1993]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 21 Metascore
    • 25 Gene Siskel
    [Chris Elliott]'s spoof of a young seaman's apprenticeship seems desperate as he piles special effects willy-nilly atop jibes at stupid old salts. [14 Jan 1994]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 27 Metascore
    • 25 Gene Siskel
    For years I've criticized Murphy for not working with the best directors or powerful female co-stars. But he does that here, and his movie is still a clunker. Relatives are listed in the credits; maybe he needs to stop trying to completely control the films he makes. Either that or it's time for another stand-up concert film. [27 Oct 1995, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 33 Metascore
    • 25 Gene Siskel
    A sincere but clumsy attempt to capture the pain of a man trying to cope with loss and divorce through the ages. [06 May 1994]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 50 Metascore
    • 25 Gene Siskel
    What an enormous waste of talent and money is Labyrinth. [30 Jun 1986, p.3]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 32 Metascore
    • 0 Gene Siskel
    UHF
    Viewing UHF may be injurious to your sense of humor. Rarely has a comedy tried so hard and failed so often to be funny. [21 Jul 1989, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 47 Metascore
    • 0 Gene Siskel
    Nothing, absolutely nothing, at either location is the slightest bit funny. [13 Sep 1985, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune

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