Austin Chronicle's Scores

For 6,239 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 38% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 60% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 8.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Dunkirk
Lowest review score: 0 Congo
Score distribution:
6239 movie reviews
  1. Synecdoche is the kind of movie that rewards repeated viewings. But sometimes, as Van Morrison sings, it's just best to "sail into the mystic."
  2. Such gorgeous explosions, such a terrible vision, such an amazing work of art. Go. Now.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Thing is paranoid, bleak, uncompromising, and thankfully devoid of a traditional Hollywood happy ending. Led by Russell, the ensemble cast is outstanding, but the real star of the film is Rob Bottin's imaginative creature effects.
  3. Even though we're aware of the tragic trajectory of the singer's life, for a while it almost seems as if reality got it wrong and Curtis might just squeak past the reaper's scythe with no more than a shave and a haircut.
  4. A riot of sight and sound that, however baffling, has an irresistible, elemental pull.
  5. There isn’t one false move in Tomàs Aragay and Cesc Gay’s beautifully modulated screenplay. Es perfecto.
  6. Not only is it a film about a poet, Paterson transcends its story to become a work of poetry itself.
  7. It's the most compelling American movie to come around in a long, long time.
  8. Winter's Bone never hits a false note.
  9. Harrowing and important documentary.
  10. Repulsion's depiction of a young woman's dissolution into madness is one of the most harrowing mental descents ever depicted onscreen. (Reviewed 11/24/97)
  11. This modern cult classic is a triumphantly dark comedy directed by one of the film world's truly original visionaries, Terry Gilliam. "Imagination" is this futuristic film’s middle name.
  12. A movie that amply delivers on the epic promise of its title, entertaining, enlightening, and emboldening viewers with its deceptively simple premise and execution.
  13. I can think of no other movie that has dared to analyze grief and its aftermath with such naked honesty and precision.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the most intelligent crime-thrillers to come along in years.
  14. Taylor, Burton, and Harrison are sublime in this sweeping epic of love and nations.
  15. It’s a movie made of moments, the antithesis of "plot-driven," but the sum of these moments is magnificent, the culmination of so many elements: acting, scripting, score (by locals Michael Linnen and David Wingo), and cinematography.
  16. It’s almost criminal to have to stay in your seat when the contact high of La La Land is goosing you to grand jeté in the aisle. The heart, at least, is at liberty to swell to bursting.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Minnelli and Grey sparkle, and the Fosse flash is everywhere in evidence.
  17. More lethal than a nuclear waste dump, Kubrick's komedy at least kills us with laughter... It's one of the greatest - and undoubtably the most hilarious - antiwar statements ever put to film.
  18. Ran
    One of the 10 best films ever made, period.
  19. Teen tales don’t get much better than this.
  20. One of the cinema’s very best car-chase sequences – set amid the hilly, windy San Francisco streets – caps this quintessential Steve McQueen policier.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The film's triumphantly perverse climax, in fact, is just that: a three-tiered split-screen of three couples shagging that resembles nothing so much as a national flag and is set to a rendition of "My Girl" sung by a black trio dressed as colonial soldiers. When it hits such giddily subversive high notes, Sammy and Rosie ... transcends provocation and bursts into ecstatic revelation.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    So thick and rich you'll be tempted to eat it with a fork - but use a spoon to get every drop.
  21. Just about as great as a movie's ever gonna be... As for the storytellng, The Godfather is an intricately constructed gem that simultaneously kicks ass.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Some movies are like Dorothy's twister; they just pick you up and whisk you away from the commonplace world you know to a world wondrous and astonishing. Days of Heaven is such a movie. [27 July 1998]
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An exquisitely crafted box of nightmares, and once you realize that the lid has already closed with you inside, it will leave splinters under your skin.
  22. Its simplicity belies an emotional complexity that will linger in your mind like a gentle dream.
  23. An additional treat is seeing Hollywood good guy Henry Fonda playing one of the nastiest curs in the West. Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the great films in cinema history. (8/30/2000 Review)
  24. One of the all-time great action movies, The Great Escape also features an all-star international cast. The first half of the movie sets up all the various characters who have to drop their prickly differences and unite to outwit their German captors. Steve McQueen as the Cooler King is a genuine classic.
  25. This sentimental perennial is a holiday chestnut.
  26. Michèle is a daring, complicated character – one that Isabelle Huppert brilliantly creates in concert with the director, Paul Verhoeven.
  27. One of the sharpest prison dramas ever, although it's graced with some very humorous portions as well.
  28. Based on a Cornell Woolrich short story, this is one of Hitchcock's finest moments, full of subtle humor and nasty black turns, not to mention a wonderful score by Franz Waxman and gorgeous cinematography from longtime Hitchcock director of photography Robert Burks.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If Ramsay's 2011 melancholy masterpiece "We Need to Talk About Kevin" was about the consequences of caring too little, You Were Never Really Here is its polar opposite – a story of a man who cares so much that his soul is bleeding out of every pore.
  29. A marvelous achievement that refuses to avert its gaze from the poetry and the insane savagery of the hopeless.
  30. Due more to how it makes you think rather than to what it shows, Night of the Living Dead gets under your skin and burrows into your blood and psyche.
  31. Arguably, the best John Ford film ever, certainly one the very best, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is an American classic. Ford addresses the complexity of heroism in a poetic manner.
  32. Michael Mann is in top form here helming this bone-chilling thriller.
  33. One of Hitchcock's very best comic thrillers, North by Northwest features scene after unforgettable scene.
  34. Everything about its scale is epic.
  35. The peerless actors match and elevate Lonergan’s artistry beat for beat. And the film’s greatest gift of all may be that it declines to tidy up after itself, prettifying life’s messiness with a finishing bow. In the end, it’s the package that counts, not the wrapping.
  36. This knuckle-whitening depiction of a man of God toppling into his own spiritual abyss is one of Schrader’s finest and most excoriating films to date.
  37. Nolan maintains gut-wrenching suspense throughout by cross-cutting between the various characters and their plights. I’d go so far to say that Dunkirk could easily serve as its own master class in the art of film editing. Add to that an absolutely terrifyingly discordant score from Hans Zimmer and the result is, well, a bona fide classic.
  38. Amy Heckerling’s portrait of high school/shopping mall life in Southern California is still just about as good as it gets...The panoply of teen types and turmoils is dead-on accurate.
  39. The film gets its biggest laughs – and there truly are some grandly bleak belly-shakers here – by upsetting the apple cart on traditional gender roles.
  40. The spoof that launched a thousand parodies – this is the one that's 100% funny.
  41. An epic biopic, over three hours in length, Gandhi captures the spirit of the man and his struggles.
  42. Ingenious in its simplicity.
  43. With Bad Education, the great Almodóvar delivers the finest movie of his career.
  44. Unstoppable and righteous, it roars across the no-lane hardpan like the four-iron horseman of the kinetic apocalypse, amped up on bathtub crank and undiluted movie love. Oh, what a movie. What a lovely movie!
  45. Linklater’s newest film, a true masterwork, eschews this big-bang theory of dramatics in favor of the million-and-one little things that accumulate daily and help shape who we are, and who we will become.
  46. Raimunda believes that dirty linen should be washed at home: Thank goodness Almodóvar hangs some of it up on the screen to dry.
  47. This multi-Oscar-winner nails its characters, time period, and locale so perfectly that it becomes even more compelling as time goes by. Fueled by two riveting character studies and its exposure of New York City's seamy underbelly, the movie screams “contemporary” and “eternal” at once...It's one of those rare movies that comes together just about perfectly, so check out this theatrical release while you can.
  48. As disturbing as it is well-made, this low-budget indie is a thoroughly original piece of work.
  49. Arguably the best cross-dressing comedy of all time, it's also one of director Billy Wilder's most fluid, vibrant, laugh-out-loud accomplishments, rife with zippy one-liners delivered in Lemmon's impeccable style, and a rakishly outrageous Cary Grant impersonation from Curtis. Monroe is at her gooey, blonde best here as the pouty, hard-drinking Sugar.
  50. The Grand Budapest Hotel is nothing short of an enchantment.
  51. The story winds its way over the material, forcing the characters and the viewers to constantly reassess everything they have seen and heard.
  52. As sad and poignant and potentially hopeful as it is amusing. The movie is our story as much as it is Schmidt's, no matter if it's viewed as a self-reflection or cautionary tale
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Riley’s film is a welcome hand grenade of subversive power that often reminded me of another incendiary film, Terry Gilliam’s classic "Brazil."
  53. Very satisfying. Classic storytelling, modern techniques. And the images: This movie has embedded so many strange and new mental pictures in my head that I'm not able to shake free. Yet, neither would I want to be free.
  54. Peter Weir made this unsettling, atmospheric film early in his career, and it is still one of his most successful projects to date.
  55. A concept executed with bravura style, intelligent curiosity, and playful wit.
  56. A delightful little wormhole that takes us on a journey to another dimension of consciousness.
  57. It's huge and bewildering and it hurts to watch, but it hurts so good it's gorgeous.
  58. Kubrick’s gladiator film is the pinnacle of sword-and-sandal epics, and who isn’t a sucker for stories about rebellious slaves? This is the kind of movie the Paramount’s screen was made for.
  59. In this magnificent, profoundly tragic film, Nolte and Coburn each turn in career-best performances as a father and son who embody the ancient, seemingly ineradicable male pathology of violence, retribution, and the slow death of the soul.
  60. The film is so soaring, sometimes literally, I hardly missed the feeling of hard ground underfoot.
  61. The film is an intensely personal record, yet also a universal contemplation. Faces Places leaves the viewer with a sense of the glories of images and communication – sometimes random, sometimes specific, always continual and cumulative.
  62. So definitive in so many ways, Bonnie and Clyde has become a 20th-century touchstone.
  63. It’s an absolutely crazed fever dream of a film, and like a febrile infant it begins with a few odd notes and barely heard, often off-camera sounds, and then proceeds to build those seemingly minor instances of weird until it crescendos into an ear-piercing, panic-inducing visual and aural shriek.
  64. Virtually flawless performances and directorial execution render The Fighter one of the most thrilling movies of 2010.
  65. Director Keith Maitland’s film is one of the finest documentaries ever made, and it’s also one of the most unusual.
  66. This is the way this ground-breaking monument was meant to be seen: in mind-boggling 70mm.
  67. What sets Phantom Thread apart is that it isn’t an apologia, or an exorcism. It’s a Valentine. The heart, after all, is our strongest muscle.
  68. Do we ever get the whole truth? Only this: The past is never the past. In Farhadi’s wounding worldview, the past is the present and, most certainly, the future, too.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For in relating the true story of Conlon's wrongful conviction and 15-year imprisonment, Sheridan has used the tools of the filmmaker to evoke a visceral echo of Conlon's waking nightmare.
  69. Unlike other filmmakers in the autumn or winter of their careers, Eastwood doesn't seem content to rest on his laurels and give his audiences the tried and the true. For that reason, among many others, he and Million Dollar Baby are true champions.
  70. Boasts a smart screenplay by Robert Benton and David and Leslie Newman, striking cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth (especially in the Smallville sequence), bright comic turns by Margot Kidder and Gene Hackman, and of course, that winning performance by Christopher Reeve in the title role. Believe a man can fly? You bet!
  71. Given its nonlinear structure, Your Name requires your trust, but once you place your faith in screenwriter/director Shinkai’s expert hands, the reward will come. (Not surprisingly, the film is the fourth-highest-grossing film in Japan’s history.)
  72. As for words? The script gives Stuhlbarg – a character actor who elevates everything he’s in – the monologue of a lifetime, which he delivers sotto voce, all kindness. And that is perhaps the prevailing note of Call Me by Your Name – of kindness, of tenderness.
  73. Although made in 1969, this French masterpiece is receiving its first stateside release with a new print struck for the occasion.
  74. “Subtle” is the watchword for this kind of arthouse film. That can be a backhanded compliment, a buyer-beware to attention-deficit audiences, but Haigh is really quite plain with his preoccupations: the constant tick-tock of time, and the illusion that in marriage two are melded into one.
  75. In the end, The Fog of War offers a couple of hours of brilliant clarity amid the noise and chaos.
  76. The film's sense of family values will make your head hurt and the chase scenes will set your noggin spinning.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The performances are riveting and the visuals are stunning. The boxing sequences are brutally realistic - there are no crappy Rocky theatrics here - and the humanity oozes out of every scene.
  77. An amazing work, a film that seems to gurgle up from the American heartland, resonant and fully formed, ripe with possibilities.
  78. It's paved with delightfully irregular and unanticipated bits of business that stimulate the viewer to stay fully alert, while renewing our faith in the sheer joy of watching movies.
  79. Kidman inhabits the lead character of Suzanne Stone (yes, Suzanne Stone) with such sly and delicious zest that we can only wonder why this aspect of her acting has been buried under blonde dramatic ambitions.
  80. A chilling classic, the movie is a scabrous satire about human deviance, brutality, and social conditioning that has remained a visible part of the ongoing public debate about violence and the movies.
  81. Burnham’s sociological precision as a screenwriter and director, however, would likely not feel as genuine if not for Fisher in the pivotal role of Kayla. She doesn’t act the part as much as she breathes it. It may be the most honest performance you’ll see in a movie this year.
  82. Director James Cameron and producer Gale Anne Hurd (both of whom co-wrote the script) demonstrate their storytelling virtuosity.
  83. Before Midnight surpasses the two previous films in this trilogy in terms of its intelligence, narrative design, and vivacity. It’s a grand accomplishment, and I feel greedy about wanting to see this film series continue.
  84. It's a short, sharp, shock to the cinematic system that's virtually impossible to dislike, and if you don't leave the theatre grinning your face off, then buddy, movies just aren't for you.
  85. Barry Sonnenfeld's stunning cinematography and the sharply etched characterizations make this film one for the ages.
  86. Ghost World resists convenient closures and summaries and some may take issue with its open-endedness. But anything else would have been phony, and Enid would never have stood for it.
  87. Gilliam keeps the audience guessing, and in doing so creates a startlingly effective rumination on the nature of sanity and madness cloaked in the shroud of a sci-fi thriller.
  88. This is a movie to love, that touches you in places you never suspected, that shows you that the road less traveled is the road to your dreams.
  89. A Prophet is the kind of film that makes you remember why going to the movies can be a thrilling experience.

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