Austin Chronicle's Scores

For 5,814 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 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 The Straight Story
Lowest review score: 0 The Real Cancun
Score distribution:
5814 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."
    • 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.
  2. 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.
  3. A riot of sight and sound that, however baffling, has an irresistible, elemental pull.
  4. There isn’t one false move in Tomàs Aragay and Cesc Gay’s beautifully modulated screenplay. Es perfecto.
  5. Not only is it a film about a poet, Paterson transcends its story to become a work of poetry itself.
  6. It's the most compelling American movie to come around in a long, long time.
  7. Winter's Bone never hits a false note.
  8. Harrowing and important documentary.
  9. 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)
  10. 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.
  11. A movie that amply delivers on the epic promise of its title, entertaining, enlightening, and emboldening viewers with its deceptively simple premise and execution.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Ran
    One of the 10 best films ever made, period.
  17. One of the cinema’s very best car-chase sequences – set amid the hilly, windy San Francisco streets – caps this quintessential Steve McQueen policier.
  18. 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]
  19. Its simplicity belies an emotional complexity that will linger in your mind like a gentle dream.
  20. 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)
  21. This sentimental perennial is a holiday chestnut.
  22. Michèle is a daring, complicated character – one that Isabelle Huppert brilliantly creates in concert with the director, Paul Verhoeven.
  23. A marvelous achievement that refuses to avert its gaze from the poetry and the insane savagery of the hopeless.
  24. 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.
  25. Everything about its scale is epic.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. The spoof that launched a thousand parodies – this is the one that's 100% funny.
  31. Ingenious in its simplicity.
  32. With Bad Education, the great Almodóvar delivers the finest movie of his career.
  33. 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!
  34. 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.
  35. Raimunda believes that dirty linen should be washed at home: Thank goodness Almodóvar hangs some of it up on the screen to dry.
  36. 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.
  37. As disturbing as it is well-made, this low-budget indie is a thoroughly original piece of work.
  38. The Grand Budapest Hotel is nothing short of an enchantment.
  39. The story winds its way over the material, forcing the characters and the viewers to constantly reassess everything they have seen and heard.
  40. 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
  41. 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.
  42. A concept executed with bravura style, intelligent curiosity, and playful wit.
  43. A delightful little wormhole that takes us on a journey to another dimension of consciousness.
  44. It's huge and bewildering and it hurts to watch, but it hurts so good it's gorgeous.
  45. 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.
  46. Such gorgeous explosions, such a terrible vision, such an amazing work of art. Go. Now.
  47. 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.
  48. The film is so soaring, sometimes literally, I hardly missed the feeling of hard ground underfoot.
  49. So definitive in so many ways, Bonnie and Clyde has become a 20th-century touchstone.
  50. Virtually flawless performances and directorial execution render The Fighter one of the most thrilling movies of 2010.
  51. Director Keith Maitland’s film is one of the finest documentaries ever made, and it’s also one of the most unusual.
  52. This is the way this ground-breaking monument was meant to be seen: in mind-boggling 70mm.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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!
  56. 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.)
  57. Although made in 1969, this French masterpiece is receiving its first stateside release with a new print struck for the occasion.
  58. “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.
  59. In the end, The Fog of War offers a couple of hours of brilliant clarity amid the noise and chaos.
    • 92 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.
  60. An amazing work, a film that seems to gurgle up from the American heartland, resonant and fully formed, ripe with possibilities.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. Director James Cameron and producer Gale Anne Hurd (both of whom co-wrote the script) demonstrate their storytelling virtuosity.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. Barry Sonnenfeld's stunning cinematography and the sharply etched characterizations make this film one for the ages.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. 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.
  71. A Prophet is the kind of film that makes you remember why going to the movies can be a thrilling experience.
  72. There Will Be Blood is not a movie that disappears quietly.
  73. Near-perfect in every way, The Hours is a compelling meditation on making the most of what we're given in life. For some, it may be too cerebral a film experience, but for those who blissfully fall into its finely tuned modulations, The Hours is timeless.
  74. A wildly inventive, unrelenting thrill that amazes us with its visual and intellectual treats and dazzles us with its ongoing ingenuity.
  75. While all of the performances in this movie are superb, Harris’ turn here is hands-down award-worthy.
  76. By the end of the movie, it’s no longer possible to know anything with certainty -– so convoluted, contradictory, pathological, and long ago have the events become. It’s a movie that will have you talking and thinking for hours.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The film courses with vitality -- and makes you glad to be alive. Kieslowski's deft touch gives Red its real magic; in the end, the subtle nuances are what stay with you.
  77. These creatures of the underworld are the fervid fabrications of del Toro's imagination: More than once they will catch you by surprise and make you gasp.
  78. Fonda and Hopper’s now-classic film hit the old guard with the force of a rifle shot to the head. [Review of re-release]
  79. In Carol, all the elements dovetail perfectly to create a movie that is as irresistible as its title character.
  80. Angela Lansbury's frighteningly in-check performance is alone worth the trip.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    But in the genre, as both a movie and a conscious addition to the ongoing celluloid Western mythology, the film is a masterpiece, a stunning and awe-inspiring statement.
  81. One of the most exciting movies of this, or any other, year. It's smart, funny, and wonderfully crafted and performed.
  82. Brutal yet elegant, 12 Years a Slave is a beautifully rendered punch to the gut about the most shameful chapter in American history.
  83. Funny and touching, Frances Ha may very well be the most eloquent take yet on a generation in flux – a cinematic talk-back to so many Atlantic articles, minus the scolding and the statistics, and uncharacteristically (for Baumbach) uncynical.
  84. With Captain Phillips we get a viable thriller whose conclusion is already known, and a character who reacts to circumstances rather than a personal, heroic code. And now, it’s a story preserved in brine.
  85. The movie occasionally continues on too long with certain scenes and may strain the sensibilities of anybody not caught up in its delirious visuals and melodrama, but The Saddest Music in the World nevertheless beckons with a seductive and unforgettable melody.
  86. It’s that feeling of seeing something unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s the experience of witnessing the fresh, the new. And if you love movies, there’s nothing like it.
  87. Director David Gordon Green has made a work of uncommon beauty and intelligence, one that is smart enough to trust its characters and the technical contributions of its crew.
  88. It's a thrilling, powerful movie, and one that certain people in certain quarters may have at one time called dangerous. Some of them may yet still.
  89. There's even a Simon and Garfunkel tune on the soundtrack, which makes Braff's character seem like the only living boy in New Jersey, which, of course, he may well be. L'chaim!
  90. Contemplative, though riddled with humor, After Life reveals itself gradually.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Uncompromising and supremely controlled, it is a demanding film that will leave you shaken and shattered. How’s that for hyperbolic?
  91. It’s not quite as brutalizing as McEwan’s brilliant source novel – it bears too much of a Great Art buff – but it ravishes nonetheless in its grand exploration of the sins of the daughter and a lifetime spent making reparations.

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