Austin Chronicle's Scores

For 5,803 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 2001: A Space Odyssey
Lowest review score: 0 Death Race
Score distribution:
5803 movie reviews
  1. This drama-horror hybrid, set within a New York ballet company, strikes a tone more along the lines of the terrifying hallucinatories of Aronofsky's breakout film, "Requiem for a Dream," revisiting, too, favorite themes of monster mommies and female hysteria.
  2. Snap! That’s the crack of people teetering on the verge in each of the six segments in the perversely entertaining Argentinian film Wild Tales, a more-than-deserving recent Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language film.
  3. A gripping presentation of a little-known true story and its historical lessons.
  4. It's a keeper, a tumultuous love story set against the backdrop of 24 hours of really, really inclement weather in the Oklahoma heartland.
  5. Co-directors Rubin and Shapiro deliver the rare documentary that totally entertains, informs, and inspires.
  6. The film is dignified rather than dour, full of rich imagery.
  7. Probably the ultimate writers' film, but it's also a brash, daring, and dynamic film -- as delicate as an orchid but as durable and malleable as the species.
  8. The bulk, the heft, and the girth of Bukowski: Born Into This arrives in the form of the author himself, giving beery readings to Berkeley audiences clearly enjoying a contact high or sitting, ill-kempt but quiet, pensive, Heineken in one yellowy paw, in his apartment.
  9. Anderson and his co-writer Roman Coppola have crafted an elegant and emphatic metaphor for adolescence, that tumultuous province of firsts and lasts.
  10. The Vuillards, however fractured, know one another's rhythms and rituals, and Desplechin knows just how to convey them in the subtlest of ways.
  11. It's a "keep calm, carry on" wartime melodrama of the first order, and stiff though it may be, it is never less than brilliantly done.
  12. The most costly and the most popular film in South Korean history is also one of the most gripping and epic war films ever made, and certainly the only one I can think of the portrays the Korean war from the viewpoint of both sides of the conflict.
  13. Well-considered, beautifully made, and often gripping in its narrative, the film epitomizes the best the documentary format can offer.
  14. Face/Off works like a charm right on down the line thanks to brilliant, exhilarating performances from Cage and Travolta, and the many tremendously enjoyable action set-pieces that are Woo's hallmark.
  15. The wonder of The Piano is that such an outwardly simple story could emerge into such a complex swirl of lingering memories.
  16. Eastwood finds the humorous aspects of the character as well, no more so than when the appetite of the widower who lives on beef jerky and Pabst Blue Ribbon becomes the center of attention among the Hmong women cooks.
  17. A truly provocative essay.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    An engaging and evocative thriller/love story, The Handmaiden is ultimately a tale of freedom and transformation, as satisfying as an exquisitely choreographed four-course meal.
  18. Instead of using actors, Greengrass employed many of the actual air traffic controllers and military commanders who were on the ground that day. Also aiding his film's universality is Greengrass' use of little known actors in the central roles, preventing stardom from affecting our ideas about heroism and patriotism.
  19. In so many ways, The Quiet American speaks volumes.
  20. Miller has somehow, inadvertently by his own admission, managed to capture the essence of the human throng, in all its maddening, scintillating permutations. It's a tour unlike any you have ever taken.
  21. The tension is enough to make you slightly sick, and the overall mood of the thing is deeply dispiriting, but then, nobody ever said that war isn't hell.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Rarely does a first film depict characters who seem so comfortably familiar, and even less frequently are these characters three-dimensional women.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    A powerfully unique film.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Dern is hilarious as the obsessive sister-in-law, Sarsgaard plays oddball dog-man to perfection, Pais is perfectly awkward as Peggy's nervous boss, Reilly rocks the subtle humor of Peggy's hunting-obsessed neighbor, and Shannon gives a breakout performance.
  22. In terms of sheer, unrelenting visual invention, Velvet Goldmine is a wonder.
  23. New and amazing -- it takes you back to the days when French filmmaking and French filmmakers were the darlings and saviors of the cinematic cutting edge. It's a great film, simply told, and a pleasure to watch.
  24. While there’s hardly a plot to speak of, that’s never hobbled Linklater before and is indeed the director’s keenest, cleverest trick: the ability to make something sweet, honest, and true out of the ephemeral marginalia of youth minus the rose-tinted bullshit.
  25. The Polish/Israeli co-production picked up the Best Horror Feature award at Fantastic Fest 2015, and it’s a shame that Wrona is gone, but at least we have this superlative example of his cinematic brilliance.
  26. Sophie Scholl plods along inexorably, one step after another, to its grim, sad end. It's almost unbearable.
  27. It’s a movie from which you can’t look away, no matter how hard you may try.
  28. Unruly girls around the world are liable to find these Bandits stealing their hearts.
  29. At the age of 81, Altman may show signs of mellowing, but he again emerges as a master filmmaker.
  30. Citizenfour is obviously in Snowden’s corner, but as an example of pure cinema vérité, this is the finest – and most disturbing – political documentary since Alex Gibney’s Oscar-winning "Taxi to the Dark Side."
  31. These people and the tale of their migration and reintegration into life’s ebb and flow will remain with the viewer long after Johnny's and Sarah’s green cards expire.
  32. The keen observations of The Class ultimately become a remedial education in themselves.
  33. Despite perpetual rumors of its demise as a genre, the Western is alive and well in the Australian outback.
  34. This Tom Clancy thriller gets the proper screen treatment here with this first-rate cast and direction by one of the genre’s best: Die Hard director John McTiernan.
  35. This is Denzel Washington’s third at bat behind the camera while directing himself and, holy smokes, does he knock it out of the park with a vicious, visceral performance that fairly sets the screen ablaze.
  36. Kazan appears in every scene of The Exploding Girl’s perfectly paced 80 minutes, and you’d miss her if she ducked out for even a moment.
  37. Although the characters and their backstories are carefully thought out, Delpy and Hawke deliver their dialogue as if spontaneous and unmeditated.
  38. Nothing short of majestic.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    It is a rare treat of a film.
  39. Weitz (About a Boy) is a sharp observer, and Tomlin and the rest of the cast are so superlative that any anxiety is quickly quelled. You’re happy to follow this movie over the river and through the woods.
  40. It's all so goddamn realistic and reminiscent of real-life love (and how often does that happen onscreen?) that The Puffy Chair would be hell to watch if it weren't so funny.
  41. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? isn’t for everyone, but neither was Stravinsky’s "The Rite of Spring." Genius is genius, no matter how many audience members may riot.
  42. One of the best movies I've seen this year and, consequently, the less said about it here the better. The beauty of this movie is in the way it twists and turns, thwarting expectations, confounding stereotypes and venturing into places you least anticipate.
  43. Banderas, taking time off from voicing kids' films and appearing in Robert Rodriguez outings, plays Ledgard with just the right amount of borderline-freaky, intensity, and Anaya is another of Almodovar's terrifically talented and shockingly beautiful female leads.
  44. Everything fits perfectly, from titles to fin, but most of all Firth, who dons the role of George like a fine bespoke suit.
  45. Jenkins' superlative work proves her first film was no fluke; let's hope it doesn't take another nine years to hear from her again.
  46. A bitter, bloody masterpiece with adrenalized emotions and hyper-realized images, this is perhaps as close to battle as any sane human being should ever hope to tread.
  47. Equally harrowing and heartrending, Shame is a film that feels akin to going into battle, and I for one didn't emerge unscathed.
  48. Closer is an un-love story as honest and naked as Cupid in the devil's dock, the whole truth, and nothing but.
  49. We've come to expect each new Demme film to percolate to an urgently musical beat. (The Manchurian Candidate also features a few cameos by musicians as diverse as Robyn Hitchcock and Fab Five Freddy.)
  50. This quiet, contemplative gem of a film paints a painfully accurate portrait of familial love, loss, and healing-by-degrees among the migrant communities bordering San Antonio.
  51. Spielmann’s deft storytelling is coupled with immaculate compositions that constrain the characters as confidently as any prison bars. Revanche reveals Spielmann as a true master of his craft.
  52. Shimuzu sees darkened staircases and hears the rustle of dead autumn leaves and reacts as if from the devil’s own haiku. And his dread is catching.
  53. A terrific piece of work.
  54. As fluid and intellectually stimulating as the man himself, a tragic, heartfelt take on an event some 40 years old that feels as fresh as yesterday's Times.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    In this sushi age of methamphetamine concert DVDs and dysfunction junction music tell-alls, Jonathan Demme dreams us back to the golden age of performance films.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Despite my lack of Austen education, I found the film to be thoroughly engaging and surprisingly touching, so I can only imagine how pleased a true Austen-ite may be with Emma.
  55. So full of good stuff that it's impossible not to fall in love with it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Cox, who wrote and directed the film, creates a strange but hilarious view of our culture, a brilliant satire on modern society...deserves the same respect and attention given to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "This Is Spinal Tap," two films that define the cult category.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Ultimately, all involved are cast in the shadow of Dano’s wide-ranging performance, capturing Wilson at his most ecstatic and his most hopeless. Already a well-established talent with remarkable turns in "There Will Be Blood" and "Little Miss Sunshine," the young actor has never demonstrated such profound sensitivity as he does here. Some might even say he’s been touched by greatness, or at least does a damn good impression of it.
  56. It's a jaw-droppingly good performance from this pint-sized, first-time actor.
  57. A war movie with a conscience, an action movie with a funny bone, a caper movie with a shifting agenda.
  58. Sauper's delicately horrific documentary is a short, sharp slap in the face of the developed world, and a long overdue one at that.
  59. Greenaway and his picture-perfect cast weave so many interlacing threads into the story, and so many curious subtexts - stylistic and otherwise - that it sometimes leaves us scratching our heads in wonderment.
  60. As we are informed in the film’s prologue, "Cats live in loneliness, then die like falling rain." Sh--, man, whatever. This is so stupid it’s positively genius.
  61. A spare, discomfiting score and uniformly excellent performances, and you have a quiet little masterpiece of dark and chilling beauty.
  62. Be forewarned: Folman closes his film with a grisly, real-death denouement that may give you some nightmares of your own. As well it should.
  63. Langella is terrific in a small but critical role as CBS president William Paley, although the one essential problem with the film is that it never clearly delineates the jobs fulfilled by the cluster of other newsroom employees that are always huddled about.
  64. Summer Hours is a lovely rumination on the meaning of things, but one that remains rooted in its human subjects rather than the inanimate objects that are more easily graspable.
  65. It's filled with marvelous performances, fabulous wit, and some dizzying images.
  66. Zombieland is dead set against being dead serious. Its tonal pallor has more in common with a foreshortened "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" than with "28 Days" or "Weeks Later," and then, again, there's that jaw-dropping cameo. It'll kill ya.
  67. Snowpiercer holds its own; it’s an unruly but rattling – and ravishing – work of art. On first watch, I wondered if there was anything to scratch beneath the surface – it seemed so straightforward, I worried there wasn’t enough there there – so I rewatched it almost right away and was surprised to find it still left me panting.
  68. Paranoid Park shows the Portland-based director to be working at the pinnacle of his art in every frame, in every composition. It's breathtaking, heartbreaking, tragic, gorgeous, and true all at the same time.
  69. Harris' thought-provoking performance art/life isn't yet over, but by film's end he's become unplugged, both literally and metaphorically.
  70. An order-of-magnitude leap forward in animated storytelling.
  71. Although the stellar contributions to this supremely intelligent film are many, there's no mistake that the presence of director Redford dominates the film.
  72. Anyone who can watch this film and deny that the Sex Pistols were one of the four or five most exciting and indelibly brilliant rock groups ever is pumping formaldehyde, not blood, through his veins.
  73. It's a masterful film, the kind you itch to see twice or more, as elliptical as a dream and as direct as the short sharp shock of lead kissing flesh.
  74. Her
    If in previous films "Adaptation" and "Being John Malkovich" Jonze seemed a little squirmy about sex, his treatment here is fully adult and keenly sensitive to the complexities of sexual intimacy – how it relates to emotional intimacy, whether or not a flesh-and-blood body is required to achieve it.
  75. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is the rare movie that presents the subject of the loss of virginity from the female perspective. Not only is the film unique in this regard, but also in its frankness, humor, and artistry.
  76. The stunning vitality and passion of this film arises not only from the high-voltage personalities involved (especially Ali and King) but from the way they galvanized political and ethnic pride among the people of the poor West African nation.
  77. The on-target performances, along with the unceasing barrage of popular music and daring narrative gambles, combine to make Trainspotting one of the grand movie rushes of 1996.
  78. One wishes for a chewier whodunit – there just aren't enough clues for the viewer to work with – and the reveal of the mole is perversely anticlimactic. But maybe that's just stickling. We always knew Smiley'd get his man.
  79. Clearly the single best, the single coolest (to borrow from Harry Knowles) animated film in a great while.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    The resulting film is an exceptionally crafted drama, anchored by the brothers’ mastery of their skills and Cotillard’s breathtaking performance.
  80. Nobody’s a monster here, and that’s the subtle, aching rub of Little Men: Everyone is right in their claim, depending on the right angle, be it economic, sentimental, moral, or fraternal.
  81. The characters in The Claim suffer under the weight of very big things -- betrayal, abandonment, disease, death -- but they do so quietly, stoically, until, by God, they just can't take it anymore.
  82. A manic, lithesome thing, 2 Days in New York flexes between broad comedy and a beautifully observed portrait of family life – especially life after death.
  83. When people think fondly of John Hughes, it's movies like Ferris Bueller that they're thinking of.
  84. The Host is a freewheeling mix of high style and goofy, good-natured fear-mongering.
  85. If you’re yearning to take a sentimental journey, Brooklyn is the perfect destination.
  86. It’s an indie film about abortion that comes snuggled in the broad strokes of a quirky relationship comedy. A grump might wonder when indie films got so soft, but I’m more intrigued by the inverse: Why aren’t more studio films this clever and winning and conversant in the same language as their audience?
  87. By the time the explosive finale arrives (with a wistful Ray Charles crooning over shots of cataclysmic destruction, no less), you'll be hard pressed to name a recent film with this much action, pathos, and smarts.
  88. A brilliant, exhilarating piece of filmmaking. It may even be the best mainstream film of the year thus far.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Coyness aside, Borgman is a supremely controlled and darkly nuanced fable that veers away from your expectations every time you think you have it figured out.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Coherence presents a far-fetched premise at the outset, only to slyly smuggle in some remarkably relatable matters of the heart along the way.

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