Austin Chronicle's Scores

For 5,062 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 7.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 54
Highest review score: 100 The Sweet Hereafter
Lowest review score: 0 The Pink Panther
Score distribution:
5,062 movie reviews
  1. It's chop-socky vindaloo, pleasing on a platter but awfully difficult to swallow whole.
  2. Roughly as entertaining as watching your neighbor's kid's soccer game, not because you want to, but because you have to.
  3. There are moments in Idlewild that resonate with the painful "if only" of missed opportunity, and more than a few that just make you scratch your head. It's like some wildly overlong music video, minus the sexy thump 'n' grind. It's all blow, no pop.
  4. Bland jokes and lazy contrivances.
  5. There's more story, heart, and – cutting to the chase, the quick, and the dead – pure, unadulterated fun contained within a scant five minutes of Rockstar Games' new Grand Theft Auto IV video game than there is in the whole of Speed Racer.
  6. Purportedly a seriocomic contemplation on a civilization that's lost its way, the movie jabs at America's fascination with its false idols without ever hitting its target.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    The whole movie is an inside joke, a shaggy-dog tale that asks us to pay close attention to its twists and turns, but never rewards us for doing so.
  7. The film may have only the best of intentions, but it tries way too hard and ends up being shallow, superficial, and only sporadically funny.
  8. Christina Applegate, of Eighties white-trash pinup fame, is a comic foil par excellence, delivering a snazzy, self-assured performance that lands the biggest laughs in a movie made mostly of hollow chuckles. She, in fact, is the sweetest thing in this sour, sucky film.
  9. A story disappointingly similar to the original.
  10. The Art of War must ultimately be chalked up as a strategic defeat.
    • 26 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    This film has all the pyschological depth of a wading pool. Anything you've imagined without seeing the movie is likely more interesting than what's here.
  11. Only the most indulgent would fail to notice that this movie can't hold a tune.
  12. The most lackadaisical thriller I've ever seen, overly infatuated with not only the inexplicability of random evil, but also its mundanity.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    It's a fine message, but, in the case of the film itself, a little originality would have gone even further.
  13. Although there’s a strong likability quotient for everyone onscreen here, which ought to keep the movie minimally afloat among its target audience of black viewers starved for a new Tyler Perry offering, Baggage Claim should be left behind at the carousel.
  14. Atkinson's fans are likely to rejoice as the comedian twists his face and body to and fro, but the rest of us will not be recruited.
  15. In all honesty I'd advise you to go rent the stunning (and brand-new) DVD of the director's great "Le Mépris (Contempt)," which seems to me to be much more Godardian and much less hopeless.
  16. Perry tosses everything at his disposal into his movie gumbo, even a completely gratuitous appearance by his signature, self-performed, alter-ego in drag Madea – most likely to set up the premise for his next film "Madea Goes to Jail."
  17. Long after Only God Forgives concludes, only its scuzziness remains. This artistic misfire will forever be knocking on heaven’s door.
  18. It's not a total wipeout: Czuchry embodies the Tucker Max(-ims) to a self-obsessed fault, and there are moments of rough comic brilliance scattered throughout, but really, this particular antihero is all anti- and zero hero.
  19. Back to that question of medium: Scrubbed of the few, ill-fitting four-letter words that earned it an R, Language of a Broken Heart might have made a passable Hallmark or Lifetime TV movie, cushioned by the TV-movie context. But as a theatrical prospect, it’s a fail.
  20. "By practicing his art, he revealed himself to us." Fellini: I’m a Born Liar provides proof positive: The art indeed reveals far more than this pedestrian documentary ever does.
  21. While Lopez carries off the overdone damsel-in-distress schtick somewhat credibly, Guzman fails to step up to the trickier role of her seducer and stalker.
  22. Only Ruben Blades as President Calles and Bruce Greenwood as American Ambassador Dwight Morrow get out of this film with their acting dignity intact.
  23. It takes so long to get going and fails to generate the necessary suspense to keep viewers engaged, that the horrific final act is too little, too late, while at the same time nearly being much too much.
  24. Retains and updates the basic plot points while losing much of the original's heart and soul.
  25. At it's best, it's a wishy-washy treatise that fails to elicit much of any reaction.
  26. All we're left with is a second-rate J-Horror entry that bores rather scares.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    What it all boils down to is that if you don't mind that artificially flavored, plastic-bagged, stale pink and purple stuff that gets passed off as cotton candy these days, you will probably like French Kiss. But if I'm going to indulge in the sweet stuff, it needs to be fresher than this.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    I hate to sound like a disappointed parent, but I expected more from Luke Wilson.
  27. Cruelty, church redemption, miraculous healings of limbs and junkie relatives – all have their moments onscreen.
  28. A white-trash riff on Little Red Riding Hood, the oddly titled Freeway is a road movie that hits a dead end.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    At this point, I guess we should just applaud Allen for his work ethic. Even at the ripe, old age of 72, he’s still making movies at the rate of one a year, come rain or come shine. The problem, of course, is that he doesn’t make good movies at the rate of one a year. In fact, by my count, he hasn’t made a good movie for almost a decade (1999’s "Sweet & Lowdown").
  29. A frenetic affair, busy and silly enough to make family froth like "The Princess Diaries" look like Grand Illusion.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Let no one ever say that Dark Streets doesn't have the perfect title. It may not be much more than a stylized regurgitation of creaky film-noir clichés and crime-fiction conventions … but its streets are undeniably dark.
  30. But most damningly, Shut Up Little Man! fails to convey what was so hypnotic about the original tapes, and Bate's decision to re-enact the transcripts with actors seems weirdly contrary to the spirit of the thing.
  31. A stiff drink or maybe some pharmaceutical assistance might have made me overlook the film's sour tone, or the unremarkableness of its direction.
  32. Not uninteresting, and it is very nicely performed, although you'll strain to learn from the movie the history on which it is based and struggle futilely to get inside the motivations of its characters.
  33. The primary problem with Blue Like Jazz is that there is no believable character development.
  34. A limp and lackluster affair that telegraphs its feel-good smarm miles in advance.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Free Birds falls flat, despite its good intentions, ideological cuteness, humorous polish, and skillful computer animation. The fine voice talents of the almost-ideal cast are wasted.
  35. Clearly the film is archly trying to connect the dots between Rove and the supreme mishandling of Iraq – and a compelling case might be made – but it isn't made here.
  36. Manic energy is the term that comes most readily to mind when describing Ace Ventura.
  37. A boisterous, gooey miscue.
  38. Osmond is all teeth and no talent. You’d think that his presence here might provide an opportunity for some tongue-in-cheek humor at his expense, but Osmond plays the comedy so darn straight that it’s painful to watch.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Quirky and undisturbed, unaffected and unaffecting.
  39. Ghosts indeed: This romantic comedy by name alone attempts to make funny – not to mention culturally relevant – the kind of swinging-dick misogyny that went out of fashion years ago.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    And come on, guys: There’s nothing cinematic about Googling.
  40. Far from perfect and about as much fun as a holiday in Cambodia, this is lightweight yuletide fluffery, offensive neither in tone nor spirit but entirely unnecessary.
  41. Going the Distance has a tin ear and sullied eye: Nothing sounds or looks very good.
  42. It's unclear what Brooks is trying to say about our melting-pot culture, if anything.
  43. Swing Vote may muster a few easy laughs, but the film is no contender.
  44. Everyone learns a lesson by movie’s end: Don’t put work before family. Curiously, no one learns that all this could have been avoided with a good method of birth control.
  45. Best never to have left dry dock with this one.
  46. Aronofsky's reach far exceeds his grasp with this film, and the muddle he concocts makes one wonder if there was ever a solid foundation for The Fountain. Hope may spring eternal, but this fountain is a dry hole.
  47. Would have made a hell of a short -- but falls flat on its hyperstylized face as a feature.
  48. Is it funny? Not for a minute.
  49. Unfortunately, the film rests heavily on the shoulders of Murphy, who seems to wander aimlessly from scene to scene, searching for a laugh. The joke's on him, though: There are none.
  50. De Palma's film is a mess from its anxious start all the way through to its new-agey end, relying heavily on cribs from Kubrick and Cameron and even the recent "Apollo 13."
  51. A slight, facile, and ultimately yawn worthy romantic comedy, and one of the most obvious if unexpected missteps in Hanks' career.
  52. Nothing about the movie makes much sense.
  53. The humor in this movie is basically anthropological notes on doper culture and behavior: junk-food frenzies, smoking rituals and hardware, non sequitur conversation, and short-term memory loss. In other words, stuff that passed into the realm of cliché back in the time of the Johnson administration.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    Director Goldmann, who cut his teeth directing videos for Shania Twain and Faith Hill, never misses a chance to punch-up an emotional scene with a contrived, heart-melting music performance by one or more of his stars.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    Fred Claus is sadly just an early lump of coal under the tree.
  54. Badland's only commercial potential lies in the possibility that people may confuse it for Terrence Malick's incomparable "Badlands."
  55. Well-intentioned but hardly well-executed.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    No doubt the most devoted horse lovers in the tween set will get their fill, but parents should sneak out for a very long popcorn break.
  56. Indisputably awful comedy.
  57. Silly and implausible.
  58. Muddled, sloppy, and obfuscating.
  59. None of it is handled with any emotional believability or grace. Well-worn phrases and plot developments are repeated here as though the world had never heard of "Cinderella."
  60. Darby and co-screenwriter Michael Cristofer ("Breaking Up") telegraph every available bit of plot seemingly hours before it's necessary, resulting in a tawdry, boring mish-mash of genre clichés and arched eyebrows.
  61. Redgrave still manages to inspire awe, yet a poetically prosaic moment like the one in which she goes chasing after a butterfly is enough to throw a net over the whole thing.
    • 22 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    While watching it, I kept thinking this was like "47 Ronin," in which an unfortunate novice director was given a project way out of his or her reach. In no way was I prepared to learn it was the work of veteran Harlin.
  62. The only people who should be peeved enough to raise hell about Year One are the viewers who had to pay to sit through it.
  63. A dull, plodding remake.
  64. A reprehensible movie from just about every perspective, Ransom tries to justify the behavior of its lead character as something grounded in principle, but make no mistake about it: This is the act of a man who can't bear the thought of losing, a man who will turn the tables on his enemy at the risk of a beloved's death.
  65. Branagh might as well have opened a can and dumped it on a plate, the ridges of a factory-line production still perfectly hatched on a gelatinous cylinder of crud.
  66. A forgettable and lackluster fish-out-of-water rom-com.
  67. Absurdism taken to a new extreme.
  68. A frustrating exercise in diverted expectations.
  69. Envy feels like a comedy in search of a drama in search of some sort of lugubrious existential meaning; it never quite seems to know where it's going to head next, and neither will the audience.
  70. It's all noise and flash and chaos, but it lacks virtually everything that made the original television series so memorable.
  71. Most Americans will be unfamiliar with the late British writer Kyril Bonfiglioli’s Mortdecai novels, on which this Johnny Depp comedy is based; still, no reference point is required to come to the conclusion this is a rotten movie all around.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    It appears that Kelly spent the intervening years (since "Donnie Darko") taking hallucinogenic drugs, reading Philip K. Dick novels upside down, and – most disastrously – believing his own hype.
  72. It’s like watching a cartoon version of American Idol on an endless karaoke loop.
  73. As arduous to watch as your neighbor’s poorly focused vacation slides.
  74. Kaplan's lustily awful film is to be avoided if at all possible, and if not, well, don't say I didn't warn you.
  75. Near-unwatchable romantic melodrama.
  76. Even the should-have-been-triumphant revelation of the Boogeyman arrives as a CGI letdown of epic proportions.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    Yearning to be a tale of familial abuse and social oppression finally overcome by personal triumphant transcendence through community and love, the film is instead the plainest of generic pop songs.
  77. The film, however, is short on genuine scares and ingenuity.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    It's an obvious nod to "Rock 'n' Roll High School" that mostly serves as a grim reminder of how far comedies about the education system have fallen.
  78. Eminently resistible, an unclassifiable cinematic leftover best left untasted.
  79. It keeps you off balance, all right, but not enough to obscure the sad fact that Ghosts of Mars is a muddled, derivative disaster straight on through.
  80. Neither very scary nor very interesting, Godsend is an unresurrectable muddle.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    Not to be glib but, obviously, believers will feel reaffirmed, and those looking to again enjoy and be enriched by the miraculous life and greatest sacrifice of Jesus will be rewarded. More casual viewers will find themselves glazing over from the obviousness of it all.
  81. Furry Vengeance would be innocuous enough if only it didn't look as though no effort was made to expand the images past the storyboard phase.
  82. It’s a shame when a movie brings together so many underutilized thespians of color – even Ajay Naidu of "Office Space" is in here someplace – and gives them absolutely nothing to do.

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