Austin Chronicle's Scores

For 5,966 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 8.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 Airplane!
Lowest review score: 0 A Sound of Thunder
Score distribution:
5966 movie reviews
  1. If you (or your kids) loved Toy Story, you'll like Toy Story 2 as well. Just don't expect any big surprises.
  2. Life Is Sweet observes this constellation of people without ever really commenting on their lots. Very little occurs and thus, if you don't find yourself drawn to these characters, you will find yourself wondering when it will all be over.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Like most of Apatow's work, Knocked Up walks a perilous line between sarcasm and sentimentality, and though it's extremely funny in bursts, the movie flirts once too often with schmaltz before toppling into melodrama in its third act. The fault lies as much with Apatow's casting as his writing.
  3. It's all a little too polished, a little too smug to be ranked up there as one of the great journalism films.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    That's the film's problem: Leigh's creation is fixed and unchangeable, admirably optimistic as a person but completely unengaging as a movie character.
  4. A bore... The film leaves you with the feeling, once again, of having enjoyed a lovely meal fit for royalty only to discover, too late, that the fruit was made of wax and the roast was little more than a Styrofoam mock-up.
  5. Relax, sit tight, and enjoy the ride.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Burton's gorgeously grim film (his sixth with Depp) is loyal to Sondheim's original, both in spirit and structure; it's dark and gothic and drenched in blood, and it forgoes excessive dialogue in the name of getting quickly to the next murky, malevolent, yet strangely forgettable tune.
  6. Sugar is a curiosity – too somber for a picaresque, too arm's-length for much emotional effect – and while it's interesting, it's never truly absorbing.
  7. The only thing here that feels truly, utterly alive is Ledger's maniacal, muttery Joker. The last laugh is his and his alone. It's enough to make you cry.
  8. Whatever the case, Foxcatcher provides little insight. Art can shape the truth in ways that resonate beyond the obvious. Regrettably, the truth-shaping here grapples for significance, without any apparent aim. Catch as catch can.
  9. Good Time demonstrates an admirable daring in its technique and willingness to go against the grain, but its payoff isn’t equal to its challenges.
  10. There is plenty here to enjoy for beach bums and fans of bikinis and six-pack abs, but others are likely to find themselves hopeless wet blankets.
  11. There are no hard answers in Room 237, a feature-length, sporadically engaging exploration of the latter (The Shining).
  12. Interesting to watch like well-performed gymnastics but it never really connects.
  13. Once you've seen it all once I bet you'll wish you were watching "Groundhog Day" -- again.
  14. Some people might find Chunhyang a chore to sit through, including me. Despite all of its accumulated period gorgeousness, or perhaps because of it, the film moves at a snail's pace, telegraphing plot twists miles before we actually arrive at them.
  15. Maybe we won't fully understand Eastwood's film until we see the second part of this project, "Letters From Iwo Jima," his companion film seen from the Japanese viewpoint expected in 2007. On its own, however, Flags of Our Fathers merely flags.
  16. As far as I'm concerned, the fact that Bergman is finally getting around to asking himself questions he now realizes he should have asked long ago is not sufficient enough premise for a movie. The answers may be news to Bergman, but the rest of us might just want to opt for divorce.
  17. It's all pretty involving and sweetly ingratiating in a Charlotte's Web-by kind of way.
  18. This biography, to our surprise, is extremely respectful and earnest and lacking Morris' usual transformational touch.
  19. Viewers unfamiliar with Wharton's novel may have a hard time, especially at first, deciphering all the characters since Davies presents them at a steady clip while providing little background or explanatory material.
  20. Despite its best intentions, The Lost City of Z never finds itself, doomed to aimlessly wander to an unsatisfying conclusion of a dream that betrays the best of men.
  21. It wouldn't feel out of place on a double bill with "Dangerous Liaisons," given Breillat's unrepentantly nihilistic attitude toward the battle of the sexes in which all are pawns, every knight is errant, and the only queen is Queen Bitch.
  22. Rarely has a movie been more urgently needed than Detroit, yet after delivering on its promise for nearly the entire first half, Detroit goes down in flames before it’s over.
  23. To my mind, movies about watching nomads walk rank alongside movies about writers writing: The action is dull and endlessly repetitive, and most of the interesting stuff occurs in the mind’s interior.
  24. The temporal jumps between the present and varying points in the past deprive the film of a sense of completeness; the transitions from scene to scene are largely disorienting, leaving you struggling to find your bearings.
  25. Never inspires more than an interested detachment.
  26. But even a rapper needs to punch things up a bit, and 8 Mile, for all its hip-hop braggadocio, is a pretty weak riff.
  27. There’s an intriguing story to be told here, but there’s a better way to tell it. To borrow from the Bard, the spots in Lady Macbeth simply won’t wash away.
  28. The very best animation can excite the senses and inflame the imagination. But Chico & Rito's charmless line drawings just made me wish the film was live-action instead.
  29. You have to wonder – not too hard, though – what this gore-soaked auteur's bedtime dreams are like.
  30. Meehl's documentary features plenty of interviews with cowboys and ranch hands who've had their lives – and their horses' lives – changed by Brannaman, but it lacks the literary or cinematic magic of either version of "The Horse Whisperer."
  31. Iwish I could say 99 Homes delivers a shockingly good sucker punch to the American electorate and a stand-up-and-cheer piece of socially conscious filmmaking, but it’s not. It lacks the satisfactory denouement of, for instance, Michael Mann’s The Insider (and Garfield is no Russell Crowe), in part because the events it depicts are still happening across the country (albeit to a lesser extent).
  32. The elements are all here for something spectacular – and in brilliant bursts, Jeunet really gets it – but in the end, all that potential is sunk by a terminally confused tone and milquetoast pairing of lovers. Pity that.
  33. The antithesis of a feel-good movie, Listen Up Philip is a challenging experience, largely because it refuses to compromise its protagonist’s dogged preoccupation with himself.
  34. Narnia is nearly saved by those immensely likable and altogether stiff-upper-lippy Pevensie kids.
  35. A nagging question persists throughout Darkest Hour: Is Oldman’s compulsively meticulous turn here anything more than a brilliant impersonation? The answer is yes, but it’s a performance that always stands apart from the rest of the film.
  36. Loses something in its transposition to America where the two leads are not nearly as widely known as they are in their home country of France.
  37. True, this pair has more than the usual share of obstacles in their path, and watching them surmount the challenges is inspiring. I’m just not sure that Dina and Scott’s struggles with intimacy should be grist for my perusal.
  38. Dahl, who really does know what he's doing when it comes to investing a scene with both heebies and jeebies, is a notch or two above most.
  39. At times, it’s a bit like being cornered and regaled by actor Bill Nighy’s aging rocker Billy Mack from "Love Actually," but certainly more interesting, and a rewarding and informative document of some unlikely visionaries of maximum rock & roll.
  40. In his short career (The Station Agent, The Visitor), McCarthy has established himself as a craftsman of conventionally quirky pictures that are ENTIRELY about ingratiating themselves with the audience.
  41. It's a wonderfully nuanced performance in an otherwise un-nuanced narrative.
  42. It’s the subtext of 19th century gender politics that keeps this footnote in Dickens’ life mildly interesting, but it’s a not much upon which to rest an entire movie.
  43. The problem with The Beat That My Heart Skipped, as it was with "Fingers," is that the gravity of the character’s psychological divide is clear after the first half hour, and both films add little in the next hour to deepen our – or the characters’ – understanding or entanglement.
  44. Spy
    This is a different sort of comedy that more or less succeeds on its own terms, despite that fact that you find yourself rooting for the post-Snowden CIA.
  45. The camera may dive deep, but the content skims mere surface.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Rich Hill attempts to lay bare these kids’ lives, striving for gentle intimacy, but the result feels more like arthouse pandering.
  46. The filmmakers no doubt had a hell of a time whittling the material down; unfortunately, what they came up with was something long on the mundaneness of and short on the personalities behind it.
  47. The movie's third act begins a baffling and not-very-believable character turnabout.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Graceland is terrific entertainment, but I can’t decide if it’s a cautionary tale, an exercise in moral relativism, or an exploitation film. There’s the final conundrum.
  48. The problem with this American indie filmed in Korea is that, despite the captivating faces and sad predicament of these little girls, nothing much happens.
  49. Fernandez is excellent as the maladjusted daughter, but the film's heart and soul is embodied in Galina's noble, understated performance.
  50. It’s worth a watch to see these two reliably comic actors do some heavy dramatic lifting and tenderly spot for each other.
  51. Morris has found a real character in McKinney, but to what end, I couldn't say.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Barcelona does have brief flashes of brilliance.... For the most part, however, Barcelona offers nothing much interesting beyond some beautiful scenery and generally annoying characters.
  52. This veteran actor is always great, and it's just a little bit sad that he has to play a big, scary demon for us to sit up and finally take notice.
  53. Ultimately the composition comes off as both overplayed and underdone.
  54. By the time the film's abrupt conclusion arrives, you realize you've been watching a love story and not, as some might hope, "The Lord of the Rings: The Asian Edition."
  55. For a film focusing on such a rich emotional tapestry, Kundun is strangely lacking in its emotional core.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A pleasure to watch for the cast alone and their accomplishments should not be obscured by underwritten characters and overwritten jokey set-pieces.
  56. This is a guy who marched to the beat of his own drum, even one that’s got two spoked wheels and some handlebars.
  57. Despite the hardships depicted, Golden Door is a sweet film at heart, playing witness to the birth pangs of modern America with both due respect and the occasional comic grace note, but not, oddly, one single shot of the Statue of Liberty.
  58. Frozen can count in its favor visual grandeur, two energetic young women as co-leads, and a couple of plot twists that place the film a cut above your average princess fare.
  59. Herzog, ever the eccentric filmmaker on a mission, may have met his match in this man of the cloth.
  60. At its best when making the political personal, the film’s exposure of a husband’s enduring mystery about his wife’s motivations has a universal appeal.
  61. Feels overlong and underscripted.
  62. The elliptical narrative also recalls Fernando Meirelles' somewhat similarly themed "The Constant Gardener," a film ultimately more heartfelt and accessible to mainstream audiences because its maker is unafraid of grief and explores it more deeply.
  63. Mommy bursts with so much frenzied, turbulent energy that it really only makes sense when looked at as the fifth feature film by a 25-year-old moviemaker. Québécois Xavier Dolan is one of those enfants terribles of the cinema, making and sometimes acting in films that court attention.
  64. My conclusion is that exploitation of a child for the sake of one's career is a shameful act.
  65. Gross-out funny, over-the-top offensive, and just as amusing -- or idiotic -- as you find that Comedy Central sitcom.
  66. The movie doesn't quite add up beyond its performances.
  67. The Raid: Redemption definitely delivers everything that international action fans want. The question I have is whether the laws of supply and demand are adequate tools for evaluating a movie's worth.
  68. Breakdown further illustrates the axiom that every truly original movie must be remade again and again until it achieves a state of sublime, all-encompassing idiocy.
  69. It's impossible to shake the feeling that these are merely actors -- albeit good ones.
  70. When The Company owns up to what it is -– a performance piece -– it’s glorious. Everything else -– the window-dressing of a fiction film -– just gums up that gloriousness.
  71. Uses a wraparound story to provide a hint of Glass’ deep-seated pathology, but allows no details about how it came into being.
  72. Taken as a whole, Thirst meanders too far from the crossroads of life and death; it gets outright dull in spots, although they are few and far between.
  73. On a certain level, Notes on a Scandal can be fun viewing, but, odds are, you'll find you won't respect yourself in the morning.
  74. Without a doubt, the animation is vibrant and electrifying; it's only the story that lacks.
  75. A bold (and lovely) experiment that will almost certainly bore most audiences into their own brightly colored dreams.
  76. The film holds its twists too close to the chest, and there's little to chew on till the ambitiousness of its plotting is revealed late in the film.
  77. In filming this movie with such artistic precision, the movie ironically winds up objectifying Griet just as much as any appreciator of the original painting.
  78. Starts out as a lark, but veers into grittier, more emotionally complex territory -- just like a real relationship -- that the film doesn't have the chops to sustain.
  79. While celebrating the lushly romantic, it also tweaks the tradition so that Sleepless in Seattle ends up something akin to a feature-length Taster's Choice commercial.
  80. Spielberg's typically emotive storytelling only comes to the fore in a few of the film's pivotal action scenes, a couple of which are truly spectacular and remind us only all too well of what this film might have been.
  81. A certain inevitability hangs over The Mother – as if any of this could end well – but if Kureishi's framework is perhaps predictable, his knotty, complex characters are not.
  82. Writer-director Byler, in his first feature film, also proves to be a noteworthy new voice, even if his cinematic sense outweighs his narrative sense in this initial outing.
  83. Sweet enough but in the end a bit of a corny-syrupy wipeout, this is middling family-night fare, but it never even comes close to the emotional or technical wizardry of Pixar's finest moments.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    I Served the King of England, like its hero, is surrounded by and infused with the potential for meaning but feels like a lark: a bit of nothing whistling past the graveyard of 20th century European history without a thing to do but indulge itself.
  84. It is a rewarding tale for public educators, parents, and kids with big dreams.
  85. Why remake Norman Jewison's staunchly cool 1968 heist film in such a lackadaisical, uninspired manner?
  86. It doesn't have the bite to be satire, the pratfalls to be broad comedy, or the wit to pass as a comedy of manners. What does that leave? The French cinematic equivalent of motivational coaching, and -- just like Pignon -- something spectacularly unspectacular.
  87. This is, disappointingly, a long way from being a Studio Ghibli classic. The essential plot may be archetypal, but it’s no "Kiki’s Delivery Service."
  88. Rather than providing a foil for Bill Murray in "Lost in Translation" or embodying the mostly silent model for the painter Vermeer in "The Girl With One Pearl Earring," Johansson actually has to emote prodigiously here, and she is just not up to the task.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Moore’s much-lauded performance of a person disappearing before our eyes is a heartbreaking thing to behold; it’s unfortunate that the film around her can't rise above the level of uninspired melodrama.
  89. With The Ice Storm, Lee seems to have emphasized the details of cultural accuracy over the rudiments of telling a gripping drama.
  90. Ultimately a mystery box that lacks a treasure at its core.
  91. Smashed may be better at preaching to the choir and is likely to find its largest audience among struggling 12-steppers.

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