Austin Chronicle's Scores

For 5,853 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 7.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 Winter's Bone
Lowest review score: 0 The Devil Inside
Score distribution:
5853 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
    • 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.
  3. While all of the performances in this movie are superb, Harris’ turn here is hands-down award-worthy.
  4. Although made in 1969, this French masterpiece is receiving its first stateside release with a new print struck for the occasion.
  5. 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.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    A curious filmgoing experience: Virtuosic, assured, and possessed of undeniable aesthetic force, it’s also hard not to turn away from.
  6. 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.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    All those seriously interested in foreign cinema are encouraged to take a look at this atmospheric drama -- sure to be remembered as one of the key achievements of the Hong Kong cinema in the 1990s.
  7. Ran
    One of the 10 best films ever made, period.
  8. Brutal yet elegant, 12 Years a Slave is a beautifully rendered punch to the gut about the most shameful chapter in American history.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Pixar's animation is simply flawless; colorful, deeply realized, and ably conveying both the chaos of the kitchen, and the sensual allure of food well prepared.
  12. Gravity is a major filmmaking accomplishment, no doubt, although it would have been interesting to see how it might have played sans dialogue. Unthinkable to Hollywood, sure, but still … Kowalski and Stone’s backstories and banter are, in the end, secondary to the film’s jaw-dropping visuals.
  13. Fiercely original in every respect.
  14. Beauty and the Beast, one of Disney's latest animated features is even better than The Little Mermaid. At the same time, it's vaguely disappointing.
  15. In Carol, all the elements dovetail perfectly to create a movie that is as irresistible as its title character.
  16. Blisteringly entertaining.
  17. Ideas and their visual illustrations come at the viewer in a cascading torrent. The editing by Alexandra Strauss deserves its own recognition for its painstaking exactness.
  18. It's a mistake to confuse Zero Dark Thirty for "truth" – that would be a disservice to the high level of craftsmanship, from first-billed actors to below-the-line production crew, at work in this movie fiction – but there is admirably little fat on its bones.
  19. The story winds its way over the material, forcing the characters and the viewers to constantly reassess everything they have seen and heard.
  20. This is Pixar's finest and most emotionally powerful film yet, and it draws on a wealth of cinematic resources that run the gamut from Chaplin's best to Buster Keaton, Jacques Tati, and even Martin and Lewis.
  21. 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.
  22. “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.
  23. 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.
  24. Angela Lansbury's frighteningly in-check performance is alone worth the trip.
  25. 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.
  26. There is little in the way of narrative eventfulness in the film, but Leigh luxuriates in the moments, and provides glimpses of what it takes to be an artist amid the fray.
  27. 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.
  28. Its audacity is entirely matched by its artistry.
  29. A smart and delightful romantic comedy, yet in the course of creating his new charmer Alexander Payne has sheared off some of the rambunctious edges that made his previous films, About Schmidt, Election, and Citizen Ruth, such marvelous studies in social parody.
  30. It’s odd and unfortunate, however, that The Return of the King just barely misses the eye-misting emotional wallop of the series’ previous installment, The Two Towers, which had a lyrical subtlety underpinning the vast vistas of growing chaos (and Christopher Lee hardly hurt matters) and hobbits-in-peril.
  31. The concept of loss, and the sorrow that shadows it, is not what you'd call an uncommon theme in films, but rarely is it handled with such uncommon eloquence as it is in Maborosi.
  32. Love means being helpmates throughout all of life's stages. Death is part of love's bargain, and Haneke lays this fact bare.
  33. A masterful synthesis of generic conventions and creative imagination, a sublime amalgam of some of the best tendencies and talent our times have to offer.
  34. This pleasantly rambling absurdist father/daughter drama is also one of the most strikingly unusual films of the year, period.
  35. Spotlight is a great newspaper movie, ranking up there with "All the President’s Men" and "Citizen Kane", and it’s certainly the best of its kind since "The Paper" in 1994, which also happened to star Michael Keaton.
  36. The movie's ending at the train station and the modern-day epilogue feel protracted and indulgent...Apart from the ending though, this is Spielberg's most articulate movie ever.
  37. Capturing the nuances of quotidian life may not be everyone's cup of tea.
  38. 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.
  39. Shot in winter grays with no warming ambers and the whiff of tuberculosis hanging around all the players, Inside Llewyn Davis is a chilly thing – a nominal comedy in brisk shivers.
  40. There Will Be Blood is not a movie that disappears quietly.
    • 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]
  41. Though Crumb is packed with information and telling details, the movie's objective is hardly art history or a survey of Crumb's place in the world of comics. The movie aims for broader subject matter, to discover something about the role art plays in the life of the artist, and about how the release of art may, indeed, allow the artist to function as a stable human being.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Could easily have tipped over into melodrama, but Schnabel is too much an artist to let that happen; he realizes that in order to make his hero truly substantial, and not just sympathetic, he has to present him as an ordinary man making the best of extraordinarily lousy circumstances. By doing so he’s created a character we not only marvel at but identify with.
  42. The keen observations of The Class ultimately become a remedial education in themselves.
    • 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.
  43. The film is a magnificent document of secular humanism.
  44. This is high fantasy of the best kind.
  45. Vladimir Putin’s Russia – brutal, carnivorous, delusional, but monstrously well-evolved for crushing both spirits and lives large and small – is taken to task in this excoriating portrait of the state’s omnivorous hunger for control in a far-flung northern fishing community on the Barents Sea.
  46. I laughed more (sincerely, full-throatedly) at Toy Story 3’s smart comedy than at any other film of the still-young summer movie slate.
  47. Harrowing and important documentary.
  48. Director Keith Maitland’s film is one of the finest documentaries ever made, and it’s also one of the most unusual.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Fall into the rhythm of Rohmer’s beats, and you will hear the sound of humanity wrestling with everything that matters.
  49. The perfect antidote to the summer heat in Austin, more refreshing even than a dip in our chilly holy waters of Barton Springs.
  50. Contemplative, though riddled with humor, After Life reveals itself gradually.
  51. One of the sharpest prison dramas ever, although it's graced with some very humorous portions as well.
  52. The story is bizarre, unique, and thoroughly unpredictable, while its images resemble some kind of bastard offspring of the linear realism of George Grosz and the fantastic foreboding of Edward Gorey.
  53. The Queen is palace intrigue at its finest.
  54. 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)
  55. As with her other films, when Sarah Polley takes it upon herself to tell us a story, you can bet it’s a tale well-told and one that you’ll want to hear.
  56. A stunning work of beauty, mystery, contemplation, and grit -- and like sands through the desert hourglass, these are the days of our lives.
  57. 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.
  58. Secrets & Lies, despite my dwelling on its problems, is a really solid and enjoyable movie. It's just not what I would call "best of the fest."
  59. The adaptation by Joel and Ethan Coen (both co-credited as writer and director) of McCarthy's as-if-written-for-the-screen No Country for Old Men becomes a marvelous meld of narrative faithfulness and pre-established sensibilities.
  60. Ida
    There’s a definite austerity to the storytelling, which is enhanced by the crisp black-and-white cinematography by Łukasz Żal and Ryszard Lenczewski.
  61. Only Yesterday is a little-seen gem in the crown of Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli.
  62. 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.
  63. Winter's Bone never hits a false note.
  64. Remarkably, the film is composed entirely of point-of-view shots. Although she’s in the room, Viviane is not even part of the image during the early minutes of the film.
  65. Full of period locations, costumes, and one very clever Lana Turner gag, it's easy to see why Ellroy is so pleased with the film.
  66. Such gorgeous explosions, such a terrible vision, such an amazing work of art. Go. Now.
  67. A triumph in anguish.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. I can think of no other movie that has dared to analyze grief and its aftermath with such naked honesty and precision.
  71. Pixar's Finding Nemo may well have the best casting of any animated film of the past 30-odd years.
  72. Wildly entertaining, "Shakespeare in Love" minus the Bard and the babe, but with substantive style to burn.
  73. A wildly inventive, unrelenting thrill that amazes us with its visual and intellectual treats and dazzles us with its ongoing ingenuity.
  74. Although the characters and their backstories are carefully thought out, Delpy and Hawke deliver their dialogue as if spontaneous and unmeditated.
  75. An order-of-magnitude leap forward in animated storytelling.
  76. A Prophet is the kind of film that makes you remember why going to the movies can be a thrilling experience.
  77. Crowe has created a genuine love song for all those who've ever felt their lives to have been saved by rock & roll.
  78. Remarkably fresh and exciting.
  79. It isn't about where you get, but how you get there -- and the getting there is a chewy delight.
  80. 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.
  81. 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!
  82. It's unusually provocative and challenging for a Hollywood movie and, surprisingly, allows the audience to piece things together without too much external direction.
  83. 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.
  84. It’s a juicy role for any actress, but Lawrence takes it two or three steps further than anyone else who comes to mind could. She’s a true original, a rara avis with beautiful plumage.
  85. Not only is it a film about a poet, Paterson transcends its story to become a work of poetry itself.
  86. Though you might have a hard time discussing some of the film’s verbal descriptions of torture with young ones, Persepolis will prove a worthwhile movie for thoughtful teens.
  87. It comes as little surprise that Errol Morris and Werner Herzog, both masters of sly documentaries in which the subjects nail themselves with their own words, are the executive producers of Oppenheimer’s film.
  88. A lovely, quietly thrilling thing.
  89. A third-act revelation will knock viewers silly and cause them to reevaluate everything that’s come before, but even without that jaw-dropping information, Moss’ film is a righteous piece of empathetic, of-the-moment documentary filmmaking.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Like all great screen performances, Mühe's magic comes out most in its tiniest moments: a raised eyebrow here, a slight upturn of the lips there. It's a triumph of muted grandeur; it's like watching someone being born.
  90. I don't know if the many plot swerves withstand a second viewing, but I suspect the meat of the matter – the swooning visuals, the expert choreography, the teasing love story – does.
  91. Columbus avoids a sense of film geekiness by keeping our attention on the plights of the two central characters. The city of Columbus may, indeed, be a locus for modernism, but the film named after it becomes a jumping-off point for postmodernism.
  92. Hauntingly beautiful film.

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