Austin Chronicle's Scores

For 4,932 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 7.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 54
Highest review score: 100 There Will Be Blood
Lowest review score: 0 Date Movie
Score distribution:
4,932 movie reviews
  1. When Eastwood is at the top of his form -- as he is for much of this film -- there's no more spellbinding storyteller in American cinema.
  2. A work that shellacs itself into your consciousness.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    A wacky joyride.
  3. What's fascinating is the depth of humanity Cruise finds within the character of Jerry and also Cruise's generosity toward the other actors in the story -- a generosity that allows all the other performers to shine and create vivid and memorable characters.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    Actor-screenwriter Favreau and director Liman demonstrate with Swingers that they're definitely "money."
  4. The strangest biographical film ever made is also one of the most charming, melancholy and quirkily humorous films of the year.
  5. It's easy enough to forget there are special effects involved, so convincing is Stu's rippling fur and big beamy eyes filling up with tears.
  6. Writer/director Lonergan succeeds at capturing eloquently the disappointments of growing up and growing old. But he isn't always successful at reining in the schmaltz.
  7. What it lacks in charm, it compensates for with audacity and single-mindedness of vision.
  8. Although a few bits (the film is done in blackout sketch style) fall flat and a good ten minutes could be shaved off the running time with no visible damage, it's an impressive and irascible debut that rings true even when you're laughing too hard to hear it.
  9. Faultlessly truthful in its observations.
  10. A very nasty piece of work, indeed.
  11. The performances in this costume drama are wonderful.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    A carefully constructed thriller whose clever dialogue keeps pace with its fascinating lead actress.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    With lyrical beauty and memorable performances, The Postman articulates many feelings that seem to defy explanation.
  12. Gorgeously lensed and delightfully structured, however, this is, in a word, wonderful.
  13. If this is Scorsese's bid for the commercial big time, then let the cash registers ring.
  14. A valentine to the happenstance miracle of lovers and other strangers, a movie that regards modern romance as something that is, ultimately, old-fashioned to its core.
  15. A pleasant, often beautiful, and surprisingly light-hearted film that affirms the human traits of resilience and intelligence while clearly denouncing the bellicose tendencies of nations and factions.
  16. The spirited interplay between Goodman and Crystal is both wacky and, dare I say, charming.
  17. The terrific ensemble acting and Troche’s genuine, nonjudgmental interest in exploring the weird places wounded people go, both internally and externally, amount to an insulated but moving portrait of the real nuclear family.
  18. Commands respect as mainstream filmmaking with more of an agenda than just pimping cinematic junk food to the brain-dead masses.
  19. The magnificence of the film's pieces does not quite add up to a satisfying whole.
  20. Smith's film is a celebration of quirkiness, eccentricity, and certain individuals' tendency to let it all hang out, and damn the consequences.
  21. Far and away the most original thriller to come out of a major studio (in this case Columbia Pictures) in a long while.
  22. You’ve heard of guerrilla warfare? Buffalo Soldiers is all about guerilla capitalism.
  23. Sollett’s first feature is a small, but indelible picture, one that approaches the most universal of themes -– first love, confused hormones, parental clashes -– with originality.
  24. A tour de force of modern cinema.
  25. The film is sufficiently methodical and well-researched to walk the walk behind its controversial premise. More to the point, it's terribly involving, intriguing enough to hook documentary-shy viewers.
  26. Ill-suited to casual viewing. But its challenges are worthwhile, and the gifted Gleize is one to watch.
  27. Skateboarding is not a crime, but the subject of this exhaustive documentary... is very much a criminal.
  28. Although little is ultimately “solved” or demystified in The Piano Teacher, the movie allows a chaperoned peek into the mind of one of civilization's “discontents.”
  29. To paraphrase Nathan McCall, this film makes you wanna holler.
  30. Rarely have I seen a film so willing to champion the fallibility of the human heart.
  31. A fine, near-seamless film that finally suffers slightly from an inability to wrap up its tale.
  32. The overall tone of this rocket-paced updating is exhilaratingly giddy, making it by far Disney’s best animated film since "Mulan."
    • 52 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    A relentlessly good-humored, life-affirming film.
  33. All of the major players turn in powerhouse performances, and Fishburne nails his best role yet as Furious.
  34. A triumph of style over logic. Although this is not necessarily a good thing, it works spectacularly in this instance.
  35. It's all patently ridiculous, but it's also ridiculously fun.
  36. A kicky, knockout thriller that ingeniously taps into the current climate of paranoia surrounding personal privacy in the Information Age.
  37. The pictures are gorgeous, and the words, well, if you listen hard enough, the words say exactly what one needs to hear: that is, to wake up and live.
  38. As uncomfortable as it is to have your nose shoved in this nightmare, its unforgettable in its violent lyricism and the bloody power of its message.
  39. Together's portrait of its social moment is right-on.
  40. Sublimely ridiculous film.
  41. A touching (and at times horrific) -- albeit overlong -- Christ allegory, that scores not so much on the strength of its convictions as it does on the truly remarkable performances it elicits from the cast.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    It's a thumping good adventure.
  42. Absolutely delightful filmmaking, chock-full of gorgeously goofy animation and a storyline that cleverly echoes everything from "Stalag 17" to "Cool Hand Luke."
  43. It's the best-looking film of the year, hands down, and Thornton is dazzling, a dull diamond in the gutter rough.
  44. Lyne's excesses are usually the kind of thing I love to hate, but Unfaithful found me pretty much following along in step with his rhythms and dramatic choices.
  45. Despite this film's narrative lapses, Malick has a unique way of distilling the poetry from the commonplace -- and for that precious gift we should say amen.
  46. Trekkies is a hilarious work, mining the psychology of the average and not-so-average Trek fan, and coming up with the answers to all your burning questions about the show and its devoted following.
  47. Much to cheer here, from its treasure trove of early and alternate versions of songs to the triumphant finale.
    • Austin Chronicle
  48. Not only the best date movie of the year, it's also a -- dare I say it twice -- delightfully charming -- and totally American, I might add -- slice of comedic bliss.
  49. Remarkable debut feature by New Yorker Ben Younger.
  50. Ramsay is experimental, unconventional, and forever reaching at the gorgeousness in grief and despair. Her film moves slow as molasses, slow as paint drying -– and all the better to see the colors and the complexities.
  51. Most important, Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary makes us wonder, in a very human sense, about the various blinders we all adopt to make our peace with life.
  52. It's all fab, baby, a kicky, wiggy sequel that scores on all levels, from the sexy to the sublime.
  53. Burrus has a face that does all the talking for him -- deep creases, sad eyes, and a gray hue that hangs over him like a rain cloud. It's a remarkable performance.
  54. Succeeds as a moody, evocative, and pleasing film, one that underscores its indie roots in sentiment as well as style
  55. Even though the storyline of Real Women Have Curves is a somewhat familiar tale, the film's originality lies in the way in which it's told.
  56. Abundant arthouse crowd appeal.
  57. Too much is tossed into the ring and the last hour becomes a frantic swell of emotions and ideas, not all of which are exactly on point.
  58. A razor-wire-taut (and extremely violent) exploration of what happens when good guys go bad, badder, baddest.
  59. The storyline is something of a hodge-podge but what the narrative lacks in honing and straight-ahead storytelling it more than makes up for with well-aimed barbs and acutely focused observations...this funny, funny satire gets us where we live.
  60. This single film beats every other Hollywood action film of the past five years, hands down. It's not even close. Welcome back, Mr. Tsui.
  61. The rush subsides, however, the minute the movie ends, and leaves the viewer with the faint aftertaste of a processed sugar high.
  62. The less said about The Ring, the better for you, the sooner-to-be-freaked-out.
  63. It smarts, and shocks, and just for a moment blows your mind.
  64. This is joyful filmmaking, imbued with an infectious, giddy enthusiasm.
  65. Like the doomed vessel from which it takes its tale, Cameron's film is a behemoth, svelte, streamlined, and not the least bit ponderous.
  66. A simply flat-out fun film.
  67. These scenes of debauchery and lust that make up the film's centerpiece are among some of the most powerful and disturbing ever put to film.
  68. It isn't about where you get, but how you get there -- and the getting there is a chewy delight.
  69. It's a kick, it's a gas, and it gives the Rat Pack itself a run for its money.
  70. The film's politically correct repudiation of the familiar black-and-white characterizations of the white and red man is ultimately undermined, however, when the pendulum swings too far in the other direction.
  71. Unlike anything you've ever seen before, Final Fantasy is, finally, one for the history books, and tremendous fun to boot. It makes Lara Croft look like an old maid.
  72. Leaves you scratching your head a bit, wondering what just happened, and worrying if maybe it could happen to you too.
  73. The situation is not too far removed from that of Jayson Blair and The New York Times. The corporate oversight in place to catch deceptions is lulled into becoming part of the deception. Mahowny wanders through this film as if waiting to get caught, forced into deeper gambling debt because no one applies any brakes.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    In a finely realized and multi-layered first film, writer-director Peter Howitt treats us to a clever and urbane exploration of the monumental repercussions of tiny twists of fate.
  74. A smart, funny, and youth-savvy relationship film.
  75. Its doomed portrait of guileless dreamers may be found lacking in plot activity and empathetic characters. But for anyone interested in a movie that wipes clean the grungy patina of self-delusionment, Jackpot hits solid pay dirt.
  76. Helgeland's film positively seethes with bad vibrations; it's kicky, nasty urban sangfroid with pointy little teeth and a serious case of the angries, an existential hand grenade disguised as a heist film.
  77. For once, the Coen brothers' neurotic filmmaking style works to their advantage; it's giddily appropriate for a movie about a man who's losing his mind.
  78. Should be required viewing for prospective parents still sitting on the spermatazoan fence; after all, you're going to need a good sense of humor, aren't you?
  79. There's more at work in this gorgeous and affecting picture than simple culinary sex appeal.
  80. The "Citizen Kane" of Oedipal zombie-cannibal-right to death-comedy-love stories... So gleefully over-the-top that it's decidedly hard not to gag while you're laughing yourself incontinent... Sick. Perverse. Brilliant.
  81. The film's greatest strength undeniably lies in Gosling's revelatory portrayal of Danny.
  82. Good, clean fun, with none of the icky aftertaste so common to “family friendly” ware, Drumline proves irresistible in more ways than one.
  83. If, at times, Shine's luster reveals more elbow grease than internal radiance, the movie is still a moving tribute to the human capacity to overcome all odds.
  84. If the film had allowed them to fall in love in real time, instead of to the drumbeat of history, their relationship would seem immeasurably more nuanced.
  85. An amazing, bracing, funny, audacious, tender, and sobering piece of filmmaking. Few movies have ever dared to be this remorseless in their portraits of addiction.
  86. It's not the crowning achievement in Steven Spielberg's oeuvre, but Minority Report stands on its own sturdy sci-fi legs, and there's no sign of that little imp Haley Joel Osment, to boot, thankfully.
  87. Like its protagonist, it never hands you explanations on a silver platter, and it makes you think a bit, something far too few thrillers do these days.
  88. Although Nicholas Nickleby occasionally evidences a simplicity that resembles a Junior Scholastic production, the movie's enthusiasm is contagious.
  89. There's a deep, bone-weary melancholy to the proceedings, offset by the mad parties and vicious displays of machismo.
  90. In short, the actors deserve a big round of applause -– especially Affleck, for finally wiping the smug look off of his face (OK, 80% smug-free); Garner, for her dead sexy mix of attitude and adrenaline; and the grunting, googly-eyed Farrell, for … well, for being "fookin’" nuts, I guess.
  91. The story is much less about its resolution than the experience along the way. At its best, Central Station is a movie of small textures and fleeting moments, the intangibles that pass between people.
  92. Pi
    Brilliant, surreal, and emotionally draining, this first feature from American Film Institute grad Aronofsky recalls such low-budget sci-fi epics as "Tetsuo: The Iron Man" and more traditional paranoiac suspense films (Adrian Lyne's "Jacob's Ladder" in particular, but also Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby") and yet manages to be a wholly original animal.
  93. Haunts the memory long after you've left the theatre.

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