Austin Chronicle's Scores

For 5,687 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 Boys Don't Cry
Lowest review score: 0 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Score distribution:
5687 movie reviews
  1. It’s all veddy stiff-upper-lip -– this is romance from a masochist’s point of view -– and the intimacy of the emotions often feels cramped.
  2. Call it humanism, call it advocacy, call it old-fashioned entertainment – there’s little difference in the end. Whatever you call it, Spare Parts stands and delivers on its own intriguing merits.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The story is littered with simplistic character arcs, obvious metaphors (the title comes from a swimming class), and big decisions involving the importance of work over family.
  3. For better or worse (and I'd argue the latter), the aliens are as monolithically evil, unformed, and un-individuated as characters as Native Americans once were in the earliest of Westerns.
  4. Always an intriguing (though sometimes unpolished) actress, Basinger has softened the rough edges over the years to become an extremely watchable performer who deserves better roles than those in which she appears onscreen.
  5. Given a choice between the puerile but essentially innocent whimsy of Dr. Dolittle and the dimwitted nastiness of, say, "Dirty Work," parents should be grateful for the Eddie Murphys and Jim Carreys of the world for at least providing a kinder, gentler option.
  6. Heijningen's The Thing is tightly paced, has enough imaginative horror to satisfy even the most jaded gorehound, and never strays too far from its source, so why do you come away from it feeling like it was the runner-up in a daylight nightmare festival?
  7. Pleasant but pedestrian.
  8. Although the film never fully convinces us of its characters’ cold, pain, and desperation, their brotherly sparring keeps the story interesting.
  9. The film reunites Carell with his "Little Miss Sunshine" co-star Arkin, who, as always, delivers the goods, as do most of the other supporting players. Too long by at least 15-20 minutes, Get Smart is nevertheless a giggly summer movie.
  10. Hereafter is a consistently identifiable Clint Eastwood movie only in the sense that the prolific filmmaker shows that he still has the ability to confound our expectations of him.
  11. Never finding its right tone, Admission uncomfortably founders between the story’s comic and dramatic aspects and leaves behind a lumpy residue that tars its likable leads.
  12. Cars 2 makes for a decent play date but is not an especially good movie.
  13. It never really rollicks like a good political satire.
    • 11 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Persecuted is a profoundly conservative, Christian ideological take, guised as a classic Seventies paranoid thriller. Certainly unique, this is another targeted release, specifically aimed at groups sharing its beliefs.
  14. The movie doesn't quite add up beyond its performances.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    At its best, Roscoe Jenkins is about the crushing influence of the past and one man’s attempts to free himself – by hook, crook, or Hollywood – from underneath it. At its worst, however, the movie is content to just explore the apparently infinite comic potential of dogs having sex, people getting sprayed by skunks, and men getting beaten up by overweight women.
  15. For most of the film, Bateman, the director, manages to bring out the two principals’ anguish without resorting to sentimentality, until the unsatisfying last quarter of the film.
  16. Perfectly passable film.
  17. Intends to be a farce, not a drama. The film never quite achieves either definition.
  18. Yet, the problem goes beyond the film's staginess (although there's plenty of that to go around). It could even have something to do with the delicate difficulties involved in the successful transfer of stage camp to the more intimate level of film.
  19. Director Caton-Jones ("Scandal", "Memphis Belle") once again shows his flair for period detail though he never here exerts his grip on the human drama.
  20. Never fully taps your empathy or your fears; it plays like a movie that's always about someone else.
  21. Uses a wraparound story to provide a hint of Glass’ deep-seated pathology, but allows no details about how it came into being.
  22. In the sea of mediocrity that passes for children's films these days, Mr. Popper's Penguins has enough originality (and silly physical comedy) to make it stand out.
  23. Pacing problems and shallow psychological inquiries plague this film almost as much as the overworked metaphor that supplies the film's title.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Unfortunately, Snitch is torn between being an ideological drama and a more traditional action film – and Johnson’s presence only contributes to the confusion.
  24. Newcomers should be advised that this is not an introductory course.
  25. Despite good performances all around, particularly the ever-brilliant Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a gilded ornament, speculative and uninterested in much besides this queen's matters of heart.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    I couldn't help feeling that The International was stuck in second gear, like it couldn't decide whether to be fun or meaningful and so settled for being neither.
  26. If the movie isn’t so fabulous, should die-hard fans who can quote the show by heart see it? Absolutely. (The gays are sure to love it.)
  27. Has a heart bursting with good intentions, something that goes a long way in dimming from memory its inherent routineness.
  28. The film’s historical pageantry is fascinating to observe, even though the story is mostly conjecture. Competently directed, the real pleasure in this high-grossing South Korean film lies in its performances, which lighten the regal solemnity with comic warmth.
  29. It’s perhaps surprising that there aren’t more Linklater documentaries out there, considering how substantial, influential, and plain f---ing brilliant his body of work is. In the meantime, 21 Years will have to do.
  30. The movie's simplistic storyline does not match its stunning visual accomplishments: Pleasantville's story is drawn from a palette that's strictly limited to black-and-white.
  31. For all its kiss kiss, bang bang, Haywire ends up feeling as hollow as the points on Mallory Kane's 9mm ammo.
  32. Once you get past the admittedly breathtaking shots of our national landmarks being turned into kindling, the rest of the film is a tired and empty two hours of feel-good patriotism and oddly cast characters.
  33. Once the film gets cooking, the questions never stop. For instance: When you find the dead body of someone you love, isn’t your first call to the cops?
  34. Vaughn did a cracking good caper film with a pre-007 Daniel Craig called "Layer Cake" six years ago, but Kick-Ass has little of that film's heady panache and instead batters you about the face and neck with wildly over-the-top fountains of gore, bone-cracking slow-motion, and, yes, Cage, who dials his acting down a few notches from the kicky Herzogian mindf---ery of "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans."
  35. 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."
  36. 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.
  37. Despite the sheer gorgeousness, it ends up feeling false and, towards the end, rushed.
  38. Lost River is a film whose reputation precedes it. Viewers have decried it as a mess or lauded it as an artistic achievement ever since it premiered at Cannes 11 months ago. Ultimately, the film is really neither. Yes, Gosling’s ambition exceeds his accomplishment, but what he’s delivered is hardly a disaster.
  39. Cesar Chavez, though respectful and illuminating, never rises to the inspirational level of its titular subject.
  40. Thanks to this relentlessly likable film's playful sexuality and utter lack of pretension it's surprisingly easy to let all of one's objections float away on a fragrant cloud of kitchen sweat, pheromones, and sweet lime zest.
  41. Relax, sit tight, and enjoy the ride.
  42. Without a doubt, the animation is vibrant and electrifying; it's only the story that lacks.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Regardless of one’s personal beliefs, it’s tough to respect a movie that ultimately invites viewers to question every case of propaganda except its own.
  43. Moves with the stately speed of most Merchant/Ivory productions, which is to say too damn slow, but the film is snatched from the jaws of tedium by Doyle's resplendently lush camerawork and Fiennes and Richardson's spot-on performances.
  44. The story's accumulation of scattered impressions is exactly what bedevils the film's overall impact. The story lacks focus, sustained development, and direction.
  45. The real tension of the piece lies in the sound design, with its layering of heavy breaths, inexplicably compromised frequencies, and invasive thwackings of no known origin to the ship hull.
  46. Outbreak has the feel of a movie written by a committee of writers -- it's totally lacking in personality.
  47. This Godzilla is lacking both the awesome spirit of the original and the sublime silliness of the more recent Toho outings.
  48. An actor most at home playing devilish, Keaton’s got the last-reel Machiavellian shrug down cold. But neither he nor the filmmakers do much to illuminate the neural pistons fired from brain to bodily shrug.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Yes Man proves utterly formulaic.
  49. The movie's storyline is not always perfectly clear, seemingly falling into the same murky “grey zone” as everything else.
  50. As far as animated flicks go, Clifford's Really Big Movie is third-string Disney, but don't tell that to the kids.
  51. A climactic speech on the lessons Western democracy might learn from Middle Eastern despotism offers a few moments of pure brilliance. I'd say that speech is worth the price of admission if it didn't also illustrate exactly what the film is missing: barbs that aim for the comedic bull's-eye.
  52. Stunning camera shots by ace Michael Ballhaus are lovely to look at, and the performances are all excellent.
  53. A middling urban thriller that's one part "Rear Window" and three parts "Seven."
  54. For a film that's ostensibly about modern American society's love affair with addictive behavior – sex, drugs, rock & roll – its bark is much worse than its bite.
  55. Often seen in his crummy underwear, and almost always with a cigarette and drink in hand, McConaughey brings a knowing fleshiness to the character. Yet the film’s uneven tone leaves us with lasting uncertainty about his character and the events we have witnessed.
  56. Deli Man needs more meat on its rye.
  57. 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.
  58. The cast is an impossibly beautiful bunch of actors who could hold your attention even if they spoke nothing but gibberish, which sometimes is the case in the pillow-talk dialogue provided by director/screenwriter Chick.
  59. It's a comic book movie in the broadest sense of the term, and although it's neither as emotionally resonant as "The Crow" nor as surreally goofy as "Tank Girl," Barb Wire still manages to get you going, Anderson Lee fan or not.
  60. This new movie is a trifle, a listless excursion into the luxurious problems of rich, white people.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Roland Emmerich hasn't bettered us as a culture with Stargate, but he hasn't corrupted us, either.
  61. This movie has precious little satirical edge. What is needs is more emphasis on the "vanity" and less on the "fair."
  62. Hopelessly old-fashioned then, but not the aggressively bad picture you might have anticipated.
  63. Silent Hill's main attraction, for genre fans, certainly, lies not in its plot nor in its characters (you could place anyone in this particular township and whatever might happen, you could be sure it'd be unnerving), but in its relentlessly nightmarish imagery.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The most frustrating films are the ones that reach desperately for something great, but fall just short of capturing it. In his dark and twisted narrative debut, The King, British director James Marsh's reach extends so far we can hear his muscles strain, yet what he's reaching for is never quite clear.
  64. Deschanel, as the token oddball of the gang, runs off with the movie.
  65. 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.
  66. This is the kind of scrappy Seventies-throwback B-movie that fits the bill when you desperately need to see regular-seeming, occasionally inept people rise up against our corrupt criminal oppressors and cudgel them with pool cues and bits of blasted-off brick.
  67. It is a harmless and occasionally hilarious pop comedy good for a few bargain yuks.
  68. The first 15-20 minutes of this documentary are solid gold.
  69. An article of faith for girls who just wanna have fun; only problem is that the movie doesn't go all the way.
  70. Garner hasn't come across as amusing as she is here in quite some time. Despite many funny bits, Butter also, at times, seems to excoriate the blinkered Midwesterners in the flyover states.
  71. Watchmen is worth seeing, fan or no, for Haley's squirmy presence alone, and all the other characters are also well-served.
  72. Though remaining sweet and tasty, Efron, in his first non-singing and dancing feature film proves he has an agreeable and kinetic screen presence, although his ability to convince us he's truly a 37-year-old encased in a 17-year-old's body is dramatically dubious.
  73. Palmetto follows the rules of film noir so slavishly that it's tough not to like it just on its own dopey, headstrong merit.
  74. It's definitely not hard to understand what the little girls see in Bieber, and this film delivers the goods. This one's for the fans, not the movie buffs.
  75. Despite its overly familiar ring and lack of genuine suspense, there are nice touches that can be found throughout The Infiltrator. Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer), however, hasn’t the stylistic chops to turn this from a routine movie into a memorable thriller.
  76. Even this sequel, released 20 years after the original, had to up the number of poop jokes from the first film’s doozies in order to keep up with public taste.
  77. Who doesn't love an animated, anthropomorphized-chimpanzee-starring, sci-fi romantic comedy?
  78. Gilroy zings the film with tantalizing bits of absurdity (one wonders, wistfully, what the Coen brothers would have done with this material), but too often he returns to his darker, more ponderous instincts.
  79. The film seems overlong and drawn out, with variations on the same joke occurring throughout. Although the performances are good, the nostalgia for the past seems quaint in the new "have it your way" Burger King world.
  80. It’s a frequently riveting gambit, and the actors give it their all. However, the mood and the stylized camerawork make the proceedings too arch to completely succeed.
  81. Ultimately a creepy tale.
  82. The film feels like a collection of sketches instead of a mad, three-day, drug-and-sex-infused whirl.
  83. It's fun enough on its own relatively low-budget merits, but it's really nothing to die – or kill – for.
  84. To its credit, the film doesn’t linger unnecessarily over the horrors, and quickly turns into a police procedural. As the FBI takes over the investigation from the local authorities and sets up a command center, the details of this process are fascinating to observe.
  85. If the jingoism that permeates the latter half of The Kingdom does not sufficiently sour the experience of watching it, then the film's closing sentiments about the eternality of vengeance will surely do the trick.
  86. Until Hollywood stops being a boys club, and America graduates beyond short pants and its embarrassingly pubescent attitudes toward sex, I suppose one can only hope that all male adolescent fantasies will play as goofily sweet as this one.
  87. There's an amiability that permeates the movie and carries it through most of the rough patches and split ends.
  88. What Sayles gives us is a jumble of ideas and stunning performances that never coalesce into a satisfying movie.
  89. It’s all in good fun, and critic-proof to boot, but Jurassic World doesn’t even come close to that most intimate and dearly coveted “Gosh, wow” sense-of-wonder that the original film mustered so easily. Roar more, bite less.
  90. This is a guy who marched to the beat of his own drum, even one that’s got two spoked wheels and some handlebars.
  91. I suppose when you make a movie, however tangentially, about Viagra, you're required to insert at least one scene of its side effects, but the broadness with which Zwick plays it out is like a stake to the heart of the film's hard-earned but fast-lost authenticity.

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