Chicago Reader's Scores

  • Movies
For 4,911 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 56% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 Tristana (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 The Heartbreak Kid
Score distribution:
4,911 movie reviews
  1. Like the painter, it's painstakingly serious about what it's up to.
  2. Effective portrait of an independent woman with a troubled and unstable sense of herself.
  3. Fair amount of grit and charm.
  4. A sense of authenticity overshadows any contrivance in this subtly classic drama.
  5. The wavering style and tone fragment the movie, undermining both characters' development, though each retains her power as a symbol.
  6. Persuasive stylized drama.
  7. While Milani lacks an overall cinematic vision, she skillfully uses composition and camera movement to underline emotions in each scene.
  8. The plot turns on the complicated lives of the daughters, who are played by Sabine Azema, Emmanuelle Beart, and Charlotte Gainsbourg; they, Fabian, and Rich are the main reasons for seeing this picture.
  9. Many of the plot points seem belabored because they're introduced in the voice-over, then ploddingly dramatized, then analyzed by the family over meals.
  10. Favreau, who also plays the long-suffering Bobby, mixes elements of drama into this appropriately annoying comedy.
  11. A fleet, enjoyable Jackie Chan romp.
  12. This movie really belongs to Baye and Lopez, both so skillful that they almost make you forget that what you're watching is close to a stunt--one oddly evocative of Graham Greene in its doomed romanticism but at times also minimalist to a fault.
  13. An impressive piece of filmmaking, with lively and suggestive depictions of pre- and postrevolutionary Cuba (shot in Mexico).
  14. Hence the fascination of Faithless: the tension between the script's dour puritanism--the craving of suffering, the wallowing in abstract guilt--and the earthy plenitude and innate sensuality of Ullmann's austere compositions.
  15. The luminous images--as much the filmmakers' as the painter's--are occasionally transcendent.
  16. The characters--their motives at once obvious and obscure--are almost painfully fascinating.
  17. As an interweave of crosscut miniplots, this isn't nearly as interesting or as pleasurable as Jeremy Podeswa's recent "The Five Senses."
  18. Kids used to watching him on TV might find it all perfectly normal, but for adults it's almost an acid trip.
  19. Kempner's lighthearted yet not apolitical collage conveys how Greenberg's success as an athlete in the 30s and 40s contradicted an ethnic stereotype.
  20. The characters have been designed to make fun of themselves, disguising the craft of writer Neil Cuthbert and director Kinka Usher in getting us to laugh at them.
  21. Gordon is so visually and stylistically inventive and the actors are so skillful that you aren't likely to lose interest.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The shocking, ambiguous ending might have been better served by the film's original, ambiguous title, "To My Sister."
  22. I couldn't always keep up with what was happening, but I was never bored, and the questions raised reflect the mysteries of everyday life.
  23. Affecting and offbeat.
  24. Shiva's voice-over narration and the commentary from academics (all in English) are spiked with gender-studies jargon but illuminate the history of this peculiar underclass, over 1.3 million strong, which is beginning to gather political power.
  25. Despite the familiar story, both kids are three-dimensional characters, and first-time director Patel embraces their generational dilemmas with feeling and wit.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Though complicated, the plot has an interesting payoff, the slow burn of an understated but surprisingly erotic love story that crisscrosses 40 years.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    This earnestly charming black comedy, written and directed by Korean-born Wonsuk Chin, posits several interesting metaphysical questions that offset the occasionally pretentious and ironic tone.
  26. The period ambience (call it funk) is irresistible, but the main points of interest here are sociological rather than musical.
  27. The behind-the-scenes revelations are thoroughly convincing.
  28. Tom Courtenay is quite good in the title role, and Julie Christie makes a memorable early appearance .
  29. It's also about pain, which both tempers and complicates the eroticism.
  30. Morrow and his collaborators so clearly believe in this project that I was carried along, often charmed and never bored.
  31. The least characteristic movie Jean-Pierre Melville ever made. It replaces his sternly fatalistic philosophizing with a benign, genuinely comic spirit, and his rigidly classical style yields to a pleasant informality.
  32. A highly enjoyable and offbeat thriller.
  33. Deftly realist character study.
  34. At once self-conscious and generic, this smart monster movie about smart monsters -- supersharks cleverer than the scientist who created them -- repeatedly lulls you into thinking it's paint by numbers.
  35. A wizard at manipulating time, Kitano introduces staccato elements that interrupt the meditative pace even as they help set it.
  36. The bitterly beautiful black-and-white industrial and residential landscapes reflect the sense of anonymity felt by the characters.
  37. A fascinating and entertaining piece of work.
  38. A sparing use of exterior shots during the mesmerizing buildup to the match heightens their impact, while invasively tight close-ups put the actors to the test.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    An amiable black comedy.
  39. This kind of filmmaking is riddled with so-called errors, but these mistakes are indistinguishable from the uncommon rewards.
  40. The last and best of his "Tales of the Four Seasons."
  41. As long as Miller simply crosscuts between the machinations of the three mothers, the sociological and psychological parallels are intriguing, but when they're forced to share the same story line, the contrivances and coincidences begin to seem fussily elaborate.
  42. Until the ghost story takes over this is a tense and absorbing war picture.
  43. Most of what transpires is low-key, affectionate comedy and a fair amount of fun.
  44. [Farrellys'] great achievement is forcing those of us addicted to eye candy to see we have a problem.
  45. A pretty good job of zipping things along and occasionally scaring us, and the digital effects are fun.
  46. The sheer neurotic intensity of Techine's characters--characteristically stretching both backward and forward in time, as in a Faulkner novel--holds one throughout, as does Techine's masterful direction and many of the other performances.
  47. Neither the characters nor the events are exactly the same as those of the novel, but some of the same spirit comes across.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Tavernier gives the children vivid, sharply delineated voices; working with a largely nonprofessional cast, he strips bare the characters' frailty but grants them a decency and honesty that redeems them despite the mounting hardships and tragedies.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Retained my interest and sympathy -- at least until the nonsensical ending,
  48. Screenwriters Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne stick to Clancy's sure-fire formula -- building tension from the political infighting behind a worsening crisis.
  49. At its best when it’s least overtly allegorical--and fortunately that’s most of the time.
  50. Movies about the trajectory from outsider to insider in LA social and professional circles--the two always seem inextricably linked--are a dime a dozen, but this one is fresh, thanks to a script by lead actor Jon Favreau that lets us know Mike knows he resembles a character in a movie even if he doesn't know he is one.
  51. Simultaneously quite watchable and passionless.
  52. You won't come out of it indifferent, and even if it winds up enraging you (I could have done without most of the ending myself), it nonetheless commands attention.
  53. Unlike the many youth movies that can't overcome their makers' hindsight, this one may actually put you in an adolescent frame of mind.
  54. It's beautifully cast and filmed (cinematography by the matchless Robby Muller) and often quite moving, despite the fact that most of the characters are never developed much beyond mythic or parodic prototypes.
  55. The landscapes--which come close to outshining the worthy actors in the opening and closing stretches--are beautiful, and the plot, which is basically a grim coming-of-age story, holds one's interest throughout.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The film is fairly formulaic, though some of its puns and wisecracks are hilarious, especially those delivered by the Littles' lazy and cynical Persian cat (Nathan Lane).
    • 43 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Engrossing if standard-issue prison drama.
  56. Intending to study the degree to which social class would determine the subjects' destinies, the series actually documents something more filmable--the degree to which the subjects believed social class would determine their destinies and the degree to which they believe it has.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    I'm rather intrigued with what Mann does with his stylistic envelope: it's simultaneously hypnotic and enervating, meditative and empty, like a white-noise background or a field of electronic snow on the tube.
  57. Actually I quite enjoyed the film -- but how do I get rid of this awful discharge?
  58. As a ditz who's just smart enough to know something isn't right, Lyonne blends hyperbole and sincerity in perfect proportions.
  59. Enjoyable action comedy from the Clint Eastwood mold, though the comic elements are more fun than the action.
  60. It's the romantic sparring with Catherine Zeta-Jones as another glamorous thief -- not the unsuspenseful heists -- that makes this silly thriller lightly bearable.
  61. Loads of fun even if it's ultimately strangled by its excesses.
  62. An odd cross between "Mad Max" and "Dragonheart," this movie is all borrowed ideas, but it's still trashy fun.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Solidly engaging.
  63. Rides high on its old-fashioned sentiments and the precocious charms of its teenage star, who can be both obnoxious and endearing.
  64. Inevitably it's a mixed bag, though the film's assurance in keeping it all coherent is at times exhilarating.
  65. The cast is certainly impressive, and probably reason enough for seeing this.
  66. The actors keep this interesting, but as a story it drifts and rambles.
  67. Given the tension dogging her every step, I wondered if this would end in bloodshed, but Abu-Assad opts for a more hopeful conclusion, making his film -- strange as it may seem -- a comedy.
  68. In his narration Brown says that he wants to dispel the image of surfers as airheaded slackers, an ambition undercut by his own breathless and clumsy writing. But to his credit he collects some fascinating stories.
  69. As in other Ivory-Jhabvala adaptations, ritzy consumerism is very much on display, but what makes this better than most is Johnson's amused admiration for nearly all her characters, regardless of nationality.
  70. The film is equally good in handling the discrepancy between skilled and unskilled parents.
  71. The narrative kept me glued to my seat.
  72. Moore's best film to date is this comic and grimly entertaining reflection on America's gun craziness and why we kill one another.
  73. Drew Barrymore's virtuoso performance smooths over the plot holes.
  74. A low-key but hypnotic portrait of the infamous sex murderer.
  75. Poignant if familiar story of a young person suspended between two cultures.
  76. Griffin's stand-up material is consistently upstaged by sequences of him interacting with old friends and family members.
  77. If you ever suspected that assholes are running the world, this documentary adapting producer and former actor Robert Evans's autobiography, narrated with relish by Evans himself--the cinematic equivalent of a Vanity Fair article, complete with tuxes and swimming pools--offers all the confirmation you'll ever need.
  78. The racial satire is about as subtle as a sledgehammer, but there's something exhilarating about so blunt a weapon being swung with such wild abandon.
  79. Only the epilogue, a happy ending tacked on to counter the cascading disappointments, seems contrived.
  80. Provides a valuable refresher course in our less-acknowledged methods of meddling in the affairs of other countries.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    This is certainly well executed, with a sense of fate and fancy akin to Pedro Almodovar's, but its glibness began to wear on me after the agonizing death of a Great Dane was played for laughs.
  81. They often seem more bent on titillating or harrowing us than on helping us understand the characters.
  82. This dialectical drama has plenty of creaky moments, but Harvey Keitel compensates with a canny, surprising performance.
  83. The comic juice tends to spill out in all directions.
  84. There's something self-defeating about approaching an unconventional artist so conventionally, and the story becomes touching only insofar as it overrides much of what made Duras special.
  85. Studded with terrorist attacks... Yet Malkovich never exploits these for action-movie thrills: in each instance the loss of life is terrible and the morality of the act is left treacherously ambiguous.
  86. Powerfully illustrates what globalization has been doing to underdeveloped countries around the world.
  87. The treatment of this touchy material is impressive, neither gratuitous nor mincing, but this satirical comedy doesn't really go anywhere.
  88. It's certainly a provocation, with a few funny moments, and for my money it's less phony and offensive than "Finding Forrester."
    • 96 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Lester serves up a helping of what, on this side of the pond, we came to think of as kicky, mod British filmmaking

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