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 Howl's Moving Castle
Lowest review score: 0 Showgirls
Score distribution:
4,911 movie reviews
  1. I didn't laugh once.
  2. What emerges is oddly ineffectual and uninvolving.
  3. Even the action sequences are poorly executed, with lots of choppy editing meant to conceal the fakery.
  4. For every jab at hypocrisy in law enforcement or in the media's crime coverage...there's a scene's worth of uninflected scatology or misogyny.
  5. Misshapen and obfuscating biopic.
  6. Flimsy transformation comedy.
  7. A holiday film for the whole family, provided the whole family is obsessed with human waste.
  8. The insultingly trendy post-postmodern tale rationalizes its own product placement by using overkill.
  9. Formula thriller that exploits homosexuality better than murder-mystery clues.
  10. Overlong, neither funny nor scary movie about a big lizard.
  11. Corky never becomes sympathetic, and without this fundamental irony the movie doesn't have a leg to stand on.
  12. X
    It bored me clean out of my wits.
  13. It's hard to pinpoint where things go wrong.
  14. Here suspense is abandoned, and Jason is on-screen so long you get sick of seeing him -- and sick of the poorly staged slasher-film tricks.
  15. Before seeing this film I couldn't understand why the producers had given it a subtitle; afterward I realized "Ecks vs. Sever" was probably the full script.
  16. The plot somehow manages to be both hackneyed and convoluted.
  17. All I saw were unimpressive digital effects; artless, quick-cut abstracted gore; and a last-ditch attempt to evoke a visceral response by heaping the climactic scene with bat shit.
  18. A turkey of Rubenesque proportions.
  19. Prinze and Stiles regularly talk to the camera, but that doesn't make their characters self-aware.
    • 23 Metascore
    • 10 Critic Score
    This moronic horror movie has the earmarks of a disastrous shoot patched up in editing.
  20. The hokey dialogue and witless physical gags keep everything painful and hectoring.
  21. A new low for director Alan Parker, this trite mystery thriller does for capital punishment what his "Mississippi Burning" did for civil rights: with its muddled message, liberal piety, and slick Hollywood plot mechanics.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 10 Critic Score
    Two of MTV's stupidest programs, "The Real World" and "Spring Break," have been rolled into one staggeringly dumb feature film.
  22. The recut American version is truly awful, but a good 75 percent of the awfulness is attributable to Miramax, the film's distributor.
  23. If I were a Christian, I'd be appalled to have this primitive and pornographic bloodbath presume to speak for me.
  24. Whitney frames this as the pilot for a reality TV show, but if that doesn't pan out he can pitch it to al Qaeda as a recruiting tool.
  25. This runs a close second to September as his worst feature to date--marginally more bearable only because it's a comedy and a couple of gags are reasonably funny.
  26. Misguided attempts at political correctness make this serial-killer movie stupid instead of just dull.
  27. This excruciating sequel tries to squeeze a few more bucks from the "Spy Kids" espionage formula.
  28. The songs are shrill and cloying (if mercifully forgettable), the choreography is embarrassing, and the comedy sets a new global standard for puerility--and not in a fun way.
  29. It makes me sick all over again just describing this--the most affecting scene in a sluggish would-be comedy that reflects the dubious state of the art of fat male comedians exploiting themselves in 1997, the year its star died.
  30. A straight exploitation story.
  31. A cringe-inducing flop.
  32. This hopelessly redundant action gross-out aspires to a form of hip vacuousness--and may achieve it.
  33. "Speed" made millions on mindless, empty thrills; this laborious sequel is just as mindless and empty but lacks the thrills.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 10 Critic Score
    Like many artists today, Grisham and Schumacher exploit racial tension without understanding it.
  34. All this is supposed to be as cute as bugs and chock-full of worldly wisdom, but even with lead actors as likable and as resourceful as these, the material made me alternately want to gag and nod off.
  35. With a shamelessly cliched script by Amy Holden Jones (based on a novel by Jack Engelhard) that includes a speech plagiarized from Citizen Kane, the results are only for those who can take fare like "Valley of the Dolls" with a straight face and want to see Redford play Jay Gatsby again.
  36. The awful crank comedy "Spun" (2002) still ranks as the most dehumanizing youth picture of the decade, but this New York drama by first-time director Hunter Richards is a close second.
  37. Tautly directed by David Slade, this drama probably offers more sadism than anyone could possibly want...The characters are absurd, but if you're up for this sort of thing, then surely you can con yourself into accepting them. Personally, I'd rather have this movie obliterated from my memory.
  38. Painfully unfunny comedy.
  39. Crushingly dull teen horror flick.
  40. The writing and directing of Jonathan Darby, a British TV veteran and Hollywood executive, make the proceedings neither believable nor compelling, so what might have been another "Rosemary's Baby" isn't even a halfway decent genre exercise.
  41. Enter this diseased Lewis Carroll universe at your own risk.
  42. Holly Hunter and Sigourney Weaver, a cop and a shrink, are the main trackers, but so little is done in Ann Biderman and David Madsen's script to give them or their colleagues or even their prey interesting human dimensions that the overall ambience is chiefly pornographic.
  43. This one follows the depressing pattern of "Surviving Christmas" and "Christmas With the Kranks": enforced holiday cheer gives way to bilious hatred, then hollow forgiveness.
  44. This high-decibel shocker is an insult to intelligence and faith alike.
  45. An offensive premise and a pathetic, almost pleading desire to outrage our sensibilities with it.
  46. Francis Ford Coppola's gang film is as moony about death as "One From the Heart" was over romance; the film is unremitting in its morbid sentimentality, running its teenage characters through a masochistic gamut of beatings, killings, burnings, and suicides.
  47. What seems more problematic is the virtual exaltation of Dirty Harry vigilantism, the storm trooper mentality and behavior on Nolte's part that the film breezily takes for granted; if there's any irony about it, it's carefully designed to wash over the storm trooper types in the audience and not give offense to them--only to the rest of us.
  48. It's especially doomed by a strained script that recalls certain bottom-of-the-barrel Bob Hope vehicles of the 50s in its attempts to be brittle and self-mocking in its humor.
  49. Director Jeannot Szwarc strains hard for spectacular visual effects, though he's barely able to compose a competent close-up.
  50. Like its methane-filled outhouse that explodes right on cue, this sequel to "Daddy Day Care" (2003) smells.
  51. Almost every note in this insipid comedy is strident or false, from the child's prodigious talent for deception to the jock's chaperoning her and her classmates at a Corolle doll boutique.
  52. At its core this is just another piece of big-studio nothingness. The characters are so underwritten they barely qualify as types, and the movie is badly paced, bookended by high-ordnance action sequences but painfully static in the middle.
  53. Wretched yuletide comedy.
  54. This 2005 feature offered me my first taste of Guy Ritchie's macho-centric artiness, and I hope it's my last.
  55. I don't know if Rob Reiner is the one to blame for this atrocity, but he directed and coproduced.
  56. Thanks to writer-director Michael Patrick King, I now have a fair idea how it might feel to be stoned to death with scented candles.
  57. Unwatchable-and, thanks to its high-decibel action sequences, barely listenable-this misbegotten medieval fantasy/stoner comedy marks a new low for David Gordon Green.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 10 Critic Score
    Several graphically violent scenes of women and children in jeopardy make this, ultimately, beneath contempt.
  58. Horrendous dialogue and horrific directing dominate this thriller.
  59. Insulting to audience and cast alike.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 0 Critic Score
    Monstrously offensive movie.
  60. I can't remember when I last hated an art-house movie as much as this one...Other reviewers have praised the film's alleged quirky humor, but I was repelled by the two heartless creeps who set the story in motion and baffled by the protagonist's fascination with them.
  61. Angry, fitfully provocative mess.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 0 Critic Score
    More interested in standard thriller effects than in giving us human beings to contend with. The audience I saw this with seemed to want to feel insulted, and this piece of crap delivered.
  62. Formulaic sass machine... I was writhing in my seat.
  63. Disingenuously naive romantic comedy.
  64. This putrid action flick crawls along for two and a half hours before expiring in a septic field of bad one-liners, halfhearted catchphrases, obliterated cars, vicious slow-motion bullet penetration, graphic corpse mutilations played for laughs, and shamefully hollow bonding scenes between its two dyspeptic megastars.
  65. The cynicism of the writer and director smacks of such self-hatred (fully acknowledged in the film's closing shot) that their disgust spills over onto all their characters (and their audience too), and inasmuch as everybody here is one kind of whore or another at virtually every moment, the fine moral distinctions this movie insists on making sometimes seem about as arcane and as loony as medieval theology about angels dancing on the heads of pins.
  66. This derivative concept movie is tiresomely slick as well as shamefully sloppy, and someone should issue a restraining order requiring writer-director Darren Stein to stay at least 100 yards away from irony.
  67. Van Sant's doomed and misguided experiment.
  68. Nothing's quite so painful as failed comedy, and this atrocity is equivalent to a compound fracture.
  69. Brain-dead adaptation of a popular video game.
  70. If you haven't lived until you've seen Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill duke it out in a vat full of red paint, here's your chance; personally, my idea of hell would be having to see this stinker again.
  71. In what I saw, Madonna in the title role tries bravely not to buckle under the weight of Stone and Parker's sense of Stalinist monumentality and fails honorably, while the Lloyd Webber music goes on being nonmusical.
  72. Comes to life only when it reprises elements from the original movie.
  73. Considering the 32 writers (including Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein, and Steven E. de Souza) who worked on this live-action adaptation of the 60s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series about a Stone Age family, one might have expected a few funny lines here and there, but this is mirthless (and worthless) from top to bottom.
  74. If you haven't lived until you've heard Geena Davis say "Suck my dick," New Line probably deserves your money.
  75. With its pathetic characters, questionable logic, and wall-to-wall Beethoven, the movie is a serious contender for this year's Golden Turkey award.
  76. This is a new form of obscenity that might be called suicide porn. It's not just the voyeuristic surveillance that's obscene, but the use of suicide footage as counterpoint to other stories as they're told. Steel shows no special insight into the subject, though even that couldn't justify such hideousness.
  77. A piece of mythmaking stupidity.
  78. Very, very stupid.
  79. More than anything Chuck and Larry shows just how flaccid American movie comedy has become now that "Saturday Night Live" has replaced vaudeville as our comedy college.
  80. This atrocious comedy doesn't have an idea in its head but still screams at the top of its lungs.
  81. It was like a Farrelly brothers gross-out without the laughs.
  82. The ethnic humor that gave May's movie its charge is replaced by crass mean-spiritedness. If I were in movie hell, I'd rather see "Good Luck Chuck" again than return to this atrocity.
  83. By now the hypocrisy of simultaneously condemning and exploiting the audience's sadism has become so commonplace in American movies it hardly seems noteworthy.
  84. Frenetic and self-conscious to the point of tedium.
  85. This ends on an uplifting and philosophical note, equating moral blindness with the literal sort, which you'll probably appreciate if you haven't already slit your wrists.
  86. This might have had some potential as a German exercise in self-examination, but as a tony BBC Films production, with the actors all speaking British-accented English (including Jersey girl Farmiga), it reeks of self-righteousness.
  87. Glowna presents this smoky German feature as an elegy for lost youth, but it's so tumescent with male self-pity that I couldn't wait for it to end.
  88. The meanest and least inspired kids U know.
  89. Repulsive 80s flashback.
  90. Mike Reiss's witless, maudlin screenplay is like rancid leachate trickling from a Dumpster full of rotting sitcom scripts, Mary Kay sales manuals, and romance novels.
  91. Screenwriters David Johnson and Alex Mace deliver one of the stupidest "twist endings" in the history of storytelling.
  92. A nauseating, stridently phony rom-com.
  93. Soulless, hyperbolic actioner.
  94. A total train wreck.

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