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 The Apostle
Lowest review score: 0 Bad Boys
Score distribution:
4,911 movie reviews
  1. A very well-made genre exercise, but I can’t understand why it’s been accorded so much importance, unless it’s because it strokes some ideological impulse.
  2. Travels fast and straight down a linear plot, and the ceaseless rush quickly becomes monotonous.
  3. Out of Sight engaged me less and less, until by the end I no longer cared which of the characters lived or died. Not even the engaging Jennifer Lopez, George Clooney, Albert Brooks, Don Cheadle, and Ving Rhames or the talented secondary cast can survive the abbreviations and last-minute shoehorning their characters receive.
  4. This is no restoration but a revision...If there's a difference in overall quality, I'm unaware of it. Dave Kehr calls this 1979 feature "an empty-headed horror movie with nothing to recommend it beyond the disco-inspired art direction and some handsome if gimmicky cinematography.
  5. Though it's meant as a droll comedy of manners, what emerges is mincing, crabbed, and petty.
  6. The script, by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, takes a few vague pokes at Wall Street and the financial elite but mainly revives the ponderous psychodrama of the first movie.
  7. A very bad film--snide, barely competent, and overdrawn--that enjoys a perennial popularity, perhaps because its confused moral position appeals to the secret Nietzscheans within us.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Fans of director Lynne Ramsay's first movie, the bleak “Ratcatcher,” won't be surprised that this little existential exercise makes “The Strangef” look like a funwagon.
  8. Misogynistic claptrap about a divorced husband (Dustin Hoffman) fighting for the custody of and learning to cope with his little boy (Justin Henry) - a movie whose classy trimmings (including Nestor Almendros's cinematography) persuaded audiences to regard writer-director Robert Benton as a subtle art-house director.
  9. None of the characters or ideas is allowed to develop beyond its cardboard profile.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    What matters most is feeding white-bread fantasies (the film is set in the slow-footed 50s, when blacks are only a rumor and nobody's ever heard of slam 'n' jam) and laying on the inspirational corn.
  10. Sluggish, repetitive, and strangely timorous, with little of the zap and imagination of the Pythons' television work.
  11. Woody Allen's naive notions of art--he thinks it means a story with a moral--might have some primitive charm if he didn't put them forward so self-importantly.
  12. The resulting movie (2005) covers seven years and touches on some of the same social issues that gave "Hoop Dreams" its epic sweep, yet Serrill fails to treat any of them adequately, and the narrative loses its shape as events unfold.
  13. If you want to waste a couple of hours, you can surely do much better looking elsewhere.
  14. The concept was interesting and charming in "Love Letters," up to a point, but here it quickly becomes repetitive, obvious, and dull.
  15. Insofar as one can distinguish the investigative research from the career move, this Sundance prizewinner is effective muckraking, but it lacks much of a political program apart from the message that we're poisoning ourselves.
  16. Big
    Once again, the overall premise is milked for some mild titillation involving the hero's sexual innocence, making one wonder if the genre's popularity might involve some deeply sublimated form of kiddie porn--arguably the distilled ideological essence of squeaky-clean Reaganism.
  17. JFK
    Stone's all-purpose conspiracy theory, built like a house of cards, rivals "Mississippi Burning" in its sheer crudeness and contempt for the audience.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Pi
    With this odd mixture of elements the film's tone is gloomy, portentous, and hysterical, yet at the same time strangely earnest and square, as if David Lynch had tried to somehow make a movie version of Scientific American.
  18. The kids are impressively plucky, but Weihenmayer comes off as an egomaniac, arguing with his team and endangering the youngsters' lives. Lucy Walker directed this cloying and manipulative 2006 documentary.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Most of the film feels recycled from sexually explicit art movies dating back at least to "Last Tango in Paris" (1972) and continuing with movies like Patrice Chéreau's "Intimacy" (2001) or Götz Spielmann's "Antares" (2004). With nothing new in its characters, settings, or themes, Shame has little to offer except McQueen's style, which does little to elucidate anything around it.
  19. A festival favorite in 1992, this flamboyant Australian crowd pleaser and first feature by Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge") struck me then as one of the more horrific and unpleasant movies I'd seen in quite some time.
  20. By the end of this 124-minute drama I'd have settled for ANYONE else, but like most visits with irritating people, the movie lingers, sharpening one's judgment.
  21. May be amusing if you feel a pressing need to feel superior to somebody, but the aim is too broad and scattershot to add up to much beyond an acknowledgment of small-town desperation--something Sherwood Anderson and Sinclair Lewis did much better back in the 20s and 30s.
  22. Despite a certain grace in the dialogue and casual plot construction, this is positively reeking of a desire to be cheerful in the face of adversity.
  23. Watching Allen fart out a story when he has no characters is always painful, as people are defined through clumsy expository dialogue and ranked according to their cultural accomplishments. But the script here is lazy even by his standards.
  24. A limp, cheaply made version of the Broadway. Director Randal Kleiser shows no real sense of how a musical is constructed: the songs are bunched together, the production numbers don't move, and the whole project shifts awkwardly between naturalism and stylization.
  25. It's pretty perverse for William Wheeler, who scripted this feature, to get most of the facts wrong, inflating details that don't need any spin. (As Irving himself remarked, "You could call it a hoax about a hoax.")
  26. But the big scare scenes seem particularly isolated here, supported by neither the flat characters nor the vague plot.

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