Chicago Reader's Scores

  • Movies
For 5,040 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 4.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 A Scanner Darkly
Lowest review score: 0 Bamboozled
Score distribution:
5040 movie reviews
  1. It binds up introductory lessons in music appreciation, Freudian psychology, and fanciful history with a pulp thriller plot.
  2. As LaMotta, Robert De Niro gives a blank, soulless performance; there's so little of depth or urgency coming from him that he's impossible to despise, or forgive, in any but the most superficial way.
  3. It's full of scenic splendors with a fine sense of scale, but its narrative thrust seems relatively pro forma, and I was bored by the battle scenes.
  4. Nothing that suggests an independent vision, unless you count seeing more limbs blown off than usual.
  5. The fun hardens into Fun after he's (Mr. Incredible) lured out of retirement and imprisoned in a remote island compound, though the sleek computer animation is spellbinding as usual.
  6. Streisand is stunning, but the film is a trial, particularly when the music disappears somewhere around the 90-minute mark and all that's left is leaden melodrama.
  7. This is the apotheosis of Classics Illustrated filmmaking, aiming at nothing more than tasteful reduction, and the fact that it's done so well here doesn't mean that it's necessarily worth doing.
  8. Graham Greene's screenplay is centered on the pivotal moment when a child first discovers sin, but the boy's perspective is neglected in favor of facile suspense structures and a thuddingly conventional whodunit finale.
  9. The film looks austere and serious, rather as if it had been shot inside a Frigidaire, and the oppressiveness of the images tends to strangle laughter, even at the most absurd excesses of Alvin Sargent's script.
  10. Long, heavy, and not particularly edifying Holocaust drama.
  11. The film is watchable as well as informative...But I wish I had a better notion of what story he's trying to tell.
  12. There are several solid laughs and some excellent supporting performances. But this is a film to be wary of.
  13. It's reasonably well told and well mounted but little more.
  14. Steven Spielberg's mechanical thriller is guaranteed to make you scream on schedule (John Williams's score even has the audience reactions programmed into the melodies), particularly if your tolerance for weak motivation and other minor inconsistencies is high.
  15. A killer ending does not a movie make, and ultimately In the Bedroom may be more interesting to talk about than sit through.
  16. The film has no qualities beyond its formal polish--and its careful avoidance (or rather, displacement) of the moral and political issues involved can seem too crafty, too convenient.
  17. While the filmmakers manage to keep things interesting (sexy, kinky, and ambiguous) much of the time, the self-conscious piety that Frears lavishes on this material places it in an uncertain netherworld that prevents it from ever becoming fully convincing, even as a stylistic exercise.
  18. I don't see this slightly better-than-average drug thriller, with slightly better-than-average direction by Steven Soderbergh, as anything more than a routine rubber-stamping of genre reflexes.
  19. The key scene -- is typical of the film's fanciful narrative approach but also its grating pretentiousness.
  20. The surface activity keeps one occupied, but never adds up to much because none of the characters is developed beyond the cartoon level; and the snobby sense of knowingness that's over everything is uncomfortably close to what the movie is supposed to be dissecting.
  21. Lonergan's validation of big-minded small-town life has been neatened up to the point of blandness.
  22. Like the earlier film, this one has an airless quality, much of the action taking place in the hushed and colorless offices of "the Circus." But whereas the dank tone of "Let the Right One In" served to heighten the moments of poignance and shrieking horror, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy begins to seem phlegmatic after a while.
  23. As a moral reconsideration of the role of violence in previous Eastwood films, this is strong and sure, and characters who play against genre expectations give the film a provocative aftertaste. The only limitation, really, is that the picture hasn't much dramatic urgency apart from its revisionist context.
  24. Brian De Palma demonstrates the drawbacks of a film-school education by overexploiting every cornball trick of style in the book: slow motion, split screen long takes, and soft focus abound, all to no real point...He's an overachiever—which might not make for good movies, but at least he's seldom dull.
  25. Characters occasionally address the camera, which helps disentangle the competing story lines of madness, adultery, and betrayal.
  26. The performances, especially of Penn and Robbins, are so powerful and detailed (down to the Boston accents) that they often persuade one to overlook the narrative contrivances (particularly the incessant crosscutting), the arty trimmings (including Eastwood's own score), and the dubious social philosophy.
  27. Alexander Payne has won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay (Sideways), but you'd never guess that from this clumsily written drama: characters keep explaining things that their listeners would already know, and the first couple reels are so thick with expository voice-over that you may think you're listening to a museum tour on a set of headphones.
  28. Even though it's scripted by a woman (Kelly Masterson), this tale of buried family resentments rising to the surface as the brothers plot to rob their parents' jewelry store is concerned only with the guys, and it's marred by an uncharacteristically mannered performance by Albert Finney as the father.
  29. The film does offer a good deal of engaging dark humor.
  30. This obsessive movie, awarded the grand jury prize at the Sundance festival, may not quite live up to its advance billing; the subject is powerful, but the filmmaking often seems slapdash, and the final half hour dithers.

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