Chicago Reader's Scores

  • Movies
For 5,064 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 The Kid with a Bike
Lowest review score: 0 The Bridge
Score distribution:
5064 movie reviews
  1. The high-powered drive of both the storytelling and the music is riveting.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is an engrossing look at obsessive behavior gone terribly awry.
  2. For me it felt like a good many weeks at a politically correct summer camp, though the talented actors--including Cecilia Roth, Eloy Azorin, Marisa Paredes, Toni Canto, Antonia San Juan, and Penelope Cruz--certainly seem to enjoy the taste of the characters they're playing.
  3. It's reasonably well told and well mounted but little more.
  4. The real protagonist of Moneyball, however, is Beane himself, played with great charisma by Brad Pitt. (With this movie and "The Tree of Life" competing against each other, Pitt could wind up cheating himself out of an Oscar this year.)
  5. The problem with these feats is that they threaten to overwhelm the film's content, both as complex historical commentary and as aesthetic and theoretical gesture.
  6. Cunningly scripted and acted, and talky in the best sense, the film is engrossing to watch but not especially interesting to ponder afterward; it's certainly an improvement on formulaic Hollywood, but on a thematic level there's still more windup than delivery.
  7. 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Gene Hackman excels in Francis Ford Coppola's tasteful, incisive 1974 study of the awakening of conscience in an "electronic surveillance technician."
  8. Bar-Lev ponders myth in both senses of the word-as a web of lies, but also as a psychological construct that gives life purpose. An atheist and critical thinker, Pat Tillman had no use for either.
  9. The movie brushes against some of India's worst social ills, but it's essentially a fairy tale.
  10. Charting the ruthlessness of an ambitious bimbo telecaster in Little Hope, New Hampshire, this staccato black comedy sustains its brilliant exposition and narration until the plot turns to premeditated murder, complete with hapless and semicoherent teenage accomplices.
  11. 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.
  12. The wonderful Richard Farnsworth plays the lead, and he was clearly born for the part...a highly affecting and suggestive spiritual odyssey.
  13. Stylistically fresh and full of sweetness that never cloys, this is contemporary Hollywood filmmaking at its near best.
  14. Haggis's dialogue is worthy of Hemingway, and the three leads border on perfection.
  15. Though The Kids Are All Right sometimes smacks of political correctness, Cholodenko succeeds brilliantly in making her little clan seem completely run-of-the-mill.
  16. A powerful piece of social protest, skillfully written, directed, and acted...Hilary Swank as Brandon and Chloe Sevigny as his girlfriend Lana are especially fine.
  17. An astonishing tour de force--especially for Irons, whose sense of nuance is so refined that one can tell in a matter of seconds which twin he is playing in a particular scene.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The paintings are extraordinary and the 3-D cinematography invites the viewer to get lost in every brushstroke. This is one of the few films to use the format for intellectual, even philosophical ends: the added depth parallels the deeper understanding of humanity that the paintings inspire.
  18. Director James Cameron dumps the decorative effects of Ridley Scott's 1979 Alien in favor of some daring narrative strategies and a tight thematic focus.
  19. The film may be a relic now, but it is a fascinating souvenir - particularly in its narcissism and fatalism - of how the hippie movement thought of itself. [Review of re-release]
  20. A killer ending does not a movie make, and ultimately In the Bedroom may be more interesting to talk about than sit through.
  21. Ten
    The film offers a fascinating glimpse of the Iranian urban middle class, and though it eschews most of the pleasures of composition and landscape found in other Kiarostami films, it's never less than riveting.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A bit abstract, though gorgeously shot (by John Alonzo) and cleverly plotted (by Robert Towne), Polanski's film suggests that the rules of the game are written in some strange, untranslatable language, and that everyone's an alien and, ultimately, a victim.
  22. Alternately harrowing and humbling, this is a story of ordinary men whose compassion is tested in the cruelest, most profound fashion.
  23. French filmmaker Agnes Varda returns to the guiding metaphor of "The Gleaners and I "(2000), her documentary about scavengers, though in this visually witty 2008 memoir she's poring over her own past and its artifacts--some of them people.
  24. 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.
  25. The outrages of pedophile priests have generated screaming headlines but relatively little understanding of the Catholic culture that permitted and concealed such crimes, which makes this informed documentary by Amy Berg all the more valuable.
  26. 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.

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