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 Beasts of the Southern Wild
Lowest review score: 0 Transylmania
Score distribution:
4,911 movie reviews
  1. One reason Bamako feels like a blast of sanity is that the theoretical debates about the state of the world, particularly Africa and more particularly Mali, are only half of its agenda. The other half, broadly speaking, is the life of everyday Africans.
  2. The mix of dark humor, creeping suspense, and a sort of apocalyptic tenderness makes this the best horror flick in years.
  3. So accessible and entertaining.
  4. Shot on a year's worth of weekends on a minuscule budget (less than $20,000), this remarkable work--conceivably the best single feature about ghetto life that we have--was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry as one of the key works of the American cinema, an ironic and belated form of recognition for a film that has had virtually no distribution. It shouldn't be missed.
  5. Like much of Verhoeven's best work, it's shamelessly melodramatic, but in its dark moral complexities it puts "Schindler's List" to shame. Van Houten and Sebastian Koch (The Lives of Others) are only two of the standouts in an exceptional cast.
  6. Zwigoff not only presents a complex human being and the range of his art but also guides us through a profound and unsettling consideration of what it means to be an American artist. Essential viewing.
  7. Alain Resnais' 2006 adaptation of a British play by Alan Ayckbourn is a world apart from his earlier Ayckbourn adaptation, "Smoking/No Smoking"; that film tried to be as "English" as possible. But this time Resnais looks for precise French equivalents to British culture, and what emerges is one of his most personal works, intermittently recalling the melancholy "Muriel" and "Providence."
  8. The good humor bubbles up from a deep reservoir of affection for Hollywood schlock.
  9. For a movie about the importance of memory, Away From Her is appropriately sophisticated in its treatment of time. Polley has broken the chronological story into three sections of unequal length and woven them together, approximating our own mercurial journeys through the past.
  10. The songs don't advance the narrative lyrically so much as follow the two characters' uncertain relationship through the slow realization of their themes; in particular a scene in which they first jam together in the back room of a music store is a gem.
  11. The intersections between sleep and waking, memory, cinema, and the Internet lead to a spectacular battle of titans who spring from the mind's darkest recesses.
  12. This 1985 film's absolute freedom from cliches is genuinely refreshing; looking at it again after Van Sant's subsequent "Drugstore Cowboy," I found it every bit as good and in some ways even more impressive than the later film. It shouldn't be missed.
  13. A clarion call for freedom and collective action both hopeful and energizing, it qualifies as a generational statement as Rebel Without a Cause did in the 50s, but without the defeatism and masochism. Not to be missed.
  14. A masterful 168-minute piece of storytelling that never ceases to be gripping in spite of its measured pace.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Superbly rendered CGI animation.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With its wisecracking screenplay, period-perfect pop score, and Shankman's splashy choreography, this may be the funniest, dancingest screen musical since "Singin' in the Rain."
  15. The show has been the gold standard for satirical TV ever since it debuted in 1989. This long-awaited movie adaptation has plenty of laughs, plus an assortment of milestones for fans.
  16. Masterfully charted and acted.
  17. Filmmakers Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen, and Nicole Newhman do a superb job of telling this neglected story in vivid detail.
  18. he Diving Bell and the Butterfly fuses experimental techniques with a highly accessible and sometimes humorous narrative; it’s deeply personal yet universal in its humanism.
  19. Martin Scorsese transforms a debilitating convention of 80s comedy--absurd underreaction to increasingly bizarre and threatening situations--into a rich, wincingly funny metaphysical farce. A lonely computer programmer is lured from the workday security of midtown Manhattan to an expressionistic late-night SoHo by the vague promise of casual sex with a mysterious blond.
  20. Atonement is that rare combo: a good movie based on a good book.
  21. If "Ratatouille" taught the world that rats have feelings too, Persepolis teaches the same thing about the people of Iran, who in the current political climate are probably in greater danger of being eradicated.
  22. A triumph not of reporting but of synthesis.
  23. In a truly great movie the form becomes indistinguishable from the story, and that’s certainly the case here.
  24. The movie gradually deepens from odd-couple comedy into Catholic-themed drama, but it remains marvelously funny throughout. Instead of hitting the easy notes of black humor, McDonagh skillfully modulates between broad character laughs and the men's piercing anguish as the story nears its bloody conclusion.
  25. Werner Herzog is a stranger in a strange land as soon as he gets out of bed in the morning: in this travelogue of Antarctica, his perverse curiosity and zest for the harshest extremes of nature transform what might have been a standard TV special into an idiosyncratic expression of wonder.
  26. Writer Petr Jarchovsky and director Jan Hrebejk collaborated on the formidable "Up and Down" (2004), and this 2006 feature, which takes its title from a Robert Graves poem, is equally impressive for its mastery, intelligence, and ambition in juggling intricate plot strands and memorable characters.
  27. After the portentous "No Country for Old Men," Joel and Ethan Coen return to their trademark brand of cruel, misanthropic farce, and for dark laughs and hurtling narrative momentum this spy caper is their best work since "Fargo."
  28. Lakeview Terrace isn't literally about the riots, but it's still one of the toughest racial dramas to come out of Hollywood since the fires died down--much tougher, for instance, than Paul Haggis’s hand-wringing Oscar winner "Crash."

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