Chicago Reader's Scores

  • Movies
For 5,161 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 4.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Carlos
Lowest review score: 0 The Back-up Plan
Score distribution:
5161 movie reviews
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The efforts of victims and victimizers to come to terms with historical trauma are admirable, but the film is too tough-minded to espouse a facile discourse of "healing" in the face of genocide driven by ideology run amok.
  1. Emotionally charged but not entirely honest documentary.
  2. The scenes between husband and wife are spectacularly awkward and arresting, though the movie grows more dubious the nearer the guys get to their shooting session in a local hotel room.
  3. The payoff matters at least as much as the setup, and this story's secret is way too easy to guess.
  4. Brad Pitt has fun with his secondary part as a pontificating lunatic, but I wish I'd enjoyed the rest of the cast more.
  5. The characters' behavior isn't always believable, and the jerky rhythm takes some getting used to (there may be more attitude here than observation). But the defiant absence of any conventional plot has a cumulative charm.
  6. Inception delivers dazzling special effects and a boatload of stars, but it sags and eventually buckles under the weight of its complicated premise.
  7. A pretty good caper comedy for 11-year-old boys -- "heist thriller" would make it sound too ambitious.
  8. Munich may have value as an act of expiation but not as entertainment or art.
  9. The Spielbergian attempt at sweetness--heralded by references in Danny Elfman's score to the Nutcracker Suite--never fully convinces.
  10. Arch yet earnest.
  11. Far less insulting to Pakistanis or Mancunians than it is to its audience.
  12. If you don't care about such motivations, this is a pretty good thriller, though not one you're likely to remember for very long.
  13. There's a lot less here than meets the eye.
  14. Director Max Farberbock (Aimee & Jaguar) mainly avoids graphic depictions of sexual assault, but that only increases the tension in this austere, claustrophobic drama.
  15. I'm too big a fan of director James Whale (1896-1957) to take a film about him lightly, and I'm afraid this speculative 1998 movie about his last days won't do.
  16. A realist mode that strains credibility; it's tenuous and inflexible -- and easily ruptured by the contrived irony in Jimmy McGovern's screenplay.
  17. Yu's portrait of Darger, which clocks in at 82 minutes, skims over the only aspect of his life that commands respect: his craft.
  18. The dissection of Edwardian repression never gets beyond the dutiful, tasteful obviousness of a BBC miniseries.
  19. The drama is hampered by a vague screenplay that takes its sweet time explaining the characters' past and never specifies the nature of the boy's palsy and apparent retardation.
  20. Anthony Peckham's script is formulaic, woodenly reverent, and devoid of real dramatic tension.
  21. Snippets of the band's brutally percussive music punctuate the endless encounter sessions, which expose the musicians' boundless self-absorption (the 9-11 attacks come and go without so much as a mention) and cowed obedience to their psychological guru.
  22. The young heroine is rather humorless, but Gavras's intelligence and skillful touch are evident throughout.
  23. Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen is now serving a life sentence for his long career as a Russian and Soviet spy, but this rote thriller implies he should have done prison time just for being Catholic. As played by Chris Cooper, Hanssen is a humorless asshole who commits treason because the bureau won't give him an office with a window, and the screenplay scores countless easy points off his religiosity, which masks a weakness for sex tapes and sleazy chat rooms.
  24. Too full of its own heavy breathing to work as the primordial storytelling it's aiming for--a so-so adventure story is closer to the mark.
  25. Even as a simple genre picture it works only in fits and starts.
  26. Inspired, self-referential animated musical.
  27. A murky screenplay leaves most of the humans ciphers, save for Hal Holbrook in an exquisitely calibrated performance as the avuncular desert retiree whose advice McCandless should have heeded.
  28. The appearance of circus performers in any film not by Fellini usually bodes ill, and it does so here.
  29. This is mildly entertaining, though like the puzzles themselves, it favors diversion over wisdom.

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