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 Bamako
Lowest review score: 0 Saw II
Score distribution:
4,911 movie reviews
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Here's something you don't see every day: a genial, politically correct splatter comedy.
  1. As the phlegmatic, beer-guzzling protagonist, Will Ferrell manages to keep this rolling, though Rush's corny narrative devices (each of the minor characters receives an ironic gift at the end) couldn't be less consistent with Carver's stubborn minimalism.
  2. Flawed but ambitious, this biopic of British parliamentarian William Wilberforce closely tracks the political maneuvering of the late 18th and early 19th century as reformers campaign to end Britain's participation in the slave trade.
  3. A sense of authenticity overshadows any contrivance in this subtly classic drama.
  4. The characters have been designed to make fun of themselves, disguising the craft of writer Neil Cuthbert and director Kinka Usher in getting us to laugh at them.
  5. If you're looking to be romantically captivated, this movie just might do the job.
  6. Almost frantically intercutting between the characters, the movie spends so much energy trying to charm us that when the emotional stakes are raised we're too exhausted to care.
  7. Mechanical, soulless.
  8. The narrative emphasizes coincidences, but they're nicely understated. If it didn't seem gimmicky and self-indulgent...the movie might be more affecting.
  9. Before the movie collapses into the utopian nonsense that seems obligatory to this subgenre, a surprising amount of sensitivity and satirical insight emerges from Eleanor Bergstein's script and Emile Ardolino's direction.
  10. Director Nigel Cole is best known for "Calendar Girls" (2003), another condescending exercise in you-go-girl uplift.
  11. Atypically lame, this is more for spiritual tourists than admirers of "Aguirre: The Wrath of God."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Like Bryan Singer's X2 (2003), this fifth entry in the X-Men franchise is noteworthy for its gay-rights subtext and for its noted actors delivering comic book dialogue with Shakespearean portent. Otherwise it's indistinguishable from most other recent blockbusters.
  12. It's also quite energetic -- there isn't a boring shot anywhere, and writer-director Schnabel is clearly enjoying himself as he plays with expressionist sound, neo-Eisensteinian edits, and all sorts of other filmic ideas.
  13. Tends to let his consumers off the hook--you'd hardly guess that any of these people are responsible for their own financial woes.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    If he'd (Shepard) gone a few notches darker and deeper he might have had a formidable post-cold war thriller. Still, there's much to enjoy in Brosnan's enthusiastic scruffing up of his Bond/Steele image and in Shepard's energetic, if lightweight, direction.
  14. The idiosyncratic instrumentation and melodies in the score by Angelo Badalamenti ("Blue Velvet") and a masterful opening scene are wasted on this pathetic thriller.
  15. Carax has a wonderful cinematic eye and a personal feeling for editing rhythms, and his sense of overripeness and excess virtually defines him.
  16. Eastwood himself, pushing 70 but cruising women in their early 20s, counts on more goodwill than I can muster. I wasn't bored, but my suspension of disbelief collapsed well before the end.
  17. Some of the film's situations and motivations seem convenient or underdeveloped, but Ascaride and Darroussin are riveting, and Guediguian's frankness and empathy illuminate this kaleidoscope of lonely lives.
  18. Silly and shameless stuff that made me laugh quite a lot.
  19. I was never bored but only occasionally interested.
  20. There are still plenty of laughs and some inventiveness along the way...although some of the gags and contrived plot moves stumble over their own cuteness.
  21. Fortunately almost everyone acquits himself coolly and admirably; only costars Greg Kinnear and Marcia Gay Harden ham it up.
  22. An irrefutable triumph of engineering, and it entertained and intrigued me through two separate viewings...though as a view of the human condition it's astonishingly and depressingly meager.
  23. Writer-director Benjamin Heisenberg serves up a lean and solidly satisfying existentialist thriller.
  24. The famously oblique French director Alain Resnais (Last Year at Marienbad) won a special award at the Cannes film festival for this existential comedy (2009), whose masterful technique fails to compensate for its glassy characters and mercilessly self-amused tone.
  25. The setup of this comedy by director-cowriter Peter Hedges (Pieces of April) and some subsequent twists may be contrived, and the laughs aren't very plentiful, but much of the behavior seems real, and the able cast makes the most of it.
  26. As in "My Favorite Year," the laughs all come from seeing a nervous innocent pulled into the star's debauchery, the heart from our growing realization that debauchery is just emptiness with the volume cranked.
  27. Though the action is a bit intense for very young kids, it's probably no worse than what they see on television.

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