Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 4,506 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 75% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 23% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 9.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Sideways
Lowest review score: 0 The Life of David Gale
Score distribution:
4,506 movie reviews
  1. That such intelligence could be contained in a movie that is simultaneously so funny and so entertaining is some kind of a miracle.
  2. Shines with a kind of inspired madness.
  3. Here is the most passionate and tender love story in many years, so touching because it is not about a story, not about stars, not about a plot, not about sex, not about nudity, but about LOVE itself.
  4. One of the greatest of all American films, but has never received the attention it deserves because of its lack of the proper trappings. Many "great movies'' are by great directors, but Laughton directed only this one film, which was a critical and commercial failure long overshadowed by his acting career.
  5. A remarkable film.
  6. As for myself, as Leticia rejoined Hank in the last shot of the movie, I was thinking about her as deeply and urgently as about any movie character I can remember.
  7. Here is a movie that knows its women, listens to them, doesn't give them a pass, allows them to be real: It's a rebuke to the shallow "Ya-Ya Sisterhood."
  8. It is one of the year's best films.
  9. Like Malick's "Days of Heaven," it is not about plot, but about memory and regret. It remembers a summer that was not a happy summer, but there will never again be a summer so intensely felt, so alive, so valuable.
  10. If you are squeamish, here is the film to make you squeam.
  11. This is an uncommonly intelligent film, smart and amusing too, and anyone who thinks it is not faithful to Austen doesn't know the author but only her plots.
  12. One of those entertainments where you laugh a lot along the way, and then you end up on the edge of your seat at the end.
  13. The story of herself (Varda), a woman whose life has consisted of moving through the world with the tools of her trade, finding what is worth treasuring.
  14. Seeps with melancholy, old wounds, repressed anger, lust. That it is also caustically funny and heartwarming is miraculous.
  15. Brilliant and heartbreaking, takes place in the present but is timeless.
  16. A sports documentary as gripping, in a different way, as "Hoop Dreams."
  17. Seductive and beautiful, cynical and twisted, and one of the best films of the year.
  18. This is one of the funniest movies ever made. To see it now is to understand that. To see it for the first time in 1968, when I did, was to witness audacity so liberating that not even "There's Something About Mary" rivals it.
  19. More reverie and meditation than reportage.
  20. Rohmer elegantly seduces us with people who have all of the alarming unpredictability of life.
  21. This is the first film to approach the subject of "undocumented workers" solely through their eyes. This is not one of those docudramas where we half-expect a test at the end, but a film like "The Grapes of Wrath" that gets inside the hearts of its characters and lives with them.
  22. It's a superb film -- funny, insightful and very wise about the realities of political life.
  23. One of the year's best films for a lot of reasons, including its ability to involve the audience almost breathlessly in a story of mounting tragedy.
  24. The most accurate movie about campus life that I can remember.
  25. To look at Bringing Out the Dead --to look, indeed, at almost any Scorsese film--is to be reminded that film can touch us urgently and deeply.
  26. Has no ragged edges or bothersome detours, and flows from surprise to delight. At the end, when just desserts are handed out, it arrives at a kind of perfection.
  27. What a bold, mad act of genius it was, to make Lawrence of Arabia, or even think that it could be made.
  28. Nolte and Coburn are magnificent in this film, which is like an expiation or amends for abusive men. It is revealing to watch them in their scenes together--to see how they're able to use physical presence to sketch the history of a relationship.
  29. I've never seen a movie so sad in which there was so much genuine laughter. The Accidental Tourist is one of the best films of the year.
  30. Scorsese tells his story with the energy and pacing he's famous for, and with a wealth of little details that feel just right.
  31. Not many movies like this get made, because not many filmmakers are so bold, angry and defiant.
  32. It is a surprisingly entertaining film - funny, wicked, sharp-tongued and devious. It does not solve the case, nor intend to. I am afraid it only intends to entertain.
  33. An experience so engrossing it is like being buried in a new environment.
  34. In the way it combines sports with human nature, it reminded me of another wonderful Indiana sports movie, "Breaking Away." It's a movie that is all heart.
  35. By the end of the movie, we have been through an emotional and a sensual wringer, in a film of great wisdom and delight.
  36. This series should be sealed in a time capsule. It is on my list of the 10 greatest films of all time, and is a noble use of the medium.
  37. It comes closer to reflecting the current state of race relations in America than any other movie of our time.
  38. It's rare to get a good movie about the touchy adult relationship of a sister and brother. Rarer still for the director to be more fascinated by the process than the outcome. This is one of the best movies of the year.
  39. The funniest movie I have seen in a long time.
  40. If "Henry V," the first film [Branaugh] directed and starred in, caused people to compare him to Olivier, "Dead Again" will inspire comparisons to Welles and Hitchcock - and the Olivier of Hitchcock's "Rebecca."
  41. It is not a "dirty movie," and in fact takes spirituality and morality more seriously than most films do. And in the bad lieutenant, Keitel has given us one of the great screen performances in recent years.
  42. This is one of the best films of the year, an unflinching lament for the human condition.
  43. Los Angeles always seems to be waiting for something. Permanence seems out of reach; some great apocalyptic event is on the horizon, and people view the future tentatively. Robert Altman's Short Cuts captures that uneasiness perfectly.
  44. I saw Tarzan once, and went to see it again. This kind of bright, colorful, hyperkinetic animation is a visual exhilaration.
  45. Pollock is confident, insightful work--one of the year's best films.
  46. A tense, taut and expert thriller that becomes something more than that, an allegory about an innocent man in a world prepared to crush him.
  47. The splendid cast embodies the characters so fully that the events actually seem to be happening to them, instead of unfolding from a screenplay.
  48. The film is inspirational and educational - and it is also entertaining, as movies must be before they can be anything else.
  49. A movie that is not only ingenious and entertaining, but liberating, because we can sense the story isn't going to be twisted into conformity with some stupid formula.
  50. Made with sublime innocence and breathtaking artistry, at a time when its simple values rang true.
  51. This film is delightful in the way it finds its own way to tell its own story. There was no model to draw on, but Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who wrote and directed it, have made a great film by trusting to Pekar's artistic credo.
  52. David Gordon Green's second film, is too subtle and perceptive, and knows too much about human nature, to treat their lack of sexual synchronicity as if it supplies a plot.
  53. Pitiless, bleak and despairing -- The Grey Zone refers to a world where everyone is covered with the gray ash of the dead, and it has been like that for so long they do not even notice anymore.
  54. It is one of those rare movies that is not just about a story, or some characters, but about a whole universe of feeling.
  55. Films like this are more useful than gung-ho capers like "Behind Enemy Lines." They help audiences understand and sympathize with the actual experiences of combat troops, instead of trivializing them into entertainments.
  56. The film is a glorious experience to witness, not least because, knowing the technique and understanding how much depends on every moment, we almost hold our breath.
  57. Max is played by Jean Gabin, named "the actor of the century" in a French poll, in Jacques Becker's Touchez Pas au Grisbi, a 1954 French crime film that uncannily points the way toward Jean-Pierre Melville's great "Bob Le Flambeur" the following year.
  58. This is one of the best movies of the year.
  59. No movie has had a greater impact on the way people looked. The music of course is immortal.
  60. I have seen love scenes in which naked bodies thrash in sweaty passion, but I have rarely seen them more passionate than in this movie, where everyone is wrapped in layers of Victorian repression.
  61. A beautiful and haunting film that tells this story, and then tells another subterranean story about the seasons of a marriage.
  62. The movie is funny, but it's more than funny, it's exhilarating.
  63. You would imagine a film like this would be greeted with rapture in France, but no. The leading French film magazine, "Cahiers du Cinema," has long scorned the filmmakers of this older generation as makers of mere "quality," and interprets Tavernier's work as an attack on the New Wave generation which replaced them.
  64. Has maturity and emotional depth: There are no cheap shots, nothing is thrown in for effect, realism is placed ahead of easy dramatic payoffs, and the audience grows deeply involved.
  65. The movie is brilliant, really. It is philosophy, illustrated through everyday events. Most movies operate as if their events are necessary--that B must follow A. "13 Conversations" betrays B, A and all the other letters as random possibilities.
  66. This is pure filmmaking, elegant and slippery. I haven't had as much fun second-guessing a movie since "Mulholland Drive."
  67. It moves us on a human level, it keeps us guessing during scenes as unpredictable as life, and it shows us how ordinary people have a chance of somehow coping with their problems, which are rather ordinary, too.
  68. Love proves she is not a rock star pretending to act, but a true actress, and Harrelson matches her with his portrait of a man who has one thing on his mind, and never changes it.
  69. One of the great films of all time. It shames modern Hollywood's timidity. To watch it is to feel yourself lifted up to the heights where the cinema can take you, but so rarely does.
  70. One of the best films of the year.
  71. I have seen Waking Life three times now. I want to see it again -- not to master it, or even to remember it better, -- but simply to experience all of these ideas, all of this passion, the very act of trying to figure things out.
  72. As well-directed a film as you'll see from America this year, an unsentimental and yet completely involving story of a young man who cannot see a way around his fate.
  73. A wild elaboration. If you have never seen a Japanese anime, start here. If you love them, Metropolis proves you are right.
  74. This movie made my heart glad. It is filled with innocence, hope, and good cheer. It is also wickedly funny and exciting as hell.
  75. The work of a born filmmaker, able to summon apprehension out of thin air.
  76. Oh, what a lovely film. I was almost hugging myself while I watched it.
  77. Brimming with invention and new ideas, and its Hogwarts School seems to expand and deepen before our very eyes into a world large enough to conceal unguessable secrets -- What a glorious movie.
  78. A very funny, sometimes very sad documentary.
  79. This is a grown-up movie, in its humor and in its wisdom about life. You need to have lived a little to understand the complexities of Tobias Allcott, who is played by James Coburn with a pitch-perfect balance between sadness and sardonic wit.
  80. Some kind of weird masterpiece...one of the best movies of the year.
  81. Watching Invincible was a singular experience for me, because it reminded me of the fundamental power that the cinema had for us when we were children. The film exercises the power that fable has for the believing.
  82. Has the quality of many great films, in that it always seems alive.
  83. I was carried along by the wit, the energy and a surprising sweetness.
  84. Rotates its story through satire, comedy, suspense and violence, until it emerges as one of the best films I've ever seen.
  85. This film ennobles filmmaking.
  86. The first time I saw The Straight Story, I focused on the foreground and liked it. The second time I focused on the background, too, and loved it.
  87. One of those movies where "after that summer, nothing would ever be the same again." Yes, but it redefines "nothing."
  88. There are scenes as true as movies can make them, and even when the story develops thriller elements, they are redeemed, because the movie isn't about what happens, but about why.
  89. A Room with a View enjoys its storytelling so much that I enjoyed the very process of it. The story moved slowly, it seemed, for the same reason you try to make ice cream last: because it's so good.
  90. What is remarkable is how realistic the story is.
  91. Does what many great films do, creating a time, place and characters so striking that they become part of our arsenal of images for imagining the world.
  92. It is flawlessly crafted, intelligently constructed, strongly acted and spellbinding.
  93. Larry Clark's Bully calls the bluff of movies that pretend to be about murder but are really about entertainment. His film has all the sadness and shabbiness, all the mess and cruelty and thoughtless stupidity of the real thing.
  94. One of a very few films that wants to do something unexpected and challenging, and succeeds even beyond its ambitions. See this film. Then shut up about it.
  95. Andrea Yates believed she was possessed by Satan and could save her children by drowning them. Frailty is as chilling.
  96. At a time when too many movies focus every scene on a $20 million star, an Altman film is like a party with no boring guests.
  97. At a time when digital techniques can show us almost anything, The Blair Witch Project is a reminder that what really scares us is the stuff we can't see.
  98. This movie moves so confidently and looks so good it seems incredible that it's a directorial debut.
  99. It is not a film for most people. It is certainly for adults only. But it shows Todd Solondz as a filmmaker who deserves attention, who hears the unhappiness in the air and seeks its sources.
  100. A red-blooded adventure movie, dripping with atmosphere, filled with the gruesome and the sublime, and surprisingly faithful to the novel.

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