Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 4,734 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 74% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 24% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 9.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Into the Abyss
Lowest review score: 0 Dirty Love
Score distribution:
4,734 movie reviews
  1. To see strong acting like this is exhilarating. In a time of flashy directors who slice and dice their films in a dizzy editing rhythm, it is important to remember that films can look and listen and attentively sympathize with their characters. Directors grow great by subtracting, not adding, and Eastwood does nothing for show, everything for effect.
  2. Coppola is a fascinating director. She sees, and we see exactly what she sees. There is little attempt here to observe a plot. All the attention is on the handful of characters, on Johnny.
  3. One of the greatest of all fantasy films.
  4. This is clearly one of the best of the year's films. Every time an animated film is successful, you have to read all over again about how animation isn't "just for children" but "for the whole family," and "even for adults going on their own." No kidding!
  5. The film is visually masterful. It's in black and white, of course.
  6. 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.
  7. The movie is carefully modulated to draw us deeper and deeper into the situation, and uses no contrived plot devices to superimpose plot jolts on what is, after all, a story involving four civilized people who are only trying, each in a different way, to find happiness.
  8. Once again, [Cameron] has silenced the doubters by simply delivering an extraordinary film. There is still at least one man in Hollywood who knows how to spend $250 million, or was it $300 million, wisely.
  9. In the world of this film, conventional piety is overturned and we see into the soul of a human monster.
  10. There is a word to describe Ponyo, and that word is magical. This poetic, visually breathtaking work by the greatest of all animators has such deep charm that adults and children will both be touched.
  11. Brokeback Mountain has been described as "a gay cowboy movie," which is a cruel simplification. It is the story of a time and place where two men are forced to deny the only great passion either one will ever feel. Their tragedy is universal.
  12. One reason for the fascination of Woody Allen's Match Point is that each and every character is rotten.
  13. The best approach is to begin with the characters, because the wonderful, sad, touching The Edge of Heaven is more about its characters than about its story
  14. One of the funniest, most intelligent, most original films.
  15. As a fictional, big-budget, 3-D, epic interpretation of Moses’ journey, Exodus: Gods and Kings is spectacular.
  16. Wherever you live, when this film opens, it will be the best film in town.
  17. The acting and the best dialogue passages have an impact that has not dimmed; it is still possible to feel the power of the film and of Brando and Kazan, who changed American movie acting forever.
  18. It's gloriously absurd. This movie has holes in it big enough to drive the whole movie through. The laws of physics seem to be suspended here the same way as in a Road Runner cartoon.
  19. In its own sloppy, raunchy, sophomoric, occasionally self-pleased and consistently energetic way, This Is the End is just about perfect at executing its mission, which is to poke fun at its stars, exhaust every R-rated possibility to get a laugh, and even sneak in a few insights into Hollywood, the celebrity culture and the nature of faith.
  20. Painful family issues are more likely to stay beneath the surface, known to everyone but not spoken of. Still Walking, a magnificent new film from Japan, is very wise about that, and very true.
  21. The movie heroes who affect me most are not extroverted. They don't strut, speechify and lead armies. They have no superpowers. They are ordinary people who are faced with a need and rise to the occasion. Ree Dolly is such a hero.
  22. 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.
  23. Trucker sets out on a difficult and tricky path, and doesn't put a foot wrong.
  24. This is a powerful film and a stark visual accomplishment, but no thanks to Gabita (Laura Vasiliu). The driving character is her roommate Otilia (Anamaria Marinca), who does all the heavy lifting.
  25. Doubt has exact and merciless writing, powerful performances and timeless relevance. It causes us to start thinking with the first shot, and we never stop. Think how rare that is in a film.
  26. Movies about high school misfits are common; this is an uncommon one. Terri, so convincingly played by Jacob Wysocki, is smart, gentle and instinctively wise.
  27. A film like "Hoop Dreams" is what the movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and make us think in new ways about the world around us. It gives us the impression of having touched life itself.
  28. This is a breathless, exciting story, heartbreaking and exhilarating at the same time.
  29. The movie is a satire that contains just enough realistic ballast to be teasingly plausible; like "Dr. Strangelove," it makes you laugh, and then it makes you wonder.
  30. Have I mentioned A Serious Man is so rich and funny? This isn't a laugh-laugh movie, but a wince-wince movie. Those can be funny too.
  31. Against the overarching facts of his personal magnetism and the blind loyalty of his lieutenants, the movie observes the workings of the world within the bunker. All power flowed from Hitler. He was evil, mad, ill, but long after Hitler's war was lost he continued to wage it in fantasy.
  32. Ron Howard's Parenthood is a delicate balancing act between comedy and truth, a movie that contains a lot of laughter and yet is more concerned with character than punch lines.
  33. One of the most remarkable and haunting documentaries ever made.
  34. With access to remarkable archival footage, old TV shows, home movies and the family photo album, Brown weaves together the story of the Seegers with testimony by admirers who represent his influence and legacy.
  35. The movie is astonishingly beautiful. The cinematography is by Bergman's longtime collaborator Sven Nykvist.
  36. 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.
  37. Once in a great while I see a movie I know I’ll be listing as one of my all-time favorites for the rest of my days. So it is with this remarkable, unforgettable, elegant epic that is about one family — and millions of families. It’s a pinpoint-specific and yet universal story.
  38. It is as assured and flawless a telling of sadness and joy as I have ever seen.
  39. It's pure cinema, spread over several genres. It's a caper movie, a gangster movie, a sex movie and a slapstick comedy.
  40. Soderbergh's story, from a screenplay by Stephen Gaghan, cuts between these characters so smoothly that even a fairly complex scenario remains clear and charged with tension.
  41. Do we need a fourth film? Yes, I think we do. If you only see one of them, this is the one to choose, because it has the benefit of hindsight.
  42. Here is a good and joyous man who leads a life that is perfect for him, and how many people do we meet like that? This movie made me happy every moment I was watching it.
  43. Very nice. I like Borat very much. I think it is, as everybody has been saying, the funniest movie in years.
  44. Anyone who could read Munro’s original story and think they could make a film of it, and then make a great film, deserves a certain awe.
  45. After seeing Awakenings, I read it, to know more about what happened in that Bronx hospital. What both the movie and the book convey is the immense courage of the patients and the profound experience of their doctors, as in a small way they reexperienced what it means to be born, to open your eyes and discover to your astonishment that "you" are alive.
  46. An extraordinary thriller... The film centers on two remarkable performances, by Gwyneth Paltrow and Hope Davis.
  47. Crowe brings the character to life by sidestepping sensationalism and building with small behavioral details.
  48. All of these moments unfold in a film of astonishing maturity and confidence; Eve's Bayou, one of the very best films of the year, is the debut of its writer and director, Kasi Lemmons.
  49. Lohman in particular is effective; I learn to my astonishment that she's 24, but here she plays a 15-year-old with all the tentative love and sudden vulnerability that the role requires, when your dad is a whacko confidence man.
  50. 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.
  51. Romance & Cigarettes is the real thing, a film that breaks out of Hollywood jail with audacious originality, startling sexuality, heartfelt emotions, and an anarchic liberty. The actors toss their heads and run their mouths like prisoners let loose to race free.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Lore belongs in the inspiration-and-control camp. It makes dizzying flourishes out of moments that would pass as filler in other films.
  52. The film is astonishing in the amount of material it contains. It isn't thin or superficial; there is an abundance of observation and invention here.
  53. A sports documentary as gripping, in a different way, as "Hoop Dreams."
  54. The kind of film I instinctively respond to. Leave logic at the door. Do not expect subdued taste and restraint, but instead a kind of operatic ecstasy.
  55. Transcends its origins and becomes one of a kind. It's glorious, unashamed escapism and surprisingly touching at the same time.
  56. A great visionary achievement, a film so original and exciting, it stirred my imagination like "Metropolis" and "2001: A Space Odyssey."
  57. The Counselor achieves the almost unheard-of daily double of giving us the most outrageous sex scene of the year AND the most unforgettably brutal murder of the year. This is a badass journey from start to finish.
  58. A darker, deeper fantasy epic than the "Rings" trilogy, "The Chronicles of Narnia" or the "Potter" films. It springs from the same British world of quasi-philosophical magic, but creates more complex villains and poses more intriguing questions. As a visual experience, it is superb. As an escapist fantasy, it is challenging.
  59. One of the most visually inventive films I have ever seen.
  60. Al-Mansour has managed to embue Wadjda with a hopeful spirit, partially because she takes time to show women finding ways to be themselves in private moments. And partially because she suggests with a few subtle touches that the situation might be slowly improving.
  61. I was carried along by the wit, the energy and a surprising sweetness.
  62. This is, first of all, an electrifying and poignant love story....And it is also one hell of a thriller.
  63. 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.
  64. Like "City of God," it feels organically rooted. Like many Le Carre stories, it begins with grief and proceeds with sadness toward horror. Its closing scenes are as cynical about international politics and commerce as I can imagine. I would like to believe they are an exaggeration, but I fear they are not. This is one of the year's best films.
  65. This is a good movie, from a masterful novel.
  66. This great film by Anthony Fabian tells this story through the eyes of a happy girl who grows into an outsider.
  67. Ray
    The movie would be worth seeing simply for the sound of the music and the sight of Jamie Foxx performing it. That it looks deeper and gives us a sense of the man himself is what makes it special.
  68. A Most Wanted Man works as a crowd-pleaser and as a believable reflection of how these fictional events might well play out in the real world.
  69. Dying is not this cheerful, but we need to think it is. The Barbarian Invasions is a movie about a man who dies about as pleasantly as it's possible to imagine; the audience sheds happy tears.
  70. What's fascinating is the way Mario, working from his father's autobiography and his own memories, has somehow used his first-hand experience without being cornered by it.
  71. This is Rourke doing astonishing physical acting.
  72. Edge of Tomorrow is the ultimate metaphor about Tom Cruise’s career. You can’t kill this guy. He’ll just keep coming. And he remains arguably the biggest movie star in the world for a reason. He brings it.
  73. The Leopard was written by the only man who could have written it, directed by the only man who could have directed it, and stars the only man who could have played its title character.
  74. Director Josh Boone does a wonderful job of celebrating the sentimentality without shying away from the tough moments. The pacing, music and editing are all first-rate.
  75. Andrea Yates believed she was possessed by Satan and could save her children by drowning them. Frailty is as chilling.
  76. This is one of the best films of the year, an unflinching lament for the human condition.
  77. A superb crime melodrama.
  78. What we sense after the film is that the natural sources of pleasure have been replaced with higher-octane substitutes, which have burnt out the ability to feel joy.
  79. There is one cool, understated scene after another.
  80. Ron Howard's film of this mission is directed with a single-mindedness and attention to detail that makes it riveting.
  81. Haggis writes with such directness and such a good ear for everyday speech that the characters seem real and plausible after only a few words. His cast is uniformly strong; the actors sidestep cliches and make their characters particular.
  82. This is a dark, dark, dark film, focused on an obsession so complete and lonely it shuts out all other human experience. You may not savor it, but you will not stop watching it, in horror and fascination.
  83. The movie is made with boundless energy. Fellini stood here at the dividing point between the neorealism of his earlier films (like "La Strada") and the carnival visuals of his extravagant later ones ("Juliet of the Spirits," "Amarcord'').
  84. The characters are played not by the first actors you would think of casting, but by actors who will prevent you from ever being able to imagine anyone else in their roles.
  85. If you are squeamish, here is the film to make you squeam.
  86. Pollock is confident, insightful work--one of the year's best films.
  87. You savor every moment of Jackie Brown. Those who say it is too long have developed cinematic attention deficit disorder. I wanted these characters to live, talk, deceive and scheme for hours and hours.
  88. Kramer vs. Kramer is a movie of good performances, and it had to be, because the performances can't rest on conventional melodrama.
  89. The movie is vulgar, raunchy, ribald, and occasionally scatological. It is also the funniest comedy since Mel Brooks made "The Producers."
  90. This film is a wonder - the best work yet by one of our most original and independent filmmakers - and after it is over, and you begin to think about it, its meanings begin to flower.
  91. 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.
  92. 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.
  93. This is not your average family cartoon. Shrek is jolly and wicked, filled with sly in-jokes and yet somehow possessing a heart.
  94. Seen after 30 years, Dr. Strangelove seems remarkably fresh and undated - a clear-eyed, irreverant, dangerous satire. And its willingness to follow the situation to its logical conclusion - nuclear annihilation - has a purity that today's lily-livered happy-ending technicians would probably find a way around.
  95. Here is a tense and sorrowful film where common sense struggles with blood lust.
  96. It’s quintessential Anderson... but also an unabashed entertainment. And that’s something to see.
  97. A magnificent science-fiction film, all the more intriguing because it raises questions about the origin of human life and doesn't have the answers.
  98. This film is joyous, but more than that: It's lovely in its construction. The director, Prashant Bhargava, born and raised on Chicago's South Side, knows what his basic story line is, but reveals it subtly.
  99. One of the best police movies in recent years, a virtuoso fusion of performances and often startling action.

Top Trailers