Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 5,476 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 8.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Girl with a Pearl Earring
Lowest review score: 0 The Life of David Gale
Score distribution:
5476 movie reviews
  1. Selling anyone the right to touch your genital area for a couple of bucks is not a good way to build self-esteem. Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike makes this argument with a crafty mixture of comedy, romance, melodrama and some remarkably well-staged strip routines involving hunky, good-looking guys.
  2. The Devil's Backbone has been compared to "The Others," and has the same ambition and intelligence, but is more compelling and even convincing.
  3. Like many a sequel to a slam-bang, much-liked mega-hit, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 isn’t quite as much fun, not quite as clever, not quite as fresh as the original — but it still packs a bright and shiny and sweet punch.
  4. I've only been to Denmark twice and have no idea if this is even remotely a Danish situation, but it could fit right fine in the Old West.
  5. As entertainment, the movie functions successfully. But I don't believe the story is true--not true to the facts, and not true to the morality it pretends to be about.
  6. Only movie lovers who have marinated their imaginations in the great B movies from RKO and Republic will recognize The Hot Spot as a superior work in an old tradition - as a manipulation of story elements as mannered and deliberate, in its way, as variations on a theme for the piano.
  7. Once in a blue moon a movie escapes the shackles of its genre and does what it really wants to do. Kids in America is a movie like that. It breaks out of Hollywood jail.
  8. Sharky’s Machine contains all of the ingredients of a tough, violent, cynical big-city cop movie, but what makes it intriguing is the way the Burt Reynolds character plays against those conventions.
  9. Fascinating to watch as a portrait of political celebrity and ego.
  10. Is it funny? Yes, it is.
  11. The whole film has a lively Mexican-American tilt, from the Hispanic backgrounds of the young actors to the surprise appearance of none other than Ricardo Montalban, as Grandpa, in a wheelchair with helicopter capabilities.
  12. Delicacy is a sweetheart of a love story, and cornball from stem to stern.
  13. A well-made use of familiar materials.
  14. To Rome With Love isn't great Woody Allen. Here is a man who has made a feature every year since 1969, give or take a few, and if they cannot all be great Woody, it's churlish to complain if they're only good Woody.
  15. Though this is the cinematic equivalent of an album of cover tunes by artists who have created much more dazzling original work, it’s a sweet, smart and funny confection.
  16. Lin takes an established franchise and makes it surprisingly fresh and intriguing. The movie is not exactly "Shogun" when it comes to the subject of an American in Japan (nor, on the other hand, is it "Lost in Translation"). But it's more observant than we expect, and uses its Japanese locations to make the story about something more than fast cars.
  17. Together [Christopher Eccleston, Rachel Griffiths and Kate Winslet] stake a difficult story and make it into a haunting film.
  18. Rock conveys a lot of information, but also some unfortunate opinions and misleading facts. That doesn't mean the move isn't warm, funny, and entertaining.
  19. Here there is a dry wit, generated between the well-balanced performances of Fiennes and Blanchett, who seem quietly delighted to be playing two such rich characters.
  20. The film's implication, quite starkly, is that a strong military doesn't favor crybabies, that a certain degree of rape is unavoidable - and inevitably, that some women may have been asking for it. One hearing noted that the victim was dressed provocatively. In her official uniform.
  21. Swimming is above all about a young woman's face, and by casting an actress whose face projects that woman's doubts and yearnings, it succeeds. The face belongs to Lauren Ambrose.
  22. Enormously entertaining.
  23. Yes, The Promise veers into corny territory, and yes, it’s derivative of better war romances — but it’s a solid and sobering reminder of the atrocities of war, bolstered by strong performances from Isaac and Bale, two of the best actors of their generation.
  24. The animation is nicely stylized and the color palette well-chosen, although the humans are so square-jawed, they make Dick Tracy look like Andy Gump. The voice performances are persuasive. The obvious drawback is that the film is in 3-D. If you can find a theater showing it in 2-D, seek it out.
  25. I don't much care if the battles aren't that amazing, because the story doesn't depend on them. It's about a sacrifice made by Spock, and it draws on the sentiment and audience identification developed over the years by the TV series.
  26. The movie's strength is in the acting, with Gosling once again playing a character with an insistent presence.
  27. The movie's dialogue is smart. It doesn't just chug along making plot points.
  28. Great World of Sound, a Sundance hit, is Zobel’s first film, a confident, sure-handed exercise focusing on the American Dream, turned nightmare.
  29. The movie is an engrossing melodrama, and it has its heart in the right place.
  30. When Marley is not on the screen, Wilson and Aniston demonstrate why they are gifted comic actors. They have a relationship that's not too sitcomish, not too sentimental, mostly smart and realistic.
  31. The Muppets Take Manhattan is yet another retread of the reliable old formula in which somebody says "Hey, gang! Our senior class musical show is so good, I'll bet we could be stars on Broadway!" The fact that this plot is not original does not deter you, Kermit, nor should it. It's still a good plot.
  32. In Good Company is a rare species: a feel-good movie about big business. It's about a corporate culture that tries to be evil and fails.
  33. It could have been more, could have been a triumph and a classic, instead of simply an effective entertainment.
  34. This is not a deep movie, but it's a broad one. It reunites three talents who had an enormous hit with "Y Tu Mama Tambien": actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, and Carlos Cuaron, who wrote that film and writes and directs this one. Instead of trying to top themselves with life and poignancy, they wisely do something for fun.
  35. The most outspoken and yet in some ways the calmest of the new documentaries opposing the Bush presidency.
  36. A movie like this can get you thinking.
  37. Kicking and Screaming doesn't have much of a plot, but of course it wouldn't; this is a movie about characters waiting for their plots to begin.
  38. An ingenious attempt to update an old plot with new technology, and it is made with competence, skillful acting, and the ability to make us feel cleverer about digital stuff than we really are.
  39. At Berkeley earns credit for documenting a distinctly articulate community.
  40. A joyous movie.
  41. It's not art, it's not “Juno,” it's not “Girlfight,” for that matter, but as a movie about a flesh-eating cheerleader, it's better than it has to be.
  42. This is a great deal more entertaining than it sounds, in large part because the two actors are gifted mimics - Brydon the better one, although Coogan doesn't think so.
  43. A tender and passionate protest, not without laughter, by Bertrand Tavernier -- a director who is not only gifted but honorable.
  44. There's so much good here, in the dialogue, the performances and the observation, that the movie succeeds at many moments even while pursuing its doomed grand design.
  45. Though I usually take pleasure in Almodovar's sexy darkness, this film induces queasiness.
  46. Thanks in large part to the genuine movie-star charisma of David Oyelowo and to the breathtakingly beautiful on-location cinematography in Botswana, here we are with the arrow pointing up.
  47. This is a gloomy film with weird characters doing nasty things. I've heard of eating chocolate-covered insects, but not when they're alive.
  48. Baby Boom makes no effort to show us real life. It is a fantasy about mothers and babies and sweetness and love, with just enough wicked comedy to give it an edge.
  49. Truth is a strange interpretation of events, in which the visuals and the music sometime seem to be nudging us in one direction, even as the screenplay and the performances are telling us something quite different.
  50. The 1975 movie tilted toward horror instead of comedy. Now here's a version that tilts the other way, and I like it a little better.
  51. It's warm, entertaining, funny, and centered around that great Sissy Spacek performance, but it's essentially pretty familiar material (not that Loretta Lynn can be blamed that Horatio Alger wrote her life before she lived it). The movie isn't great art, but it has been made with great taste and style; it's more intelligent and observant than movie biographies of singing stars used to be. That makes it a treasure to watch, even if we sometimes have the feeling we've seen it before.
  52. This is not a "horror" film or an "underground" film, but an act of transgression so extreme and uncompromised, and yet so amateurish and sloppy, that it exists in a category of one film -- this film.
  53. Cars 3 is a lovely, clever and entertaining generational tale with tons of heart, a simple and effective storyline, wonderful candy-colored visuals and winning voice work from the talented cast of returning regulars and welcome newcomers.
  54. Little Voice is unthinkable without the special and unexpected talent of its star.
  55. For me, Richard Jenkins is the heart of Norman. How often I've admired him; even in unworthy roles, he has such strength, he never seems the need to try.
  56. Jackson disappears into his role, completely convincing, but then he usually is. What a fine actor. He avoids pitfalls like making Champ a maudlin tearjerker, looking for pity. He's realistic, even philosophical, about his life and what happened to him.
  57. Now is Slipstream worth seeing? I think so, if you'll actively engage your sympathy with Hopkins' attempt to do something tricky and difficult. If you want to lie back and let the movie come to you, you may be lying there a long time.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Many comedies fall short, putting wit on hold to fulfill the necessities of plot. Here, however, plot simply provides a destination and a deadline. This film races with such high energy that the humor continues to satisfy, if only because the characters are so likeable.
  58. This isn't a great movie. But it's sincere as an entertainment, it looks good, it's atmospheric, and I will perk up the next time I hear Gianna is in a picture.
  59. A sentimental, predictable, sometimes implausible but thoroughly entertaining, old-fashioned piece.
  60. The film looks great, the songs are wonderfully visualized, and the characters are appealing.
  61. This is one of those comedies that doesn't pound us on the head with the obvious, but simply lets us share vast amusement.
  62. Impressive moviemaking, showing Scorsese as a master of a traditional Hollywood genre.
  63. It's pretty good, in fact, with full-blooded performances and heartfelt melodrama.
  64. Intense, erotic and willful.
  65. May be a sardonic view of Japanese corporate culture, but that's not all it is. The movie is also subtly sexual and erotic, despite the fact that every scene takes place in the office and there is not a single overt sexual act or word or gesture or reference.
  66. This is the raunchiest, filthiest, most ridiculous and most politically incorrect movie of the year. It’s also one of the funniest — and its own very twisted and warped way, it offers some legitimate if obvious insights about our insane world.
  67. This still works as a solid Disney sports movie because of the remarkable story, Mira Nair’s energetic and uplifting direction, and one of the most endearing casts I’ve enjoyed in any movie this year.
  68. Pan
    Full of non-stop action, an intriguing new take on J.M. Barrie’s classic “Peter Pan” tale and some old-fashioned, swashbuckling mischief led by Hugh Jackman, director Joe Wright’s Pan is one heck of a charming romp.
  69. Masterful at concealing its true nature and surprising us with the turns of the story.
  70. Despite its creativity, the movie remains space opera and avoids the higher realms of science-fiction.
  71. The result is one of the jollier comedies of the year, a movie so mainstream that you can almost watch it backing away from confrontation, a film aimed primarily at a middle-American heterosexual audience.
  72. Not a documentary about anything in particular. That is its charm. It's a meandering visit by a curious man with a quiet sense of humor, who pokes here and there in his family history, and the history of tobacco.
  73. Ephron develops this story with all of the heartfelt sincerity of a 1950s tearjerker (indeed, the movie's characters spend a lot of time watching "An Affair to Remember" and using it as their romantic compass).
  74. As loaded with special effects as "The Matrix,'' but they're on a different scale. Many of his best effects are gooey, indescribable organic things, and some of the most memorable scenes involve characters eating things that surgeons handle with gloves on.
  75. Coppola is unable to draw all this together and make it work on the level of simple, absorbing narrative. The stunning text of "The Godfather" is replaced in Part II with prologues, epilogues, footnotes, and good intentions.
  76. Ang Lee has boldly taken the broad outlines of a comic book story and transformed them to his own purposes; this is a comic book movie for people who wouldn't be caught dead at a comic book movie.
  77. I feel such an affection for Chabrol and his work that I probably can't see The Flower of Evil as it would be experienced by a first-time viewer. Would that newcomer note the elegance, the confidence, the sheer joy in the way he treasures the banalities of bourgeois life on his way to the bloodshed?
  78. This movie has a lot of good music in it, some on the soundtrack, some on the screen. Jackson and Bernie Mac have enormous fun doing intricate dance moves together.
  79. Four Lions is impossible to categorize. It's an exceedingly dark comedy, a wicked satire, a thriller where the thrills center on the incompetence of the villains.
  80. This movie kept me involved and intrigued, and for that I'm grateful. I'm beginning to wonder whether, in some situations, absurdity might not be a strength.
  81. The two leading men, Northam and Everett, are smooth and charming.
  82. I found myself resisting the film's pull of easy emotion. There are fundamental questions here, and the film doesn't engage them. I believe Christian should have had the humility to lead his monks away from the path of self-sacrifice.
  83. This is the second movie Judd and Freeman have made together (after "Kiss the Girls" in 1997). They're both good at projecting a kind of Southern intelligence that knows its way around the frailties of human nature.
  84. The point is to show us what can be done with recycled traditional animation in the IMAX 3-D process, and the demonstration is impressive.
  85. A crisp, smart, cynical film about dishonor among thieves.
  86. These stories have as their justification that fact that they are intrinsically interesting. I think that's enough.
  87. This is the documentary that caused a sensation at Sundance 2004 and allegedly inspired McDonald's to discontinue its "super size" promotions as a preemptive measure.
  88. Simon Curtis’ Woman in Gold is a shamelessly sentimental fictionalization of this true story, but it’s a fascinating story nonetheless, beautifully photographed and greatly elevated by a brilliant performance from the invaluable Helen Mirren.
  89. Inside Deep Throat, a documentary that premiered at Sundance and is now going into national release, was made not on the fringes but by the very establishment itself.
  90. A funny movie that only gets funnier the more familiar you are with the James Bond movies, all the Bond clones and countless other 1960s films.
  91. A Martin Lawrence performance that deserves comparison with Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, with a touch of Mel Gibson's zaniness in the midst of action.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Whatever its deficiencies, there's no downplaying the emotions of parting with Ripley. So much attention is paid to the special effects in movies like these, Weaver's accomplishment in developing, deepening and richly glorifying her character stands to be underestimated. [22 May 1992, p.51]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  92. It contains one element of startling originality: its bad guy, nicknamed Pooh-Bear and played by Vincent D'Onofrio in a great weird demented giggle of a performance; imagine a Batman villain cycled through the hallucinations of "Requiem for a Dream."
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  93. The film is built around two relationships, both touching, both emotionally true.
  94. Low-key, understated style. The suspense beats away underneath.
  95. Adult audiences may be underwhelmed. Not younger teenage girls, who will be completely fascinated.
  96. Begins and ends with facts of war, but it is really a film about the nature of male and female, about middle-class values and those who cannot afford them, about how helpless we can be when the net of society is broken.
  97. Sometimes The Railway Man is hard to watch. It’s also hard to imagine anyone watching it and not being deeply moved.
  98. The Sound of My Voice never precisely declares whether her story is true. Without going into detail, I can say that the film never precisely declares anything to be true.

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