Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 5,110 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 8.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Lowest review score: 0 Dirty Love
Score distribution:
5110 movie reviews
  1. The affirmation at the end of the film is so joyous that this is one of the few movies in a long time that inspires tears of happiness, and earns them. The Color Purple is the year's best film.
  2. Once is the kind of film I've been pestered about ever since I started reviewing again. People couldn't quite describe it, but they said I had to see it. I had to. Well, I did. They were right.
  3. Rendition is valuable and rare. As I wrote from Toronto: "It is a movie about the theory and practice of two things: torture and personal responsibility. And it is wise about what is right, and what is wrong."
  4. While so many films about coming of age involve manufactured dilemmas, here is one about a woman who indeed does come of age, and magnificently.
  5. Harrelson is an ideal actor for the role. Especially in tensely wound-up movies like this, he implies that he's looking at everything and then watching himself looking.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    No
    The film becomes a sort of boxing match, getting more intense with each round, building to an exciting finish.
  6. It's a compelling visceral film -- sound, images and characters combined into a decidedly odd visual experience that evokes the feel of a graphic novel. It seems charged from within by its power as a fable; we sense it’s not interested in a plot so much as with the dilemma of functioning in a world losing hope.
  7. Sean Penn never tries to show Harvey Milk as a hero, and never needs to. He shows him as an ordinary man, kind, funny, flawed, shrewd, idealistic, yearning for a better world.
  8. The work of a born filmmaker, able to summon apprehension out of thin air.
  9. Chazelle’s script is hopeful and sweet and clever and rich. His direction is innovative and captivating.
  10. The movie is a great American document, but it's also entertaining. (Review of Original Release)
  11. It is one of the year's best films.
  12. It's a superb film -- funny, insightful and very wise about the realities of political life.
  13. 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.
  14. One of the best films of the year.
  15. It just might be the most impressive piece of filmmaking I’ve seen in 2015, and it features a great lead performance by a rising star, a memorable supporting role by a familiar veteran — and one of the most amazing acting jobs by a child I’ve ever seen.
  16. The peculiar quality of Vanity Fair, which sets it aside from the Austen adaptations such as "Sense and Sensibility" and "Pride and Prejudice," is that it's not about very nice people. That makes them much more interesting.
  17. A brilliant nightmare and like all nightmares it doesn't tell us half of what we want to know. (Review of Original Release)
  18. The movie makes no attempt to psychoanalyze its Kit Carruthers, and there are no symbols to note or lessons to learn. What comes through more than anything is the enormous loneliness of the lives these two characters lived, together and apart.
  19. A friend asked: "Wouldn't you love to attend a wedding like that?" In a way, I felt I had. Yes, I began to feel absorbed in the experience. A few movies can do that, can slip you out of your mind and into theirs.
  20. As Soderbergh lovingly peels away veil after veil of deception, the film develops into an unexpected human comedy. Not that any of the characters are laughing.
  21. Superman is a pure delight, a wondrous combination of all the old-fashioned things we never really get tired of: adventure and romance, heroes and villains, earthshaking special effects, and -- you know what else? Wit.
  22. Keke Palmer, a young Chicago actress whose first role was as Queen Latifah's niece in "Barbershop 2," becomes an important young star with this movie. It puts her in Dakota Fanning and Thora Cross territory, and there's something about her poise and self-possession that hints she will grow up to be a considerable actress.
  23. 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.
  24. This profound and immensely touching film in only 75 perfect minutes achieves the profundity of an epic.
  25. Junebug is a great film because it is a true film. It humbles other films that claim to be about family secrets and eccentricities. It understands that families are complicated and their problems are not solved during a short visit, just in time for the film to end. Families and their problems go on and on, and they aren't solved, they're dealt with.
  26. This restored 35mm print, now in art theaters around the country, may be 37 years old, but it is the best foreign film of the year.
  27. 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.
  28. What happens is that we get vested in the lives of these characters. That's rare in a lot of movies.
  29. After seeing Kinyarwanda, I have a different kind of feeling about the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. The film approaches it not as a story line but as a series of intense personal moments.
  30. I can't single out a performance. This is a superb ensemble, conveying hat joy actors feel when hey know they're good in good material. This is not a traditional feature, but it's one of Spike Lee's best films.
  31. Halloween is an absolutely merciless thriller, a movie so violent and scary that, yes, I would compare it to “Psycho.”
  32. Cocteau, a poet and surrealist, was not making a "children's film" but was adapting a classic French tale that he felt had a special message after the suffering of World War II: Anyone who has an unhappy childhood may grow up to be a Beast.
  33. Olivier Dahan's La Vie en Rose, one of the best biopics I've seen, tells Piaf's life story through the extraordinary performance of Marion Cotillard, who looks like the singer.
  34. After Hours is a brilliant film that is so original, so particular, that we are uncertain from moment to moment exactly how to respond to it. The style of the film creates, in us, the same feeling that the events in the film create in the hero. Interesting.
  35. This is a movie to surrender yourself to. If you require logic, see something else. Mulholland Drive works directly on the emotions, like music.
  36. McNamara speaks concisely and forcibly, rarely searching for a word, and he is not reciting boilerplate and old sound bites; there is the uncanny sensation that he is thinking as he speaks.
  37. It contains risk, violence, a little romance, even fleeting moments of humor, but most of all, it sees what danger and heartbreak are involved. It is riveting from start to finish.
  38. The film is inspirational and educational - and it is also entertaining, as movies must be before they can be anything else.
  39. Is it real? Is this whole story real? I refuse to ask that question. Life of Pi is all real, second by second and minute by minute, and what it finally amounts to is left for every viewer to decide. I have decided it is one of the best films of the year.
  40. The genius of the movie is the way is sidesteps all of the obvious cliches of the underlying story and makes itself fresh, observant, tough and genuinely moving.
  41. There has never been a movie quite like Northfork… The movie is visionary and elegiac, more a fable than a story, and frame by frame, it looks like a portfolio of spaces so wide, so open, that men must wonder if they have a role beneath such indifferent skies.
  42. So the movie's flawed. So it leaves us with loose ends and questions. That finally doesn't bother me, because what it does accomplish is done so well, is seen so sharply, is presented so unforgivingly, that Network will outlive a lot of tidier movies.
  43. It is a remarkable film, immediate, urgent, angry, poetic and stubbornly hopeful.
  44. In an era when hundreds of lives are casually destroyed in action movies, here is an entire film in which one life is honored, and one death is avenged.
  45. The strength of Kinsey is finally in the clarity it brings to its title character. It is fascinating to meet a complete original, a person of intelligence and extremes.
  46. What a beautiful and epic film is Interstellar, filled with great performances, tingling our senses with masterful special effects, daring to be openly sentimental, asking gigantic questions about the meaning of life and leaving us drained and grateful for the experience.
  47. 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.
  48. (1) Shot for shot, Maddin can be as surprising and delightful as any filmmaker has ever been, and (2) he is an acquired taste, but please, sir, may I have some more?
  49. I find movies like this alive and provoking, and I'm exhilarated to have my thinking challenged at every step of the way.
  50. One of those rare movies where you leave the theater having been surprised and entertained, and then start arguing.
  51. This is pure filmmaking, elegant and slippery. I haven't had as much fun second-guessing a movie since "Mulholland Drive."
  52. James Mangold's 3:10 to Yuma restores the wounded heart of the Western and rescues it from the morass of pointless violence.
  53. Because their work is so varied, the director Winterbottom and Boyce, his frequent writer, are only now coming into focus as perhaps the most creative team in British film.
  54. The documentary shows outrageous behavior, none more so than when they and many others are directed to a nearby Navy base for refuge.
  55. This is a painful movie to watch. But it is also exhilarating, as all good movies are, because we are watching the director and actors venturing beyond any conventional idea of what a modern movie can be about. Here there is no plot, no characters to identify with, no hope.
  56. I am not British, was born 14 years before the subjects, and yet by now identify intensely with them, because some kinds of human experience -- teenage, work, marriage, illness are universal. You could make this series in any society.
  57. A Bronx Tale is a very funny movie sometimes, and very touching at other times. It is filled with life and colorful characters and great lines of dialogue, and De Niro, in his debut as a director, finds the right notes as he moves from laughter to anger to tears. What's important about the film is that it's about values.
  58. Everything about the film -- its casting, its filming, its release -- is daring and innovative.
  59. It brings the fantastic into our everyday lives; it delights in showing us the reaction of the man on the street to Superman's latest stunt.
  60. The Queen is a spellbinding story of opposed passions -- of Elizabeth's icy resolve to keep the royal family separate and aloof from the death of the divorced Diana, who was legally no longer a royal, and of Blair's correct reading of the public mood.
  61. 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.
  62. The film is pitch-perfect in its decor, music, clothes, cars, language and values. It takes place during those heady years between the introduction of the Pill and the specter of AIDS, when men shaped as adolescents by Playboy in the 1950s now found some of their fantasies within reach.
  63. The movie is as intelligent a thriller as you'll see this year.
  64. It's enchanting and delightful in its own way, and has a good heart. It is the best animated film of recent years, the latest work by Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese master who is a god to the Disney animators.
  65. The most painful and heartrending portrait of jealousy in the cinema--an "Othello'' for our times.
  66. Green takes us to that place where we keep feelings that we treasure, but are a little afraid of.
  67. The performances are all insidiously powerful.
  68. What is most amazing about this film is how completely Spielberg serves his story. The movie is brilliantly acted, written, directed and seen. Individual scenes are masterpieces of art direction, cinematography, special effects, crowd control.
  69. Gomorrah looks grimy and sullen, and has no heroes, only victims. That is its power.
  70. More reverie and meditation than reportage.
  71. The way Hugo deals with Melies is enchanting in itself, but the film's first half is devoted to the escapades of its young hero. In the way the film uses CGI and other techniques to create the train station and the city, the movie is breathtaking.
  72. The Infiltrator is a great-looking, well-paced, wickedly funny and seriously tense thriller, bolstered by an ensemble cast as good as I’ve seen in any film this year.
  73. Philip Seymour Hoffman's precise, uncanny performance as Capote doesn't imitate the author so much as channel him, as a man whose peculiarities mask great intelligence and deep wounds.
  74. An endlessly fascinating movie.
  75. A very funny, sometimes very sad documentary.
  76. There are moments in All or Nothing of such acute observation that we nod in understanding -- The closing scenes of the movie are just about perfect.
  77. Rush ranks among the best movies about auto racing ever made, featuring two great performances from the leads, who capture not only the physical look of the racing legends they’re playing, but the vastly different character traits that made their rivalry, well, made for the movies.
  78. 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.
  79. 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.
  80. This movie does not describe the America I learned about in civics class, or think of when I pledge allegiance to the flag. Yet I know I will get the usual e-mails accusing me of partisanship, bias, only telling one side, etc. What is the other side? See this movie, and you tell me.
  81. The kind of parable that encourages us to re-evaluate the good old days and take a fresh look at the new world we so easily dismiss as decadent.
  82. By the end of the movie, we have been through an emotional and a sensual wringer, in a film of great wisdom and delight.
  83. The actors and the characters merge and form a reality above and apart from the story, and the result is a film that takes us beyond crime and London and the Russian mafia and into the mystifying realms of human nature.
  84. [An] extraordinary documentary, nothing at all like what I was expecting to see. Here is not a sick and drugged man forcing himself through grueling rehearsals, but a spirit embodied by music. Michael Jackson was something else.
  85. 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.
  86. Who is Charles Ferguson, director of this film? A one-time senior fellow of the Brookings Institute, software millionaire, originally a supporter of the war, visiting professor at MIT and Berkeley, he was trustworthy enough to inspire confidences from former top officials.
  87. What a beautiful, thrilling, joyous, surprising and heart-thumping adventure this is.
  88. Duvall's screenplay does what great screenwriting is supposed to do, and surprises us with additional observations and revelations in every scene.
  89. An Officer and a Gentleman is the best movie about love that I've seen in a long time.
  90. It is a great story of love and hope, told tenderly and without any great striving for effect.
  91. 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.
  92. It’s an expertly paced thriller that never misses a note.
  93. Like "House of Sand and Fog" and "Man Push Cart," it helps us to understand that the newcomers among us come from somewhere and are somebody.
  94. This is one of the best movies of the year, featuring one of the most perfect endings of any movie in recent memory.
  95. The suspense screws up tighter than a drum-head. The characters remain believable; we have a conflict of personalities, not stereotypes. The action coexists seamlessly with the message.
  96. A fresh, quirky, unusually intelligent comedy.
  97. It simply looks at the day as it unfolds, and that is a brave and radical act; it refuses to supply reasons and assign cures, so that we can close the case and move on.
  98. The movie is uncommonly absorbing.
  99. The very best thing about the movie is its dialogue. Paul Brickman, who wrote and directed, has an ear so good that he knows what to leave out.

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