Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 5,512 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 Take Shelter
Lowest review score: 0 September Dawn
Score distribution:
5512 movie reviews
  1. This is a well-meaning film with a good idea that unfortunately stumbles on its way to its less-than-satisfying end.
  2. The problems resulting from the switch of identities are fairly predictable, but fun: This is one of the better recent Disney productions.
  3. It's not the idea that people will kill each other for entertainment that makes Series 7 jolting. What the movie correctly perceives is that somewhere along the line we've lost all sense of shame in our society.
  4. Despite the filmmakers’ best attempts, the latest screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic love story Romeo & Juliet lands with a dull thud.
  5. The good news: Hardy creates two memorable characters, making some bold and always entertaining if not entirely successful choices. The bad news: Somehow, the fictionalized version of the terrifying, violent and twisted Krays manages to be pedestrian and derivative for long stretches.
  6. Some of the bits work and others don't, but no one seems to be keeping score, and that's part of the movie's charm.
  7. The movie, unfortunately, doesn't really work; it's one of those films where the characters always seem to be Behaving, as if ordinary life has to be jacked up into eccentricity.
  8. Has little islands of humor and even perfection, floating in a sea of missed marks and murky intentions.
  9. Sam and Frankie are certainly interesting enough that a film about them coming to grips with this hidden truth would have been justified. It also would probably have been harder to write than this one, so People Like Us marches on with a coy little smile, toying with Frankie and the audience.
  10. [A] basically brainless but intermittently adrenalizing, mostly-just-for-kids reboot.
  11. The experience of watching The Doors is not always very pleasant.
  12. A carnival geek show elevated in the direction of art. It never quite gets there, but it tries with every fiber of its craft to redeem its pulp origins, and we must give it credit for the courage of its depravity.
  13. The movie's shot in black and white; Allen is one of the rare and valuable directors who sometimes insists in working in the format that is the soul of cinema.
  14. Passes the time pleasantly and has a few good laughs.
  15. It isn't a masterpiece, but it is a good-hearted, sweet comedy, featuring an overland chase that isn't original but sure is energetic.
  16. Dark Places does its best to stir a multitude of emotions within us, but in doing so, the film feels contrived and hurried.
  17. In its clumsy way, it throws in comments now and then to show it knows the difference between Arab terrorists and American citizens.
  18. The movie breaks down into anecdotes that don't flow or build, and everything is narrated by the Gilot character.
  19. Green Lantern does not intend to be plausible. It intends to be a sound-and-light show, assaulting the audience with sensational special effects. If that's what you want, that's what you get.
  20. This is the kind of movie you happen across on TV, and linger to watch out of curiosity, but its inspired moments serve only to point out how routine, and occasionally how slow and wordy, the rest of it is.
  21. It drifts above the surface of its natural subjects, content to be a genre picture. We're always aware of the formula--and in a picture based on real life, we shouldn't be.
  22. This movie will no doubt be pitched to the same audiences that loved "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." It even brings Maggie Smith along. But it lacks that film's life, intelligence and spirit. It has a good heart. I'll give it that. Maybe what it needs is more exotic marigolds.
  23. Sex Is Comedy is not sure what it's really about, or how to get there; the director is seen as flighty and impulsive, the situations seem like set-ups, and we never know what the Actor and Actress are really thinking -- or if thinking has anything to do with it.
  24. An enjoyable film, and yet it left me somehow unsatisfied...there is too much contrivance in the way [Austen] dispatches her men to London when she is done with them.
  25. The moral reasoning in the film is so confusing that only by completely sidestepping it can the plot work at all.
  26. Seven Years in Tibet is an ambitious and beautiful movie with much to interest the patient viewer, but it makes the common mistake of many films about travelers and explorers: It is more concerned with their adventures than with what they discover.
  27. It's fast-footed and fun. "Rugrats in Paris" had charms for grownups, however, Recess: School's Out seems aimed more directly at grade-schoolers.
  28. The Thing is basically just a geek show, a gross-out movie in which teenagers can dare one another to watch the screen. There's nothing wrong with that; I like being scared and I was scared by many scenes in The Thing. But it seems clear that Carpenter made his choice early on to concentrate on the special effects and the technology and to allow the story and people to become secondary.
  29. Pleasant and well-acted and easy to watch.
  30. It aims straight for our hearts, sometimes hitting the target, especially in some of the quieter scenes with Conor and his mother. But then the preachy tree rears its thorny head, and it keeps on talking and explaining, long after we get it, we get it, we get it.
  31. It's not enough to like such films because they're "so bad they're good." You need to specialize, and like the films because they're so good about being so bad they're good. Modus Operandi, a film by Frankie Latina that has won praise on the midnight movie festival circuit, is such a film.
  32. What sets Heathers apart from less intelligent teenage movies is that it has a point of view toward this subject matter - a bleak, macabre and bitingly satirical one.
  33. Clint Eastwood's film is a determined attempt to be faithful to the book's spirit, but something ineffable is lost just by turning on the camera: Nothing we see can be as amazing as what we've imagined.
  34. Fletch needed an actor more interested in playing the character than in playing himself.
  35. The real objective of all the "M:I" movies is to provide a clothesline for sensational action scenes. Nothing else matters, and explanatory dialogue would only slow things down. This formula worked satisfactorily in "M:I," directed by Brian De Palma, and "M:I II," directed by John Woo, and I suppose it works up to a point in M:I III, directed by J.J. Abrams, if what you want is endless, nonstop high-tech action.
  36. A curiously unfocused Prohibition-era gangster epic with some well-choreographed action scenes, a few provocative plot threads — but an increasingly meandering main story line that goes from intriguing to confounding to preachy to what exactly are we even watching here?
  37. It offers wonderful things, but they aren't what's important. It's as if Burton directed at arm's length, unwilling to find juice in the story.
  38. The part that needs work didn't cost money. It's the screenplay. Having created the characters and fashioned the outline, Tarantino doesn't do much with his characters except to let them talk too much, especially when they should be unconscious from shock and loss of blood.
  39. One of the irritations of Ghost is that the Moore character is such a slow study.
  40. This good movie is buried beneath millions of dollars that were spent on "production values" that wreck the show.
  41. To give the movie credit, it's as bored with the underlying plot as we are. Even the prom queen election is only a backdrop for more interesting material, as She's All That explores differences in class and style, and peppers its screenplay with very funny little moments.
  42. The best performance, because it's more nuanced, is by Liev Schreiber. His Zus Bielski is more concerned with the big picture, more ideological, more driven by tactics.
  43. There's not much original about the film, but it's played with high spirits and good cheer, there are lots of musical interludes, and it's pitched straight at families.
  44. Act of Valor is gift-wrapped in patriotism. It was once intended as a recruitment film, and that's how it plays.
  45. O Brother contains sequences that are wonderful in themselves--lovely short films--but the movie never really shapes itself into a whole.
  46. It's skillfully mounted and fitfully intriguing, but weaves such a tangled web that at the end I defy anyone in the audience to explain the exact loyalties and motives of the leading characters.
  47. Tequila Sunrise is an intriguing movie with interesting characters, but it might have worked better if it had found a cleaner narrative line from beginning to end. It's hard to surrender yourself to a film that seems to be toying with you.
  48. She (Taymor) doesn't capture Shakespeare's tone (or his meaning, I believe), but she certainly has boldness in her reinvention.
  49. The movie does have charm and moments of humor, but what it doesn't have is romance.
  50. This is an OK movie about a serious subject and an important milestone in the road to gay freedom and equality. It’s just a shame it didn’t accomplish the kind of cinematic punch as did the Oscar-winning “Milk.”
  51. Freeheld is a classic example of a well-made, well-acted film with the best of intentions — but a disappointingly heavy-handed method of delivering its message.
  52. A sweet, innocent family movie about stray dogs that seem as well-trained as Olympic champions. Friday, the Jack Russell terrier who's the leader of the pack, does more acting than most of the humans, and doesn't even get billing.
  53. The weakness of the film is the weakness of the leading role. That's not a criticism of Mark Wahlberg, who has a quite capable range, but of how he and Russell see the character.
  54. We can enjoy the suspense of the opening scenes, and some of the drama. The performances are in keeping with the material. But toward the end, when we realize that the entire reality of the film is problematical, there is a certain impatience. It's as if our chain is being yanked.
  55. In the spirit of so many films created for the small screen, My All American works way too hard to make sure our heartstrings are pulled — and actually yanked hard from start to finish.
  56. One of the problems with Mel Brooks's High Anxiety is that it picks a tricky target: It's a spoof of the work of Alfred Hitchcock, but Hitchcock's films are often funny themselves. And satire works best when its target is self-important.
  57. It's innocent and sometimes kind of charming. The sets are entertaining. There are parallels in appearance and theme to a low-rent "Dark City."
  58. The story is determined to be colorful and melodramatic, like a soap opera where the characters suffer in ways that look intriguing.
  59. Dead Snow, as you may have gathered, is a comedy, but played absolutely seriously by sincere, earnest young actors.
  60. It looks great. The technical credits are impeccable, and Clooney and Kidman negotiate assorted dangers skillfully. But it's mostly spare parts from other thrillers.
  61. A little more fury might have been a whole lot better.
  62. As a source of information about his life and work, this interview is almost worthless, but as an insight into his style, it is priceless.
  63. Director Wheatley and screenwriter Amy Jump are clearly playing much of as pitch-black satire, but High-Rise keeps hammering home the same points, and not even the wealth of strong performances from Hiddleston, Miller and Irons are enough to salvage the day.
  64. It's a film you enjoy in pieces, but the jigsaw never gets solved.
  65. Absorbing, if somewhat slow-paced, and has without doubt the most blood-curdling scene of live childbirth in a PG-13 movie.
  66. It circles the possibility of mental and spiritual infidelity like a cat wondering if a mouse might still be alive. Watching it, I felt it would be fascinating to see a movie that was really, truthfully, fearlessly about this subject.
  67. This is not a film most people will enjoy. Its qualities are apparent only if appreciates cinematic style for itself.
  68. Seen simply as a film, The Motorcycle Diaries is attenuated and tedious. We understand that Ernesto and Alberto are friends, but that's about all we find out about them; they develop none of the complexities of other on-the-road couples, like Thelma and Louise, Bonnie and Clyde or Huck and Jim. There isn't much chemistry.
  69. Muppet Treasure Island, directed by Brian Henson, son of the late Muppet genius, will entertain you more or less in proportion to your affection for the Muppets. If you like them, you'll probably like this.
  70. It's the kind of movie you can sit back and enjoy, as long as you don't make the mistake of thinking too much.
  71. The problem with a story like this is that it's almost too perfect. It tends to break out of the boundaries of the typical sports movie, and undermine those easy cliches that are so reassuring to sports fans.
  72. After seeing Gere and Roberts play much smarter people (even in romantic comedies), it is painful to see them dumbed down here. The screenplay is so sluggish, they're like Derby winners made to carry extra weight.
  73. Director Todd Phillips has delivered a film so different from the first two, one could even ask if this is even supposed to be a comedy. I'm not saying it's an unfunny comedy wannabe; I'm saying it plays more like a straightforward, real-world thriller with a few laughs than a hard-R slapstick farce.
  74. Never quite attains takeoff velocity.
  75. Never comes alive.
  76. That the movie is fun is undeniable. That it is bad is inarguable.
  77. Things play out in predictable fashion, and we’re more than ready to bid farewell to these people and feel grateful they don’t live on our block.
  78. Strange, how good feardotcom is, and how bad. The screenplay is a mess, and yet the visuals are so creative this is one of the rare bad films you might actually want to see.
  79. The movie's problem is that no one seemed to have any fun making it, and it's hard to have much fun watching it. It's a depressing experience.
  80. This whole movie is crazy, with all sorts of well-known folks stumbling and bumbling about in search of a character. At times Reach Me is undeniably intriguing, mostly because it’s just so weird and disconnected. Eventually, though, it just becomes tiresome.
  81. A movie with a lot of funny one-liners, but no place to go with them.
  82. There's a point at which the plot crosses an invisible line, becoming so preposterous that it's no longer moving and is just plain weird.
  83. Technically impressive but listless and tedious.
  84. Love is blind, and movies about that blindness can be maddening.
  85. The tantalizing enticement of Goldie Hawn pairing with Amy Schumer for a mother-daughter, road-trip buddy comedy has some moments, but never fulfills its promise. As their onscreen adventures and antics grow zanier and broader, the laughs actually grow softer and more sporadic.
  86. Class is a prep-school retread of "The Graduate" that knows some of its scenes are funny and some are serious, but never figures out quite how they should go together. The result is an uncomfortable, inconsistent movie that doesn't really pay off -- a movie in which everything points to two absolutely key scenes that are, inexplicably, the two most awkward scenes in the film.
  87. Too cluttered and busy, but as a glimpse into the affluent culture of a country with economic extremes, it's intriguing. Occasionally it's funny and moving, too.
  88. All of this is intriguing material, but the movie doesn't do much with it.
  89. Proves to be unsatisfactory because it establishes a well-defined group of characters and shows them disrupted by the careless behavior of a tiresome young woman and two adults who allow themselves to be motivated in one way or another by her infectious libido.
  90. This is a well-made thriller traveling over awfully familiar turf.
  91. In the real world, Elle Woods would be chewed up faster than one of little Bruiser's Milk-Bones.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Somewhere in the laundry list of clichés, there is a movie here that we have already seen and forgotten.
  92. The screenplay creates a sense of foreboding and afterboding, but no actual boding.
  93. There is no entry portal in The Rules of Attraction, and I spent most of the movie feeling depressed by the shallow, selfish, greedy characters. I wanted to be at another party.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    As amiable and formfitting as Ghostbusters II can be, it's a thin, dimly conceived affair. For all its rave-up special effects, it adds little to director Ivan Reitman's original, which itself was no fountain of wit but at least had a fresh gimmick going for it. [16 Jun 1989, p.37]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  94. Emma Roberts and Dave Franco are just fine, but there’s no huge onscreen spark between them. Most of the supporting roles are thinly drawn and forgettable.
  95. It's a long, shapeless, undisciplined mess, and every once in awhile it generates a big laugh.
  96. From its juvenile double entendre title to its fascination with prison rape and homophobic humor, “Get Hard” practically announces itself as an offensive, tired and unimaginative comedy in nearly every scene. And yet I didn’t hate it because Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart had such terrific comedic chemistry.
  97. The Shack is a well-acted and sometimes moving but far too often slow-paced and unconvincing spiritual journey.
  98. They had a great idea here. It's too bad they didn't follow it through on a human level, instead of making it feel made up and artificial and twice-removed, from the everyday experience it pretends to be about.

Top Trailers