Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 5,510 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 No End in Sight
Lowest review score: 0 Slackers
Score distribution:
5510 movie reviews
  1. This is pure filmmaking, elegant and slippery. I haven't had as much fun second-guessing a movie since "Mulholland Drive."
  2. James Mangold's 3:10 to Yuma restores the wounded heart of the Western and rescues it from the morass of pointless violence.
  3. 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.
  4. The documentary shows outrageous behavior, none more so than when they and many others are directed to a nearby Navy base for refuge.
  5. My Left Foot is a great film for many reasons, but the most important is that it gives us such a complete picture of this man's life. It is not an inspirational movie, although it inspires. It is not a sympathetic movie, although it inspires sympathy. It is the story of a stubborn, difficult, blessed and gifted man who was dealt a bad hand, who played it brilliantly, and who left us some good books, some good paintings and the example of his courage.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Everything about the film -- its casting, its filming, its release -- is daring and innovative.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. The movie is as intelligent a thriller as you'll see this year.
  15. 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.
  16. The most painful and heartrending portrait of jealousy in the cinema--an "Othello'' for our times.
  17. Green takes us to that place where we keep feelings that we treasure, but are a little afraid of.
  18. The performances are all insidiously powerful.
  19. 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.
  20. Gomorrah looks grimy and sullen, and has no heroes, only victims. That is its power.
  21. It is also a rarity, a patriotic film that has a liberal, rather than a conservative, heart. It made me feel good to be an American, and good that Vladimir Ivanoff was going to be one, too.
  22. More reverie and meditation than reportage.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. An endlessly fascinating movie.
  27. A very funny, sometimes very sad documentary.
  28. But there is no way, within the film, to be sure with any confidence exactly what happens, or precisely how, or really why. Kubrick delivers this uncertainty in a film where the actors themselves vibrate with unease.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  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. 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.
  37. [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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. What a beautiful, thrilling, joyous, surprising and heart-thumping adventure this is.
  41. Duvall's screenplay does what great screenwriting is supposed to do, and surprises us with additional observations and revelations in every scene.
  42. An Officer and a Gentleman is the best movie about love that I've seen in a long time.
  43. It is a great story of love and hope, told tenderly and without any great striving for effect.
  44. 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.
  45. It’s an expertly paced thriller that never misses a note.
  46. 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.
  47. This is one of the best movies of the year, featuring one of the most perfect endings of any movie in recent memory.
  48. 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.
  49. A fresh, quirky, unusually intelligent comedy.
  50. 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.
  51. The movie is uncommonly absorbing.
  52. 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.
  53. It's one of those extraordinary films, like "Hoop Dreams," that tells a story the makers could not possibly have anticipated in advance. It works like stunning, grieving fiction.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. A documentary with no pretense of objectivity. Here is Mike Tyson's story in his own words, and it is surprisingly persuasive.
  57. The music, the cinematography, the acting choices, the daring plot leaps — not a single element is timid or safe...The Place Beyond the Pines earns every second of its 140-minute running time.
  58. Lost in America is being called a yuppie comedy, but it's really about the much more universal subjects of greed, hedonism and panic. What makes it so funny is how much we can identify with it.
  59. We laugh, that we may not cry. But none of this philosophy comes close to the insane logic of "M*A*S*H," which is achieved through a peculiar marriage of cinematography, acting, directing, and writing.
  60. I wanted to hug this movie. It takes such a risky journey and never steps wrong. It creates specific, original, believable, lovable characters, and meanders with them through their inconsolable days, never losing its sense of humor.
  61. Linklater introduces us to an abundance of characters, but it’s a tribute to his writing (and the performances) that each of the baseball players has a distinct personality and story thread.
  62. Here is a film where God does not intervene and the directors do not mistake themselves for God. It makes the solutions at the ends of other pictures seem like child's play.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Do not leave the film until the last credit rolls by.
  63. Red Riding Trilogy is an immersive experience like "The Best of Youth," "Brideshead Revisited" or "Nicholas Nickleby."
  64. This isn't an adaptation of a comic book, it's like a comic book brought to life and pumped with steroids.
  65. Not many movies like this get made, because not many filmmakers are so bold, angry and defiant.
  66. Like all good satirists, he knows that too much realism will weaken his effect. He lets you know he's making a comedy. There's an over-the-top exuberance to the intricate crosscut editing and to the hyperactive camera.
  67. One of the most fascinating aspects of Inside Job involves the chatty on-camera insights of Kristin Davis, a Wall Street madam, who says the Street operated in a climate of abundant sex and cocaine for valued clients and the traders themselves.
  68. This is such a rare movie. Its characters are uncompromisingly themselves, flawed, stubborn, vulnerable.
  69. The film concludes not with a "surprise ending" but with a series of shots that brilliantly summarize all that has gone before. This is masterful filmmaking.
  70. This movie gets you coming and going.
  71. Causes us to leave the theater quite unreasonably happy.
  72. That such intelligence could be contained in a movie that is simultaneously so funny and so entertaining is some kind of a miracle.
  73. Oh, what a lovely film. I was almost hugging myself while I watched it.
  74. Rotates its story through satire, comedy, suspense and violence, until it emerges as one of the best films I've ever seen.
  75. Spellbinding.
  76. Leigh's Another Year is like a long, purifying soak in empathy.
  77. Bahrani, as director, not only stays out of the way of the simplicity of his story, but relies on it; less is more, and with restraint he finds a grimy eloquence.
  78. No actor is better than Bill Murray at doing nothing at all, and being fascinating while not doing it. Buster Keaton had the same gift for contemplating astonishing developments with absolute calm. Buster surrounded himself with slapstick, and in Broken Flowers Jim Jarmusch surrounds Murray with a parade of formidable women.
  79. 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.
  80. This movie is as lovable as a silent comedy, which it could have been.
  81. The best performance in the film is by Arestrup as Cesar. You may remember him from Audiard's "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" (2005), where he played a seedy but confident father who psychically overshadows his son.
  82. There is mostly sadness and regret at the surface in 4 Little Girls, but there is anger in the depths, as there should be.
  83. This is a strange and beautiful and unique film, one of the best movies of the year.
  84. 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.
  85. It may be a deeper film experience than many audiences can withstand: too cynical, too true, too cruel and too heartbreaking. It is about the Algerian war, but those not interested in Algeria may substitute another war; The Battle of Algiers has a universal frame of reference.
  86. Has the quality of many great films, in that it always seems alive.
  87. Disturbing, analytical and morose. This is not a "political" film nor yet another screed about the Bush administration or the war in Iraq. It is driven simply, powerfully, by the desire to understand those photographs.
  88. However much it conceals the real-life events that inspired it, it lives and breathes on its own, and as an extension of the mysterious whimsy of Tati.
  89. Brilliant and heartbreaking, takes place in the present but is timeless.
  90. It comes closer to reflecting the current state of race relations in America than any other movie of our time.
  91. The film's ending is improbably upbeat: Magic realism, in a sense. It works as a deliverance. Dennis Foon's screenplay is based on the novel "Chanda's Secrets" by Canadian writer Allan Stratton. It is a parable with Biblical undertones, recalling "Cry, the Beloved Country."
  92. It stands with integrity and breaks our hearts.
  93. It is told from and by an adult sensibility that understands loneliness, gratitude and the intense curiosity we feel for other lives, man and beast.
  94. It's one of the great moviegoing experiences.
  95. Sometimes two performances come along that are so perfectly matched that no overt signals are needed to show how the characters feel about each other. That's what happens between Melissa Leo and Misty Upham in Frozen River.
  96. This is a terrific movie that will keep audiences gripping their seats from start to finish, and a great deal of that is due to the magnificent acting jobs by Goodman, Winstead and co-star John Gallagher Jr.
  97. The funniest American comedy of the year.
  98. In writer-director Steven Knight’s mesmerizing jewel of film titled Locke, Tom Hardy is so brilliant we readily watch him drive a car and talk on the hands-free phone for virtually the entirety of the film — and it’s one of the more effortlessly intense and fascinating performances I’ve seen any actor give in recent memory.
  99. There’s joy in watching a movie like You, the Living. It is flawless in what it does, and we have no idea what that is. It’s in sympathy with its characters. It shares their sorrow, and yet is amused that each thinks his suffering is unique.

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