Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 4,630 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 75% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 23% 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 Captain Phillips
Lowest review score: 0 Police Academy
Score distribution:
4,630 movie reviews
  1. There is nothing to complain about except the film's deadening predictability and the bland, shallow characters.
  2. Texas Killing Fields begins along the lines of a police procedural and might have been perfectly absorbing if it had played by the rules: strict logic, attention to detail, reference to technical police work. Unfortunately, the movie often seems to stray from such discipline.
  3. The movie was directed by Michael Brandt, who co-wrote the script with Derek Haas. Together they wrote a much better movie, "3:10 to Yuma." The Double doesn't approach it in terms of quality. None of it is particularly compelling.
  4. Here's a bad movie with hardly a bad scene. How can that be? The construction doesn't flow. The story doesn't engage. The insistent flashbacks are distracting. The plot has problems it sidesteps. Yet here is a gifted cast doing what it's asked to do. The failure is in the writing and editing.
  5. Did I care if Largo Winch won his struggle for control of Winch International? Not at all. Did I care about him? No, because all of his action and dialogue were shunted into narrow corridors of movie formulas.
  6. The movie is probably ideal for those proverbial young girls who adore cats, and young boys, too. I can't recommend it for adults attending on their own, unless they really, really love cats.
  7. Contraband is based on an Icelandic thriller named "Reykjavik-Rotterdam," which leads you to suspect that neither New Orleans nor Panama City is particularly essential to the plot. That film starred Baltasar Kormakur, who is the director of this one, perhaps as a demonstration that many stars believe they could direct this crap themselves if they ever had the chance.
  8. You have to be very talented to work with Meryl Streep. It also helps to know how to use her. The Iron Lady fails in both of these categories.
  9. Now let me ask you: Can you think of any reason the character John Miller is needed to tell his story? Was any consideration given to the possibility of a Chinese priest? Would that be asking for too much?
  10. The movie cuts back and forth between two preposterous plot lines and uses the man on the ledge as a device to pump up the tension.
  11. My attention was held for the first act or so. Then any attempt at realism was abandoned, and it became clear that the house, and the movie containing it, were devices to manufacture methodical thrills. The explanation, if that's what it was, seemed contrived and unconvincing.
  12. The movie is only 84 minutes long, including credit cookies, but that is quite long enough. All the same, it's fitfully amusing and I have the sense that Spanish-speaking audiences will like it more than I did, although whether they'll be laughing with it or at it, I cannot say.
  13. October Baby is being promoted as a Christian film, and it could have been an effective one. Rachel Hendrix is surprisingly capable in her first feature role, and Jasmine Guy is superb in her scene. Unfortunately, the film as a whole is amateurish and ungainly, can't find a consistent tone, is too long, is overladen with music that tries to paraphrase the story and is photographed with too many beauty shots that slow the progress.
  14. Wrath of the Titans relentlessly wore me down with special effects so overscale compared to the characters in the film that at times the only thing to do was grin.
  15. The plot, in short, is underwhelming. It merely follows the reporters as the screenplay serves them the solution to their case on a silver platter. Yet curiously, Deadline flows right along.
  16. The result is a tiresome exercise that circles at great length through various prefabricated stories defined by the advice each couple needs (or doesn't need).
  17. When I heard that John Cusack had been cast for this film, it sounded like good news: I could imagine him as Poe, tortured and brilliant, lashing out at a cruel world. But that isn't the historical Poe the movie has in mind. It is a melodramatic Poe, calling for the gifts of Nicolas Cage.
  18. Here is a film that begins with merciless comic savagery and descends into merely merciless savagery. But wow, what an opening.
  19. High School is a pun. Get it? This is one of those stoner comedies that may be funny if you're high - but if not, not.
  20. It isn't a great movie, but it looks terrific and makes me look forward to the next film by its director, David Ren. He has a good eye.
  21. The surprise for me is Christina Ricci, who I think of as undernourished and nervous, but who flowers here in warm ripeness.
  22. Watching this film was a cheerless exercise for me. The characters are manic and idiotic, the dialogue is rat-a-tat chatter, the action is entirely at the service of the 3-D, and the movie depends on bright colors, lots of noise and a few songs in between the whiplash moments.
  23. A Burning Hot Summer failed to persuade me of any reason for its existence.
  24. It's so determined to be crude, vulgar and offensive that after a while I grew weary. Abbott and Costello used to knock out funnier movies on this exact intellectual plane without using a single F, S, C, P or A word.
  25. OK, OK. They're good dancers, and well-choreographed. You can see the movie for that and be charitable about the moronic plot.
  26. Its characters are bloodless, their speech monotone. If there are people like this, I hope David Cronenberg's film is as close as I ever get to them. You couldn't pay me to see it again.
  27. The performances by Miller and Graynor are high-spirited enough that you yearn to see them in worthier material. The potential is there. If there's anything more seductive to Manhattanites than sex, it's a cheap apartment overlooking Gramercy Park.
  28. Watching the movie, I enjoyed the settings, the periods and the acting. I can't go so far as to say I cared about the story, particularly after it became clear that its structure was too clever by half.
  29. Beloved evokes some of the fine moments in the careers of Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni, but it doesn't re-create them.
  30. The Higgins performance owes more than a little to Fred Willard's unforgettable dog show commentary in "Best in Show," but it was clear that Willard was part of a telecast.

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