Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 5,653 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 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 The Son
Lowest review score: 0 September Dawn
Score distribution:
5653 movie reviews
  1. The great Bryan Cranston sinks his teeth into the title role and chews the scenery with such gusto I half-expected him to spit out a chunk of period-piece furniture before we were through. There’s a lot of ham and cheese in the performance, but it’s great fun to watch.
  2. The screenplay is so clunky, not a single cast member manages to sound believable. Familiar, likable actors from Kate Bosworth to Gina Carano to Morris Chestnut are buried under an avalanche of awful. You’ve been warned.
  3. 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.
  4. It’s not easy to make an emotionally involving film in which some of the most pivotal moments are about phone calls and making copies of documents and a source circling names on a document — but save for a few overly dry moments, Spotlight prevails.
  5. Writer-director-star Angelina Jolie Pitt’s By the Sea is awfully pretty and mostly dreadful. It’s pretty dreadful.
  6. Director Adam Salky wisely allows the writing and the performances to do the heavy lifting, using his camera in a decidedly low-key, indie style without drawing too much attention to stylistic flourishes.
  7. An artfully shot and occasionally provocative but ultimately underwhelming and self-indulgent film.
  8. This is a sweet, funny, smart, genuine all-ages movie with simple, timeless messages.
  9. This is the 24th Bond film and it ranks solidly in the middle of the all-time rankings, which means it’s still a slick, beautifully photographed, action-packed, international thriller with a number of wonderfully, ludicrously entertaining set pieces, a sprinkling of dry wit, myriad gorgeous women and a classic psycho-villain who is clearly out of his mind but seems to like it that way.
  10. We are captivated by the beauty we see, lulled into a sense of bliss. We are jolted by bursts of vengeance and violence, and even those are stylized beyond all comprehension. Hou is a master indeed.
  11. 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.
  12. As an often cliché-riddled tale of redemption on the big screen, Burnt is the equivalent of a sleek, well-lit, trendy restaurant serving up a mildly creative dishes on an otherwise predictable menu.
  13. A mixed-bag satire with ambitions that veer wildly from sharp political insight to slapstick farce to inspirational semi-autobiography. It never finds solid ground in any of those genres.
  14. The filmmaking is sure-handed, the performances authentic.
  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. This is an unholy mess — a jumbled, tone-deaf satire in which seemingly vital characters are introduced and then inexplicably disappear, never to return; superb actors disappoint by relying on old tricks they’ve used to much better effect in much better films, and every attempt at political commentary comes across as ham-handed and naïve.
  17. It’s just deadly and dreadful, loud and obnoxious, convoluted and irritating, horrible and dumb.
  18. In a way (and maybe it was a conscious choice), some of Almereyda’s flourishes mirror Milgram’s flamboyance — but in both cases, when you have such a provocative foundation and such rich material to work with, pushing it to the next level isn’t necessarily the best choice.
  19. Fukunaga is a dazzling stylist, and at times the shifting palettes of the cinematography and the brilliant camera moves (he’s also the DP on this film) are so impressive as to be marginally distracting.
  20. Crimson Peak is a gorgeous mediocrity.
  21. Spielberg has taken an important but largely forgotten and hardly action-packed slice of the Cold War and turned it into a gripping character study and thriller that feels a bit like a John Le Carre adaptation if Frank Capra were at the controls.
  22. As can be said of most Apple products, it’s a wonder to behold — despite a few irritating glitches.
  23. The fulcrum to the success of Goosebumps, it must be noted, is the perfect casting of Jack Black as Stine.
  24. The intended charms of the down-home period piece/Southern comedy/romance/drama Big Stone Gap were utterly lost on me.
  25. One of the most entertainingly ludicrous movies of the year.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. The reality depicted is sometimes too emotional to watch, because it’s such a personal story for all involved.
  29. Douglas Tirola’s Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead is a frenetic, rough-edged, unapologetic tribute to the Lampoon, featuring some amazing archival footage, nifty bits of animation and dozens of straightforward talking-head interviews that crackle and pop.
  30. The mystery is muddled, the romance is tepid and scenes that should be electric with tension are almost dull.

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