Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 5,481 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 Big Night
Lowest review score: 0 Dirty Love
Score distribution:
5481 movie reviews
  1. Regaled for 50 years by the stupendous idiocy of the American version of Godzilla, audiences can now see the original Japanese version, which is equally idiotic.
  2. To the degree that you will want to see this movie, it will be because of the surprise, and so I will say no more, except to say that the "solution," when it comes, solves little - unless there is really little to solve, which is also a possibility.
  3. So strong, so shocking and yet so audacious that people walk out shaking their heads; they don't know quite what to make of it.
  4. The Flower of My Secret is likely to be disappointing to Almodovar's admirers, and inexplicable to anyone else.
  5. This film is about violence. All violence. Wall-to-wall violence. Against many of those walls, heads are pounded again and again into a pulpy mass. If I estimated the film has 10 minutes of dialogue, that would be generous.
  6. There is a funny movie lurking at the edges of Splash, and sometimes it even sneaks on screen and makes us smile. It's too bad the relentlessly conventional minds that made this movie couldn't have made the leap from sitcom to comedy.
  7. Will I seem hopelessly square if I find Kick-Ass morally reprehensible and will I appear to have missed the point? Let’s say you’re a big fan of the original comic book, and you think the move does it justice. You know what? You inhabit a world I am so very not interested in.
  8. The filmmakers rely so heavily on cliches, on stock characters in old situations, that it's as if they never really had any confidence in their performers.
  9. There is a kind of studied stupidity that sometimes passes as humor, and Jared Hess' Napoleon Dynamite pushes it as far as it can go.
  10. Like a cocky teenager who's had a couple of drinks before the party, they don't have a plan for who they want to offend, only an intention to be as offensive as possible.
  11. This film is an affront. It is incoherent, maddening, deliberately opaque and heedless of the ways in which people watch movies.
  12. A movie that filled me with an urgent desire to see Sarah Silverman in a different movie. I liked everything about it except the writing, the direction, the editing and the lack of a parent or adult guardian.
  13. It's a nine days' wonder, a geek show designed to win a weekend or two at the box office and then fade from memory.
  14. So unsuccessful in so many different ways that maybe the whole project was doomed.
  15. Dead Man is a strange, slow, unrewarding movie that provides us with more time to think about its meaning than with meaning.
  16. If you walk out after 10 or 15 minutes, you will have seen the best parts of the film.
  17. I see so little there: It is all remembered rote work, used to conceal old tricks, facile name-calling, the loss of hope, and emptiness.
  18. There have been articles lately asking why the United States is so hated in some parts of the world. As this week's Exhibit A from Hollywood, I offer Zoolander.
  19. Besson has always demonstrated the ability to chuckle at the madness of his own material, and he provides some solid laughs from time to time. But these winks do nothing to erase the reality of a plot that becomes unintentionally hilarious.
  20. For all of von Trier’s attempts to go big and go bold, the two Nymphomaniac films ultimately come across as a self-indulgent marathon run on a treadmill.
  21. This movie is so excruciatingly dumb I felt as if someone had shaved 10 points off my I.Q. by the time I bolted for the exits.
  22. Ghostbusters is a horror from start to finish, and that’s not me saying it’s legitimately scary. More like I was horrified by what was transpiring onscreen.
  23. It's nice, but it's not much of a comedy.
  24. In the earlier films, we really identified with the small cadre of surviving humans. They were seen as positive characters, and we cared about them. This time, the humans are mostly unpleasant, violent, insane or so noble that we can predict with utter certainty that they will survive.
  25. The characters are bitter and hateful, the images are nauseating, and the ending is bleak enough that when the screen fades to black it's a relief.. Videodrome, whatever its qualities, has got to be one of the least entertaining films of all time.
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  26. The screenplay reads like a collaboration between Jekyll and Hyde.
  27. From start to finish, this film seems strangely out of touch, never more so than when it tries to come across as enlightened.
  28. Inexplicably, there are people who still haven't had enough of these movies. The first was a nifty novelty. Now the appeal has worn threadbare.
  29. This new Footloose is a film without wit, humor or purpose.
  30. I couldn’t wait for this movie to end.
  31. Even though they look nothing like sisters, they’re believable as sisters. Every once in a while when we take a break from the thuddingly unfunny slapstick stuff, there’s a nice and genuine moment.
  32. Robert Rodriguez has somehow misplaced his energy, his flair and his humor in this third film, which is a flat and dreary disappointment.
  33. The standards for comic book superhero movies have been established by "Superman," "The Dark Knight," "Spider-Man 2" and "Iron Man." In that company "Thor" is pitiful. Consider even the comparable villains (Lex Luthor, the Joker, Doc Ock and Obadiah Stane). Memories of all four come instantly to mind. Will you be thinking of Loki six minutes after this movie is over?
  34. What Raising Arizona needs more than anything else is more velocity. Here's a movie that stretches out every moment for more than it's worth, until even the moments of inspiration seem forced.
  35. This is a messy, confusing, uninvolving mishmash of old-school practical effects and CGI battles that feels … off nearly every misstep of the way. It’s like watching a master musician play a piano he somehow doesn’t realize is out of tune.
  36. This isn't a strict remake of Sam Raimi's hugely influential 1981 horror classic, but it does include the basic framework and some visual nods to the original. On its own, it's an irredeemable, sadistic torture chamber reveling in the bloody, cringe-inducing deaths of some of the stupidest people ever to spend a rainy night in a remote cabin in the woods.
  37. Even with Cecil B. Demented, which fails on just about every level, you've got to hand it to him (Waters): The idea for the film is kind of inspired.
  38. The director is James Foley, who is obviously not right for this material.
  39. Monotonous, repetitive and sometimes wildly wrong in what it hopes is funny.
  40. The movie adds up to a few good ideas and a lot of bad ones, wandering around in search of an organizing principle.
  41. An idea is not enough for a movie. Characters have to be developed, comic situations have to be set up before they can pay off and the story should have a conclusion instead of a dead stop. Real Life fails in all of those areas -- fails so miserably that it lets its audiences down.
  42. Feels uncomfortably stage-managed, and raises fundamental questions that it simply ignores.
  43. Maleficent is an admittedly great-looking, sometimes creepy, often plodding and utterly unconvincing re-imagining of a famous romantic fairy tale as a female empowerment metaphor.
  44. Mommie Dearest is a painful experience that drones on endlessly, as Joan Crawford's relationship with her daughter, Christina, disintegrates from cruelty through jealousy into pathos. It is unremittingly depressing, not to any purpose of drama or entertainment, but just to depress. It left me feeling creepy.
  45. What a waste of a wonderful cast.
  46. V/H/S is an example of the genre at its least compelling.
  47. It’s a dopey, only mildly chilling, uneasy mix of horror and dark comedy, scoring few points in either category.
  48. This is a surprisingly cheesy disaster epic.
  49. This ensemble piece plays like “Crash” in a minor note, with one heavy-handed scene after another, all leading up to an ambivalent, unsatisfying ending.
  50. Nothing about The D Train feels the least bit authentic, and worse, little about it is funny.
  51. The movie has been slapped together by director Todd Phillips, who careens from scene to scene without it occurring to him that humor benefits from characterization, context and continuity. Otherwise, all you have is a lot of people acting goofy.
  52. This is a repetitive, pointless exercise in genre filmmaking--the kind of movie where you distract yourself by making a list of the sources.
  53. The problem is, the plot wavers from nearly indecipherable to semi-ridiculous to … I stopped caring.
  54. There is a line and this movie crosses it. I don't know where the line is, but it's way north of Wolf Creek. There is a role for violence in film, but what the hell is the purpose of this sadistic celebration of pain and cruelty?
  55. An efficient delivery system for Gotcha! Moments, of which it has about 19. Audiences who want to be Gotchaed will enjoy it.
  56. Pretty much a mess of a movie; the acting is overwrought, the plot is too tangled to play like anything BUT a plot, and although I know you can create terrific special effects at home in the basement on your computer, the CGI work in this movie looks like it was done with a dial-up connection.
  57. The movie stars Jim Carrey, who is in his pleasant mode. It would have helped if he were in his manic mode, although it's hard to get a rise out of a penguin.
  58. Sweet and high-spirited and with three dancers who are so good they deserve a better screenplay. This is really two movies: A stiff and awkward story, interrupted by dance sequences of astonishing grace and power.
  59. It is a thriller trapped inside a pop comedy set in Japan, and gives Reno a chirpy young co-star who bounces around him like a puppy on visiting day at the drunk tank.
  60. The Awakening looks great but never develops a plot with enough clarity to engage us, and the solution to the mystery is I am afraid disappointingly standard.
  61. The Hollars is an uneven, ineffective and self-conscious dysfunctional family comedy/drama with a Sundance-y vibe, and scene after scene in which the greatly talented and usually quite likable cast members keep stepping in big piles of wrong choices.
  62. The kind of movie that somehow succeeds in moving very, very slowly even while proceeding at a breakneck pace. It cuts quickly back and forth between nothing and nothing.
  63. It's a movie without a brain. Charlie's Angels is like the trailer for a video game movie, lacking only the video game, and the movie.
  64. [A] cartoonish, offensive, overblown, clanging, steaming piece of ... cinema.
  65. It is not faulty logic that derails The Hills have Eyes, however, but faulty drama. The movie is a one-trick pony.
  66. All great farces need a certain insane focus, an intensity that declares how important they are to themselves. This movie is too confident, too relaxed, too clever to be really funny. And yet, when the cowboys sit around their campfire singing a sad lament and then their horses join in, you see where the movie could have gone.
  67. The plot risks bursting under the strain of its coincidences, as Sara and Jon fly to opposite coasts at the same time and engage in a series of Idiot Plot moves so extreme and wrongheaded that even other characters in the same scene should start shouting helpful suggestions.
  68. The best shot in this film is the first one. Not a good sign.
  69. Central Intelligence is one of those slick, gunplay-riddled, stupidly plotted, aggressively loud buddy movies — so formulaic and dumb, even if you see it you’ll probably forget you’ve seen it by the end of the year...And if that’s the case, consider yourself fortunate.
  70. A truly dreadful film, a lifeless, massive, lumbering exercise in failed comedy. Elaine May, the director, has mounted a multimillion-dollar expedition in search of a plot so thin that it hardly could support a five-minute TV sketch.
  71. A march through the swamp of recycled ugly duckling stories, with occasional pauses in the marsh of sitcom cliches and the bog of Idiot Plots.
  72. It takes some doing to make a Jack Black comedy that doesn't work. But Nacho Libre does it.
  73. Virtually every single element in Everything, Everything rings false and manipulative — and that’s BEFORE we get to a Big Reveal so contrived, so insanely implausible, so monstrously tone-deaf, we can see the entire movie plunging off a cliff, landing with a sickening thud in the Land of the Worst Movies of the Year.
  74. (Li)'s scenes are so clearly computer-aided that his moves are about as impressive as Bugs Bunny doing the same.
  75. It's the worst kind of bad film: the kind that gets you all worked up and then lets you down, instead of just being lousy from the first shot.
  76. A stunningly wrong-footed journey that begins with an attempt at bittersweet magic and ends on a series of sour and increasingly dopey notes.
  77. Uncle Buck attempts to tell a heart-warming story through a series of uncomfortable and unpleasant scenes; it's a tug-of-war between its ambitions and its methods.
  78. Boring, repetitive and maddening about a subject you'd think would be fairly interesting: snowboarding down a mountain.
  79. Sure, the pricey special effects are impressive to behold (though, as usually the case, the 3D is nothing to text home about). And yes, at times “Valerian” creates a strange and beautiful universe. Which ultimately means nothing, because the plot is paper-thin.
  80. Rough Night doesn’t begin to cover it. It’s also “Painfully Unfunny Night,” “Contrived Night,” “Unsurprising Plot Twist Night” and also, “How Do These Dimwits Ever Make It Through Any Night”?
  81. Plays like a tired exercise, a spy spoof with no burning desire to be that, or anything else.
  82. In Step Brothers, the language is simply showing off by talking dirty. It serves no comic function, and just sort of sits there in the air, making me cringe.
  83. Strange, that movies about Satan always require Catholics. You never see your Presbyterians or Episcopalians hurling down demons.
  84. Too bad that robots, unlike humans, cannot be discovered in one movie and go on to star in another. I'd like to see No. 5 in a film more suitable to its talents.
  85. Even most of the fine actors, including Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly and Cheryl Hines, at times seem lost as to whether they should be playing the material for laughs, or going for a more straightforward approach and letting the laughs come to them.
  86. This is a slick con, all flash and no substance. Now You See Me seems awfully sure of itself, with self-important, intrusive music, sweeping tracking shots and actors chewing up the scenery.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 38 Critic Score
    Dark Skies is a bore that even the most forgiving genre buffs will find difficult to defend or endure.
  87. This is not the story of a fugitive trying to sneak through enemy terrain and be rescued, but of a movie character magically transported from one photo opportunity to another.
  88. It's slick, it has impressive production values and the acting is appropriate to the material. So why did I find myself so indifferent to the movie? Maybe because it never generated any sympathy for its characters. This is filmmaking by the numbers, without soul.
  89. So many scenes in Wilson play as if they’re dropped in from a different genre.
  90. What a mess. What a pretentious, uneven, off-putting, not-nearly-as-clever-as-it-thinkd-it-is MESS.
  91. A movie that contains one funny scene and 91 minutes of running time to kill.
  92. Sometimes it works to show their lips moving (it certainly did in "Babe"), but in Good Boy! the jaw movements are so mechanical it doesn't look like speech, it looks like a film loop.
  93. Sarah Michelle Gellar, the nominal star, has been in her share of horror movies, and all by herself could have written and directed a better one than this.
  94. The astonishing success of the original "MiB" was partly because it was fun, partly because it was unexpected. We'd never seen anything like it, while with MiBII, we've seen something exactly like it.
  95. You want gore, you get gore. Hatchet II plays less like a slasher movie than like the highlight reel from a slasher movie.
  96. A labored and sour comedy.
  97. CB4
    CB4 is a profoundly confused movie, combining rap music with a satire of the world of rap. Working both sides of the street, it gets caught in traffic. The film stars Chris Rock and Phil Hartman from Saturday Night Live, but it doesn't have SNL's smarts -- and worse, it doesn't have any sense of what's funny. On a structural level, it's incompetently written and directed.
  98. The average issue of Mad magazine contains significantly smarter movie satire, because Mad goes for the vulnerable elements and Scary Movie 3 just wants to quote and kid.
  99. To call A Lot like Love dead in the water is an insult to water.

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