Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 5,755 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 My Neighbor Totoro
Lowest review score: 0 I Spit on Your Grave
Score distribution:
5755 movie reviews
  1. After the bite and freshness of "Analyze This," Mickey Blue Eyes plays like an afterthought.
  2. On its own terms, it's funny at times and finally sad and sweet.
  3. A preposterous plot, but it's not about a plot, it's about acting.
  4. There is nothing to complain about except the film's deadening predictability and the bland, shallow characters.
  5. 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.
  6. The identical premise is used in Sidney Lumet's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," which is like a master class in how Allen goes wrong.
  7. So many scenes in Wilson play as if they’re dropped in from a different genre.
  8. [An] uneven but timely and quite funny feminist satire.
  9. Sure, it’s fun to see the Governator and the Italian Stallion he-manning it up together feature-length for the first time — the screen is barely big enough to contain the two of them — but the prison-break movie Escape Plan is unworthy of the momentous occasion.
  10. If the movie had spent more time walking that tightrope between the acceptable and the offensive, between what we have in common and what divides us, it would have been more daring.
  11. This movie doesn't contain "offensive language." The offensive language contains the movie.
  12. It's fitfully funny but never really takes off. Out of the corners of our eyes we glimpse the missed opportunities for some real satirical digging.
  13. It is always a problem in a love story when the rival seems more interesting than the hero, and that's what happens here.
  14. At the end, there is no great revelation, but Huppert has succeeded once again in making us wonder what's going on in there.
  15. Scott keeps the story from becoming cloying and sentimental. He is aided by smart, low-key work from his cast, especially Huard, who easily embodies the persona of an adult slacker, instilling him with a warm charm.
  16. Far and Away is a movie that joins astonishing visual splendor with a story so simple-minded it seems intended for adolescents.
  17. This is a paint-by-numbers procedural that expects the audience to know the history of Watergate, hits the ground running—but then feels more like a steady jog through the past than a fast-paced thriller.
  18. Like The Flintstones and The Addams Family, Casper is an attempt to bring cartoons to life while incorporating them with real actors and sets. As a technical achievement, it's impressive, and entertaining.
  19. Reeves has many arrows in his quiver, but screwball comedy isn't one of them.
  20. What a mess. What a pretentious, uneven, off-putting, not-nearly-as-clever-as-it-thinkd-it-is MESS.
  21. The mother of all disaster movies (and the father, and the extended family) spends half an hour on ominous set-up scenes (scientists warn, strange events occur, prophets rant and of course a family is introduced) and then unleashes two hours of cataclysmic special events hammering the Earth relentlessly.
  22. Could metamorphose into an entertaining sitcom.
  23. In its mastery of its moments, Jackpot has charm, humor and poignancy. What it lacks is necessity. There's a sense in which we're always waiting for it to kick in.
  24. The movie is ambitious, has good energy and is well-acted, but tells a familiar story in a familiar way. The parallels to Brian De Palma's "Scarface" are underlined by scenes from that movie which are watched by the characters in this one.
  25. Has just a little too much of the whodunit and the thriller and not enough of the temper of its clash between cultures, but it works, maybe because the simplicity of the underlying plot is masked by the oddness of the characters.
  26. The movie has been directed and acted so well, in fact, that almost all my questions have to do with the script: Why was the hero made so uncompromisingly hateful?
  27. Yet again we have a film with a lovely, life-affirming, uplifting message — unfortunately delivered in such a heavy-handed, gooey-sweet manner that audiences will exit the theater in a near-diabetic coma.
  28. The true strength of Spurlock’s documentary is how he showcases the behind-the-scenes, off-stage personalities of the One Direction boys.
  29. This is a bitter, sour movie about two people who are only marginally interesting.
  30. Tron: Legacy, a sequel made 28 years after the original but with the same actor, is true to the first film: It also can't be understood, but looks great. Both films, made so many years apart, can fairly lay claim to being state of the art. This time that includes the use of 3-D.
  31. The movie is funny without being hilarious, touching but not tearful, and articulate in the way that Burns is articulate, by nibbling earnestly around an idea as if afraid that the core has seeds.
  32. A well-crafted entertainment containing enough ideas to qualify it as science fiction and not just as a futurist thriller.
  33. The story is nuts-and-bolts space opera, without the intelligence and daring of, say, Steven Spielberg's ''A.I.'' But the look of the film is revolutionary. Final Fantasy is a technical milestone, like the first talkies or 3-D movies.
  34. Like "The Godfather," it shows him (Makovski) as a crook with certain standards, surrounded by rats with none.
  35. This version of The Thing, directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., provides such graphic and detailed views of the creature that we are essentially reduced to looking at special effects, and being aware that we are. Think how little you ever really saw in the first "Alien" movie, and how frightening it was.
  36. At times The Fifth Estate seems as cutting-edge as the 21st century techno-info revolution it portrays. On other occasions... it’s almost like an expensive “Funny or Die” bit.
  37. This is not a great comedy and will be soon forgotten, but it has nice moments.
  38. What might have been a slick, smash-mouth, fast-paced piece of entertainment clocking in at 90 or 100 minutes somehow turns into a bloated, half-baked pie that drags on for 2 hours and 20 minutes.
  39. American Reunion has a sense of deja vu, but it still delivers a lot of nice laughs.
  40. The powerfully choreographed dances also address the idea that artistic vision is a potent antidote to repression.
  41. Tornatore’s ideas about art, trust and intimacy are curious, even if they do not quite click.
  42. It is encouraging that well-crafted thrillers are still being made about characters who have dialogue, identities, motives and clean shirts.
  43. A movie that contains one funny scene and 91 minutes of running time to kill.
  44. Look at the cast and credits to form an idea of the directors and actors at work here. By its nature, New York, I Love You can't add up. It remains the sum of its parts. If one isn't working for you, wait a few minutes, here comes another one. New Yorkers, I love you.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. The most audacious, implausible, cheerfully offensive, hyperactive action picture I've seen since, oh, "Sin City," which in comparison was a chamber drama.
  48. It's pretty trashy and sometimes stupid. But there was never a moment when I wasn't entertained on one level or another.
  49. It all comes down to whether you can tolerate Leon Barlow. I can't. Big Bad Love can, and is filled with characters who love and accept him, even though he is a full-time, gold-plated pain in the can.
  50. There's a good story buried somewhere in this melee.
  51. 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.
  52. Not one of the great dog movies, but it's a good one, abandoning wall-to-wall cuteness for a drama about a homeless puppy.
  53. Unfortunately, the parts of the movie that are truly good are buried beneath the deadening layers of thriller cliches and an unconvincing love story.
  54. 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.
  55. Most of the running time is occupied by action sequences, chase sequences, motorcycle sequences, plow-truck sequences, helicopter sequences, fighter-plane sequences, towering android sequences and fistfights. It gives you all the pleasure of a video game without the bother of having to play it.
  56. 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.
  57. Hancock is a lot of fun, if perhaps a little top-heavy with stuff being destroyed. Smith makes the character more subtle than he has to be, more filled with self-doubt, more willing to learn.
  58. Shapiro fails to sell Shavitz as the “wise and wry, ornery and opinionated” figure the press notes promise. No opinion, wise or otherwise, is uttered by this rustic quasi-eccentric, let alone a green ethos.
  59. The visual style is all Zeffirelli, and it is interesting that the opera-within-the-film is not skimped on, as is usually the case in films containing scenes from other productions.
  60. More than anything else, I responded to the performances. Feature films may be fiction, but they are certainly documentaries showing actors in front of a camera. Both Dafoe and Gainsbourg have been risk takers, as anyone working with von Trier must be. The ways they're called upon to act in this film are extraordinary. They respond without hesitation. More important, they convince.
  61. Four Brothers works as an urban thriller, if not precisely as a model of logic.
  62. Caine, who has never been much for the stage, is a superb screen actor, so good his master classes on acting for the camera are on DVD. Here, dry and clipped, biting and savage, he goes for the kill.
  63. [A] disappointingly listless thriller, in which at least four of the titular seven days feel like place-holders, with everyone holding their positions and regurgitating the same concerns and regrets and debates.
  64. 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.
  65. Walking out of the screening, I was thinking: Elizabeth Hurley for girlfriend, Courtney Love for Satan.
  66. How can one man juggle two women, possible expulsion, Mafia baseball bats and the meaning of life, while on acid? This is the kind of question only a Toback film thinks to ask, let alone answer.
  67. The movie exhibits the usual indifference to the issues involved. Although it was written and directed by Elie Chouraqui, a Frenchman, it is comfortably xenophobic. Most Americans have never understood the differences among Croats, Serbs and Bosnians, and this film is no help.
  68. By removing elements of magic and operatic excess from the story, the brothers Scott focus on what is, underneath, a story as tragic (and less contrived) as the one cited in the ads, "Romeo and Juliet."
  69. As entertainment, the movie functions successfully. But I don't believe the story is true--not true to the facts, and not true to the morality it pretends to be about.
  70. Director Adam Robitel knows how to scare us with the classic, sudden-appearance-of-a-scary-thing-accompanied-by-a-loud-music-sting trick, which of course has been utilized a thousand times in hundreds of movies.
  71. It’s nothing new for sure, but writer/director David Twohy...throws in enough entertaining touches to maintain interest — despite an overlong two-hour running time.
  72. The movie is curious in how close it comes to delivering on its material: Sequence after sequence seems to contain all the necessary material, to be well on the way toward a payoff, and then it somehow doesn't work.
  73. 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.
  74. None of this amounts to anything more than goofy fun, but that's what the ads promise, and the movie delivers.
  75. Although the film has big structural problems and leaves a lot of loose ends, there was never a moment when it didn’t absorb me, because I felt as if I was watching the characters talk to one another, instead of to me.
  76. Father of the Bride Part II is not a great movie and not even as good as its 1991 inspiration. But it is warm and fuzzy, and has some good laughs and a lot of sweetness.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Its chief virtue is its lead performance, in which twin brothers are played by a promising new Argentinian actor named Viggo Mortensen.
  77. I can imagine a film in which a creature like Sil struggles with her dual nature, and tries to find self-knowledge. Like Frankenstein's monster, she would be an object of pity. But that would be way too subtle for Species, which just adds a slick front end to the basic horror vocabulary of things jumping out from behind stuff.
  78. Sometimes you are either open to a movie, or closed. If you're convinced that An Unfinished Life is damaged goods, how can it begin its work on you?
  79. The sex in the movie is so mild that I assumed the R rating was generated primarily by the gay theme, until I learned the R is in fact because of too many f-words.
  80. You want gore, you get gore. Hatchet II plays less like a slasher movie than like the highlight reel from a slasher movie.
  81. The movie tells this story in a traditional, straightforward way. No fancy footwork. No chewing the scenery. Meat and potatoes, you could say, but it's thoughtful and moving.
  82. Tells an engrossing story of a remarkable man, but nevertheless it's underwhelming. Dramatic and romantic tension never coil very tightly, as the film settles into a contented pace.
  83. What's funny in cartoons is not always funny in live action, and some of the dunkings in unsavory substances left me less than amused.
  84. Yes, The Promise veers into corny territory, and yes, it’s derivative of better war romances — but it’s a solid and sobering reminder of the atrocities of war, bolstered by strong performances from Isaac and Bale, two of the best actors of their generation.
  85. A labored and sour comedy.
  86. Tells a pointlessly convoluted version of a love story that would really be very simple, if anyone in the movie possessed common sense.
  87. 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.
  88. Nine is just plain adrift in its own lack of necessity.
  89. The movie's strategic error is to set the deadline too far in the future. There is something annoying about a comedy where a guy is strapped to a bomb and nevertheless has time to spare for off-topic shouting matches with his best buddy. A buddy comedy loses some of its charm in a situation like that.
  90. For fans of “Resident Evil,” I believe this final film will not disappoint, but it also will likely encourage newcomers to the saga to go back and play a bit of catch-up by watching the earlier movies.
  91. This movie has a lot of good music in it, some on the soundtrack, some on the screen. Jackson and Bernie Mac have enormous fun doing intricate dance moves together.
  92. 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.
  93. As preposterous as the plot was, there was never a line of Hackman dialogue that didn't sound as if he believed it. The same can't be said, alas, for Sharon Stone, who apparently believed that if she played her character as silent, still, impassive and mysterious, we would find that interesting. More swagger might have helped.
  94. The movie worked for me right up to the final scene, and then it caved in.
  95. The heart of the movie is in the Spacey performance, and in knowing that less is more, he plays Prot absolutely matter-of-factly.
  96. There is a place for whimsy and magic realism, and that place may not be on a cow farm in New Zealand.
  97. Kevin Kline's performance shows a deep understanding of the character, who is, after all, better than most teachers, and most men. We care for him, not because he is perfect, but because he regrets so sincerely that he is not.
  98. The picture is haunted by a story problem: It isn't about anything but itself. There's no sense of life going on in the corners of the frame.
  99. Cute, crude and good-hearted movie.

Top Trailers