Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 4,752 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 9.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Disgrace
Lowest review score: 0 White House Down
Score distribution:
4,752 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. When flashbacks tease us with bits of information, it has to be done well, or we feel toyed with. Here the mystery is solved by stomping in thick-soled narrative boots through the squishy marsh of contrivance.
  3. To be fair, this tawdry dose of pulp fiction ("inspired by real events") is not a complete waste of time. It offers the marginal pleasure of an all-star cast slumming their way through a thicket of routine plotting, almost laughable dialogue and the constant blaze of tommy guns.
  4. It's not good, but it's nowhere near as bad as most recent comedies; it has real laughs, but it misses real opportunities.
  5. The film, written and directed by Michael S. Ojeda, shows a sure sense of noir style and a toughness that lasts right up to the very final scene, which feels contrived and tacked-on.
  6. The filmmakers must have known they were not making a good movie, but they didn't use that as an excuse to be boring and lazy. Barb Wire has a high energy level, and a sense of deranged fun.
  7. Act of Valor is gift-wrapped in patriotism. It was once intended as a recruitment film, and that's how it plays.
  8. Every once in a while there’s an inspired montage, or a one-liner that made me laugh out loud. But how can you have the great Christoph Waltz playing a villain in a comedy, and you get almost nothing out of it?
  9. The actors cast themselves adrift on the sinking vessel of this story and go down with the ship.
  10. Derailed has a great setup, a good middle passage and some convincing performances. Then it runs off the tracks.
  11. It's a visually effective and often scary film to watch, but the story is so leaky that we finally just give up.
  12. 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.
  13. If it proves nothing else, this movie establishes that it is impossible for a film to get the NC-17 rating from the MPAA for language alone. This takes the trophy for dirty talk, and I've seen the docs by Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and Andrew Dice Clay.
  14. It is the kind of movie one enjoys more at 8, or even 12, than at 16 and up.
  15. I am recommending a movie that I do not seem to like very much. But part of the pleasure of moviegoing is pure spectacle -- of just sitting there and looking at great stuff and knowing it looks terrific. There wasn't much Schumacher could have done with the story or the music he was handed, but in the areas over which he held sway, he has triumphed.
  16. The movie never takes off; it's a bright idea the filmmakers were unable to breathe life into.
  17. As faithful readers will know, I have a few cult followers who enjoy my reviews of bad movies. These have been collected in the books "I Hated, Hated, Hated, HATED This Movie"; "Your Movie Sucks," and "A Horrible Experience of Unendurable Length." This movie is so bad, it couldn't even inspire a review worthy of one of those books. I have my standards.
  18. Without Costner’s movie star equity, this thing could have fallen apart in the first 30 minutes. He keeps us involved, even as we’re thinking: Wait, WHAT just happened?
  19. Not a successful thriller, but with some nice dramatic scenes along with the dumb mystery and contrived conclusion.
  20. Diane Kruger, whose Lisa is subjected to logical whiplash by the plot, always seems to know when it is and how she should feel. Now that's acting.
  21. It's pleasant and amusing. If I had seen it before I was born, I would have loved it.
  22. A well-made movie. I cared about the characters. I felt for them. Liberate them from the plot's destiny, which is an anvil around their necks, and you might have something.
  23. Ed Harris in Phantom is like Steve Carlton with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1972 — delivering a wall-to-wall, amazing performance that's lost in a sea of dreadfulness.
  24. The really good superhero movies, like "Superman," "SpiderMan 2" and "Batman Begins," leave Fantastic Four so far behind that the movie should almost be ashamed to show itself in the same theaters.
  25. Director Scott Derrickson and his co-writer, Paul Harris Boardman, deliver a routine procedural with unremarkable frights.
  26. Despite its considerable flaws, Salinger is a valuable and engrossing biography of the author.
  27. The fight scenes in Bulletproof Monk are not as inventive as some I've seen (although the opening fight on a rope bridge is so well done that it raises expectations it cannot fulfill).
  28. The movie has been produced by Nickelodeon, and will no doubt satisfy its intended audience enormously. It does not cross over into the post-Nickelodeon universe.
  29. You can enjoy the way they create little flashes of wit in the dialogue, which enlivens what is, after all, a formula disaster movie.
  30. Kevin Spacey brings another of his cynical, bitter characters to life -- very smart, and fresh out of hope -- but the movie doesn't give him much of anywhere to take it.

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