Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 4,528 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 9.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Arbitrage
Lowest review score: 0 White House Down
Score distribution:
4,528 movie reviews
  1. The movie is taut, tense, relentless. It shows why Shaun feels he needs to belong to a gang, what he gets out of it and how it goes wrong.
  2. The movie's performances have a simplicity and accuracy that is always convincing. Compston, who plays Liam, is a local 17-year-old discovered in auditions at his school. He has never acted before, but is effortlessly natural.
  3. It is as assured and flawless a telling of sadness and joy as I have ever seen.
  4. Superman is a pure delight, a wondrous combination of all the old-fashioned things we never really get tired of: adventure and romance, heroes and villains, earthshaking special effects, and -- you know what else? Wit.
  5. It is intriguing to wonder what Scorsese saw in the Hong Kong movie that inspired him to make the second remake of his career (after "Cape Fear"). I think he instantly recognized that this story, at a buried level, brought two sides of his art and psyche into equal focus.
  6. There is a word to describe Ponyo, and that word is magical. This poetic, visually breathtaking work by the greatest of all animators has such deep charm that adults and children will both be touched.
  7. The Interrupters is based on a much-acclaimed article in the New York Times Magazine by Alex Kotlowitz, who followed a period of intense violence in Chicago. He joined with James to co-produce the film. It is difficult to imagine the effort, day after day for a year, of following this laborious, heroic and so often fruitless volunteer work.
  8. Diner is often a very funny movie, although I laughed most freely not at the sexual pranks but at the movie's accurate ear, as it reproduced dialogue with great comic accuracy.
  9. Spacey, an actor who embodies intelligence in his eyes and voice, is the right choice for Lester Burnham.
  10. It's one of those extraordinary films, like "Hoop Dreams," that tells a story the makers could not possibly have anticipated in advance. It works like stunning, grieving fiction.
  11. Sometime miraculous films come into being, made by people you've never heard of, starring unknown faces, blindsiding you with creative genius. Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of the year's best films.
  12. There is a little something of the spoiled masochist about Arenas. One would not say he seeks misery, but he wears it like a badge of honor, and we can see his mistakes approaching before he does. This is not a weakness in the film but one of its intriguing strengths
  13. This is one of the most fascinating of all true crime stories.
  14. You sit there, and the action assaults you, and using words to re-create it would be futile. What actually happens to Jason Bourne is essentially immaterial. What matters is that SOMETHING must happen, so he can run away from it or toward it.
  15. It's rare to get a good movie about the touchy adult relationship of a sister and brother. Rarer still for the director to be more fascinated by the process than the outcome. This is one of the best movies of the year.
  16. The closing scenes of the movie involve Szpilman's confrontation with a German captain named Wilm Hosenfeld -- Polanski's direction of this scene, his use of pause and nuance, is masterful.
  17. Has the quality of many great films, in that it always seems alive.
  18. The best approach is to begin with the characters, because the wonderful, sad, touching The Edge of Heaven is more about its characters than about its story
  19. Both Linney and Hoffman are so specific in creating these characters that we see them as people, not elements in a plot. Hoffman in particular shows how many disguises he has within his seemingly immutable presence; would you know it is the same actor here and in two other films this season, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and "Charlie Wilson's War"?
  20. What made Shackleton's adventure so immediate to later generations was that he took along a photographer, Frank Hurley, who shot motion picture film and stills.
  21. The widespread speculation that Exit Through the Gift Shop is a hoax only adds to its fascination.
  22. The most ingenious device in the story is the way Chow and Su play-act imaginary scenes between their cheating spouses.
  23. What you remember most are the shots of Baker roaming around Santa Monica, Calif., in what feels like endless late-afternoon sun, or riding at night in the back of a convertible with a woman on each arm.
  24. It is about the actual lives of refugees, who lack the luxury of opinions because they are preoccupied with staying alive in a world that has no place for them.
  25. One of the funniest, most intelligent, most original films.
  26. This happens in 1961, when 16-year-old girls were a great deal less knowing than they are now. Yet the movie isn't shabby or painful, but romantic and wonderfully entertaining.
  27. Each character in this movie is given the dramatic opportunity to look inside himself, to question his own motives as well as the motives of others, and to try to improve his own ways of dealing with a troubled situation. Two of the characters do learn how to adjust; the third doesn't. It's not often we get characters who face those kinds of challenges on the screen, nor directors who seek them out. Ordinary People is an intelligent, perceptive, and deeply moving film.
  28. I enjoyed the film's look and feel, the perfectly modulated performances, and the whole tawdry world of spy and counterspy, which must be among the world's most dispiriting occupations. But I became increasingly aware that I didn't always follow all the allusions and connections. On that level, "Tinker Tailor" didn't work for me.
  29. The film is beautifully well-mounted. The locations, the sets, the costumes, everything conspire to re-create the Rome of that time. It provides a counterpoint to the usual caricature of Mussolini. They say that behind every great man there stands a great woman. In Mussolini's case, his treatment of her was a rehearsal for how he would treat Italy.
  30. Rotates its story through satire, comedy, suspense and violence, until it emerges as one of the best films I've ever seen.

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