Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 5,297 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 8.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Awakenings
Lowest review score: 0 Chaos
Score distribution:
5297 movie reviews
  1. Star Trek is over for me. I've been looking at these stories for half a halftime, and, let's face it, they're out of gas.
  2. Perhaps because the film makes me feel so crawly, it is actually good. Yet still I cannot like it.
  3. Admission has some sublime moments, most of them involving Fey and Rudd dancing around their inevitable romance. The problem is in the foundation.
  4. This is a conventional-looking films with a screenplay from brothers David and Alex Pastor that raises some fascinating issues and offers a tease or two of a better movie before devolving into a medley of chases and shootouts.
  5. Although Jack Kerouac's On the Road has been praised as a milestone in American literature, this film version brings into question how much of a story it really offers.
  6. What a wasted opportunity.
  7. Whom do they make these movies for? What exercise in self-deception inspires them to go to such effort and expense for what is obviously going to be a lame exercise in retreadmanship?
  8. 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.
  9. It will appeal to the large Indian audiences in North America and to Bollywood fans in general, who will come out wondering why this movie, of all movies, was chosen as Hollywood's first foray into commercial Indian cinema.
  10. A sad reflection of the new Hollywood, where material is sanitized and dumbed down for a hypothetical teen market that is way too sophisticated for it. It plays like a dinner theater version of the original.
  11. Eight Men Out is an oddly unfocused movie made of earth tones, sidelong glances and eliptic conversations. It tells the story of how the stars of the 1919 Chicago White Sox team took payoffs from gamblers to throw the World Series, but if you are not already familiar with that story you’re unlikely to understand it after seeing this film.
  12. RV
    There is nothing I much disliked but little to really recommend. At least the movie was not nonstop slapstick, and there were a few moments of relative gravity, in which Robin Williams demonstrated once again that he's more effective on the screen when he's serious than when he's trying to be funny.
  13. It's another overwrought clunker like "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," all effects and stunts and CGI and prosthetics, with no room for lightness and joy.
  14. More about continuing the legend of the irascible but lovable old man into the grave, if necessary.
  15. It is enormously ambitious -- maybe too much so, since it ranges so widely between styles and strategies that it distracts from its own flow.
  16. 300
    My deepest objection to the movie is that it is so blood-soaked. When dialogue arrives to interrupt the carnage, it's like the seventh-inning stretch.
  17. Even the world-class cast can’t save this one from teetering into the abyss.
  18. Despite all its sound and fury, Legend is a movie I didn't care very much about. All of the special effects in the world, and all of the great makeup, and all of the great Muppet creatures can't save a movie that has no clear idea of its own mission and no joy in its own accomplishment.
  19. It is just plain talky and boring. You know there's something wrong with a movie when the last third feels like the last half.
  20. The deeper we go into Dana Nachman’s unquestioning, feature-length cheerleading film, the more uncomfortable I felt about the reaction of one person to that magical and overwhelming day. Miles.
  21. One of those movies where the audience knows the message before the film begins and the characters are still learning it when the film ends.
  22. Among the better things in the movie, I count Vaughn's well-timed and smart dialogue.
  23. The Forgotten is not a good movie, but at least it supplies a credible victim (Moore).
  24. Projects like this bring out the best in actors, who take salary cuts to work in Chekhov (even at one remove). What we can guess, watching the film, is that the same players would make a good job of "Three Sisters" but are undermined by the faculty club, which works like a hotel lobby. There's no way to sustain dramatic momentum here.
  25. Hilary Duff is beautiful and skilled, and I hope she finds something worthwhile to do with her talent before she truly does become the next Britney Spears and has to start worrying about the next Hilary Duff.
  26. If the plot and screenplay are juvenile, the production values are first-rate, and the lead performance by newcomer Elizabeth Berkley has a fierce energy that's always interesting.
  27. There's a point at which its enigmatic flashes of incomprehensible action grow annoying, and a point at which we realize that there's no use paying close attention, because we won't be able to figure out the film's secrets until they're explained to us.
  28. High School is a pun. Get it? This is one of those stoner comedies that may be funny if you're high - but if not, not.
  29. The disappointment is that Burton has not yet found the storytelling and character-building strength to go along with his pictorial flair.
  30. RED
    Red is neither a good movie nor a bad one. It features actors we like doing things we wish were more interesting.
  31. Faithfully represents Heinlein's militarism, his Big Brother state, and a value system in which the highest good is to kill a friend before the Bugs can eat him. The underlying ideas are the most interesting aspect of the film.
  32. Knight of Cups is a ponderous affair, never taking 30 seconds to make a point when four minutes is available.
  33. As earnest and heartfelt as a movie can be, Walking With the Enemy is, unfortunately, a plodding and clunky drama that never misses an opportunity to embrace a cliché.
  34. Is this some kind of a test? The Hangover, Part II plays like a challenge to the audience's capacity for raunchiness.
  35. It isn't bad so much as it lacks any ambition to be more than it so obviously is.
  36. Once you realize it's only going to be so good, you settle back and enjoy that modest degree of goodness, which is at least not badness, and besides, if you're watching Rush Hour 3, you obviously didn't have anything better to do, anyway.
  37. So many great actors, cast adrift by a script that feels incomplete and a brilliant director delivering one of his lesser works.
  38. The film is like a crossword puzzle. It keeps your interest until you solve it. Then it's just a worthless scrap with the spaces filled in.
  39. The more you think about what really happens in Cocktail, the more you realize how empty and fabricated it really is.
  40. Shameless wish-fulfillment, a Harlequin novel crossed with a mystic travelogue, and it mercifully reverses the life chronology of many people, which is Love Pray Eat.
  41. Spider-Man 3 is, in short, a mess. Too many villains, too many pale plot strands, too many romantic misunderstandings, too many conversations, too many street crowds looking high into the air and shouting "oooh!" this way, then swiveling and shouting "aaah!" that way.
  42. Despite its cast and convincing backdrop, Stonehearst Asylum is a tame entry in today’s roster of horror films.
  43. Director Daniel Espinosa’s stylish and at times fantastically gory Life features an A-list, international and diverse cast, a few grotesque surprises and one very cool and labyrinthine spaceship — but eventually crashes and burns due to multiple failures.
  44. All of this has a fascination, and yet Red Trousers is a jumbled and unsatisfying documentary.
  45. Occasionally Winterbottom delivers a haunting, effective moment, giving a hint of a different, more compelling film. But then it’s back to the self-righteous, self-indulgent, muddled metaphors.
  46. I think the fault is in the screenplay, which tells a story that can be predicted almost from the opening frames. The people who wrote this movie did not bother, or dare, to give us truly individual Japanese characters; there is only one who is developed with any care.
  47. [A] slightly diverting documentary.
  48. There isn't a lot in the movie that is funny.
  49. A pleasant but inconsequential comedy, awkward for the actors, and contrived from beginning to end.
  50. I suppose there is a market for this sort of thing among bubblebrained adolescents of all ages, but it takes a good chase scene indeed to rouse me from the lethargy induced by dozens and dozens of essentially similar sequences.
  51. The two leads are not inspired. Jake Gyllenhaal could make the cover of a muscle mag, but he plays Dastan as if harboring Spider-Man's doubts and insecurities. I recall Gemma Arterton as resembling a gorgeous still photo in a cosmetics ad.
  52. A mostly underwhelming film, with underdeveloped characters and supercharged fight scenes that drag on forever and offer nothing new in the way of special-effects creativity.
  53. If it does nothing else, Another 48 HRS reminds us that Murphy is a big, genuine talent. Now it's time for him to make a good movie.
  54. The movie is simply a failure of imagination. Nobody looked at the screenplay and observed that it didn’t try hard enough, that it had no surprises, that it didn’t attempt to delight its audiences with twists and turns on the phoned-in plotline.
  55. The storytelling is hopelessly compromised by the movie's decision to sympathize with Jeanne. We can admire someone for daring to do the audacious, or pity someone for recklessly doing something stupid, but when a character commits an act of stupid audacity, the admiration and pity cancel each other, and we are left only with the possibility of farce.
  56. The movie was directed by Michael Brandt, who co-wrote the script with Derek Haas. Together they wrote a much better movie, "3:10 to Yuma." The Double doesn't approach it in terms of quality. None of it is particularly compelling.
  57. Here is a 145-minute movie containing one (1) line of truly witty dialogue: "Her 40s is the last age at which a bride can be photographed without the unintended Diane Arbus subtext."
  58. Jet Lag is sort of a grown-up version of "Before Sunrise"...The difference between the two films is sort of depressing.
  59. I enjoyed Ashes of Time Redux, up to a point. It's great-looking, and the characters all know what they would, although we do not.
  60. The actors are better than the material.
  61. Unfortunately, the film’s more moving and memorable moments are mixed in with a king-size (if not quite K2-size) jumble of too much information.
  62. Here is a great story born to be creepy, and the movie churns through it like a road company production. If the first three movies served as parables for their times, this one keeps shooting off parable rockets that fizzle out.
  63. Consider for a moment how this movie might play if it took itself seriously. Would it be better than as a comedy? I suspect so.
  64. The movie itself is good and shows promise, except for the ending, when Trier shouldn't have been so poetic. Not only does Reprise generate itself, it contains its own review.
  65. The plot, in short, is underwhelming. It merely follows the reporters as the screenplay serves them the solution to their case on a silver platter. Yet curiously, Deadline flows right along.
  66. The screenplay tries to paper over too many story elements that needed a lot more thought. This movie has been filmed and released, but it has not been finished.
  67. Ted 2 feels like far too many other sequels: born of box office expectations more than a bona fide reason to return to the characters we loved the first time around.
  68. Essentially an interlacing of irony and gotcha! Scenes.
  69. This is not the sort of movie you make it your business to see in a theater. But if you're ever surfing cable TV and come across it, you'll linger.
  70. The harder everyone tries to wring laughs out of the next hail of bullets or the next ridiculous plot twist or the next comedic decapitation, the duller the edge of the humor.
  71. Here's a bad movie with hardly a bad scene. How can that be? The construction doesn't flow. The story doesn't engage. The insistent flashbacks are distracting. The plot has problems it sidesteps. Yet here is a gifted cast doing what it's asked to do. The failure is in the writing and editing.
  72. The movie is focused on two kinds of chemistry: of the kitchen, and of the heart. The kitchen works better.
  73. The Humbling is a jumbled collection of scenes in which fantasy and reality intertwine in a manner I found more maddening than intriguing.
  74. Now this is a terrific premise for a thriller, and director George Romero (The Night of the Living Dead) sets it up with skill and style. Unfortunately, the film's biggest disappointment is that it doesn't develop its preternatural opening theme.
  75. The best thing in the movie is Schwarzenegger, who delivers the Guardian’s lines with perfect timing and creates an empathetic character, because as we know, nearly all the best movie robots somehow become just a little bit human as time goes on.
  76. Pixels has a few inspired action sequences and a handful of laugh-out-loud moments, but overall the special effects are surprisingly average — and the lazy acting by Adam Sandler, the shameless mugging by Kevin James and the hammy performance by Brian Cox don’t help. Not even Peter Dinklage in a mullet can save the day.
  77. It is a touching story, and the musicians (some over 90 years old) still have fire and grace onstage, but, man, does the style of this documentary get in the way.
  78. John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness gets off to an intriguing start. But then the movie loses its way.
  79. The screenplay, by Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon, has a good feel for female best-friend relationships, and the dialogue has life and edge to it.
  80. October Baby is being promoted as a Christian film, and it could have been an effective one. Rachel Hendrix is surprisingly capable in her first feature role, and Jasmine Guy is superb in her scene. Unfortunately, the film as a whole is amateurish and ungainly, can't find a consistent tone, is too long, is overladen with music that tries to paraphrase the story and is photographed with too many beauty shots that slow the progress.
  81. The movie lacks the warmth and edge of the two previous features ("Walking and Talking" and "Lovely and Amazing"). It seems to be more of an idea than a story.
  82. It clearly aspires to be something more than another story about empty-headed teenagers in a remote cabin who get picked off one by one in gruesome fashion — but at the end of the day, that’s pretty much what we’re getting.
  83. Any professional film editor watching this movie is going to suffer through one moment after another that begs to be ripped from the film and cut up into ukulele picks. Never mind the film editor: A lot of audiences, with all the best will in the world, are going to feel the same way.
  84. I prefer "Life Is Beautiful," which is clearly a fantasy, to Jakob the Liar, which is just as contrived and manipulative but pretends it is not.
  85. Disclosure contains an inspiring terrific shot of Demi Moore's cleavage in a Wonderbra, surrounded by 125 minutes of pure goofiness leading up to, and resulting from, this moment.
  86. A pleasant, genial, good-hearted, sometimes icky comedy that's like spending a weekend with well-meaning people you don't want to see again any time real soon.
  87. Here are people who do not allow the use of their last names, yet they cheerfully have sex in front of the camera -- and even willingly participate in scenes that make them look cruel, twisted, reckless and perhaps deranged.
  88. True, Aniston does maybe her best film work to date in Cake. But it’s definitely not her best film.
  89. Johnny Knoxville, famous for "Jackass,"...is, in fact, completely convincing and probably has a legitimate movie career ahead of him and doesn't have to stuff his underpants with dead chickens and hang upside down over alligator ponds any more.
  90. The problem is that Winterbottom has imagined both stories and several others, and tells them in a style designed to feel as if reality has been caught on the fly.
  91. If we don’t care a whit about the characters and their respective dilemmas, a multiple-vortex tornado ripping through a used car lot is just a multiple-vortex tornado ripping through a used car lot.
  92. The movie is harmless and fitfully amusing.
  93. "Star Trek V" is pretty much of a mess - a movie that betrays all the signs of having gone into production at a point where the script doctoring should have begun in earnest. There is no clear line from the beginning of the movie to the end, not much danger, no characters to really care about, little suspense, uninteresting or incomprehensible villains, and a great deal of small talk and pointless dead ends. Of all of the "Star Trek" movies, this is the worst.
  94. Either this is a tragic family or a satirical one, and the film seems uncertain which way to jump.
  95. It's not just sad, it's brutal. There's an undercurrent of cold, detached cruelty in the way Michael uses the magical device.
  96. 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.
  97. 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.
  98. Kline's Frenchman is somehow not worldly enough, and Ryan's heroine never convinces us she ever loved her fiance in the first place. A movie about this kind of material either should be about people who feel true passion or should commit itself as a comedy. Compromise is pointless.
  99. Hal Hartley is on his way to creating a distinctive film world, and although Trust is not a successful film, you can see his vision at work, and it's intriguing.
  100. How much more interesting is a film like "(500) Days of Summer," which is about the complexities of life, in comparison with this one, which cheerfully cycles through the cliches.

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