Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 4,734 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 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Lowest review score: 0 Wolf Creek
Score distribution:
4,734 movie reviews
  1. The case transfixed a racially polarized New York City. The teens were labeled as a "wolf pack" by the news media, led by the New York tabloids.
  2. An uncommonly engaging comedy with ripe tragic undertones.
  3. This film is a winner. It will not only entertain you, but also make you think about what it takes to bring happiness into your own life.
  4. You may very well hate it, but at least you've been informed. Perhaps you could enjoy the material about other religions, and tune out when yours is being discussed. That's only human nature.
  5. The central performance in Brothers is by Connie Nielsen, who is strong, deep and true.
  6. Basically what we have here is a drama, with comedy occasionally lifting the mood. The result is a surprising seriousness; this isn't the mindless romp with cute animals.
  7. This is a serious movie about drinking but not a depressing one. You notice that in the way it handles Charlie (Aaron Paul), Kate's husband. He is also her drinking buddy. When two alcoholics are married, they value each other's company because they know they can expect forgiveness and understanding, while a civilian might not choose to share their typical days.
  8. An intelligent, upbeat, happy movie.
  9. It's interesting that two of the best thrillers of the last several months, "Tell No One" and Just Another Love Story, have come from Europe. Both movies gain because they star actors unfamiliar to us.
  10. In Abel Ferrara’s lurid, sometimes grotesque, train-wreck-watchable Welcome to New York, Depardieu almost literally fills the screen as an enormous bear of a man with insatiable appetites for money, sex and power.
  11. Kidman is superb at making Suzanne into someone who is not only stupid, vain and egomaniacal (we've seen that before) but also vulnerably human.
  12. A splendid comic thriller, exciting and graceful, endlessly inventive.
  13. Portrait of men and a few women who stubbornly try to maintain some dignity in the face of personal disaster.
  14. Nunez has a gift for finding the essence, the soul, of his actors.
  15. Whoever cast De Niro and Grodin must have had a sixth sense for the chemistry they would have; they work together so smoothly, and with such an evident sense of fun, that even their silences are intriguing.
  16. A full-bore melodrama, told with passionate intensity, gloriously and darkly absurd. It centers on a performance by Natalie Portman that is nothing short of heroic.
  17. 12
    Mikhalkov has made a new film with its own original characters and stories, and after all, it's not how the film ends, but how it gets there.
  18. A sly little comic treasure.
  19. Redford and his writer, Richard Friedenberg, understand that most of the events in any life are accidential or arbitrary, especially the crucial ones, and we can exercise little conscious control over our destinies.
  20. This becomes Tobey Maguire's film to dominate, and I've never seen these dark depths in him before. Actors possess a great gift to surprise us, if they find the right material in their hands.
  21. What Mark does, better perhaps than either he or his father realizes, is to capture some aspects of a lifelong rivalry that involves love but not much contentment.
  22. This film moves effortlessly from some pretty intense dramatic moments to hilarious scenes showcasing the contrasting lifestyles of the gay and straight worlds to some vignettes of incredible poignancy.
  23. I suspect a lot of high school students will recognize elements of real life in the movie, and that the movie will build a following. It may gross as little as "Welcome to the Dollhouse" or as much as "Clueless," but whichever it does, it's in the same league.
  24. An action epic with the spirit of the Hollywood swordplay classics and the grungy ferocity of "The Road Warrior."
  25. We increasingly admire the quality of the acting: Both actors take their characters through a difficult series of changes, without ever seeming to try, or be aware of it.
  26. In D.J. Caruso's Two for the Money, you can see Al Pacino doing something he's done a lot lately: Having a terrific time being an actor.
  27. I Am Ali serves as further testimony Ali wasn’t simply a great boxer, he was a great man who happened to be a great boxer as well.
  28. Movies like this embrace goofiness with an almost sensual pleasure.
  29. Ferrell and his longtime collaborator Adam McKay have a unique gift for creating characters that are human car wrecks yet somehow win our affection.
  30. An unreasonably entertaining movie, causing you perhaps to revise your notions about women's Roller Derby, assuming you have any.
  31. The Homesman is not an easy, comfortable viewing experience. That’s part of what makes it unique.
  32. Like most British family films, Water Horse doesn't dumb down its young characters or insult the intelligence of the audience. It has a lot of sly humor about what we know, or have heard, about the Loch Ness monster.
  33. Those hoping to see a "vampire movie" will be surprised by a good film.
  34. A surprisingly effective film, touching and knowing and, like Deneuve, ageless.
  35. It's poignant to watch the chicks in their youth, fed by their parents, playing with their chums, the sun climbing higher every day, little suspecting what they're in for.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    From front to back stage, 20 Feet From Stardom is a compelling look at the spirit of these giving artists as they navigated the rapid musical and social change of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
  36. Guggenheim, contends the American educational system is failing, which we have been told before. He dramatizes this failure in a painfully direct way, says what is wrong, says what is right.
  37. Not a war film so much as the story of a personality who has found the right role to play. Scott's theatricality is electrifying.
  38. Sports movies have a purity of form. They always end with the big game, in triumph or heartbreak. So does The Heart of the Game, although the lawsuit still hangs over the team after the final free throw.
  39. Ruffalo plays the character with that elusive charm he also revealed in "You Can Count on Me."
  40. At the end of The Man Without a Past, I felt a deep but indefinable contentment. I'd seen a comedy that found its humor in the paradoxes of existence, in the way that things may work out strangely, but they do work out.
  41. Penn and Nicholson take risks with the material and elevate the movie to another, unanticipated, haunting level.
  42. Sharp-edged, perfectly timed, funny and thoughtful.
  43. Regardless of Crudup’s ranking as a box-office draw, he’s every inch the movie star in Rudderless, a rather strange but engrossing film with one of the more jarring twists of any film in recent memory.
  44. If you have seen the masterful 2002 Brazilian film "City of God" or the 1981 film "Pixote," both about the culture of Rio's street people, then Bus 174 plays like a sad and angry real-life sequel.
  45. tT never grow up is unspeakably sad, and this is the first Peter Pan where Peter's final flight seems not like a victory but an escape.
  46. This is a parable about modern Iran, and like many recent Iranian films it leaves its meaning to the viewer. One of the wise decisions by Rafi Pitts, its writer, director and star, is to include no dialogue that ever actually states the politics of its hero.
  47. Crooklyn is not in any way an angry film. But thinking about the difference between its world and ours can make you angry, and I think that was one of Lee's purposes here.
  48. Reviewing The Naked Gun... is like reporting on a monologue by Rodney Dangerfield - you can get the words but not the music.
  49. The movie is a record by well-meaning people who try to make a difference for the better, and succeed to a small degree while all around them the horror continues unaffected.
  50. A bleak comedy, funny in a "Catch-22" sort of way, and at the same time an angry outcry against the gun traffic.
  51. The movie makes no attempt to soften the material or make it comforting through the cliches of melodrama.
  52. While The Good Lie certainly doesn’t shy away from scenes designed to make us shake our heads at man’s inhumanity to man and scenes designed to make us dab at our eyes, it’s the kind of movie that earns those moments.
  53. Funny and dirty in about that order.
  54. Undefeated is an emotional and effective film.
  55. The movie's heart is in the right place.
  56. But there is no way, within the film, to be sure with any confidence exactly what happens, or precisely how, or really why. Kubrick delivers this uncertainty in a film where the actors themselves vibrate with unease.
  57. This is one of the most stunning visual treats of the year and one of the most unforgettable thrill rides in recent memory.
  58. A passionate and explicit film about sexual obsession.
  59. The performances are pitch perfect, even including Gabriel Chavarria as Ramon, the man who steals the truck. It adds an important element to the film that he embodies a desperate man, not a bad one.
  60. Snow White and the Huntsman reinvents the legendary story in a film of astonishing beauty and imagination.
  61. The movie suggests that humans benefitted little from Project Nim, and Nim himself not at all.
  62. Not all of it works, but you play along, because it's rare to find a film this ambitious.
  63. This is one of the smartest and most provocative of science fiction films, a thriller with ideas.
  64. A fascinating portrait of an almost likable rogue. You'd rather spend time with him than a lot of more upstanding citizens.
  65. The young actors are powerful in draining roles. We care for them more than they care for themselves. Alfredson's palette is so drained of warm colors that even fresh blood is black.
  66. This is easily the most absurd of the "Star Trek" stories - and yet, oddly enough, it is also the best, the funniest and the most enjoyable in simple human terms. I'm relieved that nothing like restraint or common sense stood in their way.
  67. The widespread speculation that Exit Through the Gift Shop is a hoax only adds to its fascination.
  68. Yes, we know these events are less than likely, and the film's entire world is fantastical. But what happens in a fantasy can be more involving than what happens in life, and thank goodness for that.
  69. This description no doubt makes the film seem like some kind of gimmicky puzzle. What's surprising is how easy it is to follow the plot, and how the coincidences don't get in the way.
  70. Morris' visual style in The Thin Blue Line is unlike any conventional documentary approach. Although his interviews are shot straight on, head and shoulders, there is a way his camera has of framing his subjects so that we look at them very carefully, learning as much by what we see as by what we hear.
  71. The beauty of the film is in its quietness.
  72. Stevie seems destined to end the way it does, and is the more courageous and powerful for it. A satisfying ending would have been a lie.
  73. And yet Philadelphia is quite a good film, on its own terms. And for moviegoers with an antipathy to AIDS but an enthusiasm for stars like Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, it may help to broaden understanding of the disease.
  74. I have a weakness for actresses like Greta Gerwig. She looks reasonable and approachable.
  75. The brothers Maeda are pure gold; the film captures what feels like effortless joy in their lives, and it is never something they seem to be reaching for.
  76. Some of Jackie's dialogue is so good it would distinguish a sitcom.
  77. A formula thriller done as an elegant genre exercise. Johnny Hallyday was brought in by To as a last-minute sub for Alain Delon, and could have been the first choice: He is tall, weathered, grim and taciturn.
  78. Gandolfini is effortlessly, quietly great.
  79. What draws us into Private Property is how so many things happen under the surface, never commented upon.
  80. It's an exquisite short story about a mood, and a time, and a couple of guys who are blind-sided by love.
  81. A no-holds-barred comedy permitting several holds I had not dreamed of. The needle on my internal Laugh Meter went haywire, bouncing among hilarity, appreciation, shock, admiration, disgust, disbelief and appalled incredulity.
  82. A complex, deeply knowledgeable story about a truly lost soul and her downward spiral.
  83. Amidst all the fireworks and the cascading champagne and the insanely over-the-top parties, we’re reminded again and again that The Great Gatsby is about a man who spends half a decade constructing an elaborate monument to the woman of his dreams.
  84. There are some moments in The Witches of Eastwick that stretch uncomfortably for effects - the movie's climax is overdone, for example - and yet a lot of the time this movie plays like a plausible story about implausible people. The performances sell it. And the eyebrows.
  85. This movie is knowledgeable about the city and the people who make accommodations with it.
  86. Avengers: Age of Ultron is a sometimes daffy, occasionally baffling, surprisingly touching and even romantic adventure with one kinetic thrill after another. It earns a place of high ranking in the Marvel Universe.
  87. The film has an odd subterranean power. It doesn't strive for our sympathy or make any effort to portray Rosetta as colorful, winning or sympathetic.
  88. It's an astonishing film: weird, obsessed, drawing on subterranean impulses, hypnotic.
  89. Avoids all sports movie cliches, even the obligatory ending where the team comes from behind.
  90. A meandering documentary, frustrating when Moskowitz has Mossman in his sights and still delays bagging him while talking to other sources. But at the end, we forgive his procrastination (and remember, with Laurence Sterne and Tristam Shandy that procrastination can be an art if it is done delightfully).
  91. Even when it's baffling, it's never boring. I've heard of airtight plots. This one is not merely airtight, but hermetically sealed.
  92. For those looking for non-stop action, pretty dazzling special effects and solid acting by the young protagonists, Insurgent will not disappoint.
  93. Jeunet brings everything together -- his joyously poetic style, the lovable Tautou, a good story worth the telling -- into a film that is a series of pleasures stumbling over one another in their haste to delight us.
  94. Now Singleton, too, dares to take a hard look at his community. His characters are a little older, and he is older, too, and less forgiving.
  95. A movie so strange that it escapes entirely from the family genre and moves into fantasy. Like "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," it has fearsome depths and secrets.
  96. So what we're seeing here is the emergence of a promising writer-director, an actor and a cinematographer who are all exciting, and have cared to make a film that seeks helpful truths.
  97. This is just sheer, escapist entertainment from start to finish.
  98. All the time Phil and Claire seem like the kind of people who don't belong in a screwball comedy. That's why it's funny. They're bewildered.
  99. The whole movie is quiet, introspective, thoughtful.

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