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 Arbitrage
Lowest review score: 0 Slackers
Score distribution:
4,752 movie reviews
  1. Perhaps it is not supposed to be clear; perhaps the movie's air of confusion is part of its paranoid vision. There are individual moments that create sharp images (shock troops drilling through a ceiling, De Niro wrestling with the almost obscene wiring and tubing inside a wall, the movie's obsession with bizarre duct work), but there seems to be no sure hand at the controls.
  2. Ten
    The shame is that more accessible Iranian directors are being neglected in the overpraise of Kiarostami.
  3. 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.
  4. Watching this film I reflected that there are only so many Cracker Jacks you can eat before you decide to hell with the toy.
  5. 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.
  6. Not the worst of the countless recent movies about good kids and hidebound, authoritatian older people. It may, however, be the most shameless in its attempt to pander to an adolescent audience.
  7. 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.
  8. Hicks may devote too much time on hospital errands and bedside moments as Terry’s health declines. But he succeeds at honoring the career of one man who is helping another’s.
  9. It is enormously ambitious -- maybe too much so, since it ranges so widely between styles and strategies that it distracts from its own flow.
  10. Because the film is well-acted and written with intelligence, it might be worth seeing, despite my objections. I suspect my own feelings.
  11. All of this grows tiresome. We're given no particular reason at the outset of The Loneliest Planet to care about these people, our interest doesn't grow along the way, the landscape grows repetitive, the director's approach is aggressively minimalist, and if you ask me, this romance was not made in heaven.
  12. Somehow isn't as exciting as a duel over a woman should be.
  13. The story touches many themes, lingers with some of them, moves on and arrives at nowhere in particular. It's not a story so much as a reverie about possible stories.
  14. An obliquely clinical love story.
  15. The disappointment is that Burton has not yet found the storytelling and character-building strength to go along with his pictorial flair.
  16. It has some of the simplicity and starkness of classical tragedy, but what made me impatient was its fascination with the macho bloodlust of the two families.
  17. So enigmatic, oblique and meandering that it's like coded religious texts that requires monks to decipher.
  18. A screenplay with the depth and insight of a cable-TV docudrama.
  19. A big, clunky movie containing some sensational sights but lacking the zest and joyous energy we expect from Steven Spielberg.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Big
    It's too involved in administering its reversion fantasy to acquisition-guilty yuppies to cast an eye on its own venture status. And the contradictions don't stop there. That this celebration of the Peter Pan syndrome was directed by a woman, Penny Marshall, adds another layer of dishonesty. [3 Jun 1988, p.31]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  20. Volker Schlondorff’s talky drama...is less than persuasive.
  21. 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.
  22. When the hero, his alter ego, his girlfriend and the villain all seem to lack any joy in being themselves, why should we feel joy at watching them?
  23. Comforting, even soothing, to those who like the old songs best. It may confuse those who, because they like the characters, think it is good. It is not good. It is skillful.
  24. I praised "Lovely & Amazing," which also features a romance between an adult woman and a teenage boy. But "Lovely & Amazing" is about events that happen in a plausible world (the adult is actually arrested). Tadpole wants only to be a low-rent "Graduate" clone.
  25. Slight and sometimes wearisome.
  26. The movie's problem is that it loads the casting in a way that tilts the movie in the direction of a Harlequin romance.
  27. On a technical level, there's a lot to be said for Die Hard. It's when we get to some of the unnecessary adornments of the script that the movie shoots itself in the foot.
  28. There are better movies opening this weekend. There are better movies opening every weekend. But Slither has a competence to it, an ability to manipulate obligatory horror scenes in a way that works.
  29. 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.
  30. Not a very entertaining movie; it's a long slog unless you're fascinated by the undercurrents.
  31. The exploration of gender politics grows tedious as the gender dynamic between the two leads reverses, and the same points are hammered home again and again.
  32. I'm not sure the movie should have pumped up the melodrama to get us more interested, but something might have helped.
  33. The phrase "coming of age," when applied to movies, almost always implies sex, but Girls Can't Swim has nothing useful to say about sex (certainly not compared to Catherine Breillat's brilliant "Fat Girl" from last year), and is too jerky in structure to inspire much empathy from us.
  34. The movie tells us nothing we haven't heard before.
  35. 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.
  36. El Crimen Perfecto has energy, color, spirit and lively performances, but what it does not have are very many laughs.
  37. Gets off to a start that's so charming it never lives it down. The movie is all anticlimax once we realize it's going to be about gimmicks, not characters.
  38. All of the materials are in place for a film that might have pleased Orwell. But somehow they never come together.
  39. It’s well-made and well-acted, but it’s also a grotesque, self-indulgent and ultimately tiresome satire that leaves behind an unpleasant stench.
  40. 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.
  41. The movie's problem is that no one seemed to have any fun making it, and it's hard to have much fun watching it. It's a depressing experience.
  42. The movie is more concerned with the story line (premiere-fire-threat-rescue) than with painting the time and place.
  43. Hoogendijk is a guest with more tact than curiosity about why a three-year plan went so over schedule.
  44. It is admirable and well-made, but unutterably depressing and unredeemed by any glimmer of hope.
  45. The movie is too impressed with its own solemn insights to work up much entertainment value; is too much fable to be convincing as life.
  46. Waters follows these characters through their 15 minutes of fame without ever churning up very much interest in them.
  47. There may be possibilities here, but they're lost in the extraordinary boredom of a long third act devoted almost entirely to loud, pointless and repetitive action.
  48. But the second act is pandering and the third is trickery, and whatever Fincher thinks the message is, that's not what most audience members will get.
  49. The actors are better than the material.
  50. [A] slightly diverting documentary.
  51. The Higgins performance owes more than a little to Fred Willard's unforgettable dog show commentary in "Best in Show," but it was clear that Willard was part of a telecast.
  52. Entertaining if you understand exactly what it is: if you see it as a film made by friends out of the materials presented by their lives and with the freedom to not push too hard.
  53. It wants to be a movie in search of a truth, but it's more like a movie in search of itself.
  54. Ali
    A long, flat, curiously muted film about the heavyweight champion. It lacks much of the flash, fire and humor of Muhammad Ali and is shot more in the tone of a eulogy than a celebration. There is little joy here.
  55. It's a long, shapeless, undisciplined mess, and every once in awhile it generates a big laugh.
  56. The message behind all of this is difficult to nail down. Mars and Venus? Adults who haven't grown up? The last fling syndrome? Doing what you want instead of doing what you must?
  57. A conspiracy thriller that begins well and makes good points, but it flies off the rails in the last 30 minutes.
  58. The Rover does have a central nervous system that crackles and pops with suspense, but in the end it’s not enough to jump-start the lack of narrative. Too much story is missing, and that is simply distracting.
  59. Too much self-pity.
  60. The film is bold and passionate, but not subtle, and that is its downfall.
  61. By the end of the movie, I frankly didn't give a damn. There's an ironic twist, but the movie hadn't paid for it and didn't deserve it. And I was struck by the complete lack of morality in Demonlover.
  62. The characters are all over the map, there are too many unclear story threads, our sympathies are confused, and there's an unconvincing showdown in which the story's lovingly developed ambiguities are lost.
  63. Bourdos’ high-minded aspirations are obvious, but his visually satisfying film is dramatically elusive.
  64. It employs depression as a substitute for personality, and believes that if the characters are bitter and morose enough, we won't notice how dull they are.
  65. The charisma of such actors as Gandolfini, Pitt, Liotta and Jenkins depends largely on their screen presences and our memories of them in better roles.
  66. Lacks some of the idiocy of your average teenage rom-com. But it doesn't bring much to the party. It sort of ambles along, with two nice people at the center of a human scavenger hunt. It's not much of a film, but it sort gets you halfway there, like a Yugo.
  67. Grass is not much as a documentary. It's a cut-and-paste job, assembling clips from old and new anti-drug films and alternating them with pro-drug footage from the Beats, the flower power era and so on.
  68. Nymphomaniac Part 1 grows flat and monotonous, and comes across as just what it is: half a film.
  69. In the end, I'm conflicted about the film. As an accessible family film, it delivers the goods. But it lives in the shadow of "March of the Penguins." Despite its sad scenes, it sentimentalizes.
  70. You know all those horror stories about a cigar-chomping producer who screens a movie and says they need to lose 15 minutes and shoot a new ending? Wedding Crashers needed a producer like that.
  71. There is a certain lackluster feeling to the way the key characters debate the issues, and perhaps that reflects the suspicion of the filmmakers that they have hitched their wagon to the wrong cause.
  72. Brando doesn't so much walk through this movie as coast, in a gassy, self-indulgent performance no one else could have gotten away with.
  73. The movie was more of a revue than a narrative, more about moments than an organizing purpose, and cute to the point that I yearned for some corrosive wit from its second cousin, the Monty Python universe.
  74. Pitch Perfect 2 strains to find some plot conflicts while balancing the line between satire and rousing musical numbers.
  75. The special effects are all there, nicely in place, and the production values are sound, but the movie is dead in the water. It tells an amazing and preposterous story, and it seems bored by it.
  76. 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.
  77. It’s fascinating and boring, intriguing and exasperating, but ultimately it felt like a jambalaya of ideas that didn’t quite mesh into a satisfying experience.
  78. The movie itself isn't as interesting as the conversations you can have about it. It duplicates Thomas' miserable world so well we want to escape it as urgently as Thomas does.
  79. This movie, for all its noble intentions, is a bore.
  80. If I found it creepy beyond all reason, that is no doubt because I have been hopelessly corrupted by the decadent society I inhabit.
  81. Children should not be allowed within a mile of this film, but it will appeal to "Jackass" fans and other devotees of the joyously ignorant.
  82. A Burning Hot Summer failed to persuade me of any reason for its existence.
  83. We're left with a promising idea for a comedy, which arrives at some laughs but never finds its destination.
  84. There’s some first-rate camerawork aboard the sub, that strong lead performance from Law and one nifty plot twist. It’s a shame the script gives us one of the most incompetent and ridiculous submarine crews this side of “Down Periscope.”
  85. A step or two down from the first and second, but it has some very funny moments, and maybe that is all we hope for.
  86. As a movie, Veronica Mars looks and feels, well, like a glorified TV movie, with just decent production values, mostly unexceptional performances and ridiculous plot developments no more innovative than you’d see on a dozen network TV detective shows.
  87. A conventional film for an unconventional actor.
  88. The movie was produced by Seinfeld, and protects him. The visuals tend toward the dim, the gray and the washed-out, and you wish instead of spending a year with their store-boughts, they'd spent a month and used the leftover to hire a cinematographer.
  89. You can enjoy U-571 as a big, dumb war movie without a brain in its head.
  90. Meryl Streep is indeed poised and imperious as Miranda, and Anne Hathaway is a great beauty who makes a convincing career girl. I liked Stanley Tucci, too, as Nigel... But I thought the movie should have reversed the roles played by Grenier and Baker. Grenier comes across not like the old boyfriend but like the slick New York writer, and Baker seems the embodiment of Midwestern sincerity.
  91. A disorganized, rambling and eccentric movie that contains some moments of truth, some moments of humor, and many moments of digression.
  92. The material might have promise as a black comedy, but its attempt to put on a smiling face is unconvincing.
  93. One fundamental problem with the movie is that John Travolta is seriously miscast as a nuclear terrorist. Say what you will about the guy, he doesn't come across as a heavy.
  94. I guess it's a tribute to The Man With Two Brains that I found myself laughing a fair amount of the time, despite my feelings about Martin.
  95. Writer/director Carey clearly has some talent, and she and Plaza deserve credit for never pulling their comedic punches. They’re all in. Problem is, it’s mostly a bluff.
  96. Its hero upstages anything the plot can possibly come up with.
  97. Never comes alive.
  98. Perfectly sweet and civilized.
  99. The first-time director is Mateo Gil, known for the screenplays of "Open Your Eyes," "The Sea Inside" and "Agora." Ironic, that the film's weakness is its screenplay.

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