Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 4,630 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 9.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Captain Phillips
Lowest review score: 0 Slackers
Score distribution:
4,630 movie reviews
  1. What a bold, mad act of genius it was, to make Lawrence of Arabia, or even think that it could be made.
  2. Bresson suggests that we are all Balthazars. Despite our dreams, hopes and best plans, the world will eventually do with us whatever it does.
  3. The wedding sequence... is a virtuoso stretch of filmmaking: Coppola brings his large cast onstage so artfully that we are drawn at once into the Godfather's world.
  4. The Leopard was written by the only man who could have written it, directed by the only man who could have directed it, and stars the only man who could have played its title character.
  5. Once in a great while I see a movie I know I’ll be listing as one of my all-time favorites for the rest of my days. So it is with this remarkable, unforgettable, elegant epic that is about one family — and millions of families. It’s a pinpoint-specific and yet universal story.
  6. The movie is astonishingly beautiful. The cinematography is by Bergman's longtime collaborator Sven Nykvist.
  7. One of the greatest of all American films, but has never received the attention it deserves because of its lack of the proper trappings. Many "great movies'' are by great directors, but Laughton directed only this one film, which was a critical and commercial failure long overshadowed by his acting career.
  8. This restored 35mm print, now in art theaters around the country, may be 37 years old, but it is the best foreign film of the year.
  9. One of the greatest of all fantasy films.
  10. A film like "Hoop Dreams" is what the movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and make us think in new ways about the world around us. It gives us the impression of having touched life itself.
  11. Does what many great films do, creating a time, place and characters so striking that they become part of our arsenal of images for imagining the world.
  12. Starting with Le Petit Soldat, Godard was forging his own individualistic art and becoming the most relevant director of our time.
  13. This is a powerful film and a stark visual accomplishment, but no thanks to Gabita (Laura Vasiliu). The driving character is her roommate Otilia (Anamaria Marinca), who does all the heavy lifting.
  14. Unflinchingly directed by Steve McQueen, led by Ejiofor’s magnificent work, 12 Years a Slave is what we talk about when we talk about greatness in film.
  15. This is one of the funniest movies ever made. To see it now is to understand that. To see it for the first time in 1968, when I did, was to witness audacity so liberating that not even "There's Something About Mary" rivals it.
  16. Made with sublime innocence and breathtaking artistry, at a time when its simple values rang true.
  17. Seen after 30 years, Dr. Strangelove seems remarkably fresh and undated - a clear-eyed, irreverant, dangerous satire. And its willingness to follow the situation to its logical conclusion - nuclear annihilation - has a purity that today's lily-livered happy-ending technicians would probably find a way around.
  18. This is clearly one of the best of the year's films. Every time an animated film is successful, you have to read all over again about how animation isn't "just for children" but "for the whole family," and "even for adults going on their own." No kidding!
  19. No movie has had a greater impact on the way people looked. The music of course is immortal.
  20. This is one of the most stunning visual treats of the year and one of the most unforgettable thrill rides in recent memory.
  21. David Fincher's film has the rare quality of being not only as smart as its brilliant hero, but in the same way. It is cocksure, impatient, cold, exciting and instinctively perceptive.
  22. Do we want to know more about Osama bin Laden and al Qaida and the history and political grievances behind them? Yes, but that's not how things turned out. Sorry, but there you have it.
  23. The actors, as sometimes happens, create those miracles that can endow a film with conviction. Moadi and Hatami, as husband and wife, succeed in convincing us their characters are acting from genuine motives.
  24. Mr. Turner is far more than merely an explosion of color and toned nuance for the eye. The real reason to make this a must-see of this holiday season is to wallow in the Oscar-worthy acting talent of Leigh’s veteran player Timothy Spall.
  25. A rich, smart, funny, sometimes acidic portrayal of a couple who can be spectacular when they’re in tune — and toxic when they’re at each other’s throats.
  26. Here is a movie that was made more than 25 years ago, and it feels as if it were made yesterday. Not a moment of The Manchurian Candidate lacks edge and tension and a cynical spin. [Re-release]
  27. It's enchanting and delightful in its own way, and has a good heart. It is the best animated film of recent years, the latest work by Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese master who is a god to the Disney animators.
  28. This movie made my heart glad. It is filled with innocence, hope, and good cheer. It is also wickedly funny and exciting as hell.
  29. Like "Citizen Kane," Pulp Fiction is constructed in such a nonlinear way that you could see it a dozen times and not be able to remember what comes next.
  30. A great film, an intelligent film, a film shot clearly so that we know exactly who everybody is and where they are and what they’re doing and why.
  31. It is astonishingly original.
  32. Succeeds at being three things at once: an enthralling animated film, a visual wonderment and a decent science-fiction story.
  33. The characters are played not by the first actors you would think of casting, but by actors who will prevent you from ever being able to imagine anyone else in their roles.
  34. There is little enough psychological depth anywhere in the films, actually, and they exist mostly as surface, gesture, archetype and spectacle. They do that magnificently well, but one feels at the end that nothing actual and human has been at stake.
  35. An unexpected kind of masterpiece by Haneke, whose films have included the enigmatic "Caché" and the earlier Golden Palm winner "The White Ribbon." We don't expect such unflinching seriousness, such profundity from Haneke.
  36. It is a surprisingly entertaining film - funny, wicked, sharp-tongued and devious. It does not solve the case, nor intend to. I am afraid it only intends to entertain.
  37. Transcends its origins and becomes one of a kind. It's glorious, unashamed escapism and surprisingly touching at the same time.
  38. What is most amazing about this film is how completely Spielberg serves his story. The movie is brilliantly acted, written, directed and seen. Individual scenes are masterpieces of art direction, cinematography, special effects, crowd control.
  39. The movie is made with boundless energy. Fellini stood here at the dividing point between the neorealism of his earlier films (like "La Strada") and the carnival visuals of his extravagant later ones ("Juliet of the Spirits," "Amarcord'').
  40. A brilliant nightmare and like all nightmares it doesn't tell us half of what we want to know. (Review of Original Release)
  41. A few great directors have the ability to draw us into their dream world, into their personalities and obsessions and fascinate us with them for a short time. This is the highest level of escapism the movies can provide for us.
  42. Above all one of the most beautiful films ever made. Malick's purpose is not to tell a story of melodrama, but one of loss. His tone is elegiac. He evokes the loneliness and beauty of the limitless Texas prairie. [7 Dec. 1997]
  43. One of the most remarkable and haunting documentaries ever made.
  44. This is a well-crafted look at the American folk music scene of the early 1960s, a sometimes hilarious dry comedy — and oh yeah, the music is terrific.
  45. Only rarely is a film this observant and tender about the ups and downs of daily existence.
  46. At the end we are left with the reflection that human consciousness is the great miracle of evolution, and all the rest (sight, sound, taste, hearing, smell, touch) are simply a toolbox that consciousness has supplied for itself.
  47. The movie is bursting with life, energy, fears, frustrations and the quick laughter of a classroom hungry for relief.
  48. The most painful and heartrending portrait of jealousy in the cinema--an "Othello'' for our times.
  49. You can live in a movie like this.
  50. Godard works with a bright style and a sense of humor and his pictures leave a cumulative impression. (Review of Original Release)
  51. The kind of film that is easily called great. I am not sure of its greatness. It was filmed in the same area of Texas used by "No Country for Old Men," and that is a great film, and a perfect one. But There Will Be Blood"is not perfect, and in its imperfections we may see its reach exceeding its grasp. Which is not a dishonorable thing.
  52. Cocteau, a poet and surrealist, was not making a "children's film" but was adapting a classic French tale that he felt had a special message after the suffering of World War II: Anyone who has an unhappy childhood may grow up to be a Beast.
  53. A visionary roller-coaster ride of a movie.
  54. These 1950s French noirs abandon the formality of traditional crime films, the almost ritualistic obedience to formula, and show crazy stuff happening to people who seem to be making up their lives as they go along.
  55. That it transcends this genre -- that it is a well-crafted and sometimes stirring adventure -- is to its credit. But a true visualization of Tolkien's Middle-earth it is not.
  56. This is a jolly, slapstick comedy, lacking the almost eerie humanity that infused the earlier “Toy Story” sagas, and happier with action and jokes than with characters and emotions.
  57. This was for me the best film at Cannes 2004, a story vibrating with urgency and life. It makes a powerful statement and at the same time contains humor, charm and astonishing visual beauty.
  58. An experience so engrossing it is like being buried in a new environment.
  59. If I were asked to say with certainty which movies will still be widely known a century or two from now, I would list "2001,'' "The Wizard of Oz,'' Keaton and Chaplin, Astaire and Rogers, and probably "Casablanca'' ... and "Star Wars,'' for sure.
  60. To call it weird would be a cowardly evasion. It is creepy, eccentric, eerie, flaky, freaky, funky, grotesque, inscrutable, kinky, kooky, magical, oddball, spooky, uncanny, uncouth and unearthly. Especially uncouth.
  61. There is one cool, understated scene after another.
  62. The Queen is a spellbinding story of opposed passions -- of Elizabeth's icy resolve to keep the royal family separate and aloof from the death of the divorced Diana, who was legally no longer a royal, and of Blair's correct reading of the public mood.
  63. It's one of the great moviegoing experiences.
  64. It comes closer to reflecting the current state of race relations in America than any other movie of our time.
  65. Folman is an Israeli documentarian who has not worked in animation. Now he uses it as the best way to reconstruct memories, fantasies, hallucinations, possibilities, past and present. This film would be nearly impossible to make any other way.
  66. It moves us on a human level, it keeps us guessing during scenes as unpredictable as life, and it shows us how ordinary people have a chance of somehow coping with their problems, which are rather ordinary, too.
  67. 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.
  68. Many of the scenes in No Country for Old Men are so flawlessly constructed that you want them to simply continue, and yet they create an emotional suction drawing you to the next scene. Another movie that made me feel that way was "Fargo." To make one such film is a miracle. Here is another.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Gatekeepers has a cold air to it: washed-out colors, tan ominous soundtrack, eerily floating satellite footage… The most chilling aspect, however, is the blunt commentary about the work itself.
  69. Plays like an anthology of the best parts from all the Saturday matinee serials ever made.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Editing seamlessly juxtaposes the women’s stories with historical performance footage. Their stories are so compelling, many suggest their own documentaries.
  70. After Hours is a brilliant film that is so original, so particular, that we are uncertain from moment to moment exactly how to respond to it. The style of the film creates, in us, the same feeling that the events in the film create in the hero. Interesting.
  71. One of a very few films that wants to do something unexpected and challenging, and succeeds even beyond its ambitions. See this film. Then shut up about it.
  72. This film embodies ideas. After the immediate experience begins to fade, the implications remain and grow.
  73. The best performance in the film is by Arestrup as Cesar. You may remember him from Audiard's "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" (2005), where he played a seedy but confident father who psychically overshadows his son.
  74. The movie heroes who affect me most are not extroverted. They don't strut, speechify and lead armies. They have no superpowers. They are ordinary people who are faced with a need and rise to the occasion. Ree Dolly is such a hero.
  75. Seductive and beautiful, cynical and twisted, and one of the best films of the year.
  76. One of the great films of all time. It shames modern Hollywood's timidity. To watch it is to feel yourself lifted up to the heights where the cinema can take you, but so rarely does.
  77. One view of what happened that day, a very effective one. And as an act of filmmaking, it is superb: A sense of immediate and present reality permeates every scene.
  78. Her
    Her works as a real romance, and as a commentary on the ways technology connects everyone to the world but also isolates us from legitimate, warm human contact.
  79. The movie makes no attempt to psychoanalyze its Kit Carruthers, and there are no symbols to note or lessons to learn. What comes through more than anything is the enormous loneliness of the lives these two characters lived, together and apart.
  80. Routinely called Tarkovsky's reply to Kubrick's "2001" -- But Kubrick's film is outward, charting man's next step in the universe, while Tarkovsky's is inward, asking about the nature and reality of the human personality.
  81. This is one of the best films of the year, an unflinching lament for the human condition.
  82. This time the dad is the hero of the story, although in most animation it is almost always the mother.
  83. Little by little, detail by detail, This Is Not a Film leads to a final scene of overwhelming power. I don't think it was even planned - no more than Panahi expected the little actress to take the cast off her arm. It simply happens, and then the film is over, having nothing more to say. Because, after all, it is not a film.
  84. It is one of the year's best films.
  85. Either Being John Malkovich gets nominated for best picture, or the members of the Academy need portals into their brains.
  86. The film has the materials for a lifetime project; like the "7-Up" series, this is a conversation that could be returned to every 10 years or so, as Celine and Jesse grow older.
  87. Grown-ups are likely to be surprised by how smart the movie is, and how sneakily perceptive.
  88. Oh, what a lovely film. I was almost hugging myself while I watched it.
  89. This film is delightful in the way it finds its own way to tell its own story. There was no model to draw on, but Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who wrote and directed it, have made a great film by trusting to Pekar's artistic credo.
  90. Allen's writing and directing style is so strong and assured in this film that the actual filmmaking itself becomes a narrative voice.
  91. At a time when too many movies focus every scene on a $20 million star, an Altman film is like a party with no boring guests.
  92. Ida
    Ida reaches spiritual depth through affecting performances rendered in sublime black-and-white compositions.
  93. This is a masterful and heartbreaking film, and it does honor to the memory of the victims.
  94. I enjoyed The Truman Show on its levels of comedy and drama; I liked Truman in the same way I liked Forrest Gump--because he was a good man, honest, and easy to sympathize with.
  95. By the end of Capturing the Friedmans, we have more information, from both inside and outside the family, than we dreamed would be possible. We have many people telling us exactly what happened. And we have no idea of the truth. None.
  96. American Hustle is the best time I’ve had at the movies all year, a movie so perfectly executed, such wall-to-wall fun, so filled with the joy of expert filmmaking on every level I can’t imagine anyone who loves movies not loving THIS movie.
  97. Intended as a thriller of sorts, although Antonioni is, as always, too deeply involved in the angst of his characters to bother much with the story. (Review of Original Release)
  98. While so many films about coming of age involve manufactured dilemmas, here is one about a woman who indeed does come of age, and magnificently.

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