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. Margin Call employs an excellent cast who can make financial talk into compelling dialogue. They also can reflect the enormity of what is happening: Their company and their lives are being rendered meaningless.
  2. World on a Wire is slowed down compared to most Fassbinder. He usually evokes overwrought passions, sudden angers and jealousies, emotional explosions, people hiding turmoil beneath a surface of pose. Here there's less of that emotional energy. But if you know Fassbinder, you might want to see this as an exercise of his mind, a demonstration of how one of his stories might be transformed by the detachment of science fiction.
  3. Here is a rare movie that begins by telling us how it will end and is about how the hero has no idea why.
  4. The Lunchbox,” Indian director Ritesh Batra’s debut, is a witty and perceptive film that reveals the hopes, sorrows and regrets of ordinary people.
  5. A film that with quiet confidence creates a fragile magic.
  6. Tries hard to be a good film, but if it had relaxed a little, it might have been great.
  7. (Coppola) has the courage to play it in a minor key.
  8. I like the way the slacker characters maintain their slothful gormlessness in the face of urgent danger, and I like the way the British bourgeois values of Shaun's mum and dad assert themselves even in the face of catastrophe.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Strangely haunting, often heartbreaking.
  9. If Scott Fitzgerald were to return to life, he would feel at home in a Whit Stillman movie. Stillman listens to how people talk, and knows what it reveals about them.
  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. Doesn't have the theatrical subtext or, let it be said, the genius of Richard Pryor.
  12. Interlaces interviews with the surviving Funk Brothers with new performances of many of the hit songs, and some sequences in which events of the past are re-created. The flashback sequences are not especially effective, but are probably better than more talking heads. Or maybe not.
  13. While Penn and Teller certainly know how to tell a story, Tim’s Vermeer is at times a chore to sit through, even with a brisk 80-minute running time. We’re literally watching paint dry.
  14. This is, first of all, an electrifying and poignant love story....And it is also one hell of a thriller.
  15. The first-rate Italian comedy Reality — which fakes Pope Benedict appearing in St. Peter’s Square — likens consecration to elevating an “everyman” to pop celebrity.
  16. Not only does this second movie match the charm, wit, animation skill and intelligent storytelling of the original, I think it even exceeds it.
  17. It’s filled with a kind of giddy energy that leaps off the screen. It’s corny, it’s dopey, it’s sincere, it’s romantic, it’s thrilling and it leaves one anticipating the next adventure of these heroic goofballs.
  18. 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.
  19. Using a dialogue-heavy approach that's unusual for Cronenberg, his film is skilled at the way it weaves theory with the inner lives of its characters. We are learning, yet never feel we're being taught.
  20. Entertaining and surprisingly amusing, under the circumstances. The film is in a better state of mind than its characters. Its humor comes, as the best humor does, from an acute observation of human nature.
  21. The Last of the Mohicans is not as authentic and uncompromised as it claims to be -- more of a matinee fantasy than it wants to admit -- but it is probably more entertaining as a result.
  22. This is an engrossing story, told smoothly and well, and Russell Crowe's contribution is enormous.
  23. It probably is unforgivably bourgeois to admire a film because of its locations, but in the case of The Last Emperor the narrative cannot be separated from the awesome presence of the Forbidden City, and from Bertolucci's astonishing use of locations, authentic costumes and thousands of extras to create the everyday reality of this strange little boy.
  24. Submarine isn't an insipid teen sex comedy. It flaunts some stylistic devices, such as titles and sections and self-aware narration, but it doesn't try too hard to be desperately clever.
  25. The movie is astonishingly foul-mouthed, but in a fluent, confident way where the point isn't the dirty words, but the flow and rhythm, and the deep, sad yearning they represent.
  26. The effect of this scene is so powerful that I leaned forward like a jury member, wanting her to get away with it so I could find her innocent.
  27. This is not a major Spielberg film, although it is an effortlessly watchable one.
  28. Reviewing The Naked Gun... is like reporting on a monologue by Rodney Dangerfield - you can get the words but not the music.
  29. The movie is as intelligent a thriller as you'll see this year.
  30. Streep wisely goes for oblique humor rather than straight-ahead villainy, making the character different and yet just as loathsome.
  31. A diverting tutorial with this takeaway: “Let’s be puzzled about what seems obvious.”
  32. I have a weakness for actresses like Greta Gerwig. She looks reasonable and approachable.
  33. A compelling thriller to begin with, but it adds the rare quality of having a heroine more fascinating than the story.
  34. This is a film situated precisely on the dividing line between traditional family entertainment and the newer action-oriented family films. It is charming and scary in about equal measure, and confident for the first two acts that it can be wonderful without having to hammer us into enjoying it, or else. Then it starts hammering.
  35. May errs in styling this human interest saga.
  36. It's better to know going in that you're not expected to be able to fit everything together, that you may lose track of some members of the large cast, that it's like attending a family reunion when it's not your family and your hosts are too drunk to introduce you around.
  37. Oshima, directing his first film in 14 years, has found an actor with the physical attributes to play the character and seems content to leave it at that; his camera regards Sozaburo as an object of beauty but hardly seems to engage him.
  38. It's Mamet in a lighthearted mood, playing with dialogue, repeating phrases just because he likes them, and supplying us with a closing line that achieves, I think, a kind of greatness.
  39. Rango is some kind of a miracle: An animated comedy for smart moviegoers, wonderfully made, great to look at, wickedly satirical, and (gasp!) filmed in glorious 2-D.
  40. This is the kind of movie that baffles Hollywood, because it isn't made from any known formula and doesn't follow the rules.
  41. One of the most involving of the many first-rate thrillers that have come recently from Scandinavia.
  42. What is finally clear: It doesn't matter a damn what your will says if you have $25 billion, and politicians and the establishment want it.
  43. The film's headlong momentum streamrolls over all our questions, and we're carried along by the expertly choreographed action. Even after everything seems over, it isn't, and the last minutes are particularly satisfying.
  44. May be a sardonic view of Japanese corporate culture, but that's not all it is. The movie is also subtly sexual and erotic, despite the fact that every scene takes place in the office and there is not a single overt sexual act or word or gesture or reference.
  45. Warren Beatty's Bulworth made me laugh -- and wince.
  46. Leconte brings his film to transcendent closure without relying on stale plot devices or the clanking of the plot. He resorts to a kind of poetry. After the film is over, you want to sigh with joy, that in this rude world such civilization is still possible.
  47. Rush ranks among the best movies about auto racing ever made, featuring two great performances from the leads, who capture not only the physical look of the racing legends they’re playing, but the vastly different character traits that made their rivalry, well, made for the movies.
  48. Somehow isn't as exciting as a duel over a woman should be.
  49. Mullen and Garfield anchor the film. Mullen, that splendid Scottish actor ("My Name Is Joe") and Garfield, 24, with his boyish face and friendly grin.
  50. Despite the insularity, Punk Singer has a terrific story to tell, not least about the fascinating contradictions in Hanna’s character.
  51. An Officer and a Gentleman is the best movie about love that I've seen in a long time.
  52. The very best thing about the movie is its dialogue. Paul Brickman, who wrote and directed, has an ear so good that he knows what to leave out.
  53. It is a skillful, well-made film, although, since Ellsberg is the narrator, it doesn't probe him very deeply.
  54. Middle of Nowhere isn't a highly charged drama, as you might have gathered. Most of the action takes place within the mind of a lonely woman. That's why Corinealdi is so effective in the lead.
  55. You don't guess the true horror of the place, which is that there are no secrets, because everyone here knows all about everyone else, inside and out, top to bottom, and has for years.
  56. No one, male or female, has any fun, but the men behave as if they do. They are all half-stupefied by the languor in which they drown.
  57. The Flower of My Secret is likely to be disappointing to Almodovar's admirers, and inexplicable to anyone else.
  58. Here is a movie that knows its women, listens to them, doesn't give them a pass, allows them to be real: It's a rebuke to the shallow "Ya-Ya Sisterhood."
  59. There is a kind of horror movie that plays so convincingly we don't realize it's an exercise in pure style. ''Halloween'' is an example, and John Dahl's Joy Ride is another.
  60. Although it seems to borrow the pattern of the traditional boxing movie, the boxer here is not the usual self-destructive character, but the center of maturity and balance in a community in turmoil.
  61. The movie's strength is not in its story but in its unsettling and weirdly effective visual and sound style. (Review of Original Release)
  62. The movie, which should have been titled "Defend the Block," illustrates once again that zombie, horror and monster movies are a port of entry for new filmmakers. The genre is the star.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Do not leave the film until the last credit rolls by.
  63. I'm happy I saw Win Win. It would have been possible to be happier.
  64. Emily is played by Maggie Cheung with such intense desperation that she won the best actress award at Cannes 2004.
  65. Riedelsheimer, earlier made "Rivers and Tides" (2002), about another artist from Scotland, Andy Goldsworthy, whose art involves materials found in nature...Evelyn Glennie and Andy Goldsworthy have in common a profound sensitivity to their environments.
  66. The point of the movie is not the plot, but the character and the atmosphere.
  67. Movies like Tumbleweeds exist in the details, not the outcome. Even a happy ending, we suspect, would be temporary. We don't mind, since the characters have been intriguing to know and easy to care about.
  68. 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.
  69. What's best about the movie is its playfulness.
  70. The movie pays off in a kind of emotional complexity rarely seen in crime movies.
  71. I had to forget what I knew about Black. He creates this character out of thin air, it's like nothing he's done before, and it proves that an actor can be a miraculous thing in the right role.
  72. Heart-stopping in its coverage of the brave and risky attempt by a scientist named James Balog and his team of researchers on the Extreme Ice Survey, where "extreme" refers to their efforts almost more than to the ice.
  73. Bridesmaids seems to be a more or less deliberate attempt to cross the Chick Flick with the Raunch Comedy. It definitively proves that women are the equal of men in vulgarity, sexual frankness, lust, vulnerability, overdrinking and insecurity.
  74. Felicity Jones gives a fierce and moving performance as Nelly.
  75. A funny, wickedly self-aware musical that opens by acknowledging they've outlived their shelf life.
  76. Am I acting as an advocate in this review? Yes, I am. I believe that to be "impartial" and "balanced" on global warming means one must take a position like Gore's. There is no other view that can be defended.
  77. Doesn't replace "Fingers," but joins it as the portrait of a man reaching out desperately toward his dying ideals.
  78. Lili Taylor plays Solanas as mad but not precisely irrational. She gives the character spunk, irony and a certain heroic courage.
  79. The texture of the film is enough to recommend it, even apart from the story.
  80. Exists on a knife edge between comedy and sadness. There are big laughs, and then quiet moments when we're touched.
  81. The purpose of the movie is perhaps to show us, in a quietly amusing way, that while we travel down our own lifelines, seeing everything from our own points of view, we hardly suspect the secrets of the lives we intersect with.
  82. Funny, in that peculiar British way where jokes are told sideways, with the obvious point and then the delayed zinger.
  83. Bright, lively and entertaining, but it's no "Shrek." Maybe it's too much to expect lightning to strike twice.
  84. The kind of film I more and more find myself seeking out, a film that seems alive in the sense that it appears to have free will; if, in the middle of a revenge tragedy, it feels like adding a suite for hoes and percussion, it does.
  85. More important, it has a Disney willingness to allow fantasy into life, so New York seems to acquire a new playbook.
  86. On the basis of its scale, energy and magical events, this is the Hong Kong equivalent of a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. But it transcends them with the stylization of the costumes, the panoply of the folklore, the richness of the setting, and the fact that none of the characters (allegedly) have superpowers.
  87. The ethical considerations of these physicians and their patients is the focus, not the pro-lifers and their death threats.
  88. The Witnesses doesn't pay off with a great operatic pinnacle, but it's better that way. Better to show people we care about facing facts they care desperately about, without the consolation of plot mechanics.
  89. Watching Holbrook, I was reminded again of how steady and valuable this man has been throughout his career.
  90. The film's implication, quite starkly, is that a strong military doesn't favor crybabies, that a certain degree of rape is unavoidable - and inevitably, that some women may have been asking for it. One hearing noted that the victim was dressed provocatively. In her official uniform.
  91. A wild elaboration. If you have never seen a Japanese anime, start here. If you love them, Metropolis proves you are right.
  92. Seen simply as a film, The Motorcycle Diaries is attenuated and tedious. We understand that Ernesto and Alberto are friends, but that's about all we find out about them; they develop none of the complexities of other on-the-road couples, like Thelma and Louise, Bonnie and Clyde or Huck and Jim. There isn't much chemistry.
  93. So strong, so shocking and yet so audacious that people walk out shaking their heads; they don't know quite what to make of it.
  94. Catching Fire makes only the occasional misstep.
  95. Scorsese tells the Wolf’s story almost strictly from the Wolf’s point of view. We never see his victims. It’s actually an effective technique, because the Wolf certainly never really saw his victims either — not as actual human beings who could be hurt by his financial hocus-pocus.
  96. Portrait of men and a few women who stubbornly try to maintain some dignity in the face of personal disaster.
  97. This is a quietly gripping gem.
  98. We realize that the most frightening outcome of the movie would be if it contained no surprises, no revelations, no quirky twist at the end.

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