Chicago Tribune's Scores

For 4,734 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 63% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 35% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 La Dolce Vita (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 The Do-Over
Score distribution:
4734 movie reviews
  1. It's funny, moving and true, and it respects the audience's intelligence as much as the characters'. That combination, no matter the movie's label, deserves to be treasured.
  2. A rich and surprisingly old-fashioned musical biopic, The Runaways has neither the bloat nor the blather of your average Hollywood treatment of stars on the rise.
  3. It's a small story set in a memorably desolate location. The actors, all quite magnificent, enlarge it, just as cinematographer Mikhail Krichman illuminates the vistas and roadways and even the furtive kitchen table glances between clandestine lovers.
  4. Yes, Steve Carell can carry a movie. Yes, Judd Apatow can direct a movie. Yes, we'll all relate to a middle-aged virgin. And yes, when an aesthetician yells to her assistant "we're gonna need more wax," you best run.
  5. Intoxicatingly well-crafted entertainment about hunting down your enemy.
  6. Swift, vicious and grimly imaginative, the zombie film 28 Weeks Later exceeds its predecessor, "28 Days Later," in every way.
  7. Bone-dry but completely assured, both in its visual strategy and its wry deconstruction of the workplace comedy genre.
  8. The acting -- especially by Borrows, Ian Hart and Hackett -- is strong and transparent, utterly convincing. The whole movie has a seamless flow and an utterly convincing sense of time and place.
  9. It's a movie drama with a surface so bleak and an interior so hot with eroticism that it twists your guts to watch it.
  10. Creates an atmosphere of frenzy that is both powerful and unforgettable, providing neither solace nor comfort.
  11. Whereas Stallone with "Rambo" is messing around with real places and real events, in Rocky IV we all know that this is pure Hollywood, pure fantasy. And very well made Hollywood fantasy, indeed.
  12. The new film works. It's rousing.
  13. Ron Howard's first-rate dramatic comedy Parenthood, with Steve Martin headlining a first-rate cast in a most clever script about the joy and pain of being both a parent and a child. [4 Aug 1989, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  14. For some of us, Anderson's LA lamentation is a siren song, and there's no more ardent and poetic chronicler of California mythology.
  15. Matt Damon narrates, and I do wish the narration didn't end on such a generalized, throw-the-bums-out note, over footage of the Statue of Liberty.
  16. In relation to the well-made and sensitive confines of "The Messenger," Rampart required a more unruly visual approach. Beginning and ending with Harrelson, this sophomore effort is full of malignant life.
  17. This film--one of the best and most memorable documentaries of the year so far--brings that truth-teller to us once again.
  18. It is a fine little old-school thriller.
  19. Once again, as love dies and illusions crumble, this natural actress (Isabelle Huppert) shines with human fire. [26 March 1999, Friday, p.B]
  20. It's a movie imbued with a fierce intimacy -- a tone and style similar to cinema verite documentary -- but it's not a banal realism, even if the characters and settings in contemporary working-class Liege initially seem mundane.
  21. It feels fresh and unpredictable, as quietly strange as the remarkable musical score from first-time feature film composer Mica Levi.
  22. The beauty of The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack lies in its ability to transform itself into a sad tale of loss, regret and missed opportunities while it also remains a solid documentary about a once-influential artist seeking his place in the sun.
    • Chicago Tribune
  23. One of those welcome visitors, a movie that turns out to be much more than we expected.
  24. The movie scrambles our responses and covers so much ground, with such zest, that its two and a half hours race past like a firestorm.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Perhaps the most startling part is the realization that, in the turn-off-your-brain season of summer, you've just experienced an uncommonly serious-minded movie that's brave enough to engage our deepest emotions on issues of death, madness, illusion and forgiveness. That's the biggest thrill of them all.
  25. Infusion of comedy elements keeps the story light, without dragging it into the cartoonish.
  26. An old nightmare, made shiny new.
  27. Amuses and unnerves in equal measure.
  28. A smart, funny and hip adventure film in a summer of car wrecks and explosions. [4 July 1997]
    • Chicago Tribune
  29. It's a film objet d'art to contemplate and treasure.
  30. Honest, poignant and very funny, full of memorable, moving moments.
    • Chicago Tribune
  31. This magnificent pair are the heart of Techine's film, and the sense of frayed, aging beauty and handsomeness they now carry helps project the picture's main theme: the imperishability of true love.
  32. One of the most remarkable English-language feature debuts of recent years.
    • Chicago Tribune
  33. Ten
    A film made by a master, with a simplicity that is really revolutionary. It's a work capable of changing the ways you look at the movies - and at life.
  34. While the protracted third act doesn't kill the two-hour, 23-minute picture, "Casino Royale" remains the best of the recent Bonds, with Skyfall just a notch below it.
  35. Everything about Kung Fu Panda is a little better, a little sharper, a little funnier than the animated run of the mill.
  36. Delivers the perfect union - a vivid, sublime parody and valentine to the superhero genre.
  37. Overall, Baadasssss! succeeds marvelously at evoking the passion and frantic energy behind "Sweetback" and putting it all in the context of its politically charged era.
  38. A contemporary Russian movie that you could honestly call revolutionary, more for its style than its politics.
  39. The splendid new documentary Crumb, a sympathetic yet woundingly candid portrait, catches the artist with much the same skill. [26 May 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
  40. A movie with surprises, some of which you should discover for yourself. But its main surprises may be the power of Collette's performance and the beautifully controlled mood and atmosphere Brooks creates.
  41. With braces on her teeth and preteen gawkiness, Eliza's a nerdy girl on the surface, but her backbone and chutzpah manage to save human and animal family alike. Move over Bond; this girl deserves a sequel.
  42. Best of all: the musical score by Alfonso de Vilallonga. It's terrific — witty, symphonically lush and shrewdly informed by flamenco strains throughout.
  43. The beauties of Shower lie in its human observation, in its funny interplay, candor, lusty acting and hearty simplicity - and also in its warm imagery and the fascinating symbolic use it makes of water.
  44. It's hard to watch and listen to Together without, in some sense, having your heart lifted by its music.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The four stars of Sisterhood are back for this smart, confident second act, based on novels by Anne Brashares.
  45. I greatly prefer this cleverly sustained and efficiently relentless remake to the '73 edition. It is lean and simple.
  46. In The Weather Man, Nicolas Cage, a great oddball movie star who sometimes takes enormous risks, has a good, risky part again.
  47. For a film that points out so much wrong with German society and shows such dubious, dangerous behavior, it leaves the audience with high spirits and a sense of crazy exhilaration.
  48. A film that art-house audiences in 1959 loved madly. And who can blame them? A buoyant, searingly colorful retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set in Rio de Janiero, writer-director's Marcel Camus' movie is a romance heightened by its backdrop.
  49. The movie looks like far more than a million dollars and it offers the kind of smart, picaresque good time you get from books like "The Reivers" and "Huckleberry Finn" and movies like "Bronco Billy" and "Bonnie and Clyde."
  50. The storytelling is episodic, and the film takes a little while to get going, but it hits its stride.
  51. A gargantuan epic, a historical adventure-drama of overwhelming visual grandeur.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Features colorful song-and-dance numbers that look and sound best in surround sound and on a huge screen.
  52. The Wrestler works for the same reason "Rachel Getting Married" works. The way they're acted, shot, edited and scored, both films deploy a loose, rough-hewn documentary style to great dramatic advantage. The corn isn't hyped. The performances click without going for the jugular.
  53. This century's Planet of the Apes is a rouser, a screaming-banshee fun house.
  54. These are real characters, fully observed, gutsily written, beautifully acted by the two leads.
  55. Has the kind of super-cinematic qualities and bravura acting that make up for almost anything.
    • Chicago Tribune
  56. Charlie, who owes an obvious debt to Chuck Jones' Wile E. Coyote, comes equipped with one of the most expressive faces in cartoon history: Bluth keeps his features-ears, snout, mouth, eyes-in constant flux, a beautiful blend of line and volume that represents the pinnacle of the animator's art. [17 Nov 1989]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Rarely does any film, animated or otherwise, immerse you in such a vivid landscape and engage your senses so strongly.
  57. So intense and warm are Leigh's feelings for his characters, that we may remember Hannah and Annie long afterward as old friends -- imperfect yet lovable, pals with whom we've suffered and laughed a lot.
  58. Showing us a world through a child's eyes, A Time for Drunken Horses speaks so truthfully and well that it breaks the heart and scars the conscience.
  59. It's a nerve-wracking visual experience of unusual and paradoxical delicacy. And if your stomach can take it, it's truly something to see.
  60. Shot with a Peter Greenaway-like austere impudence and edited brilliantly (by Jed Parker), this is an entertaining movie, and a moving one--even if, like me, you're not especially fond of these paintings or that scene.
  61. I prefer my horror with a chaser of wit, and Severance, a modest but very lively British import, serves it up in harsh but high style.
  62. It is a film, often breathtaking without settling for being pretty, filled with nervous silence.
  63. A deceptively simple French film about teaching that keeps enlarging as you watch it, becoming beautiful and inspiring in a way most films never touch.
  64. The kind of well-crafted, character-driven work that wows regional film festival crowds and public television audiences but seldom gets seen outside those circles.
  65. Get on Up hits all these high points. But the Butterworths fracture the order, fruitfully. They're more interested in making musical and dramatic connections across time and space — something in the '70s triggering a childhood memory, for example — than in laying them out predictably.
  66. More flat-out funny than "Rushmore," but in neither film is the humor joke-based. What you're laughing at is the behavior of characters who are so fixed in their idiosyncratic worldviews that they can't help but careen into each other like out-of-control bumper cars.
  67. Witness" is both exciting and thoughtful.... And just as important to moviegoers, Witness is a genuinely gripping thriller. [08 Feb 1985]
    • Chicago Tribune
  68. Bening shines, and the film shines too.
  69. It's an intellectual family film for literate parents and children, immensely pleasing if not perfect, perhaps a smidgen too brightly evasive and determinedly charming.
  70. Like Robert Altman's "Short Cuts," it is an all-star fresco, but the stars--none of whom carries the movie--get to play the kind of morally ambivalent, sometimes unlikable parts that big-name actors usually avoid.
  71. The characters may be speaking Chinese, but such rousing entertainment needs no translation.
    • Chicago Tribune
  72. A love-hate poem to L.A., and when Mann takes in the streets, the freeways and LAX, he doesn't give us shiny "Lethal Weapon"-style travelogues. He shows us an L.A. that's grim, bare, a bit smoggy and ruled by street smarts. [15 Dec 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
  73. Nina Paley's delicious Sita Sings the Blues finds solace in autobiography and an animated gold mine in the caverns of an ancient Sanskrit epic.
  74. Gigante represents the sort of artful low-budget accomplishment that could, and should, be coming out of distressingly stingy Chicago once a year — whatever the subject, whatever the sensibility.
  75. A work about memory and loss, His Secret Life becomes a forum of Antonia's liberation of consciousness and feeling, but there are too many contradictory moods sharing the same space, resulting in a tentativeness and uncertainty.
  76. Its social impact is part of what makes this movie memorable. But as with almost any exceptional, truthful war picture, Days of Glory moves us because we know the soldiers -- because we share their fear, triumph and pain.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Resonates like the best of Southern fiction.
  77. The film has undeniable power, but it's an unusual and unsettling power, a product of a collision between red-hot material and the cool serenity with which Kubrick observes and accepts it. [26 June 1987]
    • Chicago Tribune
  78. There's only one proper Hollywood ending to this story. Next year, Charlie and the surreal "Donald" Kaufman (listed as co-writers in the playful credits) should win twin Oscars for best adapted screenplay. They've earned it -- really.
  79. You wait for months, sometimes, for a movie to show you something new. "7 Boxes" does exactly that, and while it's no more than a briskly managed bit of escapism, it's a really good example of same.
  80. One of the pleasures of Magic Mike is its egalitarian spirit and dedication to the ensemble.
  81. Fast, funny, big-hearted.
  82. Family life rarely is portrayed with such warmth, clarity and vibrancy as in In America.
  83. A highly exciting, visually alive thriller.
  84. All three men turn in superb and understated performances.
  85. A modern digitized lollapalooza concocted out of old-fashioned slam-bang space opera elements.
  86. A dear film, sentimental and fond, full of beautifully acted British resolve.
  87. About the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it treats war as a cosmic joke and its participants as hapless but recognizably human clowns.
  88. Most movingly, Monsieur Ibrahim takes a provocative subject -- friendship and love between a Jew and a Muslim -- and makes it seem natural and wondrous.
  89. Harris and Harden have real on-screen sympatico, in their nasty battles and good times alike.
  90. Works beautifully, both as a social and psychological drama and as a taut, tightly wired thriller.
  91. This exercise in racked nerves makes most of the year's thrillers look like flailing maniacs by comparison.
  92. At her best—and even in a hand-me-down project like Point Break—Bigelow is a uniquely talented, uniquely powerful filmmaker. Where the male action directors are still playing with toys-with dolls and models and matte shots-Bigelow has tapped into something primal and strong. She is a sensualist of genius in this most sensual of mediums.
  93. A rich, shining valentine to the British theater and the eternal joys of Shakespeare,
  94. Done with an enticing mixture of lacerating comedy, lush Roger Deakins cinematography, robust acting and juicy lines, the Coens' Ladykillers is often glorious fun to watch. It won't please everyone, of course.
  95. Seemingly a simple comedy, it actually -- like all Allen's "simple" comedies -- has a lot to say. Will the audience listen or just dismiss it as minor, out-of-date Woody? If they do, it's their loss.

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