Chicago Tribune's Scores

For 4,348 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 64% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 34% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 A Separation
Lowest review score: 0 The Real Cancun
Score distribution:
4,348 movie reviews
  1. This small-scale, low-budget movie is defined by an honest searching quality.
  2. For any of you who've ever daydreamed of playing hoops with Jordan, Michael Jordan to the Max is almost certainly the closest you'll ever get.
  3. Irons' Von Bulow is easily the most attractive and entertaining movie heavy since James Mason's villain in ''North by Northwest,'' a figure with whom he shares a taste for elegant homes and wry understatement. [17 Oct 1990]
  4. Thornton and his excellent company summon up for us the long rides, dangerous companions, rites of passage, the mad love and, most of all, the special relationship between the man/boys that rode over the border and the horses that carried them there.
  5. It's the best new battle film since "Black Hawk Down," a movie it surpasses in sheer feeling and bravura style, if not in nightmarish panic and suspense.
  6. May not have the size and grandeur of some of the biographical and political epics being released this fall, but I defy you to find a better written, more honest -- or yes, more satisfying and delicious -- movie this year. [27 September 1996, Friday, p.C]
  7. William L. Petersen (''To Live and Die in L.A.”) gives another mesmerizing, seeming nonperformance as the brilliant agent on the trail of a serial killer who has murdered families in the South. [29 Aug 1986]
  8. Honest, poignant and very funny, full of memorable, moving moments.
  9. Be forewarned: The movie lasts three hours and 16 minutes, and nearly all of it deals with subjects that polite society (and even rude society) tends to ignore or evade.
  10. Revives the art of smart, scathing movie conversation as it skewers Manhattan's singles scene while providing a goodly number of laughs. Like its subject, the movie may have its prickly moments, but it's awfully fun to watch.
  11. Not too many actors last year bettered or equaled Beatty and Schreiber here, separately or (better yet) together. It's a pleasure and a privilege to watch them work.
  12. When a culture offers little more than death upon death, appreciating life's everyday beauty is as good an answer as these characters -- and this filmmaker -- can provide.
  13. Harris and Harden have real on-screen sympatico, in their nasty battles and good times alike.
  14. It's an exciting but brainy, cross-cultural thriller about modern London and life in a contemporary urban pressure cooker, and it depends more on plot, character and atmosphere than it does on chases and gunfire.
  15. It's an unabashed pacifist movie that really works, emotionally and dramatically.
  16. Such a stylistic inconsistency might be bothersome in another film, but here it's just part of the texture.
  17. The climax, featuring what's essentially a suspended roller coaster of closet doors, is as thrilling as it is imaginative.
  18. It's one of the most ferociously convincing physical re-creations of warfare ever put on screen.
  19. It's a simple story with complex reverberations and undercurrents, as secrets keep being revealed.
  20. It's a genteel film with a gun in its pocket, but it's also a film with a universal chord of feeling that keeps welling up from the dark surfaces and violent byways of the plot-and a final confession that both warms the heart and chills the blood.
  21. 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.
  22. There's a zest and brilliance in Neil Jordan's racy heist thriller The Good Thief that makes it almost intoxicating to watch.
  23. So troubling and unflinchingly honest that watching it becomes a test of empathy and compassion.
  24. An excellent, unforgettable film.
  25. A rarity -- an intelligent and moving drama of ideas that becomes increasingly thrilling as the ideas unfold.
  26. The day after seeing it, you're less likely to fixate on the flaws than to find yourself experiencing chuckle aftershocks as you recall the most outrageous gags. In these days of mostly forgettable comedies, that sensation has become all too rare. [15 July 1998]
  27. You will not forget The Piano Teacher. Nor will you forget Isabelle Huppert, a brave, brilliant actress who here plays her masterpiece.
  28. Casual moviegoers may enjoy it, too, if they follow a simple rule: Stop looking for the way out and let yourself get lost.
  29. Has the resonance, eloquence and formal rigor of a piece of great literature.
  30. As much fun as anything director/co-writer Jane Campion has ever filmed. Holy Smoke lets it all hang out.
  31. There's a gentleness and open-mindedness in that touch and throughout the film that's a little at odds with the shallower script. But, in the end, that humanity pays. [27 Dec 1996]
  32. A stirring, emotionally true testament to foolish bravery as well as shameful evidence of the severity with which it is so often punished.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A film of great integrity, assurance and political passion, if not driving plot. [26 May 1993, Tempo, p.3]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Resonates like the best of Southern fiction.
  33. This is a first-class muckraking melodrama: an admirable picture.
  34. Creates an atmosphere of frenzy that is both powerful and unforgettable, providing neither solace nor comfort.
  35. A bizarre, thrilling, warmly funny spoof of the WWII Steve McQueen prison camp thriller, "The Great Escape" remade for a near all-chicken cast.
  36. A romance incandescent, a fiery pageant of l'amour fou. Whatever its historical transgressions, it opens up a vein and lets life and blood pour out.
  37. It may be the most serene and optimistic film Rivette has made in France. Yet even the art-house audience may undervalue it, miss the beauty, style and wit.
  38. All the accolades Lyne got for "Fatal Attraction" -- and didn't really merit -- he deserves here.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It's quite funny, though not in a predictably irreverent way, and it moves along briskly - a little too briskly toward the end.
  39. An animated tale equipped with heart, humor, blazing action and not a sappy song in earshot.
  40. Strange, funny and powerfully moving… Burton has found a way to move through camp to emotional authenticity, to communicate-through a concentration of style and an innocence of regard-a depth and sincerity of feeling that his deliberately (and often, comically) flat characters could not summon on their own. [14 Dec 1990, Friday, p.C]
  41. Works better and cuts deeper than the mostly fictionalized "Hoosiers."
  42. Once again, as love dies and illusions crumble, this natural actress (Isabelle Huppert) shines with human fire. [26 March 1999, Friday, p.B]
    • 62 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A film that comes close to re-creating the funny-but-serious environment of stand-up comedy.
  43. Watching this film wakes you up; it is a window on an Iran and an Afghanistan we should have taken account of long ago -- seen though a master's eye, felt through a poet's touch.
  44. The work of a remarkable new talent. By the movie's towering, final tracking shot, this imaginative, dazzling film achieves distinction.
  45. This is a movie that doesn't depend for its effects on star performers or stylized wish-fulfillment sexuality but on realism, sharp observation and honest humor.
  46. Of all the many documentaries that take you along on a movie shoot, one of my all-time favorites is this delightfully scrappy, sometimes poignant, often hilarious show.
  47. The film seems a mad mix of staid PBS bio-drama, flamboyant musical comedy and surreal cartoon nightmare.
  48. The result is both engrossing and moving, a poem about a love that breaks barriers and passes understanding.
  49. The Sea isn't just brooding Scandinavian domestic tragedy, a lesser Bergman-Ibsen pastiche. It's also hilarious and rowdy, and it plays with our sympathies and expectations in such surprising ways, with such brilliant actors, it's easy to see why it won the equivalent of eight Icelandic Oscars.
  50. Starts out hilarious and then turns very, very grim.
  51. It's almost too rich in ideas for its own good: The sense of concentration and proportion isn't there. But it remains an astonishing, magnetic, devastating piece of work. [23 Sept 1988]
  52. It sneaks up on you and shakes you: a tale of the cold hell surging up beneath that windy, sensuous Wyeth landscape.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Generous in spirit and always engaging as it demonstrates that no matter how difficult life may become, there's no excuse for being drab.
  53. Washington, typically, is rock-solid in front of the camera, conveying ample warmth and sympathy. Behind the camera, he's a relatively straightforward storyteller, strategic in his use of lyrical touches.
  54. The movie has a deliberately screw-loose feel.
  55. Once you get used to the broad gestures, visual stylings and reach-for-the-sky emotions, you may find yourself luxuriating in this movie's undeniable grandeur.
  56. Daring and beautifully made, Zhang Yang's Quitting plays like a Chinese "Rebel Without a Cause."
  57. The characters may be speaking Chinese, but such rousing entertainment needs no translation.
  58. A family tale, in the best sense. [19 February 1999, Tempo, p.4]
  59. 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Features colorful song-and-dance numbers that look and sound best in surround sound and on a huge screen.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A crackling good movie. [18 Dec 1992]
  60. A three-hour delight… The movie generates much of its power by being so life-affirming at a time when people feel nervous about the future. [9 Nov 1990, Friday, p.C]
  61. Sharp, funny, sad and daring as it may be, Happiness is missing something. Its points are often too obvious, its shocks too juvenile. It's impressive but not transcendent. [23 Oct 1998]
  62. One of those small films that will, one hopes, find a larger audience through word of mouth.
  63. Huston gives one of her very best performances as a strong lady who can con almost everyone but herself. Her manner on the screen in this picture and in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors'' marks Huston as the one contemporary actress who comes closest to having the power of classic female dramatic stars of years past. [25 Jan 1991]
  64. 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.
  65. About the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it treats war as a cosmic joke and its participants as hapless but recognizably human clowns.
  66. 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.
  67. Hugely funny, but it's also liberating-precisely because it centers its aim on that cold, closed system and blows it apart. The straight lines are shattered; the empty spaces in the images are packed full until they burst. [2 Dec 1988]
  68. Thanks to Echer, Nettelbeck and this delicious movie, I was able to hear "Country" and the other Jarrett tunes in scene after scene - heightening moods, lyricizing action and making Hamburg seem like a wintry love song. Predictable or not, that's often as good as it gets.
  69. A brilliant, absurd collection of vignettes that, in their own idiosyncratic way, sum up the strange horror of life in the new millennium.
  70. One of the best of its streamlined, over-produced, double-clutch kind: a high-speed, slicker-than-slick car-chase movie with unexpected deposits of character and comedy.
  71. One of the year's most thought-provoking, hard-hitting films, gutsily opening up a subject rarely done with this kind of all-out chutzpah.
  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]
  73. A highly entertaining and visually breathtaking movie, capable at times of rocking and delighting you.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The movie world could use more stunts as entertaining and innovative as this one.
  74. I don't see how you can get away from calling Cage’s performance a great one. [10 November 1995, Friday, p.C]
  75. This is a movie with every facet shining in place, every word charged and resonant. [23 Sept 1994]
  76. One powerful, mesmerizing thriller, a masterful exercise in controlling an audience's attention. [19 September 1986, Friday, p.A]
  77. Has the kind of super-cinematic qualities and bravura acting that make up for almost anything.
  78. At its best, it's an exhilaratingly grandiose Highland fling. [24 May 1995, Tempo, p.1]
  79. A finely written, superbly acted offbeat thriller.
  80. A humane and fantastic work, and it touches us precisely because Konchalovsky shows the reality of both the soldiers and the madhouse inmates. His movie is just what he intended: a nightmare that speaks the truth.
  81. This is a meaty, well-crafted thriller that absorbs and disturbs you from first frame to last.
  82. A beautifully acted and deeply compassionate study of ordinary people coping with the vicissitudes of life.
  83. An incredibly silly film of great humor, brilliant design and epic insanity.
  84. It's hard to watch and listen to Together without, in some sense, having your heart lifted by its music.
  85. A lovely film with a deeply humane perspective.
  86. A true original: a film that stands apart from the crowd, goes its own way and all but dares you not to like it.
  87. Though the role might seem a real stretch for an actor who just won an Oscar for his Charlton Heston turn as Maximus in "Gladiator," he and the movie ace the test.
  88. 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]
  89. 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.
  90. A better film about love delayed than "Sleepless in Seattle." It's funnier, more credible, more bittersweet and the characters are a whole lot brighter. Naturally, it won't be as big a hit. [18 March 1994, Friday, p.C]
    • 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.
  91. I've got to admit it's a stunner.

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