Chicago Tribune's Scores

For 5,258 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 2.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Breaking the Waves
Lowest review score: 0 What Goes Up
Score distribution:
5258 movie reviews
  1. Close to perfect example of an expertly designed and executed thriller.
  2. A movie which, like all the best blues, makes good times out of bad times, makes smiles out of hurt, makes tears taste like honey.
  3. This middle portion of the picture becomes dangerously preachy, but just before we and Max are bored, director Miller returns Max to his roots, a screaming chase sequence through a desertlike Australian landscape.
  4. This is an art film in the true sense of the term, engaging the mind, senses and emotions in a way that only movies at their best can do.
    • Chicago Tribune
  5. The movie belongs to the women, for once, and The Conjuring doesn't exploit or mangle the female characters in the usual ways. Farmiga, playing a true believer, makes every spectral sighting and human response matter; Taylor is equally fine, and when she's playing a "hide-and-clap" blindfold game with her girls, she's like a kid herself, about to get the jolt of her life.
  6. It is that rare futuristic thriller: grim in its scenario, yet exhilarating in its technique.
  7. It's one of the most satisfying films of 2015.
  8. A disturbingly frank look at people and relationships in contemporary Los Angeles and a thrilling dramatic showcase for a brilliant cast.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Tells an inspiring story, unknown or forgotten by many, while bringing the past to life and illuminating issues that persist today.
    • Chicago Tribune
  9. What a bright, entertaining, cleverly updated and utterly satisfying comedy the new Alfie turns out to be.
  10. Sweeney Todd may haunt you in ways you’re not used to with a movie musical. At least not since “Mame.”
  11. The message of this movie could not be any clearer: America is no heaven on earth.
  12. Has the resonance, eloquence and formal rigor of a piece of great literature.
  13. Eighty-four minutes is about right for this style of animation. Even at that trim running time, the silhouette approach won't be for everyone. Ocelot's unity of vision, though, cannot be denied. Your kids, even the preteens, will likely fall headlong into his worlds.
  14. The Wall is no endurance test; rather, it presents the facts of the case, adding an eerie low hum to the soundtrack whenever Gedeck's character edges near her outer limits.
  15. A shocker for devotees of stylish angst and psychological torment. You'll have to watch it with patience and great attention, but it richly rewards that patience.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Watching Nina's Tragedies, an Israeli film that pocketed 11 of its country's Oscar-equivalents, is a rare but almost perverse experience.
  16. His movie isn't a surgical attack at this problem and that; it's a cluster bomb intended to reap destruction, make a mess and jolt all who see it to react.
  17. Zbanic, who lived through the Bosnian war in Sarajevo, is an unusual talent. Here, she makes us feel the hell her characters once lived through as well as the leftover, stinging pain of today.
  18. Called "Nuovomondo" in its native Italy, it's bittersweet, neither as comic and sentimental as Charlie Chaplin's 1917 great silent comedy "The Immigrant," nor as cynical and epic as Elia Kazan's 1963 "America, America," but close to both.
  19. Talk to Me has a great subject and a great actor working in tandem, reminding audiences that once upon a time media personalities used to fight The Man, not be The Man.
  20. The movie boasts one of those rare twist endings that strikes the right emotional chords, and it deserves credit for laying its bets on a sexy, sympathetic Macy. Sometimes long shots pay off.
  21. It makes the dream of flight itself a vehicle for bittersweet enchantment.
  22. The power of art to redeem the pain and cruelty of life is demonstrated to enormous effect inShakespeare Behind Bars.
  23. The film is not for the frantic of spirit. Its steady rhythm and even-handed tone threaten occasionally to stultify. But little things mean a lot in this universe, as they should.
  24. So well crafted, so original, that each overlapping scene swells with new life and interpretation.
  25. An engaging yarn about a wealthy kid who learns to fight his way out of trouble in a rough Chicago public school. He also learns not to believe in labels placed on people. [19 Dec 1980, p.10]
    • Chicago Tribune
  26. An excellent, unforgettable film.
  27. Funny Games is an intellectual's suspense film, which ultimately tries to critique and demystify violence. But, since our responses are never all cerebral, that's not entirely possible.
  28. Hilarious, inspired, frenzied.
  29. An off-center, lighthearted but perceptive study of people following their dreams in the only way they know how, Life Is Sweet-the title is only somewhat ironic-is a warm and joyful piece, with the tossed-off hilarity smoothly giving way to poignance in its darker final segments.
  30. In Night on Earth, Jarmusch is painting with colors he has never used before. The transformation is thrilling.
  31. A visually sumptuous, bullet-train-paced thriller with a really provocative theme.
  32. The grace, elegance, carefully muted color palette and gradual acknowledgment of life's milestones lift The Red Turtle far above the average so-called "family-friendly" animation.
  33. It's not a hasty, knocked-together promo job--though it is clearly pro-Kerry.
  34. In the tradition of indie films "Girlfight" and "George Washington," Sollett's emotive, sub-improvising style leads to pitch-perfect performances from a watertight cast in a loose, joyfully fresh film.
  35. A deliberately old-fashioned picture that succeeds in nearly everything it tries to do.
    • Chicago Tribune
  36. A wonderful, heart-breaking movie.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Swinging gleefully on a sun-soaked afternoon, crafting strangely intoxicating phrases, O’Day could do no wrong on that afternoon at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island in 1958.
  37. Confidently directed and tightly constructed, Carnage announces the presence of a fresh, powerful directorial mind with each frame.
  38. Dislocated from their native country and former lives, Bob and Charlotte come to establish a language of their own. Coppola has done the same, proving she boasts one of today's truly distinct filmmaking voices.
  39. Graced by bleak, stylized direction and an insightful ending that suggests that nothing ever really ends, this first feature film by "Northern Exposure" and "Homicide" writer and producer Bromell is a promising debut.
    • Chicago Tribune
  40. A real charmer, Me and Orson Welles is the work of a director who takes nostalgia, romantic possibility and the theater seriously, without being a pill about it.
  41. Conran has got himself a looker, with Paltrow in soft focus, the whole world larger than life and a title that, said in the proper low-pitched voice, conveys the tone of the film: exuberant, idiosyncratic and timeless.
  42. It all flows from the shum. The man's musical and political influence was no illusion.
  43. I've seen the fabulously acted Italian thriller The Double Hour twice now, and for all its intricate manipulations, it stays with me for a very simple reason: The love story at its bittersweet heart is played for keeps.
  44. The Zellweger-Firth-Grant triangle works as irresistibly as Hepburn-Grant-Stewart in "The Philadelphia Story."
    • Chicago Tribune
  45. Children and animals, if they're handled right, can be among the great natural movie actors, and in The Cave of the Yellow Dog, writer-director Byambasuren Davaa handles her cast of youngsters and creatures (and a few adults) heartwarmingly well.
  46. A study of junkie culture from the inside (not a fashionable point of view these days), Drugstore Cowboy is funny, depressive and strangely noble, often all at once. [27 Oct 1989]
    • Chicago Tribune
  47. This is the most satisfying thriller of the year, capping the Bourne trilogy.
  48. A highly entertaining and visually breathtaking movie, capable at times of rocking and delighting you.
  49. A rich and troubling documentary highlight of the year.
  50. Both the man and his times resist a compact 93 minutes. This much anguished history, and Aleichem's inspired literary response to that history, has difficulties being confined to conventional documentary feature length. Yet Dorman's touch is sure, his pacing fleet and his chorus of voices marvelous.
  51. The movie is a delight in many ways: an unabashed romantic comedy and Capraesque fable that takes Spielberg into realms he's rarely traveled before.
  52. An exorcism movie for the rest of us, the gripping German drama Requiem contains not a single special effect. It doesn't need one. It has terrific actors fully invested in a casual-seeming, docudramatic brand of storytelling, notably Sandra Hueller.
  53. The film is unusually free of cant and the usual trappings of war docs. There is no voice-over narration and very little dramatic underscoring. Right or wrong, the filmmakers shave matters of political policy and contextual analysis clean off the finished product, which runs a tight 94 minutes.
  54. Clint Eastwood's most entertaining film in years, a whimsical fable about a Wild West showman with a dream of turning his rag-tag employees into one big happy family. Great country music mixed with Eastwood's natural charm. [11 July 1980, p.8]
    • Chicago Tribune
  55. 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.
  56. The climax, featuring what's essentially a suspended roller coaster of closet doors, is as thrilling as it is imaginative.
  57. Parts of Sunset Song rank with Davies' very best work.
  58. It's the funniest new movie on town. [July 22, 1983]
    • Chicago Tribune
  59. After the Wedding defies the odds: For once, the bigger the emotion, the truer the moviegoing experience.
  60. We meet a variety of interdependent characters, from tuna vendors to rice experts, all in thrall to Jiro and his sons. I really wish Tokyo were closer.
  61. Project Nim is practically irresistible. The story keeps getting odder and richer and more complicated.
  62. What really makes Alias Betty stand out, even from good recent French ensemble films like "Eight Women" and "Venus Beauty Institute," is that ingenious, Rendell-derived story. To kidnap an old phrase, it's a corker.
  63. This largely non-verbal picture uses only as many words (spoken in Mandarin and Tibetan, with English subtitles) as necessary, and draws you in as surely as one of his characters, in an amazing sequence, is drawn into.
  64. It's a simple story with complex reverberations and undercurrents, as secrets keep being revealed.
  65. 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]
    • Chicago Tribune
  66. It is a fine and plaintive experience, more modern-day folklore than ethnographic study, and a wonderfully assured piece of cinema.
  67. Polanski turns a conventional conspiracy thriller into a triumph of tone, ensemble playing and atmospheric menace.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A film of great integrity, assurance and political passion, if not driving plot. [26 May 1993, Tempo, p.3]
    • Chicago Tribune
  68. 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.
  69. Gets under your skin with laughs that are fast, slick and slippery and with visuals as vivid as anything this side of Demerol.
  70. Boasts all of the drama and suspense of any reality TV show, but it actually stars smart people. And they're kids.
  71. This wise, clever Israeli film reintroduces the once-popular concept of film as allegory, as it follows a Christian pilgrim on his bumpy road to salvation.
  72. It's a familiar dance, but something only July could invent, a vignette much like her characters: beautiful, flawed, organic--fine alone but better with the others.
  73. Finally! A romantic comedy that works. And not just because of Shakespeare.
  74. The Murder of Fred Hampton is a remarkable film in many ways. It keeps alive an incident which has become a symbol of repression to a lot of people.
  75. Good movie westerns these days may be too few and far between, but Ron Howard's The Missing is almost a great one.
  76. Of all the movies culminating in a rite of exorcism, Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu's remarkable Beyond the Hills stands alone.
  77. A brilliant, giddy satiric romp with a discreetly moralistic viewpoint beneath its high-style wit.
  78. Deliver Us From Evil has a few things wrong with it, including an egregious musical score, but without resorting to sucker punches, it takes your breath away while making your skin crawl.
  79. The movie putters near the end, but it's a film lover's delight.
  80. Since Reel Paradise doesn't make the mistake of lionizing Pierson while it keeps up with him and his family, the results stay with you, like memories of an unexpected and surprising vacation.
  81. A family tale, in the best sense. [19 February 1999, Tempo, p.4]
    • Chicago Tribune
  82. An often brilliant, always revelatory, deeply interesting omnibus film.
  83. Everything within the film connects to neighboring elements, performance to performance to cryptic absurdity (the opening is one of the strangest of the year) to surprisingly heartfelt acknowledgment of the power of love. Whether things work out or not.
  84. Throughout Lady Macbeth we see Pugh's eyes, full of possibility and optimism at the outset, gradually darken. Even her breathing changes. It's a wonderful performance in a very fine film.
  85. Weirdly touching documentary.
  86. An irresistible Irish comedy, lovingly told, beautifully acted and graced with the perfect balance of chuckles and bittersweet heartache.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It's funny, sympathetic, mostly smart, and it boasts a likable cast of characters led by two performers who have star power and know how to use it.
  87. It's a very classy, finely made film, and, as one watches it -- particularly those last sweeping scenes of political turbulence and escape -- one feels both pain at their (Merchant-Ivory) parting and grateful for what, together, they achieved.
  88. A film that comes close to re-creating the funny-but-serious environment of stand-up comedy.
  89. As beautifully designed, swift and sleek as a classic sports car, throbbing with emotion and intelligence, it's a neat suspense film that's also dramatically and sociologically potent, with two supremely talented stars, Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, delivering beyond the emotional call of duty.
  90. It's sensuality with a stinger, and Fat Girl is an adolescent sex drama that takes no prisoners.
  91. For me, it's a sign that a filmmaker is on to something if you love hanging out with the characters as they eat and drink and talk and reveal little bits of themselves through everyday action.
  92. 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.
  93. A film that uses beautiful tableaux and convincingly raw actors to build to a climax of shatteringly understated poignancy and power.
  94. Half the film, written by Coogler and Aaron Covington, revels in cliches, skillfully. The other half sidesteps them and concentrates on scenes and relationships that breathe easily and draw us in the hard way: not by narrative fiat or bald calculation, but through well-written and shrewdly acted encounters.
  95. It's worth seeing just for the banter between Segel and Hader, which recalls the peak conversational riffs from "Knocked Up."

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