Chicago Tribune's Scores

For 5,226 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 2.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Do the Right Thing
Lowest review score: 0 Freddy Got Fingered
Score distribution:
5226 movie reviews
  1. The story should have made for charming results on screen. Instead - and I truly don't enjoy saying so - co-adapter and director Rob Reiner's picture lands somewhere between synthetic nostalgia and the texture of real life.
  2. The finished product feels tonally indistinct and plays as a bit of a grind.
  3. This is the sort of film where a character says “Here we are, having a high-minded debate ...” and you wonder if countless moviegoers will be rolling their eyes in unison.
  4. The flabbergasting scenes here-written by a team of "Tonight Show" and "David Letterman Show" writers and directed by hot, young TV-commercial and music-video director Michael Bay-are slick, fast, loud, mostly derived from other movies and often senseless.
  5. Compared with Martin's first "Dozen" and the recent mega-family movie "Yours, Mine and Ours," this sequel is Academy Award material.
  6. The film is finally impersonal, almost anonymous; it's a chilly, lumbering project that carries little of the mark of lived experience. [25 Dec 1992]
    • Chicago Tribune
  7. Frame by frame, Crudup is fascinating.
  8. For such a rich visual movie, "Reloaded" tells far more than it shows; the pivotal scenes involve people explaining things to Neo. Too many plot turns resemble detours, and even the ever-amusing Smith feels like a red herring in the scheme of things.
  9. A facsimile of a masquerade of a gloss on "Charade," and on all the lesser cinematic charades that followed in the wake of director Stanley Donen's 1963 picture.
  10. The look and feel here is classic Hardwicke: gritty and dark, so as to fool you into thinking this film is serious business.
  11. "Superbad” got a deserved R rating for its unmitigated and gleeful raunch. Drillbit Taylor is cleaner in mouth but far uglier in spirit. Wilson and Mann do what they can to tone it up, but their scenes belong to a different film, and a fresher one.
  12. A light, breezy, often charming little film, with a good cast playing mostly shallow characters.
    • Chicago Tribune
  13. It's funny what you buy completely onstage and resist completely, or nearly, on-screen. Case in point: Mamma Mia!
  14. You leave feeling like you've endured a long workout without your pulse ever racing. The exercise ultimately is product placement, with Bond the biggest product of them all.
  15. Plays like a drawn-out outline of a better movie; no one got around to fleshing out the details or providing some soul.
  16. It's more of a pastiche, a montage of brutality, a slow descent into Dante's Inferno until we reach the subbasement of a boy's soul. [21 Apr 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
  17. I've had the unique pleasure of reviewing almost all of Duff's movies, and if there's one thing to say about the girl, she's consistent: nice, sweet, blond, inoffensive and uninspiring.
  18. This is a big-hearted film with admirable ambitions, and the ending is appropriately bittersweet, with victory and comeuppance occupying the same time and frame.
  19. A bright and zippy, but alarmingly over-campy and lighter-than-fluff cartoon feature.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The biggest problem with the muddled mea culpa that is "Tupac" is that it is a kiss-up rather than a real examination of the rapper's life, so that anyone can speculate about what he might have become.
  20. The movie lacks wit.
  21. All of it is plausible, if one were to break the narrative into its component parts; together, though, those parts resemble "Babel" or "Crash" or other determinedly topical mosaics that end up falsifying their own concerns.
  22. A Swiss movie that flirts back and forth between the French and German sensibilities at play in that nation.
  23. Like its title heroine, it's sparkly, pretty and flirty--but often all wet.
  24. Some comedies have the knack for affrontery and shock value; The Change-Up, written by the "Hangover" team of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, merely has the will to offend.
  25. A large amount of dope is smoked in The Pick of Destiny, perhaps the most since the salad days of Cheech & Chong. This may be the problem. Pot rarely helped anybody's comic timing.
  26. Strikes me as a pure, unadulterated crock. [12 February 1999, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  27. Schumacher's work in The Lost Boys consists of turning undertones into overtones--of taking the latent, the implied and the mysterious, and turning them into the loud and the obvious. He takes a story and turns it into a bunch of scenes, each of which contains its own payoff and none of which seems to draw on what has come before. And in these days of concept films, a story is a terrible thing to waste. [31 Jul 1987, p.D]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Coscarelli, the man behind the long-running "Phantasm" splatter series, can't quite conjure a complete movie out the concept and stretches the material until its humorous conceits repeat ad nauseum.
  28. Rio 2 offers roughly the same approach to story and to story clutter as did the first movie.
  29. Director Ridley Scott's Black Rain belongs to the blunt instrument school of filmmaking. This cop thriller, set largely in Osaka, Japan, is so full of screeching tires, flashing neon and extravagant violence that it's almost physically painful to watch, yet that seems to be the effect the director had in mind. If you smack the audience around enough, you'll be respected for your power.
  30. The biggest problem with Why Him? though, isn't him, it's her. Stephanie is so underwritten, that though these men are competing ruthlessly over her, she drops out of the story completely. She's the center of attention, but she's a void.
  31. Brightly colored, spiffily designed and easy to sit through in a harmless Disney sort of way, but the comedy never accumulates any momentum.
  32. Newell has done some fine work in all sorts of genres, from “Four Weddings and a Funeral” to “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” but in “Cholera” he seems to be chronicling a half-century of events, passions and desires as a tourist, not a native.
  33. A movie whose satire proves as lame as its clunky title.
  34. Beeman and Tolkin drain every trace of real life friction from the story line, pumping it up instead with the standard Hughes synthetics: kids who are preternaturally smart, sophisticated and poised (Haim's best friend, played by Corey Feldman, has a swagger that suggests Robert Mitchum at his cockiest); adults who are monstrous, cretinous and ultimately pathetic. [07 July 1988, p.3C]
    • Chicago Tribune
  35. Tucker has done a bang-up job, distancing and hypnotizing us with his frenzied, fragmented, sexy images. But war isn't a video game.
  36. It's worth seeing, on balance, simply for what Mark Ruffalo does in a hundred different, discrete, telling ways as he creates a character who was a capital-A Character, outlandish one minute, scarily unpredictable the next.
  37. Wacky and heartless, bloody and silly -- and it ends in a flourish of grotesque sentimentality.
  38. Here Seidelman's more interested in warm and fuzzy than in carbonation. That's fine, as far as this modest picture goes. But the actors deserve more, and better.
  39. An idealized, dreamy fantasy of life in the business world-harmless as airplane reading, a bit dull on the big screen. [2 Mar 1990, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
  40. This film was not based on a video game, but that's the vibe and the aesthetic at work here: YEAH! KILL!, followed by a few muttered expressions of the horror, the horror.
  41. Cars 3, a reasonably diverting account of middle-aged pity, humiliation and suffering as experienced by Rust-eze-sponsored race car Lightning McQueen, is not the weakest of the Disney/Pixar sequels (I’d vote “Cars 2” or “Monsters University,” those sour, desperate things). But it’s by far the most guilt-ridden.
  42. A neo-noir movie nightmare gone sadly wrong.
  43. for all its flaws, Born on the Fourth of July provides the final proof that Tom Cruise is the real thing-a movie star with all the natural, unforced ability to connect with an audience that the title implies. [20 Dec 1989, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  44. It is well made as far as it goes. I wish it went beyond its own carefully prescribed limits of the commercially acceptable.
  45. Midway through I started wondering why I wasn't laughing more. "Baby Mama" was not written by Fey and/or Poehler, which may be the reason.
  46. Part of the problem here is one of proportion: The movie throws a misjudged majority of the material to the villains and lets the unfashionably sincere and sweet-natured Muppets fend for themselves.
  47. For awhile, the stately symphonic score, urbane setting and understated dress make Birth feel powerful--until it feels empty, lacking what Glazer so furiously exhibited in his equally stylized freshman endeavor: heart.
  48. Bruce Willis' film debut should prove to be a disappointment for Moonlighting fans, because the script he has been given here does not compare to the elaborate material he has worked with on some episodes of the TV show. Willis plays a business man who winds up falling in love with a woman (Kim Basinger) who goes crazy every time she has a drink. Director Blake Edwards (10) does not distinguish himself with this exercise in nonstop slapstick, and the performances of both Willis and Basinger are lost amid the rubble. [08 May 1987, p.C7]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 31 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Suffers from an overwhelming sense of teen movie facility and "Murder She Wrote" neatness.
    • Chicago Tribune
  49. At its best, Transamerica made me laugh and feel for Bree. At its worst, it made me cringe at the potential creepiness of its central relationship.
  50. "Masked" is erratic and volatile, too, from scene to scene, moment to moment. The script is chaotic, but the top-flight actors play their hearts out.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The solid cast and honest Austen scholarship make Becoming Jane fitfully entertaining. But it's hard for the film to escape the shadow of Austen's superior talent when it filches so much from her books.
  51. A movie that must spend most of its running time explaining its hopelessly complicated premises, which leaves very little room for anything much to happen. [22 Nov 1989, p.C1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  52. You couldn't accuse the film of practicing what it preaches: careful stewardship of a precious resource.
  53. Adapted by Australian filmmaker Phillip Noyce ("Dead Calm") from Tom Clancy's best seller, "Patriot Games" is an uncomfortably angry, completely bald-faced fantasy about violence as an answer to middle-class, middle-age ennui. Sadder still, it isn't a very effective one. [5 June 1992, p.C2]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    All the young actors, especially Joshua Hartnett as the misunderstood drug dealer, deliver fine performances in their diverse group, which forms a kind of horror film equivalent of "The Breakfast Club." [25 Dec 1998]
    • Chicago Tribune
  54. It's a tick better than the movie version of "Jumanji," if that's any help. If you liked the book, you'll find the film of "Zathura" faithful in most respects, though not so much amplified as padded.
  55. Why does this film, with so many first-rate artists in its corner, not quite work? Partly it's a matter of style, but mostly it's because the script is made of tin.
  56. If only the film had been a more visually satisfying experience.
    • Chicago Tribune
  57. The action beats come straight out of the video game "Call of Duty." And when you have real SEALs placed in a picture that lives and dies on the same old first-person-shooter aesthetic, you have a film divided against itself.
  58. Just an OK thriller, full of standard scenarios and cookie-cutter characters.
  59. A few moments of sly inspiration are not enough to carry an entire feature; along with the tears, it leaves behind an aftertaste of phoniness. [16 March 1990, Friday, p.H]
    • Chicago Tribune
  60. Lacks the energy and urgency of its source material.
    • Chicago Tribune
  61. As silly movies go, this one is at least pretty exciting. But in the end, Typhoon leaves you feeling as exiled from the two Koreas as Sin is.
  62. Perfect late-summer drive-in fare.
  63. The Addams Family doesn't deliver. After a while the ghoulish one-liners and macabre sight gags grow repetitive - the sadistic/masochistic interplay between Morticia and Gomez particularly grows weary - as too much of the humor comes off like unbridled Late Mel Brooks. [22 Nov 1991, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
  64. What it doesn't have is a way of making sense of its comic and dramatic strains, together, in the same movie.
  65. Jarmusch's whole method consists of reversing expectations. The problem with that method is that you quickly begin to expect the reversals; the unpredictability becomes predictable. Jarmusch is a talented filmmaker, with an original sense of humor and a sharp and distinctive visual style, but he won't be a great filmmaker until he stops approaching his material from the outside.
  66. The film itself, which has everything from erection jokes to a computer-generated tornado, comes down to a battle between the interpreters and a screenplay riddled with convenience, cliche and well-meaning contrivance.
  67. This is familiar clowning territory for our actors -- hypothetically well-matched here, with Carrey a far more sophisticated and energetic comic partner for Leoni than Adam Sandler was in "Spanglish."
  68. Emerges as cutty, indistinct and confused, full of shots that don't match and spatial conceptions that would look flat even on TV. The more Branagh strains to appear “cinematic,'' the more he looks like a man of the theater. [23 Aug 1991, Friday, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Too high-minded to stoop as low as it does, particularly in its unforgivably manipulative ending.
    • Chicago Tribune
  69. As skillful and charismatic as Gere is, I never get the sense he's really in there, conversing with his fellow actor.
  70. A genial, sloppy, minor affair, offering a smidgen of inside baseball, which includes a gag at the expense of the forgotten, late '80s Lucas-produced epic "Willow."
  71. After an intriguing start, Transcendence — aka "The Computer Wore Johnny Depp's Tennis Shoes" — offers roughly the same level of excitement as listening to hold music during a call to tech support.
  72. There are no surprises in this movie -- not even in the Bollywood parodies, when the hero and heroine finally, subversively kiss. There is talent, though.
  73. The film is responsible, earnest, well-intentioned and, as it was in Sundance, maddeningly inconsistent.
  74. Director Morel brings some style and speed to the proceedings, though I found The Gunman increasingly numbing in the carnage department. Compared with someone like Neeson, Penn's avenging angel is a less relatable fellow.
  75. Predictable and dull.
  76. As sports movies go, Gridiron Gang isn't bad, just not top-line material.
  77. Soft and predictable -- which might be OK if there were more laughs and insight.
    • Chicago Tribune
  78. I laughed three or four times, mostly at verbal byplay since director MacFarlane struggles when it comes to timing, filming and cutting sight gags.
  79. Kasdan has inherited much of his father's surface skills; he knows how to round out a scene and keep things on story point. But In the Land of Women doesn't for a moment feel messy and chaotic where it counts.
  80. The details of this Twin Peaks are slight and repetitious, and their meanings are numbingly obvious. Behind small town America's facade of sweetness and light, there exist darkness and evil-news that is a day late and about $7.50 short. [28 Aug 1992]
    • Chicago Tribune
  81. The movie can't quite embrace its characters or their scene; Wahlberg even cracks a joke over the end credits that heralds the late-'80s ascendance of hip-hop, which, of course, spawned Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
  82. A professionally made movie, just not an essential one. There's little fresh or provocative here, and if you can't be shaken by this story, why bother?
  83. The movie goes too far on too little motivation - and the middle section, with its maggoty villains, roiling skies and native revolts, seems almost barmy. Yet Exorcist: Beginning does score a small victory. It's not as bad as you'd think.
    • Chicago Tribune
  84. It relays an uplifting story that, ill-advisedly, is not so much Holocaust-era as Holocaust-adjacent, determined to steer clear of too much discomfort.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    True fans (i.e., the people who are most likely to buy tickets) probably know a lot of this stuff already, and they might be disappointed by the lack of drama and the brevity of 3-D racing action.
  85. Snatched, more about victimhood than women running their own show, is funny here and there, but in ways that make the bulk of the formulaic material all the more frustrating.
  86. Slickly produced, well cast and very excitingly made, it's based on plot hooks so silly, most of them blow up in your face.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The fact is, neither Harrison or scriptwriter Benjamin Brand is very honest with the audience.
  87. A smorgasbord of bad ideas, sumptuously over-realized.
  88. That the film doesn't live up to our anticipation of a rolicking good time is only part of its disappointment. [11 June 1986]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Director Carl Reiner, an old comedy pro, does well enough with the comedy's dumb but funny big-bust and jock-strap jokes. [09 Aug 1985, p.D]
    • Chicago Tribune
  89. The eerily precise Heigl, who provided confident back-court support as the exile in Guyville also known as “Knocked Up,” has no trouble filling a leading lady’s shoes. She’s just snarky enough to be interesting, and she knows how to take a fall.
  90. This film is very different: chilly, methodical, a slave to 10-ton metaphor as opposed to metaphoric provocation.
  91. The actors save it, periodically, from itself, simply by setting a natural tone and finding some truth in an extended sketch.

Top Trailers