Chicago Tribune's Scores

For 4,858 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 3.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 From Up on Poppy Hill
Lowest review score: 0 Cradle 2 the Grave
Score distribution:
4858 movie reviews
  1. I wish the film version of Astro Boy provided a stronger antidote to mediocrity.
  2. After bravely lampooning an institution so many consider beyond reproach, Saved! chickens out, imparting its most direct and lasting message in its disappointing conclusion: Don't Offend. Amen.
  3. Weighed down by the presence of Griffith. She plays her satiric part without much gusto or conviction - as if she were afraid we might believe she really is Honey.
    • Chicago Tribune
  4. The ultimate shallowness of this film is reflected in the fact that their key bonding moment occurs when they bungee-jump off a bridge together.
  5. Grant, playing a variation on Simon Cowell, resident meanie on "American Idol" and its inspiration, Britain's "Pop Idol," does what's required with seedy panache. Yet the characterization, both as written and acted, lacks a spark.
  6. Scientology or not, the movie is a battlefield bummer that makes you want to revolt.
    • Chicago Tribune
  7. Carter comes off as compassionate and intelligent. But the complex issues brought up in his book don’t get much more than a superficial debate.
  8. It's outlandishly gory and bluntly political, the latter being more interesting than the former. It wears out its welcome, though, long before la revolucion and sequels are promised.
  9. Here and there an image of spectral beauty, assisted by the 3-D technology, floats into view and captures our imagination. But the script, which really should've been called "Sanctimonium," has a serious case of the bends.
  10. Michael Showalter is a funny man, but … how to put this gently … not a funny movie star.
  11. An oft-told tale.
    • Chicago Tribune
  12. It's Mary Stuart Masterson, bringing a depth and tenacity to her role that nowhere appears in the screenplay, who leaves the lasting impression. She escapes the airiness of Hughes's vision to establish something like a human being. [22 Feb 1987]
    • Chicago Tribune
  13. At its core, a movie for children. There is no hidden adult story line, not much sexual innuendo and very little dry humor.
  14. While no doubt a contribution in terms of historical record, the 2003-2004 timeline of the movie makes it feel out of date. This offers perspective on the insurgents then, but leaves the viewer wondering what they would be thinking and saying four years later.
  15. Green just isn't the superhero color this year.
  16. The nuttiest hunk of junk in many months.
  17. Robinson is undone partly by his own workmanlike touch as a writer, and partly by matters of casting. I like Harris, and he's quite moving here, but every time Duchovny reappears the overall energy level sinks to crush depth.
  18. Though this film shows flashes of the electric writer Mamet was to become, Lakeboat is mostly distant thunder over choppy waters.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Not a triumph or a tragedy, but faithful to its subject matter. And faithful, in this case, seems fitting.
  19. Schlock that could and should have been better.
  20. A pretty entertaining case against our current war and question the integrity of our president, but more than that, these docs manipulate imagery, music and sound bites to work their audiences into a frenzy.
  21. What If brings up the distinctions among wit, jokes and robotic banter, and this new romantic comedy has a bit of the first and a few of the second, but it's largely a case of the third.
  22. The results aren't gothic and bloody, as they were in the Lauren Bacall film "The Fan," or elegant and ironic as in the Bette Davis classic "All About Eve"--though the plot suggests a bit of both.
  23. There's about 10 good minutes out of 85.
  24. Hellboy's adventures may take him to you-know-where and back, but the movie remains in limbo.
  25. Oscillates between pragmatist genius and B-movie mediocrity.
  26. Classic Bay, except it's missing the crass director's fine-tuned rhythm, his feel for adrenaline, his breakneck edits and sense of humor.
  27. If you want a relationship comedy that feels like last year's stuff, doesn't go far enough in any direction and is made watchable only by an overqualified ensemble, there's The Ex.
  28. LaBeouf's quivering instability creates the impression that his performance is constantly buffering on us. He's never dull — he is, in fact, a compelling actor in any circumstance — but the material ends up cheapening the experiences of so many real-life veterans, which surely was not the filmmakers' intention.
  29. I doubt even rabid fans of the first two will consider Shrek the Third a worthy addition to the franchise.
  30. My God is this script predictable. Each relapse and betrayal shows up announced, and then announced again, a little louder, by the dialogue equivalent of an aggravating doorman.
  31. This one's just OK, but at midnight, after who knows what, OK might be enough.
  32. Splashes its drama all over the screen, subjecting its audience and characters to action that feels not only manufactured, but also so false you can see the filmmakers' puppet strings.
  33. If more of the picture had the inventively grotesque payoff of the scene set at the gymnastics tryout, capped by a female character's inarguably poor dismount, we might have something to puke home about.
  34. It's a shame that these actors, stars already in the Latino community, with most also having played small parts in Hollywood's more white-bread movies, got such a poorly written script for their American coming-out party.
  35. The skillful quartet at the center of Drinking Buddies reveals the weaknesses in the material.
  36. Keanu Reeves plays Klaatu, confining his usual two-and-a-half-note vocal range to half that.
  37. Hiddleston, his eyes full of fire and melancholy longing, was an inspired choice. Everything not-quite-right with most movies, however, goes wrong long before the actors arrive on set.
  38. Assuming your psycho-pigtailed-killer memories extend back as far as "The Bad Seed," Maxwell Anderson's play filmed by director Mervyn LeRoy in 1956, Orphan may remind you of the icon made famous by Patty McCormack.
  39. A wild, wanton and wasteful western farce that's so overblown and underwritten it almost makes you cringe to watch it.
  40. It isn't hard to take, but Harry and the Hendersons seems a bit familiar.
  41. An odd mix itself, of contemporary sexual realism and unabashed romantic fantasy. If "Days" works, it's mostly on a sheer fantasy level.
  42. More than anything Minkoff's project feels like a protracted episode of "Jimmy Neutron," a show with characters for whom I don't have the same affection.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    There isn't enough heft to the story to pull everything together. Watching it is like trying to assemble a puzzle that's missing pieces.
  43. Kirk Douglas' so strong and inspiring it's a shame there isn't a better movie around it.
    • Chicago Tribune
  44. This predictable, uninspired third installment to the endless saga won't win over non-believers.
  45. Half the time I wasn't sure what Lee was going for in terms of tone, or style, or focus. It was a tricky assignment to begin with, because McBride's novel, and his screenplay, is part socio-historical corrective, part magical-realist folklore, part wartime procedural.
  46. How is that Vikander, who played the robot in the recent (and worthwhile) "Ex Machina," was twice as lively and five times as human in that picture than in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.?
  47. This movie's all over the place, trying too hard to be all Westerns to all sensibilities.
  48. A sappy, often absurd disappointment, another would-be inspirational romance that, like Costner's overwrought "Message in a Bottle," is impossible to swallow.
  49. I like Duhamel, and in her first straight-up dramatic role Hough does well enough, though her singing and/dancing career thus far has trained her to oversell, as opposed to sell, as opposed to act naturally.
  50. Kids may love the movie, and even kids who love the books may like it. For me, though, an astonishing percentage of the books' appeal has vanished.
  51. With her arresting, off-kilter look of bruised desire, Michelle Williams ends up being the most interesting aspect of this somber corn.
  52. It's one thing for a script to set the framework for an action film -- it's quite another when the script gets in the way.
    • Chicago Tribune
  53. With his brazen gifts for mimicry, Eddie Murphy may now be the Peter Sellers of blockbuster toilet comedy movies.
  54. All that — and yet, dull. Why?
  55. Its gorgeous black-and-white photography, dirty and matte, will almost convince you that anything this slow, small and bereft of dialogue must be important.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Extremely slow--unbearably so at certain points. And even when there's no action, there's very little dialogue, and we're asked to follow the disjointed and dreamlike story line without the help of anything resembling a narrative.
  56. To my taste there's too much of everything. The soundtrack never shuts up with the wind, the murmurings, the shudderings. And while director Nixey has talent, his indiscriminately roving camera tends to diffuse the tension, not heighten it.
  57. If you can simply get lost in the crushing splendor of the waves themselves, the script might not leave you so seasick.
  58. What these men endured is remarkable, and the logistics of the rescue are remarkable as well. The 33 settles for an unremarkable chronicle of that endurance test.
  59. So it’s one of those Hip, Now updates, albeit with jokes riffing on pop-cult artifacts that are already Then. I mean: “Jerry Maguire”? Moratorium!
  60. Clooney's attempt to honor unsung real-life heroes while recapturing the ensemble pleasures of some well-remembered Hollywood war pictures, notably "The Great Escape" and "The Guns of Navarone," comes off as a modestly accomplished forgery at best.
  61. Good actors and a talented director doing what they can to bring the truth to a script that's mostly bogus.
  62. True Story is a case of a well-crafted film, made by a first-time feature director with an impressive theatrical pedigree, that nonetheless struggles to locate the reasons for telling its story.
  63. The director's lack of restraint and overabundance of ambition makes "Altar Boys" not boring, but troubled.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It's perhaps best suited for genre vets who can be satisfied with spot-the-reference games and Chan and Li's chemistry, or for undiscriminating kids who'll enjoy the "Karate Kid" vibe. But it's less a culmination of Li and Chan's careers than a passable footnote to better things.
  64. When classy, pedigreed British actors go hog-wild under the flowering dogwood trees of a Southern Gothic setting, often the results are good. Just as often they're so bad they're good. And sometimes, as is the case with Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson in Beautiful Creatures, they're simply doing the best they can under the circumstances.
  65. This one's worth the ticket price only if you are a showbiz-aholic.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Follows a common horror flick recipe (people under siege from hungry monsters--so much for Greenlight's search for originality), adding a dash of humor to keep things from becoming too much of a checklist.
  66. Not a picture that makes you think very much -- except to wonder why the studios keep making movies like this.
  67. Not bad, not good, Ice Age 3 may be OK enough to do what it was engineered to do, i.e., baby-sit your kid for a while and rake in the dough.
  68. Has the potential to be much more than it is, especially with the collection of able actors on hand.
  69. Quickly and fatally, the overlooked form peels away from the slight, frail content, and the film starts to look like an episode of "Hee Haw" directed by an amphetamine-crazed Orson Welles. [20 March 1987]
    • Chicago Tribune
  70. A dumb movie, but it's also a knowing one: a cheap castle of lewd trivia and corny excitement built on The Rock.
  71. I fear Spielberg and Jackson hitched their wagon to the wrong technological star here.
  72. It is less a film than a puny trampoline -- an occasion, though a grim one, for this most fervently movie-mad of American directors to show off his love for the various pulp genres mooshed together by the 2003 Dennis Lehane novel.
  73. First-time director Paul Hunter delivers a quick-cut, loud movie that betrays his MTV roots -- but then again, the script never demands that he do much more than exactly that.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Gavras’ ending makes it clear where her sympathies lie. In the process of building to that conclusion, she overplays her metaphor a bit, but still, political tracts rarely come this sweet and sympathetic.
  74. The Door in the Floor feels more about a situation than actual people. It's sensitively rendered, filled with those necessary evocative details, and it never rings true.
  75. There's something both moving and crass in how directors Elliot Berlin and Joe Fab film these tiny paper fasteners.
  76. It's secondhand, vaguely resigned material. And while Sudeikis has some talent, he's not yet ready to co-anchor a feature comedy. He's no Ed Helms, in other words.
  77. It's not very funny, but your kids might like it.
  78. Finally, a film to unite movie-mad members of Al Qaeda with your neighbor's kid, the one with the crush on Natalie Portman.
  79. Depardieu has so much life on screen, so much bounding energy and insistent physicality, that he almost brings it off.
    • Chicago Tribune
  80. Still Life is a very different story, small and quiet and, unfortunately, airless.
  81. Disappointingly hollow.
    • Chicago Tribune
  82. Unfortunately, the home-run performances of Cube and Epps are handicapped by inept and illogical action sequences.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    If frenetic pacing alone made a movie interesting, Queens would be cinematic solid gold.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    What we have here is the cinematic equivalent of a dead shark.
  83. The leading actors labor valiantly and to little effect.
  84. Ragged as some of it might have been, that old "Out-of-Towners" had a unified and surprisingly dark comic vision to go with its nifty one-liners. This big, glossy picture is set in movie-movie land, that shiny, peachy place where a celebrity -- like Mayor Rudy -- waits around every corner. [2 April 1999, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  85. Although Joffe appears to be making a Brighton version of the seductively natty evil we find stateside in "Boardwalk Empire," this Brighton Rock remains muffled, half-formed pulp fiction.
  86. While cinema may be a visual medium foremost it's also an aural one, and the cacaphony of dialects sounds not so much "universal" or interestingly multicultural as simply all over the map.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Here’s all you really need to know before the opening credits roll in Hitman: There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. And that’s a good thing, considering there isn’t much dialogue to carry the film.
  87. The film has a persistent and careful sheen. It looks good. It is, in fact, preoccupied with looking good. If this sounds like faint praise, I'm afraid it is.
  88. Funny Games is fundamentally a bourgeois exercise in authorial sadism. As the methodical games grind on, the suffocatingly beige and white surroundings start to look like a mausoleum.
  89. Unfortunately, No Escape can't stay 10 steps ahead of its misguided politics and overly dramatic storytelling and crumbles under its own preposterous climactic denouement.
  90. Something about baseball seems to bring out the silly side in moviemakers -- even in a movie like The Fan, which starts out well-crafted and deadly serious and seems to have good enough actors and a savvy enough director to stay that way. But halfway through this thriller things go haywire. [16 Aug 1996, p.D]
    • Chicago Tribune
  91. The last third of the film descends straight into a combination of "Dynasty" with shades of cult classic "The Room." It's fantastic because it's complete and utter silly madness. Helicopter crashes! Slaps! Drinks thrown in faces! Fully clothed shower sex! A framed "Chronicles of Riddick" poster! All the makings of an instant cult classic.

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