Chicago Tribune's Scores

For 5,148 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 Fanny and Alexander (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 That's My Boy
Score distribution:
5148 movie reviews
    • 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.
  1. Not a picture that makes you think very much -- except to wonder why the studios keep making movies like this.
  2. 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.
  3. Has the potential to be much more than it is, especially with the collection of able actors on hand.
  4. 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
  5. A dumb movie, but it's also a knowing one: a cheap castle of lewd trivia and corny excitement built on The Rock.
  6. I fear Spielberg and Jackson hitched their wagon to the wrong technological star here.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. There's something both moving and crass in how directors Elliot Berlin and Joe Fab film these tiny paper fasteners.
  11. 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.
  12. It's not very funny, but your kids might like it.
  13. Finally, a film to unite movie-mad members of Al Qaeda with your neighbor's kid, the one with the crush on Natalie Portman.
  14. Depardieu has so much life on screen, so much bounding energy and insistent physicality, that he almost brings it off.
    • Chicago Tribune
  15. Still Life is a very different story, small and quiet and, unfortunately, airless.
  16. Disappointingly hollow.
    • Chicago Tribune
  17. 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.
  18. Kidnap probably could’ve played into its feverish, violent, trashy side more aggressively. As is, something seems to be holding it back from its own monstrously exploitative premise.
  19. The leading actors labor valiantly and to little effect.
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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
  27. 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.
  28. The movie's benumbed by its own parade of bad behavior. Like some of Scorsese's other second-tier works — "Casino," "Bringing Out the Dead" — the gulf between virtuoso technical facility and impoverished material cannot be bridged. It's diverting, sort of, to see DiCaprio doing lines off a stripper's posterior, but after the 90th time it's like, enough already with heinous capitalistic extremes.
  29. Like too many sports-related movies, this one falls back on that One Big Game, the final score that will set everything right.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Doesn't have much plot. It just sort of meanders around like a wildebeest playing Blind Man's Bluff.
    • Chicago Tribune
  30. The sum of all snores until the moviemakers start blowing up Baltimore halfway through. Then the special-effects people take over for about 20 breathless minutes.
  31. If Zeffirelli's Hamlet does resemble an actual movie at several points, it's thanks almost entirely to the inventive and atmospheric lighting of veteran cinematographer David Watkin, whose somber, gray-green palette gives the film a dignity and substance it would otherwise lack. [18 Jan 1991]
    • Chicago Tribune
  32. Purports to be literate film noir but comes off more like the overwritten project of a film school kid who just memorized his textbook on the style.
  33. Now and then the movie rouses itself to deliver. If you go to American Reunion - and many will, if they harbor fond memories of the first one, and if they can find a sitter - you should stay through the end credits.
  34. Though the story is potentially fascinating and the visuals sometimes spellbinding, the movie itself is stranded in the purgatory of the second-rate.
  35. Some road pictures take you somewhere. Breakfast on Pluto, from its archly poetic title on down, promises a lulu. Yes, well. Promises, promises.
  36. Amid the nervousness Douglas and Sutherland do what they can to enliven their warring stereotypes. And now and then, blessedly, The Sentinel nudges toward camp.
  37. Without Lemmon and Matthau, it's doubtful either "Grumpy" movie would be worth watching -- or even thinking about. But, because these two get much of their humor from reactions, the magnificent friction they create, they can say ridiculous things -- or even make up ridiculous lines (which they seem to be doing here) -- and make the scenes play. [22 Dec 1995, p.P]
    • Chicago Tribune
  38. Robert Benton’s recent films have been vexing combinations of gentility and stiffness, and despite a fair bit of nudity "Feast of Love" behaves itself all too well. It’s as neat as a pin; it ties up every loose end in careful "Playhouse 90" style. Despite some awfully smart actors, Benton’s movie made me long for a few interrupted sentences and the occasionally conflicted character.
  39. Ostensibly a story about first love in college, and I never believed a frame of it.
    • Chicago Tribune
  40. This one’s no gem. It’s simply large, and long (two-and-a-half hours, the usual length lately with these products). I remain unpersuaded and slightly galled by the attempts to interpolate the history, locale and tragic meaning of Auschwitz into what used to be known as popcorn movies.
  41. I found the mythology of I Am Number Four vague and sloppy.
  42. Penny Marshall, the sitcom actress ("Laverne and Shirley") turned filmmaker ("Big," "Awakenings"), manages to make even such elementary material seem labored and phony. The film, which was shot in and around Chicago last summer, is a major disappointment.
  43. Parker is pretty much a disaster here, shrill and phony and, worst of all, spineless. She reminded me of Tea Leoni in "Spanglish," her performance working against the movie, serving only as a cumbersome, opaque obstacle.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Trust the Man could easily carry the following subtitle: "Men Who Behave Like Petulant, Spoiled Children and the Women Who Decide It's Easier to Love Them As-Is Than To Try to Turn Them Into Grownups."
  44. While it's no disaster, it's oddly indistinct and uncertain.
  45. Suggests that this could be the start of something adequate. Something big would've been nicer, though the movie's limitations are less a matter of scale than of imagination.
  46. Ephron delivered an incredibly flimsy script based on her novel about her former husband's repeated infidelity during their marriage and her pregnancies. Nicholson isn't given a character to play. He just lumbers onto the screen and cheats off-camera.
  47. For all Ricci's zingers, the actress who gets the most laughs here is Kudrow, who has an amazingly right-on offbeat comic sense and rhythm. Playing a bright, sexually repressed Indiana teacher, she displays priceless timing. [19 June 1998]
    • Chicago Tribune
  48. The latest ballroom dance-fever picture isn't very good, but some of the dancing is fun.
  49. A magic-meets-macho cop movie that's more gimmick than actual movie.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Young audiences will enjoy her journey from surly to empowered, and as countless visitors to Brookfield Zoo can attest, there's nothing like watching dolphins. So a star for Schroeder and a star for the title players.
  50. Pearce and Bonham Carter are remarkably photogenic, but the movie is fitful and mannered to a fault, full of watery allusions and stormy scares.
  51. The leads' chemistry in The Lucky One is more theoretical than actual. Still, the sunsets and sunrises and sunbeams through the windowpanes fall easily on the eyes.
  52. All Center of the World has is the double entendre of its title, some unremarkable dramatic and sex scenes, and some embarrassing moments for its very game co-stars.
    • Chicago Tribune
  53. Distressingly ordinary for such an extraordinary subject.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    To be fair, it's little better or worse than the original. But, to be honest, the original--minus its nascent stars--wasn't very good.
  54. The plot thickens and thickens and thickens until it chokes on a tangled mess of double-crosses.
    • Chicago Tribune
  55. Written with such murderous gravity, certainty and gloomy solemnity - such an absence of real life or feeling - that it tends to kill our interest.
  56. Muddles through as a film so uninterested in character, it doesn't bother assigning names to them.
  57. A typically weak sequel that has no legitimate artistic reason for being. [July 22, 1983]
    • Chicago Tribune
  58. The film's tone veers from misjudged sincerity to shrill sketch comedy of the broadest stripe.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The lovely shots of Appalachian vistas are spoiled by cheesy special effects straight from the 1960s Chroma-Key era.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Never really moves beyond its premise. It never takes us to a place of real understanding.
  59. For many, this central performance will be more than enough. For others, the film will simply be too much.
  60. Scoop isn't going for complexity. It's a trifle.
  61. The result is a placid tale of impulses running wild. Farino is a smooth operator, but he puts little on screen that feels like life, as opposed to a middle-of-the-road indie.
  62. cleverly conceived and professionally executed and to hell with that. It's a serial killer movie in the dime-a-dozen era of serial killer movies, with the selling point being that the murderer is played by a movie star. This way you'll like the guy.
  63. While Lowriders offers an interesting entree into this world, it's unfortunately too formulaic and predictable to leave much of an impact.
  64. Lesnick seems to be saying that lesbian characters on screen can also meet cute significant others, spar in a lite Woody Allen fashion, and have a happy, sappy Hollywood ending. But a sitcom is still a sitcom -- gay, Greek or otherwise.
  65. Here's how you know Josh Brolin has become a movie star: Jonah Hex may not be much with him, but without him? Perish the thought. Perish it, throw an ax in its heart, then burn it to a crisp.
  66. At least Reno is around -- and he's the only spice in this stale, slick stew
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The movie’s total lack of focus and its unimpressive script should render it totally unwatchable. Weirdly, that doesn’t quite happen. There’s something endearing about these characters.
  67. Sonnenfeld mishandles the broad part of the comedic formula, preferring repetition to thematic development.
  68. No better or worse than the average (and I mean average) time-filling sequel cranked out by other animation houses.
  69. Elaborate misfire, which misuses an unusually good cast.
  70. Directed by Ron Howard and produced by George Lucas, the film seems to mark the final paroxysm of a genre-the big-budget fantasy-adventure-that dominated American filmmaking for a decade but has recently been weakened by changing tastes, altered economics and sheer exhaustion. It's less a movie than a collection of morbid symptoms: a labored, arrhythmic narrative; a pathetic dependency on recycled themes and borrowed images; a sour, self-mocking humor that suggests the end is near. [20 May 1988, p.2]
    • Chicago Tribune
  71. With a story that is absurd every step of the way, Mr. Majestyk is turned into a hodge podge of cruel and unusual punishments.
  72. Challenging to follow, at best.
  73. The shame is that Pitre, shooting entirely in his home state, wasn't more engaged himself. His intimate connection to the people, place and story, which certainly inspired him to write the film in the first place, is wasted.
  74. Feels constrained and rather dutiful, no matter how passionate these people are about what they're observing.
  75. In Rendition Gyllenhaal is supposed to be the smartest one in the room, yet he’s essentially just a good-looking plodder. And despite its whirligig story machinations, so is Rendition.
  76. All the astute acting in the world can’t bring such a preposterous story into the station on time and intact.
  77. Robert De Niro's characterization is too jokey, a knockoff of his Rupert Pupkin ("The King of Comedy"), and Irwin Winkler's direction is earnest but lethargic. Jessica Lange does better as a barmaid who wants her own saloon. [23 Oct 1992, p.CN]
    • Chicago Tribune
  78. May be the only movie in recent memory unworthy of its own genuinely hilarious Web site, www.finemanfilms.com.
  79. With its quick fades and creamy lighting, Autumn is all about looking good. McGee may well have strong films in him, but this one feels pretentious and gassy.
  80. Its purpose is simply to allow you to soak up the happy grrrrl-power vibes of this easy-on-the-eyes trio amid unevenly executed computer-enhanced action scenes, at which points the movie resembles a video game.
  81. You find yourself smiling at some of the bits, wincing through many, many others, and ultimately wondering if the pacing would've improved had either H or K developed a terrible cocaine habit.
  82. Mighty Joe Young is a mighty big movie about a mighty big gorilla. And a lot of it is mighty bad -- unless you're a devotee of high tech and low camp, elephantine effects and mouse-sized stories, politically correct nostalgia and/or Charlize Theron and Bill Paxton in jungle outfits.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A micro-indie passport party that, while well-intentioned, evokes the same feelings that have been known to arise from being subjected to your friends' vacation movies.
  83. Isn't good satire or good slapstick. It does have those lyrical, catchy Menken tunes, and the film perks up whenever Raitt or lang sing one of them. But much of this movie is deadly.
  84. While Reyes seeks his own ambitious style, he can't quite step out from under De Palma's shadow and thematic choices. Everything from the voiceover narration to the final frame in Empire looks and feels like a low-budget hybrid of "Scarface" or "Carlito's Way."
  85. Irwin Winkler's The Net, which should have worked a lot better than it does, is a glossy, intricately plotted, mostly implausible suspense movie about a woman on the run.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The sad thing is, even for NASA/space fans, a snooze isn't out of the question despite the film's scant 40-minute running time.

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