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 The Godfather
Lowest review score: 0 Bratz
Score distribution:
4858 movie reviews
  1. Should have worked on our emotions like a scalpel, made us cry and bleed. But, though it's an affecting, polished film, it's not satisfying. [12 March 1999, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  2. While not autobiographical, The Kite Runner feels authentic in its ethnic tensions, even when the narrative itself, with its handily reappearing and easily avenged villain, undermines that authenticity.
  3. Though they're a good pair (Hopkins and Rock), this isn't a very good movie. It's slick but hollow.
  4. Has the worst happy ending I've seen in a while.
  5. A triumph of production design but a pretty dull kill-'em-up otherwise.
  6. The movie has no sense of temptation and no real taste for revolt-it's a good little film that knows its place. Van Peebles' direction has a by-the-numbers competence but no discernible personality.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A documentary that will likely leave Phish diehards hankering for more, and everybody else still wondering what all the fuss is about.
    • Chicago Tribune
  7. The main problem is the director-star's choice to play so far beneath his intelligence for so long. Stiller lacks the physical gifts and projected sweetness of, say, Jim Carrey in "Dumb and Dumber," and unlike Peter Sellers in the "Pink Panther" movies, he can't keep a straight face.
    • Chicago Tribune
  8. If it gets people thinking about which light bulbs they buy and their current gas mileage and such, then it's good to have it in the world. It is, however, a panicky blur as documentaries go.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The film itself, while charming and gently funny, is entirely unexceptional.
  9. The problems here, I think, are weirdly simple. The movie takes our knowledge and our interest in the material for granted. It zips from one number to another, throwing a ton of frenetically edited eye candy at the screen, charmlessly.
  10. There's really no other word for what Helen Mirren is doing in certain reaction shots, out of subtle interpretive desperation: mugging. She's mugging. She is a sublimely talented performer, and this is material with fascinating implications, and I doubt there's a moviegoer in the world who doesn't like Helen Mirren. But even the best actors need a director to tell them to tone it down.
  11. I laughed here and there at She's Out of My League, but I sort of hated everything it had to say about nerds and babes and the sliding scale of self-image.
  12. The flaw in Death of a President isn't one of morality. It's one of dramatic interest.
  13. The Boxtrolls remains relentlessly busy up through its final credits, and it's clever in a nattering way. But it's virtually charmless.
  14. It's a clever premise but not one that lends itself to an hour and 42 minutes of high jinks. You get the joke quickly.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Might have struck a deeper chord with fans who are still looking for the Steve Earle who exists behind the music.
  15. Next Day Air is sort of bracing, though it isn't very good: Its total lack of dramatic and comic bearings, to say nothing of a point, keeps you wondering about the next fatality, in a half-interested way.
  16. Faces the same problem of all sex-themed films, in that cinematic sex is often unsexy.
  17. For an hour or so The Equalizer glides along and works; in the second hour, plus change, it turns into a shameless slaughter contrivance with a flabby sense of pace. I did like one line: "When you pay for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too." Washington's the rain; by the end, the movie is the mud.
  18. Should please its core audience, which includes anyone who might actually want to win a date with Tad Hamilton. Others may opt to wait for another date with Kate Bosworth -- or Nathan Lane.
  19. Sometimes funny, often strained comedy.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The slogan for Red Planet could be "In space no one can hear you yawn."
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It's more that the plot is incredibly predictable, the score is manipulative and the denouement completely unsatisfying. I can sit through cliched and even offensive (to a point). Just leave me with a little bit of mystery, an iota of suspense. That’s all I ask.
  20. Scary Movie 2 had seven writers. Seven. That's one writer for every big laugh in its stealthy 82 minutes. More frightening: these jokes are worth waiting for.
  21. It's a Hitchockian "wrong man" story, but there's a twist.
    • Chicago Tribune
  22. Chan and Wilson's easy camaraderie remains eminently watchable, but the rough edges from last time out are missed.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    When it comes to storytelling, Zhang Yimou's 19th feature is decidedly backward-looking: A lavish period weepie set against the atrocities of the Nanking Massacre, "Flowers" abounds with well-worn movie archetypes and slathers on schmaltz.
  23. The movie doesn't really work, but the jet boots would be the envy of Iron Man, and they allow our hero, unwisely named Caine Wise, to speedskate through the air, leaving pretty little trails of light over downtown Chicago.
  24. Two gifted co-stars, Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, and the highly imaginative thriller specialist Phillip Noyce lend some luster and credibility to another borderline-absurd scenario.
    • Chicago Tribune
  25. As visually stunning as it is, "DR9" is also more than two hours and contains, at best, 10 lines of dialogue, an ear-piercing Bjork score and no discernible plot.
  26. A dark comedy that blows up like an exploding cigar, leaving nothing much behind but smoke, noise and a bad taste.
  27. The result is a picture that is baldly manipulative yet weirdly sentimental, and while Considine (a fine actor) can write, he is capable also of writing dialogue you've heard before.
  28. The very strong performances in this low-budget film deserve a better narrative structure to strut their stuff.
    • Chicago Tribune
  29. The reason basketball is such a great spectator sport isn't because of its opportunities for razzle-dazzle editing and direction. It's because the game is kinetic enough without all that swoosh/zap/wham business.
  30. An average franchise re-launch.
  31. Like the massive shipboard set that is its centerpiece, the film is huge and impressive - though, again like the captain's imposing vessel, it stubbornly and disappointingly remains at anchor. Hook never sets sail.
  32. It can't help but fall prey itself to a final deadly genre cliché: Its soundtrack outsparkles the movie.
  33. A River Runs Through It emerges as hopelessly middle-brow-the kind of diluted, prettified art traditionally associated with PBS and the Academy Awards. [09 Oct 1992]
    • Chicago Tribune
  34. The script avoids going full-bore as satire. Where it goes instead lacks a purpose, a reason for being, beyond the usual name-checking of "The X-Files" and the like.
  35. Beyond Affleck's, the performances here lack amplitude and dramatic impact.
  36. The script is a mess. It's an object lesson in taking a nonfiction book ("The Feather Men," about a cadre of ex-British Special Air Service operatives) and making a hash of it.
  37. A commendably brave piece, but less focused and powerful than you'd like. In the end, Garapedian might have been better off concentrating her energy on the 1915 Armenian story--which has been told on film various times (for example, in "Forty Days of Musa Dagh" and Atom Egoyan's "Ararat"), but never with the power of, say, "The Pianist" or "Schindler's List."
  38. Secretariat isn't bad but it's precisely what you'd expect.
  39. A big, empty picture full of star turns, artificial energy and jokes that don't quite work, even if stars Willis and Perry do their best to slam them across.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Sometimes it's best to let sleeping divas lie.
  40. McAvoy does his best with this subpar, heart-tugging material. At times his mix of easy charm and inner demon pulls Rory out from under the tired script, but those pesky dramatic forces keep pushing him back in for every predictable plot development.
  41. John Singleton stumbles badly with a terribly awkward but well-intentioned drama about political correctness and race at a contemporary university. [13 Jan 1995, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
  42. The heartbreaking thing about Meet Dave...is its occasional funniness amid a sea of pablum. If it were completely rank, it'd be less frustrating.
  43. Some movies run out of gas. This one could use an alternate fuel source.
  44. The Proposal reworks "Two Weeks Notice" with the genders switched.
  45. This sophomoric little gimmick picture -- although at times, serving as no more than a showcase for daredevil snowboarding -- provides enough powder power to keep the audience laughing, even over the rocky parts.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 22 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It's probably best to leave talking animal stories in the care of comedic filmmakers.
  46. It is an intriguing subject, though so far all that Morris has brought to it is a combination of the morbid and the cruel; he needs to develop some sympathy, too. [16 Sept 1988]
    • Chicago Tribune
  47. The most vivid aspect of The Eye is its poster image, that of a huge female eye with a human hand gripping the lower lid from the inside. The least vivid aspect is the way Jessica Alba delivers a simple line of expository dialogue.
  48. An old-fashioned comedy. And in this case, "old-fashioned" means tired, out of date and so abominably blah that you'll fall asleep in your popcorn.
  49. Spectacular, fast, never boring. But it's also one of the more disappointing movies I've seen recently.
  50. Sets out to answer all sorts of cosmic questions, though the one most frequently asked is more mundane: Is it better than "Reloaded"? The answer is a matter of degree.
  51. Oblivion is odder and less conventional than your average forgettable star vehicle; at times it feels like a five-character play taking place in a digital-effects lab. But there's not much energy to it.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The film, for all its pretensions of revelatory, life-altering enlightenment, is actually about as deep as a wading pool, as substantive as cotton candy.
  52. Beautiful, horrifying, exasperating and just plain weird.
  53. There's too much hardware, too little sense. Too much blood, too little flesh. Too much program, too little mind. That's the virus of the contemporary movie techno-thriller.
  54. Evil Dead offers the core audience for modern horror plenty of reasons to jump, and then settle back, tensely, while awaiting the next idiotic trip down to the cellar beneath the demon-infested cabin in the woods.
  55. At every turn Cote d'Azur settles for tidy, tinny resolutions to seismic family crises--yet, with a message of tolerance and its heart on its sleeve, the film is certainly tolerable in a summer rental-by-the-sea sort of way.
  56. Swanberg may be one of the few American filmmakers who'd benefit from reading one of those "10 Rules for Mediocre Hollywood Screenwriting" how-to books. Many find a kind of truth and life and rough domestic magic in his films. Here and there, now and then, I see what they're talking about.
  57. What's the point of telling Jesse Owens' story if you don't get into what made him tick, and drove his success as an athlete?
  58. A massive and rather tiring showcase for Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar.
  59. Extraordinarily raunchy, occasionally funny.
  60. I admit I would've had a hard time getting through it without the help of Simmons and Addai-Robinson, over there in the B plot. The character at the center of the story is treated with respect and admiration, but in dramatic terms he's about as real-world plausible as Batman.
  61. When everything and anything is possible, nothing feels urgent or truly dramatic. The movie devolves into a melange of digital effects and sequences of glamorous slaughter, as Lucy swaggers around, with that big brain, and slouches toward becoming a full-lipped deity.
  62. Stolen Summer is no disaster, though. It's merely one more misfire fortunate enough to attract actors like Bonnie Hunt and Aidan Quinn, who almost make it work.
  63. The pathos: considerable. The sight gags, involving Crystal puking chili dog on a kid's face, or the grandson with an imaginary friend peeing and causing an X Games skateboarder to wipe out: artless. The results: tolerably amusing.
  64. The emotions and crises feel pre-sanded, smooth to the point of blandness.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The arrival of Ra (Jaye Davidson), bearing sci-fi cliches, changes Stargate from a merely hokey movie to one that is truly ridiculous.
  65. Works so well for the first 40 minutes or so, that when the bottom falls out of it, I felt more than disappointed. I felt betrayed.
  66. Enough with the snatching, already.
  67. The entire film is poorly lit, and the melancholy music, much of it from the wonderful Wilco spin-off band Autumn Defense, gives us the sense that things are getting heavy. But in the end, we observe more than feel.
  68. More an uninspired letdown than a flabbergasting turkey... One reason for this lack of bite lies in the werewolves themselves. They're a bit too teddy-bearish, even oddly cuddly, and the fright scenes work better when you don't see much of them.
  69. An expensive-looking new detective thriller that should have been much better.
  70. Billy's burning, self-destructive energy is about all Young Guns has going for it-the suicidal kicks James Dean found in chickie races are here transposed to six-gun shoot-outs, filmed in a slow-motion process that strives vainly to evoke Sam Peckinpah. [12 Aug 1988, p.H]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The idea that rich people are an alien tribe is just one of many that get lost in Wittenborn’s distracted script. Instead of exploring the concept, he throws out random incidents until he hits one that sends the film into a dark, grotesque spiral.
  71. The results are boring boring.
  72. The comedy part of the equation is awfully mild, however. This is a movie that aims for warm smiles rather than belly laughs.
  73. This is a gentle, diffident concoction. But it has barely enough pulse to power a hummingbird.
  74. Class Action occupies itself with long passages of family melodrama, most of it as familiar as the courtroom drama but far less entertaining. [15 Mar 1991]
    • Chicago Tribune
  75. Some stunts and jokes are genuinely clever.
  76. By the second hour of The Battle of the Five Armies, the visual approach becomes a paradox: monotonously dynamic epic storytelling.
  77. Tries for both civilized wit and primitive joy -- and mostly misses both.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Filling his movie with bright colors and giddy energy, Branagh has made a labor of love in which the labor is all too apparent.
  78. One can hardly argue with the desire to make a wholesome movie for families that extols honesty and decency, but it all comes too easily, too superficially.
  79. Although his is not a perfect film, Tollin employs his soap-opera dialogue and aim-for-the-solar-plexus message quite unapologetically.
  80. A tasteful, intelligent, well-acted film about one of the most ghoulish serial killers in American crime history - and I'm afraid that's a good part of what's wrong with it.
  81. Feels like a demonstration reel for toys, action figures and future DisneyQuest installations.
  82. Isn't novel entertainment, but adults who accompany kids to it are not likely to feel that it is a form of abuse for either of them.
  83. I didn't half-mind Fired Up, but half a mind is more than it deserves.
  84. Too ambiguous, too meandering to envelop us. It's ambitious work but ultimately cold, distant and difficult to piece together.
  85. Plot doesn't matter much here, as Scary Movie 3 exists solely to reference and lampoon other movies, in this case "The Ring," "Signs " and "8 Mile."
  86. It's meant to be open, heartwarming and real, but beneath its often attractively performed surface, the clichés are grinding as heavily as in any ''Rambo'' picture [21 Oct 1988]
    • Chicago Tribune
  87. So fast, sleek and riveting it almost makes you expect miracles -- which never materialize.
  88. The result is a film that feels hidebound. And nobody ever called a dance-driven movie "hidebound."

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