Chicago Tribune's Scores

For 4,460 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 3.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Beyond the Clouds
Lowest review score: 0 Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius
Score distribution:
4,460 movie reviews
  1. The film goes pretty easy on the royals in the end, and it's a flattering portrait of Blair. But it's not credulous. Frears may swim in the political mainstream with The Queen but he does so like a champion channel crosser.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The movie is awash in great performances by actors known and otherwise.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    As Nirvana's Kurt Cobain acknowledges in the opening quote, without the Pixies there would be no "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. It's a powerhouse, demanding film that sometimes stretches the limits of credibility. But it's done with such consistent technical brilliance--and with such a first-rate cast and company.
  5. A seriously entertaining highlight of the fall season.
  6. You always get more than one genre with this filmmaker. Volver draws upon all sorts of influences -- a little Hitchcock, a little Douglas Sirk, a little telenovela -- but from those sources Almodovar and his collaborators, both on screen and behind the camera, make an improbably organic whole.
  7. One of the year's finest documentaries, a remarkable example of the conjunction of a burningly topical and newsworthy subject with a brilliant filmmaker.
  8. 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.
  9. Eleven years ago director Campbell made "GoldenEye," the first of the Brosnan Bond pictures. Casino Royale trumps it every which way.
  10. Darin is an actor who's really consummate at suggesting two simultaneous levels of character.
  11. Works beautifully, both as a social and psychological drama and as a taut, tightly wired thriller.
  12. A visually sumptuous, bullet-train-paced thriller with a really provocative theme.
  13. Its social impact is part of what makes this movie memorable. But as with almost any exceptional, truthful war picture, Days of Glory moves us because we know the soldiers -- because we share their fear, triumph and pain.
  14. Peter O'Toole, still a British cinematic lion at 74, performs another movie miracle in the Roger Michell-Hanif Kureishi film Venus.
  15. It is that rare futuristic thriller: grim in its scenario, yet exhilarating in its technique.
  16. It's not often that you see the craft of cinema so perfectly executed--or a group of fancy scoundrels so ruthlessly caught and skewered. Comedy of Power, like all of Chabrol's Hitchcockian films, is dark, smart and delicious.
  17. In a time when American TV is full of stories of missing loved ones, Abduction keenly explores the reactions of an altogether different society and also examines the universal, excruciating pain suffered by such victims and their families everywhere.
  18. Earns its happy ending like few other contemporary dramas concerned with the fate of a child. It puts you through hell for that ending, in fact, hell being modern-day Russia.
  19. Mafioso is shaped like a comedy, and it is one, but its intentionally jarring clashes of tone and rhythm are truly out there.
  20. You could say that Seraphim Falls, was no better than the typical Westerns of the 1950s and '60s--which I think underrates it. But those typical Westerns were pretty darn good, and so is Seraphim Falls.
  21. Sissako has an unusual camera eye, patient and alert to the ebb and flow of both the courtroom sequences and the outside scenes. The music is wonderful as well.
  22. 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.
  23. The most charming comedy in town, writer-director-editor Katsuhito Ishii's 2003 piece is a modern Japanese variation on "You Can't Take It With You," with some lovely fantastical flourishes.
  24. A film of great spiritual intensity and haunting minimalism that enlarges your concepts of movies and of life. Like the monks of the Carthusian order, it distills something intoxicating through a style that's pure and rigorous.
  25. It's fascinating and unexpected both in its simple, looming images and its storytelling priorities, which may not intersect with the priorities of audiences who couldn't get enough of "Se7en."
  26. If Beyond the Gates were merely a well-intentioned bore, the reality might seem jarring. As is, the coda fits and feels like the only possible ending--proof that surviving to help tell the story of a genocidal nightmare is the best revenge.
  27. The tone of The Host is slippery in the best way; you're never sure if you're in for a joke or a shock, yet nothing feels random.
  28. Mrs. Parker is a comedy even though it's sad, and a sort of tragedy even though it's funny, with such foggy borders between the two that pathos and humor seem to smear all over each other, like makeup running with tears. [23 Dec 1994, p.N]
    • Chicago Tribune
  29. After the Wedding defies the odds: For once, the bigger the emotion, the truer the moviegoing experience.
  30. The movie scrambles our responses and covers so much ground, with such zest, that its two and a half hours race past like a firestorm.
  31. Scott is able to make it fresh and lyrical, as well as give us rousingly exciting scenes of nature in eruption. [02 Feb 1996]
    • Chicago Tribune
  32. Yet the film, no more than the novel, shouldn't be described as depressing. Both of them shine with heightened vision and poetics. [01 Nov 1996]
    • Chicago Tribune
  33. Unstrung Heroes is an extremely moving and surprisingly funny love sonnet to family, tolerance and the joys of individuality.... One of the best films of the year. [15 Sep 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
  34. The splendid new documentary Crumb, a sympathetic yet woundingly candid portrait, catches the artist with much the same skill. [26 May 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
  35. In The Hudsucker Proxy, the filmmaking Coen brothers make dark, startling, wittily extravagant sport of the American Dream. The movie is opulent and wry, a bitingly intelligent fable about business and romance. [25 Mar 1994, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  36. With Maura delivering an explosive performance, Almodovar presents Pepa's tale with real gusto--with vibrant colors, gaudy personality, mad jokes and a sexiness that erupts off the screen.
  37. I prefer my horror with a chaser of wit, and Severance, a modest but very lively British import, serves it up in harsh but high style.
  38. 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
  39. Wyatt Earp is a fascinating ride to a West where darkness and heroism mingle, a triumph for Kasdan, Costner, Quaid and the company. It shows how, in this frontier crucible, love and death, honor and slaughter, friendship and a walk toward doom, are all linked together as well. [24 Jun 1994, p.F]
    • Chicago Tribune
  40. Witness" is both exciting and thoughtful.... And just as important to moviegoers, Witness is a genuinely gripping thriller. [08 Feb 1985]
    • Chicago Tribune
  41. The movie looks like far more than a million dollars and it offers the kind of smart, picaresque good time you get from books like "The Reivers" and "Huckleberry Finn" and movies like "Bronco Billy" and "Bonnie and Clyde."
  42. The masterpiece of the bunch is the last, wonderful piece by Alexander Payne ("14eme Arrondissement").
  43. These girls can cook, and Yamashita captures them with an austere, unhurried visual style that has been rightly compared to rock aficionado/filmmakers Aki Kaurismaki ("Ariel") and Jim Jarmusch ("Mystery Train"). [8 Dec 2006, p.2]
    • Chicago Tribune
  44. Swift, vicious and grimly imaginative, the zombie film 28 Weeks Later exceeds its predecessor, "28 Days Later," in every way.
  45. The film is a singular achievement.
  46. Movies about literary lives don't always catch fire, but Henry Fool is a glorious exception: an austerely funny, brilliantly written and acted serio-comic tale of two writers. [17 Jul 1998]
    • Chicago Tribune
  47. Dafoe manages to draw us into the mystery, anguish and joy of the holy life. This is anything but another one of those boring biblical costume epics. There is genuine challenge and hope in this movie. [12 Aug 1988, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  48. Except for the tractors, and the tanks in the later desert battle sequences, Flanders could be taking place centuries ago. Or centuries from now.
  49. Mad Dog and Glory was directed by John McNaughton, who wisely lets many scenes run to the point of being uncomfortable, just like his characters are with each other. Everything about this movie seems fresh. [5 Mar 1993, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
  50. Natural Born Killers is visually complex and thematically simple. Mixing film and video, black-and-white and color, morphing and animation, Stone breaks visual ground here for a major studio release. [26 Aug 1994, p.B]
    • Chicago Tribune
  51. Bone-dry but completely assured, both in its visual strategy and its wry deconstruction of the workplace comedy genre.
  52. The most visually spectacular, action-packed and surreal of the adventures of Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).
  53. 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.
  54. Jack Nicholson's impressive, convoluted and moody sequel to Chinatown. [10 Aug 1990]
    • Chicago Tribune
  55. JFK
    Does JFK capture the truth? Possibly, in a poetic sense. Is it a compelling film? Most assuredly. [20 Dec 1991]
    • Chicago Tribune
  56. Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro's "Delicatessen" is an exuberantly wacky, perversely droll black comedy with an ample dose of gentle whimsy-"Eating Raoul" out of "Mr. Hulot's Holiday." [17 Apr 1992]
    • Chicago Tribune
  57. Knocked Up is more verbally adroit than it is visually. But Apatow's awfully sharp as a chronicler of contemporary romantic anxieties.
  58. It's a sweet, oft-told story, and Murphy and Hall add a number of very sharp supporting roles-hidden by makeup-to add spice to the general level of gentleness. [1 Jul 1988, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  59. Ron Howard's first-rate dramatic comedy Parenthood, with Steve Martin headlining a first-rate cast in a most clever script about the joy and pain of being both a parent and a child. [4 Aug 1989, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  60. Broadcast News is the crispest, classiest entertainment; it has what Hollywood has been missing. [16 Dec 1987, p.8]
    • Chicago Tribune
  61. Where the previous sequels have been mostly dour gun blasts, The Dead Pool is a thriller with wit and humor and tension. [15 Jul 1988, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  62. Greenaway is a unique filmmaker in that he layers images upon one another in a single frame and doesn't require dialogue to make his films arresting. [18 Jul 1997]
    • Chicago Tribune
  63. The songs are joyful, and the plant is a foul-mouthed wonder when it begins to talk. Director Frank Oz deserves credit for staging a musical in classic form, creating nothing less than one of the year's most entertaining films. [19 Dec 1986, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  64. Charlie, who owes an obvious debt to Chuck Jones' Wile E. Coyote, comes equipped with one of the most expressive faces in cartoon history: Bluth keeps his features-ears, snout, mouth, eyes-in constant flux, a beautiful blend of line and volume that represents the pinnacle of the animator's art. [17 Nov 1989]
    • Chicago Tribune
  65. The result is not a movie of peekaboo titillation, but a studied, original portrait of sexuality and its role in human relationships.
  66. 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.
  67. Kim evokes everything from "Seconds" to "Nip/Tuck" here, but his sureness of touch and lack of melodrama make the themes pertinent and vivid. A heartening step up from Kim's previous film, "The Bow."
  68. Sunshine is near-classic modern science fiction, hobbled only by a chaotic final reel and some casting missteps in the white-male department.
  69. A small film that packs a big wallop.
  70. This is the most satisfying thriller of the year, capping the Bourne trilogy.
  71. It is not an easy film to watch, nor should it be. It is, however, beautifully made. Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, the co-directors, wrangle their information and lay it out clearly, vividly and with a sharp sense of focus.
  72. An unusually strong crime thriller, Eastern Promises comes from director David Cronenberg, a meticulous old-school craftsman of a type that is becoming increasingly rare.
  73. Tommy Lee Jones is marvelous in the film. He has one scene in particular, a simple two-person encounter, that's as good as it gets in the realm of American screen acting.
  74. It is a film, often breathtaking without settling for being pretty, filled with nervous silence.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Explores an unheralded but emotionally affecting issue in a straight-forward and engaging manner.
  75. Michael Clayton is a here’s-how-it-happened drama, cleverly but not over-elaborately structured.
  76. As a director Hedges is smart enough to allow his actors to share the frame and interact and let the material breathe.
  77. As pure craftsmanship, No Country for Old Men is as good as we’ve ever gotten from Joel and Ethan Coen. Only “Fargo” is more satisfying (it’s also a comedy, which this one isn’t).
  78. A breezy diary from a pair of first-time farmers, as well as a wry rebuke to a nation devoted to eating cheaply but not necessarily well, King Corn makes its points without much finger-wagging.
  79. Good and creepy, The Mist comes from a Stephen King novella and is more the shape, size and quality of the recent “1408,” likewise taken from a King story, than anything in the persistently fashionable charnel house inhabited by the “Saw” and “Hostel” franchises.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A bracingly honest, funny movie about death and family that skillfully sidesteps the usual pitfalls of sentimentality and mawkishness. It’s what you might call an awards season miracle.
  80. Ellen Page is key to its success, as much as Cody, or director Jason Reitman.
  81. Hampton and Wright have been more than sensible when it comes to Atonement. They’ve responded intuitively to a tale that is half art and half potboiler, like so many stories worth telling.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Without significantly changing the books’ content, they bring in a wealth of emotional tones--particularly a playful, wry humor.
  82. Sweeney Todd may haunt you in ways you’re not used to with a movie musical. At least not since “Mame.”
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Steep is one of those rare endeavors able to touch on the human condition without neglecting the film’s true star: big-mountain skiing.
  83. Mainly it’s a very solid dance picture, which is the point.
  84. The Witnesses may be schematic, but it lets each character live and breathe. The film captures a time and place that seems very distant now.
  85. Swift and compelling, winner of this year’s Oscar for best foreign-language picture, The Counterfeiters may not be destined for the large international audience that embraced last year’s winner, “The Lives of Others.” But it’s the better, tougher film, with a more provocative moral dilemma at its center.
  86. Pulls you into a well-observed world and its characters.
  87. Small but sure, the film is like Alejandro himself: quick on its feet, attuned to a harsh life’s hardships and possibilities.
  88. “Elephant” may have won the Palme d’Or at Cannes but it really didn’t have anything to say about anything. Modest and artful, Paranoid Park says a great deal.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Their story is deeply involving, all the more so because it isn’t simple or straightforward.
  89. Shine a Light is one of those lions-in-winter affairs, and Jagger, who has a body fat count of negative 67, can still dance like a maniacal popinjay, and Richards still looks like a satyr who has stayed up all night every night of his adult life.
  90. It is a fine and plaintive experience, more modern-day folklore than ethnographic study, and a wonderfully assured piece of cinema.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    An exuberant, affectionate documentary.
  91. Jenkins and The Visitor”make lovely music together. It’s a case of a veteran character actor slipping on a leading role like the most comfortable pair of pants in the world.
  92. 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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