Chicago Tribune's Scores

For 4,531 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 3.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Lowest review score: 0 A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
Score distribution:
4,531 movie reviews
  1. A near-classic blend of mystery, personality, humor and terror, laced with one stunning shock after another. [18 August 1995, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
  2. Mystic River is classic Eastwood, classic noir. If there is still some doubt about whether this one-time macho star is actually a world-class moviemaker, Mystic River should end the argument for good. One of the best American movies of the year, crisply well-crafted and beautifully acted.
  3. By re-imagining a pivotal, terrible 24 hours, Greengrass has made a must-see film that is timely - and timeless.
  4. Your kids may will fall in love with it, if you help them find it.
  5. The more you learn, the more questions you have about life in that Great Neck house. Leo Tolstoy wrote that "every unhappy family is unhappy in its own fashion," but not even he could have invented the Friedmans.
  6. A masterpiece of wry violence and stylized mayhem, The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi turns loose one of Japan's most brilliant film auteurs, Takeshi Kitano, on one of its most enduring pop legends.
  7. This is a film precisely constructed, brilliantly imagined.
  8. One of the most remarkable and moving love stories the movies have recently given us.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Deserves an encore anyway for its invaluable contributions to the vocabulary of rock'n' roll and pop culture.
  9. Downfall, whatever its shortcomings, bears strong witness to great evil. That is its triumph as a film.
  10. In the remarkable, ferociously intelligent new film No Man's Land, Bosnian writer-director Danis Tanovic gives us a movie portrait of the Bosnian War, a conflict that has devastated his country, friends and neighbors -- and found in it both shocking humor and searing, relentless tragedy.
  11. The result is a mixture of unified atmosphere and lived-in character study, and while Vasiliu’s role is not as indelible as that of her co-stars, Marinca’s Otilia and Ivanov’s steely abortionist are just about perfect.
  12. The style is brash, and it works. Tucker and Epperlein illustrate Yunis' account of his eight-month imprisonment, much of that time spent at the notorious Abu Ghraib compound, with literal illustrations--pages seemingly torn out of a Frank Miller graphic novel.
  13. Bravo!
  14. One of the quintessential '60s foreign art films, a bizarre melange of pop music, revolution, sex, movie allusions and poetry. It's a masterpiece of sorts by one of the most important European filmmakers of that era. But it's also a movie that can drive you crazy.
  15. A tart, brilliantly acted fable of life’s little cosmic difficulties, a Coen brothers comedy with a darker philosophical outlook than “No Country for Old Men” but with a script rich in verbal wit.
  16. Ray
    A fit tribute to an entertainer who, no matter what hate or hardship threw in his way or how many mistakes he made, we can't stop loving.
  17. Dear White People isn't perfect. And yet the flaws really don't matter. This is the best film about college life in a long time, satiric or straight, comedy or drama.
  18. Blazes up constantly with a stunning, off-kilter brilliance, an incandescent force that sometimes explodes the space between us and the screen.
    • Chicago Tribune
  19. If the uncut Fanny and Alexander is Bergman's greatest work, as I think, it's because it's his most inclusive. He shows almost everything: all his moods, conflicts, styles and many of his favorite actors.
  20. Some movies can lay claim to being the best thing around in a week, a month, a year. Robert Altman's Short Cuts is closer to being one of the all-time bests, among the finest American films since the advent of sound. [22 Oct 1993]
    • Chicago Tribune
  21. Writer-director Perry has made a bracing and very Roth-y study of ambition and itchy literary yearning. In another time and another world, Robert Altman captured the essence of William Faulkner's landscape by filming a non-Faulkner crime story, "Thieves Like Us." This is comparable to what Perry has done here.
  22. Re-released now in a digitally enhanced, sonically improved and slightly longer version, the movie is even better than it was in 1973.
    • Chicago Tribune
  23. It's a thriller that really thrills, a drama that really engages, a portrait of a world and system out of joint that is painfully convincing and totally engrossing from the first simmering minute to the last explosive second.
  24. It's one of the year's most pleasurable American movies.
  25. It is a movie about the gradual erosion of life's seeming certainties, and it's also about the destructive immorality that may lie beneath the most exquisitely composed veneer. As we watch "Chocolat," this great director and his great actress, Huppert, convince us: Evil is.
  26. Leigh's film — one of the year's best — honors its subject in all his tetchy ambiguity.
  27. The stories we hear in 24 City belong to its specific place, but they are universal.
  28. A great love story and a deeply moving celebration of simple lives.
    • Chicago Tribune
  29. Flight is exciting - terrific, really - because in addition to the sophisticated storytelling techniques by which it keeps us hooked, it doesn't drag audience sympathies around by the nose, telling us what to think or how to judge the reckless, charismatic protagonist played by Denzel Washington.
  30. Unnervingly good, Little Children is one of the rare American films about adultery that feels right--dangerous, hushed, immediate.
  31. A brilliant entertainment, full of bemused skepticism and reckless, prodigal love -- for these people and their vanishing era and lives.
  32. It's not for all tastes; it requires some patience. The more your own job involves absurd, time-consuming bits of minutiae, the more familiar (and amusing) it'll seem.
  33. Exceptionally clever, hilariously gloomy and bitingly subversive.
  34. It's unlike any other war film, in any language.
  35. Hoop Dreams has the movie equivalent of all-court vision. It picks up everything happening in the gym, in the stands and even outside. It gives us the thrill of the game, but it doesn't cheat on either the vibrant social context or the deep human story.
  36. See it, and I dare you not to care about what happens to these kids, these Yankees of chess.
  37. Splendid, soaringly ambitious Chinese period fantasy.
    • Chicago Tribune
  38. Movies today rarely touch chords that are spiritual or deeply emotional, but Nathaniel Kahn's remarkable documentary My Architect: A Son's Journey does both.
  39. '71
    Swift and exciting, with no taste for the usual war movie heroics, first-time feature film director Yann Demange's film belongs on a short list of immersive, rattling, authentic fictions right next door to the fact of survival inside a war zone.
  40. Trashy and glorious, the restored Metropolis is a pop epic for the ages.
  41. The story is engrossing, full of thrills and humor, the period re-creation wondrous and the pace intoxicatingly brisk. And the actors are all so good and their parts so well-written that we're engaged emotionally as well.
  42. Fruitvale Station works because Coogler and his leading man present a many-sided protagonist, neither saint nor unalloyed sinner.
  43. Viveka Seldahl and Sven Wollter will touch you to the core in a film you will never forget -- that you should never forget.
  44. This is a movie for all cultures and all people, for families and especially for those who have lost them.
  45. It has wit, originality, color, warmth and formal intelligence. It tempers its escapist dash with a touch of darkness, and for all of its playfulness, never departs from a fundamental seriousness.... Something Wild is superbly unpredictable. [7 Nov 1986]
    • Chicago Tribune
  46. A great movie on a powerful, essential subject -- the Holocaust years in Poland -- directed with such artistry and skill that, as we watch, the barriers of the screen seem to melt away.
  47. An extraordinary work, grandly conceived, brilliantly executed and wildly entertaining. It's a hobbit's dream, a wizard's delight. And, of course, it's only the beginning.
  48. Sometimes cinema's highest achievements become clear only in retrospect. Days of Being Wild--now clearly revealed as one of the peaks of Hong Kong filmmaking and a masterwork of contemporary cinema giant Wong.
  49. Kaufman's startling Quills gives us an anatomy of fear, images both silken swift and molten hot, scenes that disrupt and inflame the imagination.
  50. A boisterous, brilliant, heart-warming comedy--strikes me as just about perfect.
  51. Astonishing, crazily delightful.
  52. The kind of brilliantly weirdo picture that, by all rights, shouldn't have gotten made at all but this time, miraculously, was.
  53. Watching Le Cercle Rouge, we're caught up in a world that, however improbable some of its twists and turns seem, strikes us as a perfect, imaginative creation.
  54. Sumptuous and beautiful, suffused with a serene melancholy and deeply ambivalent love for a long-vanished past, Luchino Visconti's 1963 The Leopard is one of the greatest of all historical costume epics.
  55. The cast is tremendous; these actors work with Resnais like a well-oiled stock company that knows every trick and can communicate almost telepathically.
  56. Dense like a detailed graphic novel in the Chris Ware or R. Crumb vein, but a real movie in every way, Consuming Spirits is a strange and wormy accomplishment, the sort of personal epic only the most obsessive of cinematic madmen undertake, let alone complete.
  57. Both sides of the story -- the larger context and the intense and intimate drama -- are painted with an absolutely unswerving sense of truth. And, as we watch this movie, full of violence, injustice and compassion, there is barely a moment that seems calculated or contrived.
  58. Masterpiece is the right word for The Sweet Hereafter. It is extraordinary: a poem of familial pain, a song of broken embraces. [25 December 1997, Tempo, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  59. It's a work by cinematic geniuses that reveals beauty and terror in a long-ago time with a virtuoso intensity. You won't soon forget its mad, lovely sights and sounds.
  60. The whole movie, a feast of ensemble wiles and stunning hair, is juicy, funny and alive.
  61. In a league with Hollywood's top historical epics, ancient or otherwise. It's stunningly handsome film, with an equally stunning cast and engrossing story.
  62. Chow's savagely funny cinematic love letter places Hong Kong legends Yuen Wah, Leung Siu Lung and former Bond girl Yuen Qiu in well-cast pivotal parts, establishing Kung Fu Hustle not only as an endearing homage to a genre's history, but an astonishing piece of cinema in its own right.
  63. Both funny and sad, often in the same glance-averted instant. See it with someone you'd trust to stick around in an avalanche. It's one of the highlights of 2014.
  64. Such a sour, mindlessly inflated experience that seeing it may temporarily put you off historical movies.
  65. As we watch, we can sense, once again, the eye of a painter, the dreams of a poet and, tying them together, the vision of a master.
    • Chicago Tribune
  66. This landmark movie's madcap humor and terrifying suspense remain undiminished by time.
  67. One of the cinema's true classics.
  68. It's a nail-biter and knuckle whitener of the first rank: a super real life techno thriller that reduces the fantasies of Tom Clancy and his clones to ground zero.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    You can't ask for a family film to do more than Toy Story 2. It's smart and playful enough to entertain adults, yet it never aims above the heads of kids.
  69. Ballast strikes me as one of the few American pictures of 2008 to say what it wants to say, visually and narratively, about a specific situation and part of the country, in a way that transcends regional specifics.
  70. What are the odds that the year's most compelling mystery would end up hanging its hat on the year's richest love story
  71. Some scholars may scowl, some lowbrows may scoff. But, like wordwise Will, these filmmakers know how to win a crowd -- from the queen down to the groundlings, from the sky above to the stage below. Bravo! [5 December 1998, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  72. Desplechin's films are great, chaotic, unsettling fun. This one's scored, elegantly, to a mixture of standards and classics and original music by Gregoire Hetzel.
  73. This is a romance with minimal physical contact and sex--and that's part of what makes it work so well as a love story.
  74. Sumptuously exciting, glowing with expertise, seething with life, gorgeously designed and thrillingly articulated.
  75. The film is truly special, truly different -- a wondrous talky roundelay about and for people who love life.
  76. Baumbach’s achievement stings. It also has the sureness of tone and direction of a Chekhov story.
  77. An amazing celluloid poem by a filmmaker whom Ingmar Bergman called "the greatest." He very nearly was. He was also, perhaps, too pure a creator and reckless a citizen to survive unscathed.
  78. You may not like Beau Travail - which is, after all, a quintessential "critic's film" - but I think you'll have to admit it's been almost perfectly executed.
  79. A beautiful and genuinely spirit-lifting film about poverty and education.
  80. Brilliantly funny, bracingly smart and surprisingly moving. [22 June 1988]
    • Chicago Tribune
  81. A sweaty, vital masterpiece that's always one step ahead of its audience.
  82. Days of Heaven is the grand climax of the whole "Bonnie and Clyde"-"Badlands" tradition of outlaw-lovers-on-the-run movies. Shot by Nestor Almendros and the uncredited Haskell Wexler, it's a cinematographic masterpiece. [20 March 1998]
    • Chicago Tribune
  83. This is one of the screen's most rewarding explorations of the teacher/student relationship in any language.
  84. A movie I loved on first sight and, even more important, love in remembrance. Taken all in all, there's only one last thing to say about it. Go.
  85. Gripping documentary.
  86. A great, haunting film; it affects us in ways we're not used to...it is capable of both lifting our hearts and chilling us to the bone.
  87. Brando made Don Vito something we rarely see in movies: a tragicomic villain-hero, a vulnerable hood. The don is so close to a comic character -- the movie itself is so close to comedy -- that Brando's capacity to move us in the role is doubly impressive. At the end, it is the older Godfather's tenderness and sagacity we recall. [21 Mar 1997, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  88. One of the most searing, heartbreaking and ultimately triumphant mother/daughter stories ever put on film.
  89. Romero's newest is a horror movie for hard-core fans of the gory and the gruesome and a classic genre film for genre aficionados.
  90. You can't praise highly enough the contributions of the ensemble--De Niro and Pesci especially--but it's Scorsese's triumph. [22 November 1995, Tempo, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  91. Up
    Some of the comic inventions are inspired: Muntz has a pack of dogs equipped with electronic voice boxes, which means they're talking dogs, only they speak as if they've learned English from a poorly translated Berlitz guide.
  92. It's so thoroughly engaging, so beautifully made, strikingly shot and chock-full of humor and humanity, I can't imagine any intelligent audience not falling in love with it - if only they take the leap of faith to see it.
  93. Moves us now because it's so playful and the players are so young - and because later, when Godard tried to play for keeps, in his self-consciously radical films of the late '60s and '70s, he began to lose his game.
  94. Some films aren't revelations, exactly, but they burrow so deeply into old truths about love and loss and the mess and thrill of life, they seem new anyway. A Single Man is one such film, one of the best of 2009
  95. In Jan Campion's The Piano, the emotions are deep, fierce, primordial. Sexuality overwhelms the film's characters like ocean waves blasting against a cliffside. [19 Nov 1993]
    • Chicago Tribune
  96. This is one of those films that encapsulate most of its maker's key thoughts and feelings while also connecting us vividly to a fascinating past. No one who loves French film (or movies in general) should miss it.
  97. All of the performances are first-rate; Pesci stands out, though, with his seemingly unscripted manner. GoodFellas is easily one of the year's best films. [21 September 1990, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
  98. Swooningly beautiful, furious and thrilling, Zhang Yimou's Hero is an action movie for the ages.

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