Chicago Tribune's Scores

For 4,542 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 Painted Fire
Lowest review score: 0 Shadow Hours
Score distribution:
4,542 movie reviews
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Without significantly changing the books’ content, they bring in a wealth of emotional tones--particularly a playful, wry humor.
  1. A true original: a film that stands apart from the crowd, goes its own way and all but dares you not to like it.
  2. The director thinks visually, which sounds redundant until you realize how many monster movies are flat, effects-dependent factory jobs. Edwards knows how to use great heights for great effect.
  3. The movie itself is as slick, fast and terrifyingly violent as a top-grade American crime thriller, but a lot smarter than most.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Shares the characters' off-kilter yet human qualities.
  4. Irons' Von Bulow is easily the most attractive and entertaining movie heavy since James Mason's villain in ''North by Northwest,'' a figure with whom he shares a taste for elegant homes and wry understatement. [17 Oct 1990]
    • Chicago Tribune
  5. A fascinating documentary, one much better than its rather flat and unimaginative title.
  6. The wonderful thing about Fassbender and Mortensen? Several things, actually. They're effortlessly convincing in period, and they know how to make recessive characters intriguing.
  7. With Cuaron leading the way, Harry has burst from the printed page to soar on-screen.
  8. It is craftsmanship incarnate and the embodiment of tonal unpredictability.
  9. Looks, feels and flows like a real movie. It's better than the last few Pixar features, among other things, and from where I sit that includes "Toy Story 3."
  10. One minute into Saturday Night Fever you know this picture is onto something, that it knows what it's talking about. [15 Oct 1999, Siskel Years, p.6]
    • Chicago Tribune
  11. Should hold you spellbound.
  12. A noir masterpiece with Oscar-caliber performances, Sexy Beast slowly turns up the heat until we squirm.
  13. Premium Rush is great fun - nimble, quick, the thinking person's mindless entertainment.
  14. Graced with Nair's loving direction, Witherspoon's radiance and that great cast, it is a treat, if somewhat less so than the novel.
  15. The main thing with Cedar's film, I think, is to approach it not as a farce, not as a drama, not as a mystery, not as any genre in particular. It's a comic nightmare, in the vein of the Coen brothers' "A Serious Man," and Cedar proves masterly at playing the stakes for real.
  16. A seriously entertaining highlight of the fall season.
  17. It's a movie full of bewitching images and timeless fun and beauty.
  18. A compelling piece of press criticism as it probes the media as terror's conduit of choice, spreading message and validating violence in the 1970s and today.
  19. The first film in a long time with a true gift of gab. A lot of the time people actually talk fast in it. Its wisecracks actually crack wise.
  20. The Messenger is not itself grueling, which is practically a miracle. Rather, this pungent little chamber piece offers a full yet delicate range of emotions, and it humanizes its characters so that polemics are left in the background.
  21. Hinds has been ready for a role of this size and shape for years; it was simply a matter of finding it, and its finding him.
  22. You wouldn't think the darn thing would have such lingering power.
    • Chicago Tribune
  23. A triumph of ambience, Rachel Getting Married is the first narrative feature since the 1980s from director Jonathan Demme that feels like a party--bittersweet, but a party nonetheless.
  24. Kidman crafts a characterization of breathtakingly controlled artifice, dead-on timing, dizzyingly precise humor. Her part is a knockout--in every sense of the word. [6 Oct 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
  25. Peter O'Toole, still a British cinematic lion at 74, performs another movie miracle in the Roger Michell-Hanif Kureishi film Venus.
  26. Of all the many documentaries that take you along on a movie shoot, one of my all-time favorites is this delightfully scrappy, sometimes poignant, often hilarious show.
    • Chicago Tribune
  27. It's a work that sears the heart and conscience. The events are annihilating, the way they're told both beautiful and terrifying.
  28. William L. Petersen (''To Live and Die in L.A.”) gives another mesmerizing, seeming nonperformance as the brilliant agent on the trail of a serial killer who has murdered families in the South. [29 Aug 1986]
    • Chicago Tribune
  29. 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
  30. Takes a potentially explosive subject and does it subtly and perceptively.
  31. 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."
  32. The miracle is that even with a bit of dramaturgical clunkiness The Past is fluid, intimate cinema. Few directors today can shoot in such tightly confined spaces, with such a determined control over his actors' movements, and make the drama work so well.
  33. Do not expect dynamic filmmaking from Love Is Strange. It's about other things, and Lithgow and Molina are splendid, their eyes full of wisdom and experience.
  34. Watching Jonathan Caouette's amazing autobiographical documentary Tarnation is like descending into a pop-music, underground-movie hell and heaven, the shattered and shattering landscape of a living body and mind.
  35. It's an unabashed pacifist movie that really works, emotionally and dramatically.
  36. The National Society of Film Critics recently cited Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language, the nuttiest lil' picture ever released in 3-D, as the best film of 2014, nosing out "Boyhood" by a single vote.
  37. More than any previous screen role, this one affords Damon a chance to work his sly comic chops.
  38. This hip, highly partisan biography of Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey is a surprisingly entertaining movie about the perils of studying sexual behavior in a sexually uptight culture--our own.
  39. A functioning, funny, weirdly touching fable of artistic angst and aspiration, a meditation on fame and its terrors and the metaphoric usefulness of masks and huge fake heads.
  40. The story of Harvey Milk is a tragedy, but not since Jeff Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" has Sean Penn played such a serenely happy individual.
  41. Though Bertuccelli's film orbits around a lie, the story is really less about deception and suspense than it is a moving portrait of female and familial bonds.
  42. 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.
  43. A tough-minded, empathetic portrait of dreamers on the edge.
  44. Deeply personal, wryly funny and fantastically cinematic.
  45. One may gripe that the tale at times seems familiar, yet that familiarity is also part of the movie's power: Here's a story from halfway around the world that somehow connects with the hearts of viewers of almost any culture.
  46. In the populist vein of Ron Howard's "Apollo 13," Affleck's rouser salutes the Americans (and, more offhandedly, the Canadians) who restored our sense of can-do spirit when we needed it.
  47. The masterpiece of the bunch is the last, wonderful piece by Alexander Payne ("14eme Arrondissement").
  48. The acting in All or Nothing is superb. Everyone creates a character we can immediately register and recognize as true.
  49. Jones' film actually takes you somewhere you haven't visited in a million other movies. It has a wonderful sense of place, and space, and carries the bite and tang of a good short story.
  50. Another of those excellent foreign films that sometimes slip though cracks, considered too strange or eccentric for domestic tastes. Strange it is, but delightfully so
  51. Grosse Pointe Blank is covering the same kind of territory as that elephantine, if exciting, 1994 family man-killer thriller, "True Lies." But this time, the joke stings. [11 April 1997, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  52. When a culture offers little more than death upon death, appreciating life's everyday beauty is as good an answer as these characters -- and this filmmaker -- can provide.
  53. A rarity -- an intelligent and moving drama of ideas that becomes increasingly thrilling as the ideas unfold.
  54. For anyone who likes classic, offbeat American moviemaking, in the rural-thriller genre from "Moonrise" to "Macon County Jail," Undertow is one to check. Seething with violence, bleeding with lyricism, it's a poem from the junk heap, a cry from the swamp.
  55. The simplicity and idealism of The Color of Paradise are part of what makes it so attractive to near-jaded palates here. There are no evil characters in the film.
  56. As is, Cotillard (nominated for best actress) scrupulously avoids melodrama. There's enough without it, in watching a story of an ordinary woman argue for her dignity, her colleagues' better instincts and her own livelihood.
  57. Don't see "Halloween" in an empty theater on a weekday afternoon. See it on a weekend night in a packed house. "Halloween" is a film to be enjoyed with a boisterous crowd; it's an "audience picture," a film designed to get specific reactions from an audience at specific moments. With "Halloween," the most often desired reaction is screaming. It's a beautifully made thriller -- more shocking than bloody -- that will have you screaming with regularity. "Halloween" was directed by John Carpenter, 30, a natural filmmaker and a name worth remembering. [22 Nov 1978]
    • Chicago Tribune
  58. At its best, it's an exhilaratingly grandiose Highland fling. [24 May 1995, Tempo, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  59. A welcome surprise: a supernatural romantic comedy that works, graced with a cast just off-center enough to make it distinctive.
  60. Is Black Swan high-minded? I'm happy to say: No. It is extremely high-grade hokum, which is to say it offers several different and combustible varieties.
  61. It's great fun, propelled by a terrific musical score by Roque Banos that combines the hammering doom of Bernard Herrmann, the antic jollity of Nino Rota and the urgent sprints of Lalo "Mission: Impossible" Schifrin--often in the same crazy scene.
  62. At 85 minutes, it's a tight, sharp achievement, yet one of the things I love about it is simple: It moves to a relaxed rhythm, in sync with its slightly otherworldly subject.
  63. And yet there is enough of a core of sincerity to turn even the most preposterous moments-such as the film's dream-sequence finale-into something moving and true: You buy the feelings, even as the situations degenerate into the ludicrous and absurd. [17 Aug 1990, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
  64. If you or any kid over the age of 10 has even a half-interest in the definition of the word "teamwork," as well as the words "real-life suspense," this is the movie.
  65. A bizarre, thrilling, warmly funny spoof of the WWII Steve McQueen prison camp thriller, "The Great Escape" remade for a near all-chicken cast.
  66. Be warned: Thirst is one of those pictures that tacks on another chapter just when you think it’s wrapping up.
  67. The film is gripping---an honorable and beautifully acted addition to the tradition of homefront war stories.
  68. May
    McKee, like Amenabar, knows how to position his film against type -- which ultimately makes May a refreshing, macabre tale.
  69. An incredibly ambitious film and one of the most highly accomplished of the year.
  70. 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.
  71. A stirring, emotionally true testament to foolish bravery as well as shameful evidence of the severity with which it is so often punished.
  72. One powerful, mesmerizing thriller, a masterful exercise in controlling an audience's attention. [19 September 1986, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
  73. 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.
  74. The results are spine-tingling. There's only one thing to say about this movie and its rescuers, recovered from the dead--and the Dead: Rock on.
  75. It's good for the soul, and composer Joe Hisaishi's themes are so right they sound as if they came straight out of the ground with the girl in the bamboo.
  76. Like "The Notebook," but with an elephant, the unexpectedly good film version of Water for Elephants elevates pure corn to a completely satisfying realm of romantic melodrama.
  77. Wasikowska is wonderful here, unaffected and affecting, but then she has long been a young actress conveying a rich and shadowy interior life on screen. She humanized the Tim Burton "Alice in Wonderland," so clearly she can do nearly anything.
  78. 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
  79. It's a little bit "Tom Jones," a little bit "Adaptation," a smidge of Monty Python and a dash of Fellini's "861/2," right down to Winterbottom's use of music by the brilliant Fellini composer, Nino Rota.
  80. Graciously filmed by Martin Brest and imaginatively performed by Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin, the tired concept yields a steady stream of little discoveries and surprising insights that add up to some uncommonly rich comedy. [20 July 1988]
    • Chicago Tribune
  81. Except for the tractors, and the tanks in the later desert battle sequences, Flanders could be taking place centuries ago. Or centuries from now.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    An exuberant, affectionate documentary.
  82. A vivifying film, though it's done in such a strange style that it takes a while to get used to it.
  83. One of those rare movies that manages to maintain the hushed intensity and claustrophobic anxiety that is normally associated with theater or prose.
  84. 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
  85. The picture's visual style is clean, exact and beautifully photographed by Yorgos Arvanitis.
  86. Darin is an actor who's really consummate at suggesting two simultaneous levels of character.
  87. Sharp, funny, sad and daring as it may be, Happiness is missing something. Its points are often too obvious, its shocks too juvenile. It's impressive but not transcendent. [23 Oct 1998]
    • Chicago Tribune
  88. This is a meaty, well-crafted thriller that absorbs and disturbs you from first frame to last.
  89. The movie, done in a classic measured style, finally moves you almost as much as if it had stayed in Kurosawa's hands. Filled with love and melancholy, it's a fitting, fond epilogue to the "sensei" (the master).
  90. Seeing "Dragon" in 3-D really is a must. Its formidable realm of Vikings and dragons and nerds (oh my!) should be enjoyed to the fullest extent theaters allow.
  91. May be a bit sentimental for some, but I found its patient examination of how the forces of optimism can be overwhelmed by a wave of cruelty to be both moving and wise.
    • Chicago Tribune
  92. 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.
  93. While Last Kiss may strike some as a calculated crowd-pleaser, it's cleverly calculated, perceptive and often quite funny -- and a bit darker than it may first appear.
  94. More intent on engaging the heart as it explores the mysteries contained within - mysteries that, as Lawrence and his spot-on cast demonstrate, are far more compelling than simple murder.
  95. Lavant is splendid in the film, and he's essentially the entire film - and yet, Holy Motors is somewhat more than a contraption built for a fearless performer.
  96. It is a better, more fully felt and moving picture than "Blue Valentine."
  97. An impressive, often enraging feature-length debut from director Robert May, deals carefully and well with the so-called kids for cash scandal.

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