San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 6,527 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 46% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Everything Is Copy
Lowest review score: 0 Van Helsing
Score distribution:
6527 movie reviews
  1. The film is exciting in two big ways: its simplicity of story (Tanovic does not get bogged down trying to give us an epic history) and the breadth of Tanovic's vision.
  2. Shot for shot, Big Eyes is one of the most beautiful-looking movies of 2014, but to say that isn’t enough, because it’s not just pretty, not just pleasing to the eye. It’s visually astute. It is made by people aware of what these screen images mean, what they refer to, and the psychological effect that they will have on an audience.
  3. An unflinching and historically rich rendering of an amazing story. He has made what is easily the best American film so far this year.
  4. Not every moment of the film is as potent as the book (which is noted for passages of passion and impassioned eloquence), but Cry, the Beloved Country overcomes its own limitations to become a glorious tribute to the workings of a faith that does not blind but opens up the human spirit.
  5. Feels like a streamlined improvement on the original.
  6. Now after 43 years in feature films, Danner has gotten the opportunity to show what she can do, and in I’ll See You in My Dreams, she is simply jaw-dropping, just wonderful.
  7. Turns out to be the most unnerving film of the year. Easy.
  8. Perrotta and Field succeed, not by guessing, but by knowing this world. They understand it enough to see it with cold precision -- and to approach it, at times, with disarming warmth. The characters aren't types, but people.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Jia’s languid style and exquisite framing complement his understated approach to the material, which opts for depth over melodrama. But Mountains May Depart is grounded in Zhao’s delicate performance, which is her best.
  9. This Is Not a Film isn't just a film, it's a strong one. It's also an act of political defiance, a moving personal document and a meditation on what film is and can be.
  10. A venemous Valentine to Hollywood sugarcoated with laughs.
  11. One of the most powerful romances of recent years, it is as generous as they come.
  12. To make a movie about that team and those games requires more than an ability to depict personal dramas or re-enact game highlights. It requires the re- creation of a world and a mind-set, and Miracle accomplishes both brilliantly.
  13. It's simply a quiet and heartbreaking look at the dynamics of one family. That's the beauty of it.
  14. There's something to be said for a formula picture done almost to perfection. In 2012, Emmerich gives you everything you expect, but gives it to you bigger.
  15. A wildly funny sex farce that smartly combines big-time silliness with sophisticated wit.
  16. By the time the ride is over, director Drew Goddard and co-writers Goddard and Joss Whedon will change course three or four times, nodding and winking but never losing momentum.
  17. Other films about Marie Antoinette have had their moments, but Benoît Jacquot's Farewell, My Queen is the first to give a real sense of what it must have felt like to live inside that palace as the walls were caving in.
  18. An earthy, sexy mystery.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As soon as Guest of Cindy Sherman ended, I wanted to see it again for its high entertainment value and to determine better what I had just witnessed.
  19. The movie has the simplicity and confidence of a Johnny Cash song.
  20. One of the year's most fascinating flicks.... Brilliant performances by Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith and a newcomer named Ray Liotta give sparkle, and shadows, to Something Wild. [7 Nov 1986]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  21. The class act of action movies.
  22. This is a movie that can be enjoyed in different ways and for lots of reasons. It’s dramatic and it’s funny, and it has a warm humanity at its center.
  23. Egoyan's voice is so clear and loving, his vision so forgiving and his film so intelligent that you come away refreshed.
  24. The film underscores the paradox in this man's life: the split between the mild-mannered New Yorker and the fearless vagabond who joined an Arakmbut hunting raid.
  25. The year's best romantic drama.
  26. One of the great Holocaust films.
  27. A story that's startling, soulful and absolutely unforgettable.
  28. The most entertaining movie of the year. Funny and action-packed, it's also got that rare thing, heart.
  29. In addition to being extremely funny, the film has a warm spirit and respect for the characters.
  30. It's big, perfectly cast and entertaining in every way, but more than that it feels like a generous public event.
  31. The new Planet of the Apes is not a remake, and it's not a sequel. It is an amazing display of imagination.
  32. Its virtues are velocity, energy, innovative storytelling - and something that seems even more the province of young directors: a certain heartlessness and ironic distance in the tone.
  33. The film benefits most of all from Rees' careful screenplay, which dances that shifting line between fear and emergent hope. One of Alike's poems says it best: "Even breaking is opening. And I am broken. I am open."
  34. The thing most people will take away from Stand Up Guys is that it contains Al Pacino's best performance in years. So if you don't think Al Pacino still has it in him, this is a welcome chance to be proved wrong. But here's something interesting. Stand Up Guys also contains Christopher Walken's best performance in years. In addition, the film is extraordinarily well cast, and the acting, even in the smaller roles, is more than noteworthy.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the greatest of all epics.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Artful, beautiful in parts and unbelievably brutal in others, and no less honest for its stagecraft.
  35. Superb.
  36. A movie that is not only achingly funny but also full of serious and philosophical truisms.
  37. Potentially oppressive subject matter is redeemed by impeccable moral integrity and stunning artistry.
  38. An exceptional example of Shakespeare on film.
  39. Wise and wondrous.
  40. Extraordinary.
  41. Hacksaw Ridge is one of the best films of 2016. And the victory is all the more sweet for Gibson in that he succeeds on his own weird terms.
  42. Ran
    In Ran, the horrors of life are transformed by art into beauty. It is finally so moving that the only appropriate response is silence.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The interplay between Starling and Lector as they share an indefinable, dark understanding gives the film its unforgettable and unsettling power. [14 February 1991, Daily Notebook, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  43. A fable about women struggling to free themselves from that myth, and even at its most obvious, it's exhilarating.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Don't expect an in-depth study or exposé in Carol Channing: Larger Than Life. But director Dori Berinstein does capture the essence of Carol as one of those creatures of the theater that when you see her onstage, you know you've seen something special.
  44. All bets are off. For my money, Vincent Gallo wins the Triple Crown of indie filmmaking -- for writing, directing and starring in Buffalo '66.
  45. Evokes grand emotions -- anxiety, sadness, joy -- sometimes within moments of one another. Broken Wings has heart and a poetic soul.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A complex rumination on the nature of true love and how it evolves. It is also a film rooted in Orthodox Jewish faith.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Based on “Umimachi Diary,” a best-selling graphic novel by Akimi Yoshida, Our Little Sister might be Kore-eda’s best film yet. It is certainly one of the best films of 2016.
  46. A lot of actors are labeled "brave" for taking on difficult scripts like this, but Spacek is the real thing: an artist first, without vanity, and a movie star almost by default.
  47. An alluring piece of work, an artful whodunit that melds shrewd plotting with resourceful camera work and sympathetic characters that are fascinatingly, morbidly off.
  48. The nagging desire to help these people underscores the involvement of the audience in this superbly told story. You can almost taste the saltwater, and the fear.
  49. Payne's little marvel.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Keith Maitland’s powerful and emotional documentary Tower — easily one of the best films of the year — takes a novel approach for a nonfiction film: Animation.
  50. This is a smart film, told in a minor key, that augurs well for Whaley's directing career.
  51. A masterful portrait of the seasons of a life.
  52. It's a love story only in passing. And yet the love story is what lingers in the mind and gives energy and meaning to everything that happens on-screen.
  53. 45 Years is very much an English film and in the best sense. It’s subtle, understated and ultimately devastating, but only if you’re paying attention.
  54. In this one masterpiece, Federico Fellini achieved the ideal balance -- between social observation and unconscious imagery, between artistic discipline and freedom, and between the neo-realism of 1950s Italian cinema and the orgiastic flights of his later work.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Square really tightens the screws - it's so skillfully made it makes you shift uncomfortably to the edge of your seat. It's a binge of cringe.
  55. There's no other film like it. It's embarrassingly frank and self-revealing, sometimes funny, sometimes creepy, sometimes both.
  56. Blanchett in Blue Jasmine is beyond brilliant, beyond analysis. This is jaw-dropping work, what we go to the movies hoping to see, and we do. Every few years.
  57. This is a remarkable feat, not only of cinematography, but of choreography. Just to film Michael Keaton and Edward Norton walking down a Manhattan street, everything had to be timed as in a dance — when the camera swirls ahead, when it goes behind, when it swoops back around. It’s all accomplished so smoothly that it would be worth doing merely as a stunt, except this is no stunt. This method carries the mood and soul of one of the best movies of 2014.
  58. If the characters weren't so well drawn, if the effects weren't so convincing, and if the upshot weren't so ghastly, the moral component wouldn't carry any weight. But Trank tells his tale with an emotional and visual crispness that gives the superhero genre its best crack at naturalism so far.
  59. A great film, the best I've seen since Terrence Malick's "The New World," and far and away the richest and most brilliantly acted picture to be released this Oscar season.
  60. Bug
    A triumph for Judd and the director.
  61. A revelatory independent film whose moments of incredible sadness are offset by the same state of grace that blesses its astonishing title character.
  62. Dramatic, funny, fun, silly, musical, stylish, romantic and redemptive -- a film worth telling your friends and neighbors about.
  63. One of the best war movies of the past 20 years.
  64. A remarkable documentary.
  65. Though Mom is ditzy and, at times, irritating, we come to recognize her as the family's most original creative spirit.
  66. It is impossible to take your eyes off the screen.
  67. Needs to be seen and savored.
  68. Coming now, today, In Time is not just satisfying. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's important, because that would overstate it, but it certainly feels like part of the national conversation. It arrives in theaters at a time when people are camped out in New York saying the same things as the people in the movie. It's weird the way films often anticipate the near future.
  69. A lovely, smart and beautifully understated film.
  70. American Hustle is David O. Russell's best film, one that finds him in that ideal zone of spontaneity and complete control.
  71. A grounded and unusually matter-of-fact adaptation.
  72. This lushly photographed, brilliantly acted and wonderfully entertaining movie has its own claims to uniqueness. It's the most thoughtful of the three films, and its climax brings the entire series into sharper focus. [25 Dec 1990, Daily Datebook, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  73. Where it really counts, though, it's the same good old comic action fantasy.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Kempner once again educates and entertains with unexpected tidbits and just plain good old-fashioned filmmaking.
  74. Love & Mercy captures with striking immediacy the unbound power of the artist in his element.
  75. Presents us with characters of such humanity and dignity that it begins to seem obscene that until now we haven't exactly given all that much thought to the Kurds.
  76. The word "delightful" is thrown around so much that it often means nothing. Movies that truly have the capacity to delight - that amuse and lift the spirits and create a warm feeling - are rare. Romantics Anonymous is one of those rare delights.
  77. What is astonishing about this movie is how all the elements are so deftly mixed - the technology of real sets and people interwoven with the cartoon world, and yet Zemeckis hardly sacrifices a beat in laying out a curlicuing '40s-style thriller. [22 June 1988]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    And there lies the greatest flaw with Citzenfour and Snowden himself. Despite the film’s virtues, we’re no closer to understanding Snowden than we were a year ago when this saga began.
  78. The script and direction are virtually flawless.
  79. Gets it right. It's a wonderful movie. Watching it, one can't help but get the impression that everyone involved was steeped in Tolkien's work, loved the book, treasured it and took care not to break a cherished thing in it.
  80. If In the Cut falls short of the masterpiece Campion intended, it's unquestionably the most ambitious and important film to come along in months.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Cause for celebration. It's not only a cracking good film, but it is the first by Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien to gain a national (though limited) release.
  81. The pacing is superb, quick and agile without being frenzied, and the special effects are jaw-dropping.
  82. Anyone not romantically inclined going into Shakespeare in Love surely will be by the end.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This wise and warm man, who died in 2002, is captured in all his glory by the remarkable documentary.
  83. Delightfully comic - and the funniest moments are rich in meaning - A Man of No Importance is laced with memorable scenes.
  84. In scene after scene -- the long wedding sequence, John Marley's bloody discovery in his bed, Pacino nervously smoothing down his hair before a restaurant massacre, the godfather's collapse in a garden -- Coppola crafted an enduring, undisputed masterpiece. [21 Mar 1997, Daily Datebook, p.C3]
  85. The all-time great talking-pig movie, a lovely, intelligent gem of G-rated entertainment that is also rib-tickling funny.
  86. An engrossing tale of class differences that reveals tiny details of one man’s descent into hell.

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