San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 6,723 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 Thomas in Love
Lowest review score: 0 Caddyshack
Score distribution:
6723 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He has very shrewdly interwoven crime, sex and suspense, blended the real and the unreal in fascinating proportions and punctuated his film with several quick, grisly and unnerving surprises.
  4. The pacing is superb, quick and agile without being frenzied, and the special effects are jaw-dropping.
  5. 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.
  6. Delightfully comic - and the funniest moments are rich in meaning - A Man of No Importance is laced with memorable scenes.
  7. 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]
  8. The all-time great talking-pig movie, a lovely, intelligent gem of G-rated entertainment that is also rib-tickling funny.
  9. An engrossing tale of class differences that reveals tiny details of one man’s descent into hell.
  10. Don't be too quick to jump on Hurt with complaints of old-fashioned gay stereotyping. Only with a development well into the movie will the audience realize the layers he brought to Molina's role-playing.
  11. It’s a rousing, feel-good story about overcoming barriers, even when the challenges — poverty, lack of medical access — are inherently bleak.
  12. In Darkness is an extraordinary movie, and somehow good art creates its own uplift.
  13. Bride Flight gives a panoramic sweep of lives as they're lived, as there is a lot of beauty in it.
  14. Excellent.
  15. Anvil lives somewhere in that thoroughly entertaining gray area between self-parody and the triumph of human spirit.
  16. This is an intense and complicated story, and the film doesn't rush it. It lets it unfold and build, methodically.
  17. The Details has a light tone, but it's anything but light in purpose. It's committed and passionate, one of the most perceptive and morally persuasive movies of 2012.
  18. An intense, powerful film.
  19. Riveting from its first moments.
  20. There's a lot to process when watching The War Tapes, and that's probably why the documentary gets even better a few days later.
  21. A hard, funny and realistic movie about the future.
  22. Director Jesse Moss was basically a one-man production crew, which explains how he was able to film such intimate, painful conversations. His work is haunting — one of the best documentaries of the year.
  23. “Popstar” has more going for it than outrageousness, though it certainly has that. It has genuine outrage, a good-humored but clear-eyed take on today’s pop culture as a morass of corruption, idiocy and relentless self-promotion.
  24. It’s one of the best war films ever made, distinct in its look, in its approach and in the effect it has on viewers. There are movies — they are rare — that lift you out of your present circumstances and immerse you so fully in another experience that you watch in a state of jaw-dropped awe. Dunkirk is that kind of movie.
  25. An engrossing new drama from France.
  26. All the actors are good, but it's Farnsworth's brilliantly simple performance that brings The Straight Story so close to greatness.
  27. One of the great movies -- a triumph of storytelling and character development, and a whole new ballgame for computer animation. Pixar Animation Studios has raised the genre to an astonishing new level.
  28. There are moments of genuine pathos, genuine humor, genuine surprise. As much as the film adheres to the strictures of the standard comic-book movie, it also pops with a knowing, loving, Whedon-world jokiness that keeps everything barreling along.
  29. If you're the type who doesn't go to art-house films , Murderball should be your exception. It's hard to imagine anyone could walk away from this movie disappointed.
  30. Documentary reaches an exalted level of filmmaking. It explains the very fabric of American society.
  31. The silence captured in this documentary -- a meditative look at life in the Carthusian monastery of the Grande Chartreuse in the French Alps -- may be the most eloquent you'll ever hear.
  32. Riveting.
  33. The Visitor, is, if anything, more imaginative and touching than his first.
  34. Screenwriters Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan have clarified a few things that needed clarifying, camouflaged a few things that needed camouflaging - and gently tugged some passive flashbacks into the active present. It's a cagey adaptation.
  35. The movie rarely, if ever, feels mechanical. Instead, you may find yourself marveling at the fertility of an imagination that could allow itself to toss so many vivid characters and stories—enough to supply four or five movies — into one generous package.
  36. A heartrending film, Lee's Poetry is indeed a work of art.
  37. A visual poem.
  38. Anomalisa may simply be a brilliant one-off, but it’s pointing a new direction for animation, if anyone cares to follow it.
  39. It is a well-researched smorgasbord of newsreel and documentary footage spliced with current interviews with those on the front lines.
  40. A daring, free-spirited and ultimately moving performance by Benjamin Bratt lies at the beating heart of Pinero.
  41. Best movie of the summer.
  42. See Gravity in theaters, because on television something will be lost. Alfonso Cuarón has made a rare film whose mood, soul and profundity is bound up with its images. To see such images diminished would be to see a lesser film, perhaps even a pointless one.
  43. Interviews with Pinochet's victims put a human face on the systematic torture that existed under his rule.
  44. Frothy and exuberantly entertaining - in part because of the sexual innuendoes - it's the best romantic comedy so far this year.
  45. AKA
    An unforgettable film.
  46. The writing, by Rapp and Catherine Dussart, is exquisite, and the performers, including Francois Truffaut's old colleague Jean-Pierre Leaud as a magistrate, are all first-rate.
  47. Magnificent but somewhat frustrating movie.
  48. Wetlands, an in-your-face story about bodily fluids and the collateral damage of a family gone wrong, is crass, vulgar and brilliant.
  49. A film that doesn't let go from the very first moment.
  50. It's hard to dislike a picture with flying cows and oil trucks.
  51. One of the rare films that directly responds to and expresses modern anxieties, this debut feature from director Henry Alex Rubin interweaves the stories of three sets of people, whose lives are upended through various bad things that happen over the Internet -- including bullying and identity theft. A fascinating and riveting thriller.
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  52. It's the picture that proves action films don't have to be silly, that a few thrill sequences don't mean every other value has to be shot to pieces.
  53. The movie is laugh-until-your-stomach-hurts hilarious.
  54. [Soderbergh] plays with time and narrative to reveal character, mood and longing in ways you just don't find in a mainstream crime picture.
  55. So it's two guys traveling, eating and talking. Doesn't sound like much. But it's terrific.
  56. The Maid would have been worthwhile just as a showcase both for good acting and for the director's virtuosity. But the movie's ultimate virtue is its humanity.
  57. So good it's scary.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An exceptionally powerful film driven by contradictory forces.
  58. One great monster movie. [11 June 1993, Daily Notebook, p.C1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  59. A complicated family story that takes place in three distinct time periods, and that's handled with astonishing ease and fluidity by director Claude Miller.
  60. This one enters the pantheon of great American war films.
  61. Now that she's past 50, can we all stop holding Michelle Pfeiffer's looks against her and just admit that she's a great actress?
  62. In his big-screen directing debut, British film maker Danny Boyle demonstrates wit, intelligence and economy of style.
  63. An ambitious and exciting piece of work, a movie about sex and movies made by a filmmaker who understands the power of each to set off fantasy, create addiction, incite danger and transform the spirit.
  64. Crisply funny and fleetly paced, it's in its quiet way one of the saddest things in the theaters all year.
  65. This is a serious film, but it is also entertaining. Ngassa and Ntuba should be galvanizing figures for a nation stuck on "Judge Judy" and "Jerry Springer."
  66. There's an edge to this exemplary family movie, just as there is in the story.
  67. Dares to present a flat-out heroic president, without the safety net of irony. It succeeds.
  68. At its slowest, the film has value as a historical document. At its best, the film gives a human face to stories of unimaginable suffering and unexpected triumph.
  69. Magical and haunting, The Piano has the power and delicate mystery of a gothic fairy tale. [19 Nov 1993]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  70. Enchanting documentary that also serves as an animated gallery of Goldsworthy’s uniquely ephemeral art.
  71. Exhilarating and enchanting family picture. It's the best I've seen this year and highly recommended for girls and for boys, too.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With House Party, the Hudlins have made a happy, harmless romp of a movie that, in its own minor way, manages to make a contribution to black cinema. There is a measure of social equality in the mere fact that black teens get stupid movies made about them, too. [9 Mar 1990, p.E6]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  72. It’s coolheaded and incisive, a thorough and informative study of corporations, their origins and their place in the modern world.
  73. Anyone who enjoys stylized hyper-violence should be enthralled by this long, sweeping, murderously vivid dramatization of ancient Chinese warfare, circa A.D. 208.
  74. Often is on the verge of spilling over into melodrama, but that doesn't bother me because life is the same way.
  75. Philippe Blasband's screenplay is witty and economical, and the film's editing is crisp.
  76. A wonderfully twisted comedy.
  77. A compact British drama that does more with only three people and a few modest settings than most movies do with computerized bloat and a cast of hundreds.
  78. The best movie of 2008? The most revealing war film ever made? The greatest animated feature to come out of Israel? All these descriptions could apply to Waltz With Bashir.
  79. An extraordinary film, mythic in feeling.
  80. Perhaps no director has so thoroughly explored the American concept of police work, prosecution and legal justice, and Find Me Guilty is a film that brings the 81-year-old filmmaker thematically full circle, back to his starting point, 1957's "12 Angry Men."
  81. The thrills in Spike Lee's singularly savvy thriller are in small unexpected moments.
  82. Ferocious brutality is presented without commentary or judgment, yet with unmistakable moral understanding and vision. [21 September 1990, Daily Notebook p.E-1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  83. Martel's vision is so visually rich and complex it borders on the impressionistic, but The Headless Woman would be nowhere without the precise tour de force performance by Onetto.
  84. A thoroughly entertaining and hilarious look at a board game that's an occasional amusement for some -- and a serious obsession (or disturbing addiction) for others.
  85. An astonishingly beautiful, irresistibly grim movie.
  86. Burns has created an endearing gathering of people we all know, and every one of them is so much fun that leaving the theater at the end elicits a touch of regret.
  87. Unlike Sean Penn's demagogue in "All the King's Men," you're able to forget that Whitaker is acting. He embodies the role. When clips of the real Amin are shown at the end, it's almost shocking to realize the extent to which Whitaker has become him.
  88. Seemingly loose and free-associative in style, Experimenter builds to an effect and, for all its humor — or rather, through its humor — makes a sober and chilling point.
  89. A movie about an obese Harlem teenager who's raped by her father and abused by her mother. It's depressing, devastating, harrowing and repulsive. But there are lyric flights of hope interspersed among that raw naturalism, and that's what makes this movie amazing.
  90. Original, winning entertainment, and well executed. No pun intended.
  91. Block's hypnotic documentary, among the finest of the year.
  92. A documentary with the emotional power of the very best in narrative film. It has characters impossible to forget, moments impossible to shake and an ending that leaves the audience both moved and rattled.
  93. An inspiring translation of biblical grandeur, turning the story of one of history's greatest heroes into an entertaining, visually dazzling cartoon.
  94. People who see it may feel like dancing out of the theater afterward. Go for it.
  95. It's a glamorous revenge romp, a "9 to 5" mixed with "Auntie Mame," and it gives each star the opportunity to do her best work in a long, long time.
  96. Ida
    Ida is a rarity, a film both intensely grounded in painful historical reality and genuinely otherworldly.

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