San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 6,646 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 0.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Last Life in the Universe
Lowest review score: 0 8MM
Score distribution:
6646 movie reviews
  1. An overwhelming experience.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Cconsistently entertaining.
  2. Jacob Bernstein’s documentary about his mother, Nora Ephron, is unbearably funny for much of the way, and then it is sad, but bearably so because Everything Is Copy is about one woman’s realization that some things in life are more than material for her writing.
  3. A movie of intelligence and power, of beauty, universality and largeness of spirit.
  4. Intelligent and crackling with crisp, provocative visual energy, Copycat, the new thriller starring Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter, is so creepy and dangerous-feeling that it's like a knife edge pressed against the jugular.
  5. Rarely does a movie come along that captures an aspect of everyday consciousness that has not yet made it onto film.
  6. Follows the country pop singer on what has to be one of the most amazing farewell concert tours in music history.
  7. An enchanting, beautiful and brilliantly imagined film.
  8. Sweet, funny, sad and profound -- the sort of film that becomes more remarkable when you realize it's based on someone's real life.
  9. A further, captivating extension of Oshima's marriage of the oblique and the erotic.
  10. The films never lose sight of Mesrine the man, a fascinating character in that he's brutal yet extremely intelligent, has a skewed but discernible conscience, and, under the right circumstances, can be warm and generous.
  11. Not a routine cut-and-paste horror but a full-fledged revenge fantasy -- and a completely satisfying one.
  12. The difference is that Iain Softley, who directed Wings of the Dove, and his screenwriter Hossein Amini, who wrote the overlooked "Jude," are keen observers who bring a wealth of ambiguity and mystery to the surface -- and release their characters from the cliches that easily could have swallowed them.
  13. Part fairy tale and part bogeyman thriller -- a juicy allegory of evil, greed and innocence, told with an eerie visual poetry.
  14. Die Hard 2 is a huge movie done right. [3 July 1990, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  15. Daring in its affirmation that a dowdy woman in her late 60s still can let go of her inhibitions and exhibit a lascivious side.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    [Branagh] shows an understanding of the medium worthy of a veteran, and an intuitive grasp of how to make Henry V not only comprehensible, but compelling for contemporary audiences. [13 Dec 1989]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  16. Sir! No Sir! is far from a dry rehashing of what may seem for some like ancient history. Driving guitar rock and lively editing add to the film's urgency. The voices of the veterans alone, however, make this an important and poignant film that can speak to any generation.
  17. Appropriately structured like a ride on skateboard: It swoops back and forth in time, hovers in midair, twists back on itself over and over again, then rolls into silence.
  18. Soft, evanescent and bittersweet.
  19. The King's Speech is a warm, wise film - the best period movie of the year and one of the year's best movies.
  20. Utterly enchanting.
  21. The documentary shows the stranglehold that the teachers union has on politicians, particularly Democratic politicians. The arrogance and ignorance of some of these politicians is galling.
  22. Robert Redford's exceptionally handsome and provocative Quiz Show manages a trick that few films even dare try -- to take a hard look at personal and public moral issues and still provide dazzling entertainment.
  23. Payback has a completely different spirit from "L.A. Confidential'' -- more wild, more silly -- but it has the same attention to the fine points of plot and character.
  24. Sly, near-perfect comedy.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Sad funny and richly romantic, everything that makes Allen’s movies so beloved. [7 February 1986, Daily Notebook p.76]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  25. This film has a voice of its own. And at a time when the romantic comedy seems to be a lost art form, that's saying something.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Takashi's film is sumptuous, with rich cinematography, costumes and set design. Half the time it is a game of chess - the battle of wits between Motome and the lord. Half of the time it is a moving melodrama.
  26. Stone's feisty, intensely personal style of film making is well-known. With Born on the Fourth of July we are treated to a poignant, spirited and captivating - for the broken heartedness of it all - performance by Tom Cruise. [25 Dec 1989, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  27. Just in physical terms, Eddie Redmayne transformation’s into Stephen Hawking is something remarkable.
  28. The story itself is arresting, and if that’s all “Bang” offered, that would be enough. But “Bang” does more.
  29. A film of great hilarity, humanity, idiosyncrasy and grade-A, eyebrow-singeing raunch.
  30. The film is its own beast, and it's a rare one.
  31. Bridge of Spies tells us that the Constitution is not some quaint national luxury but the road map out of the darkness.
  32. Acting rarely gets better than this.
  33. Verhoeven creates an elegant frame for his lead actress and lets her fill it, and what we end up with is Huppert’s best collaboration with a director since the death of Claude Chabrol.
  34. Dan in Real Life fires on so many circuits that at times it's actually shocking how good it is.
  35. Talented director Eran Riklis is interested in the coexistence of cultures, not violence, but that doesn’t mean his ending fails to carry an emotional wallop. It’s a doozy, and shows us that life can be a complex whirl of dueling identities.
  36. I'd be shocked if we see a better horror film in 2013.
  37. A great piece of filmmaking and a legitimate science-fiction/horror classic.
  38. Walt Disney Pictures' Beauty and the Beast is an enchanting feast of extraordinary animated film making that magically revives the classic Disney style with genial humor, memorable music, fluid grace in its drawings, and compelling romance. [15 Nov 1991, p.C1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  39. A very smart, very shrewd movie, and the smartest, shrewdest thing about it is the way it masquerades as just a fluffy comedy, a diversion, a trifle.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Unfolds as a masterful chess match of wit and ingenuity, a cat-and-mouse chase of the highest order.
  40. A masterpiece.
  41. A heartbreaking, powerful drama.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A minimalist masterpiece.
  42. Under Fontaine's direction, family dysfunction is an intense experience with unexpectedly positive repercussions, even if the steps between are painful and potentially deadly.
  43. You leave Cinema Paradiso with that feeling that's kind of like getting kicked in the stomach, but nice. It's one of those breathless, swept-away-by-a-movie experiences that you might have once a year, if you're lucky. [16 February 1990, Daily Notebook, p.E-1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As Whelan slowly comes to terms with the loss of her identity, she begins to forge a new one as a contemporary dancer, going on to produce her own performances on a national tour titled “Restless Creature.”
  44. Absorbing and exquisite.
  45. It's extremely funny, one of the funniest films of 2012, with a particularly winning style - far-fetched, extreme and nonstop.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Beautiful and utterly entrancing documentary.
  46. This is the kind of pure entertainment that, in its fullness and generosity, feels almost classic.
  47. 12 Years a Slave has some of the awkwardness and inauthenticity of a foreign-made film about the United States. The dialogue of the Washington, D.C., slave traders sounds as if it were written for "Lord of the Rings." White plantation workers speak in standard redneck cliches. And yet the ways in which this film is true are much more important than the ways it's false.
  48. An important new documentary that cites countless examples of self-censorship, under-reporting of serious issues, and -- worse than this -- deliberate neglect and outright conflicts of interest.
  49. Deliciously witty and entertaining… A first-rate thriller, one that's likely to generate as much word-of-mouth as “Alien,'' “Carrie'' and “Psycho'' did in their time. [23 Aug 1991, Daily Notebook, p.F1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  50. Perhaps the best teen date movie ever set in the year 1914, "Tuck" represents a brave leap against the tide. No sex, no car crashes and minimal violence. It just might be a hit.
  51. Make no mistake, Blue Is the Warmest Color constitutes a breakthrough, in addition to being the best film of 2013.
  52. A wonder of a film -- a luminous, beautifully executed drama that gathers the best cast of the year -- the best American film of the year.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A mind-boggling, heart-rending, stomach-churning expose on the food industry.
  53. An exquisite and powerful documentary -- one whose elegance only heightens its devastating impact.
  54. Qualifies as director Giuseppe Tornatore's second full-fledged masterpiece. His first: "Cinema Paradiso."
  55. Nostalgia for the Light is a strange and stunning work of art: a poem disguised as a movie about astronomers in the Atacama desert of Chile.
  56. It’s a movie about a geeky teenager living in the Los Angeles hood, and something about it, or rather everything about it, feels real.
  57. There is no turning away from the screen.
  58. For the most part, Cowperthwaite keeps the preachiness in check, letting the scientists, former SeaWorld trainers and other witnesses tell it as it is. Indeed, the scary training scenes - uniformly gripping - do most of the talking.
  59. Original, truthful and moving.
  60. Rocky might not be the brightest guy, but he knows things. He has his limitations, but he is, in his own way, extraordinary, and when we look at his/Stallone’s face, we can have no doubt that Rocky has gone through life and learned things. He has been awake all these years, and growing. With no exaggeration, this is a beautiful and moving thing to see.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of this year's better studies of the human soul.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A film filled with beauty and pain that moves at the pace of molasses and snails. That is to say, some of it is in real time. Audiences would be advised to stay caffeinated.
  61. Her (Anderson) performance is a study in the difference between hubris and pride, remarkable for how unshowy but profoundly devastating it is.
  62. They are naturals at acting, not because they're good at lying but because they can't be phony.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's a movie that seems simple, yet its subtle and brilliant complexity is not to be denied.
  63. A mesmerizing film that is the most stunning, tempestuous love story in a decade or two of movie making.
  64. A gorgeous piece of work. It pulls every heartstring a good romance should, yet bursts with G-rated fun, wonderfully human characters and several solid and hummable songs.
  65. The very best thrillers -- a select group to which The Clearing clearly belongs -- exploit subconscious fears that bubble up at vulnerable moments.
  66. The aerial cinematography is breathtaking: We can feel the fragility of the planet, but also its power to heal — if only we give it a chance.
  67. On a deeper level -- and this is where When We Were Kings exceeds its expectations and becomes a great film -- Gast examines African American pride.
  68. The humor manages to be simultaneously sophisticated, supremely silly and very dark.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Delirious, over-the-top, gorgeous to look at and with comic timing delivered at a machine-gun pace, Spain’s My Big Night is not only the fastest-moving film of the year so far this side of “Hardcore Henry,” but one of the most entertaining as well.
  69. The movie is a total blast, and what a surprise.
  70. Handily beats back the evils of boredom.
  71. A breathtaking story of defiance and triumph that has to be considered one of the year's most sublime films.
  72. Powerful and outrageous.
  73. Best “performances,'' however, are given by the movie's almost agonizingly beautiful historical settings -- luxurious households, rich architecture, furnishings, ornaments, draperies, fineries and such are often more captivating than the hushed tones of the lovers. [17 Sept 1993, Daily Notebook, p.C1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  74. Ghobadi infuses his movie with a humor that can almost be called Seinfeldian, and it's this mix of laughter with tears that gives Marooned in Iraq its big impact.
  75. The studio made a great film.
  76. The Past makes conventional movies feel artificial. Watching the characters interact in this movie feels like "Here is real life," and real life just happens to be strangely compelling.
  77. The experience of Southpaw is rather like seeing the truth behind the cliches, revived in all their pain and power to surprise.
  78. An ideal introduction to Toback's output as well as a welcome elucidation for longtime fans. Apart from those worthy functions, The Outsider is also shrewdly made, illuminating its subject in a variety of settings and, at times, subtly assuming the style of Toback's films.
  79. Delivers a full emotional palette without undue sentimentalizing.
  80. You needn't have colorful Italian relatives, like myself, to enjoy this boisterous and warm-hearted film, which sidesteps cliche while embracing the hope and love in loony dysfunctional families everywhere.
  81. Extraordinary and beautiful.
  82. Kore-eda weaves these images and others, building a multilayered fugue that contemplates death, asks if mourning ever truly ends and addresses the ephemeral nature of love, family and home. Everything we value and use to define and frame our lives, he suggests, is always at risk.
  83. An original, inspired piece of work.
  84. A Hologram for the King has great energy, and also a languorous, lived-in quality.
  85. Potent.
  86. Moviegoers will love or hate Oliver Stone and his politics until the end of time. With well-made movies such as Snowden, though, his skill as a filmmaker becomes much harder for the detractors to debate.
  87. This is a movie that you will admire both for its courage and its creativity.

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