San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 6,651 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 Detroit
Lowest review score: 0 Romeo + Juliet
Score distribution:
6651 movie reviews
  1. Almodóvar presents this material in a way that never splits our attention, even as he’s giving us a deluge of sensory and emotional detail. It’s as if he’s internalized the story so completely that he can’t make a gesture — can’t move the camera, can’t shape a moment — without saying something true.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
  2. It's a hilarious comedy made even more successful because so much of the satire seems fresh.
  3. It's the kind of small but amazing character study (think ``Marty'') that film lovers yearn for while griping that this type of picture no longer gets made. Turns out it does.
  4. Deliriously charming.
  5. Jarmusch has created a small miracle of a film, one that is both intellectually dazzling and emotionally provocative.
  6. Herzog, as ever, is obsessed most of all with human nature: Into the Abyss explores our deepest urges to love, and live, and kill.
  7. Lindon is a strong, sensitive actor, heir to the stoic French working-class tradition of Jean Gabin and Lino Ventura. And not enough can be said for Kiberlain, an actress willing to be seen in all her ranges.
  8. All Black, all the time, and could easily have been an exhausting mess. But the movie is coherent, hilarious and surprisingly sweet.
  9. This is a science fiction film, but like all excellent movies in the genre, the focus never strays from the human heart.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Patrick Stewart needs to work on his interpretation of Darth Vader in “Hamlet: Return of the Siths,” but it’s those little comic diversions interspersed throughout Hunting Elephants that make this Israeli movie a little gem.
  10. Director Bernard Rose has created a committed, intelligent and fascinating piece of work with no irony about it.
  11. When it's over, this documentary lingers as a testament to extraordinary human bravery. It stands as one of the most heartbreaking and suspenseful sagas of the year.
  12. Christian McKay who, as Orson Welles in Me and Orson Welles"gives what I believe is the most exact and uncanny screen portrayal of an historical figure, ever.
  13. Spartacus isn't the greatest epic ever made, but it's head and shoulders above most of the sword-and-sandal wheezers that came out in the '50s and '60s. And, given the prohibitive costs of shooting an epic today, it's the kind of movie we're not likely to see anymore -- except in well-deserved revivals like this one. [13 May 1991, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  14. A triumph for all involved.
  15. This may be Favreau’s best achievement — taking a beloved film guided by Walt Disney himself and crafting something distinct and memorable.
  16. The movie is a stunner, so hypnotic that the length hardly matters.
  17. It is an exceptional accomplishment.
  18. Full of drama, poignancy and some heartbreaking moments.
  19. A film of audacity and total gut-level appeal.
  20. In this small and very smart film, Cronenberg does several things at once and makes them all look effortless, capturing various shadings of consciousness and versions of reality.
  21. The story is minimal, just a series of events in the life of a young man and his circle, but every scene is rendered with such authenticity that it’s riveting, almost like it’s a privilege to be stepping back in time.
  22. This wonderful romp of a movie looks magical on the big screen: colors are a picnic for the eyes, details loom so clearly you can practically touch them and there's a sense of the larger-than-life with a film that's already larger than life.
  23. Life Is Sweet, a comedy with wonderfully touching moments by off-beat British director Mike Leigh, is an absolute gem of eccentric humor about family life. Fresh and quirky, the film dishes up astonishing vitality in its look at what is ostensibly a plain, lower middle-class family in Middlesex. [22 Nov. 1991, p.C5]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Leaves its audience with many troubling questions. Among them: Should a film console us with its own brilliance when it aims to discomfit us with its content?
  24. There's such a thing as smart angry, and such a thing as stupid angry, and after seeing Inside Job, audiences will be smart angry.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the best Hong Kong films of 2002.
  25. One of the best films to open in the Bay Area in 2007.
  26. Loose, buoyant and bracingly original.
  27. The movie's satisfactions are subtle, but they run deep, and there are many.
  28. A funny movie, but also a serious movie, and — who knows? — maybe an important one.
  29. It is pure, retro-cinematic joy.
  30. What's much more fascinating and enriching is Eastwood's Olympian vision, the sympathetic and all-encompassing understanding of the pain and grandeur of life on earth.
  31. More than a high concept stretched to feature length. This is a funny and extremely satisfying comedy, the best in a while.
  32. Virtually everyone who sees this movie will be galvanized to do something about global warming -- and everyone should see this movie.
  33. Intimate, heartfelt and wickedly funny, it's a movie whose impact lingers.
  34. Here's another thought: This old man who can't leave the house has just made the first important film of 2010.
  35. The film, winsome and tragic at once and finely attuned to the rhythms of childhood, always seems quite close to real life.
  36. The quietly stirring, exquisitely photographed Columbus is an art-house gem that beautifully illuminates not only the architecture of a small Indiana town, but also the characters that inhabit it.
  37. This is an acerbic examination of erotic obsession, told from different perspectives, with wit, suspense and cold-blooded detachment.
  38. A richly textured and compelling film.
  39. The balance between action and mysticism in The Empire Strikes Back provides fascinating energy. It's as if the kids are given one set of delights, the bravado of battles and elaborate warships zooming through exotic space, and adults are given another, a layered explanation of what it all means in the grand scheme of things. [Special Edition]
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Unlike the previous two installments, Lady Vengeance generates on odd feeling: hope.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The most heartbreaking, moving film in theaters right now.
  40. The Corruptor' quickly turns into a good bad-cop drama of fascinating moral complexity.
  41. It's a lovely and wistful celebration of youth, time and moments of connection -- and about the experience of living in the midst of a simple, perfect day that you know you'll remember for the rest of your life.
  42. This is one of the funniest movies of the year.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A rare chance to see a major cinematic work on the big screen.
  43. Frank, funny and true as "Ghost World."
  44. With its dry, throwaway humor and constant stream of chuckles, it creates its own category of stealth comedy.
  45. A vital, sexy and touching movie that goes to the heart of what human caring is all about.
  46. A delicate, beautifully observed study of impossible romance, Lost in Translation is one of the best films this year.
  47. A film of real beauty, which is surprising, since it's not a movie of beautiful sentiments or settings.
  48. The formality of Moonrise Kingdom - the orderly structure and dreamlike perfection of it all - is as poetic as any film I've seen this year.
  49. One of the great portraits of artists fighting, even with murderous rage, to reach the sublime.
  50. For pure laughs, for the experience of just sitting in a chair and breaking up every minute or so, Superbad is 2007's most successful comedy.
  51. The most striking effect of the Technicolor process is its subtlety. The viewer is aware of the gradations of flesh tones in Leigh's face and can see the color rise in her cheeks. The exact color of her eyes is a source of fascination (they are gray-blue with flashes of green).
  52. Remarkably fresh and inventive.
  53. Totally original yet filled with familiar human frailties, "Everyone" leaps off the screen to become one of those rare movie-going experiences.
  54. It comes as a bonus that this romantic comedy is one of the rare pictures of its type that actually is about something -- the double-edged sword of celebrity.
  55. Ages well in memory because it gradually seems to mean more. Its meaning can't be summed up in a sentence, but it has to do with a view of life as inexpressibly sad and yet always right.
  56. As challenging as it must have been to pilot Joss Whedon's space opera from the TV junk pile to the big screen, the finished product is a triumph.
  57. One of the best crime dramas to come along in years.
  58. Resembles a Christopher Guest movie in that it follows obsessed, socially awkward folks on a seminal journey in their lives.
  59. The submarine drama, which opens today, has everything you could want from an action thriller and a few other things you usually can't hope to expect: an excellent script, first-rate performances and a story that has more to do with individuals than explosions.
  60. The result is an excellent film - entertaining and informative and sometimes stunning in its display of the personal demons shared by these two geniuses.
  61. There's a seething moral core in Amores Perros that uses the canine savagery as an entre to human brutality.
  62. This is the portrait of a marriage as full and enviable as the greatest unions in literature.
  63. Usually, with movies, you can imagine how they were made — how the idea came, and the process of its creation. But Knight of Cups seems as if it arrived whole. If there’s a better film this year, get ready for a very good year.
  64. The smartest thing director Steven Soderbergh did in the making of The Girlfriend Experience was to cast Sasha Grey.
  65. So in-depth, so appealing, so easy to sit through and so anomalously grand scale that few who see it will ever forget it.
  66. The magic of Brooklyn can’t be analyzed, but something in the richness of its relationships puts an essential truth before us — the brevity and immensity of life. We know all about that, of course, but that’s the beauty of great art: It takes what you already know and makes you feel it.
  67. Days of Heaven is a visual poem. Slow and elegant, reverential in the way it celebrates the earth's contours and the play of light. [27 Oct. 1999, p.B3]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  68. They ought to forgo the formalities and simply give Nick Nolte his Oscar right now for what is one of the great performances on screen, in this season or any other, in Prince of Tides, a sensitive, emotionally explosive jewel directed by Barbra Streisand, who also co-stars. The powerful, haunting drama opens today. [25 Dec 1991, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  69. I laughed so hard, my eyes watered. I laughed so loud, I lost track of whether anyone else was laughing. I laughed so much, I ached afterwards. [29 July 1988, Daily Notebook, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Although it would take much more than a 95 minute documentary for true enlightenment, Letters to Baghdad also helps us understand the complex political situation stemming from the gradual dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
  70. Chef is the best thing he (Favreau) has ever done, as writer or director or actor. It's the sort of thing of beauty that filmmakers are ultimately remembered for.
  71. A few times every year, Hollywood makes a mistake, violates formula and actually makes a great picture. Falling Down is one of the great mistakes of 1993, a film too good and too original to win any Oscars but one bound to be remembered in years to come as a true and ironic statement about life in our time. [26 Feb 1993, p.D1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  72. Simply the most relentlessly entertaining film of the last few months.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A heartbreaking, beautiful movie that gains strength from its deep characterizations.
  73. The best American film of 2008.
  74. Has an odd mix of quickly grabbed handheld shots and scenes of striking beauty.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A terrific documentary about forbidden love in the most heinous of places.
  75. Bursts with action, ideas and interesting characters.
  76. A completely appealing, beautifully preserved memory piece - a grand, colorful coming-of-age story with a candy box color palette and a standout performance by Renée Zellweger. It's a great story and a great crowd-pleaser.
  77. It not only evocatively captures the Russian spirit and the yearnings of a generation, but it also masterfully chronicles the historic collapse of the Soviet Union and its complex aftermath.
  78. Perfect pitch.
  79. With Milk, a great San Francisco story becomes a great American story.
  80. The movie is a wonderful surprise, cleverly written and executed brick by brick with a visual panache.
  81. Kristin Scott Thomas' performance in I've Loved You So Long is one of a small handful of highlights by which people will remember this year in movies. This is acting at its most exalted.
  82. This is spellbinding, transporting, damn near indescribable and the latest indication that Christopher Nolan might be the slyest narrative tactician making movies today.
  83. So original, so funny, so alive with drama, intrigue, mystery and colors that you want to see it again and again.
  84. Assessing the merits of a political film is a tricky business. Obviously, its quality is partly a function of its power to persuade, but its persuasiveness is in the eye of the beholder.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Director Brendan Toller uses archive footage and droll animation that keep the stories revelatory and entertaining.
  85. City of Life and Death, a stunning re-creation of the Japanese army's annihilation of Nanking in 1937, will make you flinch, even as you admire its brilliant black-and-white cinematography, breathtaking art design and unerring direction.
  86. There may not be a better- acted film this year.
  87. Remarkable also for the uniform excellence of its cast, and for the pleasure [Altman's] actors take in the wide berth he allows them. [24 Apr 1992]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  88. Shows how a documentary can be as moving and suspenseful as the best narrative feature.
  89. One of the year's sweetest surprises. It sneaks up on you, disarming you with its modesty and tenderness, its remarkable lack of self-infatuation.

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