San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 6,132 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Il Postino: The Postman
Lowest review score: 0 Marci X
Score distribution:
6132 movie reviews
  1. The title is all that's boring about director Michel Gondry's latest mind bender, as trippy as LSD.
  2. The suspenseful love story Out in the Dark isn't a political film by any stretch, but the intrigue and prejudices of the Arab-Israeli conflict certainly fuel the romance and thrills of this entertaining, taut movie.
  3. As impressive as it is geeky. Most of the principal characters look like they haven't seen daylight since "Pac-Man Fever" was on the charts.
  4. Big as it is, Blade' is meticulous and subtle, not just in its camera technique but in the way it works its themes and creates a mood.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    For those of us too young, this will give you an idea of what it meant to watch those baby steps that led to one giant leap.
  5. Worth seeing, both for the ways it's timeless and for the ways it encapsulates an era.
  6. The new movie shrieks of motherhood - raising hot-button issues like biological clocks running down, the rights of birth mothers and whether to adopt or give artificial insemination a shot.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Has a jangly, improvisational tone, with nuanced moments of humor and pathos.
  7. It's no great shakes as a film, but its combination of mild comedy, slapstick, pathos, many photogenic canines and a positive message will make it irresistible to families.
  8. Not a bad film. I'm going to stick my neck out and call it a good one - a small, dense chamber study of unhappy people looking for hope in the darkness, often literally.
  9. The chief virtue of Iris is its amiability — it’s a delight to spend time in Apfel’s company, and thanks to Albert Maysles, we can.
  10. Even when the movie is bad -- it's addictively so.
  11. Talk about disturbing.
  12. Unlike "Pirates," Stardust is anything but a wretched mess. It's a charming and smartly plotted fantasy.
  13. In thematic terms, Cassandra's Dream could be looked at as a rebuttal to "Crimes and Misdemeanors."
  14. A compelling and visually arresting drama.
  15. Rio
    The humor's a little strange, and the action's a little frenetic, but all of it whooshes past in a swirl of tropical color and pseudo-South American bonhomie. Gorgeous scenery meets oddball characters and mild ethnic stereotyping.
  16. If there’s a weakness to The D Train, it’s only in the filmmakers’ ultimate choice to stop the pain right before the finish, as if any good might really come to the characters they’ve created. Perhaps the assumption was that, by then, audiences will have suffered enough. But some misery you really can’t get enough of, especially when it’s happening to other people.
  17. If you can weather some slow patches (and there are plenty), this boldly original, oddly affecting meditation on the afterlife will reward you with moments of profundity that will linger in your consciousness (or subconsciousness) for a lifetime (or lifetimes).
  18. Though this film's considerable warmth derives from dalmatian puppies and other animals who take charge of their fates, Close steals the show.
  19. The richness of characters make this movie shine. It's just that, somehow, a certain sense of fire is missing.
  20. On the surface, this may seem like a bleak film, because it's so raw. But ultimately this is a movie about the mysterious ways in which we find a path toward healing, and its beautiful final moments stay with you.
  21. Captures the flavor of putting on a show on Broadway.
  22. At its most compulsive, this is the only action flick you'll need this summer.
  23. Totally absorbing even when it, too, strays.
  24. The self-consciousness that made the director's "Love Actually" a love-it-or-hate-it film is dialed way down. About Time is more of a love-it-or-like-it proposition.
  25. A gentle comedy, offbeat but never cute, never lewd and never going for shortcut laughs that might diminish character.
  26. A first-class genre entry stacked with dandy performances and some crackerjack action to boot.
  27. An action blockbuster extravaganza that's sadder than sad and never pretends otherwise.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of First Position is the relationship between aspirant and teacher.
  28. It's all very melodramatic, but the Jouberts accompany this story with incredible visuals, with an exceptional level of access. Considering how close they get to the animals, it's a wonder none of the filmmakers got mauled.
  29. It's fascinating.
  30. It's an intriguing portrait, but it makes no pretense at objectivity, erring on the side of hero worship.
  31. As good as family entertainment gets.
  32. It's probably the only love story you'll see this decade that will make you half-expect the camera to swerve and pick up the sight of Rod Serling, standing there in a black suit.
  33. There's an Impressionistic feeling to all this, and sometimes it plays like a travelogue -- Bush is trying to do an awful lot at once. But the material is so compelling that we keep watching.
  34. Much as she did in "Little Miss Sunshine," Breslin imbues Kit with joy.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    An experiment that rarely works this well.
  35. It's a lovely film that grows along with the characters. At first, it seems like a pleasing but inconsequential comedy. But it deepens as their connection deepens and opens up into a place of poignancy and insight.
  36. Hyper-violent yet emotionally powerful.
  37. One can argue the movie's finer points, but in the end, there's no escaping its creeping pile-up of evidence that Mother Earth is critically dehydrated - and we need to do something, fast.
  38. Jurassic World is an intelligent action movie that’s saying something simple but true: Yes, people are that stupid.
  39. Has some faults, but it manages to keep its audience either angry or jumpy from start to finish.
  40. Richly inventive.
  41. More in the tone of the big screen "Friday Night Lights" than "Rudy" or "The Blind Side," it succeeds as mainstream entertainment without relying on a conventional storybook framework.
  42. There’s still plenty of laughs left over for the audience, and the aggressive randomness of the script fuels some genuinely inventive comic moments. Although the writers of this R-rated cinematic binge frequently lose their focus, they never lose their sense of humor.
  43. No one will be bored with the feature film... but everyone who knows the show well will have a nagging feeling that something is missing.
  44. Very good at pointing out the social difficulties surrounding the Dickens-Ternan relationship, the power dynamics within it and the lasting effects of it.
  45. An impressive and imaginative fantasy.
  46. SubUrbia is depressing comedy -- the more so because director Richard Linklater's satirical picture of youthful alienation rings painfully true.
  47. Whether the role is small or large, the acting across the board is utterly convincing.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Ultimately, Kink has an undeniably voyeuristic quality - it's a glimpse into a mostly forbidding world, and there's value in that.
  48. The documentary is exclusively about Ullmann and Bergman as human beings and about how they got along.
  49. Suffused with a golden glow, the movie looks and sounds like a fairy tale.
  50. This British film also mocks the rave culture it celebrates, and it's charming in a way that is hip but surprisingly down to earth.
  51. The movie is modest in its ambition and powerful in its reverberations.
  52. Manages somehow to be gritty, delicate, in your face and nuanced at the same time. It's a beautiful, compelling, sometimes harrowing family drama, with excellent performances across the board.
  53. While it's possible to have a great time with the movie without having any interest in Kiss, it should be noted that the band does make an appearance.
  54. A gripping study of Bobby Fischer, perhaps the greatest chess player ever.
  55. For starters, it's a movie to make you happy to see the next movie written, directed and starring Lake Bell. She has an engaging presence and has a distinct comic sensibility.
  56. Neatly, and often humorously, summarizes a very unhealthy situation.
  57. A lot of frivolous but genuine laughs.
  58. This is a beautiful film, full of gray-and white-haired men who grow in stature before our eyes.
  59. Hardly perfect or fully successful, but it's strange and strangely beautiful -- a unique work of art.
  60. A treat for anyone who's passionate about films or who's ever wanted to learn more about them.
  61. Clumsy and ineffective in its first half hour. But gradually, as her investigation deepens, and we see the true hideousness of what she is uncovering, the movie achieves urgency and clarity of purpose.
  62. Slick, glossy, overblown, implausible. [15 July 1988, Daily Notebook, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Director Jill Soloway gets the most out of her actors, fleshing out their characters and letting us know what makes them tick. It's refreshing to hear dialogue that's natural and modern and doesn't try to pontificate. And the rewards are many.
  63. A quirky but surprisingly lighthearted dark comedy.
  64. Fast-paced and unerringly surprising.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    A fine new rock documentary.
  65. A compelling documentary.
  66. Watchable in spite of Greengrass as much as because of him. The story is good enough to make viewers want to ignore the photography.
  67. It's a bouncy, occasionally awkward diversion with sharply written characters and good actors.
  68. At its best, Ajami shows you things you never would have considered or imagined.
  69. The film's minimal story line, propelled by hope but dampened with heartbreak, provides the excuse for a first-rate lineup of bands spanning misty folk rock, crunchy alt-pop and thrashing Persian rap.
  70. Timeless and tragic.
  71. Queeny, corny and impossible to resist.
  72. Sometimes excessiveness and implausibility are virtues in disguise. Movies this enjoyable don't come about by accident.
  73. Director Cordero manages the not-bad trick of generating suspense while keeping the overall tone cool and collected.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    A smart farce that would make Hugh Grant and his fans proud.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Although few would confuse The Nightingale with greatness (it’s just way too predictable), production-wise, everything is top notch, especially the cinematography of Sun Ming, who captures some almost epic images of rural Guangxi — makes you want to go there. Also, Li’s quiet strength as the grandfather grounds the film in a gentle, simple and appealing way.
  74. In addition to being a smart comedy and an excellent showcase for Grant, it's an honest movie about childhood that avoids sappiness and sentiment and goes in unexpected directions.
  75. Bogdanovich takes a tale of old Hollywood and infuses it with velocity and enthusiasm.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    There are moments of satirical humor sparked by Ted's stiff, earnest demeanor and Fred's glib, transparent conniving.
  76. This is Curtis' film. Looking a little like a combination of Carol Burnett and Annie Lennox, Curtis has this character down.
  77. Bloody good.
  78. At its simplest level, East Is East is a broad comedy, but Puri's acting, so honest and heartbreaking, gives the film weight.
  79. I liked this movie, maybe more than I should have, and would be happy to see anything this director wants to do next.
  80. Doesn't require anyone to love metal, or even like it. It only requires us to laugh at it - and other exemplars of bloated '80s pop, from Starship to Journey - and it does so with a campy and attitudinous spirit that's hard to resist.
  81. A warmhearted film.
  82. One of the pleasures of Deterrence is that it does not tell the audience what to think.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The development of the GoPro camera has revolutionized extreme sports photography, but even so, the 3-D images of extreme surfing in Storm Surfers 3D feel groundbreaking.
  83. Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy has created full characters as vulnerable in their personal lives as in their work.
  84. It is so propulsive so much of the time, it almost looks as if it's going to go the distance. If Washington & Co. don't quite manage to bring it home, the getting there sure is something.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    If you are a thoughtful, open-minded person see this reverent exploration into the mystery of Jesus, the man.
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  85. It's unlikely that the whole cowboy town would really applaud all the queer goings-on, but it's a lovely sentiment in a lovely movie.
  86. That rare thing, an American romantic film that's not a comedy and that's more about love than sex.
  87. Like its singular central character, Before the Fall stands out from the pack.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Cooke may overstuff his documentary with too many points, but if a young person had to watch just one film about the drug war, this is not a bad choice.

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