San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 5,827 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 0.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Sexy Beast
Lowest review score: 0 The Last Airbender
Score distribution:
5,827 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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]
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the greatest of all epics.
  3. I'm as reluctant to stop writing about this movie as I was to stop watching it: At 166 minutes, it flies by, and you don't want to leave that world. But one thing is certain: This isn't the last word. People will be writing about this film for years - and looking at it to discover the lost history of our time.
  4. A masterpiece.
  5. Part fairy tale and part bogeyman thriller -- a juicy allegory of evil, greed and innocence, told with an eerie visual poetry.
  6. Everything Melville shows us, he shows us for a reason, and these reasons are never obscure but are rather pertinent to the action and to the moral movement of the world and the characters.
  7. It turns out that Pepe Le Moko is even better than "Algiers."
  8. Visually stunning, it meshes haunting images with a complex multilevel story about the enchantment of youth.
  9. Though the movie clocks in at just under three hours, it is -- aside from an occasional slow spot -- fascinating and exciting.
  10. Seeing it is a time-bending experience, a way of visiting the past and glimpsing the past's idea of the future. A masterpiece of art direction, the movie has influenced our vision of the future ever since, with its imposing white monoliths and starched facades.
  11. First, this movie should be enjoyed. Later, marveled at. And then, once the excitement has faded, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days really should be studied, because director Cristian Mungiu creates scenes unlike any ever filmed.
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  12. 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.
  13. Superb.
  14. Ratatouille is a classic.
  15. 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.
  16. An ungainly masterpiece, but Chaplin's ungainliness is something one can grow fond of.
  17. But make no mistake, whether the movie is fair or horribly unfair - I know nothing of the actual facts and can't make that determination - its portrait of Zuckerberg is a hatchet job of epic and perhaps lasting proportions.
  18. One of the most innovative and best made films of the past year. Every now and then, even Dick Cheney gets to like a great movie.
  19. Moaadi is the standout here, subtly evoking filial worry and fatherly pride in one scene, popping off with rage in another: He's believably decent, believably flawed. A Separation touches on religious strictures and the role of women in Iran, but it does so with a light hand and not a twitch of condemnation.
  20. The latest in the wonderful "Before" series does three important things: It breaks out of the courtship formula, yet retains the series' quality, and it moves the lives of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) forward in ways that are satisfying and believable. True, a romance you once envied might now be a relationship you'd not want to be in, but as long as Celine and Jesse are still talking, there's hope.
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  21. A lovely, evocative tour de force. So why does it seem we should be enjoying it more?
  22. A fine picture because it can still, without fail, make an entire audience of children shut up and fall in love with a little green alien with big eyes and a turtlelike body.
  23. It is an exhilaration from beginning to end. It's the movie equivalent of that rare sort of novel where you find yourself checking to see how many pages are left and hoping there are more, not fewer.
  24. A worthy, fascinating film..
  25. This one enters the pantheon of great American war films.
  26. In the moment, it's intermittently transcendent, heartrending and beautiful ... and busy, repetitious and boring.
  27. It's back in a handsome new black-and-white print, and it's still powerful stuff -- you can see why Pauline Kael wrote that it was "probably the only film that has ever made middle-class audiences believe in the necessity of bombing innocent people."
  28. Payne's little marvel.
  29. There is no turning away from the screen.
  30. Though an estimable success overall, The Return of the King has several scenes too many and too great a concentration on battles.
  31. Amour is also unforgettable and one of a kind, two hours of torment that, in the end, you will probably not regret.
  32. The comic contrast between the genteel snobbery of von Bulow, a Danish aristocrat, and Dershowitz's dry contempt for his well-tailored client is treated with understated but stinging wit in Nicholas Kazan's brilliant script. [9 Nov 1990]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  33. The class act of action movies.
  34. By any measure, the horrifying yet powerfully uplifting Schindler's List from director Steven Spielberg is a milestone in the art of filmmaking. [15 Dec 1993]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  35. 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.
  36. Its deeply anarchic sensibility has kept Taxi Driver fresh all these years. (Review twenty years after release).
  37. Perfect pitch.
  38. 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
  39. Crumb is one of the most provocative, haunting documentaries of the last decade.
  40. The Coens, with this film, are like people who fly all the way to Paris on vacation and then eat at McDonalds every night, because that's what they know. Why bother making the trip at all?
  41. Wise, delicate and impeccably performed, Yi Yi is a three- hour drama that looks at one middle-class family in transition -- and does so with such a kind and probing eye that we all see our lives reflected through Yang's lens.
  42. By the end, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly achieves a victory over difficult material, but celebrating that fact doesn't preclude recognizing the story is not a natural for movies and remains an uneasy match.
  43. This is the most realistic film about teaching that you're ever likely to see.
  44. Hushed minimalism is a rare and appealing quality in the cinema these days, but so little happens in 35 Shots of Rum that I'm hard-pressed to describe the plot. It doesn't exactly have one.
  45. The film has aged gracefully.
  46. Anderson almost brings off a picture worthy of his grandiose ambition.
  47. A gem of fast action, sophisticated wit and inspired comedy.
  48. As French crime thrillers go, this is about as good as it gets.
  49. 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.
  50. An indelible statement on loneliness and spiritual thirst.
  51. Toy Story 3 is a better film than "Wall-E" and "Up" in that it succeeds completely in conventional terms. For 103 minutes, it never takes audience interest for granted. It has action, horror and vivid characters, and it always keeps moving forward.
  52. Not always pleasant to watch.
  53. It's an endurance test. Though never boring, the movie is a fairly long slog through the snow.
  54. Star Wars' has three crucial elements going for it and they've traveled time like troopers -- it's a terrifically entertaining war story, it has memorable characters and it is visually compelling. What more do we want in movies, anyway? [Special Edition]
  55. Impossible to describe, impossible to forget, The Triplets of Belleville sends audiences tottering out of the theater, dazed and delighted, and wondering what it is they have just experienced.
  56. Clearly a minor classic, mainly for reasons besides its crime story plot -- namely, the urbane fatalism of its cast and the overall mood of inevitability that hangs over every scene.
  57. An absolute delight, combining the cheap thrills of a biopic with the gentler, but more lasting, pleasures of a brilliant character study.
  58. The cruelty of his methods aside -- and Polanski wasn't the first director to terrorize an actor for the sake of a performance -- Repulsion is a frightening, fiercely entertaining experience that holds up to time. (Review of May 1998 revival)
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Has more originality, nitty-gritty humor, spirit and spunk than all the summer blockbuster retreads combined. Underneath the jousting and jiving, there's a sharp, uncompromising look at the anatomy of a race riot in the movie. [30 June 1989, Daily Notebook, p.E3]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  59. Riveting.
  60. 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.
  61. Leigh goes right to the core of his character's lives and mines the place where we're weakest, most alone and sometimes the cruelest.
  62. Feels positively Greek in its magnitude, a lament about fate, age, time and life.
  63. Until this film, these Shin Bet directors had never consented to an interview. Now that they've spoken - and have said the unexpected - we can only wonder if their words will have an influence.
  64. It's a movie filled with surprises, including one outright kick in the head that qualifies as one of the biggest movie moments of 1992. [18 Dec 1992]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  65. As close to perfect as filmmaking gets.
  66. An overwhelming experience.
  67. If his two previous films suggested a director dipping a few toes in dark waters, Un Prophete marks the moment when Audiard took the plunge.
  68. This is one helluva drama, with one helluva star turn by Jennifer Lawrence as Ree.
  69. One of the best crime dramas to come along in years.
  70. The new material makes the film seem lumpy and overstuffed.
  71. A great achievement: tense and passionate, a film that one feels not just emotionally but also physically.
  72. A great experience, precisely because it's so intimate and unguarded.
  73. Her
    The story is too slender for its two-hour running time, and the pace is lugubrious, as though everyone in front and behind the camera were depressed. But the biggest obstacle is the protagonist (Joaquin Phoenix), who is almost without definition.
  74. Among the great American crime movies, 1973's Badlands stands alone. [13 Feb. 1998]
  75. Egoyan's voice is so clear and loving, his vision so forgiving and his film so intelligent that you come away refreshed.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    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.
  76. The visuals pop, the fish emote and the ocean comes alive. That's in the first two minutes. After that, they do some really cool stuff.
  77. 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.
  78. Part of the appeal of Topsy-Turvy is its generosity about human folly and shortcomings. Its wistfulness is very touching.
  79. It's tremendously entertaining, and probably worthy of repeat viewings.
  80. Magnificent but somewhat frustrating movie.
  81. The visual and emotional hues are darker [than previous Pixar films], and the focus rests more on middle age than coming of age. The adventures of a family of superheroes are likely to thrill and amuse children, but the film's more grown-up themes might go over their heads.
  82. A sweet but curiously unfulfilling story.
  83. It's a humane and witty treatment of an average life that, incidentally, speaks to the worth and inherent drama of average lives.
    • 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
  84. A British costume film that's funny but not at all fusty.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    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.
  85. Ida
    Ida is a rarity, a film both intensely grounded in painful historical reality and genuinely otherworldly.
  86. There's just nothing artful about it, and it's Greengrass who deserves the credit. These nonactors don't act the way most people do when playing themselves. They act the way people do when they're being themselves.
  87. An original, inspired piece of work.
  88. A superb documentary.
  89. American Hustle is David O. Russell's best film, one that finds him in that ideal zone of spontaneity and complete control.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A rare chance to see a major cinematic work on the big screen.
  90. It's striking how much emotion Satrapi is able to convey through blocky drawings.
  91. A delicate, beautifully observed study of impossible romance, Lost in Translation is one of the best films this year.
  92. So in-depth, so appealing, so easy to sit through and so anomalously grand scale that few who see it will ever forget it.
  93. 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.
  94. 4 Little Girls brilliantly captures a moment in American history and tells an achingly painful story of injustice and family loss.

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