San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 6,712 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 Farewell, My Queen
Lowest review score: 0 Epic Movie
Score distribution:
6712 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]
  3. One of the greatest of all epics.
  4. 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.
  5. Red is the best of the lot: warmer, more accessible, unusually generous toward its characters. A mystical tale of chance encounters and unexpected connections, Red uses a traffic accident as a springboard to discovery.
  6. A masterpiece.
  7. Part fairy tale and part bogeyman thriller -- a juicy allegory of evil, greed and innocence, told with an eerie visual poetry.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A wonderful parody of the birth of talkies that has great wit, an intelligent script, terrific music and dancing that can't be beat.
  8. Every year, we get only a few of these, movies that come out of nowhere, that are different, unexpected and wonderfully right. Moonlight is that kind of movie, one of the gems of 2016.
  9. 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.
  10. It turns out that Pepe Le Moko is even better than "Algiers."
  11. Visually stunning, it meshes haunting images with a complex multilevel story about the enchantment of youth.
  12. Though the movie clocks in at just under three hours, it is -- aside from an occasional slow spot -- fascinating and exciting.
  13. 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.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The anger, the mischief, the humor and the intelligence that flash in Day-Lewis' eyes make Christy Brown the most memorable film figure of the year. The Oscar does not necessarily reflect the pinnacle of success for an actor, but Day-Lewis certainly deserves that honor. [20 Dec 1989, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  14. 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).
  15. 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
    • 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.
  16. Superb.
  17. Ran
    In Ran, the horrors of life are transformed by art into beauty. It is finally so moving that the only appropriate response is silence.
  18. 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.
  19. Affleck is magnificent, but the movie is something less than that, because it can’t completely overcome some built-in challenges.
  20. Ratatouille is a classic.
  21. 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.
  22. An ungainly masterpiece, but Chaplin's ungainliness is something one can grow fond of.
  23. A lovely, evocative tour de force. So why does it seem we should be enjoying it more?
  24. 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
  25. Haynes elicits two great performances and provides the perfect frame for them, not just in terms of setting, but through smart casting and attention to the smallest of performances.
  26. A gem of fast action, sophisticated wit and inspired comedy.
  27. 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.
  28. What keeps I Am Not Your Negro just short of greatness is, alas, the competition from Baldwin himself. Watching it, it’s hard not keep wanting to see more of Baldwin and hear less of Jackson.
  29. 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."
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. In the moment, it's intermittently transcendent, heartrending and beautiful ... and busy, repetitious and boring.
  33. 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
  34. 45 Years is very much an English film and in the best sense. It’s subtle, understated and ultimately devastating, but only if you’re paying attention.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. A worthy, fascinating film..
  38. This one enters the pantheon of great American war films.
  39. The not-as-good news is that, like “Wall-E” and “Up,” Inside Out has a great opening, a satisfying finish, and something of a sag in the middle. But this time it’s only a sag.
  40. Payne's little marvel.
  41. There is no turning away from the screen.
  42. Though an estimable success overall, The Return of the King has several scenes too many and too great a concentration on battles.
  43. 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.
  44. As French crime thrillers go, this is about as good as it gets.
  45. Amour is also unforgettable and one of a kind, two hours of torment that, in the end, you will probably not regret.
  46. 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
  47. The class act of action movies.
  48. That the movie works so well is also due to the exceptional talents of leads Simonischek and Hüller, who hold nothing back — especially the former, whose Winfried is one of the oddest ducks in recent movies.
  49. Spotlight one of the best movies about journalism ever made, at once gripping and accurate. It doesn’t just get the big things right, such as how news stories evolve, but the small things, such as what offices look like and how staff tends to react to a new boss.
  50. 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
  51. 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.
  52. It’s a beautiful and hopeful film, coming at a time when there isn’t much beauty or hope in our movies, and it’s the type of picture — a sprawling, exuberant musical drama — that hasn’t been seen in decades.
  53. 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?
  54. 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.
  55. Its deeply anarchic sensibility has kept Taxi Driver fresh all these years. (Review twenty years after release).
  56. Perfect pitch.
  57. 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
  58. Crumb is one of the most provocative, haunting documentaries of the last decade.
  59. 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.
  60. This is the most realistic film about teaching that you're ever likely to see.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Star Wars, set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” is the most exciting picture to be released this year — exciting as theater and exciting as cinema. It is the most visually awesome such work to appear since “2001: A Space Odyssey,” yet is intriguingly human in its scope and boundaries.
  61. The film has aged gracefully.
  62. Apocalypse Now is a mixed bag, a product of excess and ambition, hatched in agony and redeemed by shards of brilliance. The new Redux version isn't a better film, but for Coppola fans and film lovers, it's essential viewing.
  63. 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.
  64. The results in an experience that is smooth sailing for the first 45 minutes, but then hits a slog that goes on for another 40, before the movie revives again in its last half hour. Obviously, a film can’t be great if you spend 40 minutes wishing the thing would end already. A 95 minutes, The Florida Project could have been a masterpiece.
  65. An indelible statement on loneliness and spiritual thirst.
  66. 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.
  67. It’s a testimony to how much this is a live issue in Indonesia that some of the credits are listed simply as “anonymous.”
  68. Keith Maitland’s powerful and emotional documentary Tower — easily one of the best films of the year — takes a novel approach for a nonfiction film: Animation.
  69. Not always pleasant to watch.
  70. He never indulges in schmaltz or melodrama, as most American filmmakers do when approaching this theme -- think of "It's a Wonderful Life" or the awful "When Dreams May Come" -- but delivers a delicate meditation rich with emotion.
  71. Spielberg's sledgehammer way with emotional moments, never more obvious than here, kills some of the pleasure for adults and robs the movie of the ultimate laurel -- classic status. [2002 re-release]
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. An absolute delight, combining the cheap thrills of a biopic with the gentler, but more lasting, pleasures of a brilliant character study.
  75. 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)
  76. This is a movie that you will admire both for its courage and its creativity.
    • 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
  77. Riveting.
  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. 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.
  80. Feels positively Greek in its magnitude, a lament about fate, age, time and life.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. Ida
    Ida is a rarity, a film both intensely grounded in painful historical reality and genuinely otherworldly.
  84. 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
  85. This is one helluva drama, with one helluva star turn by Jennifer Lawrence as Ree.
  86. As the title suggests, she might as well be on trial for her life. That’s the absurdist but eerily true premise behind this provocative Israeli feature film, which takes us to the world of the Jewish religious courts, a place where only rabbis can decree a divorce — and where husbands wield stupefying power.
  87. Ultimately, Collin’s film is one of forgiveness. That’s not the usual way great tragedies end.
  88. One of the best crime dramas to come along in years.
  89. A great achievement: tense and passionate, a film that one feels not just emotionally but also physically.
  90. A great experience, precisely because it's so intimate and unguarded.
  91. Among the great American crime movies, 1973's Badlands stands alone. [13 Feb. 1998]
  92. An overwhelming experience.
  93. Egoyan's voice is so clear and loving, his vision so forgiving and his film so intelligent that you come away refreshed.
  94. 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.
  95. 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.

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