San Francisco Examiner's Scores

  • Movies
For 764 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 49% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 47% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The Opposite of Sex
Lowest review score: 0 Lost Souls
Score distribution:
764 movie reviews
  1. An edgy, hypnotic entertainment that's like a Club Med production of "Lord of the Flies."
    • San Francisco Examiner
  2. A film where suspense and exhilaration are incompatible, and a receding plot line is merely the platform for cars to fly through panes of glass.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  3. A gorgeous sliver of grown-up ambrosia.
  4. One of Lee's unsung gifts as a filmmaker is his discovery of that place between eye-popping surrealism and wrenching Greek tragedy.
  5. Prince-Bythewood's movie is an occasionally clunky, mostly engaging coming out party for herself.
  6. Succeeds better than it ought to, largely because of the personality and prodigious talents of its director and star, the Italian comedian Roberto Benigni.
  7. As formulaic, but occasionally outré multiplex-bound behemoths go, Gladiator is a foaming beast.
  8. Pi
    Pi will not be for everyone, but for those who are fed up with the mainstream idiocy that gets dumped into theaters each summer, this movie willbe like a great big palate-clearing taste of sorbet.
  9. A film that can be enjoyed by all ages and that insults no one's intelligence.
  10. The emphasis is on comedic interaction, not plot - too bad, "48 HRS" had both - but the pair adds spice to the predictable opposites-detract gags.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    A poignant and racy movie. The dancing is pretty great, too.
  11. In 80 minutes, the film accumulates a staggering gravity.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  12. Ultimately affecting mix 'n' match weeper.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    An exceptionally funny science-fiction comedy.
  13. The weird thing about the films David Mamet has directed is that they have about as much emotion as a cyborg in a science fiction movie, yet by the end of the picture it isn't necessary; by then the audience has supplied their own.
  14. At once a stifling exercise in thwarting emotional dynamics and a heated invitation to engage in the film's discourse on the shortcoming of sexual politics and justice in a media-saturated land.
  15. Where most effects-laden extravanganzas aspire to be nothing more than a live-action comic book, The Matrix sees things with the venturesome clarity of a graphic novel.
  16. Broadway-sized performances.
    • San Francisco Examiner
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Flawed but scrappy, confusing yet exhilarating, the Brit-made Lock, Stock is far from a perfect movie. And it's not for anyone squeamish about violence. But it is, like Green Day, a rockin' good time.
  17. While amusing and sometimes touching, Pleasantville is far from challenging.
  18. Marshall has an astounding instinct for popular entertainment. He's done it again with The Other Sister.
  19. I think the script by television writer Channing Gibson (no relation) is the funniest of them all.
  20. Her first feature, a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age comedy, is a nicely directed, well-written debut.
  21. That's not to say the entertaining Antz" was made by Woody, just that it's full of his personality.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    One of the funniest movies to come along in awhile.
  22. The delight of the movie is Keitel, who finally gets to play someone who doesn't look like he's about to mug you.
  23. The script, by director Richard Kwietnioski and adapted from the Gilbert Adair novel, is poignant and well constructed.
  24. Eastwood is perfect as the bad guy (a thief) you root for.
  25. Think of this as "Die Hard" in a suit, with an election coming up.
  26. Especially fine are Spade and Louiso, the latter possessing a quality of injured integrity that is priceless here.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Without much of a plot to speak of and relying almost entirely on the girls' star power and charisma - which they have in spades - turns out to be a truly entertaining movie for anyone with even a bare knowledge of the Spice Girls' history, which in this age of absolute over-saturation, is hard to avoid.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    A great date movie: engaging enough to grab your attention while it's unfolding, thought-provoking enough to fuel cafe and cocktail lounge chatter long after the closing credits roll.
  27. The acting and writing is a cut above the ordinary.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It's fast-moving, it's got fine special effects, the hero and heroine are pure and quick-thinking, the bad people die badly, and the script draws its fair share of laughs.
  28. This movie has everything.
  29. The ordinariness of the material gives way to the winning personalities of the stars.
  30. Delpy and Hawke begin to grow on you and Linklater and his actors achieve a point midway through the film when the characters are so attractive and smart and emotionally daring that you'll be happy to spend the night with them.
  31. Because the movie is otherwise so well made and so full of sweet emotion and "good" values, I was happy to ignore the shortcomings.
  32. While I was watching "Lone Star," I realized that what makes Sayles a good and socially responsible person - his ability to look at one thing a hundred different ways - is exactly what makes him a muddy filmmaker.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    In the movie, the truth will (and does) out itself. Mulder and Scully have seen the future and it's a giant leap for each of them to comprehend.
  33. William H. Macy is fine as the detective Arbogast, wearing a hat he could have borrowed from Martin Balsam in the original role.
  34. A smart, funny and endearing movie. It has enough cynicism to satisfy the part of DiCillo that would mock a blue-eyed superstar, yet enough genuine sentiment to make it possible for us to swallow the cynicism.
  35. The disappointing ending aside, there is much to enjoy in The Game, a creation with a sheen so highly burnished that sometimes you feel you must look away.
  36. The veteran Baker anchors the proceedings, and you would like to see more of her character.
  37. The good guys metamorphose into bad guys and back into good guys with dazzling efficiency in Brian Helgeland's disturbing, comic script.
  38. Gattaca is a welcome throwback to the days of good, low-tech sci-fi, stressing character and atmosphere over computer-generated effects and juvenile thrills.
  39. Coppola again shines his intelligence on this bestseller material, rather than just shoving it through the Hollywood mill unsifted.
  40. A charming and moving film about a slightly racy subculture in a highly rule-bound society.
  41. Perhaps a bit miscast, and with a penchant for too many double-takes, Perry nonetheless is game.
  42. Private Parts is a sparkling, nonstop entertainment written by Len Blum and Michael Kalesniko and directed by Betty Thomas, but sometimes it gives the impression that Stern is nothing short of Nobel Peace Prize material.
  43. It's a testament to what happens when all the right ingredients come together. Wag the Dog is the best political satire in years.
  44. What's best about this script is the premise: a lawyer who doesn't lie.
  45. The sort of smutty scandalmongering the average moviegoer can really get behind.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  46. This overall good feeling helps smooth over the sometimes shocking lapses in logic.
  47. It succeeds because of the frenzied, kinetic direction by Mike Newell, one of the most interesting big-hit directors.
  48. The finest element in de la Pena's carefully assembled account is how she doesn't simply state the obvious, but lets the meaty facts speak for themselves.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  49. Slightly more mature and better assembled, Road Trip goes one better on "American Pie" by teasing out the idiosyncrasies in four guys existing in a personality grab bag.
  50. Comes on like an "After School Special'' psychodrama that's been taken off its medication.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  51. Hamlet finds in Hawke's greatish performance a Great Dane for this, or any other, modern moment.
  52. Sometimes the movie lacks a quietness, an omission most egregiously felt at the end.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    After more than an hour of fun, the film turns dark as Solanas' mental state worsens. Not only does the brilliant kook wear out her welcome with Warhol, but the portrayal also grates on the viewer.
  53. Softley and Amini say they consciously viewed Kate as a film noir kind of heroine, a beauty leading a good man astray. And that, added to the setting of the second half of the movie in canal-riven Venice, gives the story the kind of moral haziness that verges on Thomas Mann territory.
  54. The standard noir trappings are here: the femme fatale, double-crossing, fatalism, broken dreams, innocence betrayed and the rest of it. But Stone pushes it all so far and so relentlessly that it becomes absurdist comedy.
  55. Quiet, moving and beautifully shot.
  56. Bay has two great assets in Connery and Cage. The special effects give The Rock a James Bondian feel so Connery's wry, world-weary devil-may-careishness looks right at home here.
  57. To enumerate exactly how Bean messes up would be to expose the silliness of this movie, and since Bean's humor is terribly silly, rather, wonderfully silly, there isn't much point in going into detail.
  58. You find yourself absorbed in simply looking at them to the extent that it's hard to hear what they're saying. It's a nice dilemma for a movie to present.
  59. It is familiarly old-fashioned, complete with montages of newspaper clippings fluttering past and calendar days slipping by. The sets, costumes, old cars and general atmosphere all beautifully recall moviemaking of a bygone era. And for that, hats off to Duke.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It's a beautiful movie. Too beautiful for its own good, really.
  60. But then, just when it appears the race is lost, Steve James' love for his character and art form kicks in and wins the day, and, though flawed, Prefontaine is an engrossing portrait of a complex figure.
  61. Voight's Wright is one of many examples of how Singleton and Poirier succeed in suggesting the ambivalence and shadings that make movie characters believable.
  62. The movie is well made by director Michael Winterbottom ("Jude"), with a minimum of overdramatics.
  63. Ransom is every bit as taut and expertly directed, and it's another in the emergency genre, one in which Howard excels.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It's too slick to be truly disturbing, but it's that slickness that keeps you on the edge of your chair.
  64. Director John McTiernan outdoes the previous "Die Hards" (McTiernan directed the first, Renny Harlin the second) with machinery, stunts, noise, bullets and guts. Hand-held camerawork tweaks the audience's sense of anxiety further, and for the most part it works well.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It is both the best-looking James Bond film and the best-looking James Bond.
  65. The result is a thrill ride with enough plunges and turns and loop-the-loops to make it worth a spin. What the picture lacks is the magic and resonance you feel in the best of popular entertainments.
  66. With an original score by Alan Menken and Gilbert and Sullivan-ish songs by Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz, the movie is the cartoon equivalent of a full-scale, high-quality Broadway musical.
  67. Dalmatians proves an apt playground for Hughes as one could surmise that his inspiration for treating comic bad guys in his movies so violently comes from a cartoon sensibility.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The Wachowski brothers are to be applauded for a film that is also nearly as stylishly funny as it is sexy and fast-paced.
  68. It's funnier, and bitchier, than Clare Boothe Luce's "The Women," and, best of all, it showcases three wonderful actresses who have rarely been better.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Even those unfamiliar with the entire "Star Trek" phenomenon (it's now been 30 years since the original TV show sprang from the fertile mind of creator Gene Roddenberry) will find this a clever action movie, with a well-written screenplay and tight direction of a fine cast.
  69. Tyler is a find for a director like Bertolucci. She is a blank slate of prettiness with her unadulterated, thoroughbred, long-limbed looks.
  70. Foster has whipped the actors into the sort of comic frenzy usually reserved for farce, and the ready-for-anything energy serves the material well.
  71. Mangold's vision is bold. There is nothing cutesy or gimmicky about Heavy, which may be why something in its grimness recalls the work of Ingmar Bergman.
  72. Tennant and company do a fine job of retaining the otherworldliness of a fairy tale while at the same time explaining all the archaisms for a modern audience.
  73. Add to that a perfect cast and one's only complaint will be that this is, at heart, another tear-jerker about how good it is to love and be alive and all of that.
  74. Driver, who is padded but not fat, is an actress with self-possession to spare. Her looks defy conventional rules about modern beauty, but the directness of her gaze and the honesty of her smile make it difficult to look anywhere else when she is on screen.
  75. Fallen Angels is proof that Wong will try anything, and the result is an eclectic mix of images and disjointed editing, sounds and rhythms that are at times as powerful as any piece of filmmaking likely to be seen all year. It can also, every once in awhile, be tedious and trying.
  76. This movie has a first-rate script, and director Joseph Ruben ( "True Believer," "The Stepfather" ) knew exactly what to do with it.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The movie is strongest when Lee keeps his eye on the prize: the experiences of ordinary people in an extraordinary time.
  77. It's as sunny as you would expect a Hanks project to be.
  78. A sobering documentary.
  79. Copycat is as steady and reliable as a pulse and as exhilarating as a surge of adrenalin.
  80. Franklin juggles it all with wit and style, and suddenly you feel fine that this is only Mosley's first Easy Rawlins novel. Several more are just waiting to be adapted.
  81. All the performances are good, the script is subtle and waste-free and Danny Elfman's score is evocative and appropriate, but the direction is what gives the movie its sweep.
  82. In the attempt to rein in a cast playing a great assortment of exaggerated types, Schlesinger (who directed "Midnight Cowboy" and "Marathon Man" ) and Bradbury sometimes lose the tone of the movie.
  83. Some nice performances and modest laughs highlight this amiable British comedy.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    A hip, corrosive and often hilarious entertainment, the movie strikes another blow for the American independent film.
  84. Of course, turning a novel by Woolrich into a light romantic froth is a little like turning King Lear into a musical comedy. But Benjamin has the right comic touch to pull this off.

Top Trailers