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 2.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The Talented Mr. Ripley
Lowest review score: 0 Luminarias
Score distribution:
764 movie reviews
  1. Turns into something like a screwball farce, an intimate, self-aware one.
  2. Ruiz has made the most ambitious adaptation of a Proust work yet.
  3. Timeless, and as fine a depiction of human folly as you're likely to see at the movies.
  4. Makes a term like neo-noir seem like a fatuous catch phrase.
  5. Kiarostami's genius is elusive. His films may be unknowable, but they are undeniably hypnotic, charismatic.
  6. It's the year's best movie sex.
  7. Meanders around Holly Springs, Mississippi, with the fuzzy benevolence of a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation.
  8. Gets diagnosably schizo.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the most complex and powerful literary scripts in recent times.
  9. This is a nearly miraculous conjunction of director, material and actor.
  10. Big Night's beauty is the fact that it is about passion.
  11. With Election, Payne announces himself as one of the keenest purveyors of the scattered pieces that once was an American morality.
  12. Kurosawa pulled out all the stops with Ran, his obsession with loyalty and his love of expressionistic film techniques allowed to roam freely.
  13. Ethereal.
  14. A sweaty-browed exercise in precision filmmaking, but one that doesn't cheat you with wisps of tension and the pretense of attitude.
  15. Elegant.
  16. A momentously, shockingly moving fit of shape-shifting by a filmmaker grown tired of the macabre.
  17. So phenomenal that Bill Murray can't even steal it. And he tries. So excellent that Murray's MTV progeny Tom Green can't sink it.
  18. Minghella is an artist and he has painted himself a masterpiece.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Extraordinary, entertaining cinema.
  19. A handbook on cinematic lucidity. All events are described clearly. Motives of all the characters are set right there on the table next to the pasta for our consideration.
  20. It's that rare movie with a sense of timeliness that is eternal, and a protagonist whose soul-crushed angst, even at its most fatal, speaks to the little boy/girl lost in everyone.
  21. Spellbinding.
  22. The effect is riveting and frightening. You feel you are under siege with the combatants.
  23. The film will intoxicate children and charm the parents in their company.
  24. It's the film we leave most movie theaters wishing we'd seen instead.
  25. This movie has everything but Humphrey Bogart, and I'm sure he's sorry he was unavailable.
  26. It's a glimmering hunk of fractured brilliance riddled with Orwellian paranoia encased in a production design seemingly pieced together from the shared dreams of Franz Kakfa and Salvador Dali, and shot from cruelly low angles.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A marvelous child of Star Wars technology, the advanced sound design makes a celebratory re-viewing of George Lucas' legendary, 20-year-old space opera a thrilling experience. [Special Edition]
  27. With no frills and no commentary, Howard and company have made the kind of absorbing thriller we have in mind when we wistfully sigh, "They don't make movies like they used to."
  28. A movie that has an odd plot, quirky characters and a real edge, but it's not in-your-face, a re-invention of a genre or a smirky independent. It's different because it's flat-out great.
  29. Unlike so many other movies of literary provenance, it is clear from the start that this one is going to be entertainment, not homework. Lee serves up this sweetmeat without fuss, without the super-seriousness of filmmakers awed by their literary material.
  30. Dern is nothing short of brilliant here.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Todd Solondz's grand prize winner at this year's Sundance Film Festival lapses into satire, but its parodistic slant only exaggerates what is truthful, making the unpleasantness of that awkward age all the more disturbing and hilarious. It's a horror film starring reality in the monster role.
  31. The scenes with Stalin and his frightened underlings, his giddy yes-men tip-toeing around him, are written and directed by Duncan with a grace, agility and comic deftness one rarely is treated to at the movies these days.
  32. The film's premise is totally implausible yet great performances, directing and script allow us to transcend the concept of believability and enjoy nevertheless.
  33. A remarkable study of the corrosive effects of fear and power on an establishment insider who puts duty above all else.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Rumble in the Bronx has the explosive escapades that Stallone/Schwarzenegger followers crave - hair-raising free falls, hovercrafts out of control, crazed turf wars, collapsing buildings, gun-happy gangsters and other boy-film staples - plus the kind of oddball comedy and independent spirit usually found only outside the current Hollywood empire. Chan is a true artist of a genre that ordinarily does all it can to avoid art.
  34. A documentary with a keen eye, a playful sense of timing and an inquisitive soul.
  35. Part aerobics workout, part self-styled dreamscape, Sense is a hyperactive piece of performance art that begins as the stripped-down dress rehearsal of a garage band and builds into a mighty, exhausting spectacle that shakes as much ass as it kicks. [Review of re-release]
  36. If you know Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," you'll be unable to watch The Great Beauty without thinking about it. This gorgeous Italian movie, like its predecessor, balances pungent satire and a more melancholy mood in portraying the dissolute world of the upper crust in contemporary Rome.
  37. This movie is charming the way so few movies are anymore.
  38. Austin is funny, extremely funny, because he is so ridiculous, and because Myers is a brilliant mimic who, like Martin Short, knows how to do ridiculous.
  39. Mike Leigh's great big, superbly performed homage to the creative process.
  40. The shenanigans have been pared into 84 minutes of transgressive, potty-minded farce, that is often Waters at his most cheerful and most thematically focused.
  41. It's the boys' most immediately gratifying movie: The goods are delivered in a hearse.
  42. Funny and untouched by cynical, ironic bids to be taken seriously.
  43. If there's a granddaddy of breezy situationalism, it's probably Buñuel.
  44. A monumentally graceful union of two extremely dissimilar stars, one inspired cinematographer and an exceptionally patient, curious, independent-minded director.
  45. A grand, old-fashioned movie of spies and Communist repression.
  46. Soberly, deeply effective.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A 140-minute film masterpiece.
  47. A movie too smart and too urgent to be categorically awful. Clinically insane may be another matter altogether.
  48. If nothing else, The Filth and the Fury is a searing, forceful, entertainingly biased reminder only that the English group mattered - as musicians and as anti-social curs.
  49. Classic in feel and loaded with sumptuous performances.
  50. No-fat filmmaking aided by Berri's muscular formalism that, here, occasionally assumes the gritty focus of a taut, action thriller.
  51. A warm-hearted valentine to old traditions in China that are being obliterated by modern - and admittedly more efficient - technology.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Tucci and Holm brilliant as magazine writer and artist.
  52. Segues from the merely quirky into the bizarrely unthinkable.
  53. Staggering, gorgeously ambiguous.
  54. The least opaque of Antonioni's films, unburdened by stylishness and his imagistic inflammations.
  55. The first more-than-halfway-decent movie of a new millennium.
  56. Go
    A triptych whirling on a Lazy Susan of revolving character perspectives.
  57. There isn't a whole lot of fancy subplotting, just a potpourri of funny and engaging characters.
  58. This movie has the jaunty good cheer of another great movie about hit men, "Prizzi's Honor." And that is high praise indeed.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Like a Les Brown tune, a really dry martini and a hug from a good buddy, Swingers makes you feel warm all over, baby.
  59. Feels like it could go blow up at any time. It implodes instead, and the meltdown, though visible in one of the final sequences, is still corrosive.
  60. The only film sequels in history that just keep getting better.
  61. The amazing thing about the film, for anyone who hasn't had an intentional Hollywood scare lately, is that it still delivers on the most visceral level
  62. Leigh has a gift for demonstrating character from the outside in.
  63. With its fine courtroom scenes, excellent performances, great writing and superb direction it reminds me more than anything else of Barbet Schroeder's "Reversal of Fortune."
  64. Boys Don't Cry's intensity sneaks up on you like a snake.
  65. Madhouse satire manages to disarm the second you realize it's laughing with you - and sometimes harder.
  66. Imbued with infectious pluck. It's also a lucid, competent, titanically entertaining movie loaded with workable gags.
  67. More often than not the film casts an infectious, evocative spell.
  68. It's a more intelligent and dimensional epic than, say, "Anna and the King." Emperor is worth every single penny.
  69. Hysterical-depressing, vividly sobering.
  70. A work of strangely bold, distinctly American pop art - proud to be ashamed, ashamed to be proud, unafraid to ignore its commercial bearings.
  71. The dialogue is hip, natural and observational.
  72. I'm not sure all of this works out as convincingly as Anderson intends in the movie's somewhat unsatisfying ending, but getting there is a wickedly enjoyable journey.
  73. Its brazen mixture of the comic and dramatic, the high and low and the emotional and intellectual is positively Shakespearean.
  74. The Coens haven't been this sharp, focused and fluid since their first film. This is "Blood Simple's" promise fulfilled.
  75. Almodovar imbues his Harlequin-novel-meets-Marvel-comic-book melodramas with something more than a wink and a smile, and it's beguiling.
  76. A knock-down, haywire ballad of the adrenalinization of love and despair.
  77. Blair Witch forgoes a literal boogeyman in favor of the unseen, which, in this case, is as scarily bone-chilling as anything they could show you.
  78. Like laughing into a mirror for 113 minutes.
  79. Beautiful, wandering little love story that wants to break your heart and probably will.
  80. In Criminal Lovers, the "Bonnie and Clyde" model of killing-as-erotica gets a shrewd, funny, decidedly French workout.
  81. Through it all, Ozon supplies a sense of pathos that makes fun of its own soullessness, transforming a self-serious suicide note into an existential love letter.
  82. A crowd pleaser that caters to our horror of totalitarianism, our love of personal freedom, our belief - justified or deluded - that knowledge is a powerful tool and that access to information is a God-given right.
  83. A document of vexing (and vexed) immediacy.
  84. Salles' solid narrative is only deceptively simple; there is a lot of dimension and depth to this gentle, sometimes painful portrait of two wanderers.
  85. A weird, wonderful and funny work that stands as a true original. As if that weren't enough, director and co-writer Anderson has given Bill Murray his best role in years.
  86. The majestic pageant of images - no sylvan landscape has been this indelibly, dimensionally alive - is inextricably welded to the multifold spiritual / ecological questions about the future that Miyazaki is contemplating.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The maturity of the Star Trek saga and its remarkable fan base have combined to produce a polished film that shines like a crown jewel in the Star Trek firmament.
  87. It's a gas, dude!
  88. It's the rawest, most hot-blooded, provocatively audacious, dangerous movie to come of out Hollywood this year.
  89. A guilty pleasure and one of the best films of the year.
  90. One of the qualities that makes "12 Monkeys" so good is the fact that it is almost too complicated to explain.
  91. Ryan has an edge that is extremely becoming…This is her best work yet.
  92. Handsome, well-acted, well-written and beautifully directed movie.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Jingoistic politics are not proper or prudent in the pluralistic human society of the 1990s. It's much easier to assuage these baser urges by facing a real nonhuman enemy that just wants to kill you. War is gore. You or them. That message is the real strength of "Starship Troopers," although many may find it morally flawed. No matter, this is powerful entertainment that appeals to our most basic instincts.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    This is the bluest film you'll ever see. The haunting color resounds throughout Empire like a sustained, melancholy chord...Empire is essential viewing for lovers of science fiction. [Special Edition]
  93. An old-fashioned movie. It is simplistic, full of stock characters and easy solutions to difficult problems, and I absolutely loved it.
  94. Amazing comic performances...give this comedy its lovely manic pace, kept just within the realm of sanity.
  95. May be the funniest movie about parental and spousal abuse ever made.
  96. The script by Ed Solomon is tight, well-paced and lighthearted. If this were a musical, Fred Astaire could have played the Jones role, although somewhat more dashingly.
  97. It's the hypnotic long-form music video Smoke never got to make.
  98. Shelton has a talent for using the specific to illustrate the universal. Avowed baseball haters loved "Bull Durham." And if watching golf sounds like an excellent insomnia cure, you will probably still enjoy Tin Cup.
  99. Happy Together is Wong's most fully realized work. It is a pleasure to watch an interesting mind feel his way, and the result is something more than just a passing fancy.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Broken Arrow isn't the ultimate fusion of Hong Kong surrealism and Hollywood realism, but it points the way to nerve-shattering possibilities.
  100. This is filmmaking of high energy and wit. What it adds up to is debatable. You can view it as a bright twist on the being-a-cop-is-lonely sort of police picture, or as a mini-anthology of quirky not-quite-love stories. If it's hard to say where Chungking Express arrives, the trip is still exhilarating.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Superbly acted by its young cast, written and directed with great sophistication, Wild Reeds moves with a sad assurance through that domain that most American filmmakers explore only clumsily: the mysteries of the human heart.

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