San Francisco Examiner's Scores

  • Movies
For 779 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 46% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Magnolia
Lowest review score: 0 Lost Souls
Score distribution:
779 movie reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Citizen Kane...has the best of everything: a great director and star, innovative cinematography, dreamlike - even nightmarish - art direction, a sonorous musical score, a skillful screenplay in which comic passages intensify the movie's tragic qualities by means of their grotesque juxtaposition (how lifelike!), a psychological / narrative form that predates our contemporary "psycho-histories" by at least 40 years, and best of all, a memorial word that, when spoken, recalls the film out of thin air.
  1. 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.
  2. A sweaty-browed exercise in precision filmmaking, but one that doesn't cheat you with wisps of tension and the pretense of attitude.
  3. The sexual tension and humorous byplay between Leigh and co-star Clark Gable, in the role of gentleman rogue Rhett Butler, was riveting. And so was Leigh's portrayal of a viper trying to consume the good-hearted Ashley Wilkes, embodied by the fine-boned Hungarian-turned-British actor, Leslie Howard.
  4. Ran
    Kurosawa pulled out all the stops with Ran, his obsession with loyalty and his love of expressionistic film techniques allowed to roam freely.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  5. The film will intoxicate children and charm the parents in their company.
  6. If there's a granddaddy of breezy situationalism, it's probably Buñuel.
  7. A documentary with a keen eye, a playful sense of timing and an inquisitive soul.
    • 92 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]
  8. Elegant.
  9. Leigh has a gift for demonstrating character from the outside in.
  10. "The Big Sleep" and "The Maltese Falcon" echo loudly throughout.
  11. For all its lazy beauty, the movie is rooted in the personalities of its lead characters and they, unfortunately, are bloodless, affectless, emotionless dopes who turn their considerable lack of scruples on the business of senseless killing, for which they seemingly have no remorse. [13 Feb. 1998]
  12. The effect is riveting and frightening. You feel you are under siege with the combatants.
  13. Mike Leigh's great big, superbly performed homage to the creative process.
  14. It's the film we leave most movie theaters wishing we'd seen instead.
  15. More often than not the film casts an infectious, evocative spell.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  16. 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.
    • 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.
  17. 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]
  18. 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.
  19. Imbued with infectious pluck. It's also a lucid, competent, titanically entertaining movie loaded with workable gags.
  20. Aspires to the boundlessness of a kid's imagination.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Dead is a movie you want to dismiss as another, gross supernatural B-movie: campy fun. But, shot and edited by Romero himself, the film is an astounding technical knockout, often so expressionist that the daylight seems afraid of the dark. The horror is so unalloyed that dead look decidedly, frighteningly human.
  21. Its brazen mixture of the comic and dramatic, the high and low and the emotional and intellectual is positively Shakespearean.
  22. The movie is meant to be uplifting and to the degree that you can ignore its unquestioning treatment of mental illness, I suppose it is.
  23. Almodovar imbues his Harlequin-novel-meets-Marvel-comic-book melodramas with something more than a wink and a smile, and it's beguiling.
  24. Minghella is an artist and he has painted himself a masterpiece.
  25. Kiarostami's genius is elusive. His films may be unknowable, but they are undeniably hypnotic, charismatic.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  26. Half snappy, sardonic and incisive and half slow-moving, goofy and dense.
  27. The only film sequels in history that just keep getting better.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  28. A momentously, shockingly moving fit of shape-shifting by a filmmaker grown tired of the macabre.
  29. 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.
  30. Boys Don't Cry's intensity sneaks up on you like a snake.
  31. 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.
  32. A satire whose dead aim stops wounding - and starts making - stereotypes of white middle-classness.
  33. 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.
  34. The Coens haven't been this sharp, focused and fluid since their first film. This is "Blood Simple's" promise fulfilled.
  35. Out of Sight needed the energetic and stylish hand of "Get Shorty" director Barry Sonnenfeld. Instead, a sad-sackish Soderbergh ( "sex, lies and videotape") comes at this material looking as if his mind was on something else, something much, much more depressing.
  36. Soberly, deeply effective.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  37. In 80 minutes, the film accumulates a staggering gravity.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  38. I can't help thinking, though, that maybe Thornton was too ambitious in trying to wear three hats.
  39. Hysterical-depressing, vividly sobering.
  40. A meticulously assembled dramatization of a grossly controversial moment in TV history.
  41. 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    A Little Princess is a delightful film. Bring your children, or just bring yourself.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Extraordinary, entertaining cinema.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
  42. A film that can be enjoyed by all ages and that insults no one's intelligence.
  43. One of the most self-in-dulgent, muddled, badly written, vague and pointless exercises in filmmaking I have ever had to sit through.
  44. With Election, Payne announces himself as one of the keenest purveyors of the scattered pieces that once was an American morality.
  45. Nicolas Cage gives one of the best performances of his strange, courageous career.
  46. The trouble comes when Woo's patented - that is, oft-repeated - style overwhelms any hope of discerning story or acting through the haze of burning, crashing, bleeding and exploding.
  47. 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.
  48. A work of strangely bold, distinctly American pop art - proud to be ashamed, ashamed to be proud, unafraid to ignore its commercial bearings.
  49. This movie is charming the way so few movies are anymore.
  50. 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.
  51. Works a familiar mine and produces more than a few nuggets. It's a good tonic, if one's still needed, for '80s-style cynicism: Greed is not good.
  52. Leigh plays the tragic and annoying Sadie as if she loved and hated the character simultaneously. And to the degree that this courageous movie succeeds it will elicit the same feelings in the audience.
  53. Solondz's greatest success is the pederast, heartbreakingly played by Baker...Had Solondz reached that apex in the other stories, it would have been a masterpiece.
  54. It's the boys' most immediately gratifying movie: The goods are delivered in a hearse.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  55. An independent film so enamored of itself it refuses to have any fun.
    • 81 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]
  56. Priceless.
  57. Troisi, who was a star in Italy, hasn't been seen widely in the United States, and from this film it is difficult to be certain how he achieved his fame.
  58. 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A 140-minute film masterpiece.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The story of a trainer and three of his boxers trying to break away from the confines of a gym in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Each story is strong, gripping in its own way. But you've heard them all before.
  59. Troubling and troubled.
  60. The script, by director Richard Kwietnioski and adapted from the Gilbert Adair novel, is poignant and well constructed.
  61. Timeless, and as fine a depiction of human folly as you're likely to see at the movies.
    • San Francisco Examiner
    • 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.
  62. Big Night's beauty is the fact that it is about passion.
  63. Salles' solid narrative is only deceptively simple; there is a lot of dimension and depth to this gentle, sometimes painful portrait of two wanderers.
  64. De Felitta has taken potentially overripe material and given it real heart.
  65. Like laughing into a mirror for 113 minutes.
  66. 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."
  67. 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.
  68. Misses some creative opportunities to really drive this story home, but it's a naturally haunting story nonetheless.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  69. This is a nearly miraculous conjunction of director, material and actor.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 25 Critic Score
    You may have surmised that Americans have held the copyright on turning out awful movies about serious musicians (especially musicians with physical or mental afflictions), but along comes the high-gloss weepie.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Powerful war spectacle neglects novel's heart and much of story.
  70. 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.
  71. The welcome hints at emotional excess are compromised by the blunt force of the movie's political point-making.
  72. At its best when it's hovering around the muted dysfunction between a father and a son, who never understood each other to begin with.
  73. Gets blue-ribbon results from its thoroughbred cast of improvisational comics.
    • San Francisco Examiner
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. Segues from the merely quirky into the bizarrely unthinkable.
  77. A knock-down, haywire ballad of the adrenalinization of love and despair.
  78. 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.
  79. 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."
  80. 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.
  81. Nunez's style is quiet, simple and deliberate, but the film never drags.
  82. Now "Rod Tidwell," with Jerry Maguire as a supporting character, would be a movie to pay to see.
  83. This movie has everything but Humphrey Bogart, and I'm sure he's sorry he was unavailable.
  84. Staggering, gorgeously ambiguous.
  85. Spellbinding.
  86. Funny enough that it could make buddy pictures respectable again.

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