Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 7,513 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 73% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 25% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 A Woman Under the Influence
Lowest review score: 0 I Spit on Your Grave
Score distribution:
7513 movie reviews
  1. The Forgiven holds us in its grips until the very last frame.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    If a heartfelt summer comedy feels like something that the doctor ordered, then a healthy dose of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On will fill the bill.
  2. Mr. Malcolm’s List is a low-key, pleasant slice of escapism, with some lovely scenery and the attendant period-piece costumery and lavish estates, and a host of great-looking people bending themselves into all sorts of knots and doing their best to keep up with the quipping and the courtship rituals and the obligatory Misunderstandings, Deceptions and Betrayals before it all ends with … spoiler alert … declarations of true love!
  3. This is the kind of movie that keeps the great Ellen Barkin literally in the shadows as a criminal mastermind, and relegates the wonderful Kaley Cuoco to an embarrassing supporting role as a man-hungry best girlfriend who might as well have stepped out of a cheesy 1970s rom-com. Is anybody even trying here?
  4. Based on a short story from Joe Hill and directed with tone-perfect style by Scott Derrickson, who wrote the screen adaptation with his “Doctor Strange” writing partner C. Robert Cargill, The Black Phone is a hauntingly effective, perfectly paced, consistently chilling and wickedly warped horror gem.
  5. If you thought the magnificently flamboyant Luhrmann was well-suited to put the flashiest of spins on “The Great Gatsby,” you can imagine what he does with the made-for-overkill mythology of Elvis — and from the moment we see a bejeweled version of the Warner Bros. Pictures logo, we know Luhrmann is going to flood our senses with a nonstop medley of arresting sights and sounds, never taking his foot off the directorial gas pedal.
  6. This is a high-concept and yes, meta, film that springs from a clever premise and delivers wholesome, energetic, positive-messaging entertainment — even if there are some plot developments straight out of “Interstellar” meets “Back to the Future” that will sail above the heads of the little ones.
  7. In more ways than one, this is one of the dopiest films of the year.
  8. Writer-director-star Cooper Raiff’s smart and charming and delightfully offbeat Cha Cha Real Smooth is a movie very much of the present day, but there’s something almost nostalgic about the self-consciously indie material in that it reminded me of somewhat similarly themed gems such as “Rushmore” (1998), “Igby Goes Down” (1998) and “Tadpole” (1998) — and all of these films are generational descendants of “The Graduate” (1966).
  9. Even with all that success and a number of high-profile romances, Lopez has maintained a tight control over her image (like most stars on that level), and this is probably as close as her fans are going to get to a revealing filmed biography.
  10. The Phantom of the Open is about as deep and complex as a round of miniature golf, but it’s just as much fun as well.
  11. This is two hours and 27 minutes of pure dinosaur droppings, and the viewer is as helpless as a boat passing under a bridge on the Chicago River as the Dave Matthews Band unloads a torrent of foul waste from above.
  12. The gifted writer-director Michael Glover Smith (“Mercury in Retrograde,” “Rendezvous in Chicago”) continues to grow as a filmmaker, as he expertly moves around the pieces on the chessboard over the course of a story told over three days and filled with potentially life-changing confrontations, revelations and realizations.
  13. Directors Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes do nomination-worthy work in telling the story of what women had to endure in the years immediately preceding Roe v. Wade — and how one group of smart, independent, determined, resourceful and brave women in Chicago created an underground network to facilitate illegal but safe abortions for literally thousands of individuals from 1968-1973.
  14. Neither Connie nor Paul existed in real life, and the events in 18 ½ are pure fancy. Still, this is an eccentrically intriguing and thought-provoking chapter in the long history of Watergate-based TV series and films.
  15. Hollywood Stargirl is smart, family-friendly entertainment with the perfect combination of real-world plausibility and magical escapism.
  16. Even in its more melodramatic moments, Hustle feels like it’s taking place in today’s NBA world. This is Adam Sandler’s love letter to the game, and it is great fun from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
  17. Skate or Die is culled from more than 100 hours of footage shot by Ferguson in the late 2000s and early 2010s, and with a great assist from editor Zebediah Smith, the end result is an 84-minute, journalistically impressive documentary that knows how to get out of its own way and let the story and the subject matter come to three-dimensional life in a stylistically appropriate fast-paced fashion.
  18. While there are times when Cronenberg seems to be indulging in his trademark gross-out visuals for the sake of shock, Crimes of the Future is darkly funny and consistently thoughtful — and, for all its moments of extreme horror, offers legitimate commentary on issues such as body dysmorphia and the extreme measures taken by some real-world individuals in order to carve, sculpt and tattoo their bodies as evolving canvasses of expression.
  19. Maverick is a movie made for “Top Gun” fans BY “Top Gun” fans, including director Joseph Kosinski, who wisely follows Scott’s directorial playbook nearly page for page and gives Cruise and the outstanding supporting cast breathing room to shine in alternating scenes of hotshot pilot banter and dramatic emotional impact.
  20. For all its influences and roots in similar types of comedies, Emergency is an original work, very much of its time.
  21. Men
    There are times when Men comes across as being trippy and bizarre for the sake of easy scares, but thanks to Garland’s keen sense of pacing, the typically outstanding work from Jessie Buckley as our heroine and a staggeringly good, multi-character performance by Rory Kinnear, this is unlike any other film this year.
  22. As usual, the production design and costumes are museum-perfect, and even as things remain as complicated ever with the Crawleys et al., the film itself is the definition of a simple pleasure.
  23. Senior Year doesn’t come across as condescending or cynical; it’s just harmless and sweetly dopey and instantly forgettable.
  24. Directed with a more fittingly dark, austere, horror-movie vibe by Keith Thomas and featuring grounded performances from an excellent cast headed by Zac Efron, Sydney Lemmon and newcomer Ryan Kiera Armstrong, this Firestarter is a combustible supernatural thriller that embraces its borderline campy qualities and works well enough as 21st century drive-in escapist fare.
  25. Director Lucie Jourdan paints a vividly disturbing picture of Cline, using his own words and actions against him, but wisely and compassionately makes Our Father as much about the victims as the infuriatingly evil Cline.
  26. Firth and Macfadyen (hey, they’ve both played Mr. Darcy!) are terrific together as two men who really don’t like each other, don’t trust each other and have different ways of trying to connect with Jean.
  27. With the deadpan-great Benedict Cumberbatch effortlessly sliding back into the role of the brilliant and immensely powerful but sometimes shortsighted and narcissistic Doctor Stephen Strange and a bizarro plot that serves up philosophical, ethical and spiritual mind games in between the sometimes repetitive but slick and exhilarating action sequences, this is one of the weirder Marvel movies yet.
  28. Neeson never phones in his performances, but he’s particularly invested this time around, playing a guy who can be a pure killing machine one moment, and as lost as a child the next. Pearce and Bellucci headline the terrific supporting cast, and the 78-year-old Campbell proves he can still direct the hell out of a slick and engrossing thriller.
  29. We believe every frame of this performance, whether Harry is an emaciated figure in the ring in the concentration camp, a formidable opponent as a pro fighter in America or an older man who seems to have found some measure of peace in his life, though the horrific memories will never die.

Top Trailers