Chicago Tribune's Scores

For 6,712 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 62% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 36% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Listen Up Philip
Lowest review score: 0 UHF
Score distribution:
6712 movie reviews
  1. The movie — certainly Daniels’s best since “Precious” — is as turbulent and zigzaggy as Holiday’s life no doubt felt like to the woman who lived it. If this risky movie hits some bum notes, Andra Day cannot be found anywhere in the vicinity.
  2. What happens in Night of the Kings is a piece of traditional oration and impermanent art, significantly marked by both its temporal and improvisational qualities. It’s both a power struggle and a ritual practiced by the collective within a microcosm of society housed under the oppression of the state, and a powerful demonstration of the transporting, and liberating, power of narrative.
  3. Horror films often offer catharsis, but rarely are they also as deeply sorrowful as Keith Thomas’s The Vigil, a horror film based in Jewish faith and culture.
  4. The acting’s uniformly strong, and the script is distressingly weak.
  5. There are colors that pop throughout film — as if, in a nod to the title, drawn from a TV test pattern — and visually this is what stayed with me, from the yellow of Renesha’s dress, to the aqua benches against the white antiseptic floors of the hospital waiting room
  6. Wiig and Mumolo work so easily and smoothly together, you feel like an ingrate for not enjoying their efforts more in these script circumstances (especially since they wrote it). Now and then, though, the payoffs arrive.
  7. Writer-director Lee Isaac Chung is telling his own story here. The rough outlines and even some of the specific details are autobiographical and filtered through his memories of childhood. But he’s also considering these themes from his perspective now as an adult with a child of his own . . . and he straddles the two sides of this line so well, with wit and nuance, but also with such cutting precision.
  8. I wish the results were better, and a lot stranger. Cahill’s world-building has its moments, though. And the filmmaker did determine — correctly — that it’d be fun to have Bill Nye, the science guy, in a bow tie, portraying a sniffy scientific researcher.
  9. Early on, the camera is outside looking in through the couple’s windows and it’s as if we’re eavesdropping. That kind of cinematic intimacy is a huge draw, even if things are about to get ugly.
  10. Sophisticated management of tone makes Two of Us rich and nuanced, complex and utterly heartbreaking. Within the folds of the film, simultaneously a love story, thriller and tragedy, nearly anyone can find an anchor, or a wound. It illustrates with devastating clarity what a mess secrets can make, and how one errant, unpredictable thread can unravel any carefully calibrated lie.
  11. Hartigan has a knack for sensitive, human dramas, and while Little Fish takes place in a near-future heightened reality, the story is relatable not only because we’re all living through a pandemic ourselves, dealing with grief and loss on a scale that ranges from the deeply personal to the impossibly large, but because this kind of loss is also very real.
  12. Judas and the Black Messiah is my kind of dramatized Chicago history. It’s a real movie, for one thing — brash, narratively risky, full of life and sneaky wit (even if the dominant tone is one of foreboding) and brimming with terrific actors.
  13. No Man’s Land is an interesting twist on the border drama, daring to depict Mexico as complex and nuanced country: welcoming, fascinating and menacing in equal parts. But the story still centers a white male experience and hero’s journey.
  14. The moral conundrums aren’t particularly thorny, since Balram’s revenge is well-earned. Yet Bahrani works so well with the individual actors, they seem like people, not archetypes or stereotypes.
  15. The film wants to speak to some kind of old school, lone-ranger American hero type (as portrayed by a man from Northern Ireland), but it’s too vague, shying away from any controversy, to say much at all.
  16. The actors take your mind off things when they can: I like the way Hathaway jabs her elbow at the elevator buttons for punctuation, and the ardent commitment to language Ejiofor brings to his character’s public poetry readings. But a movie shouldn’t rely on Hathaway and Ejiofor to shell-game your attention away from the movie itself.
  17. The stakes are important, but the film is carried by a stream of small, acutely observed moments, and the way these actors move, converse, relate and enliven Powers’s best dialogue. It’s a case of getting the best of both worlds: a strong, mellow film of urgent, historically prescient ideas expanded from a juicy theatrical premise.
  18. There’s not a thrill to be found in this ostensible thriller, a rote kidnapping exercise taped together with digital blood spatter and an overly dramatic score, vaguely gesturing at global crises from five years ago.
  19. In Pieces of a Woman Kirby never seems to be building up artificial climaxes or big reveals; she works on a quieter, truer level. Too much going on around her ends up working against her.
  20. The film positions Black women at the center of their own stories, and this authentic portrayal of the platonic relationships that hold them together feels rich and true, a celebration of a feminine community that becomes family.
  21. The movie at hand is small, I suppose, and it may not be enough for some audiences. It’s enough for me.
  22. It’s a moderately diverting sequel. That means it’s also a distinct drop down from the 2017 origin story.
  23. If we strip away the comets raining fire on the earth, this film is about how the ways in which how we treat each other can be a matter of life or death. Even in that darkness, it dares to have a little hope.
  24. The music is drippy and constant, the wobble from comedy to drama feels off, and the dialects have been reamed in the Irish press. Charm resists calculation; even if actors get some going, even if a writer creates an approximation in or between the lines, deliberately manufactured charm curdles so easily. The one success story of Wild Mountain Thyme belongs to Blunt, who has yet to give a poor or lazily considered performance.
  25. It places a modern lens on complicated questions of art, love and perspective in storytelling, in an entertaining and intelligent thriller of intimate proportions.
  26. The movie’s a little sketchy and underwritten, and it feels sometimes as if scenes have been pared away or cut altogether to concentrate on Ahmed. But Ahmed really is terrific. Director Marder has a knack for both observing and igniting human behavior, through character. And supervising sound editor Nicolas Baker’s work astounds, period.
  27. While Another Round inspects the varying effects of alcohol on daily life, it’s far from clinical. Waves of ebullience, love, humor and sorrow crash on top of each other, as anyone who’s ever been overserved can attest to. It isn’t prescriptive about drinking, and doesn’t seek to impart any message other than that life is hard, and sometimes dark, and sometimes ecstatically beautiful.
  28. The tweaks are interesting, even if they can’t do anything about larger narrative frustrations.
  29. Hart and Horowitz map this hero’s journey onto her growth as a mother, her empowerment proving to be a source not just of strength, but love — a rare commodity in a crime flick.
  30. The result is a narrow slice of a much, much larger story, somewhat akin to the hands-off, eyes-wide-open documentary approach of Frederick Wiseman — if Wiseman were a war correspondent. Rarely has recent global history seemed so far away, yet so present. It’s one of the year’s essential documents.

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