Ben Sachs

Ben Sachs

Agrees with the Tomatometer 65% of the time.

Publications:
Chicago Reader
Total Reviews:
364

Listing Of All Reviews & Articles

Showing 1 - 50 of 364
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Rating T-Meter Title | Year Add Date
56% Promoter (1991) " Neame and his players inject this with plenty of wit, distracting one from the Horatio Alger cliches." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jul 17, 2014
—— Flamenco, Flamenco " Each performance seems to take place at a specific time of day -- and because this was shot by the great Vittorio Storaro, the cinematography is just as impressive as the performances." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jul 17, 2014
20% Sex Tape (2014) " Given all the name-brand products invoked, their misadventure suggests a sort of nightmarish shopping spree." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jul 17, 2014
—— Run for Your Money " A minor though still appealing effort from the Ealing Studios." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jul 10, 2014
89% As It Is In Heaven (2014) " The results just feel tedious." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jul 10, 2014
1/4 48% Earth to Echo (2014) " If the movie is a waste, at least it's an instructive one, signaling just how offensive children's entertainment might become in the YouTube era." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jul 10, 2014
68% Nothing Bad Can Happen (2014) " Gebbe elicits strong performances from her actors and succeeds in inspiring a certain sick fascination with the material, yet the film's oppressive unpleasantness yields no new insights into psychology or religious faith." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jul 7, 2014
29% Deliver Us from Evil (2014) " Director Scott Derrickson demonstrates a knack for atmosphere but little sense of pacing; some sequences are effectively spooky (particularly one set at the Bronx Zoo), though just as many feel uninspired." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jul 6, 2014
17% Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) " In the end, though, this is still a movie about giant robots fighting each other, which is to say it's nearly impossible to take seriously on a narrative level." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jul 6, 2014
71% A Coffee in Berlin (2014) " Writer-director Jan Ole Gerster employs a loose, episodic structure that feels closer in spirit to TV comedy than feature filmmaking; though often funny, the movie never feels like more than the sum of its parts." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 19, 2014
75% Jews Of Egypt (2014) " This is a compelling history lesson, though it often looks like a PowerPoint presentation." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 19, 2014
80% The Illumination (Iluminacja) (1973) " The editing, at once jarring and exhilarating, is as revolutionary in its own way as that of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 19, 2014
—— Brave Miss World (2013) " Abargil is a hero whose story should be told, but not like this." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 19, 2014
85% 22 Jump Street (2014) " This sequel to the hit action comedy 21 Jump Street is better all around: the pacing is more consistent, the sight gags more imaginative, the self-referential jokes sharper." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 19, 2014
—— Tula: The Revolt " The episode is important enough to make this 2013 Danish drama worth watching, but it's blunt and didactic, with clunky storytelling and amateurish visuals." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 12, 2014
80% The Fault In Our Stars (2014) " An emotional climax arrives every 15 minutes or so, and every affecting moment is underscored with a soppy light-rock song." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 12, 2014
3/4 86% Cold in July (2014) " Initially the late-80s setting of Cold in July registers as kitsch, but it grows more evocative as the Carpenter impersonation gives way to something weirder and uglier." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 12, 2014
53% Citizen Koch (2014) " This imparts such vital information that one can overlook the technical ineptitude." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 12, 2014
75% Heroes for Sale (1933) " This is also bracingly egalitarian, attacking the hypocrisy of communists and capitalists alike." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 5, 2014
92% The Return To Homs (2014) " The images have an immediate, visceral impact; at the same time, Derki's plaintive narration is often beautifully elegiac, its perspective philosophical and even cosmic." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 5, 2014
50% Age of the Uprising (2014) " The film is almost monotonously somber, though not in a bad way -- when it erupts into violence or settles briefly into moments of intimacy, the shift in tone can be surprising, even invigorating." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 5, 2014
—— Oltre il guado (Across the River) " Neither fish nor fowl, this moody Italian feature (2013) recasts a familiar horror-movie narrative in the languorous, poetic manner of the so-called "slow cinema" that's pervaded the international festival circuit." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 5, 2014
43% Words And Pictures (2014) " With remarkable ease, director Fred Schepisi delivers a literate, grown-up comedy in the forgotten tradition of George Cukor and Joseph L. Mankiewicz." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jun 5, 2014
49% Maleficent (2014) " [It lacks] the sort of nightmarish visions that made Walt Disney's early animation features so powerful. This looks impressive, though, making use of highly imaginative, state-of-the-art 3-D effects while still evoking old-school Disney animation" — Chicago Reader
Posted May 29, 2014
92% X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) " Much of this takes place in the early 1970s, which gives the filmmakers an excuse to haul out lots of vintage kitsch and make some rather tasteless references to the Vietnam war." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 29, 2014
—— Mememe no kurage (Jellyfish Eyes) (2014) " The creatures -- which range from a human-sized frog to a sprite with a big metal box for a head -- provide a worthy showcase for Murakami's prodigious visual imagination." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 22, 2014
54% Fading Gigolo (2014) " The premise is preposterous and many of the gags are tasteless, yet the tone is gentle, even elegiac, and the players are surprisingly sensitive. " — Chicago Reader
Posted May 22, 2014
87% The Immigrant (2014) " Beautifully shot (by Darius Khondji), designed, and performed, this may well be Gray's masterpiece." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 22, 2014
1/4 88% Chef (2014) " Chef is so thin and bland it doesn't even inspire contempt." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 22, 2014
100% Sepideh " Madsen inspires genuine admiration for her strong-willed heroine." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 15, 2014
74% Godzilla (2014) " The sets (decorated by Elizabeth Wilcox) are filled with quirky bric-a-brac, bringing a lived-in dimension to the big-budget spectacle, and Edwards displays a welcome playfulness in some of his flamboyant camera movements." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 15, 2014
2/4 86% Bright Days Ahead (2014) " Ardant might wrestle with alienation, but Bright Days Ahead never risks alienating its self-satisfied target audience." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 8, 2014
89% Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq (2014) " This 2013 profile of famed ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq divides its running time between biographical information and synopses of creative achievements, but it doesn't aspire to anything more than the sum of its parts." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 8, 2014
96% Blue Ruin (2014) " Saulnier makes impressive use of silence and slow camera movements, allowing the suspense to simmer until violence seems practically inevitable." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 8, 2014
—— Palestine Stereo " Mashawari elicits a sweet rapport between the two leads; their casual performances compensate for the more overstated aspects of the script." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 1, 2014
89% Dancing In Jaffa (2014) " Dulaine comes off as grossly opportunistic, playing the compassionate clown with the children and using the most self-aggrandizing language imaginable to explain his methods to teachers and parents." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 1, 2014
—— Pleased To Meet Me (2014) " The chief pleasure of this unassuming indie drama comes from watching veteran musicians try their hand at acting." — Chicago Reader
Posted May 1, 2014
89% For A Woman (2014) " This is engrossing stuff, not only in the remarkable details of the parents' lives, but in the psychological nuance with which Kurys imagines them." — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 24, 2014
2/4 89% Le Week-End (2014) " Once the characters start explaining the sources of their unhappiness, the drama becomes less compelling, largely because their problems seem far from insurmountable." — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 24, 2014
83% On My Way (2014) " Deneuve, fine as always, subtly emphasizes the character's self-destructive side, providing a little medicine to help the sugar go down." — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 24, 2014
—— Beneath the Blindfold " This is painful stuff, and no less for the soft-spoken directness with which the subjects describe their pasts." — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 17, 2014
3/4 86% Under the Skin (2014) " This arty sci-fi thriller, adapted from a 2000 novel by Michael Faber, raises far more questions than it answers, yet that enigmatic quality is central to its appeal." — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 17, 2014
85% Only Lovers Left Alive (2014) " it's also one of [Jarmusch's] most visually expressive films, playing out amid ravishing nocturnal imagery that fits perfectly with the dark romantic tone." — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 17, 2014
—— Son Of Cain (Hijo De Caín) " Monallaó lacks the panache to pull off the suspense set pieces, which end up seeming both implausible and insufficiently flamboyant." — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 10, 2014
—— Shadow Zombie " Torres-Torres doesn't just present his subject but explains how he got to be this way. " — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 3, 2014
100% The Amazing Catfish (2014) " This glorious 2013 debut feature by Mexican writer-director Claudia Sainte-Luce takes one of the most shopworn melodramatic premises and makes it feel spontaneous and new." — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 3, 2014
88% It Felt Like Love (2014) " Hittman draws attention to the pervasive cultural forces (rap music, Internet pornography, suggestive dancing on TV) that present young girls as sexual objects, making the scenes of exploitation seem sadly inevitable." — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 3, 2014
77% Noah (2014) " For all the high-tech showmanship on display, this retelling of Noah and the Ark marks a serious effort to engage with the Old Testament as a literary text." — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 3, 2014
89% Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) " Unless you're intimately familiar with the so-called Marvel universe (or you really love CG explosions), little of this will resonate." — Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 3, 2014
40% Cesar Chavez (2014) " Michael Peña is particularly impressive in the lead, resisting the obvious temptation to make Chavez larger than life. Diego Luna, a fine actor himself, directed, grounding the story in earthy, authentic-seeming detail." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 27, 2014
Showing 1 - 50 of 364
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