Ben Sachs

Ben Sachs

Agrees with the Tomatometer 66% of the time.

Listing Of All Reviews & Articles

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Showing 1 - 50 of 501
Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
3/4 74% Welcome To New York (2015) " [The] deliberate structure demonstrates Ferrara's artfulness, as does the lush imagery. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 23, 2015
60% Unfriended (2015) " You might find yourself rooting for the murderer. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 23, 2015
59% May In The Summer (2014) " Dabis's character comes off as a self-serving fantasy. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 16, 2015
No Score Yet El cerrajero (Lock Charmer) " It feels like a short story more than a novel, but given the sympathetic and detailed characterization, that's not necessarily a bad thing. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 16, 2015
100% Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock And Roll (2015) " This is eye-opening and frequently moving, elevated by sharp editing that imaginatively juxtaposes major events in government and entertainment history. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 16, 2015
No Score Yet Canal Zone (1977) " This is one of his most wickedly funny films, but there's more to it than that; Wiseman seems astonished by the intricate interactions that make up a society. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 16, 2015
No Score Yet Deserto Azul (Blue Desert) " This reminded me of Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem: it's great to look at and occasionally thought-provoking, but it doesn't really go anywhere and director-cowriter Eder Santos lacks Gilliam's ingratiating sense of humor. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 16, 2015
No Score Yet Basically, Johnny Moped " This documentary portrait of the group is familiar in its execution... but the story is definitely novel and the agreeable tone is hard to resist. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 16, 2015
No Score Yet Las vacas con gafas (Cows Wearing Glasses) " This Puerto Rican drama evokes silent cinema in its elemental story and emotional directness, and Daniel Lugo's lead performance -- rooted in precise, expressive body language -- strengthens that connection. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 9, 2015
21% Marfa Girl (2015) " Clark's sympathy for his subjects is more evident than ever. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 9, 2015
No Score Yet El Silencio De Las Moscas " Chronic depression comes to seem like a plague afflicting everyone in this isolated region, and though Arias doesn't force the metaphor, the relentlessly mournful tone is devastating. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 9, 2015
No Score Yet Climas " Schematic in design but nuanced in execution, this 2014 Peruvian feature is a worthy addition to the feminist-themed art cinema currently flourishing all over South America. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 9, 2015
29% The Longest Ride (2015) " Though Tillman doesn't quite elevate the maudlin material into serious drama, the result is uncommonly sensitive. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 9, 2015
No Score Yet Law and Order (1969) " Because Wiseman rarely divulges why the police have been called, the viewer is forced to confront his own fundamental views of American race relations and the legitimacy of police authority. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 2, 2015
No Score Yet Miss India America " The filmmakers seem to regard the narrative formula as a pretext for introducing positive depictions of Indian-American women to movie comedy, so this features lessons about embracing Indian cultural heritage as well as some genial Bollywood in-jokes. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 2, 2015
81% Ned Rifle (2015) " For all the evident despair, Hartley can't repress his love of cinema; the comic dialogue sings and many of the images have a fragile beauty. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 2, 2015
85% While We're Young (2015) " The storytelling is smooth and assured and the one-liners are generally enjoyable. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 2, 2015
53% Woman in Gold (2015) " The Nazis' illegal seizure of hundreds of thousands of artworks -- the subject of the fine 2006 documentary The Rape of Europa -- becomes the pretext for heavy-handed sentimentality in this British-American docudrama. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 2, 2015
82% Furious 7 (2015) " The story takes place in LA, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, and the Caucasus Mountains, yet Wan has so few ideas about how to choreograph and edit action that the elaborate stunt sequences all feel exactly the same. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Apr 2, 2015
94% Eden (2015) " The camerawork is so fluid and the settings so brimming with detail that one feels washed away by the film, recognizing the hero's decline only when he does-that is, too late. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 26, 2015
95% Wild Tales (2015) " How to discuss this giddily inventive Argentinian feature without ruining its many surprises? " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 26, 2015
88% Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2015) " An engaging, even surprising feature. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 26, 2015
47% Home (2015) " Aggressive and cynical approach to children's entertainment, pummeling viewers with mechanical-looking action sequences (which suggest video game demos), unfunny one-liners, and overly loud pop songs and sound effects. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 26, 2015
97% An Honest Liar (2015) " Randi's story suggests a modern-day footnote to Herman Melville's novel The Confidence-Man, reflecting the strange interplay between show business, religion, and hucksterism in American life. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 20, 2015
2/5 96% It Follows (2015) " Follows is an effective pastiche but a studied one; by the end, even its ambiguities feel overdetermined. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 19, 2015
100% Cavalo Dinheiro (2015) " Painterly and meditative in Costa's singular manner, this 2014 feature reconfigures traumatic episodes, both personal and historical, into a waking dream. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 19, 2015
50% Tip Top (2014) " The freewheeling narrative experimentation and cryptic social commentary recall 60s Godard, but the vibe is Bozon's own. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 19, 2015
16% The Gunman (2015) " I can imagine Sean Penn agreeing to star in this Taken knockoff on the condition that it educate moviegoers about humanitarian crises in Africa; it does, but the film feels misshapen as a result. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 19, 2015
100% Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed (2014) " Javier Camara, best known here for his work with Pedro Almodovar, is quite good as the teacher, delivering a performance of real tenderness and depth. In Spanish with subtitles. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 12, 2015
79% Life of Riley (2014) " As in all of Resnais's theatrical adaptations, the performances are warm and naturalistic, countering the artificiality of the stage conventions and illuminating the universal struggle to create personal meaning in lives bound by social convention. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 12, 2015
86% La Sapienza (2015) " This recalls Manoel de Oliveira and Eric Rohmer in its poker-faced style, deliberately archaic storytelling, and magisterial epiphanies. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 12, 2015
85% Cinderella (2015) " The visual design is exquisite, coming remarkably close to replicating the original movie's Technicolor splendor. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 12, 2015
97% '71 (2015) " It's a potent, visceral experience, but it doesn't offer much historical context, and its depiction of the IRA is fairly simplistic. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 12, 2015
91% Amour Fou (2015) " The mise-en-scene is appropriately suffocating, marked by scrupulous production design and rigid, geometric framing, yet a savage, liberating wit lies beneath the surface. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 6, 2015
14% The Lazarus Effect (2015) " It's thematically thin but competently made and good for a few scares. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 6, 2015
92% The Hand That Feeds (2015) " This is engaging nonfiction storytelling, deftly edited for maximum suspense and heartening in its depiction of collective endeavor. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 6, 2015
82% Kung Fu Elliot (2015) " Directors Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Belliveau withhold key information until the third act, forcing one to reevaluate everything that came before, but by then you may already have grown tired of the cheap laughs. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 6, 2015
52% Road Hard (2015) " Much of the character's angst comes off as celebrity whining. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 5, 2015
No Score Yet Poison Pen " The film builds on the dubious premise that inside every highbrow is a lowbrow dying to get out. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 26, 2015
100% GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2015) " One feels the oppressiveness of Israeli domestic law, but how one is supposed to feel about the subjects isn't clear. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 26, 2015
79% Bluebird (2014) " What a shame that the first film to star venerable stage actress Amy Morton is this terminally arty drama. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 26, 2015
3/4 59% The Last 5 Years (2015) " Kendrick and Jordan seem too squeaky-clean to convey the full weight of the characters' psychological baggage, yet LaGravenese's balanced, unpretentious direction allows the material to resonate all the same. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 19, 2015
71% The DUFF (2015) " The ostensible message of accepting difference is overwhelmed by a spirit of blind conformism. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 19, 2015
83% Love Hunter (2014) " The premise might remind you of John Carney's Once, but this is grittier and less sentimental, grounded in disappointment and working-class drudgery. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 12, 2015
2/4 35% Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2015) " This isn't just a tribute to Gunn but a commentary on independent filmmaking today, though watching it without knowing its source material might feel like listening to one end of a conversation. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 12, 2015
13% Seventh Son (2015) " It's a loud, joyless mess. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 12, 2015
74% Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) " Vaughn packs the frames with eye-popping detail, and there's an infectious creative energy to his violent action sequences, but the film's hatefulness is hard to stomach. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 12, 2015
3/4 50% Mahi va gorbeh (Fish & Cat) " Mokri does such a good job messing with your head that you might overlook the extraordinary ensemble players, who easily navigate the cascading narrative turns. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 5, 2015
96% Red Army (2015) " This engaging documentary provocatively suggests that the team succeeded in large part because of communist indoctrination. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 5, 2015
78% The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015) " The story is just a pretext for sustained, rapid-fire gags, many of them hysterical, that range from movie parodies to Gary Larson-worthy flights of cartoon weirdness. " ‐ Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 5, 2015
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