Ben Sachs

Ben Sachs

Agrees with the Tomatometer 67% of the time.

Publications:
Chicago Reader
Total Reviews:
321

Listing Of All Reviews & Articles

Showing 1 - 50 of 321
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Rating T-Meter Title | Year Add Date
—— 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
—— Los insólitos peces gato (The Amazing Catfish) " 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
90% 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
98% Jodorowsky's Dune (2014) " His stories feature an impressive roster of would-be collaborators (Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, H.R. Geiger, and Pink Floyd), and some of the set pieces he describes sound pretty neat." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 27, 2014
73% Enemy (2014) " This is fitfully successful as a mood piece, though the dream imagery is heavy-handed, the characters sketchily realized, and the high-toned dialogue comes out stilted more often than not." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 20, 2014
43% The Face of Love (2014) " The first ten minutes of The Face of Love function as what might be called a statement of purposelessness, announcing exactly how and why the movie will be bad." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 20, 2014
68% Love & Air Sex (2014) " Director Bryan Poyser keeps this moving at a nice clip, and the plotting is more intricate than you might expect." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 20, 2014
4/4 88% The Wind Rises (2014) " The film is one of the most rapturously beautiful that Miyazaki has made, and all the more unsettling because of it." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 13, 2014
95% Particle Fever (2014) " The filmmakers find room for some witty philosophical bull sessions and affectionate portraits of some of the physicists; this is an agreeable light entertainment on a complex subject." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 13, 2014
23% Need For Speed (2014) " Unfortunately there's not much of a sensibility beneath the pleasant surfaces; the movie is easy to enjoy, but just as easy to forget." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 13, 2014
97% Ernest & Célestine (2014) " The images have a soft, inviting quality that befits the storybook narrative." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 7, 2014
60% Non-Stop (2014) " The filmmaking is playful without feeling jokey, the narrative stuffed with fun complications." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 6, 2014
15% Endless Love (2014) " None of the players exhibits much personality, but it's hard to fault them, given how thinly the characters have been imagined by screenwriters Shana Feste and Joshua Safran." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 6, 2014
98% Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me (2014) " This profile of stage and screen veteran Elaine Stritch, shot during her 87th year, isn't a documentary so much as an improvised star vehicle; she plays to the camera through the entire movie and puts on a hell of a show." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 6, 2014
40% Das merkwürdige Kätzchen (The Strange Little Cat) " Nothing remarkable ever happens; likewise, the characters come close to experiencing epiphanies but don't quite make it." — Chicago Reader
Posted Mar 6, 2014
97% The Last of the Unjust (2014) " Lanzmann organizes the material achronologically, presenting Murmelstein's narrative out of order and intercutting it with footage of Theresienstadt shot in 2012; this complex structure evokes a sense of moral vertigo that's nearly impossible to shake." — Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 28, 2014
100% Approved for Adoption (2013) " This 2012 feature is melancholy for a movie about childhood (probably too much so to appeal to children), but the intimate storytelling is appealing all the same." — Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 28, 2014
88% The Gardener (2013) " Makhmalbaf's tone is thoughtful and becalmed, the imagery often poetic." — Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 28, 2014
91% Kids for Cash (2014) " This provides enough valuable information to constitute a worthy public service announcement." — Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 27, 2014
—— Man Negahdar Jamali Western Misazam " For better and for worse, this succeeds in conveying its subject's exceedingly limited worldview." — Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 13, 2014
—— Parviz " Majid Barzegar maintains a poker-faced, documentary-style realism, rarely straying more than a few feet from his antihero, and his scrutiny is rewarded with a spellbinding performance by Toronto theater veteran Levon Haftvan." — Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 13, 2014
88% Tim's Vermeer (2014) " The refreshing thing about this otherwise formulaic romantic comedy is that writer-director Tom Gormican gives the verbal humor some rhythm, shooting many of the dialogue-driven scenes in long takes so they develop a pleasing ebb and flow." — Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 13, 2014
13% Winter's Tale (2014) " This live-action fairy tale aims to recapture the romantic splendor MGM's golden era; the dialogue and metaphysical conceits are often risible, but even they convey an emotionalism rare in 21st-century Hollywood." — Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 13, 2014
25% 24 Exposures (2014) " Some half-baked ideas about representation versus reality emerge in the lax improvised dialogue." — Chicago Reader
Posted Feb 6, 2014
60% Jobriath A.D. (2014) " Documentary maker Kieran Turner attempts to rehabilitate Jobriath's reputation, presenting him as a gifted musician and a gay-rights pioneer." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 31, 2014
85% Like Father, Like Son (2014) " [A] moving drama, one of the best to date from Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 31, 2014
80% The Broken Circle Breakdown (2013) " The movie swings like a pendulum between elation and despair, with little time devoted to anything in between." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 30, 2014
55% The Best Offer (2014) " The movie's an eyeful, though, thanks to the intricate production design and many artworks on display; it's also an earful, thanks to Ennio Morricone's fittingly lush score." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 30, 2014
80% Maidentrip (2014) " At best this functions as a pleasant aquatic travelogue; at worst it validates a teenage girl's egotism." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 30, 2014
4% I, Frankenstein (2014) " This novel premise quickly gives way to lots of chaotic action, though there are numerous incidental pleasures throughout." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 30, 2014
92% I Am Breathing (2013) " Because directors Emma Davie (Platt's widow) and Morag McKinnon spend little time explaining his medical condition, the video doesn't function as a case study." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 30, 2014
23% Gimme Shelter (2014) " What remains is a poor man's Precious, with all the earlier film's go-for-broke melodrama but none of its weirdness or empathy for the impoverished." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 30, 2014
81% Possession (The Night the Screaming Stops) (1981) " Adjani won the best actress prize at Cannes for her dual performance (as an unfaithful wife and her angelic doppelganger), but the whole cast is astonishing, exorcising painful feelings with an intensity that rivals that of the filmmaking." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 23, 2014
76% The Invisible Woman (2013) " An air of complacency hangs over the project; its condemnation of Victorian sexism makes us congratulate ourselves for our more enlightened views." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 23, 2014
18% Ride Along (2014) " This routine buddy picture offers plenty of instant gratification (Cube and Hart are easygoing screen presences, and many of their one-liners are funny) but shows little concern for characterization, storytelling, or even comic pacing." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 23, 2014
78% Big Bad Wolves (2014) " The most novel thing about this Israeli torture extravaganza is that writer-directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado play the grisly material for broad comedy." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 16, 2014
3% The Legend of Hercules (2014) " Essentially a Monday Night Raw episode with mythological dressing." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 16, 2014
100% These Birds Walk (2013) " The impressionistic results succeed in conveying widespread social problems on a relatable scale." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 9, 2014
97% The Selfish Giant (2013) " [A] wrenching story of working-poor desperation in northern England." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 9, 2014
77% Papadopoulos & Sons " The cast is pleasant enough to enliven the generic material, though much of writer-director Marcus Markou's dialogue is beyond salvaging." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 9, 2014
—— Spilled Water (2014) " While the movie contains an impressive range of viewpoints, it's too short to consider any of them in much depth. This is still worthwhile for the questions it raises about women's rights within China's rapidly growing economy." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 9, 2014
76% Lone Survivor (2014) " This has relatively little to say about why the U.S. armed forces invaded Afghanistan in the first place, but it's effective as genre filmmaking and surprisingly respectful in its depiction of non-Taliban Afghans." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 9, 2014
92% Liv & Ingmar (2013) " Director Dheeraj Ajolkar presents this as a testament to the power of art. " — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 3, 2014
86% Kiss the Water (2014) " Steel often succeeds in conjuring a contemplative trance, which is especially impressive given the arcane subject matter. " — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 3, 2014
85% At Berkeley (2013) " The film contains numerous scenes showing higher education at its best.. But these moments are gradually overwhelmed by scenes of administrators dealing with an ongoing budget crisisdealing with an ongoing budget crisis." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 3, 2014
13% 47 Ronin (2013) " The pacing is cloddish and tone unaccountably dour." — Chicago Reader
Posted Jan 3, 2014
Showing 1 - 50 of 321
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