Ben Sachs Movie Reviews & Previews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ben Sachs

Ben Sachs
Ben Sachs's reviews only count toward the Tomatometer when published at the following Tomatometer-approved publication(s): Chicago Reader

Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
90% Good Time (2017) Not since Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void have I been so mesmerized by a film I found morally repugnant.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 17, 2017
38% The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017) The tone is sophomoric and snide, the wisecracks are uninspired, and the action sequences lack dynamism and suspense.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 17, 2017
63% Little Murders (1971) Given our current culture of random violence, Little Murders feels eerily topical.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2017
36% Kidnap (2017) This is a superior genre exercise, unpretentious and formally controlled.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2017
96% Endless Poetry (Poesía Sin Fin) (2017) if you consider Jodorowsky's work excessive and mannered, you'll probably find this to be a slog.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2017
19% False Confessions (Les fausses confidences) (2017) Onscreen these devices seem stagey and awkward, and the pacing is slow and clunky.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2017
100% I Am the Blues (2015) This amiable documentary surveys small towns in Mississippi and Louisiana where aging blues musicians live and practice their art.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2017
100% Harmonium (Fuchi ni tatsu) (2017) Tadanobu Asano, who plays the ex-con, has rarely been better, and Kanji Furutachi and Mariko Tsutsui are heartbreaking as the husband and wife.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2017
91% Our Time Will Come (2017) Like most of Hui's films, Our Time's subtlety is entrancing, withholding big dramatic moments to consider everyday behavior. This strategy speaks to Hui's tremendous gifts of directing actors and establishing a sense of place.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2017
17% The House (2017) A dismayingly lightweight experience.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2017
100% Nowhere To Hide (2017) Sharif, who is intimately acquainted with most of the people he profiles, reveals his subjects' courage and humanity.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2017
79% The Beguiled (2017) The Beguiled is better directed than it is written... In its study of interpersonal rivalry and sexual tension, the film doesn't say anything that wasn't better articulated in Don Siegel's 1971 adaptation.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2017
71% Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge (2017) Karolina Gruszka is very good as Curie, conveying a mix of intelligence and romantic impulse; unfortunately no one else in the cast comes close to her level of investment.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2017
87% The Ornithologist (O ornitólogo) (2017) If nothing else, the film reminds one of how strange and beautiful existence can be.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2017
3/4 86% Okja (2017) To me the idea that it will be largely confined to people's living rooms seems absurd.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2017
75% Wakefield (2017) Uneventful and dull to look at, the film adapts a short story by E.L. Doctorow that probably should have stayed on the page.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2017
22% The Book of Henry (2017) This shift in genre is an ambitious gamble, and I don't think it plays out successfully.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2017
87% Maudie (2017) This Irish-Canadian drama tells the true story of Maud Lewis (played beautifully by Sally Hawkins).‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2017
76% Beatriz at Dinner (2017) Screenwriter Mike White aims for social satire but doesn't have much to say about the erosion of kindness in the Trump era; he seems to think that planting a character like Beatriz in front of a stand-in for the president is enough.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 15, 2017
76% My Cousin Rachel (2017) The film is too refined to be truly suspenseful, and the murder mystery feels academic.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2017
88% It Comes At Night (2017) Heavy on mood but light on ideas, this is the sort of movie that equates ambiguity and draggy pacing with seriousness.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2017
78% Past Life (2017) Overstuffed and occasionally overwrought, the film is engrossing nonetheless, with a satisfying pace as Nesher juggles the numerous narrative elements.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2017
No Score Yet Drifting Towards the Crescent (2017) Documentary maker Laura Stewart delivers a pleasant, occasionally lyrical travelogue about two towns along the Mississippi River: Keokuk, Iowa, and Hannibal, Missouri.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted May 29, 2017
71% Tracktown (2017) None of these developments carry much dramatic weight, yet the film is light and affable, with a few modest laughs and good observational detail about athletic training and the lives of aspiring Olympians.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted May 11, 2017
69% The Wall (2017) This doesn't have much to say about the U.S. occupation of Iraq-it could have taken place during any modern military conflict-though as an exercise in suspense it delivers.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted May 11, 2017
88% Two Women (Mesyats v derevne) (2014) A fine ensemble cast anchors this genteel Russian period drama, which was adapted from Ivan Turgenev's 1855 play A Month in the Country.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted May 11, 2017
50% Behind the White Glasses (2016) Dismayingly shallow, this 2015 documentary about Italian writer-director Lina Wertmüller fails to address what makes her work so controversial-or, for that matter, virtually anything beyond why her friends and collaborators like her.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted May 4, 2017
68% Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (2017) This documentary about John Coltrane provides a fine overview of his career for the uninitiated and plenty of lesser-known information for fans.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted May 4, 2017
72% Sleight (2017) Sleight... is a minor film with major virtues: tenderness, imagination, and a strong grasp of character and setting.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted May 4, 2017
26% Unforgettable (2017) Unforgettable simply fails to deliver in terms of atmosphere and, moreover, the filmmakers fail to develop any sort of subtext from the material that might give weight to the story.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted May 4, 2017
83% God Knows Where I Am (2017) Inventively structured, the documentary alternates between her early adulthood and her final months, her sad demise casting a shadow over the story and giving the film an air of classical tragedy.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted May 4, 2017
87% The Student ((M)uchenik) (2017) His social criticism can be heavy-handed, but his direction of actors (many of whom had never appeared in a movie before this one) is remarkable; Pyotr Skvortsov is terrifying in the lead.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2017
No Score Yet Métamorphoses (2014) [Honre'] does succeed, though, in conveying the joy of storytelling, which has made Ovid's work endure; the engagingly knotty structure is full of playful digressions and tales within tales.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2017
71% Staying Vertical (Rester vertical) (2017) The strange action plays out with a dreamlike lucidity reminiscent of late Luis Buñuel... It's also dreamlike in its handling of time; the film takes place over a few years but feels as if it transpires over a few days.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 20, 2017
66% The Fate of the Furious (2017) [Gray] has the common sense to slow things down now and then, letting the charismatic players (among them Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, and Kurt Russell) carry the show instead of bombarding viewers with action.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2017
100% The Cinema Travellers (2016) A subtle sense of mortality enters in the final third, when several of the men decide to replace one of their 35-millimeter machines with a digital one and another projectionist discusses his retirement, but on the whole this is lively and life-affirming.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2017
100% Valkoinen Peura (The White Reindeer) (1952) Blomberg makes the most of the Lapland locations: the wooded plains, seen under feet of snow, are forbidding-the horizon always seems distant. Against this backdrop, the movie's conflicts feel especially primal.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2016
94% Palio (2015) The interview subjects aren't particularly eloquent, though; they tend to stop the movie dead in its tracks.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted May 19, 2016
No Score Yet In The Game (2014) Inspires warm admiration for the subjects while stirring up rousing anger at our city's social inequality-Kartemquin at its best.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 14, 2016
80% Embers (2015) Carré succeeds in creating a haunted mood. The mood is so strong, in fact, that it overwhelms any sense of narrative development -- the movie feels a bit like a video-art installation expanded to feature length.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2016
24% Victor Frankenstein (2015) McAvoy's performance is good for a few laughs, but the doctor never seems capable of sustaining a serious thought, let alone creating life.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2015
77% The Good Dinosaur (2015) The intricately designed settings convey a Miyazaki-like reverence for the natural world, and the hero's longing for his family is affecting, never saccharine.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2015
70% The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015) This fourth and final installment of the Hunger Games franchise is by far the most dour, consisting mainly of dim, uninspired battle sequences.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2015
71% The Hallow (The Woods) (2015) This ecologically themed horror movie scores points for atmosphere and imagination, though it isn't particularly scary. The characters are little more than ciphers, so I wasn't inclined to root for them when they got into trouble.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2015
3/4 83% In the Basement (Im Keller) (2015) In the Basement is a brisk, bracing, and often very funny film about the seeds of fascism in contemporary Austrian society. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2015
67% The Great Man (2015) The characters are nicely written and performed and writer-director Sarah Leonor demonstrates an assured, literary sense of time passing. Yet the film is constricted by its narrow tonal range; everything unfolds in the same blandly naturalistic register.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2015
100% Madam Phung's Last Journey (2014) This is a lively film but also a sad one.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2015
98% Heart of a Dog (2015) Laurie Anderson's Heart of a Dog is not just a movie but a guided meditation, drawing viewers into a state of peaceful contemplation from which they can consider such subjects as death, loss, and unconditional love.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2015
18% Love the Coopers (2015) The dialogue consists of sitcom-ready cliches and the characterizations are all one-dimensional, but the cast do what they can to eke some charm out of the material.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2015
83% Victoria (2015) Beneath the pulpy plotting and breathtaking camerawork lies a subtle character study.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2015