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
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
67% 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
65% 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
74% 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
27% 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
90% 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
68% 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
67% 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
79% 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
97% 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
84% Victoria (2015) Beneath the pulpy plotting and breathtaking camerawork lies a subtle character study.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2015
64% Spectre (2015) This James Bond outing begins with a stunning set piece in which the hero, played by Daniel Craig, takes down a terrorist cell amid Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico City.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2015
3/4 96% Jafar Panahi's Taxi (2015) Panahi looks for new perspectives everywhere he goes, and this search reflects his unwavering devotion to cinema, which has the power to transmit those perspectives to the world.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2015
2/4 No Score Yet Yona (2014) The recitations of Wallach's poems fail to convey their power, coming across as illustrations of her psychological states rather than expressions of creative feeling.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2015
73% Suffragette (2015) This period drama shows how awful it was to be a working-class woman at that time... [but] scenes dramatizing the political organizing and protests are less effective, bogged down by pedantic dialogue and historical generalizations.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2015
3/4 92% Dukhtar (2015) With its stark imagery and characterizations, the film often feels like a folktale, even though it takes place in the present and addresses ongoing social concerns.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2015
16% The Last Witch Hunter (2015) The special effects are pretty neat, and the filmmakers utilize them smartly, delivering imaginative set pieces that are more visually compelling than the usual series of digital explosions.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2015
18% Jem and the Holograms (2015) Jon M. Chu, who directed the concert doc Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, maintains a lively pace, and there's some cute business involving a robot that communicates through music.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 22, 2015
91% Beasts of No Nation (2015) Idris Elba gives an intense performance as the boy's commanding officer and eventual father figure; his character comes across as monstrous at first but seems increasingly vulnerable as the story develops.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2015
81% Labyrinth Of Lies (2015) It's a worthwhile history lesson, dramatizing Germany's efforts to reconcile with its monstrous past.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2015
No Score Yet Spring Night, Summer Night (1970) The documentary-style portraits of the characters' impoverished neighbors display the influence of Italian neorealism, and the shadow-heavy photography at times evokes German expressionism.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2015
61% Yakuza Apocalypse (2015) Directed by the inimitable Takashi Miike... Apocalypse finds the 55-year-old filmmaker at his silliest, which is saying a lot, as he's responsible for some of the silliest movies ever made.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2015
27% Pan (2015) Loud, chaotic action dominates this unnecessary prequel to Peter Pan.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2015
35% Big Stone Gap (2015) Director Adriana Trigiani, adapting her best-selling novel, delivers the hackneyed material with good cheer, eliciting bright performances from an [excellent] ensemble cast.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2015
59% Partisan (2015) Maddeningly vague.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2015
No Score Yet On Broadway (2008) The let's-put-on-a-show narrative is familiar but agreeable; the characters are likable, and there are some funny one-liners.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2015
73% Everest (2015) For all the natural spectacle, the characters are what hold one's attention.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2015
100% Wildlike (2015) Frank Hall Green, directing his own script, maintains a poker-faced perspective, offering no hints as to where the story might lead and allowing scenes to unfold casually.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2015
3/4 96% The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?) (2015) The characters are so accustomed to keeping up appearances that they can't bring themselves to say what's bugging them. Their interactions may be mild, but the claustrophobic imagery creates the sense of being trapped in a powder keg.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2015
19% The Perfect Guy (2015) A reasonably engaging thriller with some topical overtones.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2015
47% Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) The young leads lack charisma, and the veteran supporting players seem to be phoning it in.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2015
64% The Visit (2015) [Shyamalan's] manipulation of tone is impressive -- he gets you to laugh at the grandparents' strange behavior, only to shift gears into horror when you least expect it.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2015
85% Meet The Patels (2015) This contains some insightful (and sometimes funny) discussions about being a first-generation American torn between tradition and assimilation; less interesting are the scenes of Patel courting his prospective brides, which play like reality TV.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2015
3/4 92% Queen of Earth (2015) Writer-director Alex Ross Perry conjures such a strong atmosphere around his characters -- and Elisabeth Moss and Katherine Waterston are so powerful in the leads --that one gets sucked into their emotional conflict.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2015