Ben Sachs

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

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
53% The Dead Don't Die (2019) The star-studded ensemble cast-which features numerous Jarmusch veterans, among them Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, and Tom Waits-seems to be having loads of fun, which adds to the ingratiating vibe. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
93% The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) It sometimes feels as if Talbot is overplaying his hand-his use of slow-motion, for instance, feels needlessly arty-but one can't deny the seriousness of his concerns or his emotional investment in the material. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
3/4 71% Asako I & II (Netemo sametemo) (2019) Hamaguchi keeps us guessing as to whether the characters' longings are innate or instilled by something beyond them and us. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
94% Long Day's Journey Into Night (Di qiu zui hou de ye wan) (2019) Bi creates a strong atmosphere out of familiar detective-movie and melodramatic elements, thanks largely to the inventive camerawork and charismatic performances. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
89% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) Superior exercises in action-movie formalism, the John Wick movies evoke everything from Fritz Lang's silent thrillers to Gene Kelly's musicals... - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
3/4 98% 3 Faces (2019) This is another example of how Panahi, under the guise of looking inward, is really using cinema to celebrate his connection to others. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
64% Peterloo (2019) The film looks fantastic, as Leigh and cinematographer Dick Pope advance a painterly aesthetic even richer than the one they created in Mr. Turner. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
82% High Life (2019) ...exciting, beguiling, and sometimes quite moving. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
3/4 94% Us (2019) ... it achieves an insidious, lingering effect that's rarer in the horror genre. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
100% Losing Ground (1982) This low-budget 1982 drama was one of the first features directed by an African-American woman, but it's much more than a historical footnote. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
4/4 94% The Wild Pear Tree (Ahlat agaci) (2019) The progression of the conversations goes a long way in making Wild Pear Tree feel like an epic; the accumulation of ideas feels downright monumental. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
3/4 78% Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) (2019) Farhadi ameliorates the sense of familiarity by bringing in more surprises. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
69% Happy Death Day 2U (2019) Like its predecessor, the movie has a broad sentimental streak, but the sentiment feels more thoughtful and heartfelt this time around. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
4/4 88% The Image Book (Le livre d'image) (2019) Concerned neither with telling stories nor even making rational sense, Godard aims straight for lyrical beauty, and he almost always hits his target. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
3/4 92% Gavagai (2018) Gavagai is not just an emotional movie, but a sensual one. Tregenza's lyrical camera movements and the actors' recitations of Vesaas's poetry contribute most plainly to this effect... - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2019
3.5/4 92% Life and Nothing More (La Vida y Nada Más) (2018) In his vivid depiction of the characters' daily lives, which slowly becomes immersive in spite of the detached camerawork, Méndez Esparza invites us to share in their perspective. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2019
No Score Yet Rainbow: A Private Affair (Una questione privata) (2017) It's one of the Tavianis' best. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
86% The Third Murder (Sandome no satsujin) (2018) The film showcases Kore-eda's skillful sense of characterization and ethical inquiry, asking viewers to think long and hard about the meaning of justice. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
96% Roma (2018) This has plenty to say about class relations too, but what's most impressive about it is how the Mexican writer-director-cinematographer-editor transforms even his political observations into the stuff of big-screen spectacle. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
86% Bitter Money (Ku Qian) (2016) It confirms that Wang is perhaps the most important nonfiction filmmaker anywhere in the world. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
98% Ash Is Purest White (2019) [Ash] moves fluidly from naturalism to melodrama to tell an epic story of a wayward, romantically frustrated woman over roughly 15 years. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
96% Zama (2018) This blackly funny-and ultimately haunting-examination of colonial history is thoroughly characteristic in its brilliant manipulation of physical space. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
100% L'enfant secret (1982) Despite being formally unusual, it's always emotionally accessible if not emotionally overwhelming. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
4/4 70% The Mule (2018) The Mule thrives in teasing ambiguity...For decades now, Eastwood has been one of the great interrogators of American social mores. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 3, 2019
2/4 62% Vox Lux (2018) Vox Lux is undone by its self- righteousness... - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 3, 2019
70% The Great Pretender (2018) Self-delusion is the principal subject of this short, acerbic comedy by Nathan Silver. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2018
3/4 99% Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018) Kore-eda is at his best when he's suppressing his sentimentality, not when he's indulging it, but like his characters, fans of this inspired filmmaker must learn to take the good with the bad. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
97% People's Republic of Desire (2018) In this thematic emphasis, Wu points to the hollowness of a lot of Internet culture-his subjects are bound by a desire to lose themselves in a fleeting sense of fame. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2018
2/4 100% The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows (2018) More amusing than inspired; my favorite works in the program provided me with momentary delight rather than lasting astonishment. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2018
3/4 94% Burning (Beoning) (2018) The film paints vivid portraits of three distinct characters and inspires sympathy with a bewildered protagonist; moreover, it depicts a particular social milieu in such a way that one comes to see it as existing beyond the subjects' control. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2018
2/4 63% Outlaw King (2018) Outlaw King might be summarized as one big lapse in good sense for David Mackenzie. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
3/4 79% Dovlatov (2018) Dovlatov takes the novel approach of dramatizing just six days in the protagonist's life. And where traditional biopics devote at least some time to the subjects' creative achievements, Dovlatov is concerned exclusively with the hero's failures. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
3/4 87% Museum (Museo) (2018) Even after the story runs out, it's still a joy to watch. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
3/4 84% Monrovia, Indiana (2018) These are lovely images, but they leave a disturbing aftertaste. The final take away from Monrovia, Indiana, is that the town is a great place to be an inanimate object. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
4/4 94% Private Life (2018) Private Life [is] such an affecting-and ultimately devastating-work. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
3/4 62% The Oath (2018) One thing that's admirable about The Oath is that Barinholtz never apologizes. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
97% The Hate U Give (2018) The filmmakers understand their characters so thoroughly that the insights seem to grow organically from their experiences. This is American studio filmmaking at its finest. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2018
80% Volcano (2018) Unfortunately Bondarchuk doesn't have as much to contemplate as he lets on; the movie often disintegrates into superficial art-film moodiness. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
98% Too Late to Die Young (Tarde para morir joven) (2019) In fact the film is so commanding in its presentation of social rituals and the natural world that it takes a while for the story to come into focus, yet for all the loping camera movements and narrative digressions, this never feels meandering. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
93% Rafiki (2019) It's hard to escape the feeling that the film is basically an extended public service announcement; Kahiu has few discernible goals apart from drawing attention to an important subject. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
89% Non-Fiction (2019) In terms of surface tone, this is one of the airiest things the director has made, though what it has to say about the Internet is as unsettling as Demonlover... - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
89% The Good Girls (Las niñas bien) (2018) With this subtle drama about high-society social maneuvering, writer-director Alejandra Márquez Abella essentially transplants Edith Wharton's thematic concerns to Mexico City in 1982. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
88% Diane (2018) What he wants to explore is ultimately harder to define-call it the longing for transcendence that's always underpinned American life. His handling of time's passing is subtle and mysterious as well - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
71% Core of the World (2018) Meshchaninova doesn't have much to say about the character apart from this; once she reveals his true nature, the film doesn't really have anywhere to go. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
95% Blaze (2018) Hawke argues movingly that creative success has nothing to do with fame and everything to do with how an artist grows as a person and impacts the people around him. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
98% Rodents of Unusual Size (2018) Directors Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler, and Jeff Springer emphasize their subjects' creativity and camaraderie, resulting in a upbeat, flavorful community portrait. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2018
1/4 88% Madeline's Madeline (2018) Letting the audience determine the meaning of her aesthetic choices, Decker shows little interest in creating meaning herself. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2018
2/4 85% The Wife (2018) Because the performances are so calculated, the emotional outbursts on which the story hinges fail to make a dramatic impact. And for a film about a novelist, The Wife conveys very little sense of what it's like to read or write. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2018
3/4 93% Araby (Arábia) (2018) Araby is unmistakably contemporary in its fashions, settings, and physical behavior; the similarities to the past seem found rather than manufactured. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2018
95% Good Manners (As Boas Maneiras) (2018) The tone grows increasingly delicate and sweet; in fact the film ends up feeling like a fairy tale. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2018