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
100% Pow Wow (2016) Pow Wow advances a curious, if somewhat detached perspective that befits an ethnographic study...the insights are sometimes wry and sometimes saddening, but always compelling.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2018
81% Early Man (2018) The story is thin, allowing little room for imaginative engagement, and the comedy uninspired. Early Man contains a nice anti-sexism message, but delivers it half-heartedly.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2018
93% A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica) (2018) It shows how thinking of a person in terms of his or her physical condition can have a harmful effect on that person, limiting his or her sense of self. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2018
3/4 25% The 15:17 to Paris (2018) The 15:17 to Paris shows that the 87-year-old director is still capable of surprises.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2018
14% Winchester (2018) This speaks to Winchester's overall failure of imagination-it's the sort of forgettable movie that could have been a memorable one.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2018
4/4 94% 24 Frames (2018) The chief pleasure of 24 Frames is how it attunes you to appreciate any movement, whether it's snow falling, waves crashing, or birds pecking the earth.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2018
63% Clickety-Clack (Dodes'ka-den)(Dodesukaden) (1970) Dodes'ka-den may be fanciful in its depiction of poverty, but this comes from a desire to humanize people marginalized by society.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2018
100% Paddington 2 (2018) The Paddington films preach a message of acceptance that's no less straightforward than that of The Shape of Water, encouraging viewers to share in the hero's tolerant worldview. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2018
94% The Breadwinner (2017) Children must grow up fast under such circumstances, and The Breadwinner derives its lasting sense of tragedy from its consideration of how they've been stripped of their childhood. There's a sad undercurrent to Parvana's fairy tale.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2018
61% The Polka King (2017) The Polka King is warm and sympathetic, avoiding easy jokes in favor of humane, character-driven humor.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2018
71% Mom and Dad (2018) The central joke of the film is that the plague only exacerbates violent feelings that parents already feel for their children. Taylor finds enough ways to tell that joke to sustain interest the remaining hour of the film.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2018
58% The Commuter (2018) The good cheer with which Collet-Serra defines the supporting players ameliorates The Commuter's nightmarish premise and draws viewers deeper into its spell.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2018
80% Un amour de jeunesse (Goodbye First Love) (2012) This film conveys the impermanence of youth by playing up another basic fact that movies take for granted: that the images you see in a theater are constantly disappearing before your eyes.‐ MUBI
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2018
85% Youth (Fang Hua) (2017) The film still generates a certain amount of fascination as it transforms into a melodramatic love story, though I missed the imagination and historical sweep that defined the first half.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2018
86% The Lovers (2017) The Lovers sustains a poignant tone that makes me choke up every time I watch it.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2017
92% The Shape of Water (2017) The movie's worldview is as easy to like as the protagonist and her friends, but del Toro lays it on so thick that there's no room for counterargument or even independent thought.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2017
55% The Greatest Showman (2017) Screenwriters Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon whitewash history at every turn, making Barnum a warm, paternal figure beloved by his sideshow performers, wife, and children. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2017
22% Father Figures (2017) This lightweight comic road movie is unhurried and eager to please. Most of the characters are live-action cartoons, though all of them are treated sympathetically.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2017
5% Just Getting Started (2017) The climactic 20 minutes of Just Getting Started are so lazily directed that I wondered why Shelton bothered trying to put action into the movie at all. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2017
100% Rogers Park (2018) The sympathetic performances, understated direction, and thematic emphasis on lower-middle-class unhappiness all reminded me of British filmmaker Mike Leigh.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2017
No Score Yet Trzecia Czesc Nocy (The Third Part of the Night) (1971) A sustained nightmare about societal and personal breakdown, it presents one man's descent into madness during the Nazi occupation of Poland, though the story is hard to follow (perhaps by design).‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2017
97% Coco (2017) This engaging Pixar animation plays magnificently with elements of Mexican folklore and fine art.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2017
80% The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) Director Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) maintains an oppressively cutesy tone-the film is as sweet and heavy as egg nog.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2017
70% Paradise (Ray) (2017) Black-and-white cinematography and minimalist sound design contribute to the bleak, austere tone, which befits the theme of survival in a morally bankrupt world.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2017
93% Human Flow (2017) The imagery encourages viewers to adopt a global perspective in considering the subject matter. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2017
83% My Friend Dahmer (2017) My Friend Dahmer is at its most provocative when it considers this dynamic between the exploiters and the exploited. In making Dahmer feel like a freak, did the boys push him over the edge into a murderous contempt for all people? ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2017
55% Jungle (2017) By presenting the characters as psychological abstractions, McLean makes the story feel universal. He wants you to ask whether you'd be capable of surviving an experience like this.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2017
91% Princess Cyd (2017) With great delicacy, Cone metes out details about his subjects through refined dialogue and everyday behavior; this is the sort of movie that makes you feel you've befriended the characters. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2017
69% Wonderstruck (2017) The longing for interpersonal connection, which is so central to Wonderstruck, reverberates throughout Haynes's work.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2017
71% Happy Death Day (2017) On another level, Happy Death Day is a low-key celebration of cinema. Landon and Lobdell revel in how their story could only happen in the movies, piling on preposterous complications with self-aware glee.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2017
90% The Other Side of Hope (Toivon tuolla puolen) (2017) Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki delivers his timeliest and most heartfelt film, mixing humor, pathos, and anger.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
94% On the Beach at Night Alone (Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja) (2017) Hong's visual style is deceptively simple, exposing the characters' emotional complexity, and the friction between his serious psychological concerns and his playful narrative generates a certain frisson.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
75% Never Steady, Never Still (2017) British actress Shirley Henderson uses her soft voice and tiny frame to great effect.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
41% The Mountain Between Us (2017) I was surprised by the film's shift from adventure story to romantic melodrama, and yet the turn feels natural. Everyday life more often resembles a melodrama than an adventure story.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
88% Only the Brave (2017) Director Joseph Kosinski makes effective use of the wide-screen frame (particularly in capturing the Arizona vistas), though he fails to build on any of the script's straightforward themes.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
96% The Florida Project (2017) Baker places no dramatic emphasis on any individual scene, granting a sense of wide-eyed wonder to major and minor events alike.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2017
78% Nobody's Watching (Nadie nos mira) (2017) Because the characterization is genial and superficial, the film feels too lightweight for a drama, but it's never funny enough to be considered a comedy.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2017
100% Unrest (2017) Director Jennifer Brea has ME herself, and she structures the film around footage from her own video diaries; these excerpts personalize the medical lesson and give the film an emotional core.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2017
15% Friend Request (2017) It's a film devoid of subtext, which is especially disappointing given that the subtext would have been so easy to incorporate.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2017
100% Time to Die (Tiempo de morir) (1966) [Gabriel García] Márquez and Fuentes treat the hero's atonement and friendships with great feeling, but there's a dark side to the film's poignancy, because the man's every encounter may be his last.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
92% Saturday Church (2018) The songs aren't very good and the acting sometimes borders on camp, but there's no denying his ambition or his concern for homeless youth. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
4/4 86% That Most Important Thing: Love (L'important c'est d'aimer) (1975) Shining through L'Important C'Est D'Aimer is a genuine sense that love enables us to transcend the most degrading experiences.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
82% I Dream in Another Language (Sueño en otro idioma) (2017) A relaxed pace and a gentle tone, allowing the themes of guilt and repressed longing to resonate, and his sympathy toward all the characters creates a winning sense of goodwill.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2017
28% Rebel in the Rye (2017) Fatally, the movie fails to convey the sympathy and imagination of Salinger's prose-instead characters simply state over and over again how brilliant he is.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2017
88% 4 Days in France (Jours de France) (2017) At nearly two and a half hours, the film feels a little overlong, but the acute sense of transience makes a strong impression.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2017
77% The Oath (2016) As in many other Scandinavian thrillers, the style is cold and austere, the content ugly and misanthropic. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2017
85% Beach Rats (2017) [With] this second feature, writer-director Eliza Hittman comes across as a milder. ‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2017
67% Footnotes (Sur quel pied danser) (2017) The performances, songs, and choreography are all charmingly low-key, giving the film a handmade quality that suggests pride in a job well done.‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2017
50% The Glass Castle (2017) [Destin Daniel] Cretton wants to make an old-fashioned melodrama but fails to stylize the material in any compelling way‐ Chicago Reader
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2017
92% 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