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
No Score Yet Charlie Mingus (1968) A harrowing account of America's greatest composer in perhaps the worst period of his life. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) Throughout, the director's camerawork and mise en scene are impressively subtle, carefully parsing out information about characters and setting to force viewers to stay alert to the tiniest details. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2019
2/4 63% The Mountain (2019) One can easily watch the film the way Andy takes part in Wallace's odyssey-but you'll probably be disappointed if you expect the various ideas to add up to more than the sum of their parts... - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
3/4 84% Ad Astra (2019) In drawing on and amplifying ideas that have appeared elsewhere in his work, [James] Gray heightens Ad Astra's sense of familiarity, making the future seem like something out of the past. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
No Score Yet Drifting (1923) Tod Browning directed, and though the film isn't as sensationalistic as his better-known horror films, it still offers flashes of his perverse imagination. There are compelling supporting performances from Wallace Beery and Anna May Wong. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
95% The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) This may have as much to do with the colorful eastern seaboard settings as it does the filmmakers' sensitive handling of the main character's developmental disability; the film feels authentic as well as sincere. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
3/4 88% What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire? (2019) The charisma of Minervini's subjects is powerful enough to cut through the ethnographic vibe... - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
3/4 100% Los Reyes (2019) Los Reyes is a charming, calming film, though it's also somewhat one-note... - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
48% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) Richard Linklater's adaptation of Maria Semple's novel is a critical (if characteristically humane) assessment of American society in spiritual crisis. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
4/4 96% I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians (Îmi este indiferent daca în istorie vom intra ca barbari) (2019) This is heady stuff, but never daunting. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2019
2/4 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Though Tarantino mixes fiction and historical fact cleverly and confidently, I'm not sure what he wanted to achieve with the mix this time, and I'm not sure if he knew either. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2019
100% The World in His Arms (1952) This is no classic, but it's loads of fun, thanks in part to Walsh's brisk pacing and infectious sympathy for rugged, macho types. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
96% Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019) The tone is generally celebratory and, given Morrison's extraordinary impact on American letters, deservedly so. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019
1/4 83% Midsommar (2019) In his second feature, director Ari Aster shows he has a limited number of tricks up his sleeve. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2019
4/4 100% The Fate of Lee Khan (Ying chun ge zhi Fengbo) (2019) King Hu's wuxia classic mixes comedy, action, intrigue-and resistance. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2019
56% 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 75% 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
93% 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
90% 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
66% 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
83% High Life (2019) ...exciting, beguiling, and sometimes quite moving. - Chicago Reader EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
3/4 93% 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 95% 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 79% 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 89% 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
99% 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 61% 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 95% 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