Film Reviews: Drama

Atonement (2007)  /  Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)  /  The Boston Strangler (1968)  /  Brick (2006)  /  Brighton Rock (2011)  /  Calvary (2014)  /  Casino Jack (2010)  /  Contagion (2011)  /  Coriolanus (2012)  /  A Dangerous Method (2011)  /  The Deep Blue Sea (2012)  /  Edvard Munch (1974)  /  Factotum (2006)   /  Fair Game (2010)  /  Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)  /  Frost/Nixon (2008)  /  Green Zone (2010)  /  The History Boys (2006)  /  In the Family (2012)  /  The Informers (2009)  /  J. Edgar (2011)  /  The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)  /  Lincoln (2012)  /  Lore (2013)  /  M (1951)  /  Maps to the Stars (2015)  /  Medium Cool (1969)  /  Mesrine (2010)  /  A Mighty Heart (2007)  /  Milk (2008)  /  Moneyball (2011)  /  Mother and Child (2010)  /  Neighboring Sounds (2013)  /  Persepolis (2008)  /  Public Enemies (2009)  /  Rampart (2012)  /  Redbelt (2008)  /  Restless (2011)  /  17 Girls (2012)  /  Snow Angels (2008)  /  The Social Network (2010)  /  Skyfall (2012)   /  True Grit (2010)  /  A Very Long Engagement (2004)   /  The Visitor (2008)  /  We Can’t Go Home Again (1973)  /  Whiplash (2014)  /  Winter’s Bone (2010)  /  The Wise Kids (2011)  /  The Young Victoria (2009)  /  Zero Day (2004)

Performance/Spoken Word

Huck Meets Chuck,” on Chuck D’s reading of Huckleberry Finn for the spoken-word cassette The New Yorker Out Loud Volume II, Chicago Reader, November 27, 1998.
The Love Vote,” on the Gershwin brothers’ Of Thee I Sing, performed at Chicago Symphony Center, Chicago Reader, November 7, 1998.
Political Suicide,” on the comedy concert CD Mort Sahl’s America, Chicago Reader, August 7, 1998.

Reading Is Fundamental,” on the spoken-word CD box set The Best of William S. Burroughs From Giorno Poetry Systems, Chicago Reader, May 8, 1998.
Nothing Sacred,” on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar performed at Pheasant Run Resort, Chicago Reader, January 23, 1998.

is a longtime contributor to the Chicago Reader, a member of the National Society of Film Critics, a five-time honoree in the awards of the Chicago Headline Club and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, and, according to the website Vocativ, the most reliable movie critic in America. Over the years his work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, New York Press, East Bay Express, Amsterdam Weekly, and Chicago Sun-Times, and has been anthologized in Noir City and Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000, edited by Peter Guralnick. Jones has brought his ideas about film to WGN Radio, CLTV, and ABCNews.com, and has spoken at the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago International Film Festival, Columbia College Chicago, Facets Cinematheque, Gene Siskel Film Center of the Art Institute of Chicago, Music Box Theatre, and Northwestern University Block Museum of Art.

J.R. Jones

Best Films of the Year

2003  /  2004   /  2005  /  2006  /  2007  /  2008  /  2009  /  2010  /  2011  /  2012  /  2013  /  2014

About Robert Ryan

The Actor’s Letter,” feature story on Ryan’s Chicago upbringing, Chicago Reader, October 29, 2009.
The Essential Robert Ryan,” on Ryan's best screen performances, Chicago Reader, October 29, 2009.
The Dark Shadings of Robert Ryan: A Brief Biography,” Noir City, Vol. 6, No. 2, Summer 2011.

"Actor Robert Ryan was The Wild Bunch's Party Man," Chicago Reader, May 27, 2015

Film Reviews: Horror/SF/Fantasy

 The Adjustment Bureau (2011)  /  American Mary (2013)  /  Batman Begins (2005)  /  Berberian Sound Studio (2013)  /  Cloverfield (2008)  /  The Dark Knight (2008)  /  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)  /  Everything Will Be OK (2007)  / 
Let the Right One In (2008)  /  Never Let Me Go (2010)  /  Saw II (2005)  /  Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)  /  SpaceDisco One (2011)  /  Three . . . Extremes (2005)  /  Troll 2 (2010)  /  The Wolfman (2010)

Features and Columns

The Funny Similarities Between Chaplin and Hope,” on the parallels between the two entertainers, Chicago Reader, December 18, 2014.

The Robert Altman Film Altman Never Wanted You to See,” on the local restoration of Robert Altman’s Corn’s-A-Poppin',  Chicago Reader, June 17, 2014.

The Most Reliable Film Critic in America?,” on the dubious honor of this title, bestowed on the writer by the website Vocativ, Chicago Reader, May 8, 2014.

Red Lion Pub Offers a Respite for Weary Film Buffs,” in which two critics take on bartender and John Ford fanatic Joe Heinen, Chicago Reader, March 14, 2013.
A Decade Under the Influence of Terrible Movies,” commemorating the writer's first ten years as a film critic, Chicago Reader, November 22, 2012.

Meet Dave Kehr,” on the Chicago Reader's first staff film critic and his book When Movies Mattered, Chicago Reader, April 21, 2011.

Out of the Wreckage,” on the writer’s acquaintance with novelist Richard Yates, Chicago Reader, November 14, 2003.
The Pope Who Found Jesus," on the born-again awakening that split up Chicago punk-pop heroes the Smoking Popes, Chicago Reader, May 12, 2000.

Prove It All Night,” on the legendary Chicago nightspot the Lakeview Lounge, Chicago Reader, April 30, 1999; also Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000, Da Capo Press.

"Ska’s Lost Cause,” on the Chicago stop of the Ska Against Racism Tour, Chicago Reader, July 24, 1998.

Service Revolvers,” on the history of the U.S. Army's V-Disc Recordings during World War II, Chicago Reader, December 26, 1997.

In Mod We Trusted,” on the Chicago mod revival, Chicago Reader, September 5, 1997.

Friends of Bill,” on the writer’s visit to the home of William S. Burroughs, Chicago Reader, August 14, 1997.

Film Reviews: Documentary

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector (2010)  /  And Everything Is Going Fine (2011)  /  At the Death House Door (2011)  /  The Battle of Chile (1975-'79)  /  The Beat Hotel (2012)  /  Best Worst Movie  (2010)  /  Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (2013)  /  Bittersweet Motel (2000)  /  Casino Jack and the United States of Money (2010)  /  The Central Park Five (2012)  /  Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer (2011)  /  Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (2011)  /  Crude (2010)  /  Dinosaur 13 (2014)  /  The Dog (2014)  /  Don’t Expect Too Much (2012)  /  Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008)  / Helvetica (2007)  /  Henri Georges-Clouzot’s Inferno (2010)  /  Hitler’s Children (2013)  /  In the Realms of the Unreal (2005)  /  The Internet’s Own Boy (2014)  /  Into the Abyss (2011)  /  Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? (2013)  /  Ivory Tower (2014)  /  Jesus Camp (2006)  /  Films by Pare Lorentz  /  The Man Nobody Knew (2011)  /  The Missing Picture (2014)  /  Movin’ On Up (2008)  /  The Nomi Song (2005)  /  Nostalgia for the Light (2011)  /  Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today (1948)  /  The Oath (2010)  /  On the Bowery (1956)  /  Overnight (2004)  /  The People vs. George Lucas (2011)  /  Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune (2011)  /  Punching the Clown (2009)  /  Religulous (2008)  /  Restrepo (2010)  /  Rock School (2005)  /  Room 237 (2013)  /  The Seventh Python (2009)  /  Shine a Light (2008)  /  Tabloid (2011)  /  The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006)  /  Winnebago Man (2010)

Film/TV Reviews: Comedy

Around the World in 80 Days (2004)  /  Beeswax (2010)  /  Bridesmaids (2011)  /  Buck Privates (1941)  /  Chalk (2007)  /  Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (2011)  /  El Crimen Perfecto (2005)  /  Death at a Funeral (2010)  /  Deliver Us From Eva (2003)  / 
Delivery Man (2013)  /  Dogtooth (2010)  /  The Ernie Kovacs Collection  /  The Ernie Kovacs Collection, Volume 2  /  Films by Pierre Etaix  /  50/50 (2011)  /  God Bless America (2012)  /  The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)  /  The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)  /  Her (2014)  /  How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)  /  I Love You Philip Morris (2010)  /  I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)  /  I Think I Love My Wife (2007)  /  The Kids Are All Right (2010)  /  Knocked Up (2007)  /  Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection  /  Life During Wartime (2010)  /  Films by the Marx Brothers  /  The Marx Brothers TV Collection  /  Midnight in Paris (2011)  /  Palindromes (2005)  /  Please Give (2010)  /  A Prairie Home Companion (2006)  / 
Punching the Clown (2009)  /  Religulous (2008)  /  Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic (2005)  /  Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)  /  Sesame Street at 40 (2010)  /  Shaun of the Dead (2004)  /  Sherlock Holmes (2009)  /  Swing Vote (2008)  /  Thank You for Smoking (2006)  /  Three Stooges Annivoisery Blowout (2004)  /  2 Days in New York (2012)  /  Up in the Air (2009)  /  The Wackness (2008)  /  Wassup Rockers (2006)  /  The World’s Greatest Dad (2009)  /  You, the Living (2009
)