Michael Rechtshaffen

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For 736 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 37% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Rechtshaffen's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 How to Change the World
Lowest review score: 0 I Know Who Killed Me
Score distribution:
736 movie reviews
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A delightful romp that captures the spirit of the adored 65-year-old comic strip.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A richly crafted documentary that serves as an enlightening tribute to the filmmaker who masterfully tapped into the medium's wide-reaching socio-political potential.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A pitch-perfect musical comedy that at long last moves the talented John C. Reilly up the billing ladder from second banana to top banana.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Australian Mendelsohn (sporting a pitch-perfect American accent) and Reynolds are terrific, each wrapping himself up in the material like a well-worn favorite sweater.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A largely compelling ride on the strength of a powerful cast led by Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Several shades darker in tone than the previous edition -- which, to be fair, didn't carry the burden of expectation that a sequel must bear -- the return to Narnia still casts a transporting spell.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Gervais and Robinson take what might have been a cute concept comedy and elevate it to delicious heights.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The wow factor works overtime with state-of-the-art effects sequences that often are as beautiful as they are astonishing.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A movingly rendered, stirringly photographed first feature by Ham Tran.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The rightfully disturbing Buzzard emerges as a true original.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A sharply observed tragicomedy that draws laughter as genuinely as it coaxes tears, the nicely paced film tempers its themes of loss and sorrow with a cynically witty edge and is graced by a perfectly pitched Sigourney Weaver performance.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    An affecting film that manages to find glimmers of beauty in the encroaching bleakness, and coaxing richly dimensional performances which, like Maria's photographs, transcend the conventionally black and white.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Had Cameron Crowe and the late John Hughes collaborated on a movie populated by Disney Channel superstars, the result might have looked and sounded a lot like Todd Graff's Bandslam. And that's meant as a compliment.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Although their work involves interviewing eyewitnesses and gathering photographic evidence to build a case for violations of international law, the procedural stuff tells just half of E-Team's compelling story.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Writer-director Barnaby weaves a surprising amount of tenderness into the fabric of violence, as well as a good measure of magic realism, to keep the gritty story engaging.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    In the wonderfully droll Kitchen Stories, Norwegian filmmaker Bent Hamer takes an already inspired premise and weaves it into a spry absurdist comedy that also manages to find some considerable warmth.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Not since Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg teamed up in "The Other Guys" has an onscreen pairing proved as comically rewarding as the inspired partnership of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Packs a quiet wallop.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Peddle has more in mind than creating a stylized mood. His first narrative feature makes some astute observations about adolescence and identity, including that of the culturally shifting American South, in a way that is at once immediate and timeless.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It plays like "Bonnie & Clyde" as made by a committee comprised of George Romero, Sam Peckinpah, Tobe Hooper, Sergio Leone and John Waters -- but Zombie still manages to inject a pervasive flavor all his own.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    This smartly assembled wake-up call concerning the nation's lousy spending habits proves to be as unexpectedly spirited as it is dispiriting.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Ekachai's film takes a more compassionate view of its subject and boasts a dynamic performance by real-life kickboxer Asanee Suwan.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    An endlessly intriguing documentary.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Goes a long way in bringing sexy back to a soggy genre, benefiting greatly from the presence of its likable leads.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Expertly tossing off the type of well-sharpened banter that was the domain of Gable and Lombard and Tracy and Hepburn, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie -- no matter what their off-camera status -- make one swell combative couple.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Packing plenty of visual zip and terrific character faces into its compact running time, De Jong never allows the considerable quirkiness to upstage the storytelling.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It might not be way up there in "The Incredibles"/"Finding Nemo"/"Toy Story" stratosphere, but the charming Cars is nevertheless a thoroughly pleasant way to mark Pixar Animation Studios' 20th anniversary.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A typically intelligent if occasionally overwritten political thriller, boasting a powerhouse cast.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Hits the screen with its disarmingly droll spirit quite intact.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Elf
    While the words "instant holiday classic" might be pushing it, Elf is at the very least a breezily entertaining, perfectly cast family treat.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While Caine and young Milner make for amusing adversaries, it's nice to see Crowley paying respect to his elders by populating the retirement home with a number of familiar faces, including those belonging to Rosemary Harris, Sylvia Syms and longtime "Coronation Street" resident Thelma Barlow.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    In Jensen's uniquely wacky world, there's a genuine affection for his offbeat characters.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A reasonably engaging movie filled with fun visual effects and an appealing tone reminiscent of a certain Spielberg movie about an out-of-his-element extraterrestrial.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Mixing all the liberal blood-letting with equal amounts of inspired comedy, Kitano puts a fresh face on the classic material without messing with its heart.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It generally succeeds, too, thanks to a visually energetic approach by director Jon Chu that keeps all the obligatory backstage/onstage bits moving fluidly.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A curious documentary by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Marshall Curry that makes interesting observations about contemporary thrill seekers.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Think "Godzilla Unplugged" -- with chillingly effective results.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Director Barry Strugatz, a screenwriter best known for 1988’s “Married to the Mob,” has crafted a brief but disarmingly cordial tribute to an overlooked Tai Chi “sifu” who didn’t believe in kowtowing to convention.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    An agreeably goofy road movie.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    An enjoyable adventure fantasy that pushes all the requisite buttons while still managing to throw in a pleasant surprise or two.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Defies all expectations with a low-key, technically stripped-down production that really does come close to capturing the heart and soul of the original.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Despite clocking in at a scant 70 minutes, the troubled-youth drama Memoria manages to make a hauntingly poetic impression.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While by no means a masterpiece of the form, John Carpenter's The Ward is an economical period piece that still effectively demonstrates what a skilled technician can accomplish in a single location with a compact cast and sturdy old-school effects.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While the storyline, in which Jack Black’s dumpling-downing Dragon Warrior is reunited with his biological father, doesn’t quite fulfill its prophecies, dramatically speaking, visually speaking it’s all quite impressive — one of those very rare animated features that completely justifies its 3D glasses.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    This offbeat take on "The African Queen" stumbles on a couple of awkward transitions, but generally succeeds on the merits of Collette's unerring ability to carry the viewer along her constantly changing emotional landscape.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A giddily over-the-top, super-entertaining goof on the Everyman crimefighter flick written and directed with evident relish by James Gunn.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Stewart's documentary is seldom less than compelling in its quest to raise international awareness about a situation that is threatening to put sharks on the endangered list.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The fact that it's actually based on a true story adds an extra layer of poignancy, heightened further by another superb Sophie Okonedo performance.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A period suburban rites-of-passage story with a pitch-perfect cast.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    When it plays to its strengths, the film, like the band, mines pure '80s gold.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    This energetic film satisfyingly brings viewers up to speed on Newman's remarkably enduring career detour.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A shapely sequel that retains much of the sparkle and warmth that made the original such a pleasant surprise.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The Disney picture should handily score a direct hit to its targeted young female demographic as well as striking a chord with their big sisters, moms and aunts.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The fantasy-adventure incorporates the novel's magical and emotional elements without overplaying either -- a balance that hasn't always proven easy to maintain in the world of kid-lit adaptation.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Bullock is an irrepressible hoot in writer-director John Lee Hancock's otherwise thoroughly conventional take on Michael Lewis' fact-based book "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game."
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Ape
    Acutely nailing the dysfunctional stand-up milieu both on- and off-stage, the micro-budgeted film is more a wryly-etched character sketch than an involvingly-plotted proposition, but it still manages to leave an impression thanks to Joshua Burge’s convincingly-inhabited lead performance.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While humor abounds, the reflective piece nevertheless carries an emotional heft that tends to sneak up on the viewer after the fact. It's a testament to Leigh's tremendous skills as a storyteller and the splendid performances of his leads, Katrin Cartlidge ("Breaking the Waves") and newcomer Lynda Steadman. [7 Aug. 1997]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A playfully quirky and, ultimately, unexpectedly affecting portrait of a 17-year-old slacker.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Part zombie movie, part apocalyptic bioterror, part military conspiracy thriller, the refit hybrid doesn't stint on the visceral kicks demanded by contemporary audiences while remaining reasonably true to those Romero roots.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Imagine a Kiwi spaghetti western filtered through the offbeat sensibilities of early Sam Raimi or the Coen brothers and you've pretty much got the picture that is Good for Nothing.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Despite a few design flaws, "Pants" should wear well with its young female demo.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A poignant documentary about the transformative power of art.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It's with that action aspect that Pineapple Express differs from Apatow's previous production output, and though, the words "taut" and "pulse-pounding" would never apply, the giddily over-the-top fight sequences, choreographed by veteran stunt coordinator Gary Hymes, handily compensate for the lag time.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    With its solid performances, nice attention to period detail and a foreboding rumble of a symphonic score by Jan Duszynski, Jack Strong adds a unique Eastern Bloc POV to the enduring Cold War movie arsenal.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Boasting a sizable budget, stirring photography and Arcilla's charismatic lead performance, Heneral Luna would never be mistaken for more serious-minded art-house material, but there are certainly less lively ways to be taught a history lesson.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Manages to stand on its own two skyscraper heels thanks to the comic force of nature that is Anna Faris.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A delightfully stylized caper involving a mute little girl, her pet cat and a cat burglar.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    An amiably clunky, unapologetically silly summer confection that nevertheless lands sufficient lethal slams to the funny bone.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The stark drama harkens back to Sidney Lumet classics like "Serpico" and "Prince of the City"-filmmaking that went after an unadorned, jagged realism, with acting to match.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Adheres sufficiently closely to the original template so as not to offend purists and manages to pack an intensely visceral punch of its own, most effectively in the extended setup.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Lila & Eve is a standard-issue female vigilante thriller that's skillfully elevated by the performances of leads Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Think of it as "The Matrix" for the quantum physics set.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Credit a rock solid turn by lead Jon Hamm that doesn’t shy away from revealing a darker underbelly to his underdog character, as well as a keenly-observed script by Tom McCarthy and deft direction by Craig Gillespie for the rewarding changeup.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Hatchet II earns bragging rights with buckets of giddily over-the-top blood 'n' guts in sequences that are as gratuitous as they are amusingly ridiculous.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Thanks to a trio of solid performances (especially the dryly bitter O'Shaughnessy, who suggests a young Helena Bonham Carter), this first feature, although a tad long, nevertheless emerges as a diabolically effective anti-date movie.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Margret and H.A. Rey's mischievous monkey makes his long-threatened leap to the big screen in Curious George, with much of the books' charm respectfully intact.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A tart and tender comedy that pulls off a little miracle of its own by being genuinely heartwarming without leaving any cloyingly sticky emotional residue.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The unifying power of music is rewardingly demonstrated in Song of Lahore.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It might not possess the robust charm of its 2009 predecessor, but Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 nevertheless gets an amusing boost from a genetically modified, marauding menagerie of Tacodiles, Watermelophants, Sasquashes and assorted other "Foodimals" that have overtaken the once-tranquil island of Swallow Falls.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    This redemptive tale set against southwest Ireland's moody seascape holds its tangible charms.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Never achieves sufficient traction to go the blockbuster distance.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    More than ever, Depp masterfully keeps the enterprise afloat, even when the sheer weight of all those other characters threatens to throw it off-course.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Director Sean McNamara's film is impressively buoyed by a cast of young newcomers and seasoned pros.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A bright and breezy tween fantasy romantic comedy that coasts along on its charming performances and the light comedic touch of first-time feature director Elizabeth Allen.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While Olympic Trials don’t usually tend to be the sort of milieu that readily lend themselves to quirky comedy, the engagingly amusing Tracktown quite capably goes the distance.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A compelling bit of family drama that packs a corrosive punch.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    What Tying the Knot lacks in finesse it compensates for in making a heartfelt case for the hot-button topic of same-sex marriage.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The picture might not be as fresh and clever as it could have been, but its spirited voice cast delivers the whole enchilada.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Ends up being of greater historical significance than of any lasting artistic merit.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It's a charming-looking, tenderly told story about friendship and diversity.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    As inspirational pieces go, the journey taken by the affable Tubbs proves hard to resist, even as the film, in its hustle to get to the finish line, occasionally prevents viewers from feeling this underdog story's emotional victories.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    What could have made for particularly potent satire in the hands of an Albert Brooks or a Christopher Guest arrives in the form of a politely benign family comedy by first-time director Scott Marshall.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Magical Universe is a tender portrait of the artist as a weirdly gifted, wildly prolific and strange man.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Armed with a splendid voice cast and a gorgeously-rendered 3D-CG landscape, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax entertains while delivering it's pro-environmental, anti-greed message wrapped in a bright package of primary colors that truly pop.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A pitch-perfect, guilty-pleasure serving of late-summer schlock that handily nails the tongue-in-cheek spirit of the Roger Corman original.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A thoughtful and nicely observed dramedy about a group of AARP-sters grappling with life, loss, love and -- gasp -- sex in a South Florida "active adult community."
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A challenging, thought-provoking debut that compassionately questions the relevance of celibacy in the Catholic Church.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    At the Fork serves up an even-handed perspective on the subject of eating ethically.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    This time around, greater attention has been paid to story and character development (while scaling back on all the sight gags) and the substantial results give the ample voice cast and returning director Genndy Tartakovsky more to sink their teeth into, with pleasing results.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Thanks to sturdy performances by holdovers Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy as well as tidy, unfussy direction by first-timer Patrick Tatopoulos, the creature designer who is taking the reins from originator Len Wiseman, the third installment in the successful franchise should be to the fan base's lycan.

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