Michael Rechtshaffen

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For 892 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 9% same as the average critic
  • 36% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 6.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Rechtshaffen's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Charlotte's Web
Lowest review score: 0 Unfallen
Score distribution:
892 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Roth has managed the rare feat of actually improving on the original.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    John Travolta takes on John Waters in Hairspray, and the result is anything but a drag in this appealingly goofy, all-singing, all-dancing screen adaptation of the Broadway musical based on the 1988 film.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    May not offer up any fresh revelations, but this effectively assembled documentary puts it all in valuable, if depressing, perspective.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Documentary filmmaker Julie Gavras has made a successful transition into narratives with the remarkably assured, thoroughly delightful Blame It on Fidel.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Quite an entertaining genre piece boasting a terrifically sinewy lead performance from Wanda De Jesus.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    There's a palpable element of honesty in Lapica's writing and lead performance that gives this indie production, the edge over other troubled teen dramas.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A vigilante drama boasting a powerful Jodie Foster performance and carefully weighted direction by Neil Jordan.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The film, with its intersecting vignettes, might ultimately feel like more of a sampler platter than a sustaining smorgasbord, but it's effectively rooted in a lovely Morgan Freeman performance.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Think "Godzilla Unplugged" -- with chillingly effective results.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Highly watchable, anchored sturdily by Lane's convincing performance.
    • 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.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Has something a bit edgier in mind than the usual, soft-focused wedding bell high jinks. For the most part, that's exactly what it delivers -- an amusing, smartly cast romantic comedy told from a guy's perspective.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While the archival footage is fun, it's ultimately those bittersweet recollections of his equally energetic wife and adult children that give Surfwise its compelling edge.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Retains considerable entertainment value on the strength of Herzog's never-dull, very personal narrating style.
    • 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.
    • 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
    Manages to stand on its own two skyscraper heels thanks to the comic force of nature that is Anna Faris.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    There's a terrific tenderness in Travolta's performance, while Cyrus and company are similarly effective.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Thanks to a rock-solid performance by Dennis Quaid, nice historical touches and energetic direction by Gary Fleder, the tried-and-true formula is given a welcome shot of adrenaline.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    An affecting ensemble piece that's destined to generate a fair share of awards-season buzz.
    • 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.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Carrey's most satisfying live-action effort since "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The Wayans brothers manage to squeeze it all in to consistently amusing effect and in a way that just barely manages to stay within those PG-13 parameters.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Although the impressively acted ensemble piece occasionally gets tripped up by Peter Elkoff's overtly literate script, it travels in some unexpected, thoughtful directions.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A period suburban rites-of-passage story with a pitch-perfect cast.
    • 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.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Once again, the three young leads give committed performances, with Lautner's character allowed a larger share of the spotlight this time around.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Manhattan's storied hotel is the timely subject of this passionate tribute.
    • 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.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Moore and Neeson beautifully underplay their roles, lending screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson's ("Secretary") dialogue an unexpected, palpable poignancy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The film is at its most potent delineating Hefner's role in the American civil rights movement, going beyond the pages of his magazine.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Decidedly stimulating in its own right, at least in the early going.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It's a safe bet that exposure to the film should cause audiences to make room on their iPods for some serious downloading.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    This redemptive tale set against southwest Ireland's moody seascape holds its tangible charms.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Slick superlobbyist Jack Abramoff is the colorful subject of Casino Jack a similarly slick and undeniably entertaining true-life D.C. crime story, boasting a robust Kevin Spacey performance.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The production comes by its authenticity naturally -- and not only because several of the cast members (fascinating faces all) happen to be related.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Although the tentative performances of his two human leads proves less satisfying, and the story's not-so-underlying sociological context can be hard to miss -- it takes place along the U.S.-Mexico border -- the overall picture still impresses.
    • The Hollywood Reporter
    • 39 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Never achieves sufficient traction to go the blockbuster distance.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Directing from the nonjudgmental script he wrote with Michael Armbruster, Ku's assured, unadorned documentary style allows his leads ample breathing room to inhabit their devastated characters.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    There's still much to admire about this carefully drawn but concise character sketch, especially the strong performances and a unique, affectingly ominous score by folk-rock-gospel outfit Bruce Peninsula.
    • 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.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A sweet 'n' sassy period comedy with a "Juno" sensibility and the soul of a "Little Miss Sunshine," the hard-to-resist Dirty Girl announces the official arrival of Juno Temple.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It's the affable cast, headed by Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski, that really makes the picture so widely accessible.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A gritty serving of pulp fiction masterfully perpetrated by Samuel L. Jackson as a philosophical ex-con trying to buck the considerable odds by taking a shot at redemption.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A delightfully stylized caper involving a mute little girl, her pet cat and a cat burglar.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Oroves nimbler and truer to its origins than last year's "Rodrick Rules."
    • 45 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Chasing Mavericks manages to sufficiently overcome the obstacles with admittedly affecting results.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While director-writer Liford...hits a bit of a snag with an abrupt mood shift in the last 15 minutes that doesn’t feel true to the prevailing vibe, he usually hits the perceptive mark.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While it might not amount to epic animated filmmaking in terms of scope and invention, Epic, a 3D, CG adventure-fantasy from Blue Sky Studios, nevertheless makes for pleasantly engaging viewing.
    • 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
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While the new edition doesn’t quite catch that inspired spark, there’s still plenty to enjoy here courtesy of those zippy visuals and a pitch-perfect voice cast led by the innately animated Steve Carell.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Wasteland is a deconstructed heist film that eschews the genre’s usual quick cutting and gritty visuals in favor of a quieter, more intimate approach. While it doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, it does offer a distinct way of watching it spin, with a young, fresh-faced cast to help bring it to life.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Disneynature’s Bears combines sweeping vistas and remarkably intimate wildlife photography to typically stirring effect.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Credit a youthful, energetic spirit, nicely conveyed by its cast of naturally-acting newcomers, a workable raw-footage construct and a spare but smartly spent special effects budget for the satisfying end result.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Even more so than last time out, Smith focuses a great deal of attention on the details—the day-to-day minutiae of the facility’s rescue and rehab work that elevate what could have otherwise been another well-intentioned but soggy fish-out-of-water yarn.
    • 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Keeping the creepy/kooky mix entertainingly intact, Goosebumps translates R.L. Stine’s frighteningly successful young adult horror fiction series to the big screen with lively, teen Ghostbusters-type results.
    • 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.
    • 64 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Although there is still much to enjoy here, this DC Comics-fueled Lego adventure fails to clear the creative bar so energetically raised by co-directors and writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller back in 2014.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Marino...is equally at home directing the broader physical comedy and sweeter bonding sequences between Maximo and Hugo, even as the overlong film's two distinct personalities never manage to coalesce into a self-contained whole.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A neatly contained crime whodunit with a nifty setup and an expert lead performance from Samuel L. Jackson.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Filmmaker Nicholas Mross takes a straight-ahead, even-handed approach to the controversial payment system.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While Phillippe's tongue seldom ventures far from his cheek in addressing the cult of celebrity, he maintains a nice technical grip on the tension and intensity — at least until things start to unravel toward the end.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Darling's documentary is garden-variety filmmaking, but it does an effective job in illustrating how years of fiscal crises have forced academia and industry to forge alliances that once would have been considered unlikely.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    You're left wanting to have seen much more of the story from the Queen of the Mountains' singular vantage point.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The age-old search for the fountain of youth is engagingly appraised in The Immortalists, a lively documentary focusing on a pair of very different biomedical scientists who are equally obsessed with eradicating the ravages of time.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Writer-director Marni Zelnick makes an assured debut, coaxing considerable production value out of her limited budget while weaving in an understated, enlightening conservation message that feels organic to the story.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Whether the con is truly on or the filmmakers have simply taken an awful lot of poetic license where the post-Michael Moore documentary format is concerned, moviegoers certainly have less amusing ways to be bamboozled.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Strip away all the flimsy copycat stuff, including the cheesy retro synth score, and what lurks beneath is a perceptive portrait of contemporary thirtysomething relationships, no silly sleuthing required.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While the end result feels a tad overstuffed at 92 minutes, it's entirely understandable if, after more than half a century of being identified as "that guy," Miller's in no hurry to relinquish the spotlight.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    As long as it shuts up and keeps moving, Tracers makes for a sufficiently diverting, not to mention zero-emission, vehicle.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Get past what sounds like a melodrama about a forbidden love affair, and director Oren Jacoby's carefully crafted film deftly blends archival footage with dramatic re-creations and interviews with surviving family members to illuminating effect.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Uneven but nonetheless emotionally gratifying.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While all the naturalistic overtones might suggest faith-based Terrence Malick, those committed performances keep the film involving, however recognizably those echoes might resonate.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Despite the undeniable novelty of having Holmes on hand to keep it real, the absence of traditional character development ultimately takes its toll on viewer empathy.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The film taps into some genuine, relatable truths lurking beneath all that try-too-hard quirkiness.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It's all pleasant enough, but the film, ultimately more of a checklist than an in-depth analysis, never really shines any fresh light on Canada's identity crisis or gets to the source of all those preconceived notions.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Like an uncle making a long-winded, embarrassing toast to the bride, Smith may have a lot of defining childhood memories at his disposal, but that doesn't mean they all need to be shared.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    They may not do enough to alter the climate change film landscape, but Klein and those impassioned protesters provide something that has been in short supply in the predecessors — namely, a modicum of hope for the future.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Taking those Hail Mary passes to heart, Woodlawn is a heavily Christian sports drama that almost goes the distance despite adhering closely to the inspirational movie playbook.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Copeland's victories are shortchanged by the film's prevailing sense of detachment from its main subject.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Although Fontaine, a former soap opera actor, hits the saga's sins-of-the-fathers theme too often, there's a palpable small-town-in-transition feel to the fictional Braxton.... And there's no denying Fontaine's reflective but rumpled Rolando Ramirez is an interesting protagonist.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Working from a glib, chatty script by Robert Lowell that's not as cleverly hatched as it likes to think it is, Haley whips it into something reasonably entertaining.

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