For 96 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 34% higher than the average critic
  • 0% same as the average critic
  • 66% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Pauline Kael's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Dangerous Liaisons
Lowest review score: 10 Blame It on Rio
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 96
  2. Negative: 13 out of 96
96 movie reviews
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    The picture draws out the obvious and turns itself into a classic. [26 June 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    A first-rate piece of work by a director who's daring and agile... It's heaven – alive in a way that movies rarely are. [9 Jan 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    Huston's power as Lilly is astounding... She bites right through the film-noir pulp; the [climactic] scene is paralyzing, and it won't go away.
    • The New Yorker
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    It may be the most sophisticated political satire ever made in Hollywood. (As quoted by Roger Ebert)
    • The New Yorker
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    On paper this movie, written and directed by Brian De Palma, might seem to be just a political thriller, but it has a rap intensity that makes it unlike any other political thriller...It’s a great movie.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    The Orson Welles film is generally considered the greatest American film of the sound period, and it may be more fun than any other great movie.
    • The New Yorker
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    The best scary-funny movie since "Jaws" - a teasing, terrifying, lyrical shocker, directed by Brian De Palma, who has the wickedest baroque sensibility at large in American movies. Pale, gravel-voiced Sissy Spacek gives a classic chameleon performance as a repressed high-school senior.
    • The New Yorker
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    It's genuinely funny, yet it's also scary, especially for young women: it plays on their paranoid vulnerabilities... Mia Farrow is enchanting in her fragility: she's just about perfect for her role.
    • The New Yorker
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    This is one of the most entertaining science-fiction fantasies ever to come out of Hollywood.
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    One of the most sheerly enjoyable films of recent years, this sophisticated horror comedy, written and directed by Brian De Palma, is permeated with the distilled essence of impure thoughts.
    • The New Yorker
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    Moonstruck isn't heartfelt; it's an honest contrivance – the mockery is a giddy homage to our desire for grand passion. With its special lushness, it's a rose-tinted black comedy. [25 Jan 1988, p.99]
    • The New Yorker
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    Wonderful comedy about a tragedy.
    • The New Yorker
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    This may be the best-paced and most slyly entertaining of all the decadent-ancient-Rome spectacular films. It's a great big cartoon drama, directed by Stanley Kubrick, with Kirk Douglas at his most muscular.
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    A classic screwball fantasy - a neglected modern comedy that's like a more restless and visually high-spirited version of the W.C. Fields pictures...Set in the world of competing used-car dealers in the booming Southwest, this picture has a wonderful, energetic heartlessness; it's an American tall-tale movie in a Pop Art form. The premise is that honesty doesn't exist; if you develop a liking for some of the characters, it's not because they're free of avarice but because of their style of avarice.
    • The New Yorker
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    It would be fun to be able to dismiss this as undoubtedly the best movie ever made in Pittsburgh, but it also happens to be one of the most gruesomely terrifying movies ever made.
    • The New Yorker
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    The film is distinguished by the fine performances of Nicholson and Quaid, and by remarkably well-orchestrated profane dialogue. It's often very funny. It's programmed to wrench your heart, though-it's about the blasted lives of people who discover their humanity too late.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    John Cusack and Mahoney have to carry the unconvincing melodramatic portion of the plot, but they carry it stunningly. [15 May 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    It isn’t a dialogue comedy; it’s visceral and lower. It’s what used to be called a crazy comedy, and there hasn’t been this kind of craziness on the screen in years. It’s a film to go to when your rhythm is slowed down and you’re too tired to think. You can’t bring anything to it (Brooks’ timing is too obvious for that) ; you have to let it do everything for you, because that’s the only way it works.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    Exciting, handsomely staged, and campy.
    • The New Yorker
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    Midler gives a paroxysm of a performance - it's scabrous yet delicate, and altogether amazing. The movie is hyper and lurid, yet it's also a very strong emotional experience, with an exciting visual and musical flow, and there are sharply written, beautifully played dialogue scenes.
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    A glitter sci-fi adventure fantasy that balances the indestructible James Bond with an indestructible cartoon adversary, Jaws (Richard Kiel), who is a great evil windup toy. This is the best of the Bonds starring the self-effacing Roger Moore.
    • The New Yorker
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    Sydney Pollack's directing is efficient and the film is moderately entertaining, but it leaves no residue. Except for the intensity of Newman's sly, compact performance...and the marvelously inventive acting of Melinda Dillon.
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    Probably the most consistently entertaining of the Bond packages up to the time - not as startling as parts of "Goldfinger" but much superior to "Thunderball."
    • The New Yorker
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    This romantic comedy-fantasy about a mermaid (Daryl Hannah) who falls in love with a New Yorker (tom Hanks) has a friendly, tantalizing magic.
    • The New Yorker
    • 31 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    The picture seems to crumble... because the writer and director don't distinguish Loew's fantasies from his actual life... But with Cage in the role we certainly see the delusions at work. This daring kid starts over the top and just keeps going. He's airily amazing. [12 June 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    I was surprised at how not-bad it is. It may fall into the category of youth-exploitation movies, but it isn't assaultive, and it's certainly likable. [1 Nov 1982, p.146]
    • The New Yorker
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    Raising Arizona is no big deal, but it has a rambunctious charm. The sunsets look marvelously ultra-vivid, the pain doesn't seem to be dry – it's like opening day of a miniature golf course. [20 Apr 1987, p.81]
    • The New Yorker
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    It's enjoyably trivial – a piece of charming foolishness. [24 Mar 1986, p.112]
    • The New Yorker
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    It has so many unpredictable spins that what's missing doesn't seem to matter much. The images sing. [10 July 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    Is it a great movie? I don't think so. But it's a triumphant piece of filmmaking -- journalism presented with the brio of drama. [24 Sept 1990]
    • The New Yorker

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