For 111 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 33% higher than the average critic
  • 0% same as the average critic
  • 67% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Pauline Kael's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Grifters
Lowest review score: 10 Blame It on Rio
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 111
  2. Negative: 13 out of 111
111 movie reviews
    • 93 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Dershowitz's life-enhancing scenes are flatulent, and they're dishonest: the movie seems to be putting us down for enjoying the scandal satire it's dishing up. [19 Nov 1990]
    • The New Yorker
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    The picture might have been a pop classic if it had stayed near the level of impudence that it reaches at its best. But about midway as Eddie has a crisis of confidence, and when Eddie locks his jaw and sets forth to become a purified man of integrity, the joy goes out of Newman's performance, which (despite the efforts of a lot of good actors) is the only life in the movie, except for a brief, startling performance by the 25-year-old black actor Forest Whitaker as a pool shark called Amos.
    • The New Yorker
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    As Octopussy, the beautiful amazon Maud Adams is disappointingly warm and maternal - she's rather mooshy.
    • The New Yorker
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    The scenes inside the Institute have a chill, spectral beauty, yet the spookiness doesn't explode. The movie seems a little too cultivated, too cautious.
    • The New Yorker
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Mostly it gets by on being good-natured enough for you to accept its being clumsy and padded and only borderline entertaining.
    • The New Yorker
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    It's a very even work, with no thudding bad lines and no low stretches, but it doesn't have the loose, manic highs of some of Allen's other films.
    • The New Yorker
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Not bad, but not quite top-grade Bond. A little too much under-water war-ballet.
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    This Bond thriller-the sixth, and set mainly in Switzerland-introduces a new Bond, George Lazenby, who's quite a dull fellow, and the script, by Richard Maibaum, isn't much, either, but the movie is exciting, anyway.
    • The New Yorker
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Robert Wise, who made this expensive version of the Michael Crichton novel, having chosen a fanatically realistic documentary style, has failed to solve the dramatic problems in the original story. The suspense is strong, but not pleasurable.
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    There's a total absence of personal obsession - even moviemaking obsession - in the way Crichton works; he never excites us emotionally or imaginatively, but the film has a satisfying, tame luxuriousness, like a super episode of "Masterpiece Theater."
    • The New Yorker
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    The people in this serious Woody Allen film are destroyed by the repressiveness of good taste, and so is the picture. It's a puzzle movie, constructed like a well-made play from the American past, and given the beautiful, solemn visual clarity of a Bergman film, without, however, the eroticism of Bergman.
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    The best that can be said about this jumbled scrapbook of Joan Crawford's life from her middle years to the end is that it doesn't seem to get in the way of its star, Faye Dunaway, who gives a startling, ferocious performance.
    • The New Yorker
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Plenty of shrewd commercial calculation went into concocting the right sugar coating for this story of an 11-year-old girl's painful maturation, but chemistry seems right. Laurice Elehwany's script neatly handles a number of details but on larger matters falls into predictable patterns.
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    As the teen-age small-town girl looking for excitement who joins up with a carnival that's traveling through, Jodie Foster has a marvelous sexy bravado. The dialogue, from Thomas Baum's screenplay, is often colorful, but the picture is heavy.
    • The New Yorker
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Gilliam has a cacophonous imagination; even the magical incongruities are often cancelled out by the incessant buzz of cleverness. It's far from a bad movie, but it doesn't quite click together, either. The director doesn't shape the material satisfyingly; this may be one of those rare pictures that suffers from a surfeit of good ideas.
    • The New Yorker
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    The picture doesn't come together and much of it is cluttered, squawky, and eerily unfunny. But there are lovely moments --especially when Olive is loping along or singing, and when she and Popeye are gazing adoringly at the foundling Swee'Pea (Wesley Ivan Hurt).
    • The New Yorker
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    The jokes get rather desperate, but there are enough wildly sophomoric ones to keep this pop stunt fairly amusing until about midway. It would have made a terrific short.
    • The New Yorker
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    The director, John Badham, does a glamorous, showy job, and, what with all the stunt flying and the hair-trigger editing, this is the sort of action film that can make you fell sick with excitement, yet it's all technique -- suspense in a void.
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Yes, it's a collection of barbs and sick jokes, but it's not fun, and it lacks a punch line...The young, inexperience director, Michael Lehmann, doesn't find the right mood for the gags. [17 Apr 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    The action simply doesn't have the exhilarating, leaping precision that Spielberg gave us in the past... The joyous sureness is missing. [12 June 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    When the picture stops being comic it turns into a different kind of kitsch... The material turns into cheesy plot-centered melodrama... Beetlejuice would have spit in this movie's eye. [17 Dec 1990]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Starts smart and ends dumb. [24 Aug 1987, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    The movie is ungainly – you can almost see the chalk marks it's not hitting. But it has a loose, likable shabbiness. [19 Oct 1987, p.110]
    • The New Yorker
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    A romantic adolescent boy’s view of friendship.
    • The New Yorker
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Rob Reiner's film, taken from Stephen King's autobiographical novella "The Body," overdoses on sincerity and nostalgia. Seeing it is like watching an extended Christmas special of "The Waltons" and "Little House on the Prairie" - it makes you feel virtuous. All that stays with you is the tale that Gordie, the central character, tells his friends around the campfire.
    • The New Yorker
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    The film is rich in fillips--smart little taps and strokes. But after a while you start asking yourself, what is this movie about? (You're still asking when it's over.)
    • The New Yorker
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Most of the movie lacks zest.
    • The New Yorker
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    The subject - the romantic life of an American Communist - may be daring, but the moviemaking is extremely traditional, with Beatty playing a man who dies for an ideal. It's rather a sad movie, because it isn't really very good.
    • The New Yorker
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Woody Allen is trying to please, but his heart isn't in it, and his talent isn't either. He is so much a man of our time that his comedy seems denatured in this classy, period setting
    • The New Yorker
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Cheesy low farce, with Danny DeVito as a thieving millionaire who wants to kill his heiress wife (Bette Miler) and is overjoyed when she's kidnapped.
    • The New Yorker

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