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 2.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Pauline Kael's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Citizen Kane
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
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    This muckraking melodrama has considerable power and some strong performances. The script, by W.D. Richter, has offhand dialogue with a warm, funny edge.
    • The New Yorker
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    There's always something bubbling inside Arthur--the booze just adds to his natural fizz. This was the only film directed by Steve Gordon (who also wrote the script); he was a long way from being able to do with images what he could do with words, but there are some inspired bits and his work has a friendly spirit.
    • 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
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    The attraction of the movie is its friendly, light tone, its affectlessness, and its total lack of humanity. [6 Aug 1984, p.72]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    If audiences enjoy the movie, it's largely because of the elderly actors and the affection that the young director, Ron Howard, shows for them.
    • 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
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    Tomlin confirms herself as a star whenever she gets the material, and Dolly Parton's dolliness is very winning, but it's easy to forget that Jane Fonda is around - she seems to get lost in the woodwork. The director, Colin Higgins, is a young fossil who sets up flaccid, hand-me-down gags as if they were hilarious, and damned if the audience doesn't laugh.
    • The New Yorker
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    Fairly consistently funny.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    The picture is just a flimsy, thrown-together service comedy about smart misfits trying to do things their own way in the Army. But it has a lot of snappy lines (the script is by Len Blum, Dan Goldberg, and Ramis), the director, Ivan Reitman, keeps things hopping (it's untidy but it doesn't lag), and the performers are a wily bunch of professional flakes.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    As Octopussy, the beautiful amazon Maud Adams is disappointingly warm and maternal - she's rather mooshy.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Not bad, but not quite top-grade Bond. A little too much under-water war-ballet.
    • The New Yorker

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