For 131 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 32% higher than the average critic
  • 0% same as the average critic
  • 68% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Pauline Kael's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Dressed to Kill
Lowest review score: 10 Roger & Me
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 131
  2. Negative: 15 out of 131
131 movie reviews
    • 22 Metascore
    • 10 Pauline Kael
    Travel-folder footage of Rio mixed with father-daughter incest (in a disguised form)...Most of the movie is an attempt to squirm out from under its messy erotic-parental subject.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    This slapstick adventure comedy is in the commercial genre of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it's a simpler, more likable entertainment than Raiders; it doesn't leave you feeling exhausted.
    • 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
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    An aggressively silly head-horror movie, the result of the misalliance of two wildly different hyperbolic talents-the director Ken Russell and the writer Paddy Chayefsky.
    • The New Yorker
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Meryl Streep gives an immaculate, technically accomplished performance as Sarah Woodruff, the romantic mystery woman of John Fowles' novel, but she isn't mysterious. We're not fascinated by Sarah; she's so distanced from us that all we can do is observe how meticulous Streep -- and everything else about the movie -- is.
    • 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
    • 99 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    This exuberant satire of Hollywood in the late 20s, at the time of the transition from silents to talkies, is probably the most enjoyable of all American movie musicals.
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Marlon Brando is airily light and masterly as the veteran anti-apartheid barrister who takes the case even though he knows that he can't get anywhere with the rigged court. He saves the picture for the (short) time onscreen. But the director, Euzhan Palcy, seems lost; her work is heavy-handed, and the script (by Colin Welland and the director, from a novel by Andre Brink) is earnest and didactic.
    • The New Yorker
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    The 12th James Bond film goes through the motions, but not only are we tired of them, the actors are tired of them - even the machines are tired...The producers have made the mistake of deciding on a simpler, more realistic package, without dazzling sets or a big, mad super villain.
    • 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
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    The director, Herbert Ross, and the writer, Dean Pitchford, exhaust one bad idea after another, and build up to a letdown: you don't get the climactic dance you expect.
    • The New Yorker
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    The picture draws out the obvious and turns itself into a classic. [26 June 1989]
    • 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
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    There ins't a gleam of good sense anywhere in this picture.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 85 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    Seeing “Raiders” is like being put through a Cuisinart—something has been done to us, but not to our benefit.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    Lightning didn't strike three times; the movie is lumbering... I don't think it's going to be a public humiliation, and it's too amorphous to damage our feelings about the first two. [1 Jan 1991]
    • The New Yorker
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    A competent director (Peter Yates), working with competent technicians, gives a fairly dense texture to a vacuous script about cops and gangsters and politicians. The stars are Steve McQueen with his low-key charisma, as the police-officer hero, and the witty, steep streets of San Francisco.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    What happened to the Kubrick who used to slip in sly, subtle jokes and little editing tricks? This may be his worst movie. He probably believes he's numbing us by the power of his vision, but he's actually numbing us by its emptiness. [13 July 1987, p.75]
    • The New Yorker
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Costa-Gavras's antipathy to Americans appears to be so deep-seated that he can't create American characters. The only real filmmaking is in the backgrounds: in the anxious, ominous atmosphere of a city under martial law -- the sirens, the tanks, the helicopters, the feeling of abnormal silences and of random terror.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 78 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    The picture is a piece of technological lyricism held together by the glue of simpleminded heroic sentiment; basically, its appeal is in watching a couple of guys win their races.
    • 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

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