Richard Schickel, Time
Select another critic »
For 478 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 54% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Richard Schickel's Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Boyz n the Hood
Lowest review score: 0 Billy Madison
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 62 out of 478
478 movie reviews
    • 92 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Still, somewhat shame-faced I have to admit that at some point in the film I began to hear a subversive voice whispering in my ear, and what it was saying was, "Could you blink a little faster, pal?"
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    It is hard to think of another film more tightly autobiographical than this one. It's even harder to think of other films that build so gripping a narrative out of a string of comparatively minor and disparate incidents.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    One of the most wholly original American movies ever made.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    Caught in the movie's grip, you are simply hypnotized by the damned thing.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    A war film that, entirely aware of its genre's conventions, transcends them as it transcends the simplistic moralities that inform its predecessors, to take the high, morally haunting ground.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    A movie of shadows and half lights, the best approximation of the old black-and-white noir look anyone has yet managed on color stock.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    A solemn, subtly structured, beautifully acted and ultimately hypnotic movie.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 30 Richard Schickel
    Tedium overwhelms caring well before this endless film finally concludes.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    Prepare to be riveted: No End in Sight, Charles Ferguson's first film, is without question the most important movie you are likely to see this year.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Pixar's improved computer animation is up to all the demands of this excellent adventure.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    A stylish, well-paced film with a good variety of moods and moves.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    What we come to care most about in writer-director Joshua Marston's film is how his heroine achieves the state promised by his title, Maria Full of Grace. Our emotional investment in her derives primarily from the astonishing performance of Moreno, 23.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    This year's miracle is called Tootsie. It is not just the best comedy of the year; it is popular art on the way to becoming cultural artifact.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    For all its brave beginnings and real achievements--its assault on western mythology, its discovery of a subversive sexual honesty in an unexpected locale--Brokeback Mountain finally fails to fully engage our emotions.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    You'll have to seek it out in its limited release, but no current movie is more worth the effort.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    An often deft, frequently droll little movie.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    Finally, though, Traffic, for all its earnestness, does not work. It leaves one feeling restless and dissatisfied.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Kevin Spacey (gives) a truly great performance.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Maybe these lives are, objectively speaking, inconsequential. But they have a resonance that big, sappy "relationship" pictures ought to envy.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    A raw, unblinking film. It teaches that in dire circumstances our only obligation is to our own survival; all else -- culture, ideology, even love -- is a dispensable luxury.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    I wouldn't call the film inspirational -- it is too well observed to succumb to easy sentiment -- but its realism is patiently engaging and subtly insinuating. And Linney and Hoffman are extraordinary.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    It's hard enough to find comedies like this at any time, so it's a small and welcome miracle to come upon one in the midst of a typical movie summer.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    An austere and delicate examination of the ways in which a likable family falters under pressure and struggles, with ambiguous results, to renew itself. This is not very show-bizzy stuff, but for once, a movie star has used his power to create not light entertainment or a trendy political statement, but a work that addresses itself quietly and intelligently to issues everyone who attempts to raise children must face.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    Sublime and sorrowful movie.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    A smart live-and-let-live parable.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    What makes this movie work is the kind of cool that made Get Shorty go so nicely: an understanding that life's little adventures rarely come in neat three-act packages, the way most movies now do, and the unruffled presentation of outrageously twisted dialogue, characters and situations as if they were the most natural things in the world.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    It seemed to me as I left the theater that A Christmas Tale was a little too jumpy for its own good, with too many characters and plot points hastily interwoven. But I've come think that it is faithful to its essential purpose, which is to disprove the Tolstoyan dictum that unhappy families are each miserable in their own ways.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Lawrence's style, naturally lit and roughly realistic, matches the writing. Lantana sometimes has the air of a routine police procedural, sometimes the quality of a dour film noir. But this movie, so alert to mischance and dreams that don't quite work out as they should, has a good soul, a heart yearning for decency.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Ironizes without parodying an antique screen manner, then reaches out from beneath this smooth cover to grab us.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    All the actors in No Man's Land are wonderfully alive, fractious and unpredictable. Their performances also help break down the schematics and turn this into an emotionally potent, powerfully thoughtful and finally tragic experience.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    It is the hilarious business of Shrek, a delightful new animated feature based on the William Steig book, to subvert all the well-worn expectations of its genre.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    It is, like quite a few Lumet pictures, rather small in scale, easy to overlook. But I think it is time to gather around a director who has embraced his octogenarian bleakness and sing his praises. Ultimately, I think you'll laugh a lot at what he has wrought here -- but only well after the movie is over and the full scale of its perversity settles into your bones.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    The results are unique in the contemporary cinema -- behavioral honesty and intensity raised to a flash point. If this be comedy, it is so only in the nominal sense that no one dies at the end of the picture.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    [It presents] us with a vast range of richly developed, gorgeously played characters ... and mov[es] them gracefully through time and a lot of very pretty spaces without ever losing its conviction, its concentration or our bedazzled attention. [18 Dec 1995]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    We are free to adore a sad, funny, always good-natured film that eccentrically, tolerantly explores that moment when revolutionary ardor commingled with bourgeois stolidity to form our present weirdly ambiguous culture.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    The movie ends in a burst of violence that we are unprepared for and don't believe. Maybe it's the film's final joke. It's a miscalculation -- though a calculated one -- but it does not erase one's fond memories of all the odd, deeply humorous behavior that preceded it.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Solondz observes all this activity from an objectifying distance, very much the anthropologist trekking through the heart of darkness
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    As fine--hard, soft, approachable--as any in movie history.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This very patient film reaches out and unshakably grips us.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Indeed, you could argue that Tell No One is a variant on one of Hitchcock's favorite themes: the running man whose story no one (except us in the audience) believes. These fictions, of course, depend for their success on the French respect for rationalism (and their horror when reason is torn asunder by criminal irrationality).
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Comic, suspenseful, romantic.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    A movie that may be just a bit too pleased with its own artful bleakness.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    There is something brave and original about piling up most of our worst parental nightmares in one movie and then daring to make a midsummer comedy out of them. It really shouldn't work, but it does. The movie does not linger too long over any moment or mood, and it permits characters to transcend type, offering a more surprising range of response to events. [7 August 1989, p.54]
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This isn't just a thrill ride; it's a rocket into the thrilling past, when directors could scare you with how much emotion they packed into a movie.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Intellectually austere but technologically and aesthetically riveting documentary.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Michael Clayton is not an exercise in high-tension energy; you'll never confuse its eponymous protagonist with Jason Bourne. But it does have enough of a melodramatic pulse to keep you engaged in its story and, better than that, it is full of plausible characters who are capable of surprising -- and surpassing -- your expectations.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    On the basically farcical level where it chooses to stay, it is a funny and likable movie
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    A brilliant exercise in popular but palpable surrealism.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 30 Richard Schickel
    The result is a mess. Kym, in Hathaway's unsympathetic performance, is an annoyingly sour observer of the proceedings, a time bomb everyone hopes will not explode before the marriage is completed.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    A smart, shrewdly crafted movie.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    The comedic first part of Jacques Audiard's film doesn't achieve a seamless connection with its melodramatic second half, but you can't deny the originality of his conceit or the tart cynicism of its development.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    In the end, you feel that Frozen River gives about as truthful a picture of American bleakness as it's possible for a movie to present. It is a movie that asks something of an audience, but it richly rewards our curiously rapt attention.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Occasionally succumbs to Mika's legato rhythms, but it is more often a sly, subtle comedy about the oh-so-gentle art of murder.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 30 Richard Schickel
    There's neither intricacy nor surprise in the narrative, and these dopes are tedious, witless company. Mostly you find yourself thinking, "How long until dinner?"
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Juno is not a great movie; it does not have aspirations in that direction. But it is, in its little way, a truthful, engaging and welcome entertainment.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 40 Richard Schickel
    A grim and uninvolving film, for which Philip Glass unwittingly provides the perfect score -- tuneless, oppressive, droning, painfully self-important.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    Upon all these folks, writer-director David O. Russell turns a bland, almost anthropological eye. Nothing surprises him and nothing outrages him, except for bed-and-breakfast lodgings, about which, at last, his movie tells the terrible truth. [1 April 1996, p. 72]
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Our response to the ape's doom, once touched by authentic tragedy, is now marked by relief that this wretchedly excessive movie is finally over.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    It is a measure of its complexity--and of the forces Penn and Sarandon have held in reserve during their hypnotic struggle for his soul--that its final moments leave us awash in emotion.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    Think of A Fish Called Wanda as the next best thing to a Looney Tunes-Merrie Melodies summerfest…Wanda defies gravity, in both senses of the word, and redefines a great comic tradition. [July 18, 1988]
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    [Darabont] makes you feel the maddening pace of prison time without letting his picture succumb to it.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    Remain open to fantasies but not be consumed by them. These are good lessons for a would-be director. They are good lessons for everybody. And no recent movie has taught them with more patient sweetness. [Feb. 5, 1990]
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    The central conflict, the struggle for Calogero's soul, is stated with a fable's starkness. But the tone of the film is musing, reflective, gently insinuating.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    A movie that is both as real as food on the table and as hauntingly evanescent as its taste on one's tongue.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Two cheers, at least, for permitting the past to appear not as a stern lesson but as a delicious irrelevance. [10 Mar 1986]
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    [Salles]'s imagery, like his storytelling, is clear, often unaffectedly lovely, and quietly, powerfully haunting.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    There is more to the intertwined stories of Murrow and McCarthy than this simpleminded, rhetorically driven movie begins to encompass.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    The film takes this attempt to shatter narrative into little pieces about as far into incoherence as it can go; yet it is also full of odd, hypnotic menace.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    That metaphor is pitch-perfect, but the film works a little too hard at proving the vileness of beauty pageants.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    It's a gentle film about somewhat alien beings, who entertain us by creating instead of destroying.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    It is a powerful portrait of a slightly befuddled man who, when inhuman demands were placed on him, found within himself an unexpected response.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    It is, finally, as a richly pulsating, hugely entertaining human comedy -- antic, wayward, glancing -- that Short Cuts bemuses, amuses and finally entrances us. [4 Oct 1993]
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    The best movie of this very young millennium.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    But it is the style with which this wild farce is developed that sustains our horrified interest and keeps us laughing as the darkness gathers around Barbara and Oliver. [11 Dec 1989]
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    No film since Preston Sturges was a pup has so shrewdly appreciated the way the eccentric plays hide-and-seek with the respectable in the ordinary American landscape; no comedy since Annie Hall or Manhattan has so intelligently observed not just the way people live now but what's going on in the back of their minds; and finally, and in full knowledge that one may be doing the marketing department's job for them, it is the best movie of the year.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    Mamet's elegantly efficient script does not waste a word, and De Palma does not waste a shot. The result is a densely layered work moving with confident, compulsive energy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This moving tribute to a handful of candles flickering in the darkness has the power to summon us--one prays--to our better selves.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Williams, who has comparatively little screen time, has come to act, not to cut comic riffs, and he does so with forceful, ultimately compelling, simplicity. [June 5, 1989]
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    There is not a cheap note or a careless image, not an easy judgment or a forced emotion, in the 2 hr. 43 min. of Bird. It permits a man's life its complexity. It invites us to experience the redeeming grace of his music. And with its passionate craft, it proclaims that Eastwood is a major American director.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Elegantly made, romantically doomy, curiously affecting movie.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    The movie has two virtues essential to good pop thrillers. First, it plugs uncomplicatedly into lurking anxieties -- in this case the ones we brush aside when we daily surrender ourselves to mass transit in a world where the loonies are everywhere. Second, it is executed with panache and utter conviction.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Very moving film.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    There is something arresting about it too. The damned thing keeps gnawing at your mind -- if only for its almost perfect lack of conventional sentiment. Or movieness.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    A rich, intricate and very gripping movie.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Writer-director Carl Franklin's cool, expert adaptation of Devil in a Blue Dress, Mosley's first novel, evokes the spirit of '40s film noir more effectively than any movie since Chinatown.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    A performance like De Niro's, in a well-made entertainment like Midnight Run, is cheap at any price. And capable of restoring the audience's faith in the form. [25 July 1988]
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Sayles is a meditative storyteller, with a tendency to mute melodrama rather than letting it wail. But he is also one of the few filmmakers still ferreting out the strangeness and anxiety hidden beneath our poses of ordinariness. [22 July 1996, p.95]
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Wry humor and even a certain sexiness break through the reserve of a rueful, realistic, but finally emotionally rewarding film.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    What plot it has is borrowed, improbably, from Henry IV, and whenever anyone manages to speak an entire paragraph, it is usually a Shakespearean paraphrase. But this is a desperate imposition on an essentially inert film. [28 Oct 1991]
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    The result is a harrowing film, impossible to "like" in any conventional way, hypnotically impossible to turn away from.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Nunez's film neither floats like a butterfly nor stings like a bee. It just drones on.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    At times the joints in the movie's carpentry are strained, at times the mood swings jarring. [16 Oct 1989, p. 82]
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Altogether wondrous.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    There's something old-fashioned and dauntless about the way the film pushes past our initial resistance to its setting and subject matter, past pain, past defeat, to make this point. Because it rejects easy victories, this may be one of the few inspirational movies that could actually inspire someone, somewhere, sometime.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    A hard-striving, convoluted movie, which never quite becomes the smoothly reciprocating engine Anderson ...would like it to be.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    He's (Wilson) a terrific sidekick to Chan's funny, earnest, often victimized righteousness. This kid could be a star.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    The film comes uncomfortably close to risible. But it also achieves moments of real power. It's worth a wary look before it attains midnight cult-movie status.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    The sober wit of this comedy arises not from conventional artifice -- snappy dialogue, wacky situations -- but from a realistically drawn ensemble interacting truthfully with one another.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    They bring their characters to good, slightly surprising, quite satisfying places. And leave us beaming happily.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    A movie that manages to be atmospherically rich while also satisfying the slash-crash imperatives of the police-action genre.