Richard Schickel
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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 5.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Richard Schickel's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 House of Sand and Fog
Lowest review score: 0 Billy Madison
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 62 out of 478
478 movie reviews
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    In its soft-spoken way, it is fierce, shaggy and deeply weirded out.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    A shrewd portrait, sly, casual yet palpably authentic, of the principal ways members of any minority try to respond to an uncomprehending world. [29 Jun 1998, p. 69]
    • Time
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Emma Bolger is -- no other word for it -- magical in the role...In her way she encapsulates In America's virtues. It's a realistic movie, but one that's always aware that transformative hope may be just around the corner.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Who says remakes are always inferior to the original film? And who says the western is dead? Especially when a movie is as entertaining as this one, you begin to think this formerly beloved genre is due for a revival.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    A lot of very good actors...do honest, probing work in a context where, typically, less will do.
    • Time
    • 76 Metascore
    • 30 Richard Schickel
    Crude and inept.
    • Time
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Witness, which is one of the most originally conceived and gracefully made suspense dramas of recent years, to work into edgy juxtaposition the representatives of two subcultures that are ordinarily mutually exclusive.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    I have rarely, if ever, seen a documentary reconstruction of a historical event that is so rich in firsthand (and well-preserved) photographic material.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    I don't think it attains the Godfather level -- it lacks dark passion and grand-scale irony -- but it is an intelligent, well-made and seductive movie.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Very simply, Bertolucci has found an elegance of design and execution that few of his contemporaries could even dream of. [23 Nov 1987]
    • Time
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Results in about the nicest movie you could ask for at the holidays: a gently funny, sweetly adventurous film that makes you feel genuinely good, that is to say, entirely unconned by false sentiment or sharp, overmanipulative Hollywood practices.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Sharing its subject's virtues, it is a lovely addition to the annals of the Greatest Generation.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    No wonder adolescents have taken Repo Man for their own. Lifting its hood is like peering into a teen-ager's mind: miswired and noisy, Repo Man is capable of fast starts and amazing cornering. [4 Feb 1985]
    • Time
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    An elegantly polished little film.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 40 Richard Schickel
    The result is a Big Mac of a movie, junk food that somehow reaches the chortling soul.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    This feels the way a lot of us are living now -- on desperation's dull yet still cutting edge.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    We have this movie--full of acceptant, sidelong glances at human quirkiness--to delight us.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    A tangy frappe of a movie--preposterously comic, deliriously romantic, outrageously stylish in black-and-white.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Out of a borrowed and preposterous premise, Audiard has fashioned a film that is more haunting--and more compellingly watchable--than it has any right to be.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This darkly sumptuous, hypnotically complex movie ought to have many constituencies.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    For Hackman embodies the energy and outrage the rest of this rather twee family lacks. Royal stirs them all to life, and this great, bumptious performance by an actor gleefully rediscovering his funny bone stirs us to appreciative life too.
    • Time
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This wonderfully animated movie is a little more softly pitched than its predecessor, but it still has plenty of rollicking spin on the ball.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Little Children does not have quite the bleak discipline of Field's more keenly judged "In the Bedroom." Yet it is a more ambitious film and a considerable achievement.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This criminal comedy remains deliciously deadpan about the wages of psychopathy.
    • Time
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This gripping documentary doesn't exactly say what went wrong, but the pain and puzzlement of its principals as things inexorably fall apart is palpable and saddening.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Seems to encompass all the humor, sadness and weirdness of ordinary life in an utterly winning, morally acute way.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    To make an unembarrassing movie about embarrassment is definitely an eye-opening achievement.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    What a pleasure it is not to be hectored by a director as we laugh our own little laughs, watching a profound story unfold.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    It appears to be a true reflection of her (Shelly) spirit -- eccentric, good-naturedly feminist, kind of funny and kind of sentimental. Despite its realistic setting in a small Southern town, it is much more a fable than it is a slice of authentic life.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    It takes its place on the very short list of the unforgettable movies about war and its ineradicable and immeasurable costs.
    • Time
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    The result is a film consistent narratively, confident stylistically and abounce with the quaint quality that animated both the hero and his times, something we used to call pep.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    There's a great story here, but Tucci's literate, civilized, wistful movie lacks savage impulse and refuses to show how mutual exploitation led to minor tragedy.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    The actor (Puri) and the film make something fine, winning and memorable.
    • Time
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    The movie has two other qualities you don't always find in films of this kind: a sense of humor and a sense of character. [15 August 1994, p. 61]
    • Time
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    It will fascinate and possibly even delight cinephiles. Who does not enjoy gawking at accidents, particularly those in which there are no fatalities and the sad story unfolds in almost slow-motion clarity?
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Unsparing but never unsympathetic, emerges as one of the year's best, most brutally honest movies.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Maurice (pronounced Morris) is all high-mindedness and good taste. It has no emotional tension or - heaven forfend - strong expression of frustration or need.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    In Washington's finely shaded performance he's a low-pressure system, illuminated by distant flashes of lightning.
    • Time
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    This movie does not fully separate itself from our admittedly low -- even slightly shameful -- expectations, does not become the pure documentary it might perhaps better have been.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Japanese Story is a simple, austerely told tale. But there is something memorable, even haunting, about it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    I think the central mistake of this film derives from its lack of irony, a sense it refuses to impart that the world may not be exactly as the zealous Christopher perceives it to be. The film needs at least to entertain the possibility that its protagonist was driven less by high principle than by lamentable screwiness. And we need to leave it carrying some sense of tragic consequence with us. Instead, we're simply glad to be finished, at last, with this annoying man-child.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This movie is more emotionally remote than Salles' fine "Central Station." But it is starkly beautiful and says something potent to a world in which nations, like these families, engage in mindless blood feuds.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 40 Richard Schickel
    It doesn't work. It is just a mess -- though the sound track, full of Dylan songs is, of course, good to hear. But it is not better than the track on Martin Scorsese's "No Direction Home" documentary of two years ago.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    If this were not such great American-vernacular moviemaking -- hilarious yet hypnotic -- one would be tempted to see something Greek in the tragedy that Ed never comprehends.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    Without question, the best crime movie of the year--and one of the best movies of any sort now playing.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    So long as Casino stays focused on the excesses -- of language, of violence, of ambition -- in the life-styles of the rich and infamous, it remains a smart, knowing, if often repetitive, spectacle.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Full of sacrilegious rant, absurdist affectlessness and pop social criticism, this film plays like an old B movie: narratively improvisational, delusionally pretentious, weirdly watchable.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Layer Cake is a treat--especially if your taste in desserts is devil's food.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    I think Gonzo, which is wonderfully rich in historical footage, needs some skeptics, some voices suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Thompson was part of the problem, not the solution, when America flirted briefly with revolution (or was it merely anarchy?), leaving consequences that continue to resonate today -- and not always to our advantage.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This memory piece, shy in manner but tough in spirit, has brought out the best in everyone connected with it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    Remarkable. [22 July 1991]
    • Time
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Funny in its deplorable way.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Given a budget that encourages their kinesthetic skills, the filmmakers tend to go on a bit, but it's mostly a kind of quick, glancing hipness that's being indulged here.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    Can one recommend this unblinking film to the average moviegoer, out for a good time? Only in this way: if James and his crew can spend years with these blighted souls, surely you can spend two hours with them, exploring compassion's outer limits.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Kids may be puzzled by rebellious worker ants chanting Marxist slogans, but their parental guides may welcome the relief from the prevailing blandness of family films. [Oct 12, 1998 v152 n15 p116]
    • Time
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    This is rather a thin tale, not much thickened by Burton's direction or Depp's playing. There's a distance, a detachment to this film. It lacks passion.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    This material is either underdeveloped or crudely put by a director whose style is so conventional that he makes James Ivory look, by comparison, like Jean-Luc Godard.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    An edgy exploration of role playing and sexual choice in a climate where all options are acceptable.
    • Time
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Ross is a filmmaker with a taste for inherently sentimental tales…but the discipline not to play mawkishly to our sentiments. You will be moved by Seabiscuit--but not to tears.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    This could have turned out to be an exercise in easy sentiment, easy to shrug off. But Frank Cottrell Boyce's script is carefully understated, and director Michael Winterbottom has achieved a remarkably seamless blend of fictional and factual footage.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    It would be nice, for instance, to meet some white man, other than Dunbar [Costner], who is not a brutish lout. And it would not harm the film if there were one or two bad-natured Sioux visible in it. [12 Nov 1990, p.102]
    • Time
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    For clever as it is conceptually, it violates the most basic rule of romantic- comedy construction. If boy doesn't meet girl, then the drama of boy losing girl and the final satisfaction of boy getting girl cannot happen.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    May not be a totally riveting movie, but it is, in its gently insinuating way, a curiously rewarding one.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    The result is mainstream moviemaking at its highest, most satisfying level.
    • Time
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    It is among the best and most delicately managed films of the year.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 40 Richard Schickel
    Neither jokes nor fast, flashy action can completely distract audiences from the failure to establish an authentic, rather than a purely conventional connection between Nolte and Murphy.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    A true movie rarity: a brutally honest romance. If you loved "Sleepless in Seattle," you'll just hate it.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    There is delicacy and restraint in all these performances as they ease a far-fetched premise toward believability under Richard Pearce's clear, cool direction.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 40 Richard Schickel
    This is, alas, one weary ride--77 minutes that sometimes feel like that many hours.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    Perhaps the funniest movie for grownups so far this year.
    • Time
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    What makes The Good Girl worthwhile is its performances. All the actors play their entrapment with a weirdly convicted blankness. That's especially true of Aniston.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    It proposes that you can make an extraordinarily satisfying comedy without writing a joke. Subtly played and elegantly directed, this is an Adults Only movie in the best sense of the term.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Ordinarily such trespasses against truth would be enough to condemn such a movie, but Rhames' gravity and grace, Voight's pinched anguish as he wills himself to do right, the moving work of actors like Don Cheadle and Esther Rolle do much to redeem this film for human if not historical reality.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Now and then McGrath's film feels a bit rushed and breathless, but mostly you sink gratefully into its handsomely staged plenitude.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    One leaves the film neither hugely thrilled nor greatly awed, but with a pleasant sense of having caught up with old friends and found them to be just fine, pretty much the way one hoped they would turn out in later life.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Well acted, and it achieves a strong, smart, engaging life of its own.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    As much a dark, odd couple comedy as it is a quirky, efficient little thriller.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    As reversible misunderstandings grow into irreversible tragedy, it slowly dawns on you that this is a superior, heartbreaking film.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    The film is more than a murder mystery and more than a study in character conflict. At its best, it is an intense and complex portrait of an urban landscape on which the movies' gaze has not often fallen.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Sunshine is a trifle schematic. But it also makes you feel, quite poignantly, the crushing tides of history: heedless, inhuman--and tragic.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    The result is an admittedly minor, but authentic, holiday treat.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 30 Richard Schickel
    This is soft-gore porn, obvious in its strategies, witless in the play of its ideas, absurdist only in its pretense to seriousness.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Hearts sinking, we are obliged to endure much pseudo-serious gabble as we head toward another painfully predictable triumph of the human spirit. There must be some better way of hunting our--and Oscar's--goodwill. [Dec. 1,1997]
    • Time
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Nolan's effort is not dishonorable, but what it needs, and doesn't have, is a Joker in the deck--some antic human antimatter to give it the giddy lift of perversity that a bunch of impersonal explosions, no matter how well managed, can't supply.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Morris's manner of relating this story is very often quite inappropriate to its substance. It is a sordid and appalling tale and what it demands is almost an anti-style -- rough, crude, grim, technically poor imagery unrelieved by sleek, slick fancy work. If you are going to rub our noses in this ugliness, you must not let up until, perhaps, we have learned our lesson.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Like its title -- blunt, thruthful, uncompromising. It is hard on an audience, even harrowing. But that's exactly what Martin Scorsese was put on earth to do.
    • Time
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Gere and Molina are themselves terrific as the con men.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    It may be a first film, but Labaki, employing a cast that is full of non-professional actresses, is a slick and knowing filmmaker. Her multiple plot lines are neatly braided and though her characters are conventionalized they are also charming and capable of surprising us.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    What Willis proves in Die Hard is that it is not one you can ease through, especially if your preparation runs more to body building than to character building. [July 25, 1988]
    • Time
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Their sweet, determined, gently understated struggle for fulfillment in a superstitiously conservative society makes this densely, deftly packed movie a quiet joy to behold.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    As long as Training Day stays tightly focused on the struggle between the two cops, the movie is first rate.
    • Time
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Not for everyone. The plot is full of holes, and its language is worse than it has to be. But it has some swell supporting performances and a lot of vulgar inventiveness, and best of all, it plugs into -- and electrifies -- the mostly unacknowledged grimness that lies just beneath our holiday cheer.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Makes everything Hollywood has lately done in the action genre look clumsy, dull and stale. It is a short, nonstop stuntfest that, by going back to basics and placing them on the screen with simple, breathless stylishness, turns what is essentially a lowlife movie form into something one is not embarrassed to call "pure" cinema--all energy, movement and high kinetic wit.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Elegant and understated.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Babel is a movie that leaves you feeling limp and wrung out, but mysteriously moved by its vivid human encounters with the hot, tightly wired, chancy and coincidental world, ever capable of terrorizing us when we least expect it.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    The film is most significantly about puzzled people trying to comprehend the cosmic reversal of fortune that was the Depression. They don't have much more than raw courage and simple virtues to rely on. Unlike most period pieces, Cinderella Man encourages us to fondly recall not songs or clothes but values we have largely mislaid.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    [The Coens] are therefore entitled to patience, respect and, yes, perhaps a special gratitude for this movie, which never once compromises its fundamentally unpromising yet courageously aspiring nature. [26 Aug 1991]
    • Time
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    All in all, Nurse Betty is a wonderful movie, unpredictably alive to the fact that the American citizenry is a lot stranger than we like to admit.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Maybe this documentary is a bit too enthralled by her, but she emerges from it a game girl, a gay activist and a curiously sympathetic figure.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    There is not a lot of scintillating dialogue in The Bank Job, but there are plenty of kinky sexual allusions and it includes a torture sequence about as brutal as anything you're likely to see in the movies these days.