Richard Schickel
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For 479 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 Sense and Sensibility
Lowest review score: 0 Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 62 out of 479
479 movie reviews
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Eventually you may come to think of Talk to Me as a true movie rarity -- a very honest yet curiously affecting experience.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Despite its novel milieu somehow remains trapped in genre conventions. It's still basically a boxing picture, not essentially different from dozens of other movies about life in and around what the old time sportswriters used to call "the squared circle." Mamet's circle is, alas, just a little too square.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    The result is a lovely movie, one that allows its characters unexpected spurts of growth and regression, darkness and grace.
    • Time
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    This says nothing about Gallo's own demonic charm as Billy or his directorial boldness in juxtaposing the emotional surreality of his story with the bleak reality of his hometown in winter, creating a sort of casual but strangely haunting weirdness.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 30 Richard Schickel
    Braveheart is too much, too late.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    Gibson is a primitive all right, but so were Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith, and somehow we survived their idiocies.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    The result is an escapist fantasy that is -- Damon's and Potente's persuasive performances aside -- as weightless and inconsequential as a musical. And at the moment every bit as welcome.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Wry, richly layered, wonderfully observed Argentine film.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    Christie has already won prizes for the knowing weariness of her performance, and Flynn Boyle probably deserves some for her ferociously stated frustrations. But their clarity can't quite cut through the thickness of the film's air or compensate for the wooziness it induces.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 30 Richard Schickel
    His is a dispassionate sensibility, and he is not a strong enough actor - nor has he a strong enough intelligence - to fight his way out of the false analogy he has drawn between moviemaking and tragic history in the making.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    It renders passion dispassionate and turns murder into a kind of fashion statement, something we observe without really caring about.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    A smart, tough, yet curiously moving film.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    A formally elegant, subtly savage and powerfully affecting film.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    This is a fairly low-keyed comedy, but a grown-up dropping in on it can appreciate its lack of frenzy, its fundamental good nature, as easily as its core audience will. It isn’t exactly a gem, but as zircons go, it’ll do.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    The players don't particularly look like their historical models, but they make us feel their life-threatening pain and puzzlement.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    What a concept! Mad Max meets The Cosby Show. What a surprise! It works better than a fastidious mind might imagine. One reason is that Mel Gibson himself has been recruited to play Lethal Weapon's lethal weapon, Los Angeles Police Detective Martin Riggs. [23 March 1987, p.86]
    • Time
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Whoever thought of having evil's final manifestation take the form of a 100-ft. marshmallow deserves the rational mind's eternal gratitude. But praise is due to everyone connected with Ghostbusters for thinking on a grandly comic scale and delivering the goofy goods, neatly timed and perfectly packaged.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    This anti romantic and anti-comic -- it's not as funny as Delpy seems to think it is -- movie may appeal to the dark side of your immune system.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This wee, discreet little movie has a certain rueful intelligence about the ways we rather carelessly talk ourselves into love--and out of it as well.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    What is startling is how well While You Were Sleeping recaptures the true spirit of the best kind of modern fairy tale -- classic romantic comedy.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Insanely funny, if occasionally out-of-control, black farce.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    If the people responsible for A League of Their Own had tried just a little harder to avoid easy laughs and easy sentiment, they might have made something like a great movie. As it is, they have made a good movie, amiable and ingratiating.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    A modestly mounted, but curiously poignant little documentary... which somehow -- quietly, devastatingly -- shows and tells you more than you may perhaps want to know about the dehumanization implicit in the mighty, blighted Iraqi adventure.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Very simply, World Trade Center is a powerful movie experience, a hymn in plainsong that glorifies that which is best in the American spirit.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Leaves a quiz show's quantity of unanswered questions. But it has the optimism and determination of a corporate whistle-blower. It makes us believe, for a moment, that it's possible to end-run the spirit of Enron.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Yet despite all that boring talk, Dead Again is a hit, the late-blooming rose of a movie summer that was mostly mulch. [23 Sept 1991, p.73]
    • Time
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Both actors are excellent--but there's something conventionally gimmicky about the way it plays its reality/unreality game.
    • Time
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    For all the film's murky misdirections, it is very enjoyable. That's because Nolan's recreation of the illusionists' backstage world is so marvelously detailed, including as it does revelations of how some of their best tricks are accomplished.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This is a good, serious and absorbing movie -- especially, perhaps, for a reviewer who is roughly Kepesh's age and, of course, eagerly evading the issues his story forces up.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 30 Richard Schickel
    This is moviemaking for people who don't much like movies unless they are -- you know -- "serious." It is visually inert. It appears to be taking up small-scaled, yet emotionally resonant issues, but does not actually define them sharply or bring them to firm conclusions.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    [Murphy] makes Trading Places something more than a good-hearted comedy. He turns it into an event.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Richard Schickel
    The film finally collapses under the burden of implausibility.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    Even when one of the pieces stutters, stammers or just lies deathly still, we are consoled by our knowledge that it will not trifle with us for very long. And by the fact that there is an excellent likelihood that it will soon be replaced by something more engaging.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Richard Schickel
    There is no rhyme or reason to this jumble -- except perhaps to stress Edith's endless self-victimization. This lack of narrative coherence naturally has the effect of distancing us from her story.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Its business is to turn sure-thing expectations into a game of chance, and provide us with that rarity--a genuinely eccentric yet deeply insinuating film.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    The result is a well-tooled machine chugging coldly along a twisting road to nowhere.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 30 Richard Schickel
    Jennifer Jason Leigh's draggy performance as Parker is all studied accent (something vaguely mid- Atlantic but never before heard on Earth) and equally studied self-pity and it cannot sustain our sympathy, or our interest in this inept film.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    It feels as if it has been recovered from a time capsule, and what larger meaning it may have is anyone's guess. But it is way cool -- and funny -- in ways that more expensive comedies trying harder rarely are.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Rain Man's restraint is, finally, rather like Raymond's gabble. It discourages connections, keeping you out instead of drawing you in. [19 Dec 1998]
    • Time
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This is a sad, subtle and very good movie, designed not so much to make you think, but to make you feel the impact of large events on little lives.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    The film may be manipulative in its construction, and cliché-ridden in some of the incidents it recounts, but it has a good, large heart.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    How well do Bond's established conventions survive after a third of a century's hard use, the post-cold war deglamourization of espionage and the arrival of yet another actor in the central role? The short answer is, on wobbly knees.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    Dark, detailed and only really gets going when the gunplay starts.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Ali
    A thoughtful epic is both a rarity and an oxymoron. But that's what Ali is, and you can't help being drawn sympathetically into its hero's struggle for mastery of himself and his era.
    • Time
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Well acted and, within its limited terms, well made, Gallipoli represents a failure of nerve as well as design.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    If the ending of Eleanor Bergstein's script is too neat and inspirational, the rough energy of the film's song and dance does carry one along, past the whispered doubts of better judgment. [14 Sept 1987]
    • Time
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Richard Schickel
    Sells out real satirical possibilities to its marketing potential as teen fluff. Everyone loses -- except Hedaya, who keeps faith with his character's nutsiness.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    A fairly standard exercise in claustrophobic menace. It is also an exercise in style.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    It is very tiresome peering through the gloom trying to catch a glimpse of something interesting, then having to avert one's eyes when it turns out to be just another brutally tormented body.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 20 Richard Schickel
    Our natural sympathy for the Carmichaels is sabotaged by crude and careless moviemaking.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    These people are fools for heedless love and, perhaps, needless complication, and you can't help responding to the heat of their passion.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Murphy exudes the kind of cheeky, cocky charm that has been missing from the screen since Cagney was a pup, snarling his way out of the ghetto. But as befits a manchild of the soft-spoken '80s, there is an insinuating sweetness about the heart that is always visible on the sleeve of Murphy's habitual sweatshirt.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    This cheeky movie does not impose heavy-duty meaning on Page's life and times. It just lets us draw our own ambiguous conclusions about what she did. It is the better, the more enticing, for so doing.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Enigma is not for everyone, but the thoughtful (and the historically minded) will find it an absorbing and extremely well-textured experience.
    • Time
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Unfolds with a patient intelligence. The Sixth Sense might not scare you out of your wits, but it could reward them.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 20 Richard Schickel
    There is none of the affectionate respect for working-class life and values that marked the similar, and far superior, "Norma Rae," nor any of that film's sense of felt reality either.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Beautiful Girls is always in touch with reality but never drowned in it. [19 February 1996, p.64]
    • Time
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    If sometimes this loose and anecdotal film loses dramatic pace, it always rights itself. And it remains steadily in touch with its best qualities - generosity, common sense and a mature decency that is neither smug nor sentimental.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    I don't want to oversell You Kill Me. It is not going to leave you breathless with laughter. But I don't want to undersell it either. For an hour and a half it exerts its own preposterous reality, making you believe it -- and like it.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Brideshead Revisited is untaxing, pleasant enough to watch. But I'm still waiting to be seriously discomfited by it.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Patient and plodding -- but as realized by John Malkovich, in his directorial debut, utterly absorbing.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Made with a sort of tasteful vulgarity, this movie never disappoints the slack-minded audience's anticipation of the humanistically healing banality, the life-crushing behavioral cliché.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    This is a Cuisinart of a movie, mixing familiar yet disparate ingredients, making something odd, possibly distasteful, undeniably arresting out of them. [5 Dec 1994, p. 93]
    • Time
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Colombani has created uncommonly arresting entertainment.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Richard Schickel
    Writer-director Shainberg seems to be aiming for a dark comedy, but mostly his movie is coy without being funny, ugly without being truly transgressive, stupid when it needs to be smart.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    It has everything you want in an epic: sweep, scope, wild reversals of fortune and plenty of bold, basic emotions.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    Not since "This is Spinal Tap" have I had such a good time watching amiable idiocy stumble on toward uncertain glory.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Alive to the--yes--sometimes humorous, and therefore humanizing, struggles of the slaves and their would-be rescuers to surmount the language and cultural barriers that separate them. [15 Dec 1997, p. 108]
    • Time
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    On the whole, the eek-for-yuks trade-off is more than fair--hip without being campy or condescending to one of the better movie franchises. [1 Dec 1997, p. 84]
    • Time
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Richard Schickel
    The result is tiresome and tone-deaf and a disappointing comeback for Bogdanovich.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Curiously intense, alertly principled, refreshingly uncynical movie.
    • Time
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Murphy, abetted by director Tom Shadyac and a whole raft of writers, cannot entirely escape the curious blend of aspiration and sloppiness that marked the earlier film.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    Grace is not as tightly wound as the best of its breed, but it is a genial way to pass the time.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    The players are uniformly good, but a special word must be said for Fiennes, whose portrayal of physical awkwardness and painful taciturnity never begs either for laughs or for sympathy.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    The sensible formality of Taylor Hackford's direction has the effect of cooling the film's narrative frenzies and helping the actors dig some simple, truthful stuff out of the hubbub.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Something more surprising might have been made of this odd couple, but Van Sant, emptily employing the realist manner of his early films, is goodwill hunting in all the wrong places.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    What he (Scott) does superbly is establish a raw, compelling reality that transcends his movie's banal premises and predictable conclusion. That permits Moore to play, and us to feel, authentic pain, isola- tion and courage--shocking stuff to find in an action movie these days. [25 August 1997, p. 72]
    • Time
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    You are never exactly bored by The Matrix Reloaded. But there is something alienating about it, maybe because it fails to fulfill its possibly loony intellectual aspirations.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Richard Schickel
    Dispassionate, curiously lifeless, lacking the energy of either youthful commitment or a deeply engaged re-examination of the past.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    This good-natured movie is very much in the spirit of those ancient comedies from Ealing Film Studios in which nice, silly people defend some enclave of old-fashioned sanity against the forces of brute modernism. [27 January 1997, p. 68]
    • Time
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Richard Schickel
    The Farrellys need to remember this: Sappiness is easy, comedy is hard.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Men is a little too neat structurally, its moral and human issues a little too clear-cut: at heart it is old-fashioned melodrama. But Sorkin's dialogue is spit-shined, and the energy and conviction with which it is staged and played is more than a compensation; it's transformative. And hugely entertaining. [14 Dec 1992]
    • Time
    • 62 Metascore
    • 100 Richard Schickel
    For those of us who think this is the best comedy of 2004, the genius of the movie lies in its relocation.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Harris and Mastrantonio do have a strong death and resurrection sequence, but long before that, one is pining for a rubber shark or a plastic octopus -- anything, in fact, out of a good old low-tech thriller. [14 Aug 1989, p.79]
    • Time
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Mel Gibson, directing for the first time, presents this deeply wet material in a reasonably cool and dry manner. But his film is in desperate need of smarm busting -- something, anything that would relieve the familiarity of its characters, the predictability of its structure, the bland failure to challenge its perfect correctness of outlook. [30 August 1993, p.63]
    • Time
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    A relentlessly grim film.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Good--sometimes witty—suspense. [28 Jul 1997, p. 69]
    • Time
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Tom Hanks doesn't turn Polar Express into much of a thrill ride. For that you need 3-D goggles.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    The Wachowskis have the predilection for loopy camera setups common to first-time directors, but their hearts are in the right transgressive place, and their film will tide some of us over until Quentin gets...well...unbound.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Richard Schickel
    This is the most assured and hilarious of the three Martin-Carl Reiner collaborations.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    The blend of digital animation and live action is first rate.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    Julie Taymor's inventiveness has diminished to a kind of strained cuteness. Everything that makes an artist an artist -- the obsessions, the egotism -- is ignored in favor of upbeat movie conventions.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    This is a confident and honorable movie -- and a gripping one.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    It is a daring thing the director has done, this bleaching out of all the cheap thrills, this dashing of all the hopes one brings to what is, after all, advertised as "a masterpiece of modern horror." Certainly he has asked much of Nicholson, who must sustain attention in a hugely unsympathetic role, and who responds with a brilliantly crazed performance.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    One has to admit that enormous moviemaking skill goes into the creation of pictures like The Incredible Hulk. The sheer craft directors such as Leterrier lavish on them is awesome to me. I can't imagine how they orchestrate -- or even remember -- all the little pieces of film they require to build their big set pieces. That thought, however, is nearly always followed by this question: Why do they bother?
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    This complex, heartbreaking film recounts the brutal struggle of one couple to survive.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Richard Schickel
    De Niro's is a domineering performance, a star turn that is both comic and menacing, but it unbalances Wolff's story.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Its major sin--a certain ineluctable improbability--is pretty much offset by the moments of winsome humanity Gibson finds for his freebooter; by the rich, nicely tuned portrayals of the other actors; and by director Ron Howard's smoothly professional mastery of yet another genre that is new to him.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Richard Schickel
    Carrera's handsome film offers a richly detailed portrait of a church not so much corrupt as morally lazy after centuries in command of an overwhelmingly Catholic country.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Richard Schickel
    Rene Russo is both knowing and vulnerable, proving beyond a doubt that she is modern Hollywood's one true heiress to the screwball tradition. [19 August 1996, p.68]
    • Time

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