For 1,302 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Rick Groen's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Lowest review score: 0 Far and Away
Score distribution:
1,302 movie reviews
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Because it's a well-crafted and superbly acted sweet little tearjerker, we're content too -- it's a mild pleasure to watch.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Catch a Fire paints the period with a double-sided brush that gives yesterday its due and puts today on notice.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Happily, the climax races to our rescue... Beyond the grasp of most directors, this is tour de force stuff -- definitely meriting the price of admission and almost worth the three-year wait.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Very well crafted and superbly acted. Whatever you may think of the idea, its execution is admirable.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    That level of acting-without-words demands the likes of a Bruno Ganz or a Klaus Maria Brandauer, not a Clooney. Even when flashing his bare derrière in a sex scene, he isn't revealing nearly enough -- his work is just skin deep.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Living in a part of the world where politics, and the pursuit of politics by warring means, are the rule, director Elia Suleiman is the exception.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Payback is nothing if not brave. It's a documentary attempt to give concrete shape to an abstract discussion, using the medium of film to transplant a nuanced thesis – on the concept of debt – from its natural home on the printed page.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The Class is simultaneously old school and new, familiar in its themes but unique in design and, at its best, riveting in execution.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Rare is the movie that arrives without fanfare -- that sneaks between the cracks, pops up relatively unheralded on the big screen, and takes the viewer by delighted surprise. Well, check the moon for blue because Birthday Girl is just such a picture.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Essentially a love story, as stripped of sentimentality as the landscape is shorn of green, yet an extraordinary love story nonetheless – powerful and poignant and, even in the midst of hope's imminent extinction, hopeful too.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Moore continues another one infinitely more valuable -- the proud line that extends right back to Mark Twain, embracing all those satirists so enamoured with America at its best that they won't stand silent for America at its worst.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Visually, this movie is exquisite. Narratively, well, that's a more banal story.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    An integrated work whose form clearly mirrors its content. Often, looking into that mirror is dreadful; but, often enough, it's also dreadfully revealing.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Happily, in his adaptation of the Terence Rattigan play, The Deep Blue Sea, Davies has found a setting close to his heart and a subject more nearly suited to his style.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The running time is efficient, the direction is clean, the story is simple but resonant, the effects are understated yet impressive, and the near-wordless star of the show puts on an acting clinic. Damned if the risen one doesn't lift us out of our seats.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Plot isn't what drives the picture; instead, this is a cinematic tone poem, where the dominant mood is a Faulknerian mix of sorrow and endurance.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This time, though, Zemeckis has another technical trick up his sleeve – 3-D – and for once the gimmick succeeds.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Beyond the knights and rooks, Bobby Fischer Against the World tells the story of a Jewish kid raised in Brooklyn who spent his final years in exile as a fulminating anti-Semite and a raving anti-American.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Being Human is just that, and it's a profound delight. [06 May 1994]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This is still her (Wasikowska’s) picture. She’s its 10-foot tower, mysterious and brave and excited and withdrawn. Alice is the true magic in a Wonderland that’s mere movie magic – the happy surprise amidst everything we’ve come to expect.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Martin Scorsese, meet Djo Tunda Wa Munga, because you obviously have a lot in common. Viva Riva! is nothing less than the Congolese Mean Streets, oozing sexual heat and brute violence and powered by a locomotive's worth of raw kinetic energy.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    It sure ain't the Christmas of Dickens's imaginings. Dysfunctional overachievers all, the Vuillards are a family bizarre enough to make the Royal Tenenbaums look like candidates for a Hallmark card.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    It can definitely grate on your nerves but, at best, it also gets into your mind, and sticks fast.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A tender tale of semi-triumph.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Thrown into exalted company, Zellweger easily holds her own in the film's most difficult role.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Sitting through Red Eye is like watching a master carpenter at work on a custom bookcase. No one would call the result art, but you're sure bound to admire the sheer craft of the thing, the clean lines and seamless joints and meticulous attention to detail.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Visually impressive, splendidly performed, thematically significant, this is a movie in full possession of every key cinematic asset except one -- a solid script. Casino is a polished vehicle with an untuned engine.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    In the end, is In America slight in its sentimentality and manipulative in its moral? Sure, but that's the job of any fable or myth.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Then again, Colin Firth is enough. Every movie is a performance, but very seldom is a performance a movie.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Ushpizin takes us to a fascinating place, and hands out the sort of brochure that tourists always need but seldom get -- the charming kind, fun to ponder and rewarding to browse.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Titanic is awesome even when it's awful -- you can't take your eyes off the extraordinary thing.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The documentary camera has made repeated trips to occupied Iraq, but never to such raw and honest effect as in The War Tapes. The reason is surprisingly simple: This time, the lens is being pointed not by embedded journalists, but by the American soldiers themselves.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Apparently, the faith that can move mountains is detectable in the microscopes that can track electrons. If so, the metaphoric is real and, to me, that thought is as scary as it is thrilling -- but what the bleep do I know?
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The considerable charm of Mad Hot Ballroom can be traced directly to its choice of subjects. They happen to be 11-year old kids, and the lens loves every precious one of them.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Not often does a film double as a literary critic, but this is the Northrop Frye of docs. Essentially, it revises and sharpens the blunted reputation of a great writer.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This is the story of the diminutive Coco before she became the fashionable Chanel – in other words, the whole movie is one long first act.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The acting is superb, the settings are beautifully recreated, the dialogue crackles with occasional wit, but where's the juice? Although lovely to gaze upon, the whole thing feels a bit precious and porcelain, more teapot than sexpot.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Profound, and profoundly affecting.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Surprisingly funny yarn about a drug-addled cop in the Big Easy.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    As for the implicit tragedy amidst the funny business, the swelling ranks of the unemployed, the movie has no solution but instead offers itself as implicit solace: Escape, ye wretches, into my clever humour and my nifty dialogue and my star's considerable charm.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Looper ups the ante like a poker player on speed. What a potpourri of genres we have here – noir again, but sci-fi too, and action and horror and psycho-drama with existential trimmings, the latter designed to invite the thinking viewer into the fray.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    As the plot moves toward the climax, where each girl is forced to make a hard choice dictated by her unique "circumstance," that feeling of compression, of so many contradictory urges and needs vying for attention, grows almost overwhelming. Such is life among the young in present-day Tehran, up on the screen for all to see – all but those who most need to see it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    What a strange, moving, puzzling, funny, frustrating and ultimately absorbing film this is.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A little gem of social realism that makes up in polish what it lacks in consistency.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    UHF
    The laughs just keep rolling as 'Weird Al' makes a movie. Overheard from a still-convulsing woman after a recent screening of Weird Al Yankovic's UHF: "I'm sorry, but that's funny." I'm sorry, but she's right. Yuks you feel obliged to apologize for are yuks nonetheless. And UHF prompts a lot of apologies.
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Not everything here is that vivid or uncluttered. Sometimes, the film betrays the circumstances of its making, shot hastily on location in Iraq after the fall of Saddam just as the extended conflict was beginning.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The utterly bizarre story made national news when it broke, has since provided much magazine fodder, and popped up only two years ago adapted into a dramatic feature. Now it receives the documentary treatment and, in the devilishly manipulative hands of director Bart Layton, what a treatment it is – the weirdness just gets weirder.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The delight here is in the sheer workmanship. The performances, the direction, the plotting, they're just nicely engineered, usually with an eye to that most underrated of virtues -- refined simplicity.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The symbolism is about as subtle as a fang to the neck. Really, Daybreakers is more fun than foreboding; it's fright-lite, yet that's par for the bloody course in these busy apocalyptic days.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The result is a film where blisteringly naturalistic drama bumps up against sentimentally arch melodrama (that's the biggest collision in Crash). Haggis showed the same tendency in his script for "Million Dollar Baby," yet there it was better hidden under a simpler narrative. Here, the tendency has gotten magnified right along with his thematic ambitions.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    What we see is admirable, but what we feel is minimal.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This is a blockbuster busting out of the block; this is a Hollywood staple served up on a European platter; this is summertime fare with a wintry verve.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    It's one of those imperfect pictures that manages to command and hold our attention straight from the opening frames.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Just sit back, plug in, and enjoy the shocks - so adroitly administered, so sweetly sensational. [24 Feb 1995]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Despite Marber's sardonic wit and Nichols's intelligent direction, the film winds up in the ironic position of practising exactly what it preaches: Closer invites and even gains our intimacy, only to finish by driving us ever farther away.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    In God's ghetto, as in so many of the world's forsaken places, warring armies of infants brandish their weapons of self-destruction, while politicians bluster and inspectors sleep.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    So much cinematic majesty perched precariously atop so little common sense. But, hell, maybe Quentin's right; relax, enjoy -- a castle with a shaky foundation is still quite a sight.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    If the publicity release can be believed, he worked an entire year "undercover as a student to research teenage life". On the basis of what surfaces here - one stock phrase (the kids say "Go for it]" a lot) and a multitude of stock characters - Crowe might better have spent the time curled up with re-runs of Ozzie and Harriet. Give this intrepid researcher 12 months at General Motors and he might just discover the wheel.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Greengrass's reluctance to unduly demonize the villains or overly sentimentalize the victims is commendable on the surface, but it tends to blur the two sides and to mask the gulf that separates them.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    What a fine, tender, delicate, funny, gender-bending-and-rebending performance this is.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The picture's charm lies in the continuing by-play between the filmmakers and their subject, with each side doing its best to deconstruct the other.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Men may be gay by nature, but women are lesbians by choice -- for them, it's a simple matter of trading up. Such is the implied message of Kissing Jessica Stein.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A flashy nineties flick with a campy fifties feel -- it's playful, naive, clever, silly, often inventive, occasionally uneven and, compared to studio offerings to date, the best present under this year's cinematic tree.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Takes a kernel of truth and roasts it into a popcorn movie. There's terrific fun to be had, and much wry comedy too. What's missing, surprisingly given the subject matter, is any real sense of gravity.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    As for Daisy, her inflated role is problematic. Although at the periphery of the action, the woman stands at the centre of the film, doubling as the compromised love interest and our voice-over narrator. But even Linney can't bring her to life.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Be prepared to exercise the same patience and forbearing as the Trappists, because the pacing here is all Grecian urn – so much "silence and slow time."
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    With Corbett's laidback persona nicely countering Vardalos's authorial performance, the picture radiates a pure affability that's awfully attractive. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a very slim movie that succeeds on its own modest terms without pretense or apology.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Despite the occasional stumble, the doc never falls, thanks to the sheer strength of its subjects' undaunted and indomitable character.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A sensitive coping drama after all, while still serving up that noirish heist flick with comic flourishes. That's some range, and in 99 succinct minutes too: Most pictures would be lucky to do half as much in twice the time.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Packs a wickedly satiric punch.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Superman returns, and he's far from inconsequential yet considerably less than super - just a demi-god content to forfeit our love for our like.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Like no other war movie you've ever seen.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This three-hour opus, bearing only the eponymous title of Nixon, is an intriguing ramble through the social psychology of man and country alike. Indeed, the simple dialectics that both animated and marred Stone's earlier work are redeemed here precisely because they're invested in a single, complex personality - consequently, this film is more character-driven than any of its predecessors. [20 Dec 1995, p.C1]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Once again, then, impeccable visual detail and uniformly strong performances combine to create a polished, if slightly airless, result. [14 Aug 1998]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    How do you make a movie about shallow people in a shallow culture and not end up with a shallow movie? For writer-director Sofia Coppola, the answer is to dramatize a story “based on actual events,” then to step back and present it as a case study in pure anthropology.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The cinematic equivalent of a "good read" - pick it up and you can't put it down; put it down and it's gone forever.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The fluffmeister here is writer-director Ol Parker, and say this for young Ol: This may be his feature debut, but the guy is one hell of a smooth engineer.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The movie could have used a further dose of the resonance Walken gives it, and a more intellectually adventurous director might have brought the theme close to home.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Give director Susanne Bier full marks: Her encasing parable is brand new and immediately provocative.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The film, like its subject, is more adroit with pictures than with words.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    It's all a bit too schematic, yet the ambition is admirable and the message powerful: Today, no less than yesterday, the weak must be strong to survive, and their strength is endlessly tested.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The result actually plays like a divine pronouncement, cosmic in scope and oracular in tone, a cinematic sermon on the mount that shows its creator in exquisite form.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Always engaging and often compelling.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The result is good dirty fun, flecked with enough wit to help you overlook the relatively barren characterization.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    If you ever doubted the power and scope of silent film, watch The Way Home. The narrative arc is as broad as any chattering feature, the emotional depth is greater than most, and it's all achieved with virtually no dialogue.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This time out, with a few exceptions, the inspiration feels solid and earned, not saccharine and contrived.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Still, credit Gondry, like Tocqueville before him, with at least re-examining tired clichés and scraping the rust off stereotypes.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Although there are definite lags here, those "glittering" set-pieces are funny enough (at least one is hilarious) to stave off any prolonged yawns.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The results are generally refreshing. Much of the film takes place inside a theatre, as if to suggest the shenanigans of the Saint Petersburg aristocracy were a form of public entertainment.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This is a war film with an anti-epic feel, best when it forgoes the forced march of plot to hunker down in the trenches of our flawed humanity.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The title leaves no doubt about the ending but, thanks to Santos's unflinching performance and Rodrigues's continued audaciousness, the climax still takes us aback.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Mainly, though, it's the exquisite restraint - both of Cornish's performance and Campion's direction - that gives the film its power.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    In the end, then, just Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp and those voices – their solos contain this picture like carved book-ends, vintage and lovely and still so profoundly of use.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A good film prevented from being a great film by an act of well-intentioned but misguided casting.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Love it, hate it, but be sure to watch it, because this odd and disturbing picture is as different as the war it reflects, and that difference is vast enough to seem profound.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The strength of this documentary lies in its balance, or at least the careful appearance of balance.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The result is the kind of feel-bad/feel-good movie that brazenly manipulates our response and leaves us grateful for it -- so relentlessly dark is the premise that, by the end, we just need to believe in the prospect of light.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A grownup departure from the teen-romance norm -- it speaks nothing about passion and volumes about trust.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This is an affecting picture that leaves the viewer as wrung out as the protagonist. No doubt you'll be seduced but, in the end, you may also feel abandoned.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Quitting begins to seem intriguing in concept. Now comes the best news: It's just as compelling in execution.

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