For 1,301 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 1.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Rick Groen's Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 No Country for Old Men
Lowest review score: 0 New Best Friend
Score distribution:
1,301 movie reviews
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    It has the staccato wit of a drawing-room comedy, the fatal flaw of a tragic romance and the buzzy immediacy of a front-page headline, all powered by a kinetic engine typically found in an action flick. And that's just the opening scene.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Much like Robert Altman during his forays into the genre, writer/director Asghar Farhadi isn't really interested in the answers. Instead, he keeps expanding the questions, until that singular title comes to seem a misnomer.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    It plays like documented fact, a kind of "7 Up" primer on life’s romantic vicissitudes.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    Pulp Fiction is at least three movies rolled into one, and they're all scintillating.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    There's fun to be had in watching these losers drift without a compass.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    More arduously, Riva is obliged to act out the physical decline while still registering a full spectrum of emotions. Remarkably, she does it all, even when reduced to communicating with her eyes alone. Hers is, in every sense of the phrase, a nakedly honest performance.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    A powerful and affecting piece of work.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Bizarre, indeed.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Succeeding where most docudramas fail, it turns a slice of recent history into a revealingly intelligent entertainment, without being didactic at one extreme or sentimental at the other.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Lee has forged a work of art in the classic sense -- art that delights and instructs.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Profound, and profoundly affecting.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    The Coen brothers adaptation is impeccable, a perfect mirror of McCarthy's prose – sparse, suspenseful, probing and profoundly disturbing.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    As a political testament, the result is revealing and important. Yet as a documentary, it wanders here, there and everywhere – long on intensity but short on focus.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    Simultaneously a tough, haunting, lyrical, hopeful film, and the tears it wants us to shed are an alloy of sorrow and joy - cleansing tears, the kind that alter the rules and dignify the game.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This is a world out of time and, despite the trappings of flinty realism, the film too unfolds like an elemental myth from the stormy past – a Greek tragedy driven by dark fates and struggling toward a catharsis.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    This is a sequel just as intriguing as the original.
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    The result is a rarity on any screen: intelligent fun.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Persepolis is as modern as tomorrow's headlines and as classic as an ancient myth.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    If you've got six hours to invest watching superior television in a movie theatre, then spend the time wisely with The Best of Youth.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    A movie that combines the Cold War intrigue of John Le Carré with the wired buzz of Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" -- one of those rare two-hour-plus pictures that runs long but plays bracingly, excitingly short.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Borat at its best is pure satiric genius, the Swiftian kind that has you busting a gut with laughter even while checking your conscience for implicating flaws.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    You'll be rewarded with a terrific finale. The twists here are the rare sort that seem both narratively surprising and emotionally engaging.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    Great art is both immediately accessible and eternally elusive, having at its centre a powerful simplicity that speaks to anyone who cares to listen, that rewards every interpretation while embracing none. The Piano is great art.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Most movies have music, some movies are musicals, but very few movies combine the two with the grace and pure eloquence of Once.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Beyond the eerily evocative impersonation, Hoffman's brilliance lies in not only playing the shrewd puppet master but also revealing that he too comes with strings attached, the most dominant being his consuming need for acclaim.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Yes, The King's Speech is a lively burst of populist rhetoric, superbly performed and guaranteed to please even discriminating crowds.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    One of those rare films that manages to be both terrifically entertaining and consistently thoughtful, it turns an apparently tame deception into a very rich metaphor.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Life is Sweet is sweet indeed - and comic and quirky and, on those occasions when the tone deftly shifts, just a little sad... Leigh's work, and the quotidian life it depicts, is sometimes slim but never insubstantial, occasionally sweet but never a sugary confection. And always worth celebrating. [24 Jan. 1992]
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    The whole ensemble has a hoot with this material, and their joy is contagious.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    At first startling, even disengaging, that strange style eventually dovetails with the awful substance.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Ledger proves what we've suspected all along -- this is his picture, and he steals it brilliantly.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Turning the stately game into something few can resist – a smart and lively comedy of manners.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Lincoln is directed by Steven Spielberg but, to his great credit, few will mistake this for a Steven Spielberg film. Rather, it's a Tony Kushner film, the playwright who conjured up the wordy but intricately layered script; and it's a Daniel Day-Lewis film, the actor who so richly embodies the iconic title role.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    With his breathy, antic delivery, pouring out his heart in staccato bursts, Cusack puts a nice loop on the sensitive teen theme. For his is an upbeat, mature brand of sensitivity, the healthy kind that makes fine discriminations, not nasty judgments.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Cholodenko casts much better than she writes. Yet, alas, even a talented veteran like Moore can't sell a hoary line like, "Sometimes you hurt the ones you love the most." Maybe if she'd set it to music – nope, sorry, that's already been done.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Soderbergh has bathed the Depression in lovely, golden-brown hues - so lovely, so golden, that the flick seems to be unfolding from inside the delicious core of a burnished bran muffin. [20 August 1993]
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Society would do well to remember that, in large part, the most effective redress to the tragedy of AIDS came directly from the people with AIDS. Lest we forget, director David France is intent on reminding us.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Barbara is intriguing because the script subtly plays off that expectation, not denying it so much as expanding it, showing us that the grey world can contain, and even embrace, contradictory colours.
    • 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."
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Indeed, as the film unreels to its extraordinary climax - a scene that will make your skin crawl - Frears has the larger target right in his sights and, bang, pulls the thematic trigger, taking no prisoners.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    This is the master at the top of his form, his erratic genius harnessed and everything clicking, everything flowing, a fresh creation from a mature artist.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Rarely has a star's look-at-me turn so completely torpedoed a project. Whenever the picture threatens to gain some momentum, up pops Jack to stop it dead in its tracks. The loyal few may be laughing with him, but the rest of us are definitely laughing at him.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    In the midst of his many other achievements here -- his documentary realism, his wry humanism, his allegorical subtlety -- Panahi even manages to redeem the good name of toilet humour.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    This superb remake has the inevitable look of a period piece, a smoke-filled rendering of things past. However, thanks to Tomas Alfredson's direction, a taut screenplay, and a uniformly brilliant cast, the film also retains its contemporary relevance.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This is a grown-up film that puts liberalism under the microscope and finds it tired -- not a dirty word, as neo-cons believe, and not a panacea, as sentimentalists wish, but just tired and longing for rejuvenation.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    Legs flashing and eyes smouldering and brain scintillating, Fiorentino serves up each facet with venomous glee - it's a performance that mixes a main course of Bette Davis with a side order of La Femme Nikita, and it's mesmerizing.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    It's an imperfect movie that serves as a perfect reminder of what the movies do best.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Undoubtedly, [the lead actors] both benefit hugely from the sharpness of Leonard's stock-in-trade dialogue: Put smart words in any actor's yap, and their performance will rise accordingly.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    En route, what emerges is the kind of film, rich in paradox, that's common to Reichardt but so rare anywhere else – a film ponderously slow in pace yet kinetically charged with insight; starkly realistic yet allegorical too; psychologically astute yet politically resonant.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    The Long Day Closes is a twice-remarkable film. Once, because director Terence Davies opens his personal bottle of memories and makes them interesting to us. Twice, because, in doing so, he triggers our own memories. [11 June 1993]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    You may be of the opinion that taking in an art film, especially the haute brand that disdains conventional narrative, is like watching paint dry. If so, happy surprise, Holy Motors is definitely the art film for you – it's like watching paint blister.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Mock-heroic yet still lyrical, faux-mythic but honest too, uniquely and absurdly and often hilariously Canadian, My Winnipeg is like no documentary you've ever seen.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    Children of Men is a nativity story for the ages, this or any other.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Kaurismaki is a master at infusing his movies with apparently contradictory qualities. The best of them -- and The Man Without a Past is surely that -- are hard to describe precisely because they seem to exist, to balance precariously, in the tension between opposites.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Even by his stylistic standards, Anderson has cranked up the artifice.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Before that marvel of human engineering - China's Three Gorges Dam - completes its legacy of human upheaval, there are vanishing sights to be seen.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    It's appalling, it's wicked, it's bleak, and it's very funny. In fact, the movie's ability to disturb us is directly linked to its ability to amuse us. We're made to feel guilty precisely because we're made to laugh - seeing something so sordid shouldn't be so engaging. [28 Jan. 1994]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A worthy docudrama that is solid if not sublime. But, sometimes, a merely good film can brush up against greatness, and this one does so twice – in Sean Penn's magnetic performance and in the cautionary tale's contemporary resonance.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    He gets much of what he wants, but not all of it, and not all of the time - the film is just too eclectic on occasion, a bit jumpy in its tone and its pacing.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    As down-to-earth as a ghost story gets.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The problem is not that the director is working but that his latest film is working too hard. Way too hard – this thing is melodrama running a marathon.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    The result is a rarity on the modern screen -- a film with more brains than heart.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A 75-minute tour de force that's often fascinating, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately rewarding. So be patient -- the payoff will come.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Polished, intelligent, impeccably well-bred, it's an upscale kids' flick designed to appease the fears of discriminating parents: If those stubborn tykes refuse to crack a book, then this is the next best thing - Young People's Masterpiece Theatre. [11 Aug 1995, p.C2]
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Duelling roles are an actor's dream, and Cage takes full advantage. He and that face of his -- hang-dog homely one minute, vibrantly macho the next -- are perfectly cast. So is Streep as the sophisticated Manhattanite drawn into a steamy realm of Southern discomfort.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Avatar is a king's ransom fairly well spent, not least because Cameron's invitation into his superbly crafted universe comes with an unexpected price: He makes it easy to gaze fondly on all this movie magic, but only in exchange for a hard look at ourselves.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The tale may be Dahl's, but there's a whole new wag to it – this is decidedly, weirdly and, at best, wonderfully a Wes Anderson movie.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The best satire implicates the audience; this stuff keeps our sense of superiority smugly intact.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    For all the undeniable merits, it somehow feels manufactured, and thus, to a degree, calculated - the product not of a collective imagination taking esthetic chances, but of an imaginative collective putting the rivets into a well-wrought plan that can't go awry.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A grownup departure from the teen-romance norm -- it speaks nothing about passion and volumes about trust.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Without warning, the picture falls hard into the very trap it had so studiously avoided, the one marked Expensive Gimmick... The same feature that begins like no film you've ever seen ends like every cartoon you've always avoided.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Love sometimes hurts, but love/hate is always pure anguish. That's the two-stroke engine powering I Killed My Mother ( J'ai tué ma mère), a coming-of-age tale as ferociously raw as its teller - the very young Xavier Dolan.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    It comes eerily close to duplicating the experience of reading while, at the same time, remaining very much a motion picture. That's a rare, perhaps even unprecedented, achievement.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Raimi doesn't make the mistake of over-thinking the flimsy psychology of the genre. All this conflicted-hero stuff isn't meant to be profound; instead, it's there for the same reason as everything else -- to give the action (the interior action in this case) a healthy shot of pop energy.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    From the first stylized shot to the final comic resolution, Moonstruck is completely sui generis - hard to describe but easy to love.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    This is a rare adaptation where the script (by McGrath himself) heads straight for the novel's horrible essence, reproducing it non-verbally and in an even more concentrated form.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    A too-perfect mirror of its creator, The Apostle's greatest strength doubles as a singular weakness -- in the end, it feels like an immaculate forgery.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    No filmmaker, in any cinematic culture, has a better eye or ear for the working class than director Mike Leigh.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Haneke is best known for "The Piano Teacher." His latest, Caché (or Hidden) is a quieter but equally provocative attack. It's less in your face, more in your head and under your skin.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Spike Lee's voluminous "When the Levees Broke" proved a thorough indictment, a compilation of tragic and appalling facts encyclopedically catalogued. By contrast, Trouble the Water (on Oscar's short-list in the best doc category) has a more personal focus and, although just as damning, manages to strike a more hopeful chord.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    At best, the humour in Election is perceptive, nasty, pointed, and lets no one off its barbed hook, not even the audience. In other words, it's a lovely piece of satire, made all the more relevant by the setting.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The stylings of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino come to the Mideast, but more credibly grounded in a complex setting fraught with raw contemporary politics and ancient class tensions. It makes for a compelling movie but hardly a pretty picture.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The result is a whodunit so nicely crafted that you're tempted to forgive the Byzantine plot -- hell, you're even tempted to pretend you actually understand its twisting obscurities.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    At best, Leaving Las Vegas is pure alchemy -- it makes of flawed humanity a hymn, and of forlorn hope a beacon.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Constant is the very thing The Constant Gardener is not. Attractive yet fickle, the movie beckons enticingly one moment and wanders off the next.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Mainly, though, the film's strength is reportorial, sensitively exploring a theme that has grown ever more prominent with the globalization of sport.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    The result is a genre picture that transcends the genre, that gleefully embraces four qualities alien to the bulk of its noisy brethren: (1) thematic texture; (2) kinetic grace; (3) visuals that toy with the mind even while dazzling the eye; and (3) performers who are permitted to act like something other than human wicks for the pyrotechnical bombast.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    If the kids give the movie its momentum, its fascination comes from a more static source -- the father.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    A picture with pop's delicious energy yet none of its attendant risk, a flick that no one will love but everyone will like.