For 1,390 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 2.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Rick Groen's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Wendy and Lucy
Lowest review score: 0 Sex and the City
Score distribution:
1390 movie reviews
    • 77 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Crowe is too much the good employee to spin the yarn properly, to give the picture the very integrity it endorses. He might have made a more convincing movie had he first convinced himself.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Some movies, a very few, possess the purity of myth, and they don't have to be great to be greatly important. "The Wild One" is an example; "Saturday Night Fever" is another. Now add 8 Mile to that short list.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The result is a political thriller refreshingly long on grown-up dialogue yet lamentably shy on, well, thrills. This chatty thing does go on.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Both the Chicks and this doc are left to deal with the aftermath as best they can. The film chooses to pad with an occasional over-reliance on cutesy filler -- a pregnant Emily having an ultra-sound, giving birth, recuperating at her beloved ranch away from it all.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    The Usual Suspects filled me with a highly unusual urge - to be a true "reviewer," to rewind the projector and figure out this humdinger once and for all.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Then again, Colin Firth is enough. Every movie is a performance, but very seldom is a performance a movie.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    "The Hurt Locker" may be getting all the attention and awards but The Messenger is at least as good and perhaps, given its delicate handling of a sensitive subject, even better.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Not surprisingly, prison must be the perfect incubator of sadness and anger, because every one of the “performances” is astonishingly vivid. At the extremes of the emotional spectrum, at least, these guys are brilliant.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    This picture is to comedy what carpet bombing is to aerial warfare: The onslaught is so relentless that occasional direct hits on the funny bone are a statistical guarantee.
    • 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.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Yes Man puts him back in the same old quandary and, once again, Carrey lacks an identity. Alas, this time, he also lacks a script.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    This is an exhilarating picture, the kind that strips away smug complacencies and exposes raw nerves to a bright light. [14 Sep 1990, p.C4]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The story in Japanese Story grabs you precisely because it's so wonderfully hard to define.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    What a strange and strangely compelling movie this is.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    It's a fascinating babel, and Nair, using the unfolding ritual of the wedding as a centre point, captures the competing sights and sounds with her own unique mix of cinematic borrowings -- think Robert Altman meets Bollywood.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Yes, the Empire may be crumbling, and the natives getting restless, but it's all happening with such lyrical loveliness - even the corpses look good. Consequently, when the rains in Before the Rains finally arrive, there's nothing to cleanse, no real dirt to wash away - not with history already so neatly packaged and polished to a dull shine.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    An entertaining oddity, an amiably black comedy whose bared teeth double as an engaging smile: It takes a satiric bite and leaves you laughing through the pain.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Yes, the delight of this movie lies in these devilish details, and it's clear that writer-director Greg Mottola knows them well.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    As the end credits are rolling: What happened? Suddenly, the film stalls, and everything that looked great -- the mechanics of the caper, the grafted-on wit and wisdom -- starts to feel repetitious and a tad gimmicky.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    An overdose of sympathy makes for a wispy picture, likeable certainly but lacking in crispness and clarity.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    As manipulative as a charmer with a snake, and twice as much fun... Shameless, yes, but open your eyes, close your mind, sit back and enjoy - 'cause it feels so good.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The comedy is warm and witty and wafer-thin, as easy on the palate as a raspberry sorbet on a summer afternoon.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    What better casting than Al Pacino, whose own career, of course, has reflected all the seasonal changes in the gangster saga. Pacino takes the part and runs with it so boldly that he ends up in Arthur Miller land.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    A remarkable documentary as important as it is compelling.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    There are many good reasons why the world doesn't need yet another adaptation of the Charlotte Bronte classic. Yet they all pale before the one great reason why it does – the chance to marvel at Wasikowska's performance.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Reserved yet still suspenseful and hugely ambitious, Syriana sets out to prove what many have come to suspect -- that oil money is the root of all contemporary evil.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    No, the film may not be quite as luminous as the cast, but it's good - very good, in fact.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    This movie is captivating until it gets uplifting – Flight soars when it crashes and crashes when it soars.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Ultimately, Shine a Light is illuminating indeed, even fascinating, but not in the way Scorsese intended. What he has created, inadvertently, is an invaluable documentation of semi-fossilized Stones – musicologists may like it, sociologists should love it and, some distant day, anthropologists will treasure it.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Because the society in Menace II Society is boxed in sociologically, the picture (for all its strengths) is boxed in esthetically. Already, this genre is beginning to seem as much a victim as the victims it portrays.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Certainly long and not always engaging and comes with a predictably basic ending, yet there are unexpected pleasures, moments of beauty and tiny pockets of joy to sustain you through the journey.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    A powerful, brutal, funny, tragic, vibrant, very human movie.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    A splatter of scenes that relocate the funny-bone in the lower anatomical regions -- sometimes hitting the mark, occasionally a glancing blow, often missing completely.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The climax, however, is far superior here, open-ended and ambiguous and neatly linked to this film's recurring metaphor: Teeth, of course, which "outlast everything," which survive the death of the body just as marriage can survive the demise of love. They both endure, yellowed and rootless.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Because of its patently commercial instincts, this is basically a black knock-off of a popular genre. Yet, despite those instincts, and despite the sophomoric moralizing, the movie has zest. The edges are sharp; it holds our attention by holding on to the vestiges of its unique black perspective. In that sense, House Party doesn't so much sell out as buy in - there are worse faults. [11 May 1990]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    The score (a nifty collection of vintage but never clichéd period tunes) complements the mood perfectly, and the ensemble cast members hit their own notes to perfection.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Don't go down this Rabbit Hole unless you wish to see a superb film that treats a sad topic with unflinching honesty. Don't go down this Rabbit Hole unless you believe that tragedy's grief, when transmuted through art's protective lens, can feel liberating, even joyful in its painful truths.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A masterly piece of documentary chicanery that kills George W. Bush without once pandering to his legions of ill-wishers.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    What saves it, however, is Gerwig. The love story ain’t credible, but her performance is, perfectly capturing a young woman who doesn’t lack confidence so much as a sense of self.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    The picture goes exactly where the prose does, enticing all of us, kids and adults and atheists and believers alike, down below the brittle surface of our cold logic and into a richer world of imaginative wonder.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Young and bold and bristling with talent, Argentine director Lucrecia Martel has continued right where she left off in her feature debut.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    To his credit, Beatty has designed Bulworth along the classic lines of Shakespeare's Fool -- the antic truth-speaker who has the ear of the court.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    From its title on down, An Officer and a Gentleman (at the Plaza) is both a thoroughly rousing crowd-pleaser and a shamelessly manipulative banner-waver, a homage to the never-practiced ethics of a non-existent era. [28 Jul 1982]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Those who lived through the Vietnam War era, and paid attention, will find this documentary short on revelation but long on poignant reminders.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Win Win is a paragon of truth at a slow jog, but that upbeat sprint to the finish feels like a big cheat.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    It's not so much a movie in three acts as three movies stuffed into a single casing, and often showing the strain.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    The impact should be visceral and gut-wrenching; instead, it's cool and cerebral – after all, we're being lectured in a lecture hall.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The Muppet charm, always more at home within the intimate frame of a TV set, is gone here.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Gimmickry is death to this sort of artsy endeavour -- it turns a movie with a small budget into a small movie.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    The Shrek franchise is alive and well -- Model 2 is zippier, sleeker, with ever-improving graphics, vast commercial potential and the same sly ability to reach out and hook the whole family.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Titanic is awesome even when it's awful -- you can't take your eyes off the extraordinary thing.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    To these disappointed eyes, Little Children seems a frustrating mess.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    A great movie... A pop epiphany, marking that commercially creative point where the power of Hollywood meets the purity of myth.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Sometimes, the quiet lyricism of DuVernay’s direction seems at odds with the grittiness of the subject matter, like poetry force-fed into prose.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A laugh and a half, a genial crowd-pleaser.
    • 75 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    A meditation on death that has you humming to the melody and laughing at the joke -- it's an elegiac picture that refuses to eulogize.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    Like the stationary figures it portrays, Kicking And Screaming is alive at the edges; it comes with a vibrant border of trenchant asides, tossed-off remarks that blend the solace of protective irony with the sterner stuff of hard truth.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The love that blooms is essentially between the boys. They both have some considerable growing up to do, but theirs is a true romance and it's awfully sweet. Funny, too.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Always well-meaning, not always well-executed, In This World ends by suffocating us in its good intentions.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A maniacal, hallucinogenic dip into the bloodbath drawn by a pair of mass murderers, it's the quintessential Stone opus - topical, testy, and wildly controversial, as brilliant or egregious as you wish it to be. [26 Aug 1994, p.C1]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The only country in the Western world without a universal system – is indeed Sicko. But if that social wound is gapingly obvious, so is this documentary.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    For all his daring, the brazen creator maintains control - there's aesthetic order in the disorder, and calculated reason in the madness. Seldom has it felt so good to seem so lost.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    I doubt that Jean-Michel Basquiat would have endorsed the subtitle. Indeed, The Radiant Child seems to inflate the very cliché that the rest of this film is keen to refute.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    You can’t feel for anyone when nothing feels real. Memo to Christopher Nolan for future outings: Kill the dream, tell a story.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Before it turns into a thriller, and goes badly awry, Red Lights paints a devastating little portrait of a marriage on the rocks.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    After a solid start and a strong buildup through two acts, the movie fumbles the resolution. Ethical lines that were convincingly wavy suddenly straighten out, too quickly and too neatly.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Indeed, like all bureaucracies, the educational version is a bit of a bully itself. In Sioux City at least, the official response to bullying is to recognize its existence but to deny it's an "overwhelming issue," and retreat behind the comforting bromide that "kids will be kids."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Bouncing about from one flawed movie to another, Steven Spielberg has lost his way of late, and Munich finds him more disoriented than ever.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    This is a movie that works well when it works, and lazes around the rest of the time.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The film's quiet realism demands from us our own act of faith: We're asked to watch closely and to listen intently in the promise of a greater reward to come. Well, the promise is partly kept.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The emotional geometry is familiar enough to be credible yet odd enough to be creepy.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Gilliam himself is a joy to behold. His wit stays sharp even as his fortunes dull, and the conditions that conspire against him only prove the mettle in our man of La Mancha.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The film, like its subject, is more adroit with pictures than with words.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    By Herzog's lofty standards, the result is mildly disappointing. The film lacks the sociological depth of "The Executioner's Song" or the emotional wallop of "In Cold Blood." But it sure is a surpassingly, and compellingly, strange tale.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    The pat inspirational formula is followed to a sweaty T, although it comes here with an inadvertent side effect -- more than a few nagging questions never get answered.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    A delightfully satiric comedy. [29 May 1987]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This is a piece engineered to run on the high octane of clever dialogue. It's chatty, it's wordy, but a passion for the well-written word lies at the thematic heart of the thing, and cinematic flourishes would only clog the arteries. Purists can rest assured -- there's no clogging.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    The film takes its cue from the widow, neither sermonizing or even villainizing, content to serve quietly as an admirable exercise in restraint and a moving example of the grace under pressure that is the essence of courage.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Two Lovers is two movies – the complex, alluring one we want, and the simple, pedestrian one we'll settle for.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Sin City gives sin a great name -- it's never been more plentiful or looked so gorgeous.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    The problem here isn't how the figures look; rather, it's what they do and say -- the story is lame and the dialogue no better.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Under better circumstances, Cooper might be said to have stolen the picture outright. But as it is, and compelling as he is, there's just nothing here to steal.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Respectable by the tube's standards, even a cut above dumbed-down Hollywood, but hardly the stuff of creative renewal.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    WAG the Dog is a cozy political satire, the warm-and-fuzzy kind that is always entertaining yet never disturbing.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Around about the third act, the picture does what no self-respecting virus ever would -- relents, turns confused, and lets our immune system fight back with thoughts of its own, with distracting cavils about the logic of the plot and the slightness of the themes.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    The result is a road movie with a lofty message that too frequently gets lost in its own thematic barrens.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    By turns brutal and tender, Rust and Bone is a bullet train of heightened melodrama that refuses to derail.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    It's light, it's bright and it succeeds precisely where the lesser doc fails -- by setting modest targets and hitting them square on.

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