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 Kafka
Lowest review score: 0 Wild Hogs
Score distribution:
1,302 movie reviews
    • 52 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    This picture breaks through the limits and goes way beyond the pale -- it seems to enjoy irking us for the sheer hell of it.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Great pictures are seamless; in this one, you can not only see the seams but count the stitches.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Remove the comma from the title and Love, Marilyn plays like the command it is.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Once again, Candy does his slob-with-a-heart-of-gold number. He's good at it. He can be a funny fellow. He can even carry a mediocre picture all by his lonesome, squeezing a lot out of a little. What he can't do is squeeze that much out of this little. [16 Aug 1989]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Poetic Justice is like that - so much worse than it should have been, and yet, for brief shining moments, so much better than any other 2-star film in sight. [23 July 1993]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 51 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Windtalkers is to movies what Paris is to weather -- if you don't like the show you're watching, just wait a minute and an entirely different picture will blow into view.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Sorry, but the real Grimms did a whole lot more with a great deal less.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    300
    As you watch -- no, endure -- this flattened-out spectacle, there's really nothing worth pondering save for a single thought: What a difference a director makes.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Three words: Late Woody Allen. In the autumn of his career, toiling exclusively in Europe, Woody is like an aging cabinet maker still blessed with craft but grown erratic in design.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Manic with an itch.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Epically fantastic would be a welcome change, although epically awful would at least keep the symmetry. Alas, epically bland will have to do.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Middling gets downgraded to muddling. Of course, on such slippery slopes, reputations are made. Damned if the original isn’t looking like a comparative gem.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Alas, Schumacher doesn't ride on the momentum; worse, he's not an action director, and the film grinds to a dead stop every time it tries to speed up.
    • 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.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Pleasant because, instead of the usual hero-and-mayhem jive, Snitch is an honest exercise in workmanlike craft. This is to film what ceramic is to floors or Billy is to bookcase or what a third-line centre is to a winning hockey team – hardly great but good and solid and functional.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    As flicks go, She's All That ain't very much. But as high-school flicks go, this thing is a trite classic. [29 Jan 1999, p.C3]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The result is less a screenplay than a manic quote machine.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Once in a long while, it even comes tantalizingly close to that rarest of modern film commodities -- ribald wit.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Judged esthetically -- the only yardstick worth applying -- it can be safely placed in that long line of indistinguishable Hollywood mediocrities, all of them trying in vain to resurrect an awfully weary genre.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    From that title on down, White Irish Drinkers is a compendium of clichés struggling to upgrade its status and become a respectable archetype.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Fear strikes out in slasher flick This movie is laced with enough gratuitous bloodshed and reactionary zeal to warm the heart of a Montana militiaman. [12 Apr 1996]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 51 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    It does the job just fine. That job, as director George Lucas freely admits, is quite simply to thrill the beating hearts and the inquiring minds of 12-year-old boys.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    No matter how you judge it -- as a strict morality play or simply a psychological thriller -- Apt Pupil just doesn't make the grade.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Wants keenly to be hip and modern, but really it's just an old-fashioned drawing-room comedy.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Of course, the result is forgettable, but at least it's efficiently and breezily forgettable. What's more, there are laughs too and here's the best part – one or two of them are actually intentional.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Poor Cattrall is caught in a script that, much like the white teddy, is an impossibly tight squeeze, obliging her to hit the farcical laughs while still playing the cellulite realism.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Only read the bottom line of the accountants' review, after your generic masterpiece has gone the distance from theatrical release to video stores to the nethermost regions of the cable dial. If the accountants' judgment proves kind, head to the bank and feel free to enjoy precisely what you've denied so many others – a really good laugh.
    • 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.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Pakula's screenplay looks to bulldoze a clear path through the narrative thickets, but this stuff is impenetrable - meant to be complicated, it's just confusing.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Of course, bad writing can undo the best actor. If you doubt that, check out De Niro's soliloquy at the film's climax. He's acting the heck out of the words, but they're still dragging him down with them.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    It's a rom-com, it's a road movie, it's "Cars" without the animation, it's "A History of Violence" played for yuks. It's all that and less because, really, Hit & Run is awfully hit & miss.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    In what's meant to be a French take on "The Big Chill" - comedy meets pathos as friends gather at a country house in the wake of a tragedy - writer-director Guillaume Canet has wrought a meandering script that exercises everything except restraint.
    • 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.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Despite its trappings, despite its style, Birth is just a tall tale with a short reach.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    More interestingly, it's also kind of sweet in a contrived and fumbling first-kiss sort of way.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Falls somewhere on that aesthetic scale between mediocre and flat-out bad.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    The whole d--- thing can be summed up in three little words: yo ho hum.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Fur does what an Arbus photograph never would -- it leaves no room to imagine and removes any reason for doubt.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Solondz has finally made a movie that isn't just offensive -- it also happens to be good. He's still shouting, still violating our politically correct sensibilities, but the shocks now have thematic purpose. They don't just titillate, they resonate.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    It's scary how unfunny this flick is.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    By stripping the genre down to its essentials, long on the serial disasters but thankfully light on the stupid dialogue, [Petersen] not only maintains an acceptable modicum of suspense but -- here's the major bonus -- also manages to set a blissful speed record in the process, bringing his pricey blockbuster home to port in under 100 minutes.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    What might have been delicious trash lacks the courage of its trashy convictions, and the result is high-born melodrama with the juice boiled out, so much dry cabbage on fine-china plate.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Destined to disappear into the quicksand of time, too innocuous to be hated, too bland to be remembered, just awaiting some bright optimist in a distant future to press the do-over button.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Over on the aliens side, it's hard to make out faces, but there's no doubt about their place of origin: These slimy, growling, bug-eyed and distinctly non-scary things are straight from central casting.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    What a featherweight epic this is, the kind of uniformed period piece where the watchword is pretty. Pretty costumes, pretty soldiers, pretty battles; pretty silly.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    [Law] talks straight to the camera like the young Michael Caine, but this time our hunk has got zilch to say. That's because a bastard's candour is off-limits in today's politically correct market — it just wouldn't be polite.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Guess who sings tired old tune.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    If this is satire, it's the smug and self-congratulatory kind that lets the audience completely off the hook. Effective satire, the Swiftian brand, seduces us first and then implicates us in the seduction -- we become a target too. But this stuff never gets past the initial step -- it's toothless, as innocuous as the puffery it pretends to skewer.
    • 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.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 0 Rick Groen
    It's just a shrunken case of large-screen aspirations wedded to a small-screen mentality. [22 May 1992]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 49 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Here's what's good about The Good German: The look is fantastic; technically, the movie is a retro marvel. Here's what's bad: The script sucks; it keeps promising to be clever, engaging, subtle and completely fails to deliver.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    As always in Emmerich's rollicking Armageddons, the cannon speaks with an expensive bang, while the fodder gets afforded nary a whimper. Of course, that's just part of disaster's simple recipe: Blow us up, then blow us off.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    A contrived and tepid thriller that insists on wanting to interest us in its main plot -- the usual nefarious plan to assassinate the leader of the free world.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    With a plot that thickens like congealed stew, this movie about a harmless nutbar, an attorney and a cabal can leave you lost in banality.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    The promise is dangled yet never developed. Rather, the narrative slips into a backstory that alternates between confusing and contradictory.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    If the plot thins, the performances don't. Brad Pitt's lank-haired loony, Juliette Lewis's crippled innocent, David Duchovny's well-meaning hypocrite, Michelle Forbes' black-clad shutterbug - each is a deeply etched portrait that fulfills its early promise. [24 Sep 1993]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    When it comes to retelling the tale of Tristan and Isolde, give us a movie that makes love. Or even a movie that makes war. Anything, just anything, but a movie that makes nice.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Washington's take on the seductress is so saucy, so unapologetic, such a brash blend of insouciant charm and raw sex appeal, that she swipes the picture from right under its nominal star. The only problem is that her theft inadvertently tips the balance of the moral dilemma, shifting it seismically all the way from "He'd be a fool to succumb" to "He'd be a coward not to."
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Damned if this sugary confection doesn't come with a creepy crust. the odd sense that these aging boomers, ever eager to stall the march of time, are competing with their own daughter in the maternity sweepstakes - I'll see your child, and raise you one. [8 Dec 1995, p.C1]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Film noir is a style, but self-conscious film noir is just a stylistic tic, less a genre than an ailment. And The Black Dahlia has got a really bad case -- this thing is so mannered it convulses.
    • 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.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Approximate time spent laughing: 30 seconds or fewer.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Silent House is a bundle of horror-flick tropes yoked together like a package deal.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Thanks to him, The Quick and the Dead is more than moribund. How much more? Let's just say that there's motion in the picture. Indeed, speaking of accomplishments, Sharon Stone appears clad throughout an entire feature - gee, give a gal a gun and there's no telling what she can achieve.m [10 Feb 1995, p.C1]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 49 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Turns a blind eye to the very history it pretends to teach.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    This thing can take pride of place in a long tradition of Hollywood howlers.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Ready To Wear is certainly a disappointment, if not an outright flop. [27 Dec 1994]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Could have taken a witty scalpel to baby-boomer posturings. But Dolman, whose instrument of choice is the rubber mallet of smarm, just isn't the man for the job -- he ends up enshrining the very hypocrisy that should be dissected.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    This movie wants to be a horse but, even measured in box-office millions, it's just another nag.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Director Peter Hyams strives hard to maintain a light and entertaining touch, lifting Timecop slightly above its formulaic restraints. On the one hand, there's a pleasing freshness to the movie, thanks to lots of energy and a little playful wit. On the other, there's something deeply fatiguing about this picture. Maybe it's the formula, maybe it's all that time travel, but you just can't help thinking you've seen it all before. Must be deja vu. [21 Sep 1994]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    EDtv is precisely the kind of brisk, straightforward, amiable and accessible material that shows Howard’s skills to advantage.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    There's a wonderfully subversive film buried somewhere in Spanglish, but it's never allowed to get out.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Judged by the usual aesthetic standards – Project X sucks. It's just another lame movie. Yet apply a different standard, the mores of our time, and you get a different verdict: Suddenly, it's a perfectly lame movie that speaks intriguingly to the way we live now.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The fiction that follows can be safely regarded as much more than a war movie -- hell, this is a pro-war movie. Were it a politician, it would be Donald Rumsfeld.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    The result is the kind of picture you can sit through quite contentedly, the cinematic equivalent of an innocuous seatmate on an airplane trip -- it neither bores nor insults you, and, when the ride's over, is promptly gone and forgotten.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    21
    What a big cheat of a movie. Wanting to be everything to everybody – a tough gambling picture, a revenge-of-the-nerds fantasy, a Vegas caper flick, a sweet little romance, a simple morality tale – 21 is just a bet-hedger dealing from multiple decks, designed to leave you with an occasional tidbit to like but nothing at all to love.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    It wants to make an important political statement, which might have been dandy if it had anything remotely cogent to say.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    This is a picture with a perfect sense of proportion: There's a mini-Hanks, a mini-Spacek and a mini-Kasdan in a mini-comedy that's minimally entertaining.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Pearce pumps a surprising amount of levity into his one-liners – sure, it's still hot air, but at least the banter comes fully inflated.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    This thing's got more plot than an Alliance convention. Unfortunately (to extend the comparison), not a whole lot of it makes a lick of common sense.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    A contrived little comedy, Dummy definitely lives down to its name -- you can see the lips moving on this wooden thing.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    The effort is admirable, the movie not so much, and yet, contrary to most pictures, it does improve towards the end. At least a little.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Semi-wonderful at best.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The result is a picture curiously yet intriguingly at odds with itself: One moment is edgy, the next is not; the cast is terrific, the direction is not; here it’s satirically sharp, there it’s sloppily sentimental; now we’re happily engaged, then we’re cruelly dumped. Some films are electric – Admission settles for alternating current.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Given the predictable scenario, this picture needs passion, and all it gets is his workmanlike precision. What he's constructed is worthy enough, and certainly navigable, but you need more than the bricks of craft to build a road to paradise.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Women deserve better women's pictures -- men too.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Beverly Hills Cop II puts its mega-star through a medieval trial, an ordeal by dullness. Survive these surroundings, Eddie Murphy, and you must truly be one very funny guy. Well, Eddie survives, barely, and taking our cue straight from him, so do we, almost. [22 May 1987]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The picture's broad outline may be fact, but everything inside gets painted in a deep shade of bogus.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    The weak plot means that the picture is governed totally by its gadgetry, the equivalent of those James Bond sequels that limp awkwardly from one showoff sequence to the next. [10 May 1991]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 48 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    xXx
    In Hollywood, and perhaps beyond, there's nothing more predictable than a rebel with a cause. XXX pretends otherwise, but isn't really fooling anyone -- ultimately, this is a movie as generic as its title.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    All dull thunder without a spark of illumination.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    If you have an appetite for well-made treacle, then Bella should go down a treat.
    • 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.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    The visual big top is the scourging and the crucifixion -- again and again, Gibson returns to the blood-letting. Again and again, we're exposed to the clinical repetition of a single act, until an alleged act of passion comes to seem boring and passionless. Is that not a definition of pornography?
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Pretty routine, pretty forgettable. Don't know how else to say this, so best to be frank: I'm just not that into He's Just Not That Into You.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Bloody fun is here to be had.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Bad Teacher should be a hoot. But it isn't. Love the theory here, hate the practice.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Both more and less of the same -- more of that hot-pink couture, a whole lot more of that diminutive doggie, less reason to laugh even if you're a tank-topped 16-year-old.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    The countdown begins with the first negative integer — an amped-up score that overpowers the proceedings like a bad band at a high-school dance.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    As in so many essentially childish movies, it's an actual child who's always the smartest pants in the room.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Maybe this stuff works on the page, in Chuck Palahniuk's darkly comic novel, but Choke is awfully tough to digest on the screen.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Now, forcibly deported to Chicago and peopled with American stars, the same story is huffed and puffed and squeezed into an entirely different cultural context. Guess what? Sayonara sushi, hello turkey.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    I'm not saying that a date with this picture is all pleasure; but it's not all guilt either.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 88 Rick Groen
    You may well hate Crash, but if intensity is what you seek in a darkened theatre, you'll hate missing it even more.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    This latest entry in the White House genre is polished, but formulaic suspense.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The Time Traveler's Wife slips the romance cards into a stacked deck – read 'em if you will, but no need to weep.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    To divulge the plot would spoil the experience -- you'll be shocked to discover, and maybe even surprised to learn, just how lame the damn thing really is.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    In its nearly two-hour running time, in its always lugubrious pace, in its almost complete absence of laughs, The Prince & Me is a comedy that plays like a tragedy. No stricken bodies, though, unless you count the ones in the audience slumped back in their seats -- perchance they slept.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    If your idea of a bargain is two bad movies for the price of one, then shell out for Man on Fire. And don't fret about that incendiary title because this thing is all fuse.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    In the shock department, the ante has been upped, way up, and a mere kitchen knife through a shower curtain just doesn't cut it any more.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Long, windy, diffuse in its message and blunt in its satire.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Herbie without the herb has never been my cup of tea.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Do we at least perk up during the ol' gunfight at the O.K. Corral, or the vacant lot at Fremont Street, or wherever the hell it did take place? Sorry. Kasdan never was an action director, and he clearly hasn't gone to school for this flick. Bang, bang, I'm dead, you're not, next scene - I've seen livelier shoot-outs at a soccer match. [24 Jun 1994, p.D1]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    A feature that suffers from the rarity of its wit yet benefits from the briskness of its pace.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Ten minutes in, and the verdict is already clear: This is a flick that goes both ways. It's funny, then it's not; it's cooking, then it isn't; it's different, then it ain't.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Come to think of it, Ferrell is to the sports comedy what the Toronto Maple Leafs are to the hockey biz: Hard-core fans are sure to show up and find reasons to be amused. The rest of us can only hope for better days.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    If nothing else (and there ain't much else), Everybody's Fine does prove one thing: Even an actor with the gifts of Robert De Niro can't make bland interesting.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The problem is director Joe Carnahan, who’s way too manic even when the formula calls for calm – he can’t stay still long enough to drive home the punch-lines.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Who would have guessed that, among all the cutesy curves in Around the Bend, the guy walking the straightest line is Christopher Walken?
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Smooth direction, vigorous performances, competent music, spotty script, and a running time that overstays its welcome. [10 Apr 1992]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 46 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Where the hell is the movie?
    • 46 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    There, in its midst, stands a freeze-dried Arthur -- stripped of his legend, shivering in the cold and wondering, like the rest of us, where in hell the magic went.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    It is a disappointment - just intermittently engaging, and lacking the cohesion of his best efforts, it seems less a fully realized feature than a film-school foible. [30 Aug 1996]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    In every way but one, this is just another genre pic on another mundane outing.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    There's a good movie buried inside The Nanny Diaries, and a good cast trying hard to dig it out. Too bad they don't get much help.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Yet these are precisely the sort of pictures that divide audiences over a central question: Are those strings being honestly played or just shamefully pulled? Of course, the answer determines whether you feel moved or merely manipulated.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Petersen seems to be holding back, telling us about the liberating power of the imagination but never really showing us. Of course, to show us would be to spoon feed the audience, thereby blunting the message and defeating the point. [20 Jul 1984, p.E9]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 46 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Thrills are in short supply, but so are annoyances. This is a maintenance-free ride.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Call me Grumpy, but this seems less an adaptation than a random assault.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Festival in Cannes is definitely Jaglomesque, but can't get that tricky balance right -- the result is a picture as charmingly insubstantial as the world it invokes.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Vanity: the surest road to mediocrity.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 100 Rick Groen
    With the help of an impeccable cast and with a style steeped in the past, Soderbergh has placed the persona of Kafka under a lens, and the soul he discovers is his own. [31 Jan. 1992]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 46 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    With the performers given zilch to perform, the result is a picture that's all chassis and no engine, or, in the parlance of the genre, a bunch of pointy hats in search of a transporting broomstick.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    You don’t need to root for the best movies and you don’t want to root for the worst. But, occasionally, along comes a picture so nearly good that you dearly wish it were better. Welcome to She’s Out of My League, where the rooting interest is strong but so is the frustration.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Brooks knew how to engineer a well-crafted script. Yet on the evidence here – a stuttering two-hour outing bereft of any rhythm, a bunch of scenes in search of a movie – he's apparently forgotten.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    A poet is not a pirate (except in his dreams), and, minus the gold in his teeth and kohl over his eyes and trinkets in his tresses, Depp is handicapped here -- for all his deft brushwork, he can only do so much with a flat character on a small canvas.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    It's not really serious, not especially funny, and not noticeably scary. Strikeout.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Like a two-bit philosopher working the wrong side of the stone, Howard has managed to turn gold into lead.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    From the script to the title character to the direction, the watchwords here are three: Play it safe. The whole thing reeks of the formulaic.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    More than merely stale and dated, Hollywood Ending seems lazy and careless -- the structure is loose to the point of crumbling.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    The result is a curious mix - a picture that simultaneously seems meanderingly loose, affording the cast plenty of performing space, and suffocatingly tight, choking off the audience from any interpretive engagement.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Candy and Moranis are real talents, but they're completely wasted, like everyone else here, sacrificed to the grade-school inanities of that self-indulgent script. [26 Jun 1987, p.D6]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 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.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    The same studio has aimed a remake at the same family market. Translation: The once-modest piece has been redesigned as a vehicle (a lumbering SUV) for Steve Martin, stripped of any vestigial charm, and then thrown into neutral, where its manic engine does nothing but roar loudly and pointlessly for the duration.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    It can be accurately described as a loud soundtrack occasionally punctuated by the faint vestige of a plot. Or as a lush travelogue that sometimes gives way to sporadic bursts of chirping dialogue.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    At one point, Downey's character is asked, "What are you gonna do with all this rage, this hate?" and he snaps back, "I'll probably just write serious literature." On TV, where the material seemed both serious and literate, that bit of black humour felt prophetic. On film, it's just a good joke.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    First things first: As one of my wise editors noted, no person who can flash as many teeth as Julia Roberts should ever star in a movie called Mona Lisa Smile.
    • 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.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Stockwell takes an especially leaden screenplay, floats the dull thing up from the depths of mediocrity, and makes it cinematically buoyant. Within limits, that is.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    How's this for frightening: The casting of the lightweight Ben Affleck as a CIA agent who holds the fate of the entire world in his pretty-boy hands. Can't deny it, that got my heart pumping like a bunny.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    In short, it's much fatter with less matter and a distressing shrinkage in thought.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Occasionally, Murphy cuts loose with an ad-libbed riff that's almost funny, but then it's back to the slim-fast plot and the stick-on crudities. [03 Jul 1992]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Haven't they created a movie that is ultimately a soulless clone of a vibrant original and, thus, a splendidly dull example of the very forces it warns us against – the forces of grey and passion-sapping conformity.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Like its predecessor, this is a basic bungalow of a flick, where low-maintenance superheroes take their ease and you can pay your (dis)respects painlessly enough. In short, okay to visit, wouldn't want to live there.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Hard-working to a fault, this is a movie that's all effort and no direction, a movie completely lacking in what its hero eventually finds -- a sense of identity.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    If plots were people, this obese thing would be cuing up for liposuction. Mr. Brooks may well boast the greediest yarn in the annals of filmdom. One serial killer just doesn't cut it – no fewer than four, actual and potential, pack these frames.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    J-Lo, Ralph-Lower, Movie-Subterranean.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Apparently, the idea of their passion is enough to save them from a life of boredom - if only it had the same happy effect on us.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Judi Dench is much more of a challenge. Drenched in powder and pomp, the grand old Dame pops up in a London carriage. She's there in a flash and then, as quickly, gone, and her fleeting presence is exactly like the fleeting merit of this fourth galleon in the portly franchise: It prompts stirrings, not quite all the way to feelings.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The Paperboy is southern Gothic wallowing in the swamp of low camp. And if the wallowing were deliberate, this might have been hugely funny.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The only effect is to produce that most commonplace of Hollywood paradoxes -- a mood simultaneously frantic and listless.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Jefferson in Paris isn't merely wooden; it's concrete. Nor is it simply bad; the thing is astonishingly bad. Sure looks pretty though. [08 Apr 1995]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Just a mediocre action franchise with a solid actor at the head and a travelogue in its heart.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The Distinguished Gentleman isn't - distinguished, that is - but it's a notable cut above Eddie Murphy's recent ventures. [04 Dec 1992]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 45 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Alien Nation lives out precisely the fate of the alien nation it depicts - both full of potential, both hoping to please, and both immediately co-opted, enslaved by the same commercial forces that granted their release. [12 Oct 1988]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 45 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Wisdom lies in taking a pass on Hall Pass, but bravery demands something else, something far more instructive: Watch it, every vacuous frame, if only to measure the precise aesthetic distance from blessing to curse.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Based on an allegedly true story, this is a dark comedy that begins with a charmingly light touch.... Alas, it's when the tale stays murderous, amateur night dragging into amateur day, that the picture loses both its energy and its edge. [09 Apr 1990]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 45 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Regresses into a lame action-thriller.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    It's obvious now that the cinematic junk routinely released every Friday can be safely categorized as a mere failure. But this alleged comedy is a whole other species entirely. This is a bona fide, absolute, unmitigated fiasco.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Turns out a movie about an infatuated bunch of Star Wars nerds can really set your teeth on edge.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Despite (or maybe because of) its showy cleverness, Full Frontal merely seems full of itself -- it's a small film made by a big ego pretending to a modesty he no longer feels.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Barely a chuckle in sight.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    The picture is actually watchable. What's more, as romance comedies go, it's something of a novelty.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    And veteran director Costa-Gavras, whose early work ("Z", "State Of Siege", "Missing") proves that he's no stranger to sociopolitical complexities, might well have been the man to make it. But not from this script -- it starts off as puerile and then regresses.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Although possessed of a laudable desire not to be yet another run-of-the-mill, wacky-impediment, I'm-nobody-and-you're-the-Prez's-daughter romance comedy, damned if the picture can figure out how to be an anti-romance comedy.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The verdict is easy: Pfeiffer terrific, movie not.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    For my first trick, allow me to write off an entire picture by merely affixing to the title a one-word contraction: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone isn’t. Please hold your applause.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    School for Scoundrels suffers from an old-fashioned identity crisis. The poor thing is awfully confused, and so are we. Is it a black comedy that isn't dark enough? Or a dumb comedy that isn't stupid enough, or a gross-out comedy that isn't yucky enough? Or is it really just a romance comedy that isn't sweet enough? Don't have a clue, but this much is certain: It's definitely a failed comedy that isn't funny enough.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    This is the kind of picture that is faux subtle when it should be bold, and really ham-handed when it should be delicate.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Memo to screenwriters cranking out murky existential thrillers: Do not have various characters repeat on several occasions: "I know this doesn't make any sense."
    • 44 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    On the plus side, bloated narratives make for a busy action star, and Bruce is quite the workaholic on this outing, clearly eager to rekindle memories of his "Die Hard" glory days.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    It transforms that bottom line into a saccharine border, framing the picture with enough faux inspiration to keep Hallmark in cards for a month of Mother's Days. [03 Jun 1994]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 44 Metascore
    • 12 Rick Groen
    It's not a bomb at all. A dud is more like it - Last Action Hero isn't interesting enough to be explosively bad. For all the inflated pyrotechnics on the screen, the picture seems consistently grey and almost pitiably small. [18 Jun 1993, p.D1]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    As an actor, Kirk Douglas still has more to give; too bad he didn't have more to work with.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Is Funny Games an unqualified success? No, and for this reason: In order to analyze the devolution of violence into entertainment, the premise obliges the film to superimpose a complicated game atop the genre's simple one – in other words, it makes a game out of the game it condemns.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    You can see Rock hedging his bets right from the opening frames.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Trading in his thinker's cap for a craftsman's apron, Lee is content to carve a little something out of nothing much - the result is as dismissible as it is diverting. [Apr 12, 1996. pg. C.2]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 44 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Too bad. What dreams may come, indeed, when such enticing foreplay ends with a consummation devoutly to be missed.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    A movie that serves up what its debauched subject would never have countenanced -- sanitized smut with a moral attached.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The result, as a colleague once so aptly put it, is less film noir than film beige.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Mainly bad, and a shockingly bland departure from a hitherto spunky guy.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    With no previous acting experience, she's (Stilley) a natural between the sheets but a rank amateur between the vowels.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Think of a really bad, uncensored Saturday Night Live comedy sketch. Then make it worse – make it longer.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Biggs, in particular, seems positively frozen by his imitative efforts -- less Woody than wooden. Ricci is a bit looser, and has the added advantage of hiding behind those saucer-eyes.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Today's Total Recall does nothing to tarnish the image of yesterday's – 22 years from now, I expect it to be hailed as a classic.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Sappy and predictable.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    How's this for a ringing endorsement: Watching Youth Without Youth, Francis Ford Coppola's first film in nearly a decade, is like taking a philosophy exam. A really tiring philosophy exam, where the questions are elegantly phrased but damn confounding and not really conducive to right answers.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    360
    To their credit, both Meirelles and his cast infuse as much realism into the artifice as they can muster, but it's not nearly enough. The too-neat script boxes them in, and leave us out. In that sense, 360 doesn't so much connect our shrunken world as strangle the life from it – the circle feels like a noose.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    A ticket to terminal boredom.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    At the end of these "based on a true story" flicks, it's customary to flash photos of the real people over the end credits. There, Sam Childers looks older and less handsome and awfully imposing, a scary sort of cat with raw but authentic tales to tell. I'd like to hear them.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Pardon my pulling anthropological rank, but Instinct -- a movie about an ape-man savant -- seems a quart low on common sense.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    An exuberant mess of a movie. You despair at the mess, at the narrative and structural chaos; and yet you delight in the director's sheer infectious energy.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    There is nothing worse than a thriller that doesn't play fair... The Forgotten is just a big, fat, obvious cheater.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Ultimately, the movie is a perfect mirror of its star -- looks great, seems empty.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The book floats sublimely above its dark theme; the movie sinks into the ridiculous.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    A revisiting of George Pal's 1960 adaptation of the H. G. Wells novel. Pal's take on the book was visually delightful and occasionally clever; this one is always workmanlike and mainly pedestrian.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    To wit, stick that camera down an aquatic cave, wrap a paper-thin plot around it, slap the whole thing up on an IMAX screen and call it a movie. More truth in advertising: Call it a lame movie.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Not woeful, not wonderful, merely watchable.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Magic it ain't, but competent isn't far off the mark. Neither is hum-drum. [28 Oct 1994]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Director Rob Reiner is betting that their star power alone will blind us to the holes in this cheesecloth of a script. It proves a fool's bet – no star shines that brightly.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    As the title loudly hints, ultimate victory assumes the flawless shape of the star pitcher’s perfect game, a rarity anywhere yet especially at the Little League level. In getting to that climax, the recreated game action is a bit tepid and the child actors too precociously cute, but the true tale in the midst of the fabrication remains a guaranteed heart-warmer.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    A plot so thin you could filter coffee through it.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    This is a frustrating film that takes its cutesy title way too literally.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    It would be easy to dismiss Celebrity as merely a wafer-thin picture about the wafer-thinness of our narcissistic culture. But the truth is shallower and even less engaging -- this flick should have been called “Unpleasantville.”
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Holy Man sure isn't raucous; instead, in the main, it's just quietly unamusing.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Next semester, the stars should drop Speech 217 and enroll in Chemistry 101 – they dearly need some.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The pocketing of tired bills headed for the shredder, the producing of tired movies headed for the theatre -- it's all just recycling.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    The film lacks the moronic consistency that graces the Sandlerian oeuvre at its most pristine.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    What do you get when you cross King Kong with E.T.? Harry And The Hendersons is what, and it's a delightful enough offspring - often funny, occasionally charming and always mighty eager to please. Too eager at times, but that's a forgivable flaw in an otherwise engaging hybrid. [5 June 1987]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    With your sharper minds, you'll probably figure it out. I hope so. Hope you'll like the movie too. But here's a bit of advice: Don't bet your allowance on it. Make Daddy pay.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Patterns itself after the Greek model -- that is, more ethnic humour with a contemporary twist.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    So, fans, gear up for rock-em-sock-em action, yet don’t be disappointed if much of the goonery seems a bit tepid and, dare I say, staged.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Stay is all dressed up with no place to go, an eye-popping exercise in lavish style unattached to any discernible content.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Spun is so hip it hurts.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The one source of relief comes from the score -- a sampling of period ditties by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Neil Young.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    The film sputters and stalls and winds up behaving like the worst sort of oldster – passing gas and pretending to be deep.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The original was shot in 3-D; this, by contrast, is 1-D all the way.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Friedkin has huffed and puffed and blown up a single chase sequence into the whole damn movie. You got your hunted, you got your hunter, and away they go. And go and go.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The irony is worth noting: Back when it was really 1949, Hollywood made noir with teeth; this is nougat with pretensions.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    A recruitment poster loosely disguised as a movie.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    If plot were oats, Wicker Park would choke a horse.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The whole picture plays like a pop-up book in a welfare agency.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    Don't look for logic here. But if gore is your game, a motherlode awaits.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    The refined taste insists on risibly bad, on hysterically bad, on poke-your-seatmate-in-the-ribs bad, and this falls well short of that hallowed mark -- it's just routinely bad.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    It's Footloose Loose In The Third Reich and, even with your expectations kept knee-high to a kindergarten, you might have at least hoped for some finger-poppin' music and a few great dance scenes. Sorry. Here, too, things come up short. [05 Mar 1993]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 39 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    It's a mini-masterwork of acting. Stahl is definitely one to watch closely -- he's the real deal. But the emerging plot isn't.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Lumpy title, lively movie. Dead Man Down proves to be a frisky gangster flick cum elaborate thriller cum off-beat romance. Yep, there’s a whole lot going on here, but this is one of those plot-heavy scripts that carries its weight with confidence – the intricate twists don’t cheat.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    The result is a small independent film suffering from a severe case of Hollywood-itis. A cautionary tale minus the caution, Just a Kiss is just a cop-out.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The dialogue is an occasionally witty cut above the norm, partly because director Greg Berlanti goes easy on those cute baby reaction shots, but mainly because of something rather more valuable: screen chemistry.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Other than a few gratuitous montage sequences, plus a patently clumsy echo of the shopping scene in "Pretty Woman," Marshall refuses to pull his share of the load, forcing his beleaguered cast to fend for themselves.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    This hunk of celluloid flotsam will come back sooner rather than later, washed up on the remote shelves of your local video store. My advice: shred the message, recycle the bottle.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Call it "Alexander the Grate," because, over the marathon of its three-hour running time, this wonky epic really does get on your nerves.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Add up these three intentions – the down-and-dirty tone, the tender and uplifting message, the starring vehicle – and the math ain't funny. Bottom line: This movie is a whole lot less than the sum of its parts.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Arthur and the Invisibles may be a tale for children, but it's got the bad habits of a profligate adult -- the thing borrows shamelessly from its betters and then pretends to be self-sustaining.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    This sappy thing is a two-hour cheat that never plays fair for a nanosecond.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Bursting with potential that never gets realized.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Nevertheless, in mid-reverie, there's no denying the pleasure in falling under its little spell -- till human voices wake us, and we frown.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Another Nicholas Sparks novel, another cinematic brush with insulin shock.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Remember the final page of Gatsby, a real American tragedy, when the green light beckons us into an ever-receding future? Now that was a mystery. This is, well, Pittsburgh.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    We know to a certainty what will happen. More to the point, the writers know that we know. But here’s the intriguing bit: They don’t care. Rather, their job as diligent Tinseltown hacks is simply to devise ways of filling up the remaining 90 minutes.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    But wouldn't it be heavenly if a like proportion of Tinseltown producers believed in an existing need for a good script. Because this one ain't good; in fact, it's hellishly mediocre, the kind that aims for holiday charm and settles for workaday torpor.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    An exercise in competence guaranteed neither to offend the initiated nor to charm anyone else.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Empire is just too intent on living up to its imperial name -- colonizing other defenceless movies, plundering their rich natural resources, and leaving us all to feel rather cruelly violated. A postscript: Somebody here -- I'm not saying who -- dies. And still keeps on talking.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Smith and Lawrence enjoyed some amusing chemistry in the '95 original, but their molecules sure aren't jibing here. It's a full hour into this behemoth before there's anything resembling a belly laugh.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    A feel-good flick that doesn't make you feel too bad -- in this genre, that almost qualifies as a ringing endorsement.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    I think that the perfect name for the chick in a chick flick is Rebecca Bloomwood. I know that if Charles Dickens had possessed the good sense to write chick flicks, he could not have done better than Rebecca Bloomwood.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    The actors are all better than the material, just as the script's occasionally amusing tangents are far superior to its mundane narrative arc.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    The flames sure look real, but everything else in Backdraft, director Ron Howard's inflatable ode to firefighters, seems about as genuine as a plastic log in an electric hearth. Howard's particular type of schmaltz works well enough in small dabs on comic canvases (Splash, Cocoon, even Parenthood), but pumped up to heroic proportions, the sentimentality is just plain silly - in this case, cheap melodrama on a two-hour jag.
    • 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?
    • 38 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    The pop-culture answer to a murder-suicide, the kind of flick that serves itself up as the object of its own satire.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    As for the old and graceful Jackie, he's completely missing in action, his supple talents sacrificed on the high altar of movie technology -- that frenetic place where superheroes are a colossal bore and real ones are sadly impotent.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Had Crossing Over chosen to tell one of them well, rather than seven badly, it would have made for a fine movie. Instead, all we get is a mess of good liberal intentions loosely anchored to a mass of pure Hollywood hokum.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    There must be something about the thriller/horror genre that attracts writers with exactly the same dysfunctional tendencies: They're all great at the foreplay but keep on messing up the climax.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Made of Honor should come with a bar code and a Wal-Mart display - this isn't a movie, it's a commodity. The generic brand is the romantic comedy, and the manufacturer's material of choice is recycled plastic, smoothly glued together to assure the consumer that the purchase is risk-free and thoroughly predictable.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Amelia is the Mack truck of flight. Heavy and lumbering, it delivers the goods, but there's not an ounce of magic in the thing.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Winnie begins as hagiography and ends in hellish confusion.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Guaranteed neither to offend nor delight.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    In what is surely a tribute to the dazzling mediocrity of director Luis Llosa, the real jungle looks as bland as the fake jungle.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    To her credit, Nadda is a solid actors’ director – the performances here are competent even when the writing isn’t. The exception is South Africa which, although a logistically necessary shooting location, ain’t much of a thespian.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    To reduce Leonard to shtick makes about as much sense as using a scalpel for a butter knife — even when the job gets done, it's just such a dull waste of a sharp implement.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Some performances carry a picture, this one bench-presses it. Sean Penn's work here is so mesmerizing, so intense, so guaranteed to put him front and centre when Oscar reads out the nominees, as to almost obscure the multiple failings of the misguided movie around it.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Dirty Girl isn't. Sorry, but it's just faux grime, a thin layer of bad behaviour that wipes clean with a two-ply tissue to reveal the real movie beneath – all shiny sentimentality.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    About a third of the way along, there's a shocking revelation that definitely packs a punch. Problem is, it's followed by a near-immediate return to familiar narrative convention, where the noir ante rises exponentially toward a climax that arrives too hastily and ends too neatly.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    The last thing I want is this: Yet another instance of black culture diluting itself by imitating a white model. Hell, Honey is hip-hop by way of Andy Hardy.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Don't mean to boast, but I can suspend my disbelief as willingly as any credulous moviegoer. Yet not even an industrial crane would have helped here.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    In the future, as recorded in the bible of British cinema, it will be written that "Four Weddings and a Funeral" begat "The Full Monty" which begat "Billy Elliot" which begat way too many pale imitations struggling to peddle the same brand of sloppy sentimentality. Amen.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    There's something here for everyone to dislike - the whole clan can have fun making fun of this thing.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    W.E. is a heavily made-up face masquerading as a movie and demanding to be admired – demands that might just leave you with an acute pain in the other end.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    There's a head-pounding, gob-smacking literalness to this flick, extending from the title right through to the recurring imagery.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Apparently, somebody thought it was time for a remake. Clearly, somebody was dead wrong.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Don't abandon Abandon. In the movies' long weekly line-up, it stands apart -- innocent of banality, and guilty of nothing more damning than intelligent effort that falls a tad short.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    It's better than 2, but not nearly as good as 1. On the slippery slope of sequel-land, that's an okay average. [15 May 1992]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    In pairing the two icons, Righteous Kill is definitely an event. What it isn't is much of a movie. Such a waste.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    In today's cultural climate, any remake of Conan the Barbarian can only be considered (a) redundant or (b) a cruel case of rubbing salt in our cinematic wounds. Either way, it ain't a pretty sight – in fact, it's downright barbaric.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    It's a dumb-ass comedy done strictly for a seriously large paycheque.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Well acted and crisply directed, this latest version can at least make a claim to competence.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Say this for I Am Number Four: It's blessedly free of any original sins. Instead, they're all copied. Here a little "Superman," there a bit of "Spider-Man," now it's "Twilight" with aliens, then it's a spaghetti western with trucks – this thing borrows more heavily than an investment bank in an unregulated market.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    What Happens in Vegas should damn well have stayed in Vegas.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Rambo's return is thick with usual thrills. [26 May 1988, p.C1]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 35 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    With some movies, though, it's just the opposite. Like this one. It's a whole lot easier to forget than to forgive.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    What My Blue Heaven has going for it: one funny premise and two earthly delights, in the comic persons of Steve Martin and Rick Moranis. What My Blue Heaven does not have going for it: anything remotely resembling a cohesive script. [22 Aug 1990, p.C4]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 35 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Filled with visual potential, yet Levinson can't tap it. He's just a whole lot more comfortable trying to tame the human software than the technical hardware.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Woefully short on script, the picture ends up disappearing down the wormhole of its own premise.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Fabulous idea/faulty execution is the review.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    Here, one begins to suspect that the major impediment is the sensibility of the filmmakers themselves. They don't believe in this stuff, in its unavoidable sentimentality, and that attitude filters down to a perplexed cast.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Rick Groen
    From the base-model script to the assembly-line thrills, everything about Hide and Seek is generic except its star.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 38 Rick Groen
    Narratively, the film strikes all the sentimental chords that audiences typically find so reassuring, but the music grates here, sounding mechanical and flat, lacking the single ingredient indispensable to any uplifting fable - a charming belief in its own sweet nature. [19 Apr 1996, p. C1]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 35 Metascore
    • 12 Rick Groen
    An actual film of unrelenting silliness. Far from being a "miracle of rare device" (yes, the movie even quotes Coleridge), this is a disaster of common occurrence - a poorly directed, ineptly edited, badly photographed bundle of celluloid. [14 Aug 1980]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 35 Metascore
    • 25 Rick Groen
    To be fair, the movie is nothing if not consistent -- the idea is every bit as dumb as the execution.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    McCarthy delivers the moment of pathos in a totally different voice, tears staining her puffy face, as feelings awfully real and tainted in tragedy bubble up from deep within the comic persona. It’s startling, it’s wholly incongruous, yet it’s undeniably moving. God, how this woman can act and, within the brief frames of that different film, how we long to see the rest of it.

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