For 521 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 57% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Rita Kempley's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Vincent & Theo
Lowest review score: 0 Total Recall
Score distribution:
521 movie reviews
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    This is screenwriter Richard LaGravenese's directorial debut and now that he's in charge, he finally has his chance to give dialogue and character their due.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Romantic comedies don't get more formulaic than this bouncing-screwball valentine, but then they don't get much more delightful, either.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    A solid second film from director Gary Fleder ("Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead"), it's sure to set pulses racing and spines tingling. Too bad it's at the expense of the dignity of young women everywhere.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    With it's many knotty connections and complex exposition, the movie is definitely something of a muddle, but for that matter so are most conspiracy theories.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    The decade has been fondly spoofed in capers like "The Brady Bunch," but Lee's film takes a much more searing, if initially hilarious look at the sexual revolution's migration to a New England suburb and the community's subsequent meltdown. [17 October 1997, p.D6]
    • Washington Post
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Brendan Fraser breathes loopy new life into the swinging '60s TV cartoon icon.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    The action scenes are beautifully mounted and photographed and offer a sense of the rigors of the sport.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    It satisfies your appetite for totally tasteless but deliciously flaky boy movies.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    About as understated as a 21-gun salute... What's missing is anything of Reiner himself.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Sonnenfeld, who demonstrated a knack for Gothic comedy in "The Addams Family," brings the same mischievous gleefulness to this deliriously macabre enterprise.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    An absorbing, if overlong adaptation of Tom Clancy's bestseller.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    While the plot is thin and there's little action till the big blow some 60 minutes into the film, a volcano offers a greater variety of thrills than your basic cyclone ever could.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Murphy owes much of his success to the amazing special-effects makeup by Rick Baker ("An American Werewolf in London"), but he brings a tenderness and dignity to the performance that he has never shown before.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Though the film gleams with Howard's customary spit polish, there's no denying that the story is pitted with plot holes.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Bound, a diabolically clever caper, isn't nearly so deep as the genre it kids.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    The hero's feats are implausible even by action standards, but screenwriters Tony Puryear and Walon Green have concocted one of the summer's most spectacular action sequences.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Like the male-bonding movies upon which it's modeled, it celebrates letting down your hair with your own gender.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    For all of its departures, Luhrmann's largely successful reinterpretation is far from irreverent. He takes liberties with the world, but never the words of this achingly beautiful love story.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Jon Amiel, who previously directed "Sommersby," delivers a taut, gripping thriller and, with the help of his accomplished leads, succeeds in camouflaging some of the mammoth holes in Ann Biderman and David Madsen's otherwise intelligent and inventive screenplay.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Barkin's succulence and De Niro's showboating lend sizzle and ferocity to the proceedings, but the film draws its poignancy from 18-year-old DiCaprio's performance.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    It's less like a film by Demme than the best of Frank Capra. It is not just canny, corny and blatantly patriotic, but compassionate, compelling and emotionally devastating.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Pu Yi's personal tragedy has become Bertolucci's three-hour epic of obsolescence, opulently visualized. It's docudrama that dazzles, but basically Pu Yi was a bore.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Adapted from Valerie Martin's psychosexual novel, this maudlin film transforms the legend of Jekyll and Hyde into a talky romantic love triangle. [23 Feb 1996]
    • Washington Post
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    The picture seems muted, the flower's petals a little brown at the edges.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    The caper isn't as passionate as the title suggests—in fact, it's facile—but Ryan and Kevin Kline, as her attractive opposite, are irresistible together.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    A jumble of subplots and suppositions, The Unbelievable Truth ultimately comes together as suburban farce in a door-banging conclusion to all the wild speculation.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    It's the rapport between the two actors, De Niro and Murray, that saves Mad Dog and Glory from being something less than just another buddy movie. Their real-life friendship spills over into this jittery, very funny look at the male bonding experience.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Bill Forsyth's Being Human, an anthology about the hesitant ascent of man, is a whimsically offbeat, stubbornly upbeat tour of man's progress as seen through the eyes of five guys named Hector. [06 May 1994]
    • Washington Post
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Hairspray is definitely self-congratulatory, like the message movies it aims to spoof. But there's a sweet morality mixed with the camp clumsiness of this nostalgic goof. Waters couldn't care less about the subtleties of plot or character. He writes and directs the way a kid finger paints. As usual, he's gathered a tantalizing cast from the so-out-they're-in crowd. [26 Feb 1988, p.b1]
    • Washington Post
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    It starts slow, but finishes fast with some clever plot twists. In the end, all is not lost with these boys.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Darkman, as unnerving as a gargoyle, is a classic nightmare, elegant and sumptuous, everything "Batman" should have been. But we're numbed after a while, as we are by the grotesquerie of the nightly news. Then again, maybe that's Raimi's intention. His work is beautiful in its scary way, and never only skin deep.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock isn't really a movie, it's a happy reunion. The Enterprise is 18 years older and the crew members look like Gray Panthers in space. It may be old stuff, but it's still the right stuff up there. [8 June 1984, p.23]
    • Washington Post
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Filled as it is with unforced errors, A League of Their Own isn't a perfect picture, but it is irresistibly ebullient with not one, but nine Babes on base.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Jackie Gleason and Tom Hanks team entertainingly in Nothing in Common, a sugar-coated variation on "Death of a Salesman." It proves an uncommonly funny drama, its painful truths brightened by Hanks' clowning glory and Gleason's glowering deadpan. [1 Aug 1986, p.25]
    • Washington Post
    • 41 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    Attention all units: Slapstick in progress in the vicinity of Police Academy. Suspects wanted for mugging the camera and possession of night shtiks with intent to incite a laugh riot. Please respond to this blues burlesque, a uniformly funny hit sure to have a long run. Its target audience -- those who can take their T&A with a grain of assault. Its plot -- a combo of "Animal House" and "An Officer and a Gentleman." Its stars -- a rainbow coalition of hot newcomers and dependable, unexpendable pros. [23 Mar 1984, p.23]
    • Washington Post
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Rita Kempley
    The Road Warrior is ferocious and unpredictable. It's energetic. It's peculiar. It's big and it's dirty. But mostly it's cosmically irrelevant. Hey, but, one thing's for sure, we are driven.
    • Washington Post
    • 71 Metascore
    • 63 Rita Kempley
    Despite Allen's sincere face; Bridges' quirky, effective portrayal; some exquisite effects; and many funny moments, the film falters at the finish, if not a little before. Mostly it never delivers what it promises -- an alien with all the right answers. [14 Dec 1984, p.31]
    • Washington Post
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Lillard, who played the squirrelly Stuart in "Scream," brings a mischievous sense of humor and an easygoing charm to his potentially unsympathetic character.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    A spoofy paean to cheerfolk that has more bounce per flounce than most tales about teen queens.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Lacks emotional depth and intellectual sincerity.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Old-fashioned Hollywood filmmaking at its best .
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    A live-action cartoon without dramatic focus, a solid structure or discernible theme.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Sweetly dopey, kid-friendly, if overly contrived comedy.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Howard's film, like McConaughey's performance, is unassuming, ingratiating and a little rough around the edges.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Even the most ardent fans of the natural-born Bond are more apt to be shaken than stirred by the 68-year-old's implausible feats in this inert romantic adventure.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Marvels of animation abound in Monsters, Inc. -- when it comes to irreverent humor and real heart, Monsters doesn't quite measure up.
    • Washington Post
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    A prosaic, sexually perverse thriller masquerading as a critical look at military injustice.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    The dazzle doesn't make up, however, for the movie's lack of depth.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    In Burton's hands, Washington Irving's spooky classic is reincarnated as an overripe, grisly Goth cartoon.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Mary Stuart Masterson, a delicate blond, steals the show as the sensitive gal under the tomboy's leather jacket, her natural magnetism offsetting the story's predictability.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Tim Burton remains the Wizard of Odd with this eye-filling if problematic confection.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Like last winter's "Pleasantville," this movie juxtaposes classic virtues against modern mores. The former did so with far more invention.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Three losers of late, the actors succeed quite nicely in unifying the movie's multiple personalities, its ricocheting screenplay.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    An endearing comic roundelay about the can't-commits.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    A nostalgic paean to China's fading pastoral ways, might easily be taken for an audition tape for Zhang Ziyi.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    A raunchy parody that's hip-deep in the mainstream it aims to rip, and sometimes does despite a glut of smug inside jokes.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Hobbled by a multiplicity of narrative lines and superfluous, often stereotypical characters, the movie suffers from a lack of both focus and passion.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Pi
    In the end, it's primarily a brain teaser, obtuse and ultimately limited in its emotional impact.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    A ruthlessly unsentimental portrait of a German war profiteer's epiphany that inspires neither sorrow nor pity, but a kind of emotional numbness.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Unlike the ronin, the heroes of a Japanese legend, these guys are still searching for a story.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Sorry, Antz has no show-stopping song and dance numbers, no catchy melodies and no love songs either. The score, made up of old standards, does, however, enhance one of the movie's wittier episodes.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Unlike Hollywood's hygienic undersea dramas, Das Boot graphically depicts the nasty intimacy of a long mission.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Director Kevin Rodney Sullivan, a television veteran making his feature film debut, has fluffed up this undemanding material much as one would a pillow. But pillows have their place and so do girlfriend movies.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    The Perrier of dumb-and-dumber movies, an effervescent idiot's delight that burbles from the wellspring of silliness inside star Adam Sandler's head.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    The X-Files movie is really just a two-hour teaser for the series's sixth season. And little else. You will feel exactly like Mulder when he says, "How many times have we been right here before, Scully? So close to the truth?"
    • 41 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Tom Schulman's script is on the sloppy side and offers few surprises; still, it's not entirely bereft of laughs.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Like Shepherd's speech, The American President touches on all manner of issues but illumines none of them. And while there are some engaging glimpses of the president's staff in action...the film's principal pleasures lie in the president's pursuit of a first lady.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Like the South, the movie is sumptuous and somnolent.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Tomorrow is propelled by relentless action. Chase scenes are interrupted not by witty conversation or sexy conquests but by the rattle of machine gun fire.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Unfortunately, Harrer's inner struggle isn't as grand as the sweep of Jean-Jacques Annaud's direction.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Gets by on quirky charm and slacker chic-but just barely.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Everything from time travel to melodrama figures in this whimsically daft story, a romanticization that tries your patience even as your tear ducts well.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Brings bite as well as bark to the funnier sequel.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Though it lacks the gloss, twists and star power of earlier Grisham movies, The Chamber does possess Gene Hackman's most cantankerous turn since the lowdown lawman he created in "Unforgiven."
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Most egregiously, the filmmakers set up a classic struggle between right and wrong and then, in a coy coda, refuse to take a stand.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Director John McTiernan, who redefined the action genre in the original "Die Hard," does devise some smashing explosions, crashes and so on, but nothing really new.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Pollack makes a solid job of it, as does Cruise. But solid isn't enough when it comes to thrillers -- or courtroom dramas, for that matter. Solid is great when it comes to office furniture.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    While this adaptation of Waller's treacly bodice-ripper leaves out a lot of the lurid excess, it is not altogether free of pomposity.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau reprise the roles of a pair of Minnesota mossbacks in the heartwarming, albeit warmed-over, sequel Grumpier Old Men—though given its scatological bent, it might have been called Grump and Grumpier.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    A superbly heartfelt drama for six diverse actors, it is as colorfully striated as its majestic namesake - and almost as wide. The film's depth is another matter altogether.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Like "Ghost" and "Pretty Woman," this romance is blissfully dependent on our staying good and starry-eyed, seduced by the charisma of the leads. And we do, despite its lackadaisical pace and disappointing ending.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Despite the quirky trappings, Something Wild is often as tame as its star couple.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    As a persona of epic polarities, [Harrison Ford] animates this muddled, metaphysical journey into the jungle.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Writer-director Stephan Elliott is obviously fond of his characters, and this may account for the upbeat story line, but it blinds him to how very annoying two hours of dishing can be.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Behind the lens Murray has an uneven touch (or perhaps his co-director does), and "Quick Change" is given to slow moments and miscalculations. But in front of the camera, he is as wonderfully acerbic as ever, equal parts anger and hurt feelings as he grapples with the rot of the Apple, the roar of subway, the smell of the crowds.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Douglas plays Gekko with a terrible intensity. He raves and rants, but he has a rascal's humor.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    UHF
    Yankovic, an advocate of the Monty Python and Mel Brooks schools of comedy, favors yechy burlesque, and UHF, with its scant plot, is basically a variety show with skits, sight gags and gross stuff. "Weird" reminds us there's nothing quite like a good booger joke for pure entertainment.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    A flawed but funky adventure.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    "Nerds" is erratic -- more gags work than don't, but more situations don't work than do. There are some great throwaway lines. [10 Aug. 1984, p.23]
    • Washington Post
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    The story line is little more than a shiny hat for holding the high-tech rabbits. Still, it's an enjoyable bit of smoke and mirrors, thanks to the decency and resourcefulness of its hero.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Rita Kempley
    Beyond Thunderdome the film falters. The new, mild Max is banished to the desert, where he meets a tribe of feral children and leads them out of the desert like Moses. Naturally, it's a pleasure to watch Gibson, no matter what his mood. And as usual, the costumes and sets are imaginative and elaborate. But since "The Road Warrior," punks have adopted the style and none of it looks that original anymore. [12 July 1985, p.27]
    • Washington Post
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Fans of Gere and Roberts may not care about the movie's many implausibilities and other shortcomings because the stars do indeed sparkle like the bubbles in wedding champagne. But the rest of us will find the vintage too sweet.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    A sloppily structured, snoozily paced psychodrama about living in harmony with nature and all the rest of that tree-hugging hooey.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Shaft? Not in this splashy-but-empty remake he isn't.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Nicely acted, wonderfully scenic but emotionally vapid.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Defiantly sophomoric, often hilarious and crude as all get-out.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    A corkscrew of a thriller, has more twists than a tarantula with a permanent.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Gibson and the overexposed Hunt don't exactly burn up the screen, not that it much matters. The charm isn't in the relationship, it's in Gibson's puckish appeal.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    The topic certainly suits the times, but the director's approach is as alienating as it is old-fashioned.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    A bittersweet duet convincingly, if unexcitingly, performed by Baye and Lopez.

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