For 531 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 43% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 56% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 5.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Rita Kempley's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 The Truman Show
Lowest review score: 0 Boxing Helena
Score distribution:
531 movie reviews
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    The movie faithfully records the rivalries among the various members of a fractious Baltimore family, but it never really attempts to resolve any of the internecine conflicts. In that sense, it's less ambitious than many a TV series.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Unhappily, the attractive twosome never give into the pull, just as this coquettish variant of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" never arrives at its promised destination.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    O
    Everything has been modernized except for the characters, and that's this movie's tragic flaw.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Built with fine materials and boasts a gorgeous ocean view. Unfortunately the family dramedy's design is overblown and the construction is pretty flimsy.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    A star vehicle from its onset, this peculiar, mediocre comedy strains to accommodate the talents of both Mutt and Jeff, Terminator and troll. It's a Frankensteinian thing, an unsettling combination of two-fisted beefcake and mean-spirited shtick.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Takes its cues from the musical dramas of the '70s, but this otherwise engaging young-adult romance never quite catches Saturday night fever.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Potter-philes are sure to get what they want -- if what they want is, in fact, an exacting version of J.K. Rowling's charming children's fantasy. If it's enchantment they are after, that's quite another matter.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Based on Gerry Conlon's own account of his arrest and subsequent incarceration, the film takes forever to do what "60 Minutes" does with the same meat in a single segment.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Predictable, slightly painful and as embarrassing as all get-out.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    A sporadically amusing romp modeled on "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    An implausible action adventure with the most geriatric payload since a community of retirees lifted off in "Cocoon."
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Those who do go with the fantasy are probably hopeless romantics.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    A bittersweet duet convincingly, if unexcitingly, performed by Baye and Lopez.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Waterworld isn't "Fishtar," but Kevin Costner's pricey, post-apocalyptic sloshbuckler isn't a seafaring classic either.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Directing with an eye to "Rebecca," Branagh brings more mood than suspense to this apparent hommage to Hitchcock. Still, he raises no goose bumps.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    The movie updates Disney's blueprint without altering it in any meaningful way.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Gattaca may be all done up in new-fangled notions, but underneath all the guff about designer babies, it rests on a notion that was a staple of the original "Star Trek" series.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Awkwardly acted.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Nicely acted, wonderfully scenic but emotionally vapid.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Meet Joe Black, with Brad Pitt, is a near-death experience: Time seems to stop as we stiffen in our seats and the actors all whisper as if they're at a wake.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Defiantly sophomoric, often hilarious and crude as all get-out.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Private Parts, lifted from Stern's best-selling autobiography, is a choppy amalgam of "Revenge of the Nerds," "Father Knows Best" and "Network."
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Deceptively labeled a domestic epic by writer-director James Cameron, the $100 million movie is, in fact, a weird hybrid of action juggernaut, buddy cop caper and reactionary soft-core pornography.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    It has more complex stunts, more technical perfection, and more than a touch of genius. It's fun at both ends. But it's also mean-spirited and corrupt at its core.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    A sometimes inspired but sputtering parody of the fashion industry. It's desperate to please, yet never unzips the fancy pants of haute couture.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Mike Werb's screenplay -- just a rickety framework for Carrey's consummate clowning -- lacks a propelling plot and has zip in terms of secondary character development.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Uncle Buck is competent comedy, a bit simplistic, a bit stale, no gremlins, no gushiness, no surprises. A Hughes movie offers the kind of reliability you expect from major household appliances or a good set of radials.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Shaft? Not in this splashy-but-empty remake he isn't.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Doesn't pack the punch of Schrader and Scorsese's career-best collaborations ("Raging Bull," "Taxi Driver").
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    A coy seriocomedy distantly related to--but missing the sting of--"Kiss of the Spider Woman."
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Wendy Wasserstein brings a dull pen to this literary adaptation, which shows none of the bite or savvy of Stephen McCauley's novel.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    The Theory of Flight, an unlikely marriage of malady movie and romantic comedy, never quite soars, but beats its wings with the desperate tenacity of a wounded butterfly. Alas, the proportion of lift to drag isn't quite enough to defy the gravity of its subject.
    • Washington Post
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Howard entices us into overlooking the film's faults with some genuinely amusing scenes, particularly those featuring Japanese-American Gedde Watanabe as a beleaguered Assan executive who doesn't fit the corporate mold. [14 Mar 1986, p.27]
    • Washington Post
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    A corkscrew of a thriller, has more twists than a tarantula with a permanent.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Linklater, who introduced the blithe, but bemused slacker subculture to America in 1991, gets bogged down not only in Bogosian's for-stage structure, but especially his middle-aged perspective.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Rusnak, who was the second-unit director of "Godzilla," brings plenty of style to this ambitious yet utterly anticlimactic thumb-sucker.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    The topic certainly suits the times, but the director's approach is as alienating as it is old-fashioned.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Though he is a master thief with a heart of gold, the new Templar has all the charm of one of those ladies behind the counter at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Rita Kempley
    Oscar and Lucinda seems like the perfect story for director Gillian Armstrong, that of a free-spirited proto-feminist chafing at the strictures of tight-laced colonial Australia. But in the end, she's created a beautiful but annoying Victorian-era melodrama. [30Jan1998 Pg.D.06]
    • Washington Post
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    A queasy union of savagery and uplift, the film ought to be unnerving. Instead, it finally becomes routine. [18Apr1997 Pg. C.07]
    • Washington Post
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    How many times can we be awestruck by Day-Glo Gumbies? And why do these creatures always travel with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Baldly manipulative, emotionally counterfeit melodrama.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    The film fleetingly touches on the underfunding of schools and other administrative problems as well as the more compelling personal issues of teen pregnancy and violence. But the characters are so poorly drawn and underdeveloped that they seem to be little more than personifications of these societal ills.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    The trouble is, we don't really much care about this philandering billionaire glamour puss, who seems perfectly capable of taking care of herself. We don't care about her husband or lover either.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Bad movies have a way of writing their own epitaphs.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Tired conventions, hoary themes and obvious conclusions.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Tea With Mussolini is really about the first women in the Italian director's life. It's drawn from a single chapter of his book but suffers from a lack of focus. None of these great ladies is willing to give up center stage; nor, for that matter, are the grande dames who bring them so vividly to life.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Hardware doesn't make a movie; characters, be they Blawp or human, do. And as so often happens with such outsize undertakings, they are overwhelmed by the gizmos. Technology, one. Astros, naught.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    The region's stark beauty and the filmmaker's eye for composition compensate somewhat for its predictability and obvious if misguided feminist agenda.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    A mite sluggish.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    He's slightly more articulate than usual, but the lines still fall from his lips like beaten boxers to the mat. Not that it much matters, given the constant mayhem.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Despite its hopeful title and a warm inland location, this dawdling family dramedy proves as sodden as a bed-wetter's mattress.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    In some ways, Contact is just like the universe: big, star-bright and seemingly endless. Not to mention that it begins with a big bang, gradually falls into a lull and finally succumbs to entropy.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    He's obsessed with the physical details instead of the human emotions. The actors are really just part of the scenery.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Alas, it's too coarsely drawn and broadly directed by Brit Jonathan Lynn to effectively skewer what ought to have been an easy target.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Unfortunately, the filmmaking couple take the fetishistic masquerade far too seriously. They may describe it as a "departure" from traditional fare, but it's simply the same old action-packed guff.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    It couldn't be any less revolutionary in style. It is straighter than a guitar string.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Sparse and implausible screenplay.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Hardly a real pip (indeed, it has been rendered Pip-less), but then this loosey-goosey adaptation isn't aimed at those of us with library cards.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    The Empire strikes out.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    The story's tired, as are the main characters.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala bring the customary polish, but no pizzazz, to this simplistic portrait of the artist as a dirty old man.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Desperado also has some entertaining twists, some sexy goings-on, but on the whole, watching the film is about as much fun as sitting on a cactus.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    With 10 writers gnawing on it, there is little originality left in the story.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Under the direction of "Die Harder's" Renny Harlin, the movie has a crackling pace and a glossy look. It's all the more pernicious for that, this slick glorification of hate and loathing that portrays women as sexually promiscuous and men as infantile, violent and feeble-minded. Here's one Ford that doesn't have a better idea.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Benefits from affecting performances from a gifted cast headed by R&B heartthrob Usher Raymond.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    And while it's intermittently engaging, the drama's flatter than a sucker's wallet.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    While disaster yarns aren't known for subtlety, there are limits, and Volcano giddily goes beyond them.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Tucker came up with a classic, but poor Coppola has turned a great American tragedy into a gas-guzzling human comedy
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Heckerling lacks the intuition to let things flow. The actors seem rushed and the scenes incomplete. For instance, Stacy and her brother Brad (Reinhold) almost build a poignant scene outside the abortion clinic. Just when they're about to show us their stuff, poof, it's off for a car crash or a football game. [13 Aug 1982]
    • Washington Post
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    The movie is a little crude for the subtlety of the emotions it plays with.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Breaks no new ground.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    For a while, the film is screamingly funny, but the further it goes, the more muddled the narrative becomes.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Kansas City is basically a head-scratcher.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    A brain-cramping and eye-straining experiment in digital filmmaking.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Unfortunately, the story isn't inventive and Newell's methodical approach to it verges on monotony.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    A dumb guy comedy about dumb guys by dumb guys and for dumb guys.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    The audience hasn't the slightest idea what is going on.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Although the newly paunchy Stallone is credible as a weak, conflicted small-time sheriff, this suburban "Serpico" is a noble, passionless charade.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Its splendor cannot be denied, but then again neither can the emptiness of this Henry James adaptation.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Ricki Lake makes an appealing, though unlikely, fairy tale heroine in the derivative romance Mrs. Winterbourne: If only this stale trifle didn't call for the bewitching or pixilating, for the abracadabra of a Bullock or a Pfeiffer. For a Cinderella story, it's sorely without magic.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Alien Nation wants to be "In the Heat of the Night" as science fiction, but it's neither morally instructive nor prophetic. It proves a lumbering marriage of action and sci-fi that alienates both audiences. It's too dull for one and too dumb for the other.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Robert Redford does everything but wear a crown of thorns as the selfless war hero of The Last Castle, a heavy-handed military prison melodrama.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    Twister not only blows, it sucks, too.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Rita Kempley
    The Three Musketeers, a rusty trio of middle-aged retirees, have all but changed their motto from "All for one and one for all" to "I have fallen and I can't get up" in this less-than-rollicking adaptation.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 37 Rita Kempley
    Baby Boom is an '80s fable based on a beer ad philosophy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Rita Kempley
    Writer Alan Sharp gets so caught up in the legend and the lush language that he doesn't seem to know he's written "Death Wish" in kilts.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Rita Kempley
    The result is a script so needlessly complicated that it defies comprehension.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 30 Rita Kempley
    Mr. Whipple squeezing his Charmin is scarier than this phony baloney computer effects-driven anaconda.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Rita Kempley
    The script boasts more writers than the computerized menagerie's got megabytes, but they haven't come up with much variety or humor in what is essentially a string of catastrophes.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 30 Rita Kempley
    There's a sense of mystery in this purply palette and one of majesty in the landscapes, but the drama of the drawings is never really echoed by the skimpy and predictable story.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Rita Kempley
    Hardly out of the driveway before director Penny Marshall loses control.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Rita Kempley
    About as persuasively ethnic as an episode of "Friends."
    • 64 Metascore
    • 30 Rita Kempley
    Though it's allegedly a comedy, there is nothing funny about this tasteless, shallow and mean-spirited slam.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 30 Rita Kempley
    If laughter is the best medicine, Patch Adams is but a sugary, fitfully amusing placebo.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Rita Kempley
    Sans emotional depth or narrative drive, Lee's latest flick is little more than a profane litany punctuated by Oscar-caliber orgasms.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 30 Rita Kempley
    Many of the visual effects are stunning, but others are downright cheesy -- especially an attempt to fuse the Rock's head onto a scorpion's body.

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