Russell Smith

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For 108 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Russell Smith's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Affliction
Lowest review score: 0 Material Girls
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 out of 108
  2. Negative: 18 out of 108
108 movie reviews
    • 83 Metascore
    • 89 Russell Smith
    The stunning vitality and passion of this film arises not only from the high-voltage personalities involved (especially Ali and King) but from the way they galvanized political and ethnic pride among the people of the poor West African nation.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 89 Russell Smith
    Anyone who can watch this film and deny that the Sex Pistols were one of the four or five most exciting and indelibly brilliant rock groups ever is pumping formaldehyde, not blood, through his veins.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    Funny, scabrous, disturbing, tragic, and improbably life-affirming, The General travels its own idiosyncratic path with more real style and substance than the past half-decade of Hollywood gangster movies combined.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    Buena Vista Social Club is obviously intended less as a concert film than as a set of cinematic liner notes about the vanishing musical culture.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Russell Smith
    In this magnificent, profoundly tragic film, Nolte and Coburn each turn in career-best performances as a father and son who embody the ancient, seemingly ineradicable male pathology of violence, retribution, and the slow death of the soul.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    For all its knock-'em-dead acting and aggressively stylish direction, Hilary and Jackie is still best described as arthouse comfort food.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    Hall, one of our least appreciated great actors, is mesmerizing as Sydney.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    With her audience's full attention assured, first-time director Kasi Lemmons then proceeds to unravel a spellbinding, powerfully seductive tale that blends Southern Gothic magical realism and disturbing family drama with the flair of a born storytelling genius.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 89 Russell Smith
    Fonda brings all of his childhood frustration and angst to the screen in one of the year's most unexpectedly brilliant acting performances.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    From the pure entertainment standpoint, ABL's nonstop action helps it avoid the slack moments that marred “Antz”. The dialogue, kiddie-accessible though it is, is plenty intelligent for adult enjoyment.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 89 Russell Smith
    With this artlessly profound and affecting story of love, von Trier emerges as one of those blessed filmmakers who've managed to blend their early stylistic flamboyance with enough human empathy to make their work both visually and emotionally compelling.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 89 Russell Smith
    Just the thing to clear your Capra-glutted holiday movie palate.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    Director Jim Sheridan, who has collaborated with writer Terry George on In the Name of the Father and Some Mother's Son clearly understands the weariness that inevitably consumes not only long, seemingly irresolvable conflicts but stories about them.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    Despite the florid trailers' emphasis on bodice-ripping romantic imagery, Elizabeth is above all a political thriller.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    Feel-good comedy with none of the pejorative hints of innocuous blandness that term so often implies.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    This movie is by no means a classic in absolute artistic terms, but as a reaffirmation of all but forgotten verities it's an unqualified success.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    A center ring extravaganza of smackdown movie entertainment
    • 73 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    With its understated moral power, generous spirit, and bracing flashes of dark humor, Titanic Town offers a fresh, subtly illuminating take on an ancient sorrow.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    Breakdown further illustrates the axiom that every truly original movie must be remade again and again until it achieves a state of sublime, all-encompassing idiocy.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    This film's intelligence and uncompromising originality commend it to even moviegoers with zero tolerance for top hats, parasols, and crap English accents.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    Ms. Elliott's film is, in part, an effort to reverse his slow slide into obscurity. On this level it's an unqualified success.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    Director Francis Ford Coppola, who established his towering reputation with an adaptation of another pulpy pop novel, hasn't exactly uncorked another The Godfather here.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    If you're fed up with the stultifying, formula-driven character of today's mainstream films, give Fallen Angels a try. At the very least you'll be engaged, and if you're lucky you may just recapture some of your original wonder at the seductive power of movies.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    Assuming that rich human insight, great production values, and topnotch acting still count for something, Mrs. Brown should have no trouble finding an appreciative audience.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    From the fan's perspective this is sheer bliss, the next best thing to pouring a couple of glasses of grappa and sitting down with a bona fide film immortal (and world-class raconteur) for a long, intimate conversation.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    My advice: Go; see; laugh yourself silly.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    The fact that the blatantly thumbtacked-on happy ending plays as unvarnished fairy tale adds a definite bittersweet tang of irony.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    This film is both too formulaic and too much a one-man vehicle to rate as a true masterpiece. But God strike me dead if I'm lying, this is one gut-busting funny movie.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 89 Russell Smith
    Thanks largely to the raw bravery and intensity of the two leads' performances, Happy Together takes a quantum leap forward in terms of visceral power.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    Unostentatious originality, psychological insight, and stark beauty make it well worth any film lover's time.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    Possibly due to the story's origin as a Ruth Rendell novel, this is the most coherent, viewer-friendly narrative he's ever filmed.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    The underlying problem is the mainstream film format's length constraints, which seem to have forced a rude bowdlerization of the story.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    Unfortunately, for all his large soul and exquisite mastery of image, Nava is also one of the worst writers to ever accrue more than two major-movie screenwriting credits.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    Due largely to the tremendous innate warmth and conviction of leads Quaid and Caviezel ("The Thin Red Line"), you may find yourself cutting a surprising amount of slack for this patently ridiculous tale.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    One of the truest-seeming movies I've seen in some time and as one of the most odd and haunting.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 89 Russell Smith
    In terms of sheer, unrelenting visual invention, Velvet Goldmine is a wonder.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    When Eastwood is at the top of his form -- as he is for much of this film -- there's no more spellbinding storyteller in American cinema.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    With help from talented young director Ferland and a sublime performance from Kevin Bacon, Eszterhas has created a gentle and affecting ode to universal growing-up conflicts within a beautifully rendered evocation of a specific time and place.
    • Austin Chronicle
    • 64 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    Commands respect as mainstream filmmaking with more of an agenda than just pimping cinematic junk food to the brain-dead masses.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    Cinque, the rebel leader, is played by former model Hounsou, a mountainous figure who speaks in a gutteral roar and seems to embody the rage and confusion of an entire exploited continent.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    For all his superfan's intimacy with b-ball culture, he focuses less on the sport's fascinating mystique than on generic recapitulation of how celebrity culture seduces and devours young minority athletes.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    Little effort is made to churn up romantic chemistry between Foster and McConaughey. For better or worse, director Robert Zemeckis sticks to Sagan's original vision for these characters, in which they're basically totems embodying both sides of a philosophical dialectic.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 89 Russell Smith
    For my money the most gloriously, enchantingly trivial play in the Shakespearean canon, A Midsummer Night's Dream may also be the most screwup-proof of the bard's works.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    One
    All in all, this is perhaps one of those films you applaud more for design than execution while hoping at the same time that its boundary-testing restlessness becomes more widely influential.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    As enjoyable as it is, it's hard to escape a sense of Analyze This being the work of competent talents who knew exactly where the good-enough line was and didn't feel particularly inspired to push far beyond it.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    In the end, though, the undeniable power and emotional richness of this film swing the balance toward the good.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    Sorvino and Kudrow, for whatever inscrutable reasons, seem to be having a blast with their ridiculous characters, and both shine in the loopy set-pieces and dream sequences that pepper the story.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    Perhaps the most vexing flaws in this movie are its irresolute plot structure and tone.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    The filmmakers go to obvious pains to add a bit of nutritive value to their sweet, frothy confection.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    Though Cuaron slips a time or two during his stylistic highwire act, his refreshingly original movie, aided by Hawke's career-best acting in the lead role, is a joy to watch.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    Much like the DNA-scrambled beast to which the title alludes, this film is a chimerical chop-shop product, consisting mostly of spare parts pulled from Alien, Jurassic Park, and even The Ghost and the Darkness.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    Annaud (The Lover, The Name of the Rose, Quest for Fire) may be, with all due respect to Stanley Kubrick, the most talented adapter of literary source material in recent film history. Seven Years confirms his mastery by doling out a perfect ratio of moving interpersonal drama and visual enchantment.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    Yet for all its unmistakable visual trademarks (hypersaturated colors; mad-scientist tinkering with film stocks and editing technique; sudden presentation of enigmatic, troubling images), this is also the most radical departure Stone has ever made in terms of basic sensibilities.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    Rare two-for-one Chan special.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    Within the context of films that include the word booty in their titles, it serves up an unusually fresh, inventive and good-natured brew of pure lascivious fun.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    The script, partly written by an uncredited Terry George ("Some Mother's Son," "In the Name of the Father") strains mightily for insight but never quite breaks through.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    It's far from unenjoyable, but the dank shroud of the overfamiliar lies heavy over all, kind of like watching an Elvis concert circa 1976.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    Nothing but tarted-up melodrama.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    There's an undeniable energy, originality and -- most hearteningly -- optimism here that makes Beefcake well worth your time, shortcomings and all.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    Wall to wall blood 'n' guts laced with surprisingly keen social satire, much of it targeting the fatuousness of media culture.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    It does effectively recall those bygone days when impossibly attractive, charming, and endearingly flawed characters dressed to kill, smoked like creosote plants, and behaved atrociously on the way to rapturous romantic consummation.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Russell Smith
    In context, it's utterly, dismayingly typical.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    The splendid performance by Sobieski, who ends her long run as industry-mag buzz princess and arrives as a full-fledged star.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 78 Russell Smith
    It's a consistently entertaining story.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    The story, serviceable though it is, still shatters like eggshells under even the lightest scrutiny, and the dialogue is often stale beyond belief.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    Highly recommended for graduate psychology students in aberrant sexuality, but others can probably skip sans regret.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    Ironically, the problem may lie in Baird and screenwriter John Pogue's over-eagerness to give us what they think we want.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    A gleefully overplotted crime yarn that channels in sanitized form the perverse subtropical-noir sensibilities of Carl Hiassen.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    Given a choice between the puerile but essentially innocent whimsy of Dr. Dolittle and the dimwitted nastiness of, say, "Dirty Work," parents should be grateful for the Eddie Murphys and Jim Carreys of the world for at least providing a kinder, gentler option.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    It's just a little too ironic (to quote Okay Pop Singer Alanis Morrisette) that a movie with the word "magic" in its title should be such a perfect example of the difference between competence and inspiration.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    It's diverting enough, and intermittently suspenseful, but also strangely empty and decadent in a way that truly merits that overused term.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    It delivers commendable entertainment value.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Russell Smith
    Most of the actors seem to have been issued one facial expression at the beginning of the film, along with pain-of-death instructions not to change it under any circumstance.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    There's plenty of solid, intelligent content here to stir the mind and heart, assuming you're able to overlook the distinctly patronizing presentation.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    To put it as kindly as possible, Fuqua is a well-intended tyro who wrongly assumes that his obvious love for action movies qualifies him to make them himself.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    This is a gutsy, oddly inspiring film that embodies both the risks and rewards of artistic boldness.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    Thanks to this relentlessly likable film's playful sexuality and utter lack of pretension it's surprisingly easy to let all of one's objections float away on a fragrant cloud of kitchen sweat, pheromones, and sweet lime zest.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    It's an utterly contemporary film that forces - and rewards - hard reflection on the nature of truth, goodness, and identity.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    Pack the kids off to the multiplex with an easy conscience and forgiving critical sensibility.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    Lack of imagination or subtlety.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    In essence, the whole Knock Off experience can be summed up neatly in four words: loud, stupid, blurry, frenetic.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 20 Russell Smith
    Most folks are just plain bored -- and I mean cross-eyed, wall-climbing, deep-down-to-the-molecular-level bored -- with this ubiquitous Endearing Wiseguys school of movie comedy.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 30 Russell Smith
    This remake of Fred Zinnemann's well-regarded Day of the Jackal (1973) not only fails to match the modest entertainment value of Frederick Forsyth's workmanlike source novel, but actually moves into late contention for the title of 1997's most tedious movie.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 20 Russell Smith
    What I can't accept, however, is talents such as Reno, Garcia, Tomlin, and Molina wasting away in a movie like this. As punishment for their complete lack of artistic integrity, all four of them should be forced to sit in a room for all eternity watching The Pink Panther 2 over and over.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    Don't trust the impression created by Sphere's intriguing trailers that it has much to do with the awe and terror of direct contact with an advanced alien intelligence.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 67 Russell Smith
    I loved this movie. Or perhaps I should say the 15-year-old boy in me -- the dreamy, disaffected misfit with his head in the stars and a stack of Bantam sci-fi paperbacks as his sole defense against small-town boredom -- loved it.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    As with so many recent films, this innocuous little romantic comedy suffers far more from the effects of art-by-committee than the ruinous domination of any one person.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 20 Russell Smith
    The unnecessary nastiness, even sadism, of much of the violence also bears mentioning if you're expecting more of the benignly cartoonish silliness of Cube's lone directing effort, "The Players Club."
    • 33 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    It's hard to imagine anyone ---coming away from Hanging Up with any sense of revelation, soul-enlargement, or even the simple pleasure of a compelling tale well told.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    A slight, oddly lifeless movie with dubious appeal for even the most incorrigible Simon devotees.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    Plenty of gore-slinging, wisecracking fun to be had, and yes, the repulsively convincing werewolf transformations and attacks still pack a breath-stopping wallop.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    Regrettably, The Postman is just one more reminder of what a nonfactor sincerity often is in terms of artistic merit.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    Shabby, nondescript hack job.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 30 Russell Smith
    There's little to recommend this movie, which is part and parcel with Marshall's schlock-dominated body of work.
    • 26 Metascore
    • 11 Russell Smith
    What is love? Haddaway asks in the omnipresent soundtrack song. Not this time-wasting bilge, that's for sure.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 40 Russell Smith
    A “thrill ride” movie with all the predictability, brevity, and industrial efficiency that cliché implies.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 20 Russell Smith
    Near-unwatchable romantic melodrama.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 11 Russell Smith
    This is one that, like a 1am rerun of a late-season Cavs-Grizzlies matchup, deserves to play out in darkness and obscurity.
    • 21 Metascore
    • 30 Russell Smith
    And next time around... show the courage of your lowbrow convictions and get back to the gonzo, unapologetically senseless mayhem that made this saga so much fun in the beginning.
    • 20 Metascore
    • 50 Russell Smith
    Shoddy, brainless, pre-sold kids' entertainment.

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