Stanley Kauffmann

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For 456 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 39% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 59% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stanley Kauffmann's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Lowest review score: 0 Hulk
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 44 out of 456
456 movie reviews
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Folke and Isak have nowhere near the dimensions of the pair in "Waiting for Godot" or in "Endgame," but on his level, Hamer follows Beckett's belief that, especially in an odd situation, two can make a multitude.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Murray, more often than not, is pretty unbearable; but here, playing a man who is unbearable, Murray begins convincingly, amusingly, and gets even more amusing as he metamorphoses. [15 Mar 1993, p.24]
    • The New Republic
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    It is his best and most courageous work to date. [13 Nov 1989, p. 22]
    • The New Republic
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    The film is remarkable for something besides its visual immersion in gold. The director, Gabriele Salvatores, has added his name to the roster of film-makers who have drawn remarkable acting from children.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    The film leaves the viewer with an increased sense of Shepard's exceptional being and talent--a prime playwright of his time who, if he had so chosen, could also have been one of its leading film stars.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Welcome to Yoji Yamada. After decades of comedies, he arrives--in this country, at least--with a uniquely touching samurai film. At the age of seventy-three, he starts a new career.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    No element in the story, or collection of stories, has much novelty: yet the picture grips, because we sense that the director clearly knows he is treating familiar material and forges ahead out of passion.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    This film holds and convinces, even evokes empathy, because of Anne Reid, an actress long experienced in British television and film. She gives May intelligence and spirit and a somewhat genteel wonder at the resurging of desire.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Twister is full of marvelous special effects. The story exists only to provide some respite between those marvels, like dialogue in an opera full of terrific arias. [10 June 1996, p.24]
    • The New Republic
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Its rich movie-ness is heightened by the talents involved. John Mortimer knows how to shape scenes with dialogue, much as painters know how to turn shapes with color. Zeffirelli, in his long career as designer and director of opera, theater, and film, has not been noted for restraint; yet here his directing is generally taciturn and implicative. [7 June 1999, p. 32]
    • The New Republic
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Two aspects stand out. Clint Eastwood is not the first person we might think of to direct a film of leisurely pace, concerned with ghosts and a transvestite...Then there's Kevin Spacey, who grows before our eyes. [29 December 1997, p. 28]
    • The New Republic
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    His performance here made me suspect that Schreiber is, in a sense, another Kenneth Branagh--an extraordinary actor who is simply not a film star.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    The film was directed by John Curran who here does fine, close, and intimate "chamber" work. The cinematography by Maryse Alberti is of the most desirable kind: it creates mood and drama without ever being ostentatious about it. But it is the acting that truly realizes the film.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Nothing like a full picture of Che--nor of Granado and his eventual scientific career in Cuba, for that matter. But it exhilarates with the spirit of these young men in Act One of their lives.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Payne's directing is alert, warm, patient. He knows that the surface must keep us interested until we go below it, and his confidence holds us.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Weitz's dialogue has sparkle and snap.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    The film holds us principally because of its Napoleon. Philippe Torreton doesn't perform the role: he exists.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    The overall effect is of a young director treating some old problems with the cinematic lexicon of his time. So he is able to create warmth without slush.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    There is not much progress in the film: actions are repeated and repeated...Yet the film is sustained--and, for the most part, well sustained--by the children.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    It's agreeable to see a picture that holds us without perspiring to do so. We are treated not as an audience but as café chums to whom a story is being told
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Like some wines, The Best of Youth travels well. From its earliest moments the film is intelligently seen.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    The name of Hugo Colace ought to be known to the film world. He is the cinematographer of an Argentinean film called Intimate Stories. Not since some Tibetan films have I seen such vastness, sparsely inhabited, almost ringing with immensity.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    The film is old-fashioned because it exists. No one, to use an ever-dubious line, makes films like this anymore.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Both these stories, which of course develop further, are more engaging than they may sound, because Desplechin directs them so intelligently and because they are so well acted.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Kaminski, who is as good as any cinematographer working today, matches the chromatic tones of shots to their content in ways that can only be called exciting.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    One of the best elements in the adaptation is Caine's blending, like le Carré's, of the past and the present so that one can enrich the other. There are no stilted flashbacks: both past and present are treated as present, which gives the film a texture of depth.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Extraordinary--vivid, stripped, intense.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    But Anker's real success here is himself. He was obviously able to get these men and women to open up to him. And thus, quite obliquely, they remind us of a threat. As everyone knows, American symphony orchestras are in trouble. Attendance is dropping, and managements are trying various maneuvers, even stunts, to attract people.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    A lively, long, intelligent documentary.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Jacques Richard has fashioned an adoring tribute to this wonderfully maniacal man.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Even though no reasonably well-informed viewer will learn much factual information from the picture, it grips; it even torments, because it lets us move and breathe and shiver and resolve with two particular young men.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    The chief reason that we feel generous toward the film is Bullock herself. She tickles. All the others are good, especially Pullman and Gallagher, but she's the one we want to spend time with. [22 May 1995, Pg.28]
    • The New Republic
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    The daring achievement of Jarhead is that it is not a film about war, about combat: it is about being a soldier.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Bellochio, who began his career in 1965, has made some of the most trenchant Italian films on political themes, and Good Morning, Night is one more of them.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    It is the central performance that holds us. Cillian Murphy glows.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Sitting in front of Tristram Shandy for an hour and a half lets us enjoy the fact that, smooth though its making is, the picture is winking at us.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Like an old-fashioned theater program, it tells you early on who and what each of its characters is--and so they prove to be, enjoyably. [10 Apr 1995 Pg.30]
    • The New Republic
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Holofcener's new film is extraordinary: it engages us from beginning to end without strong narrative, or narratives. It lives through the quality of Holofcener's dialogue and the performances that she has drawn from her actors.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    As directors, Harari and De Pelegri have just the right light-fingered glissando touch. Not a moment sags. Their cast relishes and fulfills the tempo.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Chabrol insured the power of this dangerously difficult film with perfect casting. The two lovers are so well acted that their story--and its finish--are incredibly convincing.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    What Burger and his colleagues have done is to entrance us with a richly acted, beautifully produced story.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    This is the fourth film directed and at least co-written by Beauvois. (He has acted in a number of pictures, including a previous one of his own, and he is in Le Petit Lieutenant for a while.) He is a clean and sure director, with a good selective eye: he knows where we ought to be looking at any moment. We can hope for more Beauvois films with worlds of their own.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Whatever the virtues of The Queen--and it certainly has them--it simply would not exist without Mirren.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    The segments are so cleverly arranged--Apted includes past pictorial references for each of the people we revisit--that now there is something almost mystical involved. It is as if a wizard were giving us an overview of forty-two years that mortals were possibly not meant to see.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    An engrossing documentary.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Every moment of Longley's film is interesting, and the more we watch, the more clearly we realize that the film cannot solve anything for us.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Like Ceylan--like many a fine director--Coixet has made her film less as a drama than as the traversal of a state of mind, a mood.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    A documentary, thoughtfully made.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Sissako makes his point: Africa's best treasure is its humanity.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    It is too weak to say that Herzog disregards conventions of narrative structure and editing: he is there to punish us for attending his film and to make us enjoy it. Other directors have at times made masochists of us: Herzog excels at this, and he doesn't often do it more stunningly than in Cobra Verde.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    Bier directs with a sense of motion, pleasant without pushing. Mads Mikkelsen, who plays Jacob, is an actor who absolutely belongs on the screen, a gentler sort of Jack Palance.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Stanley Kauffmann
    In this film the lovers are seeking the impossible through the possible. The knowledge of that impossibility makes the scenes all the more powerful. This is the core of Lawrence's novel, and Ferran has understood it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Wade, presumably with Nichols's urging and aid, has tricked up most of the picture with plotting that scuttles the realism of the beginning, strangles any serious view of the theme, and ends up ludicrously incredible. [30 Jan 1989, p.28]
    • The New Republic
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Like many other Iranian films, Blackboards counters the generally broadcast ideas about this part of the world. It is a testament of quiet endurance, of common concern, of reconciled survival.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Beatty himself is high wattage, revved up, sharp in his comic timing, gleaming with eagerness to put his film across. As director, he carries on from where he left off in “Reds;” he is sure and fluent, and occasionally he tips his hat to the past. [June 8, 1998]
    • The New Republic
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The result is glib, often funny, sometimes bumpy, and ultimately depressing.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Still, flaws and all, we have to be grateful to Nunez for persisting in his independence.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Tornatore has learned much from Fellini--especially in the long shots where someone suddenly appears close up. Let's hope he moves on to his own style. Meanwhile, he has given us a nice bask in Sicilian warmth. [Feb. 19, 1990]
    • The New Republic
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Nolte and Coburn are so powerful that they distort what, we are told, is the story's theme. [Feb. 1, 1999]
    • The New Republic
    • 48 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The screenplay, by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, based on a French film, has enough sharp gags and plot twists to sustain it, with an ending that manages to be nice.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    No one is expected to believe Pretty Woman . We're just supposed to enjoy it... Pretty Woman wants only to engage us for two hours, and it does. [16 Apr 1990, p.26]
    • The New Republic
    • 91 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    There's a great deal in black America that has yet to reach the screen, and Lee is a prime candidate, in gift and gall, to help fill the gap. [July 3, 1989]
    • The New Republic
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    It has almost no story: its claim on our interest is in the texture of family life, which is what really fills the screen.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Substantively there is no content. Everything we see or hear engages us only as part of a directorial tour de force. That force is exceptional, but since there is not much more to the picture, it leaves us hungry.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    A binding strength of the film is the performance of Choi Min-Sik as Ohwon: far from any fake-Barrymore antics, he makes us feel that we are intruding on the heat and genius of a man for whom life -- existence as is possible in the world -- is insufficient.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Demme's pacing is tight throughout, marred only by some low-angle close-ups of the cannibal that are right out of old Vincent Price thrillers. [Feb 18, 1991]
    • The New Republic
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Andy Garcia, who first became noticeable in The Untouchables, has seductive strength, homicidal cool. One reason to look forward to Part IV is that he'll fill the center better than Pacino does. [21 Jan 1991, p.26]
    • The New Republic
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    It's relatively easy to convey the claustral in interior scenes, but [designer] Furst and the director Tim Burton do it even when the setting is a great flight of steps before the municipal building or the huge square where Batman and the joker confront each other. [31 July 1989, p.24]
    • The New Republic
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    At least we know this Allen persona, whatever his current name; the other characters, starting from scratch, don't get much past scratch. Although the picture spreads its attention fairly evenly among them, most of them end up as supporting cast because they are only life-size puppets. [Feb 10, 1986]
    • The New Republic
    • 94 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    But the way that this picture has been so widely ravened up and drooled over verges on the disgusting. Pulp Fiction nourishes, abets, cultural slumming. [14 Nov 1994]
    • The New Republic
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Precisely the point of films in this genre is to provide pleasant predictability. We collaborate, in a way: we chuckle silently as, so to speak, we make the film ourselves.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    This is a fictional film, but it is based on a novel by Stefanie Zweig that is autobiographical. The adaptation was done by the director Caroline Link, whose screenplay is serviceable and whose directing is generally sure.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The latest Chabrol is a bit bland, but by now a new film of his is almost like meeting a previously unencountered family member.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The film is in one sense lifelike: in order to get the good, we have to endure the lesser.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The son has served the father well, though he faced an odd difficulty: the architect's life was so unusual that his son's understandable absorption with it steals a bit of time from his treatment of the work.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    This picture is an odd misadventure: a gigantic enterprise that, despite some quite exceptional filming, is thwarted by its two leading actors.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The story of the film is a quiet local tale; the directing is sophisticated.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky succeed. Their documentary Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust is, of all things, timely. It is also courageous.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    LaBute's dialogue reminds us that, along with that of such others as Hal Hartley and Jim Jarmusch and Whit Stillman, the sheer writing, these days, of some American films is remarkably fine. LaBute has cast his film to match, with people who can handle his dialogue neatly. [31 August 1998, p. 28]
    • The New Republic
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Cuadron, at the helm, wanted to pitch his film in a terrain accessible to modern sensibility yet different from what that sensibility is generally fed. And he might have succeeded, except for his casting. [2 March 1998, p. 26]
    • The New Republic
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The result is a picture that, moving through political and social chaos, is stubbornly amusing.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    When a spectacular film rests on at least a minimal armature of character and cogent action, as Troy does, we can just sink back and enjoy. What we enjoy is the sovereignty over time and place and the force of gravity that film has given to the world.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Téchiné has a reputation in France as an especially empathic director of women--Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche among them--and he has understood this Odile very well.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The result can be--sometimes is--tedium; but, whether or not the work succeeds as Sokurov intended, it is an adventurous director's probe of cinema possibilities.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Once we learn the story's terrain, we have a pretty good idea of the paths it will follow. Still, because the picture is tidily directed and acted--in one case, better than that--it has the comforts of well-made old things.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    But for those who can summon up the talismanic "what if," The American President provides chuckles and tingles, even a few sobs. [18 Dec 1995, p.28]
    • The New Republic
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The most pleasant aspect of the picture is its relish of the moment in which it is set. Deville doesn't omit mention of the anti-Semitism in postwar France; still, this little tailoring shop is a good place to have reached after the preceding years.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The performance that comes closest to capturing the Waugh elixir is Fenella Woolgar's as madcapping Miss Runcible, who ultimately commandeers a racing car.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The tension with which the picture starts soon dissipates, the contrast between Eliska's background and her present place is lost, and the film plods into a tale of village life, spiced only occasionally with a hint of German threat.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Tsai's film is not free of longueurs, but like much modern work in almost every field, these stretches are deliberate assaults on conventional expectation.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Caouette has opened up a case history vividly, but he has left us without any conclusions, not even with much enlightening empathy. Something more than truth--dare one say "mere truth"?--is needed.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Leigh's directing is lean and tight. In Imelda Staunton as Vera, he has an actress who can make her only two emotions interesting.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    It is echt Maugham, in its somehow flattering cynicism, its character crinkles, its perceptions that sting even though they don't go very deep.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    As the picture winds on, the feeling grows that Saleem, who clearly knows these people, wants to show that their mode of life in this stark setting has, in a gentle way, a touch of the ridiculous.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    It opens fissures through which we can glimpse oddities and strains in film directing and acting.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    That climax stretches credibility, but the whole point of the piece is that the Joe of the opening has become someone else.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Ardant is marvelously genuine: fiery, petty, exalted.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Throughout the film a question tugs at the viewer. Kinsey's work was inarguably important, but his life is not especially interesting.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    Mathilde's story is well enough handled by Jeunet to be endurable, and the rest of the film is a reward.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Stanley Kauffmann
    The finish is so asymmetrical that it, too, seems a comment on the kind of film this might once have been.

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