Michael Rechtshaffen

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For 1,101 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 10% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 7.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Rechtshaffen's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 U2 3D
Lowest review score: 0 Natural Selection
Score distribution:
1101 movie reviews
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Director Miranda de Pencier and writers Graham Yost and Moira Walley-Beckett haven’t dodged hard sociological truths lurking beneath the gentle humor, engaging performances and stirringly photographed tundra, lending The Grizzlies a decisive, transformative edge.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The beautifully rendered result proves to be even more than one had hoped for: a visually dazzling, richly imaginative, emotionally resonant production that taps into contemporary concerns while being true to its distant origins.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Jolie, who also serves as producer along with Brigham Taylor and the late Allison Shearmur, invests her fragile pachyderm with a gentle, world-weary wisdom, while Cranston makes you feel his world crumbling beneath him in a performance that could have easily flirted with cartoon villainy in less accomplished hands.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Michael Rechtshaffen
    More aligned to the docudrama stylings of Mike Leigh or Ken Loach than the likes of a “Lean on Me” or “Stand and Deliver,” Harchol’s inspirational film eschews mainstream tropes in favor of a bracingly candid sociological study that has compellingly done its homework.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While the Nick Peet-directed film has its cheerfully outrageous moments . . . even mild shock value in the time of an epidemic might not be just what the doctor ordered.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Writer-director Penny . . . has crafted a thoroughly workable and well-informed vehicle, providing a nurturing atmosphere for the unhurried dramatic developments and uniformly gracious performances.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 30 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Although the production establishes the requisite lived-in, small town feel, it has also chosen to take its dramatic cue from the seemingly sedated gaze of its lugubrious, aliens-obsessed protagonist, whom Le Gros portrays with a remarkable economy of expended energy.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The light but evocative result proves as inviting as a gentle tropical breeze.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Despite its penetrating handheld camerawork (by Arnau Valls Colomer) and mind-altering sound design, Lost Transmissions never quite manages to tune out the lingering element of self-indulgence.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A Kid from Coney Island proves to be as surprising and affecting as the unorthodox career trajectory of its subject, basketball player Stephon Marbury.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The seductively photographed and well-acted production simply can’t gloss over the inconsistencies in the Scott B. Smith-credited adaptation, which pile up higher than all those discarded cigarette butts.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Like those cheeky genre-splicing comedies that came before it, the Ahern-Loughman collaboration doesn’t merely goose the boundary between charming and outrageous, it gleefully tramples it into oblivion.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A gutter ball of a sophomoric, white middle-age male sex farce fantasy that quickly wears out an already tenuous welcome.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Less would have been considerably more in the case of Tread, a needlessly overstuffed documentary chronicling the path that led to a disgruntled muffler repair shop owner going on a remarkable 2004 rampage in a heavily armored bulldozer through the streets of Granby, Colo.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While the template may be familiar, the nicely balanced blend of comedy and pathos still hits the mark.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Those anticipating something more traditionally calibrated will likely be disappointed with the film’s muted thrills and noncommittal denouement, but the elegantly composed film nevertheless makes for a creepy, contemplative entry in the Cristofer canon.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Ultimately, just as the events tread a fine line between fantasy and reality, so does the film teeter precipitously between promise and pretense.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    At once frank, tender and unapologetically funny, Come as You Are is a sweet surprise.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A probing though ponderously episodic drama that ultimately feels as stitched together as Sawchuk’s frequently unmasked mug.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    By the time the film finally gets to Fletcher’s dark and stormy, death-defying stunt, its greater liability is a talking heads-intensive structure aimed squarely at aficionados while certain to leave the uninitiated a little surf-bored.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 20 Michael Rechtshaffen
    John Henry is a lead-footed revenge thriller that lands with all the subtlety of the mighty steel-driving man’s sledgehammer.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Director McMillin effectively interweaves the involving profiles into the lead-up to the big game, as the young players deal with the pressures placed on them by their respective schools and the expectations of family members, some facing the threat of deportation and other realities of living in Trump-era America.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While Long gives it his trademark amiable best and Klabin and longtime collaborator Patrick Lawler cook up a heady cocktail of lively though budget-conscious visual effects, at the end of the day the Carl W. Lucas script feels more like a concept pitch than a fully-plotted proposition.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While German actor Fürmann and especially Kingsley engage in a nimbly calculated game of cat and mouse, the film’s coup de grace fails to land with the intended punch.
    • 7 Metascore
    • 10 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Even ignoring the fact that it was completed back in 2017, Reality Queen! a punishingly shrill, unfunny mockumentary about a social media darling of a Paris Hilton-type celebutante, can’t help but feel totally so yesterday.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Playfully taunting title aside, Mullinkosson’s film is an affectionate portrait of a fraternal bond that no tribal council could ever tear apart.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While the escalation in anti-Semitic violence and rhetoric is justifiably alarming, Hate Among Us, which spends a lot of screen time covering attacks in Paris and Berlin, would have made for more incisive viewing had its exploratory journey kicked off closer to home.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    In Mob Town, the cast’s definitely got the goods, but the writing and direction consistently fail to seal the deal.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A penetrating, mournful portrait of sexual identity in contemporary Guatemala City.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The film effectively illustrates how the words “Most Likely to Succeed,” written under a yearbook photo can serve as both a cheering vote of confidence and an awfully daunting expectation.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Unfortunately, as cobbled together by writer-director Patrea Patrick, those historical elements, in which grainy black-and-white archival footage is unconvincingly blended with repetitive reenactments, keep distracting from the main attraction, who is prominently featured in candid interviews conducted some years prior to his death in 2018.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 30 Michael Rechtshaffen
    What might have been a pertinent, evenhanded examination of the notion of free speech on today’s college campuses wastes little time in exposing an overwhelmingly right-leaning bias in the disappointingly sensationalistic agitprop that is No Safe Spaces.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Enhanced by playful animations, this nicely composed documentary serves as an engagingly honest profile of a driven man and his prodigious movement.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While the casually demonstrated prep work isn’t for the squeamish, the film’s aptly timed release should ensure viewers never consider their Thanksgiving turkey the same way again.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Although the film dutifully follows a familiar path to the courtroom, along the way, it serves as a solid demonstration of the fissures that can form when the bonds of friendship are tested against those of familial loyalty.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    An undeniably heartfelt if overlong affair, especially for the uninitiated.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The visually poetic film offers an appraisal of Cash’s life and craft that is both painfully candid and often revelatory.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Provides a timely reminder of the once unquestionable value of a shared viewing experience in this era of personal streaming.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Ultimately more a curio than a bona fide buried treasure, the forward-thinking production, with its animated opening credits and resourceful use of models, makeup and double exposures, nevertheless serves as a valuable reminder that imagination and creativity needn’t ever be limited by the going technology.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Cutting through the small-town cliche clutter is Kanters’ deeply felt turn.
    • 18 Metascore
    • 30 Michael Rechtshaffen
    As wannabe Tarantino misfires go, at least one can say that Avary, who in addition to sharing story credit on “Pulp Fiction” also contributed (uncredited) to “True Romance,” comes by the affectation more honestly than most.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Despite the inherent familiarity, the quietly observed Low Tide, graced by a mournful, undulating score by composers Brooke Blair and Will Blair, nevertheless packs a genuine depth.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    With the colorful Allison — he’d fit right into one of KFC’s revolving Colonel spots — and narrator Woody Harrelson at his disposal, Haney could have easily done without all the glossy dramatic recreations and frequent shout-outs to Bristol-Myers Squibb, which occasionally create the undesirable effect of a corporate promo video.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The impact of hearing Danny Glover’s calm voice reading published invitations to lynching parties remains chillingly undiminished.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Esrick’s Cracked Up affectingly peels back the years of protective layers trapping the trauma, revealing a man who has found a semblance of peace after a lifetime of battling demons.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 0 Michael Rechtshaffen
    [A] lethargic, hallucinatory mish-mash with matching dialogue that has all the zing of a Wikipedia entry.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A gorgeous tone poem that both deepens and personalizes the audio recording, creating a satisfying emotional arc that isn’t as apparent in the collection of 13 fully-orchestrated country-tinged songs.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A killer concept falls frustratingly short of the finish line in Empathy, Inc., a dark morality tale that ambitiously casts contemporary technology in a throwback visual setting.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The documentary can’t help but feel like a promo piece despite providing some insightful backstage glimpses into its subject’s well-publicized life.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Although, structurally speaking, the production follows a safely familiar path, it doesn’t require a lot of fancy footwork when you’ve got an enthusiastic on-camera fan base including Bruce Springsteen, Scorsese, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal and Van Morrison, a terrific storytelling arc, a treasure trove of archival footage and, naturally, those iconic songs.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It’s hard to imagine a true-life underdog tale more engaging than Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel, a winning David vs. Goliath baseball documentary that covers all the crowd-pleasing bases.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A solidly assembled documentary portrait.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Grafting familiar Disney and DreamWorks tropes onto a tapestry of traditional Chinese legend and lore (the plot is loosely based on a Ming Dynasty-era shenmo novel), the adventure entertains with a title character who could be the spawn of Chucky and Stitch, from “Lilo & Stitch.”
    • tbd Metascore
    • 30 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The film is content to sluggishly go through its preordained paces without bothering to take any compelling detours.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While it may not put a fresh spin on the sports documentary format, “Loopers” gives the bag-carrying faithful a well-earned moment in the sun.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    As Gamal, himself raised in a leper colony, knowingly navigates the uncomfortable glares he encounters along the way, Yomeddine (Arabic for “judgment day”) takes an affecting path toward belonging and acceptance.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    As the legal proceedings progress, Carracedo and Bahar wisely keep their probing camera trained on the passionate faces of their subjects, allowing their stirring testimonies to take the spotlight.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It isn’t that the sequel, directed by the returning Chris Renaud and again boosted by an energetic voice cast, doesn’t deliver on the genially amusing, if disposable, fluff — it’s just that the shtick-heavy storytelling proves even more undernourished than it was for the first outing.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Far more than simply “The Longest Yard” with hoops, the remarkable Q Ball serves as a potent illustration of the redemptive powers of team camaraderie.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Carmine Street Guitars is a leisurely Sunday stroll of a documentary.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It turns out Pokemon Detective Pikachu isn’t half bad.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    As informational as it is inspirational, Patrick Creadon’s Hesburgh is a thoroughly engaging documentary chronicle of the life and turbulent times of longtime Notre Dame president Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, whose tenure coincided with a particularly pivotal stretch of American history.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While not exactly uncharted documentary territory, the Iraq conflict is thought-provokingly portrayed in “Mosul,” an up-close-and-personal examination of recent events that puts a human face on a land that remains vulnerable as a result of clashing ideologies.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    As long as he maintains his focus on the notoriously private Land and the painstaking efforts of Impossible Project’s chief technology officer and Polaroid vet Stephen Herchen to recapture lightning in an SX-70, Baptist delivers something reasonably compelling. Unfortunately the bulk of the overly artsy production is preoccupied with the exploits of others.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A moving testament to the boundary-shattering language of music.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While director Penny Lane (not a pseudonym) energetically goes about shattering our preconceived notions at every intriguing turn, the film is at its most potent tracing society’s history of “satanic panic,” from the Salem Witch Trials to the rise of the evangelical lobby on the shoulders of the Red Scare to the 1980s when Dungeons & Dragons was viewed as a demonic gateway game.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Even more than those acclaimed lion, chimp and bear films that have preceded it, Penguins proves especially delightful — a coming-of-age story outfitted with an engaging anthropomorphic overlay that can make you forget you’re watching an intimately filmed documentary instead of an animated adventure.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    In Disney’s hands, William eschews freak show theatrics for something much weightier.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Director Seet’s gorgeously filmed production proves to resonate as much today as it did 40-plus years ago.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Perhaps he was too distracted by wearing so many hats (Dara also performs the self-penned Once-style ditties on the twee soundtrack), but both he and Lancaster didn’t bother to imbue their sketchy characters with sufficient likability.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    One wishes the script might have shared the degree of precision that has obviously been applied to the technical side of the production, which is resplendent in visual dazzle from the smallest beads of sweat on a character’s forehead to the vintage knit fabrics to those sprawling exotic vistas.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Inevitably, the oddball Elmore Leonard-meets-the Little Rascals conceit loses some of its wacky effectiveness, but while Corben might not hit this one out of the park, Screwball energetically rounds the bases.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    But while both bands would go to court to sever ties with the man they once affectionately referred to as Big Poppa, it’s what happened after they bid “Bye Bye Bye” to Pearlman that makes Aaron Kunkel’s documentary so compelling.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Although the often humorous film may not quite rank among Chen’s best and that CGI-enhanced feline isn’t always convincingly up to scratch, the buoyant yarn nevertheless casts a beguiling spell.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Unfortunately Marryshow, in his various capacities, has neglected to instill his terminally obnoxious character with a vital shred of audience empathy, let alone to provide sufficient comedic beats that would have better engaged his thoughtfully diverse cast.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 30 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Ultimately coming across more like a bloated, corporate infomercial, Beers of Joy will undoubtedly leave only those who know their ABV (Alcohol by Volume) from their IBU (International Bittering Units) thirsty for more.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While Stewart didn’t live to see the enactment of a new California law last fall that will see the phasing out of the practice already banned elsewhere in the world, his passionate documentary, boasting stirring underwater photography and an equally poignant Jonathan Goldsmith score, speaks urgently on his behalf.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Pig
    With its parade of finger-pointing vloggers, picture-posting stalkers and hijab-wearing, smartphone-clutching schoolgirls, Pig (“Khook”) makes it savagely clear Western society hasn’t cornered the market on selfie-centered behavior.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 30 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A committed cast fails to elevate Beneath the Leaves, an otherwise draggy and derivative thriller.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    For every poignant keeper...there’s a clunker.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Even as it treads on familiar Stephen King (“The Mist”) and John Carpenter (“The Fog”) territory, the film has moments that will leave you gasping for oxygen — as long as you choose to avoid all those gaping plot holes.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Replaying many of the visual gags that worked so amusingly before, the latest edition proves every bit as repetitive and uninspired as its glib title, bringing little that’s fresh or funny to the interlocking brick table despite boasting a script penned by originators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    It’s all quite amusing up to a point, but unfortunately that point arrives early on in this practically two-hour-long take on a one-gag premise.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    There’s the kernel of an intriguing political thriller buried beneath all the strained exposition and pompous speechifying enveloping An Acceptable Loss, but writer-director Joe Chappelle never manages to find it.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Hernández ultimately fails to inject sufficient empathy into his moody character, while all those alternating flashbacks and episodes of delirium take a toll on the film’s ability to maintain a firm grip of its own on viewer engagement.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    In Genesis 2.0, the prehistoric past and the near future intersect at a most intriguing — and disturbing — juncture.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The film, which debuted last year at Sundance, covers considerable, resonant socio-political ground while being anchored by the compelling performances of its’ leads.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Pulling off a rare three-peat, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a tender, spirited coming-of-age CG-animated feature that proves every bit as emotionally resonant and artistically rendered as its 2010 and 2014 predecessors, if not even more so.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A disturbing portrait of the substantial emotional and physical price exacted when mental illness hits devastatingly close to home.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Amid the despair, Spitak nevertheless offers a glimmer of hope in the bleakness.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Oliver Parker’s Swimming with Men is a lazily formulaic male-bonding comedy.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Rechtshaffen
    As savagely satirical as it is gorgeously surreal, The Great Buddha+ is something else again — an outrageous, poignant punk Taiwanese black comedy marking the feature arrival of fresh filmmaking talent Huang Hsin-Yao.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Robert Townsend’s reflective Making the Five Heartbeats serves as an illuminating documentary detailing the considerable passion and perseverance that went into bringing his dream project to the big screen.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Andy Serkis' decidedly non-Disney Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle may have intended to offer a darker, grittier take on the classic Kipling stories, but the end result proves to be more of a murky muddle.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    [An] enlightening, life-affirming documentary.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 20 Michael Rechtshaffen
    The jumble occupies an unfortunate space situated somewhere between the ponderously pretentious and the just plain ridiculous.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Michael Rechtshaffen
    They Fight, produced by Common and energized by an inspirational hip-hop soundtrack, serves as a vital reminder that often the battle can be more important than the inevitable outcome.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Rechtshaffen
    Neither long nor dumb, Hannah Fidell’s The Long Dumb Road is in reality a terrifically entertaining odd couple road comedy expertly navigated by costars Tony Revolori and Jason Mantzoukas.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Michael Rechtshaffen
    While Elgort, whose big breakout role was in last year’s “Baby Driver,” does a decent job of delineating the two characters and Patricia Clarkson reliably comes through as their sympathetic doctor, the clinically distancing production never forms a meaningful bond with its audience.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Rechtshaffen
    A turbo-charged satire that swaps out Gen X video arcade nostalgia for our current, all-consuming social-media-fueled obsession, the endlessly inventive Walt Disney Studios Animation follow-up impressively levels up with laugh-out-loud consistency.

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