For 598 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 28% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 70% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Pauline Kael's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The Manchurian Candidate
Lowest review score: 10 Blame It on Rio
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 43 out of 598
598 movie reviews
    • 22 Metascore
    • 10 Pauline Kael
    Travel-folder footage of Rio mixed with father-daughter incest (in a disguised form)...Most of the movie is an attempt to squirm out from under its messy erotic-parental subject.
    • The New Yorker
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    If you admired Bette Midler in The Rose and Down and Out in Beverly Hills, you may want to bash you head against the wall...The director, Garry Marshall, shows no feeling for the material - not even false feeling.
    • The New Yorker
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    The script, by Israel Horovitz, has trim, funny lines but also terrible, overingratiating ones, and some of the most doddering, bonehead situations to be soon on the big screen in years. Directed by Arthur Hiller, the film is blotchy in just about every conceivable way.
    • The New Yorker
    • 82 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    It’s so derivative that it isn’t a thriller—it’s a crude, ghoulish comedy on thriller themes. The director, Joel Coen, who wrote the screenplay with his brother Ethan, who was the producer, is inventive and amusing when it comes to highly composed camera setups or burying someone alive. But he doesn’t seem to know what to do with the actors; they give their words too much deliberation and weight, and they always look primed for the camera. So they come across as amateurs.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    The director, Herbert Ross, and the writer, Dean Pitchford, exhaust one bad idea after another, and build up to a letdown: you don't get the climactic dance you expect.
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    There ins't a gleam of good sense anywhere in this picture.
    • The New Yorker
    • 76 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    What happened to the Kubrick who used to slip in sly, subtle jokes and little editing tricks? This may be his worst movie. He probably believes he's numbing us by the power of his vision, but he's actually numbing us by its emptiness. [13 July 1987, p.75]
    • The New Yorker
    • 83 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    He hardly bothers with the characters; the movie is a ventriloquial harrangue. He thrashes around in messianic God-love booziness, driving each scene to an emotional peak.
    • 22 Metascore
    • 10 Pauline Kael
    This is a certifiably loony picture; it's so bad it puts you in a state of shock.
    • The New Yorker
    • 31 Metascore
    • 20 Pauline Kael
    All we have to look forward to is: When are these two going to discover fornication? The director, Randal Kleiser, and his scenarist, Douglas Day Stewart, have made the two clean and innocent by emptying them of any dramatic interest. Watching them is about as exciting as looking into a fishbowl waiting for guppies to mate. It's Disney nature porn.
    • The New Yorker
    • 69 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    Neither the contemplative Zhivago nor the flux of events is intelligible, and what is worse, they seem unrelated to each other...It's stately, respectable, and dead.
    • The New Yorker
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    The movie is slight and vapid, with the consistency of watery jello...It isn't about teenagers – it's actually closer to being a pre-teen's idea of what it will be like to be a teenager. [7 Apr 1996, p.91]
    • The New Yorker
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    A rich-meets-rich picture, and worse than one imagines. Al Pacino gives a torpid performance as a spiritually depleted Grand Prix racing-car driver who falls in love with a well-heeled free spirit (Marthe Keller), a metaphysical kook.
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    The movie is a form of hysterical, rabble-rousing pulp, yet it isn't involving; it doesn't have the propulsion of good pulp storytelling.
    • The New Yorker
    • 70 Metascore
    • 10 Pauline Kael
    Moore, a big shambling joker who's the director, producer, writer, and star, deadpans his way through interviews with an assortment of unlikely people, who are used as stooges. And he does something that is humanly very offensive: Roger & Me uses its leftism as a superior attitude.
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    Scorsese designs his own form of alienation in this mistimed, empty movie, which seems to teeter between jokiness and hate.
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    Nothing more than an inept thriller.
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    Nichols must have a cummerbund around his head: the directing is constricted – there's no visual inventiveness or spontaneity. And in his hands the script has no conviction. [9 Jan 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    The movie is childishly naïve... like a New Age social-studies lesson. It isn't really revisionist; it's the old stuff toned down and sensitized. [17 Dec 1990]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    Everything in this movie is fudged ever so humanistically, in a perfuctory, low-pressure way. And the picture has its effectiveness: people are crying at it. Of course they're crying at it - it's a piece of wet kitsch. [6 Feb 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    The first three-quarters of an hour...is junkily entertaining. but when they're on the road in the South, Willie turns into a curmudgeonly guardian angel, the boy starts learning lessons about life, and the picture is contemptible.
    • The New Yorker
    • 41 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    So inept you can't even get angry; it's like the imitations of sophisticated entertainment that high-school kids put on.
    • The New Yorker
    • 66 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    After a few minutes of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, I began to get that depressed feeling, and, after a half hour, felt rather offended...The director, George Roy Hill, doesn't have the style for it. The tone becomes embarrassing...George Roy Hill is a "sincere" director, but Goldman's script is jocose; though it reads as if it might play, it doesn't, and probably this is't just Hill's fault.
    • The New Yorker
    • 93 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    There's a basic flaw in Malick's method: he has perceived the movie--he's done our work instead of his. In place of people and action, with metaphor rising out of the story, he gives us a surface that is all conscious metaphor. Badlands is so preconceived that there's nothing left to respond to. [18 March 1974, p.135]
    • 58 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    The movie could be every errant husband's self-justifying fantasy. (And the way Burstyn overacts, a man would have to be a saint to have stayed with her so long.) Directed by Bud Yorkin, from a script by Colin Welland, the picture is like a sermon on the therapeutic value of adultery, divorce, and remarriage, given by a minister who learned all he knows from watching TV.
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    This is an impersonal and rather junky piece of moviemaking. It's packed with torture scenes, and it bangs away at you. And every time there's a possibility of a dramatic climax - a chance to engage the audience emotionally with something awesome - the director Richard Marquand trashes it.
    • The New Yorker
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    The James Bond series has had its bummers, but nothing before in the class of this one.
    • The New Yorker
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    A crumbum farce.
    • The New Yorker
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    Directed by George Cukor, this movie has an unflagging pace, but it's full of scenes that don't play, and often you can't even tell what tone was hoped for. It's a tawdry self-parody.
    • The New Yorker
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    Mariel Hemmingway tries hard as Dorothy, but she's all wrong for the part - she's simply not a bunny type. Fosse must believe that he can make art out of anything - that he doesn't need a writer to create characters, that he can just take the idea of a pimp murdering a pinup and give it such razzle-dazzle that it will shake people to the marrow. He uses his whole pack of tricks - flashbacks, interviews, shock cuts, the works - to keep the audience in a state of dread. He piles up such an accumulation of sordid scenes that the movie is nauseated by itself.
    • The New Yorker

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