For 599 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 Casualties of War
Lowest review score: 10 Roger & Me
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 43 out of 599
599 movie reviews
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    William Shatner's Kirk is less stoic here than in III--he's pleasantly daffy. The others in the crew also have an easy, parodistic tone. But the picture doesn't have much beyond the interplay among them and the jokey scenes in San Francisco.
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    The script and conception are so maudlin and degrading that Cagney's high dedication becomes somewhat oppressive.
    • The New Yorker
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    This spoofy black comedy is thin-textured and it's sedated; it doesn't have enough going on in it -- not even enough to look at. The nothingness of the movie is supposed to be its droll point, but viewers may experience sensory deprivation.
    • The New Yorker
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Penn is given so little to work with here that it's practically a pantomime performance. He's worth watching, even though the picture is singularly unimaginative.
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    The script, by James Toback, is a grandiloquent, egocentric novel written as a film; it spells everything out, and the director Karel Reisz's literal-minded, proficient style calls attention to how airless and schematic it is.
    • The New Yorker
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    The jokes get rather desperate, but there are enough wildly sophomoric ones to keep this pop stunt fairly amusing until about midway. It would have made a terrific short.
    • The New Yorker
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Sentimental, without being convincing for an instant.
    • The New Yorker
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    The picture is so cautious about not offending anyone that it doesn't rise to the level of satire, or even spoof.
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Ragged when it tries for philosophical importance, but it's fun to see so many stars at an early stage in their careers.
    • The New Yorker
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    The film has many of the ingredients of a shocking, memorable movie, but it's shallow and earnest...It's a mess, with glimmerings of talent and with Newman's near-great performance.
    • The New Yorker
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Is there a piece of casting more ineffably Hollywood than Cher as a busy, weary public defender? She's all wrong for this role: her hooded, introspective face doesn't give you enough--she needs a role that lets her use her body.
    • The New Yorker
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    It's intended to be a thriller, but there's little suspense and almost no fun in this account of a schizophrenic ventriloquist.
    • The New Yorker
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    The case itself had so many dramatic elements that the movie can't help holding our attention, but it's a very crude piece of work, totally lacking in subtlety; what is meant to be a courtroom drama of ideas comes out as a caricature of a drama of ideas, and maddeningly, while watching we can't be sure what is based on historical fact and what is invention.
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    An aggressively silly head-horror movie, the result of the misalliance of two wildly different hyperbolic talents-the director Ken Russell and the writer Paddy Chayefsky.
    • The New Yorker
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    This one is really only for Trekkies; others are likely to find it tolerable but yawny.
    • The New Yorker
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    In the film's second half, Hudson twists the story into knots in order to deliver his "statement" that apes are more civilized than people; the movie simply loses its mind, and dribbles to a pathetically indecisive conclusion.
    • The New Yorker
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    A tacky, lighthearted parody of crime-wave movies--camp for kiddies.
    • The New Yorker
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Meryl Streep gives an immaculate, technically accomplished performance as Sarah Woodruff, the romantic mystery woman of John Fowles' novel, but she isn't mysterious. We're not fascinated by Sarah; she's so distanced from us that all we can do is observe how meticulous Streep -- and everything else about the movie -- is.
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    The action simply doesn't have the exhilarating, leaping precision that Spielberg gave us in the past... The joyous sureness is missing. [12 June 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Linus Pauling was quoted as saying, "It may be that some years from now we can look back and say that On the Beach is the movie that saved the world." The greatest ability of the director, Stanley Kramer, may have been for eliciting fatuous endorsements from eminent people.
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Broadly played, in the 50s telegraphing-every-thought comic style.
    • The New Yorker
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    This version isn't a total dud, but it's a coarser piece of slapstick, and not at all memorable.
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Marlon Brando is airily light and masterly as the veteran anti-apartheid barrister who takes the case even though he knows that he can't get anywhere with the rigged court. He saves the picture for the (short) time onscreen. But the director, Euzhan Palcy, seems lost; her work is heavy-handed, and the script (by Colin Welland and the director, from a novel by Andre Brink) is earnest and didactic.
    • The New Yorker
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Someone at Universal had the brainstorm of redoing the 1925 silent Lon Chaney horror picture and taking advantage of the fact that it was set in an opera house to make it not only a sound picture but a high-toned musical. The result is this flaccid, sedate version.
    • The New Yorker
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    The 12th James Bond film goes through the motions, but not only are we tired of them, the actors are tired of them - even the machines are tired...The producers have made the mistake of deciding on a simpler, more realistic package, without dazzling sets or a big, mad super villain.
    • The New Yorker
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    As an example of the "woman's picture" this doesn't have any of the grubbiness or conviction of the Barbara Stanwyck Stella Dallas, but de Havilland works hard confecting cold cream.
    • The New Yorker
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    As Octopussy, the beautiful amazon Maud Adams is disappointingly warm and maternal - she's rather mooshy.
    • The New Yorker
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    The film is peculiarly masochistic and self-congratulatory.
    • The New Yorker
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Peter Hyams, who directed, knows how to stage chases and fights. But he also wrote this script, which deadens everything and doesn’t even make sense.
    • The New Yorker
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Richard Brooks, who adapted the novel by Judith Rossner and directed, has laid a windy jeremiad about our permissive society on top of fractured film syntax. He's lost the erotic, pulpy morbidity that made the novel a compulsive read.
    • The New Yorker

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