For 596 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 point lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Pauline Kael's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The Lady Eve
Lowest review score: 10 Blame It on Rio
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 596
596 movie reviews
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Shot in grainy black and white, the material is rather unformed. It's dim and larval, like Danny. Allen leaves us in the uncomfortable position of waiting for laugh lines and character developments that aren't there. The picture has a curdled, Diane Arbus bleakness, but it also has some good fast talk and some push. Allen plugs up the holes with gags that still get laughs; he remembers to pull the old Frank Capra, cutrate Dickens strings, and he keeps things moving along.
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    When the bland moral rectitude takes over, the film's comedy spirit withers. But there are a lot of enjoyable things.
    • The New Yorker
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Byrne is trying for something large scale: a postmodern Nashville. Byrne sets up the material for satirical sequences, yet he doesn't give it a subversive spin. His unacknowledged satire is like a souffle that was never meant to rise.
    • The New Yorker
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    As the teen-age small-town girl looking for excitement who joins up with a carnival that's traveling through, Jodie Foster has a marvelous sexy bravado. The dialogue, from Thomas Baum's screenplay, is often colorful, but the picture is heavy.
    • The New Yorker
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    The attraction of the movie is its friendly, light tone, its affectlessness, and its total lack of humanity. [6 Aug 1984, p.72]
    • The New Yorker
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    The film was infused with an elegiac sense of American failure, and it had a psychedelic pull to it.
    • The New Yorker
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    A crisp, tough-minded action film about an international group of mercenaries who stage a coup in a small, decaying West African country run by an Idi Amin-Papa Doc-style despot. The casting of Christopher Walken as Shannon, the leader of the group, gives the film the fuse it needs.
    • The New Yorker
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    Altman gracefully kisses off the private-eye form in soft, mellow color and volatile images; the cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond is responsible for the offhand visual pyrotechnics (the imagery has great vitality). Gould gives a loose and woolly, strikingly original performance.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    This suave, amusing spy melodrama is directed with so sure a touch that the suspense is charged with wit; it's one of the three or four best things Hitchcock ever did.
    • The New Yorker
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    Whatever the omissions, the mutilations, the mistakes, this is very likely the most exciting and most alive production of Hamlet you will ever see on the screen.
    • The New Yorker
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    Once again, a "daring" Hollywood movie exposes social tensions--touches a nerve--and then pours on the sweet nothings. But along the melodramatic way, there are some startling episodes (and one first-rate bit of racial interchange), and recordings by Bix Beiderbecke, Stan Kenton, Bill Holman, and others set quite a pace.
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    A glitter sci-fi adventure fantasy that balances the indestructible James Bond with an indestructible cartoon adversary, Jaws (Richard Kiel), who is a great evil windup toy. This is the best of the Bonds starring the self-effacing Roger Moore.
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    Sloppy, clumsy Hitchcock thriller. Brian Moore is credited with the original screenplay, but probably his friends don't mention it.
    • The New Yorker
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    Script lacks satiric insolence, and the picture grinds on humorlessly. The villain Christopher Lee's fanged smile is the only attraction.
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    In movies like this one, Poitier's self-inflicted stereotype of goodness cancels out his acting.
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    If audiences enjoy the movie, it's largely because of the elderly actors and the affection that the young director, Ron Howard, shows for them.
    • The New Yorker
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Martin Ritt's big, noisy production clunks along like a disjointed play; it defeats Jones, and along the way it also inadvertently exposes the clobber-them-with-guilt tactics of the dramatist, Howard Sackler.
    • The New Yorker
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    The title is accurate: this is a crudely powerful prison picture.
    • The New Yorker
    • 44 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    What's strange about the movie is that the best things in it aren't developed, and what Superman and the other characters do doesn't seem to have any weight. [11 July 1983, p.90]
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    I was surprised at how not-bad it is. It may fall into the category of youth-exploitation movies, but it isn't assaultive, and it's certainly likable. [1 Nov 1982, p.146]
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    [Ridley Scott] draws you into a dull, sensual daydreaminess, but after watching Tom Berenger and Mimi Rogers for a while, you look around for the stars. With so much buildup - so much terror-tinged atmosphere - you expect actors with some verve, and you wonder why the script doesn't sneak in a few jokes. (Has a good thriller ever been this solemn? Or this simple?)
    • The New Yorker
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    Spacious, leisurely, and with elaborate period re-creations of Louisiana in the 30s, this first feature directed by the young screenwriter Walter Hill is unusually effective pulp, perhaps even great pulp.
    • The New Yorker
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    Intermittently dazzling, the film has more energy and invention that Boorman seems to know what to do with. He appears to take the title literally; one comes out exhilarated but bewildered.
    • The New Yorker
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Ben Kingsley, who plays the Mahatma, looks the part, has a fine, quiet presence, and conveys Gandhi's shrewdness. Kingsley is impressive; the picture isn't.
    • The New Yorker
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    In its own terms, the movie--the eighth Garland and Rooney had made together--is just about irresistible.
    • The New Yorker
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    There's a sweet, naive feeling to the movie even when it's violent and melodramatic and atrocious, and when it's good it's good in an unorthodox, improvisatory style.
    • The New Yorker
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    The machine itself is a beauty, with a red velvet seat and gadgets made of ivory and rock crystal, and the time-travel effects help to make this film one of the best of its kind. However, it deteriorates into comic-strip grotesqueries when the fat ogreish future race of Morlocks torments the effete, platinum-blond, vacant-eyed race of Eloi.
    • The New Yorker
    • 84 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Edwards pulls laughs, though. He does it with the crudest setups and the moldiest, most cynical dumb jokes.
    • The New Yorker
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    Although the script is a conventional melodrama, the director, Edward Zwick, has made something more thoughtful than that.
    • The New Yorker
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    This is one of the most entertaining science-fiction fantasies ever to come out of Hollywood.
    • The New Yorker

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