Michael Rechtshaffen

Michael Rechtshaffen
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
95% The Truman Show (1998) [A] masterfully executed cautionary tale... Yet there's something missing here: While Weir delivers both sharp wit and gentle poignancy, Truman's end catharsis needs greater emotional heft. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 15, 2020
42% Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom (2008) In Polk's determination to say everything he feels that needs to be said, all the talky drama keeps threatening to divert "Noah's Arc" from "Sex and the City" to "Boys in the Band." - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
67% A Faster Horse (2015) For a documentary all about the iconic Ford Mustang, "A Faster Horse" is seriously lacking zip. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2020
100% About a Teacher (2020) Harchol's inspirational film eschews mainstream tropes in favor of a bracingly candid sociological study that has compellingly done its homework. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2020
10% Lazy Susan (2020) [W]hile 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. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2020
93% Uncorked (2020) Penny... has crafted a thoroughly workable and well-informed vehicle, providing a nurturing atmosphere for the unhurried dramatic developments and uniformly gracious performances. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2020
82% Phoenix, Oregon (2020) Given the film's needlessly protracted length and equally drawn-out pace, getting to that point is about as engaging as watching dough rise. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 19, 2020
No Score Yet A Kid From Coney Island (2019) "A Kid from Coney Island" proves to be as surprising and affecting as the unorthodox career trajectory of its subject, basketball player Stephon Marbury. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2020
54% Lost Transmissions (2020) Despite its penetrating handheld camerawork and mind-altering sound design, "Lost Transmissions" never quite manages to tune out the lingering element of self-indulgence. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2020
98% Extra Ordinary (2020) 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. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
59% The Burnt Orange Heresy (2020) While Italian director Giuseppe Capotondi is clearly going for a James M. Cain/Patricia Highsmith feel here, the seductively photographed and well-acted production simply can't gloss over the inconsistencies... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2020
22% The Jesus Rolls (2020) [A] gutter ball of a sophomoric, white middle-age male sex farce fantasy that quickly wears out an already tenuous welcome. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
90% Tread (2020) [D]irector Paul Solet felt the need to blanket the standard interview-and-archival footage format with dramatic reenactments... and repetitive slow motion that end up detracting from a story that was plenty sensational in its own right. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
74% Candyman (1992) This Candyman can elicit some bona fide shivers while the picture that bears his name is high-caliber horror in its purest, most primal form. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
85% Standing Up, Falling Down (2020) Matt Ratner's "Standing Up, Falling Down" shows how a well-worn premise need not impact enjoyment when there's a terrific cast and crisp writing at your disposal. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2020
36% The Night Clerk (2020) 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. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2020
50% Impossible Monsters (2020) Ultimately, just as the events tread a fine line between fantasy and reality, so does the film teeter precipitously between promise and pretense. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2020
95% Come As You Are (2020) At once frank, tender and unapologetically funny, "Come as You Are" is a sweet surprise. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2020
10% Goalie (2019) Dramatically speaking, despite its loftier ambitions, "Goalie" remains stuck in the neutral zone. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
No Score Yet Heavy Water (2019) But 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. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2020
No Score Yet Secret Zoo (2020) Resistance might not be futile, but to deny oneself the amiably goofy charms of South Korea's "Secret Zoo," an inspired family comedy that gives fresh meaning to faux fur, would be a real shame. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2020
No Score Yet John Henry (2020) "John Henry" is a lead-footed revenge thriller that lands with all the subtlety of the mighty steel-driving man's sledgehammer. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2020
67% The Wave (2020) By the time a now lucid Frank finally acknowledges the cryptic messages that have been relentlessly swirling around him, "The Wave's" giddy effect comes crashing down where viewer involvement is concerned. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2020
10% Intrigo: Death of an Author (2020) Perhaps when it comes to intricately strategized stories involving writers and their output, their telling would ultimately have been better served by the reader's imagination. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2020
36% Reality Queen! (2020) Whether there may actually be a method to her dim-wittedness, London Logo effectively wears out her dubious welcome around the 60-second mark. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
100% Don't Be a Dick About It (2020) Playfully taunting title aside, Mullinkosson's film is an affectionate portrait of a fraternal bond that no tribal council could ever tear apart. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2020
No Score Yet Hate Among Us (2019) While the escalation in anti-Semitic violence and rhetoric is justifiably alarming, "Hate Among Us..." exploratory journey kicked off closer to home. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2019
No Score Yet Mob Town (2019) In "Mob Town," the cast's definitely got the goods, but the writing and direction consistently fail to seal the deal. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2019
71% Most Likely to Succeed (2019) Nevertheless, 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. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
88% Tremors (Temblores) (2019) [A] penetrating, mournful portrait of sexual identity in contemporary Guatemala City. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
47% No Safe Spaces (2019) Ironically, for a film dealing with freedom of speech, one side seems to be doing all the talking. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
No Score Yet As the Earth Turns (2019) Ultimately more a curio than a bona fide buried treasure, the forward-thinking production... nevertheless serves as a valuable reminder that imagination and creativity needn't ever be limited by the going technology. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 11, 2019
86% Mr. Toilet: The World's #2 Man (2019) Enhanced by playful animations, this nicely composed documentary serves as an engagingly honest profile of a driven man and his prodigious movement. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
80% The All-Americans (2019) Billy McMillin's rousing "The All-Americans" serves as a timely take on finding one's identity both on and off the field. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
100% Stuffed (2019) Effectively blowing the dust off those natural history museum dioramas, Erin Derham's "Stuffed" takes a lively look at contemporary taxidermy in a documentary that's as fascinating as it is freaky. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
38% Inside Game (2019) 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. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
100% Fiddlin' (2019) [A]n undeniably heartfelt if overlong affair, especially for the uninitiated. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
94% The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash (2019) With "The Gift," Cash's 71-year reckoning with the wages of sin and salvation is put in eloquently humbling, myth-busting perspective. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
83% Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace (2019) "Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace," might not quite live up to its title, but it does a decent job of capturing those golden years. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
No Score Yet Up There (2019) [C]utting through the small-town cliche clutter is Kanters' deeply felt turn... that serves as a genuinely moving portrait of an individual straddling a very delicate line between crippling trauma and mental illness. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2019
11% Lucky Day (2019) That fortunate feeling runs out early on in "Lucky Day," a thoroughly unappetizing serving of regurgitated "Pulp Fiction" flung out by Quentin Tarantino's early writing collaborator, Roger Avary. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
71% Low Tide (2019) 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. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
84% Always in Season (2019) The questionable death of a North Carolina African American teenager is framed in the greater context of the America's not-so-distant lynching past in Jacqueline Olive's rightfully disturbing documentary "Always in Season." - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
92% Jim Allison: Breakthrough (2019) With the colorful Allison... 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... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
23% Zeroville (2019) Unfortunately the production... seldom rises above being a tedious muddle despite its intriguing, cultural crossroads setting. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
No Score Yet Cracked Up (2019) 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. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
59% Liam Gallagher: As It Was (2019) With its release timed to coincide with this month's release of Gallagher's second solo album... the documentary can't help but feel like a promo piece despite providing some insightful backstage glimpses into its subject's well-publicized life. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
85% Empathy, Inc. (2019) 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. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
94% Western Stars (2019) The result, at once intimate and sweeping, should please both Springsteen completists and more recent fans when Western Stars rides into theaters October 25 - ideally those with sound systems worthy of the lush orchestral arrangements. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
67% Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel (2018) 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. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019