Rita Kempley

Rita Kempley
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
40% A Chorus Line (1985) A Chorus Line: The Movie is like a soccer match seen only from the waist up. They've cut off the feet, which is all the more frustrating when you're supposed to be enjoying the fancy footwork. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2019
54% The Legend of 1900 (La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano) (1999) The Legend of 1900 would have benefited from more story and less music, and tends to wear thin before it quite reaches the dock, but it is a ravishing film. Titanic should have looked so good. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2019
54% Police Academy (1984) Police Academy is the most uproarious film to come along in years. You have the right to remain silent, but you can't help bt laugh out loud. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2019
48% The First Wives Club (1996) In the end, "The First Wives Club" even betrays its own bylaws. Revenge is a dish not served. Did Thelma and Louise make their sacrifice for nothing? - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2019
54% The Object of My Affection (1998) It is the sort of story best left to the French, who take great delight in such trifles. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
70% Dead Man (1995) The landscape outside and the passengers inside become wilder and woollier with every weary mile. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
90% Splash (1984) Splash, an aquacade of myth and laughter, glimmers like moonlit tide. It's an enrapturing underwater romance pairing dry-lander Tom Hanks with mermaid Daryl Hannah (not an easy affair for a nonswimmer). - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2018
45% Deep Impact (1998) These folks are so blase, you'd think that scientists had predicted pennies from Heaven instead of world's end within the year. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 25, 2018
34% Under the Cherry Moon (1986) Cherry Moon had some potential as a cultish Trading Places. But it drowns in its pretenses. No doubt, Prince fancies himself an auteur in his directing debut. But he has no restraint, no true vision. It's as if we've all been mooned. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2016
72% Murphy's Romance (1985) Martin Ritt directs the screenplay by Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch, who cross the country wisdom of Tennessee Ernie Ford with the stale wit of the Johnny Carson joke team. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 29, 2016
93% Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) Lucas's ingenuity is reaffirmed by Darth Vader's every asthmatic exhalation, by Princess Leia's cinnamon-bun chignons. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2015
89% A Christmas Story (1983) It's a nostalgic comedy featuring a family of eccentrics who lovingly celebrate the holidays and life itself in Midwestern America in the 1940s. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2015
81% Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) Though the 1983 film's effects seem almost quaint by today's awesome standards, Jedi has something the newer movies don't: characters we care about, not to mention a plot that involves both them and us. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2015
57% Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) A zippy 007 romp that draws as heavily from the Asian action genre as from the formula that has served the series so well for 35 years. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2015
70% Revenge of the Nerds (1984) If you've seen Porky's, Animal House, D.C. Cab, or Police Academy, you've seen Nerds. And if you liked the prototypes, you'll like the latest of the genre, low humor and all -- belching, mooning, panty raids, peeping at girls and booger jokes. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2015
85% The Hit (1984) It is a dexterously balanced killer thriller by the idiosyncratic Frears, whose every scene becomes a matter of life and death. A lighter clicks, a gun clicks; life or death, it all sounds the same. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2015
28% Lost in Space (1998) Boasting state-of-the-art gimcracks and a solid cast, the motion picture lifts off easily enough. Only it's not long before you realize that mission control forgot to load the Tang. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2014
94% The Truman Show (1998) One of the smartest, most inventive movies in memory, it manages to be as endearing as it is provocative. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2014
10% Batman & Robin (1997) In terms of new twists or narrative momentum. Poison Ivy, the sinuous villainess, is the only relief from the onslaught of spoofy humor, special effects and meaningless comic book mayhem. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2014
12% Striptease (1996) The film's premise is thinner than the heroine's G-string. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2014
57% Blast From the Past (1999) The 40-minute setup is deliciously nutty, with eccentric turns from Walken and Spacek. But the longer Adam remains above ground, the more plodding and predictable the scenario becomes. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2014
89% Rushmore (1998) An inspired second feature from director Wes Anderson and co-writer Owen Wilson, the picture shares the offbeat rhythms and disarming humor of their overlooked debut, Bottle Rocket. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 17, 2014
80% Office Space (1999) Office Space, a knowing, somewhat slight, often hilarious sendup of cubicle culture, exploits the yuks in the chronic misery of those routinely exposed to the monotonous gray of corporate minds and company decor. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2013
90% The Bridges of Madison County (1995) Bridges is an old-fashioned "women's film" that pits the heroine's romantic urges against her matriarchal duties. In fact, the film is at its dramatic best when Francesca is finally obliged, like Sophie, to make her choice. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2013
68% The Crucible (1996) Handsome and well-acted, the film's ultimate success depends on the heat between Ryder and Day-Lewis, and it simply isn't there. The attraction is fatal alright, but it certainly doesn't seem mutual. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2013
50% Some Girls (1988) The rest of the cast, like the D'Arc mansion itself, has problems with electricity. There isn't any. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2012
73% Promised Land (1988) Gedrick and Pollan give character to the cliche's with their heartfelt work, and Sutherland and the show-stealing Ryan bring depth and weight to a potentially tiresome pair. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2012
95% Apollo 13 (1995) Apollo 13, Ron Howard's soaring salute to space exploration, lifts off with a payload of the right stuff-courage, can-do, grace under pressure and other qualities derided as machismo by some and applauded as old-fashioned values by others. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2010
8% Spy Hard (1996) Never mind that the smutty, high-tech 007 capers already wink at the conventions of the bikini-clad, gizmo-strewn genre. If the martini is shaken, not stirred, why beat it to death with a swizzle stick? - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2010
53% The Cable Guy (1996) Jim Carrey shifts from simpleton to psycho in The Cable Guy, a grating and sinister comedy on the dangers of television. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2010
63% The Last Supper (1996) This sour, repetitive fare fails to feed our hunger for either laughter or enlightenment. It's all empty calories and reactionary chic. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2010
44% Oliver & Company (1988) Even as a cartoon poodle, Bette Midler stops the show. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2009
8% Eye for an Eye (1996) This blatant button-pusher plays upon our most primal emotions as well as the increasing disdain for the criminal justice system. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2009
7% Mrs. Winterbourne (1996) For a Cinderella story, it's sorely without magic. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2009
83% Hercules (1997) Chock-full of celeb cameos, puns and contemporary camp, the movie is annoyingly hip. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2008
57% Pocahontas (1995) All Disney has really done in its disappointing 33rd animated feature is revive the stereotype of the Noble Savage. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2008
24% A Thousand Acres (1997) In many ways, it has less in common with Shakespeare's tragedy than with Stephen King's Iowa-set horror story, Children of the Corn. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2008
65% The X-Files - Fight the Future (1998) The X-Files movie is really just a two-hour teaser for the series's sixth season. And little else. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2008
75% Dark City (1998) [A] stylish hybrid of futuristic thriller and film noir. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 28, 2008
70% Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) The originals were spoofs in their own way, too, unless you really believe that secret agents look more like Sean Connery than Aldrich Ames. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2008
65% Rounders (1998) The wholesome pup's poker face alone, however, hardly accounts for the film's failure to thrill. Damon's character doesn't really have that much stake in the story's outcome. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 25, 2008
38% Space Jam (1996) Sufferin' succotash! - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 24, 2008
64% Independence Day (1996) Maybe the moviemakers' mission was to boldly go where everyone in Hollywood has gone before: the bank. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2008
52% Two Girls and a Guy (1998) An edgy, gabby, salaciously subversive sex farce. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2008
94% The Last Seduction (1994) What Sharon Stone did for the ice pick, Linda Fiorentino does for the ice princess. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2008
No Score Yet Bandits (1996) A lot goes on, but the movie remains uneventful. It sizzles with soul-searching. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2008
63% Contact (1997) Contact takes forever to lift off. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2007
83% Jerry Maguire (1996) Cruise seems to have grown as much as Jerry, for he brings gentleness, warmth and lightheartedness to this role, qualities that we haven't seen since he played air guitar in his underpants in Risky Business 13 years ago. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2007
98% When We Were Kings (1996) No comedian was ever funnier, no fighter ever faster than Muhammad Ali, who is caught at the top of his game in Leon Gast's valentine, When We Were Kings. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2007
84% The English Patient (1996) The result is completely intoxicating. - Washington Post EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2007