Michael Rechtshaffen

Michael Rechtshaffen
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
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
76% 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
87% 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
90% 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
26% 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
62% 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
100% 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
63% 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
73% Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (2019) An engaging if well-travelled musical journey. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
67% Blink of an Eye (2019) A solidly assembled documentary portrait by sports filmmaker Paul Taublieb. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2019
86% Ne Zha (2019) Residing just beneath all the visual razzle dazzle is a stirring message of empowerment. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
50% Bennett's War (2019) "Bennett's War"... proves to be less of a battle than a test of endurance. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
75% Loopers: The Caddie's Long Walk (2019) While it may not put a fresh spin on the sports documentary format, "Loopers" gives the bag-carrying faithful a well-earned moment in the sun. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2019
74% Yomeddine (2019) As Gamal, himself raised in a leper colony, knowingly navigates the uncomfortable glares he encounters along the way, "Yomeddine" (Arabic for "judgment day") takes an affecting path toward belonging and acceptance. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
100% The Silence of Others (2019) It may be more than 40 years since the death of Gen. Francisco Franco, but the chilling effects of his brutal regime continue to reverberate as affectingly illustrated in "The Silence of Others." - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
59% The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) Sufficiently buoyant to charm the audiences that turned SLOP into a record-breaking box office proposition. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
90% Q Ball (2019) Far more than simply "The Longest Yard" with hoops, the remarkable "Q Ball" serves as a potent illustration of the redemptive powers of team camaraderie. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
97% Carmine Street Guitars (2019) [A] leisurely Sunday stroll of a documentary about the cozy Greenwich Village mainstay in New York City that has served as a sanctuary for musicians. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
68% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) Still, there's enough here to please both Pokemaniacs and the Poke-non. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
81% He Got Game (1998) As a director, Lee continues to hone his considerable craft and is unafraid to take creative risks along the way. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
81% Hesburgh (2019) [A] thoroughly engaging documentary chronicle of the life and turbulent times of longtime Notre Dame president Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, whose tenure coincided with a particularly pivotal stretch of American history. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
78% Friday (1995) While the character-driven script has a weakness for toilet humor (Mel Brooks would be proud), its inhabitants are given some oddball quirks and tics that keep things percolating when the plot development runs a little thin. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
100% Mosul (2019) While not exactly uncharted documentary territory, the Iraq conflict is thought-provokingly portrayed in "Mosul." - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
72% Instant Dreams (2019) For a documentary examining the enduring affection for the late Polaroid camera Willem Baptist's "Instant Dreams" proves to be an awfully drawn-out process. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
96% Hail Satan? (2019) Boasting wild archival clips and a 7-foot Baphomet statue with a goat head and an Iggy Pop torso, "Hail Satan?" could easily be taken for the impish spawn of Michael Moore and Kenneth Anger. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
88% Satan & Adam (2019) [O]ver the course of the 23 years it would take Balcerek to make the film, their unconventional professional collaboration and sustained friendship serves as a moving testament to the boundary-shattering language of music. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
92% The Accused (Acusada) (2018) [Espósito] gives a compellingly spare, tight-lipped performance that handily carries this incisively observed character study - one in which the notion of guilt is collectively split among many a bloodstained hand. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
42% William (2019) In Disney's hands, "William" eschews freak show theatrics for something much weightier. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
100% Penguin Highway (2019) A coming-of-age story outfitted with an engaging anthropomorphic overlay that can make you forget you're watching an intimately filmed documentary instead of an animated adventure. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
42% Bad Boys (1995) ... the pairing of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith generates a winning comic chemistry. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2019
67% Storm Boy (2019) At once uplifting and melancholic, it's the right "Storm Boy" for our turbulent times. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
No Score Yet The Holy Fail (2019) Committing the cardinal sin of neglecting to make its romantic leads sympathetic, "The Holy Fail" is a particularly charmless Irish comedy about a young couple who commit a robbery in a bid to put the spark back into their troubled marriage. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
89% Missing Link (2019) A globe-trotting Victorian-era adventure that, while often a magnificent sight to behold, never goes the distance in terms of engaging characters and involving plotting. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2019
93% Screwball (2019) Inevitably, the oddball Elmore Leonard-meets-the Little Rascals conceit loses some of its wacky effectiveness, but while Corben might not hit this one out of the park, "Screwball" energetically rounds the bases. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
92% The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story (2019) It may be an all-too-familiar refrain - trusted music manager rips off his clients - but "The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story" sets it in the broader, more intriguing context of the age-old pursuit of those twin trappings, fame and fortune. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2019
91% Legend Of The Demon Cat (Kûkai) (2019) Although the often humorous film may not quite rank among Chen's best and that CGI-enhanced feline isn't always convincingly up to scratch, the buoyant yarn nevertheless casts a beguiling spell. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
No Score Yet Bruce!!!! (2019) Marryshow, in his various capacities, has neglected to instill his terminally obnoxious character with a vital shred of audience empathy, let alone to provide sufficient comedic beats that would have better engaged his thoughtfully diverse cast. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
No Score Yet Beers of Joy (2019) "Beers of Joy," profiling a quartet of enthusiastic ale aficionados, is tediously tapped out long before it hits the all-too-apparent two-hour mark. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
100% Sharkwater Extinction (2019) [Stewart's] passionate documentary, boasting stirring underwater photography and an equally poignant Jonathan Goldsmith score, speaks urgently on his behalf. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
81% Pig (2018) With its parade of finger-pointing vloggers, picture-posting stalkers and hijab-wearing, smartphone-clutching schoolgirls, "Pig" ("Khook") makes it savagely clear Western society hasn't cornered the market on selfie-centered behavior. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
20% Beneath the Leaves (2019) A committed cast fails to elevate "Beneath the Leaves," an otherwise draggy and derivative thriller about a psychotic killer whose M.O. involves fatally injecting his victims with potassium chloride before harvesting their fingernails. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
11% Berlin, I Love You (2019) The wildly uneven anthology "Berlin, I Love You" exhibits telltale signs of jet lag. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
45% A Breath Away (Dans la brume) (2019) [A] contained, atmospheric French thriller that ultimately gets lost in the haze of a problematic script. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2019
85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Proves every bit as repetitive and uninspired as its glib title, bringing little that's fresh or funny to the interlocking brick table despite boasting a script penned by originators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. - Hollywood Reporter EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 26, 2019
86% Extreme Job (2019) It's all quite amusing up to a point, but unfortunately that point arrives early on in this practically two-hour-long take on a one-gag premise. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
13% An Acceptable Loss (2019) Though Sumpter lends her role the requisite controlled, inner strength and Jamie Lee Curtis utilizes her trademark fierce resolve to good effect as an intimidating commander in chief, the politics prove as tenuous as the nonexistent thrill factor. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
77% Genesis 2.0 (2019) [A] fascinating and somewhat frightening documentary set in the fast-forward arena of synthetic biology. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2019