For 942 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Ella Taylor's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 The Opposite of Sex
Lowest review score: 0 Burzynski
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 66 out of 942
942 movie reviews
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Ella Taylor
    Pan's Labyrinth Like his terrific 2001 "The Devil’s Backbone," Mexican horrormeister Guillermo del Toro's new movie offers us both real-life and fantastical monsters, and if you know his work, you won't waste time figuring out which to root for.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Ella Taylor
    Though the frighteningly late-term abortion at its center hints at larger sins in the last gasp of Nicolae Ceausescu’s iron-fisted regime, it’s no metaphor, but a sordidly visceral transaction conducted in the next best thing to a back alley.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    A classic of politically engaged filmmaking, based on a book by Saadi Yacef, a former FLN leader who also produced the picture and played a version of himself.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    At his provocative best, though - in his brilliant, gorgeous 2009 film "The White Ribbon," a study of the roots of fascism in domestic tyranny, and now in Amour - Haneke implicates us in the full range of human capacity.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    In the nearly 30 years since the movie was released (it won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1972), one forgets how falling-about-funny is this mad caper.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Has the sprawling canvas of an epic and the emotional heat of classical melodrama.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Ella Taylor
    This divinely eccentric movie feels as if it came straight to the screen from one man’s wild and wantonly free imagination.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    If Steven Spielberg's emotional intelligence matched his visual genius, his honorably flawed new film might qualify for one of the greatest-ever American WWII movies.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 85 Ella Taylor
    On its face, Winter's Bone, like "Down to the Bone," is a bleakly realist drama about a community decimated by poverty and hopelessness, yet bound together by deep ties of class, gender and blood.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 95 Ella Taylor
    If you pay close attention, there's also an exhilarating evocation of how art is stubbornly made, and arbitrary authority put in its place, under the most confining conditions. Rene Magritte, whose famous pipe painting is slyly honored in the movie's title, would be jazzed.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Ella Taylor
    At his best, Altman turns us into interlopers who have stumbled into a world that seems to predate us and persuades us it will continue to teem with life long after we leave the theater.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Above all else, though, Capturing the Friedmans is a vividly personal, devastating story of a family that was hopelessly compromised years before it was scapegoated for crimes that two of its members may or may not have committed.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Carrey is a genius at registering the rage behind television's sunny smile, while Laura Linney excels as his wife.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Ella Taylor
    Fraught with a deep sadness and sense of yearning. Yet, it is also an enormously -- at times, even uproariously -- comedic film, not because it feels any obligation to be "funny" in some contrived, screenwriterly sort of way, but because Coppola has set out to make a movie set to the rhythms of real (rather than reel) life.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    And like all great family sagas, The Best of Youth, while tipping its hat to the painful confusion of living life forward, reels it backward to give it the thrilling significance of time and place.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    The movie survives beautifully both as an elegant thriller and as a study of the twisted infantilism that shapes the fanatic heart.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    Why Capote liked the movie so much (or said he did) isn't entirely clear, for though it's a gripping piece of American Gothic, it's as thematically timid as it is formally flamboyant.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Once feels handmade in the best sense, an impressionistic feast for the senses cobbled together from lovely grace notes and a warm palette of reds and yellows.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    The triumph of Capote is that it both grants and shares with him that twisted brew of obsessive identification and monstrous detachment that is the fertile burden of the artist.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    The artificial look of the added footage, counterpointed by the commentary of inmates and survivors, only underscores the unending shock of the film's unadulterated images, even though we have seen them in other Shoah documentaries.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Easily the most brilliant of the genuflections bestowed on the American gangster movie by the French New Wave.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Unfolds with such leisurely, terrible beauty, it takes a while to realize that what we are witnessing is the children's long slide into beggary, exacerbated by the slow torture of faint hope.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    As Dardenne films go, with their slow, minutely observed journeys from despair to faint hope, L'Enfant is a horror movie of sorts, and for a few minutes at least, a kind of thriller.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    Good fun, though not more than up-market situation comedy studded with the usual leaps out of period-speak to swipe at contemporary Hollywood.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    The five interwoven narratives in this visceral but disciplined and beautifully acted movie show to devastating effect how ordinary men and women -- and especially vulnerable boys desperate for masculine role models -- get caught up in the seductive violence and are ruthlessly destroyed by the network's hardened henchmen.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    To Be and To Have works in the grandest tradition of documentary filmmaking -- it keeps company with a small, specific place going about its business, and from it parses the whole world.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Who could resist a movie in which a garden gnome holds the front line in high-tech home security?
    • 87 Metascore
    • 85 Ella Taylor
    Beneath the noirish topicality of Elena, which won a special jury prize at Cannes last year, lies a bone-deep existential unease and spiritual alienation, a preoccupation with sin that is at once quintessentially Russian and wholly archaic.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    All is Lost is as quiet as "Margin Call" was chatty; at a minimum, you might call this film a procedural. But like the best of the genre, its relentless focus on the material and the practical also gestures subtly at a life of the soul, however battered.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    The movie is thrillingly subjective, teeming with the fullness of everyday proletarian life that one finds in the work of the directors who most influenced Marston in the making of this movie: Hector Babenco and the Brazilian realists, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Like "The Pianist," Fateless painstakingly builds up the reality of what it is like to be drawn into a perfectly arbitrary hell you can neither comprehend nor rationalize.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    You don't have to believe in the transmigration of souls to fall languorously in love with the Thai film that won the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Brokeback Mountain is at once the gayest and the least gay Hollywood film I've seen, which is another way of saying that Lee has a knack for culling universality from the most specific identities.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Caouette lifts his story clear out of the victimized whine that bogs down so many confessional memoirs and offers the viewer instead an intimate look inside his ravaged yet loving head, at once street-smart and haloed by the naiveté of a young saint.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    While Grizzly Man is never less than a fascinating portrait of a troubled Peter Pan who couldn't function in human society and tried to remake the animal kingdom into his own private Hanna-Barbera cartoon, it fails to establish Treadwell as much more than a serious headcase, let alone a titanic figure.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    The two films bursting out of The English Patient (a chamber piece and a David Lean dune epic) require a juggling of tone, pace and scale that might easily defeat a director more seasoned than Minghella.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Just about everyone worth knowing in All About My Mother is female in spirit, which is to say they're all sexy, impossible, powerfully durable souls, quarrelsome and loyal, inventive at navigating the tragedies.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    "Nothing happening" is everything happening between the lines, in the gap created between what is unstated onscreen and what we bring to the story ourselves.
    • L.A. Weekly
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    It's a classic Hollywood domestic comedy with a mischievous twist.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    Free of the disclaiming jokey sneer that defaces so much of contemporary neo-noir.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 95 Ella Taylor
    ACT UP soldiers on today, as it must, given the lack of official attention to the resurgence of HIV among young American men in metropolitan areas.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Goes the distance to avoid banalizing the dilemma of a reasonable couple unhinged by unreasonable events.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Ella Taylor
    I’m Going Home is as much an ambiguous poem to Paris as it is a study in artistic and physical mortality, and an elegy for a more decent past as it gives way to a brassier, more corrupt new century.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    The ghost of Federico Fellini hovers wickedly over The Great Beauty, a fantastic journey around contemporary Rome and a riot of lush imagery juggling past and present, sacred and profane, gorgeous and grotesque.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Powerfully enigmatic study of the fundamental opacity of human relations.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    His (Soderbergh's) work has taken on echoes of a classier, bygone age of cinema, at once more literate and lighthearted.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Ella Taylor
    Talk to Her is as melodramatic -- and, sporadically, as funny -- as any Almodóvar comedy, but its mood is one of muted, aching loneliness, while the color scheme leans less to hot reds and magentas than to rich, elegant shades of ochre.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 95 Ella Taylor
    Without ever saying so, the movie adds up to nothing less than a social psychology of the nervous, spiritually questing geist of post-World War II America.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Makes no attempt to entertain us. Much of this extraordinarily tactful movie, like "Rosetta," is shot in close-up, focusing on the back of Olivier's neck, as if inviting us to see the world as he does.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    It's not a happy film, but there's much incidental, quotidian happiness in it. Like Lynne Ramsay's lovely "Ratcatcher," the movie is far from sentimental about children.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Surprises you with a kind of hardheaded romanticism.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Faster and, if possible, furiouser than its predecessors.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Polanski, wisely, doesn't interpret or explain. He seems to have decided that in the face of such meticulously planned horror, the best one can do is get the details right.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Line for line, Knocked Up isn't quite as funny as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," which got most of its laughs from the friction between prissy Carell and his sex-crazed stoner co-workers. But it is equally good as a nutty anthropology of marginal living and as an illustration of how much energy it takes to do nothing in a work-obsessed society.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 95 Ella Taylor
    The screenplay, by Peter Straughan and his late wife, Bridget O'Connor, is debonair. Alfredson's mastery of tone and ambiance is flawless. The bloodletting is brief and necessarily appalling, the comedy mordant: I guarantee you will never sing along to "Mr. Woo" in quite the same way again.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 95 Ella Taylor
    Vincere, which comes as close to grand opera as can be achieved without anyone actually bursting into song, feels like a big movie -- handsomely mounted, full of dark shadows counterpointed with stray shafts of light, with dramatic close-ups of faces driven by passion and madness and heavy silences brutally interrupted by clashing tympani.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Jonathan Demme's superb film of Neil Young's 2005 performance at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium is as fervent a musical homage as was Demme's bubbly tribute to the Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense (1984).
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    The Host is a miracle of breathless play with form and tone that also seethes with attitude and ideas, from pure movie love to pointed sociopolitical commentary to a bleak existentialism about the inherent cruelty of our world.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 85 Ella Taylor
    If Meek's Cutoff is every inch a Western, it's an art-film mutant of the genre, inching along with intensely naturalistic obsession for detail that courts tedium even as it dares us not to pay attention.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Speaks so eloquently for itself, there's not much more for me to do than urge you to get over to the Nuart for the one week it's playing in Los Angeles.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffman's heart-stopping, Oscar-nominated documentary about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is narrow in focus, but broad in its reach for insight into the power of public drama.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    The kind of small film -- morally ambiguous, graceful in its admission of imperfect knowledge, at once specific and universal -- that expands our understanding of the emotional economy of family life, with its ebb and flow of love and hostility, secrecy and egregious candor. You must see this film.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    A marvelous tribute to a heady age.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    Their endless groupings and regroupings, their brief encounters and power struggles are framed by an armory of cinematic devices that will be familiar to any Desplechin devotee.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Notable for its power of surprise and its refusal to immediately clarify the confusion of these lost souls.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Their pain is our pleasure, for though occasionally Apted's bluntness makes you want to take a bite out of his neck, there's something immensely satisfying about watching the playing out of ordinary lives we've become attached to over time.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Not a campy movie. True, it has its ironies, but though you can read it ironically if you wish, Haynes' triumph is that it also plays beautifully straight.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    Where Lehane's novel seethes with emotionally charged subtext, Eastwood's workmanlike direction feels static -- fatally tasteful, embalmed in gravitas -- while his sporadic efforts at dramatic heightening come off as vulgar cliché.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    Unlike the zippy American medical dramas it apes, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is paid out with the deliberate slowness of a dray horse straining up a mountain path. With every painstaking turn of the screw that seals Lazarescu's sorry fate, Puiu flirts with tedium, but tedium is the point of this hyperrealist tale, paced in what feels like real time.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    For all its hectic comings and goings, though, Kings & Queen is superbly controlled, gracefully shot and edited, and, for its entire 150 minutes, as engrossing as its meanings are opaque.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Ella Taylor
    The movie's scale is minuscule, but the physical and emotional landscapes it travels are as broad, deep and mysterious as the human psyche itself.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    Momma's Man taps into that ambivalence, and those moments when all of us long to flee adulthood and sink back into being our parents' beloved baby birds, whether or not we ever were in the first place.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    The only player in this tawdry round-robin game who moved or seduced me in any way was Andy’s poor, hapless Gina. Tomei’s an ordinary beauty... But she has real screen presence and range, and her neglected wife is an artful inversion of her Oscar-winning role as Danny DeVito’s pert squeeze in "My Cousin Vinny."
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Seattle filmmaker James Longley's poetic essay on the plight of ordinary Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds trapped in a war simultaneously waged over their heads and in their faces stands head and shoulders above an overcrowded field of documentaries about the Iraq war.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Adaptation is hardly profound, but it's one of the most soulful and loopily romantic movies I've seen all year.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    A humane and precociously wise documentary by the young Los Angeles director Amir Bar-Lev.
    • L.A. Weekly
    • 83 Metascore
    • 85 Ella Taylor
    Nim's suffering is heartbreaking, but Marsh's melodramatic style, with its re-enactments and intense score, sometimes feels bombastic and overblown for a group of people who, aside from the frighteningly detached and morally careless Terrace, seem to be garden-variety neurotics and narcissists, more clueless than willfully cruel.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Molina is an actor of unusually elastic gifts, but unlike Willem Dafoe, who has only to bare his scary teeth to send us all scampering for the exits, there's no getting around the fact that Molina has the face of a kindly basset hound even when it's contorted into a deadly grimace.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 85 Ella Taylor
    The film's director, Sebastian Lelio, is up to all kinds of mischief, the least of which is Gloria's abundant hairdo and outsized spectacles, which give her a slight but unmistakable resemblance to Dustin Hoffman in Sydney Pollack's beloved 1982 comedy, "Tootsie." The movie puts her through hell, but make no mistake: Gloria is a celebration.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Deliciously wicked, strangely poetic portrait (adapted by Patrick McGrath from his own novel) of a schizophrenic man at once tyrannized and elevated by oedipal terrors.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Ella Taylor
    As a character study Vera Drake is coarsely drawn, and as pro-choice polemic, it’s both a blunt instrument and a red herring. Which may be why, among all the moviegoers who staggered from the theater wielding soaked tissues, I was among the few who remained dry of eye, and raised of brow.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    The eerily timely subject of Haneke's film is France's unwilling encounter with the disenfranchised minorities it has tried to sweep under the rug. As one who giggled through his widely admired, irredeemably silly "The Piano Teacher," I wasn't prepared to be easily won over by Caché, but it turns out to be his most human and affecting movie to date.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Venus may be a leering male fantasy, but it is also, improbably but persuasively, a love story as tender as it is transgressive. It's a wry celebration of the tyranny of beauty, and the tragicomic way in which desire outruns the betrayals of dying flesh.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    Even by my super-wimp standards, Aron's exit is surprisingly coy, coming from a filmmaker who gets his kicks from goosing the hell out of his audiences.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    A drama of uncommon beauty and emotional resonance.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    A smart, beautiful piece of storytelling, attentive to Le Carré's broad intent, while boldly taking a knife to his more egregious longueurs.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Ella Taylor
    Yet the movie, distilling into purest form the blend of viciousness and sentimentality that informs all Woo's work, winds up as emotionally bogus as it is viscerally overwhelming.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 85 Ella Taylor
    Running through the streets of New York for the sheer hell of it, Frances has the gift of joy to her very marrow. As for Greta Gerwig, I get the feeling she's just gearing up.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    A Hijacking is mostly about the excruciating process of getting to "yes" when language is the least of the barriers between two very different mindsets.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    The best of the Harry Potter films so far, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is also hands down the scariest, and the deepest.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    This loving throwback to the paranoid thrillers of the ’70s is a beauty.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    Improbably, Read My Lips escapes the cynicism of much contemporary neo-noir, if only by a hair, by ending as a love story of delightful crackpot idealism, in which Paul has made a crook and a hussy out of Carla, and she's made a gentleman out of him.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    The true mystery is the journey itself, which will turn out to be one of the most spiritually enervating, and elevating, Outward Bound courses ever undertaken.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    Late Marriage, though hardly dispassionate, assiduously avoids passing judgment on any of its characters, all of whom are desperately trying to bend the world into conformity with their own narratives and superstitions.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Ella Taylor
    Macdonald's singular achievement is to restore -- through interviews and archival footage -- the dead to such vivid life, you weep for them and for their families, who have only memories to live off.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Ella Taylor
    Individual artists were assigned their own characters and given free rein -- characters and locations shift on a dime from naturalistic to baroque -- with the result that the movie's formal imagination surpasses and redeems the banal tedium of some of the dialogue.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Ella Taylor
    Brimming over with sadism and the occasional touch of kink, Blancanieves piles on the pathology that's the birthright of any fairy tale worth its salt. Yet it's still a tale of lost innocence, and Berger keeps faith with a prototype revered by the Disneys and the Grimms alike: the resilient, enterprising girl who overcomes wave after wave of adversity.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    All but a silent movie, Frédéric Fonteyne’s strikingly atmospheric film - adapted by Philippe Blasband and Marion Hänsel from a 1937 novel - relies on the extraordinarily mobile face of Emmanuelle Devos to express the pain of a woman who has no language for her inner turmoil.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 85 Ella Taylor
    In the end what drives the movie is the hip young filmmaker's struggle with himself -- his showman's need to toy with our anxieties threatening to overwhelm his desire to make amends to all the servants he took for granted growing up.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Ella Taylor
    The story proceeds, by minuscule tonal shifts and barely perceptible changes in the atmospheric temperature, from touches of ghoulish comedy -- to the creepy stillness of death that pervades the house.

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