Lawrence Toppman

Select another critic »
For 1,586 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 41% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Lawrence Toppman's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Spirited Away
Lowest review score: 0 Waist Deep
Score distribution:
1586 movie reviews
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Pearce, who's in every scene except the Sammy flashbacks, dominates the picture through his feral performance.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Classically scary.
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    The result is a film that has "Masterpiece Theatre" production values but not an ounce of dust upon it.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    A spruced-up version has been re-released after 22 years, and the addition of 43 minutes means the story really has room to breathe.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    An experience as tender and troubling as any you're likely to get - or not likely, if this subject puts you off.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    The title comes from the memoir by Mariane Pearl, wife of kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. It applies equally to Winterbottom, who has made the rarest movie among this summer's releases: a taut police procedural that examines all sides of an issue and forces us to re-think our own.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    To talk more about the movie's layers is to risk giving away too much. I'll say only that this film confirms Nolan's status as the director whose work I look forward to more than any other.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    You can’t exactly call Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity the best film of its kind, because it has no kind: It stands alone as an extraordinary balance of 3-D effects, heroes-in-jeopardy storytelling and emotional depth.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Watching it again reminded me how remarkably the sound engineers did their jobs. Listen to the subtly amplified heartbeat - Ripley's? the ship's? - that pulses under the soundtrack through the last 15 minutes.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Jackson surpasses the expectations anyone might have had for him with The Fellowship of the Ring, the first installment of his trilogy devoted to J.R.R. Tolkien's masterwork.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    The film is visually sumptuous, morally ambiguous, dramatic and dreamlike, with a narrative as engrossing as any live-action movie of 2013. It’s easy to follow yet hard to shake.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    A gently spellbinding drama that captures the old-fashioned enchantment of Roald Dahl’s book.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    U.S. geography doesn't matter to Payne. He always charts the terrain of the human heart, and he's among the wisest of mapmakers.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    The Big Short, which he directed and wrote with Charles Randolph from the book by Michael Lewis, jumps off the screen in every scene and pins an elusive subject firmly in place.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Has an honesty few movies seek or achieve these days.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    David Fincher obsesses about obsessive people.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    This meditation on spirituality, loneliness and accountability could touch your heart's core.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    As we bounce over rough seas on the Maersk, we know just what will be lost if the Somalis don’t keep their trembling fingers off their triggers. As the title suggests, this is not a movie about an incident: It’s a movie about a man who stays very real to us.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    I haven’t seen a movie this year with a more brilliant combination of imagination, emotionally moving moments, witty writing, visually interesting details and psychologically accurate behavior than Inside Out.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    To call it a masterpiece is premature: That's a title to be earned only in retrospect. But I've seen it twice now and can't imagine what I would change. It fits together tightly as a suspenseful puzzle, yet it's also emotionally rewarding and sardonically funny.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    The most atmospheric thing in the movie is Farnsworth's face.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    One of the most uncompromisingly bleak films I've ever seen.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Breathtaking masterpiece.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    One of the most heartbreaking, unforgettable dramas in years.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Its uniqueness lies in its juxtaposition of happy faces and unhappy realities, of fleeting expressions of art and culture undone by daily brutality.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Most documentaries put us inside people's heads. The dazzling, experimental Pina puts us inside people's feet.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    A dark comedy that's as emotionally honest as any picture of 2002.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    It's encouraging to see a nation so aware of its public image and defensive about its military decisions examine a dark day in its history.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Jackson had the vision, persistence, insight and patience for this mighty job, plus the smarts to shape stage veterans and overlooked film actors into a seamless cast. He's made himself as immortal as a movie director can be.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Ran
    All that matters is that emotions be real, and so they are: wracking grief, harrowing madness, unquenchable hate. Composers have tried and failed to turn "Lear" into a workable opera, but Kurosawa has found the visual equivalent. Yet the last image of a man, solitary and silent, is more haunting than all the destruction. [10 Aug 2001, p.7E]
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    It'll preach mainly to the choir - lazy thinkers won't attend, despite George Clooney's attachment as director and actor - but maybe it'll wake a few sleepers.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    This suspenseful drama reveals pieces of its puzzle steadily and slowly, until the final heartrending picture can be seen at last. Remarkably, it comes from a screenwriter who had never had a feature film produced and a director who had never made one in English.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Most nations, ours included, still tolerate some form of slavery or indentured servitude. And 12 Years shows the cruelty of denying not only someone’s freedom but his identity. Take away the essence of a human being – whether he’s in fetters or not – and you destroy him.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    There’s not a great theme, a great performance or even a great scene in Boyhood. But I think it might be a great picture.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    The usually quiet Zellweger is the revelation: Like her character, the actress seems happily amazed to find herself crossing a polished dance floor, sheathed in silk and diamonds, having the naughty, self-glorifying time of her life.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    What surprises us most is the picture's topicality, and not just because terrorists crashed a plane into the Pentagon three years ago.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Sometimes a movie speaks loudest when nobody raises a voice. I can’t remember a single scene of fierce denunciation, fervid declaration of righteousness, act of violence or shouting match in Loving. Yet it lands with as much impact as any movie you’ll see this year.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    The giddiest and funniest animated film of the year.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Adams gives her best performance as a lonely woman who has to make a decision that will haunt her – though perhaps in a good way – for the rest of her life.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Pixar's employees, masters of computer-generated animation, capture the look of the ocean like no artists before.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    For the first time since "X-Men," I was on the edge of my seat anticipating a sequel, wondering who'd play the Joker and how quickly Nolan - it must be Nolan! - can bring the next chapter of this story to the screen.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Squid keeps you on your toes, but payoffs will have you smiling - maybe in rueful recognition of the truth - in scene after scene.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    When was the last time you had to wait until the final sentence of a film to understand all the details? When was the last time you went to a genre movie – or what looked like one in spooky trailers – and realized the director had fulfilled that promise and meditated on his favorite topic? Shutter Island does just that.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Langella has always been a cerebral actor, one who never gives away all he's thinking. What comes through in this portrayal is how smart Nixon was, whether he's cunningly probing Frost's weaknesses or pitching himself to TV viewers as an avuncular, misunderstood Cold Warrior.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Moviegoers are turned off by depressing topics, yet "Diving Bell" supplies something film fans claim they want: pure escapism, the chance to experience extreme sensations virtually none of us will ever have.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Yet its visual surrealism, identity-bending and strong social/ecological message make it as much an allegory as a fable.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Reveals the drama and degredation so powerfully that it ranks among the all-time heavyweights of sports movies.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    As a picture that celebrates one of the greatest archetypes in literature while freshening countless familiar details, I doubt it can be bettered.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    A tribute to anyone who ever picked up a score, a pen, a paintbrush or a grease pencil - or a movie camera.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Spielberg has never made a more sophisticated and less sentimental picture. He and writer Tony Kushner craft it like a historical thriller.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    In a world full of recyclable superheroes and mindless “empowerment” comedies, we’re finally getting a movie about reality. We’re surrounded by surveillance and the threat of violence, and this film asks us to judge the proper balance between liberty and security – and the amount of collateral damage acceptable to maintain the latter.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    The film's proudest boast is that nary a frame comes from documentary footage...Every riot, every explosion, every seemingly spontaneous gundown in the streets of Algiers was staged, then shot in black-and-white stock that intentionally echoes newsreel footage.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    It's freakishly funny, suddenly tender, gleefully macabre, genuinely scary, and full of a moral – fear turns weak people into bullies – which is dosed out so gently that it never tastes like medicine.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    For a movie that ends in the profoundest depths of sadness, Boys Don't Cry contains one of the year's purest moments of joy.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Among many things that make the taut thriller Argo remarkable is this one: It depicts a 1980 rescue of American hostages from Iran yet begins by pointing out that the United States was partly responsible for the situation.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Her
    Phoenix gives a performance as convincing as he did in “The Master,” and in exactly the opposite direction: gentle, meditative and cerebral, instead of angry, closed-minded and baffled.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    A picture from an old man working at the top of his game.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Director Tom McCarthy, who wrote the script with Josh Singer, has made a film without heroes.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    The two most frightening concepts in Room, one of the most remarkable movies of 2015, are freedom and the lack of it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    I can't recall the last film that so wholly, honestly and movingly explained what it means to be a Christian.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Writer Steve Kloves, who adapted all of J.K. Rowling's novels except "Order of the Phoenix" over the last 11 years, neither wastes a word nor leaves out any essentials.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Selick's fantastical adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel will be too dazzlingly rich for many; it'll be like "caviare to the general," as Hamlet said of a complex play enacted for a public with lazy minds.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    The most difficult task in Pixar's 20-year history: to make an un-Mickey-like rodent appealing enough to admire.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    He's (Yimou) like a painter combining bloody reds, sunshine yellows and pale blues in the harmony of a masterpiece.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Just as moving, uplifting and funny as ever in its slightly modified form. [2002 re-release]
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    We don't find out until the last scene how reality and fantasy intersect, when the meaning of the first shot of the film gets driven home. How many movies have you seen with a payoff like that?
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Warms the heart while chilling the bones.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    succeeds as an action film, character study and metaphor for our own terrorism-obsessed time.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    Once every couple of years, a movie comes along to remind us how satisfyingly complex the genre can be. Christopher Nolan’s reimagining of the “Batman” saga did that masterfully. On a slightly less ambitious scale, so does X-Men: Days of Future Past.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    Director Matt Reeves, working from a script by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Mark Bomback, elevates the apes to primary importance in this intelligent thriller.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    The film remains sadly profound and profoundly sad, yet it holds just enough humor to lighten a weighty subject without trivializing it.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    Moore makes no attempt at visual reality. The colors and drawings employ the flat design of a handsomely decorated book, and the children have the huge eyes, disproportionately large heads and small bodies you sometimes see in Japanese animation.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    The Dardennes know how to tell low-key stories effectively, and Cotillard’s Academy Award-nominated performance builds toward the unexpected ending.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    Nobody fires a shot. Nobody topples a kingdom. But as Ivan Locke’s life unravels behind the wheel of his car, which he drives almost from the first frame to the last, we can’t look away.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    The most important thing, though, is that we come away feeling we know him. He died on Christmas Day eight years ago, and people listening to samples of his music in rap and hip-hop may have no idea why he mattered. Now they’ll see.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    The film could hardly be less American in tone: It has no villains. It provides complete and comfortable closure for none of its relationships.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    It’s the rare animated film that might amuse adults and kids while slipping a useful message to the latter.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    Now You See Me can’t quite claim to be the ideal crime drama – that would be “The Usual Suspects,” which justly won an Oscar for its script – but it’s only one level down.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    Relaxed editing and well-researched set and costumes give us a firm feeling of the period, and Dick Pope (who has worked with Leigh 10 times) excels. It’s a cliche to say a cinematographer does painterly work, but Pope suffuses the screen with light in the way Turner did his canvases.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    This Oscar-nominated documentary does everything you want a documentary to do. It introduces us to a compelling character and, by the finish, allows us to feel we know him well. It makes larger points about the human toil and suffering he shot for most of his career, before he turned to nature to refresh himself.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    Gone Girl offers interesting, even amusing audio cues: the sound of a distant mourning dove when we suspect Amy’s been killed, or Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” playing on a car radio as Nick returns his obnoxious father to an assisted care center.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Lawrence Toppman
    The Fault in Our Stars beautifully captures the hesitancy, shyness masked by outward confidence, feelings of unworthiness and quiet intensity of teenagers in love.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The result is two-tiered humor, broad enough to appeal to anybody but overlaid with jokes that will be funnier if you know the show.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    He's (Soderbergh) among the few directors working today who makes me wonder what he'll do next - and draws me into the movie house, whatever it may be.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    An animated film that challenges preconceptions about the genre and foregoes the usual romance/adventure structure.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Begins and ends quietly, like stirrings of thunder from a distant storm. In between comes a tragedy that rolls over us like a compact hurricane.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Control Room ends by acknowledging that independence, accuracy and even truth itself may be illusory.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    It's among the most inventive, screwily funny and consistently surprising movies I've seen in years.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    If you see Hot Fuzz, you'll never again watch a Michael Bay film without howling with disrespectful laughter.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Few white directors depict racial interaction in a thoughtful, non-exploitative way, but Sayles has always been one of them.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Denzel Washington directed and stars in Fences, and he has translated every element of August Wilson’s play to the screen: A language that’s naturalistic yet gently poetic, a detailed sense of America at mid-century...drama that turns to melodrama at key points, characterizations that seethe and explode, the touch of the fantastic (or is it the supernatural?) that pervades most of Wilson’s stories.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The final drum-off (c'mon, you knew it would come down to that) resembles a combination of music, gymnastics and martial arts, and I don't think I've seen a more pulse-pounding scene this year.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    On the most basic level, Cars is an old-fashioned fable about an egotistical, talented loner who learns humility and redeems himself by helping unfortunates.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    After an hour, The Pianist stops being the Holocaust movie and becomes a Holocaust movie.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Captain America: Civil War appeals to me more strongly than any superhero movie of the last decade.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    It's fascinating to watch others sweat, suffer and triumph in the documentary Dust to Glory, which chronicles the longest nonstop, point-to-point race on our planet.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Allen, rejuvenated by foreign settings, makes us appreciate posh parts of England as he always did Manhattan. (Credit cinematographer Remi Adefarasin for showing us how seductive upper-crust London can be.)
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Shows the fate of Sicilians who moved to the Italian industrial city of Turin 40-plus years ago, and it suggests that the experience of relocation is universal.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    A director needs to know how to pace the tale, where to place the camera, how to draw out a shy actor or get out of the way of a strong one. Those skills are rarer than you'd think. Sarah Polley, who never wrote or directed a feature film before Away From Her, has them all.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Bolt has the magical quality of great animation, the ability to touch us without the hint of preachiness or manipulation.

Top Trailers