Lawrence Toppman
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For 1,417 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 4.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Lawrence Toppman's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Prestige
Lowest review score: 0 Little Nicky
Score distribution:
1,417 movie reviews
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    My sentimentality meter never went off, and Smith proved what people have forgotten since his breakthroughs in "Where the Day Takes You" and "Six Degrees of Separation" 13 years ago: He's a serious actor.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Filmmakers have presented an unvarnished drama about Marshall University and the people who love it, and the results are inspirational.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    It depicts a world close enough to our own to be terrifying, yet different enough to rouse curiosity.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Most horror movies try to show us the man inside the monster, so we'll empathize with his moral dilemmas or feel his suffering. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer shows us a man who is all monster, whose colossal amorality makes him a potential Messiah or menace to humanity.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie is the usual kind of film biography of a respected figure from the distant past - honorable, oversimplified, handsome.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Anyone who enjoys the novels of Ed McBain, the Oscar-winning "All the President's Men" or any televised variation of "CSI" will be at home here.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Mikkelsen, like Jimmy Stewart, projects emotions with a slight twitch of a lip or narrowing of an eye. His long face - often handsome, sometimes plain, always cryptic - yields secrets slowly; you have to watch an entire film to know how his character feels and how you feel about him.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Until Year of the Dog, I've never seen a movie where someone obsessed over a puppy.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Beach blends all the performing styles smoothly: LL's blithe coolness, Blalock's sultry ambiguity, Liotta's slow-boiling intensity, Ejiofor's dapper amiability, Phifer's brooding intensity.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    If you see Hot Fuzz, you'll never again watch a Michael Bay film without howling with disrespectful laughter.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    No matter what character Don Cheadle has played in his 23-year career, he's always seemed to be holding something back...Until Talk to Me.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The film's an irresistible time capsule of that Camelot summer, blending girrrrrl power, social consciousness and faux-'60s pop with the fizz of a soda jerk whipping up a root beer float.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Penn, one of Hollywood's most famous iconoclasts, must have felt instinctive sympathy with someone who told the whole world in general to leave him alone.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Careful casting adds to verisimilitude. Nobody carries off a chilly authority figure like Tilda Swinton, who represents the chemical company; Pollack, who has more or less stopped directing, now embodies urbane amorality as an actor; Wilkinson, whose career has mostly been devoted to repressed or depressed characters, enjoys his turn as a bright-eyed fanatic.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Gone Baby Gone would be an accomplishment with anyone at the helm; from a first-timer, it's a revelation.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Enchanted charmingly reworks all the old favorites while incorporating fresh twists of its own.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    A lot of chaotic fun.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The Tony-winning Bosco, one of the great stage actors of the last 50 years, does a lot with a little in his restricted role; he's haughty, almost dignified by his angry silence. Linney and Hoffman stay pitch-perfect in their noisy desperation and sullen withdrawal.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Hanks has a good time, romping around with the assurance of a holy fool. He and Roberts seem "actorish," putting on accents and mannerisms, but they're entertaining. Hoffman is something more, a scenery-devouring force of nature irresistible as a cyclone and irreverent as a stand-up comedian at a midnight show.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    By the end, you'll be chilled and disturbed by what you've seen -- and, rare as this is in a horror movie, touched to the heart.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Gibney also made the Oscar-nominated "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," and he gets remarkable access to people you wouldn't expect to talk to him (including U.S. interrogators charged with crimes at Bagram).
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Finally! For the first time, Hollywood has made a whimsical, witty, feature-length version of Dr. Seuss that's neither overblown nor smutty nor emotionally hollow.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    British director Stephen Walker approached this project with wide-eyed good humor.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The voice cast includes Angelina Jolie as a tigress, omnipresent Seth Rogen as an acupuncturist who's a praying mantis, David Cross as a nasal crane and Lucy Liu as a cheerful viper.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    A potent environmental message wrapped up in an irresistibly cute romance between robots.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Proves eye-opening in two ways: Sweeping, bloody battles will make your orbs pop, and you'll re-evaluate this supposedly “uncivilized” man who unified quarrelsome Central Asian tribes to create one of the largest empires in history.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    What director Jan Hrebejk and writer Petr Jarchovský are talking about is the Czech Republic, ravaged for decades by communism and then left to fend for itself in a world to which it can scarcely adjust.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The chorus backs the soloists powerfully, and they are as fresh as the rest of the film: fat and fit, homely and handsome, young gods and old codgers – in short, people you might really see in Greece. Reality in a musical? That alone makes it worth your open-eared attention.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    If you wait through the credits, you get one last joke in the fine print: The actors shot the whole movie in Hawaii, on the fabulously lush island of Kauai. So while they were shooting a story about indulged prima donnas, they were working themselves in one of the most tourist-friendly spots on Earth. You've gotta smile at that.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The result is one of the twistiest thrillers in recent memory.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Wallenda once said, "Life is being on the wire; everything else is just waiting." This film makes that motto ring true.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The most thoughtfully satisfying of the first six books.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    W.
    You'll be disappointed if you expect famed leftist Oliver Stone to apply a coup de grace to this man.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    This documentary makes a terrible kind of sense. It reminds us that something we take for granted, like air, can be sold to us – if we can afford it. And if we can't, what happens then?
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The most violent scene is dreamlike, and more direct killings are often seen at an angle or from a distance. The camera placement is thoughtful and effective, never titillating.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Whatever you think of gay people (or politicians), you may find the movie compelling viewing.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The film's a little more accessible than "Requiem for a Dream" and a lot easier to understand than "The Fountain," but its low-key grunginess may restrict its appeal to people who have liked professional wrestling and/or Rourke.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    You can't root for Ronnie. You can't identify with him. You can't hope he gets the girl – any girl. But you may want to look on with stunned fascination as he ticks away, ready to explode.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    South African director Neill Blomkamp set and shot the film around his native Johannesburg, so parallels to apartheid leap to mind. Yet the script he wrote with Terri Tatchell applies to any culture that bluntly excludes another.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Two things keep the film off Disney's top shelf. First, Naveen is a dull hero; his good-natured vanity isn't engaging until late in the story. Second, Newman's songs are less bland than usual but no more memorable.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The best war movies don't preach against war: They remind us of the costs for soldiers and families and ask us to consider whether those costs are worth paying. The Messenger does that without firing a bullet or putting us on a battlefield.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Every era gets the Robin Hood it needs…Now director Ridley Scott and writer Brian Helgeland have given us an intelligent, layered story suited to our grim, patience-trying times.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Nolan’s tale is not only a trip through mental labyrinths but a reminder that memories may cripple us, unless we learn to let them go.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    It gives such a down-to-Earth view of the joys, terrors, boredom, anxieties and camaraderie in a war zone.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    This is a game of numbers, not personalities, and a shrewd man wants the bigger numbers on his side when historians pick up their pens.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Anyone who saw the Oscar-nominated Mulligan in "An Education" knows what she can do. If you didn't, you're in for the kind of quietly revelatory acting that portends a brilliant career.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The writer-director waited until he had the clout, budget and prestige to attract a top-flight cast, then turned Colored Girls into a movie with a little less darkness but plenty of heart and guts.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Those of us who admire Charles Portis' novel have waited 40 years for a screen version that's as literal as possible – and the Coen brothers just about deliver it.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Polished, thoughtful and touching.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    After 30 minutes, I wondered why I was watching a drama about a quarrelsome couple who seemed so obviously wrong for each other. After 60 minutes, I knew. After 90 minutes, I cared. By the end, I was riveted.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    You may not realize the imprint it has left until its last season comes to a close.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Anton has a sad, gentle detachment that allows him to turn the other cheek literally through a series of slaps.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    I have never seen elementary schoolers more passionate about education than the ones I met at a school in rural Kenya, not far from the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Most of the actors live their roles, and Fassbender (Rochester in the last "Jane Eyre") is superb as the wolflike, undisciplined assassin.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Markowitz, Daley and Goldstein sounds like a New York firm that delivers financial advice, but they're asking you to invest only $9 of your cash and 100 minutes of your time. They have written the funniest movie I've seen this year in Horrible Bosses.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    It's tense, strangely funny in a lot of spots and – if you grew up loving old-fashioned, seat-of-the-pants baseball, as I did – the most depressing movie of the year.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    At bottom, all Payne's films make us smile, often ruefully but hopefully.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    This film has two of Fincher's happiest trademarks: It's full of information and stretches over a remarkably long time (165 minutes), yet it's neither confusing nor overextended.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Talkies may have killed silent movies, the way TV serials and soap operas wiped out radio dramas. But there are stories most effectively told in the old style, and The Artist is proof.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The film requires close attention, especially while it jumps back and forth in time for the first half-hour, but all the pieces lock into place tightly by the end.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Most movies about people passing themselves off as the opposite sex can't sustain the illusion, but "Nobbs" does.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    In rare cases – and The Woman in Black is one of them – a story may be more atmospheric when less is left to the imagination.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Every time it starts to feel like something we have known, we realize how unlike us these Iranian characters are.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The film's main virtue, a large virtue indeed, is that it does not give anything away before its shockingly apt time.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Cedar is mostly interested in the father-son dynamics, and he cast excellent actors. Lewensohn, a famous Israeli theatrical director, makes his film acting debut, while the veteran Ashkenazi ("Late Wedding") handles his low-key role with bearlike grace.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The film has two active virtues, too. It shows human beings in all their pitiable, noble, stupid or sensitive modes of action, and it reminds us there's always time to fall in love, if only for a few days.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Did we need another Spider-Man this quickly? Debatable. But if you wanted a new interpretation – especially one where story and action stay in the right balance – this is it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Perhaps Zeitlin isn't really making an issue of class distinctions. Maybe he's just suggesting that we don't know these people very well, and our lives would be richer if we did.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    It's an approachable film that handles a serious topic deftly and offers a fresh take on a familiar subject.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The simple, utterly satisfying Premium Rush delivers just what the title promises.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Anderson tells this story slowly, inexorably, with a sense of control I've never felt from him before. This is the least violent of his five dramas, the first where nobody dies. It's also the bleakest.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Rodriguez' inner peace wins us over. He seems to have enjoyed recording music, fathering kids, cleaning houses, playing sold-out gigs and simply strumming a guitar in his kitchen. Searching for Sugar Man reminds us that a wise man knows lasting riches are never the result of record sales.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The leads blend as seamlessly as any young-old character coupling I've seen. The prosthetically altered Gordon-Levitt, unrecognizable at first, really resembles Willis.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    I've heard that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. By that standard, the U.S. "War on Drugs" seems crazy indeed in The House I Live In.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Best of all, we finally learn something about Bond's origins: The movie takes its title from his ancestral home in Scotland. (A nod to Connery, perhaps?)
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    These aren't people whose problems can be solved quickly or easily. They'll need medication, therapy, patience, self-awareness and willingness to compromise to conquer troubles, and Russell makes us root for them as they stumble along.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    A character in Yann Martel's novel "Life of Pi" tells us this will be a story to make us believe in God. The film version written by David Magee and directed by Ang Lee may do that – you'll decide for yourself – but it will definitely make you believe in the power of cinema.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Writers Rasmus Heisterberg and Nicolaj Arcel are known in America for the original version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." This film is the exact opposite: stately instead of propulsive, emotionally warm instead of chilly, lit by candles and sun instead of flashlights and neon.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Yet as fine as she and Ewan McGregor are as the parents, Tom Holland stands out as eldest son Lucas, a slightly sullen teen who learns to put other people before himself.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Zero Dark Thirty, like the mission that inspired it, commands respect, admiration, even awe in places for the logistical nightmares that had to be overcome to get it done. But it's a hard movie to love.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The superb Trintignant and the Oscar-nominated Riva – who would win, in a just world – embody once-vigorous people in inevitable decline. Yet as another critic has said, the film is sad without being depressing.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Now comes director Baz Luhrmann, who’s incapable of taking anything literally, and what do we get? The “Gatsby” that, of three I’ve seen and two I’ve read about, seems most faithful to the spirit of Fitzgerald’s superbly sad book. His audacity pays off in a way that may not exactly reproduce the novel but continually illuminates it.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Career Girls is a chamber piece: intimate and direct, two voices performing monologues and duets of irony, despair and hope. [29 Aug 1997, p.11E]
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    For now, the franchise has enough zip and humor to be worthwhile.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Whitaker’s performance reveals a man who unobtrusively changes white people around him – perhaps without trying or even knowing it – through his demeanor and ability.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    The result is one of the most honest recent comedies about romances that flourish, marriages that totter and the difficulties of raising children with the right blend of respect, discipline and support.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    If we admire anything about him, it’s entrepreneurship; there’s something uniquely American about a guy outrunning his own death by turning suffering into profit. And as a judge asks, why shouldn’t a dying man be allowed to try any remedy for his disease?
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    This may be yet another variation on the usual coming-of-age/sisterhood themes so familiar in Disney movies, but who does those better?
    • 56 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Once you accept that he (Neeson) has the badge and gun, you’re in for an exciting trip.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Anderson leavens the lunacy with a few acts of sudden and extreme violence or avert-your-face sex, which seem as extravagant as the rest of his notions. Perhaps they’re in there to change the flavor of the humor, the way Mendl might put a bitter coffee bean in a chocolate torte to keep it from cloying us.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Overall, Noah represents a respectful take on an old story by filmmakers who pose a pertinent question. The Creator promises never again to wipe humanity off the face of the Earth, signing that covenant with the cheering image of a rainbow. Does that mean he won’t let us wipe ourselves out millennia later, if we’re hell-bent on doing so?
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    This sequel is, by design, entirely absorbing and satisfying without being one whit memorable.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Like many horror directors, Flanagan felt he could build a feature-length film around his brief idea. Unlike many, he was right.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Virtually all science fiction functions as metaphor, and I took this film to be a metaphor for the act of becoming fully human.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Yet nothing in their visually stimulating film registers as strongly as Jolie’s enigmatic, ever-changing face.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    All three leads give effective, low-key performances. (I don’t remember a single character raising a voice.) Their acting fits the tone of this movie and all the ones Reichardt directs: Her camera moves slowly, and she accumulates tension by showing detail after detail.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    “22” merits a B grade. The long final credits, in which Dickson imagines dozens of future scenarios for the undercover boys, kicks it up one notch.