Lawrence Toppman

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For 1,581 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 3.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Lawrence Toppman's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 ParaNorman
Lowest review score: 0 Waist Deep
Score distribution:
1581 movie reviews
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The coolest film in town offers industrial espionage, power struggles, thwarted romance, betrayal and suspense - and best of all, it's true.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    If this new film doesn't quite go to 11, it's a healthy 8½.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Most movies about people passing themselves off as the opposite sex can't sustain the illusion, but "Nobbs" does.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    A feature film as odd, personal and sometimes mundane as his (Pekar) comics.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    (Cusack) has never been more effective onscreen.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    His height didn't stop independent writer-director Thomas McCarthy from casting his friend in The Station Agent, scoring a triumph for both.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Another of Charlotte native Ross McElwee's musings about his family, history (this time the tobacco industry) and life. It may be his best.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    A wicked comedy with just the mildest amount of pathos to season the blend.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    A potent environmental message wrapped up in an irresistibly cute romance between robots.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Examines Muslim family's religious warfare.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Veteran documentary-maker Louise Osmond directs with flair. She gives us just enough of the history of Blackwood to show what Dream Alliance means to the place, and she gets us inside the horse’s head.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    A love story more involved than I can easily explain.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Chi-Raq is indeed interesting, challenging, provocative and consistently entertaining in its outrageous depiction of life in modern Chicago. And nobody in mainstream filmmaking today except Spike Lee could or would have done it.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Has more twists than the Pacific Coast Highway and more layers than a stack of silver-dollar pancakes. If you can wrap your mind around one unlikely condition, the picture provides unalloyed pleasure for connoisseurs of cinematic con artists.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The film was reputedly inspired by Japanese teens who trolled chat rooms to find predators, made assignments, then ganged up to beat offending adults.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The songs are pure joy, for them and for us.
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Deniz Gamze Ergüven, who makes her feature debut as writer-director after a couple of short films, tells the story exclusively from the girls’ point of view – both emotionally, as they have all our sympathy, and physically, as almost nothing happens that one of them could not be seeing.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Reflective, touching, intimate portrait of a samurai facing action in his waning years.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Brilliantly interweaves stories that take place decades apart, and features stellar work by three of the best English-speaking actresses: Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    A taut, consistently surprising political thriller with a sting in its tail.
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The filmmakers beautifully balance goofy moments with Gothic darkness.
    • 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?
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Amy
    Had Amy Winehouse not been a briefly famous musician – had she been an architect or a teacher or even a woman who mopped floors – the documentary Amy might have been nearly as compelling.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Once you accept that he (Neeson) has the badge and gun, you’re in for an exciting trip.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Is “feel-good” a bad word? Critics often think so. But when a movie explores real emotions en route to its gladdening end, when it takes time to touch on serious issues along the way, it earns the right to make us feel good.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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?
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Eastwood has directed five war movies and acted in others, and he knows there’s no single truth to convey about combat.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Miller’s not interested in character development, plot twists or social commentary, with one possible exception. He wanted spectacular stunts, which he achieves with tremendous skill, and a bad-guys-vs.-less-bad-guys pursuit that goes through countless exciting permutations.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Yet nothing in their visually stimulating film registers as strongly as Jolie’s enigmatic, ever-changing face.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Keaton reminds us what a fine actor he could always be.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    This sequel is, by design, entirely absorbing and satisfying without being one whit memorable.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie ends so abruptly you might wonder if a piece is missing, and it relies on one extraordinary coincidence I couldn’t swallow. Yet scene by scene, I found people I knew or wish I knew: Ben’s romantic advice to the straight but awkward Joey would give any boy confidence about himself.
    • 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?
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Whedon has more on his mind than he did in the last one. The Avengers seem not just contentious toward each other but weary, sick of their brutal responsibilities.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    Winterbottom has darkened the tone: The final scene takes place during a golden sunset that brings no closure to either man.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Lawrence Toppman
    For now, the franchise has enough zip and humor to be worthwhile.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    I spent The Kids are All Right wondering whether director Lisa Cholodenko was affectionate toward her self-absorbed characters or gently mocking them. In the end, I thought she was both and liked the film more.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Writer-director Caroline Link (who did the Oscar-nominated "Beyond Silence") adapted Stefanie Zweig's expatriate memoir gracefully, languidly and with full understanding of its heroine.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Super 8 takes its place among the best B-grade science fiction movies of this generation by copying the best of the past 50 years.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It’s the first Pixar effort that feels less like a creative outpouring and more like an obligation met to satisfy a distribution schedule.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie seemed a disappointment at first, until I decided I was missing the point: It’s actually a drama about the way people treat a celebrity – with fear or reverence, as a source of income or reflected glory– and the way their own personalities change around him, while his stays the same. In that way, the film’s a small triumph.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Madden has the wisdom to give most of the heavy emotional lifting to Mirren, who continues to shine at the age of 66.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Reflective, deliberate, building gradually to a climax that left me touched.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Roger Deakins, probably the best living cinematographer never to win an Oscar (he’s 0-for-10), was behind the camera. So the picture never lets us down visually, even when the story occasionally strays.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Like "Shattered Glass," the other picture Billy Ray directed, Breach probes a guilty mind and reveals how he baffled people. We get a Hitchcock-like pleasure from knowing the protagonist is guilty and watching other shocked characters realize his wickedness.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The film seems like a loose and uncredited updating of "The Great Man Votes," a more serious 1939 entry.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Zach Braff, who shot the film near his hometown of South Orange, N.J., directed this drama with subtle flair and wrote a star part that perfectly fit his acting range.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Try as he might, (Hanks) is miscast in Road to Perdition, a partly satisfying gangster drama that amounts to less than the sum of its handsome parts.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Jim Broadbent is the wild card in the cast; he screeches and growls his way through Madame Gasket's lines in the best traditions of British drag.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It never commits the sin of sentimentalizing old age, as Hollywood usually does when it deigns to admit that people over 55 exist.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    If you used this guy's umbilical cord for fishing line, you could land a world-record marlin.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Cohen and his gang are smart enough to know when to quit. Like a loud but amusing guest at a dinner party, Borat collects his coat and goes home just as his hosts are starting to fidget.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The slender story seems overextended at times, with Lu finding new ways each week to insinuate himself into Yu’s life. Zhang doesn’t make a point once if he can make it twice, and the characters don’t change much over the middle hour.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Anonymous is fun – if you take the anti-Shakespearean tale as events set in an unreal, alternate universe.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Bogdanovich adds touches to appeal to serious film fans.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Elf
    Will Ferrell strides through Elf like a crazily cheerful wind-up toy: arms swinging, legs stiff, mouth fixed in an impossibly happy grin, eyes wide with wonder. He's the Christmas gift nobody thought to ask for but everybody will want to play with.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    This loose, slightly lazy sequel is both funnier than the original and more bizarre.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Nobody smells of sagebrush, campfire coffee, tobacco (smoked or chewed) and saddle soap like Duvall.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Bardem delivers the kind of performance the director might have given himself: subdued, thoughtful, wry, sometimes a bit too detached.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Hanks gives one of his least showy and most credible performances.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie comes off as Zootopia without social commentary or nearly as much imagination.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    RED
    One of those rare action comedies that actually delivers action and comedy.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The film whirls by in a satisfying torrent of chases, escapes and discoveries.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It warms the heart in the hands of such sensitive storytellers.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    He presides over the picture with such assurance that even longtime Denzel-watchers gape.
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    If it were 10 minutes shorter, it would've been just the right length and almost wholly honest.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    MacDowell gives an uneven performance, as she often does, but Strathairn is ideally cast as the conflicted husband.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Stallone doesn't pander to audiences with unearned sentiment. He believes in his story, in the inspirational element that has sent thousands of folks running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art over 30 years.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It pays homage to the genre's most glorious days.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    All his facets come through: the satirist, the prankster, the self-described political conservative with libertarian leanings, the anti-authoritarian who urged people to vote, the man tolerant of anything except intolerance.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    That dragon represents the best and worst things about the film. He’s terrifying yet slightly droll.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    If you don’t confuse this with history – or with the French film “Marguerite,” a fictional piece loosely based on FFJ – you’ll come away touched. That’s mostly because of Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    I was a little disappointed by the cop-out ending, in which debut director Gil Kenan gives up the film's frightening elements and comforts the audience with comedy and superficial emotion.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    This installment substitutes psychological action for physical thrills.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The balance between human interaction and mechanical mayhem works well until the end, when flying suits and exploding bodies fill the screen.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie remains quiet and deliberate, a synonym for “boring” in some minds (though not mine). In the end, it becomes an allegory for the times in which we live.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    If the cast were less likeable, the predictability of the story might become wearisome. (Of course, it’s not likely to be predictable if you’re 9.) But all the actors, especially young Fegley and Laurence, engage us.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Someone in most Farrelly movies deserves the Good Sport Award; here it's split between Meryl Streep, who befriends Walt in a long cameo as herself, and Eva Mendes, who plays Walt's galpal in a way that mocks perceptions of her as a well-endowed ninny. Cher should get a share of this prize.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Director Michael William Gordon and writer Jim Davis give us a hopeful feeling about Logan without insisting on solving all his problems – or insisting that God will solve them for him.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The grandest presence here is Eastwood. His directing, like his acting, is minimal: unhurried, spare, unforced, rather somber.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The filmmakers fall back on melodrama fairly often.... Yet there’s freshness in the storytelling.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Bullock and Reeves have an unusual kind of charisma, one that works best when they're apart. Though the filmmakers sometimes put them in the same frame for visual ease, they mostly occupy different times.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Elvis & Nixon offers an entertaining meditation on the how and the why leading up to this famously strange photo.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie gives actors many chances to shine, and they do. But I went away most impressed with Verbinski.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    One of those movies that sticks to your mind like a briar to wool slacks. It has no revelations, no high drama, no heartbreaking tragedy. What it does have is bone-deep honesty, and that's enough for once.

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