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 Shutter Island
Lowest review score: 0 Little Nicky
Score distribution:
1,417 movie reviews
    • 83 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Melissa Leo is one of America's most underrated character actresses, and Frozen River confirms that opinion.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Daybreakers is more serious, from its A-list cast to its political commentary, with blood as a metaphor for oil. Like the best genre films, it has something on its mind.
    • 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.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The writing is haphazard at times, though the situations are funny enough in themselves to sustain our interest.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It's mostly a disturbingly believable portrait of a psychopath whose true depths of rage are buried where none but he can see. The ironically named Plainview does not come into plain view until the last scene, and the lupine, scowling Day-Lewis is mesmerizing in the role.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The Coen brothers have never really accepted the idea that a movie has to have a plot. Offbeat characters, sure. Oblique dialogue that sounds meaningful and occasionally is so, absolutely. Eye-catching cinematography and a subtle, mood-reinforcing soundtrack, no question. Irony layered on thickly as cheese in good lasagna, yes. But a narrative that makes sense from end to end? Well, one doesn't have room for everything.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Mottola also wrote the screenplay, which is most fresh and honest when dealing with supporting characters.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Watchmen is a fitting tribute to Alan Moore's fascinating graphic novel, even if he refused to let his name be used in the credits.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Pattison grows on us as he grows on Bella: His weird mannerisms and nervous delivery stop seeming like quirks and acquire an intensity that's hard to resist by the end.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A brain-free ride on a cinematic bullet train.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Most of the movie feels like a loose, sometimes improvised lark among friends.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Button has a wide-eyed innocence that almost never palls. It strays far from the mind of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but often enough it came near to my heart.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Characters in Breillat's movies often make sex their god, lose faith in it, then find their lives hollow and grim. Bergman wouldn't have been so concerned with bodily woes, but he'd have understood.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Comedy comes from an exaggeration of reality, not reality itself -- and on that score, Diablo Cody's first screenplay gets high marks.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It offers razor-sharp editing, first-rate performances, direction that yields maximum emotional effect and a flabby, unconvincing screenplay.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It's as pitiless and brutal as any of their pictures and funnier than any except "Raising Arizona."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie feels operatic at times. Tempestuous arias play on the soundtrack, and Puccini figures directly.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Though its grosses may not soar into the realm occupied by "Superbad" and "American Pie," it has more sympathy for its characters.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    For once, I didn't feel cheated by an unresolved ending, but let's hope this is the end. Robert Ludlum wrote three Bourne novels, and this is one series that ought not to be dishonored by inferior sequels.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    For the first time in memory, the film ends not just with the promise of more Bonds but without a firm conclusion.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    300
    300 is a huge step forward in visually sophisticated storytelling.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    I never thought I'd crack up watching a family mourn the death of a beloved daughter. But I've never seen a film quite like The Host, and that's far from the most bizarre thing in it.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie should come with the tag line “Don't try this at home,” because the method has near-fatal pitfalls. Yet the characters' clumsy emotional growth shows us there's hope even for a stumbling father and two sons groping toward peace.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Whatever you feel about Truman Capote, you won't be able to turn away from him here.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    This combination of tightly controlled farce and gross-out comedy works unexpectedly well, until the filmmakers lose their nerve at last and settle for cozy homilies. Still, four-fifths of a rarity is about twice as much as studios deliver nowadays.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    In its design, at least, Mindhunters"surpasses all other Christie knockoffs.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The casting of Daniels, Tyson and Saint, all of whom underplay effortlessly, was shrewd.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie has been shot with love and wisdom, and its implausible premise doesn't get in the way of a sweetness and honesty too rarely seen.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Remains gripping until the final 15 minutes, when a series of sudden, unjustified plot twists leave us shaking our heads.
    • 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.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    This is his (Kutcher) most relaxed and sensitive work on film.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The picture's consistently entertaining and, though it has few brilliant comic peaks, it never plunges into boring valleys.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The unspoken heroes of the project are cinematographer Peter Biziou, who finds all the beauty in Cornwall's landscapes, and U.S. violinist Joshua Bell, who extracts beauty without schmaltz from every violin solo.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Ferrell's ideally suited to man-boy characters, and that's what Phil Weston is in "Kicking."
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Its crass good humor makes it an enjoyable, reasonably faithful but over-the-top successor to the original.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It honors the tone of that wonderful comedy while setting it in present-day New York City.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It's a satisfying experience, whatever kind of picture you label it.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Bay's movie couldn't be more timely; whatever you think about this subject, you might admire his attempt to come to grips with it in a summer blockbuster.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Reminds me of the golden retriever that lived next door long ago: endearing, consistently sweet-natured, ready for a brisk turn around familiar territory as long as no strenuous intellectual demands are ever made.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A clever blend of the high school comedy and the superhero genre.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A terrific thriller...until it turns into yet another Wes Craven movie.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Fans expecting horror won't want a thought-provoking, well-acted courtroom drama about the intersection of religious belief and the law.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Lee pulled me into this coming-of-age story as if it were mine; there's a universal quality to his nostalgia that might satisfy anybody, whether you grew up hearing Beethoven or "Boogie Oogie Oogie."
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie gives actors many chances to shine, and they do. But I went away most impressed with Verbinski.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The result is an odd mix of honesty and hokum that pilots a course toward greatness before settling into a somewhat lower orbit.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The best thing about the picture is Harry's new maturity: For the first time, he dominates a picture named for him.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Cash made some untamed, exhilarating sounds in its formative days. Walk the Line is strongest when it shows him in love with either his music or his muse.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    If you fell in love with the big-hearted sentimentality of Rent when you saw it onstage, the film version will remind you why. If you think Jonathan Larson's musical is ponderous agitprop, the movie won't change your view.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    At the heart of the film, beyond the human/crawler conflict, is the suppressed tension between Sarah and Juno. That Marshall bothered to include such a fillip sets him apart from run-of-the-mill scaremongers; it makes me want to see what else he's done and will do.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Don't be misled by the chopsticks and cherry blossoms: Memoirs of a Geisha, for all its exotic casting and locale, is our friend "Cinderella" in a kimono.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Unlike its subject, "Henderson" breaks no new ground. But like its reliable star, it's a welcome exponent of a valued tradition.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A loving interpretation of C.S. Lewis's beloved parable for children, and it's almost perfect in every detail. Yet there's the one difficulty: It's almost perfect in every detail, fully realized in too few.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Would you feel anxiety or remorse if you pulled the trigger on Osama bin Laden, however satisfying or even necessary it might be? Munich argues that finding him in our rifle sights would leave any of us a different person.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Carrey rolls his eyes and waggles his arms, and Leoni keeps up with him while pushing less hard. He externalizes, she internalizes, and the balance works as it might in a good marriage.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    One of the best things about real Americans is that we can stand criticism. Informed or idiotic, scholarly or superficial, it's all welcome.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The film works best among the beasts. Their training is impeccable, their emotions are palpable, and almost all of their behavior is credible. One "Jaws"-like encounter sends a carnivorous leopard seal after a fleeing canine, and it's as tense as anything I hope to see this spring.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The film doesn't lose its way emotionally; it's full of great monologues about loss and responsibility.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie Night Watch is - oh hell, I don't know what it is. Imaginative. A mess. A small miracle, if really filmed for $5 million. (Although in rubles, that's probably a huge budget.) The first Russian horror movie I've seen. The first horror movie I've seen of any kind with subtitles.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    To enjoy it, you have to make a leap of faith wide enough to sail over a Grand Canyon of disbelief.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    16 Blocks is a burger movie, served by an old pro: 76-year-old director Richard Donner, who hasn't done work this interesting since the other Bush was president but who knows his way around a thriller.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Go with the flow, and it remains a taut and well-engineered thriller. Poke at plot incongruities, as I was doing literally on the way to the parking lot, and it starts to unravel.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The mediocre original, hampered by a saccharine plot and unconvincing reversals of character, earned lots of money but few plaudits. Now comes Ice Age: The Meltdown, a sequel with more humor, topicality, intelligence and appeal.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It's overwrought and overplotted, but it's plenty of fun.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    In an elemental way, though, the film always works. The acting can be basic, a cross between Bollywood directness and Western nuance, but it has weight.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    When "Hedge" clicks on all cylinders, Chuck Jones smiles down from heaven.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A movie that's smarter than its trailer - in fact, totally different in tone and content? That's news, and it's why The Break-Up is a pleasant surprise to the open-minded.
    • 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.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Last week, the American Film Institute named "It's a Wonderful Life" the most inspiring movie in the history of the English language. The film was initially a flop, but it's now considered so perfect that nobody would dare remake it - under that title. Folks who see Click will have no trouble connecting the dots.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The film has such an expansive, likeable spirit.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie is not credible, even in an inner-city setting. At the same time, it's touching.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Another surefire sports biography from Disney.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    I felt depressed when I realized all 87 minutes had passed without one word about forgiving sin or reaching out to the image of God in neighbors who don't think as you do.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It's hard to fault a script that keeps finding new dilemmas for characters and rewards attentive viewers with in-jokes.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Eastwood thrusts us into the period with an understated piano score (which he composed) and authentic production design by Henry Bumstead, who died last May after working on the film at 90. (He collaborated with Eastwood on 11 films, including the Oscar-winning "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby," and he's a dedicatee of "Flags.")
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Fire shows what happens when a government systematically denies rights to one racial group for decades, but its message is more current.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Most importantly, Shut Up & Sing is about what happens in the music industry to people who won't.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    As usual, Almodovar finds unusual camera angles to break up the straightforward storytelling. But for the first time I recall, not a single male character is crucial to his story, and no actor has a leading role. You won't miss them.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Though all but two students look too old, their interpretations are unanimously fine.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    This seemingly simple thriller has two subtexts, one more overt than the other, that should give pause to people who claim Hollywood is always too left-wing.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The film soars in the right places, especially when powerful newcomer Jennifer Hudson sings, and the charismatic supporting cast keeps it chugging forward.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Everything from the book is inserted with wisdom and care, and everything added to pander to kids with short attention spans or adults who need an overtly religious message is unnecessary.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The best vampire movie I've seen in years.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie is based on the life of California high school teacher Erin Gruwell, played with captivating honesty by Hilary Swank, yet it feels like the usual Hollywood exaggerations.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Could pass for any serial killer movie except for some pertinent philosophizing about the nature of evil and the operations of the soul.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The planets aligned favorably, and this "Music" is sweet without cloying the appetite. It follows the meetcute-kissyface-breakup-reunion pattern of most of its kind, but the behavior seems more genuine and the situations less forced.
    • 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    I knew blues music can make you feel you're not alone when your woman has gone, and rock your soul when you're on top of the world. But until I saw Black Snake Moan, I didn't know it could also cure nymphomania.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It's about black athletes, and they swim. It's as reassuringly uplifting as its predecessors, but the African-American and aquatic elements set it pleasantly apart.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Call it "Talladega Ice," and you can be nearly certain whether or not you want to see it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Exactly the right length. That sounds like faint praise, but isn't it rare? Many movies drag past the points where they should stop; others end abruptly, leaving you to wonder at things unexplained or unconcluded.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Most of Meet the Robinsons plays like a movie made by ADD adults for ADD children.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Wheeler and director Lasse Hallstrom don't want us to take anything too seriously.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    I won't be able to talk anybody into or out of the Pirates of the Caribbean experience now, so I'll simply offer sage advice: Hit the bathroom just before it starts. To miss any five-minute chunk of this densely plotted trilogy-capper will leave you confused.