Lawrence Toppman
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For 1,418 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 4.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Lawrence Toppman's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 Little Nicky
Score distribution:
1,418 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It offers razor-sharp editing, first-rate performances, direction that yields maximum emotional effect and a flabby, unconvincing screenplay.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    300
    300 is a huge step forward in visually sophisticated storytelling.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Historians at Ellis Island estimate nearly half of all Americans had at least one ancestor pass through there between 1892 and 1954.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Most of the movie feels like a loose, sometimes improvised lark among friends.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Has its own peculiar, loose-knit kind of charm.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The film contains the usual Moore plusses and minuses, now familiar to anyone who's watched even one of his films.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    When the movie becomes pure fantasy, it's impossible to swallow. (No landlord rents an apartment to a 12-year-old with no adult in sight.)
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The energy never lets up, and two committed, unfussy leading actors are an improvement over other summer flicks.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Director Ken Kwapis uses those monster infants perfectly, down to a funny final outtake.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Christian Bale loves to suffer on-screen. Werner Herzog loves to make people suffer on-screen. Rescue Dawn is proof they were made for each other.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Given a choice between this and the navel-gazing of the novel, I'll take the short ride on a fast machine.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It plucks ceaselessly at our heartstrings to play a sad song indeed.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Its sensibility stays true to Gaiman's style: heroic, wryly funny, but bloodthirsty as great fairy tales can often be.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    About a guy who stood on the brink of greatness but, because of one flaw he could never overcome, had to settle for being pretty good before he faded away. Strange, then, that the movie works exactly the same way.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Mangold has been smart or fortunate in casting, and personalities sustain interest even when the narrative flags.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Director Peter Berg and first-time writer Matthew Michael Carnahan do a smooth, efficient job of storytelling most of the way.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The honesty outweighs the hokiness by a fair margin.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Atmosphere is the main virtue with which this "Devil" can tempt us.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A pretty good movie. It just isn't a very good "Sleuth," exactly.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    And in the end, maybe the question of Dennis' origin is irrelevant. He tells David he's come to Earth to try to understand human beings, and that quest is worth a lifetime's effort -- whatever planet you call home.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    At its best, The Mist just wants to make you jump.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It's different from the usual fare in one obvious way -- most of the cast are African Americans -- and, more importantly, in its willingness to leave some problems unsolved and volatile or unhappy people unchanged.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The first two-thirds are classic science fiction, technologically plausible and emotionally resonant. It's only when God enters the picture that things slide downhill.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The book's emotional passages have the power to move us on film, while the one ridiculous coincidence near the end is still ridiculous.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The leads, who were born six weeks apart in 1937, have remarkable hare-and-tortoise chemistry.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Eisele and Washington lacked faith in their material. So they've made the big debate opponent not USC but Harvard, a more clear-cut epitome of the white world of privilege that has to face the hard truths of racial equality.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The three leads all played these characters over multiple seasons on the TV show; they're comfortable in these skins, and they show that. (Confusingly, all three appeared in "City of God" under other characters' names.)
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Choreographer Hi Hat and director Ian Iqbal Rashid kick the film into high gear every so often with dance sequences, climaxing with a dance-off in Detroit that seems too short.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Three-fourths of a terrific thriller, which in this dreary run of winter movies seemed like clear spring water to this parched traveler. The setup is so riveting, the suspense so carefully prolonged, that I didn't mind when it unraveled into lunacy near the end.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    What makes this film appealingly honest are its details, not its grand events.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Statham fans weaned on the adrenaline flowing through "The Transporter" and "Crank" may feel short-changed, but the rest of us can appreciate the unassuming, old-fashioned craftsmanship of The Bank Job, which is based on a true-life heist.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    This isn't a film noir, but it hovers in the shadows of that genre of discontent and disillusionment.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It takes place on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border, and it offers an undeniable argument that life without love is unpalatable on either side.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The comedy, which verges on farce from time to time, also has the smilingly cynical approach to romance that we identify with the French.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    In the end, Leatherheads recalls the gloriously dated sentiments of Grantland Rice, one of that era's beloved sportswriters, expressed 17 years earlier in the poem "Alumnus Football."
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    That's why Forgetting Sarah Marshall, shorter than "Knocked Up" and more focused than "Superbad," tops all other Apatow productions so far.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The fact that I didn't understand a film, that its ending can be interpreted at least two ways and maybe three – all likely to be "true" – usually sends me growling in disgust from the theater. But The Life Before Her Eyes has grown on me in memory.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It's the chemistry between the stars that makes the film stand out in a drab spring.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The film's not really a whodunit or even a whoizzit, so learning his identity matters less than what happens after he reveals it. The film becomes truly French in its attitudes toward thwarted ambition and emotion, right down to an ending that may strike Americans as melodramatic.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A brain-free ride on a cinematic bullet train.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Both the good and bad remind us that the most special thing about "Skull" is the man wearing the fedora and the rakish grin. He has never worn out his welcome, and this valedictory – it can be nothing else – is a fitting one.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Part of the film's failure to arouse real horror is the languid direction; not enough seems to be at stake emotionally.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Edward Norton's a more evocative actor than Eric Bana, and he supplies all the emotions required by Leterrier and writer Zak Penn.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    His movies are thrilling and ridiculous in equal measure, and I often laughed with incredulous approval as he wreaked havoc.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    One of the rare action films that needed to be longer. Then changes in mood wouldn't be so abrupt, and director Peter Berg and writers Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan would've had more time to reveal things we want to know.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The film seems like a loose and uncredited updating of "The Great Man Votes," a more serious 1939 entry.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Often powerful, though presented throughout with British understatement.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Melissa Leo is one of America's most underrated character actresses, and Frozen River confirms that opinion.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    An unforced, sweet-natured story about people who find small ways to touch others and rediscover the good in themselves.
    • 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A thriller that's frequently implausible but almost always thoughtful. It asks us to rethink the way we see Muslims
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It's a smooth journey across familiar territory to a safe emotional harbor, always professional and occasionally delightful.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It's as pitiless and brutal as any of their pictures and funnier than any except "Raising Arizona."
    • 39 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    This is one of the increasingly rare Hollywood films that treat people in middle age as though their feelings were just as intense and their needs just as valid as those of people half their age.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    If you're fond of wigs, you may be in heaven. If you're more interested in Whigs, you may wish the movie had dug deeper under the lovely powdered surface of Lady Georgiana Spencer.
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A sweet, innocent look at an impossibly idealized high school world.
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It warms the heart in the hands of such sensitive storytellers.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    You'll respect him more as an actor if you see this film – and you should, even if you haven't enjoyed the action movies he's made over two decades.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Vaughn delivers every line with his usual deadpan glibness, which suits the part. But I smiled as I watched the big-bellied, multi-chinned actor connecting with the porcelain, model-thin Witherspoon.

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