Lawrence Toppman

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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 2.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Lawrence Toppman's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Touching the Void
Lowest review score: 0 Little Nicky
Score distribution:
1586 movie reviews
    • 53 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    It delivers cop-genre thrills at the pace required and reminds us Omar Epps is a star in the making.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The irony is, this family isn't mismatched: All six bickering characters are connected by empathy as well as blood, and we wait for them to figure that out.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The film takes place half in English, half in French. The chilly, responsibility-laden world of British society contrasts with the sunny, relaxed quality of life in fare-thee-well France. If these seem like cliches, Ozon and Bernheim exploit them so adroitly that they never become stale.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 25 Lawrence Toppman
    Birth, which should never have been conceived, is obscure in every way: visually, philosophically and psychologically.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Just a great, empty wind machine.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It offers razor-sharp editing, first-rate performances, direction that yields maximum emotional effect and a flabby, unconvincing screenplay.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Production values are acceptable in the Klasky Csupo vein. If you know that company, you're prepared for animation that isn't conventionally attractive: flat backgrounds, characters with big heads, pushed-in faces and beanpole limbs.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Wheeler and director Lasse Hallstrom don't want us to take anything too seriously.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Someone Like You is from Hollywood's bottomless box of cliches.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Performances are simple and complementary, and Hidalgo's potential death scene sustains suspense as much as is equinely possible.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    It's a passably made, grittily acted slice of life in Texas that veers not an inch from the norm for this sort of picture.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    A long, slow pity party full of characters who constantly bemoan their fate while telling other people not to pity themselves.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    The story's so sloppy that it contradicts itself constantly.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    A movie for people fascinated by toilets and Sabbath.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Melvin Van Peebles wrote and directed the biting "Don't Play Us Cheap" 30 years ago to complain about racial stereotyping in films. But Hollywood never listened. It kept playing African -Americans cheap in mainstream comedies, whether the directors were white or black. Deliver Us From Eva -- is one of the worst recent offenders.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Punch-Drunk Love buries a terrific performance by Adam Sandler under a heap of faux cleverness, meaningless symbolism and irritating mannerisms.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 67 Lawrence Toppman
    It's got a satisfyingly brisk rhythm and two appealing performances by Brendan Gleeson and Peter MacDonald as good-natured ex-cons. But despite the brogues of their bosses, the tough-guy atmosphere is pleasantly old-hat. [10 July 1998, p.12E]
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 47 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Man on Fire is as ludicrous as "John Q," "Virtuosity" and "Out of Time," yet substantially more violent, artificial, self-conscious and dull.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The plot is thin: You'll guess the villain early, then pick holes in story construction. But Black's ear for mock-noir speeches doesn't fail him, and he gleefully parodies the chase scenes that dominated his action movies.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Long, utterly predictable and always bland.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    There's nothing wrong with Simpson's performance that a head transplant wouldn't cure, and the grinning Reynolds looks Botoxed into immobility.
    • 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.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 12 Lawrence Toppman
    The worst horror sequel of this or many another summer.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Errors in logic will delight the attentive.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It plucks ceaselessly at our heartstrings to play a sad song indeed.
    • 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.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    As Disney-fied as "Pinocchio," barely challenging the images Americans have treasured for 150 years.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Far too clever for its own good.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The whole thing seems to have been faked up for our amusement, like a circus freak show.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Blanchett is riveting.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The two leads don't have sexual chemistry together, but that's part of the point.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    What could have been an all-occasion Hallmark card turns out to be an emotionally genuine love letter to a young man who transformed the town of Anderson, S.C., in the 1970s.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Beyond the philosophizing, Mean Girls is a standard collection of low comic jokes.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The rabbits, foolishly introduced to a land that couldn't support them as they bred and dispersed, are symbols of the English: ravenous, unheeding, ineradicable and a constant threat to the native way of life.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The results have the Coens' usual tartness most of the way, before turning soft and gooey at the center.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Can be unbearably moving or annoyingly mawkish, sometimes in the same scene.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Since there can be no suspense, the point is to enjoy the hewing of limbs and the severing of necks, to delight in chopped-off fingers and gouged-out eyes. The title characters are embodiments of utter evil, right?
    • 42 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Ronan, however, transcends the script. She's innocent yet wise, gentle yet forceful. She's the one thing in this picture that shows how great a movie The Lovely Bones might have been, had the people who made it believed in the book with all their hearts.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    It really gets gloomy.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    The pleasure comes from watching the clever rodents do their stuff. Computerized images have been kept to a minimum, and real animals provide most of the film's atmosphere.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 25 Lawrence Toppman
    It's the cheapest looking, least exciting, least funny Chan project I've ever seen.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The energy never lets up, and two committed, unfussy leading actors are an improvement over other summer flicks.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Most of the movie feels like a loose, sometimes improvised lark among friends.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    A conventionally violent, do-or-die ending on such an unconventional movie.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    There is indeed a murder - two of them, in fact - and the movie proceeds strictly by the numbers laid down long ago in some by-the-book Hollywood writing class.
    • 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.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Ang Lee adds to the mythology with the sweet, gentle Taking Woodstock.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    So wild an approach demands straightforward performances that don't draw attention to themselves, and that's what the actors supply.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie veers from cleverness to crass stupidity. You can never tell whether the next scene will induce loud laughter or contempt; for me, Dodgeball divided right down the middle.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Watching them, you realize how far computers still have to go in accurately depicting the play of muscles as beasts run, crouch and leap. Though Annaud doesn't cut to them for cute reaction shots, as weak directors do, the tigers show near-human fears and affections.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The 23-year-old Evans has been acting just four years, and his near-anonymity makes him well-cast: He's an Everyslacker breezing through life in Santa Monica, the kind of guy who could turn into a hero under the right circumstances or remain a zero the rest of his life.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The Son's Room refers to every room this family will inhabit for a long time -- he's an unseen, ubiquitous presence -- but they may learn to lead ordinary, even joyful lives again.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    A safe same-sex movie the family can embrace. At heart, it's a Britcom: a British situation comedy with superficial characters, mildly naughty humor and a familiarity that may make even homophobes comfy.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Like the star's acting, the movie is bland, full of good intentions and generally as stiff as a fireplace poker.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The special effects, with one painful exception, hold up beautifully. But the people have no personalities, the story is unconvincing, and the whole movie is as shallow as the puddle left on a flat roof by a 20-minute shower.
    • 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 25 Lawrence Toppman
    The plot's as thin as a debutante's cigarette case.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Eventually, though, the movie turns into a "Touched By An Angel" knockoff that dares us not to reach for a hankie while we succumb to its comforting message.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The film isn't quite as striking as its star, but it's just as honest.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    I also wondered how the movie got the title Cradle 2 the Grave. Nobody used the phrase; it didn't apply to any characters; it didn't even turn up in a song. Maybe the filmmakers were saving "Rotten 2 the Core" for the sequel.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    (Mendes') film debut shows he can shock not only with noise and nakedness but with subtle observations.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    It's a gentle look at people who cut themselves off from others and realize consequences too late. If Southern Baptists believed in karma, this would be their touchstone.
    • 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
    • 26 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    No one associated with the film tries very hard, from cinematographer Peter Deming -- San Francisco has never looked so drab -- to composer Mark Isham, whose watery jazz score is meant to summon melancholy but merely relieves insomnia.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    It's watchable, due to the rotoscoping technique...It's also as lightweight as the smoke rings blown by one of many perverse, dull characters.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The most sophisticated and satisfying ghost story on film since "The Sixth Sense."
    • 67 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Good idea for a movie about rebellious Asian Americans doesn't fully pan out.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    The casting is weaker this time. Watching Peck crumble under fear and doubt was like seeing a skyscraper implode; Schreiber's more of a whipped puppy for most of the film.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Starts as a tart little lemon drop of a movie and ends up as a bitter pill. I'm glad to have seen it, for I appreciated Campbell Scott's dominant performance and Jesse Eisenberg's breakthrough. But I hope writer-director Dylan Kidd mixes less acid into the next drink he pours.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    This fairy-tale quality gives director Clooney, who's making his debut behind the camera, his stylistic clue. He's in perfect sync with writer Kaufman; they treat even the most "serious" scenes like Monty Python routines.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Outdated before it opened today.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Without Essel, this might have been a run-of-the-mill dark comedy. With the 86-year-old British thespian, it's a wickedly funny and audacious movie in which she puts her capable co-stars in the shade.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Goodman exudes doltish kindness, Dillon a hapless gentleness, Reiser a vulgar buoyancy. Douglas turns in the best performance.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Chaotic, sometimes funny.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    This is one of the few recent westerns that requires you to keep your eyes open and memory engaged.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    The giddiest and funniest animated film of the year.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    If you really must see Miami Vice (and you mustn't), buy a ticket to something better, then slip into "Vice" at the 95-minute mark and watch the last third of the movie. No one involved will profit by your curiosity, and you won't miss a thing of importance.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Most of Meet the Robinsons plays like a movie made by ADD adults for ADD children.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    The picture brims over with ideas - good ones, silly ones, maudlin ones, witty ones, absurd ones - and they bump up against each other like ingredients in a vast stewpot that never comes to a continuous boil.
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 44 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    The sequel to the 2008 hit “Twilight” makes no effort to satisfy outsiders. It's strictly for devotees who won't balk at plot absurdities, clunky dialogue and patchy characterizations.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Picks up steam from the ominous opening scene and ends as a quietly suspenseful thriller.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    It flies apart when it clumsily introduces humor at a funeral or an application for death benefits.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Partly a travelogue for the Greek islands, partly a simplistic love story, and generally a rehash of the Oscar-winning "Mediterraneo," as if we needed even the first one.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Soderbergh and writer Ted Griffin added plot twists that will catch you off-guard, dumped the clever ending and worked in a love story that's as superfluous as elevator shoes on Shaquille O'Neal.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Movies about artists play fast and loose with truth, but this is a hoot.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    A frantic, heartless hodgepodge of pieces from James Bond movies, Indiana Jones adventures, "Star Wars" and half a dozen legends.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The picture's consistently entertaining and, though it has few brilliant comic peaks, it never plunges into boring valleys.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    King Kong, a labor of love that's visually stunning and moving in its best moments, is also bloated, shallow, clunky, full of illogical scenes and at least an hour too long.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Li plays haughty, brilliant wushu master Huo Yuanjia, whose recklessness leads to tragedy after he becomes a champion at the end of the 19th century.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Looks as if it were thrown together as carelessly as slum housing.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    A typical shallow caper film. Just assume the truth is the exact opposite of what's happening.
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lawrence Toppman
    Pixar's employees, masters of computer-generated animation, capture the look of the ocean like no artists before.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Will dazzle you while establishing the world in which it takes place. After that, you may wonder whether Guillermo del Toro got amnesia halfway through.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 25 Lawrence Toppman
    This movie is an act of hubris so huge that, in Alexander's time, it would draw lightning bolts from contemptuous gods. Today it will get sniggers from stunned critics and a collective yawn from a public unlikely to share Stone's egomania.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Whatever you think of Melinda and Melinda, you have to admire Woody Allen for this: After years of criticism that he didn't use people of color in films, he's written two interracial romances.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The lack of attacks lets us concentrate on emotions rather than explosions.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    The film's as chaotic and heavy-handed as "Summer of Sam" without the same sense of harsh reality.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Excruciatingly flat comedy.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Most of the time the movie limps amiably toward its feeble conclusion.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    The writer-producer-director of American Dreamz makes nearly every mistake in the satirical book. His targets are either too easy or too dated. He's inconsistent in his attitudes toward them. His stereotypes are stale.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 25 Lawrence Toppman
    Babbit clumsily underlines emotional moods.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Plusses and minuses work out about evenly, if you compare the sequel to "Sorcerer's Stone." The three young leads act with more assurance; Radcliffe emerges as a leader, rather than one leg of a triangle. (Too bad he no longer expects to make all seven of the proposed pictures.)
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The film offers an unusually rounded picture of a Latino family. All the men work, getting up early to do blue-collar jobs that demand dedication and responsible behavior. (We don't see much of them, but they have a strong presence in the household.)
    • 43 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    As a movie, it's a mixed bag with a huge amount of heart.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    A marginally above average crime caper with one big plot twist that's pretty tough to believe but mildly interesting to consider.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Somewhere inside "School" lurks a heartwarming or hilarious movie, perhaps both.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    I can't explain the film's main problem without giving plot points away; suffice to say that, after decades of watching Earth, Klaatu's team of observers has missed a crucial event you and I witness every day. I can tell you about the secondary problem, though: too much money.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Mottola also wrote the screenplay, which is most fresh and honest when dealing with supporting characters.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A Kafkaesque series of interwoven stories that depict the hopeless lives half the populace there (Iran) must lead.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    It's watchable from start to finish, despite lapses in common sense, and it boasts a terrific cast of over-40 actors.
    • 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.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Just Will Ferrell doing the same man-boy shtick he usually does.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    A feel-nothing movie – a series of disconnected, implausible incidents that end as arbitrarily as they began, in an effort to inspire emotions the picture never justifies.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Good acting from the three principals – four, if we count Max Thieriot as the son – keeps this leaky craft afloat for quite a while.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    If you like films short, sweet and soothing, this may be exactly your "Dish."
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    To adapt it for a 130-minute movie, Irving ruthlessly cut away subplots, eliminated supporting characters and pared down the traits of the ones that remain.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Handsome and competently acted and prettily shot and all the other things critics say when what they really want to scream is "Aaaaaaaargh! No more Jane Austen adaptations, ESPECIALLY not Pride and Prejudice.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A smooth, often funny, occasionally thoughtful romantic comedy.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    (The filmmaker) never does achieve the breakthrough with her father that she and we hoped for.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Like the story, Kline builds in intensity: He has no flowery speeches that would be untrue to his character, but he leaves a clear impression of a man who values knowledge and the imparting of it above all else.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The yarn itself is a winning one.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    “Blood” may carry us into the past, but the unhappy effects linger today, like pollution darkening a sky that never turned completely blue.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Turn a potentially unforgettable movie into a broad crowd-pleaser that sustains itself on three acting performances.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Worthwhile IMAX look at the ways nations cooperated to build Space Station Destiny, and what they hope to achieve.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Nicholson operates in full-bore demonic mode in Anger Management, eclipsing gentle star Adam Sandler and satisfying everybody who's been waiting for Hollywood's Wild Man to cut loose once more.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    By refusing to take anything seriously (including himself), Shatner lifts the movie to a truly funny level of absurdity. Soon, though, it goes back to being the type of buddy picture Hollywood stamps out like stale cookies.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Yi Yi is an intimate movie, for all its length and complexity.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Writers Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis aim for the soufflé-style comedy audiences ate up greedily 40 years ago, but the film falls flat.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    I do wonder why a gay director's best-known movies about straight guys, Talk to Her and "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!," suggest that satisfying relationships with women are most easily achieved if they're 1) unconscious or 2) in bondage.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    These pros lift this button-pushing blob of faux folksiness to a higher plane than it deserves.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The casting of Daniels, Tyson and Saint, all of whom underplay effortlessly, was shrewd.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Unimaginative.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Most of the actors keep an icicle-stiff upper lip except for Winslet, who darts around like a finch with a beak full of sunflower seeds, and Burrows, who exudes a musk of refined sexiness.
    • 9 Metascore
    • 12 Lawrence Toppman
    It's bombastic, chaotic, plodding, visually dreary and patchily written.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Defies logic, the laws of physics and almost anyone's willingness to believe in it. But darned if it doesn't also keep us riveted to our seats.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Lee sleepwalks through his part, even in romantic scenes with equally bland Cameron Richardson.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Green knows how to convey a mood visually and develop tension with his camera. He just doesn't give people enough interesting things to say or know when to shut them up.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Like virtually all fish stories, it's discursive, funny, full of boasting, a suspect mix of truth and lies with an emphasis on the latter.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Jon Favreau, J.K. Simmons, Thomas Lennon and half a dozen other capable comedians drift in and out. Yet the movie seems long even at 105 minutes.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Mature folks may wonder why a simple and simply beautiful story from their youth has been buried under layers of emotion Woody Allen's psychiatrist might want to pick over.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Lawrence plus latex equals laughs.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 25 Lawrence Toppman
    Not even the repeated sight of Jessica Alba in a bikini, the camera caressing her like the eyes of a strip-club patron, can lift this leaden refuse off the ocean floor.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Everyone's entitled to a slump, and this is only the first blah film in five for Guest.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Reason to make Shrek the Third: Probable earnings of $400 million worldwide. Reasons not to make Shrek the Third: Played-out characters. Bland villain. Novice directors. Slipshod plotting. No compelling story or emotional depth.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Doesn't reveal all its layers until you've taken the last bite.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    95 breezy minutes that typify cotton-candy filmmaking.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    For all the silliness, Kaufman is posing a serious question: Are we better off forgetting things that brought us pain, especially if we didn't change or grow as a result? You may not agree with his conclusion, but who else in Hollywood would pose this query at all, or explore it in such a daffy, gratifyingly inventive way?
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Trumping its predecessor with a tauter plot, a lower body count and just as many edge-of-the-seat jolts.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Flaccid remake of a tough 1966 original.
    • 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.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    It's not only an ultraviolent, ludicrously inconsistent rip-off of Bradbury's idea, but it poisons the well for future efforts.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Despite juggled storytelling, the movie's compelling.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    We get pleasure watching two sets of likeable, convincing actors move toward their foreordained futures. The film's affecting ending proves familiarity needn't breed contempt, after all.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Slight, enjoyable comedy.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The most radical thing about the movie, the thing that may make it most appealing to modern audiences, is that the filmmakers say both sides are right.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    There's plenty to offend Christians and non-Christians in Saved! but little to trouble either: The movie vanishes in memory like morning mist expelled by the first stiff breeze.
    • 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.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    If only Hollywood studios weren't so addicted to happy, oversimplified endings, the film might leave us shaken instead of slightly stirred.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The Rock isn't always comfortable delivering dialogue. He's handsome, physically sculpted and farther along dramatically than Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Conan the Barbarian," but he's still learning the simple acting skills an action hero needs.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Characters behave arbitrarily and incredibly, and a clumsy resolution brings the film to a thudding halt.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    The setup doesn't make sense from the get-go.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The dangers in the lives of these Catholic teens are self-made; they spring from small-town boredom and lead to a conclusion that's meant to be emotionally crushing but is only slightly affecting.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Grant handles the slapstick humor gracefully and speaks his lines with sincerity and warmth.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The film moves swiftly and unerringly to its conclusion. Spielberg remains under Stanley Kubrick's directorial spell.
    • 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.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Who else in Hollywood would've met a non-actor with spina bifida (Rene Kirby), created a role for him, then shot him dancing and skiing on his hands to show how easily he fit into society?
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 34 Metascore
    • 25 Lawrence Toppman
    It's the poster child for bad taste, not to mention bad construction.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Portman doesn't catch fire until the second half, then heaves herself into emotional action; this suits her initially passive, mostly unthinking character. Weaving, who acts entirely with his voice, is V's ideal embodiment: witty, rueful, pitiless, visionary and mad.
    • 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
    Has its own peculiar, loose-knit kind of charm.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Peter Berg directs the action sequences cleverly at first. Then he starts to behave as though a hornet flew down his pants at the instant he aimed the camera. He's not much of a dialogue director, but there's not much dialogue.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    The real stars are the orchestrators and musicians who swaddled Spacey in a gorgeous blanket of sound.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Fanboys won't mind the absence of depth or emotion; they may even welcome it for making the film more representative of its comic-book origins. The rest of us, however, cannot rejoice at the overspending and overkill likely to come in Hellboy III.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Ali
    Overlong, entertaining, sense-assaulting drama.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    This might all have been silly fun -- as it was in the 1999 version -- except for the carelessness of the whole picture.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Heartfelt, if rather repetitive, documentary.
    • 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.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    State-of-the-art.
    • 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."
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Balances brains, brawn and heart in ideal proportions. The actors - some first-rate, all enjoyable - never get overshadowed by the special effects, which dazzle us without gory excess.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Steven Zaillian never seems completely at home with these characters, not because he's white but because he's a cerebral screenwriter frustrated with a story that gives him little that's meaningful to say. Like Washington and Crowe, he's a chef functioning here as a short-order cook: The meal's perfectly edible but falls short of delicious.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The most thoughtfully satisfying of the first six books.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    An unrepentantly rude, anti-seasonal dish of malice and mischief. Director Terry Zwigoff works from a story that originated with the Coen brothers and passed through at least four writers, including him...The results may leave you aghast or breathless with laughter, but you won't be neutral.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 25 Lawrence Toppman
    Does David Arquette have a career? If so, what's he doing in this unintentionally hilarious gangster movie?
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The longer film makes Donnie's intentions clearer, explains the time-travel theme better and also leaves us in no doubt as to Frank's identity.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    A middlebrow hybrid that should satisfy most fans of spy movies without blowing them away.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    For all the satisfying details in the script, the big picture remains hopelessly and intentionally trite.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    It comes from Pixar, the animation studio that scored with the "Toy Story" series and "A Bug's Life," and it has more zip and a tad less soul than those predecessors.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The cancer of dishonesty begins to grow half an hour into the film, and it riddles the picture by the end.
    • 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.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    There's a potentially good story rattling around somewhere inside this broken, self-contradictory and finally meaningless film.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The filmmakers would have been better advised to stick with the Zeroes and spend less time making up heroes.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Ghost Ship, which can best be described by altering one consonant in the second word, sustains the stylishness of its opening for exactly three minutes.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The actors were mostly nondescript, sometimes noticeably clumsy. Stunt coordinator Dion Lam brought a bit of freshness to the martial arts choreography, but the rest of the film was as stale as a week-old carp on a fish vendor's pushcart.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Whedon wants to make a Serenity trilogy, and I suspect the actors will grow on me if he does. In this case, familiarity would breed not contempt but comfort.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Hank Greenberg was to Jews what Jackie Robinson was to African Americans: a great athlete, handsome and hard-working, who took the first line of abuse from bigots and proved that his people belonged at the highest level of professional sports.
    • 19 Metascore
    • 12 Lawrence Toppman
    Zomboid, convoluted excuse for a thriller is among year's worst.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Dahl has directed half a dozen sardonic noir movies, dating back to "Kill Me Again" in 1989, so he should have been the ideal choice for this material. But even he can't make chicken salad from a pile of beaks, bones and claws.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    However much Underworld recycles elements from other films, it carries us into a well-constructed, convincingly scary world worth visiting.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    A brazen title card declares this " true story." (Wow, not even "based on.") However many facts may be accurate, the movie feels contrived, with climax piled upon climax.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Writer-director Patty Jenkins makes an impressive debut, showing savvy that often eludes old pros.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    I didn't believe most of what I saw until the last 20 minutes, and whaddaya know? This thriller finally cast the spell it had been trying to achieve and lifted itself above the pack of late-summer, clean-out-the-studio-attic releases.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Despite Hunter's terrific acting, the mom seems too unaware.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Director Ken Kwapis uses those monster infants perfectly, down to a funny final outtake.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    It's obviously meant to help his presidential candidacy - why release it a month before the election, otherwise? - and for the first 7 minutes, it plays like a campaign commercial about young John's integrity, hard work and humble roots.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    It's a run-of-the-mill action film that falls short of the 1976 original - and, for that matter, the 1959 western "Rio Bravo," which inspired the first film. The characters run out of energy and personality long before they run out of bullets.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    If you're put off by deliberate filmmaking (or subtitles, though the movie doesn't have much dialogue), you're in the wrong spot. If not, you'll see why voters gave "Atanarjuat," as it's officially called, a 2002 Oscar nomination for best foreign film.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    It depicts a world close enough to our own to be terrifying, yet different enough to rouse curiosity.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    A follow-up with as much artistic integrity, complexity, humor and well-designed action as the original.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 42 Lawrence Toppman
    Mighty Joe Young is based on the 1949 film of the same name, and it's nominally more aware of '90s concerns: destruction of the gorillas' habitats, illegal hunting, trade in animal body parts. On the other hand, it's no more enlightened about the intrinsic value of these clever, emotionally complex creatures. [25 Dec 1998, p.13E]
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    When George Lucas last pulled off an original idea for a feature film, Bill Clinton was still thought of by many voters as overweight and chaste.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    The juice in "Man" comes from supporting characters.
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 34 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    When the film stumbles to its last and silliest conclusion, you realize much of the plot line was unnecessary -- or couldn't have happened at all!
    • 77 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    The loosely autobiographical 8 Mile, an uneven but watchable drama about life in Detroit's slums, begins the shrewd transformation of vitriolic rapper Eminem into a mainstream figure.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 25 Lawrence Toppman
    Director Ivan Reitman used to know how to tell a silly story, back around the time of "Stripes" and "Ghostbusters."
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Entertaining and preposterous in nearly equal amounts.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    It's yet another warm, fuzzy, New-Age tale that cozies us into believing the grave doesn't mean oblivion.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Breakfast on Pluto, like its cross-dressing heroine, is appealing yet irritating, fun company at times but just as often a bore, occasionally quite touching yet frequently fey and self-indulgent.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    On first acquaintance, Seabiscuit seems to be about anything but horse racing: the disappearance of the American frontier after 1910, our love affair with automotive speed, the passing of a rural way of life, homelessness during the Depression.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    De Palma makes us sweat; slow, quiet scenes are as nerve-bending as occasional explosions and the final, frantic battle. He calls himself a director for hire on projects such as this and "The Untouchables," where he has little input before shooting. But his skill at maintaining tension is his main asset, and he uses it to the max here. [24 May 1996, p.1E]
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 55 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    What keeps this from cloying? Universally good performances, led by Banderas' blazing intensity.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    It's gently funny, modestly scary in spots, full of valuable but low-key observations about life.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    There's an extraordinary subplot in Blood Diamond, sandwiched between a main story meant to arouse outrage and a Hollywood-clumsy finale meant to provoke a standing ovation.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Though the writing isn't always specific, Williams is. He differentiates between the murderer in "Insomnia," who wants a cop to understand his motives, and Sy, who realizes no one ever could.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Any of the key relationships would have been grist enough for one movie's mill, but "Feast" crams them all together.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Reviewers sometimes insult actors by saying they don't vary their expressions across an entire movie. But until Knowing, I never thought that could literally be true. Nicolas Cage does widen his eyes with about 15 minutes left in the film.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    A question: If you hire actresses from England, Kansas, Ireland and Michigan, shouldn't someone teach them all to do believable Southern accents -- and remind them to keep doing those accents as the film goes on?
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    It can devote itself entirely to bodily functions or, having established its grossness quotient, take the high road toward satire like its 2004 predecessor, "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle." It fails mainly because it does neither.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    So I was curious to see why we needed a two-hour documentary about the three-hit wonder who cast away his career halfway through life and coasted on celebrity status for 30 years. After seeing Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, I'm still not convinced we do.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    The problem isn't that Tarantino's in love with death; it's that he's deadly dull. Even "Natural Born Killers" made a stab at social commentary and satire of America?s celebrity-mad media. Kill Bill merely giggles through gore and asks you to smile at its style.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Where "Wedding" introduced us to a Greek family most of us had never seen before, "Connie" plays out like a clumsy episode of "Laverne and Shirley:" familiar, phony and forgettable.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Like a story-spinner from the "Tales of the Arabian Nights," Steven Spielberg begins by demanding we accept impossible things. If we do, his spell can enchant us; if not, it must vanish like colored smoke.
    • 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
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The result owes a little to the 1927 "Metropolis," a little to film noir, a little to early depictions of H.G. Wells' science fiction -- notably the 1936 "Things to Come" -- and a little to lovably far-fetched sci-fi serials.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    Writers John Brancato and Michael Ferris must figure the blinking lights on Angela's screen will cloud our brains. They ask us to ignore plotholes the size of craters... Nor does director Irwin Winkler shoot scenes suspensefully. [28 July 1995, p.9F]
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    The only thing they don't take time for is characterization, which the story badly needs.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    It requires an almost childlike faith to get into the spirit of Stroke of Genius, an old-fashioned willingness to believe that the world was once this way - and might, somehow, become this way again.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Disney's updated, animated version respects its source material while aiming at kids who grew up with extreme sports and edgy music.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    It's a drab jumble of meaningless action, dull characters and animation as flat and superficial as its story.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Folks wanting to hear the usual New Testament message will be pleased; others may feel that the tension dissolves in homilies and wish the main character weren't led around by a blonde-haired little angel in a white dress.
    • 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?
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    By the end, Wilbur becomes an unusually complicated character: We empathize with his suffering, find his selfishness appalling, enjoy his gloomy wit and frank self-appraisal.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    I've just seen The Core, and I have a piece of advice for Hilary Swank: Don't quit your night job.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    The outcome is alternately unsatisfying, meaningless, contradictory and laughable.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    I don't mean to be negative, but I want Orny Adams hung naked over a pit of snapping crocodiles. That said, Comedian is a lightweight but appealing backstage film about two performers.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    What does it say about a picture when the highest praise must go to impressive scenery?
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The whole thing's as phony as a funeral oration from a pastor who never knew the deceased.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    When will the people who adapt comic books into films realize that less can be so much more?
    • 61 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    Someone watching Stop-Loss with younger eyes might feel the heat of the main soldier's dilemma more than I did, but I couldn't help thinking director Kimberly Peirce was presenting us with abstract ideas in the forms of half-realized characters.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    The director lingers over images, watching builders at work or Baran at her chores; the camera often seems to daydream, like Lateef. No grand climax caps the film, but the small incidents have a cumulative effect.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    Thornton and Heder perform at about half their maximum wattage, which isn't enough to power the inert script.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    If you're the kind of person who goes to the movies primarily to watch faces melt to pulp, you won't be disappointed.
    • Charlotte Observer
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    The year's least necessary and most unimaginative remake slogs half-heartedly to its pre-destined conclusion without making a ripple.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    Kasdan ends up with an intellectually dishonest movie about intellectual dishonesty.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The first movie I'd have enjoyed more asleep. That's not because it put me to sleep, but because it may be the most dreamlike film I've ever seen.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Lawrence Toppman
    The Soloist does have the courage to be true to the real Ayers' fate at last, after the exaggerations end. And the smart, hard-working Foxx and Downey ensure that their scenes all stay grittily honest.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The movie gives away its shifty-eyed villain almost immediately. What it doesn't give away is why he betrayed his trust, who wants the president dead or what they hope to gain by killing him.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The special effects look like a high school science project: The giants are clearly rear projections behind the real actors, and that snake is as rubbery as a garden hose.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 63 Lawrence Toppman
    An old-fashioned suspense drama with an old-fashioned belief at its core: Justice can be done in the world, and the United Nations is the global organization to do it.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 38 Lawrence Toppman
    "Man" is like a sour, half-formed version of a TV sitcom full of dislikable, disconnected characters.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Lawrence Toppman
    Each major character is complex, none more so than Bill. He's almost Shakespearean in scope.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Lawrence Toppman
    The surprising thing about Michael Moore's polemic is not one-sidedness, which was a given: It's his failure to find devastating new weapons of mass destruction to aim at Bush's head. The smoking guns he holds up often fire blanks, and the ones that don't are mostly derringers.

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