Lisa Schwarzbaum
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For 1,909 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 71% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 27% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Lisa Schwarzbaum's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Skyfall
Lowest review score: 0 Gummo
Score distribution:
1,909 movie reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Exquisitely structured, pitiless study of a middle-aged man trapped in a stagnant emotional weather pattern.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Out of the zany strictures of Dogma 95...Danish newcomer Thomas Vinterberg has made a funny, volatile, visually dynamic story about the unraveling of one extended family during the course of a patriarchal 60th-birthday dinner.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    What could have been a parlor game becomes a surprisingly rich sketchbook, boosted by the work of fine actors.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Without doing anything so divisive as taking sides, The Counterfeiters pays sympathetic attention to those who play their cards to win even when the rules are terrible, not least because the remarkable Markovics, an Austrian TV actor with a pugnacious anvil of a head, is so riveting as an unsaintly survivor.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Campion's big-sisterly encouragement of Cornish's lovely, openhearted performance -- and Whishaw's well-matched response -- results in a character instantly, intimately recognizable to anyone remembering her own first love.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Even blood, spilled so freely, has a distinctive intensity of red in this beautiful and harrowing film.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's a tiny, sunny character study about a fat guy who's an unlikely chick magnet. And as such it's a pip.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    One hell of a creepy little eco-horror picture.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    In Please Give, the sharp-eyed filmmaker sends her vibrant representative out into the world to explore what it means for a woman to be lucky and still feel itchy. The report has the resonant ring of truth.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The fetching cast (including Jennifer Beals as a histrionic girlfriend), while a long way from Gwyneth and Matt stature, nevertheless reflects Stillman’s enhanced status as an established indie talent.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Turns out to be the funniest, most risk-taking, most incisive movie of the summer.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Talented filmmaker Susanne Bier (Brothers), armed with an outstanding compositional sense, keeps control over the storms of melodrama that swirl in this rich weepie.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Sky Captain is a gorgeous, funny, and welcome novelty.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A stunning study of one desperate woman's conscience.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The subtle selectivity of Leconte's eye, how he moves with great control from gesture to gesture, is matched by the disciplined intensity of the performances.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    With its propulsive punk-rock soundtrack and beautifully rough cinematography, Dragonslayer makes you care about this scrawny young man, skating to nowhere.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Everything is vast and hugely ambitious in Martin Scorsese's magisterial, scrambled historical epic.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Many of the characters go by two different names. So best advice for optimum viewing is, see Broken Embraces...twice.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Her death was shocking; this well-made telling of her life is inspiring.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Gripping, highly original.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    MIB3 is one giant leap for mankind because Josh Brolin shows up to play the younger Agent K. And he just nails the feat, triumphantly creating a riff on/homage to the Tommy Lee Jones-ness of K that goes much deeper (and funnier) than a simple imitation of drawl and speech patterns.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A satisfying contraption of twists, missteps, and blithe repartee that produces old-fashioned, honestly earned guffaws.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    "Old Boy's" vivid star Choi Min-sik plays a terrible schoolteacher -- yet another damned soul in Park's inflammatory, inimitable movie inventory of hell on earth.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Bleak, scathing, and utterly compelling.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The charm and art of De Felitta's gentle domestic sketch expand far beyond biographical borders.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The movie is also visually magnificent - modestly so. Plus, it's half the length of "Avatar."
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Like Crazy tells the truth, simply: Love is thrilling. And - just because of the way life happens - sometimes love hurts.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    So much goes down on Nick and Norah's one enchanted evening that the best advice is to enjoy the ride -- the actual ride -- around this vibrant new New York.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A pleasurably unsettling, sunbaked tale of sex and politics set in late-1970s Haiti.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jaoui handles her crowd of vivid characters so naturally, and shoots her scenes so unobtrusively, that the diagrammatic cleverness of the plot never overwhelms the intelligence of the observations.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Kelly, the 26-year-old writer-director of this excitingly original indie vision, shares more artistically with Wes Anderson or Paul Thomas Anderson than he does with Spielberg or John Hughes, but the point is, he's out on his own here. He swings big -- with flair.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Amir Bar-Lev's engrossing film is as much about the stubborn ambiguities of art, truth, meaning, and relationships as it is about the authenticity of the Olmstead oeuvre.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This tender documentary considers the mysteries of both art and coping.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Crystal turns in his best (read: least sappy) performance in ages, getting through an entire movie -- most of it, anyway -- without mugging.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Earnest messages about bad climate change and good parenting skills have been replaced by a we-all-share-a-planet sense of fun that's more "Finding Nemo" than National Geographic.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The players are timelessly familiar in American Teen, too. But filmmaker Nanette Burstein tells their stories with a distinctly 21st-century pop and audacity.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    What the activist drama "Fast Food Nation" does with talk and the aid of movie stars, Our Daily Bread, a riveting documentary by Austrian filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter, does even better, with no voice-over and barely a word spoken by the unidentified workers involved in matter-of-fact killing and harvesting.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Fantasy leaks into reality.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The startling power of Tomboy, a beautiful, matter-of-fact French drama about a young girl who wants to be a boy - and for one singular summer around her 10th birthday passes as one - begins with the one-of-a-kind natural performance by Zoé Héran as Laure.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Amreeka is strategically inviting and carefully mild even when making unsubtle points about Palestinian suffering and American insensitivity.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Thrilling little epic set in the bewildering arena of the English language.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    If only for the comedy glory of Sigourney Weaver as a TV network president who confuses acid reflux with gut instinct, this very smart, very funny movie about the making of a network sitcom is a cut-glass gem of a showbiz conceit.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    I don't know what tools of the trade Paul Rudd and director David Wain share to dream up the kind of inspired nutso stuff Rudd has done in smart-funny-raunchy winners like "Wet Hot American Summer" and "Role Models." But whatever it is, the two are in a groove - and backed up by some blissed-out creative co-conspirators.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The blessings of salvation have rarely felt so mixed, the parameters of Lolita-hood so elusive - which is exactly Martel's specialty.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Spirit, animal, and human worlds coexist in dreamy harmony in this remarkable drama.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    But Solondz also creates keen portraits of the participating characters in Dawn's daily drama. (The only downside: The drama veers unsteadily toward outlandishness.)
    • 66 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Blithe and exhilarating romantic comedy.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A stirring action movie -- in the international manner of ''The Fast Runner'' or ''No Man's Land."
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    If I ran the circus, the gang that made the sturdy, witty, inventively animated Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! would get first dibs on any future movie productions of the Theodor Seuss Geisel canon.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    What blows us away is the power of Ifans' moist puppy eyes and chilling smile as a true believer undeterred by reality.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    In the juxtaposition of cataclysmic matter-of-fact misery and cinematic poetry, the filmmaker finds a calmly stunning way to convey the experience of living with death as something intimate, and, unnervingly, almost natural.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Superb family drama.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    French mood-and-feeling master filmmaker Claire Denis returns to the Africa of her youth for an intense, mysterious drama exploring revolution and loss.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The worldview, the sense of childlike fun shaded with adult melancholy, and the joyful, serene attention to visual oddity and wordless beauty could only be made in Japan. And, specifically, made by Hayao Miyazaki.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The director of The Descent is savvy enough to suggest even more than he shows. And he's old-school enough to load up on glimpses of good, clean, gruesome gore.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A cheeky, great-looking, thoughtfully loopy creature feature about the lure and dangers of cutting-edge gene splicing.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There's no great romantic climax to Don Juan DeMarco (and that may be a drawback for Depp lovers looking to swoon), but there is an airy delicacy to this tall tale that fits in perfectly with the weather these days, the hormones, the whole seasonal gestalt.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Sean Baker's singular little ultra-indie is a strikingly unsentimental study in female friendship between unmoored souls in L.A.'s bleached, glamour-challenged San Fernando Valley.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Helen Mirren's allure lies not in finding what's regal in every woman she plays, but in finding what's womanly in every royal.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This unsentimental, smartly assembled film is equally attentive to the cacophony of African poverty and the balm of harmony provided by these pied pipers of hope.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    We do live in a fraught world of interconnections, Bier makes clear, and what happens far away matters, in unexpected ways, close to home.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    So sharp and dryly urbane in its mod-Brit take on the noir, noir, noir, noir world of gambling, dames, and pulp fiction, it makes higher-profile attempts like ''Rounders'' look blah, blah, blah, blah.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A gaudy, daring, operatic, and bloody funny provocation of a melodrama from Park Chan-wook.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    High school reunions should only be this satisfying.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's a stylish scramble of evocative footage, groovy music, and crazy-candid reminiscences from key players still proud to score.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Kinsey is patient and educational and never (darn it) rude or shocking.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Gorgeously shot tableaux of random adolescent brutality are interrupted by flashes of computer garble and chat-room talk, backed by ''Lily's'' music, with its blend of Debussy-like arpeggios and Enya-like sighing.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There's a kind of tough beauty to this deft, satisfying thriller.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This patient, perceptive, nonjudgmental love story about age difference is the first to convincingly explain the temporal physics of May-December romances.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Writer-director Gérald Hustache-Mathieu sustains a fresh voice influenced by the Coen brothers and the infernal snow of "Fargo."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Haunting and hopeful.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This is a movie that considers graphic violence with a refined taste for the sensuous: Guts spill, blood spurts, corpses stink, but there is a handsome, absurdist humanity to the way Jeunet (who wrote the script with Guillaume Laurant) maps out the crossroads of human carnage and human caring.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Nerve-rattling in the best way, the sharp, visceral urban police procedural End of Watch is one of the best American cop movies I've seen in a long time.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A blithe charmer balanced somewhere between a life-should-be-so-neat fairy tale and a life's-a-real-bitch tragicomedy, leaves political debate at the ticket counter and focuses solely on what it's like for Juno MacGuff to be Juno MacGuff.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A delightful, perceptive, funny, detail-perfect fable.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jafar Panahi's wonderfully funny, outspoken shaggy-dog story, a light counterweight to his sadder 2000 feminist drama "The Circle."
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Ricardo Darín, wearing a mild-mannered expression of emotional remove, plays the unnamed antihero, obsessed with imagining the perfect robbery. The ''aura'' is the clarity with which he sees -- or imagines he sees -- the world in moments preceding an epileptic attack.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    They also make joyful music, communicated, both by the singers and their playful, sensitive documentarian, with an authority that quite knocks off socks.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Breillat, the flamethrower who made "Romance" and "Fat Girl," artfully twists period-piece drama to suit her provocative modern notions about sex, gender roles, and power.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Powerful, passionate, and potentially revolution-inducing documentary.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Where "No End" is cool and measured, Taxi is hot, anguished, and sometimes as difficult to watch as pictures of torture ought to be.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A fast, loose, and very funny parody that pulls off the not-so-simple feat of tweaking Trekkies and honoring them.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Ah, monsieur, you can lead a Frenchman to the Big Apple, but you can't make him a New Yorker -- and that's exactly what makes The Professional so fascinating.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Emotional presence and a sophisticated understanding of commitment-phobia (as something other than a comedic punchline or an excuse for sex scenes) distinguishes this intense, contained drama, as does the unforced, sensual, and sensitive cinematography of Uta Briesewitz.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Underneath, 21 Jump Street is a riot of risks that pay off, the biggest of which might be handing Tatum funny business.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A suspenseful and delightfully creepy French drama.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Del Toro builds excitement, dread, and melodrama in equal layers.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's ''Moskowitz's March,'' really -- and it ends in stirring victory
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The pace is quick, the violence is rough, and the visual style is documentary as Padilha hammers home his point: Someone is forever in the pocket of someone else as The System constantly adapts to protect itself.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Juliette Binoche is outstanding as a wildly untogether single mother who parks her son with a French-speaking Chinese nanny while she whirls and worries.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The movie darts, dreams, and sometimes seems to dance. The great Plummer, meanwhile, creates an inspiring, fully rounded man in late bloom, and McGregor responds with a performance to match.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Breakdown feels at first so casual, so comfortable with its own small expectations (a good but unglamorous cast, a sturdy but unspectacular plot), that the authentic feelings of suspense are a surprise.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The many fans of the uniquely droll 2003 animation Oscar nominee "The Triplets of Belleville" will recognize the inventive hand-drawn sensibilities of French filmmaker Sylvain Chomet in his loving and lovely new feature The Illusionist.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Out of a harrowing story set in a foreign thicket, Herzog has found American beauty.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Each episode (originally made for British TV) works by itself, but there's a real payoff in following all three. (Nothing matches The "Wire," but this holds its own.)
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It is their shared strength as a band of brothers humble before their Christian God - and indeed before the God of Islam - that may stir viewers to an awe that transcends skeptical opinions about religion or politics.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A film of uncommon originality.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Resonant examination of friendship, fame, cultural trends, and the creative process.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Xavier Dolan is back with another madly stylish Montreal-made delight.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A curious case indeed: an extravagantly ambitious movie that's easy to admire but a challenge to love.

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