Lisa Schwarzbaum
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For 1,907 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 9.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Lisa Schwarzbaum's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Police, Adjective
Lowest review score: 0 Valentine's Day
Score distribution:
1,907 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    An 
unexpectedly revealing, disconcerting documentary that benefits from the filmmaker's unmediated approach, his home-movie-
quality visual style, and his controlled use of on-the-fly moments.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The result is a portrait that expertly mirrors its subject: Buck is shaped with the same economy, restraint, and unfussiness as the man, to unexpectedly inspiring effect.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Following 2009's "Bluebeard," French filmmaker Catherine Breillat continues her unique and psychologically, erotically daring deconstruction of classic fairy tales and the female condition.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A bouncy, well-built, delightfully nasty tale of resentment, desperation, and amoral revenge that does for employer-employee relations what Danny DeVito and Bette Midler did for the bonds of matrimony in the great 1986 Zucker brothers comedy "Ruthless People."
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The thrilling conclusion to a phenomenal cinematic story 10 years in the telling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 is proof that authentic movie excitement is its own form of magic.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    As she did in her striking 2005 debut, "Me and You and Everyone We Know," July creates a fluid cinematic universe.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    With exemplary use of archival footage, director Asif Kapadia expertly contrasts episodes of adrenaline-rush speed with moments of reflective slow motion to capture the addictive thrill and danger of the sport, as well as the personal values of the humble, spiritual sportsman.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Here, love and attraction between two teenage girls put them on a collision course with Tehran society in general and one girl's troubled, increasingly religious brother in particular.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    British filmmaker Andrew Haigh's background in editing (from Gladiator to Mister Lonely) is evident in the casual beauty of moments that only appear "found," giving Weekend an engrossing documentary feel.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Writer-director Jeff Nichols builds his elegantly shot, weather-sensitive horror story in waves of tension that crest as if pulled by tempests.
    • 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Real Steel is directed by "Night at the Museum's" Shawn Levy, who makes good use of his specialized skill in blending people and computer-made imaginary things into one lively, emotionally satisfying story.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Stepping into sacred shoes once worn by Kevin Bacon, Wormald handily owns the role for a new audience. Same goes for a terrific Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole) in the sidekick role of Willard so memorably originated by the late Chris Penn.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Hugo both ticks and flies by, a marvel meant to be pulled from the cabinet and enjoyed again and again.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Intelligent conversation about the interplay of erotic and destructive urges takes place over cups of tea in fine bone china. Yet the movie is a radically modern story about sex.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Young Adult bumps along with nasty swerves, middle finger proudly in the air, toward an ending blessedly free of anything warm, fuzzy, or optimistic. Now that's adult entertainment.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    With its warring factions, citizen uprisings, guerrilla insurgencies, political intrigue, bloody warfare, family tensions, and homoerotic subtext, Coriolanus is one of the year's best political thrillers.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This is a beautifully built, classically framed movie, shot with the unshowy natural expressiveness of a John Ford Western by Spielberg's great cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Completing his wonderful French cultural trilogy that also includes portraits of the Comédie-Fran¸aise and the Paris Opera Ballet, indefatigable documentarian Frederick Wiseman freely, unobtrusively prowls the joint to create a movie that respects the serious work involved in simulating the sensations of pleasure.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The fine Polish director Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa) pays her respects with a daringly murky-looking movie that demands viewers enter the void too and meet Socha and his Jews as real, flawed men and women behaving in flawed ways under suffocating conditions.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A muscular, honorable, unflinching translation of Collins' vision. It's brutal where it needs to be, particularly when children fight and bleed.
    • 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."
    • 53 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Whenever Rupert Everett appears as a rich fellow who distinctly does not fancy ladies, it's a hysterical history lesson of the hilarious variety.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Each an actor of distinctive delicacy, Duplass, DeWitt, and Blunt do some of their subtlest, most sweetly calibrated work ever, playing off one another with the kind of ease and trust that is, in itself, a demonstration of love.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    What's most amazing in The Amazing Spider-Man turns out to be not the shared sensations of blockbuster wow! the picture elicits, but rather the shared satisfactions of intimate awww.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The result is an engrossing chronicle of creative people under pressure, a movie about the madness of opera for which no knowledge of opera is required for full enjoyment.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Renner's Cross is a conflicted hero built to take advantage of the "Hurt Locker" star's best qualities as an actor - his default intensity, the way he conveys that complicated mental calculations are taking place under cover of watchful stillness, even underwater.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    With a slow, relentless buildup focused on sexual humiliation, Compliance intensifies the "requests" put on Sandra, and eventually other employees, to behave immorally in the name of cooperation.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Lauren Ambrose is lovely as the girlfriend he's a fool to lose but seems intent on losing anyhow.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Frankenweenie is a cool little flipbook of historical Burtonian style. It even brings back old friends, including "Beetlejuice's" Winona Ryder and Catherine O'Hara.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    What's new about the unsensationalized portrait of one-day-at-a-time progress (and setbacks) is the low-key energy of this drunks' tale, by and for a generation with a high tolerance for humor and a low tolerance for soapiness.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The high-low setting effectively reinforces the emotional geography of both lost souls. Gillian Anderson makes a brief, well-placed appearance as one of the rich.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    One hell of a creepy little eco-horror picture.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    I will salute the deftness and intelligence with which Goldfinger observes the reactions of the living to the revelations of the dead.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Something particularly clean shines in this American fairy tale, a quality of simplicity that's almost as hard to achieve in such movies as a middle-aged man's boyhood dreams.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Not only makes excellent use of the singer's sweetly coltish acting abilities, but it also promotes a standardized set of sturdy values with none of Mariah Carey's desperate ''Glitter,'' or any of Mandy Moore's gummy pap in ''A Walk to Remember.''
    • 49 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    So jaunty, so limber, and so visually self-assured that art peeks through where crap has traditionally made its home.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Reflect the robust status of Yiddish theater in the early 20th century, and its post-Holocaust decline.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A peculiar combination of willful meandering and matter of fact violence, and it occasionally confounds in its attempts to exalt.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There's unwieldy mess -- but there's also unruly brilliance to this dark and funny story about the havoc that ensues when a man's uncensored Freudian id is allowed the run of the place.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Although In the Mood for Love isn't in the mood for action, it dazzles with everything but.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Let loose in a plot that's surprisingly modern about sex and relationships, Morton gives Eva's torn longings an immediacy that transcends a lot of damp, 1950s rusticated preciousness.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Like a dowser who can divine hidden sources of water, Atom Egoyan has a talent for locating the dream-state perversity that runs just under the surface of everyday life;
    • 59 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A gaily busy kid flick.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A "Romeo and Juliet" tragedy of surprising power.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Charms because of its natural, non-magical attitude toward humanity.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There's something Slavic about Warner's storytelling.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Lasse Hallström calms Irving's typically busy 1985 best-seller with a balm of the Swedish director's typically soothing lyricism.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Another grotty drama about junkie love? Well, yes...I make an exception for Jesus' Son.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A majority oriented movie that assumes sophisticated familiarity with a sexual minority.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    While inevitably oversimplified, is never less than engrossing.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Casé, with her sturdy, elemental body and shining eyes, is the reason phrases like ''inner beauty'' were invented, and she's also the reason this idealistic, naturalistic film by Rio de Janeiro born Andrucha Waddington has been such a success at festivals around the world.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The movie luxuriates in cinema references while laughing at its own fetishes -- a neat talent.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    May be the most kick ass demonstration yet, for the majority of American moviegoers, of what the fuss is all about.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Intense, autobiographically based drama.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's a good bet the average American moviegoer, however familiar with the rhythms of cinematic global culture, has never experienced such a handsomely self contained world.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The mad genius of this cheerily bonkers feature is the integration of a documentary-style safari into an outlandish fiction involving a fancy-pants CIA pursuit of a downed spy satellite, and a shotgun-wielding outback widow.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The dramatic power, though, comes entirely from the eloquence of old people, shot in medium close-up, barely moving as they remember things.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There are moments in Baran as wholesomely heart-tugging as any involving Charlie Chaplin and a blind girl, but the film is saved from aren't-kids-cute sentimentality by a warmth that isn't faked and a stately sense of composition.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    In a world full of off the rack thrillers, it's fine boutique quality.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    An unexpectedly alert teen-scream disaster chiller.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Kicky, elaborately constructed fantasy.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Pandaemonium goes a long way toward capturing the compelling delirium of opium among a crowd of freethinking British iconoclasts.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Peculiarly bloodless.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    As loose and restful as pajamas.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This is a sensual, psychologically modern costume drama influenced by both "The Godfather" and gals' guides to empowerment.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Zigzags across the conventions of genre, occasionally driving on the shoulders of black humor -- it's a road movie for the way we process suspense today.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A nifty, entwined, ultimately gripping adaptation of British crime writer Ruth Rendell's novel ''The Tree of Hands'' by French director Claude Miller.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    In the handsome, haunting submarine thriller Below, the usual perils of deep-sea maneuvers are heightened by psychic unraveling.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Korine remains unnecessarily smitten with sordidness, and there's plenty of it here.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Great, restrained performances of Beatty and Schreiber, delicately framed by the filmmaker's taste for visual compositions.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Slow -- sometimes maddeningly, soporifically so.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Ziplessness has rarely looked so inviting, nor have a couple of actors seemed so much like real people -- attractive, but hardly hunks of perfection -- who happened to get lucky, and are delighted to throw some of their guiltless good fortune our way.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Underneath the ravishing imagery however, hearts are in flux.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Bright dialogue and finely embroidered performances adorn The Guru like festive beading on a pair of made-in-India bedroom slippers.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Well-made film. Indeed, discovering such a small pleasure is the kind of experience that rewards film lovers who browse with open eyes as well as hearts.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There's a shocking, casual quality to the self-destructive narcissism of the pretty, petty kids squandering their lives in the L.A. sunshine of The Young Unknowns.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Imamura's delight in the infinite oddity of men and women is goofy; it's also, at heart, reverent.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's a merciless and mirthlessly funny antiwar weapon from a filmmaker who has seen battle firsthand and has lived to make art from memories of hell.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Oscillates between streaky black comedy and sanitary instruction.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jacquot economically conveys the small, painful sacrifices both lovers -- but particularly the woman -- must make, and the constant, ongoing negotiations of power required to maintain no-strings freedom.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    And among the things this ''HP'' does very well indeed is deepen the darker, more frightening atmosphere for audiences of all ages already familiar with the intricacies of the ''Potter'' landscape. (This is as it should be: Harry's story is supposed to get darker.)
    • 52 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The easygoing silliness with which this late-summer movie surprise scuttles from mayhem to mayhem and the verve with which the cast throws itself into the fray are so cheering and liberating.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's refreshingly low on the kind of Cinema of Empowerment pedantry that often goes along with stories about ethnic families, sweatshop working conditions, or women confronting issues of weight and body image -- and this little crowd-pleaser embraces all three.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Conveys the heaving passion of Puccini's famous love-jealousy-murder-suicide fandango with great cinematic innovation.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Art history majors may write in with corrections. Meanwhile, I'm declaring that the masterly, big-canvas biographical drama Chi-hwa-seon: Painted Fire is about the Jackson Pollock of 19th-century Korea.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This is a gentle, engaging narrative of constancy and devotion against all odds, both natural and bureaucratic, in which the past represents enduring family values and customs.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    In the grim and empathetic lost-youth drama Sweet Sixteen, the director focuses on a few failed souls -- rather than excoriate the system that failed them -- to produce a story of particularly streamlined, eloquent despair.

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