For 1,905 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 9.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Lisa Schwarzbaum's Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Lady Chatterley
Lowest review score: 0 Gummo
Score distribution:
1,905 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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    Earnest messages about bad climate change and good parenting skills have been replaced by a we-all-share-a-planet sense of fun that's more "Finding Nemo" than National Geographic.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Spirit, animal, and human worlds coexist in dreamy harmony in this remarkable drama.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Nothing in this enjoyably twisty, cool/ hot, genre-grafting Italian psychological thriller by Giuseppe Capotondi is what it seems. And the more you try to solve the narrative puzzle, the more you may want to watch it again - or at least argue about what's real.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This truly intimate film invites viewers to commune as well and feel a profound living connection with fellow humans of 30,000 years ago.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    One hell of a creepy little eco-horror picture.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Bridges' guileless performance makes this piquant little indie tale of country music, redemption, and the love of a pretty younger woman such a sad-song charmer.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A grandly entertaining historical drama.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    At the bone, Zombieland is a polished, very funny road picture shaped by wisenheimer cable-TV sensibilities and starring four likable actors, each with an influential following.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The performances are razor sharp. And the ideas in this movie are, no kidding, big.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Fan-ready and saga-solid.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    What's lost in translation is recovered easily enough in Michael Sheen's astonishing performance as Clough.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    9
    Storyboarded with precision, and enhanced with a resonant score by Deborah Lurie, Acker’s handsome, feature-length 9 is, for all its visual flights of fancy, grounded in an apocalypse-proof message graspable by any schoolchild.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The spectacular battle scenes are the engorged heart of the delirious adventure. But Woo also gets maximum romantic value from Tony Leung as a war hero married to Chiling Lin as the tea-pouring beauty.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The chemical energy between Bullock and Reynolds is fresh and irresistible.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Excels at creating a keen, creepy sense of a civilization stopped dead in its tracks -- vaporized, almost, except for those disemboweled bodies left still undisposed.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    For one of those obstreperously original books that are themselves impossible to translate, Everything Is Illuminated is impressively well lit.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Reveling in mess and homegrown multiracial mayhem, Death at a Funeral finds a new lease on life.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Ong-Bak (taken from the name of the sacred statue) is delivered raw, with an on-the-fly compositional approach from director Prachya Pinkaew that includes dim lighting and jumbled editing.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Gorgeous as the underwater life-forms are, the excitement of Aliens of the Deep comes from that most old-school, low-tech of elements: real human beings.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's in the brightly observed vignettes from mall-society life, captured with a low-key, on-the-run visual style, that Burman shows his best stuff and deadpan wit.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    In watching the birds and the man with an affectionate, curious eye, the filmmaker builds a story of surprising emotional resonance.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    To Winn-Dixie's great credit, both as a book and as a dandy, dignified movie, there's nothing condescendingly lesson-like in the wisdom India acquires.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    An elegant adventure of a different kind.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    How exceptional a film actor is Russell Crowe? So exceptional that in Cinderella Man, he makes a good boxing movie feel at times like a great, big picture.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's okay for a grown movie critic to admit she cried freely and with great feeling for more than half the movie, and grinned like a dork through the remainder.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Asif Kapadia's blazing feature debut, a gorgeously photographed saga with a fine sense of the way place shapes personality, has won numerous awards in the filmmaker's native Britain.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    New-era losers (the cast is a cheery scrum of relaxed kids, led by genuine whiz pitcher Sammi Kane Kraft in the role created by Tatum O'Neal) now include a rotten kid in a wheelchair.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A good measure of the movie's white-knuckle fun comes from Craven's old-hand familiarity with the way thrillers tick.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The interviews Bitton conducts, almost all with Arabs and Jews who share her despair, are less meaningful than what she captures in silence: the sight of farmers separated from their farmland, everyday people thwarted in their dailiness, and children playing next to what looks like prison walls.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Yet precisely because this is by Roman Polanski, it's irresistible to read his sorrowful and seemingly classical take, from a filmmaker known as much for the schisms in his personal history as for the lurches in his work, as something much more personal and poignant.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Director Ira Sachs moves to the rhythms of his native Memphis, teasing emotional resonance out of geography.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The unusual intimacy and authenticity can't be faked: The cast is peppered with nonprofessionals, most notably Michal Bat Sheva Rand.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The archival footage is so breathtaking, the reminiscences so piquant, that even a stranger to dance can't help but be swept up by this peek into such exquisite, now vanished glamour.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Argues on behalf of the Darwinian theory that all of life imitates high school...But the argument is only halfhearted. Just Friends is much more interested in - and hilarious about - the small nostalgias of suburbia.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    James Westby's loving and self-aware homage to mouth-breathing boys who worship Wong Kar-Wai and can't talk to girls is the opposite of Tarantino-esque: It's Westby-ish, interspersing settings of biting social oafishness with spasms of film knowledge.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There's something invigorating about this unpretentious dog tale. And if a penguin drops by to promote his own movie product, well, there's room on the frozen continent for all.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A helluva lot happens in 16 Blocks - an outrageous amount, really, along with a coda that deposits the audience squarely at a movieland finale. Who knew that looking both ways before crossing is where the real action is?
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Cynical and cheerily merciless.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Ice Age: The Meltdown blithely looks on the bright side of life, amassing a screen full of vultures to sing and dance ''Food Glorious Food'' and daring us not to get happy.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There are times (and plenty of them) when Slither slops over from smart, affectionate homage into unmodulated frat goofiness as Gunn cannibalizes so many horror plots with such high spirits.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Johnson also grabs hold of a fundamental truth and seduces us with it: The schoolyard can be the noirest burg of all.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Ineffably Australian and intriguingly (rather than annoyingly) artsy, Look Both Ways introduces a handful of people gobsmacked by life-changing crises, all of them trying to make sense of responsibility, mortality, and connection.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's a buoyant, old-wave disaster pic for a generation of well-conditioned thrill seekers charmed by the revelation that Richard Dreyfuss really is the Red Buttons of our day.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The visual and verbal jokes are as bouncy and multilevel (hip height for adults, knee-slap-size for kids) as we have come, no doubt selfishly, to expect from DreamWorks.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Gehry sketches and free-associates about how he's not nearly the menschy aw-shucks pussycat from Canada he appears to be but rather a wily, complicated L.A. lion.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Director Sérgio Machado, who worked as an assistant to Central Station's Walter Salles, lingers sensually over every wrong move his attractive tragic trio make.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Cheery, expertly constructed Spanish farce.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Greggory anchors Gabrielle in manly bewilderment and rage, while Huppert claws the title character's way to self-awareness.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Good times and bum times, they've seen it all and they're still here. Lucky us.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    An effortlessly clever animated confection.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The result is an unabashedly home-cooked homage to New York eccentricity.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The Illusionist looks rigorously styled and measured, and every one of Norton's postures feels chosen. Yet the interesting actor has chosen so thoughtfully that we're riveted.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The chief frustration of this otherwise well-made, well-acted, well-heeled picture -- a movie classy in its artful modesty, with every detail of plot and period furnishings lovingly conceived, every lick of jazz-influenced score true to the times -- is that it is so very self-absorbedly graceful about something so very insular and...unremarkable.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Drawing on a documentary visual style he deftly employed in "One Day in September" and "Touching the Void," director Kevin Macdonald uses McAvoy's boyishness to treat Garrigan's apolitical foolishness as yet another damn mess in one African country's hell.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This gallantly imperfect indie pops with attitude.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Coppola's stranded royal suggests that at heart, Marie Antoinette was just a simple girl who wanted to have fun, and got her head handed to her.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Bale is mesmerizing and Rodriguez keeps up with him as the whole unsafe contraption zooms.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Naturally, a subject this right-on draws a right-on cast. Kris Kristofferson, Avril Lavigne, and Ethan Hawke pitch in.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    I'm as touched and charmed by its failures as I am transfixed, at times, by its successful inventiveness and audacity.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The always surprising Watts creates a woman at once contemporary and retro. And Norton, as a producer as well as star, concedes enough space for Schreiber and the effortlessly fascinating Jones to earn their own spotlights.