Lisa Schwarzbaum

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For 1,930 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 6.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Lisa Schwarzbaum's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Bamako
Lowest review score: 0 Gummo
Score distribution:
1930 movie reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The stories are shocking, tender, sometimes funny, with a soap-opera abundance of plot. Always, the camera stares, respectfully neutral about ordinary people grappling — inconsistently, as men and women do — with the ordinary mysteries of being human. You’ll stare back, amazed it’s taken more than a decade to spread the word.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Masterpiece of voyeurism.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The picture was made in 1969 and is only now being released in the U.S., in a beautiful restoration supervised by original cinematographer Pierre Lhomme.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Like any great myth, Pan's Labyrinth encodes its messages through displays of magic. And like any good fairy tale, it is also embroidered with threads of death and loss.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Nothing good happens in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, the riveting, horrifying chronicle of an illegal abortion performed in 1987 when Ceauescu's dictatorial hand still gripped Romania's throat. And yet no lover of greatness in filmmaking will want to look away from one of the very best movies of 2007.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The energy is sapped by clinging condescension in the guise of compassionate liberalism.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A triumph of psychological depth and artistic brilliance offered as the magical adventures of one skinny little girl.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Way ahead of its time 30 years ago, and just as stunning today, Killer of Sheep is one of those marvels of original moviemaking that keeps hope of artistic independence alive.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The result is an intense, action-driven war pic, a muscular, efficient standout that simultaneously conveys the feeling of combat from within as well as what it looks like on the ground.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's an intoxicating feeling when a movie excites and enlivens us like this -- and there's a particular giddiness to be had in thinking about what movies can (but don't often) do for one's soul after imbibing such a fine vintage.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The conclusion of Peter Jackson's masterwork is passionate and literate, detailed and expansive, and it's conceived with a risk-taking flair for old-fashioned movie magic at its most precious.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Soaring and romantic, wild and serene, feminist and gutsy, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of the best movies of the year.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    These 173 minutes don't drag, they waltz.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    For bleakness, the movie can't be beat -- nor for brilliance.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The most beautiful movie ever made about a man who could only move one eyelid -- almost dangerously beautiful.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    In a class by itself.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Vibrantly, intricately alive on its own terms. This is what magic the movies can conjure with an inspired fellowship in charge, and unlimited pots of gold.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 58 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Mildly cute, mildly drooly, majorly too late spoof/homage.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The result: This great work of art has the potential to change the world.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Stunning, fully formed masterpiece.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The simplicity and poignancy of the choices — riding a bus, swinging on a swing — and the great variety of interviewees result in a film of nonsticky freshness, as well as unforced profundity.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    If ''Finding Nemo'' is an awesome Pixar superpower, The Triplets of Belleville is a charming, idiosyncratic, self-governing duchy with huge tourism potential on the other side of the animated-movie planet.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The antidote to every square tough-guy caper you've ever seen, and the inspiration for many great ones. It is an existential imperative to seek out a showing and burn rubber to get there, preferably in an excellent car.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    (Denis's) visual style is hypnotic, rapturous, and she makes barren landscapes look gorgeous, hard men look vulnerable.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Waltz With Bashir has transcended the definitions of ''cartoon'' or ''war documentary'' to be classified as its own brilliant invention.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The breath of cinematic life, though, the sensibility, the energy, belong to Joel and Ethan Coen, and this is their stirring success.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The film, by seasoned cinematographer Dror Moreh, is a feat — of access and of passionate and appropriately unsettling political commentary.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    One of the unshowiest and most true-blooded epics of Americana you're ever likely to see.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This is a great film, and a triumph of creativity and courage over repression.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    You could trawl the seven seas and not net a funnier, more beautiful, and more original work of art and comedy than Finding Nemo.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Topsy-Turvy reminds us that, in any age, creative expression is at once the most personal and most communal of enterprises.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Dazzlingly beautiful, funny, and meaningful.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There's also no romanticizing on the part of the director, who proceeds with calm, unshowy attentiveness (even in the midst of scenes of violence), creating a stunning portrait of an innately smart survivor for whom prison turns out to be a twisted opportunity for self-definition.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    American Splendor presents Pekar as drawn on the page, Pekar as brilliantly interpreted by Paul Giamatti, and the actual Pekar, in the double role of narrator and interview subject -- sometimes all at once. The magic act is thrilling, and truly surprising.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Pulling the bandage of sentiment cleanly away from oozing concepts like ''heroism'' and ''our nation's war on terror'' in the aftermath of recent wounds, here's a drama about the most politically charged crisis of our time that grants the dignity of autonomy to every soul involved.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The movie sparkles with witty self-awareness.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    What's astonishing about Sofia Coppola's enthralling new movie is the precision, maturity, and originality with which the confident young writer-director communicates so clearly in a cinematic language all her own.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Like a great novel from a more expansive bygone age, The Best of Youth is full of big thoughts; like a great soap opera, it's also full of sharp plot turns, vibrant characters, and great talk. It is, in short, the best of cinema.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Utterly riveting fictional drama.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The gorgeous music includes Ralph Vaughan Williams' wafting tone poem ''The Lark Ascending'' -- apt in describing an artist who might well be part bird.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Enough to anesthetize the living.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The humor built into this sharp-witted human comedy is enhanced in the translation. Meanwhile, the arrestingly stylized imagery of the original Madness has not been lost.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 42 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Bale exists all too large under the circumstances, a well-fed actor playing at emaciation for the sake of a fiction about a character whose torment is as unreadable as his vertebrae are countable.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Clint Eastwood's profound, magisterial, and gripping companion piece to his ambitious meditation on wartime image and reality, "Flags of Our Fathers."
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Sad, funny, sexy, and altogether marvelous.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 42 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    An only-in-the-movies mother hustles pool to raise the money to abduct the son she's been forbidden to see since her divorce.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    If you see only one comic love story from Kazakhstan this year, choose this prize-winning honey.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Hersonski quietly and insistently unravels reality from "reality"; her commitment to archival authenticity is its own tribute to those no longer able to testify.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There's piercing sadness, and fury, too, in this Everyman's isolation, and Cantet is singularly skilled at evoking the universal condition of such tragic ordinariness.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Munro's stark lily needed none of this gilding.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There’s something earthy and elemental in this tale that was missing in Blue, something quirky and (measured by Kieslowskian standards) energetic.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A delightful, perceptive, funny, detail-perfect fable.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Lest the audience miss a cue, Hooper and soundtrack composer Alexandre Desplat count on the ringing grandeur of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony - the famous second movement, no less - to amp the emotions.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Up
    A lovely, thoughtful, and yes, uplifting adventure.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's a great, IQ-flattering entertainment both wonderful and wise.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Yagira's performance is so extraordinary, it won him the best actor prize at the 2004 Cannes film festival.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A graceful, unsentimental, well-made movie.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Facing a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, the older woman enrolls in a poetry class, desperate to find the words to describe beauty before language fails her. She does even better: She herself becomes a kind of poem about what it means to really see the world.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Naples-born Servillo is a national star, famed as a theater, opera, and film director as well as an actor. And he's got the face of a mensch (or a Madoff) -- which makes his embodiment of criminal banality all the more identifiable, as well as horrifying.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    So superb, so graceful, so strong -- another beauty in this year of good documentaries -- that I do believe it will influence career choices, sending inspired viewers to study pedagogy, or cinematography.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Bestows generous blessings on all that's good in Englishness, in moviedom, and, of course, in cheese.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 67 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This movie is as packed with flashy bogusness as a lead singer's tight leather trousers. On the other hand, there's nothing bogus about the charisma and tough sweetness of Wahlberg.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Unfolds with a simplicity that's as breathtaking as its inevitability is harrowing.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Errol Morris may have been put on earth to make The Fog of War, a stunning portrait of Robert S. McNamara that closes a year of outstanding nonfiction movies on a high note.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Spirit, animal, and human worlds coexist in dreamy harmony in this remarkable drama.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    No one charts the wilds of childhood more precisely than the Dardennes.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The filmmaking is as strong as the subject matter, with an elegant structure.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Shine beams with warmth, sensitivity, and fine taste.
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    A mesmerizing work of disturbing power and unease.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Almodóvar's masterwork, is a spectacular synthesis of everything that has always interested him -- proud women, lovely boys, beautiful drag queens, grand movie stars, gorgeous frocks, wild wallpaper .
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Nothing I've read about Iraq or seen on TV in the past few weeks has felt nearly as real and intimate as this commanding fiction.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Murray, meanwhile, turns in a thrillingly knowing, unforced performance--an award-worthy high point in a career that continues, Max Fischer style, to defy the obvious at every turn.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This warm, funny, sexy, smart movie erases the boundaries between specialized ''gay content'' and universal ''family content'' with such sneaky authority.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The uncoagulated anguish of parents mourning the death of a child has rarely been more powerfully depicted than in the collected vignettes of grief, rage, and retribution that make up the riveting domestic drama In the Bedroom.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Nobody’s Fool shines with intelligence and grace and the natural light of fine moviemaking. Like a shot of superior whiskey, it’s a sharp comfort in the grayness of winter
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Ozon specializes in dissecting the vulnerability, erotic longing, and garbled intentions with which people regularly rub up against one another.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Like everything else in this superb work of art, ''Shrinking Lover'' is exquisitely Almodóvarian. It's funny, tender, a little shocking, and it pays homage to what we know about movies: that they can move us beyond words.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It's also one of the great movies of the year - an ambitious, challenging, and creatively hot-blooded but cool toned project that picks seriously at knotty ideas about American personality, success, rootlessness, master-disciple dynamics, and father-son mutually assured destruction.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Mr. Lazarescu is that rich and riveting a film of universal small human moments and big-system failure.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Sad, menacing, empathetic story.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    There's a painterly translucence to this ''Springtime,'' and a mystery, too; each frame is as delicately poised and lit as a Vermeer portrait of a woman, beckoning but unknowable.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Don't tell Walt Disney, but Hayao Miyazaki really holds the keys to the magic kingdom.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    This is essential viewing for understanding our world.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The movie is small, local, and idiosyncratic. Then again, it's also a thing of beauty and originality - and for that, sustained huzzahs are in order.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Beautiful, compassionate, articulate domestic drama.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The result is a movie, and Cannes Palme d'Or winner, of riveting power and sadness, a great match of film and filmmaker -- and star, too.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    The Savages is terrific -- a movie of uncommon appreciation for the nature and nurture that go into making us who we are, a perfectly calibrated drama both compassionate and unsentimental.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    It took writer-director Samuel ''Shmulik'' Maoz nearly 30 years to make this disturbing, visceral, personal film.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Although In the Mood for Love isn't in the mood for action, it dazzles with everything but.

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