L.A. Weekly's Scores

For 3,656 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lowest review score: 0 Miss March
Score distribution:
3,656 movie reviews
  1. In one of the sweetest ironies of the entire film year, Sam Raimi has made an A-movie with the soul of a B-movie classic.
  2. That tragedy looms heavily in Behind the Sun only makes its life-affirming moments -- resonate more deeply and powerfully in a film that is one of the year's best.
  3. The story's charming, the set pieces are wildly inventive, and even the throwaway one-liners, about everything from movie-animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen to the old Oscar Meyer jingle, are hilarious.
  4. Remains the most popularly successful film ever to render the inner life of an artist.
  5. I’m Going Home is as much an ambiguous poem to Paris as it is a study in artistic and physical mortality, and an elegy for a more decent past as it gives way to a brassier, more corrupt new century.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    High art, low comedy, hard labor and royal prerogative are here thrown together in an elegant unity, a breathtaking demonstration of Russian cinematic -- hence artistic -- brilliance.
  6. To look at Apocalypse Now is to realize that most of us are fast forgetting what a movie looks like -- a real movie, the last movie, an American masterpiece.
  7. One of the best films of the year thus far.
  8. No parent who's been roped into leading the troops to a matinee need fear being bored: gags are, Simpsons-like, conceived to tickle several generations at once.
  9. Japón, isn’t just the wildest eruption of the current Mexican film boom, it's the most fascinating new picture I've seen this year.
  10. The bleakness and poignancy are inescapable in About Schmidt, a character study that has the emotional richness of the great Italian and Eastern European films of the 1960s, in which humor and pathos rode up and down on the seesaw together.
  11. There are moments here that are so distinct in emotional timber it's as if they were directed by someone who'd skipped the last two decades of American genre film and opted to get back to basics -- like character, and the ways in which two actors can sit in a smoke-filled car and turn an everyday conversation into art.
  12. Mitchell retools his play magnificently, opening it up into a vibrant cinematic work.
  13. At his best, Altman turns us into interlopers who have stumbled into a world that seems to predate us and persuades us it will continue to teem with life long after we leave the theater.
  14. Not just everything you want in a David Lynch movie, but damn near everything else you want in ANY movie.
  15. The Godfather traces the arc of this doomed idealism with a beauty that is still fresh.
  16. Talk to Her is as melodramatic -- and, sporadically, as funny -- as any Almodóvar comedy, but its mood is one of muted, aching loneliness, while the color scheme leans less to hot reds and magentas than to rich, elegant shades of ochre.
  17. Part poem, part jungle blossom, all brilliance.
  18. The film is a virtuosic triumph, but parlor tricks don't make movies, and it's Jackson's unwavering sincerity that elevates The Fellowship of the Ring into the increasingly rare Valhalla of the rousing, well-told tale.
  19. Does full honor to Miyazaki’s teeming and often unsettling landscape, and to the conflicted complexity of his characters: Not a single frame was cut, and the voice casting and performances are uniformly excellent.
  20. On a purely visual level, Finding Nemo is as gorgeous a film as Disney's ever put out, with astonishing qualities of light, movement, surface and color at the service of the best professional imaginations money can buy.
  21. Fraught with a deep sadness and sense of yearning. Yet, it is also an enormously -- at times, even uproariously -- comedic film, not because it feels any obligation to be "funny" in some contrived, screenwriterly sort of way, but because Coppola has set out to make a movie set to the rhythms of real (rather than reel) life.
  22. This divinely eccentric movie feels as if it came straight to the screen from one man’s wild and wantonly free imagination.
  23. The deep satisfaction of The Return of the King is in surrendering ourselves to the finale, in letting Jackson's superb storytelling (with due credit to co-screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens) surround us like a blazing campfire tale -- which it does, gloriously.
  24. An effortlessly complex portrayal that relishes the contradictions and complexities of someone capable of both exalted and debased behavior, a shape-shifter it is possible to be fascinated, repelled and compelled by, all at the same time.
  25. Astringently funny masterpiece.
  26. What ultimately makes Before Sunset so special (and maybe the most resonant, least self-conscious “great movie romance” of its era) is its deep-rooted honesty -- the way it takes the bitter with the sweet and somehow leaves us feeling elated.
  27. To see this seamless "reconstruction" - consisting of some 15 entirely new sequences as well as augmentations to 23 others - is to behold a masterpiece revealed.
  28. The Incredibles creates so seamless a mood of exhilaration that we resent being pulled out of it.
  29. This isn't a profound film, or even an important one, but then it isn't trying to be. It's so diverting and so full of small satisfying pleasures, you don't realize how good it is until it's over.
  30. Sex holds in perfect tonal balance, and without cynicism, a brew of maliciously transgressive comedy and tender sympathy for its tortured characters, all gripped by terror of love, or sex, or both.
  31. Absolutely exhilarating...Pound for pound, it's more kinetically thrilling than anything Hollywood has produced in years, not least of all because it's real.
  32. The movie refers glancingly to dozens of Hollywood classics, from "West Side Story" to "City Lights," but at heart it is a debt of honor richly paid by Stephen Chow to his martial-arts forebears and to the traditions that shaped his sensibility. His gong fu is the best.
  33. By turns comic and tender, tragic and absurd. But throughout, it gives off what is surely one of the greatest of moviegoing pleasures -- the sense of an artist seeing the world from some private vantage that is as original as it is truthful.
  34. Ensemble casts like this are not easy to come by. Adams is something more than that -- a brilliant young comedian bursting into bloom.
  35. But for all its bleakness, Nightmare is a film that demands to be seen. In unflinching terms, it captures the hellish existence endured by the many so that the few may wallow in privilege.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Conformist is a great film, drunkenly beautiful and deeply disturbing.
  36. Making an altogether impressive big-screen directing debut, Jones exudes quiet control over this full-bodied Western, taking pleasure in his measured pacing, mixing somber authority with flashes of surrealist wit and luxuriating in the magnificent, vanishing vistas of his home state.
  37. For Denis’ film - which may be her most intricately constructed and intensely beautiful to date - is one that transcends words and stories, a movie to be felt rather than rationalized.
  38. One of the great movies about childhood innocence accidentally violated by adults...Reed, an often inconsistent filmmaker, handles the brutal mechanics of the plot superbly, with the marbled interiors of the embassy contrasting sharply with his almost neo-realist outdoor shots of postwar London.
  39. It is the highest compliment I can pay Greengrass to say that he is a master of the mundane, the routine and the everyday.
  40. The result is a brilliant and relentless thriller, painted in Melville's trademark shades of charcoal and midnight blue, marked by daring escapes, unimaginable moments of self-sacrifice and unconscionable acts of betrayal.
  41. Superman Returns is a lush and enthralling piece of adventure storytelling that's both revisionist AND reverential, putting a timely spin on a timeless character without violating his primal appeal.
  42. The movie's scale is minuscule, but the physical and emotional landscapes it travels are as broad, deep and mysterious as the human psyche itself.
  43. Politically shrewd, unexpectedly funny yet immaculately tasteful docudrama.
  44. DiCaprio harnesses a terrific, buggy intensity reminiscent of "GoodFellas'" hopped-up Henry Hill (Ray Liotta).
  45. For those of us who prefer to judge Gibson solely in terms of his art, the movie is a virtuosic piece of action cinema -- particularly in its second half...And while there has been no shortage of recent films that decry the horrors of war and man's inhumanity to his fellow man, I know of none other quite this sickeningly powerful.
  46. Pan's Labyrinth Like his terrific 2001 "The Devil’s Backbone," Mexican horrormeister Guillermo del Toro's new movie offers us both real-life and fantastical monsters, and if you know his work, you won't waste time figuring out which to root for.
  47. I suspect that Death Proof will throw some of its director's admirers for a loop, though it may be the most revealing thing Tarantino has yet done -- a full-throttle expression of a singular artistic temperament disguised, like so many gems of grindhouses yore, as a glittering hunk of trash.
  48. With There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson has taken a stab at making The Great American Movie -- and I daresay he’s made one of them.
  49. Though the frighteningly late-term abortion at its center hints at larger sins in the last gasp of Nicolae Ceausescu’s iron-fisted regime, it’s no metaphor, but a sordidly visceral transaction conducted in the next best thing to a back alley.
  50. What he’s (Jonze) ended up with strikes me as one of the most empathic and psychologically acute of all movies about childhood -- a "Wizard of Oz" for the dysfunctional-family era.
  51. At the end of a decade defined by much bellyaching about "the death of cinema" (including, on occasion, by this critic), Avatar concludes, appropriately enough, with an image of rebirth.
  52. Not just one of the best Hollywood movies about race, but, along with "Collateral," one of the finest portrayals of contemporary Los Angeles life period.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's a climax of truly epic proportions.
  53. A humane and precociously wise documentary by the young Los Angeles director Amir Bar-Lev.
    • L.A. Weekly
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The result is fascinating, whether you're smitten by him or his work, or simply intrigued by contemporary thought.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The movie's a rave and a half.
  54. Immensely rich, clipped and precise, with a sly, sardonic sense of humor.
  55. Where Okiura leads the art of animation into truly uncharted territory is in his character work, the precise behavioral strokes that bring people to life in two dimensions.
  56. We never seem to be looking at actors, but at people; never at scenes, but at life unrehearsed.
  57. A superb film by any measure, as deep and harsh as the sin Dillon committed to become great.
  58. May turn out to be the finest American indie of the year.
  59. Poignant, funny, and proof of Basquiat's magic.
  60. A dark, biting comedy-- funny, smart and full of unpredictable twist and turns.
  61. Simultaneously hilarious and deeply informative thanks to the vibrant personalities at its center.
  62. An exquisite metaphor for the high cost and higher returns of an enduring marriage.
  63. Leonard Schrader adapted the screenplay from the novel by Manuel Puig, and his fearless willingness to explore every corner of human nature serves what is greatest and sweetest in the performances of William Hurt and Raul Julia.
  64. Notable for its power of surprise and its refusal to immediately clarify the confusion of these lost souls.
  65. It is undeniable in its poignancy, an ecstatic vision of what might have been, though as much for its story as for the fact that the whole thing dissolves like a paper fan in rain, an evanescent masterwork.
  66. In the nearly 30 years since the movie was released (it won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1972), one forgets how falling-about-funny is this mad caper.
  67. This is the deepest of Jewison's three racially themed films, the other two being "In the Heat of the Night" and "A Soldier's Story."
  68. There's no denying the overwhelming force of the giant IMAX screen, as we're reminded that each of us is the coolest special effect ever.
  69. A terrifically clever film; has a soft-boilded heart.
  70. Heartwarming here relies less on forced air than on Petter Næss’ delicate, clever direction -- and a wonderful, imaginative script by Axel Hellstenius.
  71. This is one of those rare times when a credit-heavy gathering of top film talents actually manages to produce a work of art.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Wildly funny bum's rush through the existentially absurd, self-engendered peaks and valleys of the junkie's lament.
  72. Startlingly affecting -- What emerges is a picture of an illness that causes enormous suffering but whose origins and treatment continue to elude even those doctors who pay attention to it.
  73. Trueba reveals his subject organically, letting the music speak for itself.
  74. Both visually and emotionally, a panoramic picture; Mehta wields a master's hand as she weaves together vistas of urban and pastoral India with thoughts on the nature of man as it keeps cycling out in the specifics of history.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Jolts with a quiet intimacy.
  75. Speaks so eloquently for itself, there's not much more for me to do than urge you to get over to the Nuart for the one week it's playing in Los Angeles.
  76. Maintains a reflective, bittersweet tone that's almost tactile.
  77. It's all about having your intelligence -- emotional, spiritual, cerebral -- respected. Garcia does that; Place Vendôme does that.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A rare treat -- a mix of politics that avoids reductive simplicity and a story that's entirely engaging.
  78. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Springall also deftly weaves the film's most dramatic moments with lighthearted comedy, and the result may be Mexico's best film in years.
  79. A waterlogged little jewel of a Chinese movie that you must rush out and see at once or else.
  80. Generous, soulful film.
  81. Though Kippur seems a creature radically different -- more nakedly autobiographical, more naturalistic, more forgiving -- from Gitai's highly conceptual and stylized body of work, there are clear thematic continuities.
  82. The film is unabashedly sexy, and its heady romanticism feels as right and as unaffected as Im's bold use of color and his equally bold decision to tell the story through traditional pansori narration.
  83. Belongs to the small rank of hip-hop films that actually have something to say -- and that say it with both style and intellectual bite.
  84. The music, it goes without saying, is great.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An uplifting -- not to mention pee-your-pants funny -- true story of self-acceptance that should be required viewing for all TV executives and teenage girls.
  85. The kind of art film that's rarely seen anymore -- the kind that trusts the audience to be as intelligent as the director.
  86. Has a marvelous, pent-up passion.
  87. Here is a ghost story so dynamic you could call it a ghost poem.
  88. Writer-director Gianni Amelio masterfully chronicles the ways two people can betray each other, and especially themselves, in the name of love.
  89. A scathing, darkly funny political essay wrapped inside a tragic love story (or vice versa).
  90. The alchemy of good acting under the pressure of sublime film sense makes for a miracle in the hearts of the audience.

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