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 7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 The Departed
Lowest review score: 0 The In Crowd
Score distribution:
3656 movie reviews
  1. Jindabyne wears its class politics lightly, weaving them into a ghost story about the intimate connection between how we treat our living and our dead that will hover around your shoulders long after you leave the theater.
  2. Although the writing and the directing are smart and purposeful, the movie takes flight on the strength of its performances.
  3. Scottish director Andrew Black keeps the pace brisk and the images sunny, while screenwriters Anne Black (his wife), Jason Faller and Katherine Swigert afford lively dialogue that, without pressing the issue, hones in on some insightful parallels between the morals of Austen's society and those of contemporary Mormon culture.
  4. It's fitting, then, that Dinner Rush boasts Hawks-ian virtues: fiery energy, swift, character-driven chitchat and a tough, upbeat sense of how the world works.
  5. Above all, you've got Jennifer Grey, as a rich girl summering in the Catskills and falling for her working-class dance instructor, played by Patrick Swayze. The chemistry between them is red-hot, and they're wonderful dancers.
  6. It's fine stuff, beautifully played, but there's no denying that viewers will have to be patient with this 80-minute chamber piece, the first third of which feels cold and false, only to suddenly shift into unexpectedly deep emotional territory.
  7. A thrilling example of the cunning political allegory woven into vivid concretism that invigorates contemporary Iranian cinema, Mohammad Rasoulof's Iron Island takes as its monumental central image a sinking ship, symbol of decaying autocracy and the faint hope of liberation.
  8. The result is the niftiest Bond movie in years -- fresh, funny, and jammed to the rafters with demented stunts, Boys'-Own gadgetry and brazen promiscuity.
  9. Directed by Agnès Jaoui, who made the equally delightful "The Taste of Others," this comedy of manners with a serious purpose centers on a group of loosely connected neurotics, all working in the rarefied worlds of amateur chorales.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Skirting overt politics, Waddington opts instead for a subtle portrait of emotions, and a story that's told through glances, languorous pacing and breathtaking landscapes.
  10. Zhang's work is always worth watching, but this is the first of his films in which the sorrows are so heart-rending, its many comic moments so laugh-out-loud human.
  11. The Proposition is a very hard and harsh movie, but it also has a hypnotic, lyrical velocity. As Arthur, Huston exudes dead charisma.
  12. Jean-Luc Godard famously declared that all it takes to make a movie is a girl and a gun. Both turn up in Millennium Mambo, a ravishing bauble about la dolce vita in Taiwan, but frankly, the gun's an afterthought. This is a movie about the girl.
  13. So moving and so timely.
  14. The result is the work of a funereal yet darkly funny neorealist, sounding the rallying cry against the inflexible maxim casually delivered by one of his own film's characters.
  15. Hotel Rwanda, based on real lives and events, aims unequivocally to break your heart.
  16. The heist at the heart of Inside Man is brilliant, and so is the movie.
  17. Though his work has been little seen outside of France, writer-director Jean-Claude Brisseau's reputation as one of the most terribles of his country's filmmaking enfants precedes him. This 2002 film offers ample evidence as to why.
  18. If you liked "Love, Actually," you'll love this too, another small jewel in the crown of unabashedly commercial, cheerfully middlebrow, eminently exportable British fluff.
  19. Proves that it's possible for a movie to be reckless and adventurous merely by being sedate, unhurried and contemplative.
  20. It casts an increasingly hypnotic spell, thanks in no small measure to Wright -- a fearless actress (and the real-life wife of writer-director Ruscio) who brings this sometimes despicable, often heartbreaking character to life with every atom of her being.
  21. Recut and reassembled at just a little over two hours, the new version of the film is a staggering and bracing object, stylistically bold and hypnotically captivating.
  22. Saturated with deep, rich color and low-key visual wit, and graced with sympathetic performances.
  23. Rapp's creepy, ghoulishly funny and, finally, touching new film.
  24. Divided We Fall briskly, often hilariously, forbids us to wallow in the specious comfort of untainted local heroes or irredeemable villains.
  25. Too bad for Gilliam and everyone involved, but in the departments of spectacle and schadenfreude, great fun for us.
  26. Writer-director Hans Petter Moland (The Last Lieutenant, Zero Kelvin) has a fine eye for landscapes, but an even surer touch with actors.
  27. As pristine a distillation of Palestinian rage as I've seen outside the evening news.
  28. This gossamer work is one of the loveliest examples of minimalist cinema I've seen in a long time.
  29. It's both surreal -- and wholly accessible.
  30. Climaxes in a flood of revelations that, like so much of the film, take us where we least expect to go.
  31. Immensely exciting and funny.
  32. But what you ultimately take from the film is the awareness that this smart, self-aware, uncensored kid has been playing to a camera in his own head since well before Venditti came along.
  33. Margot at the Wedding gives its characters (and us) something to laugh about.
  34. If Demme's version lacks the wallop of its predecessor, it is more likely to be popular with contemporary audiences, who will enjoy not only its labyrinthine twists but its stars' burnished professionalism.
  35. You begin to wonder whether a story is ever going to show up. When it does, it's worth the wait for a long and well-turned set piece coordinating the heist, and two lovely flips in the plot.
  36. It's hard to know whether to be impressed or appalled by Eva Mozes Kor, the Holocaust survivor in Bob Hercules and Cheri Pugh's fascinating documentary who has made forgiving the Nazis her life's work.
  37. That may not exactly thrill those who admire the Saw films only for their splatter quotient, but all told, this is a more affecting study in grief, guilt and human frailty than "Babel."
  38. Shrek's first 20 minutes are so devilishly funny that letting go of pure belief doesn't seem like such a bad thing.
  39. The movie is enormously, convulsively funny, and it never lets up -- it has no shame.
  40. Equal parts big-house B-feature, hammer-down road movie, post-feminist consciousness-raiser and rock & roll pipe dream.
  41. Shot quickly and cheaply in high-definition video and almost entirely on one set, the movie has almost zero visual energy, but it teems with snappy dialogue and the same carnival anarchy Lumet brought to "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Network."
    • 56 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Cacoyannis lays on the atmosphere a bit thick with multiple repetitions of a lyrical Tchaikovsky motif underscoring unrequited love, one that is nonetheless beautifully rendered by pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy.
  42. Lovely ensemble piece.
  43. The movie often seems as innocent and goodhearted as its subject. Still, Jebeli is possessed of an impish visual sense. He also has the Iranian gift for bringing to vivid life people we wouldn't give a second glance.
  44. Witty, insightful portraits of hyperverbal, self-conscious young people falling in and out of love.
  45. For a film about death and endings, A Prairie Home Companion is a cracking good time - a warm, golden bauble within which to shelter, like the radio show that inspired it, from the misery and ennui that engulf us in and out of the multiplex.
  46. By the end of this likely cult classic (only 80 minutes long), when Evie has an amphetamine-induced meltdown during her cable-access comeback show, these divas are as recognizably human as you and me, only sluttier, and with cattier one-liners.
  47. Amusing, beautifully drawn one-hour film.
  48. It's a rare pleasure to see these senior citizens given so much screen time, droopy butts and all.
  49. Noé calls Irreversible his "Eyes Wide Shut," though it's really more like "A Clockwork Orange."
  50. This is still powerful, undiluted stuff -- a jolt of backwoods moonshine whiskey injected into the veins of the atrophied American relationship drama.
  51. Millions is an intelligent children’s film that may prove to be a guilty pleasure for adults.
  52. Leaves you with a bland message -- titillation may get your wicky-wack going but love and partnership stay the course -- but the way it gets you there is divine.
  53. Leaves you reeling from the force of the humanity it captures and -- in its own gut-wrenching way -- honors.
  54. Open-minded, probing but never prurient, 51 Birch Street is much more than a portrait of suburban ennui. It's a loving, painful map of the gulf between thought and word, between word and deed, that props up good marriages, and sends bad ones to hell.
  55. It’s fascinating that this portrait of the rise, fall and rise of Midwestern organic farmer John Peterson can be read in so many different ways, only some of which appear intentionally in Taggart Siegel’s sympathetic documentary about his friend and fellow artist.
  56. An accomplished miniaturist's documentary -- 80 finely wrought minutes in alternating increments of wonder and loss.
  57. Sensational viewing.
  58. Hitches some of the most irresistible conventions of Hindi movie melodrama to an earnest agenda of social protest.
  59. The Lookout is funny, tender and littered with elegantly written characters played by actors cast for goodness of fit rather than star wattage.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    State-of-the-art camera equipment captures images of startling clarity and proximity. There isn't one frame of CGI.
  60. Funny and light, all the more potent for seeming so effortless.
  61. These women are smart, funny and wonderfully real, traits that one might safely attribute to Westfeldt and Juergensen, who also wrote the screenplay.
  62. This is a very funny film about a creepy, excruciatingly lonely world.
  63. Chilean-born actress Leonor Varela (TV's Cleopatra, a few seasons back) plays Chavo's mother, who, in her rage to see her children survive, powerfully embodies the film's moral center.
  64. Snappy, fun and outrageously irreverent, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is the work of someone with nothing to lose, which is only to the audience's gain.
  65. The Australian actor taps into something miraculous here -- LaPaglia's ability to convey grief and hope works with Weaver's sensitive reactions to make this a two-actor master class.
  66. Much of the film is as strange and oddly beautiful as one of Arbus' own photographs, bold in its attempt to find new ways of cracking the biopic chestnut and sensitive in its portrayal of a 1950s woman who, like so many of her contemporaries, finds herself imprisoned in a "Good Housekeeping" nightmare.
  67. It's the cinematic equivalent of glancing up at the sky and taking a good deep breath.
  68. As merry pranksters they have no match, and as they age (Knoxville is 35 now), they only grow in appeal. As they proudly hurl their tattooed (by ink and battle scars) bodies into harm's way, a devilish glint in their eyes, it's as if they've discovered the fountain of youth, and its name is Jackass.
  69. Campbell is flat-out great, muting his beloved Sam Raimi shtick in favor of a genuine character turn, an act of transformation that makes you wonder why he's never been called on to interpret Elvis before.
  70. Babenco's kindly, concerned eye seeks out the humanity in even the worst of his characters, and by the time he re-creates the massacre, with shocking power and force, one has been equally captivated and appalled at the world he shows. The result is one of the richest prison movies in years.
  71. A resonance that is moving beyond all measure.
  72. Lewd, crude and occasionally too brutal to take, it's also gorgeous, heartfelt.
  73. Noyce wants us to feel the joy of the homecoming, but he's honest enough to show, in a coda that tells what happened to the girls after their break for home, how Rabbit Proof Fence finally must be more a tale of courage than of victory.
  74. An extraordinary documentary about the German entertainer Kurt Gerron, has been timed to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Week, but the film would also fit snugly on a double bill with "My Architect."
  75. At the center...lies the stunning Golbahari, a nonprofessional who recalls some of Bresson's most haunting model-actors in her intense, anguished grace.
  76. Mitchell -- gives a harrowing, beautifully conceived performance, the depth and arc of which can't be fully appreciated until the film's final scene.
  77. The Host is a miracle of breathless play with form and tone that also seethes with attitude and ideas, from pure movie love to pointed sociopolitical commentary to a bleak existentialism about the inherent cruelty of our world.
  78. Very few art documentaries are as deeply in tune with the spirit of their subjects, and the implications are enormous, since Goldsworthy is the rare contemporary art star whose work (what a radical notion) is actually about something.
  79. Country singer and sometime actor Tim McGraw excels as the bitter, besotted ex-Panther who can't cut his kid enough slack to follow his own game plan.
  80. If Steven Spielberg's emotional intelligence matched his visual genius, his honorably flawed new film might qualify for one of the greatest-ever American WWII movies.
  81. An uproarious and appalling piece of consciousness-raising.
  82. "Nothing happening" is everything happening between the lines, in the gap created between what is unstated onscreen and what we bring to the story ourselves.
    • L.A. Weekly
  83. Imamura has said that Warm Water Under a Red Bridge is a poem to the enduring strengths of women. It may also be the best sex comedy about environmental pollution ever made.
  84. The Sex Pistols themselves were bloody magnificent.
  85. Their discretion makes From Hell less a horror movie than a classical film noir.
  86. Under the Skin is distinguished, like so much contemporary Iranian cinema, by the way its striking visuals and strategic use of sound tell the underlying story.
  87. Martel's off-the-cuff candor and intelligent eye for the quietly telling detail charts the progressive rot not only of a family, but of an entire social class.
  88. Neshat employs dialogue that is often didactic, but that weakness is forgiven in the face of stellar acting from the ensemble and gorgeously composed and shot images.
  89. The story of what happens when everything dies but love. It's a simple story, artfully told.
  90. A haunting tale of the physical survival and emotional confusion of children who were simultaneously required to build a new life and hold fast to the memory of an old one, in the hope of resuming it after the war.
    • L.A. Weekly
  91. Enlightenment Guaranteed is a parable of alienation and rediscovery told with such affection, insight and visual elegance, it could never be taken as preachy or stern.
  92. Playfully quirky film takes equal-time potshots at its many easy targets -- fundamentalism, intolerance, ethnic stereotypes.
  93. Ceylan’s departure from his moody sonatas "Distant" and "Climates" into more plotted film noir is equal parts Bresson and Buñuel, a merciless etching of the indiscreet charmlessness of the Turkish bourgeoisie, which sharply raises the stakes on that class’s petty hypocrisy and serial betrayals.
  94. Most of the movie is observant and level-headed, a tip of the hat to ordinary schlubs entangled in vast events, people who would otherwise be background victims in a conventional historical drama.
  95. The film's discretion short-circuits any impulse we might have to regard Glennie as a handicapped person who has “overcome.” Instead, we're led to experience her life as she does - as an adventure in which setbacks are not challenges, but illuminations of untracked paths.
  96. Grim, grueling and triumphantly powerful.
  97. Pellington's sharp, fastball compositions and nerve-splintering cutting style are of a piece with such intelligence, devilishly mixing shock with optimism.

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