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 7.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Toy Story 2
Lowest review score: 0 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
Score distribution:
3656 movie reviews
  1. This is less a coming-out tale than a showcase for late-middle-aged hysterical divas in flowing caftans to yell, scream and ride roughshod over the young homosexuals who are nominally the movie's center.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Self-conscious camp like this can weather (even requires) a certain degree of amateurishness. But there are limits, and Surge of Power's sloppy writing and talent-show performances quickly exceed them.
  2. Koppelman and Lieven's toneless, generic direction style is slack, not slick, and they handle actors like livestock. Only John Malkovich, as Matty's psychotic uncle, retains his dignity.
  3. The editing looks like it was done in a blender, and the images of death and grief are so genre-primal that the Pangs hardly bother with dialogue.
  4. Flatly directed by Mark David, tediously paced and melodramatic.
  5. That crack in Vitale's storytelling foundation would be forgivable if the writing, acting and character epiphanies . . . well, existed. As it is, not even Scotti's formidable lips can blow life into this stillborn flick.
  6. The narrative chronology is so heavily hacked about, its tenses so addled and the material so thinly spread across so many characters, one can scarcely keep it straight in one's head without going cross-eyed.
  7. There's not a believable moment in all of it, but for a while the film chugs along on Ryan's innate charisma. Even so, no amount of movie-star twinkle could lighten screenwriter Cheryl Edwards' bizarre character arc, which finds Jackie turning, overnight, into a callous, possibly racist, ninny.
  8. But since Costner canít save his movie, it's something of a stretch to think he might be able to save the world.
  9. An intriguing failure that promises more than it delivers.
  10. Shawn is clearly meant to have deep feelings, yet the filmmakers have saddled her -- and Blair -- with a shallow angst that bums out the whole movie.
  11. The pivotal secret of God's Sandbox is no secret minutes into the story, and director Doron Eran doesn't seem to know, or care much, whether he's making feminist agitprop or softcore porn. The two don't mix well.
  12. At once illogical and insultingly stupid, filled with dead-end twists and the sort of dialogue that makes a mockery of actual adult relations.
  13. Its characters are as flimsy and expendable as the title suggests, while only the most gullible of viewers (i.e., those who've never seen a David Mamet picture) will likely be duped by the painfully et cetera who's-conning-whom antics or the mounds of forced sentimentality under which they're ill-disguised.
  14. The television commercials for the movie say something about this being the same team that brought you “Face/Off,” which is about as relevant to this picture as noting that Paul Thomas Anderson got Wahlberg to drop his pants in “Boogie Nights.”
  15. Bass isn't a gifted actor, but he retains his dignity, mostly by keeping his head down and avoiding the eyes of the idiots around him.
  16. Lamely engineered and thoroughly exploited tragedy.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    It's ostensibly an action movie, and the action is so poorly shot as to be embarrassing.
  17. By all current standards it's a startlingly ingenuous film.
  18. It all misses the mark emotionally, hindered by one-dimensional characters and telegraphed developments.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    It's basically the stuff of a Bill Maher monologue, knocked down a few reading levels and spun into a low-budg gonzo smorgasbord of brashly tacky styles.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    With this desperately eager-to-please fable based on a short story and novel by Isaac Asimov, director Chris Columbus clinches his berth as the master of shiny-happy message movies.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    This vision of the riots as a kind of Kentucky Fried Movie doesn' lend itself to film the way, say, L.A.'s urban violence does to Sandow Birk’s apocalyptic paintings. Nor does it help that the gags are mortally unfunny.
  19. A viscerally effective thriller ends up a repugnant exercise in moral relativism, delivered with the grandstanding swagger of the self-styled provocateur.
  20. It's all a treacly, shoddily assembled, underwritten mess.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    There is one redeeming skirmish -- the climactic fight involving a snowy cliff and an elaborate pulley system -- but from the guy who's directed videos for Cher, Amy Grant, Billy Joel, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony? We expected more.
  21. Zombie wants his film to be gleefully demented, but he fails to grasp that loud, inbred evil people torturing stupid, grating benign people isn’t disturbing as much as tedious.
  22. One almost pities the unnervingly twitchy Murphy, whose shiny makeup is dreadful, and who doesn't stand a chance alongside the focused intensity of Fanning, who commands the screen with the precision of a 30-year veteran.
  23. It's like a three-times-too-long sitcom pilot missing the laugh track.
  24. A steaming compost heap of high-art pretense and half-cocked psychoanalysis that almost makes you sorry Nicolas Roeg isn't making pictures anymore.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Brodie assembles a grab bag of themes formulaic to films about poverty.
  25. Working from a preachy, clumsy script that's full of gaping holes in logic, plot and character development, director Zak Tucker is also handicapped by a cast filled with actors who seem to be in their first year of acting school.
  26. No matter how “real” things appear, scenarios and story arcs are relentlessly imposed upon the partay-cipants so as to finesse a narrative as crudely overdetermined and howlingly predictable as any studio-manufactured fiction.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    What's most grating, though, is how the film pretends to be an inspiring story about one ordinary guy's pursuit of a quixotic dream to meet his muse, when in fact Herzlinger's adoration of Drew is considerably less heartfelt than his infatuation with himself.
  27. Heartless piece of ill will.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    The movie pitches itself as a modern-day "Romeo and Juliet," but its execution is so lazy and inept that if the lovers were to die horribly it would come more as relief than tragedy. Sadly, in this respect, as in every other, In the Mix disappoints.
  28. Crushingly airless film -- Food chokes on its own depiction of upper-crust decorum.
  29. It's like a musical with no big numbers, or an action film withholding the explosions.
  30. This appalling multiculti upgrade of the ’50s sitcom is about as funny as a bus accident.
  31. Sitcom humor substitutes for wit, and tedious angst supplies the drama.
  32. An exploitation flick, but without the thrills or cleavage.
  33. I'd take almost any colorful-character shtick over the gloomy gravitas that settles over All the King's Men early on and never leaves.
  34. Kinnear and Romijn-Stamos appear to be vying for the title of filmdom's least-convincing married couple, while Robert De Niro, as the movie's modern-day Dr. Frankenstein, takes his own expert career slumming to a new depth -- he's become an evil clone of a once-great actor.
  35. What follows is one set piece after another in which the women make fools of themselves as the script herds them toward a happy ending of hugs and tears.
  36. Unfortunately, fulfilling an apparent need to assert absolute control over his early successes no matter the cost, the director has gone ahead and loused up his 1979 masterpiece of gothic sci-fi horror.
  37. What a letdown that Vincent Ward, who gave us a fabulous gift with Map of the Hu-man Heart, has made this big old tub of schmaltz.
  38. It all collapses under an atrocious performance by Pacino, whose laughably bad accent and scene-chewing delivery serve up thick slabs of that rarest of delicacies: Jewish ham. There may be grounds here for a class-action lawsuit.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    1. Balls of Fury is a movie about: a. A former table-tennis prodigy enlisted by the FBI to infiltrate the underground pingpong tournament of a legendary Chinese criminal. b. Suppository jokes.c. Little worth discussing and even less worth seeing.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Occasionally funny, cameo-speckled marshmallow.
  39. Chandrasekhar is a master forger of images and situations from horror movies past, but unlike Wes Craven did in "Scream," he doesn't build on them in any way, and the result is the opposite of what's intended; the movie is stultifying.
  40. As a movie, it must stand or fall by intense chemistry between the lead characters. Sadly, as co-written by Campion and Moore, In the Cut suffers from a fatal emotional and erotic imbalance.
  41. Drab and muddled romance.
  42. In the end, Some Fish Can Fly doesn't.
  43. The film is ultimately more labored than inspired. A cameo by James Brown is amusing, but it can't keep The Tuxedo from earning the distinction of being Chan's worst Hollywood film to date.
  44. To call the film contrived would imply that some sort of effort had been made, when Sweet Home Alabama is nothing but dead lazy and slow — y'all.
  45. The thunderous clashes between armies of computer-generated Trojans and Mycenaeans, when they do arrive, feel decidedly un-epic, as though we were watching a child's toy-box war between plastic figurines. Which makes them perfectly in line with the rest of Petersen's artless approach.
  46. Lee hits almost every note wrong, from Terence Blanchard's overplayed score, to underdeveloped roles for Ellen Barkin and John Turturro, to stale one-liners.
  47. The movie's chief liability, though, is Rose herself, who also co-scripted with first-time director Robert Cary and who registers several notches below Nia Vardalos on the totem of unlikely double-threats.
  48. Just because the filmmakers have their roots in the Midwest doesn't give them a pass when it comes to their stereotypical rendition of small-town people and ways, chock-a-block with sadistic cops, shotgun-toting locals, and strippers from up in Des Moines.
  49. A disappointing hodgepodge that fails to tie up its conflicting strands of family drama and suspense thriller.
  50. Kids will probably enjoy the sight of huge, bumbling teddy bears -- Parents will exit wondering why this piece of unnecessary cross-promotion wasn't released straight to video.
  51. Director Rob Reiner’s atrocious cancer “comedy” marks a new low in Hollywood’s self-flagellating “things to be thankful for” tradition.
  52. Written in 60 Seconds would be a more appropriate title.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Miss Conception's dim view of women soon transcends unexamined and goes straight to offensive.
  53. Slight and goofy, this cut-rate attempt to mine "Harry Potterville" is undermined by its ostensible draw: the lead casting of Jonathan Lipnicki.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Has so many dead moments that singing spots by Gladys Knight, Pastor Marvin Winans and Mary J. Blige simply highlight, rather than alleviate, the inertia.
  54. Of course, this is just another teen movie -- with tons of dick jokes that don't know when to quit, and buckets of realistic-looking "excrement" splattered all over its "juvenile" cast, and even a couple of gags that actually fly.
  55. The biggest problem is that the character of Sabine is such a lame male fantasy of the enigmatic woman-child.
  56. This time, Zombie doesn’t appear to have many deep thoughts, so Michael doesn’t just stab his victims, he slices and chomps them into gooey pulp — an overkill motif that actually feels false to the character and quickly becomes a depressing bore.
  57. In fairness, the movie isn't the absolute worst of its kind and there's a certain charm to Butcher's amiable, puppy-eyed performance. But Michael McGowan's direction is as flat as an asphalt road, and his script is gasping for air long before it enters the final stretch.
  58. Inane uplift tale for teens.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Moving McAllister is a perfect storm of low-budget indie conventionality: a witless road comedy suffused with tons of phony Americana and forced romance featuring sheltered young white people whose minuscule worries about jobs and relationships are as inconsequential as the film’s negligible worldview.
  59. Kidman, who speaks Russian for much of the movie, turns in a technically impeccable performance, but the movie gets far more out of her than she out of it.
  60. A dud.
  61. Won't be of much value to anyone besides die-hard Cubs fans or the Santo family itself.
  62. Going Down is woefully lacking in the comedy (or the sex for that matter), and even some of the teens look a little long in the tooth.
  63. As reasoning, this is manipulative -- as filmmaking, it’s dull.
  64. Pretension, in its own way, is a form of bravery. For this reason and this reason only -- the power of its own steadfast, hoity-toity convictions -- Chelsea Walls deserves a medal.
  65. The film does, in the end, raise something of an existential dilemma: If you set out to make a new version of something you know to be bad, and you make something that is in fact bad, have you somehow succeeded?
  66. Directed by Swedish filmmaker Mikael Håfström, who's clearly new at the genre, this aptly named movie is riddled with obvious parallels, crude moral talking points, a script so awful it's practically avant-garde, and a vain attempt at comic relief by RZA.
  67. If only they had the courage of their crassness.
  68. Like so many movies of its kind, Dead Man's Shoes gets hopelessly lost in vicious process, and so loses all sight of anything you might optimistically call insight.
  69. Provides an unfulfilled promise of pleasure (providing one doesn't cave in to the spectacle of bare-chested Elizabeth Hurley sucking on an ice cube) in this heavy-handed exercise in time-vaulting literary pretension.
  70. Surprisingly unsexy, uninvolving affair.
  71. A horror movie that's not horrific enough, Soul Survivors plays like a "Twilight Zone" by way of "Touched by an Angel."
    • 31 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    The first two-thirds are turgid enough; in the last, Ferrara begins replaying scenes we've already seen earlier in the film.
  72. A flimsy premise to begin with, it’s been punctured beyond repair by an amateur script from Bill Kelly and director Hugh Wilson (The First Wives Club), and by Wilson’s shocking ineptitude with dialogue, framing and pace.
  73. It's supposed to be post-feminist breezy but ends up as tedious as the chatter of parrots raised on Oprah.
  74. As a film, it essentially bites.
  75. This depressingly uninspired action-comedy (based on the 1975–79 TV series) is Hollywood’s latest McMovie -- name-brand recognition as raison d’être or, if you will, creative bankruptcy on a very large scale.
    • 18 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    No, it’s not Caddyshack -- just swap Jews (Rodney Dangerfield) for blacks (Big Boi) and you’ve got Who’s Your Caddy?. The movie, of course, is terrible.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    This is all really a big waste. At least the out-takes at the end are actually funny.
  76. The best I can say for Smiling Fish is that it's capable and pleasant, which ought to sound a warning note louder than if I'd said it was awful.
  77. A flat, middlebrow variation on some of the central themes of recent Iranian cinema.
  78. They only want us to play that tiresome guessing game: Is it all a dream or is it really happening? Instead, you may find yourself asking: Is this cinema or merely Cinemax?
  79. There is nothing sadder, either in real life or on the movie screen, than an unlikable idiot, and what we have with this dreadful comedy -- the longest 90 minutes of the film year -- is the sight of not one but two charm-free fools.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Director John Maybury showed a defter hand with the artist biopic in his 1998 Francis Bacon film, "Love Is the Devil." Here he repeatedly falls into the genre’s traps, creating an inert, claustrophobic movie.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    The only things anyone’s likely to remember, besides Bacon’s crazy-eyes act, are John Goodman’s soon-to-be-legendary turn as a bilious bug-eyed gun dealer and a hellacious back-alley/parking-garage chase shot from a careening fender-level camera. Like much of the movie, it’s as hammily dynamic as it is impossible to swallow.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    This superficial nonsense is easily ignored; that the movie runs out of gas at the midpoint isn't.
  80. Even the easily weepy may grow impatient with the snail’s pace of this melancholy romance.

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