L.A. Weekly's Scores

For 3,655 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 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Lowest review score: 0 3000 Miles to Graceland
Score distribution:
3,655 movie reviews
  1. Up
    Up emerges as a gentle hymn to adventure of both the soaring, storybook variety and the smaller, less obvious kind -- the perilous, unpredictable and richly rewarding journey of ordinary, everyday life.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Maverick's sequence is perhaps Giants' most viscerally exciting and poignant.
  2. The kind of art film that's rarely seen anymore -- the kind that trusts the audience to be as intelligent as the director.
  3. This superb debut feature by Korean-American director So Yong Kim seems to be constructed entirely of the ineffable and intangible, those fleeting moments that most movies treat as throwaways.
  4. Macdonald's singular achievement is to restore -- through interviews and archival footage -- the dead to such vivid life, you weep for them and for their families, who have only memories to live off.
  5. What Harris extracts from himself is nothing less than a psychological nude scene, sustained across two hours.
  6. Ghobadi's genius seems supercharged rather than weighed down by his higher calling, and his imagery is so boilingly alive that we come away from it feeling exhilarated rather than depressed.
  7. Scaled like an epic but possessing the narrative simplicity of a fable, The Warrior unfolds over a brisk 85 minutes of screen time, keeping dialogue to a minimum as it celebrates the power of stories told through handcrafted, CGI-free images.
  8. Like two of the year's other standout American films, Kelly Reichardt's "Old Joy" and Ryan Fleck's "Half Nelson," it's a movie of ideas in which the ideas flow effortlessly out of the material instead of being plastered on top with a heavy cement roller (as in "Crash," "Babel" and "Little Children").
  9. AKA
    So never mind the Xmas schlock -- go treat yourself at once to this sensationally entertaining soul food.
  10. Bill Pope's swooping, noir-inflected cinematography is wonderfully complemented by Owen Paterson's inventive production design, a great soundtrack and the best fight choreography this side of Hong Kong. And even if this isn't "Blade Runner," it is very cool shit.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Hero is an epic, evocative of another epoch and of landscapes beyond time. It's overwhelming. And yet I miss the animating anger of Zhang's early masterworks, in which penniless young lovers were oppressed by impotent old men.
  11. Razor sharp and funny as hell, Incident at Loch Ness is the harpoon hurled into the hot-air balloon of “reality” entertainment.
  12. By staying focused on the children -- frightened evacuees from the London Blitz whose parallel war in Narnia both taps into and finally quiets their unspoken terrors -- Adamson keeps faith with the humanity of Lewsis' tale.
  13. Snakes was the most exuberantly trashy delight of this summer movie season or last.
  14. Seattle filmmaker James Longley's poetic essay on the plight of ordinary Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds trapped in a war simultaneously waged over their heads and in their faces stands head and shoulders above an overcrowded field of documentaries about the Iraq war.
  15. X
    It's all such a spectacular show.
  16. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
  17. 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.
  18. For all its simplicity, however, the film is entertaining, even uplifting, with Lopez giving a stellar, confectionary performance.
  19. It is Lynch's most experimental endeavor in the 30 years since "Eraserhead," that it will do nothing to draw new fans to the director's work and that, after two viewings, I cannot wait to see it again.
  20. The meat of the film is their wittily edited interviews with company members, now in their 80s and 90s and scattered around the world, many of them still active as teachers and consultants.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Leaving the theater, you feel not only as if you've been in a foreign country, but as if you'd gone there inside someone else's skin.
  21. 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.
  22. Outside of "Grindhouse," it may be the most bang for your buck to be had in a Los Angeles movie theater this season.
  23. Vol. 2 is the most sheerly enjoyable movie I've seen in ages, allowing for all the intimacy that was missing from its predecessor -- this time, the violence feels PERSONAL. Yet this film, too, would be richer if it didn't stand alone, but rather were part of one grand grind-house epic.
  24. Jonathan Demme's superb film of Neil Young's 2005 performance at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium is as fervent a musical homage as was Demme's bubbly tribute to the Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense (1984).
  25. Genuine thriller -- with one crisis hurtling after another, heightened by hauntingly brief moments of peace.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Perfectly situated in the maelstrom of the personal and the political, Sound and Fury creates a space for serious, obstinate contention.
  26. A raucously entertaining slice of slapstick dressed up as domestic satire.
  27. The Saint works. The reason why it occasionally soars is Kilmer, an actor who’s happiest when burying himself in eccentric characterizations, a trick he performs repeatedly here even as he fills the screen with pure movie-star dazzle.
  28. The Puffy Chair is the funniest, saddest and most emotionally honest "romantic comedy" to come along in years, even if I've yet to encounter many over the age of about 35 who like the film, or even get it.
  29. Though it includes plenty of footage from those terrible days, this wonderful, devastating documentary is as much Dallaire's story as it is the story of a whole continent abandoned by a cynical world.
  30. A superb film by any measure, as deep and harsh as the sin Dillon committed to become great.
  31. It's the director's most complexly ordered film to date - a labyrinth of ids, egos and alter egos waiting around blind corners - and may be the movies' most deliriously inventive narrative spiral since "Adaptation."
  32. Tuck Everlasting is a wise and beautiful poem to the idea that the fundamental human tragedy is not death, but the unlived life.
  33. Confidence grooves on the giddy joy of storytelling -- on the digressive whimsy of good dialogue, on playful editing, on the ways in which con men -- and filmmakers -- psych out their victims.
  34. Everyone plays their role (and the roles within their roles) to perfection, and writer-director Mamet keeps us guessing what's what and who's who right up until the final minute.
  35. Above all, Oshima has fashioned a tale of men among men that feels familiar at first, then moves boldly into more enigmatic terrain.
  36. The result is a glorious low-tech pleasure that may be the most lyrical, phantasmagoric boys' adventure story since Joe Dante's Explorers.
  37. Has the glorious look and immaculate technique we expect from Mann, along with a wealth of superb secondary performances.
  38. Easily the most brilliant of the genuflections bestowed on the American gangster movie by the French New Wave.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The result is fascinating, whether you're smitten by him or his work, or simply intrigued by contemporary thought.
  39. Here's a picture that you actually want to see a second time, not for the sake of further wrapping your head around its gnarly conceptual matrix, but because of the sheer visceral charge it provides. Here, at long last, is a summer movie -- like its precursors in the Terminator canon -- worth its weight in cybernetic organisms.
  40. 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."
    • 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.
  41. The result is an intelligent, moving and invigorating film, just the thing for adults bored with the shock-horror posturing to be found in the work of so many young European directors.
  42. Yet Waiting for Guffman is never mean-spirited. Its weird warmth is perfectly embodied by Guest himself, whose flamboyant, stagestruck choreographer, Corky St. Clair, could have (in less ingenious hands) been a cruel, gay-bashing caricature, but instead becomes a hallucinatory Everyman.
  43. LaGravenese (writer of "The Fisher King," adapter of "The Bridges of Madison County," making his directorial debut) eschews distractions of style and molds our attention to the performances.
  44. The supreme achievement of this lovely film — all three rhythmic, leisurely hours of it -- is that what borders on faintly fascistic body worship in the novel instead feels as perfectly natural to us as it does to the lovers. Lawrence would kvell.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Wildly funny bum's rush through the existentially absurd, self-engendered peaks and valleys of the junkie's lament.
  45. 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.
  46. It goes straight to the top of the class. O can there be such a thing as too keen a guilty pleasure, particularly when the whole genre is knowingly pitched to audiences as a trashophile's delight? No, there cannot.
  47. It’s the sort of buoyant, all-ages entertainment that Hollywood has been laboring to revive in recent years (most recently with Hairspray) but hasn’t managed to get right until now, and the glue holding it all together is the incomparable Adams (an Oscar nominee for 2005’s Junebug), who gives the kind of blissful screwball performance that seemed to go out of fashion after "I Love Lucy" left the airwaves.
  48. At once an emotional thriller and a domestic horror movie -- a woman's picture with a vengeance, in which the bloodletting is kept to a minimum, and ends up all the more powerful and profound for it.
    • L.A. Weekly
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Annaud presents a meticulously structured fable about the importance of family, particularly the relationship of fathers and sons, to both man and beast.
  49. A waterlogged little jewel of a Chinese movie that you must rush out and see at once or else.
  50. Just about everyone worth knowing in All About My Mother is female in spirit, which is to say they're all sexy, impossible, powerfully durable souls, quarrelsome and loyal, inventive at navigating the tragedies.
  51. A drama of uncommon beauty and emotional resonance.
  52. Has a marvelous, pent-up passion.
  53. A triumph of invisible craftsmanship that embraces so much specific detail that none of the women ever comes across as an emblem or an abstraction.
  54. What makes High Art remarkable is Cholodenko's refusal to put her characters or story through a filter, her unblinking willingness to dive right in.
  55. Dunne is committed, thank good-ness, unapologetic for even the most fluttery sentiment or spookiest chill, enjoying the swellness of the very idea almost as much as any fanciful girl.
  56. When We Were Kings is a wonderfully entertaining, at times thrilling, film. Ali is magnificent, Foreman oddly touching, and their fight, which is shown almost in total, makes for superb, nail-biting suspense--even two decades after the fact.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Occurring as it does amid a surge of tragedy and bitterness, its comic effect is powerfully mitigated.
  57. Generous, soulful film.
  58. Superb documentary.
  59. One of the year's most imaginative and uniquely exciting pieces of cinema.
  60. Zodiac may be the perfect meeting of filmmaker and subject ­-- an obsessive's portrait of obsession that is, finally, a monument to irresolution.
  61. Terrifically entertaining specimen of Spielbergian sci-fi, incomparably better than "A.I." and as dark a movie as the director has made since "Schindler's List."
  62. 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.
  63. This loving throwback to the paranoid thrillers of the ’70s is a beauty.
  64. 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.
  65. I urge you to see the ineffably beautiful Three Times however you can, lest you go on thinking that Hou's greatness is merely the supposition of obscurantist critics intent on reserving their highest praise for those films that nobody else can actually see.
  66. Maintains a reflective, bittersweet tone that's almost tactile.
  67. That nothing more monumental than an everyday life has occurred to any of the subjects is perhaps the film's most compelling aspect.
  68. The superb ensemble never plays for sympathy, and the movie isn't as depressing as it may sound. Its hushed, contemplative quality is oddly affecting.
  69. Tim Burton has taken a hallowed classic of the modern musical theater, hemmed in the narrative from well over two hours to well under, cast confessed nonsingers in the principal roles, and somehow managed to make something magical out of it
  70. Quite possibly the most buoyant, exuberant film ever made on such an unpleasant topic.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The movie's a rave and a half.
  71. Very much a fully realized cinematic experience. John Turturro, even if you have to act less, be sure to direct more, and often.
  72. 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Coens have resurrected a hardscrabble California of wooden porches and gravel driveways, of rolling, oak-wreathed hills and one-lane roads, and of a restless people whose meager dreams are wrecked the moment money, sex or a bottle get in the way. Never has the past seemed so familiar.
  73. A quietly devastating song.
  74. The first REALLY great mythic film of the summer has arrived.
  75. The inventive, often comically horrible fight set pieces will have you standing on your seat cheering like a Viking, and the result is a supremely kinetic and amusing guilty pleasure.
  76. Deliciously wicked, strangely poetic portrait (adapted by Patrick McGrath from his own novel) of a schizophrenic man at once tyrannized and elevated by oedipal terrors.
  77. Sketches was produced for PBS's American Masters series, but it's in theaters now and deserves to be seen on the largest possible screen.
  78. While Parker and co-writer Catherine di Napoli are faithful to Melville’s plotline, they and a fully engaged supporting cast — have made the old boy's characters more quick-witted than any English Lit major would have thought possible.
  79. The alchemy of good acting under the pressure of sublime film sense makes for a miracle in the hearts of the audience.
  80. Heartwarming here relies less on forced air than on Petter Næss’ delicate, clever direction -- and a wonderful, imaginative script by Axel Hellstenius.
  81. Powerfully enigmatic study of the fundamental opacity of human relations.
  82. Victor Vargas has the look and feel of a neo-realist masterpiece, yet captures New York with a burnished authenticity not seen since the glory days of ’70s American cinema.
  83. Unfolds with such leisurely, terrible beauty, it takes a while to realize that what we are witnessing is the children's long slide into beggary, exacerbated by the slow torture of faint hope.
  84. 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.
  85. Bujalski takes a sledgehammer to the carefully ordered surfaces and dramatic conventions of narrative cinema, favoring instead an unpredictability in which the crosscurrents of quotidian life collide on the screen in a series of brilliantly alive patterns.
  86. The film's strength and its entertainment lie in John Myhre's production design, its generally appealing cast...and, perhaps most importantly, a canny degree of self-parody.
  87. Poignant, funny, and proof of Basquiat's magic.
  88. The true mystery is the journey itself, which will turn out to be one of the most spiritually enervating, and elevating, Outward Bound courses ever undertaken.
  89. A humane and precociously wise documentary by the young Los Angeles director Amir Bar-Lev.
    • L.A. Weekly

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