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 Finding Nemo
Lowest review score: 0 C Me Dance
Score distribution:
3,655 movie reviews
  1. The movie catches us up so profoundly in Frankie's self-destructive spiral (and gradual rehab), it's as though we’re seeing it all for the first time. I'd like to say that's because the story is true, only it isn't.
  2. This very funny, very British movie -- directed by newcomer Garth Jennings -- has sci-fi effects that are impressive yet appropriately cheesy.
  3. Indulging his taste for Grand Guignol and the stylistically baroque, Schwentke never quite overplays his hand, though his occasional lapses into visual extravagance can be irritating, and the result is a nasty, intelligent and complex thriller.
  4. This gets my vote as director Franco Zeffirelli’s finest film. Certainly, it’s his most personal.
  5. While all the pieces don't quite add up in the end, as memory, fantasy and delusion collide, the film succeeds again and again at pulling you to the edge of your seat and keeping you there.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Startup.com goes from being a mildly interesting true story to a ripping good train wreck in the making.
  6. Molina is an actor of unusually elastic gifts, but unlike Willem Dafoe, who has only to bare his scary teeth to send us all scampering for the exits, there's no getting around the fact that Molina has the face of a kindly basset hound even when it's contorted into a deadly grimace.
  7. This is a dream cast who practically sing screenwriter Keith Reddin's funny, literate dialogue.
  8. Here is a Western without irony or innovation, without any of the overt efforts toward “revisionism” we’ve come to expect even from Eastwood -- a movie that waxes elegiac about the end of the West, but remains sure that cowboys and cattle and ramshackle frontier towns will live on in perpetuity at the cinema.
  9. Michael Winterbottom has made an enormously moving document of the tense days between Pearl's capture and the news that he was dead.
  10. The movie's a beauty.
  11. The movie is another showcase for the underappreciated McGregor, who disappears into his character so discreetly that, even as his face lets us track Joe's every thought, you never feel you’re watching a Performance.
  12. A surprisingly affecting mood piece.
  13. It's so playful, wicked and unseemly, by the time you realize that the actual plot of this brilliantly sordid satire hasn't started, the party is already over.
  14. Indeed, The Good Thief is a fairy tale, not just in the plotted fun of the heist and counterheist, or in the clever twist thrown in at the end, but in the grandiloquent myth, so passionately espoused by Melville, of the crook as a man of honor and elegance.
  15. This is such a dazzlingly self-assured directorial debut that it's hard to know what to praise first.
  16. Extraordinarily witty (nothing new for this director) while coming off as a taunt to anyone who'd dare to follow in his wake.
  17. A brilliantly atmospheric, sweetly nutty film.
  18. Anchored by two fine performances, this bittersweet comedy about second chances just might signal a new beginning for the director as well.
  19. Returning director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) and screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost) have done a fine job of updating White's dry wit to a new age, led in no small measure by Lane, who could probably make the IRS code book sound funny.
  20. Jolting narrative ellipses sometimes threatens to bring the whole house of cards tumbling down. What never lessens is the movie's rapturous eroticism, and the exquisite longing in each one of Yu Hong's sideways glances.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Although the film may be about 20 percent overweight, the human story of a man who -- for four decades -- spat in the eye of his tormentors and gleefully accepted his role as a latter-day Sisyphus commands the viewer's attention.
  21. Its jazzy rhythm and economy of form place it closer to a 1950s film noir, shot through with humor so dark you need a flashlight to see it.
  22. As before, Bujalski's preference for nonprofessional actors, his ear for the rhythms of conversation among bright young 20-somethings and his adept use of a roving, hand-held camera (this time shooting in fuzzy black and white) lend the film an invigorating energy.
  23. A reunion movie, and while it's often very funny, it has none of the self-satisfied piety or strenuous jokiness of "The Big Chill." Its mood shifts between defiant exuberance and wistful contemplation, but it's never mawkish.
  24. Director Fly works with a delicate touch, probing the slow, insidious corruption of this fundamentally decent but weak man.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Succeeds in articulating the fluid values and constituent parts of the "culture" even as that culture's subjects are at best mildly articulate.
  25. Surprisingly smart film.
  26. Writer-director Fabián Bielinsky's devilish Nine Queens serves as further evidence that Argentina's film industry is at the forefront of a resurgent Latin American cinema.
  27. As a tactfully quiet story of mother-daughter estrangement and psychic rescue, Solas can hardly fail to excite the longing so many of us have to right domestic wrongs.
  28. Hilarious, unnerving and remarkably intimate portrait of multiethnic adolescent life that lends vigorous new meaning to the term "teen movie."
  29. At the movie's core, disguised with pitch-perfect Minnesota accent and bushy comb-over hairdo, the perpetually underrated Kurt Russell (as the late coach Herb Brooks) delivers a brilliant performance of immaculate control.
  30. The fun is in getting there, and in the mechanics, charted by writer-director Francis Veber.
  31. Made may look like a Wong Kar-Wai movie -- the cinematographer, Chris Doyle, has brought to the film the dark, rich romanticism of the movies he's shot for the Hong Kong prodigy -- but the sensibility is Woody Allen, only sweeter.
  32. (Linney and Ruffalo) are just beautiful enough, in fact, to be in the movies and still remain convincing as authentic folk, and their performances are tremendously moving.
  33. Aranoa's bleak yet warmly humanistic Princesas deftly and sympathetically ponders the interlocked destinies of two Madrid prostitutes.
  34. The quiet and intimacy of what is essentially a two-character piece are well juxtaposed by Brooks against the vast desert expanses of her home country, captured in sumptuous wide-screen cinematography by the great Ian Baker.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Superb documentary.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Lovely.
  35. For these gifted directors and their fine ensemble, the notion that every life forms into a mosaic of intimate, largely unobserved details is the story most worth telling.
  36. Though the progress of this ill-matched love triangle is fun to follow in its self-consciously wacky way, the movie's chief pleasures, at least to a Western eye, are anthropological.
  37. The story proceeds, by minuscule tonal shifts and barely perceptible changes in the atmospheric temperature, from touches of ghoulish comedy -- to the creepy stillness of death that pervades the house.
  38. Though Akel and Mass share writing credit, Chalk was actually shot in a loose, improvisational manner in the mode of Christopher Guest's films, and its best set pieces are like devastatingly effective pinpricks puncturing the Hollywood hot-air balloon of inspirational teacher/coach melodramas.
  39. Reynolds, working in close harmony with cinematographer Andrew Dunn (Gosford Park), brings an infectious brio and an occasional sweeping grace to the classic trappings of Dumas.
  40. What makes it enthralling is the younger Kahn's openness to a range of emotional responses (his own and others') to his father's life above and below board, and his readiness to turn his own predicament into both entertainment and a provisional kind of puckish wisdom.
  41. A smart, beautiful piece of storytelling, attentive to Le Carré's broad intent, while boldly taking a knife to his more egregious longueurs.
  42. The most enjoyable film Besson has had his name on in eons.
  43. The film is at once breathtaking and ridiculous, and it's the tension between these two extremes, as well as Carax's own intoxicating style, that makes it essential viewing.
  44. Freshened immensely by pitch-perfect song parodies, a batch of hilarious faux album covers, nimble improv from the ever-marvelous cast, and a palpable love for the subject matter.
  45. The Weather Man begs to be taken seriously and can't easily be dismissed; it kicks around in your mind for a good long while after you've seen it. Cage, who does his finest work since "Leaving Las Vegas," has stripped himself bare of the patented tics and mannerisms he honed in one Jerry Bruckheimer movie too many.
  46. If you can't think of a crisis in your life that's tied to a Leonard Cohen song, then Canadian director Lian Lunson's velvety, exuberantly hagiographic film of a 2005 Sydney tribute concert to the Prince of Pain may not be the movie for you.
  47. Carnage is a film about the violence of living, of finding and keeping a place in the world, and though it's a work of preternaturally sophisticated philosophy from a director who's barely out of her 20s, this beautiful, bizarre movie could function quite well without its capable screenplay.
  48. Cloudy is smart, insightful on a host of relationship dynamics, and filled with fast-paced action.
  49. The imagery is startling not just for its symbolic resonances, but for the breathless intensity with which it sears the screen.
  50. Queen Latifah gives a spectacular performance in this hugely enjoyable wish-fulfillment fantasy.
  51. One of the sweetest comedies in a long time, which doesn't mean it's sugary or fey.
  52. Not just the funniest but the smartest comedy around by a mile.
  53. The complex narrative counterpoint is anchored by a rock-solid performance by one of the world's great actors, the Beijing theater veteran Hu Jun.
  54. Dizdar maintains a knife-edged balance in tone throughout the film
  55. It's a fresh installment in what appears to be a self-perpetuating sitcom of British life.
  56. Michael Schorr's delightfully deadpan comedy debut blew away the German box office, and once you let yourself sink into its gentle rhythms, as slow and deliberate as those of its protagonist and inflected with tiny but significant shifts of pace and tone, you'll see why.
  57. In its depiction of a fleeting, but nevertheless factual, peace in the Middle East, Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven may seem a more quixotic Hollywood fantasy than all six Star Wars movies lumped together.
  58. So gently told, so deceptively simple a story, that its considerable emotional power sneaks up on you.
  59. A kind of folktale, rooted in poignant personal experience.
  60. Polanski, wisely, doesn't interpret or explain. He seems to have decided that in the face of such meticulously planned horror, the best one can do is get the details right.
  61. Writer-director Kasi Lemmons works fast, and the world she conjures is powerfully realized.
  62. Remarkable energy and wit, and is probably the most purely enjoyable entry in Kaufman's suboeuvre of literary excursions.
  63. A smart, quietly moving film.
  64. A remarkably moving and disturbing film about the possibility of belonging and the genealogy of violence.
  65. This won't be remembered as one of the prodigiously talented Armstrong's great films (My Brilliant Career, High Tide, Little Women), but it's still 90 percent better than everything else out there.
  66. Through masterful editing, nimble music selection and smart use of documentary materials, the filmmakers shake the dust off cultural clichés to provide a provocative survey of the past. It’s a subversively sleek enterprise.
  67. Brilliantly edited for drama and irony, The Goebbels Experiment juxtaposes little-seen German propaganda films with excerpts from Goebbels' diary.
  68. What gives Rocky Balboa its unexpected pathos is the titanic humility of Stallone's performance, the earnestness with which he plays a man knocked down (but not out) by the ravages of time.
  69. Cleverly structured, fast-paced, funny, even moving.
  70. Director John Dahl ("Red Rock West," "The Last Seduction") has a pronounced knack for snap reversals and out-of-the-blue shocks.
  71. It's cheap thrills all the way, served up with the kind of situational purity that only Carpenter seems to care for these days. It's that simple and that much fun.
  72. The movie blows a fresh wind of disrespect, high drama and lush romanticism through that stolidly middlebrow subgenre, the period drama.
  73. Kusturica's always masterful orchestration of chaos, coincidence and caricature really pays off as a sweet, soulful celebration of old friends, new loves and the mad scramble of life at the fringe.
  74. One senses that this is an intensely personal project for Binder, who is not as forgiving as he might be toward the mercurial mother. Still, the film is carried by Costner and Allen, who project a chemistry so incrementally built on reluctant camaraderie, they almost seem like siblings.
  75. The Messenger may be a caricature of theology, but then Besson is a cartoonist of genius.
  76. This is some of the best filmmaking ever done by director Richard Donner, a longtime Hollywood journeyman known more for his proficient deployment of three long-running movie franchises (The Omen, Superman and Lethal Weapon) than for his lyricism.
  77. True to its source material, this is a movie with the dense, rich texture of a good novel.
  78. Nathan Lopez, armed with a diva's slinky cat walk and determination, is absolutely fantastic as Maximo.
  79. Nolan gets his two larger-than-life leads playing off each other in the same frame (which is something Michael Mann couldn't pull off in "Heat's" pairing of Pacino and De Niro) and coaxes a melancholy turn from Pacino, an icon of angst whose real strength has always been his capacity for eloquent silence.
  80. A fresh, buoyant, mischievous and rather jolly meditation - if that's the word for a movie as divinely nuts as this one is - on the meaning of life in an unhappy world.
  81. A fetchingly improbable match of material and directors.
  82. A bracingly sarcastic political comedy -- it opens on a bound copy of Mexico's Constitution, stuffed with cash -- possessed of a baleful satiric eye for hypocrisy and greed, a delicious anti-clerical bent, and pitch-perfect comic timing.
  83. On the strength of such skillful pacing, and the pair's beautifully modulated performances (Leary's never been so warm or vulnerable), the film builds almost imperceptibly to a climax that's as moving as it is startling.
  84. A refreshing antidote to those E! True Hollywood Story documentaries on adult-film figures like John Holmes, Savannah and Traci Lords.
  85. The Girl From Paris may not have half the smooth technique of "Swimming Pool," but it has 10 times the heart and soul.
  86. The movie is driven almost entirely by its exhilaratingly subversive characters.
  87. As naked and bitter and mesmerizing a display of self-pity as you've seen outside as Edward Albee play. By the end of this willfully grimy yet oddly beautiful movie, Billy and Layla have earned grudging sympathy.
  88. Proves too sincere to exploit its subjects and too honest to manipulate its audience.
  89. A central work in the new, boldly politicized Iranian cinema.
  90. Goes the distance to avoid banalizing the dilemma of a reasonable couple unhinged by unreasonable events.
  91. A labor of love -- a swan song repaying a lifetime of happy debts to the theater, by grace of two terrific performances.
  92. In his best film to date, Nick Cassavetes directs with ferocious energy, taking scenes past their logical stopping points and pushing his actors (particularly Foster, who can be as terrifying as Edward Norton in "American History X") to, but never over, the precipice of absurdity.
  93. A fascinating, richly detailed documentary about the legendary queer collective based in San Francisco in the late '60s and early '70s.
  94. Moving and vibrant Italian-language film.
  95. The movie looks like it cost a fortune, with Dean Cundey's glistening widescreen compositions and Bill Brzeski's towering, storybook sets providing the backdrop for seamless visual effects. What's more, it's equally rich in ideas.

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