L.A. Weekly's Scores

For 3,664 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 7.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Lowest review score: 0 Black Knight
Score distribution:
3664 movie reviews
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If Aki Kaurismaki were the Eagles, which he is not, The Man Without a Past might be considered a kind of "best of" album.
  1. Moodysson's movie, one part mash note and three parts scathing piss-taker, is hugely compassionate toward the well-meaning fools in his tale, but he doesn't suffer their nonsense gladly; his film is, in large part, about grown-ups needing to grow up.
  2. Ray Harryhausen's original stop-motion Sinbad classics are a hard act to follow, but Tim Johnson and Patrick Gilmore's update, couched in a gorgeous palette of indigo and dark rose, is a big, beautiful thrill all its own.
  3. Although he never matches the book in either brilliance or sheer perversity, Minghella has remained essentially true to his source.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    [A] wistful and moving portrait of quixotically dedicated artisans playing to half-empty houses, struggling for solvency and relevance — which renders it not just a movie about a theater in particular, but about the theater in general.
  4. Danièle Thompson's romantic comedy is excellent fluff français, leavened with charm, wit and smart observation about the way we love now.
  5. Quietly devastating.
  6. This horror comedy is loaded with decapitations, bodies torn in two and spewing blood, and yet, unlike the grim, torture-filled gore-fests of late, Hatchet’s mayhem is so giddily over-the-top that you end up applauding the low-budget aplomb of it all.
  7. The actors are superb -- especially Smith, who exudes some of the live-wire charisma of the young Sean Penn in Rosenthal's "Bad Boys," and the smoldering Brewster.
  8. Time of the Wolf is tough medicine, to be sure. Yet, the movie builds to a note of cautious optimism that is as stirring as it is unexpected.
  9. This ridiculously entertaining sequel is that rare part deux that leaves you hankering for part trois. The action is, in a word, spectacular, but also playful, inventive and witty.
  10. First-time director Baltasar Kormakur -- balances tones with a smooth, mature confidence.
  11. Nair, who, in this film as in so many others, aims for the beating heart of the predictable movie moment.
  12. Baldwin's perfectly impacted performance as a tough-love provider (the actor gets some of the best lines in the movie).
  13. It's forceful and alive and spilling over with crazy poetry.
  14. Fascinating film, which tracks Éva's slowly dawning realization that she's being played for a fool, an insight that may be driving her mad.
  15. It's the third feature Miller has shot using lightweight digital video cameras, and the result is a special lightness in the work itself -- the glowing images ease into one another like leaves turning in a summer breeze, while the performances are similarly effortless.
  16. The best cheap thrill to come out of Hollywood in ages -- it's a shot of tonic for the current blockbuster bloat.
  17. Those who are already in her (Breillat) camp will find much to feed on in this at once intellectualized and accessible, documentary-style peek inside the head of a passionately driven woman and artist.
  18. British actor Damian Lewis, in an astonishingly elastic yet disciplined performance, invests Keane with a richly ambiguous, heartbreaking inner life that's only at peace when he manages to form a tenuous human connection.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The U.S. vs. John Lennon offers up the singer's famous, filmed confrontation with the ludicrously snotty New York Times writer Gloria Emerson, who calls Lennon "dear boy" as he heatedly attempts to defend the role of the artist in political discourse. No devious editing required here: Although Lennon seems to lose his composure in the encounter, Emerson looks an utter clown all on her own.
  19. The movie's real strength lies in its intelligent, sympathetic account of the dynamic, difficult marriage of Regina's parents.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The effect is so riveting, and the cameras so psychologically penetrating, you may be left breathless -- but satisfied.
  20. Cloaking (Bateman's) world in a hyperrealist light so sharp you could cut yourself on it, Harron keeps the violence minimal, over the top and ghoulishly funny.
  21. Not to mention the good-when-moody, best-when-raucous art-band soundtrack!
  22. This remarkable film from Australia, the debut feature of writer-director Cate Shortland, moves to the lyrical rhythms and unhurried pace of a 1970s road movie.
  23. Smart, goofy and endearing, Cho and Penn make a terrific team, and the fact that they're starring in their own movie suggests that, in the Hollywood comedy frat house, there's finally room for everyone.
  24. The speed with which a healthy, relatively young stud can morph into a tub of lard is as horrifying as it is entertaining to watch.
  25. What makes this straightforward film so incredibly moving is that it keeps its scathing political commentary firmly rooted in everyday struggle.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Buena Vista avoids literal politics, as if all that is beside this film's point.
  26. Miraculous photography.
  27. The movie's tag line, which promises (among other things) “No stereotypes,” is one of those rare cases of truth in advertising. That Brown also happens to have captured some genuinely awesome surf footage -- often the only raison d’être for such films -- feels like a bonus.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A running spoof of "The Godfather" is especially hilarious, as are numerous, sly digs at all things Disney.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The film is artfully made, its occasional excesses of style moderated by the plain force of the content and the passion of the testimony.
  28. Celebrity is one of Woody Allen’s finest. This is a minority opinion….But I prefer Allen when he works in a minor key – “Broadway Danny Rose,” “Radio Days” --precisely because he’s not trying to be profound, only true to firsthand observation.
  29. McElwee fans will welcome back the wonderful Charleen, his former teacher and lifelong friend, older and mellower but as beguiling and free-spirited as ever.
  30. An intellectually steelier case against Bush, his cabalistic administration and the Iraq war than Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, Hijacking is even more chilling because it eschews the heartstring symphony conducted (albeit very effectively) by Moore and sticks to irrefutable facts and no-bullshit analysis.
  31. Remarkable exploration of sexuality and the Jewish faith.
  32. Director Roland Suso Richter gives a raw, frank but sophisticated account of the excruciating logistics of this great escape, and the appalling, inspiring blend of betrayal and courage that attended the group's herculean efforts.
  33. For all its shock-driven, laugh-out-loud moments, what makes Jesus so entertaining is that it puts you in the presence of a dementedly sharp mind -- one that understands that leftist subversion doesn't have to coddle or breast-feed the choir.
  34. The film's almost unbearable portrait of sadness and grief transcends its specific story to speak to the ways in which need, history and presumption tangle, and sometimes destroy, blood ties.
  35. From its very first frames it exerts a powerful fascination.
  36. Eerily compelling.
  37. As funny as it's got all year. Manipulative and calculating? Sure. Submit! Enjoy!
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It may seem overblown when one of the gamers calls Donkey Kong a metaphor for life, but The King of Kong is just that -- a reminder of how we all have to prove ourselves to others, and the extent to which the odds are often stacked against outsiders and newcomers.
  38. While there are scenes of wrenching emotional openness and spontaneous charm -- largely due to the irresistible allure and impeccable craft of its ensemble cast -- the degree of calculation apparent in its plot and images undermines its efforts to move and seduce.
  39. Astonishing both for the beauty of the birds and for its sheer technical brilliance.
  40. Perhaps the most telling image in this remarkable movie is that of a relative intently swatting flies in Riyadh's house, while fighting rages outside.
  41. For the soul of Gondry's work, it seems to me, is neither its soaring flights of visual fancy nor its sometimes crude slapstick, but rather its pained understanding of a generation hopelessly tongue-tied when it comes to matters of the heart.
  42. It's a pleasure to report that Scream 3 is an absolute riot, jammed with spicy cameos.
  43. Takes raw grief as its point of departure only to play out as a comedy of deadpan heartbreak.
  44. Bollywood meets The Godfather.
  45. Film is a ghostly and gorgeous tale of a court magician, the legendary Abe no Seimei.
  46. Rough-hewn, improvisatory and contentedly lo-fi, the resulting documentary should prove warmly encouraging to embattled progressives of all stripes, and incidentally offers the best political date-movie of the week.
  47. Nearly three and a half hours in length, but owing to its freedom of movement, the film feels weightless.
  48. The result is a film chilly and externalized in all the ways that Mood was bottled up and woozily dreamlike.
  49. This mouthy express train of a movie has giddy charm to burn, due in major part to the frantic charisma of Nathan Lane.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Some of his mystical encounters are just too spooky and amazing to reveal here, and Feuerzeig (director of previous documentaries on Jon Hendricks and Half Japanese) weaves them into the story with excellent timing and a psychedelic eye, aided by editor Tyler Hubby and cinematographer Fortunato Procopio.
  50. Those who can forgive the director's pretensions will discover some fine filmmaking.
  51. Grounded by strong performances by newcomers Featherston and Sloat, who pretty much have the movie to themselves, Paranormal Activity, which demands to be seen in a crowded theater, is refreshingly blood-free.
  52. However shrewdly he's been packaged, Tony Jaa is the real thing.
  53. Antarctica is a beautiful blue paradise, and the final set piece, in which penguins and humans tap their way to a unity of green-minded spirit, is a small masterpiece of conciliatory wackiness.
  54. Directed by Lee Tamahori with his customary flash and glitter, Next lives from one brilliantly executed chase sequence to the next, which is more than enough reason to stay the course.
  55. Exciting though the car-racing scenes are, with their millions of fan-cars swaying fluidly around the stadium, it's the drives through the canyons and passes, and the quiet old ruin of a town (which recalls the abandoned mall in Miyazaki’s "Spirited Away"), that truly quicken the pulse.
  56. The gimmick is simple but devastatingly effective: Never once breaking character or acknowledging that he’s in on the joke, the Jew-fearing, grammatically challenged reporter ingratiates himself with his unsuspecting, average-American victims before uproariously turning the tables on them.
  57. Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan lets the tension rise slowly, leads you everywhere you don't expect, doesn't rip you off and totally freaks you out -- all without stale effects or gore.
  58. Their taste is as bad as their timing is exquisite.
  59. Pettigrew assumes that Fellini was a genius, and while this film won't convince any skeptics, the maestro's fans can sink into it like a hot bath.
  60. The movie is mercifully uncontaminated by the smarty-pants self-reflexiveness that has sucked the lifeblood from nearly all post-"Scream" horror pictures. Clever enough not to be too clever, Boyle and Garland play their story straight -- they just want to give you the creeps -- and, by so doing, bring the undead back to cinematic life.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Although Zatoichi may disappoint some Kitano purists, who might think it a vanity piece or submission to popular taste -- he's even begun moving his camera -- its pyrotechnics are still audacious and breathtaking.
  61. The film is not a biopic or a portrait of a famous marriage so much as it is an imaginative essay on what made a union between two radically different people work as well as it did.
  62. If nothing else, Memento is a savvy comment on the queasy uncertainties of the postmodern condition, in which history goes no further back than yesterday's news, and knowledge is supplanted by "information" from a tumult of spin-controlled, unreliable narrators.
  63. A dense and dazzling science-fiction mind-bender unassumingly dressed up in a tech geek’s short-sleeved oxford shirt, pocket protector and safety goggles.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Control honors its subject’s eternal self-doubt by honing in on that truth and leaving the legend to others.
  64. For sheer urbane elegance coupled with technical mastery and lush, old-fashioned élan, no one working for the studios today comes close to the versatile Soderbergh.
  65. The proceedings are leavened also with a carefree sense of humor -- including some clever, jokey camera work -- and given depth by a cache of marvelous performances.
  66. Becomes one of those wonderfully weird adventure stories beloved of children who don't mind getting a good old-fashioned case of the heebie-jeebies. It's kind of a blast for adults too.
  67. Filmed only with direct light and sound, Bush's stunning camerawork adroitly captures the majestic landscapes and icons of Buddhism: its murals and artworks, monks and nuns.
  68. If Sayles had maneuvered these stories and performances into even a shade more sentimentality or gravitas, the weight would have collapsed them like a house of cards. As it is, they breathe easily, delicately into each other.
  69. Even the “good” Holocaust stories are chased by heartbreak, as we learn from this straight-ahead documentary.
  70. Just around the halfway point, something unexpected happens -- the movie actually gets good. You can chalk that up to the delightful Alan Rickman.
  71. Mystery Men gives proof that satire isn't dead.
  72. A labor of love hobbled by a stubborn desire to eke its delicate love story out of a premise that all but sits up and begs to be treated as a political thriller.
  73. Leconte, as always, means to explore the gray areas between sexual espionage and love, and there remains something powerful about the fantasy of being listened to, without judgment.
  74. Christine Lahti, making her directorial debut, wrings good laughs and strong emotion throughout, largely through the performances.
  75. Visibly uninspired, Pacino gives a perfunctory performance -- though surely he must have looked over at Farrell and been reminded of himself 30 years ago, all jacked-up and beautiful, like a stallion at the gate.
  76. When movie clichés are presented with rigor and feeling, they can pack a fresh punch.
  77. The list of ills is endless, well-researched, and cross-referenced repeatedly for emphasis. That makes the film a bit of a slog at times, but the fury and grief of the folks interviewed propel it forward.
  78. The film is a triumph of casting: In a role that is often about the sheer steamrolling force of his character’s personality, Abishek Bachchan’s attention to detail makes Guru accessible rather than intimidating, admirable but also plausible.
  79. Waters directing, from a perky script by Heather Hach and Leslie Dixon, is bouncy and assured enough to give a cheeky lilt to what otherwise might have been an earnest PSA for intergenerational peace, love and understanding.
  80. Where Lehane's novel seethes with emotionally charged subtext, Eastwood's workmanlike direction feels static -- fatally tasteful, embalmed in gravitas -- while his sporadic efforts at dramatic heightening come off as vulgar cliché.
  81. Storaro's gorgeous cinematography imbues every frame with an enthralling subjectivity.
  82. Go for the dazzling, if repetitive, human stunt work. Endure the appallingly simplistic politics.
  83. Engrossing.
  84. A capable, if modest, charmer.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Delicious fun, indeed, but it doesn't really require a large screen. Please send me a copy of the DVD.
  85. There's never been a movie director like Catherine Breillat, a fearless visionary and one hell of a woman.
  86. Late Marriage, though hardly dispassionate, assiduously avoids passing judgment on any of its characters, all of whom are desperately trying to bend the world into conformity with their own narratives and superstitions.
  87. Watching this well-behaved adaptation of one of Greene's most personal novels, you can't help but wish that the novelist had been around to write his own script.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It's a laudably complicated, if emotional and a little comic-book goofy, story of how a confluence of forces - industry skepticism, trained-seal lobbyists and, last but not least, consumer reluctance - undermined the future of a quiet little bean of mobile metal that the anointed few who could afford to lease it passionately adored.

Top Trailers