Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,707 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 59% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)
Lowest review score: 0 Waking Up in Reno
Score distribution:
7,707 movie reviews
  1. It's intelligent, provocative and intensely dramatic. Its subject matter may be tough but it is as powerfully authentic as anyone could want.
  2. A gritty, deceptively low-key, no-fuss, no-frills movie of consistent originality and surprise in which suspense arises straight up from the heroine's evolving character.
  3. A brilliant, often grotesquely bizarre allegory on life in Hungary from World War II to the present.
  4. This small gem of a movie always feels true and real as it gently reveals the quiet moments that define our lives.
  5. Avatar's shock and awe demand to be seen. You've never experienced anything like it, and neither has anyone else.
  6. Writer-directors Joel and Ethan have seized the opportunity afforded by the Oscar-winning success of "No Country for Old Men," to make their most personal, most intensely Jewish film, a pitch-perfect comedy of despair that, against some odds, turns out to be one of their most universal as well.
  7. For 20 years, Claire Denis has been among France's foremost filmmakers with her acute yet subtle observations of the ebbs and flows within relationships. Her perception and understanding seem to grow only richer over the years, and her newest film, 35 Shots of Rum, is surely one of her finest -- and thereby one of the best films of the year.
  8. Masterfully put-together, made with confidence, intelligence and command.
  9. Powerful, profound and beautifully rendered.
  10. Up in the Air makes it look easy. Not just in its casual and apparently effortless excellence, but in its ability to blend entertainment and insight, comedy and poignancy, even drama and reality, things that are difficult by themselves but a whole lot harder in combination. This film does all that and never seems to break a sweat.
  11. This is a performance, and a film, to cherish for this year and always.
  12. There's barely any on-field footage in The Damned United. What we get instead is fine acting and directing, splendid dialogue and a story too outrageous to be made up.
  13. There are so many wonderfully unconventional things to like about this tiny independent film, Monaghan's earthy and uncompromising performance chief among them, its depth surprising you at every turn.
  14. It's hard to believe, but Hal Holbrook, one of the stage and screen's enduring talents, has never had the solo lead in a feature film. That has been duly rectified with the actor's achingly memorable star performance in the superb That Evening Sun.
  15. The powerfully disturbing Red Riding trilogy will haunt you waking and sleeping, night and day. If you survive the watching of it, that is, which is no easy thing.
  16. The Ghost Writer is the kind of impeccable adult entertainment, able to alternate edge-of-your-seat episodes with bleakly comic moments, that Hitchcock used to specialize in and that Polanski himself realized so successfully in "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby."
  17. To borrow a marketing phrase from another, very different film, A Prophet really is the movie that reminds you why you love the movies. Especially movies like this one.
  18. Subversive, provocative and unexpected, Exit Through the Gift Shop delights in taking you by surprise, starting quietly but ending up in a hall of mirrors as unsettling as anything Lewis Carroll's Alice ever experienced.
  19. A tremendously exciting science-fiction thriller that's as disturbing as it sounds. This is a popular entertainment with a knockout punch so intense and unnerving it'll have you worrying if it's safe to close your eyes at night.
  20. People fall in love in every country, but nowhere is the experience put on film with the flawless style, empathy and emotion the French provide. Mademoiselle Chambon is the latest in that line of deeply moving romances, an exquisite chamber piece made with the kind of sensitivity and nuance that's become almost a lost art.
  21. Witty, urbane and thoroughly entertaining.
  22. Faultlessly acted by top Australian talent, including Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom marries heightened emotionality with cool contemporary style.
  23. Lebanon is not just the name of an excellent new Israeli film, it signifies a continuing national obsession that shows no signs of going away.
  24. Smartly written by Aaron Sorkin, directed to within an inch of its life by David Fincher and anchored by a perfectly pitched performance by Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network is a barn-burner of a tale that unfolds at a splendid clip.
  25. Hypnotic and sprawling five-hour-plus piece of cinematic genius.
  26. A thrilling adventure of the spirit. Austere yet provocative, this is not only a film about faith, it also has faith that the power generated by complex moral decisions can be as unstoppable as any runaway locomotive.
  27. Verbinski's greatest triumph is that he allowed the animation to free rather that confine him. There is indeed a new sheriff in town, with Rango destined to become a classic.
  28. In only his second feature, Frammartino has found a fresh and ravishingly poetic and beautiful way to explore the relationship between the spirit, man and nature.
  29. Epic and intimate, historical and contemporary, moving and thought-provoking, the impressive The Princess of Montpensier has something for all and sundry but especially for those who like to believe that films can be as boldly intelligent as they are entertaining.
  30. It's a privilege and a pleasure to be present in a sacred space where the human and the mystical effortlessly intertwine, and we are in Werner Herzog's debt for that great gift.
  31. Few filmmakers juxtapose cruelty and beauty as audaciously as Japan's Takashi Miike. A master director with great style and panache, Miike's latest, 13 Assassins, is a classic samurai movie, right up there among the finest in the genre.
  32. Daring in the ways only quiet, unhurried but finally haunting films have the courage to be. A character study of remarkable subtlety joined to a carefully worked-out plot that fearlessly explores big issues like beauty, truth and mortality, it marks the further emergence of Korean writer-director Lee Chang-dong.
  33. In its masterful use of evocative imagery and music, Road to Nowhere is flawless.
  34. Rejoice provides both a melodic education and a once-in-a-lifetime concert in one soul-stirring package.
  35. An extraordinarily moving examination of how the AIDS epidemic both devastated and transformed San Francisco's gay community, this clear-eyed and soulful documentary brings us inside the contagion in a way that is so intimate, so personal, you feel like you're hearing about these catastrophic events for the first time.
  36. Silent Souls is a marvel. Fedorchenko's expressive powers and his visual prowess are astonishing, and though the film's conclusion is abrupt and confounding, it feels right.
  37. Anubhav Sinha's exhilarating fantasy Ra.One is Bollywood at its best. It has energy, spectacle and humor, song and dance, but razzle-dazzle special effects and action stunts never overwhelm its story of enduring love that unfolds amid an intricate and inspired sci-fi odyssey.
  38. Firmly rooted in the filmmaker's esoteric, frustrating, provoking, demanding narrative style, the movie is also amazingly romantic - lush, ripe, rich, delicious.
  39. Harrowing and unflinching, a savage nightmare so consuming and claustrophobic you will want to leave but fear to go, City of Life and Death is a cinematic experience unlike any you've had before. It's a film strong enough to change your life, if you can bear to watch it at all.
  40. It's a domestic horror story that literally gets to us where we live, a disturbing tale told with uncompromising emotionality and great skill by filmmaker Lynne Ramsay.
  41. A Separation is totally foreign and achingly familiar. It's a thrilling domestic drama that offers acute insights into human motivations and behavior as well as a compelling look at what goes on behind a particular curtain that almost never gets raised.
  42. Set in an enchanting locale where the potential for magic is everywhere, this impeccable animated film puts its complete trust in the spirit of make-believe.
  43. Exceptionally well-made and completely fearless in its depiction of the widest range of romantic emotions, this is a film as fiercely committed to passion as its heroine, and that's saying a lot.
  44. The script, by Oleg Negin and Zvyagintsev, uses spare dialogue to quietly devastating effect. Performances are superb across the board, framed in elegant widescreen compositions that simmer with violence.
  45. Oslo is an example of strong, confident filmmaking in which nothing is miscalculated or out of place. Anchored by a devastating performance by Anders Danielsen Lie, this portrait of existential despair is beautifully made without being self-conscious about its art.
  46. Director Benh Zeitlin and his co-writer Lucy Alibar, a playwright whose "Juicy and Delicious" was the inspiration, have created characters that are wondrously indelible, distinctive of voice and set them inside a story that will unleash a devastating hurricane, and a flood of emotions, before it is done.
  47. Potent, persuasive and hypnotic, The Dark Knight Rises has us at its mercy. A disturbing experience we live through as much as a film we watch, this dazzling conclusion to director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is more than an exceptional superhero movie, it is masterful filmmaking by any standard.
  48. The Master takes some getting used to. This is a superbly crafted film that's at times intentionally opaque, as if its creator didn't want us to see all the way into its heart of darkness.
  49. Silver Linings Playbook is rich in life's complications. It will make you laugh, but don't expect it to fit in any snug genre pigeonhole. Dramatic, emotional, even heartbreaking, as well as wickedly funny, it has the gift of going its own way, a complete success from a singular talent.
  50. There are always moral crosscurrents in Lee's most provocative work, but so magical and mystical is this parable, it's as if the filmmaker has found the philosopher's stone.
  51. A documentary potent enough to alter how you see the world.
  52. Romantic but pitiless, fearlessly emotional as well as edgy, Rust and Bone is a powerhouse.
  53. Directed by Ra'anan Alexandrowicz and winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, this is the second superb Israeli documentary (after "The Gatekeepers") to come to town in less than a month and deal fearlessly with an aspect of that country's legal and political system.
  54. A perfect storm of a motion picture, with an icy, immaculate director unexpectedly taking on deeply emotional subject matter.
  55. One reason Boal makes such a potent combination with Bigelow is that her directing style moves us right along. She is so good with both action and creating a convincing look and feel for the film that the time it takes to get up to speed with the complicated plot does not feel like a problem.
  56. It's one terrific film, as smart, thoughtful and emotionally involving as just about anything that's out there.
  57. In "Django," Tarantino is a man unchained, creating his most articulate, intriguing, provoking, appalling, hilarious, exhilarating, scathing and downright entertaining film yet.
  58. Unquestionalby it's an instant classic, probably the grisliest well-made movie ever. [26 May 1983]
    • Los Angeles Times
  59. The Silence is an exemplary German-language thriller, a complex and disturbing examination of guilt, violence and psychological torment that chills us to the core not once but two times over.
  60. From Up on Poppy Hill is frankly stunning, as beautiful a hand-drawn animated feature as you are likely to see. It's a time-machine dream of a not-so-distant past, a sweet and honestly sentimental story that also represents a collaboration between the greatest of Japanese animators and his up-and-coming son.
  61. [Filho's] mastery of pacing, theme and stylistic eccentricity throughout Neighboring Sounds is so assured as to be breathtaking. Don't miss it.
  62. Part science fiction scare movie, part offbeat romance, part completely unclassifiable, "Color" is also one-man filmmaking of a remarkable sort.
  63. Beyond the timelessness of the story itself, the film is beautifully shot and though early in Godard’s career already showcased his ability to capture emotional intensity in the very way he frames the shots.
  64. Mud
    One of the most creatively rich and emotionally rewarding movies to come along this year.
  65. An invigorating powerhouse of a personal documentary, adventurous and absolutely fascinating.
  66. Effortless and effervescent, Frances Ha is a small miracle of a movie, honest and funny with an aim that's true.
  67. You feel protective about Leigh's work because its almost indescribable virtues touch the heart, yet far from being some delicate flower, Life Is Sweet has the wild, brazen, anything-goes energy of a 2-year-old, willing to take chances that would freeze the blood of another, more timidly conventional film.
  68. Chungking Express ravishingly, seductively exudes the immediacy of everyday life as its spins its classically timeless tales of love lost and almost regained.
  69. When on-the-ground reality is conveyed with the complexity and fascination it is here, unforgettable documentaries are always the result.
  70. Tense, smartly crafted and highly resonant, Aliyah is one of the best films so far this year.
  71. The film perfectly understands the tentative experimentation and frequent self-loathing of adolescence, the difficulty of knowing whom to trust and how much to trust them, as well as how incendiary an age this can be, with uncertain psyches ready to explode at minimal provocation.
  72. Authenticity gives the movie its witty, heartwarming, hopeful, sentimental, searing and relatable edge. It is merciless in probing the tender spots of times like these, and tough-guy sweet in patching up the wounds.
  73. Made with assurance and deep emotion, Fruitvale Station is more than a remarkable directing debut for 26-year-old Ryan Coogler. It's an outstanding film by any standard.
  74. It's a mind-bending film, devastating and disorienting, that disturbs us in ways we're not used to being disturbed, raising questions about the nature of documentary, the persistence of evil, and the intertwined ways movies function in our culture and in our minds.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This Is Martin Bonner, wonderfully acted and something of a minimalist masterpiece, is a striking, moving ode to lives lived day to day, even hour to hour, in which the smallest gesture has the power to make one hopeful for the next, like a small fire gently stoked.
  75. For all of the eccentricities that come in any telling of an artist's life, Cutie and the Boxer's real magic is in so beautifully telling a familiar story of husbands and wives.
  76. Short Term 12 is a small wonder, a film of exceptional naturalness and empathy that takes material about troubled teenagers and young adults that could have been generic and turns it into something moving and intimate.
  77. Glaciers might be melting, the polar caps might be crumbling, but not even the passage of half a century has taken the frozen edge off this brilliantly icy film.
  78. This is no sappy portrait of a saint: Mino is tenacious, critical and defensive, and in one memorable scene, a colleague tries to get her to face reality about what the real world holds for their students after graduation.
  79. Exciting, terrifying, worrisome stuff saturates every second of Prisoners, holding you captive, keeping you guessing until the bitter end.
  80. Heartbreaking, haunting and unexpectedly heartening, First Cousin Once Removed is an uncommonly moving documentary portrait of a mind in disarray.
  81. Gravity is out of this world. Words can do little to convey the visual astonishment this space opera creates. It is a film whose impact must be experienced in 3-D on a theatrical screen to be fully understood.
  82. The piercingly realistic Captain Phillips will exceed your expectations.
  83. All Is Lost, which is only Chandor's second film, reveals itself as remarkably skillful, surprisingly insightful and deeply moving. It's a confident work by an artist who knows himself and trusts his audience.
  84. This is impressive filmmaking, but it is not easy to take in.
  85. The telling is beautiful and explicit. The truth of its emotionally raw, romantic drama is eternal and universal.
  86. Watching Marwencol, Jeff Malmberg's probing documentary on Hogancamp's undertaking, is an exhilarating, utterly unique experience.
  87. The Square bears witness to history in an articulate, thoughtful and intensely dramatic way.
  88. To see The Wind Rises is to simultaneously marvel at the work of a master and regret that this film is likely his last.
  89. Nebraska offers something deeper and more mature, the ability to make us care about its characters and their story on a different level than Payne has given us before.
  90. Frozen is fabulous.
  91. While the bleak, funny, exquisitely made Inside Llewyn Davis echoes familiar themes and narrative journeys, it also goes its own way and becomes a singular experience, one of their best films.
  92. [Russell's] dizzying, outlandishly entertaining American Hustle is a 21-first century screwball farce about 20th-century con men, scam artists and those who dream of living large, a film that is big hearted and off the wall in equal measure.
  93. Her
    Acerbic, emotional, provocative, it's a risky high dive off the big board with a plot that sounds like a gimmick but ends up haunting, odd and a bit wonderful.
  94. A very fast three hours, Wolf is a fascinating, revolting, outlandish, uproarious, exhilarating and exhausting master work on immorality.
  95. The Invisible Woman is an exceptional film about love, longing and regret. It's further proof, if proof were needed, that classic filmmaking done with passion, sensitivity and intelligence results in cinema fully capable of blowing you away.
  96. Powered by Kore-eda's innate restraint and natural empathy, Like Father, Like Son takes these characters to places they never expected to be. It's unnerving for them, of course, but watching so many hearts hanging in the balance is a rare privilege for us.
  97. A ferocious psychological drama with the pace of a thriller, Child's Pose combines, as have the best of the Romanian new-wave films, a compelling personal story about mothers and sons with an examination of socio-political dynamics in a way that is both intense and piercingly real.
  98. Aatsinki is a work of cinéma vérité of the highest order: vivid, immersive and unflinching.
  99. The writer-director's familiar style blends with a group of unexpected factors to create a magnificently cockeyed entertainment.

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