Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 11,314 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 37% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Dragon Inn (1967)
Lowest review score: 0 Dead Silence
Score distribution:
11314 movie reviews
  1. Popular filmmaking at its smartest and most persuasive.
  2. Hittman's debut isn't just a brilliantly tactile study of the mounting sexual curiosity and frustration of 14-year-old Lila (Gina Piersanti); it's also an important landmark in the oft-ignored subgenre of realistic movies about female adolescence.
  3. Ida
    Spare, haunting, uncompromising, Ida is a film of exceptional artistry whose emotions are as potent and persuasive as its images are indelibly beautiful.
  4. Larraín told his producers he wouldn't do Jackie unless Natalie Portman agreed to take on the role, and her superb performance, utterly convincing without being anything like an impersonation, vindicates his determination.
  5. A comedy poised on the knife's edge of tragedy, the film is a gutsy, truthful, deeply rooted vision of contemporary American life, scaled to the size of an ordinary man. It's a humanist triumph strip-mined of bathos and confirmation that, after directing just three features, Payne has become the most gifted comic social satirist to hit our movies since Preston Sturges.
  6. 45 Years is a quietly explosive film, a potent drama with a nuanced feel for subtlety and emotional complications.
  7. Frozen is fabulous.
  8. Lutz's dialogue is consistently sharp and snappy, and the large cast forms a sparkling ensemble under Junger's adept direction.
  9. 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.
  10. Building implacable dread and tension from scene to scene, the story is as simple as its underlying ideas are endlessly complex.
  11. At once a swift, relentless chase thriller and an exhilarating mood piece that recalls the great, gritty crime dramas of Sidney Lumet and Abel Ferrara, Good Time is also exactly what it says it is: a thrill, a blast, a fast-acting tonic of a movie.
  12. Such nourishing comedy. It satisfies every hunger, especially the irrational ones that seem to hit hardest at holidays: hunger for impetuous romance and for the reassuring warmth of family, for reckless abandon, and for knowing who we are and what we want. [16 Dec 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
  13. A very fast three hours, Wolf is a fascinating, revolting, outlandish, uproarious, exhilarating and exhausting master work on immorality.
  14. Disturbing, disorienting, quietly terrifying, it's one of the least known of the world's great horror movies and, in its own dark way, a startlingly beautiful and artful piece of cinema as well.
  15. In short, Wonderland is an extraordinary film, as entertaining as it is observant, about ordinary people.
    • Los Angeles Times
  16. These despairing, ambiguous pieces are always emotionally unsettling, and that is due in part to Kieslowski's complete assurance as a director. His spare, minimal visual preferences dominate each episode. The camera work is fluid and precise, and the films are so rich they seem to be feature-length though they're not.
  17. A beautifully done adaptation of the novel, polished, elegant and completely cinematic. It is also a bit distant, a film that doesn't wear its feelings on its sleeve, but given the effects it's after, that would be counterproductive. [17 Sept 1993, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  18. Though this film is simple to summarize, to understand and experience the powerful emotional charge King in the Wilderness conveys, it simply must be seen.
  19. Watching this film feels like a genesis moment — of sci-fi fable, of filmmaking, of performance — with all the ambiguity and excitement that implies.
  20. Of course, "It Happens One Night" comes to mind, but The Sure Thing is so sparkling and original in its humor, so perceptive about human nature in its own right, that its key elements seem classic, not carbons.
  21. By turns lyrical, impressionistic and profound, the documentary The Pearl Button requires patience but offers stirring rewards.
  22. Mills peppers his fresh script with an assortment of throwaway lines, kooky character beats and off-kilter emotional truths. That he packs so much memorable silliness into one 80-minute film is quite the feat. Sequel, please.
  23. It's hard to imagine many films surpassing or even equaling the effect of this supple, breathtakingly direct, small French film.
  24. It is Scott's work as the savagely articulate Roger, a tireless would-be seducer, bottomlessly self-confident and oblivious to rejection, that is the film's glistening and provocative centerpiece.
  25. Like taking a drug everyone says is dynamite and impatiently wondering why the heck it's not kicking in. The kick in fact turns out to be real, and as powerful as advertised, but it doesn't necessarily hit you in any way you anticipated.
  26. Made with palpable energy, intensity and excitement, it compellingly creates a world gone mad that is uncomfortably close to the one we live in. It is a "Blade Runner" for the 21st century, a worthy successor to that epic of dystopian decay
  27. A clear-eyed vision. Authentic as an Edward Curtis photograph, lyrical as a George Catlin oil or a Karl Bodmer landscape, this is a film with a pure ring to it. It's impossible to call it anything but epic [9 Nov 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  28. Watching Marwencol, Jeff Malmberg's probing documentary on Hogancamp's undertaking, is an exhilarating, utterly unique experience.
  29. Impeccably made and uncompromisingly adult, Claude Chabrol's A Girl Cut in Two is unquestionably the work of a master.
  30. A period chamber drama drawn from a Joseph Conrad short story and of such intensity and passion that it transcends a specificity of time and place to achieve timelessness and universality.
  31. In the hands of two of the craft's best, the most ordinary of moments become illuminating, penetrating.
  32. Adventurous, provocative, even daring.
  33. The thrilling documentary Dawson City: Frozen Time is indescribable not because it's ambiguous (it's totally straightforward) but because it does so many things so beautifully it is hard to know where to begin.
  34. Made by a first-time feature director working with a microscopic budget and a tiny, 11-year-old protagonist, it’s a 72-minute wonder, a self-assured, gently mysterious little film that is hypnotic in unexpected ways.
  35. It's the film's glowing visual qualities, a striking performance by Denzel Washington and the elegant control Carl Franklin has over it all that create the most exotic crime entertainment of the season.
  36. The most convincing war movie ever made.
    • Los Angeles Times
  37. Nearly three hours long, and deliberately paced at that, this first feature ever in the Inuit language is a demanding experience. But the rewards for those who risk the journey are simply extraordinary.
  38. 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.
  39. Masterfully put-together, made with confidence, intelligence and command.
  40. A director in command of everything from the watchful eyes of his actors, to the beauty of a misty morning light, to the heart-stopping vectors of arrows and swords bursting across a widescreen frame, Hu creates cinema that's the definition of kineticism.
  41. This delicious satire about aging hipsters and their discontents is everything we've come to expect from the best of Noah Baumbach, as well as several things more.
  42. It closes the trilogy like a lightning blast followed by the ominous, resonant drone of thunder. Great action sequences crop up frequently today, but great action movies are always few and far between. Beyond Thunderdome is one, every bit as much as its two predecessors.
  43. 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.
  44. James Ponsoldt's magnificent The End of the Tour gives us two guys talking, and the effect is breathtaking.
  45. This is a film that insinuates itself deeply into our awareness. It's that rare pulp story with something on its mind, an unnerving, socially conscious thriller with a killer sense of narrative drive.
  46. The Shape of Water is a wonder to behold. Magical, thrilling and romantic to the core, a sensual and fantastical fairy tale with moral overtones, it’s a film that plays by all the rules and none of them, going its own way with fierce abandon.
  47. Part avant-garde art film, part amusing but morbid fairy tale, it is a delightfully ghoulish holiday musical that displays more inventiveness in its brief 75 minutes than some studios can manage in an entire year.
  48. The pleasures of this story are the pleasures of watching people think, quickly but methodically, through a situation. To the very end, where a different picture might have devolved into a routine bloodbath, the movie clings to its intelligence like a protective amulet; it keeps the viewer in a state of heightened alertness throughout.
  49. Inside Out manages to be honest and unafraid but never cheaply sentimental where emotion is concerned, evoking a largeness of spirit whose ability to be moving sneaks up and takes us by surprise.
  50. Vaughn’s performance is riveting in its containment, and he honors his character’s ethos by making sure that every word, glance, gesture and silence counts.
  51. A little movie with big truths, a work of such fierce intelligence and emotional honesty that it blows away the competition when it comes to contemporary romantic comedy.
  52. [Stone] succeeds with an immediacy that is frightening. War movies of the past, even the greatest ones, seem like crane shots by comparison; Platoon is at ground zero.
  53. A revelatory, strikingly emotional look at a complex, troubled, enormously gifted man.
  54. Easily its most exciting iteration in decades — the first flat-out terrific “Star Wars” movie since 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back.” It seizes upon Lucas’ original dream of finding a pop vessel for his obsessions — Akira Kurosawa epics, John Ford westerns, science-fiction serials — and fulfills it with a verve and imagination all its own.
  55. An intense, nihilistic thriller as well as a model of implacable storytelling, this is a film you can't stop watching even though you very much wish you could. That's because No Country escorts you through a world so pitilessly bleak, "you put your soul at hazard," as one character says, to be part of it.
  56. “Donnie Darko" was one of the best pictures released in 2001. Now that it has returned in a 20-minute longer--and richer -- director's cut, it seems sure to be ranked as one of the key American films of the decade.
  57. 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.
  58. His is a triumph of pure filmmaking, a pitiless, unrelenting, no-excuses war movie so thoroughly convincing it's frequently difficult to believe it is a staged re-creation.
  59. 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."
  60. 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.
  61. [A] crackerjack thriller, at once brooding, claustrophobic and unbearably tense.
  62. Exciting, terrifying, worrisome stuff saturates every second of Prisoners, holding you captive, keeping you guessing until the bitter end.
  63. 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.
  64. As essential in its own way as Anton Karas' celebrated zither work was to "The Third Man," Lola's music is perfectly suited to the film's aims and just about addictive in its throbbing, insinuating rhythms.
  65. This is a police procedural, if you will, about what's been called the artistic crime of the century.
  66. It was this ineffably poignant semiautobiographical reverie that unleashed fully Fellini's shimmering, flowing poetic style, echoed perfectly in a plaintive score by Fellini's potently evocative collaborator, Nino Rota.
  67. 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.
  68. Perhaps the director's most touching, most elegiac work yet, Million Dollar Baby is a film that does both the expected and the unexpected, that has the nerve and the will to be as pitiless as it is sentimental.
  69. The movie is first fascinating, then terrifying.
  70. The fact that this kind of serious material ends up playing puckishly funny as well as poignant is a tribute both to Coppola and to her do-or-die decision to cast Murray in the lead role.
  71. 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Those who can surrender to the Quays' poetic logic will find The Piano Tuner to be nothing short of a masterpiece.
  72. Although its computer-generated imagery is impressive, the major surprise of this bright foray into a new kind of animation is how much cleverness has been invested in story and dialogue.
  73. Made with a palpable sense of urgency, this tense, propulsive motion picture is a model of what mainstream entertainment can be like when everything goes right.
  74. Indignation tells a very particular story, one that’s bittersweet, heartbreaking and bleakly comic all at once, and it gets it right.
  75. Jacques Rivette has brought the Balzac short story to screen as a superb chamber drama. His is a graceful work of austerity and formality that perfectly captures the chaos of repressed emotions that see beneath the rigid conventions of aristocratic society.
  76. Filmmaking at its most fearless, with Ostergaard creating a suspenseful, harrowing account of his original key subject, known only as "Joshua."
  77. An exquisite love story directed with admirable subtlety and sensitivity.
  78. The film is then not so much a meditation but a reverie, a swirl of emotions and ideas, managing to be both calmly reflective and skittishly anxious at the same time. Calvary is a serious comedy, a funny drama, a ruminative film about life and a lively film about death.
  79. "Meyerowitz” feels very much from the heart. It has an unexpected maturity and warmth, a compassion that seems to reflect Baumbach’s desire to dig as deeply as he can into the myriad conundrums of family life. And, as noted, it is often quite funny.
  80. Echoes the unmistakable freshness and excitement of the Nouvelle Vague, the sense of joy in being alive and making movies, that made those works distinctive and unforgettable.
  81. Warsaw Uprising is not only a unique, remarkably assembled documentary-narrative hybrid but also a powerful look at the personal and public devastation that can occur during wartime. Movies rarely feel as authentic as this.
  82. The film's immense cast and crew, headed by director Michael Bay, writer Randall Wallace and stars Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale, blend artistry and technology to create a blockbuster entertainment that has passion, valor and tremendous action.
  83. Toward the end of this searing, finally overwhelming film, it’s unclear which is the more disturbing realization: that Alyosha was lost long before he went missing, or that you don’t really want him to be found.
  84. To think of a film this assured, this unified and this dizzyingly potent, you have to go back to "Blue Velvet." [22 Sept 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
  85. The music is so rich and completely satisfying and the characters so appealing Once makes us believe that this is all happening right in front of our eyes. We fall for each of these young people at the precise moment they are falling for each other, and what could be better than that?
  86. The result is a top-drawer melodrama, a polished example of commercial movie-making that manages to improve on the original while retaining its best-selling spirit. [30 Jun 1993 Pg. F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  87. Song of the Sea is a wonder to behold. This visually stunning animation masterwork, steeped in Irish myth, folklore and legend, so adroitly mixes the magical and the everyday that to watch it is to be wholly immersed in an enchanted world.
  88. Anderson, who makes as impressive a directing debut as has been seen in some time, creates a perfectly modulated mystery that doesn't even feel like one. It's a character play, and Hall, Reilly and Paltrow are so convincingly damaged they take on the properties of fine china.
  89. Because it is confident of its story and its powers, “Howards End” takes the time to establish itself, to allow its characters the space to demonstrate subtlety and complexity.
  90. L.A. Confidential, with an exceptional ensemble cast directed by Curtis Hanson from James Ellroy's densely plotted novel, looks to be the definitive noir for this particular time and place.
  91. While most films are fortunate if they succeed on any level, The Return works easily on several, making as powerful a mark emotionally as it does visually and even allegorically. Yet the film so catches you up in its compelling story, you're almost not aware of how masterful a piece of cinema you're watching.
  92. Phoenix is an intoxicating witches' brew, equal parts melodrama and moral parable, that audaciously mixes diverse elements to compelling, disturbing effect.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A brilliantly written black comedy in the tradition of "To Die For" and "Flirting With Disaster," The Opposite of Sex was worth the wait.
  93. Some might well accuse this stubbornly singular woman of living in the past, but to watch Aquarius is to see her surrendering again and again to the bliss of the present moment — never more so than in a final scene of thrilling, annihilating ferocity.
  94. What Fire at Sea appears to be and what it is are not the same thing, and it's that difference that makes it a masterful documentary.
  95. Effervescent, unflappable, supremely pleased with herself, Cher (delightfully played by the much-publicized Alicia Silverstone) is the comic centerpiece of Clueless, a wickedly funny teen-age farce from writer-director Amy Heckerling that, like its heroine, turns out to have more to it than anyone could anticipate. [19 July 1995]
    • Los Angeles Times
  96. 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.
  97. Creates magic of a completely different sort. It makes the unlikeliest subject unforgettable, finding drama, beauty, even poetry in simple things and simple lives.
  98. Del Toro is almost alone in his ability to re-create on screen the wide-eyed exhilaration and disturbing grotesqueness that is the legacy of reading comics on the page.

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