Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 10,338 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 The Teacher
Lowest review score: 0 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
Score distribution:
10338 movie reviews
  1. A whole world can be fit into 76 minutes, and that's what the splendid documentary OT: our town manages to do.
  2. A thoroughly original accomplishment of a high artistic order, Northfork features flawless, spare production design by Ichelle Spitzig and the Polish brothers' father, Del, and cinematographer M. David Mullen's striking images slide effortlessly into Dalí-like Surrealism.
  3. What’s remarkable about this wondrously assured debut is that technique never overwhelms feeling, in part because Kogonada makes the two seem inextricably, harmoniously linked.
  4. To see The Wind Rises is to simultaneously marvel at the work of a master and regret that this film is likely his last.
  5. 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.
  6. Doug Nichol’s documentary California Typewriter is a rich, thoughtful, meticulously crafted tapestry about the evolution of the beloved writing machine for purists, history buffs, collectors and others fighting to preserve or re-embrace analog life.
  7. 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.
  8. Parse it any way you like, Miyazaki's gifts as an animator place him in a category of his own. To see his latest film is to be somehow reminded of Italians who could hear Verdi's operas as soon as they were sung or English readers who could experience the novels of Dickens episode by episode.
  9. Like the remarkable films Eastern European countries turned out regularly during the Soviet era, it marries a character-driven story with social concerns, in this case a deft parable about the kind of corrupt privileged society nominally egalitarian Socialism created.
  10. Electrifying… As writer, director and editor, [Soderbergh’s] control is mesmerizing. It's also more than a little creepy; as though Soderbergh were drawing us, a step at a time, into a warm pool where intimate secrets flowed back and forth as simply as currents of water. [4 Aug 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  11. The Square bears witness to history in an articulate, thoughtful and intensely dramatic way.
  12. 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.
  13. More elaborate than the original, but just as shrewdly put together, it cleverly combines the most successful elements of its predecessor with a number of new twists (would you believe a kinder, gentler Terminator?) to produce on e hell of a wild ride, a Twilight of the Gods that takes no prisoners and leaves audiences desperate for mercy. [3 July 1991, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  14. Midnight Special announces the arrival of a filmmaker in total control of his technique as well as our emotions. A bravura science-fiction thriller that explores emotional areas like parenthood and the nature of belief, it's a riveting genre exercise as well as something more.
  15. The fingerprints of the Camorra are everywhere, this film wants us to know, and its grip is lethal.
  16. 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.
  17. It's as engaging, as modest, as utterly American and as thrilling as the true-life story it's based on. [11 Dec 1986, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  18. This is a nearly flawless little film, a cheerful nightmare that knows just where it wants to go and uses precisely calibrated comic effects to get there.
  19. Achieves its success through a combination of attitude and technique, uniting, to exceptional effect, a way of viewing the world morally while looking at it physically.
  20. A nearly three-hour talkfest that plays out in something close to real time may sound daunting on paper, but if you can make it past the opening shot, you will find yourself gripped for the duration.
  21. 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.
  22. Sand Storm's great gift is that it is human, not didactic, showing not only how difficult this iron web of culture and tradition is to escape from but also how much it poisons the lives of the men who enforce it as much as the women who are victimized by it.
  23. For a movie that involves creating laughs on the fly, the story is tightly told and acted, which adds to its buoyant pacing, astute observations and well-judged poignancy.
  24. By the time this irresistible treat is over, it has created some of the funniest moments and most inspired visual humor and design we may expect to experience at the movies all year. [30 Mar 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
  25. Likely as not, these things mean nothing in a conventional plot sense, but as powerful images, as pictures from a dreamlike world, they are unforgettable. And that, David Lynch would probably say, is exactly the point.
  26. Superb.
  27. For Tian, who was banned from directing by Chinese authorities for a decade, it marks a triumphant return; for those who have loved the filmmaker's work in the past, few resurrections have seemed as welcome.
  28. Film has always been especially effective it portraying what it can feel like, what it can mean to be in love, and My Golden Days is right up there with the best of them.
  29. An unforgettable experience from yet another filmmaker who is making South Korean cinema one of the most vibrant of any emerging on the international scene.
  30. The movie is a savage attack on the egomania that enables a director to fancy himself a deity, as well as the rotten patriarchies that govern the worlds of art, industry and religion alike, with Lawrence embodying the wise but perpetually ignored voice of the divine feminine.
  31. Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time: The Imax Experience is a glorious cosmic reverie, a feast for the eyes and a balm for the soul in these angry, contentious times.
  32. Prepare to be astonished by Spirited Away.
  33. 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.
  34. It is one of those scorching films that burns through emotions, uses up actors, wrings out audiences. And the jazz, well, it has its own moments of brutal, breathtaking fusion.
  35. The most brilliantly disturbing film ever to have its roots in small-town American life. [19 September 1986, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  36. It's intelligent, provocative and intensely dramatic. Its subject matter may be tough but it is as powerfully authentic as anyone could want.
  37. Things to Come holds us completely. A life is unfolding here, under our eyes, and we never lose sight of how special that is.
  38. An exceptional--and exceptionally disturbing--film from a first-time director and writer (with Andy Bienen) named Kimberly Pierce. Unflinching, uncompromising, made with complete conviction and rare skill.
  39. The profoundly sensitive, often wryly funny look at friendship, romance, sexual attraction and gender identity carries themes and dynamics that feel as timeless as they do up-to-the-minute.
  40. 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.
  41. When on-the-ground reality is conveyed with the complexity and fascination it is here, unforgettable documentaries are always the result.
  42. The fertility of Shults' image-making and storytelling skills is almost breathtaking, and much of Krisha draws on the subconscious power of his direction in tandem with Krisha Fairchild's mesmerizing turn.
  43. A wonderful treasure from the seemingly inexhaustible cornucopia of crackling French crime dramas.
  44. The Belgian directing brothers deal with themes they have made their own: the difficulty of being moral in an amoral world and the grinding, unforgiving nature of reality for those forced by poverty to live on the margins of society. These are not easy films to experience, but they are uncompromising and unforgettable.
  45. See it and it'll stay with you as your own memories do: funny, poignant, bittersweet and irreplaceable.
  46. 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.
  47. One of the bloodiest and most beautiful reflections on atonement in the Scorsese canon... It is still one of cinema's most breathtaking films.
    • Los Angeles Times
  48. An extraordinarily moving, deeply personal, filmed diary
  49. It would be hard to overstate just how singular this picture feels in its seriousness of purpose and in its cumulative power to enthrall and astonish.
  50. Daring in its willingness to risk looking maudlin by dealing with extremes, Blue doesn't hesitate to explore spiritual and psychological states that are beyond many films.
  51. The aesthetic that Dominik has crafted is a pitch-perfect expression of Cave’s grappling with matters of time and space. It’s gorgeous and ghostly.
  52. It's an act of defiance that's also a sublime piece of cinema, and it ranks among the director's finest work.
  53. One of the great crime thrillers, the benchmark all succeeding heist films have been measured against, it's no musty museum piece but a driving, compelling piece of work, redolent of the air of human frailty and fatalistic doom.
  54. Its step-by-step tragedy is so ruthless in its unfolding, you may find yourself wishing it were less well done, that it left you some room to breathe. But House of Sand and Fog has a story to tell and it means to tell it, no matter what the cost.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. Larson has done exceptional work before... but the way she has taken the deepest of dives into this complex, difficult material is little short of astonishing. The reality and preternatural commitment she brings to Ma is piercingly honest from start to finish, as scaldingly emotional a performance as anyone could wish for.
  58. Cookie's Fortune, which knows how to treat serious matters with humor, is to be treasured as an utterly distinctive work by one of America's finest filmmakers. [2 April 1999, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  59. An impeccably acted character drama revolving around a mother and her teenage twin sons, Private Property shows how strong and how terrifying the bonds within families can be. Directed by Belgium's Joachim Lafosse, it etches the line between love and hate with a savagery that is almost unprecedented.
  60. 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.
  61. With this masterful, flawless film, Xiaoshuai emerges in the front ranks of China's now numerous, world-renowned filmmakers.
  62. Perhaps the most original movie fantasy creation of the year: an icon of tenderness and artistic alienation that clings, stickum-like, to your mind's eye and the softest, most woundable parts of your mass-culture heart. [7 Dec 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  63. Diamond-hard and mesmerizing… Bening and Cusack are perfection at what they are doing, she twinkly as any rhinestone, he dangerously passive; it's hardly their fault that Huston is the motor of the piece and so ferociously seductive that one cannot look away from her. [5 Dec 1990]
    • Los Angeles Times
  64. Beautifully crafted, movingly acted, still involving and entertaining, this is just the kind of film people are talking about when they say they don't make them like this anymore.
  65. What is different about Half Nelson is the execution, the kind of subtlety in writing, directing and acting (by costars Shareeka Epps and Anthony Mackie as well as Gosling) you seldom see.
  66. 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.
  67. Charged by a passion for life, A Home at the End of the World is a major achievement.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. This one you see for the pure love of great movie making. Its tough-minded, unsentimental writing and ferociously brilliant acting--across the board and especially at the top--manage to give a pretty good idea of what Christy Brown, the Dublin-born writer, poet and painter, was all about.
  71. An invigorating powerhouse of a personal documentary, adventurous and absolutely fascinating.
  72. It's been brought to the screen by director John Schlesinger and writer Malcolm Bradbury with such deftness, giving it a life of its own, that it's not necessary for audiences to be familiar with the literature it satirizes.
  73. 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.
  74. Letters From Iwo Jima, takes audiences to a place that would seem unimaginable for an American director. Daring and significant, it presents a picture from life's other side, not only showing what wartime was like for our Japanese adversaries on that island in the Pacific but also actually telling the story in their language. Which turns out to be no small thing.
  75. A brilliant, often grotesquely bizarre allegory on life in Hungary from World War II to the present.
  76. It humanely, intelligently questions the very nature of our desire to make sense of the past with the tools of the present, when the human mind remains the most aggressively obliterating battlefield of all.
  77. 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.
  78. May be the best "new" American movie released this year. [11 Sept 1992]
    • Los Angeles Times
  79. The director's surrealist portrait of modern times and the cult of celebrity is brilliant on so many levels that even the occasional downdraft can't keep Birdman from soaring.
  80. A splendid film. It uses all the resources of cinema -- masterful writing, superb acting, directorial intelligence, an enveloping score, top-of-the-line production design, costumes, cinematography and editing -- to make a film whose cumulative emotional power takes viewers by surprise, capturing us unawares in its ability to move us as deeply as it does.
  81. House of Flying Daggers finds the great Chinese director at his most romantic in this thrilling martial arts epic that involves a conflict between love and duty carried out to its fullest expression.
  82. Heli is a stunning piece of filmmaking. It's a hypnotic, starkly beautiful, often disturbing drama that puts a working-class Mexican family in the cross hairs of its country's drug war.
  83. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is a marvel of Japanese animation, a hand-drawn, painterly epic that submerges us in a world of beauty.
  84. Just as Turner's expressive, enthralling work changed the nature of painting, Mr. Turner, anchored in the rock of Timothy Spall's astonishing, Cannes prize-winning performance, pushes hard against the strictures of conventional narrative and ends up pulling us into its world and capturing us completely.
  85. Tense, smartly crafted and highly resonant, Aliyah is one of the best films so far this year.
  86. Witty, urbane and thoroughly entertaining.
  87. As the summer heats up, let Frozen River wash over you; let its bracing drama and the intensity of its acting restore your spirits as well as your faith in American independent film.
  88. A string of unlikely events and coincidences set off Night Falls, and Lumet makes them believable the old-fashioned way: through interaction with a screen full of strongly drawn, fully dimensioned, psychologically valid characters.
  89. The writer-director's familiar style blends with a group of unexpected factors to create a magnificently cockeyed entertainment.
  90. Steve Jobs is a smart, hugely entertaining film that all but bristles with crackling creative energy. What it is not is a standard biopic.
  91. Stirred up impassioned debate everywhere; it would seem the greatest compliment that could be paid a stunning entertainment. [30 June 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  92. 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.
  93. As he did in "Unforgiven," "Mystic River" and "Million Dollar Baby," Eastwood handles this nuanced material with aplomb, giving every element of this complex story just the weight it deserves. The director's lean dispassion, his increased willingness to be strongly emotional while retaining an instinctive restraint, continues to astonish.
  94. 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.
  95. Assayas has made a great film from Jacques Chardonne's classic novel. Although far different in tone, time, place and temperament, it brings to mind "Gone With the Wind" in its depth and scope and in its love story, which unfolds over a turbulent era.
  96. Irresistibly funny… Just about the best holiday gift imaginable. [23 Dec 1988, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  97. Insidious and provocative, Safe refuses to lend a hand, avoids taking sides or pointing the way. Everything that happens in this beautifully controlled enigma is open to multiple interpretations, and that extends finally to the title's meaning as well.
  98. If in Bresson's films nothing ever seems out of place or superfluous it's because he strove to find the essential truth of the image. Not an image or sound is wasted -- or offered up in self-glorification -- and from such seeming simplicity there arises a world of feeling.
  99. 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.
  100. With that fire in his belly, Raimi's Drag Me to Hell does everything we want a horror film to do: It is fearsomely scary, wickedly funny and diabolically gross.

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