Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 10,707 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 Jafar Panahi's Taxi
Lowest review score: 0 Showgirls
Score distribution:
10707 movie reviews
  1. By the time the movie introduces an element of ambivalence in the story, lecture hall ennui has long ago set in, and no amount of jittery horror movie conventions can change it. With nowhere for any of the characters to go, literally, the story becomes a tendentious exercise in belaboring a point.
  2. While it's futile to pretend that Life Is Beautiful completely triumphs--it's simply too tough a concept to sustain--what is surprising about this unlikely film is that it succeeds as well as it does.
  3. To consider Harry and Max as being about incestuous feelings would be shortchanging it, because the film is really about the evolving nature of love and the need to define it.
  4. Huston is a sucker for sentiment, and Agnes Browne is a sap's holiday.
  5. Director Debra Eisenstadt, who also edited and co-wrote with Zeke Farrow, effectively draws us into Ken’s challenging world and conflicted psyche, aided immeasurably by actor-comic Dawes’ dimensional, empathetic performance.
  6. Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart stubbornly remains less than the sum of its parts. But its rich visual imagery suggests the talented artists involved could create something exciting and truly original if they had a better script.
  7. While Chopra attempts to crack the American market with a slice of cinematic apple pie, he holds up a mirror to how Hollywood's tried-and-true narrative of vigilantism connotes who we are, at home and overseas.
  8. Detailed and intensely researched documentary.
  9. 31
    The Rob Zombie brand promises hard-core horror and scuzzy atmosphere, and “31” delivers just that. Even on autopilot, Zombie makes movies that hit hard and leave a stain.
  10. What emerges is a vague, often chilling impression of an unpredictable opportunist and provocateur who may not even be sure himself.
  11. Harding’s story, in this overly broad retelling, is not especially strong on narrative density — or, for that matter, ambiguity.
  12. If Leaving is a romantic parable, it is a dark and depressing one, emphasizing not the sensuality of attraction but rather the obsessive side of romantic behavior. This is mad love for sure, and that is not usually a pretty picture.
  13. An ode to romance of the most starry-eyed sort, a sugary paean to quixotic clichés and a film destined to be a guilty pleasure for some (me included, sigh) and the painful price of a relationship for others (so steel yourselves).
  14. While the intended dramatic payoff proves a letdown, it doesn’t undo the allegorical power of the movie’s searing depiction of groupthink and its fallout.
  15. Like the television medium it genially satirizes, EDtv is a grab bag that's both amusing and frustrating.
  16. With actors this good, however, there's rarely a pinched expression, heartfelt speech or laugh line that isn't at least partly sold, even if the stunted-male psychologizing at the expense of the under-written women grows tiresome.
  17. The happenstance plotting and over-reliance on violence as a plot motor dissipate the film's energy by the end.
  18. The character mechanics... leave the viewer always feeling a step ahead of the story and its too-late-to-excite twists. As a portrait of violence-riven motherhood, however, Riseborough gives Shadow Dancer most of its grave power.
  19. Grainy as it looks in its massive Imax blowup, Mickey's misadventures with water and a broom still have the kind of magic even modern technology can't always manage.
  20. Shelton's affection for her characters is evident but it's not enough.
  21. Some stories drag while others have zing in this anthology; binding them is a compelling sense of cultural identity — the tension between tradition and free-market modernity.
  22. In the original, extended, unrepentant bad behavior results in bad consequences for the protagonist. In the remake, it gets the character some life lessons and a personal growth spurt.
  23. The approach isn’t always satisfying. Some clips could use more setup, or even just a basic explanation.
  24. The film sacrifices playfulness and humor to concentrate on a relentless display of elaborate but ho-hum gadgets and gizmos.
  25. Mission: Impossible proves something of a letdown, not just because it's fairly easy to guess who the bad guy is but also because we've hardly gotten to know anyone in the movie well enough to become more than superficially involved with them.
  26. Fascinating anecdotes unfold, illuminating the spontaneity and daring that went into producing the groundbreaking periodical.
  27. Most of the rest of this Hamlet effective or lovely as parts of it may be, just keeps sawing at the air in a drafty hall and pouring all its light on Mel Gibson and his angelic stubble. [18 Jan 1991]
    • Los Angeles Times
  28. There's a dry humor underlying the absurdity of Koistinen's experience. When things cannot possibly get worse, they do.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    You've see this movie before, but you haven't seen it filtered through Madsen.
  29. Harrelson and Maura Tierney, who plays Monix's love interest, seem to be inhabiting a different, more interesting, movie, one that follows the familiar path of a has-been athlete seeking redemption at what looks like his last stop. The strange thing is that the subplot is so tangential to the rest of the movie that the scenes could be omitted with no one the wiser.
  30. The film catches her long after she's left the public eye, and rather than an examination, or an assessment, of her politics, it instead offers up an affecting if not always satisfying portrait of the strong-willed leader humbled by age.
  31. Grudge Match never settles on the movie it wants to be, wavering uncertainly between a jokey old-guys comedy and something more dramatic and heartfelt.
  32. As instantly gratifying and devoid of surprises as a Club Med vacation. It bears no relation to reality whatsoever, but sometimes it's nice to imagine that, somewhere, there's a place nothing like home.
  33. The film, like Walker’s trek, occasionally feels like a bit of a slog to those unexposed to the folklore, but it makes some interesting observations in regard to the pursuit of fact over fiction.
  34. Shanahan shows potential as the hunky but clueless leading man, and Dixon displays a solid point of view with a refreshing perspective centered around women’s success and choices.
  35. Though it has its charms, Monsters, Inc. does not measure up. As a childhood entertainment it is certainly fine, but Pixar's celebrated lure for adults is largely absent.
  36. If you can get through the tedious first half of Bob Funk, there's actually a decent little character study waiting on the other side.
  37. Culkin's performance is never exploitative. His eyes often say everything, appearing simultaneously laser-focused and distant — he can't reconcile his brain with the world.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Time Bandits may be Gilliam’s most consistently entertaining movie, but it still displays his flaws as much as his strengths. It’s visually imaginative — on a smallish budget — filled with invention, but also rambling and all over the (literal) map.
  38. Fans will be thrilled that the auteur hasn't missed a beat with Wild City, although he appears to be making the same concessions to the Chinese market as his contemporaries.
  39. Stays remarkably close to its predecessor in all the ways that count.
  40. As insistent as it is skillful -- and it is very skillful -- it does all it can to pound you into enjoying yourself. The result is rather like being force-fed a meal of your favorite foods by the Terminator.
  41. The result is a kind of quiet Scandinavian cousin (OK, twice removed) to "Home Alone," in which patient viewers will find sporadic rewards.
  42. Forced character arc aside though, this is a tightly constructed and well acted indie with a few standout sequences. It’s further proof that sometimes all a filmmaker needs is a cab and a camera.
  43. For all of the substantive issues underpinning the documentary, it still feels a slight film for Berlinger, and very unlike the documentary veteran's best work, found in his dogged following of the West Memphis Three case.
  44. Less compelling as a thriller than as a trip through a mind tormented by loss, the film depends on a minimum of dialogue, with extended sequences of wordless action.
  45. McGowan is excellent in what she’s claimed will be her last acting role; and Christopher Lloyd is equally memorable as one of the lost souls the heroine encounters in Toronto’s labyrinthine underground.
  46. Inoffensive even as it makes some fairly explicit sex jokes, "Ethan Green" may not exactly be fabulous, but it is pleasantly diverting.
  47. Once the farce finds its stride, however, it's generally worth the wait.
  48. Not quite original enough to make much of a dent in the marketplace, but it shows its stars to advantage.
  49. There is sweetness here. The scene in which Dave and the boys decorate the tree is charming, and the Chipmunks' excited presentation of gifts to their human dad is actually sort of touching. And dang it, the little animated rodents are cute.
  50. The film's bigger problem is that after a certain point the way in which Evans allows DeNoble to narrate his own story comes to feel self-congratulatory and makes Addiction Incorporated seem a bit more like an advertisement or an endorsement than an investigation or exploration.
  51. Though Fight for Space doesn’t innovate artistically, first-time director Paul J. Hildebrandt’s documentary makes strong arguments for scientific innovation.
  52. The script (written by Susan Minot from a story by Bertolucci) suffers from the same tired blood as his characters, and his direction is often ponderously self-conscious.
  53. It's a film of exceptional technical virtuosity that could have used some help in the dramatic department.
  54. The film may be fearlessly sentimental, but it is sturdy enough to provide rewarding major roles for two veterans, who are of an age when such starring parts are rare.
  55. Kika, which has Almodovar's characteristic high gloss, may not be a vintage film but it's nevertheless indelibly idiosyncratic. Nobody but Pedro Almodovar could have made it.
  56. This is a work of excess and passion, an untidy sprawl of a motion picture that is sometimes ragged, occasionally uncertain, but -- and this is what's important -- always warm, accessible and rich in emotional life.
  57. This is an enjoyably acted trifle that, despite some slowing in its second half, holds interest as it amusingly considers how an act so simple for some can be so tricky for others.
  58. And though the film also quotes Wiesenthal's exhortation "Hope lives when people remember," the filmmakers are most interested in drawing attention to what is happening now, primarily in Europe, and what it may mean for the future.
  59. Too much of the film prioritizes the DJ’s problematic personal life over what made him famous. AM’s fans should get a lot out of the doc, but casual music-lovers may wish Kerslake would just get back to the party.
  60. The movie falls short of the grandeur it's reaching for, but if you're looking for balm to soothe your frazzled nerves, you may be able to scrape some from the movie's rawer edges.
  61. Director Taylor Hackford brings an appropriate level of pulpy energy to the telling, and star Kathy Bates... gives a better performance than the film deserves as the grumpy and possibly homicidal title character.
  62. Drive is a Los Angeles neo-noir, a neon-lit crime story made with lots of visual style. It's a film in love with both traditional noir mythology and ultra-modern violence, a combination that is not ideal.
  63. Director Desmond Nakano, who co-wrote the script with Tony Kayden, does a fine job in evoking the events and era and in guiding his actors through emotion-filled scenes. However, much of the plot revolving around a climactic baseball game is trite and detracts from the overall drama.
  64. A fine mood piece with lots of atmosphere and boasts terrific performances from its stars.
  65. For a movie about the creator of some of the most pointed, controversial comedies in television history, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You has a curious habit of sidestepping some of the thornier and more interesting aspects of its subject’s life.
  66. Heartstring-tugging if a bit humorless.
  67. Even if this largely contained movie remains more low key than frantic, it features enough well-executed bursts of tension and strong emotional beats to hold interest.
  68. The performances have heart, and a sorrowful tenderness courses through the self-described "fairy tale," even at its kitschiest.
  69. There's no defense for movies like these, but neither do they warrant apology; they're irresistibly watchable, like car wrecks.
  70. Everyone who grew up with the full range of the Oz books is deeply in Murch's debt. However, the framework surrounding Return to Oz is dark and, I suspect, terribly frightening for very young children. [21 Jun 1985, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  71. What's surprising about this traditional thriller, moderately successful but not completely satisfying, is exactly how genteel and unsurprising the execution turns out to be.
  72. Francis Ford Coppola has reworked somewhat and meticulously restored his ambitious 1982 romantic musical fantasy One From the Heart, out of circulation for more than 20 years, but for all his efforts it stubbornly remains a bold experiment in style and technique that doesn't work.
  73. Music in Babe's and Ricky's is righteous and raucous and easy to come by, but the story of Mama Laura is more elusive. And that is the frustration.
  74. It's an intriguing film, one of the year's most interesting, but involving as much of it is, it leaves an unsatisfied taste when it's over.
  75. The film's drawback, and it is a serious one, is that few of its characters wear very well. The more we see them, the less they involve us and hold our interest, a situation not helped by the bombastic, theatrical style of acting a few of the performers have felt free to employ.
  76. Barton is a standout as the alluring, broken young woman who hides as much as she reveals.
  77. "How to Let Go” says all the right things about an unnerving peril, and the various ways some highly motivated people are trying to combat it.
  78. A moderately diverting thriller that builds suspense and entertains effectively... strongest selling point is Charlize Theron.
    • Los Angeles Times
  79. Willow is a perfectly agreeable tale of magic, little people, heroic warriors, babies among the bulrushes and a wicked queen who must be overthrown lest the world be engulfed in evil. If it evaporates from memory with the airiness of a bubble bath, at least it leaves a friendly glow and a sense of a magical world lovingly evoked. [20 May 1988, p. c1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  80. An involving, largely likable film with a sincere emotional core.
  81. Besson, an industrial-strength entertainer and the reigning maximalist of the European film industry, isn’t selling originality so much as volume. He has made a madly overstuffed Mos Eisley Cantina of a movie, one that surveys its diverse alien constituencies with the wide-eyed wonderment of a small child and the attention span to boot.
  82. Mostly, it’s a tightly constructed, unapologetically nasty little thriller, given depth and weight by Wallace’s interpretation of a sweet woman suffering for her past.
  83. The action is mostly brisk and bracing and the battleground, particularly Cobra's headquarters -- a vast network of tunnels under the polar ice cap -- are wonderfully imagined, as are the futuristic machines at the Joes' disposal. Basically, the Joes are not bad, it's just that they could have been much better with a little less conversation, a little more action.
  84. Sometimes a movie's charm materializes where you least expect it and in this particular case it emerges in the unlikely form of Henderson's character, Scotland Yard detective Janet Losey.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The film lacks the comedic charm of "American Pie," but with its dark, hyper-sexualization of teens, it offers an engrossing if not soap opera-esque tale of self-discovery.
  85. Unfortunately, the director’s breezy approach doesn’t always make for a captivating viewing experience.
  86. Unashamedly silly, inevitably erratic, it has so much fun sending up the world of exploitation filmmaking that even the most serious film student won't be able to suppress a laugh or two. Maybe even more.
  87. “A Portrait” may not make Frisell’s biography fascinating, but it does give the proper due to a guitarist whose music flows like water into any handy vessel.
  88. Zilberman's minimalistic approach fits the idea of the film better than it fits the actual film. It leaves this melancholy mood piece with some beautiful moments, but unlike Beethoven's work, A Late Quartet ultimately feels unfinished.
  89. A Perfect Murder begins better than it ends, and the pleasures it offers turn out to be more of a transitory nature.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Wiseman, a former art director and music video director, has a definite sense of style and pace, and the creature transformations are eye-popping. In addition, the cast raises the movie above the level of routine genre schlock.
  90. Lonely, bitter, insecure and clearly unstable, the women are meant to level the emotional playing field and add depth to what is, at heart, a story about the exploitation of poor nations by rich and powerful ones. But they wind up being too bitter and unstable to elicit much sympathy.
  91. The rapport between Allen and Johansson (pretending to be father and daughter) is lively, and the variations on the same old jokes are plentiful.
  92. Like us, the deft and merciless director Daisy von Scherler Mayer ("Party Girl") sides with the girls, and to stack the deck she's hired five tremendous actresses.
  93. If the movie doesn't entirely get past its hard-to-buy premise, director Paolo Sorrentino does have the courage of his convictions, not just embracing every contradiction but spinning many of the story's contrivances into moments of strange, aching beauty.
  94. There is just enough in Comet to keep it from fizzling out entirely – largely in the performances of Long and Rossum – but its conceits also get in the way of its characters, making it feel fussy and convoluted when it aims for something more simple and elegant.
  95. Half science-fiction tale, half espionage thriller, it's a pleasantly far-fetched endeavor that moves along so briskly that it leaves no time to consider its implausibilities, which are many.
  96. Genndy Tartakovsky is a talented director who knows how to telegraph what an animated character is thinking and doing and how to move a character in ways that suggest personality.

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