Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 9,517 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 1.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 A Hard Day's Night (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 Don Peyote
Score distribution:
9517 movie reviews
  1. The dramatic payoffs are either nonexistent or overly manipulated, and for a journey that starts with so much deep-set pain and regret to end with a sentimental twist feels, to use a phrase anathema in Carey's world, off-key.
  2. It's a low-key road movie that doesn't stray far from the very, very beaten path.
  3. Although it contains its share of diverting shootouts, car crashes and explosions, this self-serious film mostly evokes a forgettable TV police procedural.
  4. Dunne creates a full-blooded character. The film around him, unfortunately, takes low-key to the realm of tepid.
  5. No place for literalists, but Ferrera fans should be pleased with this tale.
  6. Burnt is mildly diverting.
  7. Certainly a sweet, life-affirming picture, but it's just not authentic or captivating enough to justify its wildly concocted scenario.
  8. Writer-director Claudia Sparrow prefers to pay more mind to the abstract.
  9. The film works best when focusing on the conflict between world-weary Huck and dreamer Tom, but the characters are underdeveloped and the plot overly convoluted, lacking the foundational support to prop up their antics and capers.
  10. The film is not without flashes of charm amid its clichés, and leads Lily Collins and Sam Claflin pine for each other prettily.
  11. The luminous Garrett shines as Brenda, emerging from her shell. Hauptman manages to sand down David's spiky edges. The supporting characters, unfortunately, are two-dimensional and less charismatic.
  12. Has little to occupy us once its battle scenes recede. One of those goofy movies where devil-may-care Russian soldiers unwind by playing the balalaika far into the night, it takes itself far more seriously than anyone else will be able to manage.
  13. What this is remains mysterious after a single viewing, but not so mysterious as to inspire a second.
  14. An uneven effort overall that when it is working has a strange, engaging energy that is often overturned by an uncertain staidness.
  15. A movie that commits sins of excess, except regarding Thornton. There's not nearly enough of him.
  16. With verbal jabs and sight gags in equal measure, the script proves serviceably funny. As the film progresses, though, the hilarity does not escalate along with the outrageousness.
  17. The twisty plot mostly comes together via flashbacks, following an opening armed robbery. Too often though, Yang opts for brute force over brains, defaulting to violent fights that don't quite fit with the film's overall lightness.
  18. Garriga aims for depth in the third act, contextualizing religious conservatism as a reaction against the social revolutions of the 1960s. But the reduction of Christianity into just another political group feels like a dilution, a conversion of wine into water.
  19. Joy
    Despite some quite engaging sections, "Joy" is, unlike previous Russell films, dragged down more than it is inspired by its chaotic ambience, a film whose variations in tone can't be overcome.
  20. Life Is Strange is unfocused yet intermittently effective as an illustrated oral history.
  21. Diverting and sometimes humorous but sticks to the superficial ...not distinctive enough to make much of an impression.
  22. The new live-action rendering of E.B. White's perennial children's favorite, Charlotte's Web, is so carefully spun that it's lifeless.
  23. Certainly acceptable. But no one seeing it is going to feel as spooked as executive producer Roy Lee. To make an audience feel that intensely, you need a different kind of director and a different kind of film.
  24. Some eerie answers are revealed, and there are a few decent left-field jolts en route. But the plot is hardly airtight — at times the holes are downright gaping — and viewers will likely have their fair share of questions once the film's final corner is turned.
  25. Until its characters behave illogically in the third act and the direction shows suspense fatigue, Preservation displays a flinty resolve to be better than your average woodsy-nightmare thriller.
  26. The emotional moments never land.
  27. As a director, Bigelow knows how to get out of the house, but she can be impatient when it comes to humdrum reality. That may account for her interest in Shreve's novel, with its epic tragedies, and it may help to explain the misguided casting of Penn and Hurley, each of whom comes equipped with an oversized personality.
  28. But the erotic potential of animation has never been realized and Cool World doesn't even try. [11 Jul 1992]
    • Los Angeles Times
  29. Director Rob Schmidt, working from a screenplay by Alan McElroy, manages to keep the suspense up through the final hour of the film. Cast members acquit themselves agreeably, carrying off horror archetypes without much fanfare.
  30. The key problem is that writer-director Peter Landesman has pushed too hard to make this story fit into a dramatic mold, alternating melodrama and romance with those earnest warnings in a way that is more ungainly than effective.
  31. If you can get past the Eurocentric focus, there are worse ways to pass the time than to see The Children of Huang Shi, if only because the glimpse into the time and place are captivating and the images are gorgeous.
  32. While the attempt at a certain, documentary-style naturalism is honorable, it's at the expense of focused plotting and sufficient character development.
  33. Tony Burrough's vast Toy Workshop and Elf Village at the North Pole is the film's strongest asset. The workshop is a dazzling and accurate display of the Art Nouveau style in sinuous full flower.
  34. For much of its duration the film is a case of intense fare done with an undeniable effectiveness and ingenuity -- until it lurches into a deplorable surprise twist.
  35. Though the cast ends up looking good, the film's unwillingness or inability to have things add up hurts everyone's efforts.
  36. The result is not quite a horror movie (too cheerful and can-do) or a thriller (too cheerful and stupid), nor does it parody itself or take itself seriously, thereby canceling out the camp factor. It's more like an improv sketch at 30,000 feet.
  37. The film's overall presentation...feels a bit too cloistered and the subject perhaps too limited for feature-length attention.
  38. The film is helped by Costner's self-deprecating, aw-shucks charm. The actor is game whether he's being asked to fight off truculent teens or treacherous terrorists.
  39. Even though Drool rambles and ultimately slides into overly obvious make-believe, Kissam emerges as a fearless risk-taker of promise.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Distressingly short on creative spark or historical illumination.
  40. It's a product of the highest quality, but at the end of the day that's what it is: a machine-made, assembly-line product whose strengths tend to feel like items checked off a master list rather than being the result of any kind of individual creative touch.
  41. Wingard’s movie, for all its abundant mischief, doesn’t trust the power of its own illusion. You can see these woods a lot more clearly now, and what you see is that you’ve been here before.
  42. Although What If nobly attempts to honor and embellish the tropes of the genre rather than reinvent them, the filmmakers get tripped up on their own good intentions and uncertain comedic instincts.
  43. Simultaneously jokey and scary, sentimental and ruthless, tediously everyday and grotesquely out of the ordinary.
  44. The all-star cast is uniformly good, but the script lacks any sort of nuance to temper the pandering lecture.
  45. A movie that's more convoluted than satisfying.
  46. If only Spread were half as entertaining as a Van Halen video.
  47. May be too heady for some tastes but can stir you deeply, if you're open to it.
  48. Many viewers will find it challenging to see the substance hidden in the documentary’s over-the-top style that makes Michael Moore’s directorial stamp look subtle.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Turistas seeks to exploit the current craze for torture-porn, but it lacks the relentless sadism of the "Saw" franchise. More than half the movie is dull buildup.
  49. It’s a warm, uplifting portrait of the potentials to be found in startup culture, but feels blinkered by its specific focus.
  50. Shot on grainy, often blown-out and distorted consumer-grade video, scored to a feedback distortion-heavy soundtrack that will be familiar to fans and tinnitus sufferers alike, and clocking in at one merciful minute under three hours, Lynch's much-anticipated follow-up to "Mulholland Drive" signals a hale swan-dive off the deep end, away from any pretense of narrative logic and into the purer realm of unconscious free association. I found myself pining for "The Elephant Man," but that's just me.
  51. Keaton and Ted Danson, who plays her husband, Don, are the comedic bright spot in the movie, not least because they are ridiculous.
  52. 21
    What might have been a complex story dealing with greed and high-stakes betrayal among the young intellectual elite in America's gaming playground is instead treated as a slick, glossy romp.
  53. Unfortunately, it takes director D.J. Paul a while to lend shape to this chatty, free-form material -- it would really make a better stage play -- and to distinguish writer Joseph "Bo" Colen's authentic-sounding but unevenly drawn characters.
  54. A tedious, precious fantasy.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A spoof, sometimes a funny one, and sometimes just plain overkill.
  55. Although Head Over Heels moves swiftly, has an appealing cast and a serviceably diverting plot, it is nevertheless hard to fall head over heels over it.
  56. The messy relationships and sexual predilections make for an equally messy plot, which distracts from the film's strength — depicting the truths of a romantic relationship that's past the initial excitement and the selective memories of love lost.
  57. Since the film is based on the Atari video game of the same name, it also has much to appeal to headbangers: fast pace, lots of gadgets, monsters, explosive special effects, plenty of inscrutable plot twists and turns.
  58. Most B-pictures imitate other movies, but writer-director Mickey Keating’s Carnage Park steals so freely that it almost becomes derivative in an original way.
  59. Clever and diverting dark comedy.
  60. On the face of it, tackling the warring sides of science and the spirit seemed a good fit for the writer-director, who continues to be drawn to existential themes. There are occasional flashes of the exceptional, but the film's dodgy story can't sustain them.
  61. A decently crafted, standard Mafia blood bath with a few new wrinkles and an aura of authenticity.
  62. Even with a gripping subject like blues-singing convicts, the documentary Music from the Big House has a disconcerting emotional distance.
  63. Smart isn't all it's cracked up to be and soon the movie is unraveling faster than all of Eddie's grand schemes.
  64. Not ultimately original enough to sustain its many horrific images.
  65. For all its good intentions, for the thrillingly staged moments in the film's first quarter-for all the sweeping movement of thousands of people streaming through the streets of Shanghai-and for all its not-inconsiderable craft, the film's grave problem is a lack of central heating: We don't have a single character to warm up to.
  66. Price keeps the humor believably shallow and the movie from getting too far from the aim of chronicling an exclusivity junkie's fall.
  67. Exhilarating or excruciating, depending on your point of view.
  68. At some point you hope the actor (Butler) will find a movie that will give him the right material to make hearts truly beat faster. Until then, it appears we'll have to settle for films with more flaws than his characters.
  69. The largely improvisational approach as well as the limited settings and story arc also undercut the picture’s deeper dramatic potential — despite a powerful, beautifully performed finale.
  70. A shrewd, pulpy crowd-pleaser.
  71. The film itself often feels stilted and repetitive.
  72. An alternately creaky and intriguing ride, one of earnest ambition and dashed potential.
  73. A standard-issue numskull comedy that aims low but is high in energy.
  74. While the movie’s artfully made and daringly disturbing, Dekker ultimately overestimates how many sick twists one motion picture needs.
  75. Feels like the cinematic equivalent of being stuffed with fruitcake and doused with a gallon of egg nog, so if that's the sort of thing you go in for around the holidays . . .
  76. A technically impressive but talky sci-fi drama that never quite comes to life.
  77. At first Tabu is intriguing. But the enigma gets wearing as the director's attention is divided between the homage to the silent film era and the film's underlying exploration of the regret of old age.
  78. Zany, exuberantly irreverent animated space adventure.
  79. What the movie could use is a little more faith — in the power of its message and the art of filmmaking. Instead, Heaven is sincere to a fault, and the closer it gets to heaven, the more it wavers.
  80. A sweet tale with a smart storytelling device and charming performers, but not much more beyond the cute.
  81. The problem is not so much that World Trade Center is an attempt to make a feel-good movie about a ghastly situation, it's that the result feels forced, manufactured and largely -- but not entirely -- unconvincing.
  82. "Swearnet" builds up enough brazen energy and crass goodwill to propel a watchable first hour before it starts to flounder.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The premise, from the book by Wendy Orr, is terrific, but the execution seems designed to make all but the youngest viewers fling copies of the book at the screen in frustration.
  83. This film's cold, almost robotic conception of Salander as a twitchy, anorexic waif feels more like a stunt than a complete character, and so the best part of the reason we care enough to endure all that mayhem has gone away.
  84. Cirque is a harmless bit of fluff with a very cool look, but there's just never enough bite.
  85. Either you go for this sort of extreme, senseless gore or you don't. With its plot and lead performance, The Collector is, at least, an unusual specimen.
  86. The To Do List is neither supergood nor superbad, but passable doesn't exactly raise the bar.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The analogy feels forced, arbitrary, as do the movie's periodic spasms of impressionistic imagery.
  87. Even though as a whole Hello I Must Be Going lets us down in the second half, the pleasure of watching Lynskey and Abbott never diminishes.
  88. Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge (who is a physician!) keep the action spurting forward, but their approach is oblique. We seem to be catching the odds and ends of scenes; it's as if the filmmakers wanted to make a movie in which all the expected high points were skimped.
  89. Tonally, the film is a mess, unable to decide if it's a damning downer or...the inspiring story of conquering injustice.
  90. Not content to be a mildly diverting royal bodice-ripper, it spirals out of control into the kind of overwrought dramaturgy that's out of its league.
  91. Felon is not a total bust. What does work is because of the strength of the actors. Dorff brings a visceral sense of desperation to his performance, though he does tend to go too big too quickly. Kilmer gives the film its center as an alien, still presence amid the chaos around him.
  92. Despite the fertile concept, it's hard to care about, much less root for, the irritable, charisma-challenged Barney. The character never emerges as an effective hero or antihero, and performer Carlyle does little to mitigate that.
  93. The sophistication gap between the character Cheadle has created and the film that contains him is so great it begins to feel like you're watching two different stories that have been unaccountably spliced together.
  94. With its developers-versus-ranchers intrigue and touches of magic realism, the movie ends up playing like a mild-tempered oddity.
  95. The movie is like a promising date that goes nowhere.

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