Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,475 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 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 The Master
Lowest review score: 0 Dead Silence
Score distribution:
7,475 movie reviews
  1. Smart, fun and thoroughly enjoyable, it's a model summer diversion that entertains without insulting your intelligence.
  2. With American independent filmmaking all too often a ready punching bag in today's cinéaste culture, this frequently dazzling, eccentric portrait of mutually assured destruction is that most delirious of combos: charmingly funny and emotionally terrifying.
  3. A documentary with the pace of a thriller, a story of motors and machines that is beyond compelling because of the intensely human story it tells.
  4. An exquisite, intimate film of restraint and delicacy.
  5. The same intelligence, wit and mature spirit that actress Vera Farmiga brings to her performances is richly apparent in her directorial debut as well, the inquisitive spiritual drama Higher Ground.
  6. No concept in the critical lexicon has been more devalued and debased than "inspirational." The term has been so misused, it's just about lost all meaning. A film that makes that word real and vital has to be special. The Interrupters is such a film.
  7. Bristling with dangers both corporeal and cerebral, The Debt is a superbly crafted espionage thriller packed with Israeli-Nazi score settling.
  8. It has opulent, stylized settings of elegance, grandeur and scope, flawless special effects, and awesome martial arts combat staged by the master, Sammo Hung. Yet bravura spectacle never overwhelms either the plot or the key characters. Chang Chia-lu's intricate script bristles with wit and suspense; the film from start to finish is a terrific entertainment.
  9. Starring Brad Pitt in top movie star form, it's a film that's impressive and surprising.
  10. Benda Bilili! earns its exclamation point. It's a feel-good movie that actually makes you feel good, a story that will have you shaking your head in astonishment and moving your feet to some unstoppable rhythms.
  11. Paranormal Activity 3, the latest installment in the low-budget horror franchise, is far and away the sharpest, most wildly aware film in the series.
  12. A film of rough edges and no easy answers, nearly perfect in its imperfection.
  13. This confident, crisply made piece of work does an expert job of bringing us inside the inner sanctum of a top Wall Street investment bank in extremis, giving us a convincing and coolly dramatic portrait of what it must have been like when titans trembled.
  14. Buster Keaton isn't dead, he's alive and well in Finland, where under a new identity he pursues his own particular brand of deadpan absurdism to wonderful effect. If the name Aki Kaurismäki doesn't mean anything to you, it should, and Le Havre may be the film to make it happen.
  15. J. Edgar is a somber, enigmatic, darkly fascinating tale, and how could it be otherwise?
  16. It is Mulligan and most especially Fassbender that give the film its power. The desperation, hostility and despair he conveys through the act of sex make Shame a film that is difficult to watch but even harder to turn away from.
  17. Na captures at once the fragility of the human body and the deep-rooted darkness of the human soul. The Yellow Sea is easily one of the films of the year for underserved action-heads.
  18. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is an enormously impressive piece of work.
  19. When it's done right, as it is in Young Adult, there is something absolutely mesmerizing about watching a train wreck unfold on screen. When the wreck in question is a narcissistic beauty played to scheming, sour, downward-spiraling perfection by Charlize Theron, cringing is definitely called for, but so is laughter.
  20. Think of The Adventures of Tintin as a song of innocence and experience, able to combine a sweet sense of childlike wonder and pureness of heart with the most worldly and sophisticated of modern technology. More than anything, it's just a whole lot of fun.
  21. Whether you're familiar with Pina Bausch's work or not, the new film Pina is a knockout.
  22. What the film captures so effectively is the cultural reality of Mexico's ubiquitous underclass.
  23. An intense, shattering film, a confident and accomplished, punch-in-the-gut debut by Belgian writer-director Michael R. Roskam that starts out like a thriller and turns into a disturbing tragedy in an unlikely and unexpected key.
  24. This is definitely animation for grown-ups - its look is voluptuous, sexy and sultry; its Latin-inflected Dizzy Gillespie sound is seductive; and its story of young lovers whose passions are tested is timeless.
  25. Intensely specific in story yet wide-ranging in themes, with a tone that turns on a dime from comic absurdity to close to tragedy, this is brainy, bravura filmmaking of the highest level, a motion picture that is as difficult to pigeonhole as it is a pleasure to enjoy.
  26. It's exhausting, exhilarating, riveting stuff that fans of high-octane filmmaking should not miss.
  27. What Marley and its wonderful performance footage leave you with most of all is the joy the man took in the music that set him free and enchanted the world.
  28. Nothing is rushed, everything is given its appropriate time and place. When we watch Hansen-Løve's films, we're not only experiencing a life unfolding before us, we're also realizing what a great privilege it is to be able to do that.
  29. Headhunters is a dark adult entertainment, a wild and bloody adrenaline rush of a movie that deals in gleeful grotesqueness and over-the-top implausibilities.
  30. This is writer-director Richard Linklater at his wry, whimsical best, and considering he was the filmmaker behind 1993's "Dazed and Confused," that makes the movie something of a milestone.
  31. Deliberate and marked by uncommon grace, In The Family manages to feel politically and culturally acute without ever resorting to melodrama, or having to wave banners for issues or causes, except perhaps in its quiet way for a renewed humanism in movies and a return to stories about everyday lives.
  32. Here the writer-director's tendency toward the allegorical casts a magical spell with Anderson finding a near perfect balance between the humanism and the surreal that imprints all of his work.
  33. "It is extremely difficult to be like a mountain, to create stillness in the middle of hell," is how Abramovic describes her task. The most resonant part of this surprisingly emotional film demonstrates how powerful this interaction is, how it expresses something that is no less moving for being, literally, beyond words.
  34. This jazzy crime melodrama is engrossing and exhilarating because of Espinosa's impressive command of a wide range of filmmaking skills.
  35. Matching the strength of these actresses and their personal drama is the film's masterful sense of time and place - the way it makes us feel that this was how it was during four pivotal days in July 1789 as the wheels came off the French monarchy.
  36. The truth-is-stranger-than-fiction saga has been a hit on the festival circuit, winning top documentary prizes at Sundance for Sweden's Bendjelloul. What sets Searching for Sugar Man apart, though, is the way in which the filmmaker preserves a sense of mystery in the telling.
  37. Watching Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is like experiencing a thrilling unfinished symphony: The story is enthralling, but it's not over, and there's no telling where it's going. Which makes what we see on screen all the more involving.
  38. With its harrowing restraint, Compliance is potent filmmaking that's not easily forgotten.
  39. A haunting, immersive portrait of a romance between two men, one that's marked - and marred - by both drug dependency and emotional codependency. Not unlike last year's gay-themed drama, "Weekend," it proves an important and mature piece of business.
  40. The latest in a recent spate of AIDS-themed documentaries, How to Survive a Plague is an exceptional portrait of a community in crisis and the focused fury of its response.
  41. This is a highflying, super-stylish science-fiction thriller that brings a fresh approach to mind-bending genre material. We're not always sure where this time-travel film is going, but we wouldn't dream of abandoning the ride.
  42. Affleck easily orchestrates this complex film with 120 speaking parts as it moves from inside-the-Beltway espionage thriller to inside Hollywood dark comedy to gripping international hostage drama, all without missing a step.
  43. So though it echoes the films of Charles Burnett, the plays of August Wilson and "A Raisin in the Sun," at its heart Middle of Nowhere is old-school, character-driven narrative at its most quietly effective.
  44. A small but exquisite film, beautifully observed and impeccably executed. Written and directed by So Yong Kim, it shows a different side of an actor we thought we knew and reveals unexpected aspects of a character who turns out to be not as familiar as he seems.
  45. As a strictly psychological portrait of destructive masculinity it's a gut-sock, vividly photographed, thrillingly edited and marked by performances (Donald Pleasence and Jack Thompson, most notably) that heave with strange complexity and dark camaraderie.Wake in Fright is true horror.
  46. In its ability to let us hear firsthand what life-and-death combat does to the human body and spirit, this film has few peers.
  47. The movie's subversive sensibility and old-school/new-school feel are a total kick.
  48. There is nothing bravura or overly emotional about Spielberg's direction here, but the impeccable filmmaking is no less impressive for being quiet and to the point.
  49. Tchoupitoulas is a jewel-bright whoosh of a ride through nighttime New Orleans.
  50. A teen comedy that actually puts a priority on intelligence and values and spans generations in its appeal, emerging as a special delight for anyone for whom high school was something less than nirvana. [29 Jan 1999, p.6]
    • Los Angeles Times
  51. This clever bag of tricks is made with so much cinematic skill it makes implausibility irrelevant. What happens on screen is unapologetically far-fetched, but it unfolds with enough panache to make turning away out of the question.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An outstanding start to the fall season, reassuring in its quest for excellence and its deep concern for the family. It's a fine and touching piece of work for any season; in 1980, it is rain after drought. [21 Sept 1980, T1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  52. From moment to moment the low-key intrigue threatens to slip into Hitchcock territory; when it does, it's not in the form of high-wire suspense but in a burst of understated playfulness.
  53. No
    Even if No is not the whole truth — and no film is — its pungent dialogue and involving characters tell a delicious and very pertinent tale. And the messages it delivers, its thoughts on the workings of democracy and the intricacies of personality, are just as valuable and entertaining — maybe even more so.
  54. A deeply satisfying feat of storytelling, Bless Me, Ultima makes a difficult task look easy. It combines innocence and experience, the darkness and wonder of life, in a way that is not easy to categorize but a rich pleasure to watch.
  55. Caesar Must Die shows us in the starkest possible terms the electric power of drama to move and touch not only audiences but the actors who bring so much of themselves to their performances.
  56. The film, which came out in 1970 after a censorship battle with the Franco regime, catches — and releases — all the tension of shifting sexual mores. You can almost sense the director's pleasure in taking apart the duplicities of a patriarchal Spanish society. [21 Feb. 2013]
  57. The wildlife documentary One Life is a visually gorgeous, at times astonishing screen experience.
  58. The filmmakers vividly illustrate the power and depth of the long-spiraling problem of "food insecurity" by immersing us in the hardscrabble lives of a cross section of our nation's poor.
  59. The powerful things we expect from War Witch are as advertised, but what we don't expect is even better.
  60. It is a rare thing to witness the creative process. But in the excellent new documentary Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, filmmaker Ben Shapiro gives us fly-on-the-wall access over a 10-year period to an acclaimed artist as he envisions, designs and executes his surreal commentary on small-town American life in the form of an epic photo installation, "Beneath the Roses."
  61. Garrone achieves something uniquely colorful, disturbing and trenchant about self-perception in an increasingly fishbowl-like society.
  62. Filmmaker Leon has deftly structured Gimme the Loot as a picaresque tale, an anecdotal, observational film that introduces us to all manner of eccentric and original characters. Will Malcolm and Sophia get what they want, what they need, or something in between? The only sure thing is that being along for the ride is pleasure of the most unexpected sort.
  63. I found it to be some kind of wonderful, flaws and all. This is one to be taken in like meditation. Clear the mind and let what is in front of you wash over you. Save the contemplation for later.
  64. With its startling mix of 16-millimeter-shot, handmade animation styles using stop-motion, sketches, collages and models, along with uncensored characters often resembling cadaverous marionettes, this twisted look at life in a faded Appalachian town is one decidedly idiosyncratic ride.
  65. Add one more extraordinary survival tale to the canon of Holocaust documentaries: No Place on Earth.
  66. The Lords of Salem is like some queasy-making machine, a chamber piece of possession and madness that exerts a strange, disturbing power.
  67. Graceland is a tense, twisty cinematic artichoke brimming with moral complexity and intriguing shades of gray.
  68. Assayas has such a steady hand as a director, he knows precisely how to let all of Gilles' inner angst play out. His nostalgia for those past days can be felt in the affection and forgiving way the indiscretions of youth are portrayed.
  69. This is a beautifully rendered film.
  70. This documentary provides an elegant, enthralling peek behind the curtain and into the you-won't-trust-your-eyes world of this celebrated contemporary conjurer.
  71. Zeroing in on the art of rehearsal, Becoming Traviata is an exquisitely observed look at performance and the creative process.
  72. A transfixing, emotionally complex Israeli drama.
  73. The films have only gotten better by letting the relationship marinate. "Midnight's" more disgruntled edge reflects what creeps up on couples as years pass, regrets stack up, kids factor in, real life intervenes.
  74. Make no mistake, "We Steal Secrets" is a sprawling, ambitious, major work — a gripping exploration of power, personality, technology and the crushing weight that can come to bear on those who find themselves in its combined path.
  75. The conflicts involved are intense and absorbing, proving that compelling moral dilemmas make for the most dramatic cinema.
  76. Naked is a mesmerizing character study, an attempt to stretch the emotional boundaries of truth on film as far as they will go. For once we think we've seen as much of Johnny as we can take, like an etching by Escher we start to see something else, a glimpse of another person easily missed.
  77. Wish You Were Here is mystery moviemaking at its most intriguing.
  78. Director Judy Chaikin, who co-wrote the film with its deft editor, Edward Osei-Gyimah, infuses this fine portrait with grace, nostalgia and a well-calibrated dose of social commentary.
  79. Post Tenebras Lux is that real rarity in cinema, a visually striking archaeology of the psyche that benefits both the moviegoer primed to engage Reygadas' ideas, and the ones open to being swallowed in an art film wave.
  80. It's a great trick the filmmakers have pulled off to make us feel as if we're there sorting through the memories with him. The movie's editing is especially artful with Maya Hawke and Casey Brooks doing the nipping and tucking.
  81. From the clockwork comic timing to the movie's salty mix of the ridiculous and the reflective, This Is the End is stupidly hysterical and smartly heretical. Cross my heart and hope to die, it's funny as hell.
  82. A moving and joyous behind-the-scenes documentary about a world filled with big, bold personalities and the music they make.
  83. A Hijacking is as lean, focused and to the point as its title.
  84. Joy and redemption aren't exactly punk mantras, but A Band Called Death might just give your heart a thrashing.
  85. The Attack rewards your patience. Though it's never less than involving, it grows in stature as it unfolds and ends as a more subtle and disturbing film about love, loss and tragedy than we might initially expect.
  86. Guillermo del Toro is more than a filmmaker, he's a fantasy visionary with an outsized imagination and a fanatical specificity, a creator of out-of-this world universes carefully conceived down to the smallest detail. His particular gifts and passions are on display in the long-awaited Pacific Rim and the results are spectacular.
  87. Intimate in the telling, sweeping in the implications, Loznitsa has created an unusually incisive film.
  88. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, as high school seniors Sutter and Aimee, bring such an authentic face of confidence and questioning, indifference and need, pain and denial, friendship and first love, that it will take you back to that time if you're no longer there, and light a path if you are.
  89. To has a great mastery of timing; he knows just how long to let a look linger before cutting away, how little he can reveal without losing us. The director keeps you guessing until the very end whether Choi or Zhang, or someone else entirely, will be the last man standing.
  90. This is a taut psychological study, based on a true story, of the complexities of personal power relationships that begins with the kind of shattering revelation that would be the conclusion of most films.
  91. It's the flesh-and-blood lead performance by Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani as a profoundly conflicted Muslim wife and mother that seals this cinematic deal. She's superb.
  92. An exercise in pure cinematic style filled with the most ravishing images, The Grandmaster finds director Wong Kar-wai applying his impeccable visual style to the mass-market martial arts genre with potent results.
  93. The Vogels' story is a very specific one, at once more unexpected and more moving than it might seem at first.
  94. One of the pleasures of Enough Said is watching Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini, two well-known performers only Holofcener would think of putting together, come alive both as individuals and the two halves of a relationship.
  95. Proves a highly auspicious feature debut for Moors and Porto as well as a much-deserved return to the limelight for Washington. Don't miss it.
  96. It is the kind of distinctive, culture-driven drama from emerging filmmakers that I wish we saw more of.
  97. It's unique, powerful stuff.
  98. An exhilarating vérité work by first-timer Manuel von Stürler, the documentary follows this seasonal migration, or transhumance, with a sense of quiet awe and intimacy, capturing the feel of cold rain, deep snow and the comforting heat of a campfire.
  99. Filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, whose profiles in courage are sympathetic but not adulatory, have crafted an absorbing, thoughtful report.

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