Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,253 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 58% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Mr. Turner
Lowest review score: 0 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Score distribution:
8,253 movie reviews
  1. May be the most hopeless, despairing comic-book movie in memory. It creates a world where being a superhero is at best a double-edged sword and no triumph is likely to be anything but short-lived.
  2. [Russell's] dizzying, outlandishly entertaining American Hustle is a 21-first century screwball farce about 20th-century con men, scam artists and those who dream of living large, a film that is big hearted and off the wall in equal measure.
  3. A consummate entertainment rich with the romantic atmosphere of Paris in the 1950s. Coming at a turning point in French cinematic history, it drew upon several major talents - director Louis Malle, star Jeanne Moreau, cinematographer Henri Decaë, musician Miles Davis - and achieved near-legendary results with all of them.
  4. Late Marriage will assuredly rank as one of the cleverest, most deceptively amusing comedies of the year.
  5. Working in the spirit of his predecessors but with the kind of uncanny special effects they could barely dream of, Spielberg has come up with an impressive production that is disturbing in the way only provocative science fiction can be.
  6. A documentary potent enough to alter how you see the world.
  7. A major American motion picture, an overpowering piece of work that involves some of the most basic human emotions: love, hate, fear, revenge, despair. Directed by Clint Eastwood with absolute confidence and remarkable control.
  8. Writer-directors Joel and Ethan have seized the opportunity afforded by the Oscar-winning success of "No Country for Old Men," to make their most personal, most intensely Jewish film, a pitch-perfect comedy of despair that, against some odds, turns out to be one of their most universal as well.
  9. A thrilling adventure of the spirit. Austere yet provocative, this is not only a film about faith, it also has faith that the power generated by complex moral decisions can be as unstoppable as any runaway locomotive.
  10. Joaquin Phoenix and the terrific acting ensemble that joins him in this pot-infused '70s-era beach noir create such a good buzz you can almost get a contact high from watching.
  11. Daring and traditional, groundbreaking and familiar, apocalyptic and sentimental, Wall-E gains strength from embracing contradictions that would destroy other films.
  12. This small gem of a movie always feels true and real as it gently reveals the quiet moments that define our lives.
  13. A powerhouse. Highly dramatic and intensely emotional, blessed with strong themes and an unstoppable narrative drive, it is adult, intelligent entertainment of a kind we rarely see these days.
  14. Top Five is fully loaded. The laughs are earned, the intelligence never disappears, all the performers shine. But Rock is the diamond — raw, rough and rare.
  15. You'll be planning to see Ponyo twice before you've finished seeing it once. Five minutes into this magical film you'll be making lists of the individuals of every age you can expose to the very special mixture of fantasy and folklore, adventure and affection.
  16. This enthralling film, based on the book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, is as fascinating as it is horrifying.
  17. Mad Max: Fury Road will leave you speechless, which couldn't be more appropriate. Words are not really the point when it comes to dealing with this barn-burner of a post-apocalyptic extravaganza in which sizzling, unsettling images are the order of the day.
  18. There are so many wonderfully unconventional things to like about this tiny independent film, Monaghan's earthy and uncompromising performance chief among them, its depth surprising you at every turn.
  19. As unspoiled in its key elements as the day it was made, "On the Waterfront" is indisputably one of the great American films, its power undiminished. Even more today than half a century ago, it demands to be seen.
  20. The movie is one of the few films I can think of that examines the baffling combination of smugness, self-abnegation, ceremonial deference and status anxiety that characterizes middle-class Gen X parenting, and find sheer, white-knuckled terror at its core.
  21. Directed by Ra'anan Alexandrowicz and winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, this is the second superb Israeli documentary (after "The Gatekeepers") to come to town in less than a month and deal fearlessly with an aspect of that country's legal and political system.
  22. Made with assurance and deep emotion, Fruitvale Station is more than a remarkable directing debut for 26-year-old Ryan Coogler. It's an outstanding film by any standard.
  23. Powered by Kore-eda's innate restraint and natural empathy, Like Father, Like Son takes these characters to places they never expected to be. It's unnerving for them, of course, but watching so many hearts hanging in the balance is a rare privilege for us.
  24. A rich, unnerving film, as comic as it is astringent, that in its own quiet way works up a considerable emotional charge. [8 Oct 1993]
    • Los Angeles Times
  25. Director and co-writer David Wnendt is after serious comedy here, a character study of psychic pain, wounds hereditary and self-inflicted, and body-conscious absurdity that treats the human condition with wry intelligence, not empty prurience.
  26. Avatar's shock and awe demand to be seen. You've never experienced anything like it, and neither has anyone else.
  27. In only his second feature, Frammartino has found a fresh and ravishingly poetic and beautiful way to explore the relationship between the spirit, man and nature.
  28. Mendes, in only his second feature (following the Oscar-winning "American Beauty"), has told this surprisingly resonant story with the potent, unrelenting fatalism of a previously unknown Greek myth.
  29. Beyond the timelessness of the story itself, the film is beautifully shot and though early in Godard’s career already showcased his ability to capture emotional intensity in the very way he frames the shots.
  30. The summer's uncorseted, unqualified delight. [14 July 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  31. One of the better movies to come along this year.
  32. It is a remarkable work, quite likely the best documentary on the City of Angels ever made.
  33. Toy Story 2 may not have the most original title, but everything else about it is, well, mint in the box.
  34. 15 minutes into it, you are spellbound, heartbroken and unaccountably cheered -- your faith and admiration in humanity restored.
  35. From Here to Eternity remains, half a century later, a singular cinematic experience, one of the landmarks of American film.
  36. These stranger-than-fiction tales, piled one on top of the other in the most gripping way, not only mesmerize us, they also point up another of Last Days in Vietnam's provocative points, that the chaos surrounding the evacuation was, in effect, the entire war in microcosm.
  37. A savage comedy about the war in the former Yugoslavia that artfully mixes comic absurdism with a passion for what's right and a concern for the individuality of all concerned.
  38. A sleek, accomplished piece of work, meticulously controlled and completely involving. The dark end of the street doesn't get much more inviting than this.
  39. Exactly written, directed with a surgeon's precision and transcendently acted, Sideways brings emotional reality to a consistently amusing character comedy, making it something to be cherished like the delicate Santa Ynez Valley wines that are the story's vivid backdrop.
  40. When it comes to unflinching, riveting looks at a compulsive artist who can't be other than who he is, nothing comes close to Crumb.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This Is Martin Bonner, wonderfully acted and something of a minimalist masterpiece, is a striking, moving ode to lives lived day to day, even hour to hour, in which the smallest gesture has the power to make one hopeful for the next, like a small fire gently stoked.
  41. By focusing on the personal side of the city game, Hoop Dreams tells us more about what works and what doesn't in our society than the proverbial shelf of sociological studies. And it is thoroughly entertaining in the bargain.
  42. A despairing, intentionally disturbing film that draws us into a maelstrom of desperate emotions, it holds up a dark mirror to the American dream and does not like what it sees.
  43. In its vitality and finesse, Maria Full of Grace is all of a piece -- and both artistically and spiritually itself full of grace.
  44. It's a privilege and a pleasure to be present in a sacred space where the human and the mystical effortlessly intertwine, and we are in Werner Herzog's debt for that great gift.
  45. Lemmons' command of cinematic style, her appreciation of the chimerical aspects of life and her ability to inspire actors to give remarkably faceted portrayals mark Eve's Bayou a first film of exceptional promise.
  46. A Walk to Beautiful will leave you speechless two times over -- first with despair, then with joy. Neither unmentionable subject matter nor nonexistent commercial prospects can keep this documentary from having a power over your heart that is unparalleled.
  47. Faultlessly acted by top Australian talent, including Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom marries heightened emotionality with cool contemporary style.
  48. A masterpiece by any measure, is fresh, immediate and contemporary, but its wintry yet warm perspective is suffused with the wisdom and experience of a great filmmaker who turns 85 on June 2.
  49. What makes Seraphine, directed and co-written by Martin Provost, so exceptional is that it neither condescends to nor romanticizes its subject.
  50. One of those entertaining confections that's so pleasing to the eye and ear you'd have to be a genuine Scrooge to struggle against it.
  51. Exquisitely made with a mesmerizing sense of style, it shows the wonderful things that can happen when traditional material is both handled with care and adroitly updated.
  52. The film is a glittering triumph of personal expression at its most elegant and opulent.
  53. It's typical of the nerve, the bravado, the sheer giddy playfulness and sense of fun that characterize what has to be the boldest and most imaginative studio film of the year.
  54. A brilliantly conceived epic fable.
  55. What results is a captivating portrait of the most gorgeously fractious dysfunctional family.
  56. Daring in the ways only quiet, unhurried but finally haunting films have the courage to be. A character study of remarkable subtlety joined to a carefully worked-out plot that fearlessly explores big issues like beauty, truth and mortality, it marks the further emergence of Korean writer-director Lee Chang-dong.
  57. Go
    Offers breathtaking comic-action fantasy….Exhilarating and sharp, it never stops for a second. [9 April 1999, Calendar, p.F-6]
    • Los Angeles Times
  58. A ferocious psychological drama with the pace of a thriller, Child's Pose combines, as have the best of the Romanian new-wave films, a compelling personal story about mothers and sons with an examination of socio-political dynamics in a way that is both intense and piercingly real.
  59. Ilo Ilo is writer-director Anthony Chen's first film, but breathtaking intimacy in storytelling is already second nature to him.
  60. Hopkins' insinuating performance puts him right up there with the screen's great bogymen. [13 February 1991, Calendar, p.F-1}
    • Los Angeles Times
  61. A dazzling epic of love, guns, gangsters and cigarettes.
  62. Night Will Fall proves a riveting, devastating, heartbreaking and deeply important film, one that you will likely never forget.
  63. Lebanon is not just the name of an excellent new Israeli film, it signifies a continuing national obsession that shows no signs of going away.
  64. Made with intelligence, imagination, passion and skill, propulsively paced and shot through with an aged-in-oak sense of wonder, the trilogy's first film so thrillingly catches us up in its sweeping story that nothing matters but the vivid and compelling events unfolding on the screen.
  65. With performances that will raise the hairs on the back of your head, it's a film that knows the private geography of love, grief and obsession.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It is expansive but more tightly time-framed in terms of plot. I wish it were a handful of minutes shorter, but this is my single caveat about another richly imaginative, engrossing and spectacular motion picture from the redoubtable George Lucas. [18 May 1980]
    • Los Angeles Times
  66. The telling is beautiful and explicit. The truth of its emotionally raw, romantic drama is eternal and universal.
  67. Chungking Express ravishingly, seductively exudes the immediacy of everyday life as its spins its classically timeless tales of love lost and almost regained.
  68. Oslo is an example of strong, confident filmmaking in which nothing is miscalculated or out of place. Anchored by a devastating performance by Anders Danielsen Lie, this portrait of existential despair is beautifully made without being self-conscious about its art.
  69. An extraordinarily intimate portrait of a life unfolding and an exceptional, unconventional film.
  70. Her
    Acerbic, emotional, provocative, it's a risky high dive off the big board with a plot that sounds like a gimmick but ends up haunting, odd and a bit wonderful.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The year’s most razzle-dazzling family movie, an exuberant and technically astonishing space adventure in which the galactic tomorrows of Flash Gordon are the setting for conflicts and events that carry the suspiciously but splendidly familiar ring of yesterday’s westerns, as well as yesterday’s Flash Gordon serials. [22 May 1977]
    • Los Angeles Times
  71. By turns Dickensian, Marxist and dystopian, it's a movie as deliriously unclassifiable as it is expertly focused in its desire to provoke and entertain.
  72. A dazzlingly imaginative work with awesome production values and special effects that bear comparison to those of "2001."
  73. Up
    Rarely has any film, let alone an animated one powered by the logic of dream and fantasy, been able to move so successfully -- and so effortlessly -- through so many different kinds of cinematic territory.
  74. Star Michael Caine, who gives one of the great, inescapably moving performances in a career filled with them, based his character on personal impressions of the late author. And Greene's lifelong concern with moral ambiguity gives this film a texture and complexity that movies don't usually achieve.
  75. Romantic but pitiless, fearlessly emotional as well as edgy, Rust and Bone is a powerhouse.
  76. Overwhelmingly tense, overflowing with crackling verisimilitude, it's both the film about the war in Iraq that we've been waiting for and the kind of unqualified triumph that's been long expected from director Kathryn Bigelow.
  77. Silver Linings Playbook is rich in life's complications. It will make you laugh, but don't expect it to fit in any snug genre pigeonhole. Dramatic, emotional, even heartbreaking, as well as wickedly funny, it has the gift of going its own way, a complete success from a singular talent.
  78. A brutal encounter with mortality told with uncommon humanity, wit and humor.
  79. AKA
    Among the most sophisticated, fully realized and satisfying films of the year.
  80. Overflowing with life, rich with all the grand emotions and vital juices of existence, up to and including blood. And its deaths, like that of Hotspur in "Henry IV, Part I," continue to shock no matter how often we've watched them coming. [16 Mar 1997, Calendar, p.7]
    • Los Angeles Times
  81. An exquisite film, as elegant and precise as an impeccably cut diamond. It's small in scale but wholly mesmerizing, holding us captive as it demonstrates how much enveloping richness can be conveyed with a minimalist style.
  82. Langley's impeccably nonjudgmental camera knows exactly what details to record. Drawn from more than 300 hours of footage, the film's all too brief 94 minutes mesmerizes with its insight and, rarer still, its beauty.
  83. Dense, satisfying, feverishly inventive and a technical marvel… But--animation aside--the treasure of the piece is Hoskins' pungent, visceral comic performance. [22 June 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
  84. Because Linklater now wears his heart on his sleeve, he has made a film that in its joy, optimism and aesthetic achievement keeps faith with American cinema at its finest.
  85. At once vigorous and old-fashioned, a piece of expertly crafted entertainment that gets the job done with skill and panache. [25 July 1997]
    • Los Angeles Times
  86. Epic and intimate, historical and contemporary, moving and thought-provoking, the impressive The Princess of Montpensier has something for all and sundry but especially for those who like to believe that films can be as boldly intelligent as they are entertaining.
  87. Provocative, hallucinatory, incendiary, this devastating animated documentary is unlike any Israeli film you've seen. More than that, in its seamless mixing of the real and the surreal, the personal and the political, animation and live action, it's unlike any film you've seen, period.
  88. This offbeat emotional thriller is an unusually satisfying film, intricately constructed, surely directed and splendidly acted. [25 Nov 1992]
    • Los Angeles Times
  89. Urgent investigative report and unforgettable drama, Virunga is a work of heart-wrenching tenderness and heart-stopping suspense.
  90. The extraordinary quality of White's script and Arteta's direction lifts the meticulously cast actors to the height of their abilities. "Friends" star Aniston digs deep but is never showy. Reilly reveals the tenderness, vulnerability and hidden depth that can lurk within a slob, and Nelson has some of the film's most outrageously funny and inspired moments.
  91. What has resulted is a blistering film you feel in the pit of your stomach, a jumpy, edgy piece of work that thrusts us into a personal maelstrom so tortured and intense, the emotions could be spread with a knife.
  92. Hypnotic and sprawling five-hour-plus piece of cinematic genius.
  93. A vibrant crime story filled to overflowing with crackling situations, taut dialogue and a heightened, even operatic sense of reality, A Most Violent Year captures us and doesn't let go.
  94. Few filmmakers juxtapose cruelty and beauty as audaciously as Japan's Takashi Miike. A master director with great style and panache, Miike's latest, 13 Assassins, is a classic samurai movie, right up there among the finest in the genre.
  95. A work of breathtaking imagination, less a movie than a mode of transport, and in every sense a masterpiece.
  96. It's a mind-bending film, devastating and disorienting, that disturbs us in ways we're not used to being disturbed, raising questions about the nature of documentary, the persistence of evil, and the intertwined ways movies function in our culture and in our minds.
  97. In its masterful use of evocative imagery and music, Road to Nowhere is flawless.

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