Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 9,531 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 Gravity
Lowest review score: 0 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
Score distribution:
9531 movie reviews
  1. Saw
    Saw is so full of twists it ends up getting snarled. For all of his flashy engineering and inventive torture scenarios, the Jigsaw Killer comes across as an amateur. Hannibal Lecter would have him for lunch.
  2. "Next Chapter" may not exhibit the scrappy charm that characterized the first film's glimpse into a marginalized but colorful world, but for devotees, Dana Brown has assembled a love letter to a now-global culture.
  3. Zea gives a natural performance amid a neighborhood of painful stereotypes (including a nosy Asian shopkeeper), but she doesn't adjust her cadence, let alone accent, for the historical flashbacks, bringing a modern sensibility that limits the effectiveness of these scenes.
  4. Not Brooks' funniest film, but it possesses his trademark wry humor and is slyly observant.
  5. The ending, which unnecessarily veers toward lumpy, overwrought melodrama, undoes the scrappy elegance the film previously displays in fits and starts.
  6. There’s plenty of intelligence and atmosphere in play here.... But the prevailing tone is of pressure applied and nothing released, a genre exercise that plays as educational rather than exhilarating.
  7. A potent and unexpected mixture of authenticity and flash -- even if this is what happened on the ground, making it worth our time on screen is just beyond the contortionist abilities of even this most acrobatic of films.
  8. For all of its punishing pathos, the movie does not have the clean lines and elegance of another cut at crime in this city, "L.A. Confidential" (based on an Ellroy novel). As the day of reckoning approaches, the film spins out of control, careening between convoluted subplots, with the emotional pitch of the piece swinging too wildly.
  9. Though Iron Man is diverting enough in the comic-book-movie mode, there is one thing it doesn't have, and that is dramatic unity. Unlike the irreducible element that is its namesake, Iron Man the movie is an alloy, a combination of several different and disconnected components that don't manage to unite to make a coherent whole.
  10. Though it would be dishonest to call this an unqualified success, it would be churlish not to tip the hat to Love Actually's genuine charm.
  11. What saves the film is that it is also packed to the gills with the classic slapstick sweetness that makes SpongeBob — in or out of water, on big screen or small — hard not to laugh at and love at least a little. Giggle, giggle.
  12. It’s hard to keep track of all the old high school comedies that writer-director-producer Sean Nalaboff nods to in his feature film debut, Hard Sell. Eventually, though, the movie finds its own voice and groove, and avoids being a mere retro exercise.
  13. Hyams the director ("Sudden Death," "Timecop," "The Star Chamber") operates at too much of a fevered pitch for things not to eventually get out of hand -- accelerating violence and horror eventually hit maximum velocity and warp into nonsense, no matter how erudite the script.
  14. Momoa creates an involving if relaxed pace, one whose moody rhythms are infused with a kind of soulful spirituality.
  15. Rules Don't Apply, as its name implies, is a movie intent on going its own way. It's not without its charms, but there aren't enough of them and they don't readily cohere.
  16. Brother Nature has its amusing moments, providing a showcase that tends toward the formulaic and predictable.
  17. A better-than-most fright-time tale.
  18. The blurring of fact and fiction has been a part of the Amityville saga since it became public, but for Lutz there's no gray area in his memories, whose power is undiminished.
  19. The visuals in Doukyusei are more original than the rather standard story.
  20. I don't know that we actually need Agent OSS 117, but the world is a slightly better place with him around. And the film itself is a harmless trifle -- make that truffle, chocolate of course.
  21. Despite involved acting and Nichols' impeccable professionalism as a director, the end result is, to quote one of the characters, "a bunch of sad strangers photographed beautifully."
  22. His runners' successes speak volumes, but the film never ventures outside of his inner circle to gain more perspective.
  23. What is missing is something new - clarity, insight, outrage. Instead, its understatement is ultimately its undoing.
  24. The mix of computer-generated imagery, hand-drawn simplicity in the humans and depth-conscious, textured backgrounds makes for a potent visual intelligence.
  25. At a mere 75 minutes, this often amusing, uniformly well-acted movie had the leeway to more fully explore both the script's showbiz gambit and its romantic roundelay.
  26. Felicity Huffman is such a wonder, at once funny and brave, playing a pre-op male-to-female transsexual in the uneven comedy Transamerica that she sustains several lapses that might otherwise have sunk it.
  27. If anything, watching the film is like attending an old-style Southern tent revival - you want to believe in the fight against all that fire and brimstone. Heck, you want to join the righteous brigade. But when the lights go up and the fever dies down, it feels more like you've witnessed a show than a real showdown with the devil.
  28. It is ultimately more routine than provocative, despite the timeliness and seriousness of the issues it raises.
  29. A brisk creature-feature that ditches the series' dreary mythology in favor of a more direct, action-oriented approach.
  30. The finery and regalia of their contributions are integral to Singh's vision, giving this mostly conventional princess story its fair share of romantic froth and more than a little moxie.
  31. While this jury-rigged exercise may not be an explosion of laughs, it's no dud, either.
  32. Johnny Depp, back again as the swashbuckling miscreant who favors guy-liner and gold, somehow manages to keep this ship of fools afloat. But just barely.
  33. Decidedly uneven yet intriguing.
  34. A modestly scaled feature whose plainspoken sincerity is a hindrance as well as a strength.
  35. Rude, rowdy and raunchy, The Campaign gleefully skewers the current sad state of American politics. With a target that tempting, it's not surprising that this cynical and funny film hits more often than it misses.
  36. A clever, entertaining stunt, no more, no less.
  37. If the material isn't always smooth or funny or well-thought-out, the tone and spirit are agreeably light, with a visual sophistication for a meager budget that's admirable.
  38. Like the relationship she has chosen to dissect, the film is promising, disappointing, touching or frustrating, depending on the moment.
  39. Desierto is a generic thriller that happens to be wrapped in political packaging. That packaging is sometimes more interesting than the thrills themselves, but the film is bare enough to project what you want onto it.
  40. It is a laconic, enigmatic piece of work, displaying the grace with spoken language that marked "Glengarry Glen Ross" but troublesome in terms of structure and character development.
    • Los Angeles Times
  41. The inventively shot and constructed documentary For No Good Reason is an absorbing look at the unique, surreal work of British cartoonist Ralph Steadman.
  42. In the end, Hannah Montana: The Movie is big, beautiful, a little boring and utterly safe. There are flashes of inspiration -- the "Hoedown Throwdown" dance, the scenes between Martindale and the Cyruses -- but it also is what it is: Miley Cyrus' next big step.
  43. The film taps into some genuine, relatable truths lurking beneath all that try-too-hard quirkiness.
  44. No "Naruto" fan will want to miss "Boruto," which suggests a new direction the franchise may take, now that the long-running TV series has finally concluded.
  45. Black is interested in big themes -- including guilt and redemption -- and is helped by a strong cast capable of carrying the dramatic sequences.
  46. It's when the film detours into Irving's personal attachment to the birds, including photos of her as a child on the beach, that Pelican Dreams gets seriously off track. Fortunately, pelicans are interesting creatures and the time spent with the lens focused on them is payoff enough.
  47. The film is as lacking in polish and structure as its subject's canvases, which makes it an appropriate tribute to a marginal figure whose dreams of art world and/or Hollywood stardom stubbornly remain "almost there."
  48. Going boldly where no one has gone before is not what it used to be. Contentedly settled into a prosperous middle age, the "Star Trek" series now seems more comfortable retracing its own footsteps, carefully offering its horde of fans interludes that aspire to do no more than fit snugly into the patterns of the past.
  49. Any caseworking suspense is drowned out by an over-abundance of visual pizazz: disjointed shootouts, arbitrary camera angles and cinematography that draws the eye to lighting patterns, not people.
  50. Charismatic performers Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie lend the lightweight rom-com Save the Date more than its fair share of watchability. But the film is never truly interesting.
  51. Boilerplate shootouts and conflagrations get the better of the movie's second half, but for the most part, first-time director Park Hong-soo strikes the right balance between take-no-prisoners espionage and teenage angst.
  52. Although graceful and dynamic, Three Dancing Slaves is none too substantial or original, lacking the edge or complexity of Morel's impressive debut film, "Full Speed."
  53. While often affecting and absorbing, the film proves intellectually and contextually light. This is especially true given a leisurely running time that could have easily accommodated more dimensional probing.
  54. If The Hudsucker Proxy is a triumph, it is a zombie one. Too cold, too elegant, too perfect, more an exhibit in a cinema museum than a flesh-and-blood film, "Proxy's" highly polished surface leaves barely any space for an audience's emotional connection. [11 Mar 1994, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  55. Essentially a late-'90s MTV version of "The Exorcist," a half-serious, half-silly piece of business that keeps us involved despite (or maybe because of) being more than a little overdone.
  56. A small movie with some big moments and a lot of unfinished business.
  57. Travolta, who took over the role from Nicolas Cage, and Meloni, who’s looking more and more like Robert De Niro every day, have a loose, easy chemistry that goes a long way to enliven all that overworked familiarity.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Priestley doesn't exploit the dramatic devices that fell into his lap.
  58. Beyond the Gates is more imaginative than frightening, and Stewart and co-writer Stephen Scarlata take too long to get to the good parts, killing time with long dialogue scenes where the characters pause interminably between lines.
  59. Testin and Berg's work here is definitely promising, suggesting something better from both of them down the road.
  60. There isn't much of anything here that hasn't been done elsewhere, but as the film rolls merrily along it reminds why wedding comedies are such ripe targets.
  61. As deliberately silly as the film is, it is very knowing and carefully thought out.
  62. Despite the deliberately schlocky effects and puppetry, other aspects of the filmmaking are surprisingly satisfactory. It needs to be only one notch more bonkers to help its chances for cult status.
  63. Amiably glossy if naggingly old-fashioned.
  64. This overly derivative motion picture thinks it is doing and saying more than it is. Instead, it ends up as little more than a reasonable facsimile of the real thing, despite a subtle and effective performance by Ben Affleck, of all people.
  65. Mostly The Windmill is about watching some morally shaky people die horribly. But they do it with such dramatic gravitas that their inevitable eviscerations seem almost profound.
  66. Midway through The Lost Boys there's a brief scene that suggests the magic and power it could have had. This scene suggests a fable of seductive evil-but nothing in the movie is ever half as evocative again. It's more lost than the Boys: a glossy fiasco with most of the real blood sucked out of it.
    • Los Angeles Times
  67. Dafoe, who also starred in Ferrara's woefully underseen "Go Go Tales," brings a quiet grace to his role, while Leigh has a rough-hewn emotional directness.
  68. At times a beautiful wandering, at other times an admirable character study, but rarely a powerful whole.
  69. In its best moments is as big as a movie can be, as big as life itself.
  70. The color riot, the polyester/shag décor and the cartoon portrayals detract. Girl Asleep thinks it’s a stylishly resonant fairy tale about identity when the primary takeaway is an exquisitely curated slide show.
  71. A rambling, mildly entertaining performance film.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    An earnest, well-acted, poignant drama that nevertheless runs afoul of sports movie clichés.
  72. Even though Defamation, which is sprinkled with unexpected moments of wry humor, will be inescapably controversial, Yoav Shamir strives admirably to be evenhanded.
  73. Starring Wesley Snipes as the suave Regis, Murder at 1600 is the modern equivalent of the routine B-picture, diverting in a small potatoes kind of way, though its budget and stars are big league.
  74. An otherwise plain action picture carried by strong performances and a mildly compelling mystery.
  75. As the only Austen work to be named after its heroine, Emma must have an engaging performance in the title role to succeed at all, and fortunately Gwyneth Paltrow, after a slow start, completely wins us over.
  76. A surprisingly effective low-budget horror film that takes as its true villain the casual cynicism and nihilistic misanthropy that so often go along with online culture.
  77. Director Declan Recks underlines every emotion, every brooding pause, working against the spare dialogue with fancy-footwork camera moves and an insistent score.
  78. A self-satisfied film about insecure people, a quirky and episodic comic drama that squanders its genuine assets and ends up not as special as it tries to be.
  79. That the film is neither a true triumph nor a total disaster makes it somewhat difficult to justify revisiting "Brideshead," apart from the hope it will inspire someone somewhere to pick up the book.
  80. The heart of this film is on the road with Bateman and McCarthy. If not for their brilliance, Identity Thief would be running on empty.
  81. Although Kaveh and Raul never transcend their archetypes as heartbroken single guy and too-comfortable married man, and Hamedani and Isao aren't naturals in front of the camera, their rapport ultimately makes Junk a worthwhile lark.
  82. Fascinating.
  83. Yet with so much going for it, the film's creators have made the classic Hollywood choice and treated its actresses like flesh-and-blood special effects. If you've got talent like this, or so the theory goes, a coherent story is a luxury that can be dispensed with.
  84. Star Routh's presence and the joys of flight keep Superman Returns alive, but all those missteps dog its heels, holding it back like little touches of Kryptonite in the night.
  85. First-time writer-director Renée Chabria's sincerity and commitment to Sueño are so complete they override its sentimental streak and some overly familiar plotting.
  86. The well-crafted Beneath proves a taut, atmospheric if not especially deep thriller.
  87. It shows promise but finally hits things so hard, both literally and metaphorically, that it's hard not to feel pummeled yourself by the time it's over.
  88. Possibly because Stone empathizes so enormously with co-writer Kovic, who came back from Vietnam at the age of 21 paralyzed from the chest down, the director has lost the specificity that made "Platoon" so electrifying. In its place he uses bombast, overkill, bullying. His scenes, and their ironic juxtapositioning, explode like land mines. [20 Dec 1989, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  89. Though plenty of road-tested war truths about sacrifice, honor, grit and intimacy get trotted out, "Stalingrad" is deep down a spectacle campaign forged in operatic violence and a siege of the senses, and on those terms it has its moments.
  90. It's a bare-knuckled crime drama set in 1988 that stylistically could have been made that year and emphasizes Gray's strengths as a director while drawing attention to his limitations as a writer.
  91. Fjellestad exhibits a playful adoration for the man and the otherworldly sounds of his machine in an intriguing rendering of one of music technology's seminal figures.
  92. Flawless this Joel Schumacher film is not, but it plays so well that scarcely matters.
  93. Ribière and Le Bourdonnec get almost hypertechnical with all the cattle breeds, feeds, grades, cuts, marbling, dry-aging and preparation. Nevertheless, most any carnivore would find this absolute torture on an empty stomach.
  94. It's a gritty story made in the director's more elegiacal mode, a confusion of style and content that is not in the film's best interests.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Anyone who follows Scott's career in any depth may be frustrated by the film because the brush strokes are broad, and the focus feels more about the scrum and swirl around the man than the man himself.
  95. Hitchcock puts major league star power at the service of its peek-behind-closed-doors premise. But whatever that relationship was like in real life, this is one cinematic portrait of a marriage we could have lived without.
  96. The young filmmaker rarely digs beneath the harsh environment's many fraught surfaces. He simply lets his cameras be his guide.
  97. 42
    Robinson's combination of fortitude, restraint and passion for the game was stunning. You can't help getting caught up in this story, even as you are wishing the telling was sharper than it is.

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