Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,105 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 59% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 37% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Lowest review score: 0 Nothing Like the Holidays
Score distribution:
8,105 movie reviews
  1. Superb -- Crammed with incident, and bristles with passion and energy. Tavernier treats his actors, every last one of them impressive, as an ensemble.
  2. Part science fiction scare movie, part offbeat romance, part completely unclassifiable, "Color" is also one-man filmmaking of a remarkable sort.
  3. Bergman has never been an ordinary filmmaker, and what he's given us is no genial last hurrah but rather an intensely dramatic, at times lacerating examination of life's conundrums that is exhilarating in its fearlessness and its command.
  4. Firmly rooted in the filmmaker's esoteric, frustrating, provoking, demanding narrative style, the movie is also amazingly romantic - lush, ripe, rich, delicious.
  5. The strength of sensational material joined to excellent acting, superior filmmaking and uncanny political relevance has made The Manchurian Candidate into exceptionally intelligent entertainment and a high point of director Jonathan Demme's career.
  6. Rejoice provides both a melodic education and a once-in-a-lifetime concert in one soul-stirring package.
  7. Director Benh Zeitlin and his co-writer Lucy Alibar, a playwright whose "Juicy and Delicious" was the inspiration, have created characters that are wondrously indelible, distinctive of voice and set them inside a story that will unleash a devastating hurricane, and a flood of emotions, before it is done.
  8. Every element of The Mother, directed by Roger Michell and written by Hanif Kureishi, fits together with perfection. The film's staging -- the way its settings create a world that allows for striking images that echo the psychological interplay of its people, the way in which every performance could not be any better -- is awe-inspiring.
  9. Engaging and consummately entertaining.
  10. The Cruise validates beautifully a life that is its own validation.
  11. Up in the Air makes it look easy. Not just in its casual and apparently effortless excellence, but in its ability to blend entertainment and insight, comedy and poignancy, even drama and reality, things that are difficult by themselves but a whole lot harder in combination. This film does all that and never seems to break a sweat.
  12. As ambitious, honest and subversive as any American movie since "Election."
  13. Led by director Zhang Yimou and dazzling cinematographer Christopher Doyle, the unseen Hero production team has made what just might be the most artistically sophisticated, most formally beautiful martial arts film the genre has seen.
  14. Anthony LaPaglia and Sigourney Weaver are superb in this moving adaptation of the post-Sept. 11 play.
  15. Few filmmakers love movies as intensely; fewer still have the ability to remind us why we fell for movies in the first place.
  16. Almereyda imagines Hamlet taking place in present-day Manhattan with such vigor, insight and originality that the power and immediacy of his film makes Shakespeare accessible in an exciting and provocative manner beyond all expectations.
  17. Superbly cast from the two at the top to the smallest speaking parts, impeccably directed by Fincher and crafted by his regular team to within an inch of its life, Gone Girl shows the remarkable things that can happen when filmmaker and material are this well matched.
  18. Fast, funny, unexpected and uninhibited, The Triplets of Belleville may be animated, but it is also the product of an artistic vision every bit as rigorous as any lofty Cannes prize-winner. Hearing about a film this special isn't enough. It demands to be seen, and it generously rewards those who, like Madame Souza, let nothing stand in their way.
  19. All Is Lost, which is only Chandor's second film, reveals itself as remarkably skillful, surprisingly insightful and deeply moving. It's a confident work by an artist who knows himself and trusts his audience.
  20. Bird has created the unprecedented film that is not just a grand feature-length cartoon but a grand feature, period, a piece of animation that's involving across a spectrum of comedy, action, even drama.
  21. GoodFellas is "Raging Bull" squared. [20 September 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  22. There are always moral crosscurrents in Lee's most provocative work, but so magical and mystical is this parable, it's as if the filmmaker has found the philosopher's stone.
  23. As completely real on the psychological level as its up-to-the-moment visual effects have on the physical.
  24. This is impressive filmmaking, but it is not easy to take in.
  25. Heartbreaking, haunting and unexpectedly heartening, First Cousin Once Removed is an uncommonly moving documentary portrait of a mind in disarray.
  26. Mellow, beautiful, rich and brimming with love, "Hannah" is the best Woody Allen yet and, quite simply, a great film. [7 February 1986, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  27. Youth and death meet again in Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park, a gorgeously stark, mesmerizingly elliptical story told in the same lyrical-prosaic style that has characterized his latest films.
  28. Aatsinki is a work of cinéma vérité of the highest order: vivid, immersive and unflinching.
  29. Essential viewing.
  30. Moodysson captures that moment — charged, goofy and transcendent — when personal style and wide-ranging outrage fuse in an all-encompassing manifesto.
  31. Unquestionalby it's an instant classic, probably the grisliest well-made movie ever. [26 May 1983]
    • Los Angeles Times
  32. May well be Imamura's funniest film; it is also one of his most accomplished. It is the work of a mature artist who has kept his adventurous spirit alive, which he has expressed in a complex and risky work carried off with an effortlessness that comes only from wisdom and experience.
  33. Wickedly mocking but empathetic, able to laugh at its characters while paying attention to their sorrows, this subversive comedy about self-esteem resists the notion that films have to timidly remain within tidy genre rules.
  34. This is a performance, and a film, to cherish for this year and always.
  35. It's a shining valentine to the movies--full of homages, collages and swooningly romantic Ennio Morricone music--and it gets right at the messy, impure, wondrous way they capture and enrapture us. [16 February 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  36. The City of Lost Children is a stunningly surreal fantasy, a fable of longing and danger, of heroic deeds and bravery, set in a brilliantly realized world of its own. It is one of the most audacious, original films of the year. [22 Dec 1995]
    • Los Angeles Times
  37. Rising to crescendos of emotion usually reached only by tenors and sopranos, these characters are the beneficiaries of the luminous writing of the novel and screenplay as well as the expert performances of the actors, especially Scott Thomas.
  38. Beautifully observed, precisely directed and acted with wonderful conviction, it pulls us into the life of its protagonist in a deeply involving way.
  39. People fall in love in every country, but nowhere is the experience put on film with the flawless style, empathy and emotion the French provide. Mademoiselle Chambon is the latest in that line of deeply moving romances, an exquisite chamber piece made with the kind of sensitivity and nuance that's become almost a lost art.
  40. A constant, idiosyncratic pleasure that leaves us eager to see what the Goodmans and Logue will do next.
  41. Anubhav Sinha's exhilarating fantasy Ra.One is Bollywood at its best. It has energy, spectacle and humor, song and dance, but razzle-dazzle special effects and action stunts never overwhelm its story of enduring love that unfolds amid an intricate and inspired sci-fi odyssey.
  42. Popular filmmaking at its smartest and most persuasive.
  43. Hittman's debut isn't just a brilliantly tactile study of the mounting sexual curiosity and frustration of 14-year-old Lila (Gina Piersanti); it's also an important landmark in the oft-ignored subgenre of realistic movies about female adolescence.
  44. Ida
    Spare, haunting, uncompromising, Ida is a film of exceptional artistry whose emotions are as potent and persuasive as its images are indelibly beautiful.
  45. A comedy poised on the knife's edge of tragedy, the film is a gutsy, truthful, deeply rooted vision of contemporary American life, scaled to the size of an ordinary man. It's a humanist triumph strip-mined of bathos and confirmation that, after directing just three features, Payne has become the most gifted comic social satirist to hit our movies since Preston Sturges.
  46. Frozen is fabulous.
  47. Lutz's dialogue is consistently sharp and snappy, and the large cast forms a sparkling ensemble under Junger's adept direction.
  48. For 20 years, Claire Denis has been among France's foremost filmmakers with her acute yet subtle observations of the ebbs and flows within relationships. Her perception and understanding seem to grow only richer over the years, and her newest film, 35 Shots of Rum, is surely one of her finest -- and thereby one of the best films of the year.
  49. Such nourishing comedy. It satisfies every hunger, especially the irrational ones that seem to hit hardest at holidays: hunger for impetuous romance and for the reassuring warmth of family, for reckless abandon, and for knowing who we are and what we want. [16 Dec 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
  50. A very fast three hours, Wolf is a fascinating, revolting, outlandish, uproarious, exhilarating and exhausting master work on immorality.
  51. Disturbing, disorienting, quietly terrifying, it's one of the least known of the world's great horror movies and, in its own dark way, a startlingly beautiful and artful piece of cinema as well.
  52. In short, Wonderland is an extraordinary film, as entertaining as it is observant, about ordinary people.
    • Los Angeles Times
  53. A beautifully done adaptation of the novel, polished, elegant and completely cinematic. It is also a bit distant, a film that doesn't wear its feelings on its sleeve, but given the effects it's after, that would be counterproductive. [17 Sept 1993, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  54. Watching this film feels like a genesis moment — of sci-fi fable, of filmmaking, of performance — with all the ambiguity and excitement that implies.
  55. It's hard to imagine many films surpassing or even equaling the effect of this supple, breathtakingly direct, small French film.
  56. It is Scott's work as the savagely articulate Roger, a tireless would-be seducer, bottomlessly self-confident and oblivious to rejection, that is the film's glistening and provocative centerpiece.
  57. Like taking a drug everyone says is dynamite and impatiently wondering why the heck it's not kicking in. The kick in fact turns out to be real, and as powerful as advertised, but it doesn't necessarily hit you in any way you anticipated.
  58. Made with palpable energy, intensity and excitement, it compellingly creates a world gone mad that is uncomfortably close to the one we live in. It is a "Blade Runner" for the 21st century, a worthy successor to that epic of dystopian decay
  59. A clear-eyed vision. Authentic as an Edward Curtis photograph, lyrical as a George Catlin oil or a Karl Bodmer landscape, this is a film with a pure ring to it. It's impossible to call it anything but epic [9 Nov 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  60. Watching Marwencol, Jeff Malmberg's probing documentary on Hogancamp's undertaking, is an exhilarating, utterly unique experience.
  61. Impeccably made and uncompromisingly adult, Claude Chabrol's A Girl Cut in Two is unquestionably the work of a master.
  62. A period chamber drama drawn from a Joseph Conrad short story and of such intensity and passion that it transcends a specificity of time and place to achieve timelessness and universality.
  63. In the hands of two of the craft's best, the most ordinary of moments become illuminating, penetrating.
  64. Adventurous, provocative, even daring.
  65. It's the film's glowing visual qualities, a striking performance by Denzel Washington and the elegant control Carl Franklin has over it all that create the most exotic crime entertainment of the season.
  66. The most convincing war movie ever made.
    • Los Angeles Times
  67. Nearly three hours long, and deliberately paced at that, this first feature ever in the Inuit language is a demanding experience. But the rewards for those who risk the journey are simply extraordinary.
  68. Set in an enchanting locale where the potential for magic is everywhere, this impeccable animated film puts its complete trust in the spirit of make-believe.
  69. Masterfully put-together, made with confidence, intelligence and command.
  70. This delicious satire about aging hipsters and their discontents is everything we've come to expect from the best of Noah Baumbach, as well as several things more.
  71. It closes the trilogy like a lightning blast followed by the ominous, resonant drone of thunder. Great action sequences crop up frequently today, but great action movies are always few and far between. Beyond Thunderdome is one, every bit as much as its two predecessors.
  72. Nebraska offers something deeper and more mature, the ability to make us care about its characters and their story on a different level than Payne has given us before.
  73. This is a film that insinuates itself deeply into our awareness. It's that rare pulp story with something on its mind, an unnerving, socially conscious thriller with a killer sense of narrative drive.
  74. A little movie with big truths, a work of such fierce intelligence and emotional honesty that it blows away the competition when it comes to contemporary romantic comedy.
  75. An intense, nihilistic thriller as well as a model of implacable storytelling, this is a film you can't stop watching even though you very much wish you could. That's because No Country escorts you through a world so pitilessly bleak, "you put your soul at hazard," as one character says, to be part of it.
  76. “Donnie Darko" was one of the best pictures released in 2001. Now that it has returned in a 20-minute longer--and richer -- director's cut, it seems sure to be ranked as one of the key American films of the decade.
  77. Authenticity gives the movie its witty, heartwarming, hopeful, sentimental, searing and relatable edge. It is merciless in probing the tender spots of times like these, and tough-guy sweet in patching up the wounds.
  78. His is a triumph of pure filmmaking, a pitiless, unrelenting, no-excuses war movie so thoroughly convincing it's frequently difficult to believe it is a staged re-creation.
  79. The Ghost Writer is the kind of impeccable adult entertainment, able to alternate edge-of-your-seat episodes with bleakly comic moments, that Hitchcock used to specialize in and that Polanski himself realized so successfully in "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby."
  80. It's hard to believe, but Hal Holbrook, one of the stage and screen's enduring talents, has never had the solo lead in a feature film. That has been duly rectified with the actor's achingly memorable star performance in the superb That Evening Sun.
  81. [A] crackerjack thriller, at once brooding, claustrophobic and unbearably tense.
  82. Exciting, terrifying, worrisome stuff saturates every second of Prisoners, holding you captive, keeping you guessing until the bitter end.
  83. A gritty, deceptively low-key, no-fuss, no-frills movie of consistent originality and surprise in which suspense arises straight up from the heroine's evolving character.
  84. As essential in its own way as Anton Karas' celebrated zither work was to "The Third Man," Lola's music is perfectly suited to the film's aims and just about addictive in its throbbing, insinuating rhythms.
  85. This is a police procedural, if you will, about what's been called the artistic crime of the century.
  86. It was this ineffably poignant semiautobiographical reverie that unleashed fully Fellini's shimmering, flowing poetic style, echoed perfectly in a plaintive score by Fellini's potently evocative collaborator, Nino Rota.
  87. The Invisible Woman is an exceptional film about love, longing and regret. It's further proof, if proof were needed, that classic filmmaking done with passion, sensitivity and intelligence results in cinema fully capable of blowing you away.
  88. Perhaps the director's most touching, most elegiac work yet, Million Dollar Baby is a film that does both the expected and the unexpected, that has the nerve and the will to be as pitiless as it is sentimental.
  89. The fact that this kind of serious material ends up playing puckishly funny as well as poignant is a tribute both to Coppola and to her do-or-die decision to cast Murray in the lead role.
  90. You feel protective about Leigh's work because its almost indescribable virtues touch the heart, yet far from being some delicate flower, Life Is Sweet has the wild, brazen, anything-goes energy of a 2-year-old, willing to take chances that would freeze the blood of another, more timidly conventional film.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Those who can surrender to the Quays' poetic logic will find The Piano Tuner to be nothing short of a masterpiece.
  91. Although its computer-generated imagery is impressive, the major surprise of this bright foray into a new kind of animation is how much cleverness has been invested in story and dialogue.
  92. Jacques Rivette has brought the Balzac short story to screen as a superb chamber drama. His is a graceful work of austerity and formality that perfectly captures the chaos of repressed emotions that see beneath the rigid conventions of aristocratic society.
  93. Filmmaking at its most fearless, with Ostergaard creating a suspenseful, harrowing account of his original key subject, known only as "Joshua."
  94. An exquisite love story directed with admirable subtlety and sensitivity.
  95. The film is then not so much a meditation but a reverie, a swirl of emotions and ideas, managing to be both calmly reflective and skittishly anxious at the same time. Calvary is a serious comedy, a funny drama, a ruminative film about life and a lively film about death.
  96. Echoes the unmistakable freshness and excitement of the Nouvelle Vague, the sense of joy in being alive and making movies, that made those works distinctive and unforgettable.
  97. Warsaw Uprising is not only a unique, remarkably assembled documentary-narrative hybrid but also a powerful look at the personal and public devastation that can occur during wartime. Movies rarely feel as authentic as this.
  98. The film's immense cast and crew, headed by director Michael Bay, writer Randall Wallace and stars Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale, blend artistry and technology to create a blockbuster entertainment that has passion, valor and tremendous action.
  99. To think of a film this assured, this unified and this dizzyingly potent, you have to go back to "Blue Velvet." [22 Sept 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times

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