Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,027 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 0.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Boy Meets Girl
Lowest review score: 0 Lethal Weapon 4
Score distribution:
8,027 movie reviews
  1. [A] fascinating film.
  2. A drama of extraordinary power and insight with dazzling performances from not only Spacey but also Danny DeVito (who may well be at his best ever) and from newcomer Peter Facinelli.
  3. A stylish work from an accomplished, sophisticated filmmaker that bristles with intelligence and gleams with Scott's and Davis' multifaceted, astutely judged portrayals.
  4. A film of rough edges and no easy answers, nearly perfect in its imperfection.
  5. The result is a career milestone [for Hal Hartley] and a film that could become a landmark in American independent cinema.
  6. Handsome as all Allen films are, and it proceeds with the brisk, sophisticated air of throwaway confidence and lack of pretense that we expect from the contemporary master of grown-up comedy.
    • Los Angeles Times
  7. Once the stage is set and the more intense plot elements of Black Souls kick in, the film's emphasis on character and setting pays off, just as the muted nature of the storytelling adds to its considerable power.
  8. Not only do Grant, Scott Thomas, Callow and company handle the sprightly dialogue with aplomb, they are also adept at the doubletakes and befuddled looks that make Four Weddings both amusing and irresistible all the way through the not-to-be-missed final credits. [9 March 1994, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  9. Swimming Upstream evokes time and place without being showy about it and offers an altogether invigorating experience.
  10. Corrente's gift for evoking the lives of blue-collar men that made his debut film, "Federal Hill," so appealing blends perfectly with the antic sensibility of the Farrellys.
  11. Dreamgirls is the entire musical package, a triumph of old school on-screen glamour, and we wouldn't want it any other way.
  12. Norwegian director Joachim Trier's inspiring first feature Reprise joyfully tackles the process of self-creation, as well as the friendships that feed and sustain it. He captures, in a way that's cool and romantic and heady, the moment in life when nothing matters more than ideas, influences and the possibility of shaping one's life into a work of art.
  13. The film manages to be anything but dark; whimsy and sweet irony are laced throughout, a warmhearted blend that turned it into the surprise winner of 2008's Oscar for foreign-language film.
  14. Think of writer-director Waters as the Frank Capra of an alternate universe and this film as his genially twisted version of "It's a Wonderful Life," and you'll begin to understand.
  15. The camera is so unobtrusive and the acting so naturalistic that it takes a while for a narrative to emerge. When it finally does, you're surprised to find you're deeply invested in the characters.
  16. Tangerines is an example of lean, unadorned old-school filmmaking where familiar style and technique combine to unexpectedly potent effect because of the great skill with which they've been employed.
  17. Being able to hear this kind of playing is a special moment in time, one we don't want to end and one that we're privileged to experience.
  18. In a time when so many documentary filmmakers take on advocacy roles, National Gallery represents the heart of what Wiseman does best — step back and let the place and its people lead the story.
  19. 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.
  20. Has the same kind of humor, charm and sensuality that made "Like Water for Chocolate" the most popular foreign-language film until "Life Is Beautiful" came along.
  21. 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.
  22. Beautifully wrought and wonderfully acted, The Flower of My Secret is in fact the kind of film that George Cukor often made - and he surely would have been delighted at Almodovar's deft blend of humor, tenderness and wisdom. [13 Mar 1996]
    • Los Angeles Times
  23. A runaway train drama that never slows down, it fashions familiarity into a virtue and shows why old-school professionalism never goes out of style.
  24. 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.
  25. Down to the Bone emerges with an aura of authenticity so strong as to be mesmerizing, thanks to a superior script brought to life with infallibly natural performances.
  26. In directing The Monkey's Mask from Annie Kennedy's adaptation of Dorothy Porter's novel-in-poetry, Samantha Lang displays considerable style and assurance, with Porter and McGillis giving beautifully nuanced portrayals.
  27. An accomplished film that continually takes us beyond our first impressions of people and situations.
  28. A provocative political thriller that is as troubling today as when it came out in 1970. Maybe more so.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Never does Down by Love, handsome and fully crafted, have the feel of being a filmed play. It emerges as a fresh, challenging and unpredictable experience with a stunning finish.
  32. One of the most harrowing and plausible visions of apocalypse since George A. Romero's 1968 zombie shocker, "Night of the Living Dead."
  33. As the film, with its haunting score and inspired use of popular music, builds flawlessly to its resounding conclusion, it is accompanied by a pitch-dark humor that grows out of the sheer absurdity of the city's daily body count.
  34. 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.
  35. A sharp and satisfying romantic comedy.
  36. Though he's adapting the same story Grisham always tells, that of an ethical, talented and inexperienced attorney taking on and outwitting powerful and corrupt legal opponents, Coppola has infused The Rainmaker with enough humor, character, honest emotion and storytelling style to make it one of the year's most entertaining movies.
  37. This fresh, highly original film, inspired by Oliveira's substantially different, never-filmed 1952 script, has been made with the greatest of ease and simplicity and with drollery and wit, yet its underlying impact is profoundly spiritual.
  38. Composed of breathtaking images and cheeky bits of humor, Dencik's travelogue reveals a journey with curious traces of the past, eye-popping encounters with a wild present and — in discovering an oil company's ship in the group's midst — a weighted reminder of our future as stewards of the Earth.
  39. Cho's weapons are a wildly imaginative sense of humor and the courage to be absolutely uninhibited.
  40. A ticking time bomb of a movie, a gripping, incendiary, casually subversive piece of work that marries pulp watchability with larger concerns without skipping a beat.
  41. With the ambitious and ominous The Devil's Backbone, Del Toro rises to a new level of accomplishment, adding history and politics to his distinctive blend.
  42. Bristling with shrewd observation, inspired humor and all-around smarts, Office Space is a winner about a guy who's beginning to feel like a loser. [19 Feb 1999]
    • Los Angeles Times
  43. For all its S&M specificity — down to earth and sometimes comical — the movie holds its beveled mirrors up to the role-play, ritual and compromise in all love relationships.
  44. If this all sounds fairly rote, it's far from it. That's because the filmmaker largely eschews done-to-death family dynamics, forced obstacles and predictable responses for authentic interaction, organic humor and a hopeful vitality.
  45. A crisp, elegantly resonant film.
  46. A riveting encounter with the woman who was Hitler's secretary...In a daring and successful stylistic choice, directors Heller and Schmiderer include almost nothing in the film but Junge.
  47. Godard has always made films that are as thrilling for their ideas and ideals as for the sheer beauty of their images; the difference here is that for the first time in years he's more interested in turning us on than in turning us off.
  48. This is an intelligent epic told without special pleading, a film able to cut deep enough to reveal a keen specificity of experience.
  49. A pleasantly cerebral experience, exhilarating and fizzy, that goes to your head like too much Champagne.
  50. A hoot, a hilarious comedy that's smart and caring, yet sexy and ingenious enough that it just might stir up some of that elusive "Full Monty"-style box-office appeal.
  51. Like so much of Ceylan's work, Winter Sleep is a haunting piece.
  52. What the film captures so effectively is the cultural reality of Mexico's ubiquitous underclass.
  53. This altogether remarkable film is as much of a paradox as Nong Toom: at once poetic and sensitive yet as gritty and hard-hitting as any boxing movie.
  54. This complex, sophisticated and increasingly suspenseful tale of love and betrayal, intrigue and redemption, is as elegant as its star and its settings.
  55. A vital, urgent and infuriating look at the devastating failures of the juvenile court system and the insidious reach of prison privatization.
  56. It's a classic rags-to-riches-to-rage tale about the fatal nexus of celebrity and market forces, a story that is unexpectedly poignant even though it's told to an insistent punk rock beat.
  57. Although there is real pain and suffering in It All Starts Today, it is too impassioned, too brisk and too embracing of life and human foibles to be depressing.
  58. 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.
  59. Suffice to say, unrelenting material like this isn't for everybody. That it is a gloriously filmic gesture - by turns jaw-dropping, elusive, silly, obnoxious, painful and beautiful - is celebration enough.
  60. For those who enjoy actors who can play it up without ever overplaying their hands, The Last Station is the destination of choice.
  61. Michael Winterbottom's handsome, uncompromising film. Jude glows with Eccleston's and Winslet's performances and with those in supporting roles.
  62. It is the way in which the writer-director uses the specter of vampires and vices to take an off-center cut at Iranian gender politics and U.S.-Eurocentric pop culture that sets the film apart.
  63. With Pan's Labyrinth, Del Toro has made his most accomplished film to date, a dark and disturbing fairy tale for adults that's been thought out to the nth degree and resonates with the irresistible inevitability of a timeless myth.
  64. It's no thigh-slapper like the Rodney Dangerfield's "Back to School," but it's exceptionally good-natured and perceptive, and Harmon, in his first starring screen role, is a real charmer. [22 July 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
  65. Soulful and reflective film, as gentle as it is potent.
  66. Joy and redemption aren't exactly punk mantras, but A Band Called Death might just give your heart a thrashing.
  67. Brooding, beautifully made and almost impossible for Americans to see -- Quai des Orfèvres, makes a triumphant reappearance on theatrical screens after an absence of about 50 years.
  68. Pi
    It is a brilliant intellectual adventure that fans of bold independent filmmaking will want to experience, even though the ending is something of a letdown.
  69. It is the kind of superbly crafted, intelligent entertainment — a classic suspense thriller — that nowadays is as welcome as it is rare.
  70. Smart, fun and thoroughly enjoyable, it's a model summer diversion that entertains without insulting your intelligence.
  71. A stunning reminder of the omnipresence of mortality.
  72. The 17-year-old so completely captures the innocence, cynicism and rage of a child of poverty and divorce on the edge of adulthood that it feels as if you are spying on Mia, so achingly real, so tangible does her world seem here.
  73. Because Bay of Angels reveals rather than moralizes, because its concerns are character and psychology, it's a potent showcase for Moreau's gifts.
  74. 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.
  75. The riveting documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, is an unexpected knockout.
  76. As audacious as it is compelling and as dark as it is erotic. Its sexuality is explicit, alternately teasing and brutal, and one that is ultimately a cautionary tale.
  77. In As Good as It Gets, his (Brooks) mastery of the nuances of language and emotion has turned the most unlikely material into the best and funniest romantic comedy of the year.
  78. The Chinese economic miracle, however, came at a wrenching human cost, one that is beautifully explored in an exceptional documentary called Last Train Home.
  79. Few actors can be as convincing as leaders of men, and to see Crowe as Capt. Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is to see a consummate performer doing what he does best.
  80. What makes this film special, as in his other films, is the getting there. Téchiné is the master of subtle shifts in mood, an acute delineator of psychological interplay, and therefore demands the utmost of his actors.
  81. Flawless contributions by Armstrong's crew make Oscar and Lucinda a vibrant period piece, buoyant yet incisive, and easily sustaining interest, if not generating deep involvement, throughout a just-under two-hour running time. [31Dec1997 Pg.8]
    • Los Angeles Times
  82. A masterful blend of black humor and queasy dread.
  83. Garrone achieves something uniquely colorful, disturbing and trenchant about self-perception in an increasingly fishbowl-like society.
  84. Droll and delicious.
  85. Boldly structured, intensely focused and briskly paced, Alice and Martin has a tremendous emotional density that places the utmost demands upon its actors--and asks a lot of audiences, too.
  86. Intelligent, involving and serious, it is as honestly emotional as Hollywood allows itself to get, a story of the search for wartime truth whose own concern for the genuine makes all the difference.
  87. A diabolically clever psychological suspense movie.
  88. To come across Classe Tous Risques is like discovering a bottle of marvelous French wine you didn't remember you had, opening it and finding it every bit as delicious as its reputation promised. That's how good this classic fatalistic French gangster film is.
  89. The Cronenberg trademarks are here in full force, including an outrageous sexual suggestiveness in his bizarre special effects.
  90. A clever and outrageous piece of whimsical fantasy that is unique, unpredictable and more than a little strange.
  91. It's all terribly tortured, often laugh-out-loud, absurdly funny and, as with all of Maddin's movies, conveyed through images that are as lush and beautifully over the top as the story's emotions.
  92. The most memorable section of the film is the chilling quarter-hour devoted to the apprehension and eventual murder of the Clutter family. Captured in unblinking, neo-documentary detail, it freezes the blood just as they did all those decades ago.
  93. Has an engaging warmth and an effortless sense of life. It also has an instinct for the humanity and universality of situations that are comic, romantic and quite seriously dramatic by turns.
  94. What is clear is that this is a director with a great sense of the magical and the mystical residing in the everyday.
  95. "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.
  96. The creators of this film were fiercely determined not to go so much as a millimeter over the line into sentiment, tawdriness or mockery. It's the rare film that is the best possible version of itself, but "Lars" fits that bill.
  97. Practice has delivered something close to perfection as this new film offers a startling experience that takes you down into the Great Barrier Reef without the expense, hypothermia or oxygen tanks.
  98. A Hijacking is as lean, focused and to the point as its title.
  99. This masterful celebration starts off slowly, even uncertainly, giving no hint of the rich and elegant exploration of love, jealousy and animal attraction it will in all good time become.
  100. Smart and stylish, Disney's Teacher's Pet is one family film that has appeal for adults as well as children.

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