Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,325 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 0.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 A Serious Man
Lowest review score: 0 Awakened
Score distribution:
8,325 movie reviews
  1. The director's surrealist portrait of modern times and the cult of celebrity is brilliant on so many levels that even the occasional downdraft can't keep Birdman from soaring.
  2. A splendid film. It uses all the resources of cinema -- masterful writing, superb acting, directorial intelligence, an enveloping score, top-of-the-line production design, costumes, cinematography and editing -- to make a film whose cumulative emotional power takes viewers by surprise, capturing us unawares in its ability to move us as deeply as it does.
  3. House of Flying Daggers finds the great Chinese director at his most romantic in this thrilling martial arts epic that involves a conflict between love and duty carried out to its fullest expression.
  4. Heli is a stunning piece of filmmaking. It's a hypnotic, starkly beautiful, often disturbing drama that puts a working-class Mexican family in the cross hairs of its country's drug war.
  5. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is a marvel of Japanese animation, a hand-drawn, painterly epic that submerges us in a world of beauty.
  6. Just as Turner's expressive, enthralling work changed the nature of painting, Mr. Turner, anchored in the rock of Timothy Spall's astonishing, Cannes prize-winning performance, pushes hard against the strictures of conventional narrative and ends up pulling us into its world and capturing us completely.
  7. Tense, smartly crafted and highly resonant, Aliyah is one of the best films so far this year.
  8. Witty, urbane and thoroughly entertaining.
  9. As the summer heats up, let Frozen River wash over you; let its bracing drama and the intensity of its acting restore your spirits as well as your faith in American independent film.
  10. A string of unlikely events and coincidences set off Night Falls, and Lumet makes them believable the old-fashioned way: through interaction with a screen full of strongly drawn, fully dimensioned, psychologically valid characters.
  11. The writer-director's familiar style blends with a group of unexpected factors to create a magnificently cockeyed entertainment.
  12. Stirred up impassioned debate everywhere; it would seem the greatest compliment that could be paid a stunning entertainment. [30 June 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  13. Short Term 12 is a small wonder, a film of exceptional naturalness and empathy that takes material about troubled teenagers and young adults that could have been generic and turns it into something moving and intimate.
  14. As he did in "Unforgiven," "Mystic River" and "Million Dollar Baby," Eastwood handles this nuanced material with aplomb, giving every element of this complex story just the weight it deserves. The director's lean dispassion, his increased willingness to be strongly emotional while retaining an instinctive restraint, continues to astonish.
  15. Verbinski's greatest triumph is that he allowed the animation to free rather that confine him. There is indeed a new sheriff in town, with Rango destined to become a classic.
  16. Assayas has made a great film from Jacques Chardonne's classic novel. Although far different in tone, time, place and temperament, it brings to mind "Gone With the Wind" in its depth and scope and in its love story, which unfolds over a turbulent era.
  17. Irresistibly funny… Just about the best holiday gift imaginable. [23 Dec 1988, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  18. If in Bresson's films nothing ever seems out of place or superfluous it's because he strove to find the essential truth of the image. Not an image or sound is wasted -- or offered up in self-glorification -- and from such seeming simplicity there arises a world of feeling.
  19. Exceptionally well-made and completely fearless in its depiction of the widest range of romantic emotions, this is a film as fiercely committed to passion as its heroine, and that's saying a lot.
  20. With that fire in his belly, Raimi's Drag Me to Hell does everything we want a horror film to do: It is fearsomely scary, wickedly funny and diabolically gross.
  21. Director Spike Lee has made some of the most hard-edged and unsettling American films on racism and its effects. Yet none has been as moving as this. [24 Oct 1997, Pg.F2]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What makes The Fly such a stunning piece of obsessive film making is the way Cronenberg deftly allows us to identify with his monstrous creation. [14 Aug 1986]
    • Los Angeles Times
  22. On the screen, the rip-roaring rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch retains all the excitement and energy it had on stage while adding depth, clarity and emotional texture.
  23. A magnificent film almost no one knows about, this hidden classic offers a wider variety of pleasures than most contemporary works can even aspire to.
  24. Ratatouille is as audacious as they come. It takes risks and goes places other films wouldn't dare, and it ends up putting rival imaginations in the shade.
  25. In "Django," Tarantino is a man unchained, creating his most articulate, intriguing, provoking, appalling, hilarious, exhilarating, scathing and downright entertaining film yet.
  26. The film perfectly understands the tentative experimentation and frequent self-loathing of adolescence, the difficulty of knowing whom to trust and how much to trust them, as well as how incendiary an age this can be, with uncertain psyches ready to explode at minimal provocation.
  27. Simultaneously heroic and nihilistic, reeking of myth but modern as they come, it is a Western for those who know and chrish the form, a film that resonates with the spirit of films past while staking out a territory quite its own. [7 Aug 1992]
    • Los Angeles Times
  28. Effortless and effervescent, Frances Ha is a small miracle of a movie, honest and funny with an aim that's true.
  29. It enables us to recapture exactly the delightful sensations felt all those years ago when we and the world were young and exciting together.
  30. A complete original. This ingenious, almost indescribable film won't remind you of anything else because there's nothing else like it.
  31. As extraordinary as all of this imagery is, it is the film's sound design that takes it to another level. A quirky, electric mix of ambient sound, effects and music by composer Bruno Coulais and sound designer Laurent Quaglio gives the film its heart and its sense of humor.
  32. Silent Souls is a marvel. Fedorchenko's expressive powers and his visual prowess are astonishing, and though the film's conclusion is abrupt and confounding, it feels right.
  33. This is a film with a commitment to reality unlike any we're used to seeing.
  34. Seeing E.T. again reminds us of how much we've remained the same, how gratified we still are by a film that connects so beautifully to our sense of wonder and joy.
  35. Intelligent, involving and conspicuously adult, Starting Out in the Evening is almost shocking in its distinctiveness, its ability to create high drama from an unlikely source.
  36. It's one terrific film, as smart, thoughtful and emotionally involving as just about anything that's out there.
  37. A remarkable feat of imagination, a magical tale with a genuinely sinister edge.
  38. District 9 is very smart sci-fi, but that's just the beginning; it's also a scathing social satire hidden inside a terrific action thriller teeming with gross aliens and regrettable inter-species conflict. And it's a blast. . . .
  39. If film means anything to you, if emotional truth is a quality you care about, this is an event that ought not be missed.
  40. The desert trek in Tracks is as brutal as it is beautiful; the performance by Mia Wasikowska as raw as the reality. And the camels? If they don't steal your heart it must be stone-hinged.
  41. Confidently directed by Ang Lee and featuring sensitive and powerful performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and a breathtaking Heath Ledger, this film is determined to involve us in the naturalness and even inevitability of its epic, complicated love story.
  42. A rare gem of a movie.
  43. Impeccably made, uncompromising in its implacable vision of the deranging power of love, sex and controlled substances, this savage and staggering film knows how to take our breath away.
  44. Deliciously funny and fiendishly clever con-man comedy that begins on a note of ingenuity that it then sustains with the tension of a high-wire act.
  45. This is one of the few adaptations that gives a splendid novel the film it deserves.
  46. Seems every bit the masterpiece it was when first released by Paramount. In this dazzling film, Bertolucci manages to combine the bravura style of Fellini, the acute sense of period of Visconti and the fervent political commitment of Elio Petri -- and, better still, a lack of self-indulgence.
  47. Never has Denis demanded so much from audiences as with this shimmering enigma, at once intimate and epic, but it's worth the effort and then some.
  48. The Manchurian Candidate proves that its fascination is intact. [12 Jan 1998, p.C1; Re-Release]
    • Los Angeles Times
  49. The musical biography of comedian Fanny Brice emerges as a true classic, as enthralling as the day it was released in 1968. It is a superb example of Hollywood craftsmanship in which all elements have been blended to perfection with inspired artistry.
  50. 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.
  51. For fans of this kind of roots music, it was an event you would have given anything to attend. Down From the Mountain lets you do that and gives you terrific seats in the bargain.
  52. Self-discovery always comes with a cost, and in Bliss the price is a great one. It is mesmerizing to watch it unfold in the lives of these two young people.
  53. Locke stands out both for the way filmmaker Knight conceived and executed it and for the kind of hypnotic acting Hardy can be counted on to bring to the table.
  54. A wonder several times over.
  55. A beautiful film that flows with a luminous ease and assurance.
  56. Terrific archival footage from a range of seminal civil rights events, as well as affecting narration written by Sarah Kunstler and spoken by Emily Kunstler (who also edited the film), round out this superior documentary.
  57. We may have seen it all before, but when it's done up like this, experiencing it all over again is a pleasure. [16 June 1999, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  58. Armstrong, screenplay adapter/co-producer Robin Swicord and their colleagues have got everything just right. [23 Dec 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  59. Intelligent, poignant film.
  60. A moving and joyous behind-the-scenes documentary about a world filled with big, bold personalities and the music they make.
  61. 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.
  62. Mean Creek's greatest asset is its sense of truth. It doesn't pander to or indulge its characters like the teen films we're used to. It looks at them straight ahead and with respect. It's something you wish Hollywood, and even parents, did more often.
  63. Intense, immersive and in control, Winter's Bone has an art house soul inside a B picture body, and that proves to be a potent combination indeed.
  64. A story about generational expectations and cultural shifts, The Edge of Heaven raises questions it can't answer, which makes it only more powerful.
  65. 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
  66. Secret Ballot, which has a rich, spare score by Michael Galasso that blends Eastern and Western motifs, is funny, provocative, well-paced and leaves a memorable bittersweet aftertaste.
  67. This is the best class of poetic realism, the kind you can believe in without a trace of hesitation.
  68. A gorgeous film with a vision strong enough to sustain heart-tugging, heightened by San Bao's romantic score, that verges on the sentimental.
  69. Alternately heart-wrenching, dismaying, raw and even funny, Solas is ultimately a wonderfully warm and embracing experience.
  70. It is also hard not to see remnants of a younger Michael Caine -- beautifully seductive and enigmatic all those years ago in "Alfie." He has said his wife cried when she saw the performance; you understand why.
  71. Its privileged glimpse deep into unfamiliar spiritual territory has the strength of revelation.
  72. A provocatively structured and thrillingly executed film noir, an intricate, inventive use of cinema's possibilities that pushes what can be done on screen in an unusual direction.
  73. Patrice Leconte has long ago mastered a Gallic specialty: the knack of making impeccably polished, graceful films with an unpretentious ease while allowing them to emerge seeming fresh and spontaneous. Leconte's latest film to reach the U.S. reveals him to be at his slyest best.
  74. 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.
  75. There's a muscular sincerity to this movie, a power and spread to its imagery that triumphs over the occasional candied purple patches or strained plot twists. [16 Jul 1993 Pg. F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  76. It's Stevens, as the all-American cover-model mercenary both friendly and fatal, who gives The Guest its literally killer personality.
  77. Never before has a fiction film so clearly and to such devastating effect laid out the calculation of the Nazi machinery of death and its irrationality.
  78. Once positions hardened, tragedy was all but inevitable, and Bloody Sunday" does the spirit of that awful day full and unforgettable justice.
  79. This witty and tender 1966 gem remains as timeless and fresh as ever.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A lovely piece of movie making: precisely controlled but with a lived-in scruffiness.
  80. It would seem impossible that anyone looking into the heart and the clear intent of the film would fail to see Scorsese's passion for his subject. And if our world is becoming so dangerously constricted that we're forbidden even to look, that is something we should all worry about. [12 Aug 1988, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  81. Expertly put together by editor Amy Linton, AKA Doc Pomus uses its wealth of material to create the sense of a man with a genius for putting undistilled emotion into his songs.
  82. Filled with tension, deception and bravura acting, Breach is a crackling tale of real-life espionage that doubles as a compelling psychological drama.
  83. That rare comedy that is as completely entertaining now in its re-release...as it was back then.
    • Los Angeles Times
  84. Though Unstrung Heroes' thematic elements are uniformly strong, it is the film's treatment of Danny and Arthur that is especially impressive. [15 Sep 1995]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Circuitry plugs into the underground world of raves. The scene, complete with drugs and its own culture, is blissfully examined in a documentary that speaks the language of its youthful generation.
  85. With its harrowing restraint, Compliance is potent filmmaking that's not easily forgotten.
  86. There is something about Stephen Frears' complex, heartbreaking, beautifully made Liam that seems to speak eloquently, painfully to the dilemmas we are facing today, to the terrible price dark times can extort from us all.
  87. For director Lou Ye, who also co-wrote the script and was a student in Beijing during that crucial year, Summer Palace is the story of his particular lost generation, a story he felt so deeply about he risked his career to tell it. Search out this vivid film in a theater. Don't let the sacrifices he made be in vain.
  88. A film that is genuinely mind-expanding, an exhilarating intellectual gantlet that tells a remarkable human story.
  89. Amuses and unnerves in equal measure. A comedy of discomfort that walks a wonderful line between reality-based emotional honesty and engaging humor, it demonstrates the good things that happen when quirky independent style combines with top-of-the-line acting skill.
  90. The sweeping, confounding conclusion therefore unfolds with a beauty and an ease that seem truly organic. The Way We Laughed has that feeling of being a work of art.
  91. There's a rawness and immediacy to his (Bujalski's) work that cuts straight to the experience, a starkness that's startling in an age of bloated spectacle.
    • 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
  92. This film becomes the kind of love note to movies we want and need.
  93. An elegantly discursive examination of one of the great modern photographers, a surprisingly intimate portrait of an elusive, laconic man.
  94. 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.
  95. Fine performances (MacKay is a revelation), bristling tension, strong atmospherics and a wealth of superbly wrought, often heartbreaking scenes add up to make "Peril" a must-see for serious filmgoers.
  96. Boyle has been nothing if not bold with this film. He's dared to use so many venerable movie elements it's dizzying, dared us to say we won't be moved or involved, dared us to say we're too hip to fall for tricks that are older than we are.

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