Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 9,680 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 1.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Lowest review score: 0 Don Peyote
Score distribution:
9680 movie reviews
  1. A rare gem of a movie.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. This is one of the few adaptations that gives a splendid novel the film it deserves.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The Manchurian Candidate proves that its fascination is intact. [12 Jan 1998, p.C1; Re-Release]
    • Los Angeles Times
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. A wonder several times over.
  14. A beautiful film that flows with a luminous ease and assurance.
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. Armstrong, screenplay adapter/co-producer Robin Swicord and their colleagues have got everything just right. [23 Dec 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  18. Intelligent, poignant film.
  19. A moving and joyous behind-the-scenes documentary about a world filled with big, bold personalities and the music they make.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. A story about generational expectations and cultural shifts, The Edge of Heaven raises questions it can't answer, which makes it only more powerful.
  24. 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
  25. 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.
  26. This is the best class of poetic realism, the kind you can believe in without a trace of hesitation.
  27. A gorgeous film with a vision strong enough to sustain heart-tugging, heightened by San Bao's romantic score, that verges on the sentimental.
  28. Alternately heart-wrenching, dismaying, raw and even funny, Solas is ultimately a wonderfully warm and embracing experience.
  29. 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.
  30. Its privileged glimpse deep into unfamiliar spiritual territory has the strength of revelation.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. The strength of The Witness lies in its recognition that the truth is often not just elusive but unattainable.
  35. 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
  36. It's Stevens, as the all-American cover-model mercenary both friendly and fatal, who gives The Guest its literally killer personality.
  37. 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.
  38. Once positions hardened, tragedy was all but inevitable, and Bloody Sunday" does the spirit of that awful day full and unforgettable justice.
  39. 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.
  40. 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
  41. 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.
  42. Filled with tension, deception and bravura acting, Breach is a crackling tale of real-life espionage that doubles as a compelling psychological drama.
  43. That rare comedy that is as completely entertaining now in its re-release...as it was back then.
    • Los Angeles Times
  44. 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.
  45. With its harrowing restraint, Compliance is potent filmmaking that's not easily forgotten.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. A film that is genuinely mind-expanding, an exhilarating intellectual gantlet that tells a remarkable human story.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. 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
  52. This film becomes the kind of love note to movies we want and need.
  53. An elegantly discursive examination of one of the great modern photographers, a surprisingly intimate portrait of an elusive, laconic man.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. Has everything a period romance should have, including a score by Michael Nyman and passionate performances by stars Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore.
  58. At once an old-fashioned freakout and an environmental cautionary tale (mess with Mother Nature and she'll mess with you right back), the film combines two genre standbys -- lethal contagion and the undead -- and gives them a wicked, contemporary spin.
  59. Director Demme has done other potent and meaningful films, but The Agronomist defers to none of them in its effectiveness and its power.
  60. Takes a premise that, in less competent, less empathetic hands, would have had the depth of a pancake, gives it a soul and turns it into a surprisingly sweet and funny ode to male friendship and middle-aged love.
  61. With a witty and efficient script by director Sean Baker and co-writer Chris Bergoch, Tangerine peels back the curtain on a fascinating Los Angeles microculture.
  62. Anderson, his superb ensemble cast and inspired cinematographer Uta Briesewitz, appeal at once to the intellect and the emotions as they build suspense and tension mercilessly.
  63. The great thing about Hail, Caesar! is that it is fun whether you get all its references or not.
  64. The movie's subversive sensibility and old-school/new-school feel are a total kick.
  65. Moving and frighteningly real.
  66. Like art itself, words can't fully capture what it is like to see the Vermeer emerge under Jenison's brush. Or to see Jenison's obsession with the idea run its course.
  67. Deliberate and marked by uncommon grace, In The Family manages to feel politically and culturally acute without ever resorting to melodrama, or having to wave banners for issues or causes, except perhaps in its quiet way for a renewed humanism in movies and a return to stories about everyday lives.
  68. Wright and Pegg are storytellers who weave their naughty bits into genuine characters and a plot. It's a ridiculous plot, but one that's absolutely in the spirit of the films they're satirizing.
  69. Has an intimate, personal quality. Rather than showboating for the camera, the soldiers get to a deeper level, conveying a surprisingly reflective and aware sensibility.
  70. In his feature debut, writer-director John Mangold brings remarkably sensitive powers of observation to bear upon ordinary people living ordinary lives.
  71. A most-affecting experience, an impressive accomplishment in all its aspects.
  72. A wholly unexpected film, as heady and surprising in its humor as in its emotional texture.
  73. Writer-director Michael Almereyda, whose "Hamlet" and "Cymbeline" boldly reimagined Shakespeare, takes a stylized visual approach in Experimenter, with bracing results.
  74. As a dramatist Eason has a classicist's sense of structure and movement to complement his sense of the cinematic. Manito, which has a special grand jury prize from Sundance among its 10 awards, is a small film with a big impact.
  75. Between Lelio's ingenuity in staging the film, an extremely clever script co-written with his frequent collaborator, Gonzalo Maza, and the pumping disco that interjects its opinions and assessments of each situation, Gloria is one of the most enjoyable movies to come along in a while.
  76. The filmmakers vividly illustrate the power and depth of the long-spiraling problem of "food insecurity" by immersing us in the hardscrabble lives of a cross section of our nation's poor.
  77. Intensely specific in story yet wide-ranging in themes, with a tone that turns on a dime from comic absurdity to close to tragedy, this is brainy, bravura filmmaking of the highest level, a motion picture that is as difficult to pigeonhole as it is a pleasure to enjoy.
  78. The jokes would be funny even if they weren't perfectly timed, but what makes them come across as so poignant is the seriousness with which the director and his co-conspirators deliver their jabs and japes.
  79. Benda Bilili! earns its exclamation point. It's a feel-good movie that actually makes you feel good, a story that will have you shaking your head in astonishment and moving your feet to some unstoppable rhythms.
  80. As the secrets that almost everyone is hiding slowly but inexorably come to light, Farhadi's gifts as a very specific director, someone who knows exactly how he wants every scene to be played, come to the fore, adding honesty and involvement to a plot that might seem artificial in other hands.
  81. Twenty-four years later -- digitally spruced up, with some scenes shaved and others padded with previously cut material -- Scott's film still shreds nerves.
  82. A vibrant and joyous new documentary.
  83. Though Bottle Rocket is wryly amusing from beginning to end, the hard edges of the real world are never too far from its surface. And it is the particular grace of the film that though all its characters end up with something like what they're looking for, its not exactly how they'd imagined it would be.
  84. Ron Howard reaches real maturity here, as he pulls together the script's tendency to skitter between sociology and sitcom, making it into one perceptive, delicious whole. [2 Aug 1989, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    From its invitingly upbeat overture to its pathos-filled but ultimately life-affirming finale, "Martin" is a masterfully conducted work.
  85. Gibney’s film cuts across subjects and genres with its own fluid, quicksilver intelligence.
  86. This modest film has virtues that come out of nowhere. It takes familiar material and develops it with such tact and skill that we find ourselves moved and sort of amazed at the same time.
  87. Long Way North is a complete pleasure, a gorgeous piece of wide-screen animation that is as delightful as it is unexpected.
  88. Charming, disarming and in some ways humbling film.
  89. A work of art whose beauty has the eternal power of redemption.
  90. The Salt of the Earth deals with two kinds of journeys the photographer made. The outward one may have literally taken him to the furthest corners of the Earth and resulted in the stunning images the film features, but it is the inward journey that paralleled it that completely holds our attention.
  91. Bleak childhoods make for the best cinema, and Ratcatcher stands at the head of the class.
  92. An across-the-board delight featuring a spot-on ensemble cast that treats the most awkward and embarrassing moments in the rites of passage with affectionate hilarity.
  93. Terrific escapist fare, stylish, outrageous and compelling.
  94. The same intelligence, wit and mature spirit that actress Vera Farmiga brings to her performances is richly apparent in her directorial debut as well, the inquisitive spiritual drama Higher Ground.
  95. A handsome work of authoritative yet understated style, responsive to mood, subtleties and nuance in exploring its especially well-drawn and intelligent lovers.
  96. Though the thriller is in the hands of a different filmmaking team this time led by Swedish director Daniel Alfredson and screenwriter Jonas Frykberg, they've kept the searing intelligence and ruthless bent.

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