Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,040 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 On the Waterfront (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 21 and Over
Score distribution:
8,040 movie reviews
  1. A most-affecting experience, an impressive accomplishment in all its aspects.
  2. A wholly unexpected film, as heady and surprising in its humor as in its emotional texture.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Twenty-four years later -- digitally spruced up, with some scenes shaved and others padded with previously cut material -- Scott's film still shreds nerves.
  11. A vibrant and joyous new documentary.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Charming, disarming and in some ways humbling film.
  16. A work of art whose beauty has the eternal power of redemption.
  17. 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.
  18. Bleak childhoods make for the best cinema, and Ratcatcher stands at the head of the class.
  19. 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.
  20. Terrific escapist fare, stylish, outrageous and compelling.
  21. 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.
  22. A handsome work of authoritative yet understated style, responsive to mood, subtleties and nuance in exploring its especially well-drawn and intelligent lovers.
  23. 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.
  24. The film's exploration of the tenuous bonds within a community will surely prompt serious soul-searching.
  25. It convincingly demonstrates that when done right, moral and political quandaries can be the most intensely dramatic dilemmas of all.
  26. Thoughtful as well as sensual, particular yet universal, it is the kind of expertly made examination of the human condition we can never have too many of.
  27. An undeniably shattering story, if forgivably shaky in its impassioned, therapeutic unfolding.
  28. Not long into this most exhilarating and enjoyable of movies, it becomes reminiscent of such vintage jewels as Carol Reed's simultaneously thrilling and amusing "Night Train to Munich."
  29. Emotional and analytical by turn, The Case Against 8 is a thoroughly engaging documentary.
  30. Once again Chabrol's son Mathieu has composed a crucially evocative score, and Renato Berta's cinematography is gleaming. Merci Pour le Chocolat crackles with wit and elegance, humor and pathos.
  31. The wildlife documentary One Life is a visually gorgeous, at times astonishing screen experience.
  32. Though this is an emotionally driven movie, it never drifts into melodrama. Collyer is as pragmatic in her approach as her characters. But it is Dillon and Watts' nuanced portrayals that make "Sunlight's" darkness so appealing.
  33. It's sensational in both senses of the word: a bravura, provocative sendup of horror pictures that's also scary and gruesome yet too swift-moving to lapse into morbidity.
  34. Crouching Tiger's blend of the magical, the mythical and the romantic fills a need in us we might not even realize we had.
  35. A little like guided meditation with suggestions floated, waiting, left untethered. It's up to you to distill meaning -- which will leave some convinced the director is merely self-indulgent, and others deeply satisfied.
  36. I can't think of another good movie this year that's as tough to watch as Moodysson's, but, then, I can't think of very many movies that are as good.
  37. When Iris DeMent's impeccable version of the hymn is heard on the soundtrack as the final credits roll, it's the perfect touch to end a film whose aim is always true.
  38. This jazzy crime melodrama is engrossing and exhilarating because of Espinosa's impressive command of a wide range of filmmaking skills.
  39. Mike Armstrong's relentlessly downbeat script allows Demme to develop an ensnaring camaraderie coupled with a dark destructiveness that recalls Eugene O'Neill.
  40. It's the flesh-and-blood lead performance by Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani as a profoundly conflicted Muslim wife and mother that seals this cinematic deal. She's superb.
  41. If Asian martial arts movies interest you even a little bit, you're going to want to see Iron Monkey. Not only that, you're going to want to see it more than once.
  42. A warm and feisty documentary that is as much inquiry as it is tribute.
  43. No concept in the critical lexicon has been more devalued and debased than "inspirational." The term has been so misused, it's just about lost all meaning. A film that makes that word real and vital has to be special. The Interrupters is such a film.
  44. Catches you up so firmly in its world that you find yourself accepting whatever Thornton presents right up to its deeply ironic finish.
  45. There are all sorts of ways to look at The Son -- as a philosophical thriller, as a statement of faith, as a call to political arms or just as a terrific entertainment.
  46. Wickedly hilarious. [19 Feb 1999]
    • Los Angeles Times
  47. A film that grips us dramatically, intellectually and emotionally.
  48. Matching the strength of these actresses and their personal drama is the film's masterful sense of time and place - the way it makes us feel that this was how it was during four pivotal days in July 1789 as the wheels came off the French monarchy.
  49. As directed by Rachid Bouchareb, himself born in France to Algerian immigrants, "Days of Glory" is a kind of a North African "Saving Private Ryan," a taut, involving film that delivers all the things we look for in war movies and does so with intelligence and integrity.
  50. Leisurely yet intense (Sayles does the editing himself), Lone Star reveals a director whose mastery does nothing but increase. Perhaps now his audience will as well.
  51. Director Wong is at his best in this rerelease of the 1991 film.
  52. Demme finds haunting overtones in the somewhat old-hat situations of E. Max Frye's first screenplay. Something Wild also has three first-class performances: by Daniels, who seems to have resources that his earlier roles never touched; by electrifying newcomer Ray Liotta, and by Griffith as the maddening, mysterious Lulu. [6 Nov 1986]
    • Los Angeles Times
  53. Insomnia shows an equally welcome ability: a gift of creating intelligent, engrossing popular entertainment.
  54. Surely there is room in the movies for a small film with an unabashed, even old-fashioned but timeless humanist spirit -- and a triumphant portrayal by a veteran star that is likely to be regarded as one of the year's best.
  55. Aftermath is a bombshell disguised as a thriller.
  56. It may seem like nothing much is happening on-screen, but by the time A Summer's Tale is all over, it feels like everything important has been said and done. Welcome to the magic of Rohmer, one final time.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A wonderfully heart-wrenching love story for tweens, teens, and even adults who fondly remember when a friendship could be ignited by a gesture as simple as offering a stick of Juicy Fruit.
  57. It's a welcome throwback to the days when the world didn't have to end or tanker trucks explode to get an action audience's attention.
  58. Subtly acted, with Aridjis showing remarkable trust in her performers, The Favor is that rare film that at every turn exhibits good taste and a sense of restraint.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's a nearly pitch-perfect melding of genres, influences and modes of expression--it's the first Mafia movie for the hip-hop age.
  59. This is no nostalgia trip taken by an 83-year-old director. It's a fierce, hot slap of a movie, a shameless melodrama with bite.
  60. Adventurous, ambitious and ingeniously futuristic, Sleep Dealer is a welcome surprise. It combines visually arresting science fiction done on a budget with a strong sense of social commentary in a way that few films attempt, let alone achieve.
  61. Lives up to its ambitiousness in all its aspects.
  62. A fascinating, veritable self-portrait, masterfully culled from a trove of archival materials.
  63. A small-scale gem of a movie, both dramatically aware and psychologically astute.
  64. An understated gem. Writer-director Jeff Nichols, making his feature debut, has created a richly textured world.
  65. As meditative and beautiful as its title would indicate. What is a surprise is the extent to which it manages to be involving if you can put yourself on its wavelength.
  66. As unusual and idiosyncratic as its one-of-a-kind title. You'd expect no less from Terry Gilliam, and admirers of this singular filmmaker will be pleased to know that "Imaginarium" is one of his most original and accessible works.
  67. Kontroll is in fact an allegory, but one that oozes a gritty, dynamic realism.
  68. This is an extremely cinematic, beautifully made David Lean-type epic, helped by fluid and involving camera work by two-time Oscar-winning ("The Killing Fields," "The Mission") cinematographer Chris Menges.
  69. Starring an ideally cast Patton Oswalt in the title role, Big Fan is a poignant, dead-on character study, an examination of a crisis in the life of the most die-hard of die-hard New York Giants football fans.
  70. Writer-director Richard Ayoade has the knack. A fresh and inventive cinematic voice, he's taken a subject that's been beaten half to death and brought it miraculously to life in his smart and funny debut feature, Submarine.
  71. In recent years, South Korean cinema has fully flowered, producing both uncompromising highly personal films and crisp, intelligent genre movies, with Shiri the most spectacular example of the latter to date.
  72. Alternately satirical and romantic, full of pain and humor, Buffalo '66 is a winner.
  73. A mature, accomplished piece of work, both funny and deeply felt, personal cinema of the best kind...Levinson has made the memory film we always hoped he would.
  74. Sophisticated in its ease and spontaneity, it was directed with clarity and rigor by Auraeus Solito from Michiiko Yamamoto's acutely perceptive script.
  75. It is a film of uncommon intelligence and rigor that illuminates a complex era, and the romance at its center is also one of exceptional passion and honesty.
  76. Egoyan understands how potent a deliberate pace can be, how effective it is in making already powerful material strong enough to tear at your heart.
  77. [A] captivating documentary.
  78. The Railway Man is an impressively crafted, skillfully acted, highly absorbing journey into a dark corner of world history.
  79. The reason it never ceases to compel is not only the skill of the actors but also the kind of provocative and thoughtful dialogue that characterizes intellectual combat of a high order.
  80. At its heart, and there is a great heart to be discovered here, Morgan Dews' documentary Must Read After My Death is a searing and intimate account of an unconventional woman struggling not to lose her identity or her sanity in the rigid 1950s suburban world of stay-at-home moms, well-behaved children and sparkling-clean houses.
  81. A beautifully calibrated movie in the most traditional sense of the word -- the ideal marriage of topic, talent and tone.
  82. It is the interplay between Wasikowska and Eisenberg that gives "The Double" both its tension and its charm... Their struggle captivates, the resolution shocks, and you can't help but wonder what windmills Ayoade will tilt next.
  83. Though the politically incorrect language is tough enough to have earned Clerks an initial NC-17 rating (re-rated R on appeal), its exuberance gives it an alive and kicking feeling that is welcome and rare. [19 Oct 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  84. The latest in a recent spate of AIDS-themed documentaries, How to Survive a Plague is an exceptional portrait of a community in crisis and the focused fury of its response.
  85. A bombshell in its home country, Herod's Law is made with the kind of flair that ensures a following everywhere politicians are venal and voters hope against hope for deliverance.
  86. In a superb cast of mostly unknowns -- with the exception of Matthew Modine and Dorain Harewood -- D'Onofrio, who put on 60 pounds for this pivotal role, and Ermey are exceptional. [26 June 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
  87. Nothing is rushed, everything is given its appropriate time and place. When we watch Hansen-Løve's films, we're not only experiencing a life unfolding before us, we're also realizing what a great privilege it is to be able to do that.
  88. A period spectacle, steeped in awesome splendor and lethal palace intrigue, it climaxes in a stupendous battle scene and epic tragedy.
  89. Illusion and disillusionment entwine through the film like twin helixes, weaving a dreamy, free-form look at his life and legacy.
  90. Perhaps the best thing about Schenk's script is that it enticed Eastwood to end his self-imposed acting hiatus and bring his one-of-a-kind aura back to the screen.
  91. There is a wonderful natural quality to Jeong's storytelling that is enhanced by cinematographer Young-hwan Choi's graceful camerawork and by a dynamic, contemporary score from M&F.
  92. Marie Antoinette gives a wide berth to the conventions of period dramas, especially their time-capsule remove, and instead tries to mainline the singular personal experience of the arch-villainess of French history (and freedom history, for that matter). The result is a startlingly original and beautiful pop reverie that comes very close to being transcendent.
  93. A graceful mood piece that is infinitely moving.
  94. The conflicts involved are intense and absorbing, proving that compelling moral dilemmas make for the most dramatic cinema.
  95. Grainily shot but radiating life, The Amazing Catfish is an enormously affecting portrait of a family in crisis that dares to hope.
  96. Haneke illuminates beautifully the lives of his people with an eye for the revealing nuance and detail.
  97. That rare movie that completely fulfills its admittedly modest aims.

Top Trailers