Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,955 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 Rango
Lowest review score: 0 Don Peyote
Score distribution:
7,955 movie reviews
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    In her first feature, writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood tells a familiar tale with first-rate acting and an underlying sense of authenticity.
    • Los Angeles Times
  1. Rapace moves through the escalating exposure with a series of subtle shifts that are both painful and exquisite to watch. The actress can make eye contact seem like salt in an open wound.
  2. Brydon and Coogan's discourse over breakfast, lunch and dinner is captured with a casualness that makes the eavesdropping delicious.
  3. So though it echoes the films of Charles Burnett, the plays of August Wilson and "A Raisin in the Sun," at its heart Middle of Nowhere is old-school, character-driven narrative at its most quietly effective.
  4. Gathering its forces slowly, this careful, thoughtful film, quietly but deeply moving, is dramatic without seeming to be.
  5. Amore satisfying use of the medium would be difficult to imagine.
  6. The reality of François' classroom is so intense that it holds our interest even while the film's dramatic focus is building so quietly under the surface that we don't notice it at first.
  7. If there is one moment in The Language of Music that will thrill old rock fans, it's watching Dowd, his fluid hands moving with a surgeon's grace, remix for the film's benefit the 24-track sub-master of "Layla."
  8. The writer-director brilliantly juxtaposes the personal and the political, bookending a stirring coming-of-age drama with the provocative opening and an equally affecting end sequence.
  9. Smart and funny, touching and unabashedly sensual... the sweet sleeper of a hot season. [21 Aug 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
  10. A documentary that's admirably frank about the difficulties of insightfully portraying such a widely lauded — and subtly cagey and habitually self-effacing — figure.
  11. Yet another Merchant Ivory triumph.
  12. With American independent filmmaking all too often a ready punching bag in today's cinéaste culture, this frequently dazzling, eccentric portrait of mutually assured destruction is that most delirious of combos: charmingly funny and emotionally terrifying.
  13. This graceful and wise film moves to its denouement with subtlety and, at its end, strikes a note that seems just right for all that has gone before.
  14. Good-humored and just about reeking of innocence, That Thing You Do! is what a character has in mind when he asks for "something happy, peppy, up-tempo." Leaving audiences feeling good is very much, and very successfully, on its mind. [04 Oct 1996, Pg.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  15. It could have done with fewer plot devices, but it is ultimately far more satisfying than countless less ambitious and risky films.
  16. Though definitely one of the best American movies of the year--a work of high ensemble talent and intelligence, gorgeously mounted and crafted, artistically audacious in ways that most American movies don't even attempt--it's still a disappointment… It's not the capstone we might have wanted Coppola to make. [23 Dec 1990, Calendar, p.9]
    • Los Angeles Times
  17. This utterly compelling behind-the-scenes account of that horrific event unfolds with a potent sense of authority and authenticity.
  18. Effortlessly graceful and burnished to a glow, Dinner Rush is surely as satisfying as any of the delicious-looking food served at Louis' restaurant -- and is as full of surprises as any dish Udo ever concocted.
  19. A quintessentially American story that unmistakably echoes European art house cinema, combining the aesthetic purity of France's Robert Bresson with the social consciousness of Belgium's Dardenne brothers. It also is a powerful, character-driven melodrama that easily holds our attention from first to last.
  20. Shows and tells an astonishing story, a disturbing and provocative tale of obsession, bravado and self-invention that leaves you open-mouthed for all kinds of reasons.
  21. Some filmmakers give us dreams and false worlds in which we can find refuge. For others, though, like the young Mexican filmmaker Carlos Reygadas, the movies aren't an escape from the world but a way more deeply into it.
  22. If you can't place the name, or want to know more, Anita is a splendid place to start.
  23. Boldly distinctive in its depiction of individuals caught up in a veritable infernal machine designed solely to give pleasure to a monarch, Vatel is a timeless tale of love and sacrifice in a world as opulent as it is cruel.
  24. Wish You Were Here is mystery moviemaking at its most intriguing.
  25. Ethan Hawke, in his feature directorial debut, has brought Nicolette Burdette's play to the screen with fluid grace and a perfect blend of dreaminess and grit, expressed in camerawork that seems to float and in Jeff Tweedy's shimmering, gently insistent score.
  26. The great achievement in writer-director Jono Oliver's poignant, superb debut, Home, lies in the balance between the film's empathy for those like Jack who seek independence and its compassion for others who may need care indefinitely.
  27. The most memorable thing about Sweet Dreams is that it allows us to experience the resilience, the capacity for happiness these women retain in spite of all they've been through. There's a lesson there for all of us.
  28. What A Bug's Life demonstrates is that when it comes to bugs, the most fun ones to hang out with hang exclusively with the gang at Pixar.
  29. Contact is superior popular filmmaking, both polished and effective. But despite its success and its serious intentions, it's finally a movie where the storytelling makes more of an impact than the story.
  30. Powered by an exceptional performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, this artfully disturbing film is a compelling, imaginative look at the potent emotional bond that forms not between romantic lovers but between fathers and daughters.
  31. What makes Look at Me such a deeply satisfying experience is its ability to combine insightful character portraits like this with wickedly funny situations that slyly skewer all-too-human weaknesses.
  32. It's just as thrilling as it is edifying.
  33. Deeply moving and devoid of melodrama, These Birds Walk is as pragmatic as its subjects.
  34. What's best about it is that it seems real by the logic of childhood - it looks as things SHOULD look, if kids had it their way.
  35. The screenplay — by the French Mauritania director and Malian co-writer Kessen Tall, in her feature debut — is a mesmerizing blend of the horrific and the humorous as it boils ideology down to the personal level.
  36. For the most part, Ford has done good by the film, infusing a sad story with warmth and humor to spare. While loss is what makes George's experience universal, heart is what gives him such life.
  37. Moves way past the predictable into the shocking. Indeed, the film is so expertly structured and paced that its denouement knocks you off your feet.
  38. Like the best of personal, independent cinema -- it is both marvelously observed and completely individual. There is no film like this film, and that is something you don't hear every day.
  39. Remains a timeless, major work of a master.
  40. An elegant study of devious mind games and emotional perversion, it makes the strangest of psychological dynamics plausible and involving.
  41. This animated retelling of the familiar Old Testament story is playful, high-spirited and unmistakably amusing. It's nice to see that a sense of humor and a sense of values don't inevitably have to cancel each other out.
  42. This fractured fairy tale not only knows there's no substitute for clever writing, it also has the confidence to take that information straight to the bank.
  43. A documentary experience to savor. Warm, funny and very difficult to resist, this engaging film combines the charm of "Spellbound" with the kinetic energy of "Strictly Ballroom" in a way that will make you want to laugh, cry and do a little dancing yourself, maybe all at the same time.
  44. Bagdad Cafe, which Adlon wrote with his wife, Eleonore, and Christopher Doherty, is a miracle of timing and control for all its aura of zany, off-the-cuff spontaneity. It is the work of a director who has such a clear idea of what he wants and where he's going that he can take his time to build up every joke for the maximum payoff.
  45. There is nothing noble about Eric's mission or about the considerable violence he resorts to to get the job done, but Pearce's willingness to give him an integrity of purpose mixes well with Michôd's intense, controlled direction and his ability to blend unexpected, empathetic character moments with all the killing.
  46. It's not until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that a film has successfully re-created the sense of stirring magical adventure and engaged, edge-of-your-seat excitement that has made the books such an international phenomenon.
  47. Breathtaking reverie worthy of Fellini.
  48. Not only is the film that good, it's also that wonderfully, inescapably Czech.
  49. It takes exceptional acting to enable a story like this to take hold, and Campion has gotten it here. [19 Nov 1993]
    • Los Angeles Times
  50. The Maid has that particular gift of leaving you off balance in the best possible way, and whenever something like that comes around you owe it to yourself to check it out.
  51. A dead-on tale of corporate power, courage, cowardice and how we live.
  52. Romero easily commands an enormous cast, a plethora of action sequences and a cornucopia of special effects -- some of them very gory -- and creates one darkly dazzling image after another that allows Land of the Dead to emerge without any nudging whatsoever as a bleakly humorous, hard-charging allegory.
  53. It's the record of a life, a musical and spiritual autobiography, and as directed by Jonathan Demme it taps into the kind of unashamed, unsentimental emotion that's become increasingly rare in films of any kind.
  54. A heady yet disciplined work, a dazzling fable of love, destiny and redemption.
  55. I don't know whether the tall man is happy, but I do know that Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? is intellectually and visually groundbreaking, and most certainly a film.
  56. Its characters are as entertainingly quirky as any he's given us before, and his familiar themes -- strangers in a strange land, lives reformed by chance encounters -- are played out with much higher stakes and with greater purpose.
  57. Moving and invaluable.
  58. A film of rare visual poetry that's simultaneously personal, political and philosophical, it's a genuine art film that's also unpretentious and easygoing.
  59. A captivating film that truly elevates the spirit, Ballets Russes is the most emotionally satisfying documentary since "Mad Hot Ballroom."
  60. Tense and gut-wrenching, Beyond the Gates is a horrifying story told with grace and compassion.
  61. Scrupulously fair-minded yet deliciously ambiguous, What Alice Found, a triumph of sound psychological and artistic judgment, is an unexpected treat for sophisticated audiences.
  62. Love and Death on Long Island is sharp, sophisticated and completely delicious, a purposeful comedy that focuses on the power of screen images to uproot lives and the poignancy of amour fou, totally mad love.
  63. Hank is but the latest of Thornton's strikingly taciturn characters in a whole string of movies, but for Berry, Leticia represents a big-screen breakthrough.
  64. It's Patinkin who scores a special triumph. In his role there's a poignant strain of weariness beneath the leaping bravado, a pain under the braggadocio. [25 Sept 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
  65. It's tempting to forget that Cage is not Terence. That would be unfair though, and diminish the sheer ferocity of his performance.
  66. A lyrical poem for some, like watching paint dry for others. I'd argue for embracing the poetic, a rare commodity in American films these days.
  67. A haunting, immersive portrait of a romance between two men, one that's marked - and marred - by both drug dependency and emotional codependency. Not unlike last year's gay-themed drama, "Weekend," it proves an important and mature piece of business.
  68. Records an accident while it's happening, revealing a situation that makes you laugh again and again while weeping, metaphorically at least, for the sheer frustration of it all.
  69. A stirring, thought-provoking feat of filmmaking, accomplished in every facet.
  70. A darkly compelling film from Austria, can be viewed as either a thriller with psychological overtones or a psychological drama with thriller elements.
  71. Nothing quite prepares you for the rough-cut diamond that is Precious. A rare blend of pure entertainment and dark social commentary, this shockingly raw, surprisingly irreverent and absolutely unforgettable story.
  72. Couldn't be more unlikely, more unfashionable -- or more compelling.
  73. An exquisite performance by Charlotte Rampling, whose work as Lyubov Andreyevna Ranevskaya, the matriarch of the great estate the cherry orchard sits on, is the film's dazzling centerpiece.
  74. Pride is an unapologetic crowd-pleaser of a movie, but it has some potent points to make, and the reality of what happened has a power of its own.
  75. A completely charming reality-based romantic fantasy, both sweet-natured and sympathetic, Show Me Love is a leader of the pack.
  76. Alternately witty, caustic, tender and endlessly imaginative and unpredictable.
  77. Intimate and human yet deeply ambitious, a powerhouse of a film made with a disturbing vision.
  78. Starring Brad Pitt in top movie star form, it's a film that's impressive and surprising.
  79. What tantalizes is the way the story moves between their private passion and their public shame, the way then and now become synchronous. Amalric navigates the shifts with a lapidary precision.
  80. While other films struggle for their effects, Brothers simply lives and breathes, thoroughly likable from beginning to end.
  81. Intoxicating and meditative by turns, helped by Fred Frith's minimalist score, this film opens a portal into a singular creative mind.
  82. If Watermark does nothing else, it will make you question society's contradictory view of water use.
  83. Off-and-on cynical and sentimental, Russell's darkly comic tale shows how much can be done with familiar material when you're burning to do things differently and have the gifts to pull that off.
  84. It's the style of the thing, not the plot, that is the attraction here, the great way the cast has with the snarky dialogue.
  85. Josh Aronson's Sound and Fury, as illuminating and comprehensive as it is heart-wrenching, is an example of what the documentary can accomplish at its most vital and engaging.
  86. One thing that makes Lunchbox so strong is that a touch of melancholy hangs over its sweetness. Finally this is a film about the wheel of life, about what helps us cope with its turns and find our way in its unforgiving labyrinth.
  87. Like everything else about this lovely film, life, love and emotional growth are marked out in lush, languid, luminous terms.
  88. Spring Forward is so fully realized and so moving that you wish you could get away with merely saying: "Go see it for yourself."
  89. There is a sophistication about affairs of the heart, about the wisdom and the risks of romantic involvement that is more than quintessentially French. It's irresistible as well.
  90. Something seldom seen: an original romantic comedy.
  91. One of the better documentaries I'd seen in years -- it plays like a suspense thriller because that's exactly what it is.
  92. What Live-in Maid offers is a pitch-perfect observation of life on a continent where forms are adhered to, distances aren't really kept, and your best friend is the person who knows to pour the cheap domestic whiskey into the empty bottle of imported stuff before your bridge buddies show up to judge you.
  93. A remarkably rich documentary possessing depth, range, insight and compassion.
  94. Martel's sharp observations of the foibles of human nature are expressed perfectly in the telling images of cinematographer Hugo Colace and tight editing of Santiago Ricci.
  95. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is an enormously impressive piece of work.
  96. A film of exceptional emotional honesty.
  97. It's exhausting, exhilarating, riveting stuff that fans of high-octane filmmaking should not miss.
  98. Lumumba is potent stuff. Complex, powerful, intensely dramatic.
  99. Prechezer's cast is ingratiating and attractive, and Blue Juice is as buoyant as its terrific rock score.

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