Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,570 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 0.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Road to Perdition
Lowest review score: 0 Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000
Score distribution:
8,570 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Alternately satirical and romantic, full of pain and humor, Buffalo '66 is a winner.
  6. 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.
  7. Sophisticated in its ease and spontaneity, it was directed with clarity and rigor by Auraeus Solito from Michiiko Yamamoto's acutely perceptive script.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Don't mistake the brief running time of India's Daughter for a lack of importance or ability to involve. Though it lasts only 63 minutes, this documentary's impact is devastating.
  11. [A] captivating documentary.
  12. The Railway Man is an impressively crafted, skillfully acted, highly absorbing journey into a dark corner of world history.
  13. The ensemble shines in demonstrating the complexities of the individuals who either endure or exploit this system of abusive power dynamics.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. A beautifully calibrated movie in the most traditional sense of the word -- the ideal marriage of topic, talent and tone.
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. 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.
  23. A period spectacle, steeped in awesome splendor and lethal palace intrigue, it climaxes in a stupendous battle scene and epic tragedy.
  24. Illusion and disillusionment entwine through the film like twin helixes, weaving a dreamy, free-form look at his life and legacy.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. A graceful mood piece that is infinitely moving.
  29. The conflicts involved are intense and absorbing, proving that compelling moral dilemmas make for the most dramatic cinema.
  30. Grainily shot but radiating life, The Amazing Catfish is an enormously affecting portrait of a family in crisis that dares to hope.
  31. Haneke illuminates beautifully the lives of his people with an eye for the revealing nuance and detail.
  32. That rare movie that completely fulfills its admittedly modest aims.
  33. A dark and lovely drama about the complications of human connections that is Michael Keaton's impressive directing debut.
  34. A Brilliant Young Mind doesn't fit into any familiar inspirational box. Many of its characters are complex, contrary individuals who are not even close to being comfortable in their own skins, and this film refuses to shortchange how frustratingly edgy and difficult they are to interact with.
  35. Affleck easily orchestrates this complex film with 120 speaking parts as it moves from inside-the-Beltway espionage thriller to inside Hollywood dark comedy to gripping international hostage drama, all without missing a step.
    • 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
  36. 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.
  37. Brydon and Coogan's discourse over breakfast, lunch and dinner is captured with a casualness that makes the eavesdropping delicious.
  38. 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.
  39. Amy
    It is the achievement of Amy, Asif Kapadia's accomplished, quietly devastating documentary, that it makes the story of this troubled and troubling individual surprisingly one of a kind by allowing us to, in a sense, live her life along with her.
  40. Gathering its forces slowly, this careful, thoughtful film, quietly but deeply moving, is dramatic without seeming to be.
  41. Amore satisfying use of the medium would be difficult to imagine.
  42. 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.
  43. 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."
  44. 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.
  45. Smart and funny, touching and unabashedly sensual... the sweet sleeper of a hot season. [21 Aug 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
  46. A documentary that's admirably frank about the difficulties of insightfully portraying such a widely lauded — and subtly cagey and habitually self-effacing — figure.
  47. Yet another Merchant Ivory triumph.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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
  51. It could have done with fewer plot devices, but it is ultimately far more satisfying than countless less ambitious and risky films.
  52. 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
  53. This utterly compelling behind-the-scenes account of that horrific event unfolds with a potent sense of authority and authenticity.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. If you can't place the name, or want to know more, Anita is a splendid place to start.
  59. 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.
  60. Wish You Were Here is mystery moviemaking at its most intriguing.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. 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.
  68. It's just as thrilling as it is edifying.
  69. Deeply moving and devoid of melodrama, These Birds Walk is as pragmatic as its subjects.
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. Remains a timeless, major work of a master.
  76. An elegant study of devious mind games and emotional perversion, it makes the strangest of psychological dynamics plausible and involving.
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. 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.
  80. 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.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. Breathtaking reverie worthy of Fellini.
  84. Because Sauper views himself as a storyteller first, as political as "We Come as Friends" may be, it is always dramatic, never didactic.
  85. Not only is the film that good, it's also that wonderfully, inescapably Czech.
  86. 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
  87. 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.
  88. A dead-on tale of corporate power, courage, cowardice and how we live.
  89. 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.
  90. 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.
  91. A heady yet disciplined work, a dazzling fable of love, destiny and redemption.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. Moving and invaluable.
  95. 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.
  96. A captivating film that truly elevates the spirit, Ballets Russes is the most emotionally satisfying documentary since "Mad Hot Ballroom."
  97. Tense and gut-wrenching, Beyond the Gates is a horrifying story told with grace and compassion.
  98. Scrupulously fair-minded yet deliciously ambiguous, What Alice Found, a triumph of sound psychological and artistic judgment, is an unexpected treat for sophisticated audiences.
  99. 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.

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