Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,161 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 60% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 37% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Private Property
Lowest review score: 0 Vegas Vacation
Score distribution:
7,161 movie reviews
  1. A graceful mood piece that is infinitely moving.
  2. 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.
  3. A delightful, effervescent morality tale for children conveyed with such wit and sophistication that adults are likely to be enchanted as well.
  4. One of the better documentaries I'd seen in years -- it plays like a suspense thriller because that's exactly what it is.
  5. Exuberant and pitiless, profane yet eloquent, flush with the ability to create laughter out of unspeakable situations, Trainspotting is a drop-dead look at a dead-end lifestyle that has all the strength of its considerable contradictions.
  6. Requires careful attention at its abrupt finish. Close concentration on the final shots yields a meaning not possible should a viewer's attention wander or turn away a few moments too soon.
  7. 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.
  8. In Auto Focus, the strangely wonderful and weirdly touching new film from Paul Schrader, the comedy and the tragedy keep getting mixed up.
  9. Once positions hardened, tragedy was all but inevitable, and Bloody Sunday" does the spirit of that awful day full and unforgettable justice.
  10. The film is never more real than when Jimmy unloads his anger on someone close to him, a frequent occurrence. Eminem is an actor with a rare gift for rage, and movie careers, even big ones, have been built on less.
  11. It leaves you stirred and uplifted not only by its music but also by the determination and courage of the people who sang and danced it on the way to a freer life.
    • 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.
  12. Intoxicating and meditative by turns, helped by Fred Frith's minimalist score, this film opens a portal into a singular creative mind.
  13. As audacious as it is compelling and as dark as it is erotic. Its sexuality is explicit, alternately teasing and brutal, and one that is ultimately a cautionary tale.
  14. Godard has always made films that are as thrilling for their ideas and ideals as for the sheer beauty of their images; the difference here is that for the first time in years he's more interested in turning us on than in turning us off.
  15. While the plot twists in Read My Lips may be too intensely melodramatic for some tastes, the performances of the two leads are impeccable, just about compelling our belief.
  16. It is best to let this stunning film simply wash over you and trust that all will become clear enough in time. Vengo in a sense is a concert film tied together with the slenderest of plots.
  17. A work of artistry and craftsmanship at the highest level.
  18. For Fernanda Montenegro, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Italy's late Giulietta Masina (Federico Fellini's wife and frequent star) in appearance and talent, "Central Station" is a personal triumph and a rich cinematic experience.
  19. Pi
    It is a brilliant intellectual adventure that fans of bold independent filmmaking will want to experience, even though the ending is something of a letdown.
  20. A work of art whose beauty has the eternal power of redemption.
  21. A triumph of quiet realism, a piece of sophisticated, subtle filmmaking that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.
  22. It's a rich, emotional story, a wonderfully appealing film made with humor and intelligence, but there is also something almost magical about how it takes the stuff of innumerable previous films -- love, romance and adolescent coming of age -- and turns them into something that feels one of a kind.
  23. A superbly shot film of emotional extravagance, sentimentality and even humor, House of Fools is a film that is ultimately quite moving but which probably could only have been pulled off by a director steeped in that famous Russian soul.
  24. Alternately heart-wrenching, dismaying, raw and even funny, Solas is ultimately a wonderfully warm and embracing experience.
    • 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.
  25. Insomnia shows an equally welcome ability: a gift of creating intelligent, engrossing popular entertainment.
  26. It's no thigh-slapper like the Rodney Dangerfield's "Back to School," but it's exceptionally good-natured and perceptive, and Harmon, in his first starring screen role, is a real charmer. [22 July 1987]
  27. That rare comedy that is as completely entertaining now in its re-release...as it was back then.
  28. That rare movie that completely fulfills its admittedly modest aims.
  29. A fast and furious action-adventure. The film's comedy counts for as much as the clever and risky ways in which Wahlberg and company go after the nasty Norton, who has holed up in a Bel-Air mansion with a world-class security system.
  30. This is an intelligent epic told without special pleading, a film able to cut deep enough to reveal a keen specificity of experience.
  31. 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]
  32. 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.
  33. Smart and funny, touching and unabashedly sensual... the sweet sleeper of a hot season. [21 Aug 1987]
  34. 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]
  35. Somehow, Hoffman makes all this hypnotically interesting, and, through impeccable timing, sometimes terribly funny--a sweet humor which never betrays Raymond's unalterable character. [16 Dec 1988]
  36. A fervent assertion that an individual has the right to pursue his own path lies at the vibrant heart of The Business of Fancydancing.
  37. Not only do Grant, Scott Thomas, Callow and company handle the sprightly dialogue with aplomb, they are also adept at the doubletakes and befuddled looks that make Four Weddings both amusing and irresistible all the way through the not-to-be-missed final credits. [9 March 1994, Calendar, p.F-1]
  38. Amore satisfying use of the medium would be difficult to imagine.
  39. A blood-chilling dark comedy with unexpected moments of both fury and warmth, a strange, brooding and very accomplished film that sets us back on our heels from its opening frames.
  40. Offers up a subversive comic sensibility, one that somehow combines Buster Keaton's deadpan stare with Frank Capra's tireless optimism and filters them both through a black-ice Finnish point of view. Welcome to Aki World.
  41. Artfully, even elegantly constructed, Secret Lives skillfully probes issues of conflicting emotions and allegiances in a dark time, yet emerges as a loving affirmation of humanity's remarkable potential for goodness in the face of pervasive evil.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. Has an engaging warmth and an effortless sense of life. It also has an instinct for the humanity and universality of situations that are comic, romantic and quite seriously dramatic by turns.
  47. At a time when so many in this country are at odds about what represents America at its best, it's refreshing and then some to see a film that everyone can agree is an example of exactly that.
  48. Quietly devastating. [15 Dec 1993]
  49. A clever and outrageous piece of whimsical fantasy that is unique, unpredictable and more than a little strange.
  50. Crouching Tiger's blend of the magical, the mythical and the romantic fills a need in us we might not even realize we had.
  51. 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.
  52. The thinking person's caper flick, with its endlessly clever plotting revealing character under the utmost pressure.
  53. A quintessentially wised-up insider comedy, ideally cast and filled with sharp writing from start to finish.
  54. 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.
  55. Brings maximum subtlety, nuance and insight into the timeless story of first love.
  56. A wildly cinematic futuristic thriller that is determined to overpower the imagination, The Matrix combines traditional science-fiction premises with spanking new visual technology in a way that almost defies description.
  57. A comedy of the most delicately balanced perfection.
  58. Dark, dangerous and a great deal of wicked, amoral fun. A film that manages to be as clever, playful and mock violent as its title, Lock, Stock was a major hit in its native Britain and its cheeky tone, simultaneously calculated and off the cuff, is as hip as anyone could want. [5 Mar 1999]
  59. 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.
  60. An exquisite period film from a script Akira Kurosawa did not live to direct. It has a softer edge than the master probably would have delivered, but it is deeply affecting.
  61. Bleak childhoods make for the best cinema, and Ratcatcher stands at the head of the class.
  62. Wickedly hilarious. [19 Feb 1999]
  63. In an instance of director, stars and material melding flawlessly, Spider is a brilliantly realized depiction of a mentally ill individual.
  64. 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.
  65. A potent mixture of sentiment and grit, and it showcases the talents of its young principals.
  66. A substantial film of unexpected emotional force. And when at a certain point it seems to slip the bonds of this world and take a leap of faith into an almost mythological dimension, it breathlessly takes us along for that memorable ride.
  67. Though Kidman doesn't hesitate to make Grace high-strung and as tightly wound as they come, she also projects vulnerability and courage when they're called for. It's an intense, involving performance, and it dominates and energizes a film that would be lost without it.
  68. 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.
  69. A sparkling romantic comedy, the kind of picture that glides by so gracefully and unpretentiously that it's only upon reflection that you realize how much skill, caring and good judgment had to have gone into its making.
  70. Halloween: H20 is as stylish and scary as it is ultra-violent. It's a work of superior craftsmanship in all aspects.
  71. It's an exasperating, irresistible, must-see mess of a movie about life in the modern world and so very good that even when its story finally crashes and burns the filmmaking remains unscathed.
  72. A martial arts valentine to the power of fighting women. It's a slick and delirious Hong Kong action film.
  73. Its charming story of the delicate intersection of three highly individual lives is the kind of completely personal yet universal film that the festival and the entire independent movement came into being to celebrate. And it does it all in 88 deft and funny minutes.
  74. What results is a thoughtful, analytical yet still emotional film, meticulously investigated and absolutely compelling.
  75. It turns out to be an especially warm comedy with a hidden heart. It's a film whose humor has feeling behind it because writer-director Peter Hedges doesn't let his comedy overpower an understanding of how emotionally weighted family situations are always going to be.
  76. Working with cinematographer Harris Savides and serving as the film's editor, he (Van Sant) has fashioned a visual style and a narrative shape that has the quality of a waking dream, then a nightmare. Rarely do form and content add up with such harmonious grace and power.
  77. Twenty-four years later -- digitally spruced up, with some scenes shaved and others padded with previously cut material -- Scott's film still shreds nerves.
  78. A bold and unqualified triumph, nifty trick and treat for Halloween that is, arguably, Hancock's best film ever, surpassing even his potent heart-tugger, the 1973 baseball drama "Bang the Drum Slowly."
  79. What gives the film a formalist kick is that the story unfolds piecemeal as a series of nonlinear moments. What gives it soul are the three lead actors who pull the pieces together with devastating power.
  80. Few actors can be as convincing as leaders of men, and to see Crowe as Capt. Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is to see a consummate performer doing what he does best.
  81. The combined intensity of these two performances (Jones and Blanchett) obliterates objections and raises the stakes in what might otherwise have been a standard western.
  82. The singular achievement of Jonathan Karsh's graceful and rigorous documentary is that he enables his audiences to see his heroine's family through her very clear but always loving eyes.
  83. 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.
  84. Scrupulously fair-minded yet deliciously ambiguous, What Alice Found, a triumph of sound psychological and artistic judgment, is an unexpected treat for sophisticated audiences.
  85. A beautifully made, unapologetically artistic piece of work.
  86. Smart and stylish, Disney's Teacher's Pet is one family film that has appeal for adults as well as children.
  87. As with the greatest animated films, the triumph of Kon's work lies not just in its beauty and singularly sophisticated storytelling but in how that beauty and storytelling combine to give the films a sting so human you can forget you're watching a cartoon.
  88. 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."
  89. Alternately satirical and romantic, full of pain and humor, Buffalo '66 is a winner.
  90. 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.
  91. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg has stood the test of time as beautifully as Deneuve and seems likely to enchant future generations as fully as it has audiences over the past four decades.
  92. There's nothing casual about the way this film has been put together, yet that painstaking care leads to laughter that is completely unrestrained.
  93. Never does Down by Love, handsome and fully crafted, have the feel of being a filmed play. It emerges as a fresh, challenging and unpredictable experience with a stunning finish.
  94. 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.
  95. Smart and beguiling, it manages the impressive feat of believing wholeheartedly in the power of love without checking its mind at the door.
  96. A memory play and a sleight of hand, Eternal Sunshine is more than anything else deeply sincere. Like Spike Jonze, who directed "Adaptation" and "Being John Malkovich," Gondry succeeds principally by balancing Kaufman's churning skepticism with unflinching hope.
  97. 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."
  98. One
    If you care about the best kind of independent filmmaking, if you want the option of experiencing artistic films when you go to the movies, missing out on One is not an option. When a film like this appears, attention should be paid.

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